I don't own either Harry Potter or the Walking Dead.
“Come on, Sophia,” Carl whispered as they got out of the showers. The CDC was a big, big place and Carl kinda wanted to explore it. While the adults were busy drinking and finishing eating.
Sophia nodded, a little reluctant, but still mostly excited.
Aside from the entrance to the building, this was the safest they had been since the attack on the hill. Carl had had to pinch his nose closed as they had walked through the bodies before the gate and he had seen Sophia do the same.
The two of them slunk past the adults and ran into the hallway, laughter and cheers echoing through the room.
“Carl, are you sure this is a good idea?” Sophia asked as they ran through the halls.
“Yeah, it is! There's no walkers in here! It's underground.”
“There could still be...” Sophia trailed off. “You're probably right.”
They walked down a set of stairs then set off for the lone door that they hadn't seen before. In fact, Carl hadn't seen this hallway before. A great loud thunk sounded through the hallway causing Carl and Sophia to both jump.
“Sophia, did you hear that?”
Sophia glanced at him, nodded hesitantly. “Yeah.”
“That couldn't have been a walker. The scientist hadn't turned,” Carl said, walking over to the door and standing up on his tiptoes to see through the window in the door.
“Carl, what if it is a walker?” Sophia whispered urgently. “We're going to get in so much trouble.”
“Is the door unlocked?” Carl asked, staring transfixed at whatever was beyond the door.
Sophia padded over to the handle, tried it once. It didn't move an inch.
Groaning was heard, coming through the door. Followed by a loud hiss.
Sophia stilled and backed up. “Carl.... We should go back to our parents.”
“Sophia, don't you want to see what it is?” Carl whispered back, trying the door more.
Another moan sounded through the door. And this time it sounded... closer?
The minute that Carl and Sophia heard a loud thud against the door, they both spooked and ran. It sounded like whatever was beyond the door was trying to get out.
Carl and Sophia ran back through the hallway and back up the stairs, hearing clattering and running steps from the kitchen. As soon as Carl and Sophia turned a corner, Carl ran right into his dad. His dad already had his gun out and was searching the hallway behind them, quickly steering Carl behind him.
“Carl, what is it? Is it a walker?”
“Sophia? What were you two doing down here?”
Carl turned to see Shane, Carol, T-Dog, and Daryl coming toward them. The scientist was no where to be seen. Shane had his rifle out, pointed at the hallway behind them. Daryl had his crossbow out and nocked.
“We were exploring,” Carl said.
“We shouldn't have but,” Sophia said as her mom pulled her into a hug.
Carl pointed behind him. “There's something there...”
Rick narrowed his eyes.
“It sounded like a walker,” Sophia whispered.
“Carl...” Lori started, sighing. “You shouldn't have gone off on your own.”
“Shane? Daryl?” Rick asked, gesturing to the hallway. Carl watched as his dad strode off the way he and Sophia had gone down and started to follow.
“Carl, what are you doing? Come back here,” Lori ordered, raising an eyebrow.
“But I wanna see,” Carl retorted. “It looked like it was only one.”
Rick, Daryl and Shane stopped and turned to look at him.
“Only one?” Shane asked, exchanging a look with Rick.
Carl nodded, watching his dad look back to the hallway that led to the kitchen. “Dr. Jenner isn't here... He might have an explanation.”
“Explanation? If it's a walker, we need to go kill it,” Daryl remarked, staring at the two of them.
“It didn't look like a walker,” Carl murmured, glancing at Daryl then at his dad.
“You saw it?” Lori asked, peering down at him with a pinched expression. “Shouldn't we hear the door breaking down then?”
“The doc said there ain't no walkers down here,” Daryl said, quickly looking back to where the set of stairs was and starting back that way again.
Lori pulled Carl back. “Let's get back to the kitchen.”
Carl turned to watch as his dad, Shane and Daryl all strode down the stairs.
“Why the fuck did the doc not say anything?” Shane whispered as they made their way toward the door that Carl had described. “This was suppose to be the CDC, safe.”
“We got to go kill it,” Daryl said, crossbow still out and walking behind Rick and Shane. “Answers after.”
“Agreed. Hopefully, there's only one like Carl said,” Rick commented, gun still out.
A loud moan was heard throughout the hallway as they walked on, turning a corner. The three of them stopped right before the door and listened for a minute. Shane went to go look through the window.
“Shane?” Rick questioned, making sure the safety was off on his gun.
“There's only one,” Shane answered. “It's lying on the ground right before the door though.”
Daryl glanced at Rick then at Shane, shaking his head. “Should save bullets. I'll do it.”
“Be my guest,” Shane commented, stepping back far enough for Rick to step up to the door and ready his gun to shoot the door open. There hadn't been any noise since the moan a minute or two ago.
Daryl readied his bow and gestured for Rick to open fire.
The minute the door opened, the walker fell out, as if it had fallen against it. There was a bloody gash on its' left knee but nothing else, Daryl noted idly. It used to be a man, looked to be in his early to mid 30's when it turned. Long black hair that had bits of blood in it reached down to the guy's upper back.
Daryl was just a minute away from firing his arrow when the walker spoke...
“Bloody hell! Don't shoot! I'm not a zombie!”
Daryl, Shane and Rick all stepped back, jaws dropped.
Daryl was the first one to recover. “Since when do walkers got a British accent?”
The walker... the man started to laugh, voice more hoarse than expected. “Hahaha. OW...”
“You're not a walker then?” Shane asked quietly.
The man flipped himself over, gingerly almost and sat up and moved over to sit against the wall. They could all hear him hiss under his breath. Likely he was injured then. “'Walker'?”
“Where in the hell did you come from then?” Rick asked, putting his gun into his holster.
“That's what we call them,” Shane answered. “Walkers.”
The man looked at Shane then at Rick and turned to look up at Daryl. “Oh.”
Daryl stared into the guy's green eyes and tilted his head. The guy looked like he had been through hell, probably a hell similar to their own but Daryl could see something that was...
“No, I'm not a 'walker', as you say. I was...” The guy trailed off, turning to stare at something behind them. “Dr. Jenner...”
Daryl turned to see that the scientist had come up behind them while they were occupied. He hadn't even heard him coming.
Dr. Jenner stared at the guy on the floor then at Daryl, Shane and Rick. “I should have known you guys would find him.”
The guy on the floor groaned and started to get up, only to fall onto the floor. “Alright. That hurt. I'm just gonna stay here for a while, if that's okay with you gentlemen.”
“You injured elsewhere?” Rick asked, taking a step closer to the guy.
“What? He's not a walker.”
“He could be dangerous!” Shane exclaimed.
“Dangerous?” Rick repeated, gesturing at the man on the floor. “Look at him.”
“Yeah, yeah, I probably look half-dead. I feel half dead,” the guy remarked dryly and a little bitterly. He was glaring up at the scientist and Daryl could swear his green eyes were glowing a little.
“We should have let him out a long time ago,” Dr. Jenner remarked, glancing at the three of them.
“What's that suppose'ta mean, doc?” Daryl asked, also taking a step closer to the guy on the floor.
“It's complicated,” the guy on the floor remarked, closing his eyes briefly and whimpering a little. “I'm gonna pass out now. Fuck...”
Harry groaned, stretched his legs and curled his toes. He wasn't on the floor of the CDC anymore, if what he felt when he curled his fingers was any indication. There were a few towels underneath him and a light blanket on top of him, plus his head was on a pillow. He sighed in contentment at the feeling of being on a soft surface; he had just the hard, white floor under him for the past two months.
And he could see a bandage on his left knee and when he moved around a little more, he could feel bandages on his back. Harry winced at the thought of people seeing his back. His past had not been pleasant by any definition of the word. But then again, the dead were coming back to life and eating people. Priority was, he supposed, to survive.
He tried to sit up only to realize he was restrained. Handcuffs by the feel of them. But he could feel... He turned to look at them and saw that the handcuffs had some fabric underneath them, like someone had thought that Harry might have panicked at being restrained. Possibly someone who had seen his back and connected the dots.
Harry turned to see a woman sitting on a chair on one side of the cot that he was lying on. She was middle aged, maybe late 30's and had light green eyes. She was looking down at him with kind eyes, maybe a little sorrowful. She held out a cup with a straw toward him, offering.
The woman nodded while Harry took a few sips of wonderfully cold water. The scientists and the military personnel that had taken him captive had not particularly cared whether or not he had received food or water. Or even medical attention after they performed their experiments.
The British Ministry of Magic had ordered him to go investigate the States, see if they were as affected as other parts of the world were. Long story short, they were. He had stopped in front of the building that the American magical government was housed and could feel the zombies walking around. The American muggle government was the same, maybe a little worse off.
Only, he supposed that someone had noticed Harry walking around without getting attacked. He only remembered being shot, being surrounded by people in military uniforms the nothing. It was all blurry. Needles being stuck into him, desperate voices yelling above him about zombies or whatever the scientific term for the walking dead was... As time went on, they had gotten more and more desperate to find a cure. Anything that would stop whatever it was that was causing this.
“You going to be okay?”
The woman had long since withdrawn the cup of water and had backed up a little.
Harry turned to look at whoever had spoken and raised an eyebrow. There was a young boy standing at the foot of his cot, alongside a young girl. Three other women were standing with them. One had straight brown hair and the other young woman had blond hair that was pulled back into a ponytail and the third was a black woman. They were all staring at him with concern and perhaps a little wary. There was a young man who looked like he was Chinese or Korean, perhaps, standing next to a man who held a big rifle. Finally, there was one other man standing around his cot.
The guy was of medium height, maybe the same height as Harry, and had a crossbow slung across his shoulder. He had short black hair and he was looking at Harry with a peculiar look. Harry didn't know what that look meant, as these people were still strangers to him. Even though they had opened the door to his 'cell', Harry wasn't particularly sure whether he could trust them or not.
Dr. Jenner was nowhere in sight again. Harry wasn't particularly surprised at that. Jenner had been one of the ones that had stood back when the more aggressive and desperate scientists had experimented on him. But he had not let him out of his 'cell', even when Harry had started to hear gunshots and started to feel people dying.
It was the boy who had spoken and who had continued to stare at Harry. The girl too was staring at Harry for some weird reason. It was then when he realized that they were staring at his forehead and he shuddered a little. The glamour that he had put on his scar had probably... There was no way it wasn't visible now.
Harry started to speak only to cough a little. “'M okay. Thanks for finding me.”
“How did you know it was the kids that found you?” The woman with the blond hair asked, glancing between him and the other adults.
“Uh... I could hear their voices?” Harry quietly replied, hoping they would buy that reason. The door that had kept him from getting out of the CDC had been soundproofed on his side so he couldn't hear any 'classified' information that anyone had spoken. “Why am I being restrained? I'm not a zombie or a walker or whatever...”
“You could still be dangerous,” the guy with the big rifle spoke. “Rick doesn't think you are though.”
“Shane! You saw him! You still think he's dangerous?” the woman who was standing behind the young boy said.
“He doesn't have a fever,” the woman exclaimed, gesturing to Harry. “You know people who get bitten have a fever. He does not.”
“Then why the hell was he in there in the first place?” the guy retorted, raising his voice a little.
Harry sighed. “This is just great. From one state of captivity to another one.”
The women in the room all widened their eyes.
Harry glanced down at the kids and reconsidered what he was about to say. “At least you guys cleaned my wounds. I appreciate it.”
Most of the adults in the room blanched. The guy that was apparently named Shane did not, just kept staring at him wearily. Though it wasn't like the rest of the group didn't look exhausted and tired. Harry just... If he ended up... Well, whatever he would do after this, he was going to be cautious around the guy.
“What's your name?” the young boy asked, glancing up at the adults. “No one's asked.”
“Harry Potter. That's me,” he answered.
“What are your names?” Harry returned, a little curious.
“I'm Carol,” the woman who had given him some water said. “My daughter, Sophia, is one of the kids who found you.”
Harry nodded at them, smiling at Sophia a little. She was holding onto a doll tightly, like she was a little afraid. If he wasn't sure that everyone would freak out and if he had his wand with him, he would produce a patronus. Most wizarding children loved seeing his patronus, probably non-magical children would too. “Hi.”
“I'm Carl.” The boy that had first spoken said then pointed at Harry's forehead. “What's that from?”
“Carl!” the woman standing behind him scolded. “That's not polite.”
“I'm not going to take offense,” Harry tentatively replied. “I've heard worse.”
Someone snorted and Harry glanced to where the guy with the crossbow was then glanced back at the woman.
“Still, that's not okay. I'm Lori Grimes.”
Harry nodded at her. “I assume he's your son?”
“Shane, he awake?”
Everyone in the group turned to look at the doorway where two men were heading their way. Harry turned his head to assess the newcomers. One seemed to be the leader of the group since everyone was now looking to him for answers. He was wearing a police officer uniform, with a gun holster at his side. The other man was carrying a rifle that wasn't as big as the one Shane was carrying.
“Yeah. He's awake. And talking.”
“Did the doc have something'ta say about him?” Crossbow guy asked, turning to focus on one of the men.
“He said something about hot showers,” the guy carrying the rifle said with a wide smile.
“Showers?” The guy that looked Chinese asked, eyes brightening up. “Hot showers?”
“That is awesome!”
“I would love a shower right about now,” Harry remarked, glancing up at the police officer.
“Shane, you kept him handcuffed? I told you that we probably could remove them.”
“That's my dad,” Carl whispered. “He's the leader.”
“Oh,” Harry whispered back. “What's his name?”
“Rick,” Carl replied. “He used to be a police officer.”
“Dr. Jenner wouldn't say anything,” Rick spoke, looking first at crossbow guy then at Shane.
“He's not going to say anything,” Harry commented, stretching his foot out a little. “The man's a coward.”
“Did they do that to your back?” Rick asked, going over to stand next to Lori.
“Rick...” Crossbow guy trailed off with a meaningful glance at Harry, who had paled and shuddered a little.
“I'd rather not talk about that,” Harry replied. “But--”
“Why the fuck were you in there?” Shane asked, taking a step toward him.
Harry narrowed his eyes, took a deep breath. The guy was already getting on his nerves but he could understand the need to know. Harry was a little annoyed but he had put up with Draco back in school so he was not that affected.
“Shane, stop it. You're not helping,” Rick said, holding out an arm to stop Shane from moving any closer.
“People can be so... cruel sometimes,” Harry finally replied, eyes going to the ceiling for a minute. “That's all I'm saying about the matter. Now, can someone finally get me out of these handcuffs? I promise I won't hurt any of you or create trouble.”
He stared at Shane then at Rick.
Crossbow guy huffed, strode over to Rick and held out his hand. Rick dropped two sets of keys into crossbow guy's hand. Shane sighed and strode off, muttering about dangerous people and needing to get another drink.
Harry watched as crossbow guy came closer. Carl and Sophia shuffled out of his way, moving toward their parents.
“So... I've been calling you crossbow guy in my mind. What's your name?” Harry asked idly.
There were a few quiet chuckles in the room.
Crossbow guy stared down at him, raised an eyebrow.
“What? I'm not telepathic here,” Harry retorted, returning the look.
“Ah. Much better. Calling you crossbow guy would have been a mouthful.”
Harry sighed happily as Daryl unlocked the handcuffs around his wrists. He brought his wrists up and rubbed some feeling in them, minding the other 'wounds' on his wrists from the other scientists.
“Mind if I go use the showers?” Harry asked, glancing up at everyone then at Rick. He blatantly ignored Shane who was still glaring at the leader of the group and at Harry. “I won't be a bother to anyone.”
“You sure you can walk?” Rick asked, glancing at him.
“How long as it been since you guys found me?” Harry asked, looking at Carol then at Sophia and Carl.
“Two hours,” Sophia said.
Harry glanced down at his body. Luckily, he still had on the same scrubs that the scientists had put on him somewhere after he had been captured. He could practically feel the call of his wand somewhere in this building and perhaps his bag and trunk were in the building too? But first things first, shower...
“Like I said earlier, I've had worse,” Harry replied, moving to sit up and swinging his legs over the cot. He glanced up at the only people who were still in the room. Most of them had left, presumably to go shower too or drink or to go to sleep. When he had first opened his eyes, everyone had looked like they were one step away from keeling over on the spot. Shane, Rick, Carol, Lori, Sophia and Carl were the only people still in the room.
The conditions outside had probably gotten worse since he had been captured and he wasn't exactly sure how many days or weeks he had stayed here unwillingly. If he really wanted to know how long he had spent in the CDC, he would have to go talk to Dr. Jenner. And he really didn't want to go talk to the scientist right now. Definitely later though.
“Did you have a group with you?” Shane asked, fingers still on his rifle even when Harry was moving really slowly.
“Uh, no? And on that topic, I'm going,” Harry remarked, slowly standing up. His legs were shaky for a minute then steadied and he strode out of the room. He was walking down the unfamiliar hallway when he distinctly heard Shane and Rick talking. He stopped briefly then shook his head, moving on.
“Rick, the guy's dangerous. I know it. You really want to invite him to stay with us?” Shane exclaimed as they walked out of the room. Lori, Carol, Sophia and Carl had already left to go get their beds ready.
“How do you know he's dangerous, Shane? He hasn't done nothing to hurt us,” Rick replied, a little exasperated at how Shane was pursuing this line of thought.
“Well, don't come crying to me when this doesn't end well,” Shane retorted, turning down the hallway for the cafeteria. “That scientist didn't say anything about him! He could be a killer or...”
“Or what?” Rick replied. “We don't know anything about him other than he was held here against his will for a few weeks.”
“And experimented on,” Shane added idly. “I want to know why.”
Rick sighed and followed his friend to grab another bottle of liquor.
Harry turned another corner and padded deeper into the CDC, following the magic of his wand and his trunk. The last thing he remembered before he had gotten hit with the butt of a rifle was soldiers going through his stuff in his motel room. Or at least they had tried to, he thought idly, grinning to himself. His trunk had refused to open for any of them and his last prank item from George's shop had deterred them.
“When I have time, I'm practicing my wandless magic,” he muttered. If he had been proficient with wandless magic before this, he would have gotten out of his predicament a while ago. He wouldn't have gotten 'experimented' on by desperate non-magical people who had nothing left to loose.
Hell, he wasn't even certain that Britain was still in one piece. Right before he had left England, there had been reports of people coming back from the dead in Spain then Germany. Harry stopped right before a big door that had a key pad and a palm reader right next to it. He could feel his holly wand and the three hallows calling out to him.
Harry stared at the door then back up where the group was then concentrated on the door's locking mechanism. He pulled a little magic and willed it to unlock the door, hoping to not cause an explosion that would bring people running. It took a few minutes and the muttering of 'alohomora' to direct his magic but it did work. The door opened and the key pad and the other bits of technology that were keeping the door locked fizzled out.
He walked through the door, humming excitedly, and strode to the evidence locker where his stuff was stored and opened that one too. His holly wand flew right to him and it kinda felt like coming home, his magic soaring around him. Harry's trunk opened at his touch and he snorted quietly at the sight of scarring from explosives.
However, as he was rifling through his trunk and seeing that everything was indeed still there, he saw something shiny.
“Oooh,” Harry quietly murmured, drawing out the clothed piece of weaponry. “So the goblins came through. In fact...”
He pulled the piece of cloth away and saw a nice, sturdy black longsword with runes on the handle and on the blade. He had commissioned it when everything had started to happen and when other wizards had discovered that magic did not work against the dead. Sure, he could use blasting spells or stun them but when he had tried to kill one using Avada Kedavra, the spell had hit the dead person and hadn't affected it. When he had tried to cast a spell that would affect their minds, it didn't work either. That had made him realize that the dead people's minds were dead too. Though there was still something that was keeping them going, keeping them hunting for food. He just didn't know what had caused this whole disaster. The magic that he had received from the hallows did work and he had a slight suspicion that it was death magic, maybe even a kind of necromancy.
When he had first cast something using that magic, it wore him out much more quickly than regular magic did. So he had stuck to either ignoring the walkers and letting them ignore him or using the sword of griffindor at first. Before he had left England, he had given Griffindor's sword to Neville just so he could protect himself.
There was a sheath in the package as well and... A gun?
Harry raised an eyebrow. He knew how to wield a sword but he didn't know how to use a gun. And at this point, he figured he should probably learn somehow. He didn't want to accidentally shoot himself when he was trying to shoot the dead. He would most likely only use either magic or the sword when he had to but these days, it would probably be good to know how to use a gun.
He put away the sword, sheath and gun and opened the second compartment of his trunk. All of his clothes and toiletries were still here and not bothered. He opened up the other compartments and breathed a sigh of relief to see that he still had the contents of Snape's potion's cabinets. There were even potions from the Hogwart's infirmary and since he hadn't had any occasion to use them, it was still stocked.
Harry pulled out a Pepper Up potion, opened it and downed it in one go, feeling energy race into his body.
He closed that portion of the trunk and opened the one that was specially charmed to be like a mailbox. His friends could place letters in their own trunks and they would be sent to his trunk instantly. The owls had been rather scared about delivering mail when dead people were rising from the dead so that had been a nice alternative.
There was a letter that he hadn't seen before sitting on top of the others that had his name written on it. Along with a few tear drops. Harry shuddered, closed his eyes briefly then reached out grab it, unfolding it.
I don't even know if you're still alive. I don't... You've been gone for three months and we haven't heard anything from you and everyone says that you're dead. I just... Harry, Hogwart's fell two weeks ago.
Harry stiffened, fell against the wall that was behind his back and slid down it, landing on his butt on the cold floor. He could feel the blood draining from his face. He remembered when Hogwarts had become a refugee camp in the first few weeks and everyone's parents and their kids had come to the castle, panicked and desperate. Hell, he had sent Teddy and his kids there to keep them safe. He wiped away the tears that were threatening to fall and continued reading.
I didn't see your kids escape. I'm sorry. I just don't... I can't go find them; the goblins that we're staying with won't allow it. England fell a few days earlier and now it's just... Ron and I might go to Australia and see if it's as affected as Britain is. Harry, I'm so sorry. We've heard that the States are so much more affected than Europe and you're probably... dead or worse. I hope you... if you're not dead, I hope you'll be able to find a cure or a spell to fix this. It's absolutely dreadful seeing our friends get up after they get attacked.
There were more tear drops around the last sentence and the ink wasn't as thick as the other sentences were. As if Hermione was trying to deny that anything bad had happened to him.
Anyway, that's where we'll be if you aren't dead. I... miss you.
Harry sighed, sniffled a little and heard a thunk like something had fallen over. He stilled and glanced up from the letter only to see the Asian guy standing sheepishly in the doorway. He looked a little drunk, fidgeting and having trouble staying upright. But he didn't seem to be more than a little drunk.
Harry chuckled quietly, knowing the laughter had a distinct waterly sound to it. “Hi.”
The guy shuffled his way slowly, clearly not wanting to startle him. “So...”
“I didn't catch your name,” Harry remarked, yawning a little even though he wasn't tired at all. Mostly, he still wanted to go shower and get two months worth of sweat and dirt off of himself.
“I'm Glenn. And your name was Harry?”
“Yeah, it is,” Harry murmured, reaching a hand back into his trunk and conjured a tissue, pulling it out and wiping his nose.
“British, huh? Did England--”
“England fell,” Harry answered, shakily standing up. He glanced at Glenn's wet hair then to his eyes. “Would you mind showing me where the showers and bathrooms are?”
“You sure look like you need one. Come on,” Glenn gestured back out to the hallway.
Harry raised an eyebrow. “What's that suppose to mean?”
“You look like shit.”
“Well,” Harry started and as soon as Glenn's back was turned, he swiftly closed his trunk and shrunk it down to the size of a briefcase. “You guys didn't look good when I saw you. Most, if not all of you looked like you were about to keel over.”
Glenn huffed out a laugh that sounded just barely keeping it together. “We found this place just in the nick of time.”
Harry strode over to walk alongside Glenn. “I take it, shit happened on the way here?”
“When does shit not happen these days?” Glenn commented, sighing.
“I suppose Hell hath officially frozen over then,” Harry remarked as they passed Carol and Sophia bedding down. Harry waved to Sophia, who hesitantly waved back.
Glenn snorted. “Showers are just down the hall and to the right. Your room with a cot is the third room from the door to the big room filled with computers.”
“And your bandages should stay on. That's what Rick and Carol said,” Glenn reported, swaying a little.
Harry could still hear a little chatter coming from what could be the kitchens or dining room. It seemed that a few people were still up and enjoying the relative peace.
“Go on. You're tired. Go to sleep,” Harry remarked. “I can find my own way.”
“You sure?” Glenn asked, a slur coming out in his voice.
“You're all exhausted,” Harry retorted. “And a little drunk. Go on.”
“Oooh, that's the stuff,” Harry groaned happily as the warm water came on. He had shed the old scrubs and put waterproof charms on his bandages, along with one or two healing spells to increase the speed to heal. So, he could relax and wash his body without bothering about the wounds and the open needle marks.
There had been no one in the showers when he had got there so he was alone for the first time in a few months, it seemed. Hermione's letter had been dated recently and she had said that he had been gone for three months.
Harry leaned against the shower wall and let the water flow over his body, feeling tears start to fall. He was tired too even though he remembered being drugged into a coma at some point in the past few weeks.
He stood there, quietly crying his eyes out, for a few minutes or hours, he didn't really know until he heard a quiet yelp. Or... it was more like a muffled scream?
Harry quickly finished up, using some magic to aid in cleaning, shut off the shower and dressed in nice, clean clothes. He scooped up his trunk turned briefcase and strode to where he had first heard the cry, stopping dead in the doorway.
“What the actual fuck is going on here?”
Lori stiffened and felt Shane stop trying to push himself on her. He even stumbled back a few steps and it almost looked like he hadn't had any control over stepping back. Shane had an almost comically bewildered look on his face, like whatever had happened had caused him to come up for air in between being drunk. She looked past Shane only to see the guy that Carl had found earlier this evening.
“Get the fuck out of here,” Shane growled out, turning to look at him.
“I don't know. I thought I heard something,” Harry commented, fiddling with a stick in his hands. “Something like a muffled cry and then I saw you two. How about you get out of here and leave the lady alone? Does that sound like a good plan to you? It sounds like a good plan to me...”
“Harry,” Lori started, distantly aware that the British man had put on some clothes and had showered.
She watched as Shane grumbled but did as Harry suggested and strode out, still carrying a beer bottle in his hands.
“Are you okay?” Harry asked, walking over to stop a few feet from her.
“Could you not tell anyone about that?” Lori questioned. “I know you barely know us but...”
“He tried to rape you,” Harry replied, running a hand through his wet black hair. “And he looked a little too familiar to you as well. Aren't you married to Rick?”
“Yes. It's complicated.”
Harry raised an eyebrow, studying her. “Alright. I don't like this but I won't tell anyone. But if he hurts you again or tries to, I'm telling. Well, stopping him then telling someone. Or...”
Lori watched as Harry trailed off. “Thanks.”
“I still think you're crazy not to tell anyone,” Harry remarked, walking out.
Harry sighed. He supposed he would have that talk with Dr. Jenner now, one bad situation to another though he had enjoyed Shane's look of confusion when Harry had used a spell to pull him away from Lori. He figured he could always hex the man in the morning, if Lori didn't want him telling anyone.
Harry went to drop off his trunk at the room that he had woken up in and left it by his cot.
He strode through the hallways until he came to the big room with all of the computers in it. Harry stopped when he heard people talking quietly and waited until he couldn't hear anymore. He padded through the door and walked through the aisles, stopping to stare at Rick who was sitting down against one of the computer desks.
Rick looked more than a little drunk and a lot exhausted, legs drawn up to his chest and head down. And perhaps he looked a little lost as well.
Dr. Jenner was typing something into one of the computers until he heard Harry's deliberately loud, smooth footsteps. The scientist turned to look at Harry with a frown then Jenner sighed.
“I suppose you want answers?” Jenner inquired, glancing at Rick for a moment then stared at Harry.
Harry nodded, narrowed his eyes. “Just a minute though.”
He saw Jenner nod his assent then Harry went to sit a few feet from Rick.
The other man started a little, like he was lost in memories or his own thoughts. “Anything wrong?”
Harry shook his head, hearing the slur in Rick's voice. “There's nothing wrong. Only, do you want to go get some sleep? You look exhausted. You don't have to be on watch tonight. You know that, right?”
“Yeah, sleep sounds good.”
Harry grinned a little, watched as Rick started to stand up. The former police officer was a little shaky but Rick was more or less steady on his feet after a minute or two. He lumbered out of the big room and took a left, heading to where Lori and Carl were presumably already in bed.
“We were desperate,” Jenner started, not even looking at Harry.
Harry sighed, went to sit at a chair to prop his feet up. “That doesn't excuse what you and the others did.”
“I know. We just... You got bit and you didn't turn. Everyone that gets bitten, turns eventually.”
“Did your parents and the parents of everyone else ever teach you about common decency?” Harry questioned. “Because kidnapping someone and experimenting on them is not it.”
“We wanted a cure!” Jenner still wasn't looking at him, was looking at another computer.
Harry glanced up to where the big timer was still ticking down. When he had entered this room a few minutes ago and saw it, something had tickled his brain, like he was forgetting a big something. Something to do with the timer. Everything had been blurry ever since he had been captured but he did remember seeing it. Just didn't remember what it meant.
“That still does not excuse your actions. Just because I didn't turn doesn't... You could have just asked!”
Jenner finally turned to look at him, raised an eyebrow. “You would have told us how or what you are?”
Harry snorted and let out an incredulous laugh. “No. That's private.”
“I know you're not going to forgive any of us but I'm still sorry.”
“You know, you could have done something if you didn't like what your colleagues were doing. Like saying something,” Harry remarked. “Or let me out.”
Jenner had nothing to say to that, only stared at him.
“Or do nothing,” Harry grumbled, turning to go back to where the group was sleeping. “Fine. Fine!”
“We did notice the scars on your back though,” Jenner commented. “What are those from?”
Harry stiffened and turned back to Jenner, glared at him. “Those are private as well.”
“They looked like they came from something unnatural.”
Harry narrowed his eyes then sighed, anger deflating. “Since it's the apocalypse, I'll give you a pass for asking about my scars. And since I probably won't see you again after I leave... Here. The statute probably doesn't apply for anyone anymore.”
Dr. Edwin Jenner stared, blinked. Pinched himself for good measure. The man that his colleagues had kept prisoner... had just smoothly flowed downward into a black panther. Jenner stared. The panther stared, growled a little then slunk off, tail swishing behind it.
Update: I'm starting to write two other Walking Dead/HP fics, one for each individual pairing of Harry/Rick and Daryl/Harry.
Harry prowled through the building of the CDC, making sure to avoid anyone. But mostly everyone was already asleep so he was free to walk about as a panther. He had missed being able to do this, change forms and pretend that he wasn't human for a while. Forget that the world had gone to shit and just let the animal part of his form take over for an hour or so.
He ended up lying down in the middle of the hallway where everyone had bunked. He could hear everyone's breathing, deep and even. It didn't take too long until he stood up and moved back to his cot, shifted back, and fell asleep also.
Harry woke up to his stomach growling like it hadn't had food in a long time and he figured that that was true. He remembered an IV being stuck in his arm but that wasn't very much nutrition or food so he stretched and got up, walking out of the room and to the kitchen. He pulled out a nutrient potion on the way and stopped right before he closed his trunk again, considering for a minute.
He grinned and pulled out a hangover potion and put that in his pocket before making for the kitchen and what passed as the food pantry here. He glanced at the microwave that was on the counter and saw the time. It was early in the morning, around 7:00am. There was no one else around except for Daryl, who was sitting in a chair fiddling with his crossbow.
They glanced at each other briefly before turning back to their respective activities. Harry searched through the pantry and looked at the stove then back at all the food before pulling out ingredients to make waffles. There was surprisingly enough, a waffle iron sitting on the kitchen counter. He sighed at the thought of the scientists and doctors having good food while they were doing experiments on him.
“You hungry?” Harry asked while he started to mix the ingredients together. He turned to also grab eggs out of the small refrigerator, figuring that it was better to use them now before they went bad. He didn't know how long the power would last until it went out.
“You know how'ta cook?” Daryl asked, watching Harry while he cooked.
“Yeah. I had... kids and a godson before the world ended,” Harry commented, closing his eyes briefly. “They... used to loved waffles.”
“Never had waffles before,” Daryl remarked, putting his crossbow down.
Harry stopped pouring orange juice and water into two pitchers and turned to stare at Daryl, raising an eyebrow. “You've never had waffles before?”
“Well, you're in for a treat then. My kids said I made wonderful waffles,” Harry explained, smiling a little. “Though I was never able to tell whether or not they were lying. They never threw any of their food away, regardless.”
Harry worked in silence while Daryl worked on his crossbow. Soon enough, there were steaming piles of scrambled eggs, bacon and a big platter of waffles on the table, ready to be eaten. He had taken a few bites of food as he worked and was working through a plate slowly. Harry had put a heating charm on the food so that it would all be warm until people trickled in. He had also put two pitchers of water and orange juice with a few drops of hangover potion them. Coffee was brewing in two pots near the sink though it wasn't like Harry was much of a fan of the drink.
He was sipping on a cup of tea when people started to wake up thirty minutes later.
“What? Where did all this food come from?”
Harry turned to see the blond woman come in first, followed by Carol and Sophia and Carl. The black woman also came in, with the older white man walking in behind her.
“If you want to be technical,” Harry started, smiling. “It was already here.”
Daryl snorted and stood up, grabbing a plate.
Carol looked at him and laughed quietly.
Harry drew his wand out and cancelled the heating charm on the food out of people's view.
“Then who made it all?” Carl asked, rubbing his eyes.
“He made it,” Daryl answered, pointing at Harry.
Rick, Lori, Glenn and the black man came in and stopped.
“You made all of this?” Lori asked, pulling her hair back.
“Yep. Help yourselves,” Harry announced. “Coffee's over there and plates are near the food. And I have something special for the kids, if you two like chocolate chips.”
Carl and Sophia's eyes lit up like it was Christmas.
“Thank you,” Rick said quietly, going to sit down next to where Lori had gone.
“Your welcome,” Harry replied, glancing at everyone and nodding briefly. He went over to the oven where he had placed the last two waffles that he had made. He placed them on two plates and handed them to the waiting kids. “Here. Sophia, Carl, chocolate chip waffles.”
“This place had chocolate chips?” The black man asked, taking a few spoonfuls of scrambled eggs.
“Did anyone find any advil around here?”
Harry turned to see that Shane had walked in. The man actively avoided him, going over to the coffee pots and fixing a cup.
“Feel as bad as I do?” Rick asked, glancing up at Shane.
“The hell happened to your neck?”
Shane stared at Rick then looked at Harry. “Guess I must have done it in my sleep.”
“Do you like orange juice or water better?” Harry asked while taking a sip of his tea. He had added the nutrition potion to it to cover the taste of the potion and he thought it had worked out. Mostly.
Shane turned to stare at him while rubbing his forehead. “What's that suppose to mean?”
“Orange juice or water?” Harry repeated, gesturing to the two pitchers.
“These are awesome!” Carl exclaimed. “Dad, can he come with us?”
Harry glanced down at Carl then over to Daryl for a second. “I have... had business to attend to. But now, I'm... I don't even know if my friends are alive anymore.”
Rick turned away from talking to Lori, tilted his head a little. “I had been meaning to ask you if you wanted to come stay with us. You're welcome to.”
“I... you sure?” Harry questioned. “I would just be another mouth to feed.”
“Can you fight?” Shane asked, glaring at Rick then looking at Harry.
“Yeah. Just not with a gun,” Harry replied. “I actually don't know how to use a gun.”
“What weapon do ya fight with?” Daryl asked.
He received dubious looks from around the table then finally turned to Carl again.
“That's good,” Harry replied idly. “Otherwise my kids would have just been humoring me.”
Harry could feel people's eyes on him and they weren't being too subtle.
“Though maybe Teddy was biased a little,” Harry commented. “He always loved waffles.”
“Orange juice,” Shane finally answered, avoiding Harry's eyes. “If you're actually good with a sword, it would be useful to have you around, I suppose. Quiet like. It's sound that gets the walkers to come out.”
Rick exchanged glances with Shane then nodded. “It's settled then. You'll come with us?”
Harry picked up both pitchers and brought them over to Shane while glancing at the black man. “I put something in them to help with hangovers. Nothing poisonous. It won't affect the kids or anyone that doesn't have a hangover. I'll come.”
“I didn't get your name last night, did I?” Harry asked.
“People call me T-Dog,” the guy answered. “The food's good. Did anyone hear loud purring last night or was it just me?”
Harry stiffened and went to sit down next to Carol, who glanced at him curiously. He must have unconsciously started to purr last night, loudly.
“Ain't just you,” Daryl spoke then glanced over at Harry. “Food's good.”
Harry nodded in silent reply.
“You heard it too?” the woman on the other side of the table asked and turned to look at Harry when he glanced at her. “I'm Andrea.”
“I heard it too,” Sophia called out, glancing up at the adults.
“Maybe there's a cat in here?” Carl asked. “A mascot cat for the CDC?”
“A big one,” the oldest guy in the group said.
“Dale, what makes you think...” Shane asked, grabbing some bacon.
“My wife and I went around to a zoo the week before the world ended,” Dale replied, taking a sip of coffee. “The big cats purr loudly.”
Harry heard Shane sigh in relief and glanced his way to see the other adults drinking some water.
“Jacqui, could you pass the bacon?” Andrea asked, holding out her hand for the plate.
“Ah, your name's Jacqui?” Harry asked, turning to look at the black woman.
Jacqui nodded. “Your cooking is delicious.”
“Has anyone seen Dr. Jenner?” Rick asked, glancing around the room.
“I'm here,” Jenner replied, walking into the room and searching for something until his eyes landed on Harry. Jenner stared at him, eyes a little wide and apprehensive. “I suppose you guys want answers?”
Harry stared at the big computer screen as the AI took them through each stage of the infection. He could feel Jenner's eyes on him every so often while the scientist explained each stage. It was interesting enough, he supposed. As the infection took hold of the person's brain, the lights went out in most of the brain then went entirely dark.
When the world had first ended, Harry had been curious enough to go outside and observe the dead. He really wasn't much of a scientist or doctor, even though he did have some medi-wizard training. He had looked at the dead while on the roof of a building through his 'death' magic and they had been greyed out, like they weren't entirely dead but they weren't entirely alive either.
Alive people shined in white through his magical vision and when he had seen a few corpses, they were black. When he glanced at everyone in the group, they were all shining white when he saw through the magic that the hallows had given him. However, Jacqui's was shimmering a little. And so was Jenner's.
Harry blinked, scrubbed his eyes a little. He had never seen that before. Though, on second thought... One of the few times he had woken up during the scientists experiments, he had seen more than a few of their lights flicker like Jacqui's was now.
“This person died? Who?” Andrea asked.
“Test subject 19,” Jenner answered. “Agreed to be tested after it reanimated.”
“VI, scan forward to second event.”
Harry backed up to wait alongside Daryl while everyone asked their questions. He already knew that this wasn't... There wasn't a cure as of now. And he didn't know whether someone would create one in the near future. He didn't know what to do and he was probably one of the experts on this, being the Master of Death.
“So they're alive?” Andrea asked.
“You tell me,” Jenner commented.
Harry shook his head, feeling Daryl's eyes on him then everyone else's eyes turned to him too. “No, they're not. When they... turn, for lack of a better word, they're different.”
“We know that,” Andrea retorted.
“Andrea,” Dale said, the slight warning in his tone obvious.
“I just meant...” Harry trailed off, gesturing at the computer screen where it was showing the now dead victim.
Rick gestured for him to continue.
“They're not alive and nor are they dead,” Harry explained, running a hand through his hair. “They're in between. This shouldn't... Fuck. It just shouldn't be happening. It's not natural. They feel wrong to me.”
“We're aware,” Shane grumbled.
“'Feel'?” Dale repeated uncertainly.
“Uh, it's a complicated story,” Harry replied. “A very long and complicated story.”
“I hate to ask you another question right now,” Dale started. “But doc, what does that clock mean?”
“Yeah, I want to know too. When you guys first brought me in, it said 1460,” Harry remarked. “And now it says 1? Does it mean time in hours or something?”
Jenner sighed. “When the clock is out, the power will go out.”
“Shane, Glenn, T-Dog, let's go look at the generators,” Rick suggested. “See if anything's wrong.”
Harry watched them go and the rest of the group followed, splitting off to go back to their rooms. He stayed and stared at Jenner, who had gone back to not saying a thing. They were the only two people in the room so Harry felt justified in saying what he was about to say.
“Jenner, I can do more than just what I did last night,” Harry remarked, watching as the scientist went to sit down at a computer desk.
When the man still didn't reply, Harry shrugged. “I've grown kind of fond of these people. Being let out of my cell does that, you know. Back before the world ended, I was known to be rather protective of my friends.”
“What else is going to happen when the clock runs out?”
“I loved my wife,” Jenner started, standing up and walking over to the door, outright ignoring Harry.
Harry raised an eyebrow. “Okay. No offense but that means absolutely nothing to me.”
“I loved my job.”
Harry groaned, glanced down at his leg when his knee throbbed. He drew his wand and murmured a spell to ease the pain and felt it immediately go to work.
“What was that pair of words you just said?” Jenner asked, back to staring at him.
“These people need somewhere safe to stay,” Harry remarked. “We need somewhere safe to stay.”
“It's not going to be the CDC then,” Jenner replied distractedly.
Harry stiffened and that was when the power went out, right when the clock said 29:59. “What is that suppose to mean?”
“Time. What exactly do you think happened when the French and all the other countries went black?” Jenner asked, walking back to sit at the computer. He turned the machine on, drew the microphone closer. The group ran in, lead by Rick and Shane. Lori was tightly holding onto Carl as they came in and Carol was holding onto Sophia as well.
“What?” Andrea said. “What about the french?”
Harry could hear shouting coming from the hallway. “What the fuck is going to happen in thirty minutes?”
“The French were the last ones to hold out,” Jenner explained. “This world ran on fossil fuels. They ran out.”
Harry started to pace, done with the scientist's cryptic answers.
“They thought they were close to an answer or cure,” Jenner continued.
Harry rolled his eyes. He knew that if there was to be a cure or a solution to whatever this was, it probably wasn't going to come from a few non-magical scientists. The problem was, he didn't know if anyone, Neville, Snape or Draco were still alive. They were the best potion's and plant masters in the world. If anyone could fix this, they could. In theory.
“Doc, what the hell is happening?”
Harry glanced at the clock then back at the doctor, who was starting to record something.
“We don't care. Okay. Everyone go get your bags. We're getting out of here,” Rick called out. “Come on.”
Harry stared at the scientist before turning and heading to follow everyone else.
“I'm Dr. Edwin Jenner, signing out.”
They were just right before the door before it slid shut with a final thud. Sophia screamed, startled and everyone turned to face Jenner.
Harry stopped, stared and turned to face Dr. Jenner. He ignored the fact that if he looked at everyone using his hallows enhanced magical sight, everyone's light was flickering. But that did point him in the right direction to figure out what the clock meant.
“Did he just shut the door on us? Did you guys see that?” Shane exclaimed, pulling his rifle up to point at the scientist. “You son of a bitch. Let us out!”
Daryl started to attempt to open the door by hitting it with his pickaxe. Harry could see that it wouldn't work, the door was too heavily reinforced. Magic wouldn't work either, if he was to guess.
“Wouldn't it be easier this way?” Jenner asked, turning to face them.
“Shane, stop! That's not helping!” Rick called out, going over to pull a now hostile Shane away from the scientist. “He's the only one that can open the doors.”
“The CDC,” Harry remarked thoughtfully, narrowing his eyes in thought.
“What're you on about?” Shane exclaimed.
“When the power finally goes out here,” Harry continued as everyone came back down to the center computer room. Carol and Sophia were staring with wide, frightened eyes at the scientist. Carl was clinging onto Lori. “Doctor, this building isn't going to be here when the clock finishes ticking down, right?”
“This is the center for disease control. We have plenty of diseases that cannot get out,” Jenner replied.
“Fuck! Let us the fuck out!” Shane yelled.
The clock ticked down to 07:00.
“There's no point. Topside's closed down,” Jenner responded. “Remember what I said when I let you in?”
Harry raised an eyebrow.
“Once this door closes, it stays closed,” Jenner said. “This building is going into decontamination.”
“In other words,” Harry said.
“Easy death,” Jenner replied. “No slow, excruiciating death outside.”
There was silence for a few seconds.
“Let us the fuck out,” Daryl yelled as he continued to try the door.
“We've gotta try,” Rick finally said. “Let us out.”
Jenner turned to glance at Harry, who narrowed his eyes and projected a thought toward him. You owe me. Let us out. The scientist started, eyes widening, and proceeded to do just that.
The door slid open just as Daryl was about to try again to break it open. “Let's get out of here!”
He watched as everyone frantically raced over and ran into the hallway and gathered their belongings. The new guy was the last one out, after taking one last glance at Andrea, Dale, and Jacqui.
“Get going,” Daryl said, raising his voice a little. Harry was going a little too slow for Daryl's tastes but finally made his way out, picking up speed.
“Well, I guess... no one will be going to the Atlanta CDC for anything anymore,” Harry remarked, sitting in the back of Dale's RV as they rode out.
Andrea snorted, still a little shaky, but she looked like she was settled. She kept glancing at Dale but Harry figured she would be okay. When he looked, her light was back to being white.
Harry stared out the window of the RV, watching the other side of the freeway and all of the dead and empty cars that were lined up. If he was inclined to pull on the magic of the hallows, he would probably see a lot of black and maybe a few grey spots that indicated the walkers. But he was still recovering from being kept in a room and chained to a table for a few months so he didn't. Also, he really didn't want to see that much obvious death. When he looked now, he could just imagine that the cars were empty and not tombs.
“Dale, do you know where we're headed?” Harry asked, turning to look at Dale as the other man drove the RV. It had been early morning when they had left the CDC and now it was closing on 11:00am and they had left Atlanta behind a few hours ago. Before leaving the city, they had found what gas they could and refilled each car that they were taking.
“Fort Benning,” Dale replied. “It's where Shane had wanted to go before the CDC.”
“That an army base?” Harry questioned, glancing over the table to where Andrea was pulling her gun apart. He could see Dale turning back to look at them occasionally, with a look that could only be called worried. Harry didn't really know these people much but as far as he knew or could see, there was no reason to be worried about Andrea attempting to kill herself again. They had exchanged glances a few minutes after leaving behind the CDC and she had stared at him for a second or two then turned to go lie down in the bed.
Now, Shane was offering to show Andrea how to clean her gun. Or taking the opportunity to stare at Harry every once and a while which Harry was determinedly ignoring. He was very much used to being stared at and it wasn't any different.
“Yep. Best shot for a refugee camp is there,” Dale remarked.
“Alright. And you don't think it's been overrun already?” Harry asked, standing up and going to glance out the front window.
Glenn, who was looking over a few maps in the passenger seat, turned to look at him. “We can hope.”
“Hope can be powerful in these situations,” Dale agreed.
Harry nodded, ran a hand through his hair. He glanced at the driver's window which was open and winced a little. Being raised in the cupboard underneath the stairs for 10 years then held captive in a small room for a month and a half had left a mark on him. “Is it alright if I climb up to the roof? I'm a little...”
“Claustrophobic?” Glenn finished. “How long were you in the CDC anyway?”
“How are you going to do that? There's a small roof window in the bathroom but it's small,” Dale mentioned. “You wouldn't be safe up there too.”
“Yeah, claustrophobic. The room I was kept for a month and a half in was rather small,” Harry explained. “I'll be safe enough. I have my ways. Besides, we aren't going that fast anyways.”
Dale stared at him for a minute then sighed. “I suppose you can. Just be careful.”
“I said I had my ways,” Harry replied, already walking back to where he had placed his resized trunk. He grabbed his holly wand, stared at it for a minute then reconsidered and pulled out the elder wand and strapped it to the wand holster that was underneath his long-sleeved shirt.
“What's that?” Andrea asked, gesturing to his wand.
“Umm, it's a kind of a weapon?” Harry tried, shrugging a little. “It may not look like much but well... I'm quite good with it.”
“I thought you said you used a sword?” Glenn questioned.
“I do. I just like to vary my weapons.”
He left the three of them to go onto the roof, pretty sure that they all had bewildered looks.
When he managed to jump onto the roof through the window, he sighed in relief when he felt the air ruffle his hair. He could see miles ahead of them and miles behind them up here as they left Atlanta behind. He could see Daryl on his motorcycle up ahead of the group of cars.
Harry slid along the roof until he was comfortable then lay down flat on his stomach, laying his head on his arms.
Daryl stared up at the man on the roof of the RV, tilted his head a little. Harry had fallen asleep... on the roof of the car. From Daryl's angle of vision, Harry looked... peaceful and content. When he had first seen the man in the CDC, he had looked broken, wary and tired. And of course the guy had been injured, bruised and bloody.
He didn't look like a man who could really wield a sword though.
“Ugh, what is that smell?!” Harry exclaimed, waking up and glancing down at the RV. They had apparently stopped while he had been asleep. There were parked cars all around them, some destroyed or flipped over. Some had dead bodies in them. Dale was standing before the front of the RV, staring into the car. Smoke was coming from the car and it smelled bad, though not as bad as the walkers did. “What happened?”
“The hose broke again,” Dale said. “You wouldn't happen to know how to fix it?”
Harry shook his head and climbed to the side of the RV and hopped down, allowing his inner magic to deliver him safely to the ground. He didn't need his wand for that, as long as the distance wasn't too large. As soon as he landed, he realized that he hadn't really checked the ground for anyone that would see him.
Rick was standing right directly in his line of sight, staring at him with wide eyes.
Harry wasn't entirely opposed to the idea of letting these people in on his secret; they did seem like they could be trusted. Plus, like he had told Jenner, the statute of secrecy probably wasn't in affect anymore.
Harry raised an eyebrow and shuffled around him to go stand next to Dale. He could see Shane looking around a water truck that was part way through the line of cars ahead. Lori, Carol, Sophia and Carl were walking past cars, occasionally glancing into windows. T-Dog was searching through cars, probably looking for a replacement hose.
“I don't know a thing about cars,” Harry remarked. “The only thing I know about them is how to drive them and that's it. I didn't even own a car before this.”
“Then how'd you get around?” Glenn asked, glancing at him.
“I flew,” Harry answered, grinning a little.
“Hey, are we running out of water?” Shane called over, opening up a door of the water truck.
Harry turned to look and heard everyone do the same. There were multiple containers of water in the truck. Shane opened one and stood under it, letting the pouring water act like a shower head.
Glenn whooped and headed over. “Save some for me, man!”
“Is Daryl out hunting or something?” Harry asked. “Was I really asleep that long?”
“No, he's keeping an eye on everything,” Rick replied. “We're sitting ducks here as long as the hose isn't working.”
Dale turned to look at Harry. “I stopped everyone from waking you up. You looked like you needed it.”
“I could have helped,” Harry replied.
Dale raised an eyebrow.
“Okay, so probably not. But I can be useful,” Harry commented. “I'll go see what I can find out there.”
Harry heard Dale climb up onto the roof then strode to the door of the RV and nodded to Andrea before reaching into his trunk. He scooped out the sword that the goblins made him and attached it to his back and slipped on thin gloves that would protect him from the sharp edge.
“You finding anything?” Harry asked.
“Not yet,” T-Dog said. “I'm just looking in every car.”
“Sounds good. Slow but good.”
They were just heading back to the RV when Harry stiffened, his magic alerting him to something behind him. There were walkers coming toward them, a lot of walkers. He saw Dale and Rick realize it at the same time before they started to move. Rick ran toward Lori, Carl, Sophia and Carol. Dale lay down flat on the roof. Shane pulled Glenn under the water truck.
Harry crouched down and headed to where T-Dog was but turned to realize that Andrea hadn't noticed yet, too busy cleaning and or putting her gun back together. And the RV door was open. He pulled out the elder wand and whispered a spell and watched blue light race from his wand to the door of the RV, where it coalesced into a fully formed shield that extended the length and width of the door.
Harry nodded to himself, feeling the shield working, then realized the walkers were almost on them and hurried to where T-Dog had crouched down. A choked off cry made him go faster, racing to stop in front of T-Dog who had cut himself on a car door. Blood was flowing down T-Dog's arm at an alarming pace.
T-Dog glanced at him, his eyes wide and skin losing color, then glanced behind him. Harry could hear the moans, hisses and lumbering footsteps that came from the walkers and they weren't... The walkers would be on them in a matter of seconds. They would probably be going faster if they could smell the blood that was coming from T-Dog's arm but the walkers were moving at their normal pace.
Harry narrowed his eyes then pulled on the magic that he rarely used, feeling the responding call of the hallows. The magic surrounded him and he extended it to go around T-Dog at the same time. Harry moved to sit in front of the other man at the same time, feeling the now-familiar draw on his energy from both the hallow's magic and the magic that he was using to shield the RV and Andrea. He moved his sword to rest on his lap so that it wouldn't hinder him.
T-Dog stared at him, eyes widening even more.
“Your eyes...” T-Dog gasped quietly, attention half on him and half on the walkers that were now avoiding them. It was like the walkers had immediately been forced away, pushed away from them. Like there was a huge space bubble around them that was protecting them.
Harry nodded, vision clouded over with bright grey lights and the few white lights that meant that the group was still alive. He could see Daryl pacing toward them, crouched to hide, and Harry extended the hallow's magic over to the archer.
Daryl stared at Harry then at the walkers that were avoiding T-Dog, Harry and himself. He turned back to stare at Harry only to realize that the man's eyes were glowing. The black sword on his lap was of no big deal in comparison.
“Unnatural,” T-Dog muttered, glancing at Daryl over Harry's shoulders.
“Shhh,” Daryl hissed, moving to stand in front of Harry and holding up his crossbow to take aim at any walker that got too close. This close to the other man, he could feel him start to tremble a little. Like he was tired.
“Daryl, could you bandage his arm?”
Daryl turned to see that Harry was pointing at T-Dog's right arm. T-Dog was right about Harry though. Harry's eyes were an eerie sight to behold, glowing bright green.
“Was he bit?” Daryl asked.
“No. Cut by car,” Harry spoke, slurring a little.
Harry could feel the moment that a walker attempted to go past the shield that was protecting the RV. He strengthened the spell while holding onto the magic of the hallows and could visibly feel himself start to sway. At least the pack of walkers was thinning out as Harry watched.
As less and less walkers went by, Harry started to consider letting the hallows magic down. He distinctly could see that a few members of the group had vacated the freeway, their white lights disappearing down the side of the hill. And the grey light that was right at the door to the RV had gone, almost as if the walker had died or gotten killed.
“Harry, you can stop whatever thing you're doing.”
He sighed, allowed the hallows magic to fall away and he canceled the spell that was protecting Andrea. There were black spots floating in his vision and he shook his head, in an attempt to make them go away.
“Oh...” Harry trailed off, just now realizing he was swaying even more.
The last thing he remembered was slumping up against Daryl's legs.
Daryl turned to look at Rick after taking one last glance at the unconscious man that they had found deeper in the building. Rick had done what he could for the guy's wounds and the group had all seen the various injuries that the guy had. A few of them were recent but the rest were all old and scarred over. It made Daryl remember his own scars and he had had to back up a few inches from the cot they had placed the guy on.
Rick raised an eyebrow, searching Daryl for a minute before saying what he wanted. “Would you mind keeping an eye on him?”
“You're least likely to start a fight with him,” Rick replied steadily. “I recognized the look in the guy's eyes when we found him. We do not want to back him into a corner.”
Daryl nodded. “I'll do it.”
Harry woke up to Dale's anxious look and to the sun further down in the sky than it had been. It was probably mid afternoon by the looks of it. “What's wrong?”
Dale raised an eyebrow but didn't comment on the obvious elephant on the road. His strange powers. “Sophia's missing. Two walkers ran her off the road and now everyone's looking for her."
“Sophia?” Harry repeated, stretching for a minute before getting up. “So that was... I'll go look for her. I might be of some help.”
“Daryl's a good tracker,” Dale remarked. “He'll probably be able to find her.”
“Why didn't you guys wake me up before though?” Harry asked, looking around the road.
“You looked exhausted,” Dale explained. “At least according to Daryl and T-Dog.”
Harry glanced over to where T-Dog was sitting by the RV then back to Dale. He walked over to the front of the RV and studied it for a minute before pulling out his holly wand. He didn't pull out the elder wand because he wanted the RV to still be standing when he finished with this. And his magic had taken a big energy hit from using death magic to shield Daryl, T-Dog and himself.
“What are you...”
Harry murmured the exact charm he wanted and felt a little pull on his magic. The front of the RV glowed really lightly then settled.
“The RV should be repaired now,” Harry explained. “Let me know if anything else is wrong. Or if it's not. I never really know with electronics and cars. At least it hasn't exploded yet.”
T-Dog and Dale's eyes widened.
“I'm kidding,” Harry said, mouth turning up into a hesitant grin. “It's not going to explode.”
Harry ran over to the edge of the hill, stared down at it then glanced back at Dale and T-Dog. They were both staring at him, a mixture of bewilderment and fear in their eyes.
“I'll explain later when Sophia's been found, okay?” Harry asked. “That sound acceptable?”
“Rick and Shane both wanted explanations,” Dale said. “We all want answers.”
“I know. Let me go find Carol's girl,” Harry replied then jumped over the railing, fluidly shifting into his animagus form in the air.
He took off at a full run, paws gaining traction on the decline better than he would have been on two legs. He kept his ears wide to hear walkers or people or kids. And since he couldn't use magic in this form, well nothing except the incantation to change back, he would need to avoid any walkers. Harry also didn't want to lead any back to the road or into his group of people.
Though, come to think of it, it would be hilarious to lead walkers into a trap. Or even better, lead them on a wild goose chase. Harry huffed out a breath and stuck his nose to the ground, looking for any sign of...
There. Fear from Sophia. Sweat, a little tinge of fear, worry, and plenty of determination from Rick.
Harry turned in that direction and galloped off, smelling the little creek before he went headlong into it. The water splashed around him and he jumped out of it immediately, some cat instinct making him hate it. But he did notice the little thicket of bushes where Sophia's trail went in. Harry also smelled Daryl's scent around the thicket, above the water, so he scrambled up the bank, shook the water off of his coat, and ran.
He had been running for a while, following Sophia's scent for about twenty minutes before he heard the distinct sound of light footsteps. And growling. Multiple growls, too. Harry raced ahead, changing shape from one step to another.
Harry ran, speed increasing as he spotted the little girl. She was trying to climb a tree ahead of no less than three walkers. She screamed when one of the walkers got a hold of her ankle.
“Don't stop climbing, Sophia! I'm coming!”
Harry raced ahead, already pulling out his wand with his other hand and casting a cutting charm at the walker who had Sophia's ankle. The walker stopped, swayed a little then dropped and Harry cast more cutting charms at the second and third walker. As if in sync, both leftover walkers dropped like stones, now dead dead.
Harry stood there breathing heavily before walking up toward the tree and stopping at the trunk. He glanced up at the tree, eyes moving over the limbs until he saw Sophia.
“Are they dead?” Sophia asked, watching from the tree limb she was on. “I'm not moving unless they're dead.”
“They're dead,” Harry called up quietly, keeping an eye out for more. “You want to--”
A gun shot rang out in the silence, far off in the distance. Harry stiffened and turned to give the tree his back. “Sophia, stay up there for another minute, okay? Are you hurt?”
“Okay, Harry. Uh, I don't think it got me,” Sophia replied quietly, crawling down the tree slowly. She stayed on the tree limb that was closest to the ground, obeyed what Harry had told her to do. “But...”
Harry turned to look at Sophia, raised an eyebrow. “The walker who had your ankle... Did it scratch you?”
“Good,” Harry responded, sighing in relief. He turned to scan the surroundings for more walkers and saw none.
“Harry, that was only one shot,” Sophia said as Harry turned to look at her again.
“Yeah, I was wondering the same thing,” Harry commented. “Okay, come on down. I'll catch you if you want to jump.”
Sophia looked at him, nodded, stood up on her tree limb then jumped, landing safely in Harry's arms. He scanned her with his magic, just to be sure, and placed a kiss on her head when she started to tremble.
“You're okay, Sophia,” Harry murmured. “I've got you. Let's go see where the others have gotten to. In fact...”
Harry lowered her to the ground and kneeled, staring into her eyes. “Sophia, we're a long way from the group and I'm a little worried about what that gun shot meant. How about I show you one of my secrets?”
Sophia raised an eyebrow. “What kind of secret?”
“The kind where I can turn into an animal,” Harry replied, keeping an eye on their surroundings. “We would be faster if I shifted and carried you.”
“But... people can't do that,” Sophia said, crossing her arms.
Harry smiled. “Some people can and I would be one of them. Now, if we run into Daryl on the way back, tell him not to shoot me. And you know, the others too.”
Sophia giggled and waited, watching him with rapt eyes.
Harry backed up a little and whispered the incantation, shifting back into his panther form. He stretched a little, kneading the ground then turned to look at Sophia, whose eyes had widened. She stepped backward, hitting the tree.
Harry started to purr, dropping his shoulders and legs to the ground as if bowing. He presented his side and waited. Sophia stared at him and took a cautious step toward him. Harry waited, shock still until Sophia was at his side and then turned to look at him.
Harry chuffed out a cat equivalent of a laugh and nudged her closer to him with his nose. Sophia seemed to steady herself and grabbed onto some of his fur, pulling herself onto him. Harry turned to search her, making sure she was on securely then took off, following his nose and backtracking. He also made sure to swerve to avoid walkers, taking a detour that would still get them where he had heard the gunshot.
“Harry!” Sophia called out excitedly.
He took them through the woods, dodging one or two walkers. It was fifteen minutes before he started to smell blood. He yowled quietly and slowed down, feeling Sophia tighten her grip on his fur.
“What do you smell?”
Harry crept closer, sliding in between two trees, and saw a dead deer. A buck by the looks of it. Harry winced and stalked closer, though not getting too close to spare Sophia.
“Harry, I don't want to get closer,” Sophia whispered, leaning against him.
He nodded, picking up another blood trail and stiffened. He picked up a faster pace, letting Sophia steady herself again then took off running, following Rick, Carl and Shane's trail. There was also another smell but it was unfamiliar, man by the smell of it.
One of them must have been injured, Harry thought, as they followed the drops of blood. They weaved between trees, encountered a dead walker, swerved around to avoid it and passed the forest park.
“Harry, I see... That's Mr. Shane!” Sophia called out over the wind as he ran.
He narrowed his eyes, not even slowing his pace, and spotted the two men. One familiar and one unfamiliar. Harry slowed down, as to not overtake the two. He really didn't want to spook either of them as they were both carrying rifles and they looked tense, running like they were being chased. They also weren't injured by the smell of it.
Harry kept a mile behind the two men as they ran over the grassy fields. There were cows spread out sporadically through the fields and some had noticed the two of them.
“Harry, the cows here,” Sophia whispered. “I think they're getting nervous.”
He stopped and turned to see what Sophia was talking about. She was right. The cows were starting to low quietly, slowly walking closer together. He sighed and turned to look at Sophia, nudged her with his nose.
“You want me off?” Sophia asked, tilting her head.
He nodded and Sophia slid off, loosening her grip on his fur. He took a step backwards, kept an eye on where Shane and the strange man were heading then shifted back. He stretched a little then turned to gaze at the white farmhouse.
“Sophia, do you want me to carry you or can you run with me?” Harry asked, peering down at her.
“Can you carry me, please?” Sophia questioned, yawning.
Harry scooped her up and started off in the direction of the farmhouse, eyeing the blood trail that was right alongside his path.
As the two of them went through the open gate on the field and approached the house, he could see Rick and Shane on the porch. As the two men moved, Harry got a look at Rick's shirt and police uniform, which were both covered in blood.
“You hurt?” Harry called out, startling the two men. Shane raised his shotgun as he turned around only to lower it when he saw Harry.
Both Rick and Shane's eyes widened when they saw whom Harry was carrying.
“Sophia?” Shane asked roughly.
“Yeah?” Sophia returned, glancing at the two men from her spot in Harry's arms.
“You found her?” Rick asked quietly as Harry walked up the steps of the house. Rick was pale, bleary eyed and rocking back on his feet. Obviously something had happened as the other man didn't look injured but what... Harry hoped that it wasn't... That no one had gotten bitten. He hadn't been able to save anyone that had gotten bitten or scratched.
“Yeah. What happened?” Harry asked, slowly lowering Sophia to the floor. She immediately grasped his hand though and he returned the grasp. “We heard the gunshot.”
“Carl's been shot,” Rick murmured.
Harry winced. “Is there a doctor here? Is that...”
“Name's Hershel,” Rick said, loosely gesturing inside.
“Alright,” Harry replied, nodding. “He need any help?”
Shane turned to look at him. “You a doctor?”
“Not quite but if he needs help in there, yes,” Harry replied then peered down at Sophia at her tug.
“Carl's hurt?” Sophia asked, glancing up at them.
“Yeah, looks like it,” Harry remarked, glancing between Rick and Shane.
“Could I see him?” Sophia asked.
“Uh, perhaps later,” Harry replied. “How about I take you back to your mother for now?”
“But I want to stay here,” Sophia said, frowning. “What if... Carl...”
“Carl will be fine,” Harry stated steadily, feeling both Rick and Shane's eyes on him. “If you want to stay, stay close to me, okay? Let's go inside.”
Shane guided Rick inside, held the door open for Harry and Sophia.
Harry trailed behind the two former police officers as they went into the house. The house was homey and felt like it had seen a lot of love and warmth.
“Is he okay?” Shane asked as they walked into the bedroom where Carl was.
There was an older man working alongside an older woman with two younger women on the other side of the bed. Harry assumed that the older man that was sitting by Carl was the doctor that Rick had mentioned. Hershel, if he had heard correctly. Another older man was standing in the doorway and Harry realized that he was the man that had been running with Shane.
Carl was on the bed, very pale and limp. Harry could see sweat dripping down the boy's forehead and then there was the gunshot wound on his stomach. Hershel had a towel placed where the wound was, had apparently cleaned up the blood from it. There was an IV already hooked up to Carl's right arm, held up by one of the younger women.
Hershel was holding a cloth to Carl's stomach and had paused for a minute to look up at them.
“You know his blood type?” Hershel asked, glancing up at Rick for a moment.
“A positive, same as mine,” Rick asserted, going over to stand at the foot of the bed. Shane went to stand next to Rick and Harry moved to stand across from the bed, Sophia following.
“Good, don't stray too far from the bed,” Hershel said. “We'll be needing you.”
“Anything I can do to help?” Harry asked tentatively, peering down at Sophia when he heard her yawn.
“Get Sophia out of the room,” Shane suggested.
“I'll take her to get something to eat,” the blond young woman offered. “I'm Beth.”
Harry raised an eyebrow, studying the woman for a minute before nodding. “You sure?”
Beth nodded, smiling a little. “She probably shouldn't be in here for this. She looks exhausted too.”
“Okay,” Harry agreed, kneeling down to look at Sophia. “Thanks.”
“Sophia, you want to go with Beth here? She'll get you something to eat and drink,” Harry explained, drawing the girl out of the room. “You'll be safe here and you don't want to be here for whatever comes.”
“But Carl... I'm worried,” Sophia murmured.
“He'll be fine. I'll make sure of it, okay?” Harry said then stiffened when they heard a scream.
Sophia's eyes widened and she winced.
“Sophia, go with Beth,” Harry murmured. “She'll get you something to eat.”
“Okay,” Sophia said quietly, turning to look at Beth who reached out a hand. Sophia reached out to grasp Beth's hand and Harry watched the two of them walk into what could be a kitchen.
Harry strode back into the room where Carl was, winced when Carl continued to scream. Hershel was going through the wound with a scalpel, trying to find the shrapnel pieces. With no anesthetic or sedatives, Carl was twitching around, trying to escape the source of the pain.
“Stop!” Shane called out as he was sitting on the bed and holding Carl down.
Harry flinched a little, glanced to where the older woman was getting Rick ready to give Carl blood.
“You're killing him!” Rick insisted, half turning away from the woman who was sticking a needle in his arm.
"Rick, do you want him to live? He needs blood!” Hershel said, raising his voice to be heard over the chaos.
Harry padded over to the bedside and laid his hand on Carl's forehead, murmured the incantation for spelled sleep and willed it into working without a wand. As he was beginning to find out, his magic obeyed his will very easily, knocking Carl out in a matter of seconds.
“What'd you do?” Shane yelled, glaring at him.
“I just put him to sleep,” Harry said, returning the glare and raising his voice a little. “He's just asleep! Passed out! Whatever you want to call it. He's not dead though.”
Hershel nodded, not even looking up at them. Harry could see a few shrapnel pieces beyond the scalpel that the older man was using and he winced; the bullet apparently had not gone straight through Carl. “He is just asleep. Whatever you did, thank you.”
Harry frowned then went to lean against the wall. He could feel Rick and Shane staring at him.
“What the hell are you?” Shane asked as the older woman pulled a chair up to the bed besides Hershel for Rick to sit in.
“Look, you guys want answers and I'm entirely willing to give them,” Harry started. “But not now. I'll wait until Carl's stable and okay if that's alright with you two?”
“I can wait,” Rick said, glancing at Shane with a questioning look. “But Lori... She doesn't know.”
“You need to stay,” Hershel said, drawing away from Carl and gesturing at Rick. He glanced between Harry and Rick before focusing on Shane. “No more yelling in here. It's not good for the boy. If you want to yell at him, take it outside.”
“I'll handle everything else,” Shane said as blood started to slide from Rick's arm to Carl's.
“I don't exactly know how to perform a surgery for a bullet wound,” Harry commented, starting to pace near the wall. Every other minute, he watched Hershel dig through Carl's stomach for the bullet fragments. “Otherwise, I would be helping him now.”
“You're a doctor and you don't know how to perform surgery?” Shane yelled, glaring at him.
“I said I wasn't a doctor but I am close enough,” Harry retorted then stopped in front of Shane and pointed at the door. “If you're going to continue to yell at me, then get out. It's not good for patients for their sick rooms to be loud. I know emotions are running high right now but that's no excuse for this. You should know that.”
Shane glared at him, looked to Rick, who was staring at Carl. Harry continued to point at the door, hand going for his wand before Shane sighed and walked out of the room.
Hershel drew away after a few minutes, wiped his hands on a towel. The older woman set about stopping the blood transfusion, taping up the two wounds on Carl and Rick.
“Is that enough blood for him?” Rick asked, voice a little hoarse.
“No, but it's enough for now,” Hershel answered, glancing up at Harry. “We don't have much in the way of painkillers here. Do you have any with you?”
Harry strode over to stand next to Rick, who was getting up. “Not with me. I would need to go back to the highway for my trunk. I'm Harry, by the way.”
“Slow,” Harry murmured. “You just gave blood. Take it slowly, okay?”
“Where'd Shane go?” Rick asked as he stood up, swayed a little.
“I sent him out,” Harry muttered. “Yelling at me and all that.”
Harry listened as Shane and Otis talked about going over to the nearest high school to get medical supplies. The other younger woman had already gone off to fetch Lori and Harry walked over to a window, watched her lead a horse out of a barn.
“We should let Carol know that you found Sophia,” Rick said as they watched Shane and Otis drive off in a blue pickup truck.
“Yeah...” Harry trailed off, glancing back toward the road as they walked back inside. Harry laid a hand on Rick's back briefly, stopping him from doubling over. “I might have an idea about that.”
He really didn't want to apparate back to the highway but likely the rest of the group was still in the forest, not yet back at the cars. And if that was the case, he really didn't want to apparate to a random spot in the forest either. Hell, he had stopped apparating a few months back as he wasn't always sure that there were no walkers at his landing point. But...
Rick stopped to look at him, raised an eyebrow.
“I... I know of a way to send messages,” Harry explained, fidgeting a little. “It's not a regular way though.”
“I don't think Carol has a radio,” Rick said.
“I don't have one either. This... I suppose it's only seeing is believing and all that,” Harry said, drawing his wand slowly and whispering the incantation for his patronus. The ever familiar translucent blue deer leapt from his wand, cantered around and stopped in front of Rick, whose eyes were wide.
“What... what is it?”
“It's called a patronus,” Harry continued as Prongs stared at the other man then trotted back to Harry and stood at attention. “No threat right now, Prongs. Just a message.”
The buck nodded, waited. Harry recited the message and then watched as Prongs galloped off, blue mist trailing it.
“That's... that's going to let Carol know?” Rick asked, still staring at where the ghost deer had run off. “What is it really?”
“Magic,” Harry said. “Pure magic. It's what I am. A wizard.”
Rick's jaw dropped and he looked like he was about to say something when they both heard Hershel yelling.
“Harry! You said you were a doctor?” Patricia came out, gesturing for them to follow her into the house.
“Yeah?” Harry said as the three of them ran into the room where Carl was. “What's...”
“He's not breathing!” Hershel yelled.
Harry stiffened, seeing Rick pale even more and then hurried over to the bedside. Carl was indeed not breathing, lying so still on the bed, so Harry glanced quickly at Rick and Hershel then pulled his wand out and cast an old spell. It was a spell that he had come across studying to be a healer after the war, one that had if you're desperate written above it. He had never used it before but well, he was desperate. They were desperate.
Carl's eyes flicked open and started to glow and distantly Harry realized his eyes had started to glow too. Harry breathed deeply on purpose, and watched Carl take a breath too. With each breath Harry took, Carl took a breath.
“...Harry?” Rick asked hesitantly, looking between the man and his kid. The man whose eyes were glowing, much like he had seen back on the highway. Daryl had been right.
“I'm breathing for him,” Harry answered quietly. “This will keep him alive until Shane and Otis get back from the high school. But I can't help with anything else now as it requires all of my concentration to keep this spell going.”
“...What the hell is he doing?”
Harry glanced to the other side of the bed, realizing that he hadn't heard Lori and Rick come back into the room. Maggie, the other daughter of Hershel, had apparently come back with Lori a few minutes ago.
“Lori, he's helping Carl breathe,” Rick whispered, nodding at Harry.
“... Helping him breathe? How?” Lori questioned. “And why isn't he answering?”
“He needs to focus,” Rick replied, shrugging a little. “I don't know how or what it is that he's doing but he's making it so that Carl keeps on breathing.”
“I can talk some,” Harry finally said slowly, peering up at Rick and Lori. Hershel and the older woman came in, with Patricia setting up a blood transfusion line again. “Just don't ask complicated questions.”
“Why are your eyes glowing?” Lori asked, keeping her voice low.
“Complicated questions,” Harry reminded them, taking a purposeful deep breath and blinking a few times. He had realized that he only glowed when he was using the death magic but apparently the spell he had used was an ancient enough spell or at least powerful enough spell for his magic to literally show itself. “Ask me later.”
“Will he be okay?” Lori questioned, stroking Carl's hair. Rick moved into the other chair, let Patricia put in the needle and tubing to transfer blood.
“Assuming Shane and Otis get back quickly,” Hershel said, glancing at Harry briefly before checking Carl's pulse. “Yes. I'll do my best.”
“I don't know Shane very well but he seems like he'll get the job done,” Harry remarked slowly. He would have looked through the sight that the death magic brought him but he couldn't do any other spell right now, otherwise Carl would quit breathing. “Do you know if Carol got my message?”
Harry could feel Lori's... questioning gaze and Rick's more or less grateful look on him. “They're driving over here now that the RV is repaired.”
Harry nodded slightly.
“You found Sophia?” Lori asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Yeah,” Harry started, peering down at Carl briefly. The kid was still under his sleeping spell, breathing calmly enough. He trusted Hershel to do whatever else needed to be done in regards to getting the fragments out of Carl. “She was about to be eaten by walkers but yeah. She went with... Beth?”
“Beth? Who's that?” Rick asked quietly.
“My youngest daughter,” Hershel said. “She's good with kids.”
Harry smiled at hearing Carol's tentative and yet desperate voice in the house. The sun had gone down without any sign of Shane and Otis and that was more than a little worrying. Carl was... hanging on but Harry wasn't sure if the kid would be able to hang on for a lot longer.
He had heard the distinctive roar of Daryl's motorcycle pull up and the other vehicles that they had, he had heard as well. It was good, Harry figured, to have their group together again, even with Shane gone.
Rick and Lori were sitting in chairs by the bed, talking quietly to each other. They were obviously exhausted, probably Rick more than Lori at this point. Rick had given at least two, maybe three pints of blood this afternoon and he was definitely paler.
“Would someone...” Harry started, glancing up at Glenn and surprisingly Daryl as they shuffled inside the room.
“Everyone's here,” Glenn said, glancing at Harry and doing a double take as he saw the glow that was emanating from the other man. “What...”
Harry snorted, fought back a yawn. “Explanations later.”
“He doing okay?” Daryl asked, staring at Harry briefly before glancing to Rick and Lori.
“He's hanging in there,” Lori replied, strained, hesitant smile on her face. “Shane and Otis need to get their butts back here.”
“You okay?” Daryl questioned, looking at Harry, who started a little.
“Yeah, I'm okay. Tired,” Harry answered, eyes widening as Carl started to twitch even through the sleeping spell. Hershel peered down at Carl, even as the boy started to moan.
“What's happening?” Rick asked, standing up quickly and almost falling over if Lori hadn't caught him. “He's not suppose...”
Harry blinked, his breathing spell was still working so that wasn't it. It was...
“He's not getting enough blood,” Hershel explained, looking a little bewildered if his wide eyes were anything to go by. “If Harry wasn't... doing what he's doing, he would be having a fit right now.”
“Here, I can give more,” Rick said, sitting down again.
“No, you can't,” Harry spoke then glanced up at Daryl and Glenn. “Would one of you go get my trunk out of the RV? Assuming someone drove it here.”
“Wouldn't it be heavy?” Glenn asked.
“No, it won't be. It's special like that,” Harry said, with a small smile. “But it has a few things that should be able to help Carl, at least until Shane and Otis get back.”
Daryl nodded slightly and shuffled back out of the room without a word. Glenn turned around and followed him.
Harry was about to focus back on Carl, who was once again quiet and still when he felt something. A feeling that was familiar to when he had felt all of the scientists deaths back in the CDC. Except this felt like it was coming from far away. He raised an eyebrow, feeling... He had a bad suspicion that either Shane or Otis were not making it back.
A few minutes later, Daryl and Glenn returned to the bedroom, carrying his trunk right up to him. Harry glanced between them and then turned to his trunk and whispered a word. The trunk popped open to the right compartment, the one where he kept the rest of the potions that he was carrying around. He could feel everyone's gaze on him, though after a second or two, Rick and Lori turned back to Carl. Luckily, his spell on it hadn't flickered out as it kept the potions at the right temperature.
He grasped his wand, risked muttering an easy summoning charm and the blood replenisher potion popped right out and landed right in his waiting palm. He heard gasps before speaking the word to close the trunk, startling Glenn as he was leaning in to look.
“What's that?” Lori asked, staring right at the vial in Harry's palm.
“It will replenish Carl's blood supply,” Harry replied, glancing at Hershel before looking between Rick and Lori. “It's...”
He sighed and ran a tired hand through his hair. “It's kind of like medication in a sense. But my kind of medication.”
“Is it safe?” Hershel asked, glancing at the vial before looking into Harry's eyes.
“Yes. It's totally safe,” Harry replied, shrugging. “It saved my life a few times over the years. Even before this shit happened. I spent a good portion of my childhood and up until I was 18 in the infirmary so I ought to know.”
Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Daryl raise an eyebrow.
“Infirmary?” Glenn asked, glancing at him.
“It's what my... people call hospitals,” Harry explained, uncorking the vial. “This won't sustain Carl though, what with the rate he's losing blood at. It's just temporary.”
“What about blood type?” Rick asked.
“Your people?” Daryl asked.
Harry peered down at Carl before pointing at Daryl, who flinched a little. Harry raised an eyebrow but lowered his hand. “Complicated question with a long and complicated answer.”
“It determines the blood type of the drinker and assimilates to it,” Harry replied, looking at Rick. “Hershel?”
“Carl needs blood,” Hershel said. “If you say it's safe...”
“But he can't drink anything at the moment,” Lori murmured
Harry nodded, twirling his wand in a tightly controlled movement, muttered the incantation and watched the liquid in the vial flow out. It floated out and headed straight into Carl's stomach, bypassing the skin and was absorbed into the kid's body.
“You are explaining all of this later,” Rick remarked, watching Carl for a few minutes before turning to look at Harry.
“You need to make a choice,” Hershel murmured, looking between Rick and Lori. “Do it now or...”
Harry winced, still sitting on the bed with Carl, still breathing for him. He could feel Carl slipping away, could see the light that was Carl flickering almost out of the corner of his eyes. He wished... This breathing spell that he was working didn't allow him to do anything major or else he would be doing all he could to keep Carl alive.
“Would you be able to do... whatever it is you're doing while Hershel's operating?” Rick asked, turning to Harry.
“Maybe,” Harry answered, peering up at them. “I've never done this before so... Chances are, yes. But...”
“But you're not sure,” Rick finished, turning to Lori who was standing over Carl and almost shaking.
“You have to tell me what it is,” Rick murmured to Lori as she went to lean against him.
Harry turned to look at Hershel, who was staring at him with a certain amount of curiosity. He would have a lot of explaining to do tomorrow, assuming it wasn't already midnight. It certainly felt like it was late at night, maybe around 11pm. Harry was certainly tired enough for it to be late at night.
“We do it,” Lori finally spoke, interrupting Harry's thoughts.
“Alright,” Hershel said, gesturing to Patricia as she started to get things ready for the surgery. Harry watched her wheel a metal rolling table over to the bedside, clearly to have a more sturdy place to operate.
“Do you have to stay with him for your... thing to work?” Hershel asked, pulling a corner of the bedsheets up. “Get the IV on the sheet. He'll need it.”
Harry took a step or two closer to Carl and grabbed another corner of the sheets. Rick grabbed the IV and placed it on the sheet close to Carl's head.
“Yes, or at least in the same room,” Harry replied, following Hershel's instructions as the four of them lifted Carl up onto the table. He saw Patricia move a lamp stand over to light up Carl.
“You don't know for certain?” Lori asked as she and Rick backed off, giving Carl space.
“Rick, Lori, you may not want to be here for this,” Hershel said, glancing at the two of them.
“I don't—-” Harry stopped, as they all heard the car pull up to the driveway.
Rick turned to look out the window and sighed in relief. “They're here.”
Harry stayed by Carl during the procedure, keeping up the spell until Hershel affixed the respirator. Then he gently, slowly disengaged, canceling the spell. The power settled, stopping its flow from Harry to Carl. Harry yawned but stayed right in the room, fidgeting for a while then went to go sit in a chair but immediately got up, noticing that he was dozing off. He wanted to be ready to help if anything went wrong.
He watched as Hershel reopened the wound and picked out the various remaining fragments from the shotgun. Patricia was there to help Hershel in anyway, holding out a little container for the fragments. Harry went up to stand next to Hershel, out of his way, and held Carl's hand. The kid was still under his sleeping spell but given that Shane had brought back painkillers and sedatives, he figured it was okay to lift it. He had seen the look in Hershel's eyes after he had brought back the packs that Shane had brought. It seemed like Otis had been the one that Harry had felt and Harry would have panicked at that. He hadn't been able to feel someone dying from a few miles away before.
Though he wasn't going to end the spell until Hershel was done. He didn't want Carl to suddenly wake up through this and panic.
“I'm done,” Hershel spoke, almost startling Harry.
He looked up at Hershel and Patricia then peered down at Carl, who looked almost relaxed. The wound was stitched up and cleaned and bandaged properly, white clean cloth going around Carl's stomach. Harry cautiously ended the sleeping spell and sighed when Carl remained asleep, probably due to the drugs in his system.
“I'll go tell everyone,” Harry murmured, covering his mouth when he yawned. “He looks stable enough now.”
“Yes, he does,” Hershel replied, glancing at Harry then looking over at Patricia with a frown. “I'll come with you.”
Harry nodded distractedly, cast a temporary monitoring charm on Carl then awkwardly strode over to the door. His legs were tired, hell, his body was tired. He was hungry too, his stomach growling quietly enough to let him know. He reached into his trunk and pulled out a snack bar, having picked it up in his travels. He sighed in contentment when he swallowed, the chocolate oat bar tending to some of his hunger. He closed his trunk and shrunk it in full view of Hershel and Patricia and scooped it up, putting it in a pocket.
He passed Carol sitting in one of the bigger chairs in the living room, with her daughter asleep on her lap. Carol was almost asleep herself if her closed eyes and slow, relaxed breathing was anything to go by. Harry smiled at them and shuffled by them, heading for the front door. He opened it and stepped out, stopping on the porch and glanced at where Rick and Lori were sitting on the steps.
The two of them turned at his approach and stood up, hopeful expressions on both of their faces.
“He's good,” Harry commented, taking another bite of his snack. He could see the rest of their group standing around the front yard. The RV and the other cars were parked around the small group of trees. A group of small tents were set up, with Glenn and T-Dog setting up the rest of the camp.
Lori gasped, tears starting to build in her eyes. Rick stared for a few seconds then smiled.
“Thank you,” Lori said, looking up at Hershel as he walked out too.
“He only needs rest now,” Hershel added.
Harry sidestepped the three of them and shuffled down the stairs. “I'm gonna go... pass out now, if you guys don't mind.”
Rick raised an eyebrow.
“Passing out in the good way,” Harry corrected sheepishly, seeing Daryl putting up his own tent a few feet away from all the other tents. “Explanations when I'm a little more awake.”
Harry strode across the front yard and passed most of the tents, stopping a few feet from Daryl's. He pulled out his trunk and resized it, opened it, and reached in to grab his own tent. Muggle tent, not wizarding tent. He had wanted to blend in when he was now moving amongst non-wizarding communities. Though he supposed that it didn't make much difference now, now that more and more people were dead and walking around.
He pulled out his wand and twirled it in a tight motion, watching the tent make itself up on its own. It was a few minutes before it was set up, front door zipped open. He nodded to himself and strode off a few minutes from the farm and did his business then walked back to his tent, feeling Daryl's eyes on him.
He peered over at the man, kneeling at his tent's door. “Carl's okay, if you're wondering.”
Daryl nodded to him. “Good.”
Harry stared at the other man for a second more then turned and shuffled into his tent, eying the sleeping bag that was already set up. He cast a small cleaning charm on himself then flopped down onto the sleeping bag, flicking his wand to close the tent. He was asleep the instant his head hit the pillow.
“He said it was magic,” Rick explained quietly the next morning, glancing over Carl to Lori. Sophia had wriggled her way into the room, having overheard that Carl was fine, and she was curled up next to him. Both of them were asleep.
Lori raised an eyebrow. “And you believe him?”
“I saw something strange,” Rick replied, shrugging a little. “Don't know what was if not...”
“Do we still trust him?” Lori asked, peering down at Carl and Sophia.
“I do,” Carol spoke, coming to stand at the foot of the bed. “He found Sophia.”
“And he healed your boy,” Hershel said.
“We still don't know why the CDC held him,” Shane said, raising his voice just a little. “He could be lying in wait for something...”
“For what?” Dale asked, more than a little bewildered at the prospect. “He protected Daryl and T-Dog back on the highway. If he's not trustworthy... then I don't know what is.”
“Yeah, he did,” T-Dog agreed. “I probably... Hell, neither one of us would still be here if he hadn't done whatever it was that he did.”
“He also...” Andrea trailed off as everyone moved out of the room.
“Also what?” Rick asked as Lori moved into the kitchen. Hershel's two daughters were up and also moving about in the kitchen, cooking something.
“I was in the RV when that herd came,” Andrea said. “The door was open and I think a walker attempted to come in.”
“Attempted?” Shane repeated.
“There was a blue transparent... shield over the door to the RV,” Andrea explained, pulling her hair into a ponytail. “The walker couldn't go in. He was protecting me too in addition to whatever he did with Daryl.”
“There's also his eyes,” Lori called over, turning to look at the group. “They glow whenever he's doing... whatever it is he's doing.”
“Where is Daryl anyway?” Rick asked, looking over to Dale.
“He's on watch,” Dale answered, glancing out the window that they were closest to. “He offered to do it.”
Rick nodded. “We should hold a short tribute for Otis later this morning. We can ask Harry to explain later.”
Harry glanced around the farm house's yard then shuffled out of his tent, sticking his holly wand in his pocket of his jeans. He had only come back to his tent for his wand, which these days, he never went without. As soon as he was done with his morning business, he looked over to the house. He quickly assumed that everyone had woken up since the sun was up, guessing that it was around 9am. He glanced over to where Daryl had pitched his tent and didn't see any evidence that the man was still asleep.
He strode over to the cars and was about to shuffle over to the house when he sighed, stopped, and rocked back on his heels. He was more than a little nervous about telling everyone about his past right now. Maybe... He glanced up to the RV. Lying up there was good but he wished he had his broom. He always lost a little of his stress when he was flying.
Harry shuffled over to the RV and climbed up the ladder only to fall short on the last rung. Daryl was sitting atop the RV in the lawn chair, with his crossbow at his side and a rifle in his lap. The archer turned to look at him, giving Harry a once over, searching for something.
“Good morning,” Harry said quietly, staying where he was for the moment.
Daryl nodded slightly, raising an eyebrow. “What're you doing up here?”
“Uh, putting off explanations?”
“Mind if I join you?”
“As long as you don't talk a lot.”
Harry grinned. “I won't. No worries on that front.”
Harry walked over to sit beside Daryl, crossing his legs and closing his eyes for a while. He had dreamed last night and he remembered very little of it, only that it was strange. Or stranger than he had seen in a while. And it didn't have walkers in it. He shrugged and found his magic center in his body, searching for the little greyish ball of light that was the magic that had come with the Hallows.
His regular magic was often a light bluish color, floating in his mind. But the death magic changed colors, from black to white to grey. And he didn't really know why it did that. He slowly opened his eyes, flicking on his magical sight, using some death magic. Harry turned around and studied the farm house. He saw the little two white lights that indicated Carl and Sophia then the slightly bigger one that was probably the teenaged boy that was living with the Greenes. He could also see people spilling out of the house, lots of white lights glowing within them. Harry counted seventeen individual white lights in the house and turned to Daryl and saw his light.
He blinked and withdrew the magic and reopened his eyes, hearing movement at his side. Daryl was staring out at the horizon and Harry could have sworn...
“Suppose I better go meet my doom,” Harry remarked, standing up and stretching.
Daryl turned back around, stared at him, his lips twitching almost up into a smile.
“Alright...” Harry trailed off, as everyone sat down on logs around him. He glanced at the assembled tents around him, at the fire pit that was in the makings in the center. “Where to start...”
“At the beginning?” Glenn suggested.
Harry snorted, looked over at Daryl then over at Rick and Lori. “If we started at the beginning, we would be here for a long time. It technically starts before I was born. Though I could just hit the highlights.”
“What are you?” Shane asked.
“You said.... wizard,” Rick said, tilting his head.
“Right. Yeah, that could be a good place to start,” Harry said. “I'm a wizard.”
“A wizard?” Lori repeated.
“You want to explain that?” Dale asked.
“Hmmm, think Gandalf,” Harry remarked, shrugging a little. “Or Merlin for folks who know King Arthur.”
“If you're a wizard, then why haven't we heard of you?” Lori asked.
“My people, like Daryl phrased it last night, all live in a secret community,” Harry replied. “Or they did. I don't know how many of us are still alive in Britain. We prefer it that way due to the Salem witch trials.”
“What can you do?” Rick asked.
“Heal, for one. I can put wards around our camp among other things,” Harry started, beginning to pace back and fourth. He felt a little shy being the center of attention but he figured these people needed to know. “There's a lot of different spells and a lot of variety to them but there are defensive spells and offensive spells. Wizards and witches can fly also, provided they have broomsticks.”
“So when you said you flew before all of this,” Glenn said, eyes widening. “You actually meant it.”
“Do you have a broomstick now?” Andrea asked.
“No, I left it in London back home before my last job,” Harry answered. “That's one of the things I miss. Flying...”
“Last job?” Shane asked, narrowing his eyes.
“Wizards have to be trained, lest we accidentally do magic in front of a non-magical person,” Harry explained. “Or blow something up when we're not suppose to. So there are schools around the globe. I was tasked with seeing if any of them were still standing.”
“Were they?” Carol questioned.
“Not a one,” Harry replied, sighing and finally sitting down. “But that's only in the States. And that was before I got captured by the military and the scientists at the Atlanta CDC.”
“There a school in Atlanta?” Daryl asked.
“Why the hell were you captured anyway?” Shane asked.
“Did you do... magic in front of anyone that you weren't suppose to?” Rick asked.
Harry chuckled quietly. “Nope. I think it was...”
“Well, it was something like that,” Harry finished quietly, knowing that it was the fact that walkers ignored him that had clued in the muggle military. He didn't want to explain that he was Master of Death just yet; that was probably too complicated for everyone.
Shane raised an eyebrow. “So you didn't start all of this?”
Harry groaned quietly, glared at Shane. “You're never going to trust me after this, are you? I had absolutely nothing to do with this, any of it. Granted, it was my fault that I was captured but the whole dead rising thing? Not my idea of a fun time.”
Daryl snorted and Harry smiled a little.
“You... shielded Daryl and T-Dog back on the highway. You were glowing. Who's to say that you couldn't end this then?” Shane questioned.
Harry ran a hand through his hair and trembled a little, getting up to pace again. “I can't. I can't do anything about this! I couldn't save anyone before this all happened! My godfather, my surrogate godfather, my friends, the headmaster of my school... None of them! I couldn't do anything! I have all this power and it's worthless when it comes to whatever the fuck this is!”
Everyone was silent for a few minutes. Andrea and Carol were glaring at Shane while Hershel, Beth and Maggie had come out of the farm house to listen too.
“You helped to save Carl,” Rick finally spoke. “That's no small thing and we're grateful.”
“Yeah. I'm more than a little protective of kids,” Harry replied sheepishly, blinking a little to stop any tears from gathering when he remembered his own kids. “I had four myself before this.”
“What are the two sticks you have?” Daryl asked after a second or two of silence.
“Oh, they're my wands,” Harry explained, drawing out his holly wand and holding it out to Daryl, who took it cautiously. “All wizards need a wand to perform magic. They channel our magic and it comes out the other end. We pick them out at age 11 before we go off to school. That's my first wand.”
“The other?” Dale questioned as Daryl examined the wand before handing it back. “I saw you pull the other one out back on the highway.”
“Uh, that one came to me... when I defeated the wizarding world's greatest dark lord when I was 18.”
Everyone stared at him, some blinking in bewilderment, others with their eyes wide.
“A dark lord?” Shane repeated.
“Yeah?” Harry spoke tentatively, hunching into himself a little. “We used to get them from time to time. The last one is how I got my scar on my forehead.”
“The one that's like a lightening bolt?” Daryl asked.
“A dark lord?” Shane said again, narrowing his eyes.
Harry sighed. “You are getting on my nerves but yes, he was like the wizarding world's Hitler but not... not as bad, I think. We have the wizarding equivalent of cops to make sure there are no more dark lords but as of now, I really don't think it's a problem.”
“I'm getting on your nerves?” Shane said, narrowing his eyes. “You just said that there are 'dark lords'! You never even explained the glowing thing. You could be part walker or something!”
Harry stiffened, shuddered a little and went over to lean against the closest tree and slid down it to sit down. “Last I checked I was human. Just because I glow when I perform some magic, doesn't make me part walker. For Merlin's sake! I don't feel the need to attack people to eat their flesh! And you know what? For all that humans have done to me, not wizards in general, just me, I feel like it would be justified! My aunt and uncle... Well never mind. Just the fact that the scientists at the CDC basically tortured me for science... Fuck. I never should have stuck with you guys. This never ends well for me.”
Daryl watched as Harry stumbled off, noting that the other guy's walk was off a little. Like he was trying to stop himself from breaking down into tears. Leaves scattered into the air around him as if it was windy. But it wasn't windy at all.
“That didn't go well,” Glenn said quietly, glancing over to Maggie who looked shaken.
“Someone should go after him,” Andrea remarked, more than a little pale. Hell, all of them were shaken after what Harry had practically yelled. “Make sure a walker doesn't get him.”
“Are you suggesting that you're going to go?” Lori asked. “He sounded like he was going to go pack up.”
“Are you suggesting that you would like him to leave?” Rick asked. “Lori, he's helped us. Like he said, he didn't have to come with us.”
“I'll go,” Daryl said, slinging his crossbow over his shoulder and going off into the forest to where Harry had walked off. Rick nodded to him distractedly then turned back to face Shane and Lori.
“Rick, he's dangerous,” Shane argued. “Let him go.”
“He hasn't done anything to harm us,” Rick replied, almost glaring at Shane. “He doesn't seem like a criminal to me.”
“He didn't seem like he would hurt any of us,” Dale commented, looking in the direction that Harry and then Daryl had gone. “Think of what he's done since we found him. And what he hasn't done. We just learned that he's a... a wizard. He could have left after we found him.”
“He could attract trouble,” Shane protested. “He said 'dark lords' existed. Whose to say that there's another one that he neglected to mention?”
“You really think there are people like how he said still alive?” Dale replied. “I think he would have noticed, judging by what we know about him.”
Daryl headed off after Harry, not really knowing why he was following the other man but following him regardless. And if it weren't for the footprints, Daryl would have a hard time tracking him. Harry was quiet, even in storming off after an argument. Daryl was quiet when he tracked and hunted but Harry was a little quieter. Like he was used to not making noise when he put his mind to it. Even... Daryl suspected that Harry wasn't even thinking about it. This was something done unconsciously and Harry didn't seem like the hunter type.
A few minutes into tracking the wizard, Daryl came to the end of the tracks. He had passed the boundary of the farm what seemed to be ten minutes ago. They just kind of trailed off and were... They seemed to turn into paw prints. Cat paw prints to be exact. And some were bloody. Daryl brought his crossbow around and nocked an arrow, searching the surrounding forest. His eyes landed on a dead walker that had died at the foot of a really big tree. The walker looked like it had died from being attacked by a big creature, not by a weapon. The paw prints ended there and Daryl searched, looking around the tree before looking at the tree and focusing on the claw marks that led up the trunk.
That was when he heard quiet purring and he looked up, automatically stopping in place when he saw the big black cat up in the tree. The panther was staring down at him with big green eyes, studying him almost. But not in a predatory way. Daryl knew predatory stares and that wasn't one of them. It rather looked like it was... a different kind of interest? Daryl raised his crossbow and was about to fire an arrow when the big cat huffed and jumped down out of the tree.
He stared at the cat, raised an eyebrow when the cat didn't even move to attack him. It was about to walk away when Daryl heard a twig snap a few feet away. He turned to see a walker shuffling toward him and just as he was about to fire an arrow, the panther behind him yowled quietly and charged, claws out.
Daryl watched as the cat raced toward the walker and collided, taking a running leap to attack the walker's head. The walker tried to claw at the cat but the panther was just too fast. Blood spurted from the walker, its brains coming out at the cat's attack. But after a second or two, the cat moved back and the walker thumped to the ground, now dead for real.
The cat turned to stare at Daryl then walked off to jump onto the tree and climb up to one of the farthest branches. Daryl watched, a lot bewildered, as the cat started to groom itself.
Harry stared down at Daryl, a little confused as to why the other man had come into the forest. He stopped grooming his claws and sighed. Rick and the others had probably sent the hunter to see that Harry would pack up and leave. Harry would leave, if that was what they wanted, but he would miss these people he realized. He would miss Carl, Sophia, Daryl, Glenn and quite possibly even Rick.
Daryl was still apparently rooted to the ground in front of the tree, unsure whether or not to fire at the cat.
Harry huffed out some air, stood up and started to climb back down the tree. His claws dug into the thick tree bark then once again he was on the ground. He avoided the two dead walkers and sat on his haunches in front of Daryl who took a step back. A loud step back, like Daryl had figured out that he was no ordinary cat. Then he realized that...
He snorted then shifted back, flowing back onto his human legs. “Seems I forgot to tell you guys about another thing I can do.”
“There anything else you haven't told us?” Daryl asked after a few minutes of silence.
“Uhhh...” Harry trailed off, smiling a little. “Well, my life story for one.”
Daryl snorted. “Come on. Folks are worried about you.”
“Folks?” Harry repeated as Daryl started off. Harry followed him, idly pulling at his death magic and blinking into the vision. There was Daryl's light but there was nothing else in the forest around them except Harry could see the cows in the short distance. “I didn't think anyone would be worried about me.”
Daryl turned to look at him. “Ain't everyone. You're right about that.”
Harry nodded. “Besides, I thought you were coming to kick me out.”
“Not gonna kick you out,” Daryl replied. “You're weird, not dangerous. 'Cept to walkers.”
Harry laughed. “I'll take weird.”
The two of them shuffled back to the farm in companionable silence. As soon as they came up to the fence, Harry was about to release his magic vision when his gaze landed on the barn. His eyes widened and he could feel blood draining from his face and he stopped moving right as he was about to climb over the fence.
“Harry? Something wrong?”
There was a group of about eight walkers in the barn.
Harry sighed, released the magical vision and glanced at Daryl who was staring at him. “I'm fine. It's nothing.”
Daryl continued to stare at him then shrugged and took off, walking over the fence. Harry stood there for a minute before following, occasionally glancing at the barn.
They both walked back to camp then Harry glanced over at the house and the group before striding back over to his tent. He could feel people's gazes on him and he wanted to go over to the barn to investigate but not with people watching his every move. Daryl moved to go over to his tent, sitting down to clean his crossbow.
Harry was glad that at least he wouldn't have to worry about Daryl. The other man had seemed to take 'it' all in stride, seeing him shift from a panther back to human. And all the other stuff too. He would have guessed that Daryl had seen some of this business before everything went to shit but then again, with the dead rising, it wouldn't be too hard to believe in other things, he supposed.
As he stood by his tent, he looked over to where the group was still talking. He could hear Glenn volunteering to go on a run to a pharmacy, just in case they needed anything in the future, and Maggie deciding to go with him. Harry smiled a little but sighed when he caught Shane's glare toward him. He could see Rick and Lori talking a little ways from the group and Andrea and Carol were standing next to each other, setting up a fire pit in the center of the tents.
Harry reached into his tent and drew a certain cloak from his pack, stepping inside his tent before drawing it over himself. He stepped out of his tent and started to walk toward the barn, idly drawing on his magical sight again. Luckily, using the sight didn't use too much energy. It was only if he actively used the magic associated with the hallows that he would tire out so much quicker.
He scanned the group and stopped by the farm house. There were two white lights where Lori was. Harry's eyes widened. He knew what that meant. Lori was pregnant.
He sighed and shook off the vision. She undoubtedly would not appreciate him going up to her and telling her she was pregnant. So he continued on to the barn, already hearing some muted hisses as he stopped before the barn door.
He shuddered when the smell of death hit his nose. There were quite obviously walkers in there. Harry idly rocked back on the heels of his feet, tilting his head a little. The door to the barn was locked with a padlock which... He didn't exactly know what that meant but it was locked. And he figured that if there were just cows in there, it wouldn't be locked. Which meant that these walkers were here on purpose. Someone knew about them.
Harry strode around the barn and climbed up the side of it, shuffling through the roof. He shucked the invisibility cloak in the corner and crawled over to the edge of the floor. The walkers were down there, milling about kind of aimlessly. There were a few women walkers and a couple of men, all bloody and disgusting.
They didn't even react to him at all. Though they did glance up at him, as if wanting to know what the noise had been but that was it. They turned away and continued to lumber about. Harry sighed and crawled back to the roof, leaning against the wooden wall. Another piece of proof that he was different than other people. If he had been anyone else, the walkers would have started to get excited in their own way, growling and moaning louder.
Harry glanced in the direction of the farm house then back down to the walkers. He didn't exactly want to kill of them now. If someone... He sighed again and drew the elder wand and cast ward markers in the corners of the barn and murmured a few words. A purple shimmering light field hummed to life around the walkers in the barn, closing the walkers into the barn. Hopefully, that would hold them for right now.
He groaned, took one last glance at the walkers and pulled on his cloak again and shuffled out of the barn, jumping lightly to the ground. He had a letter to write.
He drew over a short log to sit on and munched on one of his last apples. Carol was putting up a string line for laundry and was washing some clothes. Andrea was sitting on the picnic table, rifling through their gun bag. Harry had heard something about Hershel not wanting guns on his property and he supposed he understood that. Though having the walkers in the barn made him a little queasy. If the Greene family didn't have guns then how would they defend themselves if the barn door gave way? The walkers had to have been there even before their group came to stay.
He strode into his tent and shut the cloth door, zipping it shut, then stood over his trunk. He opened it to the potion's compartment and looked around, searching for a few potions in particular. Back before the world ended and back before Ginny and he had divorced, he had kept potions around to...
“Ah, there.” Harry pulled out three potions and glanced at the labels. They were potions that Ginny had taken to ease her morning sickness when she was pregnant with the three kids. Harry sighed and put them back in their places before closing that portion of his trunk and opening the portion that Hermione and he had used to pass letters. He drew out a fresh piece of parchment and a quill then backed out of his tent, sitting back on the log.
Harry glanced past the few tents to where most of the group had migrated. Shane, Glenn, Dale, T-Dog and Maggie were standing around one of the wells. Harry had already seen the lone grey light in that particular well and he figured that the guys were trying to pull the walker out. He would have offered to help but he didn't exactly want to be around Shane right now.
He looked over to where Daryl was sitting by his tent. The other man seemed to be kind of an outcast too, preferring to keep away from the main group. Harry shrugged a little, watching the group pull out Glenn a few minutes later and then pull out a really pale walker next. T-Dog killed the walker as soon as it was up and out and Harry could see everyone breath a sigh of relief.
Maggie walked over to where she had tied two horses and untied them, lead them over to the gate. She looked back over at the group of tents then over to the well, where Glenn was. Harry watched as the two caught each other's gaze then Glenn shuffled over, backpack slung over his shoulder. Maggie waved over to the house, where Hershel and Beth were and then helped Glenn to mount the horse.
Harry returned Glenn's wave, glanced at the group, pulled his holly wand out and cast a monitoring charm on the two. He willed it to be invisible and felt the instant the spell took.
Daryl glanced over to the tent next to his and raised an eyebrow. Harry was lying on his stomach on the ground, scribbling away at a piece of parchment? He stood up and wandered over to stand in front of Harry, who either knew he was there or was completely engrossed in what he was writing. Daryl watched for a few minutes, eyes roving over Harry and stopping on the little bit of skin that was showing on his back.
“You ain't got some paper?”
Harry jumped, sitting up and glaring at Daryl. “Thanks for that.”
Daryl snorted. “Thought you would have known I was here.”
“I'm not all knowing,” Harry retorted but he smiled at Daryl. “I did know. I was just trying to get you to smile.”
Daryl stared at him, blinked once or twice. He could feel his cheeks redden a little so he turned to look over at where Shane was glaring at them from the cars.
“Who're you writing to?”
Harry peered up at him then glanced at the letter. “Hopefully, my friend.”
“There ain't any postal service anymore.”
Harry grinned. “I don't need the postal service.”
Daryl shrugged. “You don't use owls, do you?”
“We used to,” Harry muttered, smiling fondly at a memory then laughed at Daryl's expression. “I'm not kidding. We did use owls.”
“And now I wait,” Harry spoke, putting the parchment into the section of his trunk and closing it. He watched until the light glow that meant it had gotten delivered then glanced at Daryl. The other man was cleaning his crossbow and going through his quiver of arrows one by one, probably checking to see if they were all in working order.
“You really think your friends are alive?” Daryl asked, keeping his gaze on his bow.
“They might be,” Harry said, looking over to where Rick and Lori were on the porch of the house. “My best friend is widely considered to be the wisest witch her age. Or... she said she was going to go to Australia to see if her parents were still alive.”
Daryl shrugged then stood up, picking up his crossbow. “Gonna go hunt. You wanna come?”
Harry glanced up at Daryl, who was staring in the direction of the cars. “Uhhh... sure? I can't hunt though.”
“You're quiet enough,” Daryl said, slinging the quiver of arrows over his shoulder too.
“Habit, I suppose,” Harry replied, standing up and pulling his sword out of his tent and slinging it over his shoulder.
Daryl stared at him, nodded slightly and took off.
As soon as they reached the edge of the forest area beyond the farm, Harry glanced back at it. His eyes widened when he saw Shane staring at the two of them. Shane was also standing right in front of Harry's tent, like he had come up to either talk to him or interrogate him.
Harry turned to stare at Daryl, who was waiting for him under one of the trees, and raised an eyebrow. Daryl sighed, cheeks pinking up a little before gesturing for Harry to follow.
Harry trailed off after Daryl, picking his way through the tree trunks and the bushes. He couldn't sense any walkers anymore, not after taking out two a few minutes ago. After realizing that Daryl had invited him on his hunt to get him away from Shane, protecting him, Harry had taken to studying the other man.
Daryl looked like he had lived and breathed this kind of life even before the world went to shit. He knew how to hunt, how to track, how to stay quiet when he was doing those things. Harry was certain that Daryl had his crossbow before too. And coupled with the way that Daryl stayed out of the main group of people, setting up his tent far enough away from the house but close enough to it and his motorcycle certainly meant something.
Harry had also seen a tiny hint of a tattoo on Daryl's shoulder yesterday, under the vest that the other man had picked up a day after leaving Atlanta. Though he didn't know what it was in the shape of. He was just... a little curious about what it was. And a little curious about the scar that he had seen, the one that seemed a little old and a little like something from a belt...
After watching Daryl shoot down a squirrel, Harry ran a hand through his hair and scanned the surrounding woods. “You're quiet too.”
“Yeah? What's your point?” Daryl asked, already stalking off.
“Were you the one that padded the handcuffs back in the CDC?” Harry asked quietly, taking off after Daryl again.
“Why'd you think it was me?” Daryl questioned, raising his voice. And from what Harry could see from behind him, Daryl had tensed up. Shoulders hunching and back stiffening up. “Quit prying.”
Harry sighed. “I'm not trying to pry. Just... if you did, thank you.”
They came back around to the farm in the late afternoon, with only two squirrels. Though Daryl had seen a buck earlier in the afternoon but a walker had scared it off. Harry had stared at the buck for a few minutes, a little sad and wistful for the days before the world ended.
He stopped before his tent and turned to see Sophia run up to him. “Hey, Sophia. What's up?”
“Carl wants to see you,” Sophia said, peering over to Daryl where he was skinning the two squirrels.
“He's awake?” Harry asked.
“Yeah, but Hershel said he had to go back to sleep in a few minutes,” Sophia replied. “So come on!”
Harry smiled a little hesitantly but followed Sophia, taking her hand when she reached out to him. As they walked closer to the house, he could feel Lori's gaze on him. Shane had been back over by their tents so he wouldn't be in the house with him. Carol and Lori were sitting around the campfire, putting together dinner. He could see Andrea on top of the RV, watching the surrounding farm land.
They walked through the house, hearing people talk quietly in the other rooms. Maggie was staring out of one of the windows over to where their tents were. She did look... Harry didn't know when the two of them had gotten back to the farm but she definitely had a look about her that meant something had happened between her and Glenn.
“Come on!” Sophia repeated, tugging him into Carl's room.
“I'm coming,” Harry replied, laughing quietly then he stopped when he saw that Rick was in the room. The former police officer was talking to Carl and he looked up when Harry and Sophia came in. Harry peered over at Carl, who had Rick's hat on, and smiled. It was a little big on the kid but it looked like Carl didn't care.
“Sophia...” Harry whispered quietly. “Let's go back outside.”
“No, no, it's okay,” Rick said, standing up and coming over to stop in front of Harry and Sophia. “You're welcome in here.”
“So you didn't send Daryl to kick me out then,” Harry started, looking Rick over. The other man looked exhausted, still a little pale.
Rick winced and shook his head. “No, I certainly didn't. I'm sorry if we gave you that idea.”
“Eh, it's no big deal. I've had worse from other people before this,” Harry replied.
Rick raised an eyebrow. “Anything I should know about?”
“No, it's all irrelevant now,” Harry answered, watching as Rick leaned against the doorway. “Sophia said Carl wanted me for something?”
“He said something about wanting to know if dragons were real,” Rick answered, grinning a little.
“You told him about me?”
“I did. That okay with you?”
Harry nodded. “If I'm sticking around, you all should know about me.”
“Your dad said you wanted to know if dragons were real?” Harry asked, sitting down in one of the chairs next to the bed. Sophia and Carl were lying on the bed, tucked under the covers together.
Carl's eyes lit up and he tried to sit up. “Yeah. Are they?”
Harry chuckled and leaned back into his seat. “If I'm to tell you a story, you have to stay lying on the bed, okay?”
Sophia's eyes widened. “Dragons are real?”
“You've met one?” Carl asked, smiling.
“I've met a couple,” Harry replied, fluffing the pillows up behind Carl. “Right, stay there.”
“I know,” Carl said. “That's what mom said.”
“Well... the first dragon I met. Hmm, here,” Harry started, drawing his wand and murmuring a spell. A translucent, small green dragon flew from his wand, alighting on the bed. It beat its wings and roared quietly, stared at Carl and Sophia.
“Whoa!” Carl whispered, reaching out a tentative hand. “Is it safe?”
“Yeah, it's not going to hurt you two,” Harry answered, watching both Carl and Sophia as their hands slid through the illusion. They were both smiling widely, eyes bright with excitement. “Okay, on with the story. I met my second dragon in the middle of my fourth school year...”
“Lori, I know that you're still a little skeptical about Harry,” Dale remarked, standing in the living room of the farmhouse.
“I'm just not too sure of him,” Lori replied, sighing and pulling some hair back. “I don't know if I trust him with the kids.”
“I do,” Rick said, coming up to them and pulling Lori into a hug. “Go take a look in the bedroom.”
Lori and Dale exchanged looks then crept over to the doorway. Dale started to smile at the sight. Lori's eyes widened. There was a small green, glowing, dragon zooming around the room and it stopped right on Sophia's lap. Sophia giggled, eyes bright.
“...Now the keepers didn't know the dragon was a lady,” Harry was saying. Lori watched as he frowned and rubbed his chin. “No one knew or could tell the difference except Charlie.”
“Your friend?” Carl asked.
“Yeah. The dragon was right protective of her eggs,” Harry replied, smiling a little. Though as Rick came up to the doorway too, he could see that the other man's smile didn't make it to his eyes. “This is why... if you meet a mama dragon, run in the other direction, okay?”
“Okay,” Carl whispered.
After they had dinner, everyone split off to go rest in their own tents. Harry strode right over to his tent and rummaged through his trunk, looking for another blood replenishing potion. He sighed when he realized that the one that he pulled out was the second to last one but he figured... Harry didn't know exactly when he could make more potions. He knew where the magical school in Atlanta was but he didn't know where the magical stores were. Or a potions ingredients store was.
The stars had come out while he was rummaging in his tent and it was more or less quiet on the farm. Shane was on the top of the RV, watching for anything amiss. Harry stared at the other man from his tent and sighed. However, he did think that Shane shaving his hair off was more than a little odd. Granted, it might have been due to the heat but still... The fact that Harry had noticed Shane fidgeting during the tribute to Otis was a clue for something.
Harry stared for a little while longer before running a tired hand through his hair and walking over to Rick and Lori's tent. There was no one in there but Harry was loathe to step in so he quickly conjured a piece of small paper and drew out a pen, jotting down a note on it and sticking the paper on the vial. For Rick. Drink all of this. It should help your body to replenish its' supply of blood. Harry.
Harry could see a medium sized box that was acting as a bedside table and floated the potion vial over to it, setting it down on the box. He could also see... He shook his head. It really wasn't any of his business so he shuffled back to his tent and slipped into his sleeping bag after taking care of his evening routine.
Harry groaned and curled into his sleeping bag more. “Go away.”
“What?” Harry asked sleepily, opening his eyes and feeling his eyes open wider in shock. He was in Hogwarts! But this Hogwarts was dark and dank, death permeating the air. Bodies were crowded all over the grand entrance hall, blood splattered all over the ground and walls. And he could see guts too. Tears started to build in his eyes and he wiped them away, wishing that whoever had brought him here hadn't. He didn't want to see Hogwarts as it was now. He wanted to remember the way it was before the world went to shit, before the dead started coming back to life . He wrinkled his nose, stomach starting to rebelling a little, and turned to see where the voice was coming from.
There was someone standing in front of him, someone all in black. A b lack hood and black robe w ere hiding everything . The strange person was holding a scythe, like he was...
“Yes, I am.”
Harry narrowed his eyes, hands going to his pockets to grasp his wand . Only to find air. “If you're Death, then what the fuck is happening? Why are the dead coming back to life? Why?”
The stranger stuck a skeletal limb out, causing Harry to take a step back, then pulled the hood up a little. Glowing white, also skeletal, eyes were the only thing he could see and Harry flinched.
“ I am no miracle worker. I am only Death. You wizards are the ones who created this.”
Harry stared and blinked, stomach roiling. Death's voice was gravelly and low and more than a little ominous and ugly sounding. “You... Who... This means... Do you really mean that?”
Death nodded, or did what appeared to be a nod. “Your old colleagues ... They were messing with magic greatly unknown to them.”
“My colleagues ?”
“Unspeakables and Aurors , I believe they were called. They died alongside each other.”
Harry closed his eyes. He didn't... It was his fault that this was... Well, it wasn't but it felt like it. Oh Merlin. “Then why have you... come to me now? I've been Master of the Hallows for many years now.”
“ The previous Master of my gifts did not face this and never explored the magic that being the owner gave him. You have explored my magic some.”
Harry stared at Death wearily, hand going up to his stomach as if he could stop his stomach from feeling like it was going to.. . Harry coughed and choked on something... on the thought that the wizards that he had worked with had caused this. “ What's your point?”
“I can teach you to control it better. You will need the help in the coming times. ”
“You can't... stop this?”
“It is out of my control. It is out of your control,” the entity spoke as Harry was about to interrupt him.
“So... there's no hope?” Harry asked quietly, wearily.
Death's eyes glowed even brighter. “I did not say that.”
Harry raised an eyebrow.
“I must go now. Farewell.”
“Wait!” Harry shouted, taking a step toward where Death was flickering. The entity flickered out entirely, vanishing after a minute. “You bastard.”
Harry woke up, sweating all over his body and... He immediately uncurled from his sleeping bag, stood up and hurried out of his tent, hurrying to stand behind a tree. He reached out a hand to hold himself up while everything that he had eaten during the previous day came up violently. Luckily, it was still dark out so no one saw him shake and fall against the tree, sliding down to sit on the grass after everything had come up. He made sure he wasn't sitting in any puke, his nose wrinkling at the smell.
Or he thought no one had seen him.
“Harry? You okay?”
He glanced up only to see Carol coming to stand in front of him. He struggled to get up, limbs all shaky still from the emotions of his... dream. Carol gave him a hand and he stood up a minute later.
“I... yeah. Thanks.”
Carol nodded, yawned a little. “Bad dream?”
Harry yawned too and sighed. “Yeah. Is that why you're still up?”
“Yes. I used to...” Carol trailed off, shrugging.
Harry stared at her before ducking his head. “We probably all get nightmares so you're not alone. Hell, I got nightmares before all of... this.”
“I did too,” Carol whispered.
“I should probably head back to sleep. Thanks,” Carol said, glancing up to the still black night sky and smiling a little.
“Hmm?” Harry questioned.
“For rescuing Sophia. You and Daryl have done so much for the two of us.”
“Daryl?” Harry asked, bewildered.
“Before we went to the CDC, our camp was attacked. I lost track of Sophia for a while and Daryl found her,” Carol answered, glancing over to Daryl's tent before looking back at him. She studied him for a while then took one last glance at the archer's tent. “I don't mind about you being a wizard.”
Harry started, raised an eyebrow. “Thanks?”
Carol laughed quietly. “You saved my daughter. That's good enough for me. We should get back to sleep.”
Harry shook his head, watched as Carol walked back over to her tent. He sighed and walked back over to his and grabbed a cloth from his trunk and washed his face, before taking his holly wand and whispering a cleaning spell. He closed his eyes briefly at the relief of having a clean mouth before going to vanish the puke then he slipped back into his sleeping bag and fell back asleep.
The next morning, they actually got some scrambled eggs. Patricia had given Carol and Lori a few eggs from their hens. Harry gladly ate a little, letting the others have the majority of the food. His eyes drifted toward Lori, wondering if she had told anyone that she was pregnant.
“So are chupacabra's real?”
Harry started, turned to look at Dale who was sitting across from him. “Hmm?”
“You weren't here for the first few nights at the quarry,” Dale said. “I forgot. Daryl was saying how he was going squirrel hunting and he saw a chupacabra.”
Jimmy snorted as he was walking past their camp.
“What're you snickering at, jackass?” Daryl asked, looking up at Jimmy then back at the campfire.
“You think chupacabras are real?” Jimmy questioned, stopping at their camp and looking over at Daryl.
“You think dead people walking around aren't real?” Daryl retorted, drawing out his knife and a stone to sharpen it.
“What are you guys talking about?” Harry asked, casting a charm to clean his plate after he finished eating.
“Chupacabras,” Andrea replied, glancing over at Harry.
Harry raised an eyebrow, looked over at Daryl. “A what now?”
“Chupacabra,” Dale repeated.
“Uh... And you want to know if they're real?” Harry asked, glancing over at Lori and Rick who were sitting together by their tent. He did a double take when he realized that Rick didn't have his police hat on anymore but shrugged a little and returned to the conversation.
Carol was sitting next to Harry, with Sophia sitting tucked up next to her. Harry figured it would be a long time before Sophia felt safe enough to stray out of Carol's range.
“Are they?” Glenn asked, glancing over at the farm house.
“I'm not exactly an expert on magical creatures,” Harry commented then grinned. “I have a book though.”
“A book?” Sophia asked quietly.
“Monster book of monsters,” Harry said, nodding. “It might have something in there about chupacabras.”
“Gonna go hunt again,” Daryl said, peering down at Harry as he stopped before the other man.
Harry glanced up at him. “You need a partner?”
“Nah. Just gonna take a horse.”
“Alright. Be careful,” Harry remarked.
Daryl nodded slightly then slung his crossbow over his shoulder and strode off toward the barn. Harry was about to turn back to his tent when he saw Rick move to intercept Daryl, calling out to the other man.
“What?” Daryl asked, raising his voice.
Harry felt his wards in the barn full of walkers flare briefly, holding the dozen or so walkers off. He stood up, drawing the elder wand out from his wrist holster.
“You okay on your own?” Rick questioned.
“Better on my own,” Daryl muttered.
“You don't have to stay with us anymore,” Rick said. “Sophia's been found.”
Harry glanced over to the two other men then back at the barn. His wards continued to hold for a minute then he felt them go back to stasis, the walkers in the barn having stopped trying to get out. Harry sighed in relief then glanced back over to Rick and Daryl, looking at the way that Daryl had entirely stopped and turned to face the former police officer.
"My other plans didn't work out," Daryl replied then took off toward the barn with the horses in it.
Glenn was acting weird though it was subtle. Harry raised an eyebrow as he watched the other guy and saw Glenn glance over at the house. Harry shrugged then finished eating and looked around the camp, catching Glenn watching the house again after a minute. Harry was about to get up and start practicing wandless magic when Glenn caught him watching.
The other guy blushed and stood up quickly, jerkily. Harry watched, bemused, as Glenn walked back to the RV. Harry stood up too and followed, feeling the other people in the group watch him. He sighed. It wasn't like he was going to up and kill everyone with spells. Carol, Andrea, Dale, Rick and Sophia were the only ones not watching him.
Harry turned to look at Daryl's tent, idly wondering where the other man was and if his hunt was going well. He sighed but continued to follow Glenn. They ended up behind the RV.
“Harry, I've asked Dale for advice,” Glenn started, looking at the RV briefly before turning back to him.
Glenn studied Harry briefly and nodded. “You were married, weren't you?”
“Yeah,” Harry replied, raising an eyebrow. “I got divorced though after two years.”
“Divorced?” Glenn asked. “Why didn't it work?”
Harry sighed but he grinned a little. “I realized that I had a preference for men.”
Glenn's eyes widened. “You're gay?”
“Nope. Just bisexual,” Harry remarked. “I still loved my wife but... Well, we had problems right after we got married. We just didn't work out. That's okay with you?”
“Oh. Of course it's alright with me. But do you have any advice for me, with Maggie?” Glenn questioned.
“What's the problem?”
“I had sex with Maggie and now she's being cold with me.”
Harry chuckled at Glenn's expression. “The world going to shit didn't help your tact at all, huh?”
“Well, it's not like I'm offended easily. Advice, huh? Do you have feelings for her?” Harry enquired, glancing over at the barn briefly before looking back at Glenn.
“I... I think I do,” Glenn replied, moving his cap to scratch his forehead. “You should have seen her, all riding up on horseback and taking a swing at the walker that was attacking Andrea. She was...”
“I can picture it,” Harry said, bemused smile on his face. “All I can think of is just to talk to her. See what she thinks. Her father may not be approving of this. But then again, she isn't a teenager.”
Glenn nodded distractedly.
“What are you doing?”
Harry opened his eyes from where he was sitting cross legged under a tree. Dale was crouched before him, staying under the shade. The late afternoon sun had grown hot and granted, Harry wasn't exactly an expert on Georgia summers but it felt really warm to him. Harry yawned a little, wiped some sweat off of his neck. The elder wand was sitting on his left knee, a little glow to it. His holly wand was back in his tent, waiting patiently for him.
“You really want to know?” Harry asked, studying Dale then peering over him at the camp. Daryl had taken off this morning on a long hunt and Harry would have gotten worried had it not been for Andrea who had mentioned that Daryl usually took a while on his hunts.
“I'm curious,” Dale started, looking at the wand on Harry's lap.
“Well... I was stuck in the CDC for a while,” Harry explained idly, picking up the elder wand and glancing at the markings on it. He saw Glenn and Carol come over out of the corner of his eye. Andrea was on top of the RV, keeping watch. “My magic... I have to have a wand to focus and cast it.”
Dale raised an eyebrow. “You're saying you want to use... your magic without a wand?”
“Yeah. It would be so much better if I could do wandless magic,” Harry replied, running a hand through his sweaty hair. “For defensive and offensive magic, it would be better. I've lost track of my wand before. It wasn't pleasant.”
“What was the blue deer that came to me a few days ago?” Carol asked. Harry saw Rick walk over toward their group, stopping next to Glenn. “It opened its mouth and sounded like you.”
“Oh that? It's called a patronus,” Harry answered. “It's meant to protect people against dark creatures. Or it can send messages.”
“Dark creatures?” Glenn asked, raising an eyebrow as T-Dog walked over too. “Do I want to know?”
Harry snorted, shook his head. “Nope. I do not want to add to any nightmares, thank you.”
“Magical creatures are that bad?” Rick asked, looking around at the group then back down at Harry.
“I'll give you one idea. Dementors,” Harry started.
“Dementors?” Dale repeated.
“Creatures that can rip your soul out,” Harry responded, shuddering a little. "When that happens, the person is just left a vegetable. It's not pretty."
He saw everyone wince at that.
“Anything that we need to be worried about here?” Rick asked.
“Nothing that I can think of. Our wizarding police, Aurors, took out all the dementors in Europe and I was told that there's none left. The creatures here though, I think there's less and less each day,” Harry replied. “So long story short. We don't need to worry about anything. Thank Merlin.”
“Merlin?” Dale asked.
“Yeah, he was one of us,” Harry said then grinned. “He wasn't a myth either. But back to what I was doing. Wandless magic.”
“Is that possible?” Glenn asked.
“Yeah, I've done a few wandless spells here,” Harry said. “That sleeping spell I used on Carl? That was done without a wand.”
“That seemed to work,” Rick commented. “You didn't look too discouraged.”
“It did,” Harry agreed. “It seems to come to me easily enough.”
Harry sighed. “Figures though.”
“What?” Dale asked.
Harry studied the group before him, looked from Rick to Dale and to Glenn and Carol. “I'm the most powerful wizard in the world since... since my mentor died.”
Dale stared at him, eyes wide.
“Mentor?” T-Dog questioned.
“Yeah, the headmaster of--”
Harry saw everyone stiffen and reach for the closest weapon. Their guns had gotten put in the RV due to Hershel's rules.
“I can nail it!” Andrea called out, as everyone raced over.
“You'd best let us handle this,” Shane returned, running over to join them.
“Shane, no,” Rick called, shaking his head. “You know what Hershel said. No guns.”
Harry stood up too, easily joining in. He could see a figure off in the distance, coming out of the woods slowly. It certainly walked like a walker, all shuffling over the ground. But there was something...
Harry raced over the fields, with Rick and T-Dog beside him. Shane was in front of them, shotgun in hand. Harry took a minute to pull the death magic up, blinking into the vision.
“Wait!” Harry called over, running a few more strides to catch up. The three other men had stopped in front of the alleged walker and had raised their guns.
Harry strode right over, passing them and coming to a stop right before Daryl. The man was bloody and bruised all over, blood stained spots marking his shirt. The shirt that had had sleeves this morning and now didn't. Harry eyed the spot where the blood seemed to come from and hesitantly took a step closer to Daryl.
Daryl stared at him, eyes a little wild, before finally focusing on him.
“Is that...” Shane trailed off behind him.
“Daryl, you okay?” Harry asked quietly, taking a step closer again.
“You gonna pull the trigger or what?” Daryl asked, dazedly.
A gunshot rang out just as Daryl was about to say something and the man keeled over, collapsing on the ground.
Harry stilled then hurried over to where Daryl had fallen and slipped an arm under him, making sure to not touch the wound. Blood was slipping sluggishly from the gunshot wound on Daryl's forehead and Harry reached a hand out to smooth some hair away from it. He sighed in relief when he realized that it was only a graze.
“No! Don't shoot!” Rick yelled, turning back to the camp and waving his arms.
Daryl gazed up at Harry and Harry could swear that the man looked a little sheepish.
“I take it your hunting trip didn't go well?” Harry asked as Rick came over and slipped a hand under Daryl's neck and they both lifted him off the ground. Shane and T-Dog stared at them. Shane lowered his gun but not before looking around thoroughly and T-Dog lowered his baseball bat.
“I was kidding...” Daryl retorted, glaring at Shane before going limp in their arms.
Harry snorted and glanced at Rick, who nodded at him.
“Let's get him back to the house,” Rick said, peering down to Daryl.
When Daryl woke up next, it was to hands on him. Unknown hands. He stiffened, flinching away. The hands disappeared immediately and the voice he was hearing quieted.
“Daryl, you're safe. You're back at the farm.”
He started to turn to face whoever was talking and a hand came back to still him. “What the fuck?”
Daryl heard movement then Harry appeared.
“You're injured, remember?” Harry asked, kneeling down to be at eye level with him. “You went hunting and came back with a wound in your side.”
“That wasn't walker inflicted, right?”
Daryl turned to see Rick at the other side of the bed, looking down at him worriedly.
“No, it ain't a walker bite,” Daryl retorted. “Now can you leave me alone?”
“I just fixed up your head wound,” Harry remarked quietly, studying Daryl. “I need to tend the wound in your side. I kind of figured you would want me to do it and not Hershel?”
Daryl shrugged, feeling his side flare in pain. He'd had worse in the past so it wasn't a big deal. “Don't care who does it.”
Harry stared at him, sighed. “Since I'm right here, I'll fix your side up. No need to call anyone else in here.”
“How long will it take?” Rick asked, watching as Harry stood back up and picked up his wand again.
“Not too long. Definitely not as long as healing Carl. Maybe a few minutes to an hour depending on how deep the wound is,” Harry explained. “And how much blood he lost. We're going to have to be careful from now on. I only have one last blood replenishing potion with me.”
“Is there a way to get more?” Rick questioned, glancing down at Daryl who appeared to not be paying attention to them. But Rick could see the tense line of Daryl's back and side, or at least what was visible between the various scars. The hunter was paying attention.
Harry looked into his open trunk at the foot of the bed. “I know how to make the potions. I just don't know if there's still an open potions shop anywhere around here. If that's not possible, I do have lists of ingredients... That would take a while though.”
“I don't remember seeing any potions shops in Atlanta or anywhere else,” Rick said.
Harry chuckled quietly. “That's because wizards like to hide everything. There's a reason that non-magical folk didn't know about us. I'll see about finding something in the next few days. Daryl, I can either numb the area of your injury or I can spell you to sleep. Would you prefer one over the other?”
“Don't force me asleep,” Daryl muttered, wincing a little.
“Okay. You can fall asleep, if you like,” Harry murmured. “You must be tired.”
“'M not falling asleep.”
“Alright. I just want to let you know that you can.”
Daryl felt the wood of the wand touch his wound and he heard Harry mutter some words in what Daryl guessed was Latin. A cool sensation spread from the tip of the wand and flowed into his side, enough so that Daryl couldn't feel anything on his side. He sighed in relief and closed his eyes.
Harry started to murmur healing spells as soon as he saw Daryl relax enough. The wound in his side was gory, bloody and when Harry got it cleaned, it was actually rather small. It looked like a... wound from one of Daryl's crossbow bolts. Like he had gotten shot with one of his arrows. Harry raised an eyebrow but went to work regardless, muttering spells to slowly knit the skin together and heal from the inside out.
“You need anything?” Rick asked, watching the other man go to work. There really wasn't anything to see now; Harry wasn't glowing like when he had used the spell to help Carl breathe.
“Nope. You don't have to stay,” Harry replied quietly in between murmuring spells. “Daryl's going to be fine. He'll only need to rest for a day or two after I'm done healing him.”
“Your eyes don't glow every time you... use magic,” Rick commented. “Is there a specific reason for that?”
“Uh, there might be,” Harry remarked, glancing up at the other man. “I'm not... too comfortable with explaining that though.”
Rick raised an eyebrow. “Anything that would be a threat?”
Harry vehemently shook his head. “No, I wouldn't do anything that would be a threat. Hell, I haven't even used any Dark Magic or what the Ministry considers dark magic. However...”
“Dark magic?” Rick repeated, narrowing his eyes.
Harry sighed, keeping an eye on Daryl's wound. It was slowly but surely closing and everything that had gotten hit by the arrow had already been knit together. He cast a minor pain easing spell that he had picked up working with a few aurors a few years ago as he noticed that Daryl had been twitching even though he was mostly asleep. “Magic that has been used by Dark wizards. We have... curses that are considered dark. There are hexes and spells that have a dark... aura to them. I've never waded into that pool of magic though except for one occasion.”
Rick stared at him and crossed his arms.
“That's not going to work on me,” Harry retorted. “That look. I've been interrogated before by worse people. And those people are dead so we have nothing to worry about now.”
Harry stiffened a little, muttered another healing charm and pulling out the last vial of blood replenishing potion. “People whom I have absolutely not killed.”
“What was that one occasion?”
“I would rather not talk about that,” Harry said. He opened the vial and waved his wand, watching the liquid in the vial vanish. After a minute or two, he heard Rick walk out of the room and talk with Shane and Lori then he tuned them out.
Daryl woke up a few hours later to no pain in his side. He reached out a hand to touch his side to feel whether or not it was healed and could only feel tenderness. He already knew that it would scar but it wouldn't be as worse as his others. That movement stretched the skin around the wound and he winced a little. He yawned and tried to sit up only to have no energy to complete the motion.
He turned slowly on the bed to see Harry sitting in a chair by the bed and glancing at him. There were sweat patches on the shirt that the other man was wearing and Daryl saw that both of Harry's wands were on his lap. Harry was fiddling idly with the more intricately carved one. There were sparks of... energy coming off both wands.
“Doesn't hurt,” Daryl replied, looking around the room of the farmhouse that they were in.
“That works for me,” Harry commented, yawning and standing up. “You're going to need to rest for a day, let your body settle.”
“Didn't need none of your company,” Daryl muttered, pulling the sheet up over his back.
He heard Harry sigh then some rustling. Daryl glanced up, his eyes widening. Harry had pulled off his shirt and turned around. Harry's back was all muscle, no fat at all, and was slightly covered in scars, some Daryl knew what they meant and some he didn't.
“You're not alone, you know that?” Harry asked quietly, one of his hands going behind him to point at a light brown old scar right next to his left shoulder blade. “That's one of the scars that my uncle left me. He tried to beat the magic out of me when I was young.”
“The others?” Daryl hesitantly asked.
“The others are curse scars. Most of the curses, it was an actual miracle that I came out alive. It's almost a relief right now, most of the wizards and witches are probably dead.”
Daryl raised an eyebrow.
“I said 'almost',” Harry retorted. “It's not like I enjoy all this shit.”
“He ain't won.”
Harry smiled a little and glanced out the window, where sun was a few hours away from going down, then back at Daryl. “Yeah, I suppose so. Get some sleep, okay?”
Daryl watched as Harry pulled his shirt back on then headed over to the door. He realized that he could hear people in the kitchen that was a few doors down from the room he was in.
“Wouldn't mind a little company,” Daryl grumbled.
Harry stopped and turned around, eyeing Daryl for a minute. “Human or feline company?”
Daryl stared at Harry then out the window. He didn't hear anything else for a minute then quiet purring filled the room. Daryl slowly shifted on the bed and glanced down. The big black panther from yesterday was curled up next to the bed. Harry turned up to look at Daryl then put his head on his paws and went to sleep.
“Here, I brought you something to eat.”
Carol walked into the room and placed the plate of food on the bedside table. Daryl glanced up at her and tugged the sheet higher over his body.
“You haven't seen Harry recently, have you?” Carol asked, looking around the room and not staring at Daryl's scarred chest. A loud thump made her startle a little and she looked around the room, not seeing anything that would have made that noise.
Daryl snorted. “Yeah, I've seen him.”
“Where'd he go? Dinner's ready out there,” Carol remarked.
“He's still in here,” Daryl replied, lips twitching up into a smile.
Another thump sounded in the quiet room and a big black head poked up from the other side of the bed. Carol gasped, took a step backward. The big cat stared at her with its green eyes and big jaw, not even looking particularly predatory.
“What... what is that?” Carol questioned, glancing at Daryl, who was grinning.
Carol stared at the cat, who hadn't made any move to come toward her. The cat only started to purr quietly and laid back down on the floor. “He can turn into a panther?”
“Yeah. I can.”
Carol watched as Harry, now human shaped, stood up off the floor. “You said dinner was ready?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Thanks,” Harry said, glancing at Daryl before walking around the bed and going out the door.
Harry was just concentrating on a spell the next morning when Glenn shuffled his way toward him. He was sitting in a camp chair around the fire pit, glaring at his wand briefly before he heard Glenn speaking.
“You're looking at that wand like it personally offended you,” Glenn commented, holding a bucket of fruit.
“Oh,” Harry said, scrubbing his eyes a little. “Sorry. I didn't hear you. I didn't particularly sleep well last night. What did you want?”
Glenn studied him briefly before glancing at the barn. And not the barn that had horses in it. Harry watched Glenn turn to look over at the house, to where Lori was helping Carl. He had announced that Carl was fit to walk around today and that had certainly made the boy happy. Even after a story about dragons from Harry hadn't kept the boredom away.
“The barn,” Glenn stated. “You know.”
Harry yelped and stood up, stashing his holly wand into his wand holster. Shane turned to stare at them from over by the car with Rick. Harry had heard them talking about gun training today, somewhere a good distance from the farm to be safe. The two were just looking over a map for a good place to have people shooting off rounds.
Andrea, Carol and Sophia looked over at him too, curiously.
“Uh,” Harry started, tugging Glenn over to a tree away from the camp fire. “Did you mean the barn that doesn't have horses in it?”
Glenn narrowed his eyes. “So I was right. That purple, blue wall of light was you.”
Harry sighed. “Yeah, that was me. I don't know what to do with that group of walkers. I think Hershel and his family know about them.”
“Maggie does,” Glenn replied. “What is the wall of magic doing?”
“It's suppose to keep the walkers in the barn,” Harry responded, shrugging. “But it's a drain on me. I have to keep it powered every minute of the day if we're staying here. And I don't trust that padlock. Walkers can be strong.”
“That's why you didn't sleep well?”
Glenn looked over at the camp, glancing at the people in the group. “Maybe Dale would know what to do?”
Harry nodded. “Do you want to go talk to him?”
“Ugh,” Harry muttered, sitting right in front of his tent. “This freaking...”
He closed his eyes and tried again, thinking about his good memory and whispering the incantation for a patronus. A sliver of white mist appeared in front of him, not even taking the form of a shield that he had gotten the first time he had done this with his wand. The mist swiftly disappeared and he sighed.
The spells that he had tried wandless had so far been easy enough. But casting a patronus wandless wasn't really working, at least so far. Harry shrugged and glanced around the farm. Most of the group had gone over with Rick and Shane to do some gun training. Perhaps... Harry stood up from under the tree, wiped the sweat off of his forehead and walked over to his tent.
He stepped in and pulled out the gun that the goblins had sent him. It was just a pistol but it sure didn't look like any pistol that a non-magical person would use. It was carved with a small black panther running across the gun, in the metal. And Harry could feel magic running through the gun, probably some wards to keep it clean. He brought out the holster that had come with it and slid the gun into it, attaching it to one of the belt loops of his jeans. Harry grinned a little, tucked his holly wand in his holster then wandered over to Daryl's tent. He had helped the other man to walk out back to his tent this morning, when Daryl hadn't wanted to stay in the house.
Harry stopped right outside of Daryl's tent and peeked inside. The hunter was asleep on the cot that he had set up, curled up just a little bit. His crossbow was sitting just right next to the cot, within easy reach. Harry smiled then ventured back out and was about to apparate to where the group was training when he saw Dale coming toward him.
“Harry? Have a minute?”
“Yeah?” Harry called back and went over to meet the older man. “What's up?”
Dale studied him, glanced at the gun that Harry was holding. “I was just about to go talk with Hershel. Glenn told me you were spelling the barn?”
Harry nodded. “Yeah. I put wards up inside it, to keep the walkers in there.”
“Wards?” Dale echoed, raising an eyebrow.
“They're kind of shields?” Harry explained, shrugging. “The walkers won't be able to penetrate them, hopefully.”
“There's lots of walkers in the barn and occasionally they'll try to get out,” Harry said, glancing toward the barn then back to Dale.
Dale's eyes widened. “That's why you haven't been sleeping well.”
“Yeah. You've noticed?” Harry asked.
“No, that was a guess,” Dale answered. “I'll go talk with Hershel.”
Harry landed underneath the trees behind where the group was firing their guns. He glanced around, briefly flickered into his death magic and looked around for any possible walkers before nodding and blinked a few times to turn it off. He hadn't seen any for a few miles around their site so he walked out of the bush and up to T-Dog. Harry avoided Shane, walking quietly behind him.
Rick was looking over Carl's work and from what Harry could see the kid was pretty good. Beth and Patricia were here too, firing guns at cans that were on fence posts a few feet away.
“Anyone spare a few minutes to teach me?” Harry asked.
T-Dog startled, luckily lowering his gun before turning around. “Shit! You don't just do that!”
T-Dog glared at him.
The rest of the group all turned to stare at him. Shane just glared at him.
“Anyone not Shane?” Harry added hopefully.
“Here, I can teach you,” Rick said, walking over to him. “How much do you know about guns?”
“Basically nothing. I'm more a magic or sword kind of a guy,” Harry explained. “I figured with the world being the way it is and no solution in sight, better to learn now. Just in case. But I'm a fast learner so...”
“How'd you learn how to use a sword?” T-Dog asked curiously as the rest of the group returned to learning how to fire their guns. Shane turned back to watch Andrea as she fired her weapon.
“Trial and error,” Harry replied, snorting.
Rick raised an eyebrow.
“I fought a basilisk when I was 12,” Harry explained, grinning a little at T-Dog's look.
“Basilisk?” T-Dog repeated, eyes wide.
“Yeah... Fun times. Magic wouldn't work and nothing would penetrate its hide otherwise.”
“Basilisk.” T-Dog went pale as if he was imagining said animal.
Harry chuckled. “Yep. But I think that was the last one in the world so...”
“You fought a giant snake when you were 12?” Rick asked, narrowing his eyes. “What kind of situation were you in?”
“That is a long story,” Harry remarked. “And not a particularly pleasant one either.”
“Alright. Do you have a gun?” Rick asked, studying him briefly before gesturing over to a spot that was on the other side of Carl.
Harry followed the other man and smiled at Carl when he waved hello. “You doing okay, Carl?”
“Yeah, it doesn't hurt at all,” Carl replied, grinning broadly. “You fought a basilisk?”
Lori stared at Carl before looking at Harry and nodding.
Harry nodded back. “Yes, I did. And no, you would not like to meet a basilisk either. They're not that much better than dragons.”
Harry pulled out the gun that was in his holster and held it out to Rick. The other man took it and looked it over, eyes going wide at the carving.
“This mean anything to you?” Rick asked, pointing at the panther.
“In a manner of speaking,” Harry answered, smiling a little. “The people who made this gun for me knew what it meant to me.”
“I've never seen a gun that had a carving like this before,” Rick muttered, before handing it back.
“It's also carved with magic in it,” Harry explained. “It should keep it clean but well, I would prefer to know how to clean it without magic.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Everything go okay here?” Harry asked, a few hours after everyone got out of their cars after gun training. It was now really hot out, probably around late afternoon and the sun was glaring down on them. He could hear Daryl moving around in his tent and sighed a little but then again, someone like Daryl wouldn't stay on bedrest for long.
“Glenn and Maggie got back from the pharmacy again,” Dale said as Harry moved toward him. Luckily, Shane hadn't come back with the main group; he and Andrea had gone to do more advanced training. Harry had seen the looks between Shane and Andrea, both of them a little or a lot rough around the edges. He wouldn't be too surprised if the two of them ended up together. “They had a close call so they're a little shaken up. And I talked with Hershel.”
“Are they okay?” Harry asked, looking around for Glenn and spotting him walking out of Rick and Lori's tent. “Glenn, you and Maggie okay?”
Glenn started a little but came over toward them. “Yeah. Mostly. Maggie almost...”
Harry sighed. “You could have said something. I would have gone with you two.”
“I am usually the guy who goes on runs,” Glenn said, yawning a little. “We took care of it. No one's hurt.”
“What did the man say?” Harry asked, glancing over toward the house where Hershel had come out and was standing on the porch. The farmer was looking at Beth and Patricia with a frown on his face, like he hadn't approved of them going out to practice shooting guns.
“He thinks they're people,” Dale responded and was about to say something else when Sophia ran over to them.
Harry smiled and saw Dale grin.
“What is it, Sophia?” Harry asked, peering down at her.
“Your trunk is glowing!” Sophia exclaimed, staring at him then looking at the gun at his hip. She winced a little but her eyes were still bright otherwise with curiosity.
Harry's eyes widened, looked at Dale. “I need to go...”
“What does that mean? Your trunk is glowing?” Dale questioned.
“It means I've got a letter!” Harry replied, taking off at a run toward his tent. He felt most of the group turn to stare at him briefly before he tuned them out. He saw Daryl peek his head out and step out of his own tent.
“What's all the noise about?” Daryl grumbled, as he swayed a little on the spot before steadying himself. Harry rolled his eyes and stopped at his tent.
“You're suppose to be resting,” Harry retorted before ducking into his tent and plopping down onto his sleeping bag. He stared at his trunk a little apprehensively, the glow lighting up the trunk. The glow wasn't too bright, as Harry and Hermione had made it so that it wouldn't attract a lot of attention.
He sighed, hoping that whatever he was about to read was good news.
“Ain't you going to open it?”
Harry turned to see Daryl and Sophia standing at the entrance to his tent then turned back to the trunk. He flipped open the locks on his trunk, used a little magic to unlock the magical lock then watched the trunk open. He whispered the password to get it to open on the correct compartment and reached into it to pull out a piece of parchment.
You're alive!! I'm... sooo glad you're alive. I miss you so much. You have no idea what it means to me to learn that you're alive.
I assume you got my last letter? So much has happened since I last wrote to you... I don't know where to start. Ron and I managed to make it to Australia, through portkeys. But my parents... You know they stayed here after everything so they... Harry, they're dead.
There were more than a few tear drops around those sentences. Harry winced, wishing that Hermione and Ron were right next to him so he could pull them into a group hug.
Harry stiffened, the letter dropping to the floor of the tent.
“Harry?” Sophia asked.
“Sophia, go help your mother.”
“Okay, Mr. Daryl.”
Daryl snorted and watched the little girl run over to Carol. He watched as Harry's back tensed up, visible even beneath the shirt he was wearing.
Harry... Ron died protecting me a few days ago. He... I hate this. I... I don't know what to do now. Harry, where are you? I'll try and see if I can find a functioning portkey.
Harry, does your magic recognize these... creatures? If I cast a revealing spell, it only shows me people who are alive. It doesn't register whatever these are. That's why... We didn't see a group of them before it was too late for...
Hopefully, there won't be too much time in between our next communication. What happened to you? You were out of contact for two and a half months!
Harry wiped a few tears from his eyes, kind of surprised that he hadn't cried more. Ron... His friend was... dead. Merlin, maybe the rest of the wizarding world was dead. He knew that things had gone to hell before he had left, having been coerced into checking out the situation in the States. For all he knew the Weasleys... they were pretty much all dead. Harry closed his eyes when he remembered Molly taking care of him throughout his school years and Arthur leading him to his trial before fifth year.
But then again... Maybe having the wizarding world be gone would be a good thing? A few of them had caused this and... Harry sighed, ran a hand through his sweat soaked hair. He probably didn't want to go down that route of thinking.
“You loose anyone?” Daryl asked, breaking into Harry's thoughts.
Harry turned around to see that Daryl had taken a seat on the short log that Harry had brought over outside his tent. The hunter was sitting on it, with his crossbow propped next to him. It was like he was guarding Harry or something... Or keeping a certain someone from coming and questioning him as Harry saw Shane and Andrea come back. Shane had a look to him, like... Harry's eyes widened. Shane was grinning, eyes bright. It was like... the man had just gotten laid.
“One of my best friends,” Harry replied quietly. “He's dead.”
“But my other best friend... She's alive!” Harry added excitedly. “I just need to write to her, tell her where I am.”
“She your girlfriend?” Daryl asked curiously.
Harry shook his head. “No. She's my best friend. I might even consider her a sister. We're that close. Why're you asking?”
“Nothing. No reason,” Daryl muttered, standing up quickly and striding off in the other direction.
Harry stared after Daryl and smiled a little.
Harry stood up and wandered over to where Dale and Shane were having a heated conversation. He couldn't hear much of what was being said but Harry did consciously put a hand on the elder wand, just in case. The two men were very close to each other but the body language in those two...
“...You think that's the kind of man I am?” Shane declared, glaring at Dale. “Well, maybe we ought to just think that through. Say I'm the kind of man who'd gun down his own best friend. What do you think I'd do to some guy that I don't even like when he starts throwing accusations my way?”
Harry's eyes widened and he could see Dale. The guy's eyes were wide too and his face was pale, like he was fearing for his life now. Harry would be too, if Shane was looking at him like that. He was just about to step in when Shane turned and marched off... in Harry's direction.
He stared at Shane, fingers tightening on his wand, as the man stopped and glared at him. Shane was shifting his weight from foot to foot, like he was all but ready to start a fight at the slightest insult. It took a second before he thought of a certain incantation, flicking his wand in his pocket. Harry heard only a minute of Shane's thoughts before canceling the spell and shuddering.Then he hastily stepped aside from the man's path.
“Are you okay?” Dale asked, hesitantly coming up to Harry. The wizard had gone pale and Dale could see Harry's left hand in his pocket and it was trembling.
“Uh... yeah. Were you asking him if he had killed Otis?” Harry questioned, glancing over to his and Daryl's tents before turning back to Dale.
“Not outright. I noticed that he and Andrea have grown close,” Dale said, raising an eyebrow.
“Well, um. He did kill Otis.”
Dale's eyes widened even more as he watched Harry wander back over to his tent.
Harry was just practicing cutting a log in half with magic, trying out little delicate movements without a wand, when he saw Lori walk out toward the fence. He raised an eyebrow but otherwise ignored her after he did a scan of the surrounding landscape. He was trying not think about what he had just overheard from Shane's thoughts and a good portion of those thoughts included Lori. Though the thoughts that were in the forefront of Shane's mind were in fact memories of shooting Otis in the knee. And watching as walkers descended on the man, distracting them from Shane.
The log in front of him rose into the air and floated there and he flicked a finger, willing his magic to slice through the log. There was a quiet crack then the log broke into two pieces. He grinned then tried one more time to do a wandless patronus.
He whispered the incantation and watched as mist appeared in front of him. It floated in the air for a second or two then disappeared. Harry sighed and drew his holly wand and checked to see if it was another problem. He whispered the incantation again, thought of the usual memory he used and out flew Prongs.
The buck trotted around him, alert for trouble.
“That's your patronus, right?”
Harry turned to see Rick coming over his way and nodded. “Yeah. I call him Prongs.”
The buck trotted around Harry once more then walked up to Rick, who stopped. “Prongs?”
“Nickname for my dad,” Harry explained idly. “He used to be able to shift into a buck.”
“Used to?” Rick echoed, walking up to him and staring at the blue deer who followed him.
“He... Both of my parents are dead,” Harry answered.
“Sorry to hear that,” Rick said. “Were they both...”
“Wizards and yes, they were. They both died when I was one and a half so it's been a while.”
Prongs loped around them both, going around the tree that Harry was sitting under then Harry flicked his wand, canceling the spell. The buck vanished instantly.
“Lori's over there, if you want her,” Harry remarked, pointing over toward where the woman was.
“Yeah, I was going to go talk to her,” Rick said then sighed.
Harry raised an eyebrow, noting the empty pill packets in Rick's hand, then shrugged. “Look, I know it's none of my business but... Has she told you about--”
“She's pregnant,” Rick interrupted, narrowing his eyes at Harry, who stood up and crossed his arms. “I just saw these morning after pills in the tent. How do you know? She tell you?”
“Ah. Not so much? I... was scanning the group with some magic and well... It was by accident, for your information. She didn't tell me.”
“Oh.” Rick's shoulders drooped as he glanced over to where Lori was. “What were you about to say then?”
“If you guys want to keep the baby, I have stuff to help with the morning sickness.”
“There are walkers in the barn.”
Harry glanced up to where Glenn was standing in the middle of the group campfire. He finished chewing on his last bite of scrambled eggs that Carol had cooked up and studied everyone's reactions. Predictably, Shane had tensed up and was standing up, reaching to pick up his shotgun. Rick had a similar reaction but less pronounced, less aggression.
Shane and Rick both exchanged glances and took off for the barn. Everyone else in their group did exactly that, adding to the tension in the air.
“Wait!” Glenn yelled, shaking his head and joined everyone else in going for the barn. “There are shields around the... Fuck.”
Daryl, who had refused to stay lying down for another day, was sitting right next to Harry and turned to look at him. “Got something to do with that?”
Harry raised an eyebrow. “Well... do you know any other wizard or witch around here?”
Daryl shook his head and stood up, though not before his lips twitched upwards into a grin.
“Yeah, I thought not.”
The two of them both raced off to join the group, the group that was already at the barn.
“What is that wall of light?” Andrea asked, as the group all stood around the barn door.
Shane was peeking through the barn door, shaking it a little. Each time he did, Harry winced as the wards flared and the walkers grew alive, sensing prey behind the door. Each time a walker hit the wards, he could feel it which caused him to shudder every other minute or so. Feeling the ugliness and the hunger of the walkers was the worst thing he had discovered about them. He drew the elder wand and idly flipped it between his fingers as sparks flew off it.
“That would be my wards,” Harry remarked.
“Your what?” Shane questioned, turning back to face the rest of the group.
“My wards. The thing keeping the walkers from breaking down the barn door or walls and eating us all. My magic in other words,” Harry retorted, glaring back at Shane. He shuddered again, feeling his wards flicker. “Now we either need to back away from the barn or I need to take a few minutes to strengthen them.”
“You knew?” Shane asked.
“Yes, I knew! I'm a wizard! I can tell where these things are,” Harry exclaimed, feeling a breeze pick up around him. “And no, they weren't a part of my nefarious plans or whatever you think I'm up to!”
The hisses grew louder, making Sophia cringe and shuffle behind Carol. The breeze grew stronger and picked up leaves, making them rustle around in the air. Rick took a step toward him and reached out to grasp his shoulder in reassurance and Harry sighed. The breeze stopped, leaves falling to the ground.
“He ain't up to anything,” Daryl added, glaring at Shane and taking a step toward the former police officer.
“Hey! Hey,” Rick called out, walking over to stand in between Shane and Daryl. “Shane, do you really think Harry's up to something? All he's done is protect the group!”
“Those walls could break easily,” Shane said. “And he said he needed to strengthen the wards. If he knew about the walkers, then why didn't he tell the rest of the group?!”
“I didn't because I knew it would result in this! A shouting match in front of the barn,” Harry muttered, turning to go back to his tent. “You try holding wards up against a group of about a dozen or so walkers.”
Harry wandered past his tent over to the other barn, where the actual horses were. A few of them whinnied at him, hoping for a carrot or pieces of grain. He winced a little at the noise and kept on walking, mind going back to the world before this. Before everything went to shit.
He sighed and ventured into the forest, shifting into a panther after a few steps. On four legs, he picked up speed and ran. Ran through bushes and occasionally up trees then jumping back down. Pounced on a walker that was a mile or two away from the farm. Blood splattered everywhere, getting into his fur coat and onto his paws. Brain matter joined the blood, or to be more precise, partially decomposed brain matter.
Harry growled lowly and came to a stop after a few hours of running. He sighed and sat on his haunches then jumped up onto the nearest tree, claws fixing into the thick bark, climbed up to the limb that was halfway up and lay down on it. He figured he was relatively close to the farm again, so he made sure he was secure on the tree and closed his eyes. The last thing he remembered hearing was a strange sound. It sounded like... a really big bird. A big bird that was having trouble flying. But it was at the absolute distance that he could hear in this form and it wasn't a walker so Harry let out a huff of breath, the run having exhausted him, and fell asleep.
Shouts woke him. He sleepily opened his eyes, noting where the sun was in the sky. It was late afternoon and he had missed lunch. But then he realized it wasn't just shouts that had woken him. He stiffened, his wards were going crazy. The walkers were all bunched up against the front of the barn, moving against the wards in an attempt to break through. And they weren't stopping. Harry sat up, jumped down from the tree and ran, taking off at a full out run.
A few minutes later and he arrived at the barn, only to come to a stop. His eyes widened as he saw the group standing in front of the barn. Rick was holding a walker on a pole, kind of like the poles he had seen animal catchers use. Shane was waving a pistol at the front of the group, going on about how walkers were dangerous. How regular 'sick' people wouldn't be able to walk away from shots. Harry watched as Shane proceeded to shoot the walker that Hershel was holding on a stick, one in the stomach and one in the lungs. One in the heart.
Hershel was pale and he was almost swaying in place.
“Could someone who's alive, could they just take that?! Why is it still coming? That's its heart, its lungs!” Shane exclaimed, holding out the pistol.
The walker continued to stay standing, reaching out to the group around it. Glenn and Maggie had gone pale as well. Patricia and Beth had gone to stand around Hershel, eyes wide. Daryl was standing next to T-Dog and Andrea while making sure Carol and Sophia stayed well away from the barn. Lori and Carl were staying away, keeping next to Carol and Sophia.
“Shane, no!” Rick yelled, while still trying to keep the walker that he was holding away from their people. “These are Hershel's people!”
“Rick, it ain't like it was before! Now if y'all want to live, if you want to survive, you got to fight for it! I'm talking about fighting right here, right now,” Shane explained, voice still raised, running over to the barn door. The wards were flickering, almost at the last of their strength.
And Harry had finally had enough of Shane. He growled and launched himself toward his group, yowling loudly. Screw the consequences as the wards finally broke.
“Shane, take the pole,” Rick shouted.
Harry practically flew past the barn and hit the ground in front of Shane, growling loudly.
Everyone around him gave surprised shouts and took multiple steps back. T-Dog raised his pistol, about to fire at him.
“The fuck?” Shane exclaimed, grabbing a pickaxe that was lying on the ground in front of the barn.
Harry growled, getting in between the barn door and Shane, who yelped.
Back the fuck away from the barn.
Shane's eyes widened in an almost comical way and that was when they heard a crack. The barn door split and opened outward. Harry stiffened and jumped out of the way of the first walker that charged through the door. He felt something grab his tail but just as he was about to get pulled back, a shot rang out and his tail was released. Only for the walker to fall on him.
He grunted and growled, wrinkling his panther nose before arching his back and launching out from under it. More shots rang out as more walkers charged out from the barn and Harry moved to pounce on the walker that Rick was holding.
Their leader watched him, eyes wide and skin a little pale.
It was all over in less than five minutes, all the walkers dead a few feet from the barn door. Hershel was on his knees, staring at the destruction dazedly. Beth and Maggie were crying and shaking, with Beth taking little hiccuping breaths. Harry supposed they hadn't seen much death or walker death before. Everyone was silent, staring at the dead walkers. Shane's eyes were still wide, staring at Harry more often than he was staring at the chaos that he had wrought.
“What the fuck are you?” Shane exclaimed.
Daryl moved over to stand in front of Harry, who huffed out a cat sigh and tentatively stuck his cold nose against Daryl's leg. The hunter stiffened, squirmed briefly for a minute then relaxed. Daryl turned to glance down at Harry and glared down at him. Harry blinked his big cat eyes, trying to look like an innocent kitten.
“Your nose is cold,” Daryl muttered before turning back to look at the group. Carol and Sophia were tentatively smiling at him, already knowing who he was.
“Daryl?” Rick finally spoke, quiet. “What are you doing?”
“Protecting the group,” Daryl replied steadily, keeping his shotgun at an easy position to raise it.
Harry was about to shift back when he realized he was hearing that same noise. The noise he had heard before he had fallen asleep. He turned around and glanced up at the sky, looking around.
“Why is the panther not attacking us?” T-Dog asked.
“You saw it. It attacked the walkers, not us.”
“Daryl, you're saying you know that panther?” Rick asked, taking a step closer to the hunter with a peculiar expression on his face.
“Yeah and it ain't going to attack us,” Daryl replied.
“Why are you so certain that it won't attack us? It could just be looking for dinner!” Shane exclaimed then glanced up to the sky. “The fuck is that noise?”
Harry turned back to glance at the group. Rick was peering around Daryl, raising an eyebrow.
Harry huffed out a hopefully pleased sounding little yowl.
“What the fuck is that?” T-Dog exclaimed, pointing at the big looking creature in the sky.
Daryl watched as Harry slunk past him, moving through the group and finally shifting back to human form. Most members of the group moved away from him, as if still not realizing that the panther was not going to hurt them.
The creature in the sky grew closer, still very far above land. It was about at the altitude that a plane would be at but it clearly wasn't a plane. Daryl kind of thought it looked like a horse but from this angle... It was very weird looking and he knew what horses looked like. The creature was a horse but wasn't a horse at the same time.
“Harry, do you know what that is?” Rick asked, coming to stand next to Daryl. The two of them exchanged glances, Rick's being slightly bewildered,then Daryl quickly looked back at Harry.
“Uh, yeah...” Harry trailed off, as the creature in the sky started to circle in the sky, obviously about to land. He glanced back at them, narrowed his eyes. “May I be excused?”
Andrea and T-Dog snorted and Sophia and Carl laughed, breaking up the tension in the atmosphere somewhat. Though it was still tense, with blood and decomposed guts splattered all over the ground and corpses in front of them. Patricia, Beth, and Maggie, well... pretty much everyone was staring at Shane wearily.
Harry took off, but not going up to Beth, Jimmy and Patricia. “You three okay? I'm sorry about all... this.”
Patricia nodded wearily. “We're okay. I think.”
Beth was still crying, still being hugged by Jimmy. Jimmy stared at Harry before nodding. Hershel turned to stare at Harry then over to Shane before turning and taking off back to the house. Maggie and Glenn were both standing right up close to each other. Shane sighed before taking off back to their camp, shotgun in hand. Dale, having arrived at the barn a few minutes after Shane had started his tirade, stared at the carnage sadly.
Harry nodded then took off to the patch of land in between the farm house and their camp.
“We need to make a grave for the people that were family,” Lori remarked, looking over to Rick. He nodded.
“I'll get on that,” T-Dog replied.
“I'll help,” Glenn said, looking at Maggie who nodded.
“What do we do with the others?” Patricia asked, wrapping an arm around Beth as the younger woman's cries finally quieted.
Harry stared at the hippogriff in the sky as it came closer and closer to the ground. There were two people riding the creature but he couldn't make out who they were. They were definitely wizards but... It wasn't like anyone knew where he was. And he was fairly sure that the Greene family had no friends in the wizarding world.
He knew who the hippogriff was though and knew what the red stuff dripping from it was. Before the shit at the barn had happened, he had heard a big bird and apparently, he hadn't been too close off the mark. He had heard labored flying and what he saw now confirmed that. The hippogriff in the sky was landing almost quickly, too quickly, with one wing trailing limp alongside it. He could also vaguely see wounds that looked like they were from being shot. “Buckbeak?!!”
The hippogriff let out a relatively loud cry though it was muted and hoarse, like Buckbeak was exhausted. Judging by the visible wounds, Harry thought that if Buckbeak wasn't exhausted then the animal was very close to it. Then Harry heard yells from two people he thought he would never see again.
Buckbeak finally landed, taking a few galloping strides on land and as Harry watched, Buckbeak's legs buckled and the hippogriff crashed to the ground. The hippogriff plowed into the grass, slid a little then slowly came to a stop.The two children on top of Buckbeak slid off hurriedly, before Harry watched as Buckbeak toppled over, and ran toward him, crashing right into Harry and making him fall. He didn't even have the heart to stay standing, distantly realizing he was in shock, so he made sure he fell easily onto the ground. Teddy and Lily laughed quietly, a little timidly before burrowing into his chest.
“Oomph, you two,” Harry whispered, tears coming into his eyes. He wrapped his arms tightly around the two of them, feeling so, so happy that they had survived. “I... I thought you guys... How did you two find me? How?”
Lily sighed happily, her short red hair all mussed up from flying. Harry could see that there were bags under her eyes, bags that shouldn't be there for a child of 13 years.
“We let Buckbeak find you!” Teddy exclaimed quietly, voice watery. His light brown hair turned light blue like it usually did when Teddy was happy. Harry could see that Teddy wasn't even trying to control his ability now, too excited and happy to. “Uncle...”
“Buckbeak?” Harry asked, turning to look at Lily, who was still quiet.
“He could sniff out magic,” Lily replied, voice a little muffled because she was burrowed into Harry's chest. He could feel tears coming from her and he gently started to stroke her back. “We knew you were in the States but that's... That's all that we knew.”
“Did you two...” Harry trailed off, afraid to ask but... “Did you guys have an adult with you or is it just you two and the menace over there?”
“It's just us,” Teddy said, sniffling a little. His hair turned dark red and Harry pulled them both in closer, ruffling Teddy's hair in comfort. He could feel people watching the three of them but he just didn't care. He didn't, not when he had two of his children back with him.
A inhuman squeal of pain woke him a few hours later, having fallen asleep with Teddy and Lily in his arms. Teddy and Lily had both fallen asleep in his lap after just a few minutes, finally safe. Teddy was even snoring quietly, little noises that made Harry's heart clench happily. Though he dreaded having to ask where James was... or whether... But otherwise he was content.
Harry shot bolt upright and glanced around him, waking up the children. Shane was holding his gun up in a raised position, like he was about to... Harry tensed and started a little when he saw that Daryl had pulled up a camp chair and was sitting behind him, crossbow propped on his lap. The other man was also sharpening sticks, making more arrows. Lily and Teddy both looked at him curiously. He looked around at the campsite, searching for... “Hey, Carol?”
Carol and Sophia were sitting on the porch steps of the farm house. Carl was sitting down next to Sophia and Harry could see that they were flipping through one of the books that he had let them borrow. The three of them looked anxious, like something had happened while Harry was asleep. Harry hoped that it was something not bad but given... given that the world had ended... It had probably been something bad.
“Harry?” Carol asked, standing up and telling Carl and Sophia to stay on the porch. She walked slowly around Buckbeak and Shane, who was about to...
“Would you mind getting something to eat for these two?” Harry asked as Lily and Teddy stood up and stretched. Harry stood up too, making sure one of his wands was within easy reach.
“Sure,” Carol replied, peering down at the two new children.
“Lily, Teddy, meet Carol Peletier. Carol, my daughter Lily Luna Potter and my godson, Teddy Lupin.”
Lily and Teddy both glanced up at Carol then up at Harry. “Dad?”
Harry nodded, leaned down to place a kiss on Lily's forehead. “It's okay, sweetheart. You're safe here.”
“It's nice to meet you two,” Carol spoke, lowering her voice a little.
“Nice to meet you too,” Teddy replied, glancing up at her. “Have you been traveling with my uncle?”
Carol smiled, startling a little when Teddy's hair changed color to a muted, dark, blue. “Yes, I have. Would you like to come meet my daughter?”
Teddy nodded and Lily glanced between the two of them and took Teddy's hand as he reached out. Harry saw them exchange glances then they followed Carol as she led them over to the house.
“Uh, Shane? I wouldn't do that, if I were you,” Harry spoke, raising his voice and walking over to Buckbeak. Daryl followed, scooping up his crossbow. Harry could see the hunter was curious, glancing at Buckbeak before looking at Harry. “You were guarding me?”
Daryl nodded. “You fell asleep.”
“I hadn't expected to see my children again,” Harry explained quietly. “They... Hermione, my best friend, had written that she hadn't seen them when their safe place fell. I thought... I thought they had died.”
The hippogriff's eyes were hazy from pain but they still brightened a little, almost in recognition. Harry dipped his head in a shortened bow and Buckbeak dipped his head back but it was clear that even the littlest movement hurt.
“The fuck is this?” Shane yelled as Harry placed himself between the injured hippogriff and the other man.
“He's a hippogriff which means he's half horse, half eagle,” Harry said, narrowing his eyes. “Now if you would step away from me and the animal? Before I do anything I won't regret?”
“Get,” Daryl added, raising his crossbow with an arrow already nocked.
Shane looked between the two of them, shook his head and took off, but not before glaring at Harry. “Mutiny, huh?”
Harry rolled his eyes. “We're not on a ship, you idiot. Even injured, a hippogriff can do you a good injury. So get.”
Shane strode off without another word.
Once Shane had buggered off, Harry turned to kneel in front of Buckbeak. “Daryl, I maybe probably could use some help?”
“How'd you want me?” Daryl asked, staying where he was. He had seen Harry nod his head at the animal and had seen the animal nod back, like it was a tradition of some sort. Though given that this was a magical creature, he didn't exactly know where to start helping.
Harry glanced up at him then back at the hippogriff. “Given that Buckbeak is injured, I think nodding will do this time. He dipped his head for me so...”
“That's his name,” Harry replied, sighing and closing his eyes briefly, remembering Hagrid. Harry didn't know what had become of the groundskeeper, his first friend in the wizarding world. “Don't ask. I didn't name him. Hippogriffs are proud creatures, never offend him. You can just nod you head at him, before you come any closer.”
“Wait for him to nod back,” Harry said, certain that Buckbeak would nod back at Daryl. He was very much certain that had Shane gone any closer to the hippogriff, the man would have seen what an angry hippogriff looked like. “Don't make any move before Buckbeak decides whether or not he likes you.”
Daryl nodded his head at the creature as the hippogriff stared at him with its orange eyes. Buckbeak looked at him, lifted a wing an inch or two off the ground hesitantly before nodding at him in return.
“Good. You can come closer now,” Harry muttered then turned to look at where their tents were. He stared at his tent and crooked a finger, murmuring a summoning spell under his breath. A few seconds later, his trunk flew out of his tent and floated the thirty or so feet toward him. “Buckbeak officially likes you now.”
Daryl snorted, walking over to stand next to Harry. “Officially?”
“I had guessed that he would like you,” Harry replied, peering up at Daryl with a slight smile. “What happened while I was asleep?”
“Beth. The girl's comatose and Hershel's nowhere to be found,” Daryl replied, kneeling down beside Harry. “Rick and Glenn took off to the town bar to find him.”
Harry's eyes widened, turned to look back into the house before looking back at Daryl. “Well, that's just great. Just when I needed the local veterinarian, he vanishes. Why the bar though?”
“Maggie said something about her father being a drunk a long time ago,” Daryl said.
“Ah. Okay, let's see. Buckbeak...” Harry trailed off as the animal looked up at him. He narrowed his eyes at Daryl's tone, remembering the scars on the man's back. “Thank you.”
Buckbeak whined quietly, reaching his head out to lean on Daryl's lap. Daryl startled a little, glanced at Harry.
Harry grinned, spoke in a whisper. “Just pretend he's a horse.”
Buckbeak looked up at him without moving his head.
“No offense meant to you,” Harry muttered before opening his trunk and looking through the potions that he could see. “I think I have something that might help Beth and Buckbeak but I'll need to... Stay here for a minute, you two.”
“Ain't going nowhere,” Daryl retorted, hand tentatively going to stroke Buckbeak's head feathers.
Harry nodded before standing up and stepping into his trunk.
“So you're Harry's godson?” Carol asked as the two new kids followed her over to the porch of the farmhouse. Sophia and Carl were engrossed in looking through the book that Harry had given them, both muttering excitedly over the different creatures. Carol's eyes had widened when Harry had given it to the kids as the man had stroked the spine before handing it over. It's called the Monster Book of Monsters for a reason.
“Yeah, he's my godfather,” Teddy replied quietly, still holding hands with Lily. The two of them looked exhausted and wary and their hands that weren't holding others' were occasionally going to pockets in their pants. Lily almost looked like Sophia when her father had... Carol winced and sighed. She hoped that this girl hadn't gone through what Sophia had but it was more than likely that Lily looked like this because of the walkers. Lily hadn't at all flinched when Harry had placed a kiss on her forehead. “My dad and mom... they died ten years ago.”
Sophia looked up at her then at the two kids by her side.
“Sophia, sweetie, these are Harry's kids. They were on that horse creature that arrived.”
“Hippogriff,” Carl said, looking up at the three of them.
Carol raised an eyebrow at him.
He grinned a little. “I read about them in the book.”
“Buckbeak helped us find our dad,” Lily replied, nodding. “I'm Lily. Who're you?”
“I'm Sophia. Carol's my mom.”
Andrea came out of the house and stopped at the sight of two new children.
“Andrea, these are Harry's children. Lily and Teddy,” Carol said, gesturing to each child. “Kids, this is Andrea.”
Teddy and Lily looked up at her then glanced at Carl and Sophia. Sophia grinned and nodded.
“Hello,” Teddy offered quietly.
“Hi Teddy, Lily, where's your dad? Beth...” Andrea trailed off as Maggie came out of the house too.
“He's tending to the... hippogriff's wounds,” Carol replied, glancing at Teddy for confirmation that she said the animal's name correctly. Teddy nodded, his hair turning light blue briefly before changing back to light brown.
“What...” Maggie gaped and looked at Carol and Andrea.
“Teddy, is that a spell that you can do?” Carol asked tentatively.
“No, it's something my mom could do,” Teddy explained, voice still a little dry. Sophia looked at him then at Lily and ran into the house, calling for Lori. “She was a metamorphmagus and now I can do it too.”
“A what?” Maggie repeated, raising an eyebrow.
“She could shift any of her features,” Lily replied tentatively. “Her nose, her hair, her eyes, her skin. At least that's what Dad said she could do.”
The three women gaped at the children and Lori came onto the porch, led by Sophia. “Sophia said something about wanting two glasses of water?”
Carol nodded, smiling gratefully. “Thanks, Lori. They're for Harry's children.”
“So that was who the passengers on the animal were,” Lori said, handing the glasses of water to Carol. Carol handed them to Lily and Teddy, who smiled and drank the water quickly enough. Though it looked like the two were savoring the liquid too, like they knew what it was to have to hunt for water.
Lori knelt down to be at eye level with the two. “What're are your names?”
“I'm Teddy and this is Lily,” Teddy said excitedly. “Thanks for the water!”
“Your welcome. You two have met Carl and Sophia already?” Lori asked, smiling at Teddy's enthusiasm.
“Yeah,” Teddy said, looking at the two that looked like they were the same age as him and Lily. “We haven't seen any other children since...”
Lily leaned her head on Teddy's shoulder and Teddy looked like he was tightening his hold on Lily's hand. “Since Hogwarts fell.”
“Hogwarts?” Maggie questioned.
“Our school,” Lily answered, as her stomach growled loudly.
“Let's get you two something to eat. How does that sound?” Lori said, standing up.
“That sounds great,” Teddy replied quietly, peering up at the adults happily.
Hermione was woken by her trunk glowing slightly. She grabbed the cloth that she had left by her bedroll and wiped the sweat off of her face then slowly got up, opened the trunk. She could hear the rough hisses of the nearest dead thing and winced. Her wards protected her small tent while she was asleep but they didn't allow her to stop hearing the strange and unnatural noises. Most nights she couldn't get a lot of sleep due to hearing them and being spooked. She grabbed her wand and held it tightly then drew out the latest letter from Harry.
I'm so, so glad you're relatively okay. And... I... Ron... Hermione, I wish I could have been there, wherever you are in Australia. I was kidnapped by the US muggle military and taken to their CDC to be experimented on. They kept me for at least a month and I don't think they found out much. Hopefully.
Hermione gasped, unconsciously letting out a strangled noise. She couldn't say she was surprised though. She had seen a lot of shit over the past few months and it persisted of human behavior, not just the behavior of the dead that had woken up. From people who wouldn't let stragglers behind a wall just because they were strangers to people who had... She shuddered when she remembered that big gang of people who had wandered past her campsite. They had talked about raiding another campsite full of people, killing most of the people just for their supplies.
Then there had been the wizards and witches who thought it was okay to enslave muggles just for human shields. That particular group had used the imperius curse and had been rather startled when Hermione had appeared in front of them and had stopped them. She had been with Percy and Ron then and it had come to them fighting between each other. She closed her eyes at the memory of the fight and of Percy's death that came right after. She really hadn't liked the look on Ron's face after he had realized that one of his other brothers was dead. Ron hadn't spoken to anyone except her after that.
Don't worry about me though! I'm okay, a group of nonmagical people got me out. I'm in Georgia and I'm mostly... safe. Hermione, what happened when you fled Hogwarts? When it fell?
Hermione snorted and yawned a little. She was just now in India, having managed to spell a portkey to take her from Australia. It had taken a lot of energy out of her and she was in the midst of recharging her magic and her energy. When she had arrived in India, she had thanked whoever was listening that she hadn't arrived in the middle of a group of those creatures. She wouldn't have been prepared... Just like she and Ron hadn't been... “Of course I'm going to worry about you, Harry. You're my best friend.”
Which spell are you using to find these creatures? It... Well, be safe, okay? I assume you're still trying to get a portkey out of there? Let me know if I can send you anything. I have most of the potion's stock from the ministry here with me so...
Hermione, Buckbeak, Lily and Teddy got here a few hours ago. They were exhausted, both emotionally and physically. Buckbeak was injured too and I had to bind his wings to his sides, as they had gotten shot. Have you heard anything from Britain? I know the ministry fell early on but what about Diagon Alley or the Weasleys or the Malfoys?
Well, write back soon. I know Patronuses can only reach short distances but this is working, right? I don't know of any other kind of wizarding communication and we don't have the mirrors.
Hermione yawned again and shivered when she heard more of the growling. She was going to have to spell another portkey soon but she didn't know if she had enough energy to make one. She had barely enough energy to get some food and water from the nearest town. Not to mention, she had had to devote only a little magic to her wards.
She was glad to hear of Teddy and Lily though. She hadn't seen what had happened to Harry's kids; she had been pushed to apparate away from the safe house they had been staying by the goblins. She didn't even know what had happened to the Hogwarts professors. She did know that Draco had at least lived, or so she thought. She had seen him running from the creatures and that had been the last she had seen from him.
“Uncle Draco... I'm hungry.”
“I'm not your uncle,” Draco muttered listlessly as he crouched behind a tree. James and Albus were standing before him, both of them tucked close to him. The sun was up and highlighting the undead creatures around them, making them look like twisted and ugly angels. Draco shuddered at the thought and tried to focus on happier thoughts.
“Dad says you are,” Albus retorted, shuddering when more of the undead came closer to them.
“Yeah, well, your dad is an asshole.”
James and Albus glanced up at him. James glared at Draco.
“Oh, okay, your dad is half an asshole,” Draco remarked, pulling the two children closer to him. “That better?”
“Much better,” Albus replied, nodding.
James raised an eyebrow. “Al... he's still saying that dad is an asshole.”
Albus looked at his brother then up at Draco. “He only said half. Half.”
“How is half an asshole better than a complete asshole?” James asked, shushing Albus just when three more of the undead creatures showed up. After the creatures plodded their way past the three of them, Draco breathed a hesitant sigh of relief. That was the second herd they had seen in two days.
“Oh Merlin, your dad is going to kill me,” Draco grumbled, white knuckled hand on his wand. “I'm a bad influence on impressionable youth.”
“Uncle Draco, James is 13 and I'm 10. We're not children anymore,” Albus whispered, flinching at a particularly loud hiss.
“Besides... you may not--”
Draco peered down at James, poked him in the shoulder. “Do not finish that sentence. He is not dead.”
“How do you know that?” James asked, sighing like he had the weight of the world on his shoulder. Or just like he was trying his best to put on a good expression for his brother.
“He's not dead,” Albus said, glaring at James. “We would know if dad was... We would know if Lily and Teddy were...”
Draco sighed, wiped some of the sweat off of his forehead. They were a few hundred miles south of Hogwarts, following the rail road tracks that the Hogwarts Express used to follow. So far... Draco didn't know whether it was safe to apparate or not. He was erring on the side of caution though. Since he had seen his parents die...
Professor McGonagall had sent them off with three packs, which all had camping supplies, food and water in them. Though Draco's was the only one with a tent and medical supplies. And then she had stepped in front of a hoard of the undead things and yelled for him to take Harry's children out of the castle. He had of course lost track of Lily and Teddy and yes, Harry was indeed going to kill him. Forget about the fact that they had become really good friends. Or the fact that he was godfather for the kids.
Hogwarts had been lost a month ago and Draco didn't know where to go other than down to Diagon Alley. It had taken them at least two weeks to move into England and another week to finally make it to within a hundred miles of London. And he had yet to see another wizard or witch.
“Uncle Draco... Morgana says it's safe,” Albus said, interrupting Draco's down spiraling thoughts.
Draco nodded, peering down at Albus as the kid bent down to pick up the adder snake.
“You know, that still freaks me out,” James muttered in a teasing voice.
“He's a parselmouth,” Draco explained, canceling the disillusionment charm on the three of them. “As long as your brother is the only one handling that snake, we're fine.”
“But naming a venomous snake 'Morgana'?” James questioned, watching as the snake moved up Albus' arm to curl around his neck. Albus hissed a question to the snake and nodded then looked up at Draco.
“Maybe the snake has a sense of humor?” Draco muttered. “Let's go, you two. We need to get to Diagon Alley to get a wand for Albus. And see if anyone can spell us a portkey. Or tell us where your father is.”
“Weird sense of humor,” James said, walking off ahead of them.
“Wand?” Albus asked, holding out his hand expectantly.
Draco looked at him then sighed and reached out his own. Albus grasped it and tugged Draco along.
“You're nearly 11,” Draco explained. “It's close enough.”
“Buckbeak,” Harry started as the hippogriff moved as if to get up. It was in the really early morning the next day and Rick, Glenn and Hershel still hadn't come back. Harry hadn't wanted to stay in the house with Lori and Shane around earlier so he had come to tend to Buckbeak. Apparently, Lori had gotten into a car crash late last night and Shane had gone to get her. He had briefly looked Lori over and told her that her child was still okay. And he had told her that, if Rick, Glenn and Hershel weren't still back by now, he would go find them.
Last night, Lori had come out to ask Daryl or Harry to go get Rick and the others but Harry had been taking care of his kids and Buckbeak. And he didn't know how to be in two places at once. Daryl hadn't either, still hovering on the outskirts of the group. “You still have gashes on your sides that were just healed. Don't move.”
Buckbeak huffed out an anxious breath.
“The wings...” Daryl muttered, glancing over to Harry then back to the animal. The hunter had his crossbow slung over his shoulder, like he always had. Harry wasn't about to judge him for that; Harry kept at least one wand with him at all times. “They're broken too.”
Harry looked over to Buckbeak's left wing and examined it, sighing. “You're right about that. Uh... I've never mended a wing before. You think Hershel has?”
“Buckbeak, stay still!” Harry ordered as Buckbeak again tried to stand. “Stubborn animal...”
Lily and Teddy ran down the stairs of the farmhouse, talking with each other.
Harry glanced up at them and winced. His two kids still hadn't been very talkative about the time in between running from Hogwarts and finding him. He had gotten them both into a bath and they had very much enjoyed that. They had numerous cuts and scrapes on their arms and legs which they had told him had been from running.
“You two okay?” Harry asked as they approached them. They both nodded at Buckbeak, who nodded back, then they shuffled over to him. Daryl glanced down at them then back up at Buckbeak.
“Yeah,” Teddy replied, going over to stand in front of the hippogriff. Buckbeak stopped trying to get up only to put his beak into Teddy's light green hair. Teddy giggled then walked over to stand beside Daryl, who glanced down at him questioningly.
“I think Shane doesn't like us,” Lily whispered, looking up at Daryl then at Harry.
Harry sighed and knelt down to look at the two of them. “You two should probably stay away from Shane. Okay?”
Lily stared at him then glanced at Teddy and back to him. “Why? We're just kids.”
“He doesn't like me,” Harry explained quietly. “He wouldn't do anything to hurt you guys but I just don't want you two around him. He doesn't really understand magic.”
“Teddy, Lily,” Harry started, watching as Shane and T-Dog started to pack a car to go after their missing people. “I want to introduce you to someone, okay?”
They nodded, staring at him expectantly. Harry stood up and gestured over to Daryl.
“This is Daryl Dixon,” Harry started. “He's a part of our group. Daryl, this is Lily and Teddy, respectively.”
Lily and Teddy nodded and glanced up at Daryl. Daryl peered down at them then looked at Harry.
“What kind of weapon is that?” Teddy asked, pointing up at the crossbow.
“Crossbow,” Daryl replied hesitantly. “Lets me shoot walkers from far off.”
Lily was about to open her mouth to say something when the sound of a car driving up stopped her. They all looked over to the driveway and watched as the truck that Rick and Glenn had taken drove up and parked. Harry heard the farmhouse door open and looked over there to see Maggie, Patricia, Carol, Lori, Carl, Sophia and Jimmy walk out to stop on the porch. Andrea came out too, following the group.
Harry exchanged glances with Daryl then watched as Rick, Glenn and Hershel got out of the car. The three were a little worse for wear but otherwise they didn't look injured. Or bit.
Carl raced down the porch steps to go hug Rick. Harry could see Rick's eyes lighting up when he saw Carl and Lori as she came down to greet them. Harry looked over to Glenn and then to Hershel, who caught his eyes and gestured to the back of the truck.
“We're going to need help here,” Hershel called out. “Patricia, get the supplies ready.”
Harry glanced down at Teddy and Lily and kneeled for a minute. “Could you two stay with Carol for now? I guess someone needs healing.”
“Who needs healing?” Harry called over, glancing over at Hershel. “Anyone bit?”
T-Dog and Shane were already at the car. Shane was studying Rick and T-Dog was wandering over to the back end of the truck when he let out a startled exclamation.
“Who's that?!” T-Dog questioned, looking back to Rick and Glenn.
“That's Randall,” Rick explained wearily, staring at Shane. “He's hurt.”
“Picking up a stray, huh?” Shane asked, staring back at their leader.
“He was a part of a group,” Rick said, crossing his arms.
Harry rolled his eyes and went to examine the guy in the back of the truck. He heard Lily and Teddy follow him and turned to look at the two. They looked up at him.
“Could we stay with Daryl instead?” Teddy asked. “His crossbow is really cool!”
Harry grinned a little but glanced over at Daryl, who looked bewildered.
“Only if you guys don't get in my way,” Daryl muttered, not even looking at Harry now.
“We won't,” Lily promised.
Harry opened the door to the back of the truck, hearing Hershel come up to stand next to him. “What happened?”
“A group shot at us,” Rick answered, turning to look at the two. “You think you can fix his leg?”
The guy inside the truck was blindfolded and unconscious, with a shirt tied around his left leg. Harry pulled out his holly wand and muttered a diagnostic charm. The results appeared in gold translucent words above the boy, showing blood loss among other things.
“I can do it,” Harry confirmed. “Shouldn't be too hard. Hershel, would you mind taking a look at the hippogriff?”
Hershel looked at him then turned to look over to where Buckbeak was lying down. There was a bucket of water next to the animal and a dead ferret that was currently being devoured. “What do you need me to look at?”
“His wings,” Harry explained. “I'm not exactly a veterinarian so I figured maybe you've fixed chicken wings before or something similar?”
“Those are big wings.”
“Yeah, I know. I've fixed up the gashes and bullet wounds. Buckbeak just needs his wings looked at.”
“Bullet wounds?” Maggie asked, pulling away from Glenn's hug.
“I guess someone thought that Buckbeak was a threat?” Harry said, shaking his head. He cast a levitation charm on Randall and carefully guided his unconscious body out of the car.
“How is Beth doing?” Hershel asked, looking over to Maggie and Patricia. Everyone was doing their best to not stare at what Harry was doing and relatively succeeding. Patricia and T-Dog's eyes were wide while Lori and Shane had taken a few steps back.
“Harry gave her something to help,” Maggie answered. “She came out of it a few minutes ago.”
“Good. When do you want me to look over those wings of his?” Hershel asked, walking over to Patricia and Maggie.
“It's not too urgent. They just need to be fixed within a few hours. How about after I heal this guy's leg?”
Just as Harry was about to leave, Rick pulled him aside.
Rick stared at him then over at Randall. “You should restrain him before you fix his leg. I don't want him moving about in the house.”
Harry snorted and ran a hand through his sweaty hair. “Even if I heal his leg, I don't know if he'll walk without a limp again. That injury is quite something.”
Rick sighed and closed his eyes briefly.
Harry watched him then reached out a hand to grasp Rick's shoulder. The former police officer opened his eyes and stared at him, a little surprised.
“It's not your fault,” Harry commented, raising an eyebrow then walked off, steering the floating Randall along with him.
Daryl followed Harry as the wizard transported the new kid over into house and right into the guest room. “You glow sometimes.”
Harry lowered the kid onto the bed and murmured something in Latin. Daryl watched as ropes came out of Harry's wand and wrapped themselves around the boy's wrists and attached themselves to the bedposts. The kids had gotten caught up with Sophia and Carl, choosing to stay with them instead of following Daryl. Carl had of all things asked about Teddy and Lily's wands. “I do. What about it?”
“Other wizards do that?”
Harry glanced back at Daryl and shook his head. “No.”
“It ain't normal?”
“Wizards and witches don't glow. It's something to do with one of my wands,” Harry explained quietly. “I wasn't always this way either.”
Harry looked over Randall, gazing at the knitted skin at his ankle. He had healed the guy's calf, where the wound was, so there was clean, mended skin there. Harry could feel sweat running down his back and on his forehead, which he swiped away. Overall, he had done a good job. It had been a bad injury but not the worst he had seen.
He looked up finally, seeing Daryl leaning against the wall across from him. The other man had his crossbow slung across his shoulder still and Harry got the idea that he had been watching him.
“Yeah, I'm done. Where are the kids and the others?”
“They're with Carol,” Daryl replied, shrugging. “The others are in the kitchen.”
Harry nodded and stepped back from the bed, hearing voices out in the living room. He walked out of the bedroom, hearing Daryl follow behind him.
“After Harry's done healing the guy, we'll go drop him off sixteen miles away from the farm,” Rick said as both men walked in.
Everyone turned to stare at Harry as he stopped before the table in the living room. Harry sighed, ran a hand through his hair and spoke. “The guy's healed but he's still out.”
“He restrained?” Rick asked, watching as Daryl came over to stand next to Harry.
“Yeah. He's also in a spelled sleep,” Harry remarked, staring at the other members of the group. “What's the plan for him?”
“Shane and I are going to take him out tomorrow,” Rick replied. “Give him some supplies and send him out to the main road.”
Harry nodded, turning to look over at Shane, who looked pissed.
“Look at this, folks. We back in fantasy land,” Shane retorted. “Working with a guy who can shape shift, who can probably read our minds and we're babying someone who ambushed you three!”
Harry stiffened, subtly taking a step backward. That caught everyone's attention. Harry caught Daryl's eyes and saw that the other man's cheeks had pinked up a little. He raised an eyebrow but turned back to the group.
“Is it true, can you read our minds?” Andrea asked, narrowing her eyes.
“You can read our minds?!” Lori questioned.
“Look, let's not turn this into a witch hunt,” Rick interrupted. “Harry is not who we are talking about now. The plan for Randall is that Shane and I are going to take him 16 miles out. That's final.”
“But what if he's been able to control us?” Lori snapped out.
“I have not read anyone's minds,” Harry retorted, stepping forward. “Nor have I ever controlled someone. There is a spell for that but I have never used it and I don't plan on it. I'm also way too busy to bother with that. The farthest I have ever come to manipulating someone was to...”
Harry trailed off, smiling at the memory. It was a bittersweet memory now, what with all that had happened since then.
“Make someone think they had increased good luck and that wasn't even a spell,” Harry finished. “Now, are we done here or what? I want to go check on Buckbeak.”
That night, Harry watched over his kids as they fell asleep in their tent. Teddy and Lily had slept next to each other since they have arrived here and his mere suggestion that they use separate sleeping bags was vetoed vehemently. He smiled when he realized they were asleep then quietly walked out of the tent and sat down in front of it.
Daryl had, sometime during the day, moved his tent right next to Harry's. And the archer was sitting in front of his tent right now, sharpening an arrowhead with a rock. Harry surveyed the farm, briefly pulling on his death magic to make sure there were no walkers around. He could see Buckbeak wandering around the far edges of the farm, wings bound to his side. But there were no walkers around so he blinked and went back to normal vision. While he had looked around the farm, he had occasionally felt someone watching him and now, he turned to look over at Daryl and wandered the short distance to his tent.
Daryl looked up at him, nodded then went back to his work. Harry sat down across from him, a few inches from the camp lantern, and lay down on the grass and stared up at the sky.
“I glow occasionally,” Harry started.
Daryl didn't outwardly do anything to indicate that he was listening but Harry could tell he was. He could see the muscles in Daryl's arm flex as he sharpened the arrowhead and started a little. Daryl had cleared his throat, as if to draw his attention back.
Harry looked back up to Daryl's face and saw his lips twitch. He also saw the tips of the other man's ears pink up and grinned a little.
Harry nodded and returned his gaze to the night sky. “Something happened back when I was 17, back when the world hadn't gone arse up.”
“This got something to do with the dark lord you talked about?”
“Yeah. The wand that he was using in the last few months was a special wand. Called the Elder Wand and was one of three special magical artifacts.”
“The other two?”
“A cloak and a stone. Owning all three make someone...” Harry trailed off, hearing Daryl switch arrows. He sighed and continued. “Just because I forgot to read the fine print...”
“They make someone the Master of Death,” Harry finished.
“The fuck is that?”
Harry sat up, yawned. “I have magic, that comes from being Master of Death. It's why I glow when I use some magic. I call it death magic, allows me to see walkers. I don't think other wizards or witches can see them, even with a revealing spell.”
Harry didn't feel ready to tell anyone that he was immune to whatever the hell was causing the dead to rise again.
It was silent for a few minutes except for the crickets and mooing from the cows over in the pasture.
“You a necromancer then?”
Harry laughed quietly. “Oh, no. Necromancers have a bad reputation. I can't raise the dead. That's dark magic. As I said a few weeks earlier, I didn't do this.”
“The fuck's so special about the three objects? Your other wand?”
“My other wand is the most powerful wand in the world. It chose me after the battle,” Harry explained quietly, as he looked over to Rick, Lori and Carl's tent. He had thought that everyone had gone to bed a few hours ago, with everyone taking a watch shift. Shane was taking watch now, sitting on top of the RV with his shotgun. But he saw Rick coming out of the tent, scrubbing his eyes. “My cloak is an invisibility cloak and the stone… is the resurrection stone. It can bring back dead people temporarily, let them talk to you. They're like ghosts when I summon them. You're taking this well enough.”
“Dead people are walking.”
Harry watched as Rick came over to stand across from Daryl. Their leader sat down, leaning against the tree that was right next to Daryl's tent. The former police officer tucked his legs up against his chest and looked around at the camp and the farm. Harry and Daryl both stared at Rick for a minute before turning away.
“That your job?” Daryl asked after a few minutes.
Harry shook his head. “No, I was the head of the Auror department before all hell broke loose.”
Rick finally looked up, glancing at the both of them. “Auror?”
“The wizarding equivalent of police,” Harry explained quietly. “That's where I learned how to heal and it's where I learned a lot of new spells and such.”
“You should be careful tomorrow,” Harry added.
“Shane wants to kill the boy.”
“How many people ambushed you?” Daryl asked.
“I had to kill two men in the bar where we found Hershel,” Rick stated, his voice going low. Harry could see that the guy's muscles were rigid, clenched. “I'd say there were five shooters, including Randall.”
Daryl nodded and started to sharpen another arrow.
“You were protecting the group, the farm,” Harry remarked, guessing the source of Rick's stress. “I killed that dark wizard to protect my friends and what was left of my family. I trust your judgement. I trust Daryl. I do not trust Shane.”
Harry turned to look at Daryl when he heard the other man stop what he was doing. Daryl stared at him briefly before returning to the arrow that he was holding.
Rick sighed. “He didn't use to be like this. How're the kids doing?”
“They're more or less fine, thanks. I'm glad that they found me,” Harry said. “You should go get some rest.”
“I can't sleep,” Rick muttered. “That's why I came to talk.”
Harry raised an eyebrow but nodded. “You still need at least a few hours worth of sleep even if you sleep here.”
The next morning, Harry watched as Rick and Shane took a car out and loaded Randall into it. The two men left early in the morning and Harry went to wake up Teddy and Lily. He planned to start their schooling again today, so that they would be able to defend themselves.
Harry and the kids sat down in front of their tent and started to work. Teddy had been in his third year right before the world had ended and knew more than Lily had. Lily had just finished her second year. Neither of them knew many defensive or offensive spells at all.
Throughout the day, he walked them through an easier version of the blasting charm he had used. Both of them were plenty strong in their own magic that he could see. Remus and Tonks had both been very powerful wizards and Teddy had the potential to reach Remus' level. Lily got the blasting spell on her fifth try, derooting a small bush and blasting it for a few feet. Buckbeak, who had stayed around them during the day, opened his eyes from a nap when the bush rolled right into him. The hippogriff blinked then dropped his head to his paws again.
“Look what I did!” Lily exclaimed quietly.
Teddy laughed and Lily dipped her head in a small mock bow.
“That was great, Lily,” Harry commented, a few hours after lunch. “Now I know that you've been just running from walkers in the past but if you see one in the next few days...”
“Cast that spell?” Teddy finished.
“Yes,” Harry said, noting Lori coming out from the porch and watching them.
“But what about the Trace?” Lily asked, glancing over to Carl and Sophia, who were watching them. And of course, the man who hadn't really left Harry's side since learning what he was. Daryl had just come back from a quick hunt, bringing back a few squirrels. The archer was skinning them over by the fire, far enough away from them that he wouldn't get hit by spell backfire but close enough to keep his eye on them. “We're under age.”
Harry sighed. “You sound like your aunt Hermione.”
“I miss her,” Teddy whispered.
“Me too,” Lily said.
“She's coming,” Harry replied, running a hand through his sweat soaked hair. “The Trace doesn't matter anymore.”
“Cause Hogwarts fell?” Lily questioned.
“Or cause people started to eat one another?” Teddy added.
“I'm pretty sure it's because people started to eat one another,” Harry responded with a small grin on his face. “And not in the werewolf way.”
Teddy wrinkled his nose.
“Werewolves are real?” Carl interrupted, eyes wide.
“Yeah, my dad was one,” Teddy replied, turning around and stuffing his wand into his pocket.
Daryl watched as Harry taught his kids a few spells. The boy, Teddy, was trying out a cutting curse under Harry's instructions while Lily watched. Daryl had seen Harry use that one once or twice before the group had made it to the farm. Of course, neither one of Harry's kids glowed when they used magic.
Harry had finally told him why he glowed when he used some magic. The man who was occasionally a big cat had had an interesting life up until now and Daryl wished… He hadn't really expected to feel what he was feeling when the world had gone arse up, like Harry had said. Harry had gone through the same things that he had and had even lived through a war. Had found a family. Harry was a wizard and a war hero.
Ever since Harry had joined them, he had stayed close to Daryl. Had joined him up on the RV's roof before he had explained about what he was. Harry had even made Daryl laugh a few times and each time, Daryl's heart had skipped a beat when he had caught Harry looking at him.
And then there was Rick. The former police officer hadn't been as overbearing as Shane had been when they had first joined the group. Rick had even agreed to go back to Atlanta and get Merle back, when Rick had no such obligation to him and his brother. Rick was the second person that even Harry had seemed to grow to like.
When Shane and Rick got back late in the afternoon, everyone went to go greet them. Harry watched as both men got out of the car and then go around to the back. The kids were in the house with Carol looking after them and Buckbeak was… Harry rolled his eyes when he saw the hippogriff cautiously walk up to a cow. Since Buckbeak had arrived here, Harry hadn't heard a peep from the animal other than irritated little huffs of air. He turned his attention back to Rick and Shane as they looked over the assembled group.
“I thought you guys were going to leave Randall somewhere,” T-Dog said as he stepped forward.
“Change of plans,” Shane announced grimly. “Guy knows where the farm is. He said he went to school with Maggie.”
Harry raised an eyebrow then glanced to where Rick was and saw that the man had a few cuts on his face. “Run into trouble?”
“Ran into a few walkers. That's it,” Rick replied, turning to stare at Shane.
Lori gasped. “You didn't get...”
“No, he's not bitten,” Harry answered, having already run his magic around the two. A bite or scratch from a walker would have lit up like a miniature black sun in his other vision and he wasn't seeing anything like that. As it was, as he looked, there were little black strings showing up in his vision through everyone. It was like… Harry's eyes widened and he turned around and started to walk over towards the forest, shifting into his panther form mid-walk.
With his enhanced hearing, he picked up little sharp inhales from the group but otherwise he ignored them. He ran headlong into the forest and didn't stop until he found a walker, some three miles from the farm. He shifted back and walked right up to it to stop. The walker turned at the noise, stared at him briefly with its' wrinkled, decomposed skin then started to shuffle off in the opposite direction. This walker was a woman and had a chunk of skin that was almost falling off of her chest. Her neck was also wide open, like someone had slit her throat and all the blood had already spilled out.
Harry followed it, feeling the hair on his skin stand up straight at the proximity of death. If he hadn't been who he was, chances were, he would be dead right about now. But he wanted to check something, something that he had always had a suspicion of two months into the world ending. He flicked into his other vision and looked the walker over, studying her.
The walker lit up in his death magic vision, all black… goo. The walker glowed black and the core of it was in the brain, big ropey strands of black lighting up in his vision as they traveled throughout the woman's body.
And now you understand.
Harry started, a choked off yelp leaving his mouth, and turned around. Death, with a capital D, was standing behind him. Death was cloaked all in black, just like last time. Harry couldn't see any part of the entity but he could obviously hear him. Mist surrounded them too, just like last time in his dream. Except this time, as soon as the mist stopped appearing, Harry couldn't see anything other than Death itself.
“You're appearing to me when I'm not dreaming now?”
A storm is coming.
Harry snorted in disbelief and took a step back, even though Death could not hurt him. Death's voice was grating, almost a hiss. It was entirely unpleasant. “And you're also using a cliché? Has the world ended? Oh, wait, it already has. The fuck do you mean, 'a storm is coming'?”
Death seemed to stare at him, or at least Harry thought it was staring at him. He didn't exactly know if Death had eyes. Death tilted its' head.
You have been spending too much time with the redneck.
Harry stared, narrowing his eyes. “Hey, I happen to like the redneck. And the cop too… Huh.”
“Regardless, it's none of your business who I spend my time with.”
You are my master. I abide by your wishes.
“What did you mean by, 'and now I understand'?”
The cloak around Death moved and a skeletal hand came out and pointed at the walker then back to where the farm was.
The spell that your colleagues cast…
Harry turned to look back to the farm was then back at Death, eyes widening. “You mean… It affected everyone?”
“Even… the kids?” Harry whispered, shaking his head. “Even people who are still alive?”
I will come to you again soon. Farewell.
“I should put a bell on you,” Harry retorted as Death vanished. Sounds came back to him as the entity disappeared and Harry startled a little when he saw that there were now three walkers around him. “What am I? Walker Jesus?”
Harry pulled out the elder wand and vehemently cast acutting curse on all three of them. Sickly red light flew from the wand and three individual balls of light hit the walkers, killing them instantly. Blood and brain matter splattered all over the ground and on him somewhat.
Harry sighed, staring at the three long dead corpses. “I suppose it's not that surprising that we're all infected.”
The next morning, Daryl offered to go ask Randall some questions. Harry stared at him then looked over to Rick and Shane. They had stashed Randall in the barn that hadn't had the walkers and chained him to one of the pipes.
“You sure about this?” Rick asked, looking Daryl over. The other man had his crossbow slung across his shoulders like it always was. Harry was standing right beside Daryl, fidgeting a little. After the wizard had raced off into the forest in his… other form, he had been gone for a few hours. Enough time that Rick had noticed Daryl start to get a little more pissed than usual when people came near him.
Now, Harry had this strange look in his eyes, like he had found something out that flipped his world view upside down… again.
“No one else's gonna do it,” Daryl retorted, staring at Rick more often than his eyes flicked over to Shane.
“You want company?” Harry finally asked, talking for the first time since they had all woken up this morning. “I suppose a black panther would be scary enough.”
“Don't do any kitten eyes,” Daryl said as he turned to go. Harry followed him and chuckled.
“Only for you.”
Rick could see Daryl stop to stare at Harry.
Harry stopped too, smiled softly, then started to walk again.
“Is he flirting with Dixon?” Shane muttered in disbelief. “He's flirting with one of the Dixon brothers...”
“Holy Jesus! Oh God!”
Randall stared at the black panther that had come in with the guy with the crossbow. The panther followed the guy, tail swishing, and sat down next to the guy as he stopped. Randall continued to stare as the panther started to growl quietly.
“How many in your group?” The man asked.
“Uh, no, no...” Randall trailed off as the panther continued to growl, albeit a little louder.
“Come on man,” the other man said, lifting a knife out of one of his weapon holsters at his waist. “How many?”
The panther stood up, still growling, and leaned down onto the barn floor, tail now not making a sound as it moved back and forth.
“Uh,” Randall started, staring right into the big cat's green eyes. Its' eyes were hard, as if it wasn't going to let him not answer any of the questions. It raised a paw and Randall saw its' claws come out… He felt his hands get clammy with sweat and his face went pale as his body froze up.
“Uh, 30! 30!”
The cat lowered its' paw, sat down, curled up and began to groom itself.
A few hours later, they all gathered around the fire pit in the center of their camp. The sun had made it further up into the sky but it wasn't quite lunch time yet.
“What are we going to do with Randall?” Lori asked, starting the conversation off.
“Is there a plan?” Carol asked, every few minutes turning to look at Sophia.
“He knows,” Rick replied. “He's a threat. We'll know more in a minute.”
The group turned to see Daryl and Harry, back on two feet, walk over to them.
“Boy's got a gang,” Daryl started then went on to describe what the two of them found out. Harry stood next to him, silent, but for the occasional remark about how Randall had pissed himself when he had first seen panther-Harry.
Rick nodded after a few minutes of silence. “No one goes near that boy.”
“Rick, what are you planning?” Dale asked, eyes wide.
“The kid's a threat,” Rick answered, narrowing his eyes.
“You're just going to kill him.” Dale stared between Rick and Shane in disbelief.
“I'll do it today.”
Dale started toward the RV and heard Harry follow him quietly. The other man raised an eyebrow when Dale looked at him. “You want to guard the kid?”
Harry followed him into the RV and they both saw Andrea moving through the vehicle, obviously searching for something. “I need to continue to teach my kids. I want to make sure they're prepared for anything.”
“Did you move the gun bag?” Andrea asked, turning to look at them. “Didn't you say there were wizarding schools?”
“Yeah, I just don't know if any of them are still around,” Harry replied. “And I don't know how I would feel if I just left them somewhere even if the place had sufficient shielding.”
Dale moved the cushions out from the little sitting area and brought out the bag with the guns and put it on the table. “Andrea, I need a favor.”
Andrea looked at him briefly before going through the guns. “What?”
“Could you guard the kid?”
“Rick's giving me time to talk to the others, try and talk some sense into them. But if Shane finds out...” Dale trailed off, quickly glancing at Harry. “You saw how he reacted to Harry when he thought he was threat.”
“Was?” Harry muttered. “The guy still thinks I'm a threat.”
Dale stared at him then refocused on Andrea.
“You think he'd just shoot the guy himself?”
“You know killing the boy had to be his idea,” Dale remarked. “Are you with him on this?”
“He's a threat. Tell me this isn't all the ammo,” Andrea spoke, a little hint of a groan to her voice. She pushed some strands of hair off of her face, the air coming from the open windows pushing it back.
“You're a civil rights lawyer,” Dale added.
“Was,” Andrea corrected, staring at Dale.
“You fight with words, the power of ideas,” Dale said, now looking at the both of them. Using a...a gun, that's his way.”
“You really want to debate about saving a guy who will lead his buddies right to our door?” Andrea enquired, glancing at Harry.
“It's more than my godfather got and he was innocent,” Harry offered.
“You're saying your godfather was accused of something and didn't even get a trial?” Andrea asked, eyes narrowed.
“Yep, then he was sentenced to the rest of his life in wizarding prison,” Harry explained. “Not a pleasant sentence for your information.”
“That's what a civilized society does,” Dale said. “I'm not saying that your wizarding world wasn't civilized...”
“I'm not going to take offense,” Harry responded. “Besides, by the time that the war was over, Hermione… Just before the world went arse up, Hermione had told the Ministry off.”
“Who says we're civilized anymore?” Andrea offered doubtfully.
“No, the world we knew is gone, but keeping our humanity? That's a choice.”
Harry looked between the two, knowing that Andrea would guard Randall, and left the RV. Dale had had a point. Hermione's last letter had spoken about the things she had seen in various European countries as she came ever closer to the US. It wasn't pretty. Wizards and witches alike had taken advantage of not having wizarding police around and had occasionally used muggles as human shields, thinking that muggles were inferior. Of course, that was a centuries old issue and not new but still…
“Harry...” Dale started as the other man came over to him. Harry adjusted Lily's grip on her wand as she tried to cast a patronus, with only white mist coming out.
“Good work, sweetheart,” Harry whispered. “I'll be right back, okay? Keep working.”
Lily nodded without breaking her concentration. “Could I see your patronus?”
“Sure, just let me go talk to Dale for a minute.”
Lily exchanged glances with Teddy, who shrugged.
“Dale, what is it?”
“Who sent you over here?” Daryl asked as he was going over Merle's bike. The hippogriff was standing just a few feet from him, watching his every move. The animal's wings were still bound but Daryl had seen Harry cast some healing charms on the animal a few minutes ago. “Carol?”
Dale glanced between Daryl and Harry then over to the kids. “No, we're both a little worried about your new roles in the group. Torture?”
“Oh, man, don't need my head shrunk,” Daryl retorted.
“You're both decent men,” Dale tried again. “You don't care about what happens to Randall?”
“No,” Daryl answered.
“Harry?” Dale asked.
Harry sighed. “Back when I was fighting in a war, we did try to give people a fair trial. My godfather didn't even get a trial. But that's besides the point here. I slightly care about what happens. Look, I could… I can teleport him out of here.”
Dale raised an eyebrow. “Teleport?”
“Only if Rick gives the okay,” Harry continued. “I'm not the leader here and I'm tired of being the leader.”
“Didn't know you could teleport,” Daryl commented.
“We wizards call it apparition,” Harry explained, running a hand through his hair. “I haven't apparated since people started to eat each other but I could get Randall out of here.”
“How far can you do that?”
“Depends,” Harry replied. “We don't want him running back to his gang and telling the others about us. I do not want that happening.”
“Of course. But we can't just kill him.”
“Some wizards wanted that for a few dark wizards. Sometimes killing someone is the better option,” Harry remarked, thinking about his last fight with Voldemort. “In some occasions.”
At 5:00pm, everyone congregated in the living room of the farm house. Maggie, Beth, Jimmy, Hershel and Patricia all sat on the couch to watch. The others spread out around the table. Rick stood at the head of the table, studying everyone. The kids were all upstairs reading through the Monster book of Monsters, away from the discussion the adults were having.
“Any other ideas?”
No one started to talk. No one had any other ideas.
Harry stepped forward and cleared his throat, feeling everyone's eyes turn to him. “As I said to Dale earlier, wizards have an ability to… apparate. To travel instantly to another place. Teleport, if you will. I could move Randall elsewhere, maybe back to Atlanta.”
“But he would still know about us,” Lori said, looking at him with narrowed eyes.
Harry sighed and glanced to Rick, who gestured for him to continue. “If you guys really want this then I could erase his memories of us, of seeing Rick, Glenn and Hershel.”
“You said you didn't do that,” Rick commented, staring at him.
“I did say that.” Harry nodded. “If we're desperate then I will do that. I don't like it but I'll do it if that's the option we arrive at.”
“Why do you dislike doing it?” Dale asked, sounding curious.
“Bad memories,” Harry replied idly, shivering a little. “I've had someone enter my mind without my consent.”
“I won't force you to do that then,” Rick said. “Does anyone have a preference for Harry's idea?”
“I certainly do,” Dale said. “Andrea?”
“Can you really… what was the word you used?” Andrea asked.
“All wizards can do that?” Glenn questioned at the same time.
Harry nodded, grinned a little and apparated to appear right behind the couch, in the tiny area between the piece of furniture and the wall. Harry could see everyone's eyes widening then he apparated back to where he was standing.
“That good enough evidence for you?” Harry asked. “I can't apparate long distances or into places that I haven't seen or have been in before but I could probably apparate back to Atlanta.”
“Probably?” Rick repeated. “There a risk to doing this?”
“Not really. We're not far from Atlanta and I think that's the limit to my magical awareness right now. It'll probably take a few hours but not too much longer.”
“It's better than outright killing Randall,” Dale said.
“I would prefer that, I think,” Carol offered.
“So would I,” Andrea said.
“If everyone's good, Harry will take him in the morning,” Rick announced.
“Alright then,” Harry replied, nodding to everyone.
Harry was just watching over Teddy and Lily a few hours later when they all heard a scream. Teddy and Lily's eyes widened and they crawled closer together, pulling out their wands immediately. The sun had gone down a few hours ago and now it was dark, with only the moon and stars out. There were camp lanterns at every tent but it seemed rather dark to him. Harry stood up, drew his holly wand, and dropped a kiss on each of their foreheads.
“Stay here, okay?”
They both nodded, eyes still wide and frightened but determined too.
“Buckbeak is here,” Harry added, glancing toward where the scream had come from. It had sounded like Dale but…
“We'll wait,” Teddy promised, wrapping an arm around Lily as they both shuddered.
Harry stared at them briefly then ran, hearing Daryl yell for Hershel. The others followed, holding guns or in T-Dog's case, a baseball bat. Harry flicked his sight into death sight and instantly sped up, seeing Carl a few feet away from a dead walker.
Daryl looked up at him when the other man heard him and gestured him over to where he was standing. Rick, Shane, Lori, Glenn, Maggie and Hershel arrived just after he did, all spreading out over one member of their group.
Dale was lying on the ground and blood was pouring from a wound in his chest. Harry could see the man's ribs and his… Harry winced, instinctively knowing what that wound was from even before he used his other sight to look at it. It was pulsing black in his magical sight, black strands of goo trailing down into the man's body.
“Help him!” Lori yelled.
Harry sighed, feeling tears start to appear in his eyes, and knelt down, catching Dale's eyes. The other man was scared and in pain, whimpering. There were also choking sounds coming from Dale and when Harry tried to extend some of his magic towards the other man, something stopped him. The black goo rose up like a mushroom, invisible to everyone but Harry, and stopped his magic in its' path and rose back down to cover Dale's body.
“What are you doing? Help!”
Harry closed his eyes, wiped away a stray tear that had fallen. “I can't.”
“What do you mean, you can't?” Lori exclaimed.
“I can't. I can't heal a bite or a scratch and I can't stop whatever the hell this is. I told you guys last week! I can't!”
“Hershel?” Rick asked in a desperate voice.
Hershel shook his head.
Harry heard sobs from Carl and Sophia, who had run up alongside Carl. Teddy and Lily had come over too, wands out and searching to stand next to Carl and Sophia. Andrea was half lying over Dale's body, sobbing loudly.
“What kind of a healer are you then?” Shane yelled.
“Hey! Leave my dad alone!” Lily said, raising her voice.
Daryl moved to stand between the kids and Shane as the other man stepped towards Harry. Everyone was crying now, some more loudly than others.
“He's in pain,” Andrea whispered, just loudly enough for everyone to hear.
They all turned back to Dale, who had more blood over his body than before. Rick silently drew his gun and pointed it at Dale's head. Harry could see his hand was shaky and for a few seconds, Harry was ready to cast the killing curse when Daryl took over. The archer reached over, slipped his hand over Rick's, took the gun from him, and knelt down.
Harry whispered a spell or two, directing his magic to flow into the gun.
“Sorry, brother,” Daryl spoke.
Dale stared at them, skin ashen, and gurgling. Blood flowed from his mouth.
Daryl pulled the trigger. The bullet, infused with a green light, shot from Rick's gun.
A few hours later, everyone was still in shock. Lori had taken Carl, Carol and Sophia back into the farm house. Shane had taken off too, wandering back to the cars. T-Dog, Andrea, Glenn and the rest of the group were still standing around Dale's body. Harry had taken off, shifted into his panther form and fled the group. Though Daryl had seen him run right into his tent so Harry had kept to the farm. His children had followed him after Teddy had given Lori a “look”.
Rick was still standing beside Daryl, shock still. Daryl had since given back his gun but the pistol was still in the former police officer's hand.
“Did I just imagine the green light that encased the bullet?” Rick finally spoke after a few minutes, voice quiet.
“Nope. I saw it too,” Daryl answered. “Harry must have spelled it.”
“You seen that color of spell from him before?”
Daryl shook his head.
Rick sighed and holstered his gun before turning to look at Daryl. “Would you go with him tomorrow?”
Daryl's expression must have tipped off Rick to his answer as the other man nodded.
“You were already going to go.”
“Yeah, the man needs someone at his back, even if he is a powerful wizard.”
Daryl walked up to the steps of the farmhouse and stopped, watching Harry come out from the house. The wizard was proceeded by Randall, who was blindfolded and muttering about memories. Harry looked over to Daryl as he saw him and his green eyes softened. Daryl could feel his cheeks redden at the affection in those eyes and backed up a step as the other man came down.
Harry led a blindfolded Randall out of the farmhouse and down the porch steps. He made sure his elder wand was easily reachable in his wand holster and held his holly wand in his hand. They had just had a little breakfast, an apple and a small pile of scrambled eggs. His kids had promised to stay in the house while he was gone, to be watched over by Carol and Beth.
Earlier this morning, everyone had stood around the grave Daryl and T-Dog had dug for Dale. Harry had seen some glares thrown his way this morning from the usual suspects, Lori, and Shane. He really hadn't been surprised about that though; he had weathered his fair share of pissed off expressions meant for him even before the world had gone to shit. Andrea, Shane, Daryl, and T-Dog had then gone out to a patch of fence that Hershel had said needed fixing. They had killed a few walkers and then patched the fence up. Of course, there had been one or two dead cows too which had been slaughtered by walkers.
Harry had had to wrangle Buckbeak in after that. He hadn't liked hearing that walkers had gotten through the fence though he supposed it was only a matter of time. The fences had been right weak and they weren't designed to keep things out, only to keep things, cows, in. Now, the hippogriff was pouting, walking around with his now mended wings dragging on the ground.
“Where'ya taking me? I said I would keep quiet! I'll keep my word. I promise!” Randall exclaimed. “You're not going to kill me, are you? Oh god!”
“He ain't gonna to kill you.”
Harry glanced beside him to where Daryl had come up to stand next to him. He grinned and nudged Randall to keep walking. “I'm not going to kill you.”
“Good… Is this good?!”
Harry snorted and stopped the other man as they got a few feet from the porch. Rick, Hershel and Maggie were standing on the porch, watching him.
“You sure you can do this?” Rick asked, coming down the steps too. “You said you don't like to--”
“I did say that if you guys wanted this option then I would do it, didn't I? Besides, I learned a lot when I was training to be an Auror and when I was still in school. I know how to remove someone's memories. That skill was practically pounded into my brain.”
“Remove someone's memories! What the hell are you guys going to do to me? Man, I don't want to loose my memories!” Randall blurted out. “The fuck are you?”
“I'm not going to take all your memories,” Harry remarked. “That'd be stupid. Never in all of my life have I ever removed all of someone's memories. That'd be like leaving someone a permanent amnesiac. And I've seen people who have lost all of their memories. It's not pretty.”
He poked Randall in the shoulder with his wand and the guy jumped. Daryl snorted and walked up to stand next to Harry.
“Okay,” Harry said, now that they were well enough away from the house to apparate. “If I'm not back in an hour, don't worry. I'm gonna look for the magical section in Atlanta and look into the potions shop they have there.”
“When should we expect you back?” Rick questioned, hand on his gun just in case Randall tried something.
Harry raised an eyebrow but shrugged. “If nothing bad happens, then early afternoon. If something bad happens or if the plan doesn't go accordingly, then… I don't know. I didn't have time to look into the magical shopping alley in Atlanta. I'll send my patronus if everything goes to plan. If not... I've already said goodbye to my children.”
Maggie nodded, standing beside Hershel. “We'll look after them.”
“That's all I ask. If I don't… come back, Buckbeak will stay with them too.”
Harry nudged Randall in the back and they moved a few steps. He held his holly wand and grabbed onto Randall with his other hand and was about to mutter the spell when Daryl stepped over to them.
“I'm comin' too.”
Teddy walked out onto the porch and stopped, knowing that Lily would need him in a few minutes. Their dad had set them to practicing the stunning spell, only after teaching them the counter curse for it. Carol was going to watch over them as they did, making sure that their practice didn't go over the time limit.
Teddy remembered his uncle saying that he and Lily were young, that their magical cores couldn't handle a lot of hard practice. He had argued for learning more spells, not just the blasting charm before Harry had left for the States. Harry had said that he would think about it then he had gone missing. Teddy still tried not to think about that time and the time when Hogwarts had fallen. He had thought that Hogwarts was the perfect place since it hadn't even fallen when his uncle and his friends had fought Voldemort at the castle.
“...I'm comin' too,” Daryl said.
Teddy snorted at Harry's frown. His uncle's eyes were unsurprised but fond as they looked at the other man.
“Wait… where're we going? What if I don't want to go?” The man with the blindfold muttered as Teddy watched.
“You have no choice in the matter,” Harry remarked then turned to look at Daryl. “You sure about that?”
“You can handle two people?” Daryl asked, slinging his crossbow over his shoulder. Teddy could see Daryl's quiver of arrows and some were new while others looked like they had been picked out of walker bodies after being shot. He could smell that much, with his enhanced sense of smell.
“Yeah, it's called Side-Along Apparition,” Harry explained. “Teddy, look after your sister for me, okay?”
“I will,” Teddy said. “And I'll look after Buckbeak.”
“I don't want to go wherever you're going,” Randall complained. “You guys were going to kill me last night. You're probably going to take me somewhere and kill me out of sight.”
Teddy watched as his uncle sighed. “Don't make me shut you up.”
Randall was about to say something else when Harry pointed his wand at the guy and muttered something. Teddy watched as the guy opened his mouth and moved his jaw but nothing came out. He heard Lily come out onto the porch and stand alongside him. She was holding her wand in her right hand loosely.
“How does this work?” Daryl asked, shuffling over to Harry's side. “Do I gotta do something?”
“No,” Harry started, tucking his wand in a pocket. Teddy couldn't see where Harry had put his other wand, the elder wand, so he figured it was in a disillusioned holster, probably on one of his uncle's ankles. Teddy had seen a few of the Aurors that had patrolled Hogwarts before it had fallen and he had seen a few of them reach for their second wands by their ankles. Not that that had helped when Hogwarts had fallen. “I just need your hand and for you to close your eyes.”
Teddy watched as his uncle held out his left hand, palm up. His other hand was holding onto Randall's right shoulder. Daryl stared at Harry, who stared back patiently.
After a minute, Daryl closed the distance between the two of them and dropped his hand onto Harry's. Harry grinned softly then muttered something in Latin and as Teddy watched, Harry, Daryl and Randall disappeared with a soft crack.
As they landed in Atlanta in the next minute, he heard something that sounded like a spell being cast. A familiar spell that was not a friendly one. Harry was pretty sure that someone had just cast one of the Unforgivables. Just as Daryl was about to shuffle away from him, he reached out an arm and pulled him back and muttered a spell himself.
Daryl startled at Harry but saw the look in the other man's green eyes. Harry's body had gone all tense and he flipped his wand in a motion and blue light flowed from the man's wand. Randall startled too, or more like jumped, away from the two of them, muttering something about crazy people.
The offending spell raced right at the blue light that had formed around the three of them and disappeared. There was a small crack as it did but it didn't make any other noise than that.
“You two okay?” Harry asked quietly as he scanned their surroundings. They had landed on a street that was far enough away from downtown Atlanta that there weren't many walkers that Daryl could see. Though there were still plenty of dead bodies in the street, there weren't as many as the CDC had. The smell was wafting through the street, smelly and disgusting. “If you feel the need to vomit...”
Just as Harry said that, Randall puked, turning around from the other two men and sicking up onto the curb of the sidewalk. Harry wrinkled his nose and turned to look around for the wizards or witches that had cursed them.
“Hey! You're a wizard!”
The shield was still around the three of them as Daryl watched a group of people come out from around a corner of a building. It was also slightly sprinkling here in Atlanta, one of the summer rains that the city got. There was a hardware store and a few clothing stores on the block they were on and a grocery store. All of the stores looked like they had been thoroughly looted in the months that had passed, their windows broken and empty boxes strewn on the sidewalk. There were also what looked bullet casings on the ground over there, like people had clashed over looting things.
Harry stared at him briefly before turning to face the strangers. “What did you think we were? Undead? Inferi? The fuck were you thinking?”
There were four men in the group that was heading toward them and Daryl noticed that Harry had yet to power down his shield. It was still curled around them and only them. Daryl pulled his crossbow off of his shoulder and nocked an arrow, deciding that if Harry was nervous around unknown wizards, then he would be too.
“You could'a been eaters! How were we to know that it was humans that had apparated here?!”
“We ain't walkers!” Daryl yelled.
“Undead can't use magic,” Harry retorted, glaring at the group opposite them.
“Yeah, what they said,” Randall added, swiping a hand across his mouth to clean it.
“You're one of the wizards from England?” One of the men asked. “England, where all of that shit went down?”
Harry faced the man and Daryl could see his fingers tighten on his wand, enough so that his knuckles were white. “Yeah, what of it? Voldemort's dead!”
“He probably caused this as he was dying! You British lot think you're so much better than us!” Another man exclaimed. The group's shouting was beginning to attract walkers, a few coming from further up the street and as Daryl turned to face the other way, there were a few walkers coming up from behind them.
“Shield still up?” Daryl asked, trying to keep his voice down.
“Yeah,” Harry whispered, not taking his eyes off of the group of strangers and understanding what Daryl was about to do. “Feel free to take out those walkers behind us. It won't hinder it.”
“You even think you're above the non-magical people! I say we find your group and kill of you! We don't want your kind here!”
The other members of the group exclaimed out loud, attracting even more walkers.
“Do you guys even know what you're doing?!” Harry muttered, a spell already in his mind and it wasn't one of the Unforgivables. If he was going to have to take these men out then he wasn't going to kill them. He heard the twang of Daryl's crossbow as the other man took out the walkers behind them.
“Guys… do you know who that is?” The only man that hadn't spoken asked, glaring at the others. Harry watched as the man tried to draw the others attention only to get ignored. “Guys, look at his scar! For fuck's sake!”
Harry smirked at the man that was trying to stop this. The guy's blue eyes were wide and his skin was pale. The man's fingers were trembling around the wand as he took out a walker that was getting close to the group.
“Ugh, forget this.”
Randall walked out from behind them and shuffled through the shield, causing it to waver for a minute. The instant the man was out, the other group cast spells all at once. And one was a sickly green color.
The instant that the killing curse hit Randall, the man stood for a second or two then fell over dead. Harry's eyes widened, distantly aware of his protective shield eating up all of the other curses. He had been all but ready to kick Randall out but now… An arrow landed in Randall's head, making sure the guy wouldn't reanimate.
Harry took a step forward, taking care to not leave the protective area of the shield and hexed the group with a vicious hex. It was one that spread to all members of the group and one that only needed one muttered spell. All of the members of the group sprouted boils all over their visible skin and they recoiled back. They started to yelp and scream as the boils grew over their bodies and reached through their skin. One of the members of the group whispered something and fire came roaring out of his wand, racing towards Harry and Daryl.
It all happened so fast, someone casting the fiendyre and he saw someone else cast the killing curse. The sickly green curse sped toward the two of them along with the cursed fire along with a group of walkers coming from the other side. Harry stared for a second then dodged the killing curse, grabbing Daryl with his right hand and pulling him to within a few inches of the fire. Harry heard Daryl mutter a few curses but let Harry pull him along regardless.
Harry was just about to dodge out of the way of the fiendyre, raising his wand to cast another counter spell when the fire climbed and sped over to his wand. The fire roared along his holly wand, burning it up as it went and just as it touched his fingers, his magic roared up. It rose up, even without his muttering a spell, and pushed the fire away. He screamed at the touch of the flames that had jumped onto his fingers but his magic still flared, waves and waves of magic turning into magicked water and putting out the fiendyre fire.
As soon as the fire died, he focused on calming down, or as much as he could with his left hand burning and inflamed. There was nothing left of his holly wand as it had been burned to nothingness by the flames.
Harry gingerly brought his hand up to his chest and turned to face Daryl, who had his crossbow nocked and was looking for any other threat. The other man was pale but not too shocked as he stared at him. Harry looked beyond Daryl as he took in what he had done unconsciously. The wizards that had attempted to kill them were dead and they looked like they had drowned. The few walkers that Daryl had brought down were gone, having been washed away by Harry's magic.
On the plus side, there were no other walker corpses on the street. And the smell was a lot better.
“We need to get out of here,” Harry said as his left fingers moved just the slightest bit. The nerves in his burnt hand screamed at him and he shuddered at the pain. He had never been burned with fiendrye before though there had been that time in the first task back in fourth year. That had been dragon fire though. Later Harry would think that fiendrye and dragon fire both hurt equally as much.
“Don't'ya need to look at that?” Daryl asked, gesturing to his hand.
“We need to get somewhere safe first,” Harry said, voice breaking as more pain assaulted his mind. “Bloody wizards...”
“The fuck was that kind of fire?” Daryl asked as he took to nudging Harry in the direction of the hardware store. He caught Harry looking at him just before they went in, like the wizard was grateful for Daryl taking over. “Ain't never seen that before. It was the shape of a snake.”
“That was fiendrye,” Harry explained, waiting at the front door of the store at Daryl's gesture. Harry waited until Daryl came back from checking out the store and followed him in. There was at least one corpse that Harry could see, one that had an arrow from Daryl's crossbow in the head. “Cursed fire.”
“Yeah,” Harry said, sinking down onto his butt in the corner of the store where he could see everything. Daryl stood over him, eying him and taking an appraising look at the contents in the store. “It takes shapes… Let me tend to my hand first.”
“You do that. I'm gonna look for some things. Ya need help?”
“Uh,” Harry started. “No but I'll call you if I do?”
Harry watched as Daryl started to walk through the aisle that was right in front of them and then glanced down to his left hand. It was all red, inflamed and bright. “Damn, that's gonna be a bitch to tend to.”
It was his wand hand, his dominant hand and vaguely Harry thought that it would have hurt less if it had been his non-dominant hand. Or maybe it would have hurt more. His left hand was the hand that his magic went through, flowed from him to his wand. He looked down at his waist and reached down to pick up his bag that he had brought and unhooked it from his belt.
The bag that he always kept with him was one that had an undetectable extension on it and he had stashed some potions and bandages in it this morning, just in case. He slid the elder wand out of his ankle holster and summoned a pain reliever potion and yelped as the potion vial shot up and into his left hand.
He transferred the vial to his right hand and opened it with a burst of wandless magic and drank it right down, not even caring about the taste. The minute that the pain dulled, he breathed a deep sigh of relief. It almost made him dizzy, how the pain was there one minute and gone the next.
Next, he summoned some cream from his bag and he made sure that the container sped into his right hand this time. “Thank Merlin for this...”
He again opened the container with a quick alohomora and then whispered a cleaning charm, directing the magic with his mind. A quick wisp of cool air raced across his hand, leaving only the burn. He summoned one of the buckets that he could see in the next aisle and had it stop next to him then filled the bucket with water from his wand.
He lowered his hand into the cool water and closed his eyes at the feel, leaning more against the wall behind him.
“Ya have a big bag that we can pack stuff in?”
Harry startled at Daryl's voice, at the fact that it was so close. He opened his eyes and looked up at Daryl, realizing he had fallen asleep. Daryl looked down at him, cheeks red.
“Didn't realize you were asleep.”
“Nah, it's fine. I'll sleep when we get back,” Harry said, gesturing to the bag next to him. “I need to bandage my hand too so… You can put anything you get in there. How long has it been?”
“'S been a few hours since we got to Atlanta.”
“You sure everything will fit?” Daryl added. “Picked up a few guns an' ammo.”
“It's a magic bag,” Harry explained, picking up his hand from the water. “Stuff anything you want in there. It'll fit.”
“Picked up a colored knife fer Sophia,” Daryl said as he bent down.
“Ooh, that's a good idea. She'll need something to defend herself with,” Harry responded as he then dipped his right hand into the antibacteria cream and spread it across his hand, sighing at the coolness of the balm. He spread it across his palm and fingers, making sure to get every inch of the burn. “We could probably even get her a slingshot if she doesn't want a gun.”
“Didn' expect to see that fight,” Daryl commented as he picked up the bag and turned away from Harry for a minute to pack the things in that he had found.
“I wasn't expecting that either,” Harry said as he waited for the cream to dry. He blew over his hand and fingers then summoned the spelled bandages from the bag. Daryl startled at seeing bandages rise out of the bag he was holding and float over to the wizard.
“How're ya doin' that without your wand?”
“You saw the fire burn it up, right?” Harry asked as he caught the bandages. Daryl could hear the underlying grief in Harry's voice and wondered what it was from. He certainly hoped it wasn't from any of the wizards they had been ambushed by.
“I'm getting better at wandless magic,” Harry offered, tilting his head in confusion as he stared at his left hand. Wrapping his hand with only one hand was a daunting prospect. “Besides, the elder wand likes to fulfill my every wish 'cause I'm it's master.”
Harry heard Daryl step over to him and kneel down, putting the bag down with a thunk. Hands entered his vision and Harry glanced at Daryl, eyes wide, as the archer grabbed the bandages out of Harry's hand and wrapped Harry's hand himself. Harry stayed still on the spot as Daryl wound the bandage around Harry's hand, wrapping it three, four times around his hand before slicing it with a knife.
“You have much experience with wrapping injuries?” Harry quietly asked as Daryl pulled away again. He watched as Daryl pulled away to finish putting the stuff he had found in the bag. “Burns? Or do I not want to know?”
“Ya don't want to know.”
Harry flinched at Daryl's tone and reached his good hand out to grasp Daryl's arm. The other man stopped, stilled, and turned to look at him again.
Daryl looked back at the bag once, noting the sounds of walkers outside the store. “We should go.”
“Fuck it,” Harry muttered, reaching forward to place his lips on Daryl's then pulled back as soon as he did. “Thank you.”
Daryl turned red, redder than usual, and abruptly stood up. Harry slowly did too, reaching his good hand behind him to aid himself. He summoned the bag and as soon as he hooked it back to its spot, he was pulled into a kiss. His eyes widened so much he was worried they would fall out of his sockets.
Daryl hurriedly pulled back when he didn't feel Harry returning the kiss, worrying that he had misread the other man. Was the light touch just before just a thank you kiss? Was the guy not gay? Fuck. He didn't know what he was doing! He automatically picked up his crossbow and turned to head toward the door.
“You didn't misread me,” Harry said, breaking into Daryl's panic. There was fond affection in his tone, all meant for him. Daryl glanced back at him, seeing the smile on the other man's face. “It seems the thing I'm feeling goes both ways?”
“Shit, of course it goes both ways. Fucking wizards.”
Harry snorted as Daryl gestured for him to join him.
“Ready?” Harry asked, the elder wand in his right hand now. He was still smiling and Daryl rolled his eyes.
“Where we going next?”
“Wizarding alley here in Atlanta. I know we're past when I said we'd be back but with how low the potions supply is getting, we can't risk it. Come on.”
He held out his right hand towards Daryl again and the other man reached back, not entwining their hands but enough so that Harry would be able to hold onto him. They disapparated silently and left the hardware store behind.
“What did ya do?” Daryl asked as they landed in another part of Atlanta, this street not looking the least bit interesting. Or at least, Daryl thought it looked uninteresting. But as Harry was staring intently at a weird looking New Age type store, he figured there was something of use there. “Ya were gonna explain the fire?”
“Oh, yeah. The fire… that was cursed fire. It can take the shape of an animal and it's near impossible to put out,” Harry remarked as he led them across the street. “You have enough arrows for one side trip?”
“You found what you were lookin' for?”
“Yeah, it's the entrance to the magical part of Atlanta,” Harry said. “It always changes for every Alley but I guess the owner of this entrance was being ironic.”
“C'mon. It's through here, or at least I think so.”
“Ya think so?”
Harry snorted, casting a cutting curse at the only walker that they saw. “This is the only area in Atlanta that stinks of magic. I'm at least 99.9% sure of it.”
Daryl wordlessly followed Harry into the store, rolling his eyes at a couple of the products on display. This store hadn't been looted as there was no visible evidence of any stealing. But then again, it didn't look like it had been touched in a while either. Dust spread all over the store, covering the products, the windows and door.
There were things like crystal balls, cards and things that were typical of these kinds of stores.
“Ya sure that this is the entrance? Looks like they were tryin' too hard.”
“There's probably another entrance,” Harry replied as they walked to the back of the store. “Probably a bar or diner. Something like that. Us wizards like our bars or pubs. They're good places to conspire.”
They stopped at the back door that was empty of all products and memorabilia and Harry held up his wand. The door was old, ancient looking like it had never been replaced and the building itself had looked old from the outside. The building was made out of bricks, dark red bricks with specks of white in them. But apparently Harry thought there was something on the other side.
“Yeah, long story there.” Harry turned to focus on the door then brought up his wand and tapped out a pattern on door.
“Wand waving ain't like sword fightin'?”
Daryl watched as the bricks on the door started to move, pulling back. The bricks moved completely away, enough so that both men could step through. He could hear hissing and moaning coming from a few feet after the door and he raised his crossbow after nocking an arrow. Harry raised his wand, energy already coiling around him.
“What do you mean by that?” Harry asked, stepping through first.
“You're not havin' any trouble usin' your other hand.”
Daryl stepped through after him and shot the walker that was headed towards them. It was only a few feet away so that when it fell, blood and brain matter splattered over the two of them. He saw Harry wrinkle his nose and mutter something, maybe a curse.
“I can use my right hand,” Harry replied, quieter this time as they started to move. As they walked, Daryl looked around at the big, wide alley that they had traveled to. There were a lot of store fronts, selling various things from… brooms to cauldrons. “But it's a little shaky there. I'll need to get used to it. Maybe there's some burn paste in the apothecary that I can borrow.”
There were lots of walkers ambling around on the street and they tried to keep to the store fronts as they went. There were definitely enough to make one or two big herds and Daryl certainly didn't want to provoke them. All of them were dressed in light colored robes, the ones that made Daryl think of wizards or sorcerers in books.
“Shh,” Draco hissed, holding his wand at the ready as they trudged through the forests of Scotland. They were near the border of Scotland but very many miles away from London still. Luckily, they hadn't seen a lot of eaters in the past few days but Draco was still on edge. He could still hear the screams of the fleeing children and professors back at Hogwarts and that had been four weeks ago.
James held on tightly to his little brother and watched Draco as their uncle peered around the tree they were hiding behind. The train tracks that the Hogwarts Express took were just a minute or two away but they had heard a scream coming from around here. And Draco had pulled them to a stop as soon as they heard that.
“I can't sense any magic,” James whispered, tightning his grip on Albus and his wand.
“That doesn't mean that we're safe,” Draco muttered. “But come on. Let's go.”
Draco led the way, with James and Albus walking close. They cautiously crept out of the forest and into the clearing and stopped, shock still. There were eaters in the clearing in front of them and a group of muggles firing weapons. Guns. That was what Draco had been hearing. And… Draco's eyes widened when he saw what was on the tracks.
Two cars of the Hogwarts Express were on the train tracks and the cars came rolling to a stop right across from Draco and the two children.
“Can't they see the train?” Albus asked quietly. Morgana, the snake, was still curled around his neck and had been keeping watch during the night for them and sleeping during the day.
“No, no muggles can see the Hogwarts Express,” James said. “Or, at least that's what Aunt Hermione said.”
“Your aunt is smart,” Draco muttered, thinking of the Golden trio. He wondered what had happened to Harry and to Hermione over the past few weeks. He had seen Ron get killed but Hermione had fled, getting a portkey and disappearing. “Even I trust her judgement and if you two repeat that to her the next time we see her, I'll hex you.”
James and Albus giggled, appearing to not take Draco's threat seriously. He sighed.
“Do you think we could get on the train?” Albus asked. “It's waiting right there and it's turned in the direction of London. And I'm cold.”
As if to punctuate Albus' comment about the weather, a cold wind flew through them. James shivered and Albus moved closer to his brother. Draco shuddered and cast a warming charm on all three of them, knowing that they would need to get warmer clothes at Diagon Alley.
Draco kept a hand on Albus' shoulder and watched the muggles dispatch the undead. “We need to wait. I don't want those people seeing us.”
They waited an hour for the muggles to leave and when Draco was sure they that they were gone, the three of them raced over to the Hogwarts Express. They skirted past the bodies of the undead and climbed aboard the nearest car. It was like it had been waiting for them but most likely, Draco thought it had been left here for some reason he could not think of. The car that they climbed into smelled like it had…
Albus and James gasped as they peeked their heads into the other car, tramping across the little door. Draco followed and pulled them away before pointing his wand at the car and whispering a blasting curse. The other car flew away from them, squealing as it went down the tracks and then burst into flames. The sight of some of the younger students from Hogwarts ambling around with dead eyes and dead skin with chunks torn out would forever stay in his memories and nightmares. And would probably stay in James and Albus' nightmares as well.
The three of them watched as the train car was consumed by the fire.
“What are we going to do now?” Albus asked quietly, looking between Draco and James.
“This car isn't the caboose,” James said in a shaky voice.
“We're going to be okay,” Draco remarked. “This is a good place to sleep for the night anyways. You two stay here. I'll go get some wood for a fire.”
Just as he said that, the car started forward, stuttering briefly before steadying and continuing. Draco's eyes widened and watched as the door closed.
“Do you think that this is magic?” Albus asked after a minute.
“It could be on autopilot,” James offered. “Or whatever the muggles call that. Or this could just be leftover magic.”
“Whatever it is, I'm grateful. It means we don't have to walk all the way to London.”
Hermione landed in France two hours later, exhausted and hungry and alone. Her knees buckled instantly when she appeared near the French Pyrenees mountains, darkness invading her vision. She flinched at the sounds of moaning and hissing that meant walkers and kept a tight hold on her wand. She cursed, knowing that she had no energy whatsoever to fight them off. She had apparated from India to Mongolia then to Moscow all in the same day yesterday and only had a bit of magic to travel to France now.
The sounds came closer and she struggled to move, attempting to stand up only for her knees to buckle again. She held her wand up as she saw them, the undead as they ambled closer and closer. One was just speeding up, apparently hungrier than the rest, when she heard shouts and yells. Magic surrounded her, a blue light curling around her, shielding her. Bright red fire spells shot toward the undead, taking out a lot of them.
The last she saw before she passed out was a dead walker's pale face.
It was a few hours still before Harry and Daryl finished getting supplies. The bag that was spelled with the extension charm held so many supplies from the hardware store and Harry's shrunken trunk held yet more supplies of the wizarding variety. They had had to kill few more walkers before they had been able to get into the apothecary and the potions supplies. Harry had taken all of the already made potions that the store had and all of the ingredients that had been left. They had also taken food from the local muggle grocery store and piled it into a section of his trunk that was refrigerated. The things that didn't need to be refrigerated were in a whole other section of his trunk.
It was night now, the stars having come out an hour or two ago and the sun gone down. They were stopped in front of a quidditch supplies shop and Harry was fondly looking at one of the brooms.
“Didn't ya say you liked flyin'?” Daryl asked as he took a sip of water from a bottle.
“Yeah, it was a favorite hobby of mine. It… was my escape too,” Harry remarked, glancing up to the stars and taking a bite of an energy bar. Throughout their afternoon 'shopping', Harry had noticed that his magic was not recharging as fast as it usually did. He barely had enough to cast a curse or stunning spell. And now he finally realized that what he had done to the wizards they had run into had just been pure magic. And that took had caused his magic to deplete faster. Though he still had plenty of death magic. That hadn't changed.
Daryl nodded and took a bite of an apple. “Should probably get goin'.”
“Yeah, about that. You up for flying?”
Daryl startled, staring at him incredulously. “What?”
“I used up all of my magic fighting those wizards. My fault really but what's done is done. And flying would be faster than trying to find a car somewhere around here.”
“Ya can take me flyin'? Thought I would need to be a witch?”
“It's safe,” Harry retorted, watching Daryl frown. “It would just be like riding on your motorcycle.”
“'Cept hundreds of miles up,” Daryl said, his voice rising a little.
“I'll keep you safe. I promise. Plus, that one right there fits two.”
“Ya sure about this?”
“Yes. They're probably worrying about us right now. And flying doesn't require any magic.”
Daryl still glared at him.
Harry pulled out the gun that he had gotten from the goblins and shot at a walker that was coming too close for his liking. He had spelled the gun silent before they had left this morning so there was no noise from the bullet. “You want to stay here and try to find a car?! A working car?”
“Fine. We'll do it yer way.”
“Wait here. I'll be right back.”
“Okay, just climb on and grab my waist.”
Daryl huffed but did as Harry said, slinging his crossbow across his shoulder. He hesitantly wrapped his arms around the other man's waist and flinched when they began to rise up in the air. He tightened his arms as they rose higher than the top of the buildings, with no sun to see by except the witch light that Harry had conjured.
They sped forward, slow at first, then faster over buildings and cars. And Daryl felt one of Harry's hands cover his own when he further tightened his own. The broom that Harry had chosen was big enough to seat two people and long with foot rests. It wasn't comfortable but it worked for a mode of transportation. And Harry was right, more or less. It did feel like riding his motorcycle.
They flew out of Atlanta, taking the route that they had taken right after leaving the CDC. It was genuinely dark now, a few hours after midnight. The light that Harry had conjured had grown dim a little as they had taken off but Harry had told him that it was just so people on the ground wouldn't see them.
They flew over the quarry that their group had initially stayed at. That had been before Harry, before they had found the wizard at the CDC. Then they turned, aiming for the Greene farm. It was cold, the air whipping around them and through them before Harry cast a spell. Daryl heard him mutter something but it was lost to the wind and warmth encompassed him.
They came upon the site where they had lost Sophia a few hours later, both of them tired though Harry suspected that he would be the only one to admit that. Though with Daryl slumping more and more against his back, maybe the archer was as tired as he was. Harry kept on going, passing the freeway only to stop in sudden surprise and shock. The acres where the farm was were on fire.
Harry flew slowly toward the farm, dimming the witch light a little more.
“The fuck happened while we left?!” Daryl exclaimed, the wind carrying the question up to Harry.
Harry felt adrenaline race through his system and his hands started to shake. The nerves in his left hand screamed dully and he ignored them. He flicked his vision into death vision and gaped.
“There are hundreds of walkers down there!” Harry yelled as he watched the undead wander through the farm. There was not one white light down there, indicating there were no live people on the farm still left.
“You see anyone?”
“Can ya land?” Daryl exclaimed, pulling back from leaning against him.
“Uh… I'll try. Hold on!”
Harry flew over the pasture of cows that now held dead cows. He flew over the well that Glenn had gone down to bait the walker. He flew over a lot of walkers that were sniffing up towards the sky, up towards them and he shuddered. He flew around the barn that was covered in flames and the RV that was mobbed with walkers. He could see Jimmy in the driver's seat, now being chewed on by the undead.
They stopped at the house, hovering high enough so that they wouldn't get taken by walkers. Patricia's body was by the porch of the house, along with four undead chewing on her.
“What do we do now?” Harry asked. “Is the group...”
“Go to our tents. I'll get my motorcycle.”
Harry nodded slowly and turned to speed over to where his and Daryl's tents were. There were a few feathers from Buckbeak's wings on the ground near his tent and blood… A sob was torn from his throat at the sight and he hoped… He hoped he hadn't just lost his children again.
Harry was jolted into action, casting a blasting spell at the walkers that had followed Daryl's scent, and landed. Daryl climbed off of the broomstick and raced over to his motorcycle.
Harry stayed with Daryl as he kicked off on his motorcycle. They had no reason to stay here, not when their group was missing or lost or… He refused to think they were all dead. He flew over Daryl as they left the farm. The farm that was currently on fire, the flames from the barn spreading. As they left, Harry hovered by the other barn once more briefly and glanced back then shook his head and caught up to Daryl.
On the outskirts of the farm, they found Buckbeak. Or what had been Buckbeak. Harry burst into tears, losing control of the broom momentarily. There were five walkers chewing on the hippogriff's corpse and Harry cast a vehement cutting curse at all five through his tears then flew over to reach Daryl.
Harry's heart clenched in his chest, the sight of the loyal animal would forever stain his memories, but followed his hunter. They took off through the forest and landed on the road, speeding past walkers as they went.
“There were tire tracks by him!” Daryl shouted up to him.
Harry looked down at Daryl and nodded, barely able to recognize what the other man was trying to tell him. But he just followed Daryl as they flew/rode through the forest of trees and away from their lost home.
Dawn creeped up onto them in the time it took for Hershel to drive the truck back up onto the highway. Rick was in the back, cradling an unconscious Carl in his lap. The former police officer had been too occupied to drive out and away from the farm so Hershel had taken the driver's seat, occasionally looking back at the father and son. Lily and Sophia were sitting next to Rick, both exhausted and frightened. Lily, more so, as Hershel thought the girl had seen the magical beast, the hippogriff, ripped to pieces by the walkers. Both Lily and Sophia were pale, in shock. Lily had her left hand wrapped tightly around her wand, in a white knuckled grip. There were tear tracks on her cheeks and dirt covering them.
“He still unconscious?” Hershel called back, parking the truck as soon as they arrived on the highway. Rick had directed him to where the group had lost Sophia two weeks ago, hoping that everyone else would have the same idea and travel here. If… If there was anyone else left… If they hadn't just lost both of their families.
“Yeah, he's breathin'. He's still got color and his pulse is even, I think.”
Hershel raised an eyebrow, wishing that their resident wizard was here. There was nothing visibly wrong with Carl but he was still unconscious, had been since they had lost the farm. Since Rick had again come back to the house with Carl in his arms.
Hershel pulled his shotgun from the passenger seat and got out of the truck, seeing the car that had the big sign with the message to Sophia a few feet away. There were no walkers that he could see so he went around the side of the car and opened the side door. “I don't have my kit with me but even I can see he should be awake now. It could be shock.”
Rick glanced at him then sighed. “Shouldn't his pulse be racin' then?”
“He's...” Lily trailed off, interrupting what Hershel was about to say. She paled even more when both men looked at her. Her eyes were wide with realization at something but then she turned away, glancing out the window and up at the sky.
“Lily? Do you know anything about what's going on with him?” Rick asked. “Harry's not here...”
Lily jerkily shook her head in an abrupt movement and looked out the window. “Teddy and Harry and Carol aren't dead, right?”
“No, sweetheart,” Rick said, glancing over to Hershel with a question in his eyes. “They aren't dead.”
Hershel shook his head. “I saw Teddy get picked up by Beth. He's safe.”
Lily stared at both of them then glanced down at Carl, who was slightly twitching, and then propped her head on Sophia's closest shoulder. Sophia startled then leaned against Lily, both of them closing their eyes and falling asleep.
Rick reluctantly left Carl in the car, seeing as neither he nor Hershel could see anything wrong with him and nor could they wake him either, and stepped out to watch for any sign of the others. Hershel had moved around to the front of the car, with his rifle in his hands. They both looked at each other then moved to talk.
Hershel frowned and glanced to where they could both see the smoke from the farm.
“It's not safe to stay here,” Hershel muttered, looking back at Rick. “You know that.”
Rick nodded hesitantly and then looked back into the red truck, that held the three kids. Two of whom were asleep and one was still unconscious even though it had been five hours since Carl had passed out after seeing and shooting walker Shane.
“We gotta wait for the others, wait for Lori,” Rick whispered.
Hershel glanced at him, narrowing his eyes.
“We'll wait for another few minutes,” Rick finally said. “Then we'll go.”
Just as Rick was about to call it quits, they heard a motorcycle engine. Lily and Sophia both woke up immediately, eyes bloodshot but wide. Lily's eyes lit up at seeing Daryl and Carol sitting behind him on his motorcycle. But she squealed out in joy when she looked up in the air and saw Harry on a broom. Lily glanced down at Carl, who was still unconscious, then got out of the car with Sophia.
Harry's immediately lit up at seeing Lily and he leaned down on the broomstick, speeding up to dive right in front of Lily. She was grinning widely but Harry could see that she was shaken. Something in his heart loosened up at seeing Lily, Sophia, Rick and Hershel as he came to a stop on the ground. Daryl stopped his motorcycle near Rick and Hershel's truck and Carol got off too. The two cars behind the motorcycle pulled off and parked too and Glenn, Maggie, Lori, Beth, Teddy and T-Dog got out of them. Harry smiled widely, propped the broom up against Hershel's red truck and kneeled to pull Teddy and Lily into a tight hug.
“Lily, Teddy! You're alive,” Harry whispered as they burrowed into him. He could feel them both shaking in his arms and Lily was definitely crying. He was distantly aware of Rick shaking hands with Daryl, wordlessly thanking him for bringing everyone back together, before going to pull Lori into a hug. Carol pulled Sophia into a tight hug and Hershel had Maggie and Beth in a hug. Harry idly wondered where Shane was before returning to focus on his two children. “Shhh, you two are okay. I'm here. I said I would come back, wouldn't I?”
Teddy nodded, unable to speak just now. Lily just cried harder and Harry could hear her whispering something.
“Sweetheart, what is it?” Harry murmured, stroking her hair. “You're not hurt, are you?”
“No… Dad… Buckbeak,” Lily said, her voice breaking.
“Beaky died,” Teddy murmured, his voice sounding watery. Teddy was sniffling too. “He died protecting us.”
Harry winced but nodded. “You guys saw him die?”
Both kids nodded and Harry sighed. He was hoping that the two of them would have had at least five more years of childhood but ever since this… plague had taken over the world, he supposed kids would have to face this new world. Hell, he didn't even know what had really happened when Hogwarts had fallen.
“I am sorry about that,” Harry murmured, ruffling Teddy's hair and bringing the two of them in closer while minding his injured hand. “I am grateful that he protected you though. We'll miss him.”
Lily nodded and Harry pulled out a tissue from his pack and held it up to her. Lily sniffled once more then blew her nose.
“He'll always be with us,” Harry added, pulling back a bit to look in their eyes and dropping kisses on their foreheads. Lily's brown eyes and Teddy's currently green eyes were haunted already and they both had bags beneath their eyes. Teddy and Lily hesitantly nodded before Harry turned back to the group.
“Dad?” Lily said.
“Carl…” Lily trailed off before gesturing to the red truck.
“The rest of us?” Glenn asked, drawing Harry's attention back to the group. Everyone was spread out in a loose circle between the cars and motorcycle. “Andrea?”
“I saw her,” Carol spoke quietly, with Sophia next to her. “I lost her amongst the walkers.”
“Shane?” Lori questioned.
Rick shook his head. “Harry, could you look at Carl? He's… he's in the car.”
Harry studied the former police officer, nodded and went over to the open passenger door of the red truck. Lily and Teddy followed him and went to stand beside him. Carl was spread out on the passenger seat, unconscious but breathing steadily, if a little fast. Lori walked over and sat on the other side of Carl. It wasn't shock, that much was clear. The kid was pale and Carl's temperature was high but not too high, not high enough for his brain to be boiling in there. He pulled out the elder wand and ran a diagnostic charm. “When did he pass out? Was he bitten?”
“He… He wasn't bitten or hit by anything.”
Harry nodded distractedly as the results of the diagnostic charm appeared on a piece of paper he had pulled out. He heard people talking about what to do and the twang of Daryl's crossbow as the hunter shot at what was likely a walker. Carl was dehydrated and there was evidence of shock but that had long since passed. Rick's son had all the symptoms of a fever but Harry could tell, something was causing the fever and it wasn't natural. It wasn't the result of the walker virus but it was something else entirely. He couldn't find the explanation as to why Carl had passed out.
“Dad, I thought… he looks like he's changing,” Lily whispered, nudging Harry with an elbow.
“Changing?” Harry repeated faintly, glancing back out of the car. The group was splitting up, some people going to one car, others going to another vehicle. The elder wand vibrated lightly in his hand and he looked to the front of the car where Rick and T-Dog were getting in. Lily and Teddy were shuffling in and throwing the broomstick into the back.
“Anything?” Rick asked, looking back at them from the driver's seat.
Harry pointed the elder wand at Carl and whispered an enervate and watched as Carl slowly opened his blue, if a little hazy eyes. Carl was obviously in pain but Harry was completely unaware of the cause. And it clearly wasn't a lot of pain but just enough for Carl to be uncomfortable if the little twitches of his body were any indication. “Give me a minute, kiddo. I'll get you something for the pain. Do we have a plan?”
“Carl?” Lori whispered from the other side of the passenger seat. Harry turned to look as she peered up at him and glared at him. Harry raised an eyebrow then looked back at Rick.
“We're going east,” Rick replied. “Daryl suggested staying off of the main roads.”
Harry nodded. “Good plan.”
Harry peered back down at Carl, who was sitting up and leaning against Lori's side. He sighed and tugged out the small bag that he had taken into Atlanta from his waist.
“Somethin' happen to your hand?” Rick asked.
“Encountered some wizards,” Harry remarked, before reaching into his pack with his uninjured hand. He heard Lori, T-Dog and Rick gasp as they saw his entire hand and arm disappear into the bag before he drew out a vial of potion. “They weren't… very friendly.”
“Define very friendly,” Rick suggested as he turned the car on. Daryl was taking the lead with his motorcycle and Maggie and Glenn had already pulled out and started on the road.
Harry rolled his eyes but answered. “The kind that tried to kill me. It's no big deal.”
“No big deal?” T-Dog repeated. “Wizards try to kill each other all the time?”
“No. Well, there were two wars a few years ago but those are over. The group in Atlanta were all upset that I personally didn't do anything to stop this.”
“You personally?” Rick repeated. “You couldn't have done anythin'.”
“I know that,” Harry said, shrugging and opening up the vial of pain potion. “Carl, three sips of this should suffice. I've had a lot of death threats against me in the past. I'm used to it.”
He watched as Carl drank precisely three sips of the potion then put the cork in the vial when Carl handed it back.
“Yeah, my uncle defeated the Death Eaters,” Teddy remarked, his voice sounding sleepy. “He's famous.”
Carl started to look better immediately, his face gaining color and the tremors in his body slowing and stopping within a few minutes.
“Death Eaters?” Carl repeated in a shaky voice. He was still hurting but for now, he was okay. Harry drew out his miniaturized trunk and climbed over the back seat to the covered truck bed.
“You guys don't want to know,” Harry remarked wearily. “Now, I think I'll try and find out what caused that. I need to find the book… Lily, you said something about changing, didn't you?”
“Yes,” Lily replied, her head falling onto Teddy's shoulder. Teddy was already falling asleep, his head on the door of the car.
“You think my son is changing?” Lori finally spoke, looking at him with accusing eyes. “It must have been something you did then! Hershel said he didn't recognize any of Carl's symptoms!”
“Lori,” Rick started.
Harry glanced between the couple then sighed and resized his trunk. The trunk took up one full corner of the truck bed and Harry opened it to the library section. “Let me know if we stop or something. This will take a few minutes.”
“What will take a few minutes?” T-Dog asked, turning back in the car to look at him.
“I have a library in my trunk. I just need to look up one of my medical books.”
Harry stepped into his trunk and climbed down the staircase, hearing every adult back up in the car gasp even louder. The car slowed down briefly before starting back up. Harry grinned bemusedly before wandering over to the book shelves.
Hermione woke up in a bed. In a real bed. She slowly opened her eyes, her wand at the ready only to get an eyeful of red hair. She could hear people talking in French accents near her too and she smiled.
Bill's eyes widened and he sighed in relief as he peered down at her. “Hermione! Thank Merlin, you're okay!”
“We found you. Zhese undead were about to attack you,” Fleur said as she came over. “We're in my family's home in France.”
Hermione took a deep breath and relaxed on the bed, knowing that she was safe. “How did you...”
Bill raised an eyebrow but nodded, seeming to know what Hermione was asking. “Madam Maxime and her school, or what's left of her school, sensed you. Gabrielle brought you here to us.”
“My sister, Gabrielle, was still at the school,” Fleur added. “My home iz safe for us so it is home for you now too. As long as you need it.”
“Thanks. I'm trying to get to America,” Hermione spoke, as Bill brought over some water for her. Hermione nodded her thanks and sipped some of the deliciously cold water. “That's where Harry is.”
“We have a portkey you could use,” Bill said. “My parents and other siblings are due to arrive here tomorrow from Diagon Alley anyway. Though Charlie's staying in Romania, says the dragon reserve is pretty well protected. It was either here or Malfoy Manor.”
Hermione shuddered at the memories that manor had for her. “This is your parent's manor, Fleur?”
“Yes, it iz.”
“The Burrow?” Hermione questioned, fearing the answer but wanting to hear it anyway.
“Lost,” Bill muttered, his eyes downcast and sorrowful. “That was where Ginny and Percy died. My parents didn't want to stay there anymore. I thought that you and Ron were in Australia to look for your parents?”
“I… We were,” Hermione spoke hesitantly. She stared up at Bill and his expression faltered. He shuddered and she could see tears filling his eyes. Fleur walked back up and pulled him into a hug, her face going pale too. “He died protecting me.”
“Aha!” Harry muttered, finally pulling out the book he was looking for. He sat down, up against the book shelves and opened it up and was getting ready to look for this kind of illness when Lily yelled down to him.
“Dad, we're stopping!” Lily shouted.
“Thanks, Lily,” Harry called up. He glanced down at the book before standing up and walking back and up out of the trunk, hearing the truck come to a stop. He stepped out, placed the book on the passenger seat, and got out of the car along with Lily, Teddy, Carl, T-Dog, Lori and Rick. “What's up?”
It had gotten dark since he had gone down into his trunk and it was chilly, a cold wind flowing through the air. The sun was just beginning to go down as Harry saw Glenn, Maggie, Beth, Hershel, Sophia, Daryl and Carol get out or off of their vehicles.
Everyone met in the middle, with mostly everyone holding onto a weapon.
“We're almost out of gas,” T-Dog said.
“Uncle, I'm cold,” Teddy whispered as they stopped.
“I'm cold too,” Carl added.
“We could go make a run for gas,” Maggie said, holding a shotgun and gesturing to the road ahead.
Harry drew the elder wand and looked at Lily and Sophia. “You two cold too?”
Both girls nodded and Harry waved his wand at the four children and whispered the warming charm. He heard sighs of relief before Harry pointed the elder wand at Carl, the wand itself warmed. Harry stared, bewildered, down at the wand and flipped it up onto his palm. It didn't feel any different to him.
“No, we don't split up,” Rick said. “I don't want anyone getting stranded without a car.”
“We're stranded now,” Glenn said, looking out at everyone. “And we can't all fit in one car.”
“Technically, we could,” Harry remarked idly, peering at the group while keeping an eye and an ear out for walkers. Daryl was doing the same, with an arrow already nocked on the crossbow. “With a bit of magic here and there.”
Everyone turned to look at him with varying expressions, from disbelief to Lori's unpleasant frown.
“But yeah, stranded. Right… Tents! Are we staying the night here?”
Rick nodded then started to speak. “I know it looks bad, we've all been through hell and worse, but at least we found each other. I wasn't sure I really wasn't but we did. We're together. We keep it that way. We'll find shelter somewhere. There's gotta be a place.”
“But what about now?” Maggie asked.
“Rick, look around. Okay? There's walkers everywhere. They're migrating or something,” Glenn argued. “We need a place now.”
“What happened with Randall?” Hershel asked, looking over at Harry.
“He was killed,” Harry said. “I ran into some unpleasant company- not walkers- who tried to kill me and they… Randall got caught in the crossfire.”
“You didn't protect him?” Lori questioned, eyes narrowing.
“Excuse me, that wasn't my priority or my job,” Harry argued, taking a step into the circle. Sparks jumped off of the elder wand in his left hand, causing everyone to pale except Rick and Daryl and his kids. “I would have except for some assholes who wanted to kill me. It was either take concentration off the real threat or protect myself and Daryl. I voted for the latter.”
“You've caused a lot of our troubles in the first place!”
Harry narrowed his eyes, feeling his magic stirring. “I helped to heal your son. I protected the farm when Shane tried to open the barn up. Granted, I would have cleared out the barn in the first place but whatever. Not the point. I haven't done anything to warrant you trying to kick me off the metaphorical island! I have had enough of this shit. It's the same shit I had to deal with for 17 years during school and I want it to end.”
Lily and Teddy gasped.
“I didn't hear about what you decided to do with the baby but you should probably know, I've got potions to help with the morning sickness. So either stop harassing me or deal with that on your own!”
Everyone was quiet after that for a few minutes before Rick cleared his throat.
“Lori, he's right,” Rick said. “He's been an important part of the group. He's working on findin' out what's wrong with Carl.”
Harry stepped back to stand next to Daryl and his kids followed him, unsure of their welcome with the others. He exchanged grateful glances with Rick and then turned to look out into the wilderness behind them, feeling the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He could have sworn that someone or something was watching them and… He sighed. Death was watching him, leaning against a tree a few feet from Harry. The scythe shone in the bare light that was in the clearing but only Harry could see Death. He watched as Death dipped its head in a clear nod of approval then vanished.
“...There's gotta be a place not just where we hole up, but that we fortify, hunker down, pull ourselves together, build a life for each other. I know it's out there. We just have to find it,” Rick finished.
“But what if what happened at the farm happens there?” Maggie questioned.
“We won't let it happen again,” Hershel said. “We won't make that mistake again. We thought we were safe. We weren't.”
“Randall came back,” Daryl spoke, looking at Harry briefly before looking at Rick. “He had turned, but he wasn't bit.”
Everyone turned to stare at Rick, like he had all the answers. Harry narrowed his eyes at the group. Everyone's look reminded him of how people had looked at him back during school, back when Voldemort was still alive and people were wondering if Harry had all the answers.
“How's that possible?” Glenn asked.
Harry turned to look at Rick and studied him, seeing his hunched shoulders. Did the man know?
“We're all infected.”
The group turned silent, skin going pale and eyes going wide. A few people fidgeted. Lily scooted closer to him and he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She just reached his waist now, had just turned eleven. Her red hair reached down to her chin and was smoother than his own hair unlike Albus' and… Harry's heart ached at the thought that his other children were dead. James and Albus were their own unique people and he missed them so much. He also missed Hermione but he was pretty sure she was on her way.
“What?” Lori finally asked wearily.
“Jenner told me,” Rick replied. “Back at the CDC. Whatever it is, we all carry it.”
“And you never said anything?” Lori questioned, staring at Rick.
“Would it have made a difference?” Rick asked, looking everyone individually before looking back at Lori.
“You knew this whole time?” Glenn tried, sounding shaken. Harry could see that everyone was shaken, some more than others. Daryl was keeping an eye on the road and the forest surrounding them but he was pretty sure the hunter was listening.
“How could I have known for sure? Jenner was trying to keep us inside. He could have been lying,” Rick argued.
“That is not your call. Okay, when I found out about the walkers in the barn, I told, for the good of everyone,” Glenn said, glaring at Rick. Everyone was staring at their leader like they had been betrayed.
“Well, I thought it best that people didn't know.”
Everyone except Harry and Daryl looked upset and Harry sighed, turning back to grab his two tents from his trunk.
“You don't look too surprised, Harry,” Hershel said. Everyone turned to look at him and he turned to look back at the group. Rick too looked at him with studying eyes.
“I knew also,” Harry confessed quietly.
“How?” Rick questioned as everyone continued to stare at him. They didn't look like they had been betrayed but it was a near thing.
“I found out yesterday,” Harry remarked, running a tired hand through his hair. It had grown long but it wasn't at the point where he would need to tie it back yet. Yesterday felt like it had been weeks ago but it was just 24 hours ago. “I have… let's say a source that is loyal to me and only to me. He… It… encouraged me in finding out the truth.”
“A source,” Lori repeated.
“You sound like whoever it is, is not really a person,” Hershel said.
“I don't know its gender or if it does have a gender. Death is weird like that,” Harry flippantly said, then went back to the red truck to get the two tents.
Draco herded Albus and James through London after jumping off of the Hogwarts Express car that had taken them to the city. London was deserted of life except for the occasional walker ambling around the streets. The three of them finally made it to the Leaky Cauldron a few hours later, with the sun moving through the sky to create shadows. Dead bodies littered the streets too, some had entirely decomposed and some were eaten through and through.
Albus and James hadn't spoken since they had seen the walkers with wizarding robes on them just a few minutes ago. Draco had killed the walkers that posed a threat to the three of them but left the ones that didn't 'alive'.
“Come on, you two,” Draco whispered as they passed what had probably been a really bad car accident for the muggles. There were five cars all smushed together and dead bodies were all piling out of the cars, like rag dolls. “Into the Leaky Cauldron.”
James and Albus didn't need any further directions as they hurried to the door of the pub and stepped inside. Draco stepped inside after them and scanned the pub for any walkers and taking out three with cutting curses. As they moved throughout the pub, each of them was quiet, with James holding onto his wand tightly. Draco had begun to teach James some more offensive and defensive spells during the trip to London and planned on starting Albus' lessons when they got him a wand.
When they got to the wall at the edge of Diagon Alley, Draco tapped out the pattern and they waited until it opened up. Each of them stepped through, with Draco in the lead and James and Albus behind him.
Chaos met them in the alley. The dead walkers were everywhere and spell light was going every which way. Draco could swear that some wizards were even fighting each other. He could hear yells and loud swearing coming from the apparition point and every store in between. The fact that it was not well lit added to the chaos as there were lots of witch lights in the air, indicating a witch or wizard.
“Uncle Draco? What's going on?” Albus asked, his voice shaky with fear. Morgana hissed out her displeasure as Draco shielded them from a curse that was thrown their way. “I don't understand.”
“Everything's going to hell, to borrow a phrase from Harry,” Draco muttered. “Let's get to Olivanders and get you a wand then we'll find a portkey.”
They finally walked out of Olivander's wand shop a few hours later, after finding Albus a wand and eating a snack. Albus' new wand was made out of ebony wood and it had a phoenix feather, just like Harry's wand had. They took cautious steps along the alleyway and they were about to continue on, go to the apparition point when Draco heard a familiar voice. Or it was at least a vaguely familiar voice.
Draco turned to look to their left, toward the west and saw Molly, Arthur, Rose, Hugo, George, Angelina Johnson and Neville running toward them. Hermione's two children were held in Angelina and Molly's arms and they were both frightened.
“Aunt Molly!” Albus shouted and ran toward the redheaded woman. Molly's eyes widened and she smiled. Draco's lips twitched up into a grin and watched as Harry's two children reunited with their aunt and uncles.
“Draco,” Neville spoke, his wand out and the sword of Gryffindor in his other hand. The sword was bloody and Draco could tell that the blood on the blade was recent.
“Longbottom,” Draco returned.
“Draco, we thought you were dead!” Molly said, looking up at him.
“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” Draco remarked flippantly, casting a cutting curse at a walker that was coming closer to them.
George laughed. “You've been spending too much time with our dear brother.”
“You've been looking after Harry's children?” Arthur asked, narrowing his eyes in suspicion.
“What does it look like I'm doing?” Draco asked bemusedly. “I'm not taking them to my parents in their manor. We're headed for America, where Harry is.”
“You need a portkey?” Neville asked, as the group walked on to the apparition point. They could hear people shouting and yelling at each other and the hisses and moans of the undead. Everyone stayed close together, trying not to loose each other.
“Yes. Where are you guys going?” Draco asked as he watched Neville behead an undead that was coming up to them. When Neville turned back to the group, he winked at Draco and Draco would deny to his dying day that he blushed.
“I'm escorting the Weasleys,” Neville said. “They're going to France, to where Bill and Fleur are.”
Molly and Arthur stopped in front of them and everyone else stopped too, drawing their wands if they hadn't already. “A herd...”
Draco stiffened and he heard Albus and James both gasp in fright. “How big is it?”
“Big, I'm afraid,” Arthur whispered. “I haven't seen this many since this started.”
Draco stepped up to the front of the small group, leaving James and Albus with Neville, and his eyes widened. There were hundreds of undead coming toward them from the east part of the Alley and more were spilling out from the entrance to Knockturn Alley. His heart started to beat faster and he backed up to stand in front of Albus and James. He exchanged glances with Neville and George.
“The apparition point is just behind them,” Angelina said, her wand up and ready.
“Let's just apparate right here,” Draco said, casting a blasting curse at some undead that were getting too close for comfort. “The wards are down. It's obvious.”
Arthur and Molly looked behind them, right at Draco then nodded. “Angelina, go first. Molly, go.”
The undead walkers were now less than five feet from them and as Neville, Draco and Arthur cut down several, more took their place. Blood splattered everywhere as Angelina and Molly disapparated with Hugo and Rose. Brain matter and guts were splayed out on the street where walkers died their final death and other wizards and witches joined in on this fight.
“Draco, I'm going with you!” Neville shouted over the din, handing him a bloody boot. “You know the spell, right?”
George cast a massive blasting curse ahead of them, pushing hundreds of walkers back then disapparated too.
“We'll cover you and the children,” Arthur shouted, casting blasting curses and cutting charms all around them. James too, cast a blasting curse to protect Albus but was quickly pulled back into the center of the circle.
Draco hurriedly pointed his wand at the boot and started to spell it into a portkey. He heard yells and shouts all around him but he kept his focus on the boot. He had to make sure it worked, because he had heard stories of improperly created portkeys. And he had two children with him. Children that weren't his… Draco finally finished the spell and looked up, only for his eyes to widen and he could feel his body start to tremble. Arthur's right shoulder had a bite through it, with a good chunk of flesh torn out.
Arthur looked at them, behind them and shook his head. “Get the children back to Harry! Send a note to my beloved wife. Tell her I love her and our children. GO!”
Neville shook next to him and turned to him, urging James and Albus to touch the boot. Draco stared at Arthur as yet more walkers came toward them. “Mr. Weasley… Arthur!”
Draco flinched and made sure the kids and Neville had a hand on the boot then whispered the word he had made it with. The last thing they saw was Arthur holding off twenty plus walkers then they saw nothing as they were pulled away by the portkey.
Harry watched as the fire in the small pit grew and sparked with his care. Daryl had caught a deer and along with the food that they had pilfered from the grocery store earlier today, they had enough to feed everyone. Harry had set up two tents for everyone and people had been amazed at the way the tents had gone up. Harry had of course called wards to life around the two tents and then everyone had more or less settled down. Lily and Teddy were sitting on either side of him and they were already mostly asleep, having had a tiring day. The moon was out already and the stars were shining down on them.
Daryl and Carol were on his other side, with Carol sitting and Daryl standing up with his crossbow in hand. No one had looked at him ever since he had made that particular announcement earlier except for Daryl, who had known already.
“What if something happens to your shields?” Maggie asked warily, glancing at Harry from across the fire.
“These are good wards,” Harry said. “They'll work for tonight. Besides, we should stick together. It's better to have someone watching your back then to be alone.”
Harry could hear Carol say something about Rick, something that sounded like she didn't much like how the former police officer had kept the truth from them. Harry sighed and gathered his children closer. He eyed Carl, who was resting up against Lori. The woman had stayed the farthest away from him, even going as far as to tell Carl to not be alone around Harry. He still didn't have any idea what was happening to Carl but he would figure it out sooner than later.
“Rick has honor,” Daryl muttered a minute later.
“What if walkers come? We should go,” Maggie said.
“What? And be alone in the world?” Harry questioned. “Yeah, wouldn't that be fun...”
Maggie flinched at Harry's sarcasm.
“Do something then,” Carol said, when they heard a noise.
Rick, who was standing away from the group, looked back at them.
“I am doing something! I'm keeping this group together, alive. I've been doing that all along, no matter what. I didn't ask for this. I killed my best friend for you people, for Christ's sake! You saw what he was like, how he pushed me, how he compromised us, how he threatened us. He staged the whole patrol thing, led me out to put a bullet in my back. He gave me no choice. He was my friend, but he came after me. My hands are clean. Maybe you people are better off without me. Go ahead. I say there's a place for us, but maybe maybe it's just another pipe dream. Maybe... maybe I'm fooling myself again. Why don't you Why don't you go and find out yourself? Send me a postcard. Go on, there's the door. You can do better? Let's see how far you get. No takers? Fine. But get one thing straight you're staying. This isn't a democracy anymore.”
Harry saw Carl flinch when Rick talked about killing Shane and everyone else winced. But no one stood up or made motions to leave. He peered up at Rick, who caught his eyes. Harry dipped his head in a nod at Rick's questioning look then glanced at Daryl, who nodded too. They would be fine if they stuck together. Harry would just have to hope that that was true.
I have created a facebook page for readers of my stories to ask questions, leave comments, anything like that. I will also be putting polls for pairings eventually on there too so feel free to like the page. And I will try my best to post updates on stories too.
Link here: https://www.facebook.com/molmcmahon/
Phew! That was the end of Season 2 of the Walking Dead! Quite a ride, really! So, I have tentative plans to take this story all the way to season 5. If you guys will bear with me, it should be one hell of a story going forward!
NEXT UP: The prison, finding out what's happening to Carl, The Governor, and everyone reuniting!
“I want to go with Hermione,” Gabrielle retorted as she watched Hermione ready her pack. Fleur and Bill were occasionally looking out the window, watching for the walkers. Gabrielle had returned home to see Hermione, once Fleur had gotten word to her a few days ago. She had still been at school, overseeing the warding and protection of Beubatons school. Gabrielle twirled her wand around and glared at Fleur, who frowned.
“Gabby, iz dangerous out there,” Fleur argued. “You’re safe here.”
“I finished school two years ago,” Gabrielle said. “I know how to fight because you’re the one that taught me how to fight dirty.”
“Gabrielle, I don’t know what I’m going into or where I’ll be landing in England,” Hermione remarked. “Your family is here but mine is in England and America.”
“I was going to become an auror,” Gabrielle tried, muttering some French curses under her breath. “I know how to fight. If need be, I can draw on my veela side to help. Besides, your children are on their way; that’s what Bill said. They heard from Arthur and Molly. They’re on their way.”
Hermione looked up from where she was packing. Her skin went pale and she flinched, tightening her grip on her wand. “Fleur, Bill, can you take care of them? Hugo and Rose won’t be too much trouble but I need to make sure Harry’s okay. He’s with a bunch of muggles but I don’t know… He’s my best friend.”
“Of course we will,” Bill muttered, his voice solemn and downcast. “You’re family. That’s what Ron would have wanted anyway.”
“Thanks. Have you heard from Draco or his family or Neville?” Hermione asked, as she finished up. Bill and Fleur had given her as much food and supplies that they could and she had packed it all in her limitless bag.
“No, we haven’t,” Fleur replied, glancing at her sister. Gabrielle was glaring back at her, already packed and standing by the door. “Not since Hogwarts fell.”
Hermione shuddered, thinking of the castle. Maybe it would get rebuilt later or not… She remembered watching as the castle finally fell under the assault of multiple herds of the walkers. The sight would forever be branded into her memory.
“I know the Malfoys have a manor in France,” Hermione muttered. “They might be there now. Harry’s children split up as we were running out of the castle and I hope… I don’t know what happened to them. Hopefully, they’re okay.”
She picked up her pack and slung it across her shoulders and looked to Bill and Fleur. Fleur’s parent’s mansion was big, large enough to hold multiple families. Some of them were even muggle families that Fleur had been friends with in her youth. Hopefully, the mansion would hold. “If… If something happens, contact Krum in Bulgaria. He should have a good place to stay.”
Fleur nodded, her eyes filling with tears.
Hermione walked over to pull Bill into a hug, for which he wrapped his arms around Hermione and whispered his goodbyes. She hugged Fleur and then glanced at Gabrielle, whose silvery blond hair was tied back into a braid, and the younger Delacour was wearing sensible shoes and clothing.
“It would be nice to have someone watching my back,” Hermione offered, hoping that Fleur would forgive her for this. But then again, Fleur looked like she had already accepted the fact that her sister would be leaving her.
Fleur’s eyes widened but then she looked at her sister. “Alright, Gabby. You can go. Be careful and remember what I taught you, dear sister.”
Gabrielle’s eyes lit up and Hermione grinned wearily, hoping that they wouldn’t encounter too much heartbreak on the road. They would be using portkeys from now on in, with Hermione having learned the spell from Bill a few days ago. Hermione had sighed in great relief when she heard that Bill had known that spell. There would be no more of her using up a great deal of energy to apparate places. Gabrielle nodded and Fleur raced over to pull her sister into a tight hug.
Hermione picked up the portkey that Bill had given them and waited for Gabrielle to finish her goodbyes.
“I’ll watch over her,” Hermione promised, looking into Fleur’s blue eyes. “You know I will.”
“Thank you, Hermione,” Fleur whispered, just loud enough for Hermione to hear. “I shall expect regular letters through our trunks.”
Gabrielle hurried over to Hermione’s side and gripped her wand. Hermione studied Gabrielle briefly before holding out the portkey, which was a piece of leather.
Gabrielle nodded, grabbing onto the portkey. “I’m ready, Hermione.”
Hermione whispered the word that would trigger the portkey before they were tugged away from France and into London.
It was growing colder each day, as their group trekked through the Georgian landscape. Daryl rode his motorcycle or as Harry soon found out, his brother’s motorcycle, in front of the group and often went ahead to scout. Or sometimes it was Harry on the broomstick he had found in Atlanta scouting ahead in different directions. Some days, they slept on the road in their cars while on others they slept in homes along the road that were empty.
Harry continued to try to figure out what was wrong with Carl. The boy was often more tired than anything and slept deeper and longer than anyone else. Most of the mornings, whomever woke everyone up had to shake him awake. Carl also complained of growing pains in his body but Harry used a diagnostic charm to figure out that the kid wasn’t going through puberty; it was something else. Something that Harry was trying and failing to figure out.
Lily, Teddy and Sophia usually slept with Carl each night and they become a small little group of their own. Harry tried to stay away from Lori most of the time but when her morning sickness started, she asked for a dose of his potion early in the morning. He got into the habit of not even saying a word to her, just handing her the vial and then walking off.
August changed into September and the second week of September was the first hint that Harry got of what was happening to Carl. Well, other than when he had moved the elder wand to hover over the boy when he was asleep that one time. Carl had complained of feeling something like, I feel too big for my body. And Harry remembered trying to ask Carl what had happened to him that night they lost the farm. The kid hadn’t remembered anything other than feeling a sharp bite in his back and then blacking out, waking up when he heard the gunshot. But it was definitely clear that Carl hadn’t gotten bit by a walker otherwise the kid would be dead and gone by now.
It was in the morning on what felt like the second week in September that Carl woke up, screaming. Everyone immediately woke up, with Harry already awake because he was on watch. They had stayed at a house that they had deemed safe enough to stay in and for the most part, Harry hadn’t seen any walkers. So far.
Lori and Rick both started and raced right over to Carl, with Lori picking him up and hugging him. Harry could see that Carl was sweaty and his eyes were wide in fright.
“What the hell is going on with my son?” Lori shouted, finally looking over to him.
Harry glanced over at the back door of the house when they all heard it open. Daryl walked in with a string of squirrels slung across his back and glanced at Harry. Harry raised an eyebrow and Daryl shook his head before coming into the room, apparently having seen nothing that would even remotely make for a more permanent living situation for their group. They still hadn’t talked about their kiss from what felt like forever ago but Daryl hadn’t exactly avoided him. Survival over pleasure, it seemed, was the motto for the time being.
“Bloody hell, you’re asking like you think I cursed him or something!” Harry yelled back, keeping his mind’s eye out for walkers outside. He could feel a few on the outskirts of his magical range but nothing that would prove a threat to them for at least a few hours. More would come if Lori continued to shout at him. “We’ve gone over this, Lori! Let me look at him!”
Daryl looked between the four of them and then gestured back outside. “Rick, you wanna come outside?”
Hershel stared between Lori and Harry before suggesting that she come around to the far side of the house and talk with him. Lori looked between the others and then looked back at Carl, who was twitching a little with his eyes tightly closed, then stood up and wearily walked out, clutching her slowly growing stomach. Harry sighed in relief then walked over to where Carl and Rick were and sitting down, drawing out the elder wand, a diagnostic charm on his lips. He had seen the way that Lori had looked at Rick when the other man had told Lori about how Carl had put down walker Shane. And he had seen the way the couple were avoiding each other as much as they could.
“Rick?” Harry questioned quietly, reaching out an arm to lightly grasp Rick’s shoulder. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Lily and Teddy wake up, quicker than usual. His kids wiped at the sleep in their eyes and then reached for their wands.
Rick finally glanced up at Harry, seeing the other man’s narrowed but worried green eyes. “What?”
Harry raised an eyebrow at him then gestured over to where Daryl was. “You want to go outside with Daryl and patrol a little bit?”
Rick stared at him then looked over to where Harry had his hand on his hand on Rick’s shoulder. Harry looked back at him and down at Carl.
“I’ll look after him,” Harry whispered. “There are a few spells that I haven’t tried yet.”
“You said that your books didn’t have anything helpful,” Rick muttered.
Harry shook his head, looking at Carl briefly before holding his wand up. “I might have thought of a few things during the night. You… okay?”
“I’m fine,” Rick replied, feeling Harry’s fingers on his shoulder as he stood up. Harry studied him before rolling his eyes and returning to Carl.
Beth stared at them too, her eyes wide. Glenn, Maggie and T-Dog all stared, though they tried to be more subtle about it. That was the thing about the apocalypse: privacy was an issue. Harry had seen Glenn and Maggie occasionally look wistfully at each other at night and he knew that it was the fact that they had no privacy. Teddy and Lily were sitting next to Harry, having spread out their bedrolls behind him.
His two kids were getting better in their spell work but Harry wasn’t going to let them face down a herd by themselves anytime soon.
“You know that Harry’s doin’ all he can.”
Rick peered at Daryl as they quietly tromped through the woods around the house that they had found. Or in his case, not quiet but not loud either. He kept on catching Daryl throwing exasperated glances his way as they went and he could have sworn that there was also fond bewilderment in there too, like Daryl was trying to figure out what kept on pulling the two of them together.
“I know,” Rick finally answered, putting his hand on his gun when they heard something. They both stopped behind a tree to listen to whatever it was that they had heard, seeing a walker amble on by them. “I appreciate it.”
Daryl looked at him then nodded, stepping out from behind the tree and shooting the walker before it got too close. It was a clean shot, taking out the walker right in its head. “Ought to teach you how to hunt and track. You make too much noise.”
Rick snorted, watching as Daryl went to retrieve the arrow. He grinned at the vest that Daryl had found a week or two ago, the one with the angel wings on the back of it. Daryl really had been an angel, keeping an eye on Harry’s kids and Sophia and Harry in general. The hunter had been the first one to realize that Shane and Lori weren’t taking to Harry too well after the wizard had revealed himself. Daryl had also gone with Harry to drop off Randall and they had both done the dirty work of getting Randall to talk about his group.
“Carl?” Harry asked quietly, looking down at him. “May I look at your back? I have an idea...”
Carl narrowed his eyes but nodded sleepily, rolling onto his stomach. “Whose idea was it?”
“Are you saying that the idea wasn’t mine?” Harry retorted, ruffling Carl’s hair. “I am wounded.”
Carl laughed, his voice dry and hoarse from screaming himself awake.
“It was more Lily’s words,” Harry replied, looking to where his daughter and godson had gone. They had both gone with Sophia to help Carol get something together for breakfast, with Lily asking Beth about something. “You say you had been bitten and then you don’t remember anything?”
“I’m going to switch into my other vision for a minute,” Harry said, with a look at where T-Dog, Glenn and Maggie were. “It might offer a clue. Stay still?”
No one had really understood what Harry had said when he could see Death. And was taking lessons from Death. Granted, he hadn’t seen Death in a while but since he was the Master of Death, he figured it was just because the entity was too busy in the apocalypse. But no one objected to it or him, not when his abilities and magic were helping the group out so much. Maybe Shane would have or Lori, but not now.
Carl didn’t even answer, just went still enough that if Harry couldn’t see his back slowly rising and lowering, he would have thought the boy was dead. Harry raised an eyebrow then shrugged, closing his eyes briefly and tugging on the pitch black ball of magic in his mind that represented his death magic. He opened his eyes after a minute and light filled the room, showing that there was a group of several people in the same room. Harry worked on adjusting his vision, having learned some of how to work with his ‘extra’ vision in the past week or so. After a while, the balls of light separated into each person. If he wanted to, he could look out the window and see who was around for a mile or so but that wasn’t what he was looking for right now.
He finally peered down at Carl and gasped. There was a small black paw print on his lower back, almost like a tattoo but not quite. It wasn’t actually there on his skin so it wasn’t a tattoo. It was more like it was something… in the spiritual world, something that indicated that a creature had bitten Carl. A creature that was associated with Death, since it was only visible in his death vision.
Harry heard Glenn and Maggie ask if he was alright but he only heard them distantly. He continued to study the paw print, going through the list of creatures that he knew about in his mind. He knew of hellhounds but he wasn’t entirely sure they existed. But then again… He was a wizard. Or maybe… Maybe Carl had been bitten by a Black Dog? Those were the ghostly dogs who were associated with death. Though Harry didn’t exactly know which it was, he knew something was causing Carl to be ill. Maybe it was just Carl’s body changing from the bite but he wasn’t sure. He knew Remus had been ill in the few days surrounding the full moon but that was because he had been forced to shift.
He flicked out of his vision and returned to normal, seeing the glow of the sun come in through the windows. He had apparently been a few more minutes in his other vision than he had thought, smelling the light scent of cooking beans. Carl was once again asleep and he sighed, shuffling back against the wall near him to think. He drew his legs up to his chest and propped his head on his knees, looking at Carl then out of the window across from him.
Neville, Draco, James and Albus landed in upstate New York, where Draco had said his parents had a mansion. They weren’t in the city proper but on the outskirts luckily. The few walkers they encountered were killed either by sword or by spell and then ventured toward the mansion in the distance. Morgana the adder snake occasionally warned them of walkers before hand, saving them a few extra minutes of time.
As they went along, walkers came with them. It seemed that there were more and more of them as they moved out of the city and over into one of the more richer neighborhoods of the country. Draco felt like they were being surrounded but they did manage to keep them at bay. He kept James and Albus in between him and Neville and tried to keep the kids from having to kill the creatures. Though he did see James cast a cutting curse at a couple who had gotten through both Draco and Neville.
Neville kept the walkers back as soon as they made it to the mansion while Draco opened the wards. The sun had made it to the halfway point in the sky, marking it as being noon. The few clouds in the sky were moving quickly, often than not covering the sun from view.
“Hurry up, Draco!” Neville shouted over the din of growling and hissing walkers. The kids were behind him as he cast multiple cutting curses and at least one killing curse to see if it would work. Neville flinched as he said the incantation of one of the illegal curses but he was desperate, even knowing that it wouldn’t work. Though it did blast the few walkers back a few feet. He cast a blasting hex and watched dazedly as the group of walkers in front of them were blown back.
“I’m working on it!” Draco yelled.
“Well, work on it faster!”
“I would hex your arse if the world wasn’t ending!” Draco retorted loudly. “There!”
Neville felt his magic respond to the opening wards and just as three walkers got past his line of fire and were about to take a bite out of Albus, fire exploded from behind him. Draco yelled at him to go and Neville didn’t wait, picking up Albus when Harry’s younger son whimpered in fright. Albus wrapped his arms around Neville and tried to burrow closer, making Neville tighten his hold on the kid.
“We’re through!” Neville shouted, feeling the wards around the mansion close up. Draco was still standing outside them and Neville reached out an arm to tug Draco inside the wards, not even caring that the fiendrye was still roaring. Draco yelped and then leaned against Neville as he took a deep breath of relief. Neville reached an arm out to wrap around Draco’s waist, still holding Albus. James stood behind them, breathing heavily. His green eyes were wide with fright and Neville winced, the image reminding him of how he had been in the beginning of the war against Voldemort and in the early years of school.
“I never asked,” Neville muttered, looking at Draco and checking to make sure the other man wasn’t injured. “What happened to Astoria?”
Draco pulled away and glared at him, crossing his arms. “She wanted to stay in London, at our house. Scorpius was at Hogwarts and she wanted to stay home, knowing that the creatures were getting through the wards.”
“I’m sorry,” Neville whispered, letting Albus down onto the cement and watching as the two boys ventured further toward the front door of the mansion. James had his wand drawn and out, ready to protect his younger brother. “And Scorpius?”
“I don’t know. My parents had him the last I saw him,” Draco answered quietly, keeping a tight grip on his wand. “My godfather was with them too so hopefully...”
Neville watched as Draco trailed off and then tugged him closer. “Hopefully, they’re okay. Snape managed to survive Nagini’s bite so he should be able to survive this.”
Draco snorted but nodded, pulling away from Neville after a minute.
Walkers chased them from the house that they had found in the afternoon. Or Harry thought, they had ambled after them more or less. He took to the sky on his stolen broom as the group left, letting Rick know that he was going to scout, and took off with the distinct feeling that people, maybe Rick and definitely Daryl, were watching him. Though when he caught Daryl looking, the hunter turned away immediately, pretending to have not been watching him. Carol and Beth took charge of the kids automatically, herding them into the cars.
He was still thinking over what he had found on Carl’s back and how to relay that information to Rick and Lori. Though, he supposed, it would help if he actually knew how Carl had gotten bit by a Black Dog in the first place. Even he hadn’t known those actually existed. It was like Daryl’s chupacabra. Maybe the Black Dog that had bitten Carl had been attracted by him? Harry shuddered and climbed to a higher distance, moving into an air current and drifting.
He flew over toward the highway, which was three miles west of them and stared at all of the cars that had stopped on the road. There were multiple bodies in the cars, some victims due to a car crash and then there were the walkers that were walking through the cars. It distinctly reminded him of when they had lost Sophia. He shrugged off the memories and flew on, hearing the hissing and growling of the four walkers that started to follow him. Harry sighed and stopped in the air, debating on whether or not to kill them. In the end, he didn’t and just flew higher and higher until he reached the broom’s limit.
Over the next few hours, Harry scouted ahead of the group and finally spotted some storage sheds that might prove useful. There were more than a few walkers around and one storage shed had noises that sounded rather suspicious coming from it but it was nothing that would prove too difficult for them. He turned around and raced back to the group, seeing Daryl ride back too, from the east.
“You see the storage sheds?” Daryl yelled.
Harry drifted into riding right next to Daryl as they traveled back to the main group. He floated down enough that he was right next to the car up front, only a foot or two from the ground. Rick already had the car window open and the former police officer raised an eyebrow.
“Storage sheds a mile away,” Harry reported, pointing in the right direction. “No herds between us and them.”
When Hermione and Gabrielle landed in London, they immediately had to duck around a few walkers and raced over to number 12 Grimmuald Place. The nights were growing colder as the month went on and the light warming charm that Gabrielle had placed on them didn’t quite keep her warm enough. Hermione quickly whispered the spell to unlock the wards around the building and then beckoned Gabrielle in. The other woman raced in and covered Hermione while she closed the door behind them, listening to the moaning of the walkers through the door.
Gabrielle’s face had gone pale and her eyes wide but she still stood next to Hermione, her wand up and ready to cover them.
“We’ll stay here for the night,” Hermione whispered, going over to close the blinds on the windows on the first floor. She didn’t particularly want to see more of the walkers than absolutely necessary. “I’ll pick up more of our stuff. Would you make sure the wards are okay and that there’s no one here?”
Gabrielle nodded, narrowing her eyes before walking into the hallway and up the stairs. “You three really stayed here for a while during that year? And this iz where the Order stayed?”
Hermione sighed but nodded, realized that Gabrielle couldn’t see her and yelled back. “Yes! I’m going to check the kitchen! See if there’s anything to eat.”
Hermione walked further into the hallway and all the way up the stairs, heading to where Harry had stayed before the world had ended. She knew that he had left behind his Firebolt and hastily snatched that up from where it was propped up against the wall. She glanced around the room but didn’t see anything else before miniaturizing the broom and sticking it in one of her pockets.
A yelp and a startled child’s scream made her raise her wand and run over to where Gabrielle was, down in the basement. She hurried back down the stairs and raced over to the door of the basement, stopping next to Gabrielle and exchanging a bewildered glance with her. Gabrielle was glowing a little bit, her veela side coming to the fore at the possible threat. Her silvery blond hair was flowing in a non existent wind and her eyes were narrowed as she pointed her wand toward the corner of the basement.
“Lucius Malfoy,” Gabrielle whispered, pointing to the corner of the basement. “Severus Snape.”
Hermione followed her pointing, her eyes widening. In the far left corner of the basement were her former potions professor and Draco’s father, along with Scorpius Malfoy. Narcissa Malfoy lay in another corner, her eyes sightless in death. She had a chunk of her flesh on her left arm torn out.
“What the hell are you three doing here?” Hermione finally asked, looking the two grown men over. There were blood splatters on their clothes, with Snape’s left leg crooked at an awkward angle. The elder Malfoy looked close to unconsciousness, his grey eyes drooping closed in exhaustion. It rather looked like Severus and Lucius were propping each other up. Scorpius gave a cry at seeing her and stood up on wobbly legs, racing over toward her. Hermione’s eyes widened but she dropped and picked him up, tightening her arms when Draco’s kid began to sob.
“Mama...” Scorpius whispered. “She didn’t come with us...”
Hermione’s heart did a flip in her chest and sighed, glancing at Gabrielle. “I suppose I should patch you up then, Professor?”
“I’m not your professor any longer, Miss Granger,” Severus said after a few minutes. “How many times am I going to have to say that?”
“None of you have been bitten?” Gabrielle questioned wearily.
“No,” Scorpius muttered. “Only Narcissa.”
Hermione flinched at Scorpius’ tone. It sounded like he had witnessed it and then maybe, Narcissa had killed herself rather than put her husband and grandson through having to kill her. Harry wasn’t going to like hearing that Narcissa was dead; he had come to enjoy talking with the older woman.
“Is Draco… Have you heard from Lucius’ son?” Severus asked as Gabrielle conjured witch light and Hermione lowered Scorpius down.
“No,” Hermione offered quietly. “Harry is still alive though and most of the Weasleys are. If you two want to go to France, they’re at Fleur’s mansion.”
The minute that Harry woke up, he quickly glanced around the tight storage compartment. Their group was tightly packed but safe for the next few hours, with Rick, Daryl and himself at the front of it. Glenn and Maggie were in one corner and Beth was curled close to her older sister. Hershel was lying on a few pillows that Harry had pulled out of his trunk. The kids were huddled close together but when Harry scanned them, he realized that Carl was gone. Teddy and Lily were curled around Sophia but Carl was no where to be seen.
Daryl was on watch, sitting in front of the door with his crossbow on his lap. Harry slowly got up, stretched a little then walked over to stand before the door.
“Carl’s missing,” Harry whispered, glancing down at where Rick was lying. Lori wasn’t even lying next to her husband; she was lying at the back of the storage unit, near Maggie. He sighed then stared at Daryl as the other man stood up, his eyes going wide.
“I didn’t see him go,” Daryl muttered. “Need me to track the kid?”
“No, I think… I’ll go,” Harry spoke quietly, the elder wand jumping to his hand from where it had lain on his bedroll. “If I’m not back with Carl in the next hour, wake Rick and Teddy up. I don’t think this is urgent anyway. I know what’s happening to Carl now. I think the sun’s still down anyway so no use in sending all of us on a wild goose chase.”
Daryl dipped his head in a nod and Harry was about to apparate out of the shed, to avoid waking anyone else up, when Daryl pulled him around. Harry raised an eyebrow, seeing Daryl close to fidgeting before him. Daryl was focusing on the floor then dropping his gaze to his crossbow, hands going to fiddle with the nocking mechanism of the weapon. Harry slowly reached a hand out and tilted Daryl’s chin up, seeing his startled blue eyes, then dropping a kiss on his forehead and apparating out to look for Carl.
A black panther raced between the storage sheds and the numerous walkers between it and his destination. Harry galloped over a few trash bins and lowered his head to the ground, tracking his prey. Or in this case, Carl, who had apparently shadow traveled without any training or anything. The scent of fear permeated the trail he was following and he flinched, increasing his speed as he went. He passed trees and walkers until he found what he was looking for.
He stopped at the clearing that he had seen yesterday, the one that had had walkers that he had not taken out. Carl was in the center of the clearing but Carl didn’t look like he usually did; he was on four legs and looked like a more haunted, more eerie version of Padfoot. More ghost like too but still just a pup, still getting used to four legs. Harry growled lowly at the sight of the two walkers approaching Carl, who was whining loudly. Carl finally turned and saw him and yipped a little, more relieved than nervous. Harry trotted forward but not before pouncing on one of the walkers, claws out and sharp teeth ready to tear.
Blood spurted out from the walker, getting into his fur, and then the walker collasped, its head sliding off in a different direction. He did the same to the other walker but this time, with less effort. Once he took care of the imminent threat, he turned to look at Carl, who was still on four legs. Carl whined again and Harry trotted over towards him and reached out to tug him over to sit between his paws, panther instincts taking over slightly.
Carl whined more, this time in protest. The big cat, Harry, growled and he went silent as the panther started to groom him.
Having trouble shifting back?
Carl startled, letting out a quiet yip at the words that came into his mind. Regardless, he let out a sigh of relief, seeing the big paws and sharp claws surrounding him.
Come on, Carl. Let’s get back to the others. I’ll teach you how to handle this and shift back at camp when we have people guarding our backs.
He only protested a little bit when Harry stopped grooming him and picked him up instead.
He heard a little huff of bemusement from the big cat as Harry stood up and started to walk back to the storage sheds.
I’ll explain too, pup.
“Where’s Carl and Harry?” Rick questioned, as soon as he woke up an hour later. His hand immediately went to his gun as Daryl opened the door to their storage shed a little bit. The sun was just starting to rise, shining dimly through the space between the open door and the ground. “Didn’t even hear the door open last night.”
“Harry teleported out,” Daryl explained, nocking an arrow to his crossbow. “Didn’t want to wake anybody. Our wizard finally realized what was goin’ on with Carl.”
Rick’s eyes widened as he looked around at their small group. Lori had slept far from him, as per usual after finding out that Carl had put down walker Shane. “What’s going on with him?”
“Don’t know. He said he would explain when they got back.”
Daryl raised the door a little higher, causing it to creak and groan, which woke up everyone else. “Gonna go fetch us somethin’ to eat.”
Rick nodded, watching as Teddy, Lily and Sophia all started to wake up. Hershel was already awake, quietly talking with Lori about pregnancy. Maggie awoke within a minute and nudged Beth awake. Carol was already awake, talking with T-Dog.
“Rick, you’re goin’ to want to see this.”
Daryl gestured to something outside of the storage shed and Rick immediately stepped forward, stopping beside the other man. The now familiar black panther was sitting on its haunches, blood in its fur, holding a… It looked like a puppy but it had small horns and little sparks of fire flowing over its black and red ghostly body. It was squirming in the panther’s mouth, trying to turn into the fur coat of the big cat, almost like it was embarassed.
“Harry?” Daryl asked, his eyes wide.
“Daryl, that could be your chupacabra,” Glenn commented with a grin, coming up to stand next to them. Maggie snorted.
The little… hound growled and the panther huffed out a little sigh and then lowered the pup to the ground. Harry transformed back onto two legs a minute later, green eyes narrowed in thought.
“We’re going to need to stay around here for an hour or two,” Harry finally spoke warily, running a hand through his hair. He drew his wand and started to whisper a few spells. “Enough time to warrant using temporary wards.”
“Where’s Carl?” Lori asked, standing up and heading towards them. The little pup yipped and toddled up onto its four paws and raced right to Lori, who yelped and immediately took a few steps back, her eyes going wide with fear. “What did you do with him?”
Lily giggled and shuffled over to pick up the puppy. “What do you mean, where’s Carl. He’s right here.”
Lori paled and peered down at the hound. “What the hell do you mean Carl’s right here?”
Harry glanced around the other storage sheds, made sure there were no walkers that he could sense and holstered his wand as soon as he was done setting the ward. The sun had risen into the sky, illuminating all the nooks and crannies of the area. “She means… that hound is Carl.”
“What exactly do you mean?” Rick asked, eyes widening a little.
“Either he really was bitten by something or he has creature blood in him,” Harry explained. “If he has creature blood in him, it could even explain how he had felt like he was bitten by something.”
“I have creature blood in me,” Teddy offered, yawning a little and wiping the sleep from his now blue eyes. His hair changed colors, from black to a fiery red color, matching Carl’s fur. “‘Cause my dad was a werewolf.”
The hound pup whined when Lori didn’t even let him near her. The pup’s head drooped and the tail lowered as it walked back to sit down in the middle of the group.
“That can’t be Carl! It’s not even a dog.”
“That is because he’s a hellhound, more or less,” Harry said, in a low tone, crossing his arms. “Hellhounds have horns, like he does, and are often fiery in color. Do either of you have magical relatives?”
Rick and Lori exchanged bewildered glances.
Harry sighed and sat down, patting the space in front of him. “Carl, let’s get you shifted back. See if we can’t persuade your mother that you are actually her son. Oh, also, there should be a deer carcass behind the shed next to us. I caught us some breakfast along the way.”
“Is it cut up?” Glenn asked, his eyes a little wide.
“Uh… no. I… went as far as killing it. Deer and I have… My mother’s patronus was a doe,” Harry finished quietly. “I let the panther mind take over for that.”
“I’ll gut it,” Daryl said. “You do your thing.”
Harry looked up at Daryl, his eyes going soft with gratitude. “Thanks.”
“I didn’t see Draco after Hogwarts fell,” Hermione spoke the next morning. “It was too chaotic, with walkers getting in and students evacuating. I did see Neville get out though.”
“Neville Longbottom?” Gabrielle said, eyes widening. “Iz he the one that killed Voldemort’s snake?”
“Yes, he is,” Hermione replied, glancing to Severus Snape and Lucius Malfoy as she spoke. She wasn’t sure what the relationship between the two men was but they looked close. She had patched up her former professor’s broken leg during the night, with Gabrielle looking on and learning. “What are your plans?”
“We… do not know, Ms Granger,” Malfoy replied, narrowing his grey eyes. His long, blond hair was pulled back with a tie, having gotten tired of frequently pushing it back from his face. He didn’t look quite so intimidating now, with bags under his eyes and a haunted expression from losing his wife. “You said you were going to America sometime in the past few hours?”
“Yes, that’s where Harry is. The Ministry had sent him to check on the American schools in the first month that this… was going on and he’s still there. You three are welcome to come along,” Hermione offered as she watched Scorpius take a bite of heated oatmeal. Kreacher had welcomed them a few minutes after she and Gabrielle had arrived, saying something about waiting for at least one of Harry’s friends. “He had gotten detained by the American muggle government a few weeks after he arrived there but I guess a group of people rescued him.”
Severus raised an eyebrow. “Wizards?”
“No, muggles,” Hermione answered.
“I’ve never been to America,” Gabrielle remarked, taking a brush out of her bag and brushing her silvery hair back and braiding it. She had gotten some blood in it from letting a walker get too close. “What kind of relations do the muggles and magical people have?”
“I know the secrecy laws are more loose in America,” Severus said thoughtfully.
“I don’t think it matters anymore,” Hermione offered, her lips twitching into a bemused frown. She jumped at a particularly loud moan that came from outside the house, her hand going to her wand.
“I do believe you have the right of it,” Lucius replied. “I performed magic around a muggle on the way here and there were no aurors coming to get me a few minutes later.”
“Have either of you been to the Ministry recently?” Hermione asked. “I’ve been traveling back from Australia since this whole thing started.”
“Why were you in Australia, Ms Granger?” Severus questioned.
“My parents went there,” Hermione said flatly. “Anyway, the Ministry?”
“We’ve heard no word from the Minister for a month,” Lucius answered. “This disease started to kill us a lot sooner than it started to kill muggles.”
Lori gasped as soon as Harry coaxed Carl into shifting back, covering him in a coat a second after. The boy was shivering in the cold morning air and had fortunately kept his clothing with him during the shift. Harry peered up at Rick and Lori, whose eyes were wide. Lori had gone pale and had backed up to stand at the back of the storage shed.
“Carl?” Rick asked.
“Dad…” Carl croaked out, tears filling his eyes.
Rick immediately strode over and pulled Carl into a hug. Harry turned away and stepped to the front of the shed, where Daryl and T-Dog were.
“It’s getting colder,” Harry remarked after a few minutes. He could see his breath as he exhaled and it had been sprinkling when he had woken up a few hours ago. “We should start looking for sweaters and jackets.”
September turned into October as the group continued to wander, looking for a permanent place to settle. They encountered herds every so often and had to take a wide enough detour on the roads to avoid them. It rained continuously for at least one of those weeks, causing Sophia to get sick with a cold. Harry gave her something to ease her cough each morning, not wanting her to cough so loudly that nearby walkers could hear it.
He also started training Carl, teaching the boy how to shift at will and how to shadow travel. Carl had of course asked if he was going to remain a small pup forever. Harry had laughed quietly and shook his head, noting that when he had first learned the animagus spell, he had been a small black kitten, instead of a big black panther. Though Harry had expressly forbidden shadow traveling without him around to supervise. Lori hadn’t talked to him since that morning in the storage sheds and had barely spoken with Rick since. Harry hadn’t had the opportunity to cast a spell that would provide them with a family tree but he suspected that Lori knew something.
Lori had also taken to avoiding Carl and it had reminded Harry of how Petunia had avoided him when he was young.
During the week of Halloween, Harry had noticed Carl get quieter while Harry was teaching. Harry had started teaching in the morning, often including Lily and Teddy in his lessons too. His kids were getting better at each and every spell he taught them, including Lily accidentally casting a wordless spell. She had been very excited about that, running over to show Carol, Beth and Maggie. Teddy followed too, casting a patronus as he did, just for the practice.
A translucent, blue wolf popped out of his wand and joyously ran right alongside Teddy. Harry had asked Teddy what he had thought of his patronus, about what it might represent.
“I miss my dad. I didn’t know him but I still miss him,” Teddy had said the morning that he had cast his first corporeal patronus. Harry’s heart had stopped at Teddy’s words and the ache in his chest always came back when he saw his godson’s patronus.
Now, Carl was staring back at their group of people, looking wistfully at his mother. Harry would have given the woman a good talking to but he was tired of her, not that he told Rick that. Instead, he just made sure that he kept an eye on the kid, answering any questions he might have. Carl had taken to sticking close to Teddy in the past few weeks, as Harry’s godson would have the most experience with something like this.
“Carl, you’ve been quiet lately,” Harry remarked, looking around their current surroundings. They had chosen an abandoned car garage as their camp for the night and it had luckily coincided with Daryl’s bike breaking a part. They had piled the inevitable walker corpses outside, downwind of them. Harry had taken the far corner to teach Carl in that morning and it was right next to the lone car that had been left in the garage. Daryl was underneath one of the cars in the garage, pulling off a few parts for his bike and one of their cars. His crossbow was propped up against the car, ready to be used at a moment’s notice.
“I killed Dale, didn’t I?”
Harry’s eyes widened and he saw Daryl still under the car too. “What makes you say that?”
“That day, I ran into a walker,” Carl whispered. “It was stuck in the mud and I walked to within reach of it.”
Harry blinked. “You’re okay?”
“Yeah, I didn’t do anything stupid,” Carl said, frowning.
“Some might call that stupid though,” Harry said after a minute of silence. “You shouldn’t have gone within reach of it in the first place.”
“I know that now! And then later that night, Dale died.”
Harry sighed. “That doesn’t mean you killed Dale. It just means the walker killed Dale.”
“But I didn’t kill the walker when I saw it!” Carl exclaimed. “I could have. I had Daryl’s spare gun!”
“That’s where that went,” Daryl muttered under his breath.
Harry snorted. “It still doesn’t mean you killed Dale, Carl. Blame the walker for that.”
Carl peered up at him, his blue eyes faintly glowing from the power that he held within himself. Given that Carl had just turned 13, the power that came with being a hellhound wasn’t that well contained. It reminded Harry of how his instinctual magic had been before he had gone to Hogwarts.
“Carl, back in my fifth year at Hogwarts,” Harry started, walking over to lean against the car. “I had a vision, a nightmare, of my godfather being killed in the Ministry’s building.”
“You have visions?” Carl asked.
“Not anymore,” Harry offered quietly, seeing Rick walk over to them and wait by the opposite wall. Carl couldn’t see his father but Harry could. “It was when I was still fighting the dark wizard. The one I told you about?”
“The vision was of my godfather, the person who had offered me a safe home, being killed. It stayed with me throughout that day, that feeling of knowing that my godfather was in trouble, that if I did nothing then he would end up dead.”
“What… happened?” Carl asked, eyes narrowing in thought.
“I got together a group of my friends and we went to the Ministry,” Harry explained, closing his eyes briefly at the memory. “We went into that room and found nothing.”
“Nothing?” Rick repeated.
Harry peered over at the other man, hearing Daryl crawl out from under the car on the other end. “Yep. There was no one there. Not even Voldemort. My vision, for at least a few minutes, turned out to be wrong.”
“Thought you said Black was dead,” Daryl spoke, examining a few car parts in his hands.
“He is,” Harry said, studying Carl as he continued. “Death Eaters, the minions of the dark wizard entered the room then and we fought.”
“Like you did with that group in Atlanta?” Daryl asked, looking at him then over at Rick.
“Kind of. Imagine that but ten times worse. We were children trying to fend off adults who more or less wanted us dead,” Harry replied, flinching a little.
Carl’s eyes widened. “What about your godfather? Was he there?”
“Nope. After we fell into a room that none of us had heard of, my friends were all taken prisoner and I was left. That was when my godfather appeared and the Order of the Phoenix with him.”
“What’s the Order?” Carl questioned.
“You mentioned that a few weeks ago,” Rick said, leaning against the wall.
“It was a group of people who opposed Voldemort,” Harry explained. “Dumbledore had started it during the first war because the ministry wasn’t doing enough or their heads were so far up their asses that they couldn’t see the threat that Voldemort posed.”
Carl snorted and Daryl’s lips twitched up into a grin.
“And it went mostly defunct after the first war.”
“That was when your parents died, wasn’t it?” Rick confirmed.
“Yeah, and it was when I got my scar,” Harry answered, glancing out through the window behind them as he felt a walker approach the building. “When the Order arrived to rescue us, we got separated. Each of my friends were taken captive and I was left with my godfather, facing a Death Eater. They were after something, a prophecy, and were willing to kill my friends to force me to read it.”
“Why couldn’t they have read it themselves?” Carl asked, looking up at him.
“Prophecies work differently in wizarding world,” Harry replied quietly, his mind going to that moment in the ministry. “The person that the prophecy is about is the only one who can read it.”
“This have somethin’ to do with your title?” Daryl questioned.
“No, that was a few years later,” Harry responded. “Final battle and all that. Anyway, my godfather started to duel the guy and had just pushed me away, out of the field of fire, when his cousin…”
“His cousin what?” Carl said, his blue eyes intent on Harry’s story.
“Cast the killing curse right at Sirius,” Harry finished dully, closing his eyes briefly then reopening them. He sighed then glanced to Rick and Daryl. “I killed my godfather.”
“But it wasn’t you that cast that curse!” Carl exclaimed.
Harry nodded. “I lead everyone into a trap and then that led to my godfather and everyone else to rescue us. If I had known how to shield my mind, Sirius would still be alive.”
“Kid’s right,” Daryl spoke. “You ain’t the one to cast that curse.”
“Is it a normal thing to learn?” Rick asked.
“Hmm?” Harry said, crossing his arms.
“Shielding your mind.”
“No,” Harry replied. “For aurors and unspeakables, yes it is. But no regular witch or wizard learns how to. Carl, you get what I’m trying to tell you by telling you this story?”
Carl blinked and opened his mouth, about to say something then nodded. “That it’s not my fault that the walker killed Dale?”
Harry ran through the woods, shifted shape between one step and the next and sped up. The cold rain continued to pelt down onto him, hitting his fur hard enough to maybe be considered hail. The stars, the moon and the witch light above him were the only light sources around in the dark nightscape. November had started out okay, with the exception of October 31st but that was always a bad time for him. It was the second week of November and Carl had at last made the shift to and from his other from without help.
Lily had perfected a corporeal patronus, ending up with a fox. She had actually spent some time learning how to sing from Beth too, which Harry appreciated. It had taken his daughter’s mind off of their situation enough that Lily had actually smiled. It was a few days after she had started that she had told him what had happened to Ginny. How their mother had shielded them with her life when Hogwarts had fallen.
Everyone else had gotten really good with guns, with Carol being better with a sniper rifle than anyone else. Sophia had become pretty good with a slingshot though she still shrunk into the middle of the group when they were in the midst of a fight. In fact, Harry had offered to look after Sophia while Carol was training with Rick. It was either him or Beth that looked after the children during a fight.
Another loud, eerie howl drew his attention from his thoughts and a moan from at least a few walkers to his left. He sighed and kept running, his heart aching at the reminder of Remus. It was the full moon tonight, which he had all but forgotten. They had driven right into what looked like a pack of werewolves that had all shifted into the hairless looking wolf creature that Remus had.
Harry had been on his broom at the back of the group, watching for any walkers, when both cars had stopped suddenly. Even Daryl’s bike had gone quiet.
And then he had felt the distinct chill of dementors approaching and had immediately told Rick and Daryl to turn around, go the other way. Go northeast instead of west. He was not going to let any one of them be exposed to dementors. Carl, Lily and Teddy had tried to argue but he had not even spoken a word to them, just ushered them back into their cars.
Now, here he was, facing a pack of rabid werewolves and three dementors. At least he was on four feet, faster and more agile than on two.
“Daryl, we need to go back,” Lily argued, narrowing her green eyes up at him. Another anguished roar came in on the wind and he tightened his grip on his crossbow. “Dad’s not going to make it against them.”
“How’d you know that?” Daryl questioned.
“There were four dementors,” Lily retorted, crossing her arms. She had just turned 13 a month back, her wild red hair growing long enough to make her tie it back. “Dementors plus a werewolf pack? He’s going to have trouble. Teddy and I can take the dementors but Carol won’t let us go.”
“You’re a kid. Harry said to keep you here.”
“Yeah, well, dad gets into trouble without someone to back him up.”
Daryl stared down at the young girl then sighed, shuffled forward on his bike. A pained yowl drew his gaze back to where they had come from, where Harry was luring the werewolves. He knew that yowl and it hadn’t come from a wolf. “C’mon. Get your brother. Not gonna argue that. Gonna blame you if this gets bad though.”
Lily shrugged, her lips twitching up into a tight grin, and went to go get Teddy, pulling him with her. The group had stopped a mile away from where they had run into trouble, waiting for Harry to come back. Teddy’s eyes were blue, mirroring Carl’s, and narrowed. “We going to rescue dad?”
Rick came around the truck, raising an eyebrow. His hand was on his pistol as he looked between Lily and Daryl. “You going back?”
Daryl nodded. “Harry’s in trouble.”
Rick narrowed his eyes. “I’m coming too. Teddy, you can take the broom?”
Lily stared then grinned, reached for her wand and flicked it in the summoning motion that they had gotten used to. The broom that Harry had come back with from Atlanta came speeding into her hand and the two kids mounted it and took off, up into the air. Daryl could see that it was more Lily in control of the broom, with Teddy casting a spell to provide light for them.
“Will guns work?” Rick asked, climbing onto the bike, behind Daryl. He wrapped his arms around the hunter and could feel Daryl shiver a little at the touch. He was still wearing the vest with the angel wings on it and Rick smiled.
“They’ll scare the wolves off,” Teddy replied. “Maybe even kill them. Probably won’t work against the dementors though. Only patronuses work on those.”
“Go, I’m on,” Rick muttered to Daryl and then they went speeding off, towards the growling and the yelping noises of animals fighting.
Harry stood there, shaky but still on his feet, growling at the remaining three werewolves. His ears were ringing, full of howling and teeth and claws meeting. His tail brushed against the ground, sweeping up dirt and blood. The four dementors hovered behind the wolves, as if they had teamed up. Though, with the world the way it was now, he was rather bewildered seeing dementors who needed to feed. The whole world was hurting now and there was no shortage of misery.
Three werewolves were dead behind him and their blood was all over his fur and teeth. They had tried to pin him down, take chunks out of him to eat but Harry was a survivor. Luckily, all of the walkers had stayed away from this fight though there was one that he could hear shuffling around behind him.
One of the wolves howled and charged, getting halfway to Harry before falling to the ground, dead. The other two growled and charged, one of them getting a bullet to the head and the other one getting hit with an arrow in the chest. Meanwhile, two corporeal patronuses rounded up the dementors, galloping around them. Light shone from them, building a wall between the dementors and everything else.
Harry’s legs buckled and he fell to sitting on his haunches as his daughter and his godson moved their wands to direct their patronuses. The two of them were hovering on their broom above the clearing, concentrating fiercely on their task. Rick and Daryl were on the west side of the small clearing, standing before the bike, gun and crossbow out. Blood dripped from his fangs and he idly watched as the wolves behind him slowly shifted back to their human forms in death. They had looked just like Remus had…
“Next time you do that, we’re coming too,” Rick finally said, breaking the silence.
The dementors screamed as the light shield tightened around them and then finally the dark creatures exploded as the light moved into them and the patronuses bowed their heads and charged right into them. Harry yawned and shifted back, casting a wordless cleaning charm on himself. His heart was still beating quickly, adrenaline still flowing through his system. Blood disappeared and dirt vanished and he didn’t even hear Rick walking up to him until the other man pulled him into a kiss.
“Draco, there any less walkers around the manor?” Neville asked, as he watched James and Albus finish eating dinner. They had stayed at the Malfoy Manor in New York City for a few weeks now, packing up on supplies and the like to get ready to travel south to Harry. However, it had started to snow yesterday and it wasn’t slowing down. It had slowed the walkers down significantly, causing each undead creature to get stuck in the two or three feet of snow.
It was an amusing effect, with James and Albus laughing at them. It had been the first time that the two children had laughed since Draco had found them in the ruins of Hogwarts.
“No, they’re still wandering around the manor,” Draco answered, glancing out of the window. They were on the first floor of the manor, having found the house elves dead on the second floor. “All of them have on wizarding robes…”
Neville sighed and stood up, walking around the table to stand by Draco. “Luna had said something about this… whatever it is. She had seen that it started with us first then went to the muggles.”
“Our magic isn’t helping then,” Draco remarked, crossing his arms. “Have you heard from Lovegood?”
“I have not,” Neville said. “I don’t know where she is.”
“I-” Draco stopped and peered over to where the fence was and beyond. Neville watched as his eyes widened and drew his wand.
“The wards… My father’s out there!” Draco exclaimed.
Neville frowned but drew his wand too, glancing to James and Albus. “Stay here, you two. We’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“What if you’re not?” Albus whispered, his green eyes wide.
Neville and Draco exchanged glances.
“There are emergency portkeys upstairs,” Draco said. “Get one and it should take you to… It should take you to our manor in France.”
James nodded and drew his wand. “I’ll look after my brother.”
Draco was already out the door and Neville had to catch up, already scanning the street ahead of them for walkers. It was already quite dark in the city as the power had already gone out and there weren’t that many living groups of people around. Given that this was a big city, they had already seen hundreds of walkers milling about looking for their next meal. And just as soon as Draco spotted his father amongst a group, Neville saw a group of walkers heading towards them.
Lucius Malfoy, Severus Snape, Hermione Granger, Scorpius Malfoy and Gabrielle Delacour had arrived via portkey in the middle of the street in front of them. Scorpius grinned widely and raced over to meet Draco. Draco stilled then met Scorpius halfway, scooping up his son and pulling him in for a tight hug. Lucius hurried over to the two of them and tugged them both in for a hug, reputation apparently thrown out the window.
Neville smiled at Hermione and pulled her in for a hug, feeling her tighten her own arms around him. “Hermione…”
Hermione shuddered. “I hoped… Neville…”
“Where’s Ron?” Neville questioned, taking a deep breath and pulling back from her. Her brown hair was wild and her eyes were wide as she took his appearance in. He knew he probably looked like shit, not having gotten enough sleep through the past few weeks. Draco looked worse, being alone with two kids had exhausted the Slytherin.
Hermione shook her head, eyes filling with tears.
“May I suggest we move this into the manor?” Severus asked, casting a cutting hex at an approaching walker. Blood and walker guts went flying and landed on their former professor’s robe and Neville noticed that Severus didn’t even bat an eyelash. “We are drawing unwanted attention.”
Harry stared, blinked when Rick pulled away.
“Was that okay?” Rick asked.
Harry raised an eyebrow, looking over at Daryl. Daryl shrugged and studied Rick briefly before nodding at Harry, like he was saying, I’m cool with it but it’s your call.
“You feel like sharing?” Harry questioned, his lips twitching up into a smile.
James and Albus grinned at the sight of their friend, racing into the group of adults to say hi. Hermione grinned, watching as the two children that both she and Harry thought were dead, bypassed the adults. She laughed, hearing Gabrielle laugh quietly too.
“Where were you guys?” Hermione asked, looking to where Draco was. Both Neville and Draco had cleaned a good portion of the first floor for them. “We thought… Well, we thought you might have been dead.”
“Draco nearly was,” Neville remarked, blue eyes narrowed in thought. “We ran into him at Diagon Alley, with the two kids.”
Lucius and Severus both had taken a couch, sitting together at one end. Gabrielle was making tea for all of them, in the kitchen at the far end of the house. The three kids were chattering on about their ‘adventures’ and what they thought had happened. Draco was making sure the wards were still working, after their quick exit and entrance.
“He had been at Hogwarts when it fell,” Neville continued. “And he found James and Albus running right into the Forbidden forest. He told me that the centaurs were all gone. The only living creatures in the Forest were the spiders.”
“The arachnids are hardy creatures,” Severus commented. “It’s hardly surprising.”
Neville nodded. “Anyway, Draco brought both kids all the way from Hogwarts to London alone. I was with the Weasley family, on the way to Fleur’s manor in France. London was falling apart around us so we figured that Fleur’s place was the way to go.”
“Which of the Weasleys made it?” Hermione asked, sitting down on the opposite couch and leaning back.
“Molly, Fred, George, and your kids,” Neville said. “Arthur… sacrificed himself so that we could get away. Charlie’s still in Romania and I don’t know about Bill.”
Hermione gasped, wiping at her eyes with a tissue. “Arthur’s gone?”
“He is,” Draco replied as he walked in and sat down on the same couch as Hermione. “He protected us while I was casting the charm to create a portkey.”
Gabrielle came in not too much longer, floating a tray of tea in front of her. She grinned at the kids, dropped off what were obviously mugs of hot chocolate then laid the tea tray on the small table in the center of the room.
“Bill is in France with Fleur,” Hermione spoke as everyone went to fix their tea. “They found me when I had passed out in the middle of some countryside.”
“And I came with her,” Gabrielle added. “I am sorry to hear about Arthur Weasley. He waz a great man.”
“Draco,” Lucius started, glancing at his son.
“Yes, father?” Draco asked, starting to move to make room for Neville on the couch but Neville shook his head and plopped down in the middle, between him and Hermione. Draco peered over at Lucius, raising an eyebrow.
“Your mother… She’s…”
Draco’s eyes widened as his whole body stiffened. He shot up and walked out of the room. Hermione could hear Draco’s breath hitching, her heart aching, and she got up too, along with Neville. They exchanged confused glances, with Hermione raising an eyebrow.
“You go,” Hermione spoke. “You’ve been with him longest.”
Happy Thanksgiving! I’ve made it to New York City with Gabrielle Delacour, Fleur’s sister. We’re both safe in the manor that the Malfoy’s own in the city. We’re coming your way just as soon as the weather lets up here. It’s been snowing this whole month and we’re unsure as to whether or not we want to risk going out, especially since this is was a big city. It just had to be one of the worst winters on record for this city when this happened.
Your children are here! Draco rescued James and Albus from Hogwarts and brought them all the way here! They’re both safe and healthy though Albus picked up a snake somewhere along the way. Your youngest son knows parseltongue. We’ve been teaching James, Albus and Scorpius the things they need to know if they’re going to defend themselves in this world.
Harry, Narcissa Malfoy and Arthur Weasley are dead. Both of them died defending their families. Gabrielle and I found Lucius, Severus, and Scorpius in the basement of Grimmauld Place before we left London. We took them with us when we left and now we’re all together. Molly and the rest of the Weasley’s went to France, to join Bill and Fleur.
I hope you’re okay. Have you got any idea as to why this happened? I haven’t been able to find anything out.
“Draco, Neville, I’m going to France.”
Neville peered up at Hermione, seeing her determined but exhausted gaze. “Your kids?”
Hermione nodded, moving her wand about in her fingers. “I need to see them. I’ve kind of been thinking in terms of being back in the war, you know? Make sure Harry’s okay. And everything that’s started… I’ve never had a moment of peace to really think.”
The snow continued to pelt the mansion that they were in. It was a bad winter, having not stopped snowing or raining since December came around. Their group had decided to stay in the Malfoy mansion since they couldn’t realistically move out, didn’t know where exactly Harry’s group was.
It had been a rough few months and Harry had taken to sending letters often, letting them know his thoughts on this new outbreak. Hermione had read inbetween the lines of his letters and seen that Harry did know what had happened but was too busy to do anything about it.
“How are you-- Floo?” Draco asked, watching as Scorpius, James and Albus ran about the first floor. Severus and Lucius had not woken up yet, having taken one room on the third floor of the mansion. No one had commented on the two older men’s relationship and then Gabrielle had finally broken down and asked. Apparently, the two former Death Eaters had been in a relationship before this whole thing started. “I don’t know if we’re connected to Fleur’s mansion.”
“We are,” Gabrielle remarked, walking into the sitting room that they were in. “I just got finished charming it. My sister says hi.”
Hermione froze then took a deep breath, sighing out in relief. “Thank you.”
“We should learn the charms for that,” Neville said, gesturing to Gabrielle. “Could come in handy in the future.”
“Hermione, do you expect to be gone long?” Draco questioned, his voice steady but Neville could hear the uncertainty in it.
“I don’t know, Draco. I could just stay for a few days or visit everyone and then bring my children back here,” Hermione answered, shrugging a little and reaching back to tie her hair back. “I’ll let you know what my plans are when I arrive in France.”
“My two boys are alive!”
“Dad?” Lily woke up, her eyes blinking blearily. Teddy woke up next, peering up at him from where he and Carl were asleep in the corner. Lily had taken to sleeping with Sophia, attaching herself to Sophia’s side.
“James and Albus are alive! They’re with Draco and Neville, who also are alive!” Harry exclaimed quietly, looking down at the letter again. The growl of a walker outside the barn they were in startled the kids and Sophia, in her sleep, moved closer to Lily. “Your brothers… They’re alive.”
Lily’s eyes widened, her lips twitching up into a fast grin. “James! Albus!”
“Neville also says that Albus inherited parseltongue from me,” Harry muttered, placing a hand on Daryl’s back, as the other man moved next to him. It looked like the hunter was having a nightmare, one that was causing Daryl to curl into himself. Harry slipped one of his hands into Daryl’s, squeezing in reassurance. “Quite something to inherit, all things considered. Well… you inherited my sight though.”
Lily nodded, her bright red curls nearly reaching her shoulders now. It had been her birthday just a week ago, his only daughter turning 12. “That’s how I could see Carl in his other form.”
Harry dipped his head in a nod. “Yes.”
He looked towards where Rick was lying down, at the front of the barn, near the big door. They hadn’t gotten any opportunity to talk about the kiss yesterday but Harry supposed they would. He knew Lori was having nothing to do with Rick now, leaving their leader alone. The confusion and resentment from Rick not telling them about what the scientist at the CDC had told him had disbanded a little.
But Lori had not lost any of her dislike for her husband, had not forgiven him for letting Carl kill walker-Shane. Something about Carl still being a kid. And kids were not supposed to know how to kill people or walkers.
Lori’s stomach was getting bigger with each week, now the size of a basketball. Her morning sickness was getting worse and Harry had spent a few days tweaking the recipe for the potion, at least with what he knew. Now, he could consult Severus or Draco on that.
“Apparently, Severus Snape and Lucius Malfoy are alive too,” Harry muttered after a few minutes. “I don’t know how to feel about that but whatever. They’re survivors. As long as Malfoy’s father doesn’t regress to his Death Eater self, which is unlikely now.”
Lily snorted and Daryl shifted next to him, stretching a little but not making a sound.
“What about Death Eaters?” Daryl questioned, slowly waking up beside him, turning his face up to look at Harry.
“The father of one of my friends,” Harry replied, shrugging slightly. “He was a Death Eater back during the war and then defected. It seems he’s alive and is helping my friends. He’s definitely a survivor. My sons are alive too! James and Albus. They’re both alive.”
Daryl peered down at the letter in Harry’s hands. “Hermione?”
“Yes. Then another one from Neville. He’s the one that has the other sword,” Harry whispered, stretching a little and lying back down, shuffling closer to Daryl. The sun wasn’t up yet so they still had an hour or two of sleep, assuming no walkers disturbed them. Daryl froze a little, his breath hitching, before leaning into him.
Harry watched as Lily and Teddy fell back asleep before stretching out to press his lips to Daryl’s neck. Daryl shivered, letting out a quiet breath, before turning on his side to face him. Harry waited a minute before reaching out to pull Daryl into a kiss. Daryl groaned into him, as Harry curled a hand around his neck.
“Was I right in letting Rick join us?” Harry questioned quietly, staring into Daryl’s eyes as the man stared at him, eyes slightly blown with arousal.
Daryl turned to look over at Rick, where their leader was still asleep, alone in the corner. “Should’ve invited him to sleep with us.”
“That a yes?” Harry’s hand moved slowly down, rubbing little distracting circles on Daryl’s back, slipping under his shirt. Daryl groaned and bucked into Harry’s palm as it moved onto his chest, moving up to thumb one of his nipples. He sucked in a tight breath and saw Harry whisper something under his breath.
A shimmering, quiet blue light wrapped around them, hiding them from view of their group. The magical wall blurred between them and kept their movements hidden. Daryl was too busy staring at the ward when Harry pulled him into a kiss, warm and wanting. His heart sped up as Harry licked his way into his mouth, his hands still moving around Daryl’s chest.
Daryl groaned and wrapped an arm around Harry’s back, holding on tightly as his cock strained for attention. Sweat dripped down his forehead and got into his eyes, making him blink it back. Pleasure built at the base of his spine as one of Harry’s hands moved down to his waist.
He froze, his cheeks heating up, and Harry peered at him, his green eyes intent but hesitant. “Daryl?”
“Never been with a guy before.”
“Oh.” Harry studied him before pulling back an inch or two. His hand moved back up to Daryl’s chest, staying there, stroking soothing circles into his heated skin that were not actually soothing at all. His cock was now hard and ached for a hand, causing him to squirm in place a little. “Is this okay then?”
“Fuck. I don’t…”
“We don’t have to go all the way now,” Harry whispered, reaching down a hand to unbuckle his own jeans. “Take it slow and all that. Just say the word and I’ll stop. Though I may just help out myself. Been a while, you know.”
Daryl watched as Harry’s hand moved down, freeing his own hard cock. His heart sped up at the image of Harry’s hand on his cock and he moaned.
“Wait. Fuck. I want you...”
Harry grinned and moved closer to him, reaching over to grasp both of their cocks at the same time. Daryl gasped at the sensation, skin moving against skin and a strangled groan left his throat as Harry stroked up and down, pre-cum smoothing his way. Daryl arched up into Harry’s palm and came with a shout, toes curling and pleasure rocketing through his body. His fingers dug into the blanket that he was lying on, his vision dimming to just the man next to him.
He heard Harry come a second later, his hand withdrawing.
When he blinked his eyes open next, it was to a hand running through his hair. Harry had cleaned them both up and was still lying next to him, his green eyes fond.
It was nearly two months later that Harry, Rick and Daryl found the prison.