Title: Lost Identity
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters/Pairings: future Harry Potter/Orion Black
Word Count: 4k
He fell through time and space.
He was broken.
Blood, bone, and self broke.
His very skin was shed as he fell.
All that remained was the ripened and distilled essence that was ‘Harry’
He was shattered and reborn.
Death and rebirth. Over and over he fell. How long he fell, he would never know.
In darkness he fell, in light, he was remade.
He was remade.
Blood and bone. Magic and power. Dark and light.
Destiny and fate are undone.
Leaning heavily against the stone wall that was one of the first things he’d seen upon achieving consciousness and staggering to his feet. The crowds passing by hadn’t seemed to even notice him. Harry took in his surroundings. He was in Diagon Alley.
“What the ever-loving fuck?” He managed to gasp out. He winced, his throat felt like he’d been gargling with glass.
He was still unclear on what had happened. His last real memory was of bleeding out from a cutting curse on the steps of Grim Hall, defending his home from intruders for the fourth time this year. He didn’t even know who they were this time, so many had come for him over the years.
Shaking his head, trying to gather scattered thoughts he noticed that his skin felt tight and tender. Almost like that time he’d had a full-body sunburn, it felt as if he had a completely new layer of skin. The fabric of his clothing was near agony brushing over it.
He remembered the feeling of falling. The longer he stood there the visceral memory of being taken apart and put back together again and again slid through his mind. He shuddered. He had a feeling that more than his location had changed.
He tried to summon his wand to him, only to see the elder wand appear in his hand. “Well, this can’t be good.” He shook away his unease to cast tempus and then stared at the result until it faded. August 14th, 1966 6:00 am. ”Bloody buggering fuck.”
‘His mother was only six years old,’ was the thought that ran through his mind. He cast the spell twice more, even though he knew what it would say. Closing his eyes he fought the churning in his stomach and the panic clawing at his throat. A thought snuck into his mind, it sounded a lot like Hermione.
“Gringotts, maybe they’ll have some answers.”
He made his way slowly through the alley, not wanting to attract attention. In the back of his mind, he was grateful he hadn’t ended up being dropped into the alley naked and more vulnerable. He wasn’t going to think about what magic had brought him here fully clothed and given him the elder wand. Not right now at least.
As he passed by the darkened window of one of the many storefronts, he caught a glimpse of himself.
Even that blurred image caused his breath to catch and he stumbled to a stop. He watched with a numbed detachment as pale fingers moved to touch the face that was reflected back at him, shock lancing through him when he felt those touch his own face.
The face he saw was his and yet, it wasn’t. His hair was as disordered as it always had been, even as it curled around ears that were just a touch more defined than before. The color was still dark, an almost inky black, except when some light caught it, then he saw a flash of the barest hint of darkened red. His eyes were still green, but they were now the dark green of emeralds rather than the bright green of his mother’s.
He’d been changed almost completely. Terrifyingly, though he hadn’t been, he still recognized himself in the image. Like a double-exposed photograph. A ghost image layered one over the other.
“Fucking hell,” Harry muttered, pulling himself away from his image and heading towards Gringotts at a faster pace than before. “Lady magic, please let them know what is going on.” He was not above begging at this point.
After the war, he’d returned to the bank with Hermione to make reparations for letting their dragon free. Ron had refused to have any part in it, but the less said about Ron’s lack of involvement in their lives at that point, the better.
After Hermione had done some reading and forced a book or four on him, they’d both known better than to admit to stealing from the bank, so they paid for damages done, which had been billed as happening during a ‘difficult withdrawal’.
Hermione had giggled about it for almost a week.
His heart stuttered. Hermione, she’d died not very long after that trip.
Her murderers had never been found. Or to be truthful, he’d never been able to prove who the guilty parties were. Not to the satisfaction of the Ministry anyway. They never did take any action against the guilty parties.
The potions in her system had to have been given by someone close to them and even if they had pulled away from Ron after the war, they’d still spent enough time at the burrow. It had given him and other members of his family a chance to dose her as often as needed.
The fact that she’d died of a lethal mix of love, lust, and fertility potions that had reacted badly with the other potions she’d been taking to recover from injuries incurred during the war had just been an accident. Or so they’d tried to tell him.
Harry gave himself an internal shake, he had more immediate things to worry about right now than the death of his best friend, no matter how the injustice of it still ate at him almost a decade later.
He came to the sparkling white building and slowed to a walk again. He climbed the steps with caution and entered the bank, he glanced around, unsure suddenly how to proceed from there. While he had been familiar with the bank in his time, he had no idea what to do forty-something years in the past.
“Wizard,” The harsh voice of one of the bank guards caught his attention. “Come this way, you’re expected.” He began to march off down towards the side hallways of the bank.
“I am?” Harry said quietly, more to himself than the guard.
He followed where the dverger led, past the counters, and down a long hallway until he came to a heavy wood door marked ‘Appointments Only’.
“Wait here.” The guardsman pointed to the side of the door, gesturing with the spear he was still holding in his hand.
So Harry waited, swallowing his nerves and pushing past his fears. To distract himself, he thought over the change in his appearance.
Bringing the image he’d seen in the glass to mind he mused over it, he didn’t think he looked any younger than his thirty years, but it was hard to tell on that kind of surface.
He hoped that he could carry some of the maturity he’d been forced to grow into through the crucible of his younger years. The dvergers had respected him more after he’d taken on his title and responsibilities, than when he’d been bandied about as the titular ‘boy who lived’ and he didn’t even have that at the moment.
The dverger knocked and entered the room. The door was left slightly ajar, but Harry heard nothing but muffled conversation before the guard returned and gestured him inside.
“Hello, Traveler,” The dverger greeted with what passed for a smile among their race, full of teeth as it was, before indicating the chair in front of the desk. “We noticed your arrival.”
“Did you?” Harry felt himself fully pulling on the persona he’d cultivated as Duke Brocéliande, a peerage he’d inherited, to the surprise of the wizarding world, from his mother. “I wasn’t aware I was going to be traveling at all.”
“Nobody who Travels knows about the Travelers,” The dverger, Granick, if the nameplate on the desk was correct, gave a harsh chuckle. “Not until they become one.”
“I take it you mean Lady Magic?” Harry’s voice was cool, almost cold. He managed to hide his absolute despair behind his anger. He’d learned to turn his anger cold rather than hot over the years. “Dare I ask how many times this has happened?”
“We don’t know for sure, of course,” Garnick replied, he eyed the wizard with something like curiosity in his eyes. “What records we have indicate it’s happened twice before in the history of the world.”
‘Well fuck me,’ Thought Harry, feeling a headache coming on as he railed internally at the bitch called Fate. He’d already dealt with one prophecy and its fallout. He’d lost everything that had mattered to him in the end, he had no desire to be Fate’s fucktoy this time around. Not even at Lady Magic’s behest, she’d been nothing but a blessing to him since he’d discovered worship of her, but this would be too much to ask of anyone.
“I’ve already played at being Fate’s puppet once, I won’t be anyone else’s again, not even Lady Magic’s.” Harry’s voice was cold and final. He spoke with his hand clenching in the folds of his robe before he forced them to let go and smooth the wrinkles.
Garnick nodded, “We don’t know what other Travellers have done, of course, but it is known that Lady Magic doesn’t demand anything from those she has Travel.”
“So no sudden prophecy I’m going to be expected to fulfill?” Harry asked, not sure what he expected the answer to be. Not sure at all what was going on if he wasn’t expected to take care of someone else’s dirty work.
“No,” Granick replied. “As far as I’ve been made aware, a prophecy has never been an element of a Traveler’s arrival.”
“Then what am I supposed to do here with no name and no identity beyond this Traveler?” Harry asked with some exasperation leaking through his cool demeanor.
“We will take care of that,” Granick said, leaning over and ringing a bell on the edge of his desk. “That is if you will allow us that honor.”
“I don’t even look like me.” Harry tried to explain while watching the dverger closely. He was still confused as fuck about everything that was going on.
“Of course not,” Granick said, “Lady Magic sent you and she will provide. She always does. You can’t be here and still be exactly as you were. That would create a disruption.”
“Bloody fucking fantastic,” Harry muttered, leaning back in his padded chair while they waited, his mind mulling over the information they’d given him, as sparse as it was. “I don’t suppose you can tell me what that means exactly?”
“Once you began to travel here, you were taken completely out of time. If your origin is alive, then they will continue on divergent from now since you, coming back automatically changes the timeline, even if you do nothing to directly affect your origin self. If your origin self hasn’t been born, then they might not be.”
“So this is more an alternate timeline than being brought back in time,” Harry said. “The events I know, they won’t necessarily be static now that I’m here. Since I am a new ingredient in the mix, even if I don’t do anything but simply exist.”
Granick seemed to think about that for a minute and then nodded, “That’s the way I understand it, yes. Some events will always happen. They are what our seers call Nexus points. Great events and small ones, turning points that happen in the world that decide the course it takes. Like if one man becomes minister over another. Do we sign this treaty or wait to see if the next negotiation brings one better. Does someone go right or left at a crossroad.”
Harry had dealt with the bank in his time enough to know to call them dverger, that they were a warrior race and that they didn’t suffer fools or wizards unless they had to. The fact that they were giving him this level of respect and consideration was both pleasant and alarming by turns.
“We have procedures for this eventuality, even if we have no true memory of having to use them before.” Granick bit out something in his language when a knock came at the door. “We do have our histories.”
A dverger dressed in what Harry could only describe as scholarly robes entered the room, followed by what looked to be a young dverger in full warrior kit.
“Master Kantz,” Granick gave a solemn, respectful nod of his head to the older of the two as the door was shut behind them. “This is the Traveler, he’ll need to make full use of The Protocols.”
“Hmm, I see. I see,” The obviously elder, Master Kantz directed the armored dverger behind him to set down the elaborate metal and wood trunk he’d brought in with him. “It has been many generations since we’ve had even a suspicion of a Traveler in our scrolls, how fascinating.” His voice was like pebbles tumbling one over another when he spoke.
Harry wasn’t sure how he felt being a fascination to this dverger who was looking at him like he was a rare ingredient on a potioneer’s table. “So I’ve been told. Master Garnick said that you can help me.”
“Yes, yes,” Master Kantz gestured towards the guard behind him to open the trunk. When the trunk’s lid was lifted, Harry leaned forward in his chair to see what it contained. “These will help create your new identity. It will, of course, be based upon how the Lady has remade you.”
“How she remade me?” Harry sat back again, looking between the two master dvergers. He wondered once again if he really wanted to know the answers to his questions, but he asked them anyway. “What exactly does that mean?”
“It means many things young wizard,” Master Kantz said, as he pulled out vellum, ink, and other writing materials from the trunk and set himself up at a desk set up to the side of Master Granick’s. “In this case, it means that when Lady Magic decided to pull you from whenever or wherever you were and bring you here, she remade you. You will at your core still be who you were, of course. Yet, you have already noticed changes to your physical self I’m sure. There have been changes to your magical self as well. The very core of your being, what some beings would call the soul self is probably the closest to what you were originally. Even that will have been changed by the experience though, you’ve gone through the crucible and come out changed. Remade.”
“Of course, remade,” Harry said softly to himself, while Master Kantz paused and sat behind his desk.
He took the vellum, dark ink, a quill, and the athame, laying them out with what seemed to be deliberate precision in front of him. Harry watched him with as much caution as a curiosity.
“She changed your outward appearance so that you will not be recognizable in features to anyone that might know you or your family line since magic has a way of imprinted so heavily on the physicality of certain bloodlines. She then changed your blood, we don’t understand how she does it. According to what we have recorded though, you will retain some of your heritage, how much and from where in your original bloodline is unknown. We only know that when your blood is tested after your choices today, well it becomes set in stone, so to speak. You become who you choose within the form that she has made for you. Your destiny or the fate that had been assigned to your origin self, that is undone as if it had never existed, barring what memories you may have of it. It has been this way for every Traveler we have records of, everyone that was willing to speak of it anyway. This is what we know.” Master Kantz finally looked happy with the placement of his instruments. He looked up and gestured Harry forward.
“So anything that the fates had planned for me won’t happen here?” Harry tried to wrap his mind around that thought. It was so foreign to him to be outside of Fate and her designs on his life. Almost as strange as being out from under Dumbledore’s direct machinations after the war. It suddenly hit him that here he would never be under Dumbledore’s thumb if he was careful. The Dumbledore of this time wasn’t even aware of him or that thrice be damned prophecy.
“No, you are a wizard outside of the flow of fate until you choose your path here. Even then, you are one of Lady Magic’s Chosen now.” Master Kantz said as if the answer was obvious and maybe it was to him. “The Lady will take care of you.”
Master Kantz looked across the desk at Harry and he noticed, now that he was standing closer to him, that the dverger’s eyes had the rheumy look to them that meant his vision was probably not that great.
“I prefer to make my own choices,” Harry replied coolly, reaching to take the athame that Master Kantz was handing him. “Anything else is abhorrent to me.”
“As do we Master Traveler,” Master Granick agreed, he nodded from his desk. He hadn’t moved from behind it since Harry had come into the office and didn’t look to be moving anytime soon.
“I will need three drops of blood on each of these three vellums,” Master Kantz said before Harry could respond to Master Granick. “Three drops only on each. No more, no less.” He glared a little with his instructions, but Harry just nodded. He’s been glared at by worse for less.
“What will my blood be used for?” Harry asked, not even bothering to cut his hand before he had his answers. “I don’t bleed for just anything, especially not willingly. Not anymore”
“This will tell us who the Lady has brought to us, in terms of who you could be and it will give you three choices for an identity, along with the family or families you can come from. As I’m sure you are aware, family lines are paramount in the wizarding world and they can and will be a determining factor on how comfortable your life is and on what you can do here. Or how easily you will be able to accomplish any of your eventual goals.”
“This will do what a normal inheritance test will then?” Harry asked, taking the athame this time when it was offered. “Only it will give me three inheritances to choose from?” He thought that he understood what the dverger was saying, but so much was happening so fast. Hermione had taught him to think and be cautious at the end of the war. His heart trip with pain again, he could really use her here.
If he did this, when he did this, he’d do it alone. Just like he’d done so many things these last few years. Then the thought occurred to him, he would be able to save her. He could save them all if he stopped it now. Harry swallowed and looked at the blank vellum. His mind spun, he reached out to steady himself, athame clinking on the desk.
“Master Traveler!” A hand was under his elbow before he’d had a chance to do more than think about falling. “Your magic is going to start to destabilize slowly from here on out. We really need to get started.”
“Destabilize?” Harry shook off his unease, picking up the athame. He gave the dverger guard who’d come in with the trunk a nod for his assistance and turned back to Master Kantz.
“Until you have an actual identity in time here, you are a disruption, an anomaly. Both time and magic will try to force you to fit into the space or get rid of you,” the dverger shrugged when Harry just narrowed his eyes at him.
“This is the kind of information that would have been good to know at the start,” Harry said and then he waved it off. “I don’t think that’s what it was though, or at least not entirely. I just had a few things become clear suddenly and it was a bit much.”
“Still,” Master Kantz gave a grunt as he resettled himself in his seat. “We had best get a move on or you will begin destabilizing. I’m not altogether sure what will happen if you do and I’m not so curious that I want to find out.”
“Okay,” Harry said, using the athame to cut a thin slice into his palm. He could find no fault in the dvergers desire to avoid what would probably be a minor magical catastrophe at best. He wasn’t sure what a time traveler’s magic destabilizing would do to a timestream, but he agreed with Master Kantz. He had no desire to find out.
He closed his hand and allowed three drops to fall on each of the fancy vellum pages laying out on the desk before pulling back. He handed the magically cleansed athame back to Master Granick while he healed his hand with a murmured spell.
He gazed at his hand for a second, it seemed much of his magical ability and strength had come back with him. He noticed that he had the attention of all the dvergers in the room, something that would have embarrassed him years ago when all he wanted to do was fit in and be normal. To be just Harry, before he understood that that was never going to be possible for him. Now he was just grateful that he could defend himself if he needed to.
“Now we wait,” Master Kantz said, sitting back and folding his hands together, the arms of his robes sliding down to cover them. “We should send for some refreshments Master Granick.” He looked over at the other dverger.
“Of course, Stegnor,” Master Granick nodded at the guard standing by the trunk and Harry watched him go to the door to give instructions to whoever stood outside.
“They will send something immediately, Master Granick, Master Kantz, Master Traveler.” The guard bowed his head at each of them in turn.
“Excellent,” Master Kantz said, he looked back at Harry. “This will take a few moments for the magic and the blood to settle on the three permutations for you to choose from.”