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Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six | Chapter Seven | Chapter Eight | Chapter Nine | Chapter Ten | Chapter Eleven | Chapter Twelve | Chapter Thirteen | Chapter Fourteen | Chapter Fifteen | Chapter Sixteen | Chapter Seventeen | Chapter Eighteen | Chapter Nineteen | Chapter Twenty | Chapter Twenty One | Chapter Twenty Two | Chapter Twenty Three | Chapter Twenty Four | Chapter Twenty Five | Chapter Twenty Six | Chapter Twenty Seven | Chapter Twenty Eight | Chapter Twenty Nine | Chapter Thirty | Chapter Thirty One | Timeline | Map
The snow glistened on the mountaintop, sending a myriad tiny rainbows flitting across the landscape. The craggy rocks breaking the pristine white lent a hint of character to the otherwise barren scene. The shining crystal towers of the elven settlement blended with the snowy wonderland, giving the effect of a fairy tale. There was only one word to describe the village of Lanith'il. Magical.
Severus Snape looked out across the mountains and let out a deep sigh. It was beautiful. The snow, the mountains, the elven buildings. Perfection. The peace he had found in this place was like nothing he had ever felt before. All of his life, he had felt out of place in the wizarding world. Trying to please his father, keeping his soul from damnation, spying and lying to those he cared about. Harry had ended the war, but he was still seen as `the reformed Death Eater'. Here, though, he was just Severus. With a snort of ironic amusement, he realised that he finally understood how Harry felt as the `Boy-Who-Lived'. He had spent hours moaning to Severus about wanting to be normal. Wanting to be `just Harry'. Now Severus was in a position to sympathise.
Myleidi was part of the peace he had been feeling. Over the ten days he had been in Lanith'il he had been spending a lot of time with the young she-elf. Her English was rapidly improving, and he was even starting to pick up a few words of her elven dialect. The rest of the group had spent their days planning the next leg of their journey, and getting to know the other river elves, but Severus had felt rather detached from the others. Black and Lupin didn't help matters any, especially the mangy mutt. Harry, his only real friend amongst the time travellers, was too busy talking to the elves, playing the leader, and spending time with his wife to bother with the greasy Potions Master. It was at times like this that Sev realised that despite his maturity, Harry was still twenty years his junior. It was sad to think that the only friend he had was little more than a child. Before, he had always had Albus, but since the elderly headmaster's death he had been spending more and more time in solitude. Myleidi filled the gap in his soul. She talked to him for him, not because of any duty to the ex-spy.
Their time in Lanith'il had passed far too quickly for Severus' liking. They would have to move on soon if they were to reach the coast before the end of November. They were due to leave at the end of the week, having gathered some necessary supplies from their elven hosts.
As Severus watched the watery autumn sun turn a fiery red in the sky in front of him and begin its slow journey below the silhouetted mountains, he heard the faint sounds of screams coming from the direction of the village. Whipping his head around, he saw a nightmare unfolding. His wanderings earlier in the day had taken him to a cliff ledge several miles above the settlement, giving him a great view. Unfortunately, what he saw was a disaster in progress. He watched in unrestrained horror as a colony of giants descended on the fairy tale scene, swinging their massive clubs back and forth, scattering elves and smashing the delicate towers of the buildings. Regaining his senses, he apparated back to the village amid chaos and panic. Seeing Hermione rushing towards him, he grabbed her by the arm and yelled at her over the noise.
What in Merlin's name is going on?!
Hermione have him a glazed look before shaking her head and answering.
Giants from the mountains don't know where they came from she panted, before turning to a nearby foe and letting loose a string of curses. Looking around at the rallying elven warriors, Sev joined the fray, hexing everything over ten feet tall. The giants, spotting the new threat, lumbered in his direction. Severus, worried, sought out the other witches and wizards. He could see the elves all around him trying to repel the attack with their own magics, but he wasn't really familiar with their methods. He was more comfortable with human magic, and so would be more effective if he could locate the rest of his group.
Seeing Glen and Sirius defending a group of elven children he made his way over, shifting to his animagus form as he went. His form had a lot of teeth, which was a good way of causing a lot of damage in a short amount of time. As he leapt at the nearest giant and sank his teeth into its tree trunk-like leg, he saw the elflings scream out of the corner of his eye. But it wasn't the giants that were scaring them. It was him. Closing his eyes briefly, he blocked the image of the cowering children from his mind as it brought up too many disturbing memories of his time as a spy, and concentrated on the matter at hand.
Twenty minutes later, six of the giants had been taken down, and the rest were beginning to retreat. The warriors collapsed to the ground in exhaustion and relief. The battle was over.
Severus, after resting in the snow for a few minutes, changed back into his human form and went in search of the others. A niggling feeling of worry filled the pit of his stomach. The bodies of elves littered the ground, and several houses had collapsed or were on fire. Making his way to the nearest human form, he kicked his unfortunate victim in the ribs, causing him to elicit a loud groan.
What was that for, Snape?!
I was just making sure you were still alive, Black, Severus sneered.
Yeah, sure you were, Sirius groaned and sat up, rubbing his chest and scowling at his nemesis. Sev glared back.
Now that we are no longer in mortal peril, would you mind explaining what in Hades just happened?
We were attacked by giants, Sirius responded slowly, as if speaking to a simpleton. Severus rolled his eyes.
I gathered that, Black. What I meant was why were we attacked?
Buggered if I know, the former convict grumbled, pushing himself to his feet unsteadily and swaying dangerously. With a resigned sigh Severus reached out and steadied his enemy.
That's not a lot of help, Black.
Well, I'm sorry, your highness, but I don't know everything! Sirius scowled.
Really? Sev smirked, I seem to remember when we were students you thought you did.
Just because I got away with anything doesn't mean I knew everything, Snivellus. Just more than you.
Oh, I doubt that, Black. You got away with attempted murder because you were one of Albus' beloved Gryffindors, not because you had an ounce of brain in that thick head of yours.
You wish, Snape.
Wow, that was a truly original comeback. Think that up just now or have you been saving it for a special occasion?
Sirius' face darkened, and he took a swing at the Slytherin. Unfortunately, he was still unsteady on his feet, and the action caused him to fall backwards onto the ground. Severus couldn't help it. He burst out laughing.
Severus! came a shocked voice from behind him, immediately sobering the Potions Master. Looking at the speaker, he couldn't help but look contrite at the expression on Harry's face.
What the Hell do you think you're doing? a furious half vampire yelled, I hardly think this is a time to be laughing!
Sev looked around at the scene around him. The elves were gathering their dead, and some of them were giving him poisonous looks. Immediately he felt remorseful. Harry was right; this wasn't the time for laughter.
Sorry, he muttered, unable to look his friend in the eyes.
So you should be, Harry said, crossing his arms across his chest.
What happened? the Potions Master asked, hoping his young friend would know more than his school rival.
The local giant colony attacked. From what I can gather, they've been trying to take over this land for years. It's just unfortunate that they chose today to try another takeover. Now, if you've stopped being an arse, I suggest you help to put out some of the fires.
Severus nodded and made his way to the nearest burning building, waving his hands and causing a tiny rain cloud to appear, dousing the flames. He made his way around the village mechanically, taking in the devastation. Only an hour ago this had been a winter wonderland. Now it was a disaster scene. It brought back unpleasant memories of many Death Eater raids. Too many. The screams of innocents, the smell of burning flesh, the bodies littering the ground. As he reached the next collapsed house, he was dragged rudely from his thoughts by an agonising wailing. Looking to the elf collapsed in front of the building, he was shocked to see it was Myleidi. Numbness filled him as he took in his surroundings. It was his elven friend's house.
Myleidi! he exclaimed, running over and kneeling on the ground, pulling the sobbing woman into a warm embrace. She wrapped her arms around his neck and clung on tightly, as if she was scared he would disappear.
My family dead she gasped, and Severus tightened his grip.
I'm so sorry, Myleidi, she whispered, rocking her gently as she poured out her grief.
The next two days passed in a blur for the inhabitants of Lanith'il. They had suffered many similar attacks over the years, and every time they had to rebuild it tore at their spirits. Their population was dwindling, they all knew it, but the mountain was their home, and they would never abandon it. The time travellers did what they could to help with the dead and injured, but they were well aware of the fact they were outsiders. With the elves in their own time they were a lot more comfortable offering help and joining them in their mourning. Here, though, in a society where outsiders were seen as suspicious, even a welcoming community needed their own space. Many of the elves were in a state of deep grief, and there was nothing the humans could do to help them.
Myleidi had been one of the worst affected. Her entire family had been wiped out when her home collapsed, and she was quite literally alone. Harry was convinced that if it weren't for Sev, who had been like a rock for her, then she would likely have died of grief, as was not uncommon for elves. The Potions Master had become a good friend to her, and the young vampire could see that he was the one person who could help the she-elf to recover. With this in mind, he made his way to the doors of the village council chambers, intent on seeking out the village elders. Knocking on the heavy wooden doors, he waited to be admitted. With an acknowledging call, he entered and formally bowed to the gathered elders.
Harry Potter, their leader said with a tense smile, How may we help you?
I have a question, he replied with his limited knowledge of their pronunciation. He had to choose his words carefully, as his vocabulary was narrow, Can Myleidi leave?
How do you mean? the elder asked.
Well Harry said, before coming to a grinding halt. Frustrated that he couldn't find the words to articulate what he wanted to say, he formed a mental connection with the leader and sent a mental picture of the written words, much like he had done at first with Myleidi. The elder was startled at first by the mental intrusion, but soon calmed. When she realised that Harry wanted Myleidi to go with them when they left, she considered the matter carefully and discussed it with her peers. Eventually, they reached an agreement and the leader turned back to the waiting human.
She may go, if she agrees.
Harry let out a long sigh of relief and nodded his thanks, before leaving to talk to the rest of the group.
Harry found Myleidi with Severus up on the Potion Master's favourite cliff. They were quietly talking, and Sev had his arm around her delicate shoulders. When Harry appeared behind them, they both jumped slightly in fright, not having heard him approach.
Hi guys, he said, dropping to the ground next to the young elf, I've been looking for you everywhere.
I brought Myleidi up here to see the view, Sev admitted, I love it up here, and she needed to get away from the village for a while. The memories were getting to her.
Understandable, the vampire said with a nod, before looking the elf in the eyes and switching to the hybrid language they had created, Speaking of memories, Myleidi, I was wondering if you would like to come with us.
Go with you where? she asked in confusion.
To Egypt. You're unhappy here now; I can see the memories are smothering you. You need a break. Even if you don't come with us into the future when we leave, you can at least escape the village for a while. Give yourself time to heal. I know you have made friends with Severus, and he is helping you work through your grief. We're leaving tomorrow, and I know that if you stay here, you will let your grief destroy you. Let him help you.
The conversation dropped into silence as the elf thought over what Harry had said to her. It made a lot of sense to her. She was becoming rather attached to the dour Potions Master, despite him being a human, and there was nothing here for her any more. Sure, she had the other elves, but they would all be wrapped up in their own grief and rebuilding efforts. She had no family left, and no home. She had always been an adventurer at heart, going on various journeys into the unknown. Before, though, she had always been alone on her wanderings. The chance to see a distant land with people from the future was a tempting offer. Turning to Severus, she asked him his opinion. After all, if he didn't want her
You want me come with you?
Severus looked at her in confusion for a second, not understanding. After all, he hadn't understood what Harry had said to her.
You want me come to Egypt with you?
Understanding, his eyes widened in surprised, before a genuine smile broke out over his face.
I'd like nothing better.
Are you sure it's wise, Harry? Hermione asked when the Boy-Who-Lived broke the news to the rest of the group.
I don't see why not. I mean, she's been through an ordeal here, and she just wants to forget. Going on one of our adventures will certainly take her mind off things. We've all lost people over the years. Gallatea, Ardwick, Christabel, Persephone, James, Lily. We miss them all, but for her it's her whole family. Four generations. I can't even begin to imagine what she's going through. Can you?
No, I suppose not, the bushy haired girl conceded, But you have to remember the time paradox problem.
What time paradox problem? She has no family. If she stays here, her grief will kill her. A broken heart kills elves. They wither away until they give up and cease to live if they allow their grief to consume them. They are very emotional beings. If she stays here, she'll die. I know she will. If she comes with us, she has a chance of living. You can't say we're changing the timeline, as all we're doing is saving a life. It won't have future repercussions in terms of people ceasing to exist, as she would never have children anyway. If we hadn't interfered in the first place, she would have died at the hands of the Elementals.
You have a point, Dad, but I don't see how we can make exceptions for her. I mean, you loved my mother, and you left her!
Harry winced, and looked at the floor. His son had a point, but the way he had said it hurt. He would always regret what happened to Gallatea, but there was nothing he could do to change it. He had grown up a lot since that time, they all had, and they were in a better position to make the best decision this time around.
Personally, I think it's a good idea, Remus said, breaking the tension in the room, Myleidi would be a great asset to us. She sees the world from the current perspective. Despite being an elf, and a different species to the ones we intend to meet up with, she knows the world as it stands far better than we do. She knew about the Elementals, what they were and some of their customs. These are things we could never know ourselves. I believe we are far more likely to reach our destination in one piece if we have her with us. And anyway, Severus seems to have become rather attached to her.
Just what we need, Snape with a crush, Sirius muttered, earning him an agreeing look from Ron and glares from the rest of the group.
Why don't we vote on it? Ginny asked diplomatically.
It would be the best way to settle it, Hermione agreed.
Alright, all those in favour, raise your hand, Remus said, raising his hand. Ginny, Harry and Ron all raised their hands.
That settles it, then, Harry said, Severus wants her to go, so it's five against three. She's coming with us. We leave tomorrow.