Genre: Lotrps AU/Harry Potter future!fic crossover
Summary: Dom becomes a teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and finds himself strangely attracted to Elijah, one of the Gryffindor seventh-years.
Warnings: Like I said, AU and crossover. Also it's HP so, obviously, supernatural stuff.
Disclaimer: The wonderful HP world is created by JK Rowling who is not me, and the LOTR boys do not belong to me, both facts which I obviously regret but are nevertheless true. Sniff.
Feedback: Makes me prostrate myself at your feet and grovel pathetically.
Author's notes: Yay, I'm back! Okay, so I never actually left. But avondster came back from the Fellowship Festival bearing illegal Lost DVD's, that were just begging to be watched. My apologies, I will stop fangirling and get back to writing now. This chapter, as I promised, is a wee bit longer than the last. As always, my sincere thanks to pinkegogirl for the beta.
This chapter is dedicated to saura_ for no particular reason but that she is a great writer who seems capable of providing me with magnificent pr0n when I need it most.
It was utterly dark by the time the two brooms started circling towards the ground, though the sky was scattered with countless stars.
Elijah’s feet hit the ground with a soft thump, and he heard Dom land beside him shortly after. And saw him, at last, because although Elijah’s skin had changed to reflect the greenblack grass and trees around him, Dom was still an inky black shape, dotted with tiny little pinpricks of light; the night-sky in man-shape.
“C’mon,” said Dom, beckoning. “We’ll walk the last bit. It’s just over there, behind that hill.” A star-strewn arm pointed away towards a dark mass at the end of the field. “Here, I’ll reverse the spell first.”
Out of nowhere, Elijah was rapped hard on the head with a wand (“Ow!” “Sshh!”) and his hands were pale white and almost disconcertingly visible again. He turned to look at Dom, and saw that he had changed back into his regular shape, his crooked white grin flashing at him in the darkness. “Let’s go, then. Lumos.”
Dom’s wand-tip ignited; a few seconds later Elijah’s did the same.
For a while they walked without seeing any light that might indicate a house somewhere, even in the far distance. Just as Elijah began to wonder if he should ask Dom if he was sure they were going the right way, the older man halted and grinned. “Here we are.”
Elijah squinted at the dark mass before him, which he had at first taken for a shadow, and discovered that it was in fact a man-high wall, covered in ivy. Dom had already found the gate and raised his wand to open the lock. “Alohomora.”
The lock snicked, and Dom pushed the gate open with his shoulder, taking Elijah’s hand in his and pulling both of them inside, before closing the gate and locking it again carefully while Elijah studied their surroundings.
They were standing in a large garden, completely surrounded by walls. Some yards away the windows of a small house were twinkling invitingly, and in their light Elijah could make out various objects in the garden, including a swingset, a monkey bar, and a frozen-solid snowman.
Dom pulled him along over the slippery stone path, but not in the direction of the house. Instead, he walked towards a little toolshed that was standing close to the east wall, wrenched open the door, and took him inside.
By the light of their wands Elijah could see the interior of the shed: shelves upon shelves covered mostly with average outdoor children’s playthings, dust, and spiders. There was also a handcart and a small pink bicycle and, prominent even among the bright toys, a lopsided, rectangular wooden crate, painted in obscenely bright colours and labelled ‘Dom’s Broom’ in large, spidery writing.
Dom grinned. “My very own broom box. She made it herself.” He took Elijah’s broom from him and placed it carefully in the box, beside his own. He put the lid back on with infinite care, then took hold of Elijah’s shoulders unexpectedly and kissed him deeply.
“I just wanted to grab my chance while I have you alone,” he grinned when the younger man blinked at him. “We’ll be back at Hogwarts soon enough, best to snog you while I still can.”
Elijah grinned and kissed Dom again hungrily, but when he tried to deepen it Dom broke the kiss, taking Elijah’s hand and pressing his lips to it, instead. “Not here, love. Not now. Emergency, if you remember.”
The younger man tried very hard not to pout when Dom pulled him out of the toolshed and towards the house, letting his mind dwell instead upon the endearment Dom had used with him: love, and wondering why exactly the simple word made him smile like a lunatic.
They had reached the house now, and as Dom pushed the kitchen door open Elijah was momentarily blinded by the blazing light. He blinked a few times to clear his eyes, and found himself standing in a small, cosy kitchen, still smelling deliciously of a just-cooked meal. He suddenly remembered that he had missed dinner at the castle, and that he was, in fact, rather hungry.
There was no one in the kitchen when they entered, but even as Dom closed the door behind them, a woman came rushing in.
She was in her early thirties somewhere, and so small that even Elijah looked down at her. There was also a look about her that seemed slightly unnatural; if he would put a name to it, he would have called it a ‘faded’ look. She was slender and petite, her skin pale to the point of translucence, her hair a very light reddish blond, and her eyes were the lightest blue he had ever seen. It was as if he was looking at her through a fogged-up window. Elijah wondered for a moment if all the mothers of Changelings looked like that.
“Dom.” Even her voice seemed vague and far away, thought Elijah as he watched her embrace Dom warmly and kiss his cheek.
“I am so sorry for calling you here in such a hurry; and on a school-day too, but I just didn’t know what to do,” she whispered, then noticed Elijah. “Oh, hello. Who is your friend, Dom?”
Dom kissed her back and turned to Elijah. “Síobhan, this is Elijah. He is one of my students at Hogwarts, and he wants to become a Guide. I hope you don’t mind me bringing him.”
“Oh no, not at all,” said Síobhan, offering Elijah a frail-looking hand. “It’s very nice to meet you, Elijah. Anyone who wants to help children like my daughter is welcome in my house.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” said Elijah politely, shaking her hand carefully, surprised when she returned it with a firm grip.
Dom was frowning at the ceiling. “Where’s Tara, upstairs?”
Síobhan nodded. “She won’t come out for anything, not even dinner, not since this morning.”
“What happened?” asked Dom, already making his way towards the door and into the hallway, seemingly knowing his way in the house well.
“It was this charity fair thing the church organises every year,” explained Síobhan. “Twas on out neighbour’s fields this year, and right where Tara could see it from her window. I don’t know how she got down there, I never heard her on the stairs… But I did hear the screams…”
She trailed away sadly, shaking her head. Dom, who had halted on the first step of the stairs, turned back and embraced her silently. She pressed her face against his sweater, her voice muffled by more than just the fabric.
“She’s just a child, Dom, she meant no harm. It was a beautiful day today, and there were so many other children playing there, we could hear them laughing all day. She only wanted to be part of it… and they hurt her, Dom, they called her all these horrible things…”
“I know,” murmured Dom, stroking her hair gently. “Did you go through the emergency plan?”
Síobhan let go of him, wiping her eyes. “I notified the Ministry through the Two-Way Mirror, and they sent a team at once. Everything’s been straightened out – well, where the modifying is concerned anyway – and Sean’s at the Ministry to smooth things over. But no one’s been able to comfort Tara, she was so terribly upset.”
Dom nodded, turning back to the stairs. “I’ll try and talk to her, then.” He made his way up, Síobhan and Elijah trailing after him.
They arrived at a small, dark landing, and Síobhan opened one of the doors carefully a few inches, peering inside. “Tara?”
There was no reply, but Elijah could hear soft, hiccoughing sobs coming from within the room. Síobhan opened the door a little wider and Elijah could see what seemed like an average little girl’s room, painted in sunny colours and cluttered with toys. In the middle of the room stood a cream and pink flowered tent. The sobbing came from behind the closed flaps.
“Tara,” said Síobhan again. “Guess who came all the way from Hogwarts to see you?”
The sobbing ceased, and a thin, muffled voice sounded through the canvas. “Dommie’s here?”
“That’s right, Princess,” said Dom, slipping through the doorway and crouching before the tent. “Won’t you come out and give your big brother a hug then, sweet?”
There was a silence before one of the front flaps was opened tentatively, and Elijah looked in astonishment at the creature that crawled out of it.
It was child-sized; but that was where any resemblance ended. The changes racking the small body that stood before them, in sync with the sobs, came so rapidly and stutteringly that it was almost nauseating to look at; before it even had a chance to evolve into something more recognisable, it had started to change again. Most of these unfinished forms Elijah could discern neither human nor animal in, and all of them were distorted and grotesque. It was horrible to behold.
Dom seemed to have no such thoughts. His face broke into a smile as he scooped Tara up into his arms, kissing her cheek. “Hello, my beautiful.”
Elijah nearly winced when he saw Dom kiss her; then suddenly the realisation hit him with such an impact that he nearly staggered: this was also what Dom looked like, underneath.
Stroking Tara’s cheek with his hand, Dom frowned. “What’s this, now? Tears? What’s got you so worked up, then?”
The same basic story that Síobhan had just told them came out, in little girl perspective and in a little girl voice, interrupted by gasps and sobs, the little body in Dom’s arms shaking and changing jerkily all the while.
“And… and they had a pony there, and they were all petting it and smiling, and, and I just wanted to pet the pony, too, Dommie!”
She broke into fresh sobs against Dom’s shoulder, and Elijah, observing through the gap between door and doorway, felt his reserve at her appearance melting away instantly upon hearing the heartbreaking tone of the little girl’s voice.
Dom sat down on the pastel-coloured bedspread, rocking the child back and forth in his arms. “Ssshh, hush now. I know it’s hard, sweet.”
“They yelled at me,” whispered Tara into his sweater. “I didn’t do anything, but they yelled at me, and the man with the white collar called me a freak. And the children said that there was a monster, and I didn’t see one, but… but they meant me.” She raised her head to look at the other Changeling. “Am I a monster, Dommie?”
Dom pulled her closer. “No, my sweet. It’s just stupid people that say that. We’re just different, you and I, that’s all. What do they know about us, anyway? Don’t listen to them, Tara, don’t let them upset you. Hush now, I’m here…”
He continued rocking her, and to Elijah it seemed as if Tara’s changes became less distorted, the forms less hideous, the colours less dark. She burrowed into Dom’s chest, sighing, and the sobs died away as Dom began to hum soothingly, then sing low under his breath:
Baby mine don’t you cry
Baby mine dry your eye
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine
Little one, when you play
Don’t you mind what they say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear, baby of mine
If they knew sweet little you
They’d end up loving you too
All those same people who scold you
What they’d give just for the right to hold you
From your head to your toes
You’re not much, goodness knows
But you’re so precious to me
Cute as can be baby of mine
Dom continued humming, rocking, until the body in his arms stilled, and a high voice began to hum along softly. He shifted Tara in his arms and smiled into her face, raising a finger to tap her nose playfully: she giggled weakly.
“Oh no, that will never do,” he said, grinning, and at the next moment the little room resounded with gleeful shrieks as Dom began to tickle her mercilessly, the sound of his low laughter mingling with the high giggles of the little girl.
Síobhan was smiling in delight when Elijah looked at her beside him; she caught his eye and winked.
The laughter in the next room had died away, and when Elijah dared to peek in again he saw the two Changelings sitting on the floor by the bed, Dom helping Tara into her nightgown. She was still changing ceaselessly, but slowly now, and the shapes were softer and rounder, the colours warmer.
This seemed to indicate a distinct change in mood, because Dom said: “better now, then?”
Tara nodded. “Hmm-hmm. But Dom?”
“Now I’m hungry.”
Dom burst out laughing, and got to his feet. “That will be easily resolved. I’m sure your mum will have saved you some dinner, and I could do with some too. C’mon, then.”
He emerged from the room, holding her hand, but when Tara saw Elijah she shrank back behind Dom’s legs. The other Changeling nudged her forward gently. “No worries, Tara-sweet. That’s just my friend Elijah. He wants to be a Guide, you know, and I brought him from Hogwarts especially to meet you. So be a proper young lady and say hello.”
At the mention of Hogwarts, Tara perked up at once. Elijah crouched down in front of her, and could not surpress a smile when he saw his own face, oddly distorted and with cartoonishly magnified eyes, flash over the child’s features as she studied him. “Hi, Tara. It’s really cool to meet you. Dom told me so much about you.”
She screwed up her eyes. “Hallo. You talk funny. Are you really from Hogwarts?”
“Uh-huh, I really am,” he said, smiling. “I’m in my seventh year, that’s the last one, and Dom’s my teacher.”
This seemed extremely amusing to Tara, who burst out in giggles.
“Hey!” said Dom in mock-outrage. “What’s funny about that?”
“You can’t be his teacher,” giggled Tara, “he’s as old as you, and… and you’re Dommie!”
Elijah straightened up and smirked at Dom. “You’ve got to admit she has a point there. Dommie.” His eyes sparkled with mischief.
“Ganging up on me already, are you?” grinned Dom, looking down at Tara. “You just watch yourself, missy, I might be your teacher someday, too. And you,” here he looked up at Elijah, smirking evilly, raising his eyebrows and dropping his voice a notch, “don’t make me put you in detention, Mr. Wood.”
Elijah didn’t blush or look away this time, but countered Dom’s look with one of his own. “Is that a promise, Professor?”
He kept his voice light, teasing; Tara continued giggling, oblivious to what was passing between the two young men. Síobhan, however, fixed them with a shrewd look that neither of them noticed.
They had just settled down at the kitchen table, Elijah, Dom and Tara each with a large bowl of steaming mushroom soup in front of them, when the door opened, bringing in a gust of icy wind and a short, dark-haired man who Elijah took to be Tara’s father – Sean?
His features were as pronounced as his wife’s weren’t: his dark eyes could rival Elijah’s in size, and he had a rather large, beak-like nose. His mouth was one of those that seemed to be made for smiling, and that was exactly what it did when he saw Tara waving at him from behind her soup.
“Hallo, Da!” said the little Changeling before any one of them could even speak a word. “Dom’s here, and this is Lijah, he goes to school at Hogwarts and he’s friends with Dom but Dom’s also his teacher, and he wants to be a Guide. Where have you been?”
“Hallo, angel.” Her father kissed the top of her head, chuckling. “I see our Dom-lad has worked his wonders on you yet again. How’ve you been, my boy?” He ruffled Dom’s spiked-up hair, utterly ruining its artful effect. “A blondine now, I see. And I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch your friend’s name, unless it’s Liza?” He grinned, offering his hand.
Elijah got up from his seat to shake the man’s hand. “Elijah, sir, Elijah Wood.”
“Sean Sullivan. Welcome to my home, Elijah. Please sit down, my wife’s cooking is far too excellent to eat cold. Any of that soup left, love?”
They all settled down with their food, and conversation flowed as freely as if they didn’t have a stranger in their midst. Holiday stories were exchanged, and Dom regaled the family with many anecdotes about his first term of teaching, which resulted in many bouts of laughter at the table.
During coffee Sean was telling them about his visit to the Ministry, which would have been interesting to Elijah if he had known any of the persons Sean, Síobhan and Dom were now discussing.
Tara, also, seemed to have no interest whatsoever in the grownups’ talk, and she hopped off her chair to stand by Elijah, tugging at his hand. Elijah looked down at her benevolently; now that he was used to it, her ceaseless changes were no longer disturbing him, and he realised he was rapidly developing a great affection for the endearing little Changeling, the way she looked up at him in admiration.
“Tell me about Hogwarts,” she whispered, her eyes shining. She pulled his hand until he got up and followed her into the living room, the conversation in the kitchen reduced to a low rumble. He sat down on one of the moss-green sofa’s, Tara at his feet.
“Well,” he began, looking down into her eager face, “it’s in this really big castle, surrounded by mountains, and there’s a magical Forest and a lake, and all kinds of creatures live in those. In the castle are a lot of secret rooms and hidden places, and there’s ghosts, too, and the staircases sometimes change, and all the paintings can move and talk…”
When Dom, Sean and Síobhan came into the living room an hour later, Tara had migrated to Elijah’s lap, and both had fallen asleep. They smiled tenderly at the sight, exchanging looks, and Dom moved forward to gently lift Tara up in his arms. The loss of her warm weight made Elijah stir, and he opened his eyes, smiling hazily. “I must be a really boring storyteller, to make even myself fall asleep.”
Dom grinned. “It’s just been a long day for both of you.” He looked down at the sleeping girl in his arms, her changes now indefinable and hazy, but strangely peaceful. “Better put this young lady here to bed. And then we’d better be going back, too.”
“Nonsense,” huffed Sean. “You’re not going anywhere this late and in this weather; you’re staying the night. It’s the least we can do for making you come all the way up here, right love?”
“Of course,” said Síobhan briskly. “I’ll put some fresh sheets and extra blankets on your bed, Dom, and I suppose make the spare bedroom ready for Elijah, hmm?” This last remark with raised eyebrows, as if she warned both of them not to make any other suggestions.
“That’ll be fine, thanks,” said Dom with a quick look at Elijah. Having the younger man bunk on the floor of his room (as he knew Elijah’d been about to suggest) would be a bad idea, for several reasons, none suitable for discussion, and he hoped the younger man would understand at least some of them.
Elijah caught the look, raised his eyebrows, then shrugged. “If it’s not too much trouble…”
“Of course not,” said Síobhan, waving her hand. “Why don’t you two put Tara to bed, while I prepare the rooms?”
Dom manouvred up the stairs carrying Tara with practised ease, Elijah following. He laid the small girl down on her bed, pulled the covers over her and kissed her forehead. She stirred and made a soft, sleepy noise, but Dom hummed the same song he’d sung to her earlier, and she settled down at once at the familiar sound.
“What song is that?” whispered Elijah as they softly closed the door behind them. “I’m sure I’ve heard it before…”
“It’s Disney,” said Dom in a slightly apologetic tone. “It’s from that movie ‘Dumbo’, you know, about the baby elephant with the huge ears? Everyone hates him for being so different and weird-looking, but in the end it turns out he’s special and all that. I loved that movie when I was a kid.”
Elijah nodded silently, apparently struggling with a question he was dying to ask. “So that’s why, ah… so did you… um…”
Dom’s wide grin spread slowly over his face. “Yeah Elijah, that’s the reason for the ears.”