He’d woken alone on his yacht, the sails tattered, the boards cracked, the whole of it barely staying afloat. There was no sign of the kraken or their attackers, but from the scream, he could only assume the worst.
He’d limped in to port and had the ship rebuilt, and tiredly set back out, having nothing else to do. The loneliness of sea, assuaged for so long by his unusual traveling companion, felt worse now than it had even after Elizabeth had died. He wandered the seas aimlessly. Occasionally he heard tell of a kraken or a giant squid, but it was always a false alarm. Or some lesser beast than his friend. He researched them all anyway, just in case. It wasn’t like he was busy with anything else.
He researched, too, the stick-wavers, and eventually perseverance led him to discover that there was a whole sub-culture of witches and wizards living in every country he visited. They worked their will on the world with their little sticks, creating curses and blessings, potions and prophecies. He even, at one point, heard about a group who had gone to hunt a kraken that had been ‘terrorizing’ the seas. The results of the hunt were mixed, some claiming that the beast had been destroyed, others that it had been put in some kind of a preserve. None of them had any idea where. Or who had been involved. Or anything of use, really.
He took to seeking out magical bookshops and reading about kraken and the witches and wizards themselves. The storekeepers tended to cringe when they heard his rolling gait. He still found it hard to get the hang of talking without shouting, and everyone else in the stores tended to scatter when he arrived. He’d never been asked to prove that he was part of their community, though. Gold was gold anywhere you went, and they took it willingly enough, and probably assumed that since he knew about them, he must be one of them.
It was decades before he heard mention of the school in Scotland that had a giant squid as its gatekeeper. He didn’t really hold much hope for it being the kraken, but he didn’t have anything better to do than find out. Of course, nobody knew where in Scotland it was, so he wound up hiking back and forth across the country, ignoring the way folk, magical and mundane alike, tended to circle wide around him as though he were likely to bite.
Eventually, he found a lake and saw a huge, familiar tentacle reaching out towards a big man standing on a rock by the shore.
The joy and relief were enough to be infuriating, and he shouted, “Kraken!”
The tentacle froze, the body slowly rose from the water, and huge eyes peered doubtfully at him.
“You’ve been playing in this pond all these years? I am so gonna kill you!”
“’Ere now, none o’ that! Th’ giant squid ain’t hurt nobody, and you ain’t got no call to be threatenin’ ‘im,” the big man shouted back, circling round the water towards him, seeming to grow still larger as he got closer.
“Sod off,” he recommended. “I’m not talking to you.” He stalked down to the water, where the kraken had gotten closer, right to the edge, and was staring at him, reaching out tentative tentacles as though not sure whether or not to touch him. “Get out here,” he ordered. “Right now.”
The tentacles waved uncertainly, and the giant called out, “Now, a squid can’t go gettin’ out of water! It’d die!”
He continued ignoring the man. “I mean it, Kraken. You turn into your other shape, and you get over here right now
The tentacles curled protectively in—and then vanished, and a moment later a man a little older than himself with hair and beard hanging in a tangled mass to his waist and no clothes on was peering at him uncertainly through his hair as he splashed towards the shore.
Will took three steps forward, and then caught him in a hug, holding on tighter than he’d held anything in decades, and feeling arms grip him just as hard. Finally, he jerked away, bunched his hands, and punched the kraken in the face. “You sunuvabitch,” he shouted. “I can’t believe you’re alive.”
“Me?” The voice was as gravelly and hoarse as the other man glared up at him from the ground, prodding his bleeding nose. “You
got hit by the death curse!”
“The green light? I ducked, you dick. And hit my head. What’s your excuse?”
“I thought you were dead! And how long have you known about—about this
?” he demanded, pulling back and gesturing towards his body.
“Few decades. Started reading up on wizards and the like, and us meeting back up started making a lot more sense once I understood animagi. Though I don’t know how you’re alive, because I’m pretty sure you were dead before. You didn’t even twitch when those guys jumped on you.”
The kraken cleared his throat uncomfortably. “They sort of saved my life,” he muttered. “Started my heart back up.”
Will stared at him for a long moment, then guffawed. “They gave you CPR?”
“Well, what’re ya doin’ swimming in a kiddie-pool like this? And why are you still alive anyway? Wizards still age.”
“Eating soggy toast and waving at kids,” he said with a shrug. “There wasn’t much to do. As for the time thing—first I thought it might be an effect of spending all the time in my animal form. Then...well, eventually listening to you I figured out that I ate the bottle.”
“The bottle. The one your son threw away? I think I ate it.”
Will stared at him horrified. “I’m sorry,” he finally said, his voice, for once, not a shout.
“S’okay. It wasn’t so bad. But then I thought you were dead.”
“Well I’m not. And you’re not.”
The other man grinned at him. “We’re not.”
“Right. Well then.” He struggled, trying to think of what should come next.
“You still have that boat?”
“Yes, I have my yacht
“It still float?”
“Of course,” he said, slightly miffed.
“Well. Let’s go sailing.”
He smiled, feeling a sense of contentment setting deep in his stomach. “Okay,” he agreed.
“I think you need ta see th’eadmaster,” the giant said anxiously, reminding Will for the first time that he was there.
“No,” Will said. “I don’t think so. Never did find the damn school, anyway. Just lucky you were out of water when I came across the lake.”
“Right there,” the giant said, pointing at a hill.
Will raised a brow and shook his head. “Whatever. You seen enough of this pond?”
“I think I have.”
They ignored the giant as they walked away. After a few minutes, Will thought to offer his friend his spare set of clothes. The kraken stared at them blankly for a moment, then blinked down at himself and pulled them on.
There was a companionable silence for a long time before Will thought to ask, “What should I call you anyway?”
“You don’t have a name or somethin’?”
”I did once. But there was
a reason I decided I’d rather be a kraken. I don’t remember what it was, but I’m pretty sure it was a good one. And I like ‘Kraken’ better than ‘Giant Squid’.” He wrinkled his nose then shot a sideways glance at Will. “You’ve been looking for me all this time?”
”I didn’t have anything better to do,” Will pointed out.
Kraken smiled and settled an arm about his shoulders, the gesture warm and solid and real
. “It’s good to see you again.”
Will mimicked the gesture, smiling. “You too.”
Author's Closing Note:
So yeah, that's it. There are rumors in the HP fandom that the giant squid will turn out to be the biggest animagus in the world. I decided to play with that--and with its origin, obviously. Hope you guys liked--it was fun from my end.