Departures, Arrivals and Creation
Harry Potter and all other characters belong to J.K. Rowling, and this version of the Mask belongs to New Line Cinemas; I’m just using them for this story.Feedback:
I’d appreciate it, believe meHarry Potter and the Mask of Loki
The next morning, Harry was sitting around in his room, his bags packed, Hedwig in her cage, his wand tucked into his sleeve, and that strange mask hidden under a few shirts in the top part of his larger bag. He couldn’t explain quite why
he was so curious about such a simple-looking object, but something about it seemed to tell him that it was far more than it seemed…
And not in the sense that Riddle’s diary was more than it seemed at first; whatever was unusual about this mask, Harry could sense that it wasn’t evil
. Strange, definitely, but he couldn’t sense anything specifically dark
Besides, if nothing else, it would make a more pleasant memory of his last day at Privet Drive than anything else he might find. He still hadn’t decided what exactly he’d do
with it- after all, it wasn’t like he could actually wear
the thing, it didn’t even have a string to hold it onto his face- but he’d cross that bridge when he came to it.Maybe he could find some way to balance it on the wall of his room or something…
The doorbell rang, and Harry chuckled slightly as he heard Uncle Vernon walk towards the door, open it…
“Ah, hello, you’re the fat old git who tried to keep Harry locked up six years ago, aren’t you?” a voice said, sounding as happy and flippant as the twins ever did. “Well, look, we’re here to pick him up, so could you just let him know we’re here and we’ll be out of your hair?”
“Or what you’ve got left of it,” a second voice added. Harry smiled as he heard Uncle Vernon start to stutter in what was probably rage, but undoubtedly was only succeeding in making him look like a human kettle put out to boil.
At least, that was what they always seemed like to Harry these days; somehow, in recent times, Uncle Vernon’s temper tantrums, which had so terrified the young Harry who knew nothing about his true origins, were now hardly worth even paying attention to.
Harry smiled at the thought. Whatever other traumatic experiences his time at Hogwarts may have caused- the loss of Sirius and Dumbledore, nearly losing Ginny in second year, facing Voldemort in a duel in fourth year- it had at least helped him get over his childhood fears. He wouldn’t pretend to be an expert psychologist, but he’d heard enough in his life to know that it was the longest- standing fears that could be the worst; if that was accurate, having gotten over his fear of the Dursleys now
, he was quietly confident he could overcome any other fears he might develop.After all, what could be worse than Voldemort…?
a quiet part of his mind said mockingly to himself. Harry, however, shook it off; he wasn’t ready to start thinking about that… that bastard
son of a bitch… just yet. He’d go to Bill and Fleur’s wedding, say goodbye to everyone, and then
set off to find the Horcruxes…
Before his thoughts could progress any further, his door opened, and Fred and George came in, grinning widely as Uncle Vernon apparently still stuttered in rage.
“Hi Harry,” Fred smiled, looking at his old friend before looking around the room. “Man, they haven’t changed this place that much, have they?”
“Well, it wouldn’t have, would it?” Harry pointed out, as he swung off his bed and grabbed Hedwig’s cage. “I mean, I’m never really allowed to buy anything that they’d approve of; I tend to keep anything new secret from them.”
“Fair enough,” George said, smiling as he reached over and picked up Harry’s trunk, Fred grabbing the other one while Harry picked up his last possession- his Firebolt- and began to walk down the stairs.
As he reached the bottom, Harry glanced off to one side and saw the Dursleys, just sitting on the sofa in the main living-room, resolutely watching the news on the television; evidently, they were trying to act as though things were the way they’d have been if Harry had never been in the house, now that he was leaving for the last time.
He might as well get this over with.
“Could you hold these for a moment?” he asked George, passing him the cage and the Firebolt. “I’d just like to say something.”
George, somehow sensing that this was something Harry wanted to do himself, just nodded, and, taking the broom and cage, walked out of the house with George.
Harry, swallowing slightly, turned towards the living room and walked into it, not surprised when none of the Dursleys turned to look at him.
“Well… I’ll be going, then,” he said, after giving them a couple of seconds to respond to his presence of their own accord.
Nothing happened, so he went on.
“Look…” he sighed, looking around at them all. “I acknowledge that we’ve never seen eye-to-eye. And I know that- given a choice- I wouldn’t have chosen you as my guardians. But, well…”
He sighed. “Look; if you ever need me, just… just place an ad in a paper or something, OK? I’ll be keeping in touch with Muggle news anyway.”
After a couple of seconds of waiting for a reply- which, of course, he didn’t get- Harry sighed, turned around, and walked out of the house that had for so long been his home.
And, despite what he’d just said to them, he knew that it was for good.
“Done?” Fred asked, as Harry joined the two of them outside Privet Drive.
“Yeah…” Harry sighed, taking back Hedwig and the Firebolt before looking over at Fred inquiringly. “How are we getting there?”
“Side-Along Apparration for you, unfortunately,” Fred sighed, as he took Harry’s arm in his left hand, George grabbing the right as Harry grabbed the broom and cage tightly in his hands. “You still don’t have your licence just yet, and, well, it was the easiest option; the hotel where everyone’s staying for the wedding’s almost totally booked, and with all the rented cars from Gringotts or whatever, there’s not even enough space to land a broom outside anymore.”
“Fleur’s family’s helping cover the cost of renting the venue,” George said, off Harry’s barely-contained confused expression. “Anyway, best be off.”
There was a brief moment of disorientation as Harry felt himself whipped through whatever it was he entered when he Apparrated, and then…
Then they were standing just outside the door of a large hotel, some of the pillars in front of it at a slightly odd angle, and looking to be about as high as Gringotts Bank had seemed the first time Harry had seen it.
“Wow…” Harry said, staring up at the building. He looked over at Fred and George. “And this is all
hired for the wedding?”
“Yep,” Fred smiled. “Believe me, whatever else you can say about that Fleur girl, you can’t say she was poor- or did you think a Veela would marry a wizard just for love?”
“That’s the thing about Veela as a species, you see,” George said, as the three of them headed into the hotel. “Remarkably shallow- we’ve got your key, no need to worry,” he added, as Harry started to walk towards the check-in desk.
“The wedding ceremony’s at seven tonight- dress robes only- in a church a bit down the road- to be attended only by immediate family and close friends- and then we’re all meeting in the main hall here for the party. Charlie, Ron and us’ll be acting as… what’s the Muggle term for doorman in these situations?”
“Um… ‘bouncers’?” Harry inquired.
“Yeah, thought it was something like that,” Fred smiled. “Anyway, we’ll be making sure nobody gets in without an invitation; which reminds me, you’ll need this,” he added, passing Harry a few pieces of paper. To Harry’s surprise, the papers were all blank; an elaborate red outline was the only remarkable thing about them.
“Magical,” George explained, in response to Harry’s confused expression. “The invitations are charmed to prevent anyone holding them who didn’t acquire them freely from another person; if someone acquired one under duress, or stole them, the red bits turn black.”
“A little trick they’ve come up with at Gringotts,” Fred explained. “Helps ensure money doesn’t get nicked; they’re using it on some of the larger deposits in their vaults, but Bill knows the guy who came up with it, and was able to persuade him to let us use it for the invitations; they’ve also got another feature that lets us confirm whether or not they’re a fake.”
“Anyway, we’ve got to get going; all kinds of little details left to be sorted out before the wedding,” George smiled, as they put down Harry’s cases and indicated a large array of items in various cubby-holes in front of him.
“Miniature Portkeys,” Fred explained, noting Harry’s momentary confusion. “They’re only for entry and departure of the room for guests that have too much luggage on them; after all, it’s asking a bit much for anyone
to lug so much stuff up all these stairs, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, I guess…” Harry commented, as he checked his key- Room Ninety-Four- reached out for the cubby hole in question- containing an odd model of something that Harry couldn’t quite recognize, but appeared to be some sort of baby dragon- took the object in his hand…
And found himself standing in the middle of a room with two beds in it.
!” an excited voice said, and Harry suddenly found himself with a brown-haired girl hugging him, while a red-haired boy looked on with what seemed to Harry to be a brief (More instinctive than anything else) flicker of jealousy before the girl parted from Harry.
“Hi Ron; Hermione,” Harry said, smiling at the two of them. “How’s things been?”
“Oh, better than what you’d expect in war time,” Ron said, shrugging in a manner that almost succeeded at being offhand. “Since the Hogwarts attack, the Death Eaters have all been fairly quiet, but we still aren’t any further along with figuring out where the Horcruxes might be; Hermione and I’ve been working on ideas since she got here yesterday, and we still haven’t worked out how to find them.”
Harry shrugged dismissively. “We’ll figure something out when the time comes,” he said. “Right now, all we need to worry about is relaxing at this wedding, and we’ll take what else comes at us when it comes.”
He looked over at Ron. “Um… we’re not expected to do anything in the ceremony, are we?”
“Nah, no worries there, mate,” Ron smiled. “It’s only Gabrielle and Ginny who have
to do anything; the position of Best Man seems to be changing constantly- last time I checked, Charlie, Lupin, Kingsley and Fred and George had all been considered for it.”
George?” Hermione asked, looking at Ron curiously.
“Bit before you arrived,” Ron explained. “Bill contemplated asking them, but thought it wouldn’t quite work; for the twins, you get one of them, you get both.”
“Ah well,” Harry said, smiling slightly at Ron and Hermione before he glanced at his watch; still at least a couple of hours before any of them- even Hermione, based on how long she wanted to take at the Yule Ball- needed to start getting ready. “Can I check out what you’ve got so far?”
A few hours later, Harry and Ron had shrugged themselves into their dress robes- Ron’s new ones being a dark blue that somehow managed to go rather well with his hair, while Harry’s were still the green ones he’d worn to the Yule Ball, treated with a little charm he’d learned a while back to increase their size. He knew it was a bit excessive, but he rather liked the robes, and hadn’t wanted to wear them only the once.
Hermione had left for her room- Room Seventy-Two, apparently- after nearly an hour’s worth of detective work had failed to turn up anything helpful towards locating the last two (Or three- who was to say R.A.B., whoever he or she was, had succeeded in destroying the one in the locket?) Horcruxes, arranging to meet them before they went down for the ceremony.
“So,” Harry said, looking over inquiringly at Ron, “will you be asking Hermione, then?”
“What?” Ron asked, looking over at Harry.
“You know, asking her to dance?” Harry asked, raising an inquiring eyebrow.Ron blinked, then blushed furiously and turned away. “Don’t think so, really,” he said dismissively. “Anyway, why should I?”
“Oh, come on
, Ron, you’re as bad as I was at not seeing a good thing when it was right in front of me!” Harry smiled, trying not to think specifically about who
that ‘good thing’ had been…
“Look,” he said, placing a companionable arm around Ron’s shoulders, “you know Hermione’s like a sister to me, right?”
“Um… yeah…” Ron said, looking at Harry curiously.
“Well, since you were good enough to let me off for most of the summer term,” Harry said, blinking briefly to hold back a tear before continuing, “you can consider it a given to do what you want regarding Hermione.”
He pulled back and looked Ron in the eyes as he spoke. “Just do
something about it, you moron; got that?”
Ron blinked in surprise at that, but then sighed and nodded.
“All right,” he said, as the two of them stood up, Harry checking the sleeves of his robes while Ron (Once again) made sure that he hadn’t missed something embarrassing about his robes; his robes at the Yule Ball had left him a bit paranoid about clothing for important functions. “Let’s-”
There was a knock at the door, and Hermione’s voice said “Hello?” from the other side.
“-go,” Ron said, his voice suddenly a lot lower as he looked over at Harry in a panic.
Harry held up his hands in a calming gesture. “Ron, before you get started, you look fine, Hermione will forgive any little mistakes you make while dancing, and you are
doing what I told you if I have to put you under the Imperius Curse to make you ask her, got that?”
Ron nodded dumbly, and, smiling, Harry walked over to the door and opened it, smiling slightly at Hermione as she walked into the room.
He couldn’t deny that the effect on her was stunning; like the Yule Ball, she had straightened out her hair, but there the similarities ended. On this occasion, her hair was tied back in a ponytail that gave her a very professional yet sexy appearance, while her robes were a shade of lavender that accentuated everything that should be while still being tasteful.
Ron’s eyes widened as he saw Hermione; evidently, he liked what he saw. Harry was pleased to note that Hermione seemed to give Ron an approving glance herself; that might make things a bit easier later on.
“Well, now that we’re all here, shall we go?” he asked, offering Hermione his right arm, which she hooked around her left before taking Ron’s left arm in her right, as the three of them began to walk towards the stairs.
About an hour later, Harry was sitting on the side of the main hall, casually sipping at a Butterbeer with Ron and Hermione. The wedding had been a beautiful ceremony, he wouldn’t deny that, but, quite frankly, he was grateful to get out of the church; he always felt awkward just sitting around anywhere unless he was doing
Then again, Harry wasn’t really enjoying himself here either; he’d never been much of a dancer, having never been invited to birthday parties of any kind when he lived with the Dursleys, and he’d never had the chance to improve his abilities when he’d arrived at Hogwarts.
Of course, there’d been his dance with Pavarati Patil at the Yule Ball, but he didn’t really count that as a real dance
; for one thing, he hadn’t been paying attention to what he was doing anyway.
Plus, of course, the only girl he wanted
to dance with was already dancing with someone; apparently, Ginny’s current dance partner, according to Ron, was an old friend of the twins who Harry didn’t recognize.
He acknowledged why
she was doing it, of course; he’d broken up with her, she had no reason to want to wait for him, if Voldemort thought she was only his friend’s sister she’d probably be safe…I just wish it didn’t
hurt so much
… Harry thought to himself, as Hermione got up and headed off to the bathroom.
Sighing, Harry downed a last mouthful of Butterbeer, and then glanced over at Ron; if he was going to leave, he was at least going to make sure that something
“So, are you going to ask her when she gets back?” he asked his friend.
Ron, who’d been drinking what had to be his fifth pint of butterbeer, almost dropped it at that comment. Regaining his composure, he put the glass down and looked over at Harry in confusion.
“Ask her what?” he said. “If this is about the dancing thing, Harry, I’m not doing it; it’s not worth it.”
“What, getting a chance at the girl you’ve been interested in for the past few years
isn’t worth a risk?” Harry asked, raising an eyebrow. Then he shook his pityingly as he placed a hand on Ron’s shoulder. “Look, Ron; either you go ahead and ask her now
, before someone else does, or you’ll regret it forever, OK?”
He sighed again as he glanced behind him to where Ginny was dancing, Ron following his gaze.
“I never told her enough,” Harry said, looking back at Ron after a few seconds. “If I get back- IF
,” he repeated, before Ron could protest, “I’m going to tell her every day, because…”
He sighed. “Because, in my opinion, she’s perfect every day.”
He looked back in Ron’s direction. “Don’t make my choice, Ron; you’re not his prime target. You
don’t have to worry about him…”
He shoved Ron lightly on the shoulder, jerking his thumb back in the direction Hermione had gone. “Get going; if you don’t do it now, I’ll need to talk some more
sense into you later.”Ron looked like he was about to protest, but then he swallowed, nodded, got up, and walked off in the direction that Hermione had just gone in.
A few moments later, Harry smiled as he saw Ron and Hermione in the middle of the hall, engaged in a slow waltz. Hermione was looking away from Harry, but he gave Ron a grin and a congratulating thumbs-up, which Ron returned with a shy wave and a grin of his own.
For a few seconds, Harry just sat there, watching his two friends dance, but then he caught a flash of Ginny’s red hair out of the corner of his eye, and knew he couldn’t stay. Putting down his butterbeer, he got up and walked towards the door.
A minute or so later, Harry had collapsed on his bed in his room, still wearing his dress robes, and was staring vacantly up at the ceiling.
Hedwig hooted at him in an inquiring manner (At least, it seemed that way to Harry), and he looked over at his owl with a slight smile on his face.
“Life can never be easy, can it, Hedwig?” he asked, chuckling slightly as Hedwig ruffled her feathers in a manner that almost looked like she was shrugging her shoulders.
“God, just once
, I wish I could have a few hours of not being me
…” Harry sighed, as he stared around his room…
And his eyes fell on a corner of the mask he’d found yesterday, sticking out from under some shirts in his bag. He’d taken care when unpacking not to show the mask to Ron; for some reason, he wanted to keep it to himself for the moment.
Reaching over- the bag was only just beside his bed- Harry picked the mask up and stared at it for a few seconds, wondering what it was meant to represent.
“Too bad it isn’t a masquerade ball, huh?” Harry said to nobody in particular. “Maybe I could wear you and get a quick dance with Ginny.”
Smiling slightly at the thought, he turned the mask around, lowered it on to his face…
And suddenly he was sitting up, his head jolting sharply to the right as the mask literally… fused
to his face…And began to grow over the back of his head
“Nnnoooo…!” Harry cried out, his hands scrabbling at the back of his head, trying to stop the suddenly malleable wood from meting at the back as Hedwig hooted rapidly in panic. Just as the mask’s ends met, Harry suddenly found himself spinning rapidly, as though he’d gotten caught up in a small tornado…
And then, all of a sudden, Harry Potter, the ‘Boy Who Lived’, was gone. Standing in his place was a young man, about his height, with a totally green face and black hair that seemed to almost be made of plastic. The distinctive lightning-bolt shaped scar on his forehead was gone, and he had larger-than-normal teeth.
He was still wearing dress robes, but unlike the ones he’d been wearing mere moments ago, these ones were dark red, almost the colour of blood, with gold trim around the sleeves and hem, and a small pocket on the leg that could be used to hold his wand.
Harry/Mask looked down at himself, smiled, and glanced back at Hedwig.
“S-s-smokin’!” he grinned, giving the owl a wink before he reached into his pocket and pulled out a photograph of Ginny Weasley. “Hold on, Sugah!” he said, affecting an accent that sounded like something from the Bronx. “Daddy’s got a sweet tooth tonight!”
He was just about to leave, when a thought occurred to him.
“Can’t get through the station without an invitation…” he mused to himself thoughtfully. Then he smiled, placed a finger against his nose, and spun around rapidly for a few seconds, pausing when he was dressed in a bright yellow zoot suit, a white shirt and a white tie with black spots on underneath the yellow coat. Checking rapidly through his pockets, discarding several other items in the process (Including, to the surprise some small part of Harry’s mind, a mousetrap, a bazooka, a false hand, and a photograph of Rose McGowan from Charmed
) he pulled out the pieces of paper that Fred and George had given him, still red; evidently, he still counted as himself.
Looking over at his reflection in a nearby window, Harry/Mask grinned.
me!” he smiled…
Then he spun around rapidly, changed back into his dress robes when he stopped.
Giving himself the once-over one last time, Harry/Mask drew back his arms as though he was Will E. Coyote preparing to chase the RoadRunner, and dashed off down the stairs.