Harry’s eyes are sore and gritty from reading small print for hours and his mood is sour from his fruitless days of research. Sure he knew from the get go that he would not figure it all out in one day but he thought he would find something! He’s also a bit put out by his stomach. Without realizing it Harry ate a good portion of his supplies, if Harry didn’t know any better he would say he had the appetite of a young teenage Ron. Supplies that should have lasted him a month will now last half that.
His stomach growls like an angry kneazle.
Every day is spent reading in the tent till he runs out of food, Harry’s cereals, bread, fruit, and dried meat last another week under his new body’s demanding stomach. On the eighth day when Harry wakes up to very few food choices and cabin fever clawing at his spine he leaves the books untouched and steps into the forest. It has to be his imagination but the flowers, ferns, and wide colorful leaves appear to perk up as he exits the tent. Shifting the enlarged shoulder bag so it rests comfortably across his chest Harry finds a small animal path and follows it. The path follows the stream and goes up a small rise to a clearing of grass, mud, and tall orange bell-like flowers.
An explosive snort sounds off to his side startling Harry. A large six legged horse shaped beast trots toward him its large yellow eyes on the flower in front of him. It leans down toward the orange bell flower and a long red tongue shoots out of its small mouth and laps up the nectar gathering inside the flower. After a few minutes of lapping at the flower it lifts its head and gives him a long faced basset hound look as one of its long tentacle limbs reach out to him. The limb brushes his face and skims the side of his braid; Harry pushes it away gently and pets along the purple/blue creature’s broad neck. Its eyes blink calmly then it trots away to another flower. Climbing over a downed tree Harry finds more horse creatures lapping at flowers near a pond. Red insects the size of Harry’s palm flits about from the pond to the bell flowers. They look like a cross between a hornet and a praying mantis and Harry’s a little wary of them but the insects don’t seem to care that he’s there. At the pond Harry sees large colorful fish swimming in and out of purple plants. The fish are large and flat like eels with two sets of yellow eyes and bright red and purple scales and ashy dots along their spine and fins.
Harry is tempted to transfigure something into a fishing rod and stay in this quiet clearing for a while but curiosity and the urge to explore compel him onward. Between two large purple bushes the mossy animal path continued, the path twisted around some boulders and red fan plants and up another hill till he finds himself at a fork. One path leads onward through the forest floors, hanging vines, and wide fan plants, the other leads upward into the moss covered bulky trees. He should continue on the ground path he’s still unused to long knobby limbs and a wondering tail and enhanced senses and is sure adding dizzying heights will worsen it, but some hidden urge whispers to climb, to walk among the limbs of the trees, to learn his new body and embrace the forest. The path up the trees almost sparkles and flowers bloom before his eyes. Biting at his lip with sharp new teeth Harry looks at the two paths, the path through the forest is dark and a tangle of green vines and the path up looks bright and open and inviting. Harry knows a manipulation when he sees it; the very forest wants him to climb into the trees! Should he?
Gripping a branch tight Harry climbs awkwardly up the almost ladder of roots onto the thick moss covered limb of the large tree. With his strange toes set wide apart Harry carefully navigated up the limb to the wide building sized trunk of the tree. With a hand griping at the trunk Harry followed the mossy path around it till he got to an opening. Inside the large hollow of the tree strong green wood spiraled up like a stair case. He goes up. Reaching the top of the skyscraper tall tree Harry looks over the vast expanse of green. The world around him is breathtaking.
The world around him is beautiful, fresh, and clear but with one exception to the north is a blight of dull grey and smoke is visible on the horizon. In the distance a small city of steely buildings and blazing fire stacks surrounded by a tall fence rests near a pit of hollowed earth. The first bit of civilization he’s seen since he got here and it looks like an infection, a wound on the planet, and it don’t look too welcoming.
Many of the trees are interconnected and he doesn’t need to climb down till he is close to the border of the smoking city. He strays near the area where the city is still green, there’s a building close to the fence and it has movement inside. Digging in his bag Harry pulls out the shimmering cold silk invisibility cloak and wraps it around himself. Silent and soft footed Harry creeps toward the open window of the building. Inside are many blue people in a classroom, many of them are small blue people children. Most of them wear very little, only the one standing in front of the class wears familiar clothing. The teacher is wearing hiking boots, tan shorts, and a Stanford collage tank top while everyone else is dressed in small thong like kilts, bits of leather, feathers, and jewelry.
They are all playing Simon says. Well everyone but the scowling boy is playing. The angry looking teen is just sitting near the door with his ears down and his arms crossed.
The others hop on their right foot and giggle as some stumble and end up out. “Neytiri turn!” Said a little boy as he giggles and said some words in a language Harry didn’t know. The oldest girl laughs and steps to the front of the class and holds up her hands high in the air. “Eywa says hold your hands high!” Everyone holds their hands up. “Eywa says wiggle fingers and jump many times!” They laugh when they bump into each other. “Jump up and touch the sky!” Some of the children jump and the girl points at them. “Oh! Eywa didn’t say!” The three that jumped step off to the side and look at the game with interest. The girl turns to glare at the sneering boy sitting out that didn’t even try to play the game. “Eywa says Tsu’tey must play!”
The older boy, Tsu’tey, huffs out an annoyed breath. “No.”
The smaller children start to pout. “But Eywa says!”
“Tsu’tey! Come play!”
“But Eywa says to!”
Neytiri grins. “Tsu’tey worried about losing?”
Tsu’tey’s nostrils flare as he unfolds his arms and stands tall. “No! This is a child’s game and I’m a child no more! We are here to learn sky people words and to guard the children! We are not here to play silly games!”
“I have not forgotten and I am learning. You are just too proud to lose.”
“Not.” Tsu’tey growls softly.
“Eywa says Tsu’tey raise your arms high!” Everyone grins when Tsu’tey slowly does but the scowl on his face is deep and dark. Harry watches them play three more games of ‘Eywa says’ then move on to watching a film about Earth. Harry watches them until the class is over.
Once the class is over the young children crowd around the teacher and talk to her in broken English and the pretty language Harry doesn’t know. One little girl weaves a small yellow feather in the teacher’s hair as she talks. “Mumma is teaching me how weave baskets! The ones before her learn and now I do!” The girl said proudly as she finished tying the braid.
“That’s wonderful, Shar`zah! Will you show me when you finish making one?” The teacher said with a bright smile. Then the teacher said something in the children’s native tongue that made them giggle and crowd closer. The little girl Shar`zah laughs and nods and speaks rapidly in the haunting and pretty language Harry doesn’t understand. The teacher laughs too and answers the girl with one deep positive sound. The other little ones ask things about the movie of Earth, they ask about the animals and plants and about the many sky people that live on Earth. They all huddle up and settle in around the teacher for a long session on Q & A when the sneering teen makes a loud sound of annoyance. “Come! We go.”
Like a line of little soldiers the children follow the oldest boy out the school house through the open fence door and down an animal trail. The oldest girl stays behind and gracefully perches herself on one of the desks. The teacher smiles and sits next to the girl. “Tsu`tey’s in a better mood today. Normally he wouldn’t let you talk him into playing games.”
“Tomorrow Tsu`tey goes on a long hunting trip with his mentor. He is hoping this will be the last time he must come to learn Sky people things. It’s very important to Tsu`tey to be seen as full adult he is hoping he will impress my father enough to allow him to take his ikran early. He wishes to prove himself greatly. Much is expected of him and of me, Teacher Grace.” Neytiri solemnly said.
Grace nods. “I hope everything goes well for you both. When do you both go to the floating mountains to become taronyu?”
“Soon. When our mentors say we are ready.” With that said Neytiri hops off the desk and out into the green lushness of the forest and like a shadow blending into the dark of night disappears.
Grace stretches and shuffles some papers onto less messy stacks and heads to the grey city of smoke towers. Harry follows at a wary distance as the woman heads to the green corner of the town with its rows of colorful crops, tall buildings, and climbing obstacle course. When Grace plucks a large red fruit from one of the rows of bushes and bites into it with a sound of pleasure Harry doesn’t hesitate in snatching one for himself. The fruit is the size of a volleyball and as red as a tomato but tastes like a mix of sweet pears and oranges. The sweet juice slides down his throat and his can’t help but make a sound of enjoyment.
Grace enters an open room full of beds and after her fruit is nothing but a seed pit she lays down closes her eyes and stills. She’s too still. Harry can hardly see her draw in air. Carefully and with his inner voice yelling at his foolishness Harry creeps close enough to poke the blue woman. She doesn’t move, not even a muscle twitch. Feeling a bit bolder Harry picks up her hand from the bed and drops it. He’s prepared to run for it if she bolts up but all that happens is her arm flops about then stills. It’s like the woman’s not there anymore.
He’s a little worried even though he doesn’t know the woman and reaches out to her with a small touch of magic. He can feel a bond, a bond that connects this body to another. Grasping the thread of the bond Harry pulls and then almost has a heart attack when the body next to him sits up with a gasps. Grace is inches from Harry’s face and he can feel her panting breath flutter the cloak. “What the hell?” Grace pants as she looks around her. “How the hell . . . what the . . .” She shakes her head and activates a communicator on her neck. “Guys, what the hell happened here? Did the link malfunction?”
“I don’t know, Dr. Augustine! You were disconnected completely then suddenly you weren’t. Are you alright? Should I send the doctors?” A male voice came through urgently.
Grace rubs lightly at her temples and sighs. “I’m fine but send them anyway I want them to look at the avatar. I’m going to disconnect again and then I’ll come and take a look myself. If there’s a glitch in the system we need to fix it before the next batch of avatar drivers come.” Grace reclines down again and her body stills.
With a light touch of his magic still connected to the thread Harry can feel the woman called Teacher Grace slip out of the body in front of him to somewhere else. It’s quite strange.
From a safe distance Harry waits for the doctors. He expects more blue people only to see humans wearing breathing masks rush to the still blue body’s side. They talk about neural pathways, energy disruptions, and run small beeping devices over the body. Then Grace shows up. He can feel the bond that connects her to the blue body and is confused. He leaves them to their hand waving and shouting and talk of things he doesn’t understand and enters the human side of the base.
It’s as grey and dull up close as it was from the trees. It’s like the life of the planet left the area. Everything he sees makes him uneasy. Most of the men and women carry guns and there are suits of metal taller than the blue people marching around. The guns the suits carry are as long as Harry is tall! They look like they’re ready to go to war. Many of the soldiers laugh and joke about killing some blue monkeys like there keeping a tally and some make bets on who will shoot one first.
Harry leaves the grey city with his ears pinned back and his tail swishing with irritation. Leave the end of an old war and enter a new world at the beginning of one.
Three weeks later
Outside his tent as still as a stone statue Harry sits cross-legged in the grass. With sweat beading on his forehead and his transformed wand clutched in his hand Harry concentrates on this important spell. After a week of blotched spells and what felt like endless reading Harry is finally actively trying to get home. This spell could be it. He can feel a small opening form in this dimension, the hole as small as a pinprick. His magic slowly slithers inside the multiverse and he can feel it, the trail home bright and lit up like the yellow brick road for Dorothy. Carefully Harry tries to widen the hole but it’s difficult like trying to keep sand from filling a pit. Harry can feel himself start to weaken and the magic widening the hole in this dimension closes similar to blood clotting a wound. With a weak curse Harry sits and pants for breath like he had run a marathon.
All around him Harry can feel the curiosity of the strange magic of the planet. In front of him white jellyfish-like seeds flutter about. One drifts close to his nose then lands on his head. He can feel strong magic inside them. Shaking off the many flutter seeds on his person Harry gets off the ground and goes back inside to his books. “What am I doing wrong?”
In another book called ‘Adaptive spells and creative curses’ Harry finds a spell to change or neutralize a transfiguration. His ears prick up at the hope of changing himself back to normal. If he was human again he could go to the base and be with his own kind at least. Maybe even go to the Earth in this dimension. He tries the temporary spell on his hand and watches it shrink and pale for a moment before returning to its blue color and larger size. At least one spell he found so far works.
Harry tries three different versions of the dimension opening spell and each one fails each attempt feels comparable to digging in fine sand with a baby spoon. Each one drains his magic and teases him cruelly with the path that would lead him home. With each new failure Harry can feel it weighing him down.
Throwing another book into the growing pile of useless material Harry sighs explosively. “What am I doing wrong?”
There’s no Hermione to tell him the answer.
Pulling at the thick mess of black hair at the top of his head Harry sweeps all the books violently off the desk and left the tent with a snarl. With his ever present satchel on his shoulder Harry goes out to forage for food. Maybe an answer for his spell trouble will come to him in time?
By watching the blue people with two bodies and the ones that live in a large village deep in the forest Harry learned which foods and animals were good or bad to eat. He needed to be careful whenever he came across a Na`vi, even with his cloak and a spell to muffle sound they seemed to sense his presence.
Scaling a tall tree Harry went to the branches with plump purple fruit hanging off it. The small thick skinned fruit tastes a lot like strawberries dipped in sugar and have become one of Harry’s favorites.
After picking one branch clean Harry was going to the next when he hears a sound. It’s faint and for a second Harry thinks he imagined it. The sound comes again louder and with the snapping of twigs following it. Stilling under the safety of his cloak Harry waits for whatever it is to leave or show itself.
A battered Tsu`tey enters the clearing clutching a bloody knife in one hand and his side with the other. He makes a breathy grunt noise every time he puts weight on his bleeding right leg. Tsu`tey stumbles and falls to the ground and snarls with frustration as he clutches at his weakened limb. He lays there on the ground clutching his leg with his ears pinned back and teeth bared. He looks like an injured lion, more furious then scared.
Harry hesitates about showing himself but only for a moment. It wasn’t in his nature to just leave someone hurt and alone. Gracefully Harry jumps down and lands on the soft moss with barely a sound. Tense and ready for any number of reactions Harry pulls off the cloak and deactivates the muffling spells. It’s only reflexes born of life and death situations that save him from the quick throw of a hunting knife.
“Demon!” Tsu`tey hisses as he painfully gets into a crouch, blood slides quickly down his leg as the flesh stretches and pulls the wound. In his hand held out in front of him a bone knife half the size of the one he threw.
Harry holds his hands up in peace. “I’m not a demon. I just want to help you.”
Tsu`tey’s ears pull back and he forces himself to his feet with a pained snarl. “You wear sky people clothing, talk like them! Go away before I kill you and leave your demon corpse for the nantang!”
“You mean the blue people at the city like the teacher Grace? The ones with two bodies? I’m not like them.” Harry touched his own chest then holds out his hand. “This is me for right now.” Harry took a step forward.
“Don’t believe you! Lies! Sky people tricks!” Tsu`tey lunged at Harry viper fast with his blade going for Harry’s neck. Harry ducks down and Tsu`tey’s body lands on his for a moment before Harry flips the injured Na`vi over his shoulder. Tsu`tey lands with a soft grunt and lays on the ground for a moment stunned before he stubbornly tries to get up again. With a wave of his hand Harry stuns the injured Na`vi into unconsciousness.
“You’re troublesome aren’t you?”
Gently Harry placed the Na`vi male on his bed and with a wave of his hand cleared away the blood to see three deep cuts that ran across the meat of Tsu`tey’s thigh. It looks painful and Harry could already see the redness of a kindling infection. Grabbing his wand Harry preformed the general healing spell to slow the flow of blood and another to heal the shallow cuts all over his body and wrapped the deep wound. Digging in his trunk Harry spreads out a collection of useful book in healing. He wants the native healed and gone quickly so he doesn’t attract trouble. Anything that distracts his from his goal to return home needs to be dealt with quickly.
It is well within night when his visitor starts to stir and make noise. He moans and shifts and draws Harry’s attention. Sweat cakes Tsu`tey’s hair, he’s pale, and shivers as he shifts restlessly. Harry places a gentle hand on the Na`vi’s forehead and hisses in sympathy at the feel of intense heat. Harry rushes to his book pile and digs around for anything useful and finds a field medical guild and basic instructions for brewing useful healing potions. Not wanting to waste time Harry calls the caldron, stirrer, and ingredients from the trunk with a wave of his wand. With the same natural ease Harry spells water into the caldron and lights a slow burning fire.
Harry spends that night going back and forth from the fever reducer potion to Tsu`tey’s side. He brushes the Na`vi’s forehead with a cool cloth and wipes away the sticky sweat off his limbs, chest, and neck. Harry checks the claw mark and frowns at the redness that is slowly spreading. Harry prepares another pot of water to boil and starts cutting ingredients for an infection and pain killer ointment.
While applying the ointment that stun as it killed the infection Tsu`tey startles awake and calls out for someone called Ateyo Mahsempo or something like that. He clutches at Harry’s arm and looks around him for a person that is not here. He is dazed and confused and tries to get out of bed. Harry holds him down and Tsu`tey continues to call for Ateyo Mahsempo. It is only when Tsu`tey looks Harry in the eyes and speaks English does he understand who Tsu`tey is calling for. “What did you do with him, demon? Where is my father Ateyo?” Tsu`tey struggles as Harry gently pushes his weakened form back into bed.
“I didn’t do anything with him, Tsu`tey. I’m just trying to help you.”
Tsu`tey shook his head like an angry child. “No! You took him!”
Harry wipes sweat out of Tsu`tey’s eyes and made calming little noises as the sick Na`vi’s struggles lessen. “Shh. Everything’s ok. Just go back to sleep.”
Dazed golden eyes lock with Harry’s green. “Must get to Home tree.”
Harry nods. “You will. Your safe here, rest.” Tsu`tey stills and falls back to sleep and Harry finishes applying the ointment. After an hour of brewing the fever potion is ready and so with careful handling Harry supports Tsu`tey’s head and gently coaxes him to drink. The Na`vi grimaces at the taste and tries to pull away. “No, no, none of that. Take your medicine like at good boy.”
A frown graces Tsu`tey’s face and his eyes partly open. “Masotnum?” Harry met his eyes and it was clear that whatever the Na`vi is seeing isn’t Harry. Tsu`tey said more words in his native tongue but all too fast for Harry to try to understand, it just sounds like one long word. “Ghay Masotnum . . .” Tsu`tey shook his head and pinches his lips together. Each time Harry tries to force Tsu`tey to drink he would turn his head away and say ‘Ghay Masotnum Ghay’ and look at Harry with a begging look like a sick child would their mother. Harry was at least sure ghay meant no.
“Please, Tsu`tey.” Harry holds the small cup before Tsu`tey’s lips and makes more coaxing sounds. “Just a little bit, please.” Harry brushes his hand over Tsu`tey’s hair knowing how good it felt and how comforting it is to touch the braid. “Swallow just a little bit more and I’ll let you rest.”
“Masotnum.” Tsu`tey gives Harry a helpless look then opens his mouth and drinks the rest of the potion.
“Good boy. Sleep now, Tsu`tey, sleep.” Harry continued to brush his fingers over the thick braid of Tsu`tey’s till the Na`vi was deep in sleep.
Tsu`tey awoke to the sound of humming and a bitter smell that fills his nose. Confusion colors his thoughts as he tries to regain his bearings. He is in a dwelling of some kind and lying in a bed of brightly colored sky people fabric. His leg is tightly wrapped in white bandages and the bitter smell in the air is coming from the yellow paste under the wrappings. He touches some of the paste leaking out of the sides of the wrapping and his fingers tingle and go numb. That explains why he feels no pain.
With care and stealth Tsu`tey leavers his body out of the demon’s bed and goes in search of the creature. His leg is weak and will hardly support his weight so he is forced to hop and limp along like an old man. Tsu`tey grits his teeth in self anger so furious with himself for getting injured on a simple hunt. How could he be such a skxawng and not hear the palulukan hunting the same buck. He didn’t pay attention to the warnings Eywa gives like he should! It was too silent on his hunt and even the slow witted buck sensed the black cat of death before he had let loose his arrow and ended its life. “Too full of pride, Tsu`tey.” He growls softly to himself. Too eager to get such a bountiful prize home to the people he had fail to sense another behind him till it was almost too late. If he walked with a limp for the rest of his days it would be well deserved. ‘Fool.’ He thought bitterly.
He follows the humming to the strange dreamwalker that had claimed not to be a demon from what he remembers before he was struck down. That irritates him as well. How could a demon strike him down? Even injured Tsu`tey is a formidable warrior. This sky person took him down with little effort and graceful speed, fought like a warrior. Never have the sky people brought warrior demons before the people. The dreamwalker sat upon the ground surrounded by worn books and hums off tune as he flips though the many pages. “You’re awake.”
The soft relieved voice startles Tsu`tey as it pierces the air. “Yes.”
The boy doesn’t look up from his reading and flipping as he speaks. “I was worried for a while. Your wound became infected and you had a fever. I brewed a potion for the infection and to numb the pain and gave you fever reducer. Was worried about the effects the potions might have on you so I only gave you very small doses.” The boy finally looks up at Tsu`tey and eyes like spring leaves meets his golden. He’s mesmerized by the strangeness of those eyes. “I’m looking up spells to heal the deeper wounds. I’m not much of a healer and those claw marks look pretty nasty like you went three rounds with a dragon.”
“Palulukan.” Tsu`tey is not sure how to act to this friendly and helpful not-demon. “You’re not of the people and say you’re not of the demons then what are you?”
The not-demon boy smiles sadly. “Someone that shouldn’t be here.” The boy stood and reaches for Tsu`tey only for Tsu`tey to stagger backwards out of reach. “Even during your fever you were difficult to interact with. Hey, what does masotnum mean?”
Tsu`tey narrows his eyes. “Why?”
The boy shrugs. “You kept calling me that last night.”
Tsu`tey’s cheeks flush with color and he scowls. “It means nothing!” Tsu`tey can’t believe he survived an illness that made him think this boy was his mother. He looks the not-demon over and estimates the boy is a little younger than him by three or more seasons. “Where am I not-demon?”
“My temporary house. I’m staying here until I can figure out a way home.” The boy holds out a fruit to Tsu`tey and just smiles when he takes it roughly and starts eating it without a whisper of thank you.
“Return to the sky people world?”
The boy shook his head. “To my world.”
Tsu`tey stands as tall and straight as he could and looks the strange boy move. He looks like the people but the striping along his blue skin is wider and darker and his eyes are the color of newborn leaves. He is not Na`vi but it is clear that he’s not shy people. So he is a different kind of invader, one the people must be told about. “You will come with me and speak to my clan leader Eytukan.” It will be Tsu`tey’s job soon to care for and protect his people and anything unknown living in their forest is a threat. He must protect his people and must know more about this creature.
“Sure, maybe after I heal you we can talk.” The boy grabs Tsu`tey’s arm and pushes and cajoles him back to the bed of sky people fabric and makes him lay down. It’s a testament to how weak he is that he lets the not-demon force him to bed. The boy waves a hand over Tsu`tey and he feels so drowsy he can’t keep his eyes open.
Harry looks Tsu`tey’s sleeping form over then glances at the spell Clay of flesh he found to heal the Na`vi’s wound. It would leave little to no scarring and the only lasting effect might be touch sensitivity with skin to skin contact. The spell would essentially make an artificial ticklish spot. Waving his wand counter clockwise Harry mentally cast the spell and watches the deep red wounds slowly seal together into perfect smooth skin. Harry brushes his fingers over the thigh ware the slashes were and smiles when the strong muscle underneath jumps and Tsu`tey’s breath hitches. “All better now.” Harry says with just a little bit of regret and a lot of relief.
Tsu`tey awoke with a start and blinks up at the clear blue sky. Was the not-demon and his home just a dream? How did he get here? Tsu`tey sat up carefully and scowls at his surroundings. Home tree. He is at Home tree. He stares at the massive tree that touches the skies of Eywa and could hold a whole village of Na`vi as if it had the answers to all his questions. Standing Tsu`tey tests his leg and is pleased and a little shocked that he feels no pain or tightness. It is as if he was never injured. No one not even the great Tsahik Moat could heal so well. “Was it a dream?” Tsu`tey brushes his fingers over the sensitive skin of his leg then brings the fingers to his nose and sniffs them. The bitter scent of the healing paste can be detected faintly. Tsu`tey looks around him and up into the trees and sees no not-demon watching but he is sure he must be around somewhere. “I will see you again not-demon and when I find you you’ll tell me why you are here and what you are!”
The idea that he should thank the not-demon for healing him and bringing him home didn’t even cross his mind. At least not till much later in the day.
Harry watches Tsu`tey from a safe distance as he is greeted happily by his people. A small part of him did want to meet the blue people who live in the massive tree the height of a skyscraper and the width of a small city but the big part that just wants to go home didn’t want to get involved with any side of a warring fraction. Getting involved in a budding conflict could seriously hamper his effort in returning to his life.
Harry went back to his research sure he would never see Tsu`tey again since the Na`vi wouldn’t be able to find him.
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