A Discworld crossover. Eleven-year-old Harry ends up in Ankh-Morpork thanks to the Philosopher's Stone. One-shot.
Bear with me: I'll try to make it believable, but keep in mind this is the Discworld. Reality there is wobbly. The same goes for my plot. Also, I'm not funny. It's probably genetic.
A little Assistance, please?
Samuel Vimes was brushing his teeth with the latest imp-powered toothbrush. Sybil had been bothering him about that lately. She always bought him the most advanced inventions, and looked awfully hurt if he said he didn't want to use them. It had been the same with the Gooseberry Disorganiser: now the imp took care of some of the Watch's paperwork, which was an unexpected relief. (For man and imp, since Vimes was known for'loosing' his Disorganiser in very ingenious ways.)
Vimes didn't see why he needed an automatic toothbrush. In his youth in Cockbill street (where being clean was considered more important than being well-fed) he'd just used a small bar of old soap and a rag. Not the easiest way to get your teeth clean, he'd admit that, but it had always worked for them.
Since there was nothing even remotely sharp about the thing, he couldn't even use the excuse he had against the imp-powered razor.
Sybil had decided this was the best way to keep healthy teeth, and quietly insisted. She was good at that.
So he was stuck with the blasted thing.
While he was rinsing his mouth, he thought he heard a very soft sound in the bedroom. It couldn't be Sybil, she had taken Young Sam to a visit with one of her old schoolfriends, in Quirm.
Vimes had a hunch it wasn't Willikins either.
He silently took the small crossbow that he always kept in reach. While the Assassins' Guild had reputedly decided not to take any assignments on him anymore, there was always a possibility they changed their mind. That was why Vimes kept the traps around his house very well oiled, but somehow, someone had managed to get past them...
He threw open the door to his bedroom, deciding he would be expected anyway so sneaking had no point. Immediately after doing this he ducked to the sides, though, just in case.
After an extended silence, Vimes started to wonder why the bastard didn't move. He knew there was someone there, he hadn't survived as a Watchman by being unsure.
He'd have to look.
And expose his head? No, now the door was open, he just had to crane his neck a bit and he had a nice view of the bedroom in the mirror.
Nothing. His bedroom was empty.
Vimes moved his head this way and that, peering into the corners for anything that seemed out of the ordinary.
Fine. He took a deep breath, and stood up, keeping his crossbow close to his body.
The bedroom remained empty.
Vimes walked slowly to the clothes his butler Willikins had put on the bed, but before he could change the pair of shorts he was wearing now for the trousers, he heard a soft cough. It sounded embarrassed.
He turned around lightening quick, and had his crossbow pointed at the figure before he consciously thought about it.
There was a boy in his room. The first thing Vimes noticed was the Assassins' black he wore. Yet he couldn't be more than fifteen, still without a trace of stubble. The hair was messy and pitch black, and the eyes were a disconcerting, unnatural green.
The boy didn't seem armed, or scared for that matter. He smiled at Vimes, completely ignoring the crossbow.
“Hello sir,” he said, in the cultured tones of the educated (which doesn't mean the same. Alas, one can be very educated and yet still eat with their hands, for instance). “My name is Harry, Harry Potter. I wanted to ask your assistance with something.” He smiled again. “I'm not here on assignment, I'm happy to say. Weapons won't be necessary”
The crossbow didn't even waver.
“Sure,” Vimes answered. “My assistance. Which is why, of course, you broke into my bedroom instead of going to the Watch. I'm such a difficult man to reach.”
The Assassin had the nerve to laugh at that!
“It isn't like that, sir. But the Watch is a very public place, and for the time being I would like this matter to be kept quiet, sir.”
“What matter is it?” Vimes asked suspiciously.
“Something has been stolen from me, sir. Something very precious. I only retained a fragment of it, which perhaps could be of some help in finding the rest. I cannot track it myself, but I know the Watch has other ways to find things.” The Assassin opened a hand which had been empty a second before. In it was something red and glittery. A shiny stone splinter? All this trouble for a bloody stone?
“You're looking for a red, glittery stone?”
“Just a stone?”
Despite himself, Vimes felt a bit intrigued. What was so important about this stone then?
“Have you checked the Thieves'Guild? They can be remarkably helpful if you ask them right.”
The Assassin shook his head. “I'm fairly sure it wasn't Thieves' Guild, sir. They wouldn't dare break into our student quarters. Besides, asking them would draw to much unwanted attention. As you said yourself, it's just a stone.”
“But you want it back.”
The Assassin actually /fidgeted/.“It means a lot to me, sir. It's a special kind of stone. Ihoped you had someone who could, ah, /follow the scent/, sir. If she would be amenable?”
He knew about the werewolf in the Watch. Many people did, these days, but most would point towards Nobby when saying it. This boy knew it was Angua. How much else did he know?
This was why he hated those bastards!Assassins were too bloody unpredictable! At least, this one was.
Vimes turned the case over in his head. The boy looked too young to be wearing the Assassins' black already. Unless he was older than he seemed, and even then...
The boy seemed to take his silence as agreement. “I will come by the Watch house in Pseudopolis Yard this evening, sir, if that is okay? This shouldn't be a difficult case, but time is of the essence. I'll need the entire stone back before Octeday.”
Vimes couldn't help the next question.“That's two days from now. Why?”
The Assassin swallowed thickly, another sign of his nervousness. “You've heard about the ghastly creatures of the Dungeon Dimensions?”
“It's something like that.”
Vimes nearly groaned, and came to adecision. He lowered his crossbow.
Wizards! Now the whole thing about the stone made (more) sense! If wizards were involved, everything could(would!) go wrong.
He had half a mind to decline the case and let the Assassin deal with his wizard business himself, but in the seconds his attention had been on the crossbow, the boy had disappeared again. The door to the hallway was slightly ajar.
Vimes shook his head in disgust and opened the door completely. He spotted Willikins a bit further in the hall.
“Did you see a young boy running away from here, Willikins?”
The butler frowned for a moment, then shook his head. “I'm sorry sir, I did not see anyone. Is something wrong, sir?”
“Probably,” Vimes muttered. Then he sighed, and went back inside to dress.
Harry woke up, feeling as if someone had turned him inside out, looked at his innards, and then turned him right again, while forgetting a few tiny but important pieces.
He did the only thing he could think of. Groaning was out of the question: the Dursleys had taught him that. So he just opened his eyes.
Several faces peered down at him. Beards, pointed hats, wizards? Was he still at Hogwarts then?
He remembered something about Quirrel crumbling to pieces, and Voldemort's spirit... The last thing he remembered was passing out with the Philosopher's Stone in his hand.
His hand was numb. He turned his head, and saw he was still holding the Stone tightly.
Only then he became aware of the conversation around him.
“Well, it seems clear to /me/that he isn't from the Dungeon Dimension.”
“How do you know? How do you, eh?You don't know! Just admit it, you don't -”
“Shut up, Dean. The lack of tentacles and fangs should be enough of a clue -”
“Just because it looks human doesn't mean it /is/. There are a lot of those in the city these days, you walk right up to them and suddenly they're all hairy and -”
“Blueberry! Blueberry!BLUEBERRY!” The thin wizard shouting this was also jumping up and down excitably.
“It's time for his dried frog pills. BURSAR! TIME TO TAKE YOUR PILLS!”
The thin wizard sniffed sadly.“Blueberry?”
“No. Dried – frog – pills.”
“Excuse me, sirs, but he has woken up.” It was a beardless, bespectacled wizard who said this. He looked like the most sane of the bunch. This was saying something.
Harry looked around for his wand, but didn't see it anywhere. He sat up and looked around. “Er... This isn't Hogwarts, is it?”
A large (but compared to most of the others, not fat) wizard moved towards him, eying him carefully.“What's Hogwarts?”
“I've never heard of any Hog-warts. He must be a bit weird in his mind, everyone knows it's Hogswatch where you get the presents -”
“Shut up, Runes.”
“Why, you don't have to be /rude/about it -”
Harry nearly groaned again. “But you are wizards?”
“Of course, young man! What else would we be?”
“Then where am I?”
The youngest of the wizards seemed to light up. “Ah, do you still know your name? Because in theory you shouldn't be able to remember both after such a long journey through -”
“You're in Unseen University, lad. Ankh-Morpork.”
Harry blinked. “Ankh-Morpork?Never heard of it.” He had to be a far way from home, then. Even the wizards here were different: they had long staffs instead of wands, and most of them looked like small mountains with a head. The food here must be exceptionally good. Better than Hogwarts?
Harry couldn't help a small hysterical giggle to escape. “So... Am I in America or something?”
He received several impatient looks.“No, you're in Ankh-Morpork. You know? Biggest city on the Discworld?” Their apparent leader replied slowly.
Harry blinked again. “Discworld?Er... Not Earth?”
“Oh dear,” it was the youngest wizard who muttered this. “Now I understand.”
He took out some weird device and waved it towards Harry. It beeped loudly when it was right above Harry clenched hand, with the Stone.
“That object in your hand is aDimensional Displacer, and it has reacted with the reality fluctuations when your world was in tune with ours, I gather.”
He took out yet another device. “Yes, the energy levels of your Dimensional Displacer are completely depleted. The thaum level shows signs of abruptly lowering. I'll ask Hex to calculate approximately when the levels are high enough to return you.”
The leader frowned his bushy eyebrows.“What does this mean, Stibbons?” he barked.
“Well, sir, it means he's not from our world –“
“Dungeon Dimensions! Dungeon Dimensions!” a horse-faced wizard screeched.
“- but from a place called Earth, apparently. That stone in his hand has brought it here, and with the right spells it can bring him back, without any problem.”
“There always is a problem.”
“Er, I admit it may take years before that stone is 'reloaded' enough, so to say, ah.”
Harry opened his hand. The stone seemed to have survived the journey well, but a few corners were chipped of.“Does it matter if it's broken?”
“It shouldn't, it'll probably just take longer to gather enough thaums again.”
“We can't speed up that process?” the leader asked.
“No sir, I'm afraid not.”
“Not even if we all blast that stone?”
“Er, no, sir. Then it would probably explode, and the smaller the parts are, the longer they take to gather enough energy.”
Harry took a deep breath. “So... How long will it take?”
Yes, six years. And while the wizards were hospitable enough, Harry quickly realized he would go barking mad if he had to spend six years with these people.
He stayed at UU until his birthday (or what he thought was his birthday, the months were different here). In that time he had the opportunity to learn a bit about the world he was on, and Ankh-Morpork in particular.
He discovered he could use a little bit of magic without his wand, but the magic was so different from the one the wizards used here that enrolling at UU was pointless. Also, he had found his Invisibility Cloak stuffed in his robe. Somehow it had traveled with him, while his wand hadn't. Harry liked to think it was his father who'd made it so, to protect him.
The Librarian – an ape, who sometimes reminded Harry of Hermione when it came to books – was very helpful. More helpful than the rest of the staff, anyway. He urged Harry to go and find an education (at least, Harry suspected that's what he meant with 'Ook!') in the amazing and wondrous twin city of Ankh and Morpork.
Having read that the best local school was the one of the Assassins' Guild, and that they took a certain amount of scholarship boys every year, Harry decided to try that one first. He didn't have any money: he didn't dare to use the stone to make any, and the small stone splinters could only turn the lead into a very inferior kind of gold. In a city filled with Dwarves, inferior gold was a big issue.
Harry reasoned that if he didn't get the scholarship in the Assassins' Guild, then he could try out for Thieves', perhaps. He was quick and silent (thanks to the Dursleys). Maybe he could even learn a trade, like leather worker or something... There had to be something he could do to pass his time.
After arriving at the Assassins' Guild, Harry realized he wouldn't get a second chance if he failed scholarship test. This weren't people who suffered from the second-chance syndrome. It was all, or nothing.
Harry realized this when the two boys who applied before him, didn't leave the testing chamber they had just entered.
He swallowed. No backing off now.
The treatment of the Dursleys, and then that business with Voldemort, and his quick Quidditch reflexes, saved his life.
A few days later Harry was a resident of Cobra House, headed by Mr. Mericet.
He was apparently gifted: the only thing he failed horribly at, was spelling.
END FLASH BACK
It was nearing dusk, and street theater that was everyday life in Ankh-Morpork had toned down. A large reason for this wasn't the setting of the sun (which made some people's business even easier) but the pouring rain.
Vimes stared at the drops that slid down the window.
Then he turned around, and looked at the men on duty.
The Watch House never slept: though occasionally it dozed. Even criminals didn't like to get wet, so right now there were only a few officers on duty. Most of them were patrolling the streets (ergo, having a quiet smoke out of the rain somewhere).
Cheery was in the basement trying to find which of the many cluttered items of old Twomper's kitchen had finally killed him. She was convinced it was poison (the weird purple of his pupils had been a Clue) but she couldn't find where exactly the poison was hidden. So the lads had just scooped up everything and put it in her lab.
Vimes had asked Angua to stay. She'd warned him that sniffing out anything in this rain wouldn't be easy, but had agreed to try. Carrot had been spending much time at the Bread Museum lately. He was there now, helping the owner catalog anewly arrived batch of Battle Croissants. Another woman might have been jealous, or at least suspicious, but other women didn't have Angua's sense of smell.
Downstairs were Igor and Sally, the former having asked the latter to “athitht me in thome minor exthperiment, mith?” (He didn't always lisp, but near the resident vampire he took 'thpethial care' to. It was tradition, after all.) Vimes tried not to think about what they were up to now. The last of Igor's little 'exthperimenth' had escaped and now lived somewhere in the walls. On silent nights you could hear little feet tap dancing.
Th sun had set completely. Vimes was already getting impatient. Why had that blasted Assassin needed to intrude in his bedroom, only to make an appointment he wasn't going to keep – no, the house was empty, Sybil and Young Sam were in Quirm, he didn't have to worry...
The door clicked open, letting in agood bucket load of rain. A constable walked over to close it again, probably blaming the wind.
Vimes kept his eyes carefully on the trail of raindrops that led from the doorway to a place only a little bit away from him. He didn't need Angua's warning whisper: “Sir, there's someone here but I can't see him!”
Vimes just raised an eyebrow, and nodded curtly to the empty spot in front of him. “Let's go downstairs, Angua. Perhaps Igor may need a hand.” He grimaced when he realized what he'd said, but bravely turned his back to the dripping invisible figure and walked towards to door that led to the cells.
Immediately when the door closed behind him and Angua, he turned around with his sword in his hands. “Now, reveal yourself.”
The boy appeared. He peeled off some kind of shimmering cloak thingy, which he stuffed in his impeccable black coat. Then he had the nerve to smile at them!
“Sorry if I'm late(1), sir.” He did a well-executed(1) bow for Angua. “Nice to meet you, Sergeant. I am Harry Potter. Seeing as you're here, does that mean you're willing to help me?”
(1) No pun intended. Really.)
Angua glanced at Vimes, and asked the Assassin: “What makes you think I can help you?”
Harry Potter shrugged. “There are rumors of a werewolf in the Watch.”
“Most people would think about Nobby Nobbs, then.” Angua sounded non-commitically, but Vimes suspected she was worried she'd given it away. (Was it obvious? Did she have a placard pasted onto her back which said 'werewolf' in huge letters?)
The Assassin smiled again, though a bit puzzled. “I don't know what Corporal Nobbs is, but he's one of a kind, I hope. I'm usually good at guessing these things. Sorry if Ioffended you.” He looked her squarely in the eyes. Vimes saw that even Angua was unnerved slightly by the vibrant green colour, and Angua was someone who could rip out a man's jugular without flinching. (Not that she did so. She merely looked as if she could, which worked sometimes even better.)
Vimes sighed. Might as well get started, then. “Do you have your stone splinter? We'll take it down to Cheery, I want to know what we're looking for.”
The Assassin grimaced. “But that isn't necessary, sir. I assure you the smell should be quite distinctive.”
“It is, sir,” Angua agreed empathicly.
Vimes wouldn't hear any of it. “We're going down to Cheery.”
“Even if this case involves wizards?” Potter asked hopefully.
Vimes pressed his lips into a thin line. “/Especially /if it involves wizards.”
When they entered Cheery's lab, they found the (openly female) dwarf cursing above an alchemical device. Like all the others that were cluttered around the room, it looked like something only a drunken glassblower could create.
She looked up from her work when she heard them come in, looking harassed. “Sir, I'm not ready yet, I still have to test about fifty things and I'm not even sure what kind of poison I'm looking for, it can take a while -”
“We're not here for that. I need you to test a stone splinter.”
“Test it for what, sir?”
Vimes didn't know. He knew there had to be something – the Assassin acted way too suspicious – but he had no idea what his feeling was trying to tell him.“Anything.”
He heard the Assassin sigh. “Very well, sir, if you insist. Sergeant Littlebottom, do you have any spare lead?”
While Cheery looked around for a piece of lead, Harry Potter took out the stone splinter. He handed it to Cheery with some ceremony, and said: “Touch it to the lead for a moment.”
She did so.
The lead turned gold. This wasn't ametaphor; Vimes saw Cheery's eyes lit up and she got that manic look in her eyes. While she was a bit more reserved in her love of gold(compared to other dwarfs) she was an alchemist, though, and this had to be – Vimes groaned. It was, wasn't it?
“So, the Philosopher's Stone, is it? Turns lead into gold, does it? Could have mentioned /that/, couldn't you?” he said to the Assassin, an unpleasant glint in his own eyes.
Cheery beamed however. “Very inferior gold, yes, but gold nevertheless! Sir, if this is just asplinter, imagine what the whole Stone could do!”
“Oh, I'm imagining,” Vimes answered darkly.
He turned to the Assassin. “So you've lost your little goldmine, eh?”
“I don't want it for the gold, sir. Or the Elixir of Life,” Harry Potter admitted quietly.
“Then why do you want it?” asked Vimes, not believing a word he said. Who wouldn't want a stone that could make you rich and immortal? Well, he didn't, but that was beside the point – the average Ankh-Morpork citizen would be clubbing someone's head in already just to get their hands on something like that...
The Assassin took a deep breath. “I need it to get home, sir. I'm not from around here, and while the last six years have been educating, I really do need to go back. The Philosopher's Stone is the key. Without it, the wizards can't even/try/ to send me home.”
He took a deep breath. “I can repay you with a favour, if you want? I majored in poisons, so perhaps I could help with your current problem?”
Cheery hesitated “I don't have enough equipment, otherwise Igor would have been happy to help with running the tests -”
“Please.” She too got an honest look from those green eyes. A much too honest look, considering it came from an Assassin. Even if he was just a boy.
Cheery glanced at Vimes, who reluctantly nodded. He would keep a close eye on this Harry Potter, of course. This could be a ploy to mess with the evidence, though why that was necessary he didn't know, it was enough of a mess as it is .
Harry Potter gestured to the bench with various cups, plates and bottles, all taken from the kitchen where Twomper met his end. “Those are the only ones you still have to test, right?”
“What were the victim's symptoms?”
“Er... dying? Purple, dilated pupils, white foam in his nostrils, and according to Igor all his insides had melted.”
Harry Potter nodded at this. “Then it shouldn't be too difficult.” He took out some kind of tube, where an imp with a candle and several colours of paper sat. “The dark red light, please.”
The tube suddenly emitted a soft, red glow. The Assassin walked over towards the jars on the bench which contained powders, and watched them in the light.
All looked normal, except for one, awhite powder that suddenly reflected green in the red light. Harry Potter smiled and turned off the imp. “It's in the – sugar,” he said, reading the label on the jar. “Crystallized juice of the Uuhm flower, I'd say. Not an everyday poison. It needs to be fresh, so you can probably find a lead if you search which florist around here sells those flowers.”
Angua cleared her throat. “Sir, Mrs. Twomper works in a flower shop.”
Vimes nodded. This was too easy.
They had to get a poisons specialist, sooner or later. Or let Cheery take those evening classes she had been going on about. How expensive could it be?
“We'll look her up in the morning. In the meanwhile... Angua?” He motioned to the red splinter. “If you would, please?”
It was ridiculously easy to find the Stone, even in this weather. The smell of it didn't fade away, but hung in the air like a glowing, curly pink ribbon.
Angua shifted back to her more commonly accepted form in an alley, hurriedly dressed, and then walked towards the unpleasant mix of suspicious sausages and the smell she'd been tracking.
She avidly hoped Dibbler hadn't discovered what the stone really was, or she'd have one hell of atime getting him to part with it.
She shook her head. “No, thank you.” She wasn't going to eat anything that smelled like that. You had to be really desperate to buy any of his sausages – after consumption of which you'd be even more desperate to lose them again.
She decided to be honest with him. Being straightforward usually shocked people with such a corkscrew mind.
“Dibbler, I've heard you have ared stone.”
Dibbler's eyes glinted. “Do yeh want to buy it?”
“It's been reported stolen.”
Dibbler deflated, but only for amoment. “Sorry miss, no red stones here.”
“I'd like to buy it,” avoice rang out. Angua turned around, annoyed she hadn't smelled anyone following her. In this rain, everything was mulled, except the magical trace of the stone and, of course, Dibbler's sausages.
Harry Potter stepped out of the gloom, smartly dressed in his black outfit. He smiled at Dibbler. “How much do you ask for it?”
Dibbler's lips moved while he thought. On one hand, it wasn't wise to cheat Assassins. On the other hand, adollar was a dollar, and there seemed to be a lot of interest in this stone suddenly. He hadn't expected this when he found it glittering in the gutter.
“Ten dollars, and that'd be cuttin' me own throat, mind yeh.”
“Yes,” the Assassin agreed, calmly. “It would be.”
Angua's hand had traveled to her sword without any intervention from her brains. She recognized a threat when she heard one.
Yet Harry Potter just reached into his money pouch and counted out ten A-M dollars. Dibbler's eyes bulged from greed.
Harry waited before he dropped the money in Dibbler's waiting hand. “First I want to see it, to be sure you have it with you. And for this kind of money, I want to know how you got it, too.”
Dibbler took out a grubby stone. It was caked with dirt, but Angua could clearly smell it was the one they were looking for.
Dibbler buffed it up a bit with his sleeve, before presenting it to his customer. It suddenly occurred to him that he could have asked for more. “Finest red stone in the neighbourhood, sah, and I just found it lying in the gutter. 's ashame, it is.”
Harry handed over the money, and took the stone. Dibbler stared mournful at it for a few moments. (He could have asked so much more...!)
“Thank you,” Harry said to him.
He and Angua started the walk back to Pseudopolis Yard.
“Now you still don't know who stole it in the first place,” Angua muttered.
Harry shrugged. “It doesn't matter. I'm leaving anyway.”
“Mad Perry has been released recently,” Angua said. “He used to train small animals to steal little things from houses. It might be worth to visit him again.”
She saw the pain filled way he smiled, and thought: he's really young. But there's something harder beneath that boyish face, and it doesn't have anything to do with the training he had.
“So... Looking forward to going home, wherever that may be?” She usually wasn't one for idle conversation, but this boy was a special circumstance. She couldn't define the look in his eyes, but it was one that no seventeen year old should have.
Angua suddenly felt sorry for the bastard that hatred was aimed at.
They stopped in front of the Watch House. She saw him hesitate.
“I'd better go, the sooner Ileave the less risky it becomes.” He struggled with his words.“Thank everyone for me, will you? Er... Here, this is for Sergeant Littlebottom, if she wants it. I won't need it.” He handed her the stone splinter. Then he looked straight at her face.
They really weren't a natural shade of green, those eyes. Too bright. Wasn't there a goddess, somewhere on Cori Celesti, with eyes the same colour?
“Thank you. I'm really grateful for your help. I didn't know what to do if you or Commander Vimes refused, and-” He took a deep breath. “Thank you for everything. Goodbye.”
A shimmer of silvery cloth, and he was gone.
Angua stared bemusedly at the splinter in her hand. While it was a nice gesture, it might help the Alchemists to recreate the Philosopher's Stone. That could end up causing a lot of good, or a lot of bad, depending on human nature.(or dwarf nature, or troll nature, or undead – you get the picture)
She'd give it to Mister Vimes.
She knew he'd throw it away.