Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Masked Child


by ShadeDancer 2 reviews

Chapters 5 and 6

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Crossover - Characters: Harry - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2006-06-15 - Updated: 2006-06-15 - 4418 words

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, Man in the Iron Mask, LotR, or anything you might recognize from any of them in here.

Harry had seen many beautiful and awe-inspiring things during these last days of travel from Gondor to Rivendell, but none of it had been comparable to the heart of Imladris. Held safely in the saddle before Aragorn, the man's arms comfortingly tight about him, Harry tried to take in everything at once. Next to them, Arwen sat easily upon her horse, pointing things out to him and telling him bits of stories about her home. From time to time, Aragorn with chime in with bits and pieces, but mostly he remained content to ride silently and listen as Harry and Arwen talked. It warmed him to have a child trust him so completely, to have a child to watch over. Aragorn was starting to despair of ever having children of his own, and Arwen's slowly increasing frailness was placing that dream even farther out of both their reach.

"Welcome Harry," Arwen was saying, "to the Last Homely House."

"Yes indeed," a voice spoke from the edge of the main courtyard they had just entered into, "Welcome to Rivendell."

"/Adar/," Arwen was more than a little pleased to see her father and slid from her saddle to embrace him.

"Arwen," Elrond returned the hug before turning to clasp Aragorn's hand in greeting, "Aragorn. What is it that brings you hence? We had not expected you for another month."

Gently Aragorn drew Harry forth from where the child had taken up refuge behind him, "we came to seek the aid of Elladan and Elrohir in freeing this child from this mask. There is some magic preventing its removal, my smiths can do nothing."

Calmly Elrond inclined his head and led the way to where Arwen's brothers could be found, but Aragorn knew the Lord of Rivendell well enough to see that his father-in-law was keeping his emotions in check, could sense the indignation and fury under the calm façade. Children were extremely sacred to the elves and were meant to be cherished, to see a child treated ill was a high crime in their eyes. Aragorn knew that as soon as Harry was seen to Elrond would summon him aside to find out how a child came to be so mistreated, but currently their first priority was to remove the mask.

It took a bit of work to round up Elladan and Elrohir for the two had decided that it was a good day to relax and cause mischief. At last, though, they were found. Elrond giving them a stern look that had them quickly disabling whatever new prank they had concocted. Elrond withheld any lecture he might normally have given, instead deeming it more important to send them in the direction of their workshop where Aragorn was waiting with Harry. Immediately the brothers grew serious and fell to examining the mask, one of them striking lightly at the lock once with a rod to examine the flow of magic binding the mask to the child.

"This is quite complex," Elrohir mused, tapping lightly on various parts of the mask, "if the Dwarves had not lost most of their magical lore of old I would send for one to ask an opinion. As it is we will have to do the best that we can here."

"Going for the lock will do no good," Elladan finally spoke, having remained pretty much silent until that point, "that is where the magic is focused and the most concentrated. We'll have to bust through the cage here, where the magic is weakest."

Lightly Elrohir traced a finger over a small area right where Harry's scar lay beneath the iron, not that they knew that, and it was also the spot where Alara had kissed when she had claimed him as a child of the dementors. Where he touched with his fingers, where he had traced out a rune, the metal warmed and Elrohir traced a heated line through that point down under Harry's chin so that the mask would crack once the week spot was breached. At the feel of heat, Harry whimpered in memory, felt as if he was suffocating all over again. At the terrified sound Elladan hastily busied himself with readying his tools, and when he indicated he was ready, Elrohir positioned Harry's head upon an anvil and held the child in place so that they could work as quickly as possible. Aragorn, sensing Harry's fear and need, held the child's hands in his own as he spoke quietly to him.

Over and over again Elladan lightly tapped his hammer against the inch wide spike he had placed length wise against the mask, unwilling to use any real force incase the spike would drive through to pierce the child's flesh underneath the iron; his task wasn't made easier by the fear he could feel rolling off the child in waves as Harry relived the moment the mask had first been put upon him. Slowly the mask began to crack, a thin line running from the back of the skull to under the chin, and Elladan began to painstakingly widen this crack, always careful to keep the spike from getting too near the trembling boy's flesh. It was a wonder the child hadn't passed out from the overwhelming fear he was currently going through. At last, the elvish smith stepped back and indicated that he thought the mask could be pried open.

Sitting Harry up carefully, Aragorn gently pried the cage section off and let it fall to the ground with a jarring clank before reaching up once again the remove the now-cracked apart mask from Harry's face. Harry himself had stopped breathing, his small body shaking and trembling, partly in fear of no longer wearing the mask and partly because he half-expected for some charm to activate and encase him back in the cage once again. The mask slipped to the floor, still broken and not trying to mend itself, and Harry could feel air caressing softly against his face for the first time in years. He couldn't believe it, he was free. Tears threatened in his eyes, tears Harry had never really allowed himself since the mask had been put on him, and Harry launched himself at Aragorn before anyone really had a chance to see his face. Understandingly, Aragorn wrapped his arms snugly around Harry's slender frame and allowed the child to cry out his emotions, the boy's face hidden against his chest, until the tears were spent and Harry slept from sheer emotional exhaustion.

While this was happening, Elladan and Elrohir saw to the masks utter destruction, painstakingly breaking it into pieces before finally casting it into the burning flames of their forge fires. Then, and only then, once the mask was consumed and Harry asleep, did Aragorn shift Harry so that he was cradled in his arms to allow everyone to see the face he himself had only gotten a brief glimpse of as the mask fell to the ground.

Harry's face was pale, as was to be expected of skin hidden from the sun, and was almost elfin in appearance. The eyes Aragorn knew to be a startling green were framed by thick, dark lashes and a jagged scar upon his forehead graced Harry's otherwise flawless skin.

"He's such a sweet child," Arwen's voice broke.

"Who could have dared hurt him so?" Elrohir seemed angry, "It's easy to see he's an innocent."

Aragorn shook his head sadly and stood, careful not to disturb Harry from his sleep, "let me lay him down and then I will tell you what I know."

"Place him in the room across from mine, the one next to Arwen's," Elrond instructed, "so that we can keep an eye out for him. We shall meet you in my study."

"I'll stay with Harry," Arwen offered, her eyes still running over the boy's face, "I've already heard what Aragorn has to say and don't really wish to hear it repeated again."

Elrond nodded his understanding and went to send for refreshments before going to join the others in his study. Aragorn joined them a few minutes later after having seen Harry tucked into bed. When he had left the room, Arwen had been sitting beside the child's bed, stroking his hair and singing him a soft lullaby. It was a sight that near broke his heart. Deliberately Aragorn pulled himself from his thoughts and began to tell the others about Harry, and how he had come to realize that the child wasn't from Middle-Earth at all, but a whole different world. He shared with them what Harry had been able to tell him of his family and the Professor that had been his guardian before betraying him and throwing him into a prison. Lastly, Aragorn told of where he had found Harry; how the boy believed that magic residing within the White Tree had brought him here; and of the dementors, who sounded a lot like the Nazgûl in some ways, who had cared for him and taught him. It was a lot for everyone to take in, indeed Aragorn was only coping so well because he had been given time to think over this information before hand, and Elrond suggested they all take a break to think on what they had heard before deciding what was to be done with Harry. The refreshments lay untouched on the table that had sat between the four of them, none had the stomach for food after that tale.

Meanwhile, Arwen had stopped humming her soft lullaby and had curled up next to Harry, holding the little boy close as she continued to stroke his hair. This was her child, her vision child. In the beginning she had dreamt of a child that was of her body and Aragorn's blood, but as she had weakened the vision had changed. The child had grown thinner, the eyes brighter like the glint of gems, the hair darker, and a scar had been visible upon her child's forehead. Harry's hair was a bit too dark and his features not quite correct, but there was no mistaking the eyes or scar and she had a feeling that she knew what would make Harry become the child in her vision. The only thing she had to do was convince Aragorn that she was right, and that wouldn't be all that hard, she had seen the longing in him as he had held and spoken with Harry. Satisfied that everything would work out all right, Arwen drifted off into sleep, Harry curled up against her as a child sleeps against a mother. Neither of the two sleeping figures stirred when Aragorn came in later to check on them, neither knew of the plan coming together in the mind of the once-Ranger King.

~~ ~~ ~*~

It was dark when Harry woke in the unfamiliar room due to a nightmare, feeling the warmth of another person lying next to him. For a moment he was scared, holding himself stiff in the arms wrapped about him, but then he realized that it was Lady Arwen who held him so lovingly. Harry began to relax once again until he realized that relaxing meant sleep, and sleep possibly meant the return of the nightmare. Careful not to disturb Lady Arwen as she looked like she could use some sleep, Harry crawled from the bed. For a moment he swayed there, off balance and lightheaded without the mask, before deciding to take a walk in hopes that Aragorn might still be up. Aragorn had always been awake before when Harry went looking for him in Gondor. Unfortunately, Harry realized that he had no idea where to go once he made his way quietly out into the hallway. Harry was tempted to turn back and risk the nightmares coming again, but then he noticed a glimmer of light peaking out under the door across the hallway from the one he had just left. Maybe it was Aragorn.

It wasn't Aragorn Harry discovered on the other side of the door when he slightly pushed it open though. It was Lord Elrond, Lady Arwen's father. Lord Elrond was working on some papers at a desk, but he looked up as soon as Harry was standing in the doorway, nixing Harry's idea of sneaking quietly back out.

"I'm sorry Lord Elrond," Harry looked down nervously at intruding on the elf's privacy, his hands twitching up nervously to hide his face, "I was looking for Aragorn, but didn't know where he was and then I saw the light-"

With a slight rustle of fabric, Elrond was on his feet and at Harry's side before the nervous youth could shy away and began to gently lead him over to the chair he had been occupying. All the while he held the trembling hands in his own, seeing in the child the unconscious desire to once again be able to hide his face.

"It's alright, /tithen-min/," Elrond soothed Harry, "come tell me what's wrong."

Just as he would have done with his own children when they came to him at night, Elrond drew Harry into his lap and ran his fingers through the silky hair. Harry resisted this for a moment, sitting stiff and uncomfortably on Elrond's lap, before slowly realizing that Elrond didn't mean him any harm and relaxed. Unwittingly Harry had wounded Elrond with his initial fear, never before had Elrond had a child be uncomfortable around him, but Harry wasn't used to anyone caring for him in this way. Alara had never really cuddled with him, and the Professor sure hadn't, but Lady Arwen had told him about her father before they came to Rivendell and Harry trusted what she had said.

"I had a nightmare, Lord Elrond," Harry whispered at Elrond's gentle prompting, "and I don't want to go back to sleep incase it comes back again."

"It sometimes helps to speak of our nightmares and dreams," Elrond hinted that he would be willing to listen, that he would be there should Harry need him to be.

Elrond kept running his hands through Harry's hair as Harry tentatively began to whisper about the night the mask was placed upon him, it was painfully clear that Harry had experienced little affection in his life. For the first time in ages Elrond actually found he wanted to physically hurt someone, wanted to make it so the man who had hurt Harry was writhing in pain under his hands, something that was against his Healer's code. He had thought he had left such urges behind when the first war with Sauron had ended.

It was easy to see how Aragorn had gotten so attached to the child in the short time he had been in Middle-Earth. After they had parted ways earlier to think on what could be done for Harry, Aragorn had come back to speak with him, expressing his desire to keep Harry and make him a part of the family. He had been hesitant to give his blessing, not knowing much of Harry other than the horrors Aragorn had related, but now as the child spoke he could see the pure heart within the boy.

Elrond suddenly knew that if Arwen was in agreement with Aragorn's plans then he would give his blessing, already this small child was burrowing his way to find a place within his heart; Harry would always have a home here in Rivendell and he would gladly teach the child what he knew. Harry would never be helpless again. A large yawn split Harry's next words as the child continued to talk, and Elrond saw that the boy's eyes were already closed. With a smile Elrond gathered Harry more securely in his arms so that he could rise and lay Harry down where he would be more comfortable.

"No," Harry whimpered at the motion, his eyes opening slightly, "please don't leave me alone. Please Lord Elrond."

"Shhh, /tithen-min/," Elrond soothed as he settled back into the chair, keeping his arms around Harry, "it's alright, we shall stay as we are. Close your eyes and sleep, it's safe to do so. I will not let the nightmares come."

"Thank you, Lord Elrond," Harry whispered, before yawning again.

"You may call me /daer-adar/," Elrond said on impulse, not even sure Harry was still awake to hear, "it means great-father, like grandfather. Lord Elrond is too formal to keep using."

A light knock upon the study door roused both Harry and Elrond as Arwen and Aragorn entered right after.

"/Adar/," Arwen was worried, "have you seen Harry? He's missing."

"I'm here Lady Arwen," Harry spoke sleepily from Elrond's lap, "I didn't mean to worry you. I'm sorry."

Arwen smiled and hugged Harry to her before passing him to Aragorn so that he could do the same, "it's alright, /tithen-min/, we were just afraid you might have gotten lost. Are you hungry?"

Harry nodded eagerly at the thought of food and started to follow Aragorn to the door before he turned and ran back to Elrond, "are you coming too Lo-/daer-adar/?"

Arwen gave her father a look, which he ignored, as he bent down slight to take Harry's hand, "I will, /tithen-min/."

Harry walked along with the three adults, but Elrond could tell there was something on Harry's mind, "what is it, /tithen-min/? What do you want to ask?"

"What's going to happen to me? Are you going to send me home; back to Azkaban?"

It was the question everyone had been hoping to avoid until there was a set plan they could use to reassure Harry.

Elrond at least, had part of an answer for Harry, "you will not be going back to your old life, /tithen-min/; that was no place for a child."

Harry accepted this partial answer, glad at least he would not have to return to Azkaban no matter how fond of Alara he had become. It wasn't until they were almost at the Morning room where breakfast was served that Harry spoke again. The adults were expecting another question they couldn't yet answer, but this time that was not the case.

"What does tithen-min mean?"

Elrond smiled down at Harry, "it means little one in Sindarin, one of the languages of the elves. Would you like me to teach it to you?"

"Please," Harry's eyes were shining, "I like to learn new things, but most of the time I had to teach myself from books. It's hard to learn to speak new languages from books though. The Professor used to teach me Latin, when he still liked me, but I had to teach myself other languages from books Milpy got me. I sort of just knew Adûnaic after the dementors claimed me and was able to translate it into Westron from the similarities."

"Then we'll have fun teaching you a lot of things," Aragorn told Harry happily, "and not only book things, but how to ride and camp. When you're older we'll teach you to fight."

Arwen didn't look all that happy at the thought of Harry learning to fight, but kept her peace. It seemed Aragorn was already considering Harry being still around in a few years. She would definitely talk to him and her father after breakfast about making Harry a member of the family; Harry himself had already made headway upon winning over her obstinate father without even knowing he was doing so.

~~ ~~ ~*~

"Will you give your blessing, /Adar/," Arwen asked her father, slightly anxious.

After breakfast, she had pulled Aragorn aside while Harry went off with the twins to explore Rivendell, but she hadn't even needed to broach the subject dearest to her heart. Aragorn had brought it up first. Now they were presenting their idea in full to Elrond, hoping that he would agree to their blood adopting Harry as they would need him to perform the ceremony.

"I will," Elrond gave his blessing, "on the condition the bond is made with the rest of the family as well."

Arwen frowned, "what are you playing at /Adar/?"

Elrond raised a hand to gently still his daughter's words, "in time I will sail to Valinor, Galadriel and Celeborn with me. I do not yet know what your brothers will decide, but there are some who will not leave these shores and they shall need someone to turn to when a leader is needed. The twins have not the temperament, but I see in Harry what they lack."

"I think," Aragorn answered when Arwen could not, "that the choices should be Harry's."

"Then we should go find Harry," Elrond announced, "and free him from the dubious influence of Elladan and Elrohir."

Unfortunately, of the trio there was no sight until hours later when they came cantering back into the courtyard with a guest. Almost as soon as the horses had been heard upon approach, Aragorn and Arwen had made their way to the courtyard to meet up with Elrond. As soon as the horses stopped, Aragorn was immediately at Harry's side to pull him from the saddle while Elrond bean to berate his sons.

"It was so much fun," Harry's excited voice piped up before Aragorn could start in on how worried he had been, interrupting Elrond's speech at the same time, "Elladan and Elrohir taught me how to ride, I only fell twice, and then we ran into Legolas. He started to show me how to shoot a bow, but his is too big for me. He says we'll need to find one my size so he can teach me."

Arwen gave a barely audible groan at the thought of Harry already learning to use a bow, even though it was common among the elves to start teaching them young, while Aragorn turned to greet his friend. Harry had wriggled free of his hold and had turned to give the horse he had ridden a farewell pat before Elladan and Elrohir led the horses back to the pastures.

"Bye Fëa," Harry stroked the horse's velvety nose, loving the way the jet colored stallions mane seemed to shimmer with starlight as the wind blew through it, "I'll come see you later."

Elrond glared at his sons, "you let him ride Fëa! That horse has never let anyone on its back, let alone to ride him!"

The twins had the grace to look sheepish, "he took to Harry right away and after that the other horses shied away from his as if knowing Harry had been claimed. I think we were right about Fëa being one of the Mearas, or a descendant of one."

Elrond didn't need to say anything, his look was enough to start the twins to defending themselves, "we were beside him all the time and caught him both times he fell. We-"

"Don't be mad at them, /daer-adar/," Harry was slightly distressed "I was the one who talked them into riding."

"Not that you had to try very hard," Elrond commented dryly, "but I will let the matter rest. There are some things we need to talk to you about, /tithen-min/, I am sure Elladan and Elrohir can entertain Legolas for a bit while we do so."

"Alright," Harry allowed himself to be led to Elrond's study, the twins and Legolas heading in the other direction to take care of the horses before going to find a suitable bow for Harry.

~~ ~~ ~*~

Harry was a bundle of nerves and suddenly wondered if he had made the right decision of doing this blood-adoption thing; they were going to give him a new name as well. Sure he wanted Aragorn as a father, Arwen as mother, Elrond as his daer-adar, and the twins would be more like brothers than uncles; but what if one day they decided that they didn't want him anymore. He didn't think he could handle that. Harry got up and began to walk around in circles, picking at the fabric making up the robe they had given him to wear as he debated the wisdom of running away right then and there to save himself the heartache. He had just made up his mind to do so, he didn't think it would be too hard to climb out the window and to the ground, when the door opened and in walked Lord Elrond.

"Come /tithen-min/," Elrond held out a hand to Harry, "it's time."

Harry stilled, looking up with his wide emerald eyes, nerves clearly showing. In an uncharacteristic gesture, Elrond sank to his knees upon the floor before Harry, taking Harry's hands into his own.

"It will be alright /tithen-min/," Elrond kept his voice low and soothing, "tell me what troubles you."

Harry trembled, lowered his eyes to the floor, and said in a voice almost too soft to hear, "what if they decide they don't want me anymore? What if they try and get rid of me too?"

Elrond lifted Harry's chin so Harry looked him in the eyes, saw behind him to where Aragorn and Arwen stood, "never will we not want you. Children are very special to our people, but you are special to us in your own right, /tithen-min/. A blood-adoption is not to be entered into lightly and neither Aragorn nor Arwen would have suggested it if they did not want to keep you for the rest of their lives. You will be their child, my grandchild, and we will see to it that you never want for love."

Harry's eyes had remained locked onto the vision of Aragorn and Arwen standing side-by-side, smiling at him, as Elrond spoke. Now, they came forward and together pulled Harry into a hug, affirming what Elrond had just said. Harry couldn't help it, tears began to leak from his eyes, spilling down his cheeks. Understandingly the three adults allowed Harry to have his cry before drying his eyes and leading him to the hall where the ceremony would take place. If they had thought it would help ease his fears, they would have waited to perform the ceremony, but they rightly deduced that waiting would make Harry feel as if he truly was unwanted. The sooner the ceremony was performed, the sooner Harry would feel the unbreakable bond between them, would feel the love they couldn't help but feel for him even after such a short time.
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