- Discussion-Child Abuse
Harry looked back to the coast of Newcastle a little bit wistful, while the ferry left the port. The first time in his life he felt hopeful and excited about the adventure that lay ahead of him, and it would be a good adventure this time, of that he was sure. And yet, he also felt sorrow about leaving his home, even though neither the muggle nor the magical part of Great Britain had ever been very welcoming of him.
It was early evening and Mrs. Longbottom and Sirius had apparated them to Newcastle only three hours ago, which gave them just enough time to find the right ferry and board it. It was a big ship, one that transported cars and lories in its belly and had lots of cabins for passengers. They would spent the whole night here, having dinner and breakfast on the ship, before they would leave the ferry in Amsterdam around ten on the next morning.
They had booked two adjourning cabins, one for Mrs. Longbottom and Neville and one for Sirius and Harry. They were very plain, without a window, a bunk bed in each, a small sofa and bathroom with only a toilet and a small shower. Of course, there were much more luxurious cabins available and they would have had the money to book two of them, but even in the muggle world they did want to stay unobtrusive. Sirius had laughed and said to even have a cot was more luxury than he had had for most of the last fifteen years, but no one else had wanted to laugh with him about that, although Harry had thought to himself that it was true for him, too.
They had only taken a short time to inspect their cabins, before searching for the way to the deck. There were a lot of people on the ferry, but not many had come up to witness their departure from the port. Neville and Harry stood side by side at the rear of the ship, both watching silently until they had left the harbour and most of the other passengers started to go back inside, and even Sirius and Mrs. Longbottom left them alone, going in search for a nice table in the restaurant.
“I have wished for so long to leave, I wouldn’t have thought it would hurt so much”, Neville muttered.
Harry sighed. “It’s still our home and we are not leaving because we want to, but because we have to. It feels like … we are giving in, we are being defeated by them.”
Neville pressed his shoulder against Harry’s. “We’ll find another place we can call home. Somewhere without all those expectations on us.”
“That sounds nice.” Harry smiled and closed his fingers around Nevilles’s hand. “Last night you said something of a bond between … our kind.” They were still in British territory and in the last days Harry had learned to understand Neville’s precaution. Until they departed the ferry in Amsterdam they needed to be careful about the use of certain words. “What does that mean exactly?”
Neville shrugged. “I’m not sure. That’s another thing the others have deemed me to young for to discuss.”
“I hate when adults do that!”, Harry groused.
Neville smirked. “I hope we’ll grow out of this phase soon! – What I do know is, that it is some kind of connection that has been there between us from the beginning. It’ll grow over time and in which direction it will grow is influenced by the kind of relationship we’ll build. It’s magical, but also … It’s part of the energy that connects us to Merlin’s place.”
Harry frowned. “Are all pairs of our kind … romantically involved?”
“No”, Neville answered and Harry sighed in relief.
It felt weird to think, that the things he had started to feel for Neville during the last months were in some kind predetermined, as if it were really not his own feelings but something put into him. It should be something that was all his, without any influence from the outside force.
“I’ve met pairs in many kinds of relationships”, Neville continued. “They are all friends at least, and some of them are only friends, other are romantic and sexual partners and some even have a three way relationship of some kind with another person. – As I have said, it is our decision where we’ll take our relationship!”
“That’s really good!” Harry frowned. “But I don’t think I want there to be a third person ever!”
Neville laughed. “Yeah, agreed! I was really jealous of Cho and Pavarti!”
“I chose Cho because I knew she was in love with Cedric and therefore the most likely to reject my overtures”, Harry confessed impish. “I hated it, that I couldn’t get away with not having a date. Especially as so many would have accepted my invitation only because of my name, because they would have loved to brag about it and to use it to further themselves.”
Neville scoffed. “Would have done them not a lot of good in the situation as it is now!”
“But no one knew that before Yule.” Harry shrugged. “It doesn’t matte now anyway. Chances are we won’t see any of them ever again. And most I don’t want to see again.”
He would miss Hermione, of that he was sure. But she would probably be the only one he would be sad about not seeing again, and maybe there would be a chance to make contact to her again later. He had written her, that he was sorry about vanishing without taking her with him, but that he just could not stay. That he needed to find a place where he could learn and grow without being thrown through the wringer every year. He had written her, that he would always be her friend and maybe in a few years time, when there was no one who could legally control him any more, he would contact her again and that he wished to reconcile with her as soon as possible.
He would miss the Weasleys, too, but he was really not sad to let them go. Ron had shown his true colours this year, not for the first time of course, but it was the first time that Harry could not just brush it of. To leave also solved Harry’s problem of how he could move on from that break in their friendship. Mrs. Weasley may mean good, but she could be so overbearing, Ginny’s obsession with him had been scary from start, and even so he had given the twins the gold from the tournament for their business plans, he was just as happy to witness their progress from as far away as possible.
“I hope grandma is wrong”, Neville said quietly. “I don’t want to go back. I don’t see how it will ever be not a fight for survival if we have to go back.”
“They are accusing me of murder, and we have seen with Sirius that they are capable of condemning someone without a trial. I’m not going back into a country that’s making me into a fugitive because of the ambition of one man.”
“Grandma asked us to let them handle it and not worry about it”, Neville said. “And I’m willing to do just that. I’m happy to not worry for a while and just concentrate on us.”
“Another thing I’ll need to get used to”, Harry muttered.
Neville squeezed his hand. “I’ll distract you from worrying about things we can let the adults handle!”
Harry laughed. “Yeah, that’s a good plan!” He let his gaze wander over the coastline that grew smaller with every minute. It would not be long until all of it would vanish behind the horizon and he felt light hearted about it. He was happy to stand here with Neville and to know that Sirius was him.
A movement at the edge of his vision caught his attention and his eyes grew wide as he saw the long, slim body of a white dragon float over the foam the ferry left in its wake. It looked like one of the dragons he had seen in muggle drawings of Asian dragons. It had no wings, and only its belly was covered in scales while the rest of its body was covered with white fur and a thin fiery red mane adorned its spine from its head to its tail.
Harry nudged his friend with his shoulder. “See there!”
“Wow!” Neville leaned forward to get a better look. “I have never seen or heard of such a dragon!”
“What’s he doing here?”, Harry asked awed.
Neville turned his head to him. “I think it … he is yours.”
Harry frowned. “What do you…” – He paused when the dragon started to rise and flew in their direction. – “…mean?”
“I think he is like Merlin”, Neville muttered.
Harry wanted to protest, but then the dragon stopped only a few feet away from them on the other side of the railing and Harry met his eyes and just knew that Neville was right. “You are magnificent”, Harry whispered.
“That he is”, Neville agreed softly.
The dragon purred, flew over the railing and wrapped himself around both of them, in the end pressing his forehead against Harry’s chest. The head was so big, that his nose nudged against Harry’s knees at the same time and the horns rubbed against his face.
“And huge!”, Neville continued laughing. “And if he is like Merlin, he is not even fully grown yet!”
Harry carefully petted the mane in the dragon’s neck. “He his twenty feet long at least!”
“He is a good fit for you”, Neville said. “You’ll need to think of a name for him.”
“Falkor”, Harry answered without having to think about it. The dragon rubbed his head against him and Harry took that as agreement.
“Okay.” Neville blinked dumbfounded.
Harry snickered. “It’s from a muggle book I read in elementary.” It had taken him months to get through the whole book, because he had only been able to read it while he had been hiding in the school library in the breaks between lessons, but it had stuck with him. “It’s called ‘The Neverending Story’. One of the companions of the main characters is a luckdragon called Falkor. He had white fur, too, and had a long body and had no wings, so it fits.”
Neville raised his hand and hesitatingly began to scratch Falkor behind his ear. “He’ll not be able to visit us inside a lot. But I’m sure we’ll see him tonight. Maybe we can fly on him over the jungle.”
“That would be so cool!”, Harry exclaimed.
He had dreamed about riding the back of the luckdragon like Atreyu had done in the book. And maybe it had not even been a dream as such, but an encounter with his own Felkor, like the dreams of the blue jungle and his imaginary friend had actually been no dreams.
Harry buried his face smiling in Felkor’s fur and pressed himself against Neville as much as he could. In this moment he was surrounded by everything he had ever dreamed of. It didn’t matter what the future would throw at him any more, because in this moment he was absolutely certain that he would never again have to face anything alone as Felkor and Neville would stand with him, come what may.
(Note: I’m sad, because they changed Felkor’s name in the English translations, but I can see how ‘Fuchur’ would be akwardly pronounced in English… *sigh*)