Authors: furiosity & incapricious
Fandom: Harry Potter & Bleach
Genre: Crossover | Drama
Rating: R [overall] (this part: PG-13)
Pairing: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy
Disclaimer: JKR and Kubo own. We only play. You do not sue.
Length: 2600 words (this part)
Summary: In which birds are annoying, an item of clothing is aesthetically offensive, memory is all too persistent, Draco is puzzled, and flip-flops are still uncomfortable.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
02 x Perfect Hearing
"You'll pay for this, Potter," Draco muttered, staring up into the sky, which was a clear, pale blue and bore no resemblance whatever to one Harry Potter. There weren't even any Potter-shaped clouds in sight, so really, Draco was talking to himself.
Not that there was anything wrong with talking to oneself. Some of the greatest men in history talked to themselves, including Abraxas Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy, and even Lord Voldemort, though Draco had had increasing reasons to question the latter's greatness even before his unfortunate demise. The Dark Lord's demise, not Draco's. Because Draco certainly wasn't dead -- that he was looking at the sky and talking to himself proved it indubitably.
He was also wet. Soaking, in fact, stretched out on his back in the middle of a shallow creek. The creek ran through a forest, the tops of whose trees Draco had studied at some length since opening his eyes. In the trees, birds sang cheerful little hymns to spring or summer or whatever the fuck this was, and Draco fancied he could discern a degree of Schadenfreude in their tones -- look at the stupid human, sprawled in the water like a log, tee hee!
"Fuck you too," Draco mumbled.
It wasn't that he particularly enjoyed his current situational arrangement, but what if there were enemies lurking on the ground amongst the trees? Maybe they were waiting to riddle him with curses the moment he attempted to move. Why risk it? At least the water was warm, even if it did smell vaguely of vinegar. Still, nothing Draco had ever read about hell suggested being pickled alive as one of the residents' pastimes. Heaven, on the other hand, didn't have any water -- just clouds and harps and shit.
Overhead, a bird chirped, and it sounded eerily close to you twit.
"That does it," Draco groused, bracing his arms against the soft mud beneath him. Let the enemies attack. He was not going to lie here and let a bunch of malcontent birds take the piss.
With a splash, he sat up. No one attacked him, and Draco wasn't sure whether his feelings on the matter were best described as relief or disappointment. Perhaps it was a curious mixture of both, with a sprinkling of odd detachment that wasn't quite indifference. It felt astonishingly as though he were watching life unfold through a thin and transparent but perceptible veil. The sensation carried an essentially dreamlike quality, and if not for the birdsong, the sour-sweet breeze, and his very perceptibly water-logged pants, Draco might have assumed he was still dreaming.
He took a better look around. He'd only been inside a forest once before -- that time the oaf of a giant had forced him to serve detention in the Forbidden Forest. This place was nothing like it -- for one thing, you could see the sky. There were also no man-eating creatures lurking about, unless, of course, the bloody birds that taunted him were carnivorous. If he could ignore that his arse was planted firmly in the middle of a burbling creek, this place could even seem cheerful.
Draco lifted his arm, watched the water drip from his sleeve, and sighed. He had knocked his head on something hard, and then woken up in mid-fall through darkness, waiting for his life to pass before his eyes as the saying went, waiting for the inevitable moment of death, but he had lost consciousness again before any of that could happen. Now here he sat, wherever here was, dripping wet and thoroughly annoyed, having mental arguments with birds.
His head no longer hurt, but someone had thoughtfully replaced his excellent set of Twilfit and Tatting's robes with a garment known as a yukata to the Japanese, and what he had taken for pants turned out to be a loincloth. As he blinked down at himself, Draco's first thought was that the outfit was actually a lot more comfortable than it seemed in pictures. His second thought was, dear God, this thing's got pink flowers on.
Draco shut his eyes tightly and shook his head. It didn't help; when he re-opened his eyes, the yukata was still there, flowers and all. He stared down at the water in his lap, frowning as he went over the events before the fall, for the fifth time. He had been standing in the Great Hall, watching Potter approach -- and then Potter had begun sprinting towards him, wand out. Then something had whizzed through the air, and a hole had opened up beneath Potter, who had grabbed hold of Draco and dragged him down.
"A long fall..." Draco murmured, fingering the seam across his left sleeve. "Not death... traditional Japanese clothing -- linen, so peasant clothing..."
Draco had spent years cursing his tutor for force-feeding him the history of countries he cared nothing about, but it appeared that old Scripps had foreseen what Draco couldn't. Could the hole have been some kind of portal to Japan? Some lost form of Apparition? It made sense, though Draco didn't understand why his clothes had changed.
But whoever had cast that spell at Potter probably hadn't simply meant to transport him to Japan for an impromptu post-war holiday. The look on Potter's face hadn't suggested any friendly intentions, either. What if he had travelled through time? The outfit alone was inconclusive -- Scripps had told him that even the Japanese Muggles still wore these things today. But if he'd just flown through space, surely his clothes ought to have remained intact? He wasn't so sure about time travel.
Who could have cast the spell? Certainly not either of Draco's parents: Draco had lost his mother's wand to the Room of Hidden Things fire, and an Auror taken his father's spare wand before allowing them to re-join the unwashed masses in the Great Hall. Perhaps one of the other Death Eaters being rounded up had wrested an Auror's wand and aimed it at Potter...
This was fucking ridiculous. He was not going to figure out where he was if he kept sitting in this stupid creek. With as much dignity as he could muster -- for the benefit of any watching enemies, not the birds -- Draco got to his feet, realising for the first time that he had shoes on, if straw sandals could be called shoes.
Still, he was glad not to be barefoot, for one never knew. Maybe this wasn't a forest at all; maybe it was a park. Muggles were worse than pigs, and their parks had all sorts of horrible things littering them-- broken glass, used condoms, and the like. Draco didn't know if he was more aghast at the thought of cutting his foot on a glass shard when he had no wand to heal himself, or the thought of someone's ejaculate squishing beneath his toes. He shuddered, steering his thoughts firmly away -- after all, he had shoes. There was no need to worry about damage to his skin or psyche.
On the other hand, if this did turn out to be a park in a city, it would be perfect. Draco would just need to find someone who spoke English, and he would be on his way home in no time. Gringotts operated a much-maligned but persistent branch in Japan, and Draco knew the right passwords, all sixteen of them. He waded to the nearest bank, wondering if the sun would dry out his clothing before he appeared before anyone with more sentience than a chattering bird.
"No," he answered himself after one glance into the trees. A cluster of buildings lay less than a hundred yards off, and Draco decided that presentability was far less important than finding his way out of this mess.
He stomped towards the buildings, not because he was that angry, but the footwear allowed for no other method of walking; the thongs in the middle threatened to slice his toes clean off. At this rate, broken glass would be preferable. Along the way, Draco startled several small animals off the dirt path leading to the settlement, and he took perverse pleasure in this; it felt like payback for the thrice-damned birds.
When he reached the buildings, he wished he hadn't, for they confirmed his worst suspicion: he had indeed travelled through time. There was no other explanation -- this place could have been in one of Scripps's books on medieval Japan. Everyone who actually lived here must have been out in the rice fields, or doing whatever else peasants spent their time on -- the place was utterly deserted.
"Fuck me," Draco whispered to the empty street.
He had two immediate problems -- three, if he counted the hunger that had been creeping up ever since he'd bestirred himself to walk: he did not speak Japanese and he had no wand, which meant there was no way he could prove he was a wizard. If only he had a wand, he could have gained a private audience with a public shrine's head priest -- who, if Scripps's teachings proved correct, would be a wizard and thus a member of the Sun-River Conclave, Japan's chief wizarding authority since time began.
"Draco, stop playing with your wand and pay attention. Japan doesn't have a wizarding society in the same way England does. Japanese magic users have always lived amongst the Muggles, typically in the upper echelons of society, whatever those happened to be at the time."
"Who cares?" Draco drawls. "I'm never going to live in Japan, so why does this matter?"
Scripps's white brows knit in disapproval. "Your father has deemed it necessary that you receive an education broader than the substandard and pedestrian Hogwarts curriculum. If you would like to dispute his decision, you are welcome to discuss it with him."
"Oh, fine. Go on, then." Draco leans back in his chair and stretches his legs. He wishes he could go outside and fly, but there's still another hour of this torture until he's allowed a break.
"Some scholars believe that the a priori integration of wizards and Muggles allowed the Muggles' ancient Shinto religion to thrive whilst their European cousins turned increasingly away from pantheistic faith and became suspicious of magic--"
"I'm pretty sure my father doesn't want you to teach me about Muggles and their moronic superstitions. Sir."
"Very well," Scripps concedes. "As we've established, wizarding families live alongside Muggle families, but there is virtually no actual integration -- wizards tend to marry witches--"
"What about Mudbloods?"
"The Sun-River Conclave is ever reluctant to disclose information about Japan's Muggle-born wizards and witches, but it can be inferred from a number of ancient texts that magical ability in a seemingly Muggle child would be detected within the first two years of life, and the child would be taken away."
Draco sits up eagerly. "To be killed?"
"Really, Draco, there is no need to be so bloodthirsty," Scripps says with a sigh. "It is believed these children would be raised either at Shinto temples or as members of pure-blood wizarding families, and taught to follow wizarding tradition. They would marry other Muggle-borns when they came of age, for Japan's wizarding society puts a great emphasis on the purity of existing bloodlines--"
"Well, there's something they do right," Draco says.
Scripps pretends not to have heard him. "The Japanese regard magical ability as a rare thing to be cherished..."
Draco leaned heavily against a nearby building and threw his head back. The wall was warm from the sun, but the sensation didn't cheer him. He was in medieval Japan, with no way to prove his status as a wizard, and no way to obtain money at all -- the Malfoy Gringotts vault was years in the future. His paternal ancestors were currently somewhere in the south of France, and it would be another two hundred years or so until they actually used the name Malfoy. The House of Black didn't exist yet, either -- or, rather, it did, but it was far from noble or ancient. Invoking either name would impress no one.
"Fuck me," he concluded.
Really, Draco, have I taught you nothing at all? You don't need your wand to prove you're a wizard -- just find a way to use another wizard's wand.
The thought, crystallising in his mind and sounding astonishingly like the voice of the only Hogwarts professor Draco had ever respected, actually made him jump. Yes. He would find the local shrine and insist he was a wizard. They wouldn't believe him, of course, but the head priest would be forced to see him -- he didn't know what year this was, so the Statute of Secrecy may or may not exist already, but either way, they would have to at least make sure Draco wasn't a Mudblood who had slipped through the net somehow. Certainly, yes, this was the answer.
The problem that remained was making himself understood -- he still didn't speak Japanese. Draco tilted his head to one side, half-hoping for another epiphany from Snape, but on this matter, Professor Snape was silent. Really, now. I've been here for less than an hour and I'm already turning into a fucking lunatic, wanting to talk to the little people in my head.
"--just two streets from here!" cried a voice from somewhere deeper in the village. A woman, or a child -- Draco couldn't tell. English? They were speaking English? In medieval Japan? What the fuck?
"Gorou says he's a shinigami!" Another voice, closer now, and Draco narrowed his eyes -- the answer was there, just within reach, he could almost articulate it...
Two grubby-looking boys went rushing through the dirt from the other side of the street, neither of them seeming to notice Draco. They were certainly Japanese in appearance, but they had been speaking English moments ago.
"Excuse me?" Draco called -- and understanding came swiftly. The boys hadn't been speaking English, and neither had he. He knew the Japanese word for "excuse me", and he had just said it. Somehow, probably through the spell vortex Potter had dragged him into, he had not only travelled through time, but he had also become a participant in this time period.
Something about that idea nagged at him, but Draco didn't have time to wonder what it was. The two boys had stopped a few feet away from him, staring, mouths slack.
"Ryoka," they breathed as one.
The bigger one shrieked and went haring off into the woods, whilst the smaller one scurried down the alley, only this time, he seemed to be running for his life.
"Wait!" Draco yelled, attempting to run after him, but the damnable sandals wouldn't let him. He half-hobbled, half-stomped through the dust, still shouting, and thoroughly annoyed. Certainly, he didn't have Asian features, plus he was blond, which was probably really strange to these Muggles, but calling him an undesirable and dangerous stranger was a bit rude even for peasant brats. This was, after all, Japan.
In the meantime, he had reached what he took to be the village green, though there was nothing green about a square of dirt with a stone fish fountain in the middle.
Harry Potter stood by the fountain, wearing a white yukata, surrounded by gaping children, and eating some kind of meat off a stick.
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