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On Punching Gods and Absentee Dads

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The thing was that if Harry had just taken the time to think objectively about it he would have expected it. He wasn’t an idiot. The facts were all there. Anyone who had the knowledge and looked at his life objectively would have made the connection. He just hadn’t taken the time to think about it. Which, he thought somewhat bitterly, was sort of what he always did. If he thought about anything like Hermione, Sirius would still be alive.

He shook his head forcing himself not to think about Sirius. He was going to focus on the book that had appeared on his bed just a few minutes before. The book that would change his world and had woken him from the stupor he’d fallen into since the battle at the Ministry. After Sirius’ death and finding out about the prophecy Harry hadn’t really, felt anything at all. There were three more weeks of class and after that he was to return to the Dursleys. For a week after the battle he’d done nothing but lay in bed. He didn’t even sleep.

His friends had tried to get him to eat and talk about what had happened but he refused. That was of course until the book had arrived. It had come from Sirius of all people. Sirius had found the book in a box of things from his parents and he’d sent it to Harry right before that night at the Ministry. It had taken a week to get there because Sirius had sent in a way so that nobody but Harry would know.

When the book had appeared in a beam of light right on his bed his friends had been pushing him to go down to dinner. After checking to see if the book was jinxed he’d pulled off the letter on the front and opened it to see it was from Sirius. His friends had left him alone to read after that telling him they’d be downstairs and they’d keep everyone out of the dorm for as long as they could.

Sirius had written a letter explaining where he’d found the box of things that belonged to his parents. He told Harry where the box was in Grimmauld Place and then sent this book for Harry to have. Harry tore open the book and his heart had stopped at seeing the inscription on the first page.

To my beloved Lily

Write your story and let it be filled with love.

From James

This was his mom’s diary? According to the letter from Sirius he hadn’t been able to open it. There was an enchantment that meant only certain people could read it. He didn’t even know what was in it. Knowing this was a gift from his dad to his mom made his eyes tear up. He caressed the side of the journal wondering what his mother had written inside. He took in a deep breath and turned the page.

The writing was careful. The letters were large and slightly angular. It was written with a quill Harry thought. His fingers trailed the letters not even taking in what it was saying. He just wanted to take in the essence of his parents for a moment. Then he finally started to read.

Tonight was not what I’d planned for my wedding night. I suppose knowing my husband I should have rid myself of any ideas of a traditional night. But still tonight was way more than just surprising. James gave me this book so I could write down how I felt. Finding out that he’d been lying to me, lying to everyone… I don’t know how to feel about it.

I know I love him. I married him and I don’t regret it. That means I must love him even if he did lie to me. Which he did. I’m not going to forget that. Forgive? Probably. Forget? Never. The fact is that James Potter is not even human and he didn’t tell me that until our wedding night. So now I’m sitting here outside on the porch of this beach house angrily writing instead of spending time in the bedroom with my new husband.

I’m angry. I’m scared. I’m confused. I understand why he lied. I do. I even understand why he came to earth in the first place. But I just don’t know what that means for me. What do you do when you marry an Asgardian?

Harry stopped reading immediately. Asgardian? Like Asgardian Asgardian? Like from Asgard the realm eternal Asgardian? The wizarding world of course knew of the gods. How could they forget? When Asgard had cut off communication with Earth centuries ago the wizards had not forgotten their old allies. When Thor had returned to earth to help stop Loki’s invasion the wizarding world had erupted into excitement. Would Asgard return entirely? Would old trade routes and old practices be renewed?

So far all that had happened was that Loki had returned to earth to repay his debts to the people he’d invaded. He stayed with the Avengers and worked with them to protect the world he’d tried to harm. No contact had been made by either Asgardian with the wizarding world. All of this was interesting but it wasn’t the reason he was so shocked.

The reason he was shocked was because of what it meant that his dad was from Asgard. It meant he was half-Asgardian. Which he couldn’t be. Half-Asgardians or demi-gods as they were more commonly known as were…more than he was. They were stronger, more powerful, and better.

Harry had crappy eyesight and could barely pass his classes let alone lift heavy weights. There was no way he was a demi-god. It couldn’t be possible. Harry shook his head. He needed to keep reading, he needed to know more before he jumped to crazy conclusions. He took a deep breath and went back down to the writing.

James had left his home in Asgard many years before. There aren’t many magic users there now and he felt lonely, isolated. So he’d gone to earth to live for a while as a human magic user. At first he’d planned on just making up an adult identity but then he ran into the Potters. They still worshipped the old gods and they were praying for a child. So James had given them one, himself.

He let them raise him again, a new baby and he grew up as a human. The magic he used to make himself their child had locked away his memories of his past until he grew to be old enough to understand it. The original plan was for him to remember that he was actually Asgardian and return home. Except…he had me and he had Sirius and Remus and Peter. He couldn’t leave us.

So he stayed. He stayed with us, immortal and powerful and lying. I don’t know how to feel. I know I’d be devastated if he left me. But at the same time won’t it hurt him when I start getting old and he doesn’t? It’s not fair to either of us. And what about children? I always wanted a huge family but any children I have with James will be demi-gods. They’ll be powerful and I don’t know how I feel about that. What with the war being like it is I don’t want my children dragged into that war while they’re still young just because they have power.

I can hear James walking around the house. After he’d told me the truth I stormed out of the house. We’re at an old family beach house for our honeymoon. I almost left the house entirely but I decided to stay. I’ve never been to France and I didn’t want to get lost. Now James is fretting in the house clearly trying to decide whether or not to come out and talk to me. I don’t know what I want him to do.

To talk or not to talk? To stay or not to stay? I don’t want to leave. I want to love James Potter for the rest of my life. But will my love hurt him? Will I be strong enough to stay with someone who will outlive me by thousands of years? I don’t know what to do.

The entry ended there. Harry ran a hand through his hair and quickly flipped the page. He needed to know more. So much more. He shifted on his bed trying to get comfortable. He swallowed and dived right back into the story.

James eventually came out and we talked some more. By some more I mean we talked all night. We talked until the sun started rising over the Mediterranean. James begged for me to listen and forgive him. I told him that wasn’t the problem and explained how worried I was. Which of course gave him the opportunity to explain them away. I won’t tell him that was what I wanted but I think he already knew.

He insisted that it didn’t matter about our different lifespans. If I wanted to become immortal like him I could. He was important enough in Asgard that he could get me an apple of immortality. Which was not something I had considered. He promised that if I decided to stay mortal then he would stay with me throughout my life and he’d never begrudge me that. He knew what he was getting into when he married me, he’d already accepted the risk.

I don’t know how to feel about it but at least I know how he feels. We talked about children next and he swore to me that no matter what he’d keep his children safe. He wanted a family too. That made me happy. He told me about his mother in Asgard, a fierce woman who would no doubt love our children demi-god or not.

There is some stigma against demi-gods in Asgard. Apparently the reason Asgard stopped talking with earth all those years ago was because of the danger demi-gods posed. They had the power of an Asgardian and often something more because of their human ancestry. They didn’t make demi-gods illegal but cutting down on the interactions with our two worlds lessened the danger.

James insisted that I shouldn’t worry though. He’d protect any of our children. I believe him as much as I can. The final part of our conversation that night was about him. Who was he before he was my James? A god that’s what. The god of mischief and magic which is so James it made me laugh. He had a brother that he had a complicated relationship with as well as a father and a mother.

The most shocking thing about his whole identity was the fact that he was (or rather is) a prince. Prince Loki Odinson of Asgard. Which makes me, as his wife, a princess. Take that Petunia.

Harry was torn between laughing about his mother’s spiteful words to his aunt and screaming at the revelation. He was the son of the guy who tried to invade earth a year ago? Well maybe not. He still wasn’t convinced of his status as a demi-god, he needed to read more. So he did. For the next three hours he read through his mother’s journal. He read as she decided that she would join her husband in Asgard when she was a little older, she didn’t want to start being immortal as a 19-year old.

He read about her pregnancy with him and how excited both of his parents were for him to be born. He read about the journeys James took to Asgard to get things for Lily that would help her with her pregnancy. The spells his dad cast on her to keep them both healthy and to ensure that Harry had the best chance at life. It made him warm inside even if he couldn’t exactly deal with the fact that his dad had also tried to take over earth.

The page of his mother’s journal talking about the day he was born made Harry actually cry. To read how happy his mother was for him. How much she loved him. It was almost too much. It didn’t really become real in his mind until he read about his true name.

Apparently his father had been so concerned for his health and safety that he decided to hide his true identity as a demigod. A series of spells placed on him right at birth that limited his strength and magic, made him seem like a normal baby wizard. The only way to break the spells and release his true potential was to speak the name that his mother had written with hearts doodled around it.

Haraldr Lokison.

It sunk in that this could be real. He could really be the son of a god. Haraldr Lokison. What would happen to him if he said it out loud? Did he want to? His dad had clearly abandoned him and Remus and Sirius after his mother’s death. He should be mad! He was mad! But he was also curious. What could he do now? Could this be the power the dark lord knew not? Did he need to break the spell on him in order to save the world and his friends?

He wasn’t surprised when there was a knock on the door to the dorm.

“Harry?” Ron said. “The other guys want to get to bed.”

“Let’s go to the room of requirement.” Harry said. “I need to tell you guys what was in this book.”

It was the first time he’d suggested going anywhere but this room. Ron was quick to agree. Soon they were in the room of requirement the book heavy in his arms. The room provided them with a single couch. Harry settled in the middle with his head in Hermione’s lap. Hermione instantly started carding his hair while Ron petted his side. Physical comfort was still so new to him in a lot of ways and it helped.

“So what was in the book?”

“It was my mum’s diary from my dad. A gift for their wedding day. Mum really loved me. She wrote about me and…”

He trailed off and licked his lips.

“Dad wasn’t human.”

Silence. His friends don’t say anything. They didn’t even stop with their petting. Harry took in another deep breath and he started talking. He told them everything he’d read but stopped just short of saying the name out loud. His friends had questions but they waited until he was finished.

“What’s the name?” Ron asked.

“Don’t want to say. Not sure if I should.” Harry admitted. “That berk that was once my dad he left me. He abandoned Sirius and Remus. Then he comes back to earth not for me but to take the place over.”

“Okay so your dad is an arse.” Ron surmised. “But bloody hell Harry you’re a demigod. Voldemort wouldn’t stand a chance.”

“Ron’s right.” Hermione said. “You should tell us your name, see if it’s true. It doesn’t mean you have to do anything with Loki. All it means is that you’re giving yourself the best chance to fulfill the prophecy. I’m honestly not surprised that you’re a demi-god Harry.”

“What?” Harry demanded. “How in Merlin’s name aren’t you surprised?”

“Harry when we were eleven you wrestled a troll. When we were twelve you slew a basilisk. When we were thirteen you cast a patronous so powerful you drove off over a hundred dementors right as they were about to perform a kiss.” Hermione said. “That’s not even including all of the other amazing things you do on a yearly basis. Honestly only a demi-god would get into as many adventures as you do.”

That made him huff a laugh.

“Blimey.” Ron said. “If you’re a demi-god does that make us your…side kicks?”

“No.” Hermione said. “Obviously we’re his adventuring companions. Oh what’s the word the Asgardians used. I read it once in a book. Shield brethren! We’re his shield brother and sister.”

“Shield brother? What does that mean?”

“It means that we guard each other’s backs.” Harry said softly. “It means we’ll be with each other through anything. It’s a bond stronger than blood because it’s a bond forged through trial. A bond you choose.”

He didn’t know how he knew that. Had he read it somewhere? That didn’t sound like him.

“Sounds like us.” Ron said. “I don’t know about you guys but I have a lot of family and I’m closer to you two than any of them. Not that I don’t love my family but…”

“I get it.” Hermione said. “I feel closer to you two than I do my parents.”

“I imagine if I ever had a family it’d feel like what I feel with you guys.” Harry admitted.

“Then that’s settled. I’m Hermione Jean Granger and I am a shield sister to Ronald Weasley and Harry Potter.”

She said this very officially even raising one hand up like it was a magical vow. Harry sat up between his two friends wondering what was going to happen next. There was stillness in the air, anticipation was growing. Ron raised his hand next almost transfixed.

“I’m Ronald Billius Weasley and I’m a shield brother to Hermione Granger and Harry Potter.”

Ron and Hermione’s hands started glow, snakes of light circling their fingers, palm and wrist. A promise built in magic. Harry knew if he wanted to do this then he needed to use his real name. Or it wouldn’t count as much as it could, as much as it should. He lifted up his own hand and took a deep breath.

“I am Haraldr Lokison and I am a shield brother to Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger.”

The light sparked along his own hand but it was much brighter than his friends. In fact it was burning. The burning spread down along his entire body circling and heating him up from the inside out. He closed his eyes against the pain and felt his friends grabbing him. The pain increased around his forehead burning like only Voldemort had only ever been able to do to him. The pain was so much that Harry couldn’t even scream, his breath has been stolen away. The last thing he recognized before he gave into unconsciousness was his friends touching his skin and calling his name.

He woke hours later still in the room of requirement. His entire body felt sore and leaden. He forced his eyelids open with a great force of will.

“Harry?” Hermione asked. “Are you awake?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, thank Merlin. One more hour and I was going to drag you to Madam Pomphrey no matter what Ron thought.”

His mouth felt like it had been stuffed with cotton and his tongue was numb. No sooner had he thought about than a glass of water appeared in mid-air. Hermione caught the glass and then carefully helped him sit up and gave him a few sips.

“Ron went out to get food with the cloak a few minutes ago. You’ve been out for 5 hours. It’s well past midnight now. How do you feel?”

“Sore.” He said lifting up a hand to rub his face.

Only to pause when he saw the mark on his wrist. It wasn’t all that noticeable really, it looked like just a small tattoo. He blinked and brought it closer to his face. It looked like a Celtic knot with three main knots intertwined.

“We all got them the moment you said your name.” Hermione said. “It’s evidence of the bond we formed. Don’t worry I’ve read about these. I knew what I was doing.”

“Really?”

“Of course. It’s just a basic bond. Nothing complicated like a marriage or adoption bond.” Hermione said clinically, almost offended that he doubted her. “All it is, is a magical manifestation of our friendship, our being shield brothers and sisters. Each node represents something. Here.”

She took his wrist in her hand gently and pointed to the first node. It had a zig zag pattern that reminded Harry a little bit of his scar.

“I learnt about this in Runes.” She said. “This one is a sōwilō node. It means literally sun but in runes like this it stands for protection, strength and guidance. It’s the line of a leader.”

“Isn’t that sort of like my…”

“Your scar? The rune sōwilō is the exact shape of your scar actually. Probably more evidence of your demi-god-ness.” She said.

“So is that my line? I don’t feel like a leader.”

“Harry the DA may have been my idea but you are definitely the leader of it.”

There was no denying that. Harry may not have felt like much of a leader but he was the head of the DA. He nodded and so Hermione moved to the next knot. It sort of looked like a bunch of triangles.

“This is the berkanan. Literally it means ‘birch tree’ but birches stand for wisdom and hope.”

Harry almost wanted to say that this was for Hermione but that didn’t feel right. Mostly because he knew his friends better than that. If this was about hope then Ron was their best bet. Ron was the one who could be optimistic. Ron was the one who looked on the bright side. Ron was the one who kept Harry and Hermione from falling into anxiety. Ron distracted them with jokes, stories and chess games.

“Ron?”

“That’s what I thought too.” She said wryly. “Ron thinks I’m crazy but then again I don’t think he knows himself very well.”

“What’s yours then?”

“The laguz. It means lake but usually refers to seer water. In this case I’m assuming it means someone clear minded and intelligent who can see many possible paths and possibilities. Someone who knows more than most but like many seers doesn’t know what to do with it.” She explained.

“Sounds like you but you always know what to do.”

“I really don’t Harry.” She sighed. “When you fainted, I had no idea what to do. I just…try to plan for every worst case scenario. That’s why I always seem so prepared.”

“You still get us through.”

“No don’t you see Harry. We get each other through.” Hermione said. “Look at how the three nodes interlock in the center and the overall circular shape of the image. We’re all equal partners in this. Together we are at our strongest. I’m the brains, you’re the brawn and Ron’s the heart. Together we make one round, never ending and in balance.”

That was actually rather poignant. Harry touched the mark on his wrist. It was silvery in the light and it would be barely noticeable. It felt nice to have it there.

“Why’d you have us bond Hermione?”

“You told me you didn’t have a family.” She said.

“You knew that though.”

“Of course, I did.” She said. “But…I don’t know it just hit me how unfair all of it was. You’re one of the kindest people I’ve ever met Harry and it…I know you never had a good time at the Dursleys but I just tried not to think about why because it made me so angry and upset that you were suffering and I couldn’t do anything. Now with Sirius gone our one chance at getting you out of there before your 17th birthday is gone. I just wanted to make sure you knew we were with you all the way. Have been from the beginning.”

He sniffed and rubbed his eyes. It was then that he noticed his glasses were gone.

“Where are my glasses?”

“Do you need them? I’m sorry I forgot to hand them to you. We took them off when you passed out.”

Harry shook his head and looked around him. The room was crystal clear. He could see the individual gray stones of the castle wall. The grain on the wood of the torches that light the room.

“I don’t need them.”

“What?”

“I think that spell Loki used on me messed with my eyesight. It’s gone and I can see.” Harry said in awe. “I can see.”

“That’s wonderful Harry. How does your head feel?”

“My head?”

“Any headache?” She asked.

That was when Harry realized he didn’t have a headache. For over a year he had had a constant ache in his head. Ever since that night in the graveyard after Voldemort had touched his skin. But it was gone. No pain lingered in his head. He rubbed his scar expecting it to prickle but to his surprise it felt like…a scar. Nothing special.

“No. It doesn’t hurt. Why?”

“Well you’re scar glowed a few hours ago. You screamed a lot and said it was burning but then you sort of switched into Parseltongue and we didn’t understand.” She said wringing her hands.

Hermione was seated on the floor next to the couch while Harry’s body took up its entire length stretched out.

“Did anything else happen?”

“Well…you grew.”

“Grew?”

“Yes. You’re only a bit shorter than Ron now. You used to be shorter than me. I think Loki’s spell kept your body looking like James instead of like his real Aesir body. But now that you’ve broken it you grew to your proper height.”

“Blimey. No wonder I’m so sore.”

“Your hair’s the same and so are your eyes and nose.” She said. “You just got a bit taller. Most people won’t notice since you slouch all the time.”

“A slouching demi-god. What will the history books say?” Ron said from the entrance.

Harry and Hermione giggled while Ron brought over his basket of food from the kitchens.

“Good to see you mate. How are you?”

“Sore but alive. Don’t really feel much different really.”

“Well there’s one way to test if you are.” Ron said.

Ron reached into his basket and pulled out a fork.

“Bend it. You should be strong now yeah?”

Harry took the fork but before he could even attempt to bend the fork it mangled itself in his hand under what he had thought had been a gentle grip. He moved the fork in his hand. It still felt like metal to him of course but soft and malleable in a way that it never had before. He swallowed and looked up at his friends.

“That was easy.”

“It might also be a bit harder to hide.”

“Bloody hell mate. You’ll break any door knobs you touch with strength like that.”

“Or people.” Harry added.

“Stay calm.” Hermione said. “I’ll look up in the library what we should do and I’ll make up a few plans…”

“Don’t sweat it Hermione.” Ron said. “It’s just going to take practice. Here.”

He took the mangled fork from Harry and cast a repairing spell on it. Then he held it out to Harry again.

“Try again.”

He took the fork with as gentle a grip as he could and found that it only bent a little.

“See practice.” Ron said smiling. “Harry’ll get used to it. It’s just like how we had to learn to control our magic as first years. He can do it again with this. And if he breaks anything we can fix it. We do have magic after all.”

“What about when I go back to the Dursleys?” Harry asked, stories of tragic greek demi-gods filling up his head.

That made Ron pause even Hermione looked stumped. Harry sighed and leaned forward to sneak out a bite of food out of the basket. Of course he crushed the soft cake he pulled out in his hand. He played it cool but dumping all of the crushed mess in his mouth like he’d meant to do that. Which made his two friends giggle at him.

They for a while, all of them thinking about what had happened. The longer Harry had to think about it, the angrier he got.

“I just…I can’t believe it.”

“What?”

“He left everything behind.” Harry said.

“Harry.” Ron said. “Maybe he thought you died.”

“What?”

“I’ve been thinking about it.” Ron said. “I don’t know why you survived the killing curse. But some of the stories my mum’s told me about demigods…well even that curse could kill them.”

Harry swallowed at more evidence that he was freakish somehow.

“It’s true. The spell would work on a god if you could hit them with one powerful enough.” Hermione added. “Maybe he thought you died and so he went home because his family was dead. And when he came back to earth maybe he wanted to get revenge…I’m not saying it’s right but it does make sense.”

Harry clenched his fists, the skin turning white. He had to admit it did make sense. If Loki had thought Harry was dead then why would he ever go looking for him at the Dursleys? But something about it didn’t sit right.

“But what about Remus?”

“What?” Ron asked.

“Remus! His best friend! Even if he thought everyone was dead. Even if he was right and I was dead and Sirius and Peter and Mom were all dead, he still left Remus behind, all alone. We saw him in our third year. Do you think he was doing well?”

That made his two friends scowl because it was true. No matter what the explanation was that Loki had, no matter what had happened, short of being obliviated, he had left Remus Lupin behind. Harry wanted answers, but more importantly he wanted justice.

“All I want to do is just…use all of this new strength I can’t control and punch him in his rat face!”

Hermione smile a little at Harry’s declaration while Ron only looked more thoughtful.

“What is it Ron?”

“Why don’t you Harry?”

“Why don’t I what?”

“Punch him.”