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Ramadan 2, 364

 

Nefer sat on the bank of the Nile above Abu, sorrow in his expression as he watched the waters rush past. He held a lotus bloom in his hand as he stared at the water, absently shredding the petals between his fingers. “Sithathor…” he sighed, and tossed the bloom into the waters, rising to his feet as it swept out of sight.

 

He froze at the sound of a low groan coming from upriver, and turned to see a gazelle gazing implacably at him. He froze, and bowed his head, “My lady.” The gazelle snorted and tossed her head, darting in the direction from which he’d heard the groan. Nefer frowned and darted after her.

 


 

Harry groaned, curling into a ball, the sound of water flowing piercing through his unconscious state. He heard a soft gasp, and blinked open bloodshot eyes to see a man in strange robes (even for the wizarding world) leaning over him. Harry flinched back, “Who are you?” He choked out

The other man frowned, cocking his head to one side, speaking in a strange melodic tongue, “Hal 'ant bakhyr?”

Harry shook his head, wincing as he slowly sat up, the other man moving back, “I don’t understand.”

Green eyes scanned over his face, “Bu daha mı iyi?” At Harry’s look of confusion, he continued, “Tu Romanus es?”

Harry blinked, “That’s Latin, right?”

His companion cocked his head, but when Harry didn’t continue, he kept going, “Kya aap yah jubaan bol sakate hain? Kī iha tuhāḍī zabāna hai? Éllines ísos?”

Harry swallowed harshly, very aware of his dry throat, and mentally cursing the goblins, “Sorry, no.”

The other sighed and ran his hand over his face, ~How can I help the hatchling if I can’t speak to him?~

Harry blinked, ~You want to help me?~

The other jerked his head back to face Harry, ~You’re a Speaker?~

Harry winced, ~Yes.~

~Very well then. I am known as~ “Ankhkherednefer,” ~you are?~

Harry blinked, “Harry” ~and you are~ “Anchor-nefer?”

“Hari?” ~Strange.~ He paused, ~Call me~ “Nefer” ~if it passes your lips more easily.~ He paused, and stood, offering a hand to Harry, ~Come, it is not well-thought to remain out in the heat at this time of the seasons.~ Harry blinked, and took the hand, letting Nefer assist him to his feet. Nefer started striding out into the desert, leaving a puzzled Harry to follow after him, ~How do you come to be here~ “Hari?”

~I asked the small Savage Ones for a safe den.~

 


 

Nefer frowned, parsing through the sentence given by his strangely clad companion, “Goblins?” He gave the other a confused look, ~What were you doing with them?~

Hari gave him an equally confused look, ~They run the places of the shining metal.~

“Shining metal?” He frowned, “Gold?” ~For how many seasons?~

“Um.” The boy frowned, ~Many.~

Nefer choked, tripping over his own feet as he turned to stare at the boy, ~What point in the cycles is it?~

Hari gave him a worried look, and spat out an unintelligible series of syllables.

Nefer groaned, ~The den of~ “Wadjet” ~is beneath the~ “Cypress.” He waved the boy in through the doorway of the tent now before them, following after him.

 


 

Harry stared around in surprise, if he hadn’t already known he was in another country by the geography, then this tent would have been enough to tell him. It was filled with silks and furniture that his admittedly limited education told him was probably Arabic or Turkish in design. “Wow.”

His host was standing over a desk scattered with scrolls, digging through them. He finally pulled a tablet looking to be covered with wax from beneath a pile and set it on a low table nearer the doorway, motioning Harry to take the seat opposite him, “Daena naemal hdha , 'alays kadhlk?”

Harry swallowed, “Right.”

Nefer paused, seeming to examine his guest, before rising from his seat as Harry sunk into the one opposite, and collected a brass jug from a side table and a small glass, ~Life-liquid. Drink.~

“Thank you.”

 

Nefer waited and watched Harry with piercing green eyes until he seemed satisfied with the amount of water ingested, and then handed him the tablet, ~Now, cycle-date?~ Harry cocked his head, and wrote on the tablet: 16th May 1998. The other man choked, and spoke once more ~This, cycle-date?~ He tapped the latter set of numbers, and at Harry’s nod, he grimaced and crossed it out, and wrote his own letters and numbers: Ramadan 2, 364. He tapped the last three numbers, ~Cycle-date~ “Hijri.” He wrote another set: Maius 11, 975. “Romanus.”

Harry stared at the tablet, “Shit.” At the other’s confused expression, he elaborated, ~I hatched~ and wrote on the tablet: Julius 31, 1980. ~I cycle-travelled.~

  


 

Nefer froze, ‘Not good.’ ~Intentional?~

The boy shook his head, ~Asked Savage Ones for safety. They chose how.~

~This is not good.~ He stared at the boy, ~Not safe before hatching.~ He pinched his nose as the boy froze, looking terrified, “Hari” ~hatching-name?~
~Yes.~

~Did Savage Ones give you a path to follow? New hatching-name?~

~Blood-spill named me different as well as hatching.~

Nefer sagged in relief that he would have to watch the boy suffer the fate of those out of time, ~Name is?~ He offered the tablet after scraping it clean, and watched as the boy scrawled out a connection to his own house: Svalazah Alioth Wadjet. “Interesting.” He smirked at the boy, and tapped the last name, ~My kin-name also.~

 


 

Harry gaped in shock, “What?” At Nefer’s annoyed look, he elaborated, ~Your kin-name?~

~Yes.~ He hissed, looking satisfied. ~Means I can use speakings to give you my non-Speaker Tongue.~

Chapter Text

Nefer frowned at Hari, “This is going to be so complicated.” He switched languages, so the boy could understand, and held out his left hand, ~Take my hand.~ As the boy did so, he placed his other hand atop the one in his grasp, and let his magic swell into the pendant hanging from his throat, knowing the amulet would be glowing as it worked to power his spell. “Djehuti,” ~I entreat you. Grant this hatchling before me knowledge of the hatching-tongue of my own clutch.~

 


 

Harry watched in shock as the cat-headed necklace about his host’s neck started to glow golden, and magic started to flow through the air between the two of them as Nefer continued to speak, until finally it halted and he could take in a deep breath, a mild headache blooming into life behind his eyes. “Did it work?”

Nefer smirked, and released his hands, “You tell me.”

“You’re speaking English?”

Nefer cocked his head, “No. Djehuti granted you knowledge of my People’s Tongue.” He frowned, “You seemed to recognise Latin, so you might know it best as Arabica.”

Harry frowned, “Arabic? We’re in Arabia?”

Nefer sighed, pouring himself a glass of water, “No. We’re in the Nile Valley.”

“Egypt?” Harry gaped.

“Going by your reaction, that is as much news to you as the time period you find yourself in?”

Harry swallowed, “You could say that. I was in England last I knew.”

“England?” Nefer’s accent stumbled over the strange word.

“Um… Britain?”

Green eyes flickered shut as his host thought that through, “Britannia?” He snorted, “You did come a long way.”

 


 

Nefer frowned, flicking his eyes over the slight form of the figure before him, “How old are you, child?”

Hari flinched, “I’m eighteen. Hardly a child.”

“True. Especially considering my people judge adulthood at twelve.” Ignoring his guest’s gape, he continued, “I won’t be able to claim you as my child then. Parental adoptions are difficult after one has come of age… to say nothing of the minimal age gap. It’s doubtful any would believe you to be mine with only a seven year gap between us.”

“Adoption?” Hari frowned, “What are you talking about?”

Nefer folded his fingers together, fixing his eyes on his guest’s face, “You’re a stranger in these lands Hari. If you wish to live safely, you’ll need to be taken under the protection of a Noble House… and that’s ignoring the secret of your time travel. Huah does not take kindly to those who defy him. The fact that you have a secondary Name, one tied to my own House, suggests that you are intended to slip into the timestream without difficulty, however, you will need to become a part of this time.” He grimaced, “The fate that awaits time travellers who do not do so, and who intend to remain as they were before they fell backwards, is not a kind one. Hari will have to die in order that…” He glanced at the tablet, “Svalazah, may live.” He gave a calm shrug, “Otherwise you will fade and die.”

Hari groaned, “Bloody Goblins.”

“Aye. They are that.” He smirked, “There’s a reason we don’t trust them with our banking systems.”

“You’re smarter than my People then.”

“That’s as may be, but you cannot tell me what happens between now and then, Hari.” Nefer cocked his head, “Travelling back may have stuck us on a different path to the one from which you travelled from, but there is still the chance that it did not, and that you were always here.” He shrugged, “We need to consult with the Gods, but you cannot do that as Hari, and until we do, we cannot know if you will be here indefinitely, or if you will eventually return to your own time.”

 


 

Harry opened his mouth to object, but then thought better of it, “Huah?”

“He is the God of Infinity and Time, of Long Life and of Eternity.” Nefer shrugged, “I’m sure you can see how this fits into his domain.”

Harry groaned, “Right.”

“You don’t know my People’s Gods, do you?”

Harry shrugged, “I’ve heard of Osiris and Horus, I think? But none of the others, if there are others.”

Nefer snorted, “Oh, there are others. Over two thousand I believe.” At Harry’s confused look, he elaborated, “Not all of those of us who still follow them recognise all of them, but you will need to at least learn the basics.”

“Why are you helping me?”

 


 

Nefer froze, recognising the pained question for what it was. ‘That poor child.’ He swallowed heavily before continuing, “My parents died when I was young. I was taken in by the House of Djehuti and lived with them until I came of age and took over my own Estates. I eventually married their youngest daughter, Stihathor.” He closed his eyes, fighting for calm, “I know what it is to be alone in the world, Hari. If not for my wife’s family, I would likely have lost everything.” He paused before continuing, “I was eight at the time. It would not be difficult to claim that I had a younger brother, who was taken by their killers.” He grimaced sadly, “We can claim that they kept you as a slave before you eventually managed to escape, and that you only just managed to track me down.”

“You would do that? You don’t even know me.”

“I know that a blood-test identified you as kin to my House. That tells me enough.” He smiled at the look of confusion blooming on the younger male’s face. “My House is named for Wadjet for a reason. Our purpose originally was to protect the Pharaoh of Lower Egypt. A Son of our Line served as his sworn shield until the unification, at which point the duty was shared with a Daughter of House Nekhbet. Eventually we intermarried to the point that only House Wadjet remains however. After the Pharaohs fell, we continued our duties of protection to Egypt herself. If Wadjet has claimed you into her Bloodline, then she has deemed you as deserving of the Name. She would not have done so if she did not believe you were trustworthy.”

“Her Bloodline?”

Nefer blinked, ‘He doesn’t know?’ “Magical Families start in one of two ways. Either a child is born from a human to creature relationships, or one of the Gods takes a lover from among us. Said child is always among the strongest of us. Occasionally the gifts fade in a Bloodline, and a child is born nearly indistinguishable from an unGifted, but the Magic always returns further down the Line.” He paused, “The Lore is that Wadjet approached a fisherman and his wife, and asked them to raise her son. They gave the boy her name as his Housename, and our Line continues from there.” He shrugged, “We still don’t know who the father of the child was, but we don’t especially need to know.”

 

He rose to his feet, and headed back outside, “We can discuss it further after you have eaten. I may not think you can remain with your birthname, but I understand if you need time to come to terms with that fact.” He smiled at the boy as he followed him out, “You are facing down a large change after all.”

Chapter Text

Nefer sighed, flicking his hand at the prepared firepit to light the dried dung already stacked within, and started cooking the evening meal, letting Hari resettle himself. A snuffling sound came from behind him, and he reached up without turning, letting his hand rest on the mare’s forehead. She nuzzled into his hand, before moving to lie in the shade of the tree. Hari stepped out of the tent and gaped at her for a moment, she turned her head to look at him, before resettling herself when her rider showed no concern. Nefer watched Hari approach out of the corner of his eye as he continued with the meal, so was unsurprised when he spoke, “What’s her name?”

Nefer flicked his gaze to Hari, “Aibnatu Alriyh Alsahrawia.” Hari blinked, so Nefer elaborated, “Names remain in their native tongue to your ears, I’m afraid, “Hers means Daughter of the Desert Wind.”

“She’s beautiful.”

“That she is.” Nefer settled back on his haunches, handing Hari a bowl of meat and dates, “Do you ride?”

Hari grimaced, “No. My People see horses as an extravagance of the wealthy.”

Nefer blinked at him in shock, “I would advise against sharing that information here. Some might agree, but the Muslims are taught that horses are gifts from their god.”

“Oh. You’re not…?”

“Neither Muslim, nor offended.” Nefer shrugged, beginning his meal. “I was raised Egyptian, not Muslim.” He paused, “Horses are still important to my culture, but I understand that you were reared differently to me.” He paused, giving the young man a considering look, “I’ll gift you one from my stables.”

Hari froze, “That means more than it appears, doesn’t it?”

Nefer smirked, “Maybe there’s hope for you yet. I was growing concerned you were taking it too well.”

“I questioned you about the adoption.”

“Yes, but that was more about why I would offer you that, and not what it would mean to you.”

Hari snorted, finally starting his meal, giving the dates a puzzled look as he ate, “I notice you’re still not explaining.”

He snorted, “Ai is from the Hadban Line of Mares. As such, she’s one of the more valuable horses in my stable… essentially, she’s worth a Pharaoh’s ransom.”

Hari choked, “What?”

“I may not be Muslim myself, but the majority of the population are, and even those who aren’t, know the value of horses. Essentially they are a sign of your position within the culture.” He cocked his head, “Mares are more valuable than stallions, and the Hadban Line is one of the five most valuable of the Desert Lines, the Al Khamsa… with the other Desert Lines already being more valuable than the imported horses.”

“So, you want to gift me a fortune?”

“Essentially.” Nefer shrugged, “I’ve already offered to claim you as kin. It would look poorly on me if I didn’t grant you the respect that that ensues.” He smiled dryly, choosing to continue while Hari was distracted, “The Hadban are bred to be one of the more athletic Lines. The Seglawi are usually faster, but they have poor endurance in comparison. Then there’s the Hamdani, which are similar to the Hadban, but much larger. The Abeyan look much like the Seglawi, but with a longer back, and more often with white markings. They’re also the smallest.” He flicked his green eyes over his companion, noticing the intrigue building in equally green eyes, “Last is the Kehilan. They are similar in size to the Hamdani, but stronger and deeper of chest.” He shrugged, spreading his hands, “There are other Lines of course, but those five are the most popular. My stable mainly consists of Ai and her kin, so it’s primarily Hadban.” He frowned, “You don’t look to have reached your full height, despite your age, yet you’re already taller than I am. My stable might suit you for now, but it might pay to find you a mount from one of the taller Al Khamsa Lines for when you attain your full growth. I mean, Ai could carry you at full height, but if you’re intending to ride for a prolonged period, a mount better suited to your height would be more comfortable for you both. So, either the Kehilan or Hamdani Lines most likely.”

Hari blinked, obviously fighting against the principles induced in the youthful hardships plain to see on his form, “T-thank you.” He met Nefer’s eyes, “For all of this.”

Nefer smiled softly, “You’re very welcome, Hari.” He paused, “You’ve made your choice, haven’t you?”

 


 

Harry hesitated for a moment, “Yes. Yes I have.”

“Well?”

“Just, you said House Djehuti took you in, won’t they know I’m a fraud?”

“You won’t be a fraud once I claim you properly.” Nefer set his bowl aside, “And no. They won’t. The only reason they took me in is because my mother was the cousin of Sirdar Djehuti’s wife. We barely knew each other before then.”

‘I can’t believe he wants me. But I don’t have a choice. Not really.’ Harry sighed, “I’ll accept your offer then.”

Nefer smiled, “Excellent.” He paused, “Just so you know, I only have a daughter, so you’re stuck as my heir.” He rose to his feet and disappeared back into the tent, his chestnut horse following after him.

What? Nefer!”

Chapter Text

Harry curled up on the sleeping mat Nefer had produced for him, his mind spinning from the developments of the day. ‘I can’t believe he’s doing all this for me. He doesn’t even know me.’ He sighed, and rolled over, noticing Ai laying facing him, Nefer curled up with his back against hers. ‘He doesn’t even know me.’ His breathing evened out, and he succumbed to sleep.

 


 

Nefer sighed, turning the events of the day over in his mind, ‘He’s taking this all far too well.’ He grimaced, ‘Hopefully I can get him settled in this time before he snaps.’ A smile flittered over his face as he heard Hari’s breathing even out. ‘I hope this works out for him, he carries too heavy a burden for one so young.’

 


 

Ramadan 3, 364

 

Harry groaned, rolling to his side as the sun filtered in through the doorway. An amused snort came from closer to the doorway, before the accented voice of his host filtered through his mind, “Coffee?”

Please.” Harry pulled himself upright in time to be handed a folded piece of flatbread and a small cup of thick dark coffee, before being steered out the doorway.

“Eat quickly.” Nefer smirked, sipping from his own cup, “We leave in an hour.”

“Right.” Harry paled, then blinked at the taste of the drink, “This is coffee?”

Nefer cocked his head, pausing in where he was activating the spells to shrink the tent and its contents back down for travel. “It is, yes. Why, is it different to what you know?”

Harry snorted, “Well, it’s less bitter for one.”

“Interesting.” Nefer slipped the now-shrunken tent into the saddlebag strapped behind Ai’s saddle, before handing Harry a bundle of fabric. “I may not have officially adopted you yet, but your clothing is not something that I have seen before. It would be safer for you if you dressed more the part.” He smirked at Harry’s grimace, as he scanned over Nefer’s own clothes, in comparison to those he was wearing currently. “Fortunately for you, I am known to prefer the Turkish style when traveling. Trousers make riding far more comfortable in my mind.” He cocked his head, “Though they will most likely be rather different to what you are used to.” He smirked, and shucked his long tunic, in exchange for the long coat folded over the saddle, revealing he was wearing a plain white shirt and baggy green trousers beneath. “I do follow the traditions, but some things are easier this way.”

“Right.” Harry unfolded the fabric, sagging in relief at the sight of a pair of baggy trousers, bound tight where the ankles would be, and a shirt matching the one Nefer himself wore. “Um…”

 


 

Nefer flicked his gaze to his companion, and snorted, before leading Ai back in the direction of the river, “Join us when you’re changed.” ‘It might be more difficult to help him adjust than I anticipated.’

His pupils slid vertical as he scanned over desert around them, only to be interrupted by a soft noise behind him. He spun, to see Hari standing there, looking nervous, and ‘Oh.’

“Am I wearing it wrong?” Nefer cocked his head, in enquiry, “You’re giving me a very strange look, Nefer.”

Nefer grimaced, “No, you’re wearing them right.” He shrugged, “You just look uncannily like my step-mother’s younger brother in them, only with a strong influence from my father as well.”

“Step-mother?”

“Yes.” Nefer shrugged, swinging up on Ai’s back, and offering Hari his hand, “My mother died when I was young. Father remarried some years later, but had no further children before he and his new wife were killed.” Hari clasped his hand, and Nefer pulled him up behind him, “The dates work out well enough for you to claim to be the daughter of that union. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were kin from that side at some point.” He nudged Ai into a soft trot out into the desert, having already filled the waterskins.

“Oh?”

“Your new middle name is Alioth. Alioth is a constellation, which is a part of the naming tradition of House Aswad, for all that they are a relatively newer House.”

Hari tensed at his back, “Would Aswad happen to translate to Black?”

“That it would.”

Hari slumped against his back, “My godfather was the last of the House of Black. It wouldn’t surprise me if he found a way to adopt me when I was little.”

“Hmm. That would explain the choice of names then. When a situation such as yours occurs, the Magic usually reshuffles their target to a House they have a strong tie to in whatever place it is deemed they’ll be taken. My Uncle died in the same mess as my parents, as far as I’m aware, there are no members of House Aswad left, and House Black cut all ties to them generations ago.”

“Ah.” Hari paused, “Where are we going?”

“There’s a small temple, about a day’s travel away.” Nefer smirked, flicking his once again split-pupils across the desert ahead, “It’s dedicated to Huah. If we are going to find a way to settle you into this time safely, then it’ll be there that we’ll find our answers.”

“Oh.” Hari subsided into silence.