When Leo Valdez wakes up in the year 1898, confused, tired, and mistaken as a man named Albus Dumbledore, he knows he isn't in the right world. But when he tries to find a way to go back to his time whilst taking the identity of the missing Dumbledore, the world's troubles find him one after other; and he is forced to keep balance between the Magic and the Mist.
The Life and Lies of a Demigod Wizard is a Heroes of Olympus and Harry Potter crossover collaboration fan fiction by Hazelle More and Simon Layton.
~ The Life and the Lies of a Demigod Wizard ~
- Chapter One -
In the Leaky Cauldron
Knock, knock, knock?
The smart tap at the door woke up Leo – mainly because he was so unused to the sound. Nobody tapped on the door of his bedroom in the Hephaestus cabin, because there wasn't a door to tap in the first place. Same went for Bunker Nine, for there's nothing to tap in a hammock.
One of his brothers probably thought that it was very clear to break his well-earned sleep. He'd have to talk to Jake about it. Not even bothering to open his eyes, Leo put out his hand to the control panel to activate the soundproof wall around his super-awesome-magnificent bed, and maybe deliver a jack-in-the-box type punch to his disturber. Nobody disturbs Leo Valdez when he's sleeping, especially not when he was also having a headache pounding on his brain with ten hammers.
He didn't find the control panel.
Something cold hit his hand, and a few seconds later there was the sound of glass shattering next to his bed.
And there was the tapping again. "Mr. Dumbledore?"
Nobody called him with a 'Mister' title either, unless… unless…
Well, no one ever did. There was no 'unless' reason for it. Besides, last he checked, his surname was Valdez, not Dumbledore. Leo was pretty sure that no one in his family line had ever been called 'Dumbledore.' What sort of a name was that, anyway?
And the stupid headache wasn't backing down. Leo blamed it on the dream last night, he had kept dreaming of vortexes and very bright white lights – and Leo usually didn't appreciate getting blinded by very bright white lights in dreams.
The tapping noise came again, which sounded more like cannons going off in a battlefield to him. (He should know, he's been in quite a number of battles.)
What a horrible day.
Had he heard right? Was he imagining that name?
Grumbling, Leo got out of the bed. There was a soft and furry carpet under his feet – quite unusual, once again – but the son of Hephaestus had simply stopped questioning by the time. It was hard to concentrate on anything with a hammer pounding on his head.
He fumbled for a few seconds with the lock, and finally managed to get it open. Outside, a man, dressed in ridiculously old fashioned clothes and a large apron with pockets that could've easily carried a saucepan or a baby dragon, was standing with an expression like he was about to announce a death of a close friend.
"Mr. Dumbledore," he said again in an accent that was definitely British. "I hope you're well?"
Behind him, a very small person, barely reaching an average man's waist, was wheeling a tea cart loaded with food. Leo peered behind the apron guy, wiping his eyes to make sure that he hadn't been dreaming – but the tiny person and the tea cart had vanished before he could be sure.
"I'm truly sorry for having to wake you up so early in the morning, Mr. Dumbledore. But I'm afraid that I have some disturbing news."
"Yeah?" Leo said, struggling to keep up with the man and to stop the lights that were popping off around his eyes. The man handed him a rolled up piece of paper. Parchment, to be exact, as Leo identified in closer examination. He opened it and tried to read it, but his dyslexia did not like the heavily slanted cursive writing of the letter. The letters looked more or less like inter-twisting vines with withering leaves. He couldn't make out a single word.
The man shifted uneasily. "I didn't mean to open the letter, Mr. Dumbledore. I beg your pardon. But the owl that delivered it had hit one of the windows and…"
Did he say owl?
"…and had injured a wing. I've already sent the bird with an assistant to the Owl Emporium; he should be back anytime now. As for the letter…I'm afraid that it hadn't been sealed properly. It was already half open when I found the owl this morning when I went to throw away a batch of wasted beetle eyes-"
"Err, I think you've made a mistake…" Leo started, trying to explain that he wasn't Dumbledore to the man, but he was disturbed.
"Albus!" another voice rang shrill behind them. The man in apron turned back and greeted the newcomer with a bow. "Good morning, Mr. Do- I mean, Mr. Elphias. I shall leave now, Mr. Dumbledore. Please accept my deepest sympathies."
He nodded gravely and walked away, disappearing behind a corridor. Elphias – dressed in a long black cloak over pyjamas - came up to Leo and put an arm around his shoulders. "Never mind old Thomas, Al. You know he's not good at breaking news to anyone, be it a spoiled stew or Dementors on the loose. Come and take a seat, Albus."
His tone was kind and sympathetic, and he seemed to treat Leo as if they had known each other all their lives. But Leo was positive that none of his friends had had a name like 'Elphias,' and nor had he taken a trip to…to wherever he was right now. He didn't use owls to send letters, the aurae and the Hermes Express Delivery took care of the postal services. Most of all, why did they keep keep calling him Dumbledore and Albus? He was Leo Valdez, thank you very much, so why did they give him another name? Was it a prank? If this was the newest idea of Travis and Conner Stoll – he vowed to himself that they would pay. What was up with those strangers?
"You know, I think you're mistaken," Leo started again, and immediately regretted it. Another jab of sharp pain went up from the side of his skull. He winced and pressed his hand to where it hurt.
Elphias – who looked like he was around his late teens and a head shorter than Leo – patted him with a sigh. "I know this is hard to believe, Albus. I know how hard it is for you to accept this. And in the morning of our world tour, no less… Let's not weep over the spilled cauldron now. It's good the news came before we disapparated… Please accept my deepest sympathies for you and your family. Here, have some water." He said, and pushed a glass of water into Leo's hand.
That alone should have worried him, for he hadn't seen him pouring it, but Leo drained the whole glass in one long gulp without thinking of it. The glass was refilled to the brink before he could ask for more, and he didn't stop until he had drunk five whole glasses of water. It cured his parched throat – which he realized just now – and seemed to clear the throbbing of the head a little as well.
"Yeah, thanks," Leo replied and put down the glass on a table. Looking back up at Elphias for the first time, he took a deep breath and said, "Who are you? I mean, I know that you're Elphias – the guy in apron called you that. It's not too weird a name, really; I've heard crazier ones, but those names usually went with twenty feet tall giants and other kinds of monsters, not with, y'know, people around my age. But I don't know you. I don't get what's in this letter either; my dyslexia is bad for reading. No offence, mate. Thanks a lot and everything for the water. I needed it. But I think you're mistaken. I'm Leo Valdez, not…uhh, whoever you and apron guy think that I am. I'm not this Dumbbell Doors person or anyone. I don't know this place, either."
Elphias looked like he has just been punched in the guts, or had seen a ghost, or both. His eyes were making perfectly round 'O's as they widened in disbelief, and he stepped away from the son of Hephaestus. Leo hoped that he would collect his wits soon, since it would have been quite awkward if the eyes literally popped out.
He certainly hadn't expected the next reaction.
Elphias pulled out something from his pocket and pointed it at Leo. "Incarcerous!"
A length of rope sprang off the tip of the thing – Leo had about a quarter of a second to realize that it was a wand – and bound him from head to toe instantly. He didn't have much time except to jump back, but he forgot that he was sitting on a chair, resulting on him toppling both himself and the chair onto the floor. The ropes bound him so tightly; he didn't even have space to breath properly. "Hey!" he protested, and more ropes tied themselves around his mouth, gagging him.
"Who are you? What did you do to Albus? Where is he?"
Elphias waved his wand again, and the ropes covering the mouth fell off. Leo coughed and wheezed "I don't know!"
"You're not Albus. But you still… You do feel like him. You've got his eyes. What are you and what did you do to him? Or is that you, Al? With the spells you do I wouldn't be surprised if you just invented another spell or a potion to make me think that you're another one…"
Spells? Potions? Wands? Leo's head was spinning, and it had nothing to do with the lack of breath. "Are you a son of Hecate?" he gasped against the tight ropes before he could contain himself.
"Hecate? Who's that?" Elphias asked again, confused. Seeing that the ropes were suffocating Leo he let them loosen a little again, yet tight enough to keep him restrained.
"You have a wand. You can do magic," Leo said, struggling against the cocoon of ropes, "so either you're a child of Hecate, or a legacy. I'd prefer to think that you're not a monster in disguise. Can you please take these ropes off?"
"What on Merlin's name are you talking about?"
The two men looked at each other with unfaltering glares, trying to make sense of what was happening. After a few minutes, Elphias broke off his stare and sat down weakly. "Albus and I apparated here last evening after saying goodbye to friends. We were going to leave this morning to France. Albus seemed a bit worried about something, but he told me it was nothing. And you… you don't really look like him… but you do feel like him. This is not like any magic I've seen. It's definitely not polyjuice potion. Who are you?"
Leo didn't notice right away that he had been asked a question. "Me? Leo Valdez, son of Hephaestus, friendly blacksmith and next-door inventor for all things mechanical. And I assure you, I didn't do anything to your friend. Heck, I don't even know him! Besides, what is this place? Not that I'm saying it's bad or anything. It's pretty good, though I think I prefer my cabin. And I hope that the apron guy - assuming that he's the owner of this place – wouldn't kill me for breaking that jug."
Elphias looked at the mess of glass and water at the side of the bed and pointed his wand at it. "Reparo!"
The jug flew back to the bedside table, fully formed and without a hint of being shattered to pieces just minutes before, except it was empty. Leo's jaw quite literally dropped – and he made a mental note to get one of those awesome magical sticks before heading back to the bunker. Apparently it served the bearers as a mix of tool, offensive weapon and goodness knew what other purposes; despite being bound and in the middle of a lot of trouble, Leo couldn't wait to try out what else a wand could do. Even the water on the floor evaporated neatly leaving no mark whatsoever.
"What?" Elphias looked back. "You know that it's nothing close to what you could've done, Albus. You- oh, wait. You're not Albus. I forgot."
He dropped his face into his hands in despair. Leo was almost tempted to call 'Joke's over, mate. Get me out of these ropes and let me go,' but he could see that this man's pain was real. By some magic – he ignored the pun – Leo had been pulled into this missing person, Albus' place, and by the same magic or something else, people seemed to confuse himself with Albus. He had seen something similar a few years back; when Jason had been transported to their bus with no memory of himself. Leo and Piper had been fooled by the Mist to believe that Jason was their friend, fabricating three months of false memories in their minds. That, of course, had been due to Hera's exchange of the camp leaders to unite the Greek and Roman camps for the Giant war. They had won, but not without heavy prices. But Leo had sometimes found it hard to believe that his memories had been tampered with – because those three months at the WildernessSchool felt so real and detailed, and he experienced very painful migraines every time he tried to find his own memories. He had his reasons for wanting his own memories…
Leo pushed out that thought.
If so, hethought, the Mist must be fooling the people to believe that I'm another person. Yet, these people were so different from him. They talked differently, dressed differently and even behaved differently. Obviously they, too, had their own kind of mythical world, something that differentiated from the common mortals; but it was completely separate from what he was used to. The closest thing that came to what Elphias did was what the children of the Hecate cabin did; but their powers came from the Goddess of Magic, whereas these people…
He'd have to find that answer later, if he ever had time.
Still there was one difference between his and Jason's positions. Jason and Percy's memories had been stolen at the exchange, whereas Leo still had his. His last memory was… Leo searched his mind, and then came upon the glitch.
He couldn't remember anything beyond hollowing through a caved-in tunnel of the Bunker Nine.
"Look here, Elphias," he spoke up. "Do you have any impending wars or crazy goddesses who switch leaders for their hobby?"
Elphias didn't look up.
"I'll take that as a no. Are you a demigod or something like that? I mean, what are you and Albus?"
"Wizards, of course," his voice was rugged. Leo had a feeling that he was fighting to stay strong, and that strength wasn't his forte. This Albus person probably had the higher position in their friendship, he guessed. Interesting...
"Wizards? Like, tall pointed hats and magic carpets and brooms-witch type wizards? Do all of you have those… umm, wands? And… I don't know, those potions and spell books the Hecate kids have in their cabin?"
The young wizard looked up at Leo with one very clear expression: Duh.
"Can you take these ropes off?"
"No." The wizard stood and went to the bedside table. He picked up something and examined it, his face almost tearing up. Leo saw that it was another wand (he wondered briefly how he hadn't noticed it before). It was smooth, longer than Elphias' wand, and it was made of a dark brown wood. Leo also noted other details in the room, things that probably belonged to Albus. There was a large trunk, with a name tag announcing that it belonged to A.P.W.B. Dumbledore, with a neatly folded set of clothes and a smaller bag over it. Some kind of long garment was put neatly over a clothes rack, and a set of boots stood under it, ready for wear. The dressing table was empty except for a very thick book with the cover filled with symbols he couldn't understand.
Leo got the second worst shock of the day when he looked at his own reflection in the mirror.
So did Elphias, when the demigod screamed. The wands fell to the floor, singing two holes in the carpet, but neither of them noticed it.
"My… my eyes!" Leo nearly screamed, wriggling against the ropes. "What happened to my eyes?"
"Your eyes look perfectly fine to me," the wizard said, picking up the wands again.
"It… One of them has turned blue!"
It had. Not just any regular blue either – one of his eyes had turned into a startling blue that was very noticeable even across the room; perhaps even more highlighted because it contrasted a lot against the left eye that remained his own, the warm brown he had since birth. His face had changed a little as well. His face, which used to be sun burnt and red from all the time he spent in the forges and camp activities had turned slightly lighter, and many of the sun burns had disappeared.
"Are you joking? They both are blue!" Elphias stated. "I told you, you have Albus' eyes. You even look like him a little."
"B-but…my eyes were brown…"
His whimpering was cut across when another tap sounded against the door. "Mr. Dumbledore, Mr. Do- Elphias," came the voice of Thomas, the apron guy. "When would you be departing? Should I send up the breakfast?"
"We'll come down," Elphias answered loudly. "Thank you for the trouble, Mr. Thomas."
"As you please," Thomas replied and left. Elphias looked back Leo.
"Albus' mother had passed away early this morning," he said. "Your brother- I mean Albus' brother, Aberforth, sent owls to both of us. The funeral will be held this evening. Aberforth and Ariana need their elder brother back home."
He didn't elaborate, but Leo could see the desperation and message. Whoever, or whatever that caused this exchange had chosen a very bad time. Whatever he was expecting, it hadn't involved a whole family and responsibilities. Elphias' statement made it clear that Albus had been expected to take up the responsibility of the family in this time of distress. The expressions of the sympathy Leo received this morning made sense now – they had thoroughly mistaken him for Albus Dumbledore, the one who had just lost his family.
It wasn't just his mother that Albus had lost. His own existence seemed to have been lost…
Or had it?
"What are you planning to do?" Leo asked after a sigh.
"I don't know," Elphias answered honestly. "It was always Albus who guided us past the problems, though he always encouraged taking our own decisions. With him gone… and with Mrs. Dumbledore's death…"
He pointed his wand at Leo, and the ropes fell off to the floor. "Thomas seems to think that you're him. Even I'm still confused. So it looks like that you got some part of Albus. Besides, something is making me believe that you're really Albus. If…"
He didn't finish, but Leo got the meaning in a few seconds.
"What? No way!" he stood up. "Me becoming Albus? No way, Elphias! That's… that's so wrong and so twisted!"
"I didn't say that!" the wizard took back a step, looking scared at the outburst and seemingly to regret releasing the ropes. "I… I was only pointing the facts."
He looked down at the two wands in his hands and sighed. After a few moments of thought, he offered Albus' wand to Leo. The gesture surprised the demigod. He had wished for a wand barely moments earlier, but he certainly hadn't expected Elphias to offer Albus' wand, just like that.
"Take it," the wizard persisted. "It'll tell you what we need to know."
Leo hesitated. He had seen Elphias perform some impressive tricks with a wand, and it seemed possible that what he saw was only a minute part of its magic. Besides, taking Albus' wand? It felt like he was stealing it. What was the wizard thinking? And what did he mean when he said that it'll tell you what we need to know? Was it possible that the wand could identify its owner? It seemed a farfetched theory to the demigod – how could a piece of wood a little more than a foot long be able to identify its owner? And what if the wand thought that he was an enemy? The piece of wood seemed to be more than capable of making harm. Elphias, too, still had his own wand.
Still, it was interesting. Every time Leo would see something interesting, he couldn't rest until he had checked it. Every time Leo saw a new machine, he couldn't wait until he had taken it apart, put it back together, replicated it and modified it with his own demigod powers. This wand looked nothing like any machine he had seen. For his ADHD mind, it was a very shiny piece of intrigue.
"It will not kill you," Elphias said, still with his hand outstretched. "Probably."
Leo gingerly took the wand, wrapping his fingers around the polished wooden handle. The whole wand was made of a dark brown wood, and though it showed signs of wear, it had definitely been well maintained.
"Beech and phoenix feather," Elphias said. "Thirteen and a half inches long."
"Awesome. But what am I supposed to do?"
"Just give it a wave."
Feeling very stupid and almost afraid, Leo waved it in the air.
There was sudden warmth in his hand, but it was a homely, welcoming type of warmth. The wand shot red and golden sparks from the tip, and small dancing curls of flame ran along the wand, throwing more sparks in the air.
Leo didn't know how to stop it, but the flames died down and the sparks blinked and disappeared when he wanted it to. "W-what just happened?"
"You… It…" The wizard struggled for words. "Albus Dumbledore's wand just claimed you as its master."
The silence in the room grew heavy and dark. And it took a few minutes until Leo could break it. "What?"
Elphias sighed and sat down on the bed. "Why? How? And what happened to Albus?" he muttered, more to himself than to Leo. "A wand doesn't change masters unless… unless they're defeated in some way. And yet… it doesn't look like he's been defeated. He's not even here! Yet his wand says that you're the owner…"
"Look here, man," Leo said, holding the wand as if it might burst into flames again – not that it would have bothered him. He could feel it thrumming in his hand, as if it could not wait to get into action again. "I'm telling you, I have no idea about what happened. I'm not a wizard. I don't know about your friend, I'm really sorry, but I don't know how I ended up here. Heck, I don't even know where this is. I was in CampHalf-Blood in Long Island, last I checked, anyway. I'm sorry, but I don't know what this is about. And for your friend's family… well, I don't know, Elphias."
"Come with me." The wizard suddenly looked up. He didn't seem to have heard the last bits of what Leo had said. "You owe it to them. They can't lose both their mother and brother at the same time. You have to explain it to them, not me."
"Huh?" The demigod took a step back, holding his hands up. This was going way too fast for Leo. "No way! Me? Go with you to this Dumbledore family to tell that... that their brother's gone?"