|snarryswapmod (snarryswapmod) wrote in snarry_swap,
@ 2009-01-23 12:00:00
|centaury_squill, creation: fic, rated: r
Happy Daft Day, winoniel!
Title: Pictures of Harry
Warning: Non-magical AR.
Summary: Harry travels far from home and uncovers secrets from the past.
A/N: My first attempt at a non-magical AR. winoniel, I hope you enjoy the story!
♥ ♥ to the mods for running this fest and to G for the beta and the honey, lemon & rum tea.
Pictures of Harry
The frozen snow crunched under Harry's feet as he carefully made his way around the court. He scowled at the pristine expanse of white in the centre. It would be so much easier just to walk straight across, but their absurd rules were already ingrained in him, even after just one term. His scowl lifted into an impish grin as he imagined the expression on the porter's face if he came out of his cubby-hole to see a trail of footprints crossing the snow-covered grass and disappearing into the staircase opposite. It wasn't worth it, though – the culprit would be obvious. He and his supervisor were the only people left in this part of college. Everyone else had homes to go to, or friends to visit for Christmas. The scowl came back to Harry's face as he slowly climbed the stairs. He reached his supervisor's landing and glanced up at the name painted across the door lintel: DR SIRIUS BLACK.
The huge outer door was open, so at least Black was in and expecting him. Harry rapped on the inner door with knuckles reddened by the cold. He hated winter here. Even the glorious huge skies arching over miles of snowy fenland couldn't make up for the east winds scouring across the flat countryside, or the chilly draughts which invaded his room. He knocked again.
"Come!" Black's deep bark sounded annoyed. Harry wasn't sure why. It was his supervisor who had sent for him, after all. He shrugged and went in. Black was sitting at his desk: as usual, it was awash with books, papers and other detritus which overflowed onto the floor and left deposits on the shabby couch and armchairs. He waved Harry to a chair beside the desk then turned back to the document in his hand.
Harry looked at him in silence. Even after a term, he still knew very little about his supervisor. There were rumours that he had some kind of shady past, had even been in prison, but Harry wasn't sure if he believed them. He knew that Black didn't normally supervise PhD students, and that had given rise to speculation too. Some of the students had sniggered that it was because Sirius Black fancied Harry Potter. Harry knew that wasn't true. He'd had enough experience of fancying and being fancied by other men to know there was nothing like that in Black's attitude to him.
"You wanted to see me, sir?"
Black was still frowning at the document in his hand. He looked up at Harry. "Ah, yes. I'm flying out to Lima next week. I'm sure you can guess why?"
Harry nodded. The botanical research expedition to Peru had been the talk of the Plant Sciences department when he'd arrived at the university. Everyone had wanted to be part of it. Everyone – including himself – had made sure they had the necessary up-to-date passports and visas. Just in case.
It wasn't really surprising that a lowly, newly-arrived PhD student like himself hadn't, after all, been included. More surprising, perhaps, that Dr Black wasn't included either: he was one of the top plant researchers in the country, and Harry was sure that he, too, had been itching to go. Though it sounded like he now had his chance...
"That's great," Harry said, trying not to sound jealous. "You'll get away from this bloody awful winter, anyway!" He only had a hazy idea of Peru's climate, but it had to be warmer than this, surely? "I thought everyone was out there, now, though?"
Sirius Black gave a short bark of laughter. "Unfortunately some of them are having to come back. It appears there was an outbreak of food poisoning in the camp. Oh, nothing too serious, but it means there are now a few places to be filled." He scowled down at the document in his hand again. "And one has been filled by someone not at all to my liking," he added under his breath. Louder, he said: "You could come along too, if you like. I'm sure a fit young man like you could be useful."
Harry stared at him. This sounded almost too good to be true. "But there must be loads of other people – I mean –"
"Not at this short notice," Black said. "Not just before Christmas." He gave Harry a lopsided grin, almost a snarl, showing his teeth. "Don't you want to come?"
"Yeah, of course I do!" In spite of the cold, Harry felt a warm glow at the prospect.
"Good. Well, to work..."
The next hour or so were spent going over Harry's progress with his thesis, and which aspects of the work in Peru would be relevant. Dr Black gave him terse instructions on how to prepare for the journey and what to bring with him. Every so often he would break off, and the scowl would come back to his face. Harry wondered whether he was still brooding over this mysterious person who had also joined the expedition, the one who was not at all to his liking. It couldn't be someone from the department, surely. With the amount of gossip which went on there, any such feud would be common knowledge. Maybe it was someone from another university, another country, even: apparently several were involved in the project.
By the time Harry came out into the court the short winter day was already fading. The wind kicked up gusts of powdery snow and stung his cheeks, but he couldn't stop smiling. He was going to Peru.