Disclaimer: I own neither Harry Potter nor The Hobbit and I don't earn any money with this story.
Author's note: And this is the final chapter. I'm curious what you think about the end. Some of you probably won't like it, but I think it fits in nicely with the flow of the story.
Harry was slowly but surely going crazy.
For the last month, his reflection had developed a life of its own. Sometimes it was just blurry around the edges, but other times it turned into a wild maelstrom of colours. The brunet wasn't the only one who had noticed the problem, either. Everyone could see it, but none of them had found the source of the phenomenon, yet. It was neither caused by his magic nor Eirien's and nobody else in Imladris had the magical aptitude to mess with his reflection like that.
And speaking of his baby girl… this was a very inconvenient time to have such a problem, because Eirien's engagement banquet was just around the corner. Harry was still kind of fascinated that the brunette had finally convinced Tauriel to take the next step in their relationship. Though on the other hand… he probably shouldn't be. His daughter was just as stubborn as her parents.
With a last aggravated look at the colourful mess in the mirror, Harry stepped out of the rooms he shared with Elrohir when staying in Imladris. On the way to his first meal of the day, he nodded at the few passing elves in greeting and finally arrived at a large patio. Breakfast was already in full swing, but the twins, Eirien and Tauriel were still absent. Those morning people and their spars…
He dropped down next to Elrond, who he greeted with a mumbled 'Good morning'. The older brunet smiled indulgently and placed a cup of steaming tea in front of Harry. "Cheers." Sipping at the still hot beverage, the wizard closed his eyes and relished in the sunrays warming his back.
Blinking his eyes open again, Harry turned his head to the side, but Elrond was in the midst of a conversation with Erastor. The seat next to him was still empty and nobody was even looking in his direction. The brunet frowned and was about to file the call of his name away as a product of his imagination, when he heard it again. This time it was a bit louder, but reverberating, making it hard to pinpoint the source. And the voice… it was niggling at the back of his mind, yet he couldn't quite match it to a face.
"Harry? Is something wrong?" Elrond had apparently noticed his constant fidgeting and turning on his chair. Not to mention the deep frown lining the wizard's forehead.
"I don't know. I keep hearing my-"
The brunet swivelled back around to the table and gasped in wide-eyed astonishment. Silver plates, cups, cutlery – Everything reflective in front of Harry didn't show him or even a whirlwind of colours, but a young woman with bushy, brown hair, who he barely recognised after all these years. He quickly removed the remaining food from a plate and tilted it towards himself.
"H-hermione? Is that you? What-"
"Oh Harry, I'm so glad to see you! Are you alright? Where did you end up? I'm so sorry it took me so long to get this spell to work, but now that we can communicate with each other, it should be easier to find a way to get you back home. I found a book, which…"
While the brunet was still staring at his former best friend's face, his mind hadn't quite caught up to the current situation.
He had spent decades searching for a way home, while wallowing in crushing misery and hopelessness. Then Elrohir had entered his life and chipped away the longing and anguish, until nothing but sporadic bouts of abstract nostalgia had remained. Harry couldn't even remember the last time he had thought about his life before coming to Middle Earth. So yes, he was quite overwhelmed by suddenly being confronted with his distant past.
Startling back to the present, when arms wrapped around his shoulders, Harry forced himself back into a semblance of control. Before he had the chance to explain the situation to Hermione, however, Eirien, who was the one draped over him, already started to prattle.
"Woah, are you really Hermione? Is Ron also there? Dad's told me about all of your adventures, you know? My favourite is the one where he slays the basilisk with lhûgdagnir and-"
"Wait, wait, wait!" Hermione, gaping at them like a fish out of water, was pushed out of the 'screen' to make room for a redhead. It took Harry a moment or two to identify him as Ron – not because he had changed, but rather because remembering their faces was difficult. "Did I just hear the word 'dad'? And she meant you, mate? It's been a month; how the bloody hell can you have a grown-up daughter? She doesn't exactly look adopted, either!"
Upon seeing Hermione's youthful face, the brunet had suspected that time passed differently in Middle Earth… but to such a great extent? He idly wondered how a conversation between their worlds was possible under such circumstances, but quickly shoved the thought to the back of his mind.
"Yes, this blabbermouth is my daughter Eirien. And as to how that's possible, well… apparently time goes by a bit quicker where I am. It's-" For a long moment, Harry debated with himself whether or not to disclose a more detailed timeframe, but in the end decided to press on with a wry smile. "It's been about one hundred and fifty years since I last saw you guys…"
With a loud clatter, the medium, which his friends used to contact him, fell to the floor and showed him their ceiling. For a minute or two the image remained, until Hermione was in front of him again, looking distinctly paler than before.
"But you- you don't look any older. How-"
"I'm… uh… I'm not quite sure. I guess, it's due to the Hallows, but… well, let's leave it at that. How about I introduce you to everyone else and then I'll tell you what I've been up to since I landed in Middle Earth?"
After receiving a dazed nod, the wizard looked up and was surprised to see the patio almost empty. Elrond was still sitting next to him, looking equal parts curious and concerned, while Eirien hadn't yet released him from her hug. A glance to the side revealed Elladan, Tauriel and Elrohir and for some reason his husband was white as a sheet, his hands clenched hard enough to turn the knuckles white also. Had something happened during training?
Without further ado, the brunet put the plate back onto the table, shrugged out of the embrace and got up. Frowning, he stopped in front of Elrohir and inspected the elf for injuries. When he didn't find any, he looked back up and directly into a pair of clouded, grey eyes. "What's wrong?"
Elrohir opened his mouth to tell him, but no words found their way over his lips. Finally he just dragged Harry into his arms and held him close enough to make breathing difficult. It was almost like- oh.
"Ro…" The brunet wriggled long enough to free his arms from the tight embrace, so that he was able to cradle the elf's face in his hands. "You know that I won't leave you, right?" He nodded to the bracelet still encasing his wrist. "I promised to share with you the warmth of long days, the bounty of harvest, the trials of long nights and the joys of spring, remember? No matter if it's possible to go back to my old world or not, I have no intention of breaking my promise. This is my home now, you are my home and that won't ever change."
"Wow, that was really soppy," the older brunet muttered with a slightly rough voice, though his lips formed the same smile, the wizard had always loved. "But I feel the same. Always." And as if to seal their words, vows almost, Elrohir leant forwards to press his lips against Harry's, who gladly reciprocated.
The brunet didn't know what the future would bring. If he'd ever talk to his old friends again after today, if he'd have any more children or if there'd be another big evil trying to wreak havoc.
But he was ready to enjoy life while time passed, with his family by his side.
Rule number 8: The way is the goal, after all.