Author: sa_kun On LJ.
Prompt Set: 50.1
Prompt: 018, child
Word Count: 662
Summary: Harry is given a baby the Dursleys didn't want.
Notes: This series continue after Requiem for a Dream ended.
Child | 018
Dudley glared at him. In his arms, he held a baby wrapped in a threadbare quilt. “What are you doing here, Dudley?” Harry didn't like how apprehensive his voice came out.
“Mum had a baby,” he muttered. “The little runt floated out of the crib two days ago. Dad went absolutely mad. Mum told him to get rid of the little freak.”
“Either you take it, Potter, or Dad drowns it like a rat, you understand?”
Biting his lip, Harry nodded. Dudley placed the child in his arms as quickly as possible, then shook his arms as if to rid himself of an infectious disease.
“How did you find me?” The question slipped out without consent, before Harry realised he wanted – even needed – to ask it.
“Mum said she knew a freak as a kid, that he'd probably know where to find you. He lived here, she said.”
“Still does, in fact,” Harry murmured. The baby moved. “Does it have a name?”
Dudley scoffed. “Take care of it, Potter.” Then he trudged down the porch, where a car was waiting.
It was the last time Harry ever saw any of the Dursleys. Two days later, when he found a letter wedged under one of the loose stones on the front steps, and it revealed Meredith's birth certificate, it was the also the last time he ever heard from them.
“What is it, Harry?”
The baby chose that moment to make a noise, and if he hadn't been completely terrified, he might've thought the way Severus tensed and straightened slowly, then turned around, highly comical.
“My Aunt and Uncle… Dudley just left her—” him? “—and…it's a Muggleborn, I guess?”
Two hours later, Harry winced. “Oh, God, Meredith, I am so sorry. You are a very, very masculine little boy.”
Rocking the almost asleep baby in his arms, Harry slowly came to stand next to Severus. “Severus?”
“Do you remember that spell in Fourth Year? When you 'gave' me your magic?” Severus bestowed him a look that made Harry feel highly stupid. “‘Course you do. Could I do it to Meredith, too?”
Severus blinked and straightened. He pushed away from the counter he was leaning against. “Of course,” he murmured.
“There have been cases where the children, when receiving the magic while still infantile, have been able to fully access it.”
“Really?” Harry smiled. “That's wonderful.”
“Hi, Charlie,” Harry mumbled through a yawn. “Early, are we?”
“It's…noon, Harry.” Harry blinked. “Sleep in, did we?”
“Um.” Harry shook his head. “I…I have a, a baby,” he found himself saying. Charlie stood there, a hand half-raised towards Harry’s face. “Charlie?”
He lowered his arm “A…baby?” he echoed.
Harry nodded. “Dudley came with him three days ago. My cousin.” Harry blinked again. “God, I can't believe it's been three days already…”
Eyes heavily lidded, Harry leaned against the doorway and yawned. He should've known, he supposed, or possibly even guessed, but… It wasn't logical in Harry's mind: or rather, it hadn't been but definitely was now. Of course, if Severus were to turn around and see him, he'd be snapped at and sent out of the room and back to bed, he had no doubt about that.
“You will cease gawking this minute, Harry, or I will gauge your eyes out,” the man murmured silkily without even once turning around.
Harry stiffened, and then smiled lethargically. “Sorry, sir.”
Meredith cooed, making it sound frustrated and whiny, and Harry had to duck, barely managing to not getting hit on the head by the bottle of formula speeding towards Severus' outstretched hand. He never said a word and yet the baby calmed in his arms, waving his arms just as the bottle was lowered and teat pressed against an eagerly sucking mouth.
“I believe he has your mother's hair.” Again, he spoke calmly, quietly, with a tone Harry found highly soothing.
Chapter 2: </b> Freedom
In which there is a birthday celebration.
Author: sa_kun On LJ
Rating: PG -- a hint of sexual activities towards the end.
Prompt Set: 50.1
Prompt: 023, freedom
Word Count: 2065
Summary: In which there is a birthday celebration.
Warnings: A little smexing at the end. CWHP.
Freedom | 023
Meredith had only just learned to walk when he realised that he could make things float by conscious effort. Like biscuits, or Daddy-Harry's broomstick (he never touched the grouchy looking Grandfather-man's things, because that was scary), and he never dared to take the sticks any more either; both the Daddy-Harry and the Grandfather-man had become really, really angry, and Meredith hadn't liked that. It made him scared and sad.
“Mum's been insisting lately.”
Harry made a questioning hum as he flipped through a Muggle cooking book, teeth worrying his bottom lip in a form of absent-minded concentration. Birthdays were always tricky and while he didn't mind cooking for Severus – Severus appreciated it, both him and his culinary creations – he wasn't so sure about cooking for Charlie. True, he had done it plenty of times by now and their relationship was pushing on two years, so Harry supposed it was about time, but still…
“Do you know how long it took for me to smile and appreciate my own cooking, Charlie?”
Charlie didn't answer, but Harry felt him approach, then rest his hands warmly on Harry's shoulders. “Knowing you, too long. Your food's…delicious.”
Harry smiled. “Thanks. It's just…they never said anything and what little they did say…” Harry trailed off and Charlie sighed. He circled his arms around Harry's chest in an awkward hug. “Meredith proclaimed you as 'Daddy Cool', by the way.”
“Nn,” Charlie protested. “I'm not gonna be his dad, Harry.”
“I know.” Harry frowned. “I just assumed that it was natural for kids to…give titles like that. Isn't it?”
“But anyway, Mum's been insisting on throwing me a party—” Harry's shoulders slumped “—thought so, Dragon.” There was a definite smile in his voice. “Does this mean I can actually tell her no, and be able to…invite her…” he trailed off, frowning. “…to Romania?”
But Harry shook his head. “No, not Romania. Severus agreed to let me invite as many 'inane Weasleys and whatnots' as I desired. He has agreed to…babysit.”
“Snape does that?”
“Only when I'm not looking,” Harry muttered. “Do you like strawberry cake?”
Charlie nodded. “But aren’t strawberries hard to come by in December?”
The guests weren't supposed to arrive until six thirty, so when the doorbell rang just after four, Harry was admittedly a little bit curious. So was Meredith, who babbled along in toddle-speak and gibberish as he rode on his place of honour on Harry's hip.
“Prof—” A glare and Harry winked. “Remus. Hullo.” He frowned. “Granger.”
“It's Weasley, actually,” she primly corrected, eyes narrowed and alight with curiosity. “Is this your house?”
“Sort of. What are you doing here?”
“Severus said something about an experiment—”
But Harry wasn't there any longer, he was storming through the house, down the stairs and into the laboratory he rarely ever ventured. “You,” he hissed, “are not welcome to watch Meredith tonight!”
“Shush, you,” Harry muttered, then turned back to glaring at Severus. Who stoically glared back. “Well?”
“It is not your concern.”
Harry deflated a bit, then brought Meredith up more securely on his chest. “Then neither is Meredith. No potions – that was the agreement and you promised to be honest.”
Severus was still glaring, but somehow he managed to sound rather pained as he said, “Harry, this…experiment…it is purely…theoretical in its practical execution.”
“I have been invited by Lupin for supper.” If it had been anyone other than Severus, Harry could have sworn the sentence was blurted and that the man was sporting faintly pink cheeks. But it was, and he couldn't be. “It is…unexpected.”
“I didn't know you could cook, Potter,” Hermione said stiffly from the chair she had been banished to by Harry. “When Remus said he was coming by to see Professor Snape, I—”
“—decided to use his kindness against him and force yourself into our home?” Harry murmured, never turning around, steadily chopping onions and carrots.
“There's a spell—”
“Be silent, would you?”
Harry turned his head and glared. Hermione grumbled and rolled her eyes, but she did quiet.
Toddling in through the door came Meredith, with a wide grin on his face and his small arms waving about madly. “'A-rie! 'A-rie!” he cried.
Harry turned around completely then and smiled. “Aren’t you articulate today?”
“Wooga! Sha-lee! Sha-lee!” He shrieked as the redhead ventured inside the kitchen and ran – tumbled – for cover (Harry's legs) “'A-rie, Sha-lee!”
“I see him.”
“And I see you.” Charlie grinned. He bent down so that he was eye-level with Meredith. “A little pickpocket, is what you are.”
“Oh yes,” Charlie insisted, then reached out with his hands and Meredith shrieked with laughter, relinquishing the treasure in his hands almost immediately. But Charlie still tickled him, easily scoping the small boy up in his arms and rubbing the tiny stomach. “This is what little thieves get, you scoundrel!”
Laughing throatily, Charlie stopped and Meredith easily curled himself up against his chest, legs on either side of Charlie’s hip. “What are you making?” he asked Harry.
“I don't know.”
Hermione made some kind of noise, but neither man paid it any notice. “Okay. Can I do anything?”
Harry bit his lip, then, after several moments of silent inventory, murmured, “Broccoli. I need broccoli. And eggs. Cream, butter…tofu.”
“What was that last one?”
“Tofu,” Harry repeated, once more chopping, this time potatoes. “Severus likes it.”
Charlie frowned, shifting Meredith to a more comfortable position. “Wasn’t he going away?”
“Mmmm.” Harry nodded. “But he'll be here tomorrow.”
Charlie blinked and his mouth moved silently, no words escaping. In the end, he sighed and shook his head. “Ruddy Slytherin. Can't you just come out and say that you want to be left alone?”
“Now, dear,” Harry said mockingly, “Where would the fun be in that? Take the reformed Granger with you.”
“She is interrupting.”
“How many are there?” muttered Harry and Charlie choked back a laugh.
“We're nine in the family, then add spouses. You’ve met them before.”
Playfully, Charlie tapped Harry's nose and reprimanded, “You promised to be nice.”
Harry just nodded, choosing not to say anything. It was just…there were so many of them. And the formerly Granger girl, now Weasley – which one had she married? Ronald? And Ginny…who was that bloke she arrived with? Fleur, he knew, and the Prefect Weasley brought the Prefect Ravenclaw, but Harry couldn't remember any names. She looked pregnant though.
“…why didn't you tell me that one was pregnant?”
Charlie actually looked a bit startled. “Who?” Harry nodded at the woman with the rounded stomach and Charlie whistled softly. “I didn't know…”
“Who's the one with the pink hair?”
Charlie blinked. “Nymphadora Tonks. Went to school with her. What's she doing here?”
“Mum reckons maybe you need to find yourself a proper woman?”
Hearing that, Harry glared coldly and crossed his arms but Charlie absent-mindedly placed an arm around Harry's shoulders and tugged him closer, all in one smooth motion. “I reckon she's got the wrong idea, Billy.”
Bill chuckled and nodded. “Oh, I know that. I went to Hogwarts with you.” He winked. Charlie shook his head. Stretching out a hand towards Harry, he said, in a friendly way, “Good of you to invite us all here. Crazy though you may be for doing it.”
Harry cautiously shook the offered hand. “Yeah…so Severus said.”
“This is my boyfriend,” Charlie added, as if Bill had somehow forgotten, but there was no denying the pride in his eyes, or the way Harry seemed calmer and less tense. “You can argue any day, Billy, but Harry's more gorgeous than that Veela of yours.”
Bill glared. “Ha,” he scoffed. “Impossible.” Then, in a stage whisperer, “You do realise I could end up on the couch for saying things like that?”
“Oh, Bill,” Fleur butted in, patting him on the arm, “I would give you zee spare bedroom. No need to act like uncivilised barbarians. 'Ello, 'Arry. 'Ow 'ave you been?”
“Great.” Harry smiled. “How are you?”
Fleur's face lit up. “Wonderful, 'Arry. 'Ave you seen my Victorie?”
Bewildered, Harry shook his head and instantly, Fleur was showing pictures and talking rapidly. Then, after several minutes, she said, “what about zis Merediz I 'ear about?”
“Meredith?” Fleur nodded. “Um. He's my ward.”
“Can we 'ave play-dates?”
It was Charlie who nodded. “Absolutely. In the evenings, preferably— Ow!” Charlie pouted as Harry glared at him. “But yes, I think that'd be great. Kids need kids their own age, don't they?”
Harry bit his lip and shrugged. “I'll leave that to you, then, Charlie.” After all – he accepted the fact with detachment – it wasn't like he would have known. No one had ever liked him, really truly, liked him until he met Charlie, and by that he meant people his own age, because Severus had liked him, Remus had liked him, and Sirius had, eventually, warmed up to him (i.e. they had warmed up to each other).
“Harry, dear!” Harry's eyes widened and he thrust his hand out. Mrs Weasley shook her head, that same disapproving frown on her face from the first time they met as she shook it warmly with both her hands. “So good to see you again, dear boy. Is Severus here?”
“Good to see you, too, Mrs Weasley,” Harry said stiffly. Either, she was extremely whimsical, or she was colder than his father and had no qualms about playing Harry, or…and this was what Harry thought most likely, Nymphadora Tonks was there, and it had nothing to do with either Harry or Charlie. “Um, no, he's not here.” Someone muttered, 'thank Merlin', and Harry glared in the general direction – as did Mrs Weasley he noted with amusement.
“Where is he then?”
“Away?” he muttered, then amended himself as Charlie pointedly cleared his throat. “Remus invited him for dinner.”
“Remus did?” someone demanded. It was the woman with pink hair.
“Yes, he did,” Harry said dryly. “They do get along, contrary to popular belief.”
“But all they do is argue!”
Pursing his lips, Harry shrugged, choosing not to comment any further. Argue…banter…it wasn't worth the trouble, trying to make Weasleys and extras see that the 'arguing' was, to the two of them, what others referred to as ‘bantering’.
“Oh, Charlie,” Mrs Weasley breathed, “did you cook all this?”
Charlie shook his head and said, rather proudly, too, “I laid the table. Note the precision with which I folded the napkins.” Harry rolled his eyes at him and got a impish grin in return.
Hermione snorted. “Do you know what it is now, then, Potter?”
But Harry merely shook his head and smiled. “What it is, is not what matters. What matters is the taste and Charlie found it satisfactory and today that is all that matters. Pregnant woman,” he said to Prefect Ravenclaw, “there's alcohol in everything with red containers, the white ones are harmless.”
“Citrus,” Tonks demanded, “is there citrus in anything? I'm allergic.”
“Don't think so. Severus uses what little we had in his experimental potions.”
Hermione frowned, then. “What's he trying to do?”
Harry's lips twitched. “Shampoo for werewolves with sensitive scalps.” I.e. Remus Lupin.
“Ah, Potter,” Charlie sighed, slowly smoothing his hands around Harry's chest. “Where is the little minx?”
“Severus has him all night.”
“Oh,” Charlie breathed. Harry's breath hitched as the aimlessly stroking hands suddenly seemed to gain a purpose. “The freedom…I could fuck you on the kitchen table—”
“No,” Harry protested, short of breath, because, damn, if that man didn't know what he was doing with those perfect, perfect hands of his. “Severus and I…oh, nice…we eat there. I couldn't, not with a straight face…”
“You're right, I suppose.” Charlie pouted, then began nibbling kisses along Harry's neck. “But we can skip the spells, right?”
“Probably,” Harry groaned.
Yes, Meredith was only sixteen months old when he learned how to levitate whatever he wanted to get to him. That, at the moment, what he wanted was his Daddy-cool's necklace that sparkled prettily was of little consequence. That he shrieked with laughter as Daddy-cool sprinted from the bed, stark naked, and bore down on him with hands that tickled and ruffled his hair was all that mattered.
Daddy-cool was much funnier than Daddy-Harry.
Chapter 3: </b> The Purple Blob.
The Fantasy Flurry
Purple | 022
“I, um…” Harry trails off, a frown on his face. “No?” he chances.
Ron's jaw drops and Ginny groans. The twins cackle. Obviously the wrong word. He makes to stand, Charlie’s name on his lips, but Ron grabs his wrist and tugs him back down. Harry pulls away with a flinch and a glare. “Don't touch me!” he hisses.
Hermione frowns, her eyes troubled and it is obvious to Harry that she is trying to work out his far too peculiar behaviour. The rest of the Weasleys shrug it off, if they even notice. He wonders sometimes if Granger doesn’t read too much into everything because she is too curious by far and a busybody, indeed.
“But seriously,” Ron exclaims. “You don't have a favourite team?!”
“You make it sound as if it is a terrible offence, Ron.”
He has begun using their given names solely because it is far less confusing. To the Weasleys that is. Harry thought he had perfectly fine and usable names for them. Charlie disagreed.
“Well,” he sputters, “It is!”
Harry blinks slowly. “Charlie?”
“Puuuwpa!” Meredith answers for him, jabbing his hand out towards Harry. There is a purple ball in his grubby fist.
Harry nods. “Very good, Meredith. The Prides,” he says to Ron.
Ron blinks. “The...Prides?”
“They are purple, aren't they? Charlie?” Charlie sits down on the armrest of the armchair and Meredith at once tumbles off his lap and down into Harry's. The child giggles and claps his hands.
“They are. Used to like them in school.”
Meredith holds out his hand. “Puuuwpa,” he says and places the sticky ball in Harry's hand.
“Thank you.” Meredith grins and claps his hands again.
“But don't you like Quidditch?” Ginny asks, looking both curious and as if she is just barely refraining from scowling. He suspects it's because Harry's addition to the Slytherin Quidditch team had cost Gryffindor the Cup three years in a row. The only way that offence could be made worse would be if Harry were completely uninterested and indifferent to the game.
Harry shrugs. He runs his hand through Meredith's soft auburn hair and the child curls up to his chest, eyes drooping. “Yeah, I guess. But I don't really care about who wins when I don't know the players.”
“George. Fred,” Charlie suddenly growls and Harry looks up to see him investigating the purple blob. The twins grin and edge back. “What the fuck—”
“It's a Fantasy Flurry!” George exclaims and Fred nods enthusiastically.
“Fairies and birds and elves—”
“—and stars and sparks come out of it when you smash it under your boot!”
“Children love them!”
“I am banning them,” Harry says quietly. “No more of your products in my home.”
“What do you think would've happened if Meredith put it in his mouth?”
“...'A-rie...puuuwpa...” Meredith mumbles, fast asleep.
“Hasn't Bill already told you not to—”
“—he did, most honourable brother,” Fred nods solemnly.
“Aye,” George agrees. “Never again.”
“We beg your humble apologies, Masters.”
“Twats,” Harry mutters. He runs he fingers through Meredith’s soft hair.
Chapter 4: </b> Risk.
Just a friendly game of Risk.
Risk | 037
Hermione was staring at him as if he had somehow been raised beneath a rock. “Harry – you're Muggle-raised!”
“Severus took me in when I was almost twelve.”
“Yeah, but I did this when I was ten—”
“And I didn't, you daft—!” Harry bristled. Charlie placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Be nice, Harry.”
Harry sniffed and crossed his arms. “Well?” he said demandingly. “What is this 'Risk' you talk about?”
“It's...a board game. Here, look,” Ron said and began explaining.
The violent way the warrior pieces took each other out – with explosions – reminded Harry greatly of Wizard Chess.
Chapter 5: </b> The Pyramid.
In which Harry, Charlie & Meredith go to Egypt.
Ancient | 034
A week ago Bill had sent an owl and Charlie had more or less dropped everything and rushed off to Egypt with barely an explanation (Harry in tow, of course, and extremely confused). Harry was currently sitting with the lovely Fleur on a blanket outside a pyramid.
“Are you all right, 'Arry?”
Harry frowned and shook his head. He gently dislodged a dry, white twig from Meredith's hand. “I don't know. Why are we here?”
Smiling fondly, Harry lifted the small boy onto his lap. “Better?” Meredith giggled childishly.
“I zink Bill 'as located a dragon.”
“In a pyramid?”
Fleur nodded. “Yes. Eet eez most unusual. Zey are not known to 'ave 'abitated countries of sand.”
“But there wasn't always only sand here. There was vegetation, once, but that's…several thousand millennia back or something. The Muggles have some…technique they use to tell if that's the case, or something. For example, the Nile and the area surrounding it was very fertile when the Pharaohs lived here. It's how their kingdom became so successful and long-lived, you know.”
“Muggles know zis?” Harry nodded. “Fascinating. Per’aps we should go on a Muggle tour as well?”
“Ma!” Meredith jabbed a chubby finger at the baby crawling behind Fleur. “Ma!”
“Want to play?” Harry asked as he set the boy back down the blanket. Meredith, of course, didn't answer and determinedly crawled over to the little girl and tugged on left her ear. “Meredith!”
Victoire retaliated by grabbing a fistful of hair and tugged. “Umawa!”
They had signed up for a children friendly version of one of the many Muggle tours. Meredith was mostly quiet, sucking on his fingers and curled up against Harry's chest. “Boo…” he said, voice quiet and small.
“Are you scared, baby?” Meredith wrapped a pudgy fist around Harry's shirt.
“Ah, I see. Yes, of course. King Tutankhamen was very pretty, wasn't he?” Meredith nodded.
The lady walking next to them gave Harry a funny look. “Should you be saying that?” Her English was broad and unfamiliar to Harry.
“Calling boys pretty? At such a young age? They are so impressionable,” she fretted.
Harry blinked and shrugged. “He was pretty. Isn't that right, Meredith?”
“You can't possibly…influencing someone so young…what would his mother say?”
“I don't know.” Harry gave her a pointed glare. “But I doubt my boyfriend will disagree.”
Harry smiled. “Yes, Charlie. That's very good, Meredith.”
“He isn't purple, baby, is he?”
Meredith scrunched his face up. “Da'goo!”
Harry laughed and turned his head back. “Fleur?”
“Meredith just called Charlie a dragon.”
“Da'goo! Da'goo, da'goo da'goo!” the boy squealed clapping his hands.
Fleur came up to walk next to him, laughing. “Oh, zat reminds me. Victoire called Bill a 'mummy'.” Harry laughed as well and Fleur told the tale. Trying to teach children how to speak could be a trial, and evidently Victoire had, one way or another, seen pictures of the dead Pharaohs. Because, as Fleur pointed to herself Victoire exclaimed 'Mama!' and when Bill grinned and rubbed her tummy, she had giggled, 'mummy! Mummy!' Fleur had laughed. 'No, dear,' she explained, 'that's Daddy'. Victoire giggled. 'Dada! Mummy!'
“How was your day?”
Harry shrugged, outstretched on the soft bed. “Fleur and I toured the pyramids Muggle style. Meredith called you a dragon. A woman became offended that I dared to call Tutankhamen pretty in the presence of a young boy.”
“I mean, I've called you worse, especially when compared to 'pretty'.”
Chapter 6: </b> Grass & Laughter
A day in the park, sitting on the grass.
Doubt | 001
“What did you call this again?”
Harry laughed lazily and tilted his head back. “Picnic. It's called a picnic.”
Charlie smiled. “I like them.” He shuffled closer to Harry on the blanket and placed an arm just under Harry's so that he could tug him up and closer. With a sigh Harry leaned his head on Charlie's shoulder. “Meredith does too.” Harry laughed again and looked over to where Meredith and a blond little girl in pigtails were…tugging at the grass?
“What are they doing?”
“Looking for bugs. If they find any, I reckon they'll want a jar to keep them in.”
Harry blinked. “I played with snakes, you know? When I was…outside.” His voice was came out flat and Charlie just knew that 'outside' meant something else. Harry'd probably clam up if he asked, though, so he let it go. He did, however, tighten his hold of Harry's shoulders and brushed his lips across Harry's temple.
“Snakes are dangerous.”
Harry stilled then, and after several heartbeats murmured, “Not when you can talk to them.”
It was uncanny, the way Charlie first laughed as if it was a joke, then abruptly tensed and pulled back so that he could look into Harry's eyes. “…what?”
“I'm a Parselmouth.”
Harry coughed and fiddled with his sleeve. “I'm a Parselmouth. Severus knows. He told me not to tell anyone, but…I realised, the other day when you took Meredith and me to see the dragons and meet your workmates that I should perhaps have told you years ago. I tend to forget that I can talk with them, you know, when I don't have a snake – I used to have a few. One ran away after First Year, and Severus bought me one in Fifth Year as a reward for making the Quidditch team. I ended up releasing him, though. In Egypt. He said he was a king, there, you know? Well, that and I reckoned that maybe having a snake around a baby wasn't a particularly brilliant idea—” he blinked when fingers landed gently on his lips, halting his words.
Charlie nodded. “Yes.” Then he looked away, his gaze landing on Meredith instead. Meredith grinned and waved, then began babbling ecstatically to the blond girl, who giggled and nodded. “Have I ever done anything that would make you doubt me?”
“Is it that you don't trust me?”
“…no.” Harry shook his head. “I…I just don't understand, sometimes. There are certain…things—”
“Emotions. Trust. Compassion. Love.”
“…yeah.” Harry sighed and shifted so he could rest his head on Charlie's shoulder again. “It's nothing against you. I think you're brilliant and great, and…yeah. Um. But most of the time I don't have that 'automatic' response that you do. It'll never be a reflex for me to reach out and hold your hand and I'm still as amazed every time you do it.”
“Your hand shakes.”
“I get tingles down my spine and I feel like I'm the most special man in the world. It's ridiculous.” Charlie gave him a funny look then, lips flat and eyes dark and unreadable. Harry frowned, eyebrows bunched up defensively. “What?” he demanded.
Charlie chuckled and shook his head. “Nothing. I love you, too.”
Harry started and stared at Charlie, but Charlie didn't acknowledge him, his attention once more firmly fixed on Meredith.
Chapter 7: </b> Journey
Charlie and Harry go on a journey.
Journey | 028
“We look like a family,” Charlie had joked as they boarded the train. At the time, Harry had shrugged and smiled slightly. Now, though, as they were accosted by mothers-to-be and new parents...oh boy. And Meredith...of course Meredith thrived in the attention, exploited it and managed to twist it around so that it suited his own little purposes perfectly...
Paris was nice, Harry thought: full of dingy streets and cosy cafés. Charlie thought it was kind of dull. Meredith was more interested in what he could stuff in his mouth and what he couldn’t. Most of the rocks were all right, but sand was promptly spit back out – of course, Harry and Charlie made him spit out the rocks, too, but at least the sand was of his own volition.
The owner of their inn had a blatantly obvious crush on Charlie and Harry found himself snapping at the poor woman – and maintain a very firm grip on Charlie.
Berlin was a tense affair. Meredith was happy enough, though, eyes wide and curious and the stones and rocks were still not edible. Charlie was short-tempered and Harry still snappish. There was no busty inn owner this time, though, so Harry really had no reason to still snap at Charlie. But then, Charlie reckoned Harry hadn’t had that to start with and crossly yelled, “Why won’t you trust me, idiot?” Harry had gone white and pointedly not answered.
“Uh!” Meredith cooed, jabbing a pointy fist at the colourful butterfly flying overhead.
“Fine,” Charlie snapped when Harry refused to answer. “Fine!”
Prag was horrible. Charlie had resorted to sleeping on the couch and Harry lay awake all night, twisting and turning. Meredith moved on to biting pillows. During the days they managed to mostly be civil, even if Harry still snapped occasionally and Charlie still refused to speak full sentences.
“Lover’s tiff, aye?” the scruffy owner of the inn asked and Harry snapped at him that it was none of his business.
“Not his either?” Charlie said scathingly as he rocked Meredith to sleep before exiting the room.
That night, Harry didn’t bother coming up to their small room at all.
It rained in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Harry cautiously sat down next to Charlie. “What did you mean?” he asked quietly. “‘Not his business either’?”
“You don’t trust me. You think I’d run off with the first, best, available person showing any interest in me. You have a problem and you take it out on me instead of letting me help you get over it and see how wrong you are.”
“Oh,” Harry said softly. “But…she was pretty.” ‘Normal’ is what he meant to say, but he figured Charlie knew that well enough.
(Meredith found neither the cones nor the rocks very edible.)
Spinners End was as dreary and rainy as it had been when they left it. Severus was suspiciously absent and the house showed no signs of recent inhabitation.
“Huh,” Harry muttered, stroking Meredith’s hair as the boy cuddled to his chest. “You think he stayed with Remus the whole time?”
“Dunno.” Charlie’s voice came from Harry’s bedroom.
“I can’t find my cardigan!”
Harry blinked and slowly looked down at his arms; they were covered in a thick, woollen material in a sketchy green colour. Meredith rubbed his cheek against the soft material. “It’s…in here.”
There was silence, and then Charlie’s footsteps could be heard as he descended the stairs. “Harry?”
Harry smiled sheepishly and bit his lip. “It’s…a nice colour,” he offered lamely.
“You’re wearing my cardigan.” Harry nodded and looked away. Charlie smiled. “I see.”
“What?” Harry said defensively.
Stepping in closer to Harry, Charlie wrapped his arms around Harry’s waist and rested his head on the shoulder Meredith wasn’t occupying. “You’re cute.”
“I am not cute, Charlie!”
Charlie nuzzled Harry’s neck, placing a few soft, warm kisses in the process as well. “‘Course not, my Slytherin. You are elegant beauty and sexual enticement.”
“Oh, fuck off,” Harry murmured and rolled his eyes. “I was gonna have sex with you anyway.”
Chapter 8: </b> Chocolate
Severus demonstrates his skills at seduction.
Author: sa_kun On LJ
Rating: Sexual themes
Prompt Set: 50.1
Prompt: 047, chocolate
Word Count: 1212
Summary: Severus demonstrates his skills at seduction.
Warnings: A bit Charlie/Harry towards the end, but mostly Snape/Lupin.
Chocolate | 047
“Shut it, Lupin,” he growled. Biting back a smile, Remus nodded and held a hand over his mouth. “This is hardly a laughing matter.”
Adopting an expression that was almost sombre, Remus nodded again. But he wasn't really agreeing. “Of course it isn't.”
Something fell to the ground with a disgusting sound. “That damnable brat.”
Remus' mouth twitched. “Meredith did this?”
Severus scowled darkly and snapped, “'Accidental magic' my arse! That boy is a menace; I swear he does it deliberately!”
Unable to hold it in any longer, Remus burst out laughing, bending over to lean against the backrest of a nearby couch as he kept himself standing. Because Severus Snape, feared professor and Potions Master par excellence, exceptional duellist and with more than a fair bit of knowledge in the Dark Arts than most would be comfortable with...Remus laughed harder, clutching the cushion he was leaning over. Such a man...such a powerful, skilled man, being beaten by a three year old— “Iieh!” he yelped, fumbling and falling over, landing painfully hard on his behind. “Severus!”
Severus' head appeared over the couch, dark and foreboding. “I do not take ridicule lightly, wolf.”
“Ridicule, Severus? You are practically a walking tart! That is hardly a ridiculous matter. Far from it, in fact, it is practically delectable!” Remus smiled up at the dour man. “You have never smelled more—ouh!”
Perhaps it was the sound of the couch falling over, perhaps it was the sound of two full-grown men landing on the floor in a heap, but whatever it was Remus knew that Severus had anticipated something like this even before he had walked into the room. Because a sound as loud as that, no matter the source, was bound to wake a napping child.
Unless, he mused, a Silencing Barrier had been erected.
Growling lightly, ha grabbed fistfuls of Severus' lank hair, smudges of chocolate mousse there as well, and forced the man to roll over on his back. “Now, Severus,” he said lowly, eyes gleaming eerily, “you do not tackle a werewolf two days prior to a full moon with the intention of winning.”
Smirking, Severus raised his hips, slowly, then began rubbing against Remus'. “My dear werewolf,” he murmured silkily, his voice so dark and sensual that Remus shivered, his eyes almost closing, thoroughly unable to quench the needy moan that erupted from the back of his throat as a direct consequence. Severus continued, “I never had the slightest intention of winning. You, I'm afraid, are playing right into my hand.”
“Is that so, Severus?”
“Oh yes,” he drawled. “Randy, sexually frustrated werewolves are surprisingly simple to...play.”
“Fuck,” Remus swore, and then he threw caution and stupid Slytherin games and schemes to the wind and kissed the difficult, idiotic, hook-nosed Slytherin. “Oh,” he groaned, “how much chocolate did you feed that lad?”
“Oh,” he muttered, “a fair amount. Is the scent alluring you?”
“Damn you,” Remus groaned. Hand on Severus forehead, he bent his head back, then began kissing and nipping and licking the pale throat, savouring the chocolate and breathy moans of pleasure.
“Randy, randy, irrefutable wolf.”
Smiling, completely satisfied and sated, Remus slowly approached Severus and placed a single finger on the man's chest so that he could push him back. “If my memory serves me correct, Severus – which I am sure it does — you are most often the instigator, as it were.”
“It does not, then.”
“Oh,” Remus said quietly, and sat himself down in Severus' lap, “I don't think so. We'll take today as an example, shall we?”
Severus grew slightly tense, but soon there was a hand in Remus' damp hair, carding it through in rhythmic, regular motions. “If you wish,” he murmured.
“When I showed up today, you were covered in bits and smudges of chocolate mousse. You know what the scent of chocolate does to a werewolf at this time of the month.” Severus slight smirk told Remus that, yes, the man was quite aware of that. “Second, you know what your voice does to me, and how I feel about...aggressiveness.”
“I am not sure I do.”
Remus raised an eyebrow, and Severus returned it challengingly. “Hm. Anyway, as if a nice, thorough fuck on the floor wasn't enough, you saw it fit to instigate a lengthier...seduction in the bath. That you insisted we share.”
“Waste not,” Severus reprimanded lightly.
“Of course.” Hooking a finger under Severus' chin, he raised the man's head, and leaned down to kiss him. At about the exact same time that the door swung open.
“Oh God,” a strangled voice said and the door slammed shut.
Remus blinked at Severus, who raised an eyebrow. “Harry?” he called.
“All those...those weird stuff you need help and assistance with...”
There was a short silence. “How long have you been involved?”
“Perhaps,” Severus drawled at great length, “you would be better off not knowing.”
“Oh,” Harry moaned as he crawled into bed with Charlie much later that night, “it was horrible. Absolutely horrible!”
Harry whined and wriggled closer, shuffling across the bed until he was pressed up tight against his Dragon Keeper, nose against the man's shoulder. “I walked in on Severus and Remus! Doing things! Sexual things!”
“Uh...” Charlie blinked and then began shaking his head. “Dammit, Harry! I don't need mental images like that!”
“I didn't need the visual, either, but I'm not going to suffer alone!”
“Harry...” he sighed. He fingered Harry's unruly hair. “First time I met them both, remember what Snape said?”
Harry shrugged. “I can guess.”
“'Remus requested my input in a bargain', or something. If they're...it suddenly—” A hand slapped over his mouth. Harry raised his head, green eyes glaring surly.
“Shut it,” he muttered. “I don't need to hear it.” He bit his lip, frowning softly. “...Charlie... Remus was sitting on Severus' lap. Kissing him.”
Chapter 9: </b> Too Much
In which Charlie tries to cook.
Too much | 025
Charlie called out for him the minute he appeared in the living room – he had just Apparated home from work. “Yeah?”
“I made dinner,” Charlie laughed and Harry just knew Something Had Happened (capital letters were required, Harry thought, since Charlie was practically a disaster waiting to happen in the kitchen).
“What did you do this time?” Harry asked as he entered the kitchen. He crossed his arms and leaned against the kitchen table.
“Omelette. Go easy, I figured, you know?” Charlie laughed again and held out a spoonful of the thick mushroom sauce Harry normally used as a filling – some outlandish recipe or whatnot – and promptly turned it upside down. Harry moved for his wand, but when the blob of food stayed he began laughing as well. “I'm a total failure, aren't I?”
“I wouldn't say that. I'd say…too much flour, dear.”
Harry nodded. “Is Meredith asleep?”
“Yeah. Snape over with him an hour ago, or so, out cold in his arms.”
Chapter 10: </b> Balcony
Arthur and Harry talk.
Balcony | 013
Harry nodded. “Yes, sir.”
Mr Weasley waved him off with a hearty laugh. “Nonsense, Harry. I've never made my other children's spouses call me that. Arthur will do just fine.” He paused as he stretchedhis legs out. “Little Meredith calls me Grandad, you know? Molly’s ever so pleased.”
“Yeah,” Harry said, “I know. Arthur. How so?”
Arthur rubbed his balding head. “Given Charlie’s preferences, she never expected him to give her any grandchildren to spoil. Didn’t matter how often I pointed out that she’d have a herd of them soon enough, from our other children. She was quite excited when she heard about Meredith, and that the two of you were rather serious about each other.”
“Right, yeah. Thanks, I guess.” Harry's lips twitched as he tried to smile and failed. “So. Um. How's…the Ministry?”
Arthur laughed again. “Had a case of flying toasters just last week.”
“Toasters,” Harry said, deadpan.
“Yes. They were quiet energetic and most reluctant to be captured and turned back.”
“Really.” Harry's tone of voice hadn't changed.
Arthur nodded. He was stretched out in a ratty old armchair and looked to be quite comfortable. “Yes, they were most distraught when my team and I showed up to capture them. They fled to the balcony and jumped.”
“Your dad's mental.”
“Hey!” Charlie exclaimed and poked his head around the shower curtain. “Don't mess with Dad, all right?”
“He thinks toasters have a mind of their own!” Harry rolled his eyes and stood up (he had been sitting on the toilet). “Severus Snape took me in. If I say your dad's mental, then don't you think I have a solid basis for saying that? Severus rushes off to brew potions at the most awkward, strange and idiotic times and opportunities! Did I ever tell you of the time he leapt out of the bath and disappeared to the basement for six hours wearing his trousers inside out and a t-shirt with the text, 'who's your Potion's Master? I never saw the word 'Potion's' until I did the laundry! Do you know what kind of 'Master' I thought he was?! Then the next day he started a fire in the kitchen because he had a 'brilliant idea of how to further enhance the Wolfsbane'. Do you see what I have been living with? … What? Is there something in my face—hey, no wait—! Charlie!”
Chapter 11: </b> Slow mornings.
Harry and Charlie wake up together.
Naked | 032
It's mornings like these that Harry loves; the mornings where the air is still and gentle and warm and he can hear the birds chirping outside as they welcome the sun. He thinks these mornings are beautiful.
When he turns around and slowly opens his eyes the mornings are even more otherworldly.
Charlie Weasley may not be a beautiful man; he has far too many freckles and his skin holds far too many burn-scars – and he may not be traditionally handsome; his nose isn't perfectly straight and his cheekbones aren't high in his rather broad face – but to Harry he is the most wonderful man in the world.
Harry thinks he is beautiful – he has far too many freckles and his burn-scars are shiny and smooth when Harry strokes and touches them. Charlie moans when he does so, in fact, especially at night when they are...having fun.
Harry thinks he is handsome – his nose isn't narrow or straight and Harry thinks it's quite cute and his jaw is broad. His kisses are hot and passionate and his cheekbones – and the rest of his face and most of his body – are covered with freckles.
Harry really loves Charlie's freckles; he finds them a major turn on. Charlie thinks he's daft but he has never once complained when Harry demonstrates why.
He slides his hand over Charlie's naked chest and enjoys the feeling of the warm, rough skin littered with freckles (not that he can actually feel them, mind, but he knows they are there). Charlie moves and cracks an eye open at Harry. “Morning,” he mumbles.
“Morning, beautiful,” Harry whisperers in return and Charlie snorts. “Charlie?”
Charlie grunts and opens his eyes fully. They are warm and full of adoration and Harry finds himself unable to quench the wide smile creeping up on his face. Charlie returns it with a soft one of his own. “Happy birthday.”
“Thank you.” Harry shuffles closer and strokes his hand down Charlie's chest to the hip furthest away from him, down to the magical tattoo that still fascinates Harry even though it is far from a novelty to him these days. His hand tingles as the small Golden Snidget darts under it on its trek across the side of Charlie's left hip.
Chapter 12: </b> Arguments.
Harry & Meredith talk.
Severe | 035
- Damaging consequences.
“Sorry, Harry,” Meredith muttered, insincere but sheepish. “I didn't mean to.”
Harry sighed and looked away. “You never do, Meredith. You never do... I don't know why I still get disappointed.”
“No.” Harry shook his head. “Not this time. Straight to bed, no story, no dessert, and your sleepover at Severus' is cancelled.”
Meredith's pale eyes flashed. “That's not fair!”
“It is not supposed to be,” Harry returned snappishly. “Magic is something to treasure, not flaunt and use to taunt and belittle those without it! Until you learn better, I will continue to place restraints!”
Huffing, the boy declared, “I'm too old for stories, anyway!”
That night, Harry curled up in his ratty old armchair in front of a crackling fire. He hadn't thought of his childhood, his...'destiny' in such a long time. He had almost forgotten how to. Meeting Charlie, discovering love, being treasured and wanted and wanting someone in return. Then Meredith arriving, and taking all of his attention. Like a normal human being, Harry had let himself be swept away by all that was happening and efficiently locked away his past and the feelings he associated with it.
Meredith was nine years old.
Meredith was a sweet boy, Slytherin through and through, like Charlie used to joke. Like Severus had said, he had been able to incorporate the magical components Harry had given him as an infant. And Meredith was a very magical child, he had an affinity for 'wish magic', and he had been able to bend it to suit his purposes from an early age.
But recently, Meredith had developed a penchant for blackmailing other children in the neighbourhood. Muggle children. Subtly threatening them into doing what he wanted them to do. Harry didn't even know when the boy had got so out of control, or how he could have missed it, but he...
Harry swallowed harshly. The fact that Charlie had left had probably something to do with it.
There really was no way around it, and Harry was hurt, betrayed, disappointed. Because he couldn't help but feel that even though the child he had taken in had both his name and his magic, there was still that cruel 'Dursley streak' in him.
The next night, Harry sat down next to Meredith's head on the bed and cleared his throat.
“When I was a student at Hogwarts, the Headmaster of those days once told me a story of another boy...”
And Harry told him. Told him about a little boy called Tom Riddle, who had lived at an orphanage, bullied and pushed the other children around; stole from them, collected their treasures to be made his, gathered snakes and made them his guards and messengers. How he had opened the Chamber of Secrets, and caused a student to die, and managed to get another expelled because of it. How he schemed, plotted and assassinated to gather objects once owned by the Four Founders; how he split his soul into these objects.
How he became the Dark Lord Voldemort. How he killed, slaughtered and destroyed; even Harry's own parents, and then it became painful. Because after that...after that it was Harry's history, and Harry hadn't spoken of that since Charlie had been the one patiently waiting and listening to him.
How he had been bullied, belittled, mistreated and abused by the other children in his neighbourhood.
Meredith's eyes were wide and childish.
“Do you see, Meredith? If you continue on like this, then you will end up being no better than the Muggles who raised me.”
It was a gamble, telling Meredith, and Harry knew that, because if Meredith felt slighted, or took it the wrong way...thought Harry was patronising him...
Not wanting to think about it, Harry picked up a quill and began writing.
I love you.
Did I ever tell you that, when you were still here, living side by side with Meredith and me with that patience that never wore thin? I don't think I ever did, and now that I look back, on the time since you've been gone...why did you leave? Why did you go when I told you to? You never listened to me, and I loved that.
I don't really know why I'm writing. I don't even know
if what I'm trying to say.
How is Romania?
PS. I shouldn't have sent this, should I?
When the response came, a week later, Harry's heart shattered all over again.
No, Harry, you shouldn't have.
Then, on the backside, I'll be home for Christmas.
When Meredith snatched it straight out of his hands, Harry didn't even try to stop him. His eyes large and watering, the boy murmured, “...I didn't think you talked...”
Unable to face him, Harry turned away. “We...don't. Not so much.”
“Is...is it okay that I do, Harry?”
Harry nodded. “Of course it is. Our idiocy has nothing to do with you.”
Even though he had over two months to think about it, Harry never was able to figure out if it was because of what he had told Meredith about the Dark Lord and his past, or if it was because Charlie was coming home, and that the boy finally knew it was okay to talk with him, and that he shouldn't feel guilty for doing so: for craving it. But regardless of that Meredith's behaviour took a turn for the better.
Chapter 13: </b> Forgiven
Harry and Charlie reunite.
Forgiveness | 031
Hands trembling, Harry clutched Charlie's back as tightly as he could, head hidden away in the crook of his neck. It took him far too long to realise that Charlie was holding him just as tight and that he wasn’t the only one breathing raggedly and that he wasn't the only one trembling. Charlie was right there with him, feeling everything he was, but unlike Harry, Charlie had a freedom, an ability, to express it.
“You stupid Gryffindor,” he muttered, and was squeezed tighter. “What the fuck did you leave for?”
“You hurt me.” Harry choked. “We were falling apart…I reckoned maybe we needed time, but…”
“You have no idea what you did to Meredith, you idiot.”
“Where’s the little snake?”
“Oh,” Charlie breathed, then pulled back. Harry was about to protest, but Charlie shushed him, warm hands cupping heated cheeks and Charlie leaned in, closing the gap. “Say after me, Harry,” he sighed.
“I love you.”
Harry tensed, hands clenched in Charlie's hair and he slowly opened his eyes. His far too green and intense eyes, and Charlie swallowed dryly, sharply. “…I…I love you.”
Charlie smiled that brilliant smile of his, his eyes so warm and gentle that Harry felt himself wholly unworthy of the man all over again. “Next time, my Harry, instead of telling me to leave, say that.”
Harry Apparated in a few seconds after Charlie arrived, just in time to hear the ecstatic shout, “Charlie!” and see Meredith almost tackle the man to the ground in a bear hug. Harry suspected that it was only due to years’ worth of training and experience as a Dragon Keeper that kept Charlie from not falling to the ground.
A hand landed gently on his shoulder and squeezed. “Severus.”
“He has been most distraught.”
“…I know.” Harry bit his lip. Meredith was not letting go of Charlie; it looked like the boy's shoulders were shaking, but Harry wasn't sure, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to know if that were the case either. Charlie knelt on the ground, holding Meredith so tight to him, rubbing his back. “About Christmas…would you and Remus come over? Sirius too, I guess.”
Severus nodded, but Harry felt it rather than saw it. Tentatively, he brought a hand up and placed it over the one Severus was resting on his shoulder. “May I ask why, Harry?”
“…I…I told him he, he deserved better. That he should go, that we shouldn't— It…I really hurt him. There…it's, I just don't understand. Why someone like Charlie…and me, I…”
“…it is something I have long since been forced to stop questioning, Harry. I fear I shall never understand why Remus insists on consorting with me. It has always been beyond me. However, that is not say I do not crave the…attention and…dedication.”
Chapter 14: </b> Night Before Hogwats.
Night before Hogwarts.
Tomorrow | 003
They have been to Diagon Alley — twice! — and they are ready to go. Meredith has all of his books, his potions ingredients, dragon hide gloves, the equipment for astronomy class and, most importantly, a brand new wand. Meredith is very excited, of course. Although…and he swallows gravely, if tomorrow is his first day at Hogwarts it makes it only more obvious that tonight is his last night at home. Until Christmas. Which is roughly four months away.
Meredith has only spent nights away to stay with Grandpa Severus and Uncle Remus. The one time he tried to stay at Uncle Bill's Harry had had to come and pick him up because he couldn't sleep. It's a year ago, now. But the experience has stayed with him and now he's nervous.
What if he doesn't like school? What if he can't sleep? What if he needs Harry or Charlie to come to him and—
“Don't worry, Meredith,” Harry says quietly and crouches on the floor next to him. “You'll be fine. You'll be sorted into a House and you'll share a dormitory with the other new boys in your year – most likely they'll be as nervous as you.”
“…but I couldn't even stay at Uncle Bill's place, Dad,” Meredith whisperers. “How am I supposed to—”
Harry smiles. “Why don't we go see what Charlie has to say about this?”
Meredith frowns. “Harry? Why—”
“Charlie!” he calls over his shoulder, then bites his lip and looks back at Meredith. “My…relatives didn't like me. I had nothing to miss or be sad about leaving.”
“Didn't you grow up with Grandpa?”
Harry shakes his head. “No. He took me in before my Second Year at Hogwarts. Charlie!”
“Oh…” Meredith's frown deepens. Harry never talks about his childhood prior to living with Grandpa Severus he suddenly realises, because he has never known that Harry used to live with someone else. Why has Meredith never heard that before? It’s not entirely true, though, he realises, because there was that one time, when Charlie was gone and he and Harry were alone. It was just that one time, though, and Meredith had been angry and confused. “But—”
“Meredith, my relatives hated me because of my magic – my Aunt hated me because she was jealous of my mother. I would prefer if we didn't talk about it.” Harry glares, but not at Meredith. “Where is that blasted man?”
Meredith giggles slightly. “Perhaps he's in the loo.”
“Doubt it,” Harry mutters. “Cha— there you are.”
His hands are wet, Charlie places them on his hips, soapsuds still clinging to his forearms, and it is obvious that he has been washing the dishes. “What is it, Your Royal Highness,” he snaps.
Harry's eyes narrow. “Why don't you talk to Meredith about how you spent your last night at home, and I'll do the dishes.” With that, Harry stands up, ruffles Meredith's hair and gives Charlie a quick kiss as he passes the man – Eugh! Meredith exclaims — and saunters out of the living room.
It is roughly three quarters of an hour later that he returns. A chocolate cake floats in behind him. He stops in the doorway; Meredith is curled up next to Charlie, cuddling the man as he listens to a tale about dragons and brave men on broomsticks chasing a poacher who has stolen an egg. Harry shifts and the floorboard creaks.
Charlie halts his tale and looks over his shoulder. “Come here, Harry. There's room for one more, isn't there, Meredith?”
Meredith nods and turns around. “Cake! Harry, come on! Here,” Meredith waves his arms and gestures for Harry to sit down next to him. Harry laughs and crosses the room, obediently sitting down in his designated place. He pulls his wand and conjures three saucers while Charlie uses his own wand to slice the cake and, immediately, Meredith's small, greedy fingers are there, grabbing a piece and the boy giggles. “Thank you, Harry.”
Chapter 15: </b> Introductions.
Harry and Malfoy talk.
Circle | 009
It was just a few days before Christmas. Harry was stretched out comfortably on his stomach, eyes closed and just being lazy. He felt he had a right to be lazy.
“Are you going to lie around all day?” Harry didn't deign Charlie with an answer, merely sniffed and scrunched his nose up. “Sometimes I wonder who the kid around here is...”
“It's Harry, isn't it?” Meredith chirped, grinning mischievously.
Nodding seriously, lips twitching and eyes sparkling, Charlie said, “I'm beginning to see that, yes.”
Meredith laughed, then he suddenly bit his lip. “Um,” he said and all at once, Harry was sitting up, eyebrow lifted and eyes curious and knowing at the same time.
“I, I may have invited someone over.”
Meredith scowled. “Knock it off, Harry! If you know—”
“I want to hear it from you, not an irritated parent.” Silently, I'm giving you a chance.
“Professor Vector asked me to tutor a younger Slytherin – not because he was stupid, or anything, but because he's plenty of potential, and that he needed all the support he could get, you know?”
“You mean that talent needs to be flattered in order for it grow instead of wither because of boredom.”
Meredith nodded. “Yes.”
Harry arched his back before standing and rolling his shoulders. Lying prone on the couch was comfortable, yes, but not so much when he had to stand. “And how does this connect to Christmas?”
“He's brilliant, Dad. I sort of invited him over.”
Harry tensed, then relaxed. It was probably the 'Dad' that did it; Meredith used the word so rarely that both Harry and Charlie tended to find themselves doing things they had never even contemplated doing before.
Such as requesting an audience with Draco Malfoy.
“Potter.” Draco inclined his head.
“Malfoy. Been a while.”
“Yes,” Draco said dryly, “it has been such a pleasure.”
“I don't doubt it.”
Draco smiled thinly. “I suppose this is what I get for so studiously proclaiming that I am not my father.”
“Yes,” Harry agreed, sitting down in one of the armchairs facing Draco's desk, “I suppose it is.” Biting his lip, Harry took a moment to relax. “You should know that Meredith is adopted.” By the way Draco stilled and grew very tense, Harry knew that Draco hadn't, indeed, known that. “I don't know how much you heard about my relatives at school, but I gather it was just enough. My Aunt and Uncle had him and when he showed that he had magic, they left him with me.”
“That is unusual.”
“Muggleborns, so close together in the same family? Yeah.” Harry nodded. “I know. Severus has pointed it out a number of times. But then, squibs are rarely tracked.”
Sighing, Draco assented. “True. So. A Muggleborn.”
“Not quite,” Harry said enigmatically, his left eyebrow slightly elevated. “You forget who my...guardian is.”
Draco's eyes narrowed and he leaned forward. “Oh,” he purred, “the precious Saviour dabbles in the Dark Arts. Most…intriguing.”
“Isn't it?” Harry smiled. “The boy has everything I am, and everything...I was given.”
Grey eyes widened subtly, before retaking their calculating gleam. “Everything, you say?”
“Everything. Oh, yes,” he murmured. “Why, he's quite the little...prince.”
“With a most pleasing disposal, I wager.” Draco raised an eyebrow. Harry merely shrugged, a secretive smile playing at his lips. Standing, Draco glanced at the ornate clock on the wall, then he waved his wand, and his cloak came flying. “Would you care to join me for supper?”
“Of course, Malfoy. Lead the way.” Harry held out his arm, and Draco took it and the world spun.
Looking rather pleased, Draco smirked. “Welcome to the home of my ancestors, Harry Potter.”
“Thank you for bestowing me the honour, Draco Malfoy.”
It was very late: almost early, when Harry finally made it home, smelling faintly of incense and the expensive alcoholic beverages that had tasted deliciously and warmed him immensely. Charlie was leaning against the mantelpiece, waiting for him, face strangely empty and void of emotions. “Cheating on me with a Malfoy, Harry?”
Harry turned slowly, carefully; his were ears buzzing. “But he doesn't have freckles,” Harry murmured quietly with the faintest hint of a pout in his voice. He took a wavering step forward, then another until his outstretched hands could touch Charlie, and he did so very carefully. “And he's awfully skinny,” he confided seriously. “Doesn't hold a candle to you.”
“Are you drunk?” Charlie asked incredulously.
“Tipsy,” Harry automatically corrected, shaking his head cautiously as if to clear it. “Never told you why I hate alcohol, did I?” Charlie shook his head. “Ah,” Harry moaned, “the way of the Slytherins. Everything is so ruddy sophisticated and calculated, and shame on you if you don't have impeccable manners and know the name of every dish or type of drink served. Every game, every scheme...every time...all the alcohol... I hate it.” Swaying slightly, Harry clenched his fingers tight in the loose material of Charlie's shirt. “Help me lay down, would you? I'll tell you all about Draco Malfoy when I can think straighter, I promise—oh, the window's spinning, Charlie!”
It took a few minutes, but eventually the boy peeked inside the kitchen. “Harry?” Harry made an impatient gesture with his head, snapping his fingers. Meredith hurriedly crossed the kitchen, coming to stand next to him “What's the matter?”
“Your friend will be joining us two days after Christmas, and will be staying for the remainder of the holiday.”
Meredith blinked slowly, leaning against the counter. “...what did you do, Harry? I mean, it's— you went to see Mr Malfoy?”
Harry nodded. “Yes. I was a Slytherin, too, remember. I know how to 'play the game', if I have to.”
“Harry...I'm a Muggleborn, he'd never—”
Harry grinned mischievously, nudging Meredith's shoulder with his own. “Maybe I'm just that good.”
Chapter 16: </b> Graduation.
The joys of dating.
Picture | 006
Meredith, with his shock of red hair and pale grey-green eyes, looked startling handsome. Radiant, Harry thought and smiled softly, gently stroking the picture of his child. So grown up. It felt like only yesterday that Harry himself had graduated from Hogwarts and now, just a mere week ago, the laughing little baby boy he had been given all those years ago had done the same. Harry thought he might burst from the intense pride he was feeling.
“Feels absurd, doesn't it?”
“I feel like I'm ancient.”
Charlie laughed pulling Harry back against his chest and peered down over the narrow shoulder at the boy they had both raised. “Top of his year, wasn't he?”
“The highest grade in Arthimancy since Severus graduated. My mum, actually.”
Harry nodded. “He said so, the other day. I was absolutely rubbish at it, though.”
“Never even tried,” Charlie admitted. “But Bill's brilliant at it.”
“He's a Curse Breaker, Charlie, he'd have to be.”
Chuckling, Charlie murmured, “so clever, little snake.”
“Not so little anymore,” Harry argued, fingering the photograph in his hands. “We should send Severus one of these.”
“Mum'll want one, too.”
Charlie nodded, then softly kissed Harry's neck. “Mmmm,” he hummed.
“Harry—ah! God! You don't do that kind of stuff anymore!” Meredith cried, scandalised, a hand firmly held over his eyes.
Laughing, Harry left Charlie's arms and crossed the room so he could ruffle Meredith's hair. He was, predictably, glared at. “When you are my age, you may tell me that again.”
Meredith huffed, a petulant pout on his face.
“What's on your mind, then?” Meredith coloured faintly and Harry grinned. “Oh, would you look at that, Charlie.”
“I see, indeed, Harry. Most intriguing, most intriguing...”
“Shut up, both of you,” Meredith muttered. “So, can he?”
“Can who what?”
“Scorpius. Can he come over?”
“I'm sure he can,” Harry said dryly.
Meredith rolled his eyes, then straightened up as Harry cuffed him over the head. “May I invite Scorpius over for a few days?”
“Of course,” Charlie agreed. “Unless this requires Harry to get drunk. Again.”
Harry pursed his lips and shook his head. “Oh, I doubt that will be necessary for another long while yet.”
“Oh, good morning, Scorpius,” Harry said, distracted. “Early riser?”
“Mr Potter!” Scorpius started. “Good morning. Yes, sometimes.”
Harry smirked slowly. “Times when you have to make it back to your own bed before someone wakes up and catches you in the act?” Harry's eyes held a knowing glint as he looked up from the paper he was reading, lips still curled. “Well?”
Scorpius blanched, very pale. “You can't tell my father, sir!”
“He'd kill me! You know—”
Harry nodded. “I do. The same rules abide here, you know. It's just not your father's idea of a joke. If you manage to create an accidental bond—”
“I know,” Scorpius murmured, downcast.
“I figured you did, lad.” Harry sighed and stood up. “Well, then, let's see what we can do about it to justify the drive of hormones in teenagers and adolescents.”
Harry smirked. Sometimes, Meredith was the most predictable of children. “Yes?”
“What the— why is there— Why can't Scorpius come into my room?!”
“Why would he want to, Meredith? Isn't he asleep?”
There was a silence, then. Harry put down his book and walked down the hallway. Meredith was glaring and frowning at him, standing just outside his room with his friend. “He isn't of age, you know.”
Meredith pouted slightly. Then he frowned and crossed his arms. “But…I mean; it isn't like you and Charlie are married or anything! Why would you care about stupid—?”
“Pureblood traditions? I don't, but that doesn't mean that I would blatantly ignore them. Scorpius, I believe your father adheres to them?”
Harry nodded. “And yes, Charlie and I never married, but then, we are both of age, and…” Harry trailed off. Why…why weren't they married? “It has never come up in a conversation.”Next>>>>>
Chapter 17: </b> Weddings?
Talk of marriage.
Natural | 043
“Eet never came up in a conversation?! What kind of foolish argument eez zat?!”
Harry stared, wide-eyed. He had never before seen Fleur loose her temperament like that or heard her raise her voice.
“Um,” he said. “It never—”
“You 'ave never talked to Chalire about zis, zen, 'Arry?” Harry just shook his head, figuring the less he said, the better. The hole he was digging would otherwise be big enough to bury him in. “Zen you will do so now. March off, mister!”
Harry obediently stood and left the kitchen – his own bloody kitchen!
Fleur's words walked him out: “I don't want to see you until you 'ave discussed zis, you 'ear me?”
“Yeah?” Charlie wiped the sweat off his brow with his hand. He stared at Harry. Harry who was sort of pale and biting his lip and looking as indecisive as only his teenage self had ever managed. “What's wrong?”
“Why aren't we married?” Charlie blinked. “Meredith asked. Fleur just threw me out of the kitchen as if I had somehow committed the most offensive crime.”
Charlie cleared his throat. “Oh.” He shifted. “Do you...want to?”
Harry bit his lip, forehead furrowed. A few seconds later he shook his head. “No...no, I don't think so.” Harry looked suddenly stricken. “Do you? I mean, I'm not—”
“No, no, it's fine, Harry. Honestly. I, it's...no. No, I never wanted to get married. I reckoned...we're good, aren't we? I don't need a ring on my finger or your name next to mine on a piece of parchment collecting dust in the Ministry.”
“Ditto,” Harry laughed. Charlie smiled.
And they were good. They'd had over a dozen – almost two – years together by now: there had never been a need for a marriage. Charlie told him he loved Harry often enough. Harry, although having been difficult the first few – plus another few – years, now returned the favour as often as he felt comfortable doing, but Charlie had done a miraculous job opening him up and showing him what it was like to be human. Showing him love, warmth, happiness – of course, the variations Severus had never been able to teach him.
This relationship was second nature by now. Natural. They would go to sleep at night and it would still be there in the morning, as unchangeable and flexible as ever.
Still, Harry thought, a small token wouldn't be amiss. Just a little one, though, like a bracelet or a necklace or something.
“How about simple rings,” Harry murmured at the same time as Charlie suggested, “we could always exchange rings?”