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Smiles of Plated Gold

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Beware, beware, be sceptical. Of their smiles, their smiles of plated gold

Deceit, so natural. But a wolf in sheep's clothing is more than a warning

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, have you any soul? No sir, and by the way, what the hell are morals?

Harry winced and covered his ears, trying to shut out his uncle’s screaming.

His hands were wrenched painfully away from the side of his face, and when Harry opened his eyes again it was to meet the crouched figure of his uncle, face red and large and eyes bulging.

“You listen to me when I’m talking to you, boy!” Uncle Vernon spat. “I hope you have a good explanation for yourself!”

“Dudley threw Action Man into the bin,” Harry cried, rubbing his sore wrist when Uncle Vernon had grabbed him. “He didn’t want him!”

“So you thought you could steal it?” Uncle Vernon roared. “Look how upset Dudley is.”

Harry glanced over to where his cousin Dudley was being coddled by his mother on the sofa. Aunt Petunia had never hugged Harry like that; whenever Harry tried she would push him away with a sneer.

“But he’s broke-” Harry tried to protest, but his uncle was having none of it.

“I’m tired of your attitude, boy!” Uncle Vernon hissed. “You’re plain disrespectful and ungrateful.”

Harry didn’t understand what those words meant, but he did when Aunt Petunia added, “a nasty little boy.”

“I’m, I’m sorry,” Harry muttered, dropping his gaze and shuffling his foot on the carpet. All he ever did was make his aunt and uncle unhappy, no matter what he did. All Harry wanted was for them to smile at him or make him laugh like they did with Dudley, but nothing he did was ever good enough.

“Sorry?” Uncle Vernon repeated with a sneer. “Sorry doesn’t mean anything, boy. You can prove to Dudley you’re sorry by letting him have one of your toys. That plastic soldier of yours.”

“But that’s my only toy!” Harry protested, looking back up at his uncle in horror before reverting his gaze back to the floor under his uncle’s furious glare. “Please, uncle Vernon, it’s mine!”

“Maybe you should have thought about that before you tried stealing from poor Duddy,” Petunia snapped. “Now do as you’re told, or can’t you even do that right?”

Harry’s eyes felt wet, and he wiped the back of his hand over them but it gained no sympathy from his aunt and uncle.

“Now, boy!” Uncle Vernon shouted.

His uncle stepped behind him as Harry left the living room to get to his cupboard. He opened the door to the tiny space under the stairs, where the toy soldier in question was tucked neatly under the sheets.

Harry loved the toy that Mrs Figg had given him once. Dudley had torn one of its arms off and scribbled over it with permanent marker, but Harry liked that it looked a little bit different. He could play with the soldier for hours, talking to it and pretending it was his father come home from war.

Harry picked the soldier up gingerly, and held it out towards his uncle sullenly.

“Please, Uncle Vernon,” Harry tried again, but his uncle snatched the toy from Harry’s grasp before he could even finish his sentence.

“I hope you learn a valuable lesson from this,” Uncle Vernon said, moustache flaring as Harry huffed. “You’re not good enough for anything of Dudley’s; the sooner you learn your place the better.”

Harry made a move to step out of the cupboard but his uncle’s large hands stopped him.

“Don’t even think about it, boy; you’re still being punished,” Uncle Vernon stated coldly. “Two days in your cupboard, I think.”

“No!” Harry cried, rushing forwards but being pushed back harshly before he was bathed in darkness.

He slammed his hands on the door as the outside lock clicked into place, and even as Harry slammed on the door louder and louder he could hear his uncle walking down the hallway and the volume of the TV being turned up full blast.

Harry let out a sob, flopping back onto his bed and drawing his thin pillow to his chest. He didn’t even have his toy soldier with him now to keep him company; he was completely alone. Harry was beginning to think that maybe he was just unlovable; that’s what his aunt and uncle always said. Harry thought he could change their minds, but maybe he was wrong.

If his aunt and uncle heard him crying as they went about their day, they didn’t come to him. As usual, Harry was left alone.

- - -

“Hungry, so hungry.”

Harry froze in his position sat on the ground where he was pulling up grass, confused about where the voice had come from.

There was nobody in the garden except for him, and the voice certainly hadn’t sounded like anyone in his family; it was far too quiet and calm for that.

“What to eat? What to eat?”

The voice seemed to be coming from the hedge at the end of the garden, so Harry crawled nearer to it, trying to see if he could spot shoes sticking up from behind the hedge.

There was still nobody to be seen, however, and it was only when Harry put his hand down and head the words, “silly human!” that Harry realised where the voice was coming from.

A long brown snake with black markings was looking up at Harry with beady eyes, tongue flicking out of its mouth as it studied him.

Sorry for nearly squishing you, snake,” Harry said, smiling down at the snake; it was quite cute, really. Harry had never seen a snake before in real life.

The snake lifted its head, almost appearing surprised. “A snake speaker? What an interesting small human you are.

Do you know what I’m saying?” Harry asked the snake. “That’s so rad! I’ve never spoken to an animal before. What’s your name?

I don’t have a name,” the snake answered. “I am simply snake. Do you have a name, small human?.”

I’m Harry,” Harry answered. “But my family usually calls me boy. I don’t like that name very much.

Why do they call you that if you don’t like it?,” the snake enquired, flicking its tongue out thoughtfully.

Harry shrugged. “They don’t like me.”

Well I like you, small human,” the snake hissed. “I’ll be your friend.”

Harry opened his mouth to respond, excited at the thought of having a friend all of his own, when a booming voice broke through the silence.

“Boy?!” Uncle Vernon roared. “What the hell are you doing?”

The snake slithered away into the bushes but not fast enough for Uncle Vernon to see him.

“S-snakes?” Uncle Vernon spluttered. “What are you bringing to our garden, boy?”

“I just found-” Harry tried to protest, breaking off with a cry of pain as Uncle Vernon grabbed hold of Harry’s hair to haul him to his feet.

“I’m tired of your lies!” Uncle Vernon spat, grabbing Harry’s arm roughly to pull him into the house.

“Let go! You’re hurting me!” Harry cried, trying to yank his arm free but only causing his uncle to hold on tighter.

Tears sprang to Harry’s eyes as he was dragged into the house, and he used his free arm to try and batter Uncle Vernon’s hand away but it was to no avail; his uncle was just too strong for him.

“I’m not going to stand for freakish nonsense in or around my house!” Uncle Vernon shouted as he pushed Harry into his cupboard forcefully. “A week in your cupboard, boy, and if I catch you with any more snakes I’m going to make you regret it.”

Uncle Vernon raised his first threateningly before slamming the door shut in Harry’s face.

Harry kicked the door, sending a jolt of pain through his toes but he kicked it again, desperate to get out of the small space.

“I’m sorry, Uncle!” Harry cried, banging his fists on the door. “Please let me out! Uncle!”

But nobody came, not even when Harry screamed himself hoarse.

Nobody ever came.

- - -

A crack of thunder rumbled loudly around him, and Harry huddle deeper under the thin sheet of his bed to try and drown out the sound.

It got pitch black in his cupboard at night. Harry didn’t mind the dark usually—he was more than used to it by now—but when the only sound he could hear was thunder echoing in the middle of the night, it got his heart racing and his palms sweaty, and all he could focus on was how small the walls around him were and what would happen if the thunder caused them to be come crashing down on him.

Another crack of thunder sounded and Harry buried himself further under his covers. He knew there was no point shouting for his aunt; the first time he’d done that she’d screamed at him for disturbing her and told him not to be a baby, and everytime after that she’d ignored him, And even if Harry knew Uncle Vernon would come—which he certainly wouldn’t—Harry wouldn’t want him there anyway.

Harry had seen the other children at nursery with their parents, and Dudley with his, and he wondered why he didn’t have that. He knew his mum and dad weren’t around but nobody had told him why, only that they were dead, but Harry often wondered if they’d have loved him or if they’d have hated him like Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon did.

He wanted to be good, and he wanted to be lovable, but all Harry got was locked away and ignored, and when they did give him attention it was only to tell him off and punish him.

Harry dreamt sometimes of a lady singing to him, an old man cradling him in his arms, a motorbike flying him across the sky, and Harry always felt peaceful when he woke up from those dreams. All Harry wanted was for a family who loved him, who talked to him and treated him nicely, and looked after him when he was scared.

He closed his eyes, trying to imagine somebody opening his cupboard door, a man or a woman with black hair, green eyes, and a kind smile. They’d look down at Harry and scoop him up in their arms, keeping him warm and close and loved. They’d be a long lost aunt or uncle, perhaps, or a distant cousin, come back from a wild jungle across the seas or home after a long trek across the deserts, And now they were back they were going to take Harry away, far away, where he was going to be loved and wanted. Everything would become brighter for Harry; he’d have his own room and his own toys, and nobody would ever shout at him again or lock him away in a cupboard, forgotten.

Harry finally drifted into sleep with a smile on his face.

- - -

Rumbling laughter sounded from the house, but Harry ignored it, trying to focus on the nest he was making with the grass he was pulling up.

A door barked inside and Harry really hoped they didn’t let it out into the garden. Aunt Marge was round, and Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had made Harry go outside until Aunt Marge left because they said she hated the sight of him.

Harry had never done anything bad to Aunt Marge, but she seemed to hate him even more than his aunt and uncle. She wasn’t afraid to hit him if he got to close to her, and Harry hated that, so he was quite happy to be outside away from her.

The snake that Harry had spoken to just over a week ago hadn’t been back so far, and Harry was a little bit disappointed. The snake had been friendly, plus Harry had never spoken to any kind of animal before and as far as Harry knew nobody else knew how to do it. It made Harry feel good that he could so something that nobody else could.

Unless it had been a dream, but it had certainly hurt when Uncle Vernon had grabbed Harry to drag him inside, and dreams weren’t supposed to feel real.

A loud crack echoed through the garden, followed by a strong gust of wind which blew Harry’s hard-made nest away, green whipping past his fast in a blur. He shivered at the sudden, unexpected chill, and reached out with grabbing hands to try and save his nest but only managed to catch a few blades.

Harry sighed and turned back to his work patch, where so many tufts of grass had been pulled out that squares of mud overtook the green. He started to make an attempt to fix his grass nest when he felt eyes on him, and Harry was surprised to see a woman silently watching him as he glanced up.

The woman was tall and slim, with dark hair and sharp grey eyes. She appeared to be old, older than Aunt Petunia and Aunt Marge at least, and was wearing a strange black dress that trailed all the way to the floor. She didn’t have friendly eyes, but she smiled down at Harry.

Harry couldn’t remember anybody smiling at him before.

“Hello,” the woman said, reaching her hand out in invitation towards Harry.

Harry just stared back at her, watching her cautiously. He didn’t want to call for his aunt and uncle—not that they’d come and help him anyway—but also the woman seemed nice, if not a little bit unusual looking.

“At nursery they told us not to talk to strangers,” Harry said, tilting his head as he looked up at the woman.

“We’re not strangers,” the woman answered, walking towards Harry and crouching down in front of him. “I know you, Harry; I’m a friend of a friend. My name is Walburga.”

Harry crinkled his nose. “I’m sorry, lady, I don’t have any friends.”

Walburga tutted. “Not that you remember, Harry. You have friends and your aunt and uncle won’t let you see them. I’m here to help you. Don’t you want to see your friends again?”

Harry considered Walburga carefully. She was still smiling, and Harry supposed that anyone who could smile at him that long must actually like him, and besides, how long had Harry dreamed of someone coming to take him away to a home where he was wanted?

The woman’s smile faltered as she began to cough, hacking loudly, and when she pulled her hand away from her mouth it was stained red.

“Are you hurt?” Harry asked, but Walburga simply shook her head and wiped her hand on her dress.

“You’re a sweet boy, Harry, that’s why I’m going to help you,” Walburga murmured softly, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a golden necklace. “This is for you.”

The necklace was a long, heavy chain, and dangling from it was an intricate design of gold, metal bands that twisted all around a tiny hourglass filled with glittering silver sand. It was nothing like any of Aunt Petunia’s jewellery, and as Harry closed his hand around the chain it felt like it was almost pulsing.

“Thank you,” Harry muttered, uncertainly. Nobody had ever really given him a present before, only old pairs of socks or a ten-pence coin. “Is this really for me?”

“Yes, and only for you,” Walburga nodded. “Don’t let any of your family see it, okay? They are filth, and only special boys like you get to have a present like this.”

Harry nodded slowly. Walburga’s eyes had darkened, almost making her look scary, but she was still smiling at Harry and she’d given him a present, plus she said they were friends. Harry couldn’t remember having friends, so he didn’t want to lose her by throwing the present back at her.

“Now, that is a very clever present,” Walburga continued. “Next time you’re all alone and scared, all you have to do is spin the hourglass around, as many times as you can, can it will take you somewhere safe, to an old friend; somebody who cares about you. No, don’t do it yet,” she added quickly, reaching out to stop Harry’s fingers as he made an attempt to spin it. “You have to wait until you’re on your own.”

“How does it do that?” Harry asked, eyes wide.

“Magic,” Walburga answered simply. “It’s as magic as you or I.”

“Magic isn’t real,” Harry murmured, shaking his head. He’d heard as much from Uncle Vernon every time Dudley’s cartoons had witches in. Uncle Vernon was very adamant about that. “My uncle said so.”

“Your aunt and uncle are liars,” Walburga replied. “They’re not your friends, but I am, and friends tell one another the truth. Don’t you trust me, Harry? Am I not your friend?”

“You are!” Harry protested as the smile began to fall from Walburga’s face. He didn’t want her to hate him too. “I believe you.”

“Good,” Walburga said, smiling again. “So next time you’re alone and scared, you’ll do as I told you, yes?” Harry nodded. “Good boy. This is going to help you, Harry; I promise.”

- - -

Harry laid his hands flat over his stomach as it rumbled loudly.

Aunt Petunia had sent Harry to bed without any dinner for upsetting Dudley—Dudley had been prodding and punching Harry and his aunt and uncle hadn’t cared until Harry tried to slap Dudley’s hand away.

Harry could hear Dudley laughing now, along with the booming chortle of Uncle Vernon and the quiet titter of Aunt Petunia. They were always happy when Harry wasn’t there, acting like the other families that Harry saw on the street.

Harry reached a hand under his pillow, pulling out the golden necklace that Walburga had given him just a few days prior. Even though he’d promised Walburga he was going to use it like she wanted him to, Harry hadn’t been able to try it yet,

He was worried that it wouldn’t work, or that he’d try but his aunt and uncle would catch him and punish him for trying to escape. Harry knew that Uncle Vernon was adamant that magic didn’t exist, but Harry thought things could be a lot more exciting in a world of magic.

Walburga had been nice to Harry, too, nicer than anyone Harry could remember being to him. That surely made Walburga his friend—she said she was his friend—and in that case she wouldn’t lie to him. Walburga just wanted to help Harry, and he wondered if she’d be disappointed if Harry didn’t do as she’d asked of him; could he really afford to lose the one friend he had?

He tapped the hourglass, watching the tiny grains of silver sand shimmering behind the glass under the slight movement. Walburga had told Harry so spin the hourglass as many times as he could, and it would take him to somebody who cared about him. By magic.

All Harry had ever wanted was to be with somebody who loved him.

He put the golden chain around his neck where it weighed heavy, and lifted the hourglass design in his hands. He could hear his family laughing still, but even if they weren’t Harry knew that they wouldn’t come for him anyway; they weren’t going to interrupt.

Harry knew he’d be upset if it turned out not to work, and that Walburga had been tricking him, or maybe even just a dream that had seemed very real, but she had offered Harry a chance to get what he wanted, and Harry couldn’t resist the opportunity.

With a flick of his finger, Harry sent the hourglass spinning, tapping it over and over again as it span in a golden blur, faster and faster.

Harry’s fingers began to tingle, then so did his hands, and the faster the hourglass span the further the strange sensation spread through Harry’s entire body. His eyes widened in alarm and he tried to grab the hourglass to stop it spinning but it refused to cease.

The cupboard under the stairs began to shift, the room become blurred and fuzzy as a golden light began to envelop Harry. His stomach lurched as silver beams of light raced past him, and suddenly Harry felt like he was falling down a never-ending tunnel, the necklace round his neck throbbing all the while.

The sensations stopped all at once, and Harry landed on his feet with a thud in a bright room that didn’t look like anything at his house on Privet Drive.

The floor was polished wood and the carpet was a rich, deep red. Bookshelves lined all of the walls, from floor to ceiling, and in the middle of the room sat a desk with a single chair behind it; a chair that was currently occupied.

The man was tall and slender, with silky blond hair that fell to his shoulders, and eyes that were vibrant blue. His head was tilted curiously at Harry, and as he stood he revealed himself to be wearing some kind of long, navy blue gown.

Harry continued to stare silently as the man crossed the room and crouched down in front of him, running gentle fingers across the lightning bolt scar on Harry’s forehead.

“Hello, child,” the man said with an amused smile. “My name is Gellert Grindelwald; what’s yours?”

Chapter Text

Harry stared back at the man, his heart thumping in his chest. He could still barely believe that the golden necklace had worked, and had taken him from his lonely cupboard under the stairs to a room that looked like something out of a story.

And the man—Gellert, he’d said his name was—was there, smiling at Harry, just like Walburga had been. He must be the friend Walburga had told Harry would be waiting for him.

“Nem beszél angolul?” Gellert said after a few moments of silence passed between them.

“Uh, what?” Harry finally said, frowning when Gellert chuckled.

“I asked if you do not speak English,” Gellert answered. “But you just answered that question. Now if you could answer my first and tell me your name.”

Gellert’s voice came out sharp, and Harry averted his gaze and looked down in shame. Walburga had sent Harry away from the Dursleys to be kind to him, and he didn’t want to ruin it by making Gellert hate him already.

“Sorry, sir; my name is Harry, Harry Potter,” Harry murmured, refusing to stare at anything but the stone floor before gentle fingers grasped his chin and forced his head up to meet Gellert’s bright blue stare.

“So polite,” Gellert cooed. “But I do not want a child to avert his gaze from me in fear. I do not plan to cause you any harm, Harry, however I would like to know how you came to be in my home when any skilled wizard would find it near impossible.”

Harry’s eyes widened further at the mention of the word wizard. Walburga had told Harry that magic was real, and then there had been that blurred, shifting tunnel that had brought Harry to where he was...it seemed like Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had been wrong about magic not being real.

Harry gingerly held out his necklace to Gellet, one half of the hourglass now smashed and missing the majority of the glittering silver sand.

“A lady named Walburga gave it to me,” Harry explained, allowing Gellert to take the necklace from his grasp. “She said it would take me to a friend. Are you my friend?”

Gellert smiled brightly at Harry, flashing perfectly straight white teeth. “Of course, Harry. This is a very interesting necklace; it’s a pity it’s broken. Where are your parents?”

“I don’t have any of those,” Harry said quietly.

“Hmm,” Gellert murmured, reaching into the sleeve of his navy gown and pulling out a long wooden stick which had a silver band close to the tip, scrawled with peculiar patterns. “I just want to do a little spell on you, Harry. Is that okay?”

“A spell?” Harry repeated faintly, looking at the stick—the wand, Harry realised—with awe.

“It won’t hurt at all,” Gellert promised. He stood back to full height and aimed his wand at the spot between Harry’s eyes. “Legilimens.”

Harry squeezed his eyes shut as he felt a strange tugging in his head as memories began to fly to the front of his mind; Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon mostly, shouting at him, calling him a freak, telling him magic wasn’t real, screaming at him whenever anything usual around him happened, locking him in the cupboard, not letting him eat.

Harry peeked one eye open and saw a look of intense fury on Gellert’s face, but Harry had seen enough anger to know whether it was aimed at him or not—and Gellert’s wasn’t. His eyes locked with Harry’s and then the tugging inside his head felt even stronger; not painful but uncomfortable.

“Shh,” Gellert murmured as Harry whimpered. “It will be over soon.”

More, unknown memories came forward then; a strange green flash with a woman screaming behind it, a motorcycle flying through the sky—then some he did know; watching the television on New Year’s Day with the numbers 1985 flashing on the screen, him sitting in his cupboard crying, frightened and alone, and Walburga giving him the necklace and promising that it would take Harry somewhere safe and to somebody who cared.

The sudden surge of memories and uncomfortable feeling stopped all at once, leaving Harry feeling dizzy. He felt dampness on his cheeks and wiped quickly at his eyes before Gellert could see.

But rather than shouting at him, Gellert crouched back down in front of Harry and used his thumbs to tenderly brush the tears from Harry’s cheeks; Harry couldn’t remember anyone ever touching him so gently.

“There is no shame in crying,” Gellert said softly. “Your aunt and uncle are very cruel to you, aren’t they?”

“Only because I’m bad,” Harry muttered, hanging his head again. “I make them mad.”

“No,” Gellert said sharply, tilting Harry’s head up again. “You are a child, and no child should be treated like they treat you; especially by adults who are far…inferior to you.”

“Huh?” Harry tilted his head at the word he didn’t recognise. Harry hadn’t spoken to Gellert for long, but he could already tell that he was a lot smarter than Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon.

Gellert laughed lightly. “I shall explain later. Now, Harry, Walburga is a friend of mine and I asked her to send you to me. I knew your father, you see, and I knew he wanted me to look after you if anything ever happened to him and your mother. Unfortunately the Ministry intervened and through my work and travels I was unable to get to you until now.”

Harry didn’t understand most of what Gellert had just said, but he knew the most important part.

“You knew my dad?”

Gellert nodded. “Wulfric Potter, a very clever man. He and I used to work together. Now-” he held up a hand as Harry prepared to ask him another question—one of many that he had. “I know you have a lot to ask me but I do not want to overwhelm you right now. How about I get you something to eat, then I’ll get Pici to run you a bath before bed?”

Gellert returned to full height and offered his hand to Harry, smiling down at him. Harry hesitated for just a moment before taking it, realising for the first time what it was to feel happy.

- - -

Harry couldn’t help but jump on his knees, laughing at the soft mattress springing beneath him. He’d never felt a bed this soft and bouncy, or even so big—it had to be wider than the one Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon used.

Harry’s movements stilled at once when Gellert walked into the room, and he sat back on his calves.

“Sorry,” Harry murmured with a pout, upset to anger Gellert who had been nothing but kind to Harry.

But rather than shouting at him, Geller simply smiled. “You’re a child, Harry; you’re allowed to jump on the bed. Though that it perhaps left best for morning; you look very tired. Will you get under the covers now?”

Harry did as he was told, finding the duvet as warm and as cosy as the bed itself. He felt almost swamped by the sheer fluffiness of the duvet covers, and he pulled them over his head and back down, grinning at Gellert, who smiled back at him tenderly.

Harry was still worried that he would upset Gellert if he did something wrong, and would make him hate him, but despite that Harry felt comfortable around him. Gellert had been nicer to Harry than anyone else had before—not that that was hard.

Gellert had given Harry dinner of delicious fresh-baked bread with cheese and sausages, and had allowed Harry to eat as much as he wanted without yanking his plate away from him. He’d given Harry a glass of milk and cookies for dessert, chatting with him about Harry’s favourite things; colour, animal, flower, and the like.

After dinner Gellert had called on Pici, a peculiar little thing that looked like a bat and a gremlin all at once, and had made Harry shout in shock when he saw him. Gellert had explained that Pici was a house-elf who helped out around the house, and that he would help Harry with his bath. Harry had been even more surprised to learn that Pici could talk, but he turned out to be very friendly, even though he didn’t know very many words. The bath had been wonderful too, with a large tub filled to the brim with warm water and lots of bubbles, nothing like the ones at home where Aunt Petunia made Harry sit in cold water previously used by Dudley.

Despite the strange, warping tunnel and the spell that Gellert had used on Harry which made his head feel weird, Harry hadn’t had such a good day in all the days that he could remember. He didn’t want to go back to the Dursleys, where nobody liked him, and back to his dark, small cupboard with its hard bed and close walls. He liked it with Gellert, and Harry wondered if he could hide in one of the many rooms so Gellert couldn’t find him to send him home.

“I brought a book, if you’d like me to read you a story?” Gellert murmured, sitting gently on the end of the bed and bringing out a well-used book that was fraying in the corners and cracked down the spine.

“Yes, please,” Harry said eagerly, leaning forwards and clapping his hands together. Sometimes if he strained his ears he could hear Aunt Petunia reading to Dudley, but he always missed bits of it.

“How old are you, Harry?” Gellert asked, absently brushing lint off the bed covers.

“Four,” Harry answered, holding four fingers up proudly. “I’m five in July.”

“Not long to go then,” Gellert smiled. “Do you go to school yet?”

“I go in April,” Harry said. “I don’t wanna go to school. Dudley said the teachers hit your hands with a cane if you’re naughty.”

“Nobody would dare strike your hands with a cane, unless they want to face my wrath,” Gellert said icily. “I take it, then, that you haven't learned to read yet?”

"Not yet," Harry said slowly, waiting for the look of disappointment on Gellert's face which never came.

"Most children don't until they start school," Gellert commented casually. "I was an early learner, but I always very much enjoyed reading and writing. This book I have here is called Tales of Beedle the Bard; it's a collection of, what do you call them? Hmm...fairy tales."

He showed Harry the front cover which had a painted picture of an old woman huddled over a bubbling cauldron. The paint was flecked with age and dim in colour, but the picture it showed was fascinating to Harry.

"In my native tongue, we call this A Bárd Kísértetei," Gellert said. "That's Hungarian. Have you heard of Hungary?"

"Hungry?" Harry repeated, and Gellert shook his head, smiling.

"Hun-GAH-ry," Gellert corrected. "Say it again."

"Hungary," Harry tried again, and Gellert nodded, pleased.

"Good boy," he purred, ruffling Harry's hair and making him giggle. "Hungary is a country just like England, where you are from. It's across a sea and several more countries, and we speak our own language here. That necklace Walburga gave him brought you all the way to Hungary."

"Wow," Harry beamed. He'd never been on holiday before; he had to stay with Mrs Figg for a week when Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon took Dudley to Torquay for a holiday.

"This book is all written in Hungarian, so you wouldn't be able to read it even if you could read," Gellert said. "I am able to speak Hungarian and English, as well as a few other languages, so I can read a book in one language and speak it aloud in another."

"You're very clever," Harry said, giving Gellert a wide grin.

Gellert gave Harry a fond look. "I'm going to read you my favourite story. It's called The Tale of the Three Brothers, or in Hungarian, A három testvér története."

The story was about three brothers who tried to beat Death, who didn't take kindly to their attempts. He tricked two of them into taking items which led to their own death, but the third brother simply asked Death to leave him alone until his time was up.

There was a special wand for the first brother, and a stone that could bring back the dead for the second, and though Harry thought they would be fine items, the story seemed to be saying that they weren't as they seemed. The third brother received an Invisibility Cloak, and Harry had to admit that would be his favourite of the three, and he told Gellert as much.

"Yes, if you only had to pick one, it is a fine choice," Gellert agreed. "But to own all three means that you will become the Master of Death, and can never die. There are those who do not believe in the Deathly Hallows, the Halál ereklyéi, but it's always fun to believe in fantasy, don't you agree?"

- - -

Harry slept incredibly well, and dreamt of sneaking into a sweet shop with the help of an Invisibility Cloak. He woke up quite disappointed that he didn't have one, and then even more disappointed when he remembered where he was.

It wasn't that he hated being with Gellert, far from it, but he knew that Gellert would be sending Harry home soon and he really didn't want to go.

As a result he went down to breakfast with Pici in a sullen mood, which Gellert instantly picked up on.

"Did you not sleep well, Harry?" Gellert asked over a bowl of fruit and yoghurt.

"Fine," Harry answered with a huff. "Gellert?" he asked, uncertainly. "How long can I stay here? Can I have just one more bath before I go? Please?"

Gellert frowned, and snapped his fingers for Pici to get Harry's breakfast.

"Did I give you the impression I would be sending you away, Harry?" Gellert enquired. "I cannot in good conscience return you to a home where you get starved and locked in a tiny cupboard."

"Good con-shenz?" Harry repeated, tilting his head in confusion.

"It means I would feel a bad person if I did it," Gellert explained gently. "You didn't want to go back to your aunt and uncle, did you?"

"No way!" Harry protested quickly, shaking his head.

"Good," Gellert nodded. "Remember yesterday I said I knew your father? I also said he wanted me to look after you if anything were to happen to him, and I am now in a position where I can do so. If you are willing, I would like to adopt you, Harry."

"Really?!" Harry shouted, grinning widely as he jumped to his feet and almost sent Pici flying. "Sorry, Pici. But you would adopt me?"

Harry's heart was pounding, excitement coursing through his veins at the thought of never having to go back to the Dursleys, and staying with somebody who cared for him; somebody who had been nothing but kind and had wonderful, magical stories to tell.

"I would like nothing more than to see you happy," Gellert said, holding his arms wide.

Harry barely hesitated before running forwards to hug Gellert who immediately wrapped his arms around Harry in a tight hold. It made Harry feel safe and loved and wanted, and it made tears spring to his eyes.

“I don’t know why I’m sad,” Harry muttered, wiping his eyes. “I feel happy.”

“You can cry when you’re happy,” Gellert said, smiling down at Harry.

"If you would like, you can call me Apa. That's the Hungarian word for father."

"Apa," Harry copied, testing the word on his tongue. "It's good."

"I will teach you Hungarian, Harry," Gellert continued. "I can teach you a lot thing, so you won't have to go to school where they cane you. I'll teach you how to read and write, and I'll teach you about magic."

"I can be magic too?" Harry asked hopefully, eyes brightening as Gellert brandished his wand and levitated his glass across the table.

"You are either born with magic, of you're not," Gellert said. "And you, sweet Harry, were born with it. I can sense it in you; I believe you'll grow up to be a powerful wizard. That's why your aunt and uncle were so cruel to you; they resented you for having magic. Mugli, we call them—Muggles, in English. Muggles are a very dangerous group of people, Harry; they are scared of magic, or they envy us and want to be magical themselves, which puts witches and wizards at risk. You saw with your aunt and uncle what they are capable of; I want you to remember never to trust a Muggle, Harry. I would never lie to you, Harry, remember that."

Harry nodded seriously. "Okay, Apa, I won't trust them."

If horrible people like Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were Muggles, and then Gellert the wizard was nice, Harry didn't see any reason not to believe Gellert.

"Good boy," Gellert smiled. "I can already tell you're going to be a brilliant student. Now, I do believe it might be a good idea to change your surname so you can properly be adopted."

Harry threw his thoughts back to the previous night to try and remember what Gellert had said his surname was.

"Griddalword?" Harry tried, sniggering when Gellert shook his head with a chuckle.

"Grindelwald," Gellert corrected easily. "But I don't think that would go with the name Harry very well. You are better to take my mother's name, Peverell."

"Harry Peverell," Harry said. "Harry Peverell. Do you like it?"

Gellert nodded. "It sounds perfect. Finish your breakfast, Harry; there's somebody I would like you to meet."

 

- - -

Harry wolfed down his breakfast—rice pudding with fruit jam on top—intrigued to see who Gellert was going to introduce him to. He wondered if it was a wife who would be Harry's new mother, or another child who would be Harry's brother or sister.

Harry didn't expect it to be another man.

He was sat in a bedroom that had bars on the window, He was a little bit younger than Gellert and very handsome, with short dark hair and wearing a smart suit. His deep brown eyes widened at the sight of Harry, and he looked at Gellert in alarm.

"Who is this?" the man demanded, his voice sounding just like the Americans Harry had heard on the television. “Gellert-”

“This is Harry,” Gellert said sharply, cutting the man off before he could finish his sentence. “I have just adopted him.”

Adopted?” the man repeated faintly, but Gellert ignored him and turned to Harry instead.

“Harry, this is Percival Graves,” Gellert explained, gesturing at the man who was still staring down at Harry with wide, unbelieving eyes. “He is a servant of sorts, my personal assistant.”

“Hi,” Harry said shyly, grinning up at Percival who finally gave him a shaky smile.

“Hello, Harry” Percival said slowly. “Geller, what are you-?”

Jó otthont adok egy bántalmazott árvának,”¹ Gellert stated coldly. “That’s what you’d have wanted for your dear Credence, isn’t it?”

Percival hung his head and nodded. “Yes, I...yes.”

“Good,” Gellert purred. “Harry, as part of my work, I sometimes have to leave here for days at a time, but Percival is going to take very good care of you while I’m away. Aren’t you, Percival?”

“Yes,” Percival answered, crouching down in front of Harry and brushing a strand of hair out of his eyes. “Yes, I’ll watch him. How old are you, Harry?”

“Four,” Harry answered with a smile, feeling happier now that Percival looked more relaxed. “Are you from America?”

Percival nodded. “Yes, I’m from New York. I was an Auror, but then Gellert, uh, brought me here to work for him instead.”

“What’s an Auror?” Harry asked Percival, but it was Gellert who answered.

“Magical police,” Gellert said. “They are not to be trusted; they only care to save themselves and the people who pay them. I was incredibly gracious to give Percival the opportunity to work for me, rather than leaving him to decay where he was.”

“Yes, and thank you for that,” Percival responded, though he didn’t look happy at all. “Ha bántani akarja…”²

“That is not my intention at all,” Gellert snapped, and Harry looked between Gellert and Percival with a furrowed brow. “Soha nem ártana az ártatlan gyermeket.”³

“Unless you needed to,” Percival muttered under his breath, but Gellert still heard him.

“Credence wasn’t innocent,” Gellert said icily, gesturing for Harry to return to his side. “You look rather confused, Harry; I promise we’re try and speak less Hungarian around you until you begin your lessons.”

“It sounds hard,” Harry murmured, still feeling rather lost in the conversation, both between the mix of Hungarian and English and the long words that Gellert favoured.

“I was able to teach Percival and make him fluent, and children of your age pick up on a second language exceedingly easily,” Gellert reassured him, running a gentle hand through Harry’s hair. “I promise you’ll be speaking Hungarian in no time. Now, Harry, would you be so kind as to go with Pici for a little while? I need to talk to Percival in private.”

- - -

Harry watched in awe as Gellert’s face shifted to that of another man’s, his blond hair turning black from the roots to the tips, and his blue eyes turning a shade of brown similar to Percival’s.

“I thought we could go to Budapest today,”Gellert said, running a hand through his now dark hair. “That’s the capital city of Hungary.”

“You-you’re different!” Harry responded, unable to think of anything else to say. Gellert’s voice was still the same but otherwise it was like looking at a completely different man.

“Yes,” Gellert nodded. “Do you remember how I’ve mentioned my work a few times? Well, there are some who do not agree with what I do because they are terribly misinformed. They don’t understand what I’m trying to do, and though I could handle them bothering me with ease, I sometimes like to change my appearance when I’m out so I can go about my business without being interrupted.”

“Oh,” Harry said, nodding despite not being sure what Gellert meant.

Gellert chuckled and crouched down to Harry’s height. “You musn’t be afraid to tell me if you don’t understand something, Harry. I value learning over pride.”

“Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon get angry if I don’t know something,” Harry muttered, scuffing his shoe on the floor.

“Well they’re not here, and I’m not going to get angry at you,” Gellert replied gently. “And what I said before was that I have to go outside in disguise sometimes because there are some people who don’t like me.”

“Why don’t they like you?” Harry enquired curiously. “You’re nice.”

“Not everybody would agree with that assessment,” Gellert replied. “As you get older, Harry, you may hear things about me, about how the world considers Gellert Grindelwald a danger, but I want you to promise me, Harry, that you won’t listen to them. I want you to promise that you’ll trust me, your father, over any other.”

Harry’s heart skipped a beat when Gellert referred to himself as Harry’s father, and he smiled up at him shyly. “I promise. I like you; you’ve been nice to me.”

“Remember that promise, Kicsikém,”⁴ Gellert murmured. “Shall we leave now? I would like to buy you some new clothes, some books, and some toys perhaps.”

Harry’s face lit up at the mention of toys. “Can I get a toy soldier? Dudley took mine.”

“You can have whatever you like,” Gellert smiled. “I will not punish you if you misbehave or do something to upset me, but I will reward you for good behaviour; no good behaviour means no reward. You have lived too long fearing punishment. Hold my hand and I will Apparate us.”

“What’s Apparate mean?” Harry asked, taking Gellert’s hand and immediately squeezing his eyes shut as he felt suddenly squashed, like he was being sucked into a tunnel before being spat back out outside.

“It’s a way that witches and wizards travel,” Gellert explained with a small smile. “Very quick, wasn’t it?”

Harry nodded, tearing his eyes away from Gellert to the wide, flowing river which was now beside them, with large white buildings on the other side, one of which had a pointed dome sticking out from the skyline.

“That is St Stephen’s Basilica, a Muggle church,” Gellert explained, following Harry’s line of sight. “And this river is the River Danube, the second longest river in Europe; in Hungary we refer to it as Duna. I suppose I’ll have to ensure you learn how to swim, actually; I’d hate for you to drown when it’s easily preventable.”

“Okay,” Harry murmured, trailing his gaze down the line of the city. “It’s so pretty here.”

“My country is indeed a beautiful one,” Gellert smiled. “That is why I only want the best for the witches and wizards who live here.”

“How many do?” Harry asked, finally glancing back at Gellert.

“Far too many to count,” Gellert answered. “There are enough of us that we have our own district in Budapest, hidden away from all the Muggles. It isn’t too far from here.”

Gellert kept hold of Harry’s hand as he guided him away from the river and up into the city.

“Why are people dressed so funny?” Harry asked as Gellert hurried them through the crowd. “And the cars look funny too.”

“England must have different styles to what we have here,” Gellert answered dismissively. “We’re almost there; there’s a secret way to getting into the magical district.”

Gellert stopped outside a rundown little coffee shop which had dusty, darkened windows, and a board loosely covering up a smashed window in the doorway. None of the people around them paid any attention when Gellert led Harry up the two stone steps and pushed the door open with a creak.

Nobody was in the shop, and chairs and tables were thrown on their sides, discarded without a second thought, but Gellert walked straight past them and headed right to the back door, which he tapped three times with his wand. He glanced down at Harry and smiled before pushing open the door.

Harry had to shield his eyes as suddenly the world was bright again, and abuzz with the noise of chatter. Harry gingerly took his hand away from his face and grinned brightly as a long, stony alley stretched out in front of him, full of people wearing different coloured gowns like the one Gellert and Percival wore.

As Gellert led Harry down the alley, he didn’t know where to look. All the shop windows had amazing things in, things Harry could have never believed existed, like cauldron pots and smoking marbles, owls and small dogs with forked tails, broomsticks and intricate golden devices that looked like telescopes. Then there were the smells, all delicious and sweet, wafting in from various bakeries and delis, or street carts which had lines of people queuing up to wait for them.

A man shouted and Harry looked as several small, blue items flew from his arms and into the air, and as they whizzed past Harry he saw they were tiny, human-like creatures with glittering silver wings.

It was like something out of a dream, and made up of everything that Uncle Vernon said wasn’t real. But it was real, and Harry was there, right in the middle of it. And Gellert had brought him there; Gellert, who wanted to be Harry’s father and look after him and be the family Harry had always wanted.

Unable to help himself, Harry surged forwards to wrap his arms tightly around Gellert’s middle.

“Thank you, Apa!” Harry cried. “Thank you!”

Chapter Text

“Try again, Harry,” Gellert prompted. “It’s more of a ‘sh’ at the end of piros.”

“My favourite colour is red; kedvenc színem piros,” Harry tried again. “Is that right?”

“Perfect, Kincsem¹,” Gellert smiled. “Your Hungarian is coming on wonderfully.”

Harry beamed up at Gellert at that. He had been living with Gellert for almost a year now and things had been brilliant ever since. Gellert said he’d received a letter from Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon saying they were happy to let Harry live with Gellert and to never contact them again to make things easier, but Harry hadn’t missed them for a single second.

Gellert was nice to Harry and made him laugh, and never shouted at him. He bought him presents and sweets, and was patient with him while he taught him how to read and write and learn Hungarian. Gellert was a firm teacher but gentle in tone, and he pushed Harry to do his best even when Harry didn’t think he could do what was being asked of him.

Harry liked Percival as well, who spoke to Harry in English, while Gellert incorporated more and more Hungarian into conversation and everyday life as Harry progressed in his studies. Percival seemed quite shy, rarely talking to Gellert unless Gellert spoke to him first, but he was more open with Harry, talking to him about New York and his friends there.

Harry had asked him once if he missed it, and if so why didn’t he go back to visit them, but Percival had simply sadly shaken his head and said he lived in Hungary with Gellert now.

“Next line,” Gellert said, tapping Harry’s shoulder. “My eyes are green and my father’s eyes are blue. A szemem zöld, apám szeme kék.”

Harry repeated the line back, and Gellert shook his hand.

“Almost, put more emphasis on the second syllable of apám,” Gellert corrected. He always liked to make sure Harry had every pronunciation perfect before they moved on, whether it was in his Hungarian lessons or when he was learning to read English. It felt to Harry like he was taking too time, but Gellert said he was very pleased with Harry’s progress.

“Wonderful,” Gellert murmured when Harry repeated the sentence with Gellert’s correction.

“What is your favourite colour, Apa?” Harry asked curiously.

“It used to be blue, bright blue,” Gellert murmured wistfully. “Élénk kék, we would call that. “And then I liked dark blue; sötétkék. But now I favour green, zöld, ever since you came into my life, Kincsem. There are many colours of spells, Harry, but the shade of your eyes is uncannily similar to one spell in particular; a very powerful spell that only a gifted witch or wizard can make work.”

“What does the spell do?” Harry asked, tilting his head as he studied Gellert, who was smiled down at him in amusement.

“I am not going to tell you,” Gellert stated. “It is something you will discover for yourself if one day you choose to cast it, but part of me hopes you never do,angyalom². Now, back to your lesson, Harry.”

- - -

Harry hummed to himself as he drew, using the blay crayon to draw his Apa. He had already drawn the small figure of himself in green, and he had a brown, taller figure of Percival finished too; he did have a yellow crayon for Pici but he wasn’t very good at drawing house-elves yet.

Harry thought his drawing of his family was coming along nicely though, and would be a nice present for when Gellert came home, which was supposed to be in the next day or two according to the letters.

Gellert had gone to Belgium for work. While Harry was used to his Apa working away from home now, he still missed him when he was gone, even if he did enjoy spending time with Percival who didn’t speak to Harry as much when Gellert was around.

The door creaked open and Harry glanced up, spotting Percival leaning against the doorway. He was frowning, biting down on his lip, and was staring intently at Harry.

“Have I done something wrong?” Harry asked nervously, dropping his crayon for the moment.

“No,” Percival murmured quietly. “Not at all.”

“Oh,” Harry said, frowning quizzically but returning to his drawing.

He could feel Percival’s eyes on him while he worked, but he said nothing until Harry finished his drawing and carefully placed it on the tabletop so it wouldn’t get ruined. Percival came to stand over Harry, looking down at the picture, and he trailed his finger across the parchment lightly.

“It’s very nice, Harry,” Percival commented. “I was never one to have artistic flair.”

“What does that mean?” Harry asked, scrunching his nose.

“That even at my old age, you’re still a lot better at drawing than me,” Percival answered, ruffling Harry’s hair. He paused, swallowing heavily. “I was wondering, Harry, would you like to go to the park with me?”

Harry tilted his head as he looked up at Percival.

“Apa says you’re not allowed to leave the house,” Harry said. Gellert had told Harry that Percival could not leave their house for any reason because it was too dangerous for him, though he’d never said what the danger was, but he’d stressed to Harry that he should never let Percival leave unless he wanted him to get hurt.

“It won’t be for long,” Percival urged. “Just you and me, we can go and get some fresh air. Don’t you think that would be nice? All you need to do is hold me hand through the doorway and we can go to the park.”

“Apa will get angry at me,” Harry frowned. “I don’t want him to be angry at me. He said I’m never s’posed to let you leave because it’s not safe for you.”

“We can keep it our little secret,” Percival said lowly. “Your Apa doesn’t have to find out. And I can look after myself if you’re there to help me keep an eye out. Let’s go just for five minutes, hmm? I’ve been stuck inside for a very long time, Harry; you know it’s not nice to be stuck somewhere, don’t you?”

Harry couldn’t remember much from his aunt and uncle’s house now, but he did remember the cupboard under the stairs.

“I don’t know,” Harry murmured, glancing out the window where he could see the sun shining brightly. “What if Apa finds out?”

“I’ll be very careful in making sure he doesn’t,” Percival promised. “Come on, Harry; we can feed the ducks, blow a boat across the lake-”

“Get yourself hurt,” came a cold voice from the hallway, and despite the sternness Harry’s face lit up hopefully.

“Apa!” he exclaimed, running forwards to hug his father tightly. “I’ve missed you.”

Gellert dropped to his knees to close his arms around Harry, placing a gentle kiss to the top of his head. “And I’ve missed you, Kincsem. I would say I hope you’ve been behaving yourself, but it appears that it’s your caretaker I should have been concerned about.”

“I didn’t mean anything, Gellert. I-” Percival started, but he stopped suddenly, and when Harry looked back at him his head was hung in shame.

“Please don’t be angry, Apa,” Harry said, switching from English to Hungarian which he knew always put Gellert in a better mood. “Percival was just sad he can’t go to the park.”

“I’m not angry,” Gellert answered coldly, taking the language switch in-stride. “However I would like to speak to Percival a moment. Would you excuse us, Harry?”

Gellert returned to full height and beckoned Percival forwards with a finger, gesturing for him to follow Gellert into the hallway, closing the door behind them.

Harry darted forwards, pressing his ear to the wood, but Harry could hear nothing but the faint buzzing of lingering magic. Gellert would often place spells on doors so that Harry couldn’t hear, and no matter how much Harry tried to strain his hearing he could never break the spells through that alone.

Harry did feel sorry that Percival wasn’t allowed outside, but he didn’t want him to get hurt either. An idea popped into his head, so with a grin he returned to his parchment and crayons and set to work, managing to finish before the door finally creaked open again.

“Hello, Harry,” Percival said, prompting Harry to slide off his chair and turn to face him. Gellert stood behind him with a tight grasp on Percival’s shoulder. “I just wanted to apologise for putting pressure on you. I know there are risks when I leave the house and I could have made that dangerous for you as well as me, and I am very sorry for that.”

“That’s okay,” Harry smiled, running forwards with his drawing in his hand to give Percival a quick hug. “I drew you a picture of us at the park,” he said as he pulled back. “I know it’s not the same thing, but maybe you can pretend it’s real.”

Percival made a choking sound in his throat, and he dropped to his knees to pull Harry into another hug.

“You’re such a sweet boy, Harry,” Percival murmured into Harry’s hair. “You’re more than we deserve.”

Harry didn’t know what that meant, but he was glad for the release when Gellert pulled Percival back; his hug had been rather tight.

“I drew you a picture too, Apa!” Harry beamed, running over to get his original drawing. “It’s our family! Sorry Pici looks a bit funny.”

“It’s beautiful,” Gellert smiled, smoothing his hand over the parchment. “I’ll keep this on me, always. I got you a present too, Kincsem,” he added, reaching into his pocket and pulling out the biggest bar of chocolate that Harry had ever seen, wrapped in gold and purple packaging that crinkled in Gellert’s hand. “Belgium produces some of the best chocolate in the world; make sure you don’t eat it all at once.”

“Thank you, Apa!” Harry said, grinning widely. “Would you and Percival like some?”

And just like that, Percival’s outburst was forgotten.

- - -

On Harry’s seventh birthday, Harry woke up to a big pile of presents at the foot of his bed, and a stack of sweet French Bread waiting for him. The scent of vanilla and cinnamon was mouthwatering, so Harry tucked into his breakfast first, enjoying it immensely, before starting on his present unwrapping, leaving sticky fingerprints on the parchment.

His presents were mainly books, although he did get a spinning top and a set of wooden soldiers too, and he was attempting to get his spinning top to go as fast as it could go when Gellert and Percival arrived with Pici, levitating a large cake between them.

Harry grinned and clapped as they sang Happy Birthday to him, both in English and Hungarian, and he blew out all seven candles in one go.

“No cake until after lunch,” Gellert said teasingly, pretending not to notice as Harry stuck his finger in the icing to steal a little bit. “Do you like your presents, Kincsem?”

“I love them,” Harry beamed excitedly. “Thank you so much! Köszönöm³!”

“Well,” Gellert smiled, glancing towards Percival, “I am also going to take you to Budapest today for a big present. Seven is an important number, holding a lot of magical importance, and I think that deserves to be celebrated; you’ve always wanted a pet, haven’t you?”

Harry’s mouth dropped open, and he nodded eagerly. “A pet?! I would love a pet! What can I get? Can I get a dog? A hamster?”

“We’ll go to the pet shop and see what captures your eye,” Gellert answered, idly conjuring a handkerchief to wipe the side of Harry’s mouth which was still sticky with sugar. “And when we return Percival and Pici will have something delicious waiting for us for lunch.”

“Ooooh! What are making?” Harry asked excitedly.

Percival grinned and shook his head. “It’s a surprise, Harry. Now have a good time to Budapest, and bring home any animal you like as long as it’s not a snake; I hate snakes,” he added with a shiver for good measure.

By the time Harry was ready and they’d arrived at the wizarding district of Budapest, it was to find it heaving. The sun was shining bright and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the good weather seemed to have brought everyone out to do some shopping.

Gellert, in disguise as usual, kept a tight hold on Harry’s hand as they navigated the crowds, and nobody paid them any particular attention; with Gellert’s darker features, he and Harry passed as any other father and son out for a day.

As they moved further into the alley, Harry noticed a man sat on a stool with a large trunk by his side. The man had sandy brown hair and wore a shy smile on his face, and held a black creature in his lap which looked almost like a small platypus. People in the crowd would watch and smile as they passed him by, but nobody seemed to stop to talk to him.

“Apa! Apa! Can we go see that man?” Harry asked, tugging at Geller’s sleeve. The man looked kind and a little bit nervous, and Harry wanted to see the strange animal he was holding.

Harry pointed and Gellert’s eyes followed the movement, narrowing when they landed on the man.

“Newt Scamander is a fool who chases animals for a living,” Gellert said coldly. “You don’t want to waste your time with him.”

Please, Apa!” Harry begged. “It’s my birthday, remember; you have to do what I want.”

“I don’t recall saying that,” Gellert retorted, but he gave Harry a fond smile nonetheless. “Fine, go see the Niffler, Kincsem.”

Harry gave the man a little wave as he approached, and got a kind smile in return.

Hello, nem sok magyarat beszélek,” the man said. “De a nevem Newt⁴.”

A nevem Harry. I speak English too,” Harry smiled. “Do you speak English?”

Newt nodded. “Yes, I am from England, in fact. Hello, sir,” he added to Gellert, tilting his head as he studied his disguised features. “I feel like we’ve met before.”

“I don’t think we have, although I know all about you, Mr Scamander,” Gellert said, giving his suitcase a stern look. “I hope that trunk has secure locking charms on it.”

“Hmm?” Newt frowned. “Ah, you must be referring to the incident in New York a few years ago. Yes, I learned my lesson after that, always keep my trunk nicely locked up now so nothing can escape.”

“You have animals living in there?” Harry asked incredulously, not believing anything smaller than a mouse could live comfortably in the suitcase.

“Yes, it’s enchanted to be much larger on the inside, of course,” Newt answered, explaining Harry’s unasked question as well. “I can show you some of my creatures, if you’d like. I was supposed to be doing a demonstration today but nobody has been interested so far, but my animals do like to show off.”

“We’re buying me a pet today,” Harry told Newt proudly. “It’s my birthday!”

“Ah, happy birthday,” Newt smiled. “I remember my first pet; I was four and I found an injured kitten and nursed it back to health. My brother and parents helped, of course. Oh, this is a Niffler, by the way,” Newt added, holding the creature down with one hand while he reached for his trunk with the other. “They have an eye for gold, and have a special pouch near their bellies to store it all. Hmm let’s see; do you know what Runespoor is?”

Harry shook his head, eyes widening when Newt pulled a three-headed snake from his suitcase, bright orange with black stripes down its back. It was big enough that it could have its body on the floor and reach up high enough to curl around Newt’s chest, resting its heads just below his.

I hate that awful trunk,” the snake head on the right grumbled.

It is much better to have some fresh air,” the head in the middle agreed.

“Runespoors are native to Burkina Faso, which is a country in West Africa,” Newt explained, ignoring the snake’s comments.

If we nudge the man he might give us food,” the left head said. “Do you think he has more fresh mice?”

“Runespoors actually lay their eggs through their mouths,” Newt continued. “And they’re considered very valuable being they’re used as potion ingredients for a large amount of potions-”

“Why aren’t you feeding them?” Harry cut in. “They’re hungry.”

Newt paused, and Harry felt Gellert stiffen behind him.

“Hungry?” Newt repeated faintly. “They’re due to be fed tomorrow according to their feeding schedule; like most snakes they only need to eat once a week.”

Newt says you’ll get some food tomorrow,” Harry told the Runespoor, prompting all three snake heads to turn towards him intently. “A week must be a long time to wait.”

The child is a snake speaker. Hello, young human,” the left head said cheerfully.

Human youths are so weak compared to the elders,” the right head complained.

How exciting to speak to a human,” the middle head hissed. “You’re special, young one.”

Harry smiled at the snake, only to have it fade when he realised both Newt and Gellert were staring at him with wide eyes.

“A Parselmouth!” Newt exclaimed. “How exciting! It’s a gift I would love to have.”

“Yes, well we must be going,” Gellert said, grasping Harry’s wrist. “Thank you for you time, Mr Scamander.”

“Oh, okay. I-” Newt started, but Gellert pulled Harry away before he could hear the end.

Harry tried to pull his wrist free but it was to no avail, and it was only when they reached the quiet of the pet shop that Gellert let him go.

“You’re a Parselmouth!” Gellert said with a proud smile. “That means you can speak with snakes, understand what they’re saying and talk back with them.”

“I thought all wizards could do that,” Harry said with a shrug; to him it had just sounded like they were speaking English.

“It’s a very rare gift, Harry, one that only a small handful on the planet are able to speak. In fact, I’d wager there are only two or three Parselmouths currently in existence,” Gellert beamed. “You’re special, Kincsem, so very special. Parselmouths throughout history have been known to be great witches and wizards; your future is looking exceedingly bright, Harry.”

“Just for speaking to snakes?” Harry asked, eyes wide and heart hammering from his father looking down at him proudly and declaring him a great wizard-to-be.

“Not just for, but that helps,” Gellert smiled. “Now, I think I know the perfect pet to get you.”

- - -

“No! No way! Gellert, why would you-?! Snake?!”

Harry smiled at Percival in amusement, who had backed into the corner of the lounge as soon as he saw the animal draped around Harry’s neck.

Harry had been taken by all the pets in the pet shop, but Gellert had drawn him over to the snakes and Harry liked that he was able to understand what they were saying. They all had a good sense of humour and made him laugh, and Harry wanted to take them all home but Gellert had said he was only allowed one.

In the end, Harry chose a snake that was pitch black but had vibrant blue markings that matched his eyes. It had been one of the quieter snakes who hadn’t been able to get a word in amongst the chatter of the others, and Harry had felt sorry for it. When the snake finally managed to speak to Harry he revealed himself to be very calm and clever, and reminded Harry a little bit of Gellert, especially with the blue eyes, and he knew almost right away that that was the snake for him.

“Don’t worry, he won’t hurt you,” Harry said reassuringly to Percival. “The pet shop man said he was poisonous, but I’ve made him promise not to bite anyone in my family.”

Poisonous?” Percival repeated faintly, clutching a hand to his chest.

“Venomous, actually,” Gellert corrected idly. “Remember Harry, poison must be inhaled or ingested, whereas venom is something that can be injected; in this case through the snake’s fangs.”

“Poisonous, venomous, does it matter?” Percival cried weakly. “How could the pet shop owner promise the snake won’t bite?”

“He didn’t,” Harry said, furrowing his brows. “Newt told me.”

Percival blinked slowly, his confusion allowing his fear to ebb away momentarily. “Newt? Who’s Newt?”

“The snake,” Gellert answered before Harry could. “Harry is apparently a Parselmouth.”

“Newt’s very nice,” Harry said reassuringly to Percival. “You like Percival, don’t you, Newt?” he added to the snake.

I can sense his fear; it’s delectable,” Newt hissed in response. “But I won’t bite him, as young master requests. I do hope you find some enemies for me to bite, Harry.”

Maybe when I’m older,” Harry giggled, before switching back to English to talk to Percival. “He, er, likes you. And he’s promised again he won’t bite you.”

“A Parselmouth,” Percival murmured, hand finally falling away from his chest. “You are certainly full of surprises, Harry.”

“And who better to keep a venomous snake in check than a Parselmouth?” Gellert pointed out. “Snakes are unwavering loyal to the rare few humans who can speak their language.”

“I suppose that’s true,” Percival nodded. “But why Newt?” he asked Harry.

“I met a man today named Newt Scamander,” Harry said, curious when Percival’s eyes snapped to Gellert. “He was really nice, and he showed me a Niffler and a Runespoor, and he was really clever; he knew so much about them. Apa pulled me away before Newt could show me anything else, but I really liked him.”

Gellert hadn’t liked the name idea at all, pointing out to Harry that a newt was another kind of animal which could be confusing, but Harry thought it sounded quite funny. And Newt the snake had liked it when Harry had told him what his name was, citing that it was an honour for a snake to be named by a human.

“It’s as good a name as any,” Percival commented. “Just tell Newt to stay away from my room, will you?”

Harry grinned and nodded.

“Good,” Percival smiled. “Now I hope you’re hungry; Pici and I have made you quite the birthday feast.

- - -

With his trunk packed, and Newt safely curled up inside it, Harry gave one last look at his bedroom before closing the door.

He had his new Durmstrang uniform on already, which consisted of a jet black shirt and trousers which were worn underneath deep red robes. Harry had been excited to go to Durmstrang ever since Gellert had told him about it, but now the time was here Harry felt apprehensive about leaving Gellert and Percival behind.

The exact location of Durmstrang was unknown aside from being in Scandinavia somewhere, though Gellert suspected it was in the very north of Norway. Either way, it felt a long way from Hungary, and Harry had never left his country before—he had lived in England as a small child, but his memories of there were almost non-existant now.

“Are you ready to go?” Gellert asked in Hungarian as he strode up the hallway towards Harry’s room, nodding at Harry when he saw him waiting. He waved his wand to set Harry’s trunk to levitate and gestured for Harry to follow him down the stairs.

“I want you to make sure you stay focused on your lessons,” Gellert said as Harry trailed sullenly behind him. “There are clubs to join and friends to make, but your priority is your education. Durmstrang has a fine course for the Dark Arts, and I want you to make the most of it; of course, if you try to do some independent study I recommend you take greater care in keeping it secret than I did.”

Gellert had impressed on Harry from his youth that the Dark Arts were a type of magic that was incredibly powerful and therefore misunderstood by most. Harry vaguely knew that Gellert was using Dark magic as part of his work across Europe, trying to make things safer and better for witches and wizards, but Gellert purposefully left him in the dark most of the time. Harry trusted his father explicitly, though, and knew that he knew what he was doing.

“Can I write whenever I like?” Harry asked, stopping just in time when Gellert halted suddenly in his tracks and turned around.

“Harry, kincsem,” Gellert said softly, dropping to one knee so he was at Harry’s height. “You can write to me whenever you like. If you need anything, I will be there for you as soon as I can. But do not mope over me or Percival; you are going to learn great things at Durmstrang, Harry, and fixating on homesickness will hinder that opportunity.”

“Yes, Apa,” Harry murmured, dropping his gaze to the floor.

Gellert ruffled Harry’s hair before reaching round his own neck to pull his necklace off.

“Here,” Gellert said, placing the necklace around Harry’s neck instead.

Harry lifted the necklace into his hands, fingers smoothing over the symbol of the Deathly Hallows. Harry knew the story off by heart now, could recite it in Hungarian, English, and Parseltongue, and knew that Gellert viewed the objects with great importance, and already had the Elder Wand in his possession. To give Harry the chain with the symbol of such significance made Harry’s heart swell.

“You are my son, Harry,” Gellert said, switching back to English. “I care for you deeply; care for you like I have cared for no other. You will go far in life, Harry; you will do nothing but make me proud.”

Chapter Text

“Excellent work, Harry!” Professor Rasmussen applauded, beaming as the target Harry had been aiming at exploded into thousands of tiny pieces. “Such great precision!”

“Thank you, Sir,” Harry said, glancing towards his friends who all gave him a thumbs up. “I guess you really are a great teacher; I get this class so easily.”

Harry’s friend Ulf had to turn his snort of laughter into a cough, but Professor Rasmussen didn’t notice.

Harry was in his final year at Durmstrang now, and his best classes were easily Rune Magic and Dark Magic. Rune magic was a particular interest of Harry’s, one he had developed since he first learned about it at school, but his father had always pushed his skill at Dark Magic too. Gellert would train Harry every time he went home for the holidays, meaning Harry quickly excelled in the class.

Harry also taught some of the more unorthodox spells he learned from his father to his friends, who didn’t know who Harry’s father actually was, but respected his power and knowledge nonetheless.

Durmstrang was rather open with their Dark magic, telling the students they would give them the theory and practical knowledge so that they had a greater understanding of overall magic, but they didn’t condone their students abusing that knowledge.

There were some teachers, like Professor Rasmussen who were rather strict with their knowledge-not-abuse motto, but other professors were certainly more…lenient. Professor Eliasson, a woman who was particularly outspoken about her views on Muggles and Muggle-borns was certainly very open-minded when it came to magic, as was Professor Vestergaard.

Elias Vestergaard was very young for a teacher, only twenty-one, and very handsome with his ice blond hair and striking blue eyes. He taught Rune Magic, was very much into the Dark Arts as well. He’d only been teaching since term had started a couple of months ago but had started to give Harry private lessons when he saw how interested Harry was in the subject—and if anybody else had figured out that their private lessons had turned from Rune magic to kissing and touching, nobody let on.

Harry knew he shouldn’t be sleeping with his teacher, but the sex took his mind off all the other stressful things he had going on, and it wasn’t like he was in love or anything—it was just a bit of fun. Harry had never really dated anyone before; he’d fancied a girl called Brigitta Scholz a couple of years back, but when he’d told his father about her, Gellert had expressly told Harry he was too young to date and not to be distracted from his studies by a ‘silly girl’.

From what Harry knew of his father now, he knew that Gellert would without a doubt kill Elias if he found out what he’d been doing with Harry.

It wasn’t like Gellert had anything to worry about, Harry thought as he exploded three of the targets with one spell—his power certainly wasn’t slipping.

- - -

“Look! Look!” Maarten said urgently as he hurried over to their table in the dining hall, dropping that morning’s newspaper onto the surface.

Harry spotted the scowling face of his father and snatched the paper up before anyone else could, eyes darkening when he read the headline: British Ministry closing in on Grindelwald.

“Huh? Please!” Izaak scoffed as he read the headline over Harry’s shoulder. “No Ministry will ever be able to catch Grindelwald; he’s too good.”

“They could hinder him though,” said Dorijan, who of all Harry’s friends was his favourites. “Grindelwald is doing a good thing; the Ministries need to step back and make him make our world better.”

“While the Muggles are killing each other, Grindelwald just focuses on defeating the blood-traitors,” Sorin added darkly.

Dimitrije nodded in agreement. “I think these Ministries are fools if they can’t see who the real enemy is.”

Harry tried to hold back a smile. He had kept his secret about his father well, and intended to keep it that way, but it pleased Harry to hear his friends praising Gellert Grindelwald and his mission. Harry knew that there were those who disagreed with his father’s beliefs and methods, but Gellert had always told Harry that those people simply didn’t understand what he was trying to do for magic-kind—and Harry would always trust his father over the media.

Still, the press had been getting more and more focused on Gellert and his actions as time went on, some greatly condemning him and others praising him for daring to do what nobody else could. And though Harry had faith in his father, it worried him to know how many opposed him. Although, Harry supposed that with the Elder Wand, it would be near impossible to defeat Gellert.

“Is there something wrong with you?” Juuso Takala spoke up from the table next to theirs, his eyes flashing with disgust. “Gellert Grindelwald is a menace and the sooner he’s dealt with the better.”

Harry gripped the edge of the table tightly, fingers digging into the wood as he narrowed his eyes at Juuso.

“Watch what you say,” Harry hissed icily. “Or are you proud to be a betrayer of magic-kind?”

“Betrayer?” Juuso scoffed. “Just because I don’t support mass murder and-?”

“Gellert Grindelwald is protecting our kind from those who would seek to hurt us if they knew what we could do,” Harry interrupted coldly. “He is trying to stop them before it’s too late; before we lose any of ours to them. Witches and wizards alike should support one another, not value the lives of beings non-magical over the magical.”

“Hear hear!” his friends cheered in agreement, banging on the tabletop.

“You’re deluded,” Juuso sneered. “You may be skilled when it comes to Dark magic, but that doesn’t change the fact you’re a naive little fool.”

“You want to say that again?” Harry snarled, rising to his feet with his friends beside him, all of them with their wands drawn.

Juuso scowled but didn’t comment further, knowing it would be unwise to take on six wizards.

“Thought so,” Harry spat, returning to his feet.

There was nothing that angered him more than hearing bad things against his father. He was willing to give people the benefit to the doubt if it turned out they simply didn’t understand what Gellert was trying to do, but if they purposefully revolted Gellert’s ideals...that was when Harry had a problem.

Deluded? Hardly!

If there was one thing Harry’s father had ever done, it was lie to him.

- - -

Harry was pleased to be home for the Yule Holidays.

The last term had certainly been stressful, with the pressure of his exams and schoolwork combined with news about his father.

Upon seeing Gellert for the first time in four months, it was clear his father was under intense pressure, too. Although he looked as composed and strong as ever, there were lines under his eyes that hadn’t been there before, and streaks of grey were shining through in his blond hair.

His smile was just as bright when he saw Harry, however, and he pulled him into a tight hug.

“Hello, Kincsem,” Gellert murmured softly. “You are always away too long at that school.”

“Apa, I’ve missed you,” Harry replied, easily slipping back into Hungarian tongue.

At Durmstrang they were all required to either speak English or use translation charms, as there were too many different languages amongst the students. Translation charms had a tendency to cause unknowing mistakes sometimes, potentially allowing for embarrassing situations, so Harry chose to use English most of the time.

But though English was his mother tongue, as he had spent most of his childhood using Hungarian, that language always felt like a comfort language to him.

“I have a surprise for you, Apa,” Harry said once they had settled in the lounge together, drinks and cakes laid out for them by Pici, who always compensated for missing Harry by overfeeding him during the first two or three days of the school holidays.

Harry drew a book out of his bag, one he had been practicing with for the last few months in secret.

“The Tale of the Three Brothers,” Harry stated. “Or, in this case, Die Geschichte der drei Brüder.”

Gellert leaned forwards in his chair with an amused smile on his face. “German, hmm? Are you learning, Kincsem?”

Harry nodded. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to learn as many languages as you know, but I wanted to try with German because of your father.”

Gellert’s father—Harry’s adoptive grandfather—was from Germany, and had moved to Hungary after falling love with a Hungarian woman. They had both passed away before Harry could meet them, and Gellert didn’t talk of them often, but he’d been happy to tell Harry a bit about them when he’d asked.

“You can speak three already,” Gellert pointed out. “That is an impressive for a boy of your age, especially considering one of them is a language that not many can say they know. Lernst du Deutsch?

Harry paused. “Do I like learning German?” he enquired, and Gellert nodded gently. Ja, super gerne! That’s right, yes? I wanted to say that I like it a lot.”

“Perfect,” Gellert smiled. “And your other studies? Are you still excelling at Dark and Rune magic?”

Harry blushed as he remember his last encounter with Professor Vestergaard, who’d bent Harry over his desk and taught him the joys of rimming.

“Yes, I’m getting top grades in almost every class,” Harry said. “Not in...ah, not in our ethics class. We’ve been speaking about you, actually; apparently my opinions are too extreme and biased and we’re supposed to be impartial.”

Ich habe keine Wahl! Ich muss es tun—zum Wohle der Gesellschaft!¹” Gellert hissed angrily, blue eyes flashing dangerously. “They think you should be impartial about my cause? Do they not understand that hating me means hating magic-kind? Everything I do, I do for us.”

“I know,” Harry agreed, nodding furiously. “That’s what i tried to say but it wasn’t good enough.”

“What is your professor’s name?” Gellert asked sharply.

Harry froze. He knew Gellert could have a nasty temper; he’d never taken it out on Harry—despite his sternness he was always calm and loving towards him—but Harry knew he was an exception.

“Harry,” Gellert said again, icily.

“Professor Hendrickx,” Harry finally admitted, hanging his head to look at the floor.

Gellert soon tilted Harry’s head back up, gripping his chin with his fingers. “I will not ruin our time together now, Harry. We have so little time together that I cherish it. Now, I have a surprise for you, Harry; how would you like to learn the Imperius Curse?”

- - -

“You’ve been avoiding me.”

Harry glanced up to see Percival leaning against the doorway to Harry’s room, fixing him with a knowing look.

“No!” Harry said quickly, averting his gaze. “I’ve just been busy with school.”

“Too busy for me?” Percival retorted, his heavy footsteps echoing across the room as he walked further inside. “That’s not like you, Harry.”

Harry shrugged, forcing himself to look back up at Percival to smile.

“Exams, you know,” Harry lied. The truth was, he’d taken great steps to avoid Percival over the Yule holidays, and Harry supposed it was no surprise that Percival had figured it out.

“No, Harry, I don’t know,” Percival said simply, drawing a chair and settling it opposite Harry, so close that their knees were almost brushing. “What have I done to upset you?”

“Nothing! You’ve done nothing!” Harry answered earnestly. “I just…” He trailed off; some complicated feelings had sprung up regarding Percival and his position in their home recently, and they’d been eating away at Harry ever since he’d realised the truth.

“We have ethics class at school,” Harry continued uncertainly after Percival regarded his pause silently. “We...we talked about my father a lot. And I’m not stupid; I know what Apa is doing, and that he’s hurting people—killing people—but I know he’s doing it for magic-kind, to help us by eliminating the ones who are more of a risk to our world than the risk that claim Gellert Grindelwald is, but…”

“But what?” Percival pressed gently.

“But we learned some history about him, too,” Harry finally admitted. “Professor Hendrickx covered the story of Grindelwald in a lot of depth, including about the time he went to the United States.”

“Ah,” Percival said softly, bowing his head.

“And, I knew...I knew there was something not quite right with you while I was growing up, but I, I don’t know, denied it or ignored it, pretended everything was fine, but it wasn’t, was it?” Harry said desperately, voice cracking as he spoke. “We were told how Grindelwald stole the identity of the great Auror Percival Graves, and how nobody ever found any trace of the real one. The American officials assumed you were dead, but really you were my father’s prisoner for eighteen years. You’ve been trapped here all this time and-”

“It’s alright.”

“What?” Harry exclaimed in shock, heart clenching painfully in his chest. “How can you be alright? You’re a prisoner and-”

“And I have you,” Percival cut in simply. “That makes everything alright. At the start of my imprisonment I was angry and felt like I would be better off dead, but then Gellert introduced me to you. I never had a wife or child of my own, though there was one boy...but you...you soon began to feel like a son to me. I don’t believe your father adopted you simply to keep me behaving, but he certainly took advantage of the fact that I would do anything for you. He even gave me the option to run once, but I didn’t take it.”

“Why?” Harry croaked, throat aching with dryness. “Why wouldn’t you run if he gave you the option?”

“Because I didn’t want to leave you,” Percival said, laying a comforting hand on Harry’s knee. “I had nothing left for me in the States, but I had you here. I want nothing more than to see you happy and safe, and I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving you behind. I considered taking you with me, but I knew that wouldn’t be good for you; your father is a bad man, and he has hurt me, but I know that he loves you very much. I love you very much, Harry, and now...and now you need me here more than ever. Things across Europe are getting worse and more intense, and if anything happens to your father then you need me here.”

Harry nodded, glancing at Percival with watery eyes. “That...that means a lot to me. I’m sorry, though, that you were taken here against your will, but I’m glad I made your imprisonment bearable. And do you really think things might go badly for Apa?”

“I couldn’t say,” Percival answered with a loose shrug. “War is war, and the fighting won’t stop until there is significant death or defeat. Either your father loses, or he fights until there is nobody left to defeat him.”

- - -

It was in May, 1945, that Harry’s world fell apart.

Harry had spent the last several months struggling to sleep, barely getting four hours a night. Both the Muggle world and the magical world were falling apart as war ravaged them, and Harry’s father was right in the middle of it.

Harry hadn’t even wanted to return to Durmstrang after the Yule holidays, Percival’s words to Harry about the seriousness of it all having struck Harry deep. He knew that there were only two endings for Gellert—he would win, or he would lose, but if he lost it would be drastic.

Part of the reason that Harry could never sleep was that he half expected to be woken up to the news that his father had been killed.

Harry shouldn’t have worried about waking up to bad news; it came in the middle of an afternoon, five minutes into Potions class.

“He beat him! He beat him!” Harry’s friend Dimitrije yelled as he ran into the classroom. “Gellert Grindelwald has been beaten!”

The whole class was on their feet in an instant, demanding to see the newspaper Dimitrije held in his hand, and even the professor joined them, feeling no need to calm his class. The noise was so loud, Harry couldn’t bear it. His chest felt tight, his head light, and there was too much noise.

The potion vials on Harry’s desk exploded, piercing Harry’s hands with sharp shard of glass, but he ignored the pain, staring at Dimitrije desperately.

The class had fallen silent at the explosion, so Harry didn’t need to raise his voice above a strained whisper as he asked, “is he dead?”

He didn’t want to know. He didn’t want to know. What would Harry do if he was? Gellert Grindelwald was a Dark wizard and mass murderer, but he was Harry’s father, whom Harry loved dearly. He couldn’t be dead.

“No, he’s been imprisoned,” Dimitrije answered. “It says they had no need for a trial, and they’ve locked him up in his own prison.”

Nurmengard.

“Who?” Harry rasped. “Who did it?”

Dimitrije studied the article again. “Albus Dumbledore. He’s this British wizard who-Harry?!”

Harry ignored the shouts of his friends and the professor as he ran from the room, leaving all his stuff behind. He ran and he ran and he ran, running through all the winding corridors and stone staircases, pushing through the heavy wooden doors at the front of the castle to sprint into the grounds.

He ran until he could run no more, falling onto his knees and letting the rain soak his skin as it poured down around him. Tears mingled with the rain on his cheeks, his chest heaving, aching in a way that he’d never known possible. His father was alive, but that was barely any consolation to Harry.

As the rain continued to fall around him, chilling Harry to his very bones, he swore two things.

One, he would carry on his father’s quest for the Deathly Hallows, and two, he would destroy Albus Dumbledore, no matter if it was the last thing he did.

Chapter Text

“Name and business please?”

“Harry. Harry Megszentel,” Harry answered curtly, giving the Ministry worker an innocent smile. “I’m looking for family I’ve not heard from despite the end of the war.”

The Ministry worker nodded understandingly, waving his wand over Harry’s doctored passport but failing to pick up on Harry and Percival’s alteration spells.

“You’re not the first and you won’t be the last,” the Ministry worker said gruffly. “Welcome to the United Kingdom, Mr Megszentel. I hope you find who you’re looking for.”

“Oh, so do I,” Harry answered darkly, before quickly plastering another gentle smile on his face. “Thank you for the welcome, Sir.”

The smile quickly fell from his face as he turned away from the Ministry worker. The only person that Harry was planning to find during his visit was Albus Dumbledore, who was going to be in a grave six feet under before Harry returned to Hungary.

Of course, finding and killing Dumbledore probably wasn’t going to be a simple task, so in the meantime Harry was going to hunt down and collect all of the Deathly Hallows for his father, use them somehow to break Gellert out of prison, and then hand over ownership to him. Great Britain was rumoured to be home to all of the Hallows—and Harry knew for a fact that the Elder Wand would now be possessed by Dumbledore.

Harry stopped to tap his luggage with his wand, shrinking it down and pocketing the now light and travel-sized suitcase. He hadn’t brought a lot with him, leaving most of his possessions at home where Percival was looking after the house. Harry half-expected to return to Hungary and find Percival gone, fled back to America, but he didn’t like to think about that possibility to much because it made his stomach twist in all the wrong ways.

Stepping out of the Ministry’s travel offices and onto the streets of London, Harry couldn’t say he was impressed. Going to Budapest for the first time had been mesmerising to Harry, but London...London just didn’t have that effect.

In fairness, war would do that to a city.

Harry didn’t think he could see a single building that didn’t have at least some kind of damage to its structure, and large piles of rubble and bricks sat where many of the buildings should have been. The air seemed thick with dust and grit, and the sky was as grey as the streaks on the cheeks of the people who passed Harry by.

But despite the remains of the destruction around them, most of the Muggles walked by with smiles on their faces, laughing and chatting, even sitting on the rubble with cups of tea in their hands. The Muggle war was over and the relief was evident in the Muggles, perhaps more pronounced because they were on the winning side.

Harry didn’t know whether he felt envious or angry towards them. He would have given anything to be as happy and carefree as they were, but his father’s side—Harry’s side—had lost, and more importantly, his father was locked away in prison with no way for Harry to contact him. Harry had tried, of course he had tried, but no matter what he did he couldn’t get word to his father. He didn’t even know for sure that Gellert was alive, and that his imprisonment wasn’t just a lie to hide the possibility that Dumbledore was a murderer.

Still, Harry had faith—or at the very least hope—that his father was still alive, because he couldn’t bear thinking about the alternative. Either way though, Albus Dumbledore was going to pay for what he’d done.

- - -

The Leaky Cauldron had been easy to find, the only building in the street that wasn’t at least a little bit demolished. The Warding on it had obviously been incredibly strong, because Harry could feel the lingering magic static in the air; as he’d grown up in a heavily Warded home Harry was particularly sensitive to the feel of that kind of magic.

The crowd inside the inn made the Muggles look calm and subdued, witches and wizards, hags and warlocks alike laughing and cheering together, clanking together glasses of foaming beer, and the odd shooting of bright coloured sparks into the air which earned a scolding from the young, hunchbacked landlord.

The Muggles Harry could forgive for their happiness, because the Muggle war had been nothing but horror for them. For the magical community, however, Harry believed they should be mourning the loss of Grindelwald, not celebrating it. Grindelwald had created atrocities, yes, but it had all been for the greater good, to help make lives better for magical people across the world.

Harry could feel his temper bubbling below the surface, and his fingers twitched as he yearned to wipe the joyful looks of the patron’s faces, but he needed to control himself if he wanted any hope of succeeding; getting himself arrested wouldn’t help his father.

Instead he sidled up to the bar, the stool scraping across the wooden floor as Harry pulled it out to sit on.

“A Gillywater, please,” Harry said to the bartender, sliding over a handful of bronze coins in return.

He took a grateful sip when his drink arrived, shuddering slightly at the edge of bitterness that the Gillyweed brought out in the water. Harry’s father had been fond of Gillywater, so Harry had soon grown used to the bitter flavour of the drink. He’d almost finished the entire glass when he felt eyes on him, and he glanced across the pub to see if he was simply being paranoid.

Instead his eyes met a familiar pair of brown eyes, though lined with wrinkles that hadn’t been there the last time Harry had seen them. The man they belonged to—Newt Scamander—hastily looked away when he realised Harry had caught him looking, but Harry had never been someone who others considered shy.

He left his empty glass behind and made his way over to Newt, who was accompanied by a woman around the same age as him with hair cut into a sleek bob.

“Hello, Mr Scamander,” Harry greeted with a smile.

“You know me?” Newt gasped. “Forgive me for staring, it’s just...you looked rather familiar.”

“Of course I know you; you’re a famous author,” Harry pointed out, making Newt’s companion snigger. “Though we have met before, a few years ago—my seventh birthday to be precise—in Budapest.”

Newt’s eyes lit up. “Oh! The Parselmouth!”

Harry grinned and nodded. “I was very pleased to have met you; my father bought me a snake that same day and I named him after you.”

Snake Newt was currently curled up in a pocket in Harry’s coat, magically enlarged on the inside, of course.

“A snake called Newt?” the woman commented lightly, her accent rather similar to Percival’s. “A brilliant name. I’m Tina, by the way; Newt’s wife.”

“Tina Goldstein, by any chance?” Harry asked curiously.

He had done research on his father’s visit to America, and discovered that Newt Scamander along with a pair of Goldstein sisters—Tina and Queenie—and a Muggle man had been responsible for his arrest. Harry had also read that Tina was a disgraced Auror, but one who had worked under than none other than Percival himself, back before Harry’s father abducted him.

“Ah, yes, I am,” Tina answered in surprise.

“Oh, just names I learned about in school,” Harry said, lest he aroused any suspicion from a woman who was no doubt an accomplished Auror. “Well, it was nice to meet you both; I’ve travelled a long way and I’m rather tired. I think I’m going to check myself into a room here.”

“Are you in London long?” Newt asked conversationally.

“As long as I need to be,” Harry answered. “I’m looking for someone, you see, and it’s very important I find them. Oh, there’s the landlord-” he added quickly before Newt and Tina could ask who he was looking for. “Again, lovely to meet you.”

- - -

Much like the Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley was also entirely untouched by the Muggle war, standing untouched while the Muggle buildings just a short distance away lay in rubble and ruins. The Alley was bustling with people, all as smiling and uncaring as the people had been in the pub the night before.

Diagon Alley itself was nothing interesting in Harry’s people, seeming just like all of the other magical shopping districts Harry had visited with his father over the years. Shops selling wands and potion ingredients and robes...all convenient but nothing special.

Harry slowly made his way through the Alley, unnoticed by the people around him. He was just another face in the crowd to them, which suited Harry just fine.

He finally spied the crooked sign on the wall that read Knockturn Alley, and strode confidently towards it. Harry had read the Knockturn Alley was renowned for its connections to the Dark Arts and unsavoury characters, and held a lot more intrigue to Harry than the family-friendly Diagon Alley.

The shops down Knockturn Alley were a lot closer together than they been in Diagon Alley, making the street narrow and darkened by the shadows of the building tops looming above. The people walking around were a lot less cheerful than the street Harry had just left, lurking in corners with cloaks covering their faces, or going about their business with a brisk pace and a glower at anyone who looked twice at them.

And unlike in Diagon Alley, Harry was certainly gaining a lot of attention. A tall figure hidden completely by his cloak had left the wall he’d been leaning across to follow Harry as soon as he stepped down the alley, and a group of Hags were leering at him, their crooked, rotting teeth on show as they smiled darkly at him.

“You know,” Harry said loudly, bringing himself to a sudden halt. “I would appreciate it if you all left me to do my business.”

The hags cackled wickedly, and the cloaked figure loomed close behind Harry, close enough that Harry could feel their hot breath on the back of his neck.

“Silly little boy,” the figure hissed. “You’re in our territory now.”

Newt!” Harry hissed, spinning around.

The cloaked figure barely made it out of the way before the snake lunged at him, mouth bared and ready to sink his fangs into flesh.

“I told you,” Harry stated coldly, glaring at the hags who were no longer cackling, “to leave me alone. Do you understand me?”

The cloaked figure turned his face towards Newt before retreating back to the shadows silently, and the hags refused to make eye contact as he walked past them. Indeed, the others in the Alley who’d seen what had happened were giving Harry a wide berth now, which was exactly how Harry preferred it, allowing him time to explore the shops at the leisure.

And there was certainly a lot more of interest on sale than there had been in Diagon Alley; shops selling shrunken heads, illegal potion ingredients, Necromancy tools, and bones. But it was only when he spotted a shop named Borgin and Burkes that Harry decided to stop to look inside.

Harry hadn’t had a particular goal in mind when he’d come down Knockturn Alley, only general curiosity and to see if there might be anything to help him on his quest for the Hallows or killing Dumbledore.

Borgin and Burkes was an antique shop, and there was a slim chance it might hold something related to the Hallows, or a tool he could use to take down Dumbledore.

The bell over the door jingled as Harry stepped into the dark, dusty shop. The old man at the counter eyed him suspiciously but grunted a greeting, but Harry paid him no heed, looking at the twisted masks on the wall. Harry could almost feel the Dark magic rolling off the room in waves, and he was quite certain that not all of it was because of the shopkeepers; one wizened old hand for sale, for example, was very definitely cursed.

Harry began slowly walking around the shop, studying the mix of goods for sale; bones and bloodied card decks, knives and spiked metal balls attached to bars by a chain. Harry hovered his hand over some of the items, not stupid enough to actually touch anything.

“I hope you’re not looking to steal anything, boy,” a raspy voice muttered behind him.

Harry turned to see the old shopkeeper glaring at him darkly, the tip of his wand just visible in the sleeve of his robes, ready to use at a moment’s notice. Harry, of course, had no interest in fighting elderly shopkeepers.

“I am much more than a simple thief,” Harry murmured coldly. “And good job too, because I’m sure I could break all of your anti-theft jinxes very easily.”

“Are you trying to insult me, boy?” the man asked breathily.

Harry opened his mouth to respond—an actual insult already on his lips—but a new, much smoother voice stopped him before he could.

“Come now, Burke; the boy is clearly a foreigner and they have different ways to us,” the voice said. “We should be welcoming of visitors.”

The old shopkeeper—Burke, Harry assumed—grunted in response.

“How about I take over in the front for a while and you can attend to business in the back office?” the voice continued, prompting Burke to nod.

“Thank you, Tom,” Burke said. “Just keep your eyes on this one,” he added, jerking his head towards Harry before slinking off to a far door.

Harry turned to face the newcomer, Tom, and his breath immediately hitched in his throat.

Tom was…beautiful. He couldn’t have been any older than Harry, and had thick, dark hair styled impeccably. He was the epitome of somebody who was classically handsome, with dark grey, intense eyes, a straight nose, strong jawline, and cheekbones sharp enough to cut through skin. Tom was lean and slender, and though Harry considered himself to be bordering on tall, Tom still stood a good four inches above him.

“You don’t have to watch me,” Harry murmured softly after he realised he’d been staring. “I’m not here to steal.”

“I know,” Tom responded smoothly. “Don’t mind Burke; he’s simply suspicious in his old age. Were you looking for anything in particular, or are you here to sell?”

“Neither,” Harry answered curtly. “I’m just browsing.”

“Hmm,” Tom responded, taking a step along with Harry as Harry returned to studying the shop. “Do you mind me asking where you’re from? Your accent sounds largely American but I’m detecting something else in there.”

“Oh, I was actually born in Britain,” Harry said. “But I moved to Hungary when I was very young, and was raised by a Hungarian and an American. I think the British accent is mostly lost to me now when I speak English, but my father’s Hungarian drawl comes through too.”

“And what’s brought you to Britain now?” Tom enquired curiously. “The Muggle war isn’t quite officially over yet, and even if it were the city beyond our magical borders is in ruins.”

“I’m looking for somebody,” Harry answered simply.

“I know a lot of people; perhaps I can help?” Tom offered with a smile that didn’t seem quite as innocent as it first appeared.

Harry shook his head. “I don’t even know you; I can’t share my secrets with you.”

Tom smirked. “A person you’re looking for is a secret? That makes it rather more intriguing, don’t you think? And of course, forgive me for not introducing myself properly; my name is Tom Riddle.”

He offered his hand and Harry took it, Tom’s fingers instantly closing tightly around Harry’s.

“I’m Harry...Megzsentel,” he stated, not missing the way Tom’s eyes flickered at Harry’s hesitation over his false surname.

“Well, Harry,” Tom said, Harry’s name on his tongue sounding like velvet. “Are you here with family or friends, or are you searching for this mystery person alone?”

“I’m alone,” Harry admitted, allowing himself a sad smile.

“And do you have plans tonight?” Tom pressed, prompting Harry to look at him curiously.

“No,” he answered slowly, feeling his heart begin to race faster in his chest. “It’s actually my eighteenth birthday today; seeing as I’m on my own I was simply going to drink alone in my room at the Leaky Cauldron.”

“That sounds no fun,” Tom tutted. “Seeing as you’re alone and new to London, and as it’s your birthday, I simply have to ask if you’ll come out with me tonight. Allow me to treat you?”

There was something not quite right about Tom, Harry was sure, but looking at that handsome face was more than enough to cloud his judgement.

“Alright then,” Harry smiled.

“Lovely,” Tom beamed, flashing dazzling white teeth. “The White Wyvern is a pub just a few doors away from here. Meet me there at nine tonight?”

- - -

Diagon Alley was a lot more subdued at night, almost empty aside from the occasional couple out for a stroll. Knockturn Alley, on the other hand, was far more bustling and far more seedy.

It was the middle of summer, so even at nine it wasn’t quite dark outside, but that didn’t stop scantily clad prostitutes draping themselves along the walls, cloaked figures exchanging mysterious goods in corners, or drunkards stumbling along and capturing the attention of leering hags.

The White Wyvern looked like any other pub from the outside, but Harry had a feeling that the patrons would be far different to those who favoured the Leaky Cauldron. Harry found it curious that Tom had picked such a place, but it was rather telling about Tom, who appeared sleek and charming but preferred to spend time in places that catered to people considered the dregs of society.

“Hello, lovely,” a soft voice murmured as a hand caught Harry’s sleeve.

Harry glanced to the side to see Tom, who looked even more stunning in the orange glow of the slowly setting sun.

“Charming place, this,” Harry commented lightly, giving Tom an amused smile.

Tom smirked, taking a step closer to Harry and leaning down, so intimately close that Harry could hardly dare to breath.

“Charming it’s not, but I get the impression from you that the crowd here is rather more to your liking. Am I correct, darling?”

Harry shivered at the sharp way Tom said the word darling, but fixed Tom with a knowing look.

“You’re correct,” Harry said, managing a wicked smile of his own. “You’re a smart boy, Tom.”

“That’s rather an understatement,” Tom retorted before stepping back and out of Harry’s personal space. “Shall we go inside? Stay close by my side at first; once they know you’re with me nobody will bother you.”

Harry wasn’t sure how somebody so young could be so confident an entire pub would leave them be, but then Harry followed Tom inside and understood.

Many of the patrons looked up as the pub door opened, and upon seeing Tom several of them hastily looked away while other bowed their heads in respect. Some even waved a hand in greeting and smiled, but otherwise made no move to communicate, and Harry would be lying to himself if he said he wasn’t in awe at the mixture of respect and fear that Tom had garnered so easily.

“Impressive,” Harry commented as Tom led him to a private booth. “How did you get everyone so afraid of you?”

“I have my ways,” Tom answered vaguely. “Knockturn Alley is a place where the strong thrive and the weak fall into addiction or worse, into the hands of people willing to abuse them. I am strong, and as soon as I began working here I ensured that everyone knew I was strong and not a person to be messed with.”

It suddenly became clear to Harry what felt off to him about Tom—Tom was incredibly like Harry’s father—charming, intelligent and powerful, and unafraid to show it off and take what he wanted. It wasn’t a bad thing, though Harry wasn’t sure how healthy it was to be attracted to a man who reminded him of his father, but it did mean that Harry knew that Tom most likely had a dangerous side even if he hadn’t revealed other signs of it yet.

Harry had never been scared of a little danger.

A bartender came over to their table then with two glasses and a bottle of Firewhiskey. Tom proceeded to pour them each a glass of the bright amber liquid and as he did so, Harry noticed something that definitely caught his attention.

A ring adorned one of Tom’s fingers, an ugly piece of jewellery really, with a crudely shaped golden band and a dull black rock on top. And engraved into the rock, barely visible but standing out vividly to Harry who’d grown up with the importance of the symbol drilled into his head, was the markings of the Deathly Hallow; a line and a circle inside of a triangle. The symbol of Harry’s father.

“It’s a family heirloom,” Tom said, the sound of his voice making Harry jump, and he hastily drew his eyes away from the ring. Tom was watching him intently, a mixture of suspicion and curiosity lining his features. “I know it’s not the best looking of rings.”

“No! No!” Harry said quickly. “I, ah, just found it interesting; I’ve never seen a ring like it. Family heirloom, you say?”

That ring was something that Harry knew he needed. Whether is was the Resurrection Stone or could simply lead Harry to the Hallows, Harry had to have it in his possession; of course the fact it was currently owned by somebody Harry suspected was very skilled and powerful made getting his hands on it much trickier.

“Yes, from the House of Gaunt who are direct descendants of Salazar Slytherin himself,” Tom said proudly, though his eyes narrowed when Harry didn’t seem impressed by the announcement, his attention still on the ring itself. “It’s actually being moved to a safe place tomorrow. So tell me, Harry,” Tom added, hastily changing the subject. “Where were you schooled? Durmstrang, I’m assuming?”

“I was,” Harry nodded, reluctantly forcing his attention back on Tom’s face—though Tom was handsome enough that it wasn’t hard to redirect his attention. “And you? Hogwarts is the British school, yes?”

Tom nodded. “I’d have much rather been schooled at Durmstrang, though. Their curriculum suits my interests far better; my wider knowledge has all been self-taught.”

Harry caught on quickly to what Tom was referring to. “At Durmstrang they reiterate the importance of studying theory of alternative magic only, but there were a number of teachers who were rather more lenient with teaching us practical skills. But you had Dumbledore as a teacher, yes? That man who’s been in the papers recently?”

“Been in the papers?” Tom smirked. “That’s one way of describing the man who defeated Grindelwald.”

Harry’s fingers dug into the table, prompting Tom to tilt his head as he noticed his reaction.

“Dumbledore is skilled yes, but he’s a fool,” Tom continued. “I was very much adored by all of my professors, but he and I never saw eye-to-eye. He believes in using magic that he deems acceptable, yet condemns others for making their own judgements. I am certainly not one of those blind supporters of his.”

Harry could have swooned.

As the night went onversation flowed easily between them, and Tom certainly showed himself to be an intriguing creature, and one who held incredible intelligence. He was holding something back, that much was obvious, but if Harry was allowed to keep a secret then be couldn’t begrudge Tom for doing the same. Tom was endlessly fascinating, and not just because of his ring marked with the symbol of the Hallows.

“Perhaps,” Tom murmured, drumming his elegant fingers on the table, “you would be interested in coming to my home tonight?”

He gave Harry a pointed look, his pupils blown wide, and Harry understood exactly what Tom was suggesting.

Harry had been planning on stalking Tom, waiting until he left the ring where ever he was planning on leaving it, stealing it, and never seeing Tom again, but he could do all that after having sex with Tom. Because Harry certainly wanted to have sex with Tom, and he got the impression that Tom would be very good at it.

“Lead the way,” Harry answered with a grin.

- - -

Harry allowed Tom to Apparate them both to Tom’s home, and they landed in the middle of a large but sparse bedroom, decorated with nothing more than a mahogany desk and wardrobe, four-poster bed, and a bookshelf that lined the entirety of two walls.

That was all Harry had time to notice before he was pinned against the wall, his wrists held over his head in Tom’s surprisingly powerful hold.

“I don’t do romance,” Tom said lowly. “I’m not gentle or loving, but the way you’re looking at me now suggests that suits you just fine.”

Harry could have melted at the huskiness to Tom’s voice. They were so close together that Harry could see the tiny specks of blue in the grey of Tom’s eyes, and could smell the woody scent of his cologne. Harry wanted every inch of Tom, and he wanted him now.

“You can play rough with me but that doesn’t mean I’ll be your submissive little pet,” Harry responded breathlessly. “You can bite, but I might bite back.”

Tom smirked. “I didn’t expect anything less from you, lovely.”

He lowered his head, and Harry closed his eyes as a hot tongue traced the line of his ear before teeth closed over the lobe and bit down hard. Harry moaned, flexing his wrists against Tom’s hold on them.

“Don’t move,” Tom ordered as he released Harry’s wrists.

He brought one hand to Harry’s mouth, pushing a long, elegant finger past Harry’s lips. Harry immediately closed his mouth around it, sucking the digit without taking his eyes away from Tom’s.

Tom smirked, reaching for his wand with his other hand. A spell—wordless, Harry noticed—had his clothes torn away from him, and he shivered as the warm air hit his body. Tom pushed a second finger past Harry’s lips while his other hand began drawing sharp lines across the skin of Harry’s chest and stomach.

“I told you not to move,” Tom said sharply as Harry squirmed at the sensation.

Harry bit down on Tom’s fingers which earned him a particularly sharp scratch, but Harry revelled in it. He didn’t consider himself submissive, though he did like to be dominated as long as he got to have a bit of fun too, but he definitely had a masochistic streak in him.

When Tom’s fingers clawed at the soft skin of Harry’s thighs it got far harder not to squirm. He was achingly hard now, and each scrape of Tom’s nails against him had left his skin so sensitive so that each little movement went straight to his cock.

“I want to ride you,” Harry blurted out, raising his gaze to meet Tom’s dark one. “Enough teasing; you can fuck me, but I want to ride you.”

Tom’s fingers were wrapped round Harry’s wrists again in an instant, and made the most of his height advantage to loom over Harry like a bird of prey. The soft brush of Tom’s shirt against Harry’s sensitive skin only furthered Harry’s awareness that Tom was still entirely clothed while Harry had lost that barrier.

“Pushy, aren’t you?” Tom murmured teasingly. “What makes you think you’re in any position to be making demands, my dear?”

“Because I imagine I’m the first person to ever demand anything off you,” Harry pointed out with a smirk. “All those other people tonight were terrified of you.”

Tom chuckled. “And you’re not?”

Harry shook his head. “No, but that’s not to say I don’t think you’re dangerous. The only thing is, I’m rather attracted to danger.”

Tom smiled darkly, releasing Harry’s wrists and stepping away from him.

“Get yourself ready for me, then, and join me on the bed when you’re done,” Tom said, taking a seat on the edge of the bed, his hands splayed out on the satin covers and his long legs stretched out in front of him as he watched Harry expectantly.

Harry gave him an amused glare and crooked two of his fingers at Tom. “Would you care to help just a little bit?”

Tom waved his hand dismissively and Harry felt a sticky liquid coating his fingers. Harry would have been impressed at the display of wandless magic if he hadn’t been so used to his father doing it; Tom’s face briefly flickered with disappointment at Harry’s lack of reaction before returning to its passive expression.

Tom was good, Harry would give him that. With a few more years experience he would definitely give the British Wizarding World a run for their money, but Harry would be long gone by then.

Harry turned his body towards the wall, reaching behind himself to push a finger into his entrance, soon followed by a second. He glanced back towards Tom, keeping their gazes locked as he fingered himself open. Tom watched him hungrily, licking his red lips, and he beckoned Harry towards him with a crooked finger.

“I imagine asking you to crawl is out of the question,” Tom commented, slowly unbuttoning his trousers and pulling the fabric aside, allowing his long, hard cock to spring free.

Harry bit down on his lip longingly at the sight.

“Fuck crawling,” Harry hissed, crossing the small distance between them and crawling onto Tom’s lap. He rested his calves on the bed, hooking his arms around Tom’s shoulders for balance.

Tom’s hands grasped Harry’s hips, pulling him tight as he helped guide Harry down onto his erection. Harry bit down hard on his lip to stifle a moan as Tom’s thick length spread him open, filling Harry with a blissful burn.

“You wanted to ride me?” Tom purred, trailing a hand up Harry’s back and into his hair before tugging—hard. “Get to it then, lovely.”

Harry grinned. “So demanding.”

He set up a pace, rocking himself on Tom’s cock; slowly at first then faster and faster. Tom’s hands guided him slightly, but otherwise Tom left Harry to do all the work, staring at him all the while with those intense grey eyes.

But Harry could see from the way Tom’s lips were parted and the flush on his cheeks that he was enjoying himself, regardless of how collected he wanted to appear.

Harry meanwhile had never felt so much pleasure, and felt like every inch of his skin was attuned to Tom’s magic. There was just something enthralling about Tom, something that made Harry forget everything but Tom. All he wanted was the pleasure that came from being with Tom, and he rode him hard until they came together, clutching each other tightly as they rode out their orgasms.

Harry pulled off Tom’s softening cock after he’d finished and collapsed onto the bed beside Tom, the cool satin sheets soft and blissfully cold against his hot skin. He closed his eyes, allowing himself a few moments to catch his breath back.

“I suppose it’s not too much to ask if I can sleep here tonight?” Harry asked, cracking one eye open to see Tom gazing down at him curiously.

“Normally I don’t allow it,” Tom said, smirking. “But for you, my dear, I think I’m willing to make an exception.”