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When Time Stops

Chapter Text

 

 

Prologue : The beginning of the end


 

Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them. ~Dion Boucicault


 

The day had started like any other day for one Harry James Potter, that is loudly. He had been awakened by the screeching voice of his lovely Aunt Petunia. He really could not be sure how he had already screwed up if he had just awoken, but there was his relative’s logic for you.

He had of course been denied breakfast on this harshly sunny summer day, for whatever pre-conceived slight his Aunt had deemed was his. Fortunately, well for them anyway he was still given the honor of preparing their breakfast. There was after all no point on everyone suffering for the freaks faults, or so Aunt Petunia stated. This of course went smoothly right up until Vernon (he refused to call him uncle even in his own head) had decided that he didn’t actually want the diced tomatoes in his omelet (it made little difference to Vernon that he was the one to specifically tell his freak of a nephew to add them in the first place), this of course resulted in a well deserved (well as far as Vernon was concerned) blow to said nephews forearm. It would have been to the freaks face but the freak happened to have annoyingly fast reflexes and had managed to shield his head.

The blow of course was not really about eggs or tomatoes or really even the freak, Vernon had merely needed an outlet for his current bad mood. A bad mood that was the result of a rather vaguely requested upcoming meeting with the head of accounts. Something that did not delight Vernon in the slightest.

Thankfully, for Harry this one blow was deemed enough to restore a resemblance of good cheer to his obese uncle and he was banished to the back yard where he spent the next several hours, sweating in the 30 degree heat pushing the mower. Aunt Petunia had refused to upgrade to something other than a push mower saying it was bad for the environment (not that this stopped her from buying numerous snacks wrapped in plastic for Dudley). However, regardless of the reasoning she came up with, all that mattered was the result, that being Harry having to mow, remow and mow again to ensure an even cut.

He had been given a stale piece of bread and chunk of cheese for lunch and had drunk his fill from the garden hose when he was sure Aunt Petunia wasn’t watching. The afternoon of course consisted of more time under the scorching sun, pulling weeds and trimming the hedges.

It wasn’t until Vernon returned from work that everything had gone to hell.

Apparently Vernon had, had good reason to be worried about the requested meeting between his boss and himself, it had not been pleasant. No, not in the least, Vernon had found himself on the receiving end of a rather sharp verbal dress down and on probation for the remainder of the summer. For things that were of course not his fault.

Harry had sensed the moment the purple over blown face had walked in the door that it was going to be bad. He had of course the misfortune of having just finished the yard work and entering the house. Vernon had taken one look at the emaciated, sweaty, dirty teen and lost it. Harry had tried to lessen the blows but they just kept coming.

He vaguely recalled retreating into that safe, dark area of his mind when he felt his right arm bone break. When even this did not help, pure panic had ruptured forth. A wild need to stop his uncle had taken over him. He felt a burning, raw, intense power erupt from his very core, the backlash of which had sent him into blissful blackness.

Harry did not know how long it was until he awoke. When he did he was greeted by intense pain radiating from every cell of his body, blood of which he was pretty sure was his own, and the sight of an unconscious Vernon slumped against the far wall. Aunt Petunia and Dudley were thankfully still absent, likely still having tea with one of Petunia’s ‘friends.’ Harry sat staring at the slack form of his uncle in shock. He didn’t know what to do. He could not quite bring himself to go and check if his uncle was still breathing so instead he stared.

He was broken from his revere by the sound of a sharp tapping on the window. Slowly, he managed to stand up careful not to jostle his oddly angled arm more than normal. He took a minute to take stock of his own person and quickly summed up the damage; a broken arm, several broken ribs, dislocated shoulder and sprained ankle, that and more bruises and surface wounds then he could count. All in all it hurt like hell. He used this pain to focus his mind long enough to open the window and retrieve a letter from a rather stern looking owl.

A minute later and his world truly fell apart.

It was a letter from the ministry, one that told him rather succinctly that he had preformed yet more underaged magic and this time there would be no hearing, no chance to explain, just a confiscation of his wand and an expulsion from Hogwarts. All cheerfully stated and signed, wishing him the best of days.

No, No, no….this could not be happening. He could not be expelled; he could not lose his wand. He could not be made to forever endure life as a muggle at the hands of his relatives. He would not survive. When….If… Vernon woke up there was no telling what he would do.

Panic expanded. Harry stopped thinking and started to only react on instinct. He hastily froze and broke the lock on the boot cupboard. Panic had him grabbing his wand and shrinking his few belongings. He didn’t bother with the school trunk since he would not be going to Hogwarts it seemed a little pointless. He grabbed his broom and his father’s invisibility cloak and did the only thing that made sense to his harried mind. He ran.

Or flew rather. He was a jumble of emotions, each flashing through one after another. Fear, Panic, Anger, Disbelief, hurt, horror over and over again as he flew through the night sky. He did not know where to go; he had no one he could trust. The Weasley’s were kind to him but they could do little to shield him from this and he would only get them in further trouble, Hermione for all her good intentions was much too trained to respect authority and would make him turn himself in, and Dumbledore….

No, he would not think of that now. His anger and hurt, at his once beloved headmaster was still a festering sore. Dumbledore had lied to him, he had ignored him when he needed him, he had let Sirius die, he had sent him back year after year to the Dursleys, all for some greater good that Harry had little hope of ever actually living to see. So no his headmaster was a definite no.

So he just flew. Hour after hour, until the pain had dulled and the numbness of cold was taking over and still he flew. Eventually, the last shred of reason made itself known in his mind. It whispered that he was sliding closer and closer to the end of his broom, that his grip was growing weaker and weaker, and that he was several hundreds of feet in the air. Some part of him acknowledged this and he found his broom angling closer to the ground. His brain vaguely noted that there were a lot of very tall trees, a forest then. He was somewhere rather cold, with a forest.

Bone tired weariness fell over him. He was tired, so tired of everything. He was tired of pain, he was tired of impossible expectations, he was tired of lies, of suffering most of all he was just tired. His jumbled mind registered he was no longer on a broom, it noted that there was another jolt of pain, new pain that is, it registered that he was laying on a rather cold, wet musty smelling surface.

Leafs…Harry brain supplied. He did not know where he was, he did not know what would happen, he did not know if he cared.

Harry let his eyes close wearily; the darkness that crept in was welcomed.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

He walked silently through the ancient trees. His movements spoke of an in-human grace, his footsteps light and without the hesitation so ingrained in most mortal beings. For he had little to fear, there were few things that could actually injure, much less kill him.

The centuries had not been kind. While his physical appearance was still as perfect as it had always been anything beneath the outermost layer was long since disfigured beyond recognition. These deep scars had not leant to un-tempered rage; they failed to twist him into what muggles would term the sole incarnation of evil, no these scars simply were. He had not felt any true, deep emotion; no fierce hatred, no intense sadness, no bubbling joy in over a century, he simply existed.

A despondent shell that refused to destabilize, like its empty interior would predict. He had no real motivations left, no reason to continue to be and yet here he was. It had been 246 years since he had felt kinship or kindness towards another being, living or dead. His once close friends had given up after the first 150 years, eventually conceding to his wish to be alone. No, there had been little light since he had lost her.

Her memory was the only thing that really stirred anything anymore. The only real lasting memories that he still chose to recall was the cruelty of her death, and not only her death but that of his unborn daughter. They say time heals all things, he disagrees. Time changes things it does not heal.

Leonor continued his nightly foray, treading deeper and deeper into the Schwarzwald Forrest, or better known to tourists adn locals as ‘The Black Forrest.‘ Normally he would have chosen a forrest that was a little less known but he had been residing nearby as of late and figured it was as good as any place to find peace that only came with complete isolation of night. No sane person would wander this deep under the cover of darkness. The nickname bestowed the forest was not complete myth after all.

He ignored the familar burning itch in his throat. He probably should have fed earlier, ah well it was no big consquence. He was not a youngling who allowed his thirst to rule him. He had once found amusment in the muggle views of people like him. The views had shifted over the years going from a blood thirsty ravenous beast to a beauitul soleful seductor. Niether were close to the truth, though the first was probably closer then the second. He could not fathom the ideas that made ridiculus teenage muggle fantasies.

Just another proof that human kind was demented. It was not saying that he could not be beautiful or engage in seduction but he found little use in either, it was so much simplilar simply to over-power and kill, he had little patience for games. He knew there were many of his kind who enjoyed toying with their prey first, but he was not them. Of course most of those that enjoyed that type of perversion were not true immortals. They were what muggles and wizards alike termed vampires, a name he thought appropriate as they were much closer to parasites then to what they hoped to emmulate.

He was an ancient. One of the chosen, the truly immortal. The others were cheap immitations, made through a curse rather then a gift from magic. They were the ones ruled by their base instincts, the need to hunt. No, there were few ancients that chose to inhabit the mortal realm, most of his kind lived in a sancutary , a realm of their own. Not beacuse they feared the miniscule little mortals but because they could not be bothered to put the effort into completely destroying them, plus there main food source had to come from somewhere. The Shadow realm was what one childish immortal named this hidden plain. The child had been favored by their Prince and so the name had stuck.

He had not been back to the realm since Mencia had been killed. It had shocked the entire realm, for she and his unborn child were also immortals and therefore should not have died. And yet they had. Panic had overrode judgement on when it had happened, never before had the immortals experienced a vulnerbility. When he had enacted his self exile the royals had been no closer to finding a cause. He had kept a ear open over the years but nothing had been found.

He pulled himself out of his morose thoughts, debating if he was ready to return as of yet. He was currently reciding in a small secluded cottage, it was sparse but comfortable. It met his needs; it was secluded and went unnoticed by other beings thanks to his magical masking of the place, it was also not too far from a small town. Small enough, not to be annoying but large enough so no one knew each other well enough to notice if a few went missing.

He stopped, freezing to a stillness that would have put a statue to shame as he noticed a small prone figure laying across the forrest floor ahead of him. For a split second he was sure it was dead, but then he noticed the small shallow movements of what had to be pained breathing.

Well, he thought wrly to himself looks as if Fate has favored me tonight and supplied a meal.

He moved gracefully to stand next to the body, it did not stir at his approach. It was a tiny ittle thing. A child he discerned most likely having seen not much over a decades worth of years, as slight as it’s body was it did not have the healthy plumbness one ascertained with mortal children. He knelt quietly, leaning in to get closer and carefully layed a hand on a painfully sharp, frail shoulder.

He really did not need to move quietly or carefully but he found blood tasted so much better when it wasn’t diluted with endorphins caused by panic and fear. Not that he was likely to get much blood out of this one, he could smell that it was all but bathed in it’s own blood. Likely from the injuries he could decipher even from this angle. It’s blood smelled heavenly, it had a sweet, spicy smell with just a hint of a bitterness. So much better smelling then most mortal’s blood, usually to saccrinally sweet or so soured by their cores. He could sense magic leaking from it’s body, a wizard then he assumed, it didn’t smell right to be a elf or veela.

He carefully turned it on its back and scooped it up in his arms before standing. He stared down with mild disgust. Some might label him as a monster, but even he would not have inflicted the damage and pain that had been inflicted on this small creature, at least not on a child. It revolted him enough to dim the craving that the smell of it‘s blood had caused.

He almost started when he looked down to see a set of huge, unnaturally green eyes staring calmly back at him. They showed no fear, no desire to save it’s self, nothing really beside acceptance.

Why he did what he did next, he would never know. It could have been because of what those eyes showed or what the boy said. He honestly did not really want to know.

The boy continued to stare at him, a weariness and age in his eyes that should not have been there for one so young. “Thank you“ he whispered, in a lovely soft voice before closing his eyes and letting the tension that had been present while he spoke drain to nothing. Leonor stared at him with something akin to disbelief on his pale face.

One would have to be a complete idiot not to recognize what he was, or what they would believe him to be, he did have fairly prominent fangs after all. Perhaps, the child was too young? Or maybe a little slow? Surely with his magic as drained as it was he could sense the inhernent danger Leonor represented. He was unsettled, off balanced for the first time in a very long period. What was it doing thanking him? Did it have no self preservation at all?

How odd...Leonor could honestly state he could not recall any of his prey having thanked him for making them his meal. No, most beggged, pleaded , attempted to bargain or held some delusion that he would change them at the last minute, but none of them thanked him at the thought of ending their existance.

And suddenly he held no desire to kill this being. He was much to curious. He couldn’t recall having been interested as to the why behind someone’s actions in over two hundred years. Perhaps it was the weariness, the numbness that he had seen reflected back at him, in a way it was like looking in a mirror. So empty.

He did not know where this new desire came from exactly, but suddently he felt the need to keep this human. He knew that it would probably have preferred the quick death and peace of darkness that came with it, but he never said he was anything but a selfish being. That wasn‘t about to change now.

With that he turned around, careful to not jostle his new study and began to make his way home. This time there was just the smallest flicker of something in his gut. He dare not recognize it after all these years.

But some might call it hope.

Chapter Text


 

“We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents.” ― Mark Twain


 

Leonor’s return trip took little time even by mortal standards; he could thank his preternatural attributes for this. These were the same attributes he had come to despise; they were the part of what made him truly immortal. After Mencia’s death and the death of his child he had so wished to join them, to end his tedious existence. It was only then did he realize how much immortality could truly be a curse.

He sighed looking down at the unnaturally cold and still body in his arms, perhaps this little creature could amuse him for a time. Distract him from his own meaningless existence; well it was worth a try he suppose. He had spent the last several centuries trying to continue as he was; it did not appear to be working. Perhaps this was fates way of telling him to try something new.

He mentally scoffed at himself. He truly was going insane. Laying the child’s body on the Spartan bed he had acquired (another stupid myth, vampires and immortals alike needed sleep, to think otherwise was simply ridiculous), and resolutely decided to stop fighting the fact that he was likely going insane and simply embrace it for the time being. He could always go and retrieve his sanity if this did not work, he had forever after all.

He studied the boy. He might have been off on his age it was hard to tell. He was definitely nearing starvation, and he had long standing injuries aside from the most current wounds. He really didn’t bother learning all that much about human healing; he had never really needed to…what reason did he have to heal one of them? Well, it didn’t matter anyway, immortal’s blood was far more potent than anything wizards could possibly come up with, even phoenix tears (this was not the same for vampires, there blood had no effect except to pass on the curse).

Despite the battered appearance of his new charge, he could tell the wizard was beautiful. Had his face not currently been sporting the results of its abuse, he would wager to say his beauty was more then what was normal for a mortal. It was possible he suppose that the child had very diluted amounts of immortal blood in his bloodline. There had been some more indiscriminant immortals that had chosen to mate with mortals as they were, rather than changing them first. It was not common simply because few mortals would have survived carrying a child with even a hint of immortal blood.

Still the boy’s eyes spoke of power to large for its container. He had a delicate bone structure that leant grace to his pale face, full lips, long curved eye lashes, yes he was rather exquisite. Leonor decided it did not really matter at the moment, he hadn’t exactly decided what he was going to do with the boy so it was useless to speculate.

He let his fangs come out and carefully bit his wrist, allowing the blood to pool before reaching over and forcing the boy’s mouth open. He allowed approximately a mouthful before rubbing his throat to trigger the swallow reflex.

Ironic, Leonard thought he had hoped to feed off the boy and instead he was feeding him. Shaking his head at the absurdity of this change he brought a chair closer to the side of the bed and sat back to watch the change.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Harry felt his awareness slowly coming back to him. His conscious still felt sluggish, as if it was wading through a thick viscous liquid. He hurt; although the pain was much better then he could ever remember it being. Where was he? What had happened? He forced himself to remain still and let his mind come up with answers.

He was flooded with memories of the past day; Dursleys, beating, unconscious Vernon, Minstery, expelled, flying, falling….and then….his brain stuttered. And then he should have been dead. He vaguely recalled emerging from the peaceful darkness to immense pain, he recalled being picked up and held by someone, he recalled what little magic he had left screaming danger at him, and he recalled being too tired to care, just wanting it to end. He recalled looking up at a boy-no man? Of immense beauty knowing that it was likely to be the last sight he saw. He remembered thanking the man, thanking him for being the one who would put him out of his misery. For taking that impossible decision away from him, for doing what Harry had never had the guts to do. Then darkness.

He remained motionless trying to sus out his surroundings. He was not dead, why wasn’t he dead? Where was he?

Wherever he was it was unnaturally quiet, he could faintly hear the chirping of birds, but it sounded as if they were on the other side of a thick wall. So inside then. He was lying on something soft, much too soft to be his bed at the Dursleys, or even one of the hospital beds at Hogwarts. He really could not wager a guess. He hadn’t been in his right mind last night and had no idea where he had been flying too or even what direction he had taken. He knew he would not have flown to Hogwarts, not with its association with Dumbledore. He doubted that he would have flown to Grimmauld place because of its association with Sirius. It was much too quiet to be the Weasleys.

He cracked his eyes open, immediately wincing when the harsh light tore at him. He couldn’t quite stop the pained whimper that slip past his lips. He had always hated this part; the part of waking up after some grievous injury and not being sure of the current state of things, it left him so vulnerable. He was working up the courage to try and open his eyes again when he felt the pressure of someone gripping his shoulder. He froze in shock, his eyes flying open in spite of the pain that it caused him. For a moment it overwhelmed him and he started to struggle against the hold. Seconds later he managed to push down the panic and take in what was in front of him.

It was the same man from last night, (he assumed it was last night, he really was not sure how long he had been out). He stilled, mentally assessing and storing details, trying to ascertain what level of danger he was currently in. The conclusions he was coming too all said one thing, a-lot.

The man in front of him looked to be in his early twenties, but something about how he moved and held himself stated that this was not entirely true. He had an unnatural stillness and grace in the way he moved. His shoulder length black hair was drawn back from his face, tied elegantly behind him so that the end curled, resting on his right shoulder. His face was one of immense beauty. The bone structure screaming nobility, intense grey eyes, shrouded with dark lashes, a straight nose and thin lips. His skin was a olive tone and he looked to have Latin American ancestry. But the thing that captivated Harry, making it painful to look away was the shroud of darkness cloaking the stranger. It was like a palpable yet invisible film that surrounded him, making apparent just how dangerous this stranger was.

The stranger looked down at him and must have taken in the shocked expression and wide eyes, for his lips quirked slightly. “I see that you are awake” he spoke, his voice deep, but more melodious then Harry would have expected.

Harry didn’t answer not sure what to do in this situation. Every instinct in him was telling him that this man was not to be underestimated, that he should tread carefully. He had the insane urge to reach up and stroke the man’s cheek, an urge he resisted. It was rather unsettling, considering Harry hated being touched or touching others. Years of negative touch had made him very leery of physical contact. He still flinched when Hermione engulfed him in a hug or Ron squeezed his shoulder, and he had known them for years. Not a mere few seconds. Thankfully he also had the saner urge to flee and escape at the first chance he had. Realizing the stranger was waiting patiently for a response, he nodded his head, darting his eyes furtively around to take in the rest of the room.

He was in a clean but sparse room. The bed, the chair a small table in the corner, an oak wardrobe were all understated but of clearly good quality. This surprised him given the plainness of the room he wouldn’t have thought that the furnishing would hold any value. The man was staring at him with an intensity that made Harry want to squirm.

“W-Where am I?” he asked, flushing lightly at the crack in his voice. He knew better then to show fear to a potential enemy, fear only encouraged them. He knew this all too well, Vernon, Voldmort, even Lucius Malfoy delighted in seeing fear from their prey. Harry mentally shook himself from his thoughts and turned to stare at the man, he made himself look the man in the eyes and hold his gaze, refusing to show further weakness.

Instead of the man bristling at this impertinence, he looked amused a slow smile spreading across his angelic features. “You are a funny little thing aren’t you, so odd” he mused reaching towards Harry’s face, ignoring the stiffing of his prey to glide a finger down the side of the delicate face.

Harry felt his hackles rising at the uninvited touch along with the words spoken. He fought to keep his face impassive but didn’t think he did a very good job at it, if the widening smile on the strangers face was anything to judge by. “So I’ve been told” he answered in a flat tone.

The stranger chuckled at this before leaning back and returning to the chair nearby before resuming his unsettling staring. “To answer your question, we are at my place. I found you quite literally a moment away from certain death. I brought you back and healed you” he stated in a tone that said he thought that this should be obvious.

Harry fought to hide his surprise. “Why?” he asked the question coming out much more bluntly then he had meant. At the raised eyebrow the man gave him he found himself flushing again, “I-I mean why would you do that, go to that amount of trouble? What do you possibly have to gain from it?” Harry repeated, this time voicing his confusion.

The man studied him for a long moment before answering, “Must I have a reason? Perhaps I was just being a good citizen, helping those in need…”

Harry could not stop himself from snorting at this. He allowed the disbelief color his expression, “No one does something for no reason. Nothing is free” he stated resolutely.

The man allowed a feral smile to creep across his face, “You’re not a naïve as you look” he answered.

Harry chose to ignore the intended insult, “What is it you want from me?” he asked trying not to let the nerves he was feeling show.

The smile that had been on the man’s face disappeared replaced with a completely blank look; he muttered something that Harry did not quite catch.

Suddenly, before Harry got the chance to question him further, the man stood up abruptly walking towards the door. He paused a moment to look back at Harry.

“You should not move yet, I healed a fair amount but you had too much damage to heal it all, your ribs are no longer broken but they are still quite bruised. I left your ankle as well” he stated, “What is your name little one?”

Harry bristled at the nickname, he hated being reminded of his small stature, “Harry” he replied shortly.

“Hmm such a common name for one as pretty as you” the man murmured, “never mind, I am Leonor”

Harry wasn’t sure what to make of the Leonor’s comment so he decided to ignore it. “Um…thank you Leonor for..for healing me….” He trailed off unsure how to ask the next question.

Leonard smirked at his discomfort. “Go ahead ask whatever it is”

Harry swallowed, “er…Not to be ungrateful or anything but why if you healed all of my other…um injuries did you leave my ankle broken?” he darted a look at Leonard expecting annoyance or resentment.

Instead Leonor’s smirk grew, “Why to make it harder for you to escape little one”

With that he turned and walked out of the room, shutting the door behind him. Harry stared in shock after him. “Whaa…” his mind felt like it was malfunctioning again.

Harry had been in tight spots before. But somehow this seemed much worse.

Much, much worse.

Chapter Text


 

“…as long as we know we're trapped, we still have a chance to escape.” ― Sara Grant , Neva


 

The following day passed almost peacefully, well if you could count being constantly on edge and doubting your decision as peaceful. Leonor could not recall that last time he had felt so unsure of things. Harry maintained a stoic silence, only really speaking if asked a direct question, otherwise keeping to the bedroom.

Leonor was not sure what to feel about this, he vacillated between relief (that this human was not going to disrupt the quiet he had sought out), irritation (because little had changed in his life and that had been the whole point on saving the battered boy), curiosity (to why the boy reacted the way he did, or said what he did, or stared at certain things longer than others), guilt (for all but telling the boy he had to stay here), and confidence (that he had every right to do with boy what he wanted, if not for him the child would be dead, therefore he was his. This was the general view of most immortals, if they did choose to ‘adopt’ a mortal; the mortal became that immortal’s property).

He heard the faint creak of Harry getting up out of bed and the quiet opening of the bedroom door. He kept himself from looking up from the tome he was reading, knowing from the sound of the little one’s pounding heart he was inching closer.

Leonor had finished healing Harry completely earlier this morning. He had only said that about Harry’s ankle to rile him up, the reason he hadn’t finished healing all of the boy’s injuries straight off, was simply that no mortal could consume that much immortal blood without consequences. Hence, waiting to heal the bruised ribs and broken ankle. Not that he had any notion of letting the boy leave, but it’s not like he needed a broken ankle to prevent that. Even if Harry had not been severally malnourished, he had no hope in out running an immortal.

“It is still warm. You should eat” Leonor said continuing to read. Leonor had left a bowl stew out for him. Another misconception was that vampires or immortals did not need to eat besides blood. This was false, if anything they needed to eat more than most mortals because the blood they consumed needed extra calories to be used. The blood in itself was not nutrition, it served to quench their thirst and provide the supernatural benefits most of their kind enjoyed.

He finally looked up when he heard Harry pause. His bright green eyes flitted to the plate then away quickly scanning the room. Leonor could only assume he was looking for plausible escape routes. He glanced back at the table again, his eyes full of uncertainty.

Leonor sighed, biting back his irritation. He reminded himself of the condition he had found the boy in, it only made sense he was still a little skittish. Perhaps, providing him with an explanation to his requests would help? ”The blood I fed you, drew what little energy your body could provide to heal you. Without proper nourishment I doubt you would last another three days”

Harry hesitated once more but nodded and quietly pulled out the chair, before gingerly sitting down and starting to eat. ‘He is likely still stiff, especially since he stayed in bed all day’ Leonor realized.

They sat in silence while Harry ate and Leonor read; eventually Harry’s quiet voice spoke up.

“umm…” Harry started but stopped as if unsure he was permitted to ask questions.

Leonor raised his eyes to meet Harry’s “Yes, you can ask little one. If I do not wish to answer. I will not.”

Harry studied him a moment as if to find the truth in his statement, satisfied with what he saw he started again, “You said you healed me with blood?” the question timid.

Leonor paused a moment, might as well tell the boy. He had healed enough physically that if he reacted badly it would not inhibit his recovery that much. “That is correct, my blood to be exact.”

Those green eyes widened slightly but he remained seated and ate another spoon full of stew before giving voice to his thoughts, “O-ok, are you, I mean what… I mean, are you a vampire? Please I mean no offense by it…I mean if you are one…not saying that you are for sure” Harry stuttered, rambling in his confused wording.

Leonor smiled; the human really was rather adorable. “Shh…its fine, I am not offended, yes and no”

Harry just looked more confused but held his silence.

‘Good’ Leonor thought he approved of patience. “I am what is called an immortal”

Harry’s eyes widened once more, and his face paled slightly but he remained silent.

“Have you ever heard of us?” Leonor asked curiously. He did not know how advanced the mortals had become, he was not sure if the immortal’s existence was common knowledge or not in this realm. Yes, he had lived here for many years but he had never interacted with them. Well, outside draining them of their life source, that is.

Harry shook his head as a negative.

“How to explain…hmm, yes, that will work” Leonor pondered under his breath, he noted with surprise that Harry had appeared to have heard him. But that was not possible was it? A mortal should not be able to hear the sonic sound waves produced by an immortal whispering, but it appeared Harry had. Yet another curious thing about his little one. He directed his attention back to what they had been talking about. “I suppose you could call Immortal’s, true vampires, or the first ones…” he began he noted Harry was now listening with rapt attention.

“We are not really what you wizards label as vampires; a comparison between us is like comparing your Albert Einstein to a rabid dog. What you recognize as vampires are mortals who have been passed along a curse. Similar to your version of the werewolf I believe. We, immortals were created by magic herself. She wished to celebrate the creation of magic and magical beings but found that they were flawed, fight and destroy each other eventually, or become sick and dying off. So she created us, the immortals. Our purpose is to gather knowledge and keep track of the state of her other creatures. Basically to keep her informed so that she might decide on what course of action to take, does that answer your question?” Leonor explained.

“Yes, thank you” Harry replied, laying his spoon down in the now empty bowl, he arched his back in a cat like motion, likely twisting to stretch his cramped muscles out. He glanced back at the bedroom then at the entrance to the shack uncertainly.

“If you want to take a walk you are welcome to” Leonor told him, chuckling to himself at the look of disbelief on the little one’s face, “Don’t go too far.”

Harry nodded again and quickly stood up almost knocking his chair over in his haste, he blushed again before carefully straightening it. He walked with quick steps towards the entrance, his gait awkward as if he was trying to stop himself from breaking into a run. Leonor did not comment just watched him exit the door.

Oh he understood perfectly well that Harry thought he was being given free reign, and likely thought that this was his chance to escape. Leonor chuckled again, as if he would make it that easy.

Idly he picked up his book again. “I wonder what he will think of my wards.”

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Harry felt like crying in frustration. He hadn’t believed his luck when Leonor told him he was free to go outside. He knew it was too good to be true!

He stubbornly pushed his hand against what appeared to be air. What it was instead was an invisible barrier, a completely immovable invisible barrier.

“Fuck!” he cried out in anger at his newest obstacle kicking at it viciously. All that did was cause pain to race up his leg. “Dammit…” he sighed sinking to the ground not caring if he got his pants wet from the damp leaves. He didn’t even have his wand with him. Leonor must have taken it when he was unconscious he realized.

He hated this. He hated feeling so bloody helpless and weak. He had been ready to die; he had been looking forward to it, in fact. But now, that he was still very much alive and no longer existing in a constant state of pain he thought he might have been a tad hasty on that desire. Still he’d prefer it to existing in this state of fear.

Knowing he was trapped, knowing he had almost zero chances of getting away, not knowing what Leonor wanted with him. It was frying his already frazzled nerves.

‘Okay, Stop. Calm down and think. You are not going to do any good feeling sorry for yourself,’ He admonished himself before forcing himself to stand up. ‘Well I might as well see how far this barrier stretches around’ he decided. With that he began to walk in a circle, keeping a hand on the barrier.

Twenty minutes later he came to where he started. It was close to a kilometer in circumference, a fairly decent size space. It wasn’t horrible he supposed, much better than the room he was locked in at the Dursleys, or god forbid the cupboard. He shuddered, no use thinking about that now. For that matter he wasn’t really sure what he would be returning to even if he did escape.

He would not go back to the Dursley’s that was for sure. Maybe he could owl Viktor and ask if he could crash with him for a bit. He knew Viktor had his own flat in Sofia; he blushed at the thought of actually getting to spend time with the Bulgarian seeker alone. He hadn’t seen him face to face since fourth year, but they had kept in touch. Harry knew he could trust him, he had trusted him enough to let him be his first after all.

He sighed, not that it mattered since the barrier was apparently faultless.

He pushed his anger at Leonor down. The immortal had saved his life, he should be thankful. Yes, he was thankful, but that didn’t mean he appreciated being imprisoned. He went back and forth between feeling resentful of his captor and worried for him. If that wasn’t the most ridiculous thing he had ever felt, he did not know what was. Leonor just seemed so sad sometimes, almost as if he wasn’t really there. He sighed again and ran a hand through his shaggy hair. He really needed a haircut, he thought absently.

Well there had to be a way out. Leonor came and went, just how did he get through the wards? Harry had not seen him use a wand, although he was likely rather proficient at wandless magic. What was the most important thing to the immortal...blood...? I wonder.” He contemplated feeling hopeful for the first time since he had awakened.

Well it was worth a try. Leonor would have to do better than some stupid barrier if he wanted to stop him.

Chapter Text

 


 

We are not trapped by our thoughts. What we generally do, however, is create thoughts that trap us.” ― Joshua David Stone , A Beginner's Guide to the Path of Ascension (The Ascension Series)


 

Harry’s hands shook slightly as he stared down at the rather sharp looking pile of rocks located a few feet below. ‘I can’t believe I am now participating in the game of hurt Harry’ he thought despondently. He shook his head; he had to do this for his plan to work. It was his only option.

After Harry had come up with his rather far-fetched escape plan, he had scoured the enclosed area around the cabin; he had been in luck and found an old dug well. A well bed, that had been largely caved in so that instead of there being a long, long drop there was a mainly filled in one. The drop was five feet at the most with a lovely bunch of sharp slippery rocks at the bottom.

For this plan of Harry’s, he needed to hurt himself bad enough that Leonor would consent to giving him blood again, he had already stashed a cup underneath the bed so that part was taken care of, now for the important part.

He took a deep breath, closed his eyes tight and let himself fall. He felt his stomach lurch and a sharp pain ricochet up his leg. ‘Yup, broke my leg’ he thought. It was rather disturbing to be hoping for a large, garish injury, he seriously hoped this would be worth it. It took him another hour and a half to drag himself up out of the hole and drag his now incredibly in pain body, back to the cabin.

Leonor looked up as he collapsed in the door. “What the hell happened to you?” before swooping down on Harry’s collapsed bloodied form.

“Um….tripped?” Harry panted out, trying to look innocent. He watched Leonor’s face worriedly. He didn’t think the ancient would think anything of it. The plan of Harry’s really was too off wall for any rational being to think of.

“You tripped?” Leonor stated in a dead pan voice raising his eyebrow. Harry didn’t allow the guilty feeling in his gut to translate to his face. He simply nodded this as accurate.

“Unbelievable. I do not know why I even bother. You must be the most delicate, hard to keep alive being I have ever had the misfortune of coming across” Leonor muttered, sounding somewhat despaired.

“Sorry?” Harry croaked out, “ow” he whimpered as he tried to push himself up.

“Oh for Magia sake! Lie still” Leonor muttered, carefully picking him up, a steady flow of what sounded like Spanish curses flowed from his lips as he moved Harry back to the bed he had been occupied for the last week.

Harry closed his eyes, going over the plan once more. Batting the guilt he was feeling down. He had to get away, Leonor had continued to skirt the question of what was going to happen to him, and that could only mean bad things. Harry could not continue to live under someone’s thumb. His whole life had been lived that way, and well, look how great that had gone.

Harry cracked an eye open and saw Leonor biting his wrist, “Could I have a glass of water…to wash it down with? I really hate the taste” he asked hopefully.

Leonor snarled something else, rolling his eyes “Fine, drink this first. I’d rather Not waste it dripping all over the floor to fetch your holiness some water” he pushed his profusely bleeding wrist at Harry.

Harry nodded and obediently let the blood fill his mouth, when it had he nodded to Leonor, to indicate he had finished. Leonor continued to mutter but left the room to go and fetch some water. Harry moved as fast as he could to grab his stashed cup and let half of the blood in his mouth enter the cup, before replacing it and swallowing the last half. He had managed to settle back on the bed when Leonor re-entered, carrying the cup of water.

“Thanks” Harry croaked gratefully taking the cup and downing the entire contents. He hadn’t lied exactly….he really did hate the taste of blood. He had had way too much experiencing tasting his own.

Leonor studied him for a long moment, before sighing again. “Be more careful. I do not wish to have to continue fixing you up. I am leaving for a short period I have some……business in town. I will be gone for a few hours tonight.”

Harry nodded, not quite believing his luck. He had not yet figured out how he was going to sneak out with Leonor on the premise.

Leonor gave him one more glance and sighing left the room.

Harry took a deep breath and willed his heart to stop thudding. He hated deceiving people, even people who might want to do him harm. He shook his head. He had committed to this plan, it likely wouldn’t work but he had to try.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Leonor narrowed his eyes suspiciously at his once again battered charge, who lay innocently blinking those iridescent green eyes at him. Harry was planning something, likely something incredibly stupid. His human was rather confusing; he seemed clever when he spoke to Leonor. This last week Harry had started to talk more openly with him, and yet he continued to try and pull incredibly reckless stunts. Leonor was surprised he hadn’t killed him out of sheer frustration already.

Well, this was what Leonor had wanted; there was no doubt that Harry was keeping his life more interesting at least.

But back to his suspicions. There is no way Harry would have asked him for anything, even a glass of water, and although the boy was clumsy at times, even he could not have managed to sustain those injuries on pure chance.

He had already decided to give the boy an opening to see what it was he was planning. Hence his ‘business in town,’ although he really did need to go into town soon. He had already slipped away three nights ago and dined on a rather tasty Australian backpacker. He appreciated southern cuisine.

Leonor waited and watched Harry the rest of the evening. The boy was doing a fair attempt at acting nonchalant, calm even, but his heart beat gave him away. It was erratic, speeding up then suddenly slowing, as if the boy was mentally stopping himself from a panic attack. At eight Leonor made a show of excusing himself and walked out the door. He walked until he hit the barrier and then settled down to wait.

Even if Harry chose another spot to try and exit from, his sensors would let him know. He sighed perhaps he should actually talk to the child. Despite Harry’s reluctance to speak or his rather stubborn petulance, Leonor could not help but notice that he was starting to actually like the child. He was stubborn, amusing and unpredictable. He was a mass of contradictions. Maybe it was time to show him some trust. After all could he expect trust if he was not willing to give it.

It was something to ponder, at the very least.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Harry waited an hour after Leonor left. He had to stop and consciously calm himself down. He really hoped this would work; Leonor would be fine without him. He could find some other helpless stray to take in. It would NOT be Harry. He was not going to continue to be the weak one, the victim, oh no, he was not.

Harry took the cup he had stashed earlier out of hiding, and carefully started to smear the blood over his skin. He forced himself not to wrinkle his nose in disgust. He knew this plan was rather mental, but he was hoping that the wards were tuned to Leonor’s blood and that they would only take a shallow reading. He hoped that having his skin coated in the blood would be enough.

When he was finished he grabbed the book Leonor had been reading. He took a pencil (oddly enough Leonor seemed to prefer the muggle writing utensils) and scrawled a quick note inside the cover.

Thank you for everything…I am sorry.

Harry

He tucked it back where he found it. He hoped Leonor would find it sooner rather than later. With that he quickly exited the cabin. His leg was completely healed. Leonor’s blood truly was a miracle drug. He jogged as quietly as he could to where he remembered the barrier being. Taking a deep breath he stepped across it.

‘It worked!’ He could not believe it. He truly did not think that it would actually work. Sure he had hoped…but it actually worked! Harry felt like doing a happy dance.

His happiness was short lived however, for when he looked up he came face to face with his captor. And Leonor did not looked amused…in the least.

“Hi?” Harry finally said after a few minutes of a silent stare off. His heart was pounding. His thoughts plummeting, he was going to die. He had pushed it too far this time. Leonor would not be so benevolent after this.

Leonor’s brow furrowed further,

“I think we need to talk.”

Chapter Text

 


 

We are bound by the secrets we share.” ― Zoë Heller , What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal]


 

………………………………………………………………………………………….

“We need to talk”

……………………………………………………………………………………….

Harry took a deep shuddering breath trying to calm his beating heart. ‘Calm down!’ he ordered himself, ‘If he hasn’t killed you yet, there is no reason to believe he is going to now.’ Somehow this thought did little to reassure him. “Ok” he croaked his voice sounding much more scared and nervous, then he would have liked.

Leonor studied him for a long moment, before sighing and pinching the bridge of his nose, in an almost bored tone he commented, “You know, you really are not worth all of this trouble. I must have truly lost my mind to continue to chase after you.”

Harry’s eyes widened, maybe he had been reassured to early, but he was not going to plead for Leonor to spare his life, he would at least keep some of his dignity, so instead of doing what a rational person might do and trying to convince the all powerful man in front of him, of his worth, he did the opposite. “Why are you? That is what I do not understand…I am nothing to someone like you…so what is it you want from me?” He asked steeling his voice to sound more confident then he really was.

“And that right there is why” Leonor answered cryptically.

Harry scowled with frustration, letting out an irritated huff, “Why won’t anyone ever just give me a straight answer? It’s always hard to decipher riddles, or cryptically vague answers….if I did not know better I would swear you where related to Dumbledore.”

Leonor chuckled, raising his hands in mock surrender, “Oh my little prince, I can answer if you like, I just don’t believe you will be pleased by my answers,” he paused in which time, Harry stubbornly jutted out his chin in defiance, Leonor gave another chuckle before continuing, “Very well then, I am keeping you around because I find you amusing.”

Harry gave him a look of disbelief; “I’m alive because I AMUSE you?” his voice rang out, stressing the fact that Harry for one did not find this answer amusing in the least.

“Yes” Leonor answered, “As for why I initially saved your life….well I suppose I was bored… and perhaps a tad lonely.”

This admission stopped Harry’s further disgruntled protests, over his existence of being Leonor’s amusement. This last sentence rang of deeper un-expressed emotions and Harry would never be cruel enough to mock someone for their pain. He sighed letting his shoulders slump and sank wearily to the leave strewn ground beneath him. “I’m sorry…I did not mean to inconvenience you further…” he stopped when Leonor arched an eyebrow as if to call his bluff.

“Ok, so maybe I did mean to inconvenience you….but I did not mean to add to your pain, I-I guess I can understand, well, I guess I can understand what that’s like” Harry kept his gaze firmly planted on his knees, rubbing his hand back and forth on his right kneecap in a self-soothing motion. He looked up suddenly as he spoke the next sentence, “but I cannot continue to be held as a prisoner. Not knowing what will happen, not having any control…it’s…well its worse than death.” He stated with conviction, the fire returning to his emerald eyes.

Leonor stared off into this distance, before surprisingly giving a minuet nod and folding his legs so that he was sitting next to Harry. Harry looked at him in shock; he really had never pictured this magnificent, regal ancient to sit on the ground. The absurdity of the situation caught up with him and he could not help but let a small chuckle escape him.

Leonor arched his eyebrow again, this time as if to ask why he had to put up with this. It was so reminiscent of Snape, that it only made Harry laugh harder. Leonor patiently waited until Harry’s slight hysteria faded, leaving Harry slightly breathless and flushed.

“Are you quite done?” Leonor asked looking almost worried, that Harry had perhaps cracked from the stress and was now certifiable. Harry bit back the last of his laughter and managed to give Leonor a solemn nod. Oh, it would be priceless to watch Leonor and Snape have a conversation. He wondered who could out glower the other or even better, which one would be more skilled at swooping. He had to admit both men could be decidedly bat like at times.

“Do you care to explain what that rather out-of-character display was about?” Leonor asked, his tone bored but Harry saw genuine curiosity in his slate grey eyes.

“Sorry, you just sort of reminded me of a professor I have…or had” Harry trailed off his expression changing from apologetic amusement to misery, as he remembered that he was now expelled so he would not actually be allowed to taint Snape’s dungeons anymore. He was suddenly hit with what a great loss not being able to go back to Hogwarts actually was….no more flying, no more fighting with Draco Malfoy, no more trips to Honeydukes with Ron and Hermione, no more stolen visits with Hagrid…Harry blinked back the sudden wetness in his eyes. ‘Merlin’ he scolded himself, ‘get it together your becoming a bloody girl!’

“Let’s come to an agreement…I will tell you one detail of my life for every detail that you share of yours, does this sound fair?” Leonor offered waiting for Harry to consider.

“I suppose, though I think I am getting the short end, you have lived a lot longer than me, you have more inconsequential details to share” Harry reluctantly agreed.

“True, it is not my fault you are so young” Leonor replied his smile teasing.

Harry crinkled his brow, “How old are you exactly?”

“Is that your first question, little one?” Leonor asked his voice still amused.

“I wish you wouldn’t call me that….I am not THAT short” Harry grumbled, “and yes I guess it is.”

“I am very old…” Leonor paused until Harry looked like he was about to debate that this was a non-answer, “I am close to 3000 years old Harry.”

Harry gaped at him, “3000?”

Leonor simply smiled and nodded, before asking his first question, “and how old are you Harry?”

“Fifteen, as three days ago…anyway” Harry answered weakly, still trying to wrap his head around being alive for three thousand years. Hell, he was damn proud he had even made it to fifteen….but three thousand…he shook his head, he was not sure he would WANT to live that long. No wonder Leonor was bored.

He opened his mouth to voice and the next question and that was how they continued. Harry would ask one, and most likely end up shocked by the answer, and Leonor would parry. At first they stuck to lighter, safer questions but eventually they got to the more sensitive topics.

Leonor quietly told Harry how he had met his wife and mate, Mencia. He described how he had met her quite by accident. He was too meet and be wed to another at the time, and the night of their bonding ceremony, she had been in the crowd. He wistfully recalled how he knew the first moment he laid eyes on her. It had of course caused quite the scandal, but it mattered not. He described briefly the thousand years of happiness they had had together, and her subsequent pregnancy.

Harry had interrupted timidly, asking why; if they had been together for that long why it took a thousand years to have a child. He was afraid he had gone too far, but Leonor smiled patiently and stated, that because he had broken off an already agreed to bonding, the scorned mate had demanded retribution. It was her right of course and the court had sentenced them with one thousand years of infertility. Harry nodded in understanding, but personally thought that this was a rather harsh punishment.

Leonor then struggled through the despair and absolute desolation he had felt when he had come back home from a scouting trip for the Prince, to find his wife and unborn child dead. Slain in the most hideous fashion. He choked his way through the following years of desperation and the despair at not being able to end his life. Quietly, but with more truth then Harry could have ever hoped for, he explained what had brought him to the rash decision of saving Harry’s life.

Then it was Harry’s turn. He did not hold back as he had with every other person in his life. He thought it only fair, Leonor had bared his soul, and Harry would not dishonor him by refusing to also do so. So he spoke for the first time, on the horrors of his home life, the lies, beatings and neglect that had been his life for ten years of his first eleven years, he described the joy he had felt when he discovered he was a wizard and the culture shock that followed soon after. He explained the fear and confusion he had, entering this new world in which he knew nothing about, but everyone knew, or thought they did everything about him. His learning of Voldmort, his parent’s murders, seeing a picture of them for the first time in his life.

He described the huge weight he felt of everyone’s expectations, the adventures, fights and betrayals. The losses. He spoke until he was hoarse and then some. Leonor made a very good listener, he did not try to interrupt or give his own opinion, he did not look at Harry with revulsion or pity, hatred or fear, he just listened. Harry realized that this is what he had needed, perhaps what he had needed for a very long time. Finally, he finished with his tales of woe and fell silent.

They sat side by side watching the remaining light fade into the safer shades of night.

“May I ask you another question” Leonor finally said.

Harry, who had been lost in his own head, looked over at the deceptively young looking man, “You might as well, I do not believe I have any more secrets to hide”

“Where do you plan to go if you leave?” Leonor asked casually.

“I-I don’t really know, I had thought maybe an old….friend’s for a while, after that I do not know” Harry admitted sighing dejectedly, when faced with how ill planned out his escape really had been.

“Is this friend’s place safe? Will the ones you are fleeing from not find you? That Dumbledore and Voldmort, not think to look for you there?” Leonor asked skeptically.

“Yes, I know so it was a stupid plan. And yes, you are right they would probably find me fairly quickly….I-I just did not know who else to trust” Harry stated quietly.

“I will not continue to hold you here against your will Harry, I have told you my past, I know yours…if that trust is not enough then there is no point of you staying” Leonor answered staring calmly at Harry.

“It’s not that I don’t trust you….” Harry stopped looking sheepish, “Ok, so it’s not like I don’t trust you NOW, but I can’t stay here. I can’t keep hiding, I will have to go back eventually, and as much as I hate it I am prophesized to be the only one who can end this stupid war.”

“Do you really think you have any chance of winning against someone who has decades of experience on you, an army at his back, when you yourself said this Dumbledore has failed to train you? Or even tell you what is really going on? It is a suicide mission. You must realize this.” Leonor reasoned.

“I know. But what can I do? I cannot learn what I need to survive in the time I have, but I cannot just sit back and let people continue to die, just because I am afraid to do so” Harry answered sounding resigned.

“What if there was another option?” Leonor asked, his face blank not betraying any of his underlying emotion.

“And what would that option be exactly?” Harry asked cautiously, with no small amount of suspicion.

“Agree to accompany me back to my realm. Time passes different there, I can offer you training, education in return simply agree to listen and obey what you are being instructed” Leonor explained.

Harry regarded him, trying to pick out if the immortal was deceiving him, “and I can come back when I want? This instruction will not make me go against my morals?” Harry asked.

Leonor sighed and muttered something that sounded suspiciously like “silly humans and their morals,” but nodded and stated in a louder voice, “No, you will have the right to refuse to do something, but if you do your training will be over. And yes, you can come back when you want, but again time passes very different there, ten years there is one month here.”

“Wha…wow…so when you said you were three thousand years?...” Harry ventured.

“Human time” Leonor answered simply, “So yes or no? I will not offer again.”

Harry paused to think about his offer. It really did not seem like an attempt to trick him, and really if he said yes and they ended up killing him, it would not be all that different then going to face Voldmort unprepared and dying anyway. Decision made, he answered before he could change his mind,

“Yes, I will go”

Leonor’s face lit of in a genuine smile, “Excellent”

Chapter Text


 

“Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow…” ― Louisa May Alcott , Little Women


 

Harry tried not to gape as he took in his new surroundings. Leonor had wasted little time after Harry agreed to leave what he knew behind, they had in fact left the very next day.

He carefully looked around at this surprising environment. When Leonor had told him that all immortal’s lived in a completely different plain of existence, one that was called the Shadow realm, well Harry had expected….shadows. Or at least a dark, dreary, foreboding place. He most certainly hadn’t expected this. It was almost ironic really.

The Shadow realm, was the antithesis of dark and dreary. The space that Harry stood now was awash in sunlight; it gleamed and shone off of a world of shimmering glass, marble and sharp metals. There was some warmer stone and brick in the mix but really the place looked like a mix between, the more classical architecture and flavor of Barcelona and the more modern whimsy of Yokohama (well at least from what Harry read, when he stole his Aunt’s discarded, complimentary, travel magazine from where she had tossed it).

Harry was almost afraid to step on the cobblestone street, in fear that he would sully it or tarnish its almost obsessive cleanliness.

Leonor chuckled softly at his hesitance, “Not what you expected?” he asked amusement ringing in his voice.

“Um…er….not really….why exactly is it called the Shadow realm if it’s so…um” Harry struggled to voice his surprise in a way that would not insult his new ‘friend’ (not that he was exactly friends with the man but it was the closest descriptor that would fit at the moment).

“Bright? Warm? Sunny?” Leonor supplied quirking a perfectly shaped eyebrow.

“Yeah” Harry agreed, awkwardly running his hand through his hair.

Leonor grasped his hand before he could do it again, “Please desist with that plebian behavior. This will be one of the first things I strive to teach you….decorum” He stated forcing the captured arm back down to Harry’s side and ignoring the glare that the teen sent him.

“As for your questions, the immortal, Diavolino who happened to be one of the Prince’s favorites, also happened to be rather fond of that muggle science Psychology. He thought it would be amusing to name the realm ‘Shadow realm’ as the theory muggles believe at that time, was such that; one’s shadow was the part of oneself, that they did not acknowledge or which remained unconscious. As this realm is neither known nor acknowledged by most mortal’s, Diavolino thought himself rather witty. Not to mention that shadow can mean dark and most mortals would not argue that those of us who reside in this realm are indeed dark. Does that answer your question little one?”

Harry didn’t even bother to protest at his now familiar moniker, it’s not like it helped anyway. Instead he brought forth the next question that was plaguing him about this realm, “Where is everyone? Is it always so...well deserted?” He gestured to the sparkling yet silent streets in front of them.

“No, it is not. It is however just after two, it is more than likely that most citizens are at court” Leonor answered, starting to walk gracefully forward.

Harry just stopped himself from stumbling after the infuriating immortal in his haste to catch up. He once again resisted the urge to scowl in favor of getting more answers out of Leonor. “Court?”

“Yes, court” Leonor answered continuing forward.

“Would you mind explaining what court entails, or is that too direct for you?” Harry ground out in frustration, still struggling to keep up.

Leonor smirked at him. Harry glared trying to remind himself it was not wise to kick something that could tear your head off without even blinking, instead he held his silence. Seemingly satisfied with his own superiority, Leonor chose to concede and answer the raven haired teen’s question. “The Prince hold’s court three times a week, all of his subjects residing in the realm are obligated to attend. There is discussion of inter-realm issues, news from other realms...if those scouts are present and general socializing.”

Harry made a face, “that sounds rather dull, not to mention doesn’t it waste a lot of time?”

Leonor shrugged, “perhaps it may seem that way to an outsider...but it is key to keeping things peaceful and functioning inside the realm. While immortals cannot actually kill one another if they have a dispute or cannot resolve matters, they can turn their ire on their ‘enemies’ favored. Having court this often allows for us to work smaller disagreements out instead of letting them brew. Socializing allows for various citizens of the realm to strike deals, forge alliances...ect”

Harry thought about what Leonor was saying for a minute, he suppose it made sense, but he still couldn’t get the picture of all of the useless ministry meetings out of his head. (while had had never actually had to attend one of these functions, he had heard enough from Mr. Weasley, and various others to instinctually know that this was not the type of thing he would enjoy). “Um...you said favored? What exactly did you mean by that?”

Leonor gave him yet another smirk, this one bordering on predatory, “why my little prince, that would refer to you. I am not the only immortal who has come upon a mortal of some species and decided to bring it with”

Harry felt his hackles rise, at the implied ownership. “I do NOT belong to you” he ground out, stopping in place.

Leonor smirked once again, “Perhaps.....though I would advise you against announcing such things while you are here in the realm.”

Harry glared at the immortal before reluctantly continuing to follow him, “And why is that?”

Leonor smirk turned positively viscous as he turned to answer Harry, “Not everyone is a lenient or kind as I am little one”

Harry bit back his rising indignation. He was here to learn, he was here to become strong enough to survive... he had survived Voldmort’s assassination attempts all these years, he had survived and weathered Dumbledore’s manipulations, he could put up with one irritatingly, smug, superior immortal. “Fine”

“Good boy” Leonor stated knowing that this would further provoke the raven haired beauty. The teen really was the most amusing when he was fighting to hold his temper in check. “I am taking you to meet the prince, as I have been away for quite some time it is only expected that I go and ask for admittance again. You will hold your tongue and refrain from saying something rude or ignorant that might offend his highness” Leonor glared at Harry when he sensed the teen was about to protest. “You will only answer when spoken too, and you will refrain from denying my ownership....unless you wish to be claimed by someone far less lenient and respectful then I.”

Harry was not stupid he could read between the lines. He really did not want to find out what happened to an unclaimed human in this realm, so he nodded his ascent at Leonor.

“Wonderful.....follow me” Leonor gave him a genuine smile leading him through a grey stone gate, into the lush green courtyard beyond. He continued across the courtyard before stopping in front of a large elegant building that stood in the center. The building was enormous, it easily over shadowed all of the various structures in its wake, made of a combination of glass and steel. Thousands of windows winked down on the pair, who stood in front of two large steel doors, covered with various intricate carvings and adornments.

In its cold splendor there was no denying the structure was breath taking. Leonor rapped sharply on the center of the door, his knocks ringing out against the un-natural stillness of the place. The doors swung open revealing two sets of guards, all pale, beautiful and utterly terrifying.

“Marquees Diaz and bound to see Prince Kiran and Princess Serine” Leonor stated in a bored, flat voice.

Had Harry not been watching the guards expressions closely he might have missed the quick widening of their eyes and surprised quirk to their mouths.

“Very well, please follow me” one of the larger, heftier looking guards stated. Harry had noticed that so far most of the immortal’s he had seen where of the more lithe, slender build (not that he had seen a whole lot of them), but this guard’s stature definitely leant closer to the weight lifting, body builder type. Harry swallowed down his nerves, and tried vainly to reassure himself that he would not end up getting himself killed in the next few minutes. One had to stay positive after all.

Leonor’s gait did not falter as he followed imperiously after the guard, Harry trailed along behind him. They passed room after room, all as cold and put together as the outside of the building might suggest. It was a far cry from the burrow, which was cluttered and warm. Harry could not help but feel slightly self conscious about his rather scruffy jeans and baggy shirt, which hung off his thin frame. It did not help that every person (or Harry assumed immortal) they passed appeared to take fashion advice from the Malfoys of the world.

They finally slowed to come to a stop in front of another pair of intimidating doors, these ones a dark, solid oak. The guard told them to wait, while he entered into the room beyond. Harry managed to just glimpse the decadent and rather crowded room within, the noise slipping out when the door opened.

After a long moment, the guard reappeared and bowed his head in respect towards Leonor, completely ignoring Harry, “They are ready for you my lord.”

Harry had to fight the disgust at hearing that particular title addressed to Leonor, it reminded him far too much of a certain self-appointed lord back home. Leonor gave a curt nod and stepped purposefully through the door. The noise of the various occupants dropped suddenly to silence.

Leonor placed a hand discreetly behind Harry’s back and urged him forward before continuing down a long carpeted aisle. Harry kept his eyes focussed on Leonor’s back ignoring the hard, inquisitive stares directed at them (hard at him, inquisitive at Leonor).

They stopped once again and looked up at two regal looking figures sitting leisurely upon delicate looking golden thrones. There was a long silence as both figures surveyed them, their faces blank perfection.

The beautiful black haired princess stood suddenly, a joyous smile spreading across her delicate features,

“Brother! You have returned!”

Chapter Text


 

“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.” ― Yevgeny Yevtushenko


 

“My lady, you look well” Leonor replied bowing from the waist down and kissing the Princesses proffered hand, before straightening and bowing again at the prince, “Highness.”

Prince Kiran let a small smile grace his face before replying, “Leonor, it has been much too long. You have decided to rejoin us?”

“With your permission, my liege” Leonor replied keeping his head bowed in respect.

“Now, now Leonor. None of that...we are practically family. I am so very pleased that you have chosen to return home, your sister more so” Prince Kiran waved away Leonor’s formalities.

“May I enquire what has finally convinced you to come out of solitude brother? I must admit, I feared that your absence would be permanent” Princess Selene stated, returning to her seat.

“You may sister. I will admit, I was not sure I would return however my circumstances have....changed” Leonor admitted, holding his sister’s enquiring gaze.

Princess Selene raised an eyebrow in question, Harry thought that she very much resembled her brother at the moment. She was quite similar in looks to Leonor; dark hair, pale skin, dainty, what one would expect from a princess, if you could disregard her rather sharp facial expressions. Her husband, the prince, was quite the opposite; having warm blond hair, kind eyes, tanned skin and a rather open smile. Harry could not venture a guess, how Prince Kiran was able to hold his own in their marriage. The princess was rather intimidating.

Leonor coughed slightly to draw Harry’s attention out of his musings, “I have chosen to take a bound” he replied to his sister’s silent question and not so gently pushed Harry forward, so that he was standing in front of the two royals.

Harry blushed as he stumbled slightly at the unexpected ‘help’ Leonor gave him, but managed to refrain from glowering at the smug looking immortal, “Your graces” he said quietly, bowing as he had seen Leonor do.

Selene smiled wickedly before standing again and approaching the still teen. “Well, well Leonor, I must say I never thought I’d see the day....I always thought you were against the idea?” she stated her voice veering into snide.

Leonor shrugged but made no move to defend himself or answer the question.

Selene slowly circled Harry, running a cold finger along his shoulders before grasping him rather roughly by the chin and forcing his head up, Harry bit back his startled cry. “Well, I must admit you do have good taste brother, he is a gorgeous little thing, isn’t he?” she stated directing this at her brother, as if Harry was simply an object not able to understand. “Is he well trained?”

Harry could not help but let a hiss of displeasure out at this. How dare she? Sure she was much more powerful then he, and sure she was royalty but she had no right to treat him like an animal. His face mirrored his thoughts.

Before Selene could voice her displeasure at Harry’s disrespectful display, she was interrupted by the sound of deep, warm chuckles coming from her husband, “Selene darling, I don’t think he much appreciates your opinion. Well, Leonor I must say I approve, this one is a little spit fire. I do not think he will be cowed so easily” Prince Kiran stated ignoring his glowering wife, to smile warmly in Harry’s direction. “I quite like him.”

Leonor looked surprised at the prince’s statement but gestured at Harry to come back and stand next to him, Harry did so without protest, thinking he probably shouldn’t push his luck at the moment. While the prince may have given him a favorable pass, the look coming from the princess was anything but.

The princess finally pulled her icy stare from Harry’s direction and re-directed it towards Leonor, “Well, brother I must insist on you attending the Festivities tomorrow evening. You have perfect timing...we can celebrate your return along with the recent acquiesces of the Herndu realm.”

“Of course we will be there sister” Leonor replied, answering for both himself and Harry, although his sisters invite was clearly only for one.

“Splendid! It has been far too long since we have celebrated together my dear friend, and of course bring your little spit fire with you...I imagine he would enjoy seeing some of our culture, no?” Prince Kiran once again cut off his wife.

“Very kind my prince...if that is all?” Leonor replied hedging his impatience to be excused.

“Yes, yes....you must want to get settled, very well, we will see you at eight tomorrow night” Prince Kiran agreed, waving a hand in dismissal.

Leonor turned to leave but had to grasp Harry’s elbow to tow him with, as Harry was currently staring in horror at a sight just off the Princesses right.

The sight being a man of around 20, who was garbed only in loose fitting slacks and what looked like a dog collar. The man was currently on his knees seated next to a rather cruel looking immortal, who had his hand the chain attached to the collar. Harry gave a slightly strangled sound, before Leonor tugged more firmly on his arm.

Harry looked as if he was going to say something but stopped at the expression on Leonor’s face. Leonor leaned down close to his ear as they made their way out of the room, “It does no good to stare Harry, there is nothing you can do for him”

Harry stared back at Leonor, the horror and anger clear in his bright green eyes, Leonor sighed before continuing in a quiet tone, “When I said there were those less patient then I, I was not lying my little prince. Most of us view mortals as another animal and treat them as such....well the lucky ones anyway. You will see a lot of things that you will not like here, Harry. I must ask you to refrain on starting something with their owners; it will not end well if you do.”

Harry started to protest before Leonor interrupted him once again, “All I can do is promise not to treat you as such, but if I am going to afford such leniency...which many will not like, you must also try and not cause unrest while you are here. That means staying quiet, saving your energy from useless battles and spending it on learning, can you do that? Because if you cannot we should not have even bothered coming” Leonor stated.

Harry studied him silently before swallowing and nodding. He really couldn’t afford to be sent home yet, he had to at least learn something that would help him defeat Voldmort.

He would stay silent....for now.  

Chapter Text


 

Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.” ― Ann Voskamp , One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are


 

Training had sounded like a good idea in abstract. Yes in abstract it was a solid well thought-out plan. Work hard, learn to fight, find a way to defeat Voldemort and maybe even survive. Too bad the reality was not quite so straight forward.

Harry had known this brilliant plan would include hard work and learning how to fight. Knowing this and experiencing it however were two different things entirely. Harry had always known that although he didn’t actively work towards it, he was in decent physical shape. Running away from Dudley, endless chores and weeding, not to mention Quiditch training had ensured that. He had never really worried about it much; he had after all, many other things to preoccupy himself with. He was starting to very much regret that however.

Harry bit his lip to stop the grunt of pain that wanted to escape out as he felt his body hit the ground with a resounding thud. “Pathetic. Are you even trying?” Zyren asked his deep voice full of contempt, “Again.”

Harry swallowed the sarcastic retort he wanted to say and wearily pushed his stiff, bruised body off of the ground. It had only been a day and a half and already he was not sure he was going to survive Leonor’s attempts to ‘help him.’

Immediately following the rather strained reunion with Leonor’s brethren, the immortal had escorted Harry back to what Leonor had once called his home. The fact that it had been sitting empty for nearly a century had not seemed to worry the ancient immortal.

The colossal manor that turned out to be Leonor’s home had of course not fallen into disrepair as Harry had feared. Leonor was the owner of more than a few Luputians after all. Luputians turned out to be a cousin of sorts to what wizards called house elves. Unlike their rather homely and pitiful cousins however, Luputian’s were rather proud, lovely creatures, resembling rather large fairies…minus the wings. Leonor had informed him that these creatures would only bond with an immortal and their whole purpose in life was to serve and take care of said immortal. Unlike their wizarding counterparts however, they did not follow orders without question and could survive and prosper as long as they had first bonded with said immortal, even if the immortal chose not to live with the creatures nearby.

Leonor’s troupe of Luputians had of course kept his all but abandoned manner in tip top shape while he was on his self imposed exile. Harry had noticed many empty spots when the staff had lined up to greet their returned immortal. Leonor had noticed his inquisitive looks and had quietly explained that he had once had almost double the number of Luputians as staff but many had been bound with his former wife and when she had died, they had blamed him and left. Harry could see the pain swimming in his mentor’s eyes and wisely let the subject drop.

Leonor had seemed painfully uncomfortable within the manor’s ornate walls and had allowed Harry mere minutes to see his new residence before ordering Harry to follow him back outside. The minute Harry arrived on the vast grounds Leonor had outlined his new ‘training schedule. ’ He had told Harry that they would start by first retraining his body and mind and then advance to working with his magic. Harry had wanted to protest, he for one was pretty sure that he would not be kickboxing with Voldemort on return, but he took one look at Leonor’s expression and decided it might be a tad unwise to voice his opinion.

Leonor had handed him a schedule that consisted of waking up at 5:00am each morning to go for a run. Of course the schedule had failed to state that this run would consist of several rather hilly miles all done at a pace that his sadistic mentor chose. Following this heart stopping, sweat producing, vision blurring, FUN activity, Harry had been treated to a breakfast of steel cut oatmeal and nutrition fortified milk. Leonor had told him quite sternly ‘that he was a growing teenage boy and needed to have a well balanced diet, not to mention he had to make up for all of the damage that his loving former family had supplied him with,’ he did not seem overly amused by Harry’s grumpily muttered ‘yes, mum.’

After this fortifyingly bland breakfast, Harry had been put through 2 hours of calisthenics and exercises to help quicken his reflexes. Leonor had actually seemed grudgingly impressed by Harry’s faster than normal reaction time. Of course he had been quick to show Harry just how slow his reflexes were when compared to an immortal’s but he did admit for a mortal Harry was not bad. Harry had been more than a little relieved to find out that the remaining two hours before lunch would be occupied with academic studies.

He had snorted at this thought. He could just picture Hermione’s look of pride when Harry admitted that he was actually looking forward to sitting and reading a book. Of course he was actually looking more forward to the sitting then the reading part, but small steps. It turned out that Leonor had arranged for Harry to have a tutor other then himself for this portion of his training, an elf by the name of Chavi.

Harry had felt his heart constrict rather painfully when he had first met Chavi. She reminded him of a female version of Sirius, not only in looks but in temperament. Her bouncy, childlike behavior was polar opposite of Leonor’s serious, stoic personality but the ancient seemed rather fond of the happy little elf. It had taken only a short while to discover that this happy go lucky attitude did not in any way diminish her academic fervor. By the time lunch had rolled around Harry felt that his head would join his body in a premature death.

He could not fault the elf however, she seemed to not only be an enthusiastic teacher but far more competent in the art then many of his former professors (not mentioning any specific names of course…cough cough…Umbridge). After lunch Leonor had allowed Harry an hour break… well break in the loosest sense of the word. In reality it was an hour of being continuously flounced in chess by Leonor. When Harry had grumbled the pointlessness of the accursed game, one that he had never been overly skilled at, Leonor had been quick to admonish his sentiments and inform him that it would do him good to learn some strategy. They had ended up playing for shot glasses of blood, something Harry was sure Leonor had planned out knowing how pants he was at the stupid game.

Following this blood siphoning activity, Leonor had introduced him to his third instructor, one to serve in hand to hand combat and weapon training, a fire daemon named Zyren. If Chavi had been light spirited and optimistic, well Zyren was moody, sour and most decidedly pessimistic. The daemon was devastatingly handsome, the very definition of dark and dangerous he had the personality to match. Where Chavi had reminded Harry of Sirius with her laughter and banter, Zyren was much more reminiscent of Snape, with his glares and cutting words. Harry knew from the moment of meeting him, that nothing he would be able to do would meet the daemon’s expectations.

Harry straightened his spine the best he could and warily moved opposite of his scowling instructor. They had been at this for the past hour. Harry facing Zyren, trying his best to dodge and dive out of the way of the daemon’s attacks. So far he had failed spectacularly at it, only managing to get slammed into the ground over and over by the quick daemon. “No, you need to move your hips, not just your feet” Zyren snapped at him as Harry attempted to swerve and avoid the rock Zyren threw at him.

“I am” Harry ground out, tired and frustrated.

“You are doing no such thing! I have no idea what Leonor is thinking trying to train a scrawny, pathetic mortal like you. He might as well be training a flobberworm ballet” Zyren retorted dropping a sharp looking stone and springing forwards.

Still fuming over the daemon’s words Harry was once again caught unaware and felt his shoulder meeting the hard ground underneath him. “Pay attention! You cannot be distracted by words when you are facing an enemy. I cannot cure you of being mortal, and I am most doubtful that I can cure you of your stupidity” Zyren stated.

Harry did not answer, trying to push himself up but failing, realizing a moment too late that the weight pressing him down was not just his weariness but Zyren’s body. “Are you going to get off me?” Harry bit out, trying once again to rise up, only to feel his arms give out.

“That is entirely up to you, seems you cannot manage to dodge my attacks you may as well learn to at least free yourself once captured. If you can get off the ground we will end your lesson for the day. If not we will continue until you can” Zyren stated not moving off of Harry’s prone figure but instead applying more pressure to his manacled wrists.

Harry glared furiously up at his captor, and frantically tried to think of a way to free himself from his restricted position. He hated being confined or unable to move, it reminded him too much of a horrific evening unable to move off of a headstone. Harry flailed and jerked his body with little success.

Every muscle was aching, and all he wanted to do was go inside take a long hot shower and sleep for the next century, but first he had to figure a way to get the arrogant asshole sitting on top of him to move.

“Is that the best you can do? I might as well kill you here and now, save everyone the effort…” Zyren whispered mockingly, his face inches from Harry’s face.

Harry was not even sure what made him do it. Later he would mark it down to a mixture of rage, panic and desperation…he really wasn’t willing to look into his motives deeper than that. One moment he was glaring hatefully up at his tormentor’s snide face and cruel smirk, the next moment his lips were grinding forcefully against that smirk.

Harry felt, more then heard Zyren’s startlement as the Daemon whole body stiffened and he arched back away from him. This movement gave Harry the moment he needed and he brought his knee up viciously connecting with the Daemon’s inner thigh. The daemon reared further back and tumbled to the side moving enough off of Harry so that he could pull away and scramble up, quickly placing several feet distance between them.

“What the fuck was that?!” Zyren shouted his face lined with fury.

Harry took a deep breath and forced himself not to show his fear or uncertainty. In all truth he really was not entirely sure what that was or why he had done it. “You told me I had to free myself. You did not say how I had to do so” He stated calmly, his gaze not wavering from the squinted crimson orbs glaring at him.

Emotions flitted across the daemon’s face; fury and embarrassment were just a few of them. Finally the daemon closed his eyes as if searching for patience and stated, “Lesson over, we will continue tomorrow, now get out of my sight.”

Harry decided not to push his luck and made a quick retreat towards the manor.

So keen on escaping to the comforts of a warm, soothing shower was he, that he did not notice the daemon staring, face unreadable after him.  

Chapter Text


 

“Reunion reveals friendship potential that haven't yet been emerged in the past.” ― Toba Beta , My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut


 

Harry’s feelings of apprehension grew as following Leonor; they neared the elegant gold and silver doors ahead. Harry had retreated quickly after his ‘training session’ with Zyren, eager to put some space between him and the confusing daemon. Harry was starting to seriously regret his decision to accompany Leonor to this realm. Everything was the same yet so different from what he was used to.

He had thought that entering the wizarding world from the muggle one was overwhelming, however transferring from the wizarding world to the immortal realm was even more so…just in a different way. While many of the aesthetics of the place simply looked like a slightly more posh, version of what you would see in the mortal realms, the people and beings were eons apart.

Physically they did not differ much from their mortal counterparts (well apart from the fact that most were quite pleasing to look at) but their mannerisms and attitudes were so cold. Harry assumed that this coldness was the result of living lifetime after lifetime, watching the other realms changing, growing or falling, yet never changing yourself. It felt as if most of the immortals he had met had, a limited number of expressions and feelings that they could or more likely would express. It felt as if Harry was surrounded the most extreme versions of purebloods, where the masks were more important than anything that could lie beneath.

It was exhausting. Harry had always been an expressive person; he was horrible at manipulations and lies. He failed spectacularly at fake smiles and cutting barbs. In essence this place felt so very wrong to him; like the fire that defined his passion and soul were slowly being crystallized. Changing into a harder, colder, shinier stone. Harry knew he was over reacting, he really hadn’t been here that long but at the same time he knew he was not wrong.

Standing under the hot, steady spray from the shower head, Harry briefly wondered if Leonor would actually take him back if he asked. In all honesty he was not sure. Part of him wanted to believe that Leonor would honor his word to Harry…yet another had to wonder if now that he had returned to his home and people, would the immortal be willing to turn his back on them again? He had quickly banished this line of thought. He did not want to be the person who would force someone to make a choice like that, plus what was really waiting for him back home?

More lies? More manipulations? Almost certain death? No…if forced to chose he would chose life over death….even if it meant changing and morphing into a harder, colder version of himself.

Leonor came to a halt in front of the doors and turned back to look at Harry. He grabbed hold of Harry’s wrists to stop the dark haired teen from fiddling with his clothing. The clothes most immortals chose to wear were much more reminiscent of the mid 1700’s-muggle styles then, the ridiculous wizarding robes that were favored in Britain currently.

Leonor thought he had chosen Harry’s outfit well. While the boy was still painfully thin, his skin no longer had a waxy, near death appearance. He had fitted the teen in a dark green, almost black, frogged waist coat, parted to allow the fitted grey dress shirt and tight black pants underneath to show. He had made Harry attempt to control his wild raven locks with little success… all the attempts had really done was further agitate the stubborn cowlicks, so that they now fell wildly over his forehead and at random angles across the crown of his head. It did not really matter in the end; overall Harry made a striking figure, considering his smaller than normal stature.

“Please desist and TRY to behave” Leonor scolded, earning himself a petulant frown from the smaller man. He held in a chuckle, he really did find Harry’s open emotions amusing. They waited in silence for another minute before a guard (Harry tried to recall if it was the same one that had announced their arrival before but had little success. He still thought that many of the immortals looked eerily similar in their perfection) gave Leonor a curt nod and motioned him to enter.

The next few steps were indeed rather similar to their attendance the day earlier; consisting of an official announcement (Harry had to bite his tongue over the fact that he was still referred to as Leonor’s bonded, rather than by name. He knew that they knew his name and were just too superior to bring themselves to say it), and an oppressive silence, in which they approached the slightly elevated platform at the back- center of the room, where formal introductions and bows to their royal highnesses were given.

“Wonderful! I am so glad you came my dear brother” the Princess purred, stepping forward to offer her hand to Leonor.

Leonor return smile was a tad strained but he bowed and kissed the proffered hand, “No my highness, it is a honor to come” before turning slightly and offering a greeting and bow to Prince Kiran who at had also taken a step forward to greet his brother-in-law.

The prince’s smile was much warmer and friendlier then that of his wife’s and unlike her, his smile only grew when he spotted Harry standing slightly behind Leonor.

“Ah, my childe I am so very glad that Leonor has brought you along! I dare say he did a splendid job in choosing your attire….I am assuming he chose, yes?” the prince stated placing a hand on Harry’s shoulders.

Harry was only too aware of the shocked and outraged gasps that sounded throughout the guests when the Prince touched him…somehow he did not think that they were outraged on his behalf. Harry could not help but like the prince, at the very least he was the most friendly of the immortals he had met (well excluding Chavi, but Harry failed to think of anyone who was as exuberant as the beautiful elf), so he did his best to show his respect and gratitude.

“Thank you, your highness. And Yes Leonor was rather insistent” Harry replied bowing his head slightly, similar to what he had witnessed Leonor do.

There was another round of shocked gasps, which Harry took to mean he had screwed some important social cue up. He refused to allow his discomfort to show outside of the faint blush, which given his coloring was inevitable. Prince Kiran chuckled, the sound deep and rich.

“You dare…” Princess Selene began in a glacial outraged tone, but before she could finish informing Harry of her ire, her husband cut her off.

“Now, Now my dear. He meant nothing by it. I find it refreshing to tell you the truth, it is good to be reminded of what we overlook…” the prince stated, waving an impatient hand at his wife before turning to face Leonor, “He is a delight my friend. I wish for him to sit with us tonight”

If Leonor was surprised by this request, which the majority of the immortals surrounding them seemed to be, he did not show it, “Of course my highness. I have not exactly gotten around to educating him on our traditions and customs as of yet…” he trailed off not looking overly concerned.

Harry felt his eyes tighten in irritation, of course Leonor had not deemed to let him know the protocol that was necessary not to offend every one of his kind. No, that would be too practical.

Harry took the next several minutes in which Leonor chatted amicably with the royal couple, to survey the room. It was not the same room that they had visited the day before; while still enormous, the colors and flooring made the room appear more intimate.

Currently near the front of the room (the side furthest away from the ornate doors) there was one incredibly long wooden table. Harry could not guess the type of wood, only that it was very polished and expensive looking. It actually reminded him of a much fancier version of the house table back at Hogwarts, but instead of the long wooden benches that existed at the school, there was what appeared to be hundreds of delicate gold backed chairs. Harry noted that there was a second much less elegant table located to the far left, half in the shadow of a marble stone over hang; it appeared to be placed to be as unobtrusive as possible.

In front of the tables was a vast marble covered space, which Harry took to be a dance floor, and where most of the immortals currently mixed and mingled. While Harry had never been one to notice fashion or adornments back home, he had to admit that the mix of the men’s elegant waste coats and the floating jewel toned dresses that the women wore made a bewitching sight.

Harry’s attention was drawn back to the imposing figures in front of him when he felt rather then saw Leonor start to move towards the center of the beautiful table. Harry hesitated unsure of himself, but Leonor placed a hand in the middle of his back and gently guided him forward.

He paused to allow the royal couple to walk ahead of him; once they were far enough ahead, Leonor took the time to bend slightly so that his mouth was close enough to whisper without being overheard.

“I do apologize; I sometimes forget you do not know certain things. It is rather fortunate that the Prince is so charmed by your ignorance…it is unheard of for a mortal to be seated at the table maggoriae” his soft voice brushed past Harry’s ear.

Harry did not falter his step but Leonor’s words suddenly gave him an indication to what the other table presence was for. He swallowed his disgust at the obvious segregation between immortal’s and whom they deemed less worthy. ‘Could no civilization get along? Was there some natural law that made different races or beings want to subjugate and disregard those they saw as weaker? His mind briefly recalled a muggle named Darwin, perhaps he had alluded to some such rule, Harry really could not recall.

Leonor pulled out a chair beside him for Harry to sit down in; it was two seats down and across from the prince and princess, before gracefully sitting in his own chair. Delicate gold rimmed plates and cutlery were placed in front of each guest, along with beautiful crystal goblets. Harry watched Leonor closely as he placed one long delicate finger on the rim of first his plate and then his glass, each were filled with food and wine respectively. The prince noticed Harry’s attention and leaned over to whisper in a conspiratal tone, “Just touch both your plate and glass… that will determine what you desire and provide it” he beamed at Harry.

Harry got the feeling that the Prince was simply delighted to have someone new and different to focus his childlike enthusiasms on. He offered a soft thanks and did as instructed. True to the Prince’s words a spicy lentil curry and rice appeared, along with a goblet of chilled water. Harry started slightly in surprise but quickly had to admit to himself that the magic in play did work properly. While Harry had always greatly appreciated Hogwart’s cuisine (because let’s face it any food is better than none at all) he found it to be a tad bland.

“Ah excellent choice, my young one….tell me have you ever been to that country they call India? Most divine curries you could imagine” The Prince stated his eyes getting a slightly far off, dreamy look. From the glare of not only the Princess but many of the immortal’s surrounding, the fact that the Prince was making an effort to converse with the mere mortal was not a pleasing one.

Harry did not let it bother him; he was used to getting glared at after all. Plus he was rather tired of being treated as a second class citizen, he had experienced that way too much with the Dursleys. If the Prince was going to try and make conversation with him then he would be damned if he did him the disservice of not returning it.

Because he was focused on the Prince’s remarks he completely missed the conversation taking place to his right, between the Princess and Leonor.

“Really brother, what were you thinking? He is completely uncouth and disrespectful. Not to mention ignorant….and you haven’t even formally made the bond yet” Princess Selene hissed at her brother, her voice quiet, not carrying to their nearest neighbors.

“It is hardly his fault if I have not yet instructed or educated him in these things. You can place your ire with me, my dear sister. I do not understand the degree of your displeasure to him…unless it is the fact that my little one can distract your husband so thoroughly” Leonor stated back, a slightly taunting smile gracing his lips.

His sister may now be royalty, but she was still his little sister…something like that did not change just because of who you had married. His sister had always been a vain, self centered creature, marrying the royal prince had done little to change that fact.

“As for the reason I have not initiated the formal bond…I cannot. I will not do that to him my sister. Initially, I thought I might but I cannot see him in that fashion. I feel rather more paternal towards him” Leonor finished with a shrug and took a small sip of blood from his goblet.

“You cannot be serious!” his sister spat, disbelief warred with anger in her normally expressionless face, “you do not know what you are saying…brother. Surely you do not plan to…” she continued shaking her head in denial, when Leonor simply smiled back at her, “no, Leonor. No one has in the past two centuries. He cannot be worth that”

Leonor took his time to set his goblet down and take a bite of his glazed duck, knowing waiting before answering her would irritate. Only when he was sure she would snap (based on her steadily increasing frown) did he choose to reply. “I am not sure yet sister. I have made no definite plans….but it is a possibility. We have not known each other long, but I can only think that it will happen” he answered with another shrug before continuing, “now please can we discuss something else? This subject is getting rather tedious.”

The princess glared at him with an expression that would have made most grown men faint, but Leonor simply smiled not in the least bit perturbed.

“Fine. Since you are currently so obsessed with the mortal realm perhaps you would be interested to know that one of our informers is back for a time. From what I understand he has spent quite some time in England” Princess Selene said primly, evidence of her continued irritation at him.

“England?” Leonor questioned his brow furrowing slightly. He turned to Harry and upon seeing that the prince was not engaging him in conversation at the moment, addressed his next question to the raven haired youth. “Harry, were you not from England?”

Harry jerked, startled from his focus on his dinner he turned a to look at Leonor his eyebrow raised in question before answering cautiously, “Yes…although most of my time was spent at Hogwarts which is located in Scotland.”

The Princess looked curious despite herself at his answer, “Hogwarts? Is that not that silly wizarding school?”

Harry chose to ignore the condescending tone and remark, “Yes your highness, it is one of the better known magical schools in Europe.”

“How quaint. I believe our informant was also at Hogwarts” She sneered, before lifting a finger to summon a heavily adorned girl to her side. Harry had to assume she was the help, though he was uncertain if she was mortal or immortal. The Princess whispered something in her ear and the girl gave a quick curtsey.

A moment later a formally dressed man approached and quickly bowed to the Princess, “My highness? You requested my presence?” the man drawled.

Harry felt as if his insides had frozen. He was all too familiar with that voice; it belonged to one of his most persistent tormentors.

“Ah yes…my dear brother has returned and has brought a….mortal” she allowed as much disdain as possible drip into the last word before continuing, “With him. His pet claims to have attended Hogwarts, perhaps you know him….Severus?” she asked impatiently, gesturing towards where Harry was seated.

Harry’s whole posture tensed, his spine became ramrod straight as the threatening figure of his former potions professor turned to look at him.

If the shocked expression was telling, it had nothing on the pure disbelief present in his tone, “Potter!?”

Harry refused to flinch as those burning onyx eyes found his, “Er…hello Professor. Fancy seeing you here.”

Harry noted the murderous expression on the potion masters face and thought morosely to himself, ‘sometimes life really wasn’t fair.’

Chapter Text


 

“Another mission, the powers have called me away

Another time, to carry my colors again

My motivation, an oath I've sworn to defend …

And now my unfortunate friend, you will discover

A war you're unable to win”

-indestructible by the disturbed


 

Of all the things that Severus Snape had been expecting for his first official event since his return, it had most definitely not been the face of his least favorite mortal….Harry James Potter. Ok, so possibly his fifth least favorite mortal, only losing out to Voldemort, Sirius Black, James Potter and Dumbledore.

No, in all honesty (something that he generally did his best to avoid) he truthfully had not been expecting this. Severus could feel himself losing control of his normally unflappable, blank countenance, as those damning green eyes stared back defiantly, filled with challenge.

How in Tetanus’s beard was the boy here of all places? This was Severus’s sanctuary from the accursed mortal realm. That, and the fact that he was fairly certain that the boy was supposed to be safely tucked away in the loving arms of his disgustingly muggle relatives. Somehow, the fact that the boy had once again disregarded all rules (which were in place for his own blasted good) and managed to find himself in the middle of trouble again, did not surprise him.

Still trying to process this shock Severus momentarily forgot the company that they were in, “What the hell are you doing here Potter? Were the instructions you received too simple for your tiny, idiotic brain to comprehend? Or do you simply enjoy placing yourself above all others and disregarding their sacrifices on a lark?” Severus spat at the admittedly elegant looking teen in front of him.

He barely heard the delighted cackle of the Princess and the gleeful murmur of “Oh, absolutely delicious….such fun,” he was so caught up in his anger.

Once again the insolent child went out of his way to vex him and did not rise to the bait, Severus noticed however the angered flex of his jaw and whitely clenched fists in his lap. Severus had always enjoyed pushing the child’s buttons, he was so like his idiotic father…and like his father he had played a key role in getting dear Lily killed.

“What? No comment for once? Have you stooped so low you cannot even manage words now? I am curious of your plans… Are you running away, abandoning your so called friends? I somehow thought for all your faults, you would not be a cowardly liar….then again we all know that there are many of those in the Great house of Gryffindor” Severus continued finding a small amount of satisfaction at the hate present from his last comment. He was of course commenting on Peter, a most obvious sore spot for the youth.

“But Professor, would that not be the pot calling the kettle black? I believe as a half blooded wizard you would be familiar with that muggle saying….oh wait apparently Professor, you aren’t really a wizard at all…” Harry replied his voice barely above a whisper, but given his company it was easily heard. Severus sneered and was about to reply before Harry continued, “ and speaking of cowards…surely someone as apparently powerful as you would be able to rise above such things as petty school boy rivalries” his voice shaking with barely contained rage.

Severus could guess what he was alluding to of course. Of course the spoiled brat blamed him for the death of his disgusting godfather; it was just like the little twerp to deny responsibility for his own failures. He was about to make comment to this when he was once again interrupted, this time it was by one of his least favorite immortals….Leonor.

“I think that is enough….both of you” Leonor stated his voice hard and firm as both of the men opened their mouths to protest.

Severus recognizing his rank grudgingly closed his mouth and swallowed the insult fighting to get out; the dark haired teen however was not so wise.

“But Leonor…” Harry protested quietly looking for all things his young age.

“Harry, I said enough” Leonor replied firmly staring forcefully at the teen. Severus fully expected the annoying child to let his quick fire temper goad him into ignoring the command. He prepared himself for a major headache, as much as he hated the child he had made a promise….one he would keep even if it forced him to fight with his own.

Surprisingly the dark haired teen closed his mouth and stared down at his lap in obedience. While this saved Severus from his initial fear, it brought another one to the surface. Just what was Potter doing here?

He had promised himself long ago he would protect the blasted child, not out of concern for the boy but as repentance for her. He felt a silent dread fill his stomach as he studied Leonor’s possessive hand on the frail shoulder….his mind wanted to deny the possibility. Unfortunately, he had been an immortal far too long to not do so.

There were only two ways for a mortal to enter the immortal realm, and only one was regularly practiced…which would mean that Lily’s child was now the concubine of an immortal. Not only an immortal, but it would appear one of the most powerful ones. Severus closed his eyes in revulsion; it was one of the practices of immortals that he absolutely detested.

And now he had somehow failed in the last promise he had made his best friend….he had failed to protect her son. He fought back the bile and managed to wrestle his expression back to one of cold indifference. He may be an immortal but he was a relatively young one, that and he really had very little standing in the face of the court.

Severus had been an immortal for the past two centuries. His human life had been far from idle and if Aah had not decided to remove him from his loving father’s care, he likely would not have survived even ten years. It was both luck and a curse that Aah had seen him as a son and had used one of his two natuurlijks (gifts) to change him.

It had not been an easy or smooth transition for him… he had never known love or kindness, he did not understand magic and therefore the very basis of immortal society had not made sense to him. After more than a century and a half of struggling in this realm (in reality only 3 years in the mortal realm) his sire had decided that Severus needed to truly experience childhood if he hoped to adjust.

It was this insane thought that had resulted in his sire using a most painful blood magic to de-age him to eleven (the age that most muggle raised children, which he was essentially since his mother had died at childbirth and his abusive father was very much a muggle, learn of magic) and send him to Hogwarts. The magic used would allow him to naturally age to the approximate physical age of 25 before ceasing.

It was at Hogwarts, that he met and befriended his first true friend, Lily Evans. Severus would admit that he did indeed love that fiery, redheaded mortal, he thought of her as the sister he never had. And that ignorant, cruel idiot, James Potter all but led her to her death. Yes, deep down he knew that this in-proportional hatred was really just disguised guilt but he did not care.

It was better than letting the guilt tear him apart for eternity…it was much easier to hate another then oneself after all. Yet, the guilt was there. It was he after all who had told that vile creature Voldemort about the prophecy…or half prophecy.

At the time he had done it in order to gain insight into the darker aspects of the mortal realm, he had plenty of chances to understand the light. He was a student under Headmaster Dumbledore after all. But if he was going to please not only his sire, but his prince he wanted to have a comprehensive view of both sides to report. So, he had needed an in with the dark lord.

At the time he had not realized that the prophecy referred to his friend’s child. If he had, he would never have opened his mouth. But it was too late to change the past…not even immortal’s could do that. So he had vowed to protect the last reminder of her…her son. This did not stop him from blaming her son for her death however…for if it had not been for Harry, Voldemort would have had no reason to go after Lily.

So, yes his feelings towards Harry James Potter were rather complicated to say the least. And now to complicate things further it would appear that his most hated immortal had laid claim to the child.

Okay, hate was perhaps a little strong to describe how he felt about the damn ancient. Severus’s own sire, Aah was the brother of Leonor’s deceased wife. The whole situation with her murder had caused no small amount of bad blood (no pun intended) between the two of them, and his sire’s hatred for Leonor had transferred (albeit to a lesser degree) to Severus. Ironically, it was rather fitting that these two were now connected.  

Severus was pulled from his musings by the sinister chuckle of the Princess, he smothered the desire to shudder. He had never been a fan of the slightly sadistic Princess.

“Oh dear brother, it would appear your little mortal may be worth keeping after all…such excitement he has brought us” Princess Selene purred, her lips in a twisted mimicry of a smile.

A quiet muttered, “I live to please” came from the boy in question.

The princess’s face twisted into one of pure hatred and rage but went no further as her husband let out a truly delighted laugh, “Oh Leonor he really is a treat.”

Severus decided, as he silently sat down in the offered empty chair across from the teen, that the Prince and he had decidedly different definitions of the word treat.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Harry found himself grinding his teeth and digging his nails painfully into his palms to stop himself from responding to Snape’s cruel jibes. It would be a lie to say that he had expected his former professor to show up here of all places, but his shock was quickly being replaced by a burning anger and betrayal.

Was there no one in his former life that had not lied or deceived him? He had come to terms with the fact that Severus and Sirius hated each other, and nothing and no one would have ever changed that. He had even forgiven the sneering man for his indifference and dismissal of the possibility of Sirius being in danger that fateful day last year.

But he had to admit, to himself at the very least, that the fact that Severus had outright deceived him…well, hurt. Where Harry had accepted the fact that Dumbledore often lied and skipped important facts, he had thought that the dour potion master did not. No, he was not a fool, he knew that the man had his secrets but he generally believed that they were none of his business as they did not things that effect him.

He knew the man hated him, and while he did not understand this hatred exactly, after first year it was not one sided. So while he knew that Snape hated him, he had always thought the man had some regard for his safety or at least his life. Now though…he was not so sure.

The remainder of the rather opulent meal (most of which harry pushed around his plate, he really was not used to rich food…especially this MUCH rich food, then to add the company of a snippy rude dungeon bat to the mix…safe to say he did not have much appetite) passed with cutting remarks and barbed comments.

Finally, the other’s seemed to have finished and Harry could not take it any longer…he wanted, No…he needed to get some space at least for a few moments. He could take Severus ragging on him but the man had started to make degrading comments about Sirius, and Harry knew if he did not get some air he would do something he would later regret.

“Your highnesses, thank you for the delicious meal and…um lovely company, if you would excuse me for a moment?” Harry asked trying his best to keep the sarcasm out of his voice.

He apparently was somewhat successful because Prince Kiran shot a ear splitting smile his way (honestly what was up with this man? No one could be THAT happy, especially married to the Princesses of misery), and answered “Of course my young one. It will take a few moments to move everyone to the dance floor anyway”

Harry ignored Leonor’s frown and gave a quick nod before moving as quickly as he could (which for a mortal was rather speedy) towards the now open patio doors before Leonor could order him to stay.

He took a deep breath as the cool night air hit his lungs and unconsciously relaxed his hunched shoulders, while wandering distractedly further into the twisted garden. He let his eyes gaze at the almost violently colored sky. That was one major difference in this realm, the night sky was neither black nor did it contain stars…instead it was a volatile mix of clashing colors and shapes, depending on the happenings inside the realm and the realms that surrounded it.

At the moment it was a blood red with dancing flames of yellow, white and dark blue. Harry did not know what this meant in regards to happenings, but he thought the dancing flames looked rather like the northern lights of the muggle world….if not a tad more showy.

His silent contemplations were interrupted by the not so welcome arrival of another. Harry dragged his eyes from sky to look at the man in front of him. As he took in the medium build and cruel blue eyes he unconsciously took a step backwards. He recognized this man….he had seen him before.

Harry desperately cast back in his mind trying to find the memory that would tell him where he recognized the man from. When he did he felt no comfort at the knowledge. This was the immortal that he had seen holding the hopeless looking boy’s leash yesterday.

Harry however did not need this knowledge to recognize the cruelty in those blue eyes.

“Well…well what do we have here? Where is your owner pretty? If I were him I would know better than to let my property going wandering off all alone” the man sneered, his lips curling to reveal sharp, elongated canines.

Harry cast a desperate glance around him and realized with despair that the man was right about one thing…he was very much alone at the moment. He steeled his nerves and answered in an only slightly wavering voice, “I really do not see how that is any of your business.” At the same time the words left his mouth, Harry cursed his damn impulsive words.

The man took another step forward effectively pinning Harry between him and the twisted tree behind the teen. “You should learn to show more respect to your betters whore, if your owner refuses to teach you then I am more than happy to oblige” he spat grabbing Harry’s hanging hair roughly and yanking so that the teen was forced to look up at him.

Harry struggled against the grip on his hair and the confines of the man’s body futilely, “Let. ME. Go.” He growled, “Leonor will not let you get away with this!”

The man leaned forward so that his face was inches from that of the struggling boy “No? I am not sure of that….if you were as precious as you seem to believe you are he would have actually laid claim to you. But from the smell of you he has not done so….why is that I wonder? Perhaps he has changed his mind? In that case I am doing him a favor in claiming you instead….after all what is the plebian phrase you insects use? Ahh yes…finders keepers” he sneered and shifted his hips so that Harry could feel the immortal’s arousal.

‘Fuck’ Harry thought desperately, his mind frantically grasping for a way to get himself out of a situation he most definitely did not want to be in, “Let me go!” he yelled at the immortal hoping that the noise might attract others.

When the man simply smirked and shifted his hand lower, Harry’s mind started to short circuit with panic. He struggled wildly against the immortal to no avail. Suddenly a third voice interrupted the confrontation.

“I believe Edwand, he told you to release him” a dark sinister voice snarled.

Harry could not help the relief he felt flooding him as he looked up to see the voice of his savior. Green eyes locked with furious crimson eyes.

‘Fuck’ He thought to himself

Chapter Text


 

I don't want anyone to look to me, not for protection, not for happiness, not for love, not for anything.” ― P.D. James , The Children of Men


 

“This is no business of yours, daemon… you would be well advised to continue on your way” the man, Edwand apparently snarled at Zyren.

“Is that so?” the red eyed demon asked his voice deceptively calm, staring at the immortal in front of him, as if reading the secrets of his soul.

Harry suppressed a shudder at those infernal eyes….’Wait did immortal’s have souls?’ Harry mind latched onto a rather benign and unrelated thought, in the attempt to protect itself from short circuiting in panic over his current circumstances. He was not sure what to make of the daemon, he was pretty sure Zyren hated him….would he really help him or was he simply taunting?

Either way, Harry thought that he should probably at least use this situation to gain whatever advantage he could, in case the daemon changed his mind and really did walk away. Using fact that Edwand was distracted, Harry gathered all of his (admittedly) feeble strength and ripped his wrists from the immortal’s steel grip while simultaneously bringing up his knee to connect with Edwand’s….most sensitive area.

Harry noted that he was at least successful in causing the immortal some pain as Edwand let out a harsh hiss and momentarily took a step back. Not wanting to waste this brief window of opportunity Harry ducked under the immortal’s arm and bolted to behind Zyren. He was forced to trust the daemon as he did not think there was much chance of him making it back inside before Edwand recovered. Zyren did not even raise his eyebrow at Harry’s maneuver.

“You little bastard” Edwand hissed, rage contorting his normally attractive features into a grotesque mask of hate. He made to move toward where Harry was standing….okay, cowering behind Zyren.

“I really don’t think you should do that” Zyren stated his tone flat, his posture at ease.

“You would make an enemy of me daemon for….for that?” Edwand asked in disbelief, directing a disgusted look in Harry’s direction, “it is pretty, but there are lots of pretty things.”

“Yes” Zyren stated to the question, not elaborating. Harry’s eyebrows rose in surprise, the daemon’s answer both surprising and confusing him. What the hell did he mean? Did he not hate him? He could feel a headache approaching and once again wished for the relative simplicity of the home.

The tense confrontation while quiet in noise was reeking in warning magic, the tense tendrils swirling and testing, looking for a weakness in either of the magical goliaths’ shields. The magic apparently did not limit itself to the immediate area and it had made those inside aware of the conflict taking place in the garden, outside. Several of the immortal’s made their way out to see what was causing such an influx of hostile magics. Included in these were Leonor, Prince Kiran, Severus and Princess Selene.

“What exactly is taking place here?” Leonor asked his voice quiet but the anger beneath it was apparent to all present.

“My lord…I came upon this miscreant in the process of forcing a claim on your chosen bonded” Zyren answered keeping his eyes lowered in deference to the Ancient in front of him.

There was a sharp intake of breathe from the surrounding crowd. It was not a small offense to attempt to take a possession that was already spoken for.

“Is that true?” Leonor questioned, but instead of directing the question at Edwand who was staring defiantly in the face of Zyren’s accusation, he aimed it at Harry.

Not trusting his voice Harry nodded his agreement. “Speak up child” Prince Kiran ordered all the joviality from earlier now absent.

Harry swallowed his throat dry under the many intense stares aimed at him, many filled with suspicion or accusation. “Yes, your majesty that is the truth” he answered his voice coming out strong despite his uneasiness.

The anger that Leonor had been keeping under wraps until this point snapped forward as the immortal lunged forward grabbing the offender by the collar, “How dare you? You dare to lay claim to one of mine?” he hissed his deadly tone making Edwand flinch.

The other immortal did not back down however, “What right do you have to him? As far as I am aware he has not been officially claimed. By law he is free game” Edwand answered in a taunting voice, his expression smug.

Leonor snarled at him but his response was interrupted by the Princess. “What he speaks is true brother. He is within his right to try and stake a claim….as you well know. He may not have gone about this in the correct manner but he is correct none the less” Princess Selene stated a gleeful smile on her face.

Harry felt his heart clenching. What?! What the hell? That sadistic bastard could claim him? Oh no. No fucking way was he about to become that devils play thing. He opened his mouth to protest but was prevented when he felt a strong hand over his mouth silencing him. He began to squirm in an attempt to get free when the familiar cold voice of Zyren whispered in his ear, “Shut up. You will only make matters worse. Wait to see how things will play out first, and then devise a plan of attack.”

Harry bit down the reflex to shiver at the smooth, seductive tone of the daemon’s voice and stopped struggling. The daemon was right, at the moment nothing was decided, and realistically he had very little chance of winning any sort of fight against anyone in the vicinity.

“What are you proposing” Prince Kiran asked mildly.

“Why tradition of course darling….a fight for rights” Princess Selene answered in a sickly sweet tone.

Silence rang out after this proclamation, “But…but your excellence there has not been such a fight in centuries….” A gorgeously clad woman to the right of Harry exclaimed.

The Princess sent the woman such a deadly glare that she shrunk back, flushing in embarrassment at her brashness. “I am well of aware of that. It is however the proper way of settling disputes such as this” she turned her gaze from the shamed woman to look at her brother, “What say you, brother?” she asked Leonor.

Leonor nodded his head sharply before turning to face Edwand, “I challenge you Edwand of siphern to battle to the death, for the ownership and rights to one mortal, Harry James Potter. Do you accept?”

Edwand who had been suspiciously silent up until now, sneered and nodded “I accept your challenge, Marquees Leonor Diaz, marquee of the shadow realm.”

The Princess clapped her hands together in pleasure, “Excellent, the fight will take place at noon tomorrow, in front of the court.”

When both opponents nodded their heads the group began to dissipate, some heading back into the grand hall, others wandering further into the lush garden.

“Come Harry” Leonor demanded his voice leaving little room for argument. For once Harry did not see a benefit in defying the immortal and hurried towards him.

Leonor’s cold hand closed roughly around his shoulder when he was within reaching distance and pulled him jerkily forwards. Harry let out a cry of surprise as he barely stopped himself from falling into the immortal. The immortal ignored his ire , leaning down, his hands speedily patting down Harry’s body, the hand gripping his shoulder moved to his chin and the immortal turned his head side from side scanning him.

“Are you injured, did he hurt you?” he asked sharply.

Harry distracted by the probing and poking taking place managed to shake his head and choke out a “no.”

He swore the immortal let out a sigh of relief before releasing him and taking a step back, “You idiot! How could you be so stupid to pull something like this? Did I not warn you of the dangers here? Did I not warn you against wandering off?” he berated.

Harry flushed with embarrassment and shame. It was rather stupid to wander off, especially in a place he had little familiarity with and knew there to be danger everywhere. But he felt like he was suffocating in this place, the newness and change building to the point where he felt as if he would collapse under the pressure of it all. At least with Voldemort he had known what to expect. Better the enemy you know and all that jazz….

“I’m sorry” he whispered, fighting the wetness that was traitorously threatening to come forth now that he wasn’t being directly attacked. “I-I just needed air….it, it was getting to be too much” he finished quietly staring at the ground too embarrassed to meet the ancient’s eyes.

Leonor sighed, “You ridiculous child, come here” he ordered before pulling Harry towards him once again and to the boy’s shock, he was pulled into a hard hug. “Next time listen to me when I warn you about something. Believe it or not I do not do so for my own pleasure”

“I think it’s time we go home, no?” Leonor asked once again taking a step back. Harry nodded, once again feeling a swell of unknown emotion. He could not recall the last hug he had received. Well not real hug anyway, sure Hermione hugged him but they were few and far between, and the few times he had seen Mrs. Weasley she had hugged him but somehow they had just made him uncomfortable. As if it was more out of obligation then desire to comfort.

Just as they turned to leave they were once again stopped. Harry flushed again to realize that they their exchange had been witnessed by two others.

“My lord, may I speak to you….in private?” Severus asked sneering in Harry’s direction. Harry glared right back at him.

“Can it not wait? Harry has had a long day, I need to get him home” Leonor retorted sounding annoyed.

Harry held his breath, he did not think he could remember a person speaking in such a tone to the dour man and not ending up as potion ingredients. Severus lowered his head in deference but stated, “Please my lord this is important I will be brief”

Leonor sighed, “Very well….Zyren take Harry back to the manor, remain until I have returned…I wish to speak to you”

The sullen daemon stepped forward, “of course my lord” before grabbing Harry roughly by his upper arm and all but dragging him after him. Harry spluttered at his man-handling.

Honestly these immortals were infuriating, he was NOT a object to be pushed and pulled where ever they so desired. The daemon maintained a solid grip on the teen and faded (apparently the daemon form of apparition), letting go when they arrived in front of Leonor’s manor.

Harry paused before entering, shifting awkwardly, “er…so thanks….for-for your help back there” he stated nervously, chancing a glance up at the intimidating daemon.

Zyren glared back at him, “If you were not so weak, I would not have had to ‘help’ you he sneered, “…and Leonor would not be fighting to possible death tomorrow”

With that he spun and marched past Harry into the manor. Harry stared after him indignation rising. Where all immortal’s intrinsically arrogant and rude? How was it fair to blame him, a mere mortal, who did not have the benefit for superhuman strength or speed, or the advantage of centuries of knowledge for being unable to stop a sadistic bastard.

He growled under his breath before marching angrily after the retreating daemon into the house. Just wait. He would not let them break him. No, he would wait and learn. He would grow stronger.

He would show them. He was not weak.

Chapter Text

 


 

“A word in the ear from father to son,

Funny you don’t hear a single word I say,

But my letter to you will stay by your side”-From Father to son; Queen


 

 

Leonor allowed himself a small sigh of irritation as he led Severus to one of the many private rooms just off the main room, that were there just for this purpose. A private place to have a possibly volatile discussion that is.

He waited just long enough for the other immortal to enter before waving his hand effectively shutting and locking the door, privacy wards springing into place. He took his time turning back to the other man, knowing very well he was the one with the power in this situation.

“Well Severus? You state that you had something of import to discuss? This is your chance to do so” he stated his tone bored, appraising the man in front of him with a lazy eye. It was true he really did not know this immortal all that well, but from what he had gleaned over the years, was that the immortal stubbornly clung to his mortal emotions and motivations.

He knew that there was some unfinished business for Severus Snape in the mortal realm; he also knew that it was not of the good variety. He was equally aware that the immortal held no good will towards his own self, blaming him, like many others did, for the death of his beloved. Not that he necessarily disagreed with this assessment, in his opinion it was likely that he had played at least a peripheral part in his wife and unborn child’s death.

He hastily pushed those morbid thoughts away. These thoughts had once been his whole existence however this was not true recently, well really not since he stumbled across the half starved, beaten child. He had to admit he had not had a real plan or idea on what he had wanted from the child. What he wanted was, however becoming more and more clear.

Severus cleared his throat in a rare show of nerves but steeled his stance and held Leonor’s gaze, “I wish to discuss the boy.”

Leonor cocked one of his eyebrows in question, not really sure where Severus was going with this, “Oh?”

“Y-yes my lord….I must ask…what is it you plan for the child?” the onyx eyed immortal pushed forward despite the lack of reaction from his counterpart.

“And why would this be of any concern of yours? You are forgetting your place Severus” Leonor replied his answer a sharp rebuke.

Severus visibly swallowed but did not look away, “I realize that my Lord, forgive me….he…he is the child of someone who was very important to me. I swore to her that I would look out for him”

Leonor did not answer, allowing the silence to drag on, counting on it to break the other man into speaking first. This information was interesting…. Who was it that Severus spoke of? It had to be someone who was no longer living… from what he had learned from Harry, there was no one, at least not to the child’s knowledge, that was looking out for him now.

“Please, my lord. I realize I have no right and there is no way that I could fight whatever your decision is, but I-I can’t stand by and see the child used like some disposable…pet” Severus spat the last word like it was something that had gone bad.

Leonor was quick to mask his surprise. He had never seen Severus so close to pleading for anything or anyone. He had thought it an impossibility of the proud man. This was good; the young immortal had always been too arrogant to ask for anything, it would do him good to finally do so. It was a good thing that in this case their ultimate goals were aligned.

“Relax Severus, I have no wish to abuse Harry’s trust or his body” Leonor finally answered the anxious man in front of him.

Severus shot him a look of disbelief, “You don’t?” his face full of surprise.

“No, I don’t. I will admit I was not entirely decided on the matter until our arrival here, but no I do not wish that. It would break him; I do not want him broken. He is much to wild and entertaining for that…I would even say that I feel…..” Leonor explained, pausing to organize what he wanted to say, “… surprisingly I feel rather protective over the little mortal, almost…well almost as I would my own child” he admitted, surprising even himself as he voiced the words.

It was true though, he realized. He was starting to view Harry as his child, perhaps a deviant and misbehaving child, but his none the less. Odd. This really hadn’t been what he was expecting when he took the boy. Shrugging it off as irrelevant, he turned his attentions back to Severus once more.

The normally blank faced immortal was looking at him with a stunned expression; he was muttering something about Potter having Felix Felicis running through his veins, whatever the hell that meant.

Leonor glanced down at his pocket watch eager to go home, it had been a long trying day and although he was more than certain that he would be the champion of the match tomorrow there was no point on fighting while completely exhausted.

“Is that all you wished to speak of?” Leonor asked, the impatience he was feeling once again leaking into his tone and posture.

“Yes, my lord…just one more question….is Potter staying here, indefinitely?” Severus asked, looking just as eager for this conversation to be over with.

“I am unsure. For now I agreed to give him training… we will see. He will be here for awhile at the very least” Leonor replied with a shrug, his ambivalence to the question obvious.

“Of course my Lord….thank you for your time….” Severus stated bowing as was protocol, as Leonor turned towards the door to leave, Severus asked hesitantly, “tomorrow my lord?…..”

Leonor paused and turned back towards him a smirk in place, “Yes, Severus I will win tomorrow, have no doubt in that. When I am done, Edwand and all others will think twice about challenging me….you would be wise to remember that.”

With that voiced, he quickly spun and exited the room, his parting warning ringing through the air.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

The tense, quiet atmosphere was not what Harry had expected when he pictured the setting for the challenge fight. He really should not have been that surprised, it summed up everything that he knew about immortals thus far. Somehow, however he had pictured something closer to the WWF fights that his uncle liked to watch on telly.

Well, okay so maybe not the huge, muscled men who looked like they had been popping pills for WAY to long and the scary bikini clad women, who looked as if they might have been subscribing to the same pill regime. But he had expected something a little more….well a little more rambunctious.

The fight was taking place outside surprisingly enough. The area that they were standing in resembled a cricket field, or at least that is what Harry pictured when he first saw the large, well tended area, surrounded by a wide circle of chairs. Pair this with the numerous Victorian clad immortals and there you have it….tea and fighting.

Zyren had accompanied Leonor and Harry, as well as to Harry’s shock and consternation, Severus. Harry decided he would not even try to wrap his mind around that one, plus he was still a little pissed off with his former professor so decided that it would be best just to pretend he wasn’t there. Snape seemed to be in agreement with him on this and they skillfully avoided both contact and conversation.

Not that he wasn’t also avoiding Zyren, as he did not know what was left to be said to the arrogant and cold daemon…because of this he did his best to stick by Leonor. This succeeded up until their arrival, when one of the guards led Leonor off to the fighter’s area. The same guard also grabbed Harry roughly by the arm and when Harry went to protest, he was told that as the prize he would be sitting separately.

Much to his relief, Zyren had stepped in and stated that he would accompany Harry to keep an eye on him and make sure that both sides of the fight did not try to pull anything. Harry might have resented the fact that he apparently needed a watcher but could not help but feel slightly better with a familiar, if not friendly face near him.

They were led to a slightly separated grouping of chairs that had a silvery looking rope fence around it and two very serious looking guards. The guards much to Harry’s surprise did not appear to be immortals; rather they resembled what the wizards called Gorgons. The only difference was that instead of being female they were male, and instead of just snake heads as hair they also appeared to have long silvery look strands that flickered and shimmied with a life of their own.

Zyren noticed Harry’s curious stare and supplied, “They are Hzxys…a mix between what your people call Gorgon’s and Dementors. Their snake part can turn you into stone but only if they wish, while the silver strands make their intended prey freeze with fear so that the prey has no chance of getting away even if their eyes are shielded. Nasty tempers, but very obedient and dutiful to those they deem their rightful superiors. Prince Kiran has more than half their species’ loyalties”

Harry gaped at him in horror; really anything that had the same abilities as dementors, was more than enough to bring him that feeling of fear. If there was one creature in the wizarding world he truly despised it was those rotting, soul suckers.

Choosing not to wait for Harry to regain his wits, Zyren pushed him (gently for the daemon) into the enclosed area before sitting down beside him. Harry shook his head, to get rid of his fear clouded thoughts, he would not think about their guards at the moment. He had much more important matters to concern himself with.

Harry scanned the empty field nervously, picking at a hangnail to distract himself. Zyren’s warmer than normal hands clamped down on his (he had found that the Daemon was always running slightly on the warmer side, he figured it was part of the whole fire deal), “Desist mutilating yourself” the daemon hissed at him, tightening his grip as Harry tried to pull away.

Harry gave an irritated sigh but stopped squirming, “sorry….I-I’m just a little nervous…you know not really a big fan of possibly being ‘owned’ by a sadistic bastard and all” he muttered, spatting the word ‘owned’ out.

He couldn’t quite decipher the look that the daemon gave him, but it almost looked sympathetic. At this thought he decided that he was truly insane, there was no way that the daemon would ever be sympathetic.

“Calm yourself from such idiotic notions, you silly child. There is no way that Leonor will lose this match. He is much older and much stronger then Edwand”

“Then why in world are they even having this match if it is a foregone conclusion?” Harry asked confused. Really these immortals were beyond comprehension, they went from cold and indifferent, to over emotional and hot-headed in a blink of an eye. He could not even begin to understand them.

“Edwand is arrogant… he is old and powerful but it has been too long since he has lost to anyone and has become over confidant in his superiority. The royal’s have been thinking of reigning him in for awhile now, you simply provided an appropriate venue to do so, without causing an outcry” Zyren explained in a bored tone, staring out into the field rather than at Harry.

“Out cry? Why would there be such? Isn’t it their right to punish their subjects and all?” Harry asked curiously. From what he had understood from Leonor, the prince and princess had supreme rights to do as they pleased.

“Yes and no. They can punish as they see fit, however most of Edwand’s behavior has not been directed at his own kind rather it has been at mortals. There are many in this realm that consider the ill treatment or killing of their bonded to be a right, not crime. If the royal couple had punished him because of these actions, it might have brought him more sympathy from others who think as he does. By having him fight Leonor over you, he will likely lose and meet his death but because it was over an implied insult to Leonor not you, then it will be seen as acceptable to all” Zyren continued.

Harry let out a snort of indignation, “self centered pricks, the lot” he muttered under his breath. Caught up in his own irritation, he missed the slight twitch of Zyren’s lips at his comment.

Harry let out a huff of annoyance before straightening and returning to his initial concerns, “So Leonor will for sure win? You’re certain?” he asked worriedly.

“Yes, now please shut up. The match is about to start” Zyren stated.

Harry focused back on the field and saw that Zyren was correct, where there had been an empty field of grass there was now a large area surrounded by silvery ropes, similar to the ones around him and Zyren. Leonor and Edwand stood on opposite ends facing each other, both wearing fitted leather pants and loose untucked shirts. Neither held a weapon as far as Harry could tell.

The princess stood up and said a few words in a language that Harry could not understand, when he looked at Zyren in question, the daemon told him she was reminding them of the rules and the stakes. When she finished both gave a curt nod of their heads and a sharp bow to both the Princess and the Prince.

One moment they were standing facing each other, the next there was a blur of movement and they were viciously attacking each other. Harry had not even heard the starting signal and could barely follow the fight, the competitors’ movements much too quick for his mortal vision.

The furious snarling and screams coming from the ring was amplified by the absolute silence of the audience. Before Harry could understand what was happening or who was winning, the fight was over.

The audience erupted in applause as Leonor stood straight, his face emotionless with a mangled corpse of his challenger at his feet. Harry let out a breath of relief before his fore head wrinkled in confusion.

“Wait….I thought you guys could not be killed? I thought that Leonor’s family was the only immortal’s that had ever passed on? So how could they fight to the death?” he asked.

Zyren sent him an evil smirk, “oh Edwand is not dead….well not at least in your sense of the word” He stated, obviously taking great pleasure in the teen’s confused expression.

“?” Harry shot him a pleading look.

The daemon sighed but relented, “There are many ways that you can be dead Pettit combatant. Edwand is simply injured severely enough that it will take him many months to heal. Once he has healed physically without the additional aid of blood, he will be exiled to the Sec realm…it is most uncomfortable for someone like him. It is up to Leonor to decide when he has served long enough to be allowed back”

Harry had taken only a small amount of French but understood enough to scowl at the name Zyren had endowed him with, although he suppose little fighter was better than child, or little one, “Sec realm?” he asked curiously.

“It translates to Dry realm….it is basically a desert with constant sun and few inhabitants….There is only enough animals there to allow those banished to not desecrate….barely” Zyren continued giving a small shudder, “It appears differently for each prisoner… changes into an environment least suited for their comforts”

Harry held back his own shudder; he could only imagine what the realm would create for him. He almost felt sympathy for the psychotic immortal….okay so he didn’t but still….

His attention was once again pulled back to the present as he felt Zyren tug him up from his seated position. He stood obediently more because he was not sure what was happening then out of any will to listen to the grumpy daemon. “Follow me into the center, Leonor must make official statement” Zyren instructed in a quiet whisper.

Harry shrugged and did as asked walking behind the daemon until he reached the center of the field, the silver ropes where no longer present, neither was Edwand’s body.

Leonor stepped forward and placed possessive hands on both of the teen’s shoulders before turning to the crowd and speaking once again in a language that Harry did not understand. There was a surprised gasp from the crowd, a huge smile on Prince Kiran’s face, an angry one on the princesses at whatever the immortal announced.

After the long silence that followed the announcement, the audience applauded politely, while whispering urgently to one another. Leonor spun Harry to face him and leaned down whispering quietly “I will explain later my son” and kissed him quickly on both cheeks, before standing up and turning towards the Prince and Princess.

Harry felt his mouth fall open in surprise at Leonor’s words, as well as an embarrassingly warm and fuzzy feeling in his chest.

“Your majesties, I wish to begin the process of claiming one mortal, Harry James Potter as the next to my line and my blood son” Leonor announced in a serious tone.

If it was possible Princesses Selene’s expression became even darker as Prince Kiran’s smile went up in wattage.

“Your statement is accepted, you have royal approval to do so. His training and education will fall to you as will his protection and well being….do you accept Marquees Leonor Diaz?” Prince replied his formal tone belaying his exuberant expression.

“I accept” Leonor replied and bowed formally. A dark crimson light wound itself around the immortal before snaking towards Harry and doing the same.

Again there was stilted applause and Leonor gave a final bow grasping Harry by the shoulder, “Come, it is time we go home” he stated.

Harry who was distracted by the incredible feeling of warmth and security that had come from the crimson light could only nod his agreement.

Yes…home. Surprisingly enough, he thought that Leonor could become just that.

Chapter Text

 

“If you do a good deed to reap the reward of blessings, wouldn't you be performing a selfish act?” ― Kamil Ali , Profound Vers-A-Tales


 

The days turned to weeks, which amassed to months and slowly Harry felt as though he was finding a rhythm to daily life in the shadow realm. After the rather tumultuous first few days, things slowed down to a steadier pace.

Not to say that Harry was not suffering even in this calmer atmosphere. He had never before realized just how out of shape he was. He quickly came to the conclusion that just because he was thin, did not mean that he was fit. Sure he had some exercise dodging Dudley and his lovely friends, as well as working himself to the bone in chores and gardening however his lack of food while doing these things had prevented him from developing muscle.

So really, now that he was being pushed to the brink everyday by the slave driver that was known as Zyren he was feeling the effects. Though after a few weeks he found that he was slowly adjusting and actually starting to enjoy parts of his new regime.

He found he rather liked the morning runs, he had always been fast and now that he had proper sustenance he did not tire as quickly. Plus it was really the only time of the day that he had to himself, to just think. Every other second of the day was taken up with other training sessions for both his body and his mind.

He found himself quite liking Chavi and found that she was a brilliant teacher. Considering everything that he had ever heard about elves, stated that they were aloof and snobby, he found that in regards to Chavi at least that this could not be further from the truth.

The biggest thing he had to fear from her when he screwed up was getting pranked relentlessly. Despite loving the playfulness of the elf it made him feel a tad guilty, almost as if she was a replacement for Sirius. He was quick to smother these traitorous thoughts….no one would ever replace his godfather, he knew this. So instead he decided to just embrace the elf and ignore the twinges in his gut.

And while the elf was endlessly patient and friendly, his other instructor, Zyren was anything but. The Daemon was nothing if not confusing. His actions and attitude made little sense to the teen. It would have been easier if he was just plain rude, and conceding… at least Harry could have been confidant in the fact that Zyren despised him. But No, the daemon had to be difficult, one minute he acted as if Harry was nothing put a unwanted spot of dirt on his shoe, the next he would look at the teen with something that if Harry hadn’t known it was impossibility, he would have sworn was pride….and well something else.

If anything the daemon made Harry unbelievably nervous. He told himself he was simply apprehensive because the daemon did not like him, and he wanted to succeed and prove the daemon wrong. But he knew even as he told himself this that he was lying. He could not help but notice how unfairly attractive the volatile man was. It wasn’t in the same way that the other immortals were beautiful. It was different…there was something unhinged, threatening, challenging about the daemon.

Harry had to wonder what it was about him that made him want to be closer to those that wished him harm. Surely, if he was entirely sane he would have felt attraction towards some quiet, nice witch….but nooo….he couldn’t even do that right.

He sighed and straightened his back again, pulling the bow string back as hard as he could as he tried to hold the thin wooden shaft of his chosen arrow steady, ignoring his shaking arm muscles. Zyren had decided that although his cardiovascular strength had improved drastically over the past few weeks, his upper body strength still had a ways to go.

That and the fact that his aim still left something to be desired, there was a reason he was a seeker and not a chaser in Quiditch. These weaknesses had of course led Zyren to the conclusion that learning archery would be the best way to correct his deficits.

So, far it had not been going very well. They had started out with a long bow, but after seeing that there was no way in hell that Harry could steady both himself and the incredibly tall bow, the daemon had relented and allowed him to use a short bow instead. While this helped with the whole balance issue, it was not doing much to improve his aim.

After two straight hours of shooting, and retrieving his arrows (which were not easy to find, given his aim) Harry was beyond frustrated and exhausted.

“No! You are not listening! You are arching your back to much, use your whole body not just your back muscles….you are only going to end up injuring yourself” Zyren snapped at him, again. It was not the first time that he had told the teen this.

Harry scowled but attempted to do what the daemon was saying; problem was he really didn’t understand what he meant. And he would be damned if he asked the stupid fire starter to explain further, this would just lead to him getting mocked by the superior git.

So trying to will his aching body to obey, he once again pulled the string back and released the arrow, if anything his attempts were just getting more and more ridiculous. Proven by the fact that the arrow barely even arched this time, landing mere feet from them.

He let out a groan of irritation, wishing more than anything to slam his head repeatedly into the trunk of the tree he was suppose to be hitting with arrows. At least that would give him a different type of pain to concentrate on besides the one currently trying to split his head in two.

So preoccupied with his current distress, he did not even notice that the daemon was no longer standing to the side. He did however let out a rather embarrassing squeak when he felt Zyren standing behind him, hands on his wrists, body pressed tightly to his back.

“Stop squirming like a little girl….” The daemon growled at him tightening his grip, “I will show you what I mean, because obviously your brain is not capable of understanding”

Harry let out a hiss of annoyance but stopped his struggle; it wasn’t like it would help anyway. Plus maybe if he listened to the arrogant daemon he would be finished sooner and get to go and enjoy a long hot shower that much quicker.

He made himself focus one how the daemon was moving his stance, straightening Harry’s back with unforgiving hands, and moving his hips to align with his new stance. He also determinedly ignored the warm feeling churning in his stomach, and moving south.

This time instead of stepping away from Harry and having him shoot the arrow, Zyren kept his hands on the teens and moved his arms and shoulders so that the bow was being held in the appropriate position. He drew the teen’s arms back,

“Alright now release….see the difference?” Zyren asked as the arrow shot forward in a arch and wedged itself into the target.

Still trying to ignore his own reactions to the daemon being so close, Harry nodded mutely, a blush coloring his cheeks.

“Good, now again, only by yourself” the daemon instructed stepping back hastily, as he noticed his own reactions to the teen’s proximity.

Concentrating on the bow and arrow in his hands, Harry closed his eyes and let himself recall the positioning the daemon had placed him in; once again the arrow shot forward hitting the target.

He could not stop the happy smile that sprang forward, even Zyren allowed a small smile. “Very good, much better…perhaps there is hope for you yet” he stated.

Ignoring the comment Harry rolled his eyes and practically skipped to retrieve the arrow. Steeling his nerve he turned back to his instructor, “Sir….” He started, he had never taken to calling his teachers master, it was a little to submissive to him, “can I ask you a question?”

Zyren sighted, but figured that the teen had earned a bit of a break, they had been going at this for a while now and although the Harry had glared and muttered he hadn’t complained. “I believe you will do so whether or not I give you permission”

Harry smirked slightly, before adopting a serious expression again, “Um…I-well I was just wondering about what happened with-well with the fight and all…” He trailed off uncertainly, scuffing his toe in the grass in front of him.

Zyren quirked a dark brow at him, “yes?”

“Um…well I was going to ask Leonor but I-I didn’t want to appear unappreciative….I-I was just wondering what he said, and well what he meant when he called me….his….well his son” He said the last word barely above a whisper.

Zyren had to bite back his surprise. Didn’t the teen know? He was a little surprised that no one had explained it to the child. “No one told you?” he asked his voice full of suspicion.

Harry shook his head. Zyren sighed and gestured for the boy to sit next to him on the stone bench facing the grove of trees. Harry hesitantly walked over and sat down, muscles tense.

“Relax, I won’t attack you. Your lesson for today is over. What Leonor said after the fight was just his official announcement that he was taking you as his decsendee, or as mortals would put it….son”

“Wh-what does that mean…exactly? Why would he do that?” Harry asked uncertainly, as if he was expecting to be punished for his questions.

Zyren scowled, not at the boy but at his hesitance… he had heard a little about the state the teen had been found in. It was the worst of crimes; even daemons knew to take care of their young. Other’s young they had no such compunctions towards.

“There are two ways that immortal’s can bring a mortal to our realm, the first is the most popular. That is to take you as a bonded, basically the mortal exists for the immortal’s pleasures….whatever they may be” Zyren explained, noting the shudder that went through Harry’s body before continuing, “this is what most of the realm expected when Leonor arrived with you. When he did not officially….claim you, this left you open to being claimed by another. However, because Leonor fought for you and won, he was free to use the second option. He was free to start the process of claiming you as a sire or his son”

Zyren paused to be sure that Harry was following his explanation so far, “This is a lengthy process it normally takes the better part of two years. He initiated it by officially making his intentions clear to the rulers of this realm. The second step was also realized as the rulers….well the Prince at least, recognized this claim and approved of it. The third step is finding an official sponsor; generally they serve as outside guider or role model to the intee….”

“Do I have a sponsor yet?” Harry asked curiously.

“I believe that you actually will have two, it is a little unorthodox but given who Leonor is and who you will be once you have completed this process it is not entirely surprising….” Zyren hedged.

“Who I will be? And do you know who my sponsors are?” Harry asked his brow furrowing slightly with confusion.

“Yes….as too who you will be, as I am sure you are aware your sire is brother to the princess, and a marquiees in his own right. As such you will eventually be expected to play a role in the royal court…” Zyren stated, seeing the disgusted look on Harry’s face he hurried to continue, “As for your sponsors….I believe that besides myself….Severus will serve as your other”

This had the wanted effect of completely distracting the teen, “You?!...and…and.SNAPE?” he asked his tone aghast.

Zyren smirked at him, “Yes….is that a problem, Pettit combatant?”

Harry took one look at the daemon’s face and gulped, now was not the time to for his body to be acting up….”No” he all but squeaked out, ducking his head to hide the blush threatening to overtake his face.

“Good….aside form sponsors, you will have a final test. A fight of your own right…..the royal’s will choose your challenger, they will be magical but not immortal. If you are successful in that then Leonor will use one of his one of his two selections”

“Selections?” Harry asked, finally beating his embarrassment back into submission.

“As an immortal we have two choices. We can choose two mortal’s to turn before ending our own existence….these selections are not easy to make and not everyone can be selected, magic must approve of the decision or the selected will simply die before transforming.” Zyren stated.

“Turning? As in no longer being mortal? W-what if I don’t want that? Will I be forced?” Harry asked the panic that he was feeling becoming evident in his increasingly tense questions.

Zyren sighed, but answered, “No. you cannot be forced to take the turn, although it is likely that if a immortal is determined that they will just stalk you until you agree….but no, technically you cannot be forced”

Harry let out a sigh of relief, he was not sure he wanted to be immortal. Unlike so many others, he did not fear death… in his opinion it might actually be a bit of a relief, so far life had been far from enjoyable, who knew? Perhaps death would be better.

“You still have two years to go before you have to decide anyway…” Zyren stated, turning towards him. In a most uncharacteristic gesture, the Daemon reached out and gave Harry’s shoulder what could only be deemed a reassuring squeeze. “Don’t dismiss the option too soon Pettit combatant, you might sell yourself short” he murmured, letting his hand linger slightly longer then necessary on the raven haired teen’s bare shoulder.

And with that the daemon stood and walked away, leaving Harry once again with numerous question and few answers.

Chapter Text

 


 

“...and the vessel was not full, his intellect was not satisfied, his soul was not at peace, his heart was not still.” ― Hermann Hesse , Siddhartha


 

10 years later shadow realm time, 2 months mortal realms time

Harry felt a content smile spread across his face as he leaned back into the warm body behind him, relishing in the comfort that was his on again off again lover provided.

“Are you going to lay here all day, petit combatant?” Zyren whispered nuzzling his ear with the daemon’s nose.

“mmph” Harry muttered back, muffled by the pillow he had pulled to him and was currently attempting to use to block out the morning light.

“I didn’t heeear you” Zyren said in a sing song voice, moving from Harry’s ear to placing butterfly kisses along the back of his neck.

Harry groaned rolling over to allow his lover better access to his bare back, “that feels good….don’t stop” he muttered, ignoring the amused chuckles from the daemon.

“So easy to please, mon amour” Zyren murmured into his back moving slowly down tracing his vertebrae.

Harry shivered and bit back a moan, “n-not easy….y-you just happen to be exceptionally skilled at that” he gasped out as Zyren bit into his hip lightly.

“True” Zyren agreed amiably

Harry let out a choked laugh as Zyren physically flipped him over and set out to prove just how talented he really was, “evil prat” he sputtered as the daemon teased him mercilessly.

“Well I am a demon love” Zyren retorted smiling wickedly up at him from where he was currently pleasantly torturing the immortal to death.

“Stop talking” Harry growled.

The daemon did just that.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

An hour later Harry stepped out of the shower and quickly got dressed for the day. He really should not have wasted so much time this morning….but well Zyren had been rather persuasive. That and more and more now Harry was finding it difficult to feel content with his life here.

It wasn’t that it was unpleasant or in any way not the best years he had experienced in his short life, he just felt…. well he wasn’t sure how to describe it, but an itch was probably the closest description that fit. He felt restless like something was not quite right; like something was missing… he felt the need to move to change, despite how he had grown to love his life in the shadow realm.

He knew that he hadn’t been masking his anxiety all that well; no one had said anything but he knew that Zyren, Leonor and Prince Kiran had noticed. If he was being truthful, Severus had probably noticed as well, though he wasn’t sure the immortal would really care.

They still had a rather odd relationship, it was no longer as hostile or strained as it had been when he had first arrived in the realm, and most definitely was not nearly as poisonous as it had been in the mortal realm, but they were still uneasy around each other. Though he liked to think that they had reached an understanding somewhere in the third year of his stay. He was pretty sure that Severus no longer saw him as a clone of his mortal father, and he definitely had grown to respect the dedication and sacrifices Severus was willing to make in the name of his prince.

Either way, he knew that Zyren had picked up on his changing behavior, he knew he had been far moodier these past few months. He tried not to feel too guilty over this. He knew that the daemon had grown more attached to him then he had to the daemon. It wasn’t that he didn’t love the daemon in a way…he did. He had grown to rely on the caustic daemon in a way that he had never relied on anyone before beside Leonor, not even Sirius. But there was something holding him back, something just did not feel quite complete, despite how desperately wish it did.

Speak of the daemon… Zyren was leaning casually against the kitchen counter drinking coffee while perusing one of his reports. Although early on in Harry’s stay, the daemon had spent a large amount of his time working and training the teen, after his change Zyren had taken up his other responsibilities once again, namely acting as strategic adviser to the Prince.

This position often demanded that he travel with the prince’s forces to other realms, well realms that the shadow realm had conflict with. This caused his time with Harry to be rather intermittent and sporadic. It worked for them; well at least it had in the earlier years. Lately, Harry sensed that Daemon wanted something more stable and continuous then their haphazard one offs.

“Is that on the turmoil in galaxias kyklos?” Harry asked nodding at the paper Zyren was perusing.

“Yes, it’s ridiculous really….I don’t quite understand what there is too fight over in that forsaken gas pit” Zyren answered distractedly handing a second cup of coffee to Harry, which he accepted gratefully.

Harry had always found it rather amusing that immortal’s had as much as an obsession over the caffeinated beverages as some muggles seemed to, personally he still preferred tea but when in Rome and all that….

“Is Kiran going to send someone to keep tabs on the situation?” He asked pulling one of the tall stools out and perching on it. He still was embarrassingly short, although not quite as short as he had been when he arrived, thank Merlin.

Zyren looked up and shot him an admonishing glare, “Prince Kiran, Harry…not all of us can get away with that level of familiarity”

Harry’s wide eyed innocent look was offset by the smirk he shot his lover, “yes, well not all of you are as adorable as I,” he shot back batting his eyes.

Zyren snorted and rolled his eyes, “Yes, well not all of us look like a life sized doll”

Harry glared at him, “I do NOT look like a doll” he muttered petulantly.

“Of course not love” Zyren nodded full of insincere agreement.

“hmmph, maybe I can still convince him to exile one annoying daemon” Harry muttered.

Zyren shot him a wounded look, “I’m hurt…”

Harry shot him a look before returning to the topic at hand, “So you do not think you will be sent away then?”

“I doubt it; this is far too small to be of concern to the Prince….” Zyren trailed off looking suddenly uncomfortable, “Harry…”

“What? You might as well spit out whatever you have been angsting over these past few days” Harry replied with a sigh setting down the paperback novel he had stolen from Chavi (the elf had a weird obsession with muggle murder stories, he had found a whole series dedicated to the alphabet… he had absconded with the K is for killer one.)

There was a long pause before Zyren gave in and dove into the conversation, “You are planning on leaving aren’t you?” he asked no accusation but rather resignation in his question.

Harry sighed, rubbing the back of his neck uncomfortably (it was a habit that neither Leonor nor Zyren had succeeded in ridding him of), “Yes….You knew that I would eventually….I never planned on staying past a decade here”

Despite the fact that the daemon had obviously expected this answer, his shoulders slumped none the less. Harry fought down his guilt, he didn’t want to hurt the daemon but it was something that he just had to do.

“I know….I just…don’t know….I thought that maybe you had moved past your previous life? Why do you feel responsible to go back and fix those fool’s mess? You are not even one of them any longer” Zyren questioned.

Harry stopped to consider what the daemon was saying. It was true, he really did not have any real connection to the mortal realm, his time there had been mainly painful and disappointing. He really couldn’t explain the pull that he felt. It wasn’t as if he wanted to go back, he felt that he needed to.

He thought that maybe Voldemort was unfinished business and that was the reason he felt this itch, though in all honesty something was telling him that wasn’t the reason. In truth when Leonor had finally completed the transformation, just after Harry’s seventeenth birthday (well physical seventeenth, he really was not all that sure what age he was considering the time change between the two realms), Harry had felt more and more distance between him and his previous life.

He finally understood some of the immortal’s callous attitude towards their mortal counterparts, he found that he didn’t particularly like the feeling he got around mortals now. Though he still found that he was far less demeaning towards mortals then his counterparts.

Regardless for the reason he just knew that he had to return. He had wondered briefly what it would be like going back to the mortal realm, he may not look that much older (although he did look drastically different) but he was mentally at least twenty-five now. His body was forever frozen in his seventeen year old form, however thanks to the brutal training and nutrition regime, that body was no longer the scrawny, emaciated one he had lived with most of his life.

Still he thought he might grow to regret allowing Leonor to change him at such a young age, but that was neither here nor there now. What’s done was done.

“Truthfully, I don’t know Zee” Harry replied ignoring the daemon’s grimace at the nickname Harry had bestowed upon him. At first he had done it to simply rankle the irritating man, but it had eventually become an endearment…he knew that the daemon didn’t truly mind. “I just sort of feel like something is pulling me too….I’m not really sure how to explain it” Harry finished with a shrug.

If anything his answer seemed to make the daemon more unhappy, but he sighed and gave a small nod, “Alright. I know there is nothing that will change your stubborn little mind….but be careful?”

Harry smiled at him, a smile full of tenderness, “You do realize I am virtually impossible to destroy now….yes?” he replied in a teasing tone.

Zyren stood up and pulled the smaller man into to his arms, “Yes…but you just never know”

“Don’t worry so dear…I’ll be fine, I promise” Harry shifted so that he was face to face with the man holding him, standing on his toes to place a chaste kiss on his lovers lips, before pulling away.

Zyren sighed to himself again as he watched the man he had grown to love leave for his upcoming meeting, he tried to tell himself that he was being ridiculous. After all there were only two immortal’s in the realms history that had met grisly ends. Somehow this reassurance did help much. He had an ominous feeling in his gut about Harry’s return.

He just prayed that for once his intuition was wrong.

Chapter Text


 

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” ― Alexander Pope


 

It was with no small amount of nostalgia that Harry said his goodbyes to the shadow realm and the immortals he had come to love over the past decade. Oh, he knew that it was but a temporary separation and he no doubt had the easier side of things, considering he would likely only be gone for a year at most, while it would be 60 years for those he was leaving behind.

He suddenly had a deeper appreciation for Severus’s foul moods when in school. True, to Severus it was only a year at a time that he was away from his true brethren, but to come back and have had sixty years of change to catch up on was a little daunting…to say the least.

Still Harry knew that this was something that needed to happen, he still couldn’t say why it did… but he had survived trusting his instincts so he would be a fool to question them now. Still, he could not help but feel guilty. For even though his sire had not said as much he knew that it pained Leonor to see him go.

Harry sighed before refocusing on where he was going, it had been so long (well at least to him) since he had last stepped foot in the mortal realm that he really should pay more attention to what was going on around him. Where immortals seemed to follow an unspoken rule on touch as relegated to hierarchy, mortals did no such thing.

Harry had been shocked to find out that after he had been turned by Leonor, there was almost an overnight change in the attitudes of those around him. He went from being barely tolerated to greatly revered. Not only was he now the official son of a highly position marquee, but he was also (even before his change) was a favorite to the Prince.

It was weirdly reminiscent to his situation with the Dursley’s and the magical world, there too he had gone from being nothing, a barely even a pariah to finding out he was seen as the savior, the golden child. Of course this situation was as much different as it was similar. This time around he had someone watching out for him rather then been simply thrown to the wolves and told to thrive.

He skirted around the crowds, carefully using his now long raven locks to act as a curtain between him and the rest of humanity. It was true that being around so many warm blooded beings was a tad overwhelming at first, but he had been well trained…it was easy enough to ignore the sweet smell of life being so carelessly flaunted by those around him.

He really did not want to interact with anyone at the moment; he would rather find a quiet corner of the train to sulk in. He knew it was his decision to come back but he couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming wave of loneliness.

He had come with Severus but they had wisely split up before entering the train station, it would bring way to many questions if Harry Potter showed up with the ‘despised potions professor’. Though now to think about it Severus had been adopting an almost sardonic, mocking smile whenever Harry brought up potions class. Almost as if he was privileged with knowledge the ‘teen’ was not.

Harry had long decided not to let it bother him, Severus was Severus…he would never be one for hugs and bunnies (well unless the bunny was an ingredient in some foul potion that is). He was just thankful that the man’s scowls and barbed comments no longer contained the malicious they once had. No, Severus was more like the rude, ornery uncle that you couldn’t help but feel some fondness towards.

The raven haired teen successfully found an empty out of the way compartment to situate himself in, he knew that it was unlikely to remain that way but he could hope. As he stared out the window he couldn’t stop his mind from dredging up his previous worry over his sire.

For the first few years after Harry’s change, he had been too focused on adjusting and learning everything that he could from those around him to notice. It was only in his seventh year in the realm that he started to note that while Leonor was incredibly giving and warm with him, the immortal would often withdraw from everyone else around them.

He noted that the immortal would spend longs hours in silent contemplation and that more and more his smile did not reach his eyes. When Harry was human he had assumed that this was the way it was for all immortal’s, but now that he knew several others….he realized it was not so.

Harry wished that his sire would confide in him, he hated to see the pain that he knew was there. He had always been incredibly protective of those he loved. He knew that he was not the only one who noticed, Kiran had made several off hand comments about it.

The Prince had stated that the only time that he saw the immortal truly happy was the rare moments when he let his guard down around Harry. Knowing this, Harry had delayed his return for two years. He had actually planned on remaining in the realm indefinitely….he did not want to abandon the man who had basically saved his life.

It seemed as though his intentions were not as well hidden as he thought however, for Leonor had pulled him aside at the end of his tenth year and given him no choice but to return. Despite his protest the immortal stated that he would only be happy when Harry was truly happy and that was not here and now.

Harry knew this to be true but it did not stop him from wishing things could be different. He was determined to sort out whatever it was that was drawing him away from his home as quickly as possible.

If not for himself… then for his sire. He would gladly give up his immortality if it meant Leonor would find happiness, so really it was the least he could do to find try and fulfill what Leonor was asking of him.

Even if meant leaving home

Neville trailed along after Hermione, Ron and Ginny dutifully. Sometimes he wondered why he bothered. As much as he wanted to view them as true friends, people who would have his back no matter what… more and more often he could not help but doubt their motivations.

He knew that they didn’t truly view him as someone of worth, that they looked at him and still saw the pudgy, accident prone boy from first year…even after the fight in the Department of Mysteries. He understood that they really only interacted with him because Harry did.

If there were two people in his life that he trusted without question it was Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood. It was weird to feel this amount of trust and kinship towards two students that until last year he really had not known at all. Sure he and Harry had shared a dorm room for five years but he really had only befriended the boy-savior this past year. Well, perhaps it started in fourth it was hard to pinpoint an exact date.

He had always been a pitied child, everyone who knew the truth only saw him as the basically orphaned boy, whose parents were alive but might as well not be for all their ability to act as parents towards him. He had often found himself horrified with himself, when the traitorous thoughts of wishing that they had died that night instead of being left as broken shells entered his head.

He loved them truly, but it was more a love of an idea or duty then loving them as people. He did not know who they had been and there was no longer enough left of those people to ever truly allow him to learn to.

And he loved his grandmother in a way. Despite her strict countenance, her stringent rules and cold demeanor…she had raised him and for that he was grateful. Still at times he wished that she would look at him with something other than disappointment or regret. He knew that when she saw him, she was reminded of the son and daughter in law that she had lost.

It was this coldness that made him doubt himself….that and the fact that he would never amount to the pedestals that everyone placed his parents on. No one noticed, or seemed to care that he was not his parents, that he did not know them so could not be expected to mirror them.

No one noticed that the harder he tried, the worse he failed. No one until Harry that is. He would say that Harry was his first friend, he was the first person in Neville’s life that had confidence in Neville himself and not in the expectations the boy had lived with.

In a way it made sense that it was Harry who reached out to him, after all the teen had dealt with a similar type of pressure all of his life… it was only logical that he would be the one to see Neville for who he was. And it wasn’t only Neville; Harry saw Luna as someone other than a crazy girl.

He had been the link between Neville and his second ever friend.

Neville was not naïve enough to think that Harry held the same degree of reverence for their friendship as he did Harry’s. But it did not matter to the boy; he knew that Harry would not shun him for it.

So, in reality he knew why he trailed after the trio… he went because he would support Harry. He somehow knew that the three in front of him would not always be there for the teen; that they would as soon stab him in the back as help him when he needed it most.

Neville wouldn’t allow it. He would protect and defend his friend. He would be the stronger, braver version of himself that Harry had inspired him to be.

Whether or not his friend knew it.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

The peace and quiet that Harry was quite enjoying was short lived. He briefly wondered if they had placed a tracking charm on him, before dismissing that idea as ridiculous…after all if Dumbledore had done so it would have been completely annihilated in the other realm.

The door was pushed open and a familiar mop of bushy brown hair pushed its way in.

“Oh pardon me….we were just looking for someo….” Hermione started her brisk apology before she was cut off by shock.

“Harry?” she asked uncertainly staring at the gorgeous raven haired teen in front of her. If it hadn’t been for the utterly unique color of Harry’s eyes she would not have connected the teen in front of her now to the teen they had parted with just two months ago.

The Harry she knew was scrawny, malnourished, pale and carried the look of disillusionment in his face and posture. The teen in front of her oozed confidence and sex appeal. He was casually slouched, his lean legs draped in front of him to reach the seat across from him. His clothing was neat and expensive looking, well tailored to show off a lean but muscular body.

What had once been a mess of dark hair was now replaced by long dark hair pulled neatly into a low pony tail, tied with a dark black ribbon at the nape of the teen’s neck. The identifying eyes that had always been hidden behind ugly round glasses were now on display to the world.

The look of innocent confusion that had so often been present had been replaced with a wary, calculating glean. Signs of neglect and abuse were no longer noticeable in the healthy, paleness of the teen’s skin. The color only making his hair and eyes stand out in contrast.

The teen gave her a slow lazy smirk before straightening with grace that Harry would never have possessed, “indeed” he replied.

Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Neville stood there in shock. Neville seemed to recover the quickest and offered his own friendly smile before plopping down across from Harry. “Looking good mate, summer treated you well then?”

Harry shot him a genuine grin, “You could say that” he answered cryptically before turning to the remaining gaping trio and quirking an eye brow, “Are you going to continue standing there with your mouths wide open or are you going to shut them and sit down?”

Ron flushed a brilliant red with either embarrassment or anger at Harry’s comment, in all honesty Harry really didn’t care which. He had decided before returning he was done pussy-footing around everyone and trying to live up to their expectations.

He had never asked to be their hero, he would be damned if he continued to change to suit their whimsies. He was no longer the insecure, ignorant boy he had once been and he refused to go back to him.

“Where have you been Harry? Everyone has been out of their minds with worry. Dumbledore has been searching high and low for you ever since you disappeared from Privet Drive! Especially after the death eater killed your uncle!” Hermione started up immediately.

Harry had to fight to hide his amusement, trust the brunette to demand answers immediately. Where her need for knowledge (even if it was really none of her business) would have once infuriated him, now it just amused him.

He already knew that the Minstery had decided that a death eater had somehow found his previous home residence and tried to exact revenge on the savior for the whole Department of Mysteries debacle. And while it pained him to use the event that killed his beloved godfather as a cover for his uncle’s death, he would do it.

He knew that if he admitted the truth… that he had killed his uncle trying to defend his life that the public would immediately cast him as the next dark lord. He now understood their fickleness after his horrid fifth year.

He would allow the Ministry’s desperate attempt to suck up to him, now that they knew that Voldemort was truly back to sweep the whole mess under the rug. He no longer felt regret over his uncle’s death, as Leonor had reminded him countless times it was his uncle or him.

He had not made any bones about hiding his relief to being forever free of that house of horrors.

“I’m sorry Hermione… but I wasn’t home when it happened… I was visiting a friend and when we came back and saw the body I freaked out….after all, only those in the order know where I live. I didn’t know who to trust or turn to without putting them or myself in further danger. So I stayed with my friend, he owns a perfectly safe place and hid until I could safely return to Hogwarts” Harry explained his voice soft, persuasive. Sure he was lying through his teeth, but in a way there was some truth in his statement.

Leonor could count as a friend, well okay more like family but close enough. And sure he hadn’t originally gone willingly with the immortal but that was beside the point now. When he had fled all those years ago, he truly hadn’t known where to go or who to trust, so in a way that wasn’t a lie.

He could tell that they bought it, by the subtle relaxing in their postures…though he saw something in Neville’s eye that suggested that perhaps he hadn’t fooled all of them.

“Oh Harry! You could have come to us! We would have protected you…” Ginny stated. Before Harry had run he would have found this sediment heartwarming, now it only served to irritate. Where he had once found Ginny attractive he now felt a strong urge to move away from her.

Sure he had already known he was gay back then, though at the time he hadn’t found himself repulsed by the clingy redhead. Something to ponder….

He wanted to point out that he couldn’t possibly have come to them as they had been hidden away in his dead grandfather’s home, warded to the hilt against owls and intruders.

After his godfather’s death he wasn’t even sure if he could get through the wards, another thing he would have to check. He still needed to visit the goblins and sort that all out. He had sent a brief letter of explanation when he was in the other realm and had received confirmation that he was indeed now legally an adult, and thus in full control of his fortunes.

It had stated that he would have to make a visit to the wizarding side of the bank, as that was what his parents and godfather where before they died. It didn’t really bother him, he was actually rather shocked that he would still be able to inherit any of the wealth after his change.

Luckily goblins had a much friendlier view on creatures then wizards did. Making a brief mental note to himself to set up a meeting later this week (being immortal did come with some perks such as a power level boost which would allow him to apparate to and from Hogwarts, despite the wards).

He pulled himself back to the present where his friends were apparently still arguing over his decisions. Sighing to himself he decided to let them continue on. He knew that they meant well, but….well they were such children!

He should have expected it really; he had been surrounded by beings that were all well over a century in years, and he himself was now a decade older mentally then his friends.

“And what do you mean you stayed with a friend?” Ron finally contributed to the argument apparently getting sick of Hermione and Ginny’s conversation.

Harry had to forcefully stop himself from groaning and rolling his eyes, trust Ron to be jealous over the thought that he had friends outside them. Deciding he would nip this newest bout of jealousy in the bud he answered his voice full of cold authority.

“Exactly what I said Ron, a friend. And before you ask…no I am not going to tell you his name or where I stayed. Just know that I trust him with my life…that will have to be good enough”

The shocked spluttering look on Ron’s face was rather priceless, though it was interrupted by another admonishment from Hermione.

“Harry! Why won’t you tell us! We are your friends…how do you know that this friend of yours wasn’t using you? He could have handed you right over to Voldemort!”

Harry didn’t bother to hide his eye roll this time and was about to answer when to the surprise of everyone in the compartment, including Harry, Neville broke in.

“Obviously Harry’s friend did not hand him over to V-Voldemort as he is with us now, looking better then he has ever looked following summer. Harry can have some secret’s Hermione. Leave him be” the only now slightly pudgy boy stated his voice full of determination despite the slight stutter over the dark lords name.

Harry sent his friend a thankful smile, while the other three just stared at him in stunned silence. It would seem as if Harry wasn’t the only one who had under gone a change this summer. There was no trace of meek, shyness in the other boy’s gaze now.

After a few moments of peaceful silence it seemed as if Hermione had once again recovered her wits and was about to start up again. By this point Harry had, had more than enough.

He had thought he was prepared to come back and slide back into his former position, perhaps slightly more knowledgeable and much more lethal…but right now he needed a break.

He really did not want to see what would happen if he let his irritation take over. Standing up suddenly he cut the brunette off of whatever she had been about to say.

“I need some air. I will be back in a bit” the lanky teen stated before leaving the compartment just as abruptly.

While the other three resumed their stunned expressions at this cold departure, Neville fought to hide a grin. Perhaps he wouldn’t have to watch his friends back quite as closely as he had feared.

Harry Potter had changed. And in Neville’s opinion it was for the better.

Chapter Text


 

The problem with human attraction is not knowing if it will be returned.” ― Becca Fitzpatrick , Hush, Hush


 

Draco huffed in annoyance as he stepped out of the ‘Slytherin compartment’, letting the door close with a little more force then was proper. Merlin, he couldn’t believe that he had let everything get to him so easily. He had known that he would have to don his mask again when he saw the rest of his housemates.

Not that he had ever had the chance to let the mask slip….he shuddered at that thought. He could only imagine what would have happened if anyone had been able to see what he was truly thinking this summer.

He would not have survived, of that he was sure.

He felt another shudder move down his spine as he recalled his Aunt’s Bella’s insane smile. No, this summer had been hell….it was the only way to describe it. He may have left Hogwarts last year a naïve, spoiled little boy, but after spending two months in the same manor as the Dark Lord it was safe to say he had grown up, and grown up fast.

He felt as if he had aged a decade in a matter of months.

It was only last year that he had happily bought into what he now knew was his father’s insanity; believing all of the rubbish about pure blood, and the need to save magic. Not anymore though.

He had to wonder about the state of sanity in the Death Eaters, if he, a mere teenager was able to see the irony over following a man who looked more snake then human in his bid to rule the world and cleanse it of impurity, surely adults who had more schooling and much more experience should be able to?

It was a miracle that he had made it onto the train without a ugly scab adorning his left forearm, but he knew it was only a matter of time. There was no way that he could count on his father or mother to save him from the Dark Lord’s whims.

Hell, they would likely carve him up and offer his organs as a show of loyalty if so asked by the red eyed psychopath. He might bring it up to his godfather, Severus….but in all honesty he still hadn’t been able to decipher where the man’s loyalties lay.

He had hardly seen his grim faced godfather that summer; he had been there for a brief period at the start and then had left on some assigned task. Whether it had been assigned by the Dark Lord or Dumbledore he did not know.

He knew that Severus’s soft spot for him would likely protect him from any fallback if he were to confide in the man, but it had been so ingrained in him not to trust, that he was wary of a man who had the best poker face he had ever seen (what? So he had been covertly partaking in a muggle past time last year…sue him).

So, yes when he had sat down in the Slytherin compartment, surrounded by his so-called friends’ twisted bragging about their own chances of receiving the blasted mark he had needed to get some air.

Oh, he was pretty sure he had them all believing that he was just as eager as them to kneel down before a madman but he didn’t trust his acting skills enough to remain… if he had to listen to Pansy’s nasal tone discussing the muggle that her father had carved up.

He honestly could not understand the pride he heard in her voice. Even if she did see muggles and muggleborns as animals (which if Malfoy was going to be honest he too had a hard time not believing that of the magic-less idiots), at what point was it considered couth to discuss the slaughtering of said animals?

He was pretty sure that most people would look down on discussing the dissection of a pork shoulder at their dinner parties. He had to wonder if it was the inbreeding or overuse of dark magic that was to blame.

He shrugged to himself, it’s not that it really mattered how they became twisted, just the fact that they were was reason enough to want an out. But really who could he go too for that out?

He was not a Gryffindor, and therefore did not foolishly believe that he would be able to escape on his own and yet he was too Slytherin to be able to truly trust anyone else with this secret. His mask had forced him into isolation from those who would help him selflessly. And well, there was no way in hell he trusted anyone he was close too to help him without consequence.

He did not trust Dumbledore enough to even share the most mundane fact about himself. He was sure if he went to the ancient headmaster he would end up in an even more precarious position then he already was in. Most likely the old goat would want him to act as a spy, something he had absolutely no interest in. He wasn’t suicidal after all.

There was really only one person he could see who would be willing to listen and put himself at risk in order to help Draco. Unfortunately, it was the one person that Draco’s massive amount of pride would prevent him from seeking out. The only person he knew who would be self sacrificing enough to risk his own skin to help the selfish, vain, nemesis …was of course the golden boy, Harry Fucking Potter.

And there was absolutely no way in hell that Draco was going to ask him for anything. Oh, he knew he was being incredibly stupid, risking his own hide all over the school boy need to preserve his pride. He knew that the grudge he held towards the raven haired teen was beyond childish.

In his mind, however illogical it was, he saw Potter’s refusal to shake his hand, the start of the landslide that had brought his life into the mess that it was currently. Up until then he had always been granted everything he had asked for… he had been his parent’s baby…their darling.

When Potter refused his hand all those years ago, it was the first time in Draco’s short life that he could not bully, bribe or harass his father into getting it for him. Then the fact that the skinny, speckled git who acted as if he had no knowledge or respect for the wizarding traditions he was born too, continuously out shone him in everything.

Well everything that counted anyhow. He walked around the school like he owned it (well in Draco’s admittedly bias pov anyway), got away with breaking rules like they were nothing, and pretended to be this modest, attention shy hero. It was beyond aggravating.

Most of all he denied Draco his attention. It was one thing to hate him or pick fights with him, but to ignore him? It infuriated the blond teen. He knew it was stupid to constantly pick fights and annoy the boy savior all so his attention would be on Him, Draco. But he couldn’t help it.

Every time he was outside Potter’s presence he swore to himself that next time he would do better, he would be the mature one and walk away. But as soon as he set eyes on the teen, all thoughts of walking away vanished and the need to ruffle the golden boy’s feathers was overwhelming.

So, long story short. No he would not ask Potter.

Speaking of which, he had yet to go and harass the golden trio yet. It was a beginning of year tradition after all….

No! he told himself sternly he was going to ignore the prat, he was serious….he meant it this time. He did!

So lost was he in his mental argument that he was not paying attention to where he was walking and found himself colliding with something…no, someone who was rather hard and solid.

“mmmph…” he let out as all the air in his lungs was knocked from him and he felt the force of the impact sending him down. He was already screwing up his eyes preparing for the hard collision of his backside and the aisle floor, only to be surprised when it never came.

Instead he found two rough hands grasping his upper arm and elbow preventing his fall. He stood stock still for a moment trying to recover from his surprise before he felt the hands release him, allowing him to regain his balance and straighten.

Having gathered his wits he opened with a scathing reprimand, “Watch where you are going you olf! You nearly killed me!” Only after the words had left his mouth did he look up at his victim …er assailant. Right his fault, not Draco’s….

He had to bite back a gasp of surprise, as he took in the lean, muscular, dark haired teen in front of him, studiously ignoring the way all of his blood was rushing either southward or to his pale face.

“mmm….no, Malfoy had I wanted to kill you I would like to think I would have done so more stealthy then a collision in the school train aisle” the teen stated, his voice full of amusement, a wry grin on his face.

Why did his voice sound so bloody familiar?

“Cat got your tongue? You are usually so much more verbose when I see you” the teen smirked, his eyes full of mirth at the flummoxed blond in front of him. If he was being truthful, he had kind of missed the blond’s disdain riddled remarks and barbs. He had to admit there was no one who could get under his skin like the blond pureblood.

Suddenly Draco’s brain caught up with him, “P-potter?” he stuttered unbelieving. But even as he asked he knew it too be true, this raven haired god was someone the once skinny, speckly little menace. How the hell had he changed so much in a matter of months?

“Gets it in one” Potter answered, smirk never leaving his face. And that’s another thing… since when did Potter smirk?!

Draco finally managed to regain his senses, plastering a disdainful sneer on his face (much to his chagrin, the sneer only made the idiot grin wider), “You are blocking the aisle Potter….move”

Potter gave him a shit-eating grin before giving a mock bow and moving aside, “Your wish is my command your highness”

Draco did not know what he wanted to do, he was pretty sure punching the smug git in the face would not be all that remiss. Since when did the Golden boy find things funny? Or use sarcasm? The Potter he knew would be red faced and fuming by now.

All in all it was very disconcerting.

Not sure what else to do, Draco hastily stepped around the admittedly fit Gryffindor and all but ran back towards the Slytherin compartment.

They might be childish, morbid and annoying but at least they were familiar. Trust Potter to completely change the rules of their game.

…..Stupid git

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Harry entered the great hall in a surprisingly good mood. Surprising, because before his run in the poncey blond git, he had been in a rather foul one. Really a little bit of banter (most of it one-sided admittedly) should not cheer him up so much.

Well, never mind he wasn’t going to read too much into the fact that he maybe, just a little bit, missed verbal sparring with the blond. Nope. Not reading….what so ever.

Of course his good mood did not last long as he was greeted with now all too familiar stunned silence, as he walked in to the hall trailing after Hermione and Ron. Who at this point had given the interrogation a rest (Not that he expected that it was over in anyway, but it was nice for a small respite).

No, instead he was currently engaging Neville in a conversation about the defense reading that the shy boy had done over the summer. It seemed as if the Defense club had given Neville the confidence to start looking to further his knowledge in the subject on his own.

Something that before last year he wouldn’t have even given a thought. Harry found himself irrationally proud of his friend for slowly breaking out of his shell. No, that wasn’t the reason for the falling of his stomach.

It had been so long since he had been the center of attention. Well, okay that was not entirely true…back in the Shadow realm, especially when he first arrived he had been greeted by the majority of attention wherever he ventured.

But these last few years had gotten better, he no longer felt like he was a freak on display for the perusal of everyone else. It was amazing how easy it was to forget that feeling.

The minute the group stepped into the crowded, buzzing atmosphere of the hall, all noise stopped at once. Harry could instantly feel several hundred pairs of eyes beating into him. If he had been the easily embarrassed boy from ten years ago, he would have likely turned red, stumbled and ducked his head from their appraisal.

But he was no longer that child, so he ignored the curious stares, the hushed whispers. Keeping his head high, shoulders back and posture straight he made his way confidently over to their usual sitting place at the Gryffindor table.

He ignored the fact that the other three were stumbling awkwardly after his swift, graceful gait, calmly sitting and arranging himself at the table. He had plans for causing a fair amount of chaos and upheaval this term but for now he would sit back and observe.

He resisted the urge to peer up at the staff table, where he was certain (and correctly so) Dumbledore and most of his professors would be staring back at him.

He knew that Dumbledore’s blue eyes would be twinkling away, despite how irritated he was sure the man was with him. He had after all given the old man the slip for two months, without so much as a note, so yes, he was sure that the headmaster would like dearly to speak with him.

He was also certain that the rest of the staff’s would be a mixture of stern, disproval (McGonagall), muted amusement (Flitwick), resigned acceptance (Severus), and relief (Hagrid). Having ten years and plenty of time to reflect, had left him with a fairly solid assessment of his professors personalities.

“So, bloody hungry…I swear mate I could eat a bloody hippogriff” Ron was whining piteously, while Hermione glared and shushed him.

‘Quiet Ron! You just ate on the train, honestly! Now listen to what Dumbledore has to say…it could be important!” Hermione hissed, slapping the red head’s arm.

“Owww….mione” He whined massaging his arm petulantly.

Harry bit back a sigh of irritation; honestly he was going to go mad before classes even started if he had to listen to those two. He had forgotten just how childish they could be. A long time away had diminished his skill at tuning them out.

He turned towards Neville praying that a conversation would help keep his irritation in check; it would not be good to antagonize his ‘best friends’ this early in the year. One look at the moon eyed red head ruled Ginny out as someone to talk to.

Thankfully it seemed as if Neville read his mind and the boy drew him into conversation, “Hey Harry, were you going to continue with DA this year? It was amazing last year, really helped me out and I know I’m not the only one…” Neville stated looking hopeful.

Harry was taken by surprise, he knew that Neville had enjoyed the club last year, but he really hadn’t given any thought to continuing it now that Umbridge was gone. He could, he would probably have time as he still was not all that certain what the purpose of return would bring.

He looked down the table and saw that most of his housemates were not so subtly listening in; he saw several nods of agreement with Neville’s statement. “Honestly I’m not sure, mate…I guess if there is enough interest and we get permission and such I would be willing”

The huge smile Neville gave him in response squashed down any doubts he had on the topic. It couldn’t hurt; it might even help him get closer to the other houses. He knew he wanted to change some things while he was here….the inter-house conflict was one of those things.

Any other conversation was cut off by Dumbledore’s annual announcements. Harry tuned out everything to do with rules, the forest and other nonsensical statements, only really listening in to the announcement for teaching posts.

Now that he was looking up at the staff table, he realized that there was an additional face he did not recognize. He chastised himself for his surprise, really what had been thinking? There was always a new face…someone had to fill the defense post after all.

There was no other way to describe the man sitting at the head table but too say he was round. The man was dressed in a classy royal purple set of robes, the collar buttoned up with expensive looking silver buttons, squeezing his jowls so that he resembled a poorly stuffed purple sausage.

In some ways he reminded Harry of Uncle Vernon, though the benign smile on his face was one that Harry would never have seen on his uncle’s obese face. Harry felt vaguely uncomfortable as the man stared unabashedly at him with something that looked like greed in his small beady eyes.

“As for your new professors this year let us give a warm welcome to Professor Horace Slughorn who has so kindly agreed to take over the Potion’s mantle here at Hogwarts….” Dumbledore was saying.

The restless students clapped politely, while whispers once more took over. Harry was surprised but clapped anyhow. At least now he knew what Severus had been smirking about whenever he brought up potions class, sneaky overgrown bat.

“And I would also like you to give a hand to our very own Professor Snape who will be taking over Defense against the Dark Arts”

Harry could hear Ron hiss in outrage, and knew that if he was too look over at the redhead, his face would be a matching rouge.

Dumbledore quickly wrapped up the rest of his speech and soon the table was groaning in rich dishes. Harry frowned slightly; while he could eat just as well as anyone else…he needed blood to help digest it. He would have to keep his meals here much smaller as he had yet to work out how he was going to supplement his diet with fresh blood.

Not that his tiny portions was anything to cause notice. He normally ate very little on return from vacation given the fact that most summers he practically starved and was unable to stomach the richer foods on return.

He spent most of the meal mashing his food around on his plate while covertly assessing the rest of the hall. He started when he noticed a certain blond Slytherin giving him the stink eye.

Not that Malfoy glaring at him was anything new, but there was something off with the blond git. He was much more nervous and shifty then Harry remembered. It wasn’t enough to draw others attentions but with his heightened senses, Harry was able to pick up on the thin layer of sweat on the blonds forehead and the slightly elevated heart rate.

He shrugged pushing his observations aside for now. Malfoy was not his concern; he needed to figure out why the itch he had been feeling had all but dissipated since he got on the train.

He was only half surprised when a puny little first year hesitantly tapped his shoulder. The poor little thing looked like it was about to pass out when Harry turned to see what he wanted. Blushing furiously the boy basically threw a small rolled parchment at Harry, squeaking out what sounded like “…dumbld…see…bye” before skittering away.

Harry didn’t bother to hide his amused grin as he picked up the fallen parchment, the grin changing into a grimace. Of course he had expected it.

A summons…to see Dumbledore….fan-bloody-tastic.

Harry sighed and tucked the summons away, he had not decided on whether to actually listen and go and see what the man wanted (well okay, he was pretty sure he knew exactly what the old man wanted…to stick his big nose into Harry’s business), or to ignore it.

Well, either way he still had all tonight and tomorrow to decide on his strategy to dealing with the irritating Headmaster, he had time go over his options.

He found himself missing the realm. What he wouldn’t give to have Zyren’s or Leonor’s opinion on this. He sighed knowing that it wasn’t possible. This was his choice, and he would live with it.

No matter the consequences.

 

Chapter Text


 

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” ― George Washington


 

Harry sighed in resignation as he approached the large stone gargoyle. Funny, that he had once viewed this place as one of sanctuary and peace. He shook his head at these thoughts, it didn’t matter what he thought of the circular office ahead of him… he might as well get this meeting over with now.

He had avoided answering the headmaster’s summons for the past two days, but knew that he couldn’t completely alienate the man. He had waited just long enough to make it clear that he still hadn’t forgiven the man for withholding information from him that might have prevented Sirius’s death.

In all truth, he had been away long enough that he no longer felt much anger when looking at the elderly man… not that he could show that. He had a cover to maintain after all.

He may have forgiven the man for his previous mistakes, but he was not naïve enough to think there were any benefits in letting Dumbledore know where he had actually been for the summer (or the fact that it had been ten years since Sirius’s death for him, not two months). So he would maintain the image of a grieving, angered teen until it was no longer of use to him.

The stone gargoyle did not wait for a password but stepped aside as soon as he approached it. The headmaster had been waiting for him, then. Harry shrugged it aside as not important and climbed the spiral staircase that lead to the headmaster’s main office.

He had been rather grateful that the arrival banquet had been held Friday evening and the last few days had been left free for the students to settle in. He of course had used both days to hide and avoid everyone, only spending limited time helping Neville review his defense books in the library, but otherwise lying low.

He had thought that after a day or two people would get over their fascination with him and stop staring but so far that had not happened. He couldn’t even go down for dinner without causing a standstill each and every time. It was more than a little annoying. He had taken to skipping meals and grabbing raw steaks from Dobby.

He knew he could trust the eager little elf to not mention his newest indulgence. It was only because of his own avoidance of the school populace that he had failed to notice that another student was also avoiding everyone.

As Harry had expected, the headmaster was waiting behind his large oak desk, hands folded in front of him when Harry arrived. “Ah my boy….it’s good to see you in such good health; did you have a good summer?” Dumbledore asked, his eyes twinkling but his voice was less jovial than normal.

Harry fought back the distaste he felt when he looked at the seat the headmaster had conjured for him. Leonor truly had turned him into a snob, he thought to himself as he looked at the plush red, monstrosity in front of him. Before his stay in the realm he doubted if he would have noted the chair at all.

He was careful to keep an innocent smile on his face as he perched cautiously on the edge of the chair, if Dumbledore noticed his caution he did not comment. Harry ignored the headmaster’s previous question in favor of glancing around the office. It appeared that most of the artifacts and trinkets that he had destroyed the previous term had been replaced or fixed.

Noting where the teen’s gaze fell Dumbledore let out a small chuckle, “ahh yes….no worries my boy, everything was easy enough to mend….”

Harry hid the small scowl at the headmaster’s attempt to guilt him by nodding briefly and turning his gaze to Fawkes, who was preening on her perch behind Dumbledore’s desk. “Hullo girl” he whispered quietly knowing that with her sensitive hearing that she would hear him. He was proven correct when she gave a trill and flew over to him.

He had been worried that the fact that she was such a light creature and he was now classified as a dark one would keep her from approaching him. He was glad to be wrong, as she landed on his shoulder and pecked at his now heavily pierced right ear (What, Zyren had let it slip early on that he found the muggle habit of body decorating hot).

While pretending that his entire attention was on the beautiful bird that was on his shoulder, he kept enough of it on the headmaster to catch the slightly relieved expression that donned the man’s face. Curious, it was almost as if the headmaster had also been expecting Fawkes to react badly to him.

“Well let’s get down to business shall we?” Dumbledore asked after several minutes of silence. Harry was sure the old man was waiting for him to break under the stern gaze and stumble through an apology and explanation. Which of course was not about to happen.

“Where were you this summer Harry? You had everyone very worried, especially after the attack on your family…you should have let someone know” Dumbledore admonished, sending the teen his best stern look he could muster. Unfortunately for him, it did not seem to be having to intended effect on the boy, who simply shrugged not looking concerned at all.

“I was a friend’s place for the summer; it was perfectly safe as he has very strong wards. I was not even home when it happened, when we found out I figured it would be safer if no one knew where I was….after all it was only Order of the Phoenix member’s that knew of my home on private drive” Harry answered. He had long gotten pass feeling guilty over his actions, and thought that losing him for two months was rather just for leaving him in that situation to begin with.

“You still should have let us know Harry! I would have been able to help you” Dumbledore repeated stubbornly, seemingly dismissing Harry’s reasoning.

“Once again Headmaster, it was safer for everyone including me to do it my way…” Harry ground out. He stopped himself from pointing out all the times in the past when he had needed help and the headmaster had failed him. He had hoped to have this conversation without a major fight, but that was looking less and less promising.

Dumbledore seemed to sense the words left unsaid and decided to move on, “Of course my boy, now you said you stayed with a friend? Where was this and who is your friend? I was not aware you kept in touch with anyone outside of Hogwarts…”

Harry didn’t bother to hide his glare this time, “That, headmaster is none of your business; as far as I am aware I am allowed to have friends outside of school. As to his name or residence, he is a very private person and I will not dishonor his kindness by disrupting that” he stated firmly.

Dumbledore appeared as though he was going to argue but seemed to think better of it and tried his hand in another area, “hmmm….I must ask my boy, you’re….well your appearance has…changed rather drastically since the beginning of June…”

Harry let out a small snort at the obviousness of that question. Changed drastically indeed. He was definitely no longer the scrawny, malnourished, four-eyed grieve-ridden boy that had blown this office apart in anger last term. “Yes, well it’s amazing what being allowed outside your room and three solid meals a day will do” he stated sharply.

Dumbledore had the good grace to wince at comment, “Yes, I suppose that would help, if it hadn’t been for the need of the blood wards my boy…” his apology hung in the air, voice riddled with guilt and sadness.

Harry sighed pushing back his anger and irritation, as much as he hated the fact that Dumbledore had left him in that situation he knew that the man had meant for the best, he just did not have the comprehension of what family could do to one another, or at least he didn’t want to.

The old man looked as if he wanted to say more but held back letting another period of silence fall over the office. Finally, he cleared his throat, straightening, “Very well, I can see that we are not going to get anywhere on this topic…I have one other thing to discuss”

Harry nodded his acquiesce, allowing Fawkes to fly back onto her previous perch, “I’m listening”

“Due to events that happened last year…” Dumbledore started before hastily continuing at the look on the teen’s face, “I think it would be wise to be able to protect your mind”

Harry didn’t bother telling the man that since his transformation his mind was completely safe from outside manipulation, he was curious to hear what the man suggested, so instead he decided to continue playing on his ‘innocence’. “What do you mean Professor?”

“Well there is an art called occlumency, it allows the user to build a wall of sorts to keep others from reading your thoughts or manipulating them. It is a rather forgotten art but it will be most useful to protect you from Lord Voldemort” Dumbledore explained, falling for the wide eyed intrigued look Harry was sending his way.

“H-how would I learn this professor? Is it hard” Harry asked keeping his tone innocent.

“It can be difficult, but I have faith that if you really try, you will be able to do it. As for how you will learn it… it just so happens that we have a master Occlumens here in Hogwarts….Professor Snape has agreed to give you lessons three times a week”

Harry fixed a disgruntled; unhappy look on his face as was expected of him, but inside he was quietly celebrating. This was perfect; he now had the perfect cover for disappearing to seek out the blood he would need to survive. And it just so happened to be with the Professor who already knew his secret and would need to do the same. Perfect.

“Now, now Harry….I know you and Severus have had your disagreements in the past, but I really must insist that you treat him with respect. He has agreed to do this in his own free time. It is important that no one knows what you are doing, so we are going to tell others that you are going for remedial potions lessons” Dumbledore warned, taking the disgruntled expression at face value.

“Of course sir” Harry answered keeping his voice curt, “Is that all?”

Dumbledore sighed at the surly teen but nodded, “for now…Perhaps later this term you would be interested in extra lessons from me? There are a few things that I need to tell you…”

Harry nodded without really agreeing; he had no doubt that whatever Dumbledore wished to teach him would be essentially useless, but for now he was tired and just wanted to leave.

“Very well, goodnight my boy…your first lesson with Severus will be tomorrow night” Dumbledore stated, motioning to him that he could leave.

“Right, night professor” Harry stated before fleeing from the office. He had no doubt that there were many more topics that the headmaster wished to discuss with him at the moment. Thankfully they could apparently wait for a time, one thing he was actually glad for, in all of this was the presence of his surely potions professor.

He snorted at this thought, who would have guessed that he would ever be thankful for ‘remedial potions lessons?’

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Dumbledore sighed wearily to himself as he watched the new, and surely Harry leave his office. He had really hoped that the two months over the summer would help the teen’s attitude.

Not that he could really blame Harry, in his place he doubted that he would be acting differently, after all the teen had just recently lost a man who he saw as family. Dumbledore stared down at his charred hand in despair, it wasn’t fair of him to place so much responsibility on the boy, but it could not be helped.

Especially after his own foolish mistake, there was now no way he would be around long enough to help the teen do what needed to be done. He was forced to burden the youth’s shoulders whether he wanted to or not.

Still, he could not help but feel guilty for what he had already put the Harry through. He had not known that his home life was as bad as it was. It was one of the reasons he did not say anything about the uncle’s death. He had his own suspicions over whether it was caused by death eaters.

When he had arrived at the house, after feeling the surge of magic, he had found the dead man and absence of Harry. He had been horrified. It reminded far too much of another teenage boy who he had suspected of his families death fifty years ago. He had however also found the locks on one of the bedroom doors, and the blood that was obviously not Vernon’s smeared across the hall, that and the cot stuffed in the cupboard under the stairs.

He had a feeling he knew what actually had happened, but he couldn’t condemn the teen after what he had been through, especially since Albus knew he had a hand to play in it. So he had set fire to the house and cast the dark mark over it to cover it up. Now he wondered if he had done the right thing.

Harry was hiding something. He had changed so much from the last time Albus had seen him, not only physically but in attitude too. He was far more confidant, less volatile but also far less trusting. In truth Albus had been relieved when Fawkes had gone over to the boy. He had been fearing the worse, that Harry had turned dark after events of last year and the summer.

He knew however that a phoenix would never approach something evil so that had helped sway his worries somewhat. Not entirely however, Harry was still hiding something and it felt like something big.

He sighed wearily; things had gotten so very complicated. It was part of the reason he hadn’t insisted Harry start on lessons to learn about Hocruxes or try to approach Professor Slughorn, he wasn’t sure if he could trust the child anymore.

He would wait for now. Perhaps after a little observation things would be clearer, maybe he would ask Severus to tell him what he found out about the teen during his lessons.

He knew this was a violation of privacy, but well….they were at war. And it was essential that Harry was still on the right side of things.

Chapter Text


 

There are no facts, only interpretations.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche


 

An irritating buzzing noise battered against Draco’s sleep deprived brain, causing him to grit his teeth in annoyance. Fucking Pansy, did she have to blather on incessantly this bloody early in the morning?

“Draaaakey” Pansey whined placing her delicately manicured hand on his forearm, “Are you even listening to me?”

Draco mentally rolled his eyes as he ignored her attempt to physically limit his movement and continued at a brisk pace towards the Great hall for breakfast, “Yes” he retorted sharply, while yanking his arm away just as sharply.

“Hmmmph…well good…what has gotten into you lately?” She fake pouted, scurrying after him a tad frantically, to stop from falling behind.

“What do you mean?” Draco asked in a bored tone, although inside he was panicking. Surely, he hadn’t been acting suspicious enough for her to guess his wavering loyalties? He was sure he had covered his tracks so far….but what if he hadn’t?

“Well, I don’t know….you just seem preoccupied or something” she stated with a casual shrug.

Draco felt his panic waning; she didn’t know anything then…good. -“…and well what’s with your constant staring at Potter?” okay so perhaps his relaxation had been too soon.

“What in Merlin’s names are you talking about Pansey? Why would I staring at that git?” He asked snappishly.

Silently he was berating himself for his foolishness… for he had been staring at the stupid git perhaps a tad more than normal. He didn’t mean too…he just couldn’t seem to help himself, his eyes just automatically sought out the teen.

Hell, he had caught himself staring at Potter three separate times throughout dinner last night without realizing he was even doing it. He adamantly told himself that it was natural to keep an eye on your rival, self preservation and all. Then again it wasn’t all that self preserving to be staring at the golden boy, especially for someone who wanted to escape suspicion about sympathizing with the enemy.

“ Oh pllleeeease, Drake…don’t deny it, it’s all you’ve been doing since we’ve gotten back” Pansey stated, helping herself to a large serving of fried potatoes and eggs.

Draco, controlled his urge to wrinkle his nose in disgust at the girl’s annoying habit of drawing out vowels and her un-ladylike table manners, “I haven’t” he denied in a prim, disdainful voice.

“You have” a second voice joined the conversation as Blaise sat down blearily and reached for the coffee, “Are you planning something to humiliate him again or something? You really should try and hold back a bit this year Draco…we can’t afford to draw the headmaster’s attention more than it already is to us….especially If we are hoping to get marked at Christmas”

Draco scowled at the mark comment, but passed if off as being irritated over Blaise’s reprimand. “Whatever…look I’ll keep my nose clean, don’t worry your pretty little arse over it”

Blaise grunted something that sounded vaguely insulting back but ignored the conversation there after, refocusing on finishing his breakfast.

Draco did the same, his mind once again churning with worry. He could not escape the proverbial axe hanging over his head for even a moment. Every second, every minute, brought him closer to it. He only had four months to figure a way out of this mess…and he wasn’t sure that he would.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Ron could not believe his luck. It was horribly, terribly, rotten….that’s what it was. First off he had been forced to spend the majority of his summer locked away, in that horrible, dark, smelly house…cleaning of all things! While Harry was off gallivanting and having fun.

It was completely unfair, even the twins only showed up at odd intervals, often leaving more of a mess when they left then there had been when they arrived. Sure, staying the summer at the Headquarters of Dumbledore’s super-spy organization had sounded like a riot…it proved to be anything but.

He had hoped when Hermione had shown up that at least he would get in a couple good snogs, but of course he must have been delusional when he pictured that… there was a reason Lavender had called her a no-nookie-nun. Instead of long, hot make-out sessions, he had been treated to long hot studying sessions. Trust him; the second was not nearly as enjoyable as the first.

And then after finally getting to go back to school, where everything with re-right itself, and he will be once again one of the golden trio…Harry shows up and is completely changed! From his new clothing, to his sudden good-looks (not that he was terrible before, just… well…a tad scrawny and secondhand), to his new found confidence.

It was like he didn’t even need Ron anymore. He kept sneaking off, none of the Gryffindors had seen him all weekend except Neville (and what was with that? Since when would Harry rather hang out with the awkward toad boy then him?). And even when he was around he seemed to be off in another place.

It was infuriating as hell! Oh, and for the icing on everything that was monumentally wrong with his life at the moment, McGonagall had approached them this morning and informed them that they wouldn’t be getting their potions free period but instead be forced by ‘ministry mandate’ to take the stupid class.

Life was truly unfair.

Glaring at the floor with particular venom, Ron stomped moodily after a nattering Hermione and silent Harry as they made their way done to the dungeons for class. Of course the first day back, they had double potions first bloody thing….well, at least the greasy dungeon bat wouldn’t be teaching it anymore. Thank Merlin for small miracles.

When they arrived, the door was already unlocked and opened so they traipsed in and grabbed seats. Ron managed to secure a seat beside Hermione to his relief (she would likely help him; even if only to ensure that his ruined concoction didn’t explode and ruin her potion). Harry didn’t even look at him as he passed and sat down beside Neville. Ron frowned at this, he hated being ignored…old Harry would have at least shot him a knowing look or something.

After a long ten minutes and no teacher, the rest of the students started to become antsy…the volume rose and insults were volleyed back and forth between the Gryffindor side and the Slytherin side of the classroom.

Again, this was different from normal; for one Snape would never have been late….and secondly both Harry and Draco were not participating in the insult war, Harry staring off in to space, seemingly not even noticing the ruckus around him, while Draco sat glaring at the table in front of him.

Ron gave a jump and almost fell off his stool as the door flew open with a bang. Snape strode in to the now silent classroom, his usual black robes swirling behind him, “It seems that Professor Slughorn is….indisposed at the moment…I will be teaching you blithering morons for today” his lips curled in distaste around his statement.

“The fact that the Ministry has passed an idiotic mandate that all of your dunderheads be allowed to take this class this year his beyond ridiculous. If any of you so much as breathe wrong you will be out faster than Mr. Weasley shoves food down his trap…is that understood?” Snape said in a quiet, deadly voice, ignoring the snickering from the Slytherin room at his comment. Ron glared petulantly, greasy bat.

Taking the remaining class’s silence as consent, Snape spun to start writing on the chalk board, “Good. Now I do not care how Professor Slughorn will conduct his class, he is not here at the moment so you will do as I wish. And I will not be subjected to the idiots in this classroom blowing up their caldrons” he stated glaring in Neville’s direction, “therefore I will be assigning you partners. These are the people you will partner with for the remainder of the semester unless otherwise stated by Professor Slughorn when he returns….pay attention for they will be your defense partners as well”

A few groans and mutters could be heard, mainly from the Gryffindor side of the room. “Weasley you are with Bulstrode, Granger with Doyle, Finnigan with Crabbe, Thomas with Zabini, Parkinson with Longbottom” he sent a venomous glare in the direction of her shrieked protest, before continuing. Several names later he finished with, “Potter move beside Malfoy.”

Ron looked over to where Harry was gathering his supplies in order to send him a sympathetic look but once again Harry didn’t turn to look at him, simply moving to sit beside Malfoy without complaint. Ron frowned once again at this….what the hell?

Soon this concern was pushed out of his head as he struggled to follow the cramped directions to making, the Somavi nox* potion they were suppose to produce. Bulstrode, while not as talented as Hermione (then again who was?) was better than he was, so he let her take charge for most of it. She was one of the better snakes, though rather scary looking.

“Time” Snape’s bored drawl called out, startling Ron and almost making him drop the glass vial he had picked up.

Their potion was nowhere near the dark black it was suppose to be; instead the color resembled a slightly smoky orange. Ron shrugged and scooped the potion in anyway… at least the cauldron hadn’t melted like Pansy’s and Neville’s. The former was glaring angrily at a sheepish looking Neville.

Ron trotted up and deposited his and Bulstrode’s vial on Snape’s desk, turning back to go get his bag and supplies. He glanced at the table where Malfoy and Harry where sitting…Malfoy was carefully scooping up a pure black solution into the vial Harry held out to him. Ron glared…of course Harry got a partner who was actually good at potions…even if Malfoy was a git.

Brooding again about his misfortunes, Ron almost missed what happened next. He couldn’t believe it! It was so implausible that he had to have imagined it. Malfoy had leaned over to say something to Harry; an insult likely….which was not what gave Ron pause, as this was a fairly regular occurrence.

No! what stopped him in his tracks was the fact that Harry smirked (smirked! Since when does harry smirk?) at Malfoy and then…get this! He winked at the blond ponce! And instead of Malfoy punching Harry straight in the face (like he should have, if all was right in the world), the blond BLUSHED!

Ron felt like his head was imploding. He really could not understand what had just happened. Sure that he had made a mistake and misunderstood the context of the exchange; he resumed his path to the exit. Right before he left he heard,

“Potter…lessons with me tonight, 7pm don’t be late” Snape stated, though his tone didn’t seem to carry the same amount of loathing as was normal.

“Of course Professor, wouldn’t dream of it” Harry replied cheekily.

Ron spun to look at them, on reflex partly because he couldn’t believe Harry dared to use that tone with the greasy git…Snape was going to murder him. Well, perhaps Ron could step in and save Harry and then Harry would be so thankful to him that their friendship could go back to how it was.

Except, before he could put this plan into action Snape said, “get out, you little brat” in an almost fond tone….and then SMILED! at harry.

With that Ron felt his whole world view shatter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------.

*Potion to give drinker night vision

Chapter Text


 

“Sometimes mortals can be more horrible than monsters.” ― Rick Riordan


 

Harry walked swiftly and silently down the quiet halls, making no overt effort to hide his good mood. All in all today had gone swimmingly… while he still missed the Shadow realm desperately; he could not deny it was fun to mess with the people around him.

The teasing and poking he participated in throughout the day, was a far cry from the cruel pranks that his mortal father and godfather once enjoyed. No, while he enjoyed throwing people off their game, he was not vicious about it. Well, unless provoked.

While he was still finding the stares and whispers that followed him where ever he went irritating, he was not mortified or embarrassed by them… not like he once would have been. Truthfully, the childish rumors and gossip that was circulating like an unattended wildfire only served to amuse him.

Speaking of amusing, Malfoy was far more interesting then Harry remembered. There was something about the snooty blond heir, that made Harry want to irritate and unnerve him. Potions class had only proven this.

Golden boy Harry Potter would have been abhorred with the idea of having Malfoy as a potions and defense partner, but immortal Harry Potter found himself rather relieved. He could have had far worse partners then Malfoy.

Hermione would have driven him spare with her well meaning but condescending instructions, Ron, while having his heart in the right place was still too caught up in childish things and grudges, Neville, whom he was coming to appreciate more and more would have been an alright partner, but Harry had a feeling that he would have been forced to use his supernatural abilities to save the Longbottom heir from continuously destroying cauldrons….and well that would draw too much attention to the fact that Harry was now one of the more talented potioniers in the wizarding community (ten years under Severus’s tutelage will do that to a person).

Malfoy’s own potions prowess on the other hand, was well known enough to excuse the fact that Harry’s potions were no longer the cause of Severus’s venomous hatred. That and the blond had the most delightful reactions to Harry’s teasing.

Harry had spent most of the potions class, subtly brushing up against the blond heir, dropping coy and flirty remarks about his obvious talent at handling the potion rods. He took delight in making Malfoy squirm and unwillingly blush at his comments. Each one just made Draco (and since when had he started calling him Draco?) more and more irate.

Draco had finally reacted with more than just hatful glares when Harry made a suggestive comment wondering if Draco’s attention to detail (that had resulted in their perfect potion), could be put to better use.

Draco had hissed out in frustrations and confusion, not sure what to make of this new side to Potter that Potter’s lack of attention and skill might be used to insinuate just the opposite. Harry had of course not reacted how Draco wanted, by lashing out at the Blond like he might once have, instead just gave him a saucy smirk and wink, with a barely audible whispered “Care to investigate your theory Draco?”

This resulted of course in a once again red faced and spluttering Malfoy.

Following the exchange Harry had noted a floured and confused looking Ron, but brushed it aside. He would allow the red head to stew and come to his own conclusions before attempting to speak to his onetime best friend. If he tried now, it would likely only result in the red head’s brash quick fire temper coming to surface and might end with an exchange of words that neither could take back.

Coming to a stop at his intended destination he knocked softly on the solid door in front of him, a barely audible (well at least to the normal wizard’s hearing) ‘Enter’ was heard. Harry listened and pushed the door open smirking in greeting at the dour immortal who had looked up from his reading.

“Harry” Severus stated with a brief dip of his head in acknowledgement, (They had moved on from using surnames to greet each other somewhere in the fifth year of their new student-mentor relationship).

“Severus” Harry replied before closing the door and wandlessly erecting a strong silencing ward, as well as a compulsion that deter others from stopping by the potion master’s classroom and adjoining rooms.

“You are ready?” Severus asked letting his eyes make a quick sweep of the teen’s personage, noting that under the standard Hogwart’s cloak, Harry was indeed dressed to kill. And yes he meant literally.

Harry nodded, before removing his outer robe and draping across one of the stools used for class, “Where are we going? Further then Hogsmeade I hope?”

“Of course you idiot childe, Hogsmeade is too close and too small for a disappearance or death to go unaccounted. You had business yet with the goblins?” Severus answered his disproval over Harry’s question showing.

Harry bowed his head in a brief apology before answering, “Yes, Hawkgins stated anytime tonight is fine with him”

“Good, we might as well attend to that first and then venture further in to muggle London to feed” Severus stated holding out a long, pale hand in Harry’s direction.

Harry stepped forward and grasped the proffered hand, “Of course.”

The two immortal’s faded into the shadows of the soon to be empty potions room, stepping out from the alley behind Madam Malkin’s Dressrobes. They wasted no time in moving towards the nearly deserted bank.

It was rather un-nerving to enter the tall, marble structure in the fast falling twilight, the low risen moon shone eerily off the marble pillars and statues. The normal bustling din of humanity and other not here to soften their sharp resonating steps.

“Hawkgin’s is expecting me” Harry directed at the questioning looks he received from one of the lower ranked Goblins behind the tall counters. Harry let a brief moment of smugness at the fact that he could actually see over the counters this time, thanks to the better nutrition he had received before his turning.

The unnamed Goblin’s eyes widened momentarily but he was quick to shutter his surprise at the request and send the message. A long moment later he nodded at both of the immortal’s in front of him and stated “You may proceed, he is waiting for you”

Neither Harry nor Severus bothered with thanks before moving swiftly throughout the twisting corridors of the bank. Immortal’s were one of the few species that Goblins acknowledged as superiors and therefore it would have been an insult to them, had they interacted as Wizards were expected to. There was no need for long drawn out greetings and words between the two species.

They arrived and succulently greeted the ancient Goblin that was waiting for them, before gracefully sitting in the chairs across from them. Severus could not help but appreciate these small trips of freedom which allowed him to regain his natural movements and reactions. It was so very tiresome to have to act as a bitter, old wizard…ungainly and stilted in grace.

“Lord Duke Diaz-Potter-Black, Lord Prince, how would you like to proceed? Lord Duke….do you wish to do this in private?” Hawkgins asked, his voice stilted but deferential.

“No, Severus can stay” Harry waved away the question.

“Very well…the documents are in front of you” Hawkgin’s stated gesturing towards a thick pile of paper in front of him, which Harry reached over and started to peruse.

He did not let his surprise show at the contents, it was true that he had expected some of what the papers contained but this was certainly more extensive then he had thought. He expertly schooled his expression not to show the warmth that was spreading throughout his chest at the fact that he was now Leonor’s heir. He had known this to be true, but the evidence of a recognized link to his sire put down on paper just made Harry proud and thankful.

He couldn’t stop his eyebrow from rising when he noted that Prince Kieran had made him his recognized apprentice or the fact that Severus had also officially recognized Harry as the potion master’s one.

Being named as an apprentice was just below being named an heir, it recognized the named as a part of their family and should the master not have a named or biological heir in the future, Harry as apprentice would take up that position.

Harry in a very human and child like manner turned and gave the surprised and stiff potions master a hug. A moment later his mind caught up with his actions and realized what he was doing, causing him to blush and release the startled man, quickly resuming his reading. Harry could care less about the titles, riches and power that came with such a acknowledgement, but the fact that Severus had named him meant the man truly saw him as family now.

Harry was shocked at how much he had needed that recognition from his formerly hated professor.

Severus for his part was still sitting stiffly, frozen in shock over the teen’s actions. And very deep down, in a small part of his heart, that Severus had worked to lock away a very long time ago, he was grateful. The teen’s impulsive actions could not help but remind him of another green eyed beauty.

“There are a lot of titles and vaults listed here….”Harry finally voiced, looking to the ancient goblin across from him in question.

“Yes, as you know…with your turning you are officially emancipated as we recognize your true age, not physical…therefore you are now the head of the Potter and Black house, as well as inheriting the Ravenclaw title and Gryffindor title from your mother and father respectively….” Hawkgin’s began but paused at Harry’s raised eyebrow.

“Your mother was not a true muggleborn but comes from a squib line descended from Rowena Ravenclaw….as the wizarding lines died out decades ago you are the last living descendent…or not living I suppose” the Goblin’s lips quirked in to a rare, albeit frightening parody of a smile.

“Continuing on, from magic you inherit the Slytherin title, as Tom Marvello’s soul is seen as less whole then yours at the moment….as well as being the Perverell heir. The numerous other vaults you see there are from heirless families who have died out but left their fortunes in thanks to the infant that vanished the Dark Lord….You knew of course that you would be Marquess Diaz’s heir. His highness Prince Kieran has chosen you as his apprentice, and lastly Lord Prince...” Hawkgins gave a brief nod towards a still stiff Severus, “…has named you his apprentice as well, although his godson, Draco Malfoy is named as a beneficiary with partial claims to Lord Prince’s wealth and titles” Hawkgin’s finished.

Harry nodded numbly at the amount of wealth and power he seemed to have at his disposal, “As I am now emancipated does that mean I can leave Hogwarts for business and such as I wish?”

Hawkgins nodded, “it does indeed, here is the signet rings for Potter, Black, Perverell, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Gryffindor houses….and here is the equivalent earring to represent you as the Diaz heir, as well as the studs for the apprentice of the Prince and Royal house” the goblin stated passing each of the named pieces of jewelry over. (Immortal’s chose to recognize their family heirs, apprentices and children through the use of earrings and studs, rather than rings).

Harry eyed the numerous items with no small amount of trepidation….”Is there…”

“You can will the rings to combine into a bracelet, decorated with the various house insignias…it is done for wizards or other magical creatures who inherit numerous titles” the goblin answered his partially asked question.

Harry nodded with relief, he really hadn’t wanted to have to wear six rings.

He did as instructed quickly and the resulting black and gold twisted bracelet reappeared as an arm band on his right arm. Delicate etchings of the various house’s totems were just visible.

Harry smiled as he attached the Diaz heir ornament to his left ear, he rather felt like Bill Weasley, with the sharp immortal tooth hanging from the gold hooped earring. He just as swiftly inserted the beautiful emerald stud (of the Royal house), and the less flashy but still elegant black onyx one of the Prince house to his right ear, placing the small gold studs that had been there previously into his pocket.

A sharp pain cascaded down his spine before promptly disappearing; Harry recognized it for what it was…the various titles and houses accepting him. “We are done then? Severus did you need to see to anything while we are here?” Harry asked, folding the papers in front of him and handing them back to the Goblin, with the needed signature.

“No, we can go” Severus answered, standing and nodding his goodbye at the goblin before moving towards the door.

“Thank you, Hawkgin’s I will see to it that your continued loyalties are rewarded” Harry stated with his own brief nod before following Severus.

“Of course Lord-Duke, pleasure is all mine” the goblin answered.

‘Now’ Harry thought to himself with a vicious smirk, ‘they could finally go and hunt.’

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

The night sky was now pitch black showing the late hour… apparently they had spent longer then he’d thought at the bank. Severus sighed pushing his irritation back at the wasted time, while holding out his hand for Harry to grab once again.

The trip to the bank was necessary he reminded himself, and in truth he could not begrudge the smaller immortal. Not any longer anyhow, throughout the last decade he had started to see Harry as the impulsive and irritating, yet loved nephew he’d never have.

Harry’s smaller hand closed around his wrist and Severus shadow ported them to Brixton, a sketchier area of London (Harry could have easily ported himself, if he had known where they were headed that is).

It didn’t take them long to find their prey for the night. When Harry had first been turned he had found hunting and killing repulsive and had spent six months in agony because he refused to partake. He had learned quickly to get over his objections. Although he still preferred to drink from those of a less savory nature, hence the reason for tonight’s chosen victims.

The men that the immortals were currently stalking where members of a gang that was infamous for targeting the sisters, mothers and girlfriends of opposing gangs and rivals to rape for revenge. Harry felt zero remorse for stalking and killing men like these.

True, it might make him a monster in the eyes of many, but as far as he was concerned he was less of a monster then the man he killed.

The entire stalk, hunt, drink and kill was done and over, with little fanfare. Fortified for at least the next several days, Harry carefully cleaned the blood from his lips and made sure his clothes had survived intact.

In silence the immortals disposed of the bodies with a quick cast flame and ported back to Severus’s office. Harry readjusted his previous discarded Hogwart’s cloak and made his way to the door. “Thank you, Severus…I will meet you here again on Wednesday?”

Severus nodded his agreement seeming hesitant for a moment, “What are you doing with Draco?” he finally asked.

Harry’s head shot up in surprise, “What do you mean?” he feigned ignorance. Severus shot him a look. Sighing, Harry carded his hands through his slightly disheveled hair, “Nothing”

Again Severus shot him a look, “Fine, just teasing the git a bit, loosen him up…something is up with him, he’s more nervous and jumpy then before” Harry grudgingly admitted.

“I noticed that too, I will try to talk to him…..” Severus said before pausing again a sly smirk on his face, “…or he might be more willing to talk to someone his own age…”

Harry gaped at him, “wha-No way! There is no way that Malfoy will talk to me of all people” he protested.

Another look was sent his way.

Harry groaned, “your bloody manipulative you know…fine. If he doesn’t say anything to you then I’ll try” he grudgingly agreed. Seeing Severus’s smug expression he glared at the potion’s master. “but only….and I mean ONLY if you can’t get through to him…..not like he’ll listen to anything I say anyway” he muttered the last under his breath.

“Good, now get out of here you brat before your little lions start to question your late return” Severus stated waving him away with his usual display of impatience.

Harry just rolled his eyes and quickly did as instructed, he sighed to himself wondering how he always managed to get stuck doing these types of things….

Ah, well surely Draco would talk to Severus….right?

Chapter Text


 

If you can look inside your heart

And understand what's tearing you apart

You gotta trust someone

Don't let hate get in the way

Just turn it into love


 

Dumbledore gave a heavy sigh as he hurriedly swallowed done the fourth of seventeen daily potions he was currently on. Well nineteen if you wanted to include the pepper-up and headache reliever that he had taken after his meeting with Severus.

 

He gulped down water trying to rid his mouth of the foul tasting concoction, a concoction that he was forced to take all thanks to his own incredible stupidity. He twirled the now destroyed ring on his finger absently, while studiously ignoring the equally destroyed black flesh beneath it.

Thank god Severus had been there to slow the spread of the death causing curse… without the Potion masters intervention he would have died two weeks ago, as it was he had only prevented the inevitable by ten months or so.

He could not help but wonder if the cursed ring was tainted with more than the life stealing curse….surely it must also have a curse that caused the wearer to reap a mountain of retched luck. Though, then again perhaps it was fates way of making sure he paid for all of his mistakes and sins.

He quickly banished this morose line of thought, what was done was done…nothing could bring back his dear Ariana, or save the lost, lonely dark haired boy…either of them really. He couldn’t even really console himself by saying he had learnt from his mistakes…for he seemed to be cursing the second dark haired boy to a worse fate then the first.

But it was necessary.

He shook his head again, now was not the time to second guess his decisions…he had other matters of importance to attend to at the moment. One of them being the disappearance of his potions teachers, Horace Slughorn.

Dumbledore had of course hired the man with other purposes then potions in mind. For dear Horace had a secret, a secret that Dumbledore was desperate to learn…it was after all the key to defeating Voldemort.

Unfortunately, it seemed as if Dumbledore’s newly acquired bad luck had struck again. Horace had been present for the welcome back feast. It was true that he had been slightly more skittish and nervous than normal, but Dumbledore had written it off as normal. The man had been on the run for the past two years, and it would take him awhile to settle in.

He wasn’t overly thrilled with the fact that Horace had insisted that he needed to go down to Madame Rosmerta’s for a late night drink (to calm his nerves, or so he had stated) but Dumbledore hadn’t wanted to push his luck (Slughorn had barely agreed to come and teach after all) so he had held his tongue.

He wished now that he had spoken up. Slughorn had not returned from his late night trip, and had been missing now for over a week. The feeling of dread in his stomach told Dumbledore that the man would likely never have another drink.

Dumbledore had just finished a meeting with a rather annoyed and peeved Severus, who was understandably rather resentful over having to cover two teaching positions. The dour man had threatened Albus with having to find a replacement for him as well, if Albus didn’t find someone to fill in Slughorn’s position.

Dumbledore reluctantly agreed (he was still holding some hope that Slughorn had simply gone on a week binge in Vegas and would be returning to spill his secrets to Albus). But he couldn’t risk losing Severus as well so now Dumbledore was waiting to interview one of the potential candidates for the defense position.

Severus had reluctantly agreed to go back to teaching potions, instead of defense (it was much easier to fill the defense position then the potions one, most potions masters had no desire to be anywhere near incompetent children).

Dumbledore stared down at the application with a small amount of unease, it was a natural feeling given the nature of the last several defense teachers he had hired. There was nothing that stood out about the applicant. He was more than qualified for the position.

The man had apparently taught defense in other foreign schools, not to mention he had been the defense master champion four years ago (it was an elite competition, setting defense masters against one another to test their skills), this was a little surprising given the man’s young age. But he was probably a prodigy; Severus after all had achieved his potion’s masters at an extremely young age and was now one of the best in the world.

Albus frowned at the application before replacing it in the folder with the rest; he really hoped this one would pan out. The other interviews had been abysmal, ranging from drunken washed up former aurors to a man, who while knowledgeable in the subject had zero practical experience. This candidate was really Albus’s last hope.

There was a soft knock on his outer office door, after a ‘come in’, the door swung open revealing a medium sized man who from the brief glance Dumbledore gave him appeared to be incredibly fit. Dark hair hung in his eyes obscuring them from Dumbledore’s sight.

Dumbledore offered his usual greeting, and offer for lemon drops before signaling the man that he should sit down. He frowned to himself again, there was something off about this man….it actually reminded Albus a lot of the changes he had noticed in young Harry.

When the man finally looked up, Albus found himself taking in a sudden sharp breath.

The man stared back placidly, his ruby red eyes never leaving Albus’s face.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Stupid. This was a completely idiotic and moronic idea. Why, oh why was he doing this again?

...ah yes, because he had promised Severus he would. Harry wanted to smack himself for his own stupidity. He had been so sure that Draco would open up to his Godfather and therefore make Harry’s own agreement to speak with the blond, null and void.

But of course being the pain in the ass that Draco was, he had only lashed out at Severus and told him to leave him be. So now Harry was searching the school looking for the giant blond prat.

He followed the faint trail of Draco’s scent through the nearly deserted halls (it was lunch and most of the school’s inhabitants where busily stuffing their faces in the great hall…Draco not included, harry had checked.).

He finally found Draco on the fourth floor, standing in one of the more deserted corridors that branched off from the main hall, staring dejectedly out of one of the windows pointed at the lake.

“Malfoy” Harry greeted stepping up beside Draco to look out the window as well.

Draco gave a start, nearly jumping out of his skin at the sound of Harry’s voice. Obviously the teen had been lost in his own thoughts and very much unaware of his surroundings.

“Potter, what are you doing here” Draco spat, quickly recovering from his surprise and masking any embarrassment at allowing himself to be snuck up on, with blatant hostility.

Harry shrugged, “No reason.”

Draco gave him an incredulous look. Harry smiled sheepishly before admitting, “Ok, I’m avoiding the staring sheep” he stated, not feeling all that guilty for his white lie.

It was partially true he did tend to avoid most meals to lessen the amount of time he had to spend being the sole focus of the gossip monger’s, his adoring fans and any envious school mates.

Draco was not able to stop his snort of amusement from being heard, he found it amusing that the great hero who had faced Voldemort and death numerous times without blinking was afraid to confront his nosey classmates.

Harry as if sensing his thoughts gave him a rueful grin, “so what are you doing here?”

Draco shrugged, shifting uneasily, “Just wasn’t hungry” he lied.

Harry raised his eyebrow skeptically. Draco ignored him, going back to staring out the window stubbornly. There was no way he was going to tell Potter the real reason, even if the boy-hero didn’t actually seem as bad this year…he was still Potter.

Draco quickly pushed away thoughts of their potion’s class earlier that week, fighting to stop himself from blushing. Just because the teen had apparently lost all sense of propriety and what little sanity he had possessed…did not mean Draco should trust him.

Trusting a crazy person was a bad idea after all.

Harry sighed to himself running his hand through his long hair. This was retarded. Severus was mad to have even suggested this….well, here goes nothing.

“Look Draco..” Harry started not noticing Draco’s surprised expression at the use of his first name, “…I know we have never been friends..” Draco snorted, “…but I’m tired of being your enemy. I know something is bothering you…and I know you already told Severus to mind his own business, so I won’t bother trying to make you tell me…but if you ever need someone to talk too, I promise I won’t judge or spread it around” Harry finished not looking away from the window.

Draco drew in a sharp breath of surprise. How did Harry know? Did harry know? Surely he only had a general suspicion…he couldn’t know the whole truth…could he? Draco felt his panic rising….he needed to get out of here, away from Harry and his knowing eyes…he couldn’t think…

“Fuck off Potter! I don’t have anything to tell you and even if I did you are the last person I would go running too. So just stay the fuck away from me and mind your own god damn business” Draco lashed out, his face red with anger.

Harry sighed, “Ok Draco…like I said you don’t have to tell me, I’ll leave you be” he stated turning away from the window and slowly starting to walk away.

Draco felt a sharp stab of regret over his words and outburst. Potter hadn’t said those things out of pity or spite….he wanted to call the teen back to admit everything, but his pride stopped him. He stayed silent.

Harry paused his retreat and glanced back at the silent, staring blond, “The offer still stands though….if you need it, I will listen” he whispered just loud enough for Draco to hear before turning and walking swiftly away.

Draco returned to looking out the window in contemplation, this time though he felt oddly less weighed down.

Maybe he would take Potter up on his offer….not now, but maybe sometime in the future.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Later that day, Harry made his way slowly towards the great hall for dinner, chatting peacefully with Neville. He may avoid meals whenever possible but he still tried to show up for at least one per day, for his cover if nothing else.

Neville had been growing more and more confidant with every day that pass, and Harry could say that he genuinely enjoyed the other boy’s company.

Unlike Hermione Neville never pried. He might shoot Harry curious looks when something the raven haired teen did or said didn’t add up, but he never asked and for that Harry was grateful. Neville was also quieter and calmer then Ron, he didn’t jump to conclusions or fall into fits of rage on a moment’s notice, something that Harry as an immortal with fight and war instincts could appreciate.

They were currently discussing the possible career paths that someone with top notch Herbology marks, but failing potions ones could pursue. Harry thought that the quiet boy would make a stellar Herbology professor or researcher.

Neville given his shyness towards most people was unsure. Keeping all of his attention on his friend during their walk to the Gryffindor table (mainly to avoid noticing the many stares and whispers directed at him), Harry didn’t notice that it was not only the students that were staring at him.

Suddenly Neville broke off their conversation, “Hey…Harry….who is that guy? Do you think he is taking Professor Slughorn’s position?” Neville asked looking up at the staff table.

Harry slowly directed his gaze to see what Neville was talking about. Their potions professor; Professor Slughorn was still not teaching their classes… in fact he seemed to have just vanished after the arrival dinner.

Harry scanned the usual assortment of teachers before coming to the man in question, he froze when he met those familiar red eyes, eyes that were staring straight back at him.

He couldn’t stop the jubilant smile that spread across his face; their new professor was none other than his on again, off again lover.

Zyren had come to Hogwarts.

Chapter Text


 

  “Nobody works better under pressure. They just work faster.” ― Brian Tracy


 

----------------------------------------------------------------

- FLASHBACK: SHADOW REALM---2 years in--

“What the hell is your problem?” Harry yelled his frustration and fatigue breaking what little control he had over his emotions.

“I do not have a problem” the daemon replied stiffly, his angry glare never leaving Harry’s face.

Harry snorted at this, causing Zyren’s eyes to narrow even more.

“And here I thought you were suppose to be the brave one” Harry taunted, not caring that he was showing blatant disrespect to his teacher.

Harry had, had enough of the daemon’s demeaning, snide comments, his hateful glares, his confusing bipolar moods.

Harry might be young… far younger then the being in front of him,( considering he was changed only a week ago) but it didn’t mean he would just lie down and take the abuse Zyren had been tossing his way. The daemon’s dislike for him had only seemed to have increased since Leonor had turned him. Harry couldn’t understand what he had done to make the daemon hate him so much

“What are you implying petit combatant?” the daemon asked, his voice low, laced heavily with warning.

“You tell me” Harry answered back, folding his arm in front of him in challenge.

Zyren snarled the sound ugly, as he took in the defiant pose of his student. Suddenly he did not care to hold back any longer. Oh, he knew that Leonor would likely cast him into the fire realm for this but at the moment; looking at the infuriatingly beautiful and stubborn immortal in front of him…he just didn’t care.

The daemon wasted no time in closing the distance between them, smirking smugly when his sudden movement startled a squeak out of the teen. Taking advantage of the other’s momentary surprise, the daemon was quick to fasten one hand on Harry’s hip while the other latched onto the teen’s long braided hair pulling it viciously back and causing the teen to expose his throat in forced submission.

“You need to hear me say it petit combatant?” Zyren asked whispering the question in the teen’s ear.

Harry shuddered against him, his pupils blown with lust at the daemon’s controlling touches, not trusting his voice at the moment he nodded.

“What was that Harree? I did not hear you” the daemon whispered again, rolling his hips in a circular motion increasing the friction between the two of them and relishing the small gasp he forced from the young immortal’s lips.

“Y-Yes” Harry gasped out, fighting to stop himself from moaning at the delicious heat the other daemon’s body was giving off. The daemon being a fire daemon was far warmer than any immortal, or even mortal for that matter.

“You…. You are my problem” the daemon stated darkly, “You distract me, confuse me…call to me, petit combatant”

Harry shuddered again at the words, so close to his own feelings for the daemon.

“Please..” Harry pleaded, hating how his tone sounded broken and desperate even to his own ears.

“Please what, Harree?” Zyren asked teasingly tracing a burning finger down Harry’s bared flank.

“P-Please…I…I need you” Harry said again, closing his eyes in humiliation. He could not believe he was letting the older being do this to him. Making him so desperate, so needy…so weak.

“Open your eyes Harree, look at me” the daemon demanded.

Harry reluctantly opened his eyes and was startled at the soft expression on the daemon’s face. An expression he was sure he had never seen the daemon wear before.

“Do not hide from me Harree…I will take care of you” Zyren whispered his warm breath like a soft caress , before he placed a soft, almost loving kiss on Harry’s lips.

“I promise” was the last thing Harry heard the daemon whisper before he stopped thinking of anything beyond the fiery touches Zyren was giving him.

End Flashback

Harry could not stop the warm blush that rose to his cheeks as he recalled the first time he and Zyren had been together.

“-arry, Harry!” another voice was calling him. Harry shook his head and tore his gaze from the daemon sitting calmly at the staff table, to refocus on the boy sitting next to him.

“Harry are you okay?” Neville asked his voice full of concern.

“Yeah…I’m fine” Harry answered automatically. Seeing the look that Neville shot him, Harry chuckled “Really Nev…I’m fine just got caught up in a memory is all”

Neville still looked somewhat skeptical, “a memory that just so happens to have been caused by whoever that new guy is?”

Harry fought down a second blush and smiled at Neville, “Er….no?” his statement coming out as a question. Harry sighed at Neville’s continued scepticism…he would have to come up with something to tell his friend.

He hated lying to the other boy, who had only ever been kind to him, but he was not ready to share his ‘summer experience’ with anyone…not even Neville.

“It’s his eyes I guess….” Harry mumbled, not meeting Neville’s eyes.

“Oh..” Neville’s tone was suddenly full of understanding. Harry winced, guilt rising once more. He knew Neville thought he was referring to how Voldemort’s eyes were a similar colour and that was what he had been thinking of, not that Harry had actually been remembering just how those ruby eyes resembled burning flames during some of their…well, more intimate activities.

Neville sensing his discomfort with the topic was quick to change it to a safer area… bringing up how he had managed to convince his grandma to let him go and watch the Harpies vs. Thunderbirds last quiditch match. Harry sighed in relief.

He was without a doubt thrilled to see Zyren again, but at the same time he was a little confused. Why was the daemon here? Was it to see him? Or was there something larger going on? And what did it mean for them?

As much as he enjoyed Zyren’s company and vice versa, Harry was pretty sure that they did not love each other…at least not in that way. They both found relief in each other’s bodies and comfort in their easy companionship…but something told Harry that they did not actually belong to one another. That they both had someone else waiting for them.

He sighed again, pushing the wilted looking green beans on his plate around banishing these thoughts for the moment. He did not know why Zyren was back but for now he would just enjoy the other’s company.

They could figure everything else out later.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Draco’s hands shook as he refolded the creased piece of parchment he had been staring at for the past ten minutes, the noise of the great hall around him went unnoticed to the shaken teen.

“Drakey! What is it? Did you receive a letter from home?” Pansy asked her voice as hackle raising as ever, “…do you have some news about…him?” she asked the second part of her question with a low eager tone.

Draco shook his shoulder to dislodge her taloned claws from its previous grip, “No, it is simply mother wanting to know how the term is going” he answered in a surprisingly steady voice, his tone was as cold and imperious as usual.

“Oh…” Pansy sighed disappointed before turning back to her syrup drowned breakfast.

Draco buried his reflexive shudder and stood up abruptly.

“Where are you going?” Blaise finally spoke up having successfully finished his first cup of attention sharpening brew (otherwise known as coffee).

“I forgot to pack my defense text, I am going to go get it before class” Draco stated coldly, quickly leaving before either of his ‘friends’ could answer. He was once again thankful that Crabbe and Goyle had chosen to distance themselves from him after Draco’s father was arrested.

While at the time he had been hurt by the actions of those he had considered friends, now he could only feel relieved. While they were extraordinarily dense most of the time, he did not want to risk them having one of their rare moments of insight….not now.

He had lied to Pansy…while the letter was indeed from his mother and did make mentions of his schooling; it was the message that was there between the lines that shook Draco. Shook him to his very core.

His mother did not come out and say it but Draco was able to interpret her meaning well enough. The Dark Lord was becoming impatient…and his mother was paying the price.

He tried to smother his traitorous thoughts…the ones that wondered if his mother was truly in danger or if she was simply hinting at such things because it would help the Dark Lord’s cause. As much as it hurt him to think such things about his family, he knew that there was a strong possibility these suspicions were true.

He shook his head; it did not matter if what his mother said was the truth or not, she was still family and if there was even a hint of danger to his family he would do all he could to eliminate it. And at the moment the only way for him to eliminate such a threat was to please the Dark Lord.

He would have to go forward with his given task….no matter how much he did not want to. His thoughts flickered to Harry’s offer again. Maybe there was another way? It was possible…

Draco banished the small feelings of hope that the other boy’s offer had brought him; no…he would not pull yet another person into his mess. He would do this alone.

He had to.

He would succeed….or die trying.  

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

A few miles away, Kathleen hummed softly to herself, unaware of the rapidly building tensions of both sides of the coming war.

At the moment she was simply focused on her task, Aunt Rosmerta had told her that all of the tables needed to be wiped manually and the garbage taken out.

While she hated being ordered around by her Aunt, this was the only job she could get at the moment. It was stupid. It’s not like she could have known that sleeping with your boss’s son was frowned upon. And now thanks to that little rat, she could not convince anyone but her Aunt to hire her.

She glared at the overflowing garbage bin in front of her, as if it were to blame for her plight. Sighing she stooped down to pick up the tied bag to toss it into the larger wheelie bin when something made her freeze.

She stopped… the smell coming from the bin was unimaginable…even when one took into consideration that it was a garbage bin. She knew she shouldn’t go closer to have a look, but morbid curiosity made her ignore her first instincts.

When he got close enough to see what was causing the smell, she stumbled back in horror and let out an ear piercing scream.

Horace Slughorn’s body had been found. And it was not in one piece.

Chapter Text


 

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves. Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.” ― Steve Maraboli


 

He really shouldn’t have been so surprised; honestly one would have thought that he would have learned by now. But apparently that was not so.

After a decade of relatively peaceful and forgettable Samhein Day’s, Harry had been lulled into a false sense of security. It was partially to do with the fact that besides the irritating stares and whispers from the rest of his school mates, the even more irritating and sporadic meetings with Dumbledore (in which nothing was accomplished and they both clung jealously to their secrets) and the surprise appointment of Zyren as Defense teacher, this school year had been relatively calm.

Therefore, he really shouldn’t have been caught so off-guard when Voldemort decided to make a splash Oct 31st, it was after all rather a tradition for the man. The morning dawned just the same as any other; Harry was secretly looking forward to the day as they had both double potions and double defense.

Both subjects, thanks to the men who taught them had fast become his favorites. While the subject matter was still unfortunately rather simple and dull sixth year material at least Harry could amuse himself with either irritating (Snape) or goggling (Zyren) his professors.

Unfortunately so far, Harry had not had the chance to meet up with Zyren in private much to his disappointment. Other than a few rushed words after class the first day they really had not had the pleasure of being alone. Neither of them wanted to arouse suspicion from the others about their previous knowledge of one another.

While this rankled Harry to some extent, he was no longer the rash, impulsive and dare he say it, impatient Gryffindor that he had once been….he could wait patiently until Dumbledore was not watching him quite so closely. He had actually been pondering if he could ask Severus for his assistance to arrange a meeting between him and Zyren.

He was still hesitant to do so however… it was no secret that Severus did not approve of his relationship with the daemon. Early on Harry had thought it was because Severus did not think Harry was worthy of another immortal’s affection, now he knew it was quite the opposite. After learning of Severus’s previous friendship and love for his deceased mother it was more than evident that Severus did not trust the daemon to have Harry’s best intentions in mind.

So he would wait for the time being, after all… sooner or later there would be an opportunity and if not Harry would eventually cave and ask the potion’s master for his assistance. He had hoped that Zyren would simply give him detention and use that as an excuse, unfortunately given Harry’s known knack for the subject, not to mention the number of previous defense teachers that had tried to kill him; it would have only brought heat down on Zyren if he did so.

“Ron chew with your mouth closed!” Hermione’s admonishing voice broke through Harry’s sulking.

“mphmmm..am” came Ron’s garbled response.

Harry sighed, closing his eyes so that he would not have to witness the chunks of masticated food falling out of Ron’s mouth, sometimes enhanced sight was not a good thing. He had been trying to reconnect with the other two parts of the Golden trio…sadly he was having little success.

He was not sure whether it was the extra decade of maturity and life-experience he had on them, or if they had always been so childish and he had just been too wrapped up in surviving to notice, but he found that they strained his patience to the breaking point most days. And he was not even going to start on what Ginerva Weasley did to his mental state…he was trying to eat breakfast without having it come back up, after all.

To be fair to his once best friends and red headed stalker, he found most of the students in his year unbearable and grating.

Surprisingly, it was the Slytherin students who he felt most at east with. Whether it was because their up-bringing and training caused them to act more like the immortal’s Harry had grown used too or the fact that they were in a way also fighting just to survive this war, they seemed to possess a maturity beyond their physical age.

Of course since he was still pretending to be the naïve, Gryffindor golden boy he could not allow for his true feelings and thoughts on the snakes to be wide spread. Although throughout the last few weeks he had been gradually shifting his actions to show more tolerance to the many snakes.

His actions, while subtle enough not to draw the attention of the Gryffindors or Hufflepuffs had been noticed by both the Slytherin and Ravenclaw students. The Slytherins so far were reacting with guarded suspicion and hostility (not that this was surprising… they were the type to wait until they had enough information to decide whether or not he would be a threat or possible ally), while Ravenclaws seemed to be mildly curious but dismissive, quick to turn their attentions to whatever book or subject was in front of them.

Regardless, Harry saw this as progress…Blaise Zabini and Theodore Nott, for example had given him a barely decipherable nod the other day instead of a glare. Harry was satisfied with this progression, slow and steady wins the race after all.

“Ugghhh….double potions and defense? Merlin are they trying to kill us?” Ron grumbled unhappily when he looked over Hermione’s shoulder at the color coordinated planner she had in front of her.

Deciding he should at least make a small effort to be engaged with his house mates, Harry decided to enter the conversation, “hmmm…what’s wrong with that?”

Ron shot him an incredulous look, one mirrored by Neville’s slightly less obvious look of surprise, “What’s wrong with that? Um…Harry did you hear what I said? Double potions and double defense???” he stated looking at Harry as if he was mental.

“No, I heard you….I rather like defense, and even potions hasn’t been all that bad this year” Harry defended with a shrug.

Ron, Hermione and Neville all gaped at him. “Did you just say that potions hasn’t been that bad?” Ron asked again disbelievingly.

“um…yes?” Harry replied mentally slapping himself and his stupid mouth…one that he blamed on his lack of caffeine.

“You have been doing much better this year in it…” Hermione stated sounding suspicious.

“uhh….the friend I stayed with over the summer is good at potions, he helped me understand it better?” Harry offered weakly, shifting uncomfortably, knowing that this was just going to bring a slew of other questions. Thankfully Ron was still hung up on the fact that he actually enjoyed potions and defense.

“You’re right mental…you know that right? Snape’s still a slimly git and tell you the truth Professor Balan is kind of creepy” Ron stated shuddering slightly.

“Creepy?” Harry asked hiding his amusement, he really could not wait to tell Zyren that his students thought he was creepy, he allowed himself a brief moment of joy at the mental image.

“um…yeah…he’s got those red eyes and all that, and I donno he kinda acts like a pureblood and all…like he’s constantly thinking up evil curses to hit you with if you answer his questions wrong” Ron stated his voice a whisper as if he was afraid of being overhear.

Harry truly had to fight to stop from snorting this time. If only Ron knew….Harry had been on the receiving end of more than one nasty curse thanks to the daemon’s impatience.

“I don’t think he’s creepy” Lavender butted into the conversation, having apparently been listening to the group for the past few minutes.

“Neither do I, I think he’s rather hot” Parvati stated, having also been eaves dropping.

Harry didn’t even bother to try and hide his grin this time…maybe it was time to start shaking things up just a bit….in a rather Gryffindorsish impulsive move, Harry nodded his agreement, “I quite agree with you Ms. Patil.”

His statement caused the entire group, along with several students who had been eaves dropping to look at him in shock.

“Whaa…but…huh?” was Ron’s intelligent response.

Harry continued to eat his breakfast calmly before looking up, “did I mumble?” he asked, “I said Ron that I agree with Ms. Patil’s assessment…Professor Balan is indeed rather good looking”

“But…bu…he’s, he’s a guy!” Ron stated as if Harry had somehow missed this fact.

“Yes?” Harry replied.

“You…you’re a poof?” Ron asked his face coloring to the same shade as his hair.

Harry paused cocking his head as if to consider Ron’s question, “hmm…well if you mean that I would rather of sex with my own gender, then yes as you state it I am a poof

Despite his previous statement regarding Zyren’s attractiveness it seemed as though no one was expecting Harry to come out and admit to something like being gay. Not, that being gay in the wizarding world was seen as a bad thing per say…it was just something that wasn’t really talked about. Gay wizards still married woman and produced children, they just kept their affairs and other relations covertly and to the side. But for the golden boy and savior to be gay….

“Come now…you can’t really say that this is all that surprising” Harry continued raising his eyebrow in a condescending manner, “after all I have only ever dated one girl before and you are well aware how disastrously that ended”

It seemed that the meaning of his words had just sunk in to the youngest Weasley, as there was a choked sob and the fleeing of long red hair from the table. Harry ignored it…he had never once given any indication that he was interested in the youngest Weasley…he refused to feel guilty for her delusions.

“Doesn’t matter to me, mate” Neville stated quietly.

Harry nodded his thanks before returning his attention to his breakfast.

Seeing that their savior was done discussing the topic, the rest of the students slowly went back to doing the same, although with many furtive whispers.

Harry ignored them, he really didn’t care all that much. He had been thinking of revealing his sexual orientation since he came back to Hogwarts. It was one thing that he really did not want to hide. He hid his immortality, age and knowledge because they could be seen as a threat or an advantage.

He was tired of being manipulated by those who thought they knew better; therefore he did not want to give them more reasons to see him as their savior or for the other side, their destroyer. But his sexuality, which was as much a part of him as the rest, was no threat either way.

If he had to play pretend, he wanted to have at least one thing that was true. Plus something was telling him that revealing this information would only benefit him in the long run.

It wasn’t until the end of breakfast that Harry’s Halloween luck struck again. He was once again pulled from his musings, this time by a sharp gasp. He looked up to see Hermione, face pale and shaken, rapidly reading the newspaper in front of her.

“What’s the matter Mione?” he asked a small feeling of dread in his stomach.

Hermione remained silent, shakily handing over the paper.

Harry grabbed the proffered paper and looked down to see discover whatever it was that had caused the bushy haired girl’s reaction.

The headline read, “Hundreds slaughtered in their homes…is anyone safe?”

Voldemort had finally struck. It was official…Harry truly hated Halloween.

Chapter Text


 

For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.” ― Suzanne Collins , The Hunger Games


 

For the second time that week Harry found himself caught off guard over something that he really should have been expecting. He didn’t know why he was so surprised to find out that the fickle opinion of the public had once again turned against him. It wasn’t like it was exactly the first time it had happened.

Although, he had to admit, even for the spineless sheep this was a rather abrupt turnaround. It had after all hardly been two months (well for them) since they had re-crowned him their golden savior and were up in arms over the blatant slandering of his name. Of course they happened to forget it was them who were doing the slandering.

He had barely gone from the lying, attention-seeking prat, to the truth-telling, brave boy and already they were once again ready to throw him to the wolves. This time of course was once again thanks to the lovely printed press.

The entire wizarding population had been in upheaval after Lord Voldemort’s recent attacks. True, they had known that he was back since the Minstery reveal, but this was the first time in over fourteen years that he had launched an all out attack on the population in general. An attack that resulted in an astronomically high death toll.

So, it was not all that shocking that the press (aka: Minstery) had once again latched onto their scapegoat. The very morning after the chaos causing article had been printed; another one was fed to the panicking public… this one of course called to question just why Harry hadn’t done anything to prevent the attacks.

Well, okay it hadn’t stated that in so many words, but the gist was the same. It asked the question of where exactly Harry had been that summer (some over-eager journalist had managed to discover his two month ‘absence’), while pondering why he had been hiding when he could have been busy defeating Lord Voldemort.

Of course it didn’t point out the fact that there were plenty of physically and magically able adult wizards that could have been trying to weed out the Dark Lord’s where-abouts or come up with a viable plan to defeat him. One that did not involve thrusting a young, fifteen year old child into the center of a war.

But of course no one wanted to ponder these points. No one wanted to consider the fact that they were just as capable as a said child at coming up with a solution….no; they wanted someone to fix their mistakes for them.

It was just Harry’s unfortunate luck that the ‘someone’ was him.

And honestly he had, had enough. Maybe before his time in the shadow realm, he would have naively fell for all their tripe about it being his ‘destiny’ and whatever else guilt laden bull-shit they tossed his way. But not anymore.

It helped that he was no longer mentally linked to the snake-faced psychopath. During his time in the Shadow realm one of Prince Kiran’s healers had given him a full medical check-up. To say that Leonor was enraged with the results was an understatement.

His sire, while having found him beaten and broken in the first place, had since that time become much more attached to the teen. While the immortal might have been incredulous over the state of Harry when he first found him, listening to an actually tally of the damage done over the years, now that he saw Harry as a son had gotten a rather violent reaction from him.

What had shocked not only the healer, but Leonor and Harry as well, was the discovery of a second soul fragment sharing Harry’s malnourished body. Harry had been horrified by the discovery that he had been playing taxi for a piece of his parent’s murderer all of these years.

He wanted to believe that Dumbledore was not aware of this fact, but deep down he knew just how unlikely that was.

Thankfully, the soul piece had been shattered during Harry’s changing, not only removing the horrid scar but by extension destroying his mind connection with Lord Voldemort. (He had taken to glamoring the appearance of the infamous lightning bolt scar on his forehead since his return).

He was not sure whether he should be offended or relieved that the majority of stares directed his way by his school mates had changed from worshipful and predatory to accusing and hateful. Overall it was a tad amusing.

He took perverse pleasure in glaring back in his best serial killer impression at anyone who caught his eye. He had made more than one Hufflepuff cry already.

“Do you see now Harry? Why it’s so important to let both of us and Dumbledore know where you were this summer?” Hermione nagged not for the first time that day, “if you told the truth then people wouldn’t have reason to come to their own conclusion!”

“And why should I care what they think Hermione?” Harry asked not slowing his pace down as he made his way to their defense classroom.

“How the public perceives you is important Harry. You’re supposed to be a symbol of hope in these dark times!” Hermione explained clearly frustrated with the fact that Harry wasn’t willing to part with his secrets. Well, that and the fact that she had to run to keep up with him since he was refusing to wait for her. Which was rude.

Harry could not help but stare at her incredulously. She had been there for his entire fifth year and weathered or at least witnessed how fickle the ‘public’ could be towards their supposed savior. He couldn’t believe that she had the nerve to spout off this rhetoric ‘greater good’ crap.

“No Hermione. I really don’t give a flying leap what they think of me or whether or not they can use the thought of me to reassure their pathetic little minds” Harry stated coldly walking angrily into the open classroom.

“….”

Harry ignored the floored expression on the bushy haired girls face and scanned the room for some place to sit. He didn’t feel like engaging with any of the idiotic people he called peers at the moment, and he could not handle sitting with his ‘friends’ so that they could continue to guilt trip him into sharing his summer activities.

He spotted the ice blond hair of his fast becoming favorite Slytherin (ok, so perhaps Draco didn’t realize this sudden good-will between them...But Harry wasn’t one to be deterred). He walked purposefully over to the Ice prince and dropped into the seat beside him.

Draco looked over at him in surprise before quickly masking his surprise with his more typical sneer, “What are you doing Potter?”

Harry looked over at him and gave him a charming smile, “sitting”

The blond looked most irritated at his answer, “I realize that Potter…but what are you doing sitting here?”

Harry faux pouted, “I missed you…can’t I want to enjoy your bright cheerful company?” he asked

Draco glared before stiffly facing forwards again, “suite yourself” he said primly.

“I will”

The blond let out a reluctant sigh momentarily admitting defeat. They sat in tense silence for a few minutes. Harry, in his haste to try and escape Ron and Hermione’s prying had fled the great hall early, and it appeared Draco had done the same thus resulting in arriving at class rather early.

In an effort to pass time Draco decided that if Potter was going to be irritating and sit next to him he could at least provide a distraction until Professor Balan arrived. “So have you come up with a name and symbol yet?” he asked after another long pause.

Harry looked at him in confusion, “…for what exactly?”

Draco turned to look at the dark haired teen next to him and smirked, “why for when you officially accept the mantel of Dark Lord and need to doff the stuffy golden boy title of course”

Harry stared at him in shock for a moment before he started to laugh. Draco who had brought it up just to get some sort of reaction out of the other teen had to admit this was not such a bad reaction. He thought that Harry looked rather cute when he laughed…before he promptly banished that thought to the deepest, darkest part of his mind, vowing to never examine it again.

After a few more minutes filled with Harry’s laughter, followed by a few more slightly breathless chuckles the teen turned to him and grinned, “hmmm…you’re correct Golden boy or boy-who-lived don’t really have the right amount of menace to them do they?”

He paused as if to ponder the blond’s previous query, giving it the some serious consideration.

Draco couldn’t help but to crack a smile at the raven-haired wizard’s antics. They were so caught up in their teasing taunts that both teens missed the fact that their professor had entered the room.

It wasn’t until the sound of someone clearing their throat just in front of Harry that he realized the whole class was staring at their apparent benevolent rapport in shock. Well not all of them were shocked.

Professor Balan, or rather Zyren was staring at Harry with an unreadable expression on his face.

One that Harry thought did not bode good things.

Chapter Text


 

She looked like the kind of woman I could fall in love with. Trouble is, she was standing next to the kind of woman I’d like to make love to. ” ― Jarod Kintz, This Book Has No Title


 

Zyren was barely able to concentrate on the remaining hour of his defense class… his thoughts and emotions were in far too much turmoil. He honestly couldn’t even put a finger exactly on why…

Ok, so that was a blatant lie…he knew why he was feeling like such a mess (well at least he had suspicions as to why) but he did not like the reason.

He had never been a jealous, possessive type of person in the past…well apparently until he met and fell for Harry James Potter-Diaz-Black that is, so to find out this aspect of his personality now was a wee bit upsetting.

The odd things was that it wasn’t even the fact that Harry had been laughing and flirting with Draco Malfoy with such ease (suggesting this was not the first time) that had upset him. No, it was his own reaction and the fact that he hadn’t been included in the conversation, that was making him see red.

He knew he could not help how he felt…but the childishness of his emotions was not only frustrating but rather humiliating…he was an extremely old daemon for Gaia sake!

Rationally, he knew that the young raven haired immortal likely meant nothing by it….it was after all who Harry was (he was known as something of a flirt back in the realm, the boy seemed to do it without even realizing),and he knew that he had never resented this fact back in the shadow realm.

Hell, both of them had been involved in numerous flings outside their own twisted dance.

He couldn’t even say that they were really in a ‘relationship’ (it was much more similar to close friends with benefits as the muggles say), and before this point he had never really regretted that fact. As much as he loved the boy there had always been something missing…like they were missing an intrinsic piece to make them fit together.

So he knew he really had zero claim on the teen and he had never stated he did…which was why he could not figure out the reason he was reacting so strongly to seeing the two of them together. All he knew was that he needed to talk with Harry about it…

If he had even a minuscule amount of hope at figuring out what was up with him, then he needed to take a step back. It was one of the reasons he had up until now been avoiding the sable haired youth…he had hoped that avoiding Harry would bring him the clarity that he needed. Apparently, as proven by his reaction to the teen just now that had been rather ineffective.

Instead of getting a clearer perspective on what he was feeling for the teen, he was horrified to find that not only did his feelings for Harry not go away, but that he was now feeling a certain pull towards the annoying blond mortal. Why, his life could never be simple he did not know.

He sighed mentally to himself… no, he needed to talk with Harry and explain to him why he had been avoiding the teen…he could see from the confused, longing looks the teen had been sending his way since his arrival at Hogwarts that if he didn’t he would end up regretting it.

There was a small voice in his brain that was telling him that he had read something that could explain why his daemon energy was reacting this way. He just needed the time to remember what he had read.

For now he would talk to the wizard and tell him he needed space to figure everything out…the same little voice was telling him that Harry should concentrate on the Malfoy heir for the time being despite his jealous reactions towards the two of them.

The bell rang and there was a screeching of chairs against stone as the students hurried to put away their parchment, quills and books that they had been making study notes from.

Before he could change his mind, Zyren called out, “Harry, stay back a minute I would like a word”

Harry gave an almost relieved smile at this request and quickly nodded, waving the two Gryffindor stalkers who seemed to like to hang onto him like over grown leeches.

When the room had emptied of his various school mates he quirked an eyebrow at the daemon, “Zyren?”

Zyren sighed to himself, he knew that Harry would not be happy with the coming conversation… pushing away his doubts he cleared his throat

“We need to talk”

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Harry wandered the dark empty halls numbly; he didn’t bother paying attention to where he was going…he honestly didn’t really care if he got caught and given detention.

His mind was much too preoccupied by the conversation that he had, had early with Zyren…or was it Professor Balan now? He wondered bitterly.

When Zyren had asked him to stay back after class he had been overjoyed. Up until that moment they still hadn’t managed to meet up since the time that the daemon had arrived at Hogwarts. Harry had been afraid he had somehow angered the man and that Zyren was avoiding him because of it.

Not that the real reason was any better. Oh, the daemon had said a bunch of different things, most of them had come out convoluted and confused….the only thing that the young immortal had managed to take away from the conversation was that Zyren wanted a break from him.

From what he understood, the daemon needed time to figure out how he felt about Harry and apparently he couldn’t do this if they continued with their usual relationship.

For that was how Harry had always seen it…sure it was not a typical relationship; one laden with professed love and roses and all that rot….but they were always there for each other when it counted.

He had never felt stifled or restricted by their on-again, off-again companionship… even when they met up and didn’t have sex he still valued their time together….he wondered what had changed between now and the last time he had been with the daemon that made Zyren decide it wasn’t worth it.

Had Harry actually listened to everything Zyren had tried to explain he would have realized that the daemon hadn’t decided this at all….unfortunately, even after ten years in a healthier environment, Harry still automatically assumed that he wasn’t wanted.

The first few hours after their meeting Harry had been filled with hurt and confusion…now, however those feelings were quickly being replaced with anger.

Why should he care that Zyren no longer wanted him? It wasn’t as if they were committed to each other or anything (despite his belief that they would be someday…even when he felt that there was something missing between them he had never truly believed that they wouldn’t end up together in the long run).

He didn’t care…Zyren’s need for distance didn’t hurt….at least this is what he was working on convincing himself of. Suddenly all of the daemons distance and avoidance came back to him; he had been a fool to have not seen it earlier really….

If Zyren was going to ignore him…then he could just as easily ignore the daemon…even if the idea of it made him sick to his stomach. Even, if he and Zyren could not be romantically involved he had still hoped they could continue as friends….but apparently the daemon couldn’t handle that right now.

He sighed to himself, fighting to get his emotions back under control through use of his occlumency shields…this could be a good thing….maybe it would allow him to figure out just what was going on between him and Draco.

He had been ignoring the slight pull he felt towards the blond up until now (well other then teasing him…but he hadn’t really been serious with his comments), perhaps this was the break he needed to change that.

One thing was for sure…he wasn’t going to continue to sit and mope over Zyren’s rejection, he had no desire to go back to the pathetic push-over little boy he had once been.

Even with these thoughts helping to push away his pain…he couldn’t help but think that coming back to the mortal realm had been, possibly the worst idea he’d had to date.

Chapter Text


 

Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.” ― Bruce Coville


 

The next few days where some of the worst that Harry had ever experienced at Hogwarts and that is including the second year Parslemouth incident, the Triwizard tournament fiasco and Umbridge.

It wasn’t as if the rejection and hostile stares of the entire school population, was a new experience for Harry or anything. In all honestly, he could barely bring himself to notice them anymore… much less care.

It was his confusion and uncertainty that were making this time so much worse than any of the other time in the past. Zyren had gone back to avoiding him whenever possible; he didn’t call on him in class or glance his way, in the great hall he didn’t look out at the students much less in Harry’s direction. Harry was both hurt by his behavior and pissed off.

Even back when they had first met in the Shadow realm, Zyren hadn’t avoided him….he acted like an angry, first class prick but he hadn’t ignored him. Harry wanted to hit the stubborn, idiotic daemon over the head…repeatedly.

Then there was his confusion over the attraction he felt towards Draco…something that he was had been unable to explore due to the fact that the Blond seemed to be avoiding not only him, but everyone. Whatever had been bothering Draco since they had returned to school had obviously not gone away. But what could h do? It wasn’t as though he could force the stubborn Slytherin to confide his deepest darkest secrets. Hell, they had just barely moved past hated enemies.

Not to mention Dumbledore had been increasingly persistent and annoying with his need to know every little thing Harry was up too. That, added to the fact that this time around he was aware of just how immature and irritating the other two parts of the golden trio were equaled, one incredibly shitty week.

He decided that he needed to do something to get his mind off of everything (aka: Zyren and Draco) so he decided to try and deal with the ministry. He just needed to figure out exactly how to do that…..

Thankfully the answer to that question was brought to him by non-other than Dumbledore… although he was pretty sure that his solution was not what Dumbledore meant when he encouraged Harry to mend broken bridges and all that crap.

But, if listening politely to Dumbledore’s rainbow filled speeches and nodding as though he agreed with the old man, allowed him an approved pass to leave Hogwarts for the day (without having to resort to sneaking out), then who was he to complain?

After having both of their names so thoroughly smeared in the papers and by the ministry last year Dumbledore was surprisingly amendable to forgiving and forgetting….or at least pretending too. Harry wasn’t sure what exactly the headmaster hoped to achieve by offering a proverbial hand to Fudge, but he was sure it wasn’t out of some altruistic, turn the other cheek principle.

Regardless of the real reason Dumbledore was so adamant that Harry go to the Minstery to meet with Minster Fudge (because apparently the minster had requested a meeting with the ‘savior’) it gave Harry the chance to observe for himself just what the Minster was hoping to achieve by allowing (and likely encouraging) the latest attacks on his character.

Severus of course thought he was stupid to go along with anything that both Dumbledore and the minster agreed upon, but Harry needed to find out for himself. Plus he was sure that the two irritating men were not going to get what they thought they were from him. Dumbledore might have started to see his new backbone, but the Minster was still firmly under the delusion that Harry was the scared little boy he had met in third year.

Harry was looking forward to proving them wrong.

He took a deep breath and moved confidently away from the arrival docket in the Minstery not bothering to so much as spare the guard out front a look as he walked past him. Intentionally not stopping and depositing his wand. (Which unbeknownst to the guard he hadn’t bothered to bring…there were some definite perks to being an immortal, and wandless magic was one of them) at the check in counter.

He was moving at a pace quick enough that he had already reached the elevator doors before the old guard realized what happened and was shouting after him about needing to register. Harry sent the flustered (rather rotund) man a cheeky wink before the elevator door’s slid shut. If he was going to meet with the Minster of magic, it was going to be on his terms….if he so happened to break every little rule on the way to said meeting…well so much the better.

He wondered briefly just where he had gotten his need to break rules from…it was definitely not from the immortal’s he had spent the last decade around, they tended to be very strict about things like decorum and following laws and such. Most likely it was inherited from his mortal parents (and perhaps a godfather or two)….

His train of thoughts was interrupted by the pinging of the elevator, announcing to its occupants that they had arrived at their chosen destination. Harry moved confidently out of the lift and across the hustling floor, easily weaving his way through the various desks and paper pushers occupying them.

He finally came to what could only be the minister’s office, stopping short before a desk holding a very familiar occupant who was currently on a magic-con (magical equivalent of a muggle phone) berating whoever happened to be the poor soul on the other end.

“….now listen here! Minster Fudge is a very busy man! He does not have time to deal with such petty grievances….no…no I can assure you that someone in ministry will get back to you….yes…of course….you too…good day madam” a harried looking Percy Weasley said before clicking the com off.

It was only after he had removed his head set, that he took notice of a rather imposing looking man standing in front of his desk. He could feel the aura of power radiating off of the green eyed man and straightened his posture unconsciously. The man actually looked rather familiar….

“Percy….it’s been too long” the handsome stranger all but purred at him, offering him a mocking smile.

That voice….and then it all came together. “Harry?” the redhead asked in disbelief not quite able to wrap his mind around the fact that this tall, confidant, powerful man...No teen, was the same skinny, bespectacled youth he had seen at the full court hearing last year.

“Indeed…” Harry smirked at him, “now…as fun as it has been seeing you again…why don’t you let your little boss know that I’m here”

Percy felt himself bristle at the mocking tone Harry was using but stopped himself from lashing out at the youth, knowing that as sarcastic as the boy had meant his comment to be..he was partially correct. The minster would indeed be pissed off at him if he delayed Fudge’s access to the boy hero for even a moment. Percy settled for offering the teen a condescending look and sniff, “wait here…I will inform him” before strutting his most confident strut away to do just that.

Harry had to stop himself from snickering …Percy had always been a pretentious little prick…it was fun rankling his feathers a bit. It wasn’t even two minutes before the redhead returned looking rather put out and sulkily told him to go right in.

Harry gave him his most charming smile (with perhaps a bit of an edge to it), “always a pleasure Mr. Weasley” he said loudly, before moving away from the desk and entering Fudge’s office without so much as a knock. He knew just how much Percy had tried to separate himself from being associated with the Weasley name.

On his entry Fudge nearly fell out of his chair in surprise (despite the fact that he had just been informed that Harry Potter was coming in to see him…honestly how the British public could elect someone as stupid as Fudge was beyond him).

“Ah…M-Mr. Potter….good to see you, have a seat” he stuttered slightly before recovering enough to adopt his usual blustering confidence.

“Wish I could say the same minster” Harry replied sweetly, but there was no mistaking the iciness underneath, “You wished to see me?”

Fudge swallowed convulsively and fidgeted nervously under the cold green stare, but unwisely soldiered on, “Yes…I-I wanted to discuss your responsibilities” he finished in a brave tone, one that was somewhat belied by the sheen of nervous sweat appearing on his forehead.

Responsibilities?” Harry asked the word falling like poison from his lips.

“er…that’s right…your…your responsibilities to the British public” Fudge stumbled on.

“I’m sorry Minster…but I was unaware that I had any…’responsibilities’ as you call it…to anyone, much less the idiotic British public” Harry stated, his harsh glare never leaving the fidgeting man in front of him.

Somehow the minster managed to find an ounce of his old swaggering confidence and bring it to the forefront, “Now see here! Dumbledore has said something or other about some prophecy that named you…you-know-whose conqueror… there for it is your duty to do something about him!”

Harry stared at the man with something akin to disbelief. Was he serious? And what the hell was Dumbledore playing at? Shaking his head slightly to bring himself back to the present, he snorted.

The words that came next were born out of the past week of frustration, and a whole lot of pent up anger…he had, had enough…at the moment he could care less about Britain or any of the people in it (well there were a few exceptions but right now he wasn’t thinking of them).

“To Hell with some bullshit prophecy made by a drunken, fraud….” Harry stated gone was the syrupy softness being replaced with hard, coldness.

“…tell me Minster…is it not in your job description to defend your constituents from a threat? So if your outlook on duty is correct… then really shouldn’t you be going out and facing dear lord Voldemort?” Harry asked mockingly

“Now listen here! You have no right to speak to me like that! The prophecy states…” Fudge had sprung from his seat, his face flushed with anger. He could not believe that this little whelp was not doing as he was told…Dumbledore had assured him that faced with his ‘responsibilities’ the boy would cave. From the looks of things Dumbledore was just having a go at him!

Harry cut him off, “no, Minster…my answer is no. Do it yourself, or find someone else…because frankly I do not give a shit anymore!” he spat angrily, standing up and moving towards the door to leave. Honestly, this was not how he had wanted the meeting to go but he was just too fed up to try and manipulate the idiot.

“Y-You can’t say no! t-this is your duty!” Fudge cried out in disbelief

“I believe I just did Minster…good day” Harry retorted opening the door and leaving quickly making his way towards the lifts (ignoring all of the stares directed at his person). He heard fudge cry out, “..th-this is treason! I-I will have you arrested….you owe it to Britain!”

Harry spun to face him just as he got back onto the lift and sneered, “Please minster…just try…I dare you…” he paused to look at everyone who was gaping at him in shock, “…But be warned Minster, Voldemort is not the worst enemy you could have”

And with perfect dramatic timing the doors slid shut.

Harry sighed to himself wearily and leaned back against the back of the lift. Shit…what had he just done? Threaten the minster? Check….possibly made himself some powerful new enemies? Check….had a blast doing it? He couldn’t help but smirk to himself…check.

Well come hell or high water there was no taking it back now….he refused to lie down and be their martyr any longer…he would just have to live with the consequences.

Chapter Text


 

Tension, in the long run, is a more dangerous force than any feud known to man.” ― Criss Jami


 

“Where have you been?” Blaise asked him- his stance confrontational, his eyes begging for a fight.

Draco would normally have loved to rise to the challenge, to verbally flay and remind his friend exactly how the hierarchy in their ‘friendship’ worked but right now…right now he was tired. He wanted nothing more than to find a dark, quiet corner and sleep for the next decade or so. Preferably the length of time it would take for old Voldieshorts to bite the bullet.

And there he was going again with the muggle references….merlin he had a sick sense of irony. Him, son of the number one death eater (or at least Lucius had once been the number one) enjoying muggle books and comics. He was a dead man walking.

“None of your business” Draco snapped back at Blaise trying to bring his attention back to the present.

“Cooome on Drakey….we’re your friends….we’re worried about you! You’ve been so distracted and distant lately…we only want to help” Pansey joined the discussion.

Draco bit back a snort of derision at her comment. Like they could help even if they had wanted to…which he seriously doubted. Voldemort hadn’t singled them out after all…no, that honor fell on Draco. How special.

The past week had been hell.

It had started with that weird ass defense class. He had been more than a little shocked when he saw the look Professor Balan had sent Harry’s way…it was the kind of look Draco sent Harry when he thought no one was looking…full of frustration and want. He was even more surprised when he had felt an intense flare of jealousy shoot through him.

He wasn’t surprised that he felt jealously in regards to Harry, over the last month or so he had come to a tentative acceptance that a lot of his animosity towards the famous wizard was misplaced denial. However that did not explain why he was jealous of both of them….it was almost as if he wanted the Professor as well as Harry. And that was something he was just not ready to acknowledge.

So, he did the only thing he could think of to keep his mind off of the gorgeous duo…he concentrated on fixing the damn vanishing cabinet. The second letter he had received from his mother might have helped steer him in that direction as well. It was full of carefully veiled pleas…mixed with just as carefully disguised threats.

It was almost as if his mother couldn’t figure out how to motivate him…trading between pleading to his conscious and playing on his fears through threats. Though in all fairness, ever since his father had been locked away his mother had been getting more and more bipolar in her moods and actions.

“Back off Pansey…what I am doing with my time is none of your concern….I am sure he wouldn’t be all that pleased to find out that you’ve been badgering me and distracting me from my task” Draco stated letting just the right amount of threat linger in his words.

He hadn’t come right out and told Blaise or Pansey about the task Voldemort had assigned him…Blaise could very well sabotage his plan…whether because of the same reasons Draco had for not wanting to succeed or out of a desire to see Draco fail and look better because of it…Draco wasn’t sure. Pansey would of course be thrilled…but she would hover around wanting to be a part of it.

For these reasons he had kept the details to himself, though continued to make vague references….it helped to cow both of them into leaving him be. As much as they both had reasons to get in the way, neither one of them was stupid enough to possibly anger the Dark Lord.

“Ohhhh…” Pansey said a sudden look of understanding coming to her pug like face, “Do you need any help Drakey? I would love to lend you a hand….with anything” she cooed giving him an intense stare.

Draco shifted uncomfortably, the kind of hand she wanted to give him he sure as hell didn’t want from her. “Thanks Pansey, but I’m fine” he stated resolutely, “Look I should go…I still have a lot to do” he made his excuse and hastily rose from the Slytherin couch all but running out of the common room.

He wasn’t lying, he wasn’t anywhere near figuring out how to make that blasted cabinet work. What was worse, he wasn’t sure if his continued failure was because he really did not want to figure it out. He shuddered to himself when he thought about what the Dark Lord would use the vanishing cabinet for….he didn’t want to imagine dozens of death eaters running freely about the school….near harry.

But what other choice did he have? If he didn’t do it death would be a blessing….one that he was sure the red eyed snake would take his time granting. He headed back up to the seventh floor and the room he had come to hate with a passion. He had to fix it….

He was far too young to die.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Harry found himself once again wandering aimlessly through the halls just shortly after his return from the Ministry. He should have been racked with nerves and worry especially after publically threatening not only Fudge, but an entire floor of Minstery workers… but he wasn’t.

In fact he was the exact opposite…as though some unseen weight had been lifted off of him; he felt a sense of relief.

He was almost hoping that the Minster would come and try something…he found that he was rather spoiling for a fight at the moment. It might be nice to have an outlet for his frustration and suppressed anger. He rather enjoyed the idea of punching Fudge in his pig like nose….maybe he would even bring Umbridge. Harry had heard a rumor that the old toad was back working for the Minstery instead of rotting away in some dark prison cell like she should have been.

He came to a halt when he heard it…had it not been for his enhanced hearing he doubt he would have noticed the constricted sounded breathing and soft shuddering sobs coming from the very bathroom that he, Hermione and Ron had used all those years ago. At first he brushed it off as just Myrtle up to her usual histrionics…but something made him stop anyway.

He found himself hesitantly entering the abandoned bathroom, more out of curiosity than anything else. He certainly didn’t expect to find Draco there. Even less so, to find Draco there leaning heavily on one of the sinks with almost silent tears running down his face.

He stood there, transfixed by the sight and not quite able to make himself back away silently before Draco could notice him. And he was still staring when Draco finally did look up and caught sight of him. The blond’s tear streaked face flushed in embarrassment…or maybe it was anger…it was hard to tell.

“What the hell are you doing here Potter?” he spat out, his voice shaking with hate and anger.

The undisguised hatred in his voice was enough to shake Harry from his trance…a trance that was brought on by the thought that even in tears Draco was undeniably beautiful.

For once his new found confidence and cockiness faltered still startled by his shock of finding Draco here of all places, “I-I…I thought I heard something…” he trailed off wincing mentally at how stupid his answer was.

The look Draco shot him wasn’t doing anything to help dissuade that feeling. “Leave” he stated his voice emotionless.

Harry faltered not entirely sure what he should do. Draco told him to leave…he should listen, but he didn’t want to. He wanted to know what was wrong…to...to help.

That thought made him pause….it had been a long time since he had genuinely wanted to help someone. Most of the time he did it just because that was what everyone expected of him. Even before the shadow realm it had been out of sense of duty rather than actual desire. Yet here right now, staring at the red-puffy eyed Slytherin in front of him, he wanted more than anything to help him.

“I said get out! Leave!” Draco screamed it this time, the emotions he had been trying so hard to suppress bubbling to the surface.

He had gone back to the stupid room and failed yet again. The bird had come back dead…deader than a doornail…and there he was going with the muggle sayings again. He was so tired…so tired and confused and he just wanted a moment to breakdown without having to worry about what was happening at home, about whether or not his mother was playing him, about what would happen to him if he failed, about what would happen if he didn’t fail. He was just so tired. And now the object of his recent stress relieving wanks was standing before him seeing him ugly, and weak.

It was too much.

Harry hesitated again, before slowly moving towards the blond…hands spread wide as if trying to reassure a wild animal. Draco didn’t know what to do…he wanted Harry to come to him just as much as he wanted to be alone.

Harry watched Draco raise his wand as if to curse him and made a split second decision, he used a small portion of his unnaturally fast reflexes to dart forward and snatch the wand away, tossing it behind him and out of the blond’s reach. Just as quickly he pulled the other boy towards him and wrapped his arms around the trembling body.

He felt Draco struggle against him, trying vainly to push the larger boy away but he didn’t budge, just kept holding the blond. Slowly the tension in Draco’s body left, being replaced by trembling. He felt Draco press his face into his shoulder, felt the renewed tears start to soak his Hogwart’s uniform and still he held him, rubbing soft soothing circles against Draco’s back.

Slowly the shaking subsided and he carefully drew back but didn’t move away from the blond. Draco was flushed again not looking up at him but rather staring at the opposite wall.

“What was that about Draco? What’s going on with you…and don’t even bother telling me it’s nothing because I know something is wrong…something has been wrong since the start of the school year…”Harry stated gently gripping the Slytherins chin and tilting his face up so that he was looking at him. “Please tell me….I swear I’ll listen and not judge….just please…let me help” he pleaded, pouring all of his emotion into it.

Draco looked as though he was warring with himself, so Harry reached out and took hold of one of Draco’s hands holding it in a loose embrace, “Please” he said one more time. And this time he saw that he had succeeded.

Draco took a deep shuddering breath, closing his eyes as though to gather his courage….when he opened them he looked resolutely at Harry…grey meeting green.

“Ok” he agreed.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Albus was barely paying attention to the order meeting that was taking place in front of him; he was far too distracted by his growing concerns. Concerns that centered entirely around Harry Potter.

He wasn’t sure what to believe about what his Minstery mole had told him. For so many witnesses to all be saying the same thing it had to be true, but it just didn’t fit the boy he had come to know.

Or at least it didn’t fit with the boy that he thought he knew…but with the recent changes in Harry, even if they were small and barely noticeable, he wasn’t so sure. What was even more worrisome was that he didn’t know what to do about it.

On one hand he disliked the fool Fudge just as much as any half intelligent man would… after a year of the idiot befouling his good name and worse stalling any chance that they had in hopes of defending themselves against Voldemort he couldn’t entirely disagree with the threats that Harry had supposedly made. On the other hand…they needed the minster on their side. They had not needed to alienate and humiliate the man.

Not to mention Harry threatening him and stating he would have nothing to do with defeating Voldemort was definitely not what Albus wanted to hear. He wished there was another way….a way to get rid of the blood thirsty tyrant without involving a fifteen year old boy….well involving was a slight understatement he supposed given the thing Albus knew…but it was the only way.

He dreaded the thought of telling Harry the truth…it was more than a full grown man should be expected to bare let alone a boy barely into his teenage years…life was cruelly unfair. Unfortunately there was no other choice…and the fact that Harry was already rebelling against his duty was not a good thing.

Not for Britain at least.

He had to find a way to convince Harry to not only trust him but too be willing to sacrifice himself for the people he had just denounced….

There was no other option.

Chapter Text

 


 

The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche


 

One incredibly important lesson Harry had learned during his stay in the shadow realm was the importance of playing the game. The fifteen year old teenager he had once been had not understood the need of become involved in the political scene…in fact he had run as far and fast as he could to escape his own power and influence.

Part of it was because of how he had been raised. When you are surrounded by hate and disgust you shy away from anything that could place you in that type of environment again. He hadn’t wanted to be famous for his parent’s murder, for something he barely remembered and what he did remember of that night (thanks to the dementors) he wished he didn’t. Back then, he didn’t understand that if he didn’t use his own influence to aid himself, others would use it against him.

That was no longer the case.

He may still hate the world of fake smiles and false words but he understands it now. He’s had time to learn and to adapt.

Flashback- (one year after arriving in the Shadow realm)

Harry straightened his posture and nervously smoothed out the invisible wrinkles in clothing. Since he was still Leonor’s apprentice he was dressed in simpler version of the Lord’s silk spun tunic and double and despite the length of time he had been here, he was still not completely comfortable in their style of dress.

He hated this part…honestly he would even preferred Zyren’s sadistic training sessions to being forced to make small talk with the numerous arrogant immortals at court. In all honesty the vain bigots weren’t even the part that Harry dreaded most….no, that spot was solely reserved for the lovely Princess.

He wasn’t even sure what he had done to warrant the bitter hatred of the cold royal…it was almost as if his simple existence was enough to warrant her disdain. He could only be thankful that Prince Kiran was usually not far… otherwise he was sure he would not have lived past his first day in the realm.

If the Princess had nothing but hate for him, then the Prince was the exact opposite…he seemed to adore Harry, often slighting much more powerful and rich immortals to spend time near the human and his brother-in-law.

“A there you are little one” Prince Kiran greeted a bright smile on his beautiful face.

Harry fought the blush threatening his face, he was still not used to being greeted with such obvious pleasure. Even back in the human realm when he was the famous The Boy-who-lived, those who greeted him did so with either disdain, fake flattery or with barely veiled desire to use him. He may never have confronted those around him but he wasn’t stupid… he could see their intentions. But the Prince greeted him as though he was genuinely happy to see him, not just use him.

“Your highness” Harry returned his greeting bowing slightly to show his deference. He could feel a hostile glare practically burning its way through the back of his neck and knew that it was coming from Princess Selene even so he did his best to try and ignore it.

He spent the next hour talking with the Prince, answering more questions then he asked…although as he grew more and more comfortable with the immortal leader he had slowly become brave enough to contribute more than answers to their conversations.

Their conversation was eventually interrupted by none other than the devil herself, “Dear…I believe your other guests are feeling neglected…perhaps you should spread your time around” she stated her tone just this side of glacial.

Prince Kiran looked up in surprise as though just realizing that he had other guests, “Oh…hmmm, I suppose you are right love…forgive me” he directed the last at Harry, “I must cut our conversation short”

“Of course your highness…another time” he stated and dipped his head again before the Prince glided off to talk with Lord Jeniro, a rich noble man who didn’t possess much intelligence.

Before Harry could slip off to find Leonor or Severus…or hell even Zyren, he was stopped by the Princess who caught his upper arm in a vice grip. He gave a startled gasp at the painful contact.

“I know what you are doing little witch boy” she hissed at him her mouth curled in an ugly snarl.

Harry wasn’t sure what the hell she meant but he was smart enough to hold his tongue, so he remained silent keeping his eyes on the ground so as not to be accused of being impertinent. He felt her grip tighten fractionally causing tears to come to his eyes, ones that he blinked back furiously. He would not give her the pleasure of seeing true tears.

“I don’t know what you did to gain my brother’s attentions, nor those of my husband’s…but I warn you now…you are no where good enough to play this game. I will destroy you” she spat at him before releasing his arm but shoving him slightly in the process, causing him to have to take a few steps to prevent himself from falling on his ass.

Before the Princess turned and left he swore he heard her mutter, “She learned her lesson and with time so will you”

End flashback

It had taken him awhile after that encounter to realize what the Princess had meant by ‘game’. She had of course been referring to the fairly common believe in the shadow realm, that he was somehow charming influential immortals to get ahead.

Of course this belief was false, not that this fact mattered to anyone. In the world of power and cunning that the immortals existed in, none of them could even imagine that he might just enjoy Leonor’s and Prince Kiran’s companionship.

When he broached the subject with Severus, his former professor had suggested that he learn how to survive in such a world instead of just stumbling around blindly. He insisted that both Leonor and Prince Kiran were just as aware of the rumors as anyone else and that it would actually be wise to use their influence to help protect himself. At least until he was a tad more unbreakable.

He had objected at first but it hadn’t taken long before he saw the wisdom behind Severus’s advice, and so slowly he had learned how to play the game. In fact by the end of his time in the Shadow realm he was rather well known for his silver tongue and his art of manipulation. There were only four people who knew his true self in the realm; Severus, Leonor, Zyren and Prince Kiran…everyone else got a carefully selected mask.

Now was the time to but this learned skill to use in the mortal realm. After his conversation with Draco and Draco’s confession about his given task, the high probability of him being marked at Christmas if he went home, and his own suspicions about his mother’s loyalties… Harry knew that he needed to start exploring options outside of Dumbledore and the Ministry.

Like Draco he suspected that Dumbledore would only use the blond for his own goals if Draco went to the headmaster for help. Likely he would end up like Severus as a spy for the order, unlike Severus though there was no way that Draco would survive such a position.

Severus for his part had chosen to act as a spy ‘for’ Dumbledore, in all actuality he was a triple spy (if there was such a thing) taking information on both Voldemort and Dumbledore back to Prince Kiran. He just happened to do it in a manner that allowed both magical leaders believe that he had been forced into it by circumstance.

Draco was far too young and easy to read to ever be able to pull it off and both he and Harry knew it. Harry would have gone to Zyren for advice or help but at the moment he was still too pissed off at the immortal to approach him. Plus, although he was certain Zyren would help Draco it wasn’t just Draco that Harry was concerned with.

He had already made it clear to the Ministry and subsequently Dumbledore that he would not fight their fight and face Voldemort. He also refused to join the snake faced bastard in the upcoming war. Because of this he knew that the war would escalate and things would get very, very bad in England before it was resolved.

He had no desire to see the people he actually liked hurt in the upcoming war, and even if they had turned on him many times there were those that wished to remain neutral in this conflict…so he needed to find a way to protect them from both sides.

Hence the reason he was currently writing various letters to the magical leaders of several different countries. Countries who had stated that they wished to remain neutral to Britain’s conflict. He hoped that they would at least agree to meet with him.

He finished the last of the letters and signed it, including his many titles. He placed a small drop of blood on the seal that would ensure that no one but the intended could open and read the missive. He collected the stack of letters, there were ten in all (Japan, US, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belize, Australia, Canada and Russia) and tied them to Hedwig’s leg. After giving his beloved owl quick instructions and a loving pet he watched as she disappeared into the night sky.

He had placed a strong blood-magic on her to stop her from being intercepted or attacked. With that task done Harry slowly made his way back towards his dorm.

He hoped he would receive the reply he wanted…for now all he could do was wait.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Zyren picked up the book that he had received last night. He had messaged Chavi a week ago in hopes that she would have some answers for him….his long time friend had sent him a short note along with the ancient looking book that was currently sitting in front of him.

He stared at the note again,

Love,

All the answers you seek are in this. Careful how you proceed

Chaviellese Cuéssyr

He set the well worn note aside and hesitantly reached for the book, as much as he wanted…no needed answers he wasn’t sure what he would find. He didn’t know what he would do if the answer was something horrible.

He took a deep breath, determinedly pushing his worries aside and grabbed the heavy tomb. He didn’t waste any time flipping through to the index to find the chapter that would most likely give him the information he wanted. He thought the one labeled ‘Immortal Mateships-identify and understanding.’

There weren’t a ton of books about the immortal species, mainly because most immortals had been around for so long that they didn’t need to have their histories or customs immortalized on paper…after all they lasted far longer than any book would.

But there were a few, mainly written by those who had been changed from something else. Zyren being a daemon was not like the true immortal’s… sure he didn’t really have to worry about growing old or dying, but he had only been in the Shadow realm for the past six hundred years. Prior to that he had lived in the realm his own people were from-the Verdomb** realm. His own king (and father), Set* had sent him to this realm as a peace offering and show of good will to Prince Kiran.

Zyren had at first resented the fact that his father sent him to another as a mere trophy but over time he had actually grown to love his current King and Shadow realm. It was far more luxurious then the Verdomb realm…and being the only daemon in the realm afforded him a degree of infamy.

But given that he was not actually an immortal, he did not know all of their customs or the details of their courtships. He had never come across anyone who he thought could be his mate…well, before he met Harry that is.

It was part of the reason he had been such an ass when he first met the teen. He could not believe that he, a prince in all rights could feel pulled towards a mere human…it had taken him over two years to get over himself and realize just how truly special the teen was.

He might be making a mistake now pushing Harry away so that he could figure out just what was going on between the three of them, but he didn’t want to proceed wrongly and screw everything up…not until he had all the information.

He spent the next two hours reading the thick chapter before he finally found what he was looking for…

In some cases although extremely rare, an immortal will be too powerful to have just one intended mate. They will need two opposing mates to help balance them and keep their powers grounded.

In the case that they only find one of their mates they can be content with the relationship but there will be a feeling of incompleteness…an urge to wander. This is the case for all participants in the relationship.

Generally the immortal will fill the position of a beta. They will need both an alpha and a submissive to feel complete.

The alpha, often a species were domination is natural will feel an overwhelming desire to protect and shelter both other members of the group, though this need will remain dormant towards the submissive unless the beta acknowledges both other members as mates. They may even feel slight hostility towards the submissive until the bond is acknowledged.

The Submissive often from a species that is non-confrontational and relies on diplomacy will feel a pull towards both members, although it will be stronger towards the beta until trio is confirmed.

Finally the Beta (usually an immortal) will likely feel pulled towards both their alpha and submissive. The beta will have the urge to submit to the alpha while wanting to protect the submissive. The beta generally acts as the cohesive in the relationship keeping the alpha from abusing their dominance, while ensuring the submissive has the amount of reassurance and protection that they need.

The first step in courtship in this type of relationship is verbal confirmation, later followed by emotional and finally physical. The entire process can vary from a few months to years.

Zyren reread the passage several times before pushing it away and bringing his head to rest on his crossed forearms. Shit…well this explained things. Now he had to figure out how to let the other two know what he had just learned….

Hopefully Harry would forgive him long enough to listen….as for Draco; well he wasn’t sure he was quite ready to think about that yet. It had after all taken him two years to accept Harry. He knew he would have to accept Draco much quicker then that if he wanted to get rid of this itching discomfort he had been feeling for the past several months.

He sighed heavily before giving his head a shake, there was no sense working himself into a tizzy over this he had too just hope that he could get over his own fears and that his two mates could accept this.

Only time would tell.

 

Chapter Text


 

“I wish I could fly like that hawk, rising and falling with the still spaces in the air, far above all this sickness and death and evil.” ― Heather Day Gilbert , God's Daughter


 

Despite not having really resolved anything, Draco could not help but feel like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders when he confided in Potter…no, Harry. It still felt a little odd to refer to his ex-enemy/obsession by his first name…even in his mind.

He had felt more than a little embarrassed at having been caught so emotional and un-Malfoy like by the Gryffindor but instead of mocking and humiliating him further Harry had kept his word and listened with an impartial ear. It had felt so good to be able to drop the pretense for once and voice all of the things that had been causing him to lose sleep out loud. He now understood the weird cultish muggle’s practice of confession a little better. Surprisingly, it helped to confide in someone.

Definitely not something he had been raised to do.

His confession had somehow opened a door; one that had always remained so firmly shut before. It allowed him to move (or at least begin to) past the years of animosity and resentment he had towards the dark haired wizard.

It was- should he be so inclined to admit, the start of a tentative alliance…one that he hoped could lead to friendship with time. For that was really all he had ever wanted from the other boy…friendship, well at least for now. What he really wanted from Harry he was pretty sure was not an option, so he would settle with their new alliance for now.

Draco walked stealthily down the fourth floor corridor with only one destination in mind, he had made his excuses to Blaise and Pansey…mentioning his given task again. It was enough to stop their questions…for now. Though he was running out of time… there was only four days before the Christmas holidays began and he could only pray that Harry came up with something by then.

He couldn’t go home, of this he was certain.

All there was at home was enslavement...he might have gotten out of being marked over the summer but there was no way he could avoid it if he went home. Not to mention he really didn’t relish the thought of spending his holidays hiding from the numerous psycho paths currently residing in the Malfoy manner.

He came to a stop when he spotted the statue. It was one that was easily overlooked, meant to hide in plain sight and all that rubbish: a nymph of some sort. He took out the fresh flower he had picked earlier that afternoon and placed in the nymphs stone hand, the flower glowed for a brief second before the statue slid out of the way; leaving a space just wide enough for Draco to squeeze through. As soon as he entered, the statue slid back hiding the hidden room behind it.

“Draco” a smooth voice greeted him as he entered. The room behind was small; only large enough for two or three people to comfortably stand in, the walls danced with shadows from the few light torches that lined them.

“Pot-Harry” Draco corrected himself keeping his voice neutral. They hadn’t really had much interaction since the whole bathroom debacle and he was a little uncertain where they stood. He realized he needn’t have worried when saw the large smile sent his way.

“How are you” Harry asked genuinely concerned.

“Fine” Draco replied stiffly causing Harry to sigh.

“Look, can we not do this? I really don’t want things to become awkward…let’s just agree to a truce and try to get along, yeah?” Harry asked his tone pleading.

Draco didn’t show it but felt a wave of relief wash over him, ‘thank merlin’ he thought before answering Harry’s question ”Yeah I can do that if you can..” he agreed this time a tad friendlier.

“Excellent” Harry replied sending him another smile before clearing his throat, “Ok, so I’ll get on with why I asked you to meet with me then”

Draco nodded but remained silent otherwise, leaning back against the wall preparing to listen to what Harry had to say.

“So we both know you can’t go back home for Christmas…that would be just asking for trouble…” he began, “…I am not planning on sticking around Hogwarts this year, there are some things that I need to see to that I’d rather not have Dumbledore aware of”

Draco’s eyebrow rose in surprise…he knew that things had seemed a little more strained between the golden boy and the headmaster this year; he just hadn’t realized the extent.

If Harry was going behind Dumble’s back then there was definitely more then met the eye. He paused in his thoughts when something occurred to him, “Wait….you don’t go back to your relatives over the holidays?” he asked in confusion. He had always assumed Potter would not miss a chance to return to somewhere he was treated like a prince.

Then again he had always been a tad suspicious about those rumors…for someone who supposedly lived in the lap of luxury there were a lot of things that didn’t add up…like how scrawny Harry had always been (well before this year), and the fact he was always dressed in rags under his uniform.

Harry snorted at Draco’s comment, “uh…no definitely not. I wasn’t welcome there before this summer…I am most certain that I will not be welcomed after happened”

Draco’s curiosity peaked, “What happened?” he asked causing the confidant teen across from his to flush. He was guessing Harry hadn’t meant to say that last bit.

“My uncle died” Harry stated in a flat tone clearly warning Draco to leave it alone.

Draco shrugged and pushed back his remaining questions, it was obvious that Harry didn’t want to talk about it and he certainly didn’t want to risk their freshly formed alliance by pissing the volatile teen off….plus they had more important things to discuss at the moment.

Harry apparently realized this as well and stood up straighter before continuing, “anyway point is I’m likely heading out of the country over the holidays…I am going to go out on a limb and trust you” he shot Draco a hard look to which Draco nodded trying to relay that he could indeed be trusted, “…the only way that I can see to ensure your safety is if you come with me”

“What?!” Draco squeaked in surprise. He was definitely not opposed to spending a prolonged amount of time with his crush, he was just surprised by the fact that Harry would offer.

“Well…you can’t go home. I don’t really trust that you remaining at Hogwarts will be enough to stop your parents from forcing you to come home…so the only other option is to go someplace no one knows…hence with me. Plus that way you won’t be completely alone if something were to go wrong. I know it’s a short term solution but I will talk to Sev and Zyren and see if we can come up with options for what to do after the holidays…” Harry trailed off lost in his plans.

“Did you just say Sev…as in Professor Snape?” Draco asked in disbelief, causing Harry to look up at him and grin. He had almost forgotten how everyone still believed that he and Severus were hated enemies.

“Long story…but yes, and Professor Balan” he added as an afterthought. Sure he was still angry at the daemon, but Zyren had approached him yesterday and asked for a chance to talk. He could trust the daemon enough to know he would help if pushed.

“Since when have you been on first name basis with my godfather?....and I’m not sure if confiding in him is so wise” he added hesitantly.

Harry waved off his concerns and smirked at the blond, “since the summer….again long story; one I will tell you at a later date. And if you are referring to his death eater status, just know we can trust him with this…I promise” he added in a much more serious voice at the end.

Draco wanted to argue but he knew that Harry was a good judge of characters…he had risked confiding in the other teen he should at least try and trust his judgment, “fine” he said reluctantly.

“Good, I am supposed to meet with Zyren this evening I will bring it up then. I will let you know what is decided by tomorrow…fair?”

Draco nodded in agreement, however reluctant. Harry sighed again at Draco’s obvious reluctance, he looked at the blond beseechingly his eyes soft and pleading, “Please Draco…trust me. I wouldn’t jeopardize your safety”

Draco studied him for a long moment knowing that it was a lost cause already. There was no way he could deny those eyes, “alright…do what you think is best”

Harry gave him a blinding smile in return and he couldn’t help but give him a small smile in return. He didn’t lie to the Gryffindor; he was going to do his best to trust him.

He only hoped that Harry knew what he was doing.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Zyren heard the hesitant knock on his door and took a moment to brace himself before calling out for the person to come in. He knew that it was Harry, he had asked him to come after all. He really hoped that this went okay….he hoped that Harry would set aside his hard headed pride long enough to at least hear him out.

Of course knowing Harry he didn’t place too much on this hope.

Harry entered the room his shoulders stiff and face determined, it looked like he was preparing for a fight. Ironically it was Zyren who had taught him just how to fight so many years ago. A small smile graced his lips at this thought, though he was quick to hide it when he saw Harry’s glare.

There was a long tense pause before Zyren cleared his throat and gestured to the second chair that was pulled up next to the small fireplace which decorated his private quarters, “Please…sit down?”

Harry gave him a curt nod before carefully sitting down, his posture remaining ram-rod straight. He turned towards Zyren reluctantly, “so what is it you wanted to see me about?” he asked his voice was flat but he couldn’t quite hide the underlying note of curiosity.

Zyren cleared his throat once again and shifted nervously (not something that was normal for the hot tempered daemon), “I-I wanted to apologize...” he said after a second continuing hastily when he saw Harry’s expression darken, “…I know I didn’t really give you a real reason to cut things off between us…and I am hoping you will listen to those reasons now?”

Harry’s expression didn’t change as his emerald eyes drilled holes into the daemon sitting across from him. He knew that he was over-reacting to the whole situation but Zyren had been one of the few people he thought would not abandon him, and yet during the previous weeks from hell… the daemon had done just that.

He was hurt that Zyren did not want to stay together yes, but that was not the real reason he was so angry at his former lover. He could accept that the daemon didn’t want to continue their on and off again relationship, but he thought that the daemon would at least remain his friend. And in Harry’s opinion friends didn’t ignore each other or shut each other out.

Zyren took his silence as permission to continue, “I am sorry I didn’t explain better mon petit combatant, but I couldn’t…I didn’t understand what was happening myself. I just needed some time to sort it out before I could tell you...” he stated his tone pleading.

Harry scowled at him apparently not buying his explanation, “And did you?” he asked icily, “…figure things out? Or do you need another week of completely ignoring me and shutting me out?” he asked. Then it was as if something broke in the angry teen and he stood up abruptly his eyes mirroring his hurt.

“Fuck Zyren! I thought we were better than that. I thought we got past all the bullshit and posturing! You could have just told me you were confused…I would have understood! You didn’t fucking need to completely ignore me…hell, you haven’t even looked in my direction all week….I thought we were at least friends first Zee, I really could have used someone to at least talk too” he finished his rant brokenly, his tone soft.

Zyren closed his eyes regretting at once how he had gone about things, yes he had needed time to figure things out but Harry was right he shouldn’t have acted like the teen didn’t exist. He had promised Harry back when they started sleeping together that he wouldn’t keep things from him, that he wouldn’t abandon him. And he could understand that in Harry’s eyes this was exactly what he had done.

He forgot sometimes with how strong Harry was in his magic and his fighting skills, that he was still very much an insecure abused little boy underneath. “I know Harry…and I am sorry. I didn’t think….and I understand if you don’t want to listen… just please…” he trailed off.

Harry studied his face and his expression softened minutely, he sighed “Look I don’t know Zee…I-just you know how hard it was for me to open up to you in the start…it-it’s just going to take me some time..” he admitted softly.

Zyren couldn’t help but feel a little more hopeful at this comment. As much as Harry was a guarded and easily angered, the black haired immortal was also amazingly forgiving…proven by his relationship with Severus.

‘Ok…that is fair” Zyren agreed before standing up and walking over to his book shelf and removing the old tomb he had been reading earlier this week. He paused and handed it to Harry who only looked confused as he accepted the book.

“Just read it okay? It-it explains a lot, Chapter 15…”

Harry nodded hesitantly, “ok…” he stated tucking the massive book under his arm before looking up at the daemon, “Oh! I also need to ask you something about Draco…” he started.

Zyren cut him off before he could finish, “Yes…Severus informed me of the…situation” he stated before once again walking over to the shelf, only this time he opened up a small chest sitting at the end. He took out a small thin black bangle and handed it to Harry who looked back at him in question.

“Give it to Draco; it will remove temporally his guardian’s ability to pinpoint his location. It is only effective for a month at the most but it should answer your question until we can find something more permanent”.

Harry’s eyebrow’s shot up in surprise, “You’d…?” he started.

Zyren again knew what he was asking “yes…regardless of what you decide about us…I won’t stop looking out for your safety…or his…” he added the last hesitantly.

Harry looked confused at this, “but…why?” he asked.

Zyren nodded towards the dusty tomb Harry was holding, “read the book” he said as an answer. Harry studied him a moment longer before agreeing and turned towards the door.

“Good night Zee” he said softly before leaving.

Zyren sighed and stared after the beautiful immortal wistfully, “Good night mon petit combatant” he whispered back.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Harry’s plans for the holidays were falling in place; he had a general idea about what he was going to do he just needed to make a few last minute decisions. It was a good thing too, considering the break started tomorrow. He had yet to read the book Zyren had given him and was feeling a little apprehensive every time he caught sight of it in his trunk.

He was glad that he had taken the precaution of warding his trunk heavily, using his blood and methods he had learned from Chavi as Neville had informed him that he had caught a certain redhead trying to open it. Harry knew that Ron was likely only trying to borrow his map or cloak but it still pissed him off that Ron didn’t ask first.

He had already decided on choosing one person from each house that he trusted to be neutral in the upcoming war, to scout for other potential defectors but had decided to wait until after Christmas to approach them with the idea (well that and he still didn’t know who he was going to ask from Slytherin or Hufflepuff). He figured he should wait until he was sure that he would have a place to send them if needed…and that had to wait until after the meetings he arranged to attend over the Christmas break.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sudden silence that descended on the normally boisterous Gryffindor table, causing him to glance up to see what had caused it. He had to quickly hide his surprise at seeing Dumbledore standing just a few feet behind him.

He briefly wondered what the hell the headmaster was up to now. They had just had a rather tense meeting two days ago…one that had ended with Dumbledore not getting what he wanted out of the teen as usual. The headmaster had dragged him to his office with ‘concerns’ over Harry’s ministry fiasco and his distancing from his old friends.

Of course when Harry refused to give into his not so subtle hints about re-donning the golden cap and apologizing to both ‘injured’ parties in the name of diplomacy, the headmaster had moved on to trying once again to weasel what had happened over the summer to cause such changes out of Harry.

Once again the headmaster did not receive the answers he wanted, and after a long tense silence Harry had effectively ended their meeting by walking out; ignoring Dumbledore’s calls to remain. He had also ignored the last three notes he had received summoning him to come back and finish their discussion, in Harry’s opinion it was more then finished…apparently Dumbledore didn’t agree.

“Harry” Dumbledore greeted the damnable twinkle present as ever.

Harry slowly turned around and stared at the headmaster, “Headmaster” he returned evenly keeping his face completely blank, he could feel the stares of the rest of the entire school on the two of them. Maybe that was his plan? Did he think that he could cow Harry into submission because he thought Harry wouldn’t want to make a scene?

He bit back a snort; if that was the headmaster’s plan he was going to fail miserably. Perhaps the old Harry would have done anything to avoid a scene…but the new Harry frankly didn’t care, as proven by the whole Minstery fight.

“I noticed that you didn’t sign up to stay at Hogwarts this year, my boy…” Dumbledore questioned letting concern colour his comment.

Harry wanted to roll his eyes, really it was almost disappointing that Dumbledore was going to try and play that card. “No I didn’t” he replied not offering any more information.

“And where are you going?” Dumbledore pressed on, ignoring the attention they were receiving so effectively Harry wondered if the old man had forgotten they were in the middle of the great hall during dinner hour.

“That is my business headmaster, I really don’t see how that concerns you” Harry replied coldly not blinking at the disapproving look he was receiving from Hermione for talking back to a professor.

“It is, if it could jeopardize your safety my boy…” Dumbledore stated and cut the protest that Harry was about to make off by continuing, “...I am also your magical guardian and I believe it would be best if you went back to your Aunt’s over the holidays if you do not want to remain at school”

Harry gaped at him; he knew that Dumbledore was a tad off…but to suggest that he returned to his Aunt’s house after he had basically killed her husband not even a year ago? No fucking way. He mentally sighed remiss to give up one of his cards but he was not about to go back to the Dursleys…no way in hell.

“Actually professor you are wrong” Harry replied smirking up at the aged wizard, whose eyes were no longer twinkling. Perhaps he was regretting having this conversation in front of so many witnesses now Harry thought vindictively.

“Wrong?” Dumbledore questioned confused to Harry’s comment.

“Yes, wrong….you are not my magical guardian…as of September I have been fully emancipated, both magically and legally” Harry replied in a bored tone before standing up and pulling back the sleeve of his robe, letting the glamour drop to show his earrings and arm bangle.

He heard the collective intakes of breath at the sight of so many Lordships. Dumbledore looked positively floored at the sight, “My boy…what is the meaning of this?” he finally asked in a strict tone.

“..not my boy Headmaster, it’s Lord Duke Diaz-Potter-Black” Harry corrected him taking no small amount of glee at the rapid loss of colour in the headmaster’s face, “so, as you can see Headmaster you are no longer my magical guardian and you have zero say in where I go for my winter break”

Dumbledore’s shocked expression morphed into one of anger. Harry knew that a break in the usually unflappable headmaster’s veneer was not a positive thing and he edged his way away from the table towards the more open center aisle. He noted that Draco was now standing almost immediately behind him face blank but an amused shine in his slate eyes.

Harry chanced a quick glance up at the professor’s table and saw both Severus and Zyren nodded imperceptibly at him before turning back to Dumbledore and smirking at the irate headmaster.

“Now listen here!” Dumbledore stated his voice ringing throughout the hall, “you will not be leaving this castle Mr. Potter….It is for your own safety, and if I have to involve the Minstery then I will”

Harry could not believe that Dumbledore was desperate enough to get what he wanted that he would resort to that kind of threat in front of everyone. He knew that it was a valid threat however; Fudge would like nothing better than to try and tie a leash to him. No definitely not going to happen.

He saw Draco give him a look and took it as it was meant. Permission.

He faced Dumbledore again and smiled wickedly at him, “Well then Professor I wish you the best of luck with that”

And with that he grabbed onto the blond’s arm beside him and apparated them away.

Chapter Text


 

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” ― Nelson Mandela


 

A stunned silence rang throughout the great hall at the sight of their savior (for they still believed expected him to save them even if they were busy slandering his name and besmirching his character) and his arch-enemy, the ice prince disappearing with a pop. No one moved or said anything for a long period of minutes, until a certain Gryffindor bookworm broke the silence with what one might call a pointless question (well at least compared to what she could have been asking about).

“Wha…I thought no one could apparate inside the Hogwart wards?” Hermione’s voice rang across the silent hall. And with the first words spoken it was like opening a flood gate…students and teachers alike started to question and comment on what they had apparently just witnessed.

“Did you see…”

“I don’t believe it!”

“Harry and Malfoy…I thought they hated each other!?”

“…I told you he was going dark”

“What would Lily and James think?”

Dumbledore stared blankly at the spot where the hope for the light had vanished from for a long moment, thoughts racing through his mind; ‘how did he do that…I the headmaster can’t even disappear out of Hogwarts at will….maybe it was an elaborate kidnapping scheme? Maybe the Malfoy heir had a port-key and was actually the one to whisk young harry away? Yes…that makes more sense than believing Harry was suddenly capable of feats of magic that should be impossible…ok, so the boy had done the impossible as a baby but that was because of Lily’s sacrifice…right?’

He shook his head to clear it from these thoughts; he could take the time to consider this later…right now he had a panicked school to deal with.

“Silence!” He shouted not hiding the power behind his voice as it rang throughout the hall bouncing off the stone walls which just further amplified it. The din immediately dropped off and every pair of eyes swiveled to look at him. He knew that he had made a mistake in arguing with Harry in front of them, he could see the slight mistrust in some of the student’s eyes. He could win them back but it was going to take work…he really hadn’t thought that Harry would continue to act out with everyone watching though. That was a large miscalculation on his part, one that was going to cost him…

He sighted at that thought he really couldn’t afford to have anything distract him at this time, not when they were literally on the brink of war. Didn’t Harry understand this? They had no time for teenage rebellion or temper tantrums…not if they hoped to defeat Voldemort.

Given Harry’s actions lately he had to wonder if the boy really did mean what he said at the Minstery about letting the British population reap what they had sown. Surely, it was just said in a moment of heat….he shuddered at the thought of Lord Voldemort getting his hands on Harry when he was in this state of mind, who knows what the boy would agree to….no this was not good. They needed to find the boy and find him fast.

“Prefects please escort your houses back to their dormitories. No one is to leave their houses until told otherwise…” Dumbledore instructed continuing when a groans of complaint started up, “…now, now I advise we use this as an opportunity. I know that many of you have not finished your packing for your holidays perhaps now would be a good time to do so…hop hop off you go” Dumbledore instructed allowing his eyes to twinkle once again.

While some did not buy this benevolent tone (especially after what they had just witnessed) more of the students who had already been loyal to the headmaster lapped it up easily. Dumbledore smiled; perhaps the damage done wasn’t going to be as hard to repair as he had thought. Slowly the masses trickled out of the great hall following the prefects assigned to each house, when the hall was finally empty minus the teaching staff Dumbledore turned to them.

“We must find Harry and rescue him from wherever Mr. Malfoy has taken him” he stated in a serious tone.

Severus stared back at the old man incredulously, had he finally lost his mind? Any fool could see that it was Potter that had grabbed Draco and apparated him out? Was it Albus’s deep seated prejudices against Slytherins affecting his judgment? or was it just that he was so desperate to believe that he was still in control of his golden boy that he was coming up with ludicrous explanations?

“And what makes you think that Potter has been taken anywhere?” he asked his tone snide and condescending.

He saw the corners of Zyren’s mouth quirk beside him, while the two of them had never gotten along he could see that the daemon enjoyed the headmaster’s idiocy just as much as he did.

“Well it obvious my boy” Dumbledore said gently as though speaking to a child, Severus grit his teeth to keep himself from snapping at the man, “…apparating in school wards as Ms. Granger pointed out is quite impossible. And while I am sure Mr. Potter is quite powerful, I seriously doubt he is that powerful….it only makes sense that Mr. Malfoy was had a hidden port-key and took him to Voldemort”

Minerva and Poppy gasped in horror. Severus barely refrained from rolling his eyes at the drama of it all.

“So you think that Mr. Malfoy, a student not done his schooling, somehow was able to not only sneak a port-key in past the detection wards which you, headmaster constructed after the whole Triwizard Tournament debacle not to mention find some sort of port-key that would actually work around the new ‘anit-transport’ wards…which include over a hundred different port key signatures-I might add and kidnap Mister Potter conveniently after the same Potter had a major fight with you about staying at Hogwarts for the Christmas break?” Severus questioned skeptically.

Dumbledore had the good grace to flush, “It is possible…” he stated though not sounding quite as sure of his words as before.

It was Minerva that was the first to decipher what Severus was trying to say and speak out loud, “Are you saying Severus, that Harry somehow managed to perform an impossible feat of magic and simply….ran away?” she asked voice full of disbelief.

“Now that would be telling” Zyren answered, not bothering to hide his amused smile.

“Telling indeed”

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Draco only managed to keep his balance after such a sudden side-along apparition due to many, many years of pureblood training…after all, it would not have done for an heir of a noble house to embarrass himself by stumbling or hurling everything whenever he was popped somewhere. He did however send a rather baleful glare Harry’s way only to be met with an annoyingly smug smile. Stupid git.

He decided to see where exactly said stupid git had taken them instead of starting up what he knew would be a losing battle with the green eyed menace. Sometimes he missed the flustered, unsure boy Harry had once been…it was so much easier to be the superior one.

The manor they stood in front of looked vaguely familiar to the blond…had he been here before? And where exactly was here?

It was big, not nearly as big as the Malfoy manor of course…but then again not much was…well maybe the muggle palace by the name of Istana Nurul Iman* but since it was muggle and not magical Draco really didn’t count it.

The manor was built in the same style that so many old family abodes were modeled after; it was made of distinctive stone, which given its apparent age was somewhat weathered and covered in moss and ivy. The front door was formidable looking, the brass doorknob and knocker standing out from the old knotted wood. The grounds themselves were nice, while not nearly as extensive as Draco was used to you could tell that they were cared for, the huge trees providing dappled shade across the green expanse of the lawn.

“Where are we?” Draco asked when he couldn’t get his mind to cooperate with him. He was sure he had been here before if not in quite a while.

“Prince Manor” Harry replied easily and moved confidently up the stone drive, one that ended in a looped circle, obviously laid down in the days that horse and buggy were still popular.

Draco gaped at him in surprise…sure Potter had mentioned going to Severus for help with Draco’s situation but he hadn’t really believed him. He knew...ok, he didn’t know, but he had suspected that Severus would help him when push came to shove but for his godfather to give the location of his family estate to Potter of all people was a little unbelievable. Even if they had somehow become less hostile towards each other (frankly he was surprised that they could even move past wanting to torture one another to death with the previous level of their hatred) this was a huge show of trust.

Still here was the proof…because now that Harry had said it, Draco knew that he was indeed telling the truth. This was Prince Manor…Draco had only been here once or twice and both occurrences had taken place when he was much younger (before the age of eight).

He had almost forgotten that his godfather owned a home outside that ghastly little muggle abode called spinner’s end. He wondered briefly why Severus would choose to live there instead of his family home….then again there was no rhyme or reason that Draco could figure out when it came to his godfather.

“And why may I ask did you bring us here?” Draco questioned following Harry cautiously.

His question was interrupted by the appearance of a snooty looking house elf-Draco hadn’t thought it was possible for a house elf to look condescending but trust his godfather to find one. He wasn’t the sort of man who would want his guests to mistakenly think they were welcome in his home after all.

“Ahh…Coraly?” Harry asked hesitantly staring at the straight backed elf, “I believe Severus informed you of our possible presence here for the next few weeks?”

The house elf sniffed and tilted her already up turned nose even higher; “It’s pronounced cor-a-lee…Master Diaz” she sniffed primly, not talking like any house elf Draco had ever met. Little did Draco know that Coraly was not just any house elf but a Luputian who was simply glamoured to appear like the mortal realm’s house elves.

Harry of course recognized Coraly’s true form and knew that they should not expect the same timid deferential stammering that was common in the mortal realm’s house elves. He knew that she resented calling him master, for if they were back in the realm she would address him as apprentice Diaz, but had to refrain from doing so here…at least for now.

“Of course…I believe we will be staying in your master’s home for the next two or so weeks….” Harry informed her.

The Lupitan sniffed again before nodding stiffly, “Master Snape had instructed me to tell you that he will try to come see you at least once during the break but that he is unsure of when or if he will be able to get away…he said he may bring a guest, and that you would know him Master Diaz” she stated.

Draco was suddenly reminded of Harry’s big unveiling in the great hall… he would be sure to get an explanation for that. To think Harry had been hiding that amount of political power and influence was mind boggling. Oh, yes they would be talking alright…

“Yes…I believe I do. Thank you for telling me Coraly” Harry nodded at her previous statement. Draco snorted to himself, of course Potter would go around thanking house elves; he truly didn’t understand how things worked…Draco was fully expecting Severus’s elf to start wailing away because of it. He was more than a little shocked when the Elf appeared to expect Harry’s gratitude. What the hell was going on here?

“You’re rooms are prepared. Do you require dinner?” the house elf asked primly. Harry shook his head negative, before grabbing Draco’s hand and dragging him up the stone steps that ended in the back of the entry way. It was only a few minutes later that Draco found himself in front of the room that the elf had mentioned.

It was clean if not a little sparse. What little furniture (a four poster bed, dresser and small desk and chair) was of obvious good quality although it was a far cry from the luxury that Draco was used too. Harry obviously saw the blond’s disgruntled look and interpreted it correctly.

“I can take you back to Hogwarts….or Malfoy manor if you prefer” he offered his tone light, but the silent reprimand underneath was clear.

Draco shook his head vehemently, “No…this is….fine. It will just take me a while to get used to it…” he managed weakly.

Harry sighed but decided to let it go. Draco might have been willing to join him for the holidays but the blond was still a Malfoy and Harry had long ago learned that Malfoy’s were a tad spoiled. It would take Draco a while to adjust…but Harry had no doubt that the blond would manage it. Harry realized that he hadn’t answered Draco’s earlier question and decided to do so now.

“As for your earlier question…I brought us here because I trust Severus and I know Dumbledore.” He stated and continued when he saw Draco’s questioning look, “Dumbledore will not let me go so easily, he will no doubt be sending out search parties scouring all the places he can think of me going…like my Potter properties and most likely the places he thinks you might take me if you were too kidnap me…” He chuckled at Draco’s affronted look.

“This is Dumbledore we’re talking about” he said in explanation and Draco nodded in understanding even if he still looked put out about it.

“But how are you able to get in…even if Severus told you the location and gave you permission he would still need to be here for you to be able to enter…I can enter because I am his godson and the wards recognize me as part of the Prince family…” Draco trailed off still not understanding how Harry had managed to enter the formidable wards.

His godfather might not be as well off as he was but the man was no slouch when it came to erecting protective wards around his property.

Harry shrugged, “I am his apprentice…it is a position that is nearly family, I would imagine that is why the wards allowed me in”

Instead of alleviating Draco’s confusion it just furthered it, “his apprentice? What why-how…wh?” he fished around for the question he wanted to ask. He didn’t have a clue what being an apprentice even meant, this was the first he had heard of such a position.

Harry shrugged again and stated, “Long story…one for another time”

Draco was not happy with this answer but could tell that he was not going to get much more out of the raven haired wizard at the moment. So instead of objecting he just filed his question away to reside with all the other one’s he had for the (former?) savior; like how he knew Severus and their relationship, how he knew Professor Balan and their relationship, when he had become a lord of so many houses and just what that meant, where he had spent the summer and with whom, the changes…not only physical in Harry’s attitude and magic, what plans he had for this break…oh questions, there were many.

He nodded with a sigh and sank down on the four poster bed, Harry paused a moment before sitting down beside him. “Ok, so we still need to talk about what we are going to do to get you out of your current mess” Harry stated after a moment.

Draco wanted to be offended at the wizard’s words but knew that they held truth in them, he was in a mess.

“We will need to find some way to emancipate you from your parents….” Harry stated pausing to see if the blond would object to this-up until this year Draco had been rather proud of his heritage and if they went through with getting him emancipated he would lose his claim to his family fortunes and possibly the Malfoy name. However seeing none, he continued “ It would of course be much easier if you were already passed your magical majority..” he stated though it appeared that he was talking more to himself then to Draco.

Draco chose to answer anyway, “…no not for almost two years, and I’m still a year away from getting my inheritance as well…”

Harry’s head shot up, “inheritance…but that would mean…” he looked at Draco in question.

Draco sighed regretting having to let out one of his families most well guarded secrets, “…yes. The Malfoy’s aren’t quite as pure as they have led everyone believe” he admitted feeling a tiny bit guilty over his past behavior and spouting of pure-blooded rhetoric. Of course his father had only told him their secret last year…and boy, did Draco have trouble swallowing that pill.

Harry quirked his eye brow, “So…what?” he asked obviously asking just what Draco could inherit.

“I doubt that it will make any difference, as no Malfoy has been powerful enough for the gene’s to manifest in the last ten generations…but it is possible…that I could receive an inheritance. There is apparently elf in my families’ blood lines” Draco explained.

Harry couldn’t deny that he was a little surprised… his thoughts went immediately to Chavi and he suppose he could see it: Draco had the same aristocratic air to him, and while their hair colors differed vastly, Draco had the same slate grey eyes and pale complexion.

“hmmm…well if you did it would solve a few things” he muttered to himself.

And it would. If Draco came into elf inheritance not only would he be granted entrance to the shadow realm unconditionally- where he could hide from Voldemort and his parents (unfortunately as long as they were his guardians and he was under aged their name, the magic and law would allow them to take any decisions Draco might want to make away from him. It was only Zyren’s bangle at the moment that prevented them from tracking him down and that unfortunately was only going to last for so long) at the very least.

Not to mention inheriting (or being turned) into a non-human exempted them from both wizarding and family law in both paper and magic. Unfortunately, as Draco had said his chances of inheriting were rather unlikely not to mention even if he did it would not occur for a year; by which time Voldemort could easily force his fidelity and once sworn even an inheritance would not revoke such an oath.

“Okay, well that information is good to know and it may come in use in the future but for now we need to figure out what to do here and now. We do have a little time yet…that protection Zee gave you should not run out before close to the end of January…so we don’t need to panic…yet” Harry said standing up.

Draco nodded his agreement, “so…what now?” he asked.

Harry sighed, “For now we rest and plan…I will contact both Sev and Zee and see if either of them has come up with any other plan….” He trailed off before hitting his forehead lightly.

Draco looked at him in concern…oh please let the teen not be on the verge of a mental breakdown…that would not be good, “What?” he asked cautiously.

“Hmm…oh nothing--never mind it is not important. I just remembered there was a book Zee wanted me to read…” he paused, his eyebrows scrunching together as he considered something, “…come to think of it I think he was hinting that I have you read it too…”

Draco looked at him in confusion…Zee was obviously Professor Balan, but he didn’t know what the professor would want him to read. In truth the man kind of confused him…he acted like he hated him one moment, then the next Draco would see him staring at him with what looked like concern. Very disconcerting.

“ookay…” Draco answered slowly.

Harry sent him a small smile before stating that he was heading to bed and that Draco should do the same.

The blond stared after the departed wizard…he added Professor Balan’s oddities to the growing list of questions.

He needed to get some answers to these questions if he was going to keep afloat in his rapidly changing circumstance.

And he needed to get them soon.

Chapter Text


 

A lasting solution, the possibility to begin a new life, is the only dignified solution for the refugee himself. -- Poul Hartling ,


 

“Stop pacing…your making me nervous” Draco snapped at him for what had probably been the ninth time in the past two hours.

Harry took a deep breath and expelled it forcefully before offering him a weak smile, “I know…sorry” he dragged his hands through his long ago ruffled locks, “…I just really want this to go okay” he admitted the last quietly while determinedly staring at any other point in the richly decorated room besides Draco.

Draco hid a small fond smile from the nervous wizard approaching him slowly and cautiously…like he had approached his father’s not quite tamed black Pegasus so many times--just waiting for them to startle and lash out or run.

Harry did neither so Draco placed both of his hands on Harry’s tense shoulders- doing his best to ignore just how toned and firm said shoulders were underneath his hands-and gently guided raven haired man back over to the king sized bed and making him sit down. “Look at me” he commanded using his firmest tone knowing that Harry was far too gone for anything less at the moment.

Harry reluctantly raised his head so that his green eyes met Draco’s own; Draco was not the least bit surprised to see worry and uncertainty shining in them. “Now Listen to me, I am not going to repeat this so you better get it the first time” Draco stated in his best prissy Malfoy voice.

“You are Harry-fucking-Potter, those people--I don’t care if they are simple waiters or fucking ministers, are going to listen to what you have to say. You are going to go in there and make you case and fight for what you want. You will not back down or give in to anything less…understood?”

Harry let out a shaky breath but managed to smile, “Yes, sir” he replied though with less sass then he normally would have. But still it was better than the ‘I’m a second away from losing my breakfast all over you’ look he was sporting before.

Draco sat down next to him and placed a hand on Harry’s upper thigh, “You are going to be fine. I know you can”

This time the smile Harry gave him was genuine: large and bright. Oh, what Draco would do for that smile he thought to himself…he really shouldn’t let the boy-savoir have this much power over him but there really wasn’t anything he could do about it. He doubted that even Voldemort could refuse Harry’s smile.

Draco cleared his throat hastily to break the tension that was steadily building between them and removed his hand from Harry’s thigh; he thought he caught a brief flash of something in the green eyed wizards eyes…was that disappointment?- but it was gone so fast that Draco swore he had been mistaken.

“So, Professor Balan is meeting us before the meeting?” Draco asked the only question his jumbled mind could come up with at the moment. The meeting he was referring to of course was a semi-secret ICW meeting that conveniently excluded Britain from its invite list. Harry had been sent an invitation the second day after they had left Hogwarts, and now a week later they were sitting in a rather expensive hotel room in Osaka, Japan (provide complementary of the Japanese minster of magic).

Harry had told Draco how he had written to the numerous different heads of ministries around the world requesting a meeting to discuss aid and inner politics with them. Apparently enough of the ministers were interested in meeting with the famous Harry Potter (for he was quite well known even outside of Britain) to agree to such a meeting.

In order to make it more convenient for everyone, they had decided to meet him all at once. Since they had already had a bi-annual meeting planned (their annual unofficial meeting…the official one took place in July and involved Britain and other out of favor countries...aka the ones that were continually on the brink of civil war) this was the simplest course of action.

Draco knew (or so he thought) that Harry wasn’t used to this kind of formal gathering and that was the cause of his nerves. In reality Harry was quite used to attending formal gatherings, meetings and events…he had endless practice in the shadow realm. If he could please a bunch of bigoted immortals then he really wasn’t all that worried about a few elite wizards. No, the reason he was nervous was because for once if he failed it wasn’t going to be him who received the consequences.

Without the ‘yes’ that he was going after, he wasn’t sure his evacuation plan would or even could work. So he needed this meeting to be successful…failure was really not an option.

“Yeah, Severus couldn’t make it…apparently, Dumbledore has been using him more and more to try and hunt us down” Harry gave Draco an amused smile, “apparently he is the only one that Dumbles trusts not to sympathize with me or you if you happened to have kidnapped me”

Draco snorted in amusement. Oh the irony. Dumbledore was placing his search efforts in the hands of one of two men who actually knew where they were and had actually helped them escape in the first place.

Not that Draco was complaining mind you, he was rather grateful that Sev had managed to send all of their trunks and belongings to the manor beforehand. How he did it Draco had no idea…but then again he was one of the best spies out there…intuition pared with sneakiness was pretty much a given.

“Zee…wanted to be here sooner but didn’t want to arouse any suspicion so he decided to wait as long as he could before claiming a ‘family’ emergency… apparently he is ‘mother’ is going to have a potions accident” Harry explained glad for something else to focus on besides what he was going to say in the meeting that would take place in less than half an hour.

“You still haven’t said how exactly you know Professor Balan…or how you and Severus are suddenly on a first name basis” Draco commented, he wasn’t comfortable with calling the professor Zyren even if Harry had told him it was fine to do so.

“I know…and I will. I promise…just not now…” Harry said sending a pleading expression in Draco’s direction.

Draco sighed but relented, “Fine…but we will be having this conversation” he added.

Harry smiled at him again before casting a quick tempus…

“Time to go” he stated standing up and heading to the door.

Draco trailed after him…this would work.

It had to.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Harry saw a dark haired man standing just outside of the meeting room, scanning the room with his ruby eyes and couldn’t help but smile. He really hadn’t talked to Zyren (minus a few letters, but those were mainly professional and guarded) since that meeting in his room. He had finally read the books that Zyren had lent him and in all honesty he wasn’t really sure how to feel about what he read.

While one part of him was thrilled at the thought of having two potential mates (he really didn’t have another name to describe this type of relationship) another part was terrified. How in the world would two gorgeous men want him?

Oh, he knew on some level that Zee wanted him…at least physically but he wasn’t sure that the daemon wanted more than that. Sure, Zyren had hinted to the possibility of having a more serious relationship a time or two….but would he really still want that after Harry agreed to it?

It was part of the reason he had always insisted on their open-ended casual relationship, he was terrified that when Zyren realized that he was truly tied to Harry that he would freak out or even worse that he would become bored.

Harry really didn’t understand how he could possibly keep the interest of such an ancient and powerful daemon (Zyren had eventually told him just who he was in regards to the Verdomb realm…it was one of the factors that had made Harry want to distance himself a bit from his lover). Oh, he knew that he was being insecure and stupid, even a tad bigoted about the whole issue but he really didn’t want to completely fall for the daemon only to have him leave…Harry wasn’t sure he could handle more rejection. Distance was always safer.

Then there was Draco…the proud, spoiled Malfoy heir. Sure the blond was eight years his junior (mentally at least) but Draco had always been old for his age (well in some ways). The manners and customs of purebred society were so ingrained into the teen that he bore a lot of similarities to many of the immortal’s Harry had met.

He had always had an air of superiority and entitlement about him…and although Harry had seen cracks in this armor, it still made him nervous. How was someone who was raised to accept only the best suppose to react in finding out one of his mates was the freakish boy savior? He could see the old Draco Malfoy accepting it simply for the fame and power it would bring him…but the new Malfoy? Harry had no way of predicting how he would react and that scared him.

He had dealt with so many surprises in his life….and rarely were any of them good.

“Zee” he greeted quietly taking care that none of the other dignitaries entering the room overheard his lax greeting.

Zyren smiled back at him…relief was evident in his eyes as he gave him a brief hug…perhaps holding it a tad longer then socially acceptable, “Harreee….how are you feeling…are you ready for this?” he asked.

Harry wanted to both roll his eyes and laugh at the daemon, while Draco couldn’t help but give him encouraging words (no matter what form they were delivered in) Zyren would always fall back into the instructor/trainer mode. Giving an order or an interrogating question. Harry assumed it had something to do with their supposed positions in the relationship, the book had said that alphas were always more forceful and domineering while submissives tended to be more supportive.

“As ready as I can be” Harry responded as confidently as he could…he knew he really wasn’t fooling anyone.

Zyren glanced over in Draco’s direction with a closed off expression but his eyes softened minutely when he saw how awkward Draco appeared to be, witnessing Harry and himself interact. “Draco” he greeted softly pretending not to notice the shocked expression the blond had at the sound of his first name, “How are you? Is the pendant working okay?”

Draco managed a small smile, “Yes, thank-you”

Not really sure what more he could say at the moment Zyren simply nodded and turned back to Harry, “Alright I think they are about ready for us…you will do most of the talking. Me and Draco are simply there for support” he stated, though it sounded like he had a particularly difficult time saying the last word. He really wasn’t normally the supportive type…of course Harry being Harry was always the exception to that rule.

Harry sent another tight smile in his direction and grabbed Draco’s hand for a second, squeezing it as though he was drawing courage to enter the room before he dropped it and turned to Zyren, “Ok, your highness lead the way”

Zyren rolled his eyes at the teens attempt at humor but did as directed.

The room was not nearly as full as it would have been during a normal ICW meeting but there was still quite a few countries represented. Some sat alone, while others hovered and gossiped in groups. Zyren did a quick head count there was roughly about fifty or so people in the room, probably around fifteen countries in all were present.

Considering that a normal session consisted of approximately 150 some odd countries this was a significantly smaller greeting (*The ICW did not have as many as the muggle UN organization simply because many of the countries in the UN just did not have a large enough magical population to have an official magical governing body).

Zyren found the empty seats that they had been assigned, close to the front of the room…a large speaker podium was set up facing the rows of seats. He felt Harry falter slightly when he saw the podium but also saw Draco place a comforting hand on the nervous immortal’s lower back. The contact allowed Harry to move forward without anyone noticing his reluctance.

Maybe the Malfoy heir would be a good addition to their relationship. Zyren tried, but he couldn’t always give Harry the soft reassurance that the still slightly insecure immortal needed at times. He would have to talk to both of them soon…maybe sometime after this meeting.

Once all of the dignitaries, scribes, secretaries and ministers were settled down, one of the men; quite a jovial looking fellow (Zyren believed he was head of the AMM-American Magical Minstery) gestured at Harry to go ahead.

Harry managed to smile confidently back at the man and with one last glance at both Zyren and Draco got up and walked over to the podium. All traces of shyness and nerves were gone.

This was the Harry Zyren had grown to know over the past few years in the Shadow realm…this was the immortal who earned the name ‘silver tongue.’ Before the dark haired male had even opened his mouth Zyren knew that he had the support of everyone in the audience.

There was very little the young immortal couldn’t accomplish when he wanted to.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Josephine tried to quell the shaking in her hands as she reread the letter. It should not have caused this reaction from her…she had received so many of these letters--all the same, words slightly different, perhaps a changed color of ink….but they all held the same meaning.

Stay silent. Pretend it never happened….or else.

It had been so long…always receiving one of the letters on this day….the same day as that day. That day had ruined her life and she had no one to blame but herself. Her own insecurities and hatred…her selfish jealously…it wasn’t supposed to have turned out like it had. She wished that rewinding time was one of the immortal’s gifts.

It wasn’t. Even if she could she doesn’t know if events would have played out differently.

So she is forced to live with her decisions and choices…their consequences are suffocating, but she fears the consequences of talking even more. At least she thinks she does. The letters are meant to remind her of those possible consequences….sure the words are pretty and polite, but they simply hide the ugly truth underneath them.

If only she was strong enough to risk HER wrath…she should have kept some sort of evidence, rather than blindly trusting her. Maybe if she had she wouldn’t be the only one at risk to lose everything. Not that everything is all that much anymore.

Josephine had no evidence that she asked her to grind up that rare hell flower and sneak it in Mencia’s drink... she hadn’t known the reason’s that she would want Menicia to injest the flower but Josephine knew her own. Josephine had never moved on after Leonor had left her for the beautiful dark haired woman, she had just wanted Menica to forget. Forget Leonor...forget loving him....leave him to come back to Josphine.

The flower that she gave Josephine to put in the tea was an extremely rare hell flower, it was suppose to wipe away memories, whatever specific memory that those who held and prayed over it wanted. Joesphine didn’t know what memory she had wanted Mencia to forget or even where she had gotten the flower (she hadn’t been as powerful then as she was now), but Jospehine had wanted Leonor’s wife to forget him. It wasn’t suppose to kill her.

But then again neither of them knew that Mencia had been pregnant...to a preganant immortal the flower was oh so very deadly. Every thing had fallen apart.

And Josephine had no choice but to accept the offer she had given her...to act as a permanent dignatary in the cypris realm in exchange for her never speaking of what she knew.It should have been an easy choice... it was a highly covetted position and Josephine should have been thrilled for the chance. But she couldn’t be...the shadow of guilt haunted her everystep, slowly sucking the life out of her until it was all that she thought about.

Every year that passed Josephine became more and more withdrawn, surely and unpleasant...every year she wondered just a little more what would happen if she confessed...

Every year there were fewer and fewer reasons to hold her tongue.

Maybe this would be the year....maybe Josephine could finally be free of this crushing burdon.

She crumpled the beautifully written letter into a tight ball and tossed it into the burning flame of the fire in front of her.

Maybe it was time that the dear princess suffered some of the consequences.

Chapter Text


 

“The problems are solved, not by giving new information, but by arranging what we have known since long.” ― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations


 

Harry stood off to the side of the opulently decorated ballroom. The hotel staff really had gone all out, not that he was overly surprised considering what the ICW was paying them for the use of the room. Really the room itself was far too large for the number of guests but then again these were the type of people who spared no luxury when treating themselves.

He allowed himself to enjoy the bubbly over-priced champagne just this once, letting the stress and worry that had been weighing on him the last few months slide away for at least the night. He could not deny he was ecstatic on how the meeting had gone. Not only had he managed to make all of the leaders in attendance sit up and pay attention to what he was trying to say…but he was pretty sure he had won their support and alliance.

Ha! Take that Fudge!

By the end of the meeting he had signed not one but five definite written contracts with countries who were willing to take and grant citizenship to the proven neutral from Britain, as long as they could get across the border. He had hoped for this outcome of course but having them actually willing to sign a non-breakable agreement was a definite bonus.

Of course he had agreed to act as a go-between between their countries and neutrals, which in other words meant he would either have to take their concerns, words etc to the possible refugees himself and vice versa or he would have to find some other poor slob to do so. Still it was a minor concession all things said and done.

Really the only countries who had shown any hostility or suspicion towards him were, surprisingly enough France and Germany. He wasn’t sure what their issues with him were but he suspected that Fudge had gotten to them first…still not a huge loss considering the number of other countries he had backing him or at least considering backing him.

“vhy are you not dancing?” a stout blond man asked him, his accent heavy. Harry was pretty sure he was one of the ambassadors for Belgium, if he was recognizing the accent correctly. The man’s next words proved him correct.

“My son has said many things about you Mr. Potter” the man continued, now exactly who the man was fell into place. This was Victor Krum’s father, the ambassador of Belgium.

“All good I hope” Harry replied easily letting a polite, charming smile fall into place, “How is Victor?”

The man sent him a brilliant smile when Harry mentioned his son, for all the things the teen had heard about Mr. Krum senor, at least it seemed true that he truly did adore his son.

“Oh, he is very vell…he is busy vith his training of course…he vas very impressed vith your skills in the tournament” Krum stated before looking slightly guilty at mentioning the cursed tournament- considering how it ended.

Harry kept his smile in place and let some warmth infiltrate his voice to wave off the older man’s concerns, “Yes, well he showed that he was remarkably talented as well…I am sorry that I haven’t stayed in touch, I’m afraid my life has become rather hectic these past few months but please do give him my regards. I would love to hear from him”

Krum smiled back looking somewhat relieved, “Oh I vill…I think he is still writing that young lady…I vill tell him to send you a letter the next time he writes her”

Harry wasn’t sure Victor would be all that happy with his father letting details of his personal life slip out to a barely acquaintance but he didn’t say anything. Plus any information he gathered was always useful….apparently Hermione had been keeping secrets of her own. How interesting….

They continued their conversation wading through multiple inane polite topics when Zyren finally came over and interrupted. Harry could not have been happier, he hated these parties and pointless conversations they came with.

“Ambassador” the daemon greeted politely. Harry could tell from the befuddled expression on Krum’s face he had no idea who Zyren was.

“Would you mind if I stole young Mr. Potter away for a dance?” the daemon continued and grabbed Harry’s hand not waiting for permission from either him or the ambassador.

Harry fell into a familiar step with Zyren having danced with the daemon dozens of times back in the realm.”Enjoying yourself?” Zyren asked his tone slightly teasing. He was well aware of just how much Harry hated these types of things.

“What do you think?” Harry shot back purposefully stepping on the daemon’s toes and sending him an innocent smile when the red eyed man glared at him.

“You did well today” Zyren stated instead of responding to Harry’s goading.

“Are you surprised” Harry asked back cheekily causing the daemon to smile though he tried to hide it.

“I have learned never to be surprised when you are involved, mom petit combatiant” Zyren whispered against the shell of Harry’s ear. Harry suppressed the urge to shudder.

“Good” he replied his voice slightly higher than normal. They continued the rest of the dance in silence until Harry chose to break it as the ending notes were sounding, “Have you asked Draco to dance yet?” he asked casually though the question really wasn’t.

Zyren didn’t reply and that was answer enough.

Harry stopped and backed up from Zyren so that the daemon had no choice but to look at him, “You should Zee…If you are serious about this, which I am assuming you are since you gave us the book to read… you need to. It’s not just us anymore”

Zyren sighed and shifted looking almost uncomfortable, “I know…I know. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it, I will ask him the next song”

Harry sent him a brilliant smile in response, “Good. I think the three of us should meet after this horrid event is over and talk. We really need to”

Zyren nodded his agreement reluctantly leading Harry back off the dance floor

“Alright I will come up to your room after and we will talk…all of us” Zyren agreed, scanning the room for the unmistakable white blond head. “Now go socialize and wow them with your charm” the daemon directed Harry.

Harry smiled to himself as he watched the daemon approach Draco. As tough and cold as both of the other men could be, he could see right through their feigned indifference. Both of them were a bundle of nerves at the moment, it was really rather amusing to watch.

He forced himself to look away from the now dancing pair and turn to address someone or other’s wife. He was not sure if he was looking forward to their afterhours meeting or not…

Well one thing was certain it couldn’t be any worse than this. And with a grimace he pasted an interested expression on his face as Ms. Stuffed-in-my dress started to regale him with an ever so interesting tale of how one of her house elves had almost ruined the silk monstrosity.

Then again it really wasn’t that fair of a comparison; dinner and drinks with Voldemort was probably better than this.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Draco didn’t know what to expect from the meeting they had planned. Harry had promised him answers and had started off with giving him the huge tomb that Zyren had lent the dark haired wizard. What Draco had read was a little shocking.

Not the whole mates/destiny part…he was a pureblood after all; he had been raised on myths and tales about such things. It was actually one of the many discrepancies that existed in the pureblood society, for while they were expected to look down on anyone of ‘mixed’ blood there were a few exceptions.

Have in a destined mate was actually seen as a honor, although no one would acknowledge the fact that mates only existed if one of the partners (usually both) had creature blood in them. This little fact was simply swept under the rug. So he really wasn’t that surprised by what he read. Of course the fact that the Gryffindor golden boy was the one giving him the book certainly lent credence to some of his suspicions.

Harry had come back after the summer far too changed not to at least suspect some sort of inheritance in play. Of course most people dismissed this because their savior was far too young to have received an inheritance of any sort…Draco himself was one of those that tossed the idea away. Now however having read the passage Harry asked him too he wondered if he had dismissed that suspicion to quickly.

From what he had read he was assuming that Harry was alluding to the fact that Draco was to be involved in one of the three way Mateships the book had mentioned.

And if that wasn’t shocking enough, the person who had given Harry the book suggested was that Professor Balan was the third member of said pairing. The fact that he was apparently in a mate ship with ‘the boy-who-lived’, but his defense teacher was a little much to take…especially since it suggested that neither of the other men were human.

Draco didn’t like it, but he had to guess that he was the supposed submissive in the equation, after all even if he inherited the elf gene he knew that elves (and definitely humans) were often submissive in mates ships with other species; and he was pretty sure that neither Harry or Balan were elves.

He sighed and forced himself to remain sitting as they waited for Balan to show up, Harry of course—ever the ball of constant energy he was---was pacing…again.

Before he could reprimand the nervous wizard (?) in front of him there was a knock on the door in which Harry hurried to open, stepping aside to allow Balan to enter.

Draco took a moment to appraise the man objectively, there was no denying that their defense teacher was gorgeous…he had just as black of hair as Harry did but that is where their similarities ended. Where Harry was lithe and spoke of quick reflexes, Balan was solid muscle which only lent to the notion he was brawler.

Where Harry’s features were closer to Draco’s in their refinery (something, those with old wizarding blood in them liked to brag about) Balan’s were more rugged, his jaw blunt, his dark eyebrows pulling attention to the blood red eyes underneath them. Draco had never thought that he would be able to find someone with red eyes attractive (after his face-to –face meeting with a certain Dark lord) but somehow Balan’s eyes didn’t contain the same cruelness as Voldemort’s.

Draco blushed when he realized he had been caught staring at the man-- Balan simply sent a smug smirk back at him. And that was another thing; even when they were dancing Balan exuded confidence and power, something Draco thought that he being a Malfoy was infamous for. It had only taken one dance with his professor to make him see just how pathetic his own haughty façade truly was…he had nothing on the man in front of him.

He was pretty sure that Harry and Balan had something more going on than a simple teacher-student relationship and he found himself surprised that Harry would pursue something with a man so different from himself. Then again, Harry had changed and he had being teasingly flirting with Draco for the past few months, so maybe it wasn’t that hard to believe after all.

“Zee…stop looking so smug and sit down” Harry ordered, interrupting the staring contest that was happening between Draco and Zyren.

Draco expected the professor to bristle or snap at the raven haired boy but the man just sent Harry a slight look of chagrin before doing as directed….. Huh.

Harry sent the man a fond smile before turning back to Draco and shifted betraying his nerves, “Did you finish the book that I gave you?” he asked.

“Yes” Draco stated leaving his answer short to see where Harry was taking this.

“And did you understand why I gave it to you?” Harry persisted holding his gaze.

“I believe so…I am assuming that I am the third in some sort of mateship? I am guessing that you and Professor Balan are the other two?” Draco answered carefully studying the expression of the other men.

Harry flushed slightly then looked at Balan, “Zee?” he questioned.

Balan nodded before turning towards where Draco was sitting, and Draco felt the bed shift slightly as Harry sat down next to him, “Yes…you are right. I haven’t had a chance to really talk about this with Harry either yet but from how I have been reacting to…to the two of you together, I believe that it is the correct assumption.” Balan answered and for the first time since Draco had met the man- he sounded slightly uncertain.

“And what roles would each of you fit?” Draco asked again stopping himself from taking a sharp breath in. Sure he had guessed more or less what Harry meant by giving the book to him, but to hear it confirmed was still a little shocking…

“From what I have read and talked about with others…” Zyren started but paused at the raised eyebrow that Harry sent his way, “Chavi” the professor stated in answer to Harry’s unvoiced question. Harry nodded and Balan continued on, “from what a friend of mine has mentioned, I believe that I am the dominate, Harry the beta, making you the submissive…”

Draco nodded at this, he had assumed as much but he wasn’t quite ready to deal with the implications to that statement yet so he decided to ask some of the questions that had been building up over the past few weeks instead. “But how…I mean, humans—I mean I don’t think either of you are elf…Potter’s too young…” he stuttered through trying to ask his question, ending up with a disjointed garbled version.

Harry looked amused at Draco’s loss of eloquence but answered anyway, “That really comes down to what exactly I did this past summer. I think it is only fair to tell you everything”

And he did.

Draco listened in shock as Harry described everything that had happened to him since his last semester at Hogwarts (and Draco thought he had, had an interesting summer!).

Harry skimmed over the details of how he had ended up running away from home, mentioning a fight with his uncle and his magic lashing out (Draco was pretty sure there was more to that story but he held his tongue in favor of listening to the rest of Harry’s tale). He talked about being found by an immortal—and wasn’t that shocking? Draco had heard of immortals of course but they were something of a rarity. Trust Potter to find one.

Harry told him how Leonor had patched him up (again skimming over the reason why he was so wounded in the first place…considering your own magic would never hurt you—Draco had his suspicions on what caused Harry’s magic to lash out at his muggle uncle) and how Harry had tried to escape.

Here Draco couldn’t stop his snort of disbelief, trust Harry to come up with a completely retarded escape plan. He spoke of agreeing to go with Leonor to the Shadow realm—and here Draco paused the tale with numerous questions about the mythological realm, or at least that was what the wizarding texts all said—to find out that it actually existed!

They spent the next several hours with Harry just talking. Balan (or Zyren as the apparently-daemon insisted Draco call him—and wasn’t that a shock to the system? Draco couldn’t help but edge away from the daemon slightly when he found out just what he was…he had heard plenty of horror stories about daemons after all) interjected every once in awhile when Harry forgot something or skipped a detail.

By the time Harry had finished the raven haired immortal’s (add another shocking fact please...Draco’s heart hadn’t stopped beating yet) voice was hoarse with overuse. Zyren stood up and left for a moment only to return with a large glass of water in which Harry sent him a grateful smile.

Both men turned to look at Draco- the apprehension on Harry’s face was evident. It was clear to Draco that the raven haired immortal was expecting Draco to snap or reject him (them). Draco swallowed once trying to collect his thoughts.

After another long moment of silence Draco turned carefully towards both men, “I-I don’t really know what to say” he started but hurried on when he saw the crestfallen expression on Harry’s face and the tightening in Zyren’s jaw, “I am not dismissing or rejecting any of this…it-it’s just a bit much to take in all at once” he explained.

“I…can we take this slow?” he finally asked, half of him hoping that the Harry and Zyren would agree, the other half hoping that they would tell him no and that this was a mistake. But then Harry sent a warm smile at him and Zyren’s eyes softened slightly…

“Of course Draco…I think that would be wise for all of us” Harry stated sending a pointed look at Zyren.

Zyren sighed but appeared to agree when he said, “We can go as slow as you need jeune soleil”

Draco sent the daemon a timid smile as thanks, secretly pleased at the nickname.

“I think that it is time to retire for the evening, we still have much to plan for later” Zyren stated standing up and moving towards the door.

Harry rose to open the door placing a chaste kiss on the daemons cheek, “tomorrow…there is always tomorrow”

Draco got up and moved towards the bathroom trying thinking about all the information he had just learned but his mind kept jumping back to Harry’s words. Tomorrow…

He really hoped the immortal was right—that they would continue to get a tomorrow.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Luna skipped down the rickety spiral staircase careful not to bump into the precariously balanced Erumpet horn. It certainly wasn’t the right time for that to explode.

She continued her way through the main part of the kitchen heading for the back door humming happily to herself.

She would wait for Harry’s owl to arrive...despite already knowing what he was going to ask, it was only good manners to do so. She hoped that the nargles left the trio alone…they didn’t need more complications then they already were facing.

She absently picked a wipple to eat while she considered the best way to approach her father about Harry’s request. She knew her dad wouldn’t mind helping Harry…from all of her stories about the immortal she knew her dad was happy she had made at least one friend at school.

She didn’t tell her father about Harry’s recent changes though. As much as he was open to things, he wasn’t like her or her mom had been…he didn’t have the benefit of their foresight to help him get past certain prejudices. And while immortals were respected they were equally as feared by most wizards.

Either way she would make sure to get the announcement published in the next edition, if the whisicles were telling the truth Harry would send a spell with his request that would make sure none of the nargles or snorks would see the true information.

Just the truly faithful…it was a clever plan; she hoped that they would agree to meet with him. She felt a brief moment of pride for her friend’s clever scheme. She had always known he had it in him…he had just needed to get away from the snorks for it to flourish.

She smiled down at the pink fruit in her hands…one thing was certain whatever path Harry chose to follow, she would be right there with him.

And she wasn’t the only one.

Chapter Text


 

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ― Peter F. Drucker


 

The rest of the week passed in relative peace. The first day after their conversation had been a little awkward; none of them really knew how they were supposed to act around each other, especially now that they had acknowledged their three-way mateship. It wasn’t like in the story book romances where they found out about it and boom they were suddenly all head over heels in love-- but after a few graceless interactions between the three of them they had eventually fallen into a more or less comfortable pattern.

Sure, they still had a lot to learn about each other and how to even navigate learning and including not just one, but two other people in their everyday lives-- but they were doing ok. Draco and Zyren were still a little hesitant and uncertain around each other; both of them were far too used to hiding behind masks to let themselves go completely. Likely if Harry hadn’t been there they would have said screw it and gone their separate ways.

But then again maybe that was why these types of relationships had a beta to begin with… a middle person that could help the two opposing ends meet and coexist comfortably together. Harry found that he even surprised himself with his reaction to their new dynamic.

He had always thought that when he finally was with someone he would want them to himself completely. To not have to share their love and attention with another person. Oddly enough, when it came to the three of them this didn’t seem to be the case at all.

He found himself smiling fondly when the other two would argue or butt heads and then figure out how to resolve their disagreement without his input. Weirdly enough he didn’t feel the tightening of jealously when Draco would send a small smile towards Zyren or vice versa, but rather a swell of contentment (whether it was because he enjoyed seeing two hot guys together—and hey they most certainly were, or that he was touched by the fact that they seemed to care about him enough to try and work things out themselves without dragging him into the middle; he didn’t know. Either way he found himself strangely happy at the sight).

He didn’t know why this was but as long as it was…he wasn’t about to dissect it. He figured that it wasn’t as if either of the other men were neglectful of his own need for their affection or attention so he figured what did he really have to be jealous about?

He found himself happier now then he had been in quite some time (even more so then when he had finally come into his own in the shadow realm) and for this reason he was both looking forward to and dreading Christmas day.

They had decided to celebrate the day despite it having a more muggle origin (mainly because Harry and Draco had gotten into the habit after doing so during their Hogwarts years, and Zyren had always done so just because he found the irony amusing). And while Harry was thrilled to be able to spend the holiday with people who actually knew the real him (he had enjoyed the holiday at Hogwarts but he had always felt something missing—whether it was because he didn’t really have a family to celebrate with or just the fact that his friends only saw the side of him they wanted it didn’t really matter) but for that very reason it worried him.

He wanted so badly for this Christmas to be a good one….to have that perfect holiday that just meant so much more than a simple gathering of exchanging gifts and gorging yourself on too rich food (not that he was really planning on doing that—somehow he didn’t think Draco would appreciate him emptying the local carolers…though after their third rendition of ‘let it snow’ he thought that maybe he could convince the blond that it really wasn’t that bad of an idea.

What he wanted was for the day to be perfect.

But more than that, he really wanted not to be the one to screw it up by pushing too hard or moving too quickly….he really didn’t want to be that guy. So, it was understandable that he was nervous about how the other two would receive his gifts.

It had seemed like a good idea at the time….full of meaning and promise, but now as they sat around (or sprawled out in Harry’s case) on the surprisingly comfortable couches handing each other their wrapped presents, Harry was starting to think that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Maybe he should have stuck with the generic gifts of chocolate and socks…he did find the picture of giving Draco outlandishly decorated (bright red with lions of course) socks to be a rather amusing one. But it was too late to go back on it now, so he steeled his Gryffindor courage (and he was really thinking that maybe he should have listened to that stupid hat back in first year) and picked up the lovingly (aka: sloppily) wrapped gifts.

Zyren smiled at him not saying anything out loud rather letting his smile say what he couldn’t and handed both him and Draco a small silver wrapped box. Draco was quick to follow suit picking up what he had wrapped; of course the box he gave was far more artfully wrapped then either of the other two.

“…er here, I know it’s probably too soon for this…I not trying to pressure anyone or anything like that…I-I just wanted you to have it...” Harry pushed the gifts hastily towards Zyren and Draco.

Zyren shot him a crooked smile, clasping his hand briefly in a reassuringly familiar action, “Hey breath…I’m sure whatever you got us is perfect” he said.

Harry ducked his head to hide the embarrassing blush he was sure was threatening his face. God he was acting like a little school girl. Eager to move on from this potentially embarrassing situation he forced himself to adopt a teasing smile, “Alright then…so where is my present?”

Draco snorted at the sight of Harry’s wrapping skills and muttered something Harry was pretty sure was not flattering but smiled and tore into the gift Harry had handed him.

Harry held his breath as the blond stared down at the crimson tear drop earring, one that was made from Harry’s own crystallized blood. While this might come off as creepy and morbid, it was the traditional courtship present given by an immortal. It was generally given as a confirmation of intent: that one was going to commit to a certain individual. Like many species immortal’s regarded their life source (aka: blood) with no small amount of reverence. To give another something like the pendant that both Draco and Zyren had received, was telling them that he not only trusted them but they he held them in the same regard.

Harry swallowed his suddenly dry throat not sure what to make of the silence from his two mates, “…Look if it’s too soon…” he started before Draco cut him off.

“Harry open your gifts” he stated his tone broking no argument. Harry was slightly confused by the instruction especially at this moment but he did as told. He stared down in shock at the two similar jewelry cases that he had wrapped his own gifts in. With slightly trembling hands he opened them one after another.

From Draco there was what looked like a pure cold dragon scale, a word he did not recognize was carved into the front side of the scale. The scale itself hung from a thin gold chain obviously meant to be worn as a necklace.

“I-I visited Gringotts the other day…this is one of two engagement pendants from the Malfoy family” Draco stated quietly not quite able to hide the blush on his cheeks. Harry shot him a slightly confused looked so the blond continued, “It’s tradition that the heir gives their intended one of the scales…my great-great grandfather was also named Draconious and started the tradition. The reason that there are two; is in case there is more than one Malfoy child….” He finished trailing off.

Harry sent him a grateful smile and stroked the scale with his finger reveling in the smooth feeling of it, before slipping the necklace over his head and from the corner of his eye seeing Zyren do the same with the one Draco had given him. Harry then turned his attention back to the gift that Zyren had given him.

It was rather ironic how all of their gifts seemed to mirror each others. Zyren had given both him and Draco the daemon equivalent of a promise ring…an ice blue stone that was made from frozen hell fire. It was stunning especially when it caught the light, refracting it in a way that made the stone almost look as though it was alive.

Harry attached the pendant to the necklace that was already holding the golden scale, unable to feel foolish for the sudden feeling of completeness that settled on him.

Chancing a glance at the other two men he could tell he wasn’t the only one to feel this way. They didn’t say anything else, the small smile from Zyren and the embarrassed but pleased blush on Draco’s cheeks was enough.

Harry settled back on the couch content to listen to the other two argue over what they were going to do with the rest of the day. He couldn’t help but feel that he had gotten exactly what he wanted.

The perfect Christmas.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Neville paced nervously back and forth in front of the old worn tapestry on the seventh floor. They had been back at Hogwarts for little over a day, and Neville for one was quite relieved to be back. It wasn’t as though his Christmas holidays had been horrible…ok, so that was a lie; they had been pretty wretched.

Not that Neville had really expected anything else….two solid weeks of his gram snipping and poking at him; from how he dressed, to his posture, to the absolute embarrassment he was as a grandson (and okay, so she didn’t use those exact words but she might as well have). Even their Boxing Day foray to the houses of his gram’s friends and their various neighbors had been painful.

He had thought that maybe the Weasley visit wouldn’t be so bad, but he found himself gritting his teeth in order to hold back the retorts he wanted to make at Ron’s whining about Harry being different this year, or Hermione’s disapproving little quips about how Harry had been disrespectful in the hall (Neville couldn’t really see how she could continue to rationalize her hero worship for Dumbledore after his own very public semi-meltdown; but his guess was that that she did it more out of habit then true belief).

But by far the worst was the youngest Weasley: Ginny. Neville had actually had a crush on the girl last year but more and more he was wondering why? She spent the majority of his visit going back and forth between love sick proclamations over ‘Harry’s new bod’ and angry rants over how he was ignoring her.

Honestly by the time his Gram had shrieked up the stairs, ‘that it was time to go’ Neville had been more than ready. So, really it wasn’t exactly a surprise that he was happy to get back to the relative normalcy of Hogwarts (even if it included Snape’s poisonous barbs and his fellow classmates condescending smirks).

The reason that he was currently pacing in front of this extraordinarily ugly tapestry (which he knew hid the room of requirements: though he had opted to wait outside as he didn’t know what Harry wanted the room to be yet) was because Harry had slipped him a note just after Defense asking him to meet him up here that night without telling anyone.

Neville of course did as asked without hesitation, not just because he valued Harry’s friendship and judgment over anyone else’s but because he was dying of curiosity to find out what the raven haired wizard wanted. Not to mention he was more than a little curious where Harry had hid out over the break, it was common knowledge that Dumbledore had spent most of the vacation searching for the teen.

Neville found it more than a little amusing that Harry had casually strolled back into Hogwarts without so much as blinking. Easily deflecting any and all questions about his absence and resolutely refusing to go and meet with Dumbledore.

Dumbledore having obviously realized the error in his ways over the great-hall confrontation did not attempt to corner the savior again, although he had spent all three meals sending Harry baleful/reproachful looks—which Harry ignored completely.

If Neville didn’t know it was impossible he swore he saw his friend glance up at Snape and send him a cheeky wink. He knew that this was an impossibility, as Harry was still breathing the next time he had seen him.

Neville jumped at the sound of another person approaching. Glancing up quickly he was shocked to see the dark, quiet Slytherin that always hung out with Malfoy approaching. Neville really wasn’t sure what to make of this…had Harry given him a note as well? Or was he just being the typical devious Slytherin that Ron was so sure applied to everyone in that house?

And speaking of Malfoy…he hadn’t returned with Harry. He knew that most of the school thought that Harry had slit his throat and tossed him to whatever evil beast newly appointed Dark lords kept. Neville however (not being one of the idiotic gossip mongering sensationalists and knowing that Harry very likely did not spend his vacation rallying evil forces and eating babies) was wondering where the ice Prince really was and why he had not come back when Harry had.

Another question he hoped to get some answer to.

“What are you doing here” the Slytherin (whom Neville had no idea what his name was…he was pretty sure it started with a B—blaine, or bass or something along those lines…it was actually the first time he had ever heard the boy speak) asked voice full of suspicion.

“I-I could ask you the same” Neville shot back managing only to stutter a little bit.

“I knew this was a set up…” the boy muttered to himself looking extremely pissed off.

“W-what are you talking about?” Neville asked feeling more and more confused at each sentence.

“I said, I knew this was a set up…something your little golden boy cooked up thinking it would be funny to get the snake to show up with a bunch of lions?” the boy sneered and if Neville hadn’t seen the light blush he would have believed that the boy was indifferent instead of lashing out at what he obviously perceived as a slight.

Neville was just about to reply when Luna came skipping up to join their odd little group, “Harry will be here any moment…he is being contained by the snarks again. Don’t worry Dragon approves” she directed the last bit at the boy who just looked at her as if he was trying to figure out if she was pulling one over on him.

Not even three seconds later and a fourth student joined the tense little circle they had going. Neville recognized the short, brunette as Gabey Selena-- a seventh year from Hufflepuff.

“So what’s this about? The note Potter gave me just told me to come and meet him up here?” She asked looking a little curious if not bemused at the sight of the other three students.

Given the fact that there was now one student from each house, Neville started to feel as though he had some inclination on what Harry was up too, by the look on Luna’s face she had long since figured it out and was now just along for the ride.

The Slytherin boy muttered something darkly under his breath before moving as though he was going to leave. He was prevented of course by the sudden materialization of one Harry Potter.

“Zabini” Harry greeted his tone friendly, though his eyes were slightly wary.

“Potter what is this about?” Zabini (who Neville now recalled was named Blaise) asked the irritation evident in his face.

“I’m going to trust Draco on this one as I really don’t know you that well…” Harry trailed studying Blaise for something that he evidently found as he nodded slightly and smiled, “I have a proposition for the four of you, before I tell you what it is you will need to sign this confidentiality form. It simply prevents you from spreading what I am going to tell you if you are not interested…” he explained and then continued when he saw Blaise’s calculating look, “…and it prevents you from pretending that you are interested just to betraying me later. Once signed you do not have to be involved if you do not want to be but you will not be able to speak about it or think about it with anyone who might use the information against me or those involved”

Blaise’s expression fell for a brief moment before he shrugged and nodded his agreement.

“Excellent” Harry said with a smile pulling out a scroll and holding up a quill, “…sign with my quill please—it’s a blood quill, then we will move this discussion to somewhere a little more private” he stated holding out the items.

Luna didn’t even raise an eyebrow to Harry’s admission to having a very illegal item in his possession, before skipping up to him and taking both the parchment and quill.

“Harry I have spoke with father. It will come out tomorrow morning the quirks and nargles will not be able to understand it”

Harry shot her a thankful grin but didn’t say anything watching as first Luna, and then Neville signed. Gabey looked a little hesitant but finally shrugged and added her name. Harry turned to where Blaise was standing watching the proceedings with unveiled suspicion.

“Zabini?” Harry questioned raising an eye brow in challenge.

Blaise looked back at him still not moving, “where’s Draco?” he asked his stance and tone still hostile.

Harry looked him in the eye, “he’s safe…that is all you need to know. No one besides myself and two other trusted individuals can find him at the moment”

This statement seemed to do the trick and Blaise nodded before moving forward to add his name to the list.

Harry smiled brightly at the four of them, “Wonderful…follow me” he stated pacing the familiar three passes in front of the tapestry which soon revealed a door. Both Blaise and Gabey looked surprised but didn’t say anything as Harry pushed the door open.

“After you” he stated sending them what could only be called a cat-got-the-canary grin.

Neville stepped into the room with just a small amount of trepidation, whatever Harry had to tell them he was sure it was going to shake the wizarding world to its foundation.

He couldn’t help the small vindictive flare in his gut when he thought that he would finally get to be one of those causing those changes.

He might not be what his Gram wanted or what others thought he should be….but alongside Harry he knew he could be so much better.

Chapter Text


 

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” ― John C. Maxwell


 

Blaise followed the other four into the room with more than a little trepidation. It wasn’t as though he was truly worried….they weren’t Slytherins after all-- it wasn’t as though they were going to have planned something truly devious. But still...

The last few months had been hell for Blaise. The Zabini’s had been well known for their neutrality throughout the first war and really that hadn’t really changed. Well, at least he wished it hadn’t changed. Blaise was pretty sure that both he and his mother had no desire to join with Voldemort this time around, unfortunately his mother’s current bow was not so inclined.

No, his mother had had to choose Kellan Yaxley for her most recent target…unfortunately in doing so, especially at this time she had effectively made her and Blaise a target instead. There was no way to…er..dispose of this year’s number (not without bringing the wrath of a certain red eyed maniac on them) and since she could not get rid of Kellan they had little choice but to pretend to agree with his views….aka…dark mark for one Blaise Zabini.

While Adelaide loved her son… she loved herself more and therefore Blaise was forced to rely on his own ingenuity to get himself out of this mess that she had created. If that meant aligning himself with Harry Potter (and do note he said Harry Potter not Dumbledore….he seriously doubted aligning himself with that old coot would make his situation any better than it already was) then so be it.

Of course he was only willing to believe that Potter might be a viable solution to his mess because Draco had sent him that letter. He had been more than a little shocked when he received the flyer from Witches womanly wares at breakfast, but as he was about to incendo the flyer it had changed to reveal a hand written note from the Slytherin Prince himself (and was he still the Slytherin prince or had disappearing with the Golden boy and then not returning to Hogwarts removed him from that position? Honestly Blaise wasn’t certain, sometimes Slytherin politics was confusing).

It wasn’t long or verbose…it simply told Blaise that if he was having second thoughts about his place in the upcoming war to trust Harry (and hello since when did Draco call Potter, Harry?). Not even ten minutes after Blaise had finished reading the missive Harry had ‘bumped’ into him in the hall only to hurry away, leaving Blaise with the scrap of paper that instructed him to meet the savior up on the seventh floor in front of the weird dancing troll painting tonight.

Of course Potter had failed to mention that he wouldn’t be the only one that Blaise was meeting…typical. But Blaise couldn’t deny he was a little curious as to see what this was about, so for now he would follow and listen to what the teen had to say.

Blaise took one of the overstuffed chairs situated closest to the door…(he might not believe that any of the people present were capable of truly attacking him, but he was a Slytherin—self preservation was a base trait), and waited for Harry and the others to get settled. Once all five had found seating, Harry cleared his throat to grab their attention-- not that he really needed to as they all were watching him; faces full of curiosity to begin with.

“So…first off, thank you for coming…” Harry began, shifting in an almost nervous fashion as though he wasn’t quite sure how to start.

“It’s okay Harry…they aren’t like the snarks they’ll listen” Luna stated in her typical dreamy ‘I’m really not all here’ voice.

Blaise shot her a suspicious look…something about the blond told him that there was more to Luney Lovegood then most people believed. If he thought she was doing the whole ‘spaced out’ thing on purpose, he would believe her most cunning; as almost everyone around her immediately dismissed her as a threat…really it was rather clever. The only problem with this theory was that he was not entirely sure if it was an act or not….all the more reason to keep an eye on her.

Harry sent her a thankful nod, “Ok then I will just get down to why I asked you guys to meet me”

“That would be nice” Blaise muttered under his breath earning himself a reprimanding look from Gabey.

“I wanted to talk to you guys about the upcoming war…more importantly your places in it…and what places you actually want in it” Harry stated.

Blaise straightened slightly, paying a tad more attention to the proceedings-- if Potter was talking about what he thought he was, than this could be his chance…

“Explain” he demanded watching the Gryffindor’s face closely for a clue that this was an elaborate hoax or trap.

“Well, as I am sure you all saw…or if you didn’t you most likely heard—me and Dumbledore do not exactly see eye to eye anymore. I have no desire to continue being a scapegoat-sacrifice-savior…whatever you want to call it, in this war. I have no desire to continue supporting Dumbledore’s light side, but in saying that; I have zero interest in joining up with a mad man who has spent the last several years of my life trying to kill or maim me either” Harry said bluntly, the look on his face saying exactly how much he thought of either sides of the conflict.

“So what are you saying?” Gabey asked, “If you don’t want to fight Voldemort or join him…what are you thinking? I mean there really isn’t any other option out there…especially for you—no offense” she added the last one sheepishly.

Harry sent her a smile telling her that it was fine and her comment really hadn’t offended him before he continued, “I am well aware of that…and you are right there really isn’t a third option right now, and to be truthful really don’t think that there can be a third side in this conflict…not in Britain anyway.” He stated but held up his hand to silence the others before continuing, “…which is why I want to get those who don’t support either sides out. I truthfully do not thing that anyone can truly remain neutral in this war. They might have managed to do so in the last war…” he shot a look at Blaise, “…but this time around I don’t believe Voldemort will allow for that option, not to mention Fudge is in office and I seriously doubt that he will allow for neutrality either” Harry stated with a grimace.

Blaise smirked at this thinking back to all the rumors that had been circulating about fudge and Potter, “Experience with that?” he asked.

Harry sent him a wire grin, “just a bit. The point is, over break me and a few others met with the heads of several magical governments who are willing to offer political asylum to all those who can prove their neutrality in this war and want out”

“What do you mean prove their neutrality?” Neville asked latching onto the way that Harry worded his statement.

“They have agreed as long as citizens can get to the borders or into their country that they will be allowed to prove that they are not siding with Voldemort—as a spy or otherwise, or the same for Fudge/Dumbledore by swearing an oath on their magic and by taking Veritaserum” Harry explained.

Blaise nodded at this, it was actually fairly clever…the truth serum could be used to prove that they were currently not affiliated with either sides while the oath would prevent them from doing so in the future after they had been issued citizenship or safety.

“Wow…how did you manage that?” Neville asked, curious as to how exactly Harry convinced the heads of different nations to offer this when it could incite either sides of the British war against them.

Harry shrugged, “charming I guess” he stated with a straight face before cracking a grin, “no I had others with me…plus there were certain things that I could offer in return”

“Ok…this is all great…but what does it have to do with us?” Gabey asked.

“Well, I chose each of you because I have either been told or know through experience that you have connections within each of your own houses and that you are currently not truly siding with either side” Harry stated, “I need you to make a list and approach other potential neutrals within your house. I am intending to have a meeting at the end of the week for all those that might be interested in getting out”

At the sight of Blaise’s raised eyebrow Harry turned to address him, “I know that you are wondering why I came to this conclusion about you….as you have been very careful to voice your support for Voldemort since the start of the semester…well in truth I didn’t, Draco did.”

“And you are choosing to take Draco’s word for it?” Blaise asked skeptically.

“Yes, while I am not about to tell you why that is…just trust that it’s true. I trust Draco’s judgment and if he says that he thinks that you want out than I believe him…”

Deciding that there really wasn’t any point in denying the fact considering that they were all under a confidentiality oath anyway Blaise nodded, “it’s true” earning himself a bright smile from the former savior as well as smaller ones from both Neville and Luna.

“Ok…so have anyone you think might be neutral sign this parchment and tell them—only after they have signed, to meet back here same time next week. The parchment will act in the same manner as the one you all signed just a little less binding. I am setting up a ward on the room for next week that will prevent anyone will ill intentions from being present and it will act as a silencing charm; preventing anyone here from talking about what is discussed with others” Harry told them handing each of them a roll of parchment and a quill.

“At next week’s meeting I will be giving a departure date, time and location to those who want out. I am currently thinking of using portkeys as it is the quickest and most untraceable route….Luna posted an article that will give information for a meeting to those outside Hogwarts that are interested. At that meeting similar precautions will be set in place, and similar information given. I am looking into setting people in place to stay on in Britain for a while longer to continue getting people out if they miss the initial evacuation”

The rest of them nodded and agreed to do what he asked. While there was clear that there was still lots of information that Harry was not telling them, from what Blaise had heard so far he knew that the Gryffindor was serious about this and had several plans in motion. That was enough for him.

“Ok…so are you in?” Harry asked finally looking from face to face.

Neville and Luna confirmed immediately followed by Gabey. Harry looked to Blaise and cocked an eyebrow. Blaise took a deep breath and picked up the parchment roll that Harry had handed him,

“I’m in”

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Selene paced back in forth in agitation…she could not get rid of the unsettled curl of dread that had been gnawing at her for the last several weeks. Why hadn’t Josephine replied?

It wasn’t like the timid, washed out immortal…and that bothered her. Leonor’s jilted fiancé had always been so easy to manipulate with a few well placed barbs, maybe a twisted sentences here and there…really the girl had no ability to think for herself. And even if she did she had the back bone of a wet noodle, it was disgusting really.

So why then, after the artfully written annual letter that she had sent, had she not heard a conformation back from the woman? She always had in the past…really it had been something that amused the princess to no end just how fast the little suck up scrambled to make it known just where her true loyalty lay. Of course loyalty because she actually believed in and supported Selene and loyalty because she was too frightened to act against her were slightly different. But loyalty was loyalty, and considering most of the princess’s following was due to the second; it really didn’t bother her that Josephine fell into this category as well.

There was one big difference between Josephine and all-of-the princess’s other subjects however and that was the fact that the little immortal possessed information that could be potentially ruinous to Selene. Honestly, she wasn’t sure why she even allowed Josephine to continue existing with the amount of damage she could potentially cause.

Ok, so that was a lie: she did know why she kept her around- well besides the fact that she enjoyed watching the little coward squirm….no, the reason she didn’t dispose of her was simply because she couldn’t afford to draw even more attention to the suspicious deaths of Leonor’s wife.

True, had Josephine died mysteriously as well, there would likely be nothing linking her to that death (well anymore then there was linking her to the death of Mencia) but still it would have been foolish to risk closer investigation.

Especially since both of the woman would have been linked to Leonor in some way and it was no secret that Selene dispised all those who had linked themselves to her brother. Sure, some might call her possessiveness a tad neurotic and perhaps it was....but that wasn’t the reason she had tried to wipe Mencia’s memory.

She might have hated the slut that called herself Leonor’s wife but even she wasn’t jealous enough to cause her to take such an action against the woman. No....the reason she did what she did, was much more self serving then that.

She had no choice when it all came down to it....Mencia had simply seen to much to allow her to continue on as she was. Well that, and the damn women contained that irritating morality that pretty much gaurenteed that she would be running off to the Prince to spill sooner or later. Her damn concious swould never have allowed the immortal to keep quiet, and unlike Josephine intimidation would not have worked. Annoyingly enough, Mencia actaully had a backbone.

No..she had, had no choice in convincing Josephine to do what she did; it was simply bad luck that Leonor’s wife happened to be pregnant (the Princess was not hearltess enough not to acknowledge that it was a tad tragic as well...considering the child and all).

But still...she valued her position in society to much to have done anything else, even with the ending being what it was. It really was Mencia’s fault in the end...had she not been lurking where she shouldn’t have been she would never have seen Selene...and Zyren’s cousin.

There really was no way to salvage what she had seen...no real innocent explanation could cover why the princess--who was very much married to Prince Kiran was fucking the daemon’s visiting cousin. So really....it was easy to see that Selene had no other options.

And while Josephine had no idea why the princess had encouraged her to make Leonor’s wife forget, the little trollop still knew that she had done so...it was a loose end that made the princess uneasy.

She hated when there were people or factors outside of her control...perhaps that was why she hated that annoying little upstart her brother had taken in; he like Leonor’s deceased wife would be someone who would not fall for manipulation or bow to intimidation. She hated it.

“Darling, what has you worrying so?” Kiran asked coming up behind Selene and kissing the nape of her exposed neck.

The princess forced a gentle smile on her face as she turned to face her husband, returning his affection in a chaste kiss, “Nothing dear…just pondering different color schemes for the new greeting hall”

Kiran smiled back at her oblivious to her lies as always before stepping back, “Alright…I have meetings for most of the day, then we have dinner with Set tonight… will you be able to find something to occupy yourself till then?”

Right…she had almost forgotten that they were dining with the king of Verdomb tonight….perhaps *Caymn would be there? Feeling much cheered by this thought Selene returned her husband’s smile, easily assuring him that she would find plenty to do before tonight.

All thoughts of Josephine and her silence were pushed aside as the princess started to plot ways to get some alone time with Caymn tonight.

Had the princess put more thought into Josephine’s silence, she might have been more aware that this time the she just might come to actually regret her continued distraction in the daemon lord…

*Caymn- Is Zyren’s cousin. He is not direct daemon royalty but still holds a favored position under the Daemon lord Set. His dalliance with the princess can be assumed on-going and the cause of the princess’s actions against her brother’s wife.

Chapter Text


 

“One rarely falls in love without being as much attracted to what is interestingly wrong with someone as what is objectively healthy.” ― Alain de Botton


 

The next two weeks passed in a blur of planning (or rather plotting) and discrete meetings. By the end of the week Harry was exhausted but happy with how things were progressing…and really it all was falling into to place just in time.

The student meeting had ended up being much larger then Harry had anticipated but that was a good thing. He was quite relieved however that he had thought to take precautions on snitches and traitors, as he had it on good word (aka: Blaise and Neville) that a few Gryffindors and Slytherins had tried to tell Dumbledore and a one of the Death eaters (respectively) of what Harry was up to—only to find that they quite literally could not.

Of course both Crabbe Doyle and Dumbledore were now wondering if there was some strange magical ailment going around that caused students to blather nonsense about purple dancing hippos and their latest sexual exploits. What? While he might have spent almost a decade in the shadow realm there was still a part of Harry that delighted in childish pranks.

So despite the snitches best efforts, plans were moving ahead like no one’s business. The adult meeting had gone almost as smoothly as the student one; although they were a lot more suspicious and cautious about believing what Harry had to say then his school mates were.

But somehow by stating the facts and putting his foot down that he would not answer stupid questions about what they had read lately in the papers, and that a) it was up to them if they wanted out, so if they chose not to trust him and not leave it was on them and b) they would not be able to betray anyone at the meeting or be betrayed by them; he seemed to have won the majority in attendance over.

Again Zyren told him it was thanks to his charismatic way of speaking, though Harry was pretty sure it was more thanks to his household name that people seemed to still believe in him deep down despite the ministries best attempts to tarnish it. Either way it didn’t really matter, what mattered was that as many people got out before shit really started to hit the fan.

And thanks to the meetings going reasonably well, plans were moving along… in fact two days from now the first set of portkeys would take off for both the students and the adults that wanted to get out. A second set would take off next week.

Unfortunately, despite all of Harry’s safety precautions someone still managed to alert Fudge that ‘something’ was going on…and that something was related to Harry. And while Fudge was not able to find out what Harry was up to or about the secret meetings, he understood that Harry was going behind his back doing ‘something’ and in the minsters eyes this was further treason.

Which was why Harry was shaken awake at four in the morning by a anxious Zyren.

“Whaa?” he mumbled blearily sitting up in the near silent boys dorm room in confusion (near silent because hey Ron and his talent for sounding like a fog horn were still very much present).

“Harree…wake up!” Zyren hissed tossing some combination of clothes at him.

Harry shook his head to try and clear the last remnants of confusion from his sleep addled brain before sitting up straighter, “Zee what’s going on? What the hell are you doing here at…” he paused to cast a quick tempus charm,” Four in the bloody morning?”

“Get dressed and hurry up we don’t have much time” Zyren whispered ignoring his question.

Harry sighed but did as instructed figuring the daemon wouldn’t be intruding on his rare hours of sleep for no reason. He quickly peeled off his shirt and boxers not really caring if Zyren saw him nude or not (after all he probably had spent nearly as much time naked with the daemon as clothed). Once dressed he followed along after Zyren; who had shrunk his school trunk and was moving swiftly out of the Gryffindor tower.

Harry jogged to catch up, “Ok…can you tell me what the hell is going on now?” he asked not bothering to hide his irritation. If there was one thing that he truly hated it was being kept in the dark.

“Severus got a tip off from a friend in the Minstery that Fudge had finally lost his head and decided to publically declare you a traitor. Sev’s source told him that they are planning on ambushing you sometime this morning and arresting you, he thought it would probably be at breakfast so that Fudge could capitalize on having an audience, but we don’t want to take a chance that the idiot will wise up and show up earlier…” Zyren explained leading them towards Severus’s chambers.

“Shit.” Harry stated not really sure what else he could say. Once again he was thankful that he had made the decision to keep the Neville and the other’s informed of their plans and their progress, not to mention having already had both meetings and choosing the ten witches and wizards that would continue carrying them out should he have to disappear suddenly. What had seemed as a paranoid precaution was now a godsend.

“I take it I am leaving to go to Sev’s place with Draco then? What about you and Severus? Are you staying here or coming…there isn’t much point of both of you remaining here…unless you want to get caught up in this ludicrous war?” Harry asked as Zyren knocked softly on the potion master’s door.

“Yes…you and Severus are leaving immediately as Voldemort will likely try and capitalize on this latest bout of Fudge’s idiocy, and he really doesn’t want to stay for that. I will follow in a day or two, I am going to stay back to fill in your little generals before joining you, Draco and Severus…” Zyren explained as they waited. They could hear a few muffled curses from behind the door.

“I am guessing that we will not be staying in this realm for much longer?” Harry asked wincing at the sound of something crashing to the floor.

“You are correct….we still need to figure out what to do with Draco once we get to the Shadow realm but worst comes to worse you can always take him as a ‘companion’ until we can figure out something more long term…I would, but given my Daemon status it would be better if you did because you could reverse it when we figure something else out” Zyren explained just in time for Severus to throw open his door looking quite unhappy. Whether over the hour or their presence, Harry was not sure.

“Well get in here…don’t just stand there gawking like morons” He snarled. Both men were quick to comply….while Severus was normally moody--it had nothing on his early morning temperament.

Once they were in and the door shut Harry realized that all the noise and crashing had been Severus packing up all of his belongings and shrinking them down into a more travel friendly size. “Well…are you ready to go then?” Severus asked again, pocketing the miniature trunks and looking at the two of them impatiently.

Zyren handed Harry his own shrunken belongings before pulling him into a passionate kiss. When they parted Harry was more than a little short of breath, but he couldn’t help but grin. It had been awhile since Zyren had initiated anything physical with him and he realized just how much he missed it.

“Be careful, mon petit combatant” he whispered before handing him a letter.

“What’s this?” Harry asked slightly confused.

“It is for Draco since I have not seen him in a while and will not for a few more days” Zyren answered obviously trying to act like the whole thing was really not all that important.

Harry hid a delighted grin. He was thrilled that the daemon seemed to be actually trying to establish a relationship with the prickly blond and not just ignoring him….Harry knew that Draco would be thrilled, even if he like Zyren tried to hide that fact. “Of course” Harry answered pocketing it.

Severus made an impatient noise and Harry pulled the daemon into one more quick hug, “Take care of yourself Zee…and…be careful”

He then quickly released the daemon and went over to stand next to Severus who grabbed a hold of his arm.

And with a quiet hum, they left Hogwarts and Severus’s teaching chambers behind for what would probably be the last time.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Draco paced anxiously as he waited for Severus and Harry to stop arguing. You would think with how he once enjoyed Severus laying into the Golden boy that the sound of them fighting wouldn’t bother him so much…but it did. And part of that was due to the fact that he was the reason they were currently exchanging heated words.

He knew that he should have kept his mouth shut and just ignored the temptation…but he couldn’t. Especially with the latest daily prophet’s slandering of Britain’s former savior. It was beyond bad….in fact it made the remarks of fourth year and last year look like child’s play with how many pot shots they took at Harry.

“…runaway coward…”

“…new dark wizard”

“…disgusting disgrace to the wizarding world”

“…menace to society”

And that was just a few of the many, many things that the article said about Harry. What surprised Draco was how nonchalant Harry was about the whole thing-- he knew if it were him, he would have been in a rage over the fallacies and lies that were spewed, but Harry simply laughed lightly and proceeded to cut out the articles so that he could take them back to Leonor and the king.

When asked why, he simply stated that he was suppose to keep them updated with what was going on in the mortal realm and well….this was part of it. Plus he wanted something to remind him of just how fickle the British wizards were whenever he was hit with a wave of guilt for leaving.

That being said the article wasn’t exactly what Draco had started the fight over…no, it was the fact that Harry was cutting out the articles to take back to the Shadow realm… meaning that they were likely leaving for said realm within a few days. That was what Draco was worrying about.

As much as he could not wait to be away from the war, Britain and his parents, he still couldn’t help but worry that he had misjudged his mother. He had read between the lines that she was manipulating him but what if what he had read was wrong? What if he had been overly paranoid and his mother really did love him and want to get out of her current situation? He couldn’t stand thinking that he was abandoning that mother to Voldemort’s wrath.

He wanted, no needed to talk her one more time to be sure…and not through a letter where intentions could be easily hidden or misinterpreted…no, face to face was the only way. And he being a fool, had mentioned this to Harry while Severus was in the room. To say that was a mistake would be a drastic understatement.

Harry thought that it was only fair to let Draco have one last moment with his mother, especially if Draco was right and his mother truly did want out….while Severus was very against the idea. In all fairness he was probably right…that this was a major risk, a foolish risk considering the lengths both he and Zyren had gone to in order to give Draco separation from the people he once called family.

And Severus had a point…Draco was not their son anymore, not really…but he had always applied that to his father more than to his mother; even though Severus was probably correct and his mother was as much a part of this as his father was. But still he couldn’t leave not knowing when or if he would ever return without some sort of closure.

When he realized that they were not about to stop any time soon without his intervention he finally stepped in.

“Enough!” he shouted when his first attempts of “hey…”, “hello” got ignored.

They both stopped immediately and turned to him in a somewhat shocked manner. Draco thought he should probably be offended at their obvious surprise, as it was saying that they didn’t think he was capable of yelling at them but he brushed it off. Not important right now.

“Harry, thank you for defending me and my decision but I am quite able to do that myself” Draco stated looking at Harry first who was looking a little sheepish, “and Severus, while I understand and appreciate your concern and worry, this is something that I need to do. Whether or not you approve or not, does not concern me right now” he stated making sure to hold Severus’s onyx eyes with his own.

It seemed like forever that they just stared at each other, each of them trying to force the other into submission through eye glare alone before finally Severus conceded with a heavy sigh.

“Fine. I can see that I cannot change your mind on this…” he stated and held up his hand to silence Draco’s thanks before continuing, “however…you will not be going alone. Both myself and Harry will come along to make sure there are no….complications” he said the last slowly making it clear that he was holding back what he truly wanted to say.

While Draco definitely did not want Severus and even less Harry along for the confrontation, he could see that this was the only way that he would be allowed to go so he decided to take it as a win. “Alright….I want to go now then” he stated, knowing the sooner they went the better, especially because he was aware at how skilled Severus was at getting out of things he had promised.

Severus glared and Draco knew that he had just thwarted whatever Machiavellian scheme the potions master had in mind when he agreed. Harry obviously saw this as well and decided to step in again and prevent what was likely going to be another heated argument.

“Sev….we might as well get it over with. You know as well as I do that we have no idea when Leonor is coming to get us, now might be the only chance he has”

Severus turned his glare on the green eyed teen but relented, “Fine. She is staying at Malfoy manor correct?” he asked Draco.

“Yes, at least that is where she was according to her last letter” Draco answered moving towards where Severus and Harry were standing.

“Alright, I am pretty sure that the Dark Lord is situated at his own manor at the moment so it should be safe….Potter, do you have your cloak?” he snapped at Harry. Him calling Harry,’ Potter’ was just evidence to the fact he was still upset at the teen agreeing with Draco.

“Yes…do you want me or Draco to wear it? or try for both of us?” he asked not rising to Severus’s baiting.

“Try to fit both of you…I will have to apparate us there as I am not sure if the wards were reset or not” Severus stated waiting long enough for Harry to take out a silvery cloak and motion for Draco to come closer. He wrapped his arms around Draco in an almost protective embrace (one which Draco actually rather appreciated…not that he was about to tell Harry that) before swinging the cloak to cover them both. It covered them but just barely, forcing Draco to use both hands to hold it shut as Harry’s arms were occupied at the moment.

“Alright here we go…just so you know, this is a major mistake” Severus stated once more but grabbed onto where Harry’s shoulder should have been.

They reappeared with a pop in what Draco knew was the Malfoy manor main hall; apparently they hadn’t changed the wards since he refused to come back at Christmas time after all. Both he and Harry stumbled slightly, not used to side apparating as a pair but caught themselves before falling over completely.

When they looked up they were shocked to see that they were not alone in the hall. In fact the hall was rather full at the moment, and with the people that he had been trying to avoid since he left for school at the start of the year.

Draco let go of the cloak in shock, leaving him and Harry completely visible to the malicious red eyes staring directly at them.

Chapter Text


 

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” ― Napoleon


 

Oh Shit….

These were the only words that came to mind when Harry realized just how not alone the three of them really were. Well, if they lived through this Severus was never going to let either of them live it down. The man could be quite insufferable when he was proven right.

“Well, well what do we have here?” the voice that Harry had seriously never wanted to hear again asked, full of smug condescension.

No one answered his question. The three of them because really what was there to say? It wasn’t like Voldemort was the type to wait patiently and hear their excuses, and his own followers because they had learned by trial and error that it was best not to draw attention to one self regardless of whether or not Voldemort was in a good mood.

Harry tensed up preparing himself for the fight that was most assuredly coming; feeling Severus do the same. Through his peripheral vision he saw Draco’s wand drop from its arm holder into the blond’s hands. Well at least no one could call them naïve.

“I shouldn’t be surprised Severus…once a traitor always a traitor” Voldemort continued obviously warming up to what was now his traditional long assed evil lord speech. “I must say though, I am surprised and a tad disappointed in you young Malfoy…your mother was so adamant in assuring me your true loyalties…” he trailed off in a mockingly disappointed tone.

“He is no son of mine, my lord” A blond woman (whom Harry vaguely recognized as Narcissa Malfoy from his brief glance at the World cup) spat, sending Draco a death glare.

Harry could feel Draco take in a sharp breath at the declaration and squeezed his hand briefly before turning his attention back to the red eyed man who had a look of vindictive glee on his face. Harry knew that Draco had suspected that his mother had been feeding him lies for a while now but to have it confirmed was no doubt a blow. Unfortunately now was not the time to dwell on such things….

No now was the time to figure out how the hell to get out of here alive. Harry knew that he and Severus were fine, after all it was nearly impossible to kill either one of them (incapacitate however difficult it was, was still possible). Draco however was still very much mortal…aka very killable.

If they had one thing going for them however it was the fact that Voldemort obviously didn’t know that either he or Severus were no longer human (or in Severus’s case hadn’t been human in quite some time).

“Nothing to say Potter? No final last words pleading for mercy for the rest of your useless comrades? Where’s your sacrificial actions now?... hmmm. Or are the rumors I’ve heard correct? have you abandoned your beloved public to their fates Harry Potter?” Voldemort taunted obviously expecting a denial or brash reaction from Harry. And had this been before he had joined Leonor in the Shadow realm, he would have likely gotten the expected reaction from the former boy savior. However it was not.

“No. Frankly I could give a rat’s ass what happens to England. So do your worst, I’m sure someone will eventually step up and stop your pathetic ass…but it won’t be me” Harry replied moving slowly away from where they were cornered, making sure that everyone was paying attention to him and his words instead of Draco or Severus who were moving in the opposite directions effectively boxing in Voldemort and his numerous followers.

“I am delighted to hear that you finally using your pathetic brain…it’s really too bad that it will not be enough to save you” Voldemort said with a sigh, his eyes alight in pleasure at what he thought would be the green eyed menaces last words.

“I could say the same to you…well, minus the whole using your brain thing” Harry retorted sending the Dark lord an admittedly demonic smile.

And before the Voldemort could even raise his wand in defense there was a flurry of noise and action. Shrieks and screams filled the air, and for once they did not bring the Dark lord pleasure as they were not the screams of his victims but his own followers.

It could have been hours or seconds but when the noise stopped Voldemort was left with barely half a dozen death eaters and a veritable slaughter house. Close to three-quarters of his forces were now strewn around the Malfoy’s front hall, most bleeding and missing limbs….almost all of them dead. In the middle of the chaos stood a blood soaked Potter, as well as an equally drenched Draco and Severus.

“What are you?” was all the Dark Lord was able to ask, an almost unheard of fear in his voice.

Harry really wanted to reply with the cliché line of ‘your worst nightmare’ but he refrained (if barely).

“Someone who wants nothing to do with you or Dumbledore…take this as a warning, I am out. For all I care take your sadistic tendencies out on Dumbledore and his idiotic forces, but me and my allies are done. We are leaving and if I never see you are the old man again it will be too soon”

Voldemort didn’t even protest, still too shocked by the blood bathe that had been wrought by the supposed savior…the poster boy of light side. And as Harry grabbed a hold of Severus and Draco and disappeared with a pop…

All the dark Lord could do was laugh.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Kiran wished he could be happier about being right…but for once the fact that his suspicions were very likely true, was not something that he could rejoice in. While he knew that his wife thought his was a gullible, simple man, she was mistaken…or at least she was no longer correct in this assumption (he might be a fair and overly optimistic man given immortal standards but even he had his limits).

He had been suspicious of her intentions and actions for awhile now; he just hadn’t had the proof or enough information to do anything about it. His wife had changed…and not for the better. She was no longer the nice, sweet girl he fell in love with all those years ago (and when he says all those years ago he means it…they had been married for several millennia’s now). She had slowly but surely changed, becoming more and more greedy and backhanded.

He was well aware of just how she got what she wanted and at first he had ignored it, not wanting it to be true. They say that ignorance is bliss and well, in this case that adage would be true. But he could not continue pretending that nothing was wrong; at least not for much longer.

It was one of the reasons he had insisted on having dinner with Set last night. He was suspecting of Selene’s relations with the daemon king’s nephew and after having dinner with the hell born king and his queen, he knew that he had been right to be suspicious.

His own wife hadn’t done anything out right that spoke of having an affair, but it was easy to see from the look in her eyes when she looked upon Caymn that it was not purely innocent interest that lay there. And that wasn’t even taking into account the undisguised lust and longing in the Daemon lord’s eyes when he gazed back at her. Really they must think him an idiot to act to blatantly in front of him (he had never been more thankful that King Set had chosen to send his son, Zyren instead of his nephew Caymn as a permanent ambassador between the two realms).

It was their own undoing to underestimate him however-- he did not become and stay Prince of the Immortals on pure luck alone. He knew he had to do something but he wasn’t quite sure what that something would be as of yet.

It was one of the reasons he had agreed to meet with the young immortal that had sent him a letter asking for an audience. Normally he would have dismissed the plea; especially considering it stated that this immortal had information about his queen that she thought he-- as Prince, should know. The writer claimed that she had kept silent for years out of fear of retribution from the queen if she told anyone about the act that she had committed—which, she claimed the queen had sanctioned.

And knowing his wife as well as he did Kiran was forced to at least believe that there was a possibility of truth in the writer’s claims. Regardless he would find out soon enough as he had arranged for a meeting with the women in less than ten minutes, in one of the less used meeting rooms (no point on drawing his wives attention to this meeting…not that he really had to worry as she was busy with court today).

He walked swiftly towards the designated room while pondering just what information he would gain from this meeting; perhaps it was further proof that his wife was having an affair? Maybe it was proof that she had been up to her usual blackmailing and threatening tricks…..or could it possibly be something even more serious and sinister?

He shook his head to dispel these depressing thoughts; there was no point on pondering when he would find out shortly. When he entered the rather plain room (well plain in the palace’s standards anyway, it would likely compare to a boardroom/meeting room in one of the higher end hotels in the mortal realm) he paused for a second to take in the young immortal sitting at the end of the long hardwood table.

She was attractive of that there was no doubt, with long pin straight blond hair, pretty blue eyes and a complexion that romance novelists might call porcelain. But there was a definite weariness and stress in the lines of her face that marred any beauty she might once have had. He could not help but think that she seemed familiar like he should know who she was…

When she noted his arrival she stood up immediately and curtsied lowly, “Your highness” she stated quietly her nerves showing in the slight tremor in her voice.

“Sit…please” Kiran replied gesturing back at the table, “now….” –and want was her name again? It started with a J….Jasmine or Jocyclin…no Josephine that’s what it was (and again there was that feeling that he should recognize this immortal)—“…Madame Josephine what did you wish to tell me?”

The immortal across from him took a deep breath and a small tremor ran through her body once more before she looked him directly in the eye and said, “Your highness were you aware that your wife is complicit in the murder of one Mencia Cruz and her unborn child?”

Chapter Text


 

There is no mile as long the final one that leads back home.” ― Katherine Marsh , Jepp, Who Defied the Stars


 

The time from when Harry grabbed a hold of his now exposed arm (really his robes were a complete mess as they resembled something out of one of Draco’s worst nightmares---it wasn’t his fault that he was overly fashion aware, and no, that did not make him vain…though the second part of the stereotype apparently did hold true, as he was he actually gay; then again so was Harry and well from what he had seen the green eyed wizard wear in the past, not all gay men knew how to dress) to when they landed back in Severus’s sitting room was over in a blink of an eye.

Somehow Severus had managed to avoid being pulled down by Harry’s graceless landing (although Draco had to admit that these moments were becoming more and more rare for the immortal) while Draco ended up entangled in Harry’s long limbs. Both of the young men ended up in a heap, sprawled across the floor.

After they had managed to somehow upright themselves it was of little surprise that it was Severus who was first to touch on the importance of the last hour and a half. “If you two morons could manage to actually land standing up, I would not have to now deal with trying to get blood out of the carpet” he stated in his infamous derisive drawl.

For what was probably the second time in Severus’s long life, he was completely shocked by what happened next; what being getting an armful of immortal. He found himself falling silent and stiffening as Harry literally launched himself at Severus and engulfed the dour man in a hug. Before he even had a chance at processing his prodigy’s sudden embracement of his Hufflepuff side, the former Gryffindor had released him and turned around to grasp Draco dragging the blond towards him.

Severus watched in shocked amusement as Harry manhandled the prim blond so that he was standing in front of the dark haired immortal and bestowed what could only be described as a passionate kiss on the other boy’s lips. And from what Severus could tell Draco really didn’t mind all that much.

A dry cough interrupted the rather intense exchange of saliva (for once Severus really wished he could stop thinking like a scientist/potioneer that he was—as it truly took out some of the spark in human interactions; after all who could really appreciate said interactions when they were thinking of the different body fluids being exchanged?) going on between Harry and Draco.

Harry’s head shot up to see Zyren standing just inside of the door frame looking both turned on by what he was witnessing and confused as to why he was seeing it (while all three of them had gotten closer over their winter break, they had yet to really approach the physical aspect of their bond). The green eyed wizard released Draco and before words could be exchanged bound over to where Zyren was standing and gifted him with the same affections.

When they broke apart both men were slightly short of breath. “Not that I don’t appreciate that greeting…but may I ask what brought this on?” Zyren asked leaning back slightly and then adding when he caught sight of the three men’s appearances, “…or why you all look like you have recently been in a cheap horror film?”

Actions finally catching up with the turbulent emotions of relief and joy that had been coursing through Harry ever since they left Malfoy manor, caused the young immortal to blush at his uncharacteristic displays of affection. “er….I’m happy to see you?” he said though it came out as more of a question then a statement. “Wait when did you get back? I thought you were staying at Hogwarts for another day?”

“I was going to but with things escalating the way they have been, I thought it was pointless to continue the charade as they have already gone and smeared your name past the point of return, so what is the point of staying there and collecting information? Plus I missed you too…” He said then looked at where Draco was standing a few feet back from them, “…both of you” (which may have caused the blond to blush though he would adamantly deny that fact if you asked him later).

“I can see that we all have a lot to talk about. So why don’t we use the common sense that we are—or at least some of us are bestowed with and clean up first before reconvening to discuss events?” Severus interrupted what was likely going to be a lot of questions and stuttered/confused answers. Not to mention that being coated in dried blood was starting to make even his dead immortal skin crawl.

“That sounds like an excellent idea Severus…as much as I love to hold you mon petit combatant, you smell rather atrocious at the moment. And I prefer Draco’s hair his natural blond-- not matted and faintly pink …” Zyren stated taking a step further back from Harry.

“Fine” Harry bit out his tone a tad sulky, though more because he simply didn’t want to admit that Severus had a good point, then the fact that he truly objected with what the man was saying “Draco?” he asked pausing before he left the room. Again the blond would deny he blushed but he was quick to follow Harry out of the room with perhaps a tad more bounce in his step than normal.

Zyren watched both of his younger mates leave the room with what could only be called a fond expression, causing Severus to huff and mutter something darkly under his breath before leaving the room in search of his own shower. Honestly, he could not wait to have his own quarters again…living in close proximity, not only with his godson and Lily’s son but with a mated trio was beyond exasperating.

……..............................................

True to their words the four individual’s reconvened after a thorough scrub down (well for three of them) and change of clothes.

“Okay, first things first….what the hell were you three up to while I was away that resulted in you arriving back here in that state?” Zyren asked pretty much as soon as everyone had settled down (Harry and Draco practically curling into each other on one of the sitting room’s chaises, while Zyren and Severus each took one of the matching chairs).

“Well….you see…”

“I needed to….”

“supposed to be gone..”

Zyren held up his hand to silence the two teens who were literally talking over each other, although he suspected even if they weren’t, that their explanations would have been somewhat lacking. When they stopped talking he looked over to where the potion master was sitting studying his stained fingernails. “Severus?”

Severus gave a loud, put upon sigh before straightening slightly and looking back up at the Daemon, “Draco got it into his head that he needed to check up on his mother to make sure that she was truly okay and that he was not simply abandoning her to her fate at the hands of the Dark lord. While I tried to talk him out of it—knowing it was a bad idea, this moron—“he said, gesturing to where Harry was sitting causing the teen to glare at him-- though it was a rather half assed effort, “…chose to agree with him. Thus since I did not want either of them going in by themselves all three of us apparated to Malfoy manor…” Severus paused for a moment and held up his own hand mimicking the gesture that Zyren had just used on his two mates, “…no we did not just go waltzing in…well, not really…” Severus stated to what Zyren was about to ask.

Zyren raised his eye brow in question waiting for Severus to continue. The man did so, still looking rather crabby, “the idiots were suppose to stay hidden under Potter’s invisibility cloak but somehow even that simply task was too much for them…”

Draco let out a rather feminine sounding squeak of protest to which Harry elbow him in order to stop the blond from voicing his displeasure at Severus’s words. Probably smart, the man really didn’t seem like he was in the mood to placate his godson at the moment.

“To make a long story short, the Dark Lord, along with a large portion of his Death Eaters happened to be present when they became visible—by the way it seems as your source was correct and Voldemort was becoming suspicious of me, as I was not summoned for whatever meeting was going on—anyway, words and spells were exchanged. The Dark Lord obviously thought he had the upper hand…he did not. We culled his troops a bit and then Harry told him we were out of this fight and we left” Severus finished.

Zyren just stared at him in disbelief, “You culled his forces and then you left?” he repeated to be sure that he had heard the man correctly.

“Yes…well, I did say that Harry told him we were done as well…” Severus answered looking nonplussed at the sputtering daemon. The daemon sat there for a few moments trying to collect his composure at the other man’s words, before deciding that he was unlikely to get a better explanation from Severus, or any of them—at least at the moment, and he might as well move on.

“I see” he stated, shaking his head again…if he had not seen the state their clothes and they, themselves had been in when they first got back the explanation Severus had just given, would have led him to believe that they had all sat down for a nice cup of tea with the Dark Lord.

“That’s basically what happened…” Harry inserted apparently tired of waiting for the daemon to go on, “…so now, your turn”

The daemon sighed but conceded, “As I was saying there is no point on me remaining behind to spy, as things deteriorated rather quickly after your escape….and no, Neville and the others are fine” he added when he saw both Harry and Draco’s worried expressions, “…in fact they have remained under Dumbledore’s radar-- you have apparently chosen people who everyone underestimates; I don’t think that anyone; Dumbledore and Fudge included, would believe that Neville or Luna…hell, even Blaise are capable of pulling off what they have. All of the others you’ve appointed outside of Hogwarts are fine as well…three separate portkey departures have already taken place and two more are planned for this week….that side of things is going as smoothly as we could have hoped for”

Harry looked relieved at the daemon’s reassurances, as eager as he was to get out of this cesspool of a country*, he did not want to leave those who truly wanted no part in the war to fend for themselves. To hear that his plan was working and that the last people he actually cared about (Neville and Luna…and hell even Blaise—though more because Draco still regarded him a somewhat of a friend) were okay, help erase the last bit of guilt he felt at ‘abandoning’ Britain to Voldemort.

“Ok…so how have things deteriorated or do I even want to know?” Harry asked settling back further into the sofa, which basically meant Draco’s arms.

“Well…Fudge did as we thought he would and has not only declared you a traitor, but issued a kill or capture on sight order… along with a hefty reward for anyone who does either. He also has the papers printing so much trash about you that I doubt that you could go back even if Voldemort were to suddenly decide that wiping out the British wizarding population was no longer his lives ambition—well after killing you that is” Zyren continued, “…although, I am curious as to how those two goals now rank…”

Harry sighed but didn’t look all that surprised by Zyren’s words, “while I am disappointed that Fudge just proved to be the idiot I always believed him to be, I can’t say that I am surprised. Even If I was still human and had agreed to do what he wanted and somehow miraculously survived long enough to kill off Voldemort, I have no doubt that they would turn on me the second he was dead—if there is one thing that Fudge fears, it’s those with more power than him…which is truth is odd since that means he should fear pretty much everyone with more than a third year Hogwarts education…”

Zyren ignored the quiet snigger that came from Draco at Harry’s last comment, “Well then the last bit of news I bring should be a good thing…I received a letter from Leonor requesting that we return. While there will still be some issues with Draco’s entrance to the realm, he said that at least for a little while Kiran will likely wave the rules for you….after all you are one of his favorites” Zyren added the last bit teasingly.

Harry sent him an impish grin back, “I know”

While Draco was a little less certain- given Zyren’s vague reassurances, he held his tongue as he could see that the thought of returning to the Shadow realm obviously thrilled the other three. He would trust his mates (and the word still sounded a little strange to him) to ensure his safety…at least for now.

“So are we going? And when?” Harry asked unable to hide the eagerness in his voice.

“We are going to meet Leonor at his cabin, and he will escort all of us back home—to ensure we don’t have problems trying to enter” Zyren explained glancing discreetly in Draco’s direction.

Harry wasn’t sure how to feel about returning to Leonor’s cabin, after all it had been more than a decade since he was last there…and it was essentially where all of this had begun. He finally decided that he was both excited and nervous to see the place again.

Though regardless of how he felt about drudging up those rather confusing memories (recall he still thought Leonor was going to use and abuse him during his stay there) he knew that he was excited to head home.

And yes after only a few months back in the mortal realm, he could safely say that he considered the Shadow realm something he had never found in the mortal one….

He considered it home.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

To say that Kiran was floored by what he had just heard from Josephine would be an understatement….a large, vast, huge understatement. While he had more than suspected his wife of cheating on him and sleeping with another, he had never considered the fact that she was capable of murdering someone else; and not just someone else but her own brother’s wife and unborn child!

Oh, he was not stupid he knew that everyone was capable of murder given the right circumstance but these circumstances certainly did not excuse his wife (soon to be ex wife if he had any say about it) for her actions. And yes, perhaps she had not carried out the murder with her own hands but she had basically convinced a rather delusional woman to do it for her (even if murder was not their intention, the results were what mattered).

After the meeting he had his guards escort Josephine to a secure room (for while he would need her testimony to make sure his wife paid for her actions, Josephine had also been responsible for Mencia and her child’s deaths—regardless of whether she was remorseful or not). She would be kept safe until his wife was charged and Josephine’s testimony was needed (the mortal justice system was based off of something after all), and then she would face her own trial—most likely banishment at minimum.

And while he was now sure of what he was going to do and positive of the fact that he would be both removing his wife of her titles and having her arrested, he needed to wait. He needed to tell Leonor of what was happening and what his wife and Leonor’s former fiancé had done before Selene was publically arrested.

He had no desire to blindside a man who had already had so much taken from him. And he wanted to wait until Leonor has someone who could be there for him, to do so. Therefore he needed to wait until Harry was back home.

Dredging up old memories—especially one’s as painful as these, not to mention telling the man that not only had his wife and unborn child been murdered, but that his sister was responsible for their deaths would devastate the old immortal.

It would not be that much longer till Harry had returned… Leonor would need something…someone to hold on for—or, Kiran feared Leonor would simply up and vanish again.

And this time he might not come back.

Chapter Text


 

“Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy - in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other.” ― Robert A. Heinlein , Stranger in a Strange Land


 

Leonor patiently waited for the arrival of the group that was supposed to meet him within the hour. While making the four of them travel to meet him might seem like it was more trouble than it was worth, he and Severus had never really been all that close; thus he wasn’t keyed into the immortal’s- mortal family dwelling. Therefore it was better that they meet him, then the other way around. Plus the portal to Shadow realm was much closer to his cottage then it was to Severus’s place.

Honestly, it was a bit of a pain having to meet them at all-- Severus, Harry and Zyren were already inhabitants and therefore they did not necessarily need to be ‘escorted’ into the realm. However considering none of the immortal’s were planning on actually claiming the mortal they were bringing with them it was simpler for all involved if they had someone of ‘high’ standing with them when they entered (Leonor would be the first to admit that the entrance guards were power hungry social climbers—the only reason he hadn’t had issues the when he first brought Harry with him was because of his relation to the royal couple).

He sighed and resisted the urge to pace…that was much more Harry’s bad habit then his own…he smiled slightly to himself at the thought. Honestly, he had never expected that finding the beaten down mortal in the forest all those years ago would turn out to be one of the best things that had happened to him since his wife had died. It made him uncharacteristically grateful when he thought of it. Even the cottage that he had once held no real attachment to had taken on its own special meaning since that day. He could still recall the horribly planned (and executed) escape attempt his son had tried here…thank all that was holy, that Harry had grown and sharpened his cunning since then.

He felt, rather then heard the wards around the perimeter go off and rose gracefully to his feet to go and greet the arrivals. He hid a smirk as he heard the sound of his son and Severus arguing. While they had grown greatly from their previous relationship, there would always be some amount of nit picking and squabbling between the two of them.

He was pulled from his thoughts by the excited shout of “Father!” (It had taken Harry almost three years before the green eyed teen was comfortable calling him something other than Leonor or sir). He opened up his arms just in time to catch the body of his exuberant son--it was safe to say that Harry was happy to be coming home. He briefly tightened his hold on his son before releasing him and stepping back. He could admit that he had missed the teen…while it might have been less than a year for Harry since he had seen his father; several years had passed for Leonor in the immortal realm.

He took a moment to assess the rest of the motley group in front of him. Severus greeted his brief nod with his own stiff necked, solemn one…really, no change there. What did surprise him was the obvious change in Zyren. While the change in the daemon might not be apparent to a mortal, Leonor could instantly see that the daemon was more relaxed and…well, happier (though in all fairness the Leonor had last seen the daemon shortly after Harry had left and while the daemon and Harry had never realized it (or at least acknowledged it), Leonor had been fairly certain that they had held some amount of love for each other. Seeing both his son and the daemon now, he knew he had been correct. However even back then when they had been together they had never seemed as content as they appeared to be now. This brought his attention to the fourth member of their group…the apparent reason for the changes in both his son and the Zyren.

He studied the blond in front of him closely….in a lot of ways he reminded Leonor of Harry when he had first found him, there was the same vulnerability, as well as a nervousness and caution. Unlike Harry though, the blond also possessed a fair amount of pride and self confidence. He watched the blond’s haughty expression soften as his son reached out for Draco to drag him forward. Yes…perhaps the blond might be worthy of his son….

“Father, I want to introduce you to Draco Malfoy, my….mate” Harry said, though he paused slightly at the last word as though he wasn’t entirely sure how it would be received. Harry himself, had not told his father about the discoveries that he had made in the mortal realm and he honestly did not know how the immortal would react. Thinking back on it, it would have probably been smarter to give his father some heads up….

Leonor smirked at the hesitance, unknown to Harry, Leonor was already fully aware of his son and his dual mate situation; Severus and Chavi had informed him, not to mention Zyren had written him asking for permission to initiate the process. Leonor had been shocked (though this was understandable, he could barely recall the last immortal who had ended up with two mates—he knew that his son was special but still…) but he had granted the daemon permission.

While all he wanted was for Harry to be happy (he knew far too much about the alternative to being that) he was also aware of the potential benefits of Harry and the daemon ending up as mates. Zyren was the prince to the hell realm after all… even Draco seemed to have connections (though they were all in the mortal world). So, yes…his son had made a rather adventitious match. But still he was a tad upset that he had, had to learn about it from someone other than his son.

“Sir” the wizard greeted bowing slightly as was custom (it seemed that either Zyren or Harry had taken time to inform him of at least some of their customs), “It is an honor to meet you”

And while to some this type of greeting seemed a tad over top and ass-kissing, to an immortal it was what was expected. Leonor gave him a nod in return “Likewise Mr. Malfoy…it seems as though my son and I have much to catch up on” he sent a pointed look towards Harry who had the decency to flush. That would teach him for not keeping in better contact with his father, though the ancient immortal wasn’t truly angry at him, he simply liked to fluster his son.

“Of course father….my apologies” Harry said though he truly didn’t sound all that sorry.

“Perhaps we should be on our way?” Severus interrupted and for once Harry sent him a thankful look, knowing that Severus had likely just saved him from further ribbing or reprimanding from his father. He knew that he deserved it for his ‘neglect’ but he’d rather have that conversation NOT under his mate’s watchful gazes. He could literally feel the irritating little blond smirking beside him…like Draco had never been scolded by his father before…honestly. Zyren, at least was more subtle in his amusement…it wasn’t like this was the first time he had seen Leonor tease his son in public.

“Oh very well” Leonor replied sounding somewhat disappointed, but turning to lead them away from the cottage and further into the thickly forested area. He supposed they were right, he still had to meet up with the prince anyway.

Prince Kiran had been acting rather oddly as of late, almost skittish. There seemed to be an extra amount of urgency in his request to meet with Leonor after his return from picking the group up. Though, Leonor could attribute that to the Prince practically breaking the rules by allowing Harry and Zyren to bring Draco back to the realm without first claiming their intentions for the blond. He had spoken briefly to the prince about the situation (though Kiran seemed rather distracted throughout the conversation), and the prince had agreed to allow it-- at least temporarily-- without any other immortal being able to challenge them over Draco.

He shook his head and slowed as they neared the two ancient trees that served as one of the portals between the two realms. The trees were twisted to such a degree that they actually joined together at their tops forming a sort of demented looking arch. To a mortal it would simply look like one of the trees was toppled and leaning against the other for support—however they actually truly did form an arch, one that made the shadows beyond it seem almost impenetrable.

Draco shifted nervously as they approached the intimidating spot, every nerve of his body seemed to be firing….his instincts telling him that he should turn around and leave. He almost did before he felt Zyren place a reassuring hand on his lower back, “It is simply the magic of the entrance it discourages anyone not already calling it home to flee. However since you are with us, you will be able to enter as long as we are physically touching you” the daemon explained carefully guiding the blond towards the shadows that only seemed to grow and stretch as he neared them.

He watched as Severus and Leonor each stepped through and disappeared from sight. He glanced over and Zyren to see that the daemon was motioning him forward, he hesitated once more but moved forward when he felt Harry grab his other hand.

Together the three of them stepped through, entering the Shadow realm as one.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Draco both loved and hated the Shadow Realm. Loved; because well, it was the very definition of refinery and beauty (really if he hadn’t known better he would have sworn that whoever constructed it was a Malfoy at heart)….not to mention there was a certain amount of pride that came from being the only mortal allowed to enter the realm who was not collared. Hated: because, again he was the only human that was allowed to enter the realm (un-collared or not).

Draco was not used to feeling like a second class citizen-- no matter where he went…it was one of the main reasons that he had ran from being in Voldemort’s posse after all (well, that and the fact that the man was a psychopath whose main goal in life was to be grand ruler of the world and to kill a teenager). But there was no way of hiding the fact that here, in the Shadow realm, he Draco Malfoy was most certainly second class at best (if this was the Titanic, well it was safe to say that he would definitely need a snorkel).

It wasn’t just in attitude either…he thought he could possibly put up with being looked down on if he was sure that he could take down the offender, unfortunately that was not the case here. Not by a long shot. He was more than aware of how completely insignificant his hex and dark spells would be should he need to defend himself and while he might not be on a leash and collar (like some of the other unfortunate souls he had seen) he couldn’t help feel that he was one step from it. And it terrified him.

So far Harry or Zyren, hell even Leonor and Severus on occasion had been good about never leaving his side; at first he had been rather indignant over this fact, but Harry had been quick to tell him that it had been the same way for him when he first came to the realm. That helped Draco feel better, at least a little bit. And honestly he couldn’t deny that he was thankful for that small security, especially since he had seen the hate, jealousy and derision in the other realm’s occupant’s eyes. Again Harry reassured Draco that he had been treated to the same behavior when he first came.

Draco wanted to believe him about that….but it was a little hard to do; especially given how they all looked at his mate now. It was nothing short of adoring (which only served to make the old Draco want to come out—even in the bloody immortal realm it seemed as though Potter had everyone’s admiration! While in a way he was proud—it was his mate after all—he couldn’t help but feel a little bit resentful).

A lot of the time, he felt like he was Harry and Zyren’s charity case; like they were only with him out of pity—and while he knew deep down that this wasn’t true, he still couldn’t stop himself from feeling that way. And maybe if he had been raised in a warmer, more open home he would have simply taken his mates aside and told them this…but unfortunately, he had been raised to never admit weakness. Which would be why, he had been avoiding both of his mates as much as possible lately.

You would think it would have been harder to do (considering he needed to have someone with him basically at all times) but he had managed to convince Severus to let him tag along with him…whether or not it was to help with potions or simply to sit reading in his massive library (and seriously, Severus had a library that would put both the Malfoy’s and Hogwarts libraries combined to shame!).

He could see the hurt and confusion in Harry’s eyes and the calculating glint in Zyren’s, but he didn’t care. He had his pride to consider…and so far this realm had done nothing but step all over it! So, if Draco had been a tad cooler and crueler with his words lately well…so what?

He sat sullenly under one of the large trees? (He wasn’t really sure if he could call it a tree exactly, since it looked as though it was made from pure ice—even if it wasn’t actually cold-- while having no actual leaves on it. Basically it was a tree in perpetual winter—he was pretty sure Leonor had called it a glasee), watching discretely while Harry sparred with some immortal Draco couldn’t recall the name of.

Safe to say that the nameless immortal loved the boy hero just as much as everyone else seemed to (“Oh petit duc, I am so happy you are back! No one else ever lets me win”- barf. The admiration and deference in the immortal’s voice made Draco just want to take the sharp pointy spear like weapon the immortal was holding and jam it into his foot).

He was startled when he felt someone sit down next to him. He looked over to see Zyren sitting calmly beside him staring across the field to where he had just been looking.

“It’s not easy is it?” the daemon asked conversationally, not turning to look at Draco.

Recovering from his initial surprise and pushing away the reflexive blush that wanted to bloom over his cheeks (whether it was because he was embarrassed to have been caught so off guard, or because he always seemed to blush whenever he neared the daemon; he didn’t care to examine), he shot him a slightly confused look.

“What?” he asked not entirely sure what the Daemon’s out of the blue comment was referring to.

“I said it’s not easy, seeing how others look at him” Zyren answered this time looking down to meet Draco’s silver eyes with his own blood red. Draco had found that over the last few weeks, he had been able to move past the resemblance to another far more psychotic red eyed man.

Draco took a sharp breath in, scolding himself for being so transparent. He thought about denying the daemon’s words but then he looked back at his mate and changed his mind. Changed it, because he did not see pity in those red eyes but instead understanding. “Yes” he admitted quietly.

Zyren fell silent for so long that Draco thought their conversation was over. When the daemon did speak again it was on an entirely different subject…though not one that Draco found anymore conformable.

“Draco, are you….happy here?” Zyren asked almost hesitantly.

Draco blinked at him in surprise…he didn’t want to completely isolate his mates so he did the only thing that he could do without outright lying, he shrugged.

He heard the daemon sigh softly before Zyren spoke again, “You know it took Harry a long time to find his place here as well…he was not always so accepted”

While Harry had told Draco the same thing, somehow hearing it from someone else made him more inclined to believe it. “Oh?” Draco asked trying to pass off the question with disinterest. He was pretty sure he failed when he saw Zyren smirk slightly.

“No…for the first…” he paused a moment, as though trying to calculate the time in his head, “…probably the first year I am pretty sure that no one outside of a select few actually even knew his name. I believe he was referred to Leonor’s stray…well, when the others were feeling polite that is” Zyren stated.

Draco hid his surprise…while he knew what Harry had said, he couldn’t really picture a world where Harry was known as anything but the hero or savior that Draco had always known him as (or in a few years the lying-attention seeking prat, but regardless of whether the names where positive or negative, he was still known). Zyren obviously saw the surprise on Draco’s face because he continued.

“Yes, hard to believe isn’t it? but it’s true…he’s had to fight and earn the respect and admiration he gets here….regardless of what a few petty jealous people say” Zyren grimaced slightly, obviously not a huge fan of whoever he was thinking about just then.

“Wh-What did you think when you first met him?” Draco asked, genuinely curious to the daemon’s answer. He wanted to know how his two mates had fallen into a relationship, because they had been truthful and told him that they had been involved before either of them had come back to the mortal realm. He knew that his former teacher had neither liked nor disliked him when they had first met, while he and Potter had slid into enemies fairly fast.

Zyren snorted causing Draco to look at him again, there was amusement dancing in his red eyes. “I hated him” the daemon said, “and I’m pretty sure it was mutual”

The daemon’s answer caused Draco to crack a smile, “yes, he does seem to have that affect on people at first”

Zyren shot Draco a knowing smile (obviously Harry had informed him of his and Draco’s former rivalry), “indeed he does. He was such a stubborn cocky little shit. He knew I could easily rip his head off without even breaking a sweat and yet he refused to show an ounce of deference…he was—is infuriating”

Draco could only nod, because he knew exactly what Zyren was talking about. It was the thing that both irritated and attracted Draco the most about Harry. His unyielding stubbornness. It was like the green eyed male was incapable of backing out of a challenge, or admitting defeat. He was pretty sure the damn immortal was still alive simply because he refused to give up and die.

“You should tell him you know” Zyren once again brought Draco back to the present.

“About?” Draco asked.

Zyren just shot him a reprimanding look, “He thinks he has done something to piss you off or make you change your mind about being in this relationship”

Draco didn’t answer; he really didn’t have anything to say in response to that. So he simply nodded…while it wasn’t an outright promise that he would do as Zyren suggested, it was enough to make the daemon smile again before standing up to leave.

Just before leaving Zyren said quietly, “You do belong here Draco….you do belong with us”

Draco just stared after the retreating form of the daemon pondering his words. He didn’t want to admit it but he had really needed to hear them.

He let a small smile creep onto his face as he once more leaned against the tree, ‘it was nice’ he decided.

It was nice to actually be wanted.

Chapter Text


 

“There is no avoidance in delay.” ― Aeschylus , Agamemnon


 

Surprisingly enough, she had not been expecting it when it happened. For someone one who had lived the majority of the last few centuries as a lie, constantly guarding the truth from those who might purposefully or mistakenly discover it…she had been caught completely off guard. For a brief moment she had wondered what enemy of the immortal realms had grown powerful enough to pose as a threat to the royal couple—for that was the only reason she could think of that would cause a troop (not just a pair—but a whole troop) of guards to approach her and bring that serious blank mask to her husband’s face.

Even as they brought out the shackles, she hadn’t allowed herself to truly believe that her game was up; that Kiran somehow knew the truth. It wasn’t until she spotted Caymn’s face in the quickly growing crowd of onlookers that she realized the full depth of her situation. As the court official read out the charges against her she searched Kiran’s face desperately, looking for even an ounce of remorse or sorrow in the stony features that were so unfamiliar to her husband’s normally warm features. There was nothing….nothing but disgust and anger.

It was only now that she felt the sharp dagger like pain pierce her chest, that she really understood how much her affair and actions had cost her. For, while her actions might make it appear as though she did not truly love her husband; that was not the case. She did love Kiran….most of the time she told herself it was only because of his power that she did but now feeling the sorrow that engulfed her at the sight of her husband’s cold expression, she realized what a fool she had been. She realized she had lost more than her titles and most likely freedom in that moment…she had lost his love.

It was a startling revelation. It even brought her a few moments of regret….well, before that regret was replaced with anger and vengeance that is. The tipping point for this was what she saw right before she was dragged away in chains and tossed into one of the most secure prison cells to await her trial.

What she saw made her very blood boil with hatred and loathing. She couldn’t help but seek out her brother’s face in the crowd. She knew that she didn’t really want to see what he thought of her now… now, that he knew what she had done—that it was she, his sister who was responsible for the death of the woman he loved and the unborn heir that he would have had. But she needed to see his face, maybe she was a touch masochistic or perhaps she was simply far more optimistic than she had believed. Whatever the reason some small part of her hoped that perhaps he would forgive her for her actions…that he would still stand by his only blood relation. Hell, she could have even dealt with seeing hatred or disgust in his eyes.

She saw none of these things…instead she what she saw was a confused broken man, something that she could have lived with—what she could not live with was the fact that Leonor had not even looked at her, rather her brother; her one link to family, turned into the embrace of that-that mongrel! The boy who her brother dared to call his son! The worthless human turned immortal, Harry. Never before had she known such all encompassing hatred for someone.

While she had accidently played a part in Leonor’s wife’s death and it was true that she had in no way liked the woman… she had never actively sought to destroy her. The fact that she got destroyed anyway was simply bad luck. But that annoying little upstart that her brother showed far more affection and love to then he had ever given her…well, he was another case entirely. What was worse was the fact that the disgusting being had managed to slowly win over nearly every other immortal in the realm, causing them to—if not adore him, then at least respect him…and he had done it without being in a powerful position or using fear and intimidation. Hell, half the time it was as though even her own husband liked the midget better than her. It was intolerable.

It caused what little was left of her heart to wither and die. So, her dear husband and brother thought they could cast her aside without a second glance did they? Kiran thought that stripping her of her titles and assigning a few measly guards to her cell door would be enough to stop her from getting her revenge? Well, he—no, they would find out how sorely mistaken that assumption was.

Deep down she might know that what was happening to her now was the result of her own actions and not caused by Harry Diaz (formerly Harry Potter), but she had never been one for taking responsibility for her own actions before, and she certainly wasn’t about to start doing so now.

As she was lead away from the sight of her brother leaning into the comfort that his ‘son’ was offering her, she made a vow. She would make them all pay. Every. Single. Last. One. Of Them. She would strike where it would cause them the most pain.

She smiled to herself, despite having just lost everything that she held dear, for soon she would not be the only one to lose.

For she had found a new target.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Ettore could not shake the discomforting feeling that was currently plaguing him. He normally was not one of those fools who disregarded superstition and such forewarnings, but at the moment he was not sure what he could really do about the feeling.

Like his name’s meaning (defender) he prided himself in being one of the Prince’s most valuable guards. He was not the type to over strive or reach for some unattainable goal (not like his older brother Theron; who had always sought out a higher station then he was given—not that he had actually ever achieved said station). He knew his position inside the realm and he was proud to do the job that he was given. This was part of the reason that he chose to ignore the warning niggling in his gut as he took over the post outside the former princess’s cell.

His prince had trusted him with guarding the prisoner for the night…and he would damn well earn that trust.

The situation itself was almost unbelievable; while he had not been one of the fools who had bought into the princess’s innocent façade, he had also never believed the rumors of her cruel manipulations. He had always tossed such rumors aside, thinking that they were simply the jealous whisperings of society climbing harbingers. However, now with the charges laid against Selene…he had to wonder if there was more stock to those rumors then he had previously thought.

Still, he was not the judge nor the juror so he would not let his suspicions color his actions or behavior towards the fallen princess…well, not until she was proven guilty at least.

For the first couple of hours, guard duty turned out to be just as dull and monotonous as any other shift of guarding a prisoner was and Ettore could not help but start to feel the drowsiness that was associated with such early hours start to seep in. But still, he was a good, faithful, trustworthy man and he fought the overwhelming urge to rest against the cell bars and nod off into sleep.

Unfortunately for him, the drowsiness caused him to be a tad more incautious then he normally would have been and he found himself passing closer and closer to the cell bars. Somewhere in the back of his mind there was a voice warning him that this was not the natural weariness that came with guarding someone for hours on end….it practically shouted at him that this tiredness and inattention had far more sinister origins.

Of course this warning voice was muffled by the increasing amounts of chemical that was now coursing through his undead body. Maybe if he had noticed the tiny nick to the skin on his forearm he would have realized he wasn’t quite in his right mind….he might have recalled just when he had received such a normally innocuous wound.

But he didn’t. No, the only thought he had before sleep took over was that it probably wasn’t his best decision to fall asleep so close to the prisoner’s cell.

Especially when he had the keys to said cell on him.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Harry watched in amusement as Zyren tackled Draco to the ground yet again. Of course both of his mates would deny his phrasing of the action...Zyren because when he took someone down it was not a mere tackle, and Draco because the blond would never admit to being the one sent careening towards the ground. Harry had to admit he found it infinitely more amusing to be the observer in this situation then the trainee. He suddenly had a better understanding just why Chavi, Severus and Leonor had come by to watch his own training with Zyren as regularly as they had.

The daemon was ruthless.

Harry himself was just thankful for the opportunity to feel some levity after the horrific revelations this past week. Harry had been told to come with Leonor for the meeting between him and the prince, and while he had been confused at the time (when Leonor and the prince normally met to exchange information aka: play bloreage— basically the immortal version of poker) he had been quick to obey. Not only because it was his sovereign giving the order, but because he had actually really missed the warm immortal.

It was safe to say he had been a little unsettled at how nervous and upset Kiran was when they had first entered the room. Half an hour later he understood just why the prince was acting that way. Harry had suffered a lot of loss in his life (most of it while he was mortal) but there was nothing that could have prepared him for how shattered his father looked after learning the truth. While Harry himself had never known Leonor’s former wife, the amount of grief in Leonor’s eyes was enough to make him feel like he had lost a mother rather than an unknown woman.

He knew right then and there why Kiran had wanted him present, it was all he could do to just barely hold Leonor together…and the immortal’s grief hadn’t lessened in the days since. Even after watching the traitorous princess arrested and stripped of her titles Leonor had seemed lost and unsure. Harry had sat throughout the night with his father figure, simply holding his hand….to be honest he was not even sure if Leonor registered his presence.

But he hoped that it helped…even if only a little, he just couldn’t bare the thought of leaving Leonor alone in his renewed grief (a summer at the Dursley’s after Sirius death was enough to tell him that solitude was the last thing that would likely help the immortal). He could not imagine what Leonor was going through right now but he prayed with every fiber of his being that the ancient immortal would make it through this. It was only after Kiran himself had shown up and asked—no ordered Harry to take a break that Harry had left Leonor in the Prince and Chavi’s capable hands. He had initially tried to sleep but his mind would not stop firing so he had suggested a training session to his two mates…something that Draco had jumped on immediately.

Given the chaos of the last few days, Harry had not had the time to ask Zyren what he had spoken to Draco about but he figured that he didn’t really need to know because whatever he had said seemed to have helped the blond. Before the daemon’s conversation with Draco, Harry had been beyond worried. He couldn’t quite figure out what was going through the teen’s head as he had been slowly but steadily reverting to the Malfoy that Harry had known back before their truce.

He had tried to talk to the blond about it, but had been irrefutably rebutted. So it was with no small amount of relief that he saw the Draco he had grown to know and well…he shook his head at this thought because it was far too early on for such sentiments—regardless, he was happy that whatever that had been bothering Draco had seemed to resolve itself.

He shook himself from his thoughts and decided that it was time to take pity on the disheveled looking blond.

“Zee perhaps Draco should practice with me for a bit…my skill level is closer to his than yours is, plus I don’t get perverse enjoyment out of slaughtering my opponents” Harry called sending Zyren an amused smirk.

The daemon sent his own back in answer, “hnnn…suit yourself, he is even more pathetic then you were…I didn’t think it was possible”

Draco sent the daemon his version of a death glare, “that is because I am a Pureblood…I am not meant to partake in such barbaric things as muggle fighting”

Harry and Zyren both snorted and rolled their eyes at the wizard’s pompous words, “Well, as most of your Pureblood magic is completely ineffective against just about every occupant in this realm…it would be wise for you to lower yourself to learning such barbaric tactics such as dodging and evading” Harry stated taking up a fighting stance and was pleased to see Draco do the same (even if he was still muttering under his breath about cocky assholes or something to the like).

The next twenty or so minutes flew past with Draco getting his arse handed to him, although if one was observant enough they could see small improvements in his technique. After the latest time of Draco trying to rush forward and attack Harry and Harry skillfully moving at the last moment; resulting in the wizard ending up once again on his ass, Zyren interrupted.

“Alright, I think that is probably enough for today…I would be most upset if you killed him”

Draco responded by trying to throw a rather large pebble at the daemon’s smirking face, which of course Zyren dodged easily.

Harry offered the sprawled blond a hand, “Ignore the prat. You are actually doing really well Draco… you should have seen how badly I wanted to curse the idiot after my first training session. He was definitely channeling his inner Severus—I believe he called me a useless sac of bones, said I was to skeletal and weak to be a sac of lard”

Draco snorted but took the proffered hand and allowing himself to be hauled up, “well you were pathetically scrawny back then”

“Oi!” Harry cried in mock offense, “you wound me!”

Zyren rolled his eyes at his mates antics, “alright you morons move it….we should get back”

Immediately Harry’s carefree air fell, replaced by a much more somber one. “I wonder how he…” he started to say. Unfortunately he didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence as he was interrupted by a glint of silver and shadow that caught his eye.

He was not the only one who saw it as Draco let out a startled yelp and jumped literally in front of where Harry was standing. There was not time for Harry to react to what happened next.

The shadow and sliver glint collided with Draco causing the blond to stumble back at the impact, a splatter of red sprayed back to hit Harry’s cheek. He watched frozen as Draco’s silver eyes widened and the blond’s body crumpled to the ground.

“Draco!”

Out of the corner of his eye Harry could see Zyren racing towards them, but he didn’t pay the daemon any heed.

His entire attention was focused on the malevolent features of the former Princess and the archaic blade aloft held in her hand.

Chapter Text


 

Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the Gun down.” ― Malcolm X


 

Selene smiled viciously as she watched the blond mortal fall…really it was almost a waste. Not of the stupid boy’s life, no, she cared little if he lived or not… no, the waste was in the fact that she had used a small portion of the blades poison on him. On an immortal it would not be enough to kill or even really hurt him; for an immortal the blade needed to be sunk completely into the heart, nothing less. If she had not been so intent on her black haired target in front of her, she might have been curious to see what effect the poison had on a human when they were nicked with it.

As it was, she cared little outside of the fact that it would cause the others pain; weak and pathetic as they were.

She might not have loved the daemon, but in the end Caymn had come through for her. First exposing that pathetic guard to the sleep inducing toxin, and then leaving her the only thing that would get her revenge. When the guard passed out she knew it was Caymn’s doing, she hadn’t wasted anytime dodging the rest of her husband’s staff before stealthy making her way to her special spot.

She had only told the daemon about it on a whim, but now she was glad that she had. No one outside of herself and her lover knew about the tree, not even her beloved husband. She almost felt bad for never having actual feelings for Caymn…after all his actions would surely be discovered eventually….And she knew that Set was not kind to traitors.

Oh well…not her problem.

She wielded the poisoned dagger in the scum’s direction, allowing the insane glint of vengeance to show on her normally glacial features. Fools…there was no way that the little inbred would recognize the importance of this blade. It was one of a kind; given to the king of hell by magic herself in thanks for punishing the worst transgressors against her. It could kill anything.

Luckily for her, the anything she wanted dead was right in front of her.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Time seemed to speed up, while slowing down. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Harry recognized Selene’s expression for what it was….insane.

Insanity driven by pure unadulterated hatred. He did not stop to wonder (not for the first time) why the princess seemed to harbor such hate for him, as far as he was aware he really hadn’t done anything to earn it. But right here and now it mattered little…no, here and now his entire focus was on the sharp weapon in the woman’s hand, the very same weapon that she was trying (and looking as though she might succeed in) shoving directly into his gut.

And early on in his stay she probably would have-succeed that is.

But (thankfully), as he has stated before, he was not that same child. No, he had been beaten and sculpted, aka: trained by one of the best fighters in the realm for just under a decade; while she-the former princess, had never had to resort to physical violence by her own hand before.

But still the fight was closer then he would have liked-- the hatred and anger spurning her forward and giving her more strength then she would have had otherwise. In her furious charge forward, Harry managed to just spin to avoid the knife being thrust at him. He rolled just enough to catch her forearm and try to push it away from himself.

Selene let out a furious snarl, bringing her other hand and long talon nails down on his right shoulder causing him to grimace slightly as he felt his normally toughened skin slice open. “Disgusting child, this is your fault” she spat digging in deeper.

Harry struggled not to lose his focus on the blade, as he pushed it away from his body; doing his best to ignore the sharp sting in his shoulder as it deepened. She truly was insane…how the hell was this his fault? He had to assume that she was talking about her arrest and subsequent humiliation, but again how did that have anything to do with him? –hell, he hadn’t even been alive when it happened!

Harry let out a hiss as the knife edged closer to him- the bitch of course had taken advantage of his momentary inner dialogue. He felt his hand slipping from its hold on her arm and realized that it was blood that was causing him to lose his grip. He could not regret the small amount of damage that his hold had done to her arm in that minute.

He didn’t know what caused the shift, whether it was the gloating grin on the cold woman’s face—so reminiscent of Voldemort’s when he thought he was about to win, or if it was catching the sight of Draco’s crumpled body just behind her. Whichever it was, it caused his once infamous temper to flare.

He double the pressure on her forearm not stopping when he heard her gasp of pain, all he could concentrate on was making the bitch pay. She had hurt one of his mates…and for what? A ludicrous attempt to get at him? In those few seconds the world around him turned red.

“….rry!” a loud voice broke through his red haze.

“Harry, let go…” oh…it was Zyren’s voice that was trying to talk to him. What was it saying? What was he supposed to do?

He vaguely felt a strong body encase him from behind, warm—too warm, hand encircled his wrists pulling him back. He could feel a warm sticky liquid running down his arms, for that matter his shirt felt like it was soaked with the same liquid. He felt himself looking down in disconnect, seeing the red liquid but not really connecting it to himself.

“Harry, love…look at me” he heard but he couldn’t look away from the sight in front of him. The once hate-filled eyes stared emptily back at him….disturbingly glassy and dulled. It took him a moment to register that the hilt of the knife was pointed at him; sticking out causing an almost right angle between it and Selene’s chest. The level of the knife so perfect that it seemed like a macabre mockery, of a Halloween prop. To perfect to be real.

He started when he felt a sharp sting to his cheek and looked up in shock. Zyren slapped him! Suddenly the situation, the scene in front of him everything came into sharp contrast: he had just stabbed—and perhaps killed? (it certainly looked that way) the former princess….she had attacked…Draco! Shit where was Draco? Was he okay? Why did he fall?

He felt his breaths quickening along with his heartbeat as panicked thoughts threatened to overwhelm him again. He struggled fruitlessly against the strong arms of his lover, trying to escape them. He needed to get to Draco! He needed to see that the blond was okay.

“Harry! Calm down! Stop!” the strict command in Zyren’s words seemed to break through his frenzied thoughts.

“Draco?” he asked desperately, almost afraid of the answer.

“Leonor and Severus are looking at him….” Zyren said his voice sounding oddly distorted and choked.

That alone told Harry all he needed to know, “What’s wrong with him? Is he okay? Zee tell me!” he demanded starting to struggle again.

“Stop! Harry….you will do no good getting in the way. He is unconscious...” Zyren started tightening his grip when he felt Harry start to panic again, “…but alive. Pull yourself together. He doesn’t need your panic right now. He needs both of us to keep our heads”

Harry visibly deflated at his words, taking in a deep shuddering breath, “Please….I-I need to see him…with my own eyes…please Zee” he pleaded his voice soft, his eyes desperate.

“Ok” Zyren relented, “But you need to stay calm. He has the best people possible around him”

Harry nodded eagerly, not wanting his mate to change his mind and make him wait. They both approached the quickly growing group cautiously, Zyren not releasing his tight hold.

Harry could just make out the unmoving body on the ground, Severus and his father were leaning over Draco…Severus had his wand out moving in frantic motions. Harry wondered for a second when they had even arrived. He knew that his father and Severus had been only a couple hundred feet away, in the house discussing the upcoming trial…he could only assume that they had heard the commotion and had come running. Not that they were able to do much, Draco was still lying on the ground.

Severus was muttering orders and instructions to Leonor who snapped them back just as quickly, “I sent a patronus already…the healer said to stabilize him if possible and move him inside” he overheard the normally stoic potion master say.

“He is as stable as we can hope for the moment….” Leonor answered back, sending an indecipherable look over to where his sister’s body lay. He cleared his throat his voice coming out hoarse and shaky, “…is she?”

“Dead” Zyren answered his face and voice flat and emotionless. Harry noted that his father cringe at the news but didn’t say anything more. He strained to get closer as Severus and his father levitated the body of his mate up and towards the house.

The only thing keeping him from losing it was the faint heartbeat he could see through the blond’s chest. He was alive. He was unconscious and limp…but he was alive.

Harry prayed with everything he had that he would remain that way.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Kiran listened with half an ear to the words that his recently returned delegate said. The news being told was no doubt important but he couldn’t bring himself to concentrate on it at the moment…his mind, as it so often had been these last two months, was elsewhere.

Particularly it was in the mess that had become his realm…well no, that wasn’t exactly right—his realm itself was actually running just as smoothly as ever; the people he actually gave a damn about however…not so much.

Hell, even he was still struggling over the discoveries and recent events. It was not easy to reconcile yourself to the fact that your wife of several centuries had been having an illicit affair for at least half of those centuries, had been implicit in the murder of her sister-in-law and future nephew/niece’s death, had blackmailed and tried to cover this fact up until she couldn’t. And then escaped prison to try to further attempt murdering the immortal her brother saw as a son—an immortal that Kiran himself had often regarded as a son, or if not that, than at least a beloved nephew. Before getting herself killed by the very weapon she wielded to do so, and by the man she meant to kill. Yes, the fact that he was struggling to understand recent events would be a bit of an understatement. And that didn’t even touch on how young Mr. Draco was doing at the moment.

The blond’s continued comatose state was steadily tearing any sense of hope or sanity from the mortal’s two mates, Harry in particular had been…and was still, gutted over it. While the fact that Harry seemed to be barely holding it together, and Zyren was not doing much better had seemed to help Leonor move past his own confusion and grief, spurring him to try and be the support the other two needed so desperately, Kiran knew that if the blond did not recover things would go from bad to worse very quickly.

“…..defeated his forces, the goblins have pulled out completely of Britain. To be truthful the entire country and its infrastructure are a complete mess,” Kiran heard the immortal in front of him say. He forced his attention back to the here and now, trying to understand what he had missed.

Claude Leure had taken over the mortal realm post, specifically taking over the opening that Severus’s departure had left (not to say that he entered as a Hogwarts professor or anything. No, he had chosen to get hired on as one of the knight bus’s conductors—a contraption that Kiran was pretty sure doubled as a torture device. Either way the immortal said that he got a better understanding on what was happening within the country by being a bus driver then he ever would have working in the school or the ministry—much less biased as well).

“Sorry, repeat that” Kiran directed, causing the immortal to shoot him a confused glance. No doubt Claude had mistakenly thought he was actually listening—though to be fair Kiran had, had a lot of practice in fake listening, it was practically a requirement for someone who had to associate with the members of court or his former wife.

“Of course your majesty, I wanted to report to you that their Dark Lord has been defeated. Apparently he lost a large number of his troops recently and the headmaster….Dumbledore (?) met him in battle and won. Since then, the country has been in turmoil as the battle was quite destructive resulting in severe property damage and loss of life. The Ministry has been passing a large number of mandates, many concerning the dark arts and dark creatures…which in turn has caused further dissention amongst the targeted. The Goblins have closed the British branch and essentially left Britain—taking with them a majority of the gold” Claude dutifully recited.

Kiran didn’t bother hiding his shocked look at the news…while he had expected the British wizarding world to essentially collapse due to their careless practices and bigotry eventually, he hadn’t expected it to happen so suddenly or soon, for that matter. While it was horrible (well, horrible if you really cared all that much about mortal’s plights…), it was a necessary evil. That society had been far to stagnated in their ways; the only way for them to ever progress and find a modicum of peace, was to burn it to the ground and start anew.

He vaguely recalled that the mortal’s family was part of the enemy forces, “And what of the rest of Voldemort’s followers?”

Claude scrunched up his face for a moment as though trying to dig up the relevant information, “ah…right. As far as I know most have been captured and given the dementors kiss. Fudge was killed during the confrontation and the newest minster has a much harsher view on criminals and punishment”

Kiran nodded absently, wondering if he should tell Harry and the others this or wait until Draco’s condition changed. The information would really be more important to Draco then the others so it was rather pointless to cause them more worry when there was essentially nothing to be done about it.

“Also, there has been a large influx in British refugees in several neighboring countries…it would appear that all of the evacuation portkeys were successfully deployed” Claude added after a long stint of silence.

“Very good….anything else?” Kiran asked although he already knew the answer. When Claude shook his head to the negative Kiran dismissed him and sat wearily back on his throne.

He wasn’t sure how this news was going to affect things…most likely it would have very little effect in the long run. He sighed, he still had to meet with Set to receive the Hell King’s apologizes for his own nephews complicity in events. Kiran shuddered briefly, he almost pitied the naïve daemon…if there was an expert on doling out torture and punishment it would be the King of Verdomb.

He shook his head and rose, it was time to go and check in on the only family he had left. Hopefully, things would settle soon….and that they would settle favorably.

Chapter Text


 

Once you had put the pieces back together, even though you may look intact, you were never quite the same as you'd been before the fall.” ― Jodi Picoult.


 

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip… somewhere in the vicinity, something was leaking, the paced plinking of water on metal almost soothing in comparison to his own thoughts; Harry wondered if he was slowly going insane. The constant fear made everything take on a surreal cast…as though he was simply an observer, not really a part of what was going on around him.

Immediately after the fight and having seen Draco’s normally proud posture crumble like a discarded rag doll, Harry had clung desperately to the notion that it was a temporary thing; that anytime now Draco was going to miraculously wake up and start spewing scathing insults or snubs. But as minutes turned to hour, turned to days then weeks and finally months, his hope had withered and slowly died. At first Zyren had tried to play the supportive role, reassuring and comforting him but as time stretched on and there was no sign of a change, the daemon’s own grief had caught up with him. Instead of possibly losing one mate, it was a large possibility that if Draco didn’t recover he would lose them both.

The daemon had clung to distance and avoidance the same way Harry clung to nearness and obsessive watching. It was slowly, but surely tearing everything apart. In some ways Harry recognized this but at the same time he didn’t care to do anything about it, he simply didn’t have the energy to try and fix it right now. It was as if he only stayed a little longer then god or whatever cruel deity that controlled his life, would see that he was serious about his mateships and grant him a reprieve. Bring Draco back.

In some ways the blond’s comatose state was crueler then him simply being dead. If he had died then everyone could have reacted in anger, or grief….allowed a conclusion (no matter how morbid or damaging that conclusion might be) to take place. But being how he was now, frozen and unchanging….well, it just caused everyone else to freeze alongside him, to wait in hope or despair, never truly moving on.

When there was finally a sign of a change, Harry was not sure whether to weep for joy or sorrow, because the fact that there was a change meant that Draco was indeed still there; not some cheap plastic lifeless Imation of the blond, but the fact that the change was in the direction of further deterioration caused the relief to be short lived.

There was no doubt in any one’s mind that Draco Malfoy was dying. And there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

He couldn’t stand it; couldn’t stand the steady draining of life from his adoptive son. The whole reason that he had even noticed Harry (okay noticed and kept him alive), was for the vibrant spark of live that was always present in his son’s green eyes. Even when he had first met the boy and Harry had been terrified of him, after the failed escape attempt, or forcing him to dress up in the much more formal and restrictive clothing of the Shadow realm; the defiance and life that was Harry had been so visible.

Now though, it was as if someone had pulled a plug…the once vibrant green was now barely a muted reflection of that life and spirit and it was killing him. Even more so because he didn’t know what he could do to pull Harry out of this plummeting spiral.

It was true that he, himself had almost gone into a similar spiral barely a few months ago; but Harry had been there along with his mates, Kiran and even Severus (albeit the later was largely uncomfortable in being so). That and his loss had happened centuries ago and even with the fresh ripping open of his never quite healed wound, it had not been as bad as when it first occurred. Of course this time around there was also a large amount of betrayal served alongside the old pain, but deep down he had known he lost his sister years ago. Even her death while causing a weird confusing sort of ache (because even in her final horrific actions she had still be his family) was muted when compared to the thought of losing Harry to whatever dark abyss the teen was currently on course for.

It was why he reached the decision that he had. Really, it was not the first time that it had crossed his mind; of course it hadn’t crossed it since he found Harry, but now it seemed like the only possible solution. And okay, it wasn’t exactly a perfect solution, one that would automatically make everything better —after all nothing ever came without a cost or sacrifice of some sort; but in this case he was more than willing to pay it.

Of course he knew that it would be hard for Harry and even Kiran to accept his decision, but he knew that his son and his leader were strong….they would be sad for a time, but if it saved one of Harry’s mates than he would get over it, move on. Losing his father figure would not be as damaging as losing his mate—especially since the three mates had already begun the bonding process. He reckoned that they were somewhere between the confirmation of the bond’s existence and the emotional bond…in truth, given how strongly both Harry and Zyren were reacting to Draco’s condition, it was possible that they had already passed the emotional bonding part; something that would leave both, (well all three if Draco was awake to feel/act on the bond) Harry and Zyren overly anxious and testy (up until the bond’s third phase was completed).

Now, all he had to do was convince Harry that to accept his decision…if worse came to worse, he would simply do it behind his son’s back; once it was done, there was nothing that Harry could do to stop the process. Of course he would only do something like that if there was no way to make Harry see reason; he didn’t want his last days to be spent in confrontation with him.

An hour and several arguments later this path of action seemed more and more inevitable.

“-at?! No! that is insane! No, you can’t do that. I won’t allow you to…I would never ask you to do that or want that!” was his son’s rather adamant protest, only highlighted by the disbelieving horror in his face.

“Would you rather lose him childe?” Leonor asked, hating to play that card but not seeing another way to get his son to open his eyes.

Harry looked as though he had been punched in the gut, but the fire that had been absent as of late was burning brightly in his eyes and he was clenching his jaw in determination, “How can you even ask me that? Of course not! I hate the thought of losing him…but I hate the thought of losing you just as much!”

Leonor shot him a sad look but pushed on, “Harry…”

“No!” the determination just seemed to build instead of fade, “No, you are the only father I have ever known….I will not—cannot allow you to throw away your life in the small chance that it will save him!” he shook his head.

“Why? I have had centuries to live Harry! I am tired….I would not mind so much to see Mencia again, Draco is young…he has not even seen two decades yet and he is needed to complete you” Leonor argued.

He was slightly startled to see that amount of pain present in his son’s eyes. “Is living really so bad?” Harry asked quietly in a subdued tone. The change more than the words caused Leonor to wince. Of course his son had taken that statement the wrong way, despite how much he had grown and healed while here in the realm, Harry still had moments of insecurity, which fed on his fear of abandonment.

Leonor approached him as if he were a startled deer rather than his stubborn, reckless son, carefully drawing the boy—well, man (though he would forever be a child in Leonor’s eyes)—into his arms. “No, Harry you misunderstand me childe. I do not wish to leave you…but if doing so gives you a chance with your mates then I am more than ready to…”

He could feel Harry shaking his head even while be pressed up against his chest, “…no! please don’t, there is such a small chance of it working regardless if you bite him or not. He has not gone through the two year process, and his body is already so compromised. There is a much higher risk in him not surviving the transformation then him making through it. And either way you would die. You already used one of your lives on me,** the second will bring you death….”

“I know childe…but what other option do you have? Draco’s deterioration is killing you, if—when he dies it will not only cripple you, but it will also irreversibly damage Zyren. You are not yet old enough to try to transform him yourself and neither is Severus, Kiran cannot because he is the prince—his passing would result in unprecedented chaos, Zyren cannot do so because Daemons are different cannot give another immortality. So, I am your only option” Leonor explained patiently all the while making soothing circles on Harry’s back. He was not normally very demonstrative in his affections but he figured that the conversation and topic called for it in this moment.

And he truly did not wish to leave Harry, or this life. But he would do so…if it meant Harry’s eventual happiness.

“No” Harry stated again but he could feel that some of the fight was draining from his son’s body, so he didn’t argue just continued to hold him.

They stayed like that for the rest of the night, neither bringing up the topic again, although both were aware of the heavy air of finality that cloaked them.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Grey surrounded and pressed in on him. It wasn’t even a solid grey…something that could be said to have a definite mater, it just was. He didn’t know how long he had been here, surrounded by this unchanging substance; to be honest time didn’t really have much meaning wherever he was.

Draco didn’t mind it….it could have been a lot worse; there was no pain, no hurt, confusion or betrayal here. Really there was nothing, just blank absolution. Every once in a while he would get a faint fluttering feeling in the recesses of what he could only assume was his brain—well, if he still had a body, something he wasn’t all together sure of. It was as though the flittering was trying to tell him something; trying to remind him of something important.

But it was too nondescript and amorphous to grasp hold of and understand. Besides he was content to just be…to continue floating/existing as a state of nothingness…it was almost, dare he say it—peaceful.

Which didn’t explain why the greyness around him was suddenly pressing in on him, and not in the warm comforting way that he had grown used to but in a malicious, choking manner. His body—for now he knew that he had a body, because how else could he feel such horrid pain?—was being pulled apart. The muscles dissected from their bones…it was like a thousand crucios only worse….

He wanted to move, to do something to make it stop, to get back to that grey obliviousness he had so underappreciated.

He could hear the flowing and ebbing of voices and outside noise blistering his ear drums. When he thought he could not possibly handle anymore it only increased.

‘Please, Please, Please’ he prayed-- to whom he was not sure, ’make it stop!’

And it did.

 

Chapter Text

 


 

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” ― Stephen Chbosky , The Perks of Being a Wallflower


 

“Harry! Come quickly”

They were the last words that Harry wanted to hear from Zyren’s mouth….the panicked, frantic sound tinged with despair was all that it took for him to know that things had changed, and not for the better. The back of his mind registered Leonor letting him go and pushing him towards the doorway that separated them from the room Draco was currently occupying.

He couldn’t help but wonder if this was some sort of punishment for having stepped out in the first place…to even have taken the time to receive comfort from his father figure…a father figure who had just told him that he was willing to sacrifice his own life so that Draco would not lose his. He didn’t even know how he was supposed to feel about that fact. He knew that he should be grateful for the chance that Leonor was offering him, but somehow it didn’t feel like a gift…just a loss.

He found himself standing a few feet from Draco’s bed watching in horror as the blond’s body convulsed where it lay. It was as though his entire frame was shaking but remaining still, it was by far one of the most horrible and terrifying sights the green eyed immortal had ever witnessed, and from the look on his other mate’s face—he knew that he was not alone in this opinion.

Severus and one of Draco’s primary caretakers (he couldn’t recall and had no desire to try and remember what the healer’s name was at the moment) moved in controlled panic as they tried to restrain the quivering frame, syringes filled with various liquids were being plunged into Draco’s chest.

It changed absolutely nothing.

And suddenly it was over. Draco’s whole body seemed to lose its rigidity and collapse in on itself, so that he was lying lifeless and unmoving on the tangled sheets beneath him. No one moved, or said a word as they stared unbelieving at the teen before them.

What was left to be said?

Even if Harry had taken Leonor up on his offer it was far too late now. It wasn’t as though he had never seen death before—but seeing it like this, now…it seemed so empty. It eerily reminded him of watching Sirius fall through the veil; one minute he was there and then just…..

Nothing.  

His heart and his head waged war for dominance-his head was telling him that this sick caricature was it…that there would be no last minute miracles or lifesaving measures that could reverse it, while his heart was screaming that it couldn’t be true.

This couldn’t be how it ended…this wasn’t the plan.

He couldn’t help but wonder if there had ever been any plan to begin with.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

A decade ago Severus would have smothered you in your sleep, before pickling your inner organs if you had suggested that he would ever feel overwhelming pity and sorrow for Harry James Potter. The very notion of feeling anything but hate and spite towards the green eyed teen would have been incomprehensible then, and yet here he was staring at the shocked green eyes, his heart breaking at the sight of confusion and pain in them.

It was almost worse than seeing the boy respond in a way that could be labeled Gryffindor; shouting and screaming and in general making a god awful racket (The Gryffindors were always big on causing a scene and drawing attention to themselves). No the non-response was so much worse as it mirrored not only their other mate’s but Severus’s own reaction.

He had always been close to his ‘godson,’ well as close as he got to anyone especially a mortal—so to watch one of the two lives he had sworn to protect spark out leaving nothing but an empty shell…well he wasn’t quite sure what to do.

Sadly, it really should not have come as such a shock to the group standing here still as statues, but then again even immortals and daemons are liable to that damning emotion of hope, despite how reality showed time and again just how dire and hopeless the circumstance truly were.

The healer looked from face to face as though he was almost afraid to do his job, in case he upset the perilous balance of calm, tipping them into a more violent reaction. Eventually though he seemed to decide to take the risk, “Time of Death, 16:46” he stated in a droll flat voice.

It was that voice that did what the speaker seemed to fear it would do….it caused Harry to snap out of his shock and give the more expected response.

“No, God dammit! He’s not dead!” the immortal cried out—his voice reverberating off the rooms wall and sounding twice as loud in the, until now nearly silent room.

Severus watched disconnectedly as Zyren tried to reestablish some sense of calm as he tried to wrap his arms around Harry and hold the distraught immortal to him. He failed. Harry thrashed wildly denials and pleading spilling from his lips, shaking his head as though if he denied it loud and long enough the truth would change.

Severus discovered that he was wrong, this was even worse to witness then the silent shock, finally he could stand it no longer, “Enough! Stop it you insufferable child! You are not the only one grieving!” he snarled. He knew that his response was cold and cruel but what he said was true….they were all grieving. One look at the daemon could tell you that Zyren was barely holding it together—switching his devastated gaze from where Draco lay to his shattered, thrashing mate.

It seemed as though Harry was intent on completely ignoring Severus’s harsh words however. His struggle to escape Zyren’s arms calmed but his denials did not, “No!” this time it was stated without the note of hysteria but in a much more adamant way, “He is not dead….look!”

It was said with such conviction that it caused Severus to once again look at the lifeless shell before him only to find that Harry was not wrong. He stared, even more shocked at Draco’s supine body- watching the chest rise and fall giving a hard to refute sign that the blond was indeed alive. How was this possible? Had had the idiot healer made a mistake? And why did Draco look the same but different?

“ Healer!” he heard Zyren’s angry voice demand the man’s presence, there was a flurried murmur of conversation before he noted that the healer was standing shakily beside him, quickly completing yet another assessment. Severus somehow doubted that the man would have a job by the end of the day.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw two more figures approach and shifted over slightly to give room to both Harry and Zyren as they waited bodies tensed for the final verdict. The panicked horror was gone, being replaced by wary hope once more.

Twenty long minutes later the healer had conducted his head to toe examination no less than three times, shaking his head in confusion….”I don’t understand…” he muttered to himself.

“What don’t you understand?” Severus asked perhaps a tad harshly.

The healer shook his head again but straightened to answer him, “this…this should be impossible….his body has healed itself completely, it’s as though he is simply in a restorative sleep now….he has seemingly grown three inches, not to mention his immune system seems to be 50% stronger then it was before he---well, before he died” the healer held up his hand at the sound of a furious snarl coming from Harry, “I am not saying that he is still dead, but there is no doubt that he was…at least for those few minutes….which is why this should be impossible, it’s almost as though…” whatever the healer was about to say was cut off by the entrance of sixth person (not including Draco that is).

All five of the room’s awake occupants spun to see who it was and were slightly surprised to see Harry’s former teacher standing in the door way.

“I believe what Healer Geri is trying to say, is that Draco has come into his inheritance a year too early…he has become an elf” Chavi stated.

Any other comments that might have been made were tossed aside as Draco started to stir.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Huh, it seemed as though having Harry Potter as one of your mates, automatically gave you the Potter luck. You know, the luck that caused you to end up in dire situations which made you almost lose your life, only to be spared at the last minute by some one-in-a million chance happening—that luck.

Who would have thought that the stress to his body caused by being nicked with a fatal, irreversible poison would make the recessive elf gene in the Malfoy blood line surface; not only for the first time in centuries but an entire year early? (Really had it not saved his life, Draco might have been a tad irritated at being stuck in his sixteen year old body for the rest of eternity). As it was however, he was rather grateful for his heritage’s intervention (and not just because he got a rather hot, desperate kiss from both of his mates upon waking either).

In all honesty, despite the labor intensive lessons that he was going to have to take from Chavi (who had sponsored him—the elf equivalent of taking him under her wing from now on and acting as his mentor in all things elf) to learn about his inheritance, not to mention the meeting with the Eleven royalty to confirm his new status and convince them to allow him to remain in the Shadow realm rather than the Lodoss realm, his new inheritance actually solved a few problems.

Problems, that until now had been cast aside but not forgotten. Once he received permission from his own race’s royal rulers (something that Leonor was fairly confident he would gain—given who his mates were and where they were located) his new elfin status would allow him to remain in the shadow realm, whereas had he still been an unclaimed mortal, problems would have eventually reared their head.

While it was a little disconcerting to come to terms, not only with having creature blood running through his veins but to actually have enough of it in his veins to allow his full transformation (he was raised amongst biased dark wizards after all), Draco was starting to see Harry’s point, that the only reason that wizards ostracized and shunned creatures was out of jealousy and fear. And it was true, Draco now being an elf could feel the immense power boost running through his body—he felt like he could do so much more then he would have been able to before.

So despite his upbringing, he was becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of being an elf….it went a long way to help dispel the last of his insecurities over not really belonging in this realm or even worse his mateship. When he voiced this to Zyren and Harry, he had been shocked when Harry told him what Leonor had been prepared to give up, to ensure that he would be around to be a partner to his son and Zyren. It was both terrifying and humbling to have proof of just how certain his mate’s creator was of Draco’s importance to the pairing.

A month had passed since his miraculous recovery and his two mates were just now starting to relax a little in their overprotective worry about him. And to be honest as nice as it was to know that his mates were worried for him and truly cared, he was rather relieved that they were easing up. He was getting a little tired at being the damsel in distress….

His innate sense brought him out of his ponderings and he knew without even turning around who was had just come into the room.

“Zyren” he greeted rising from where he had been reading ‘The Elvin Wars Edition I’ in order to face his mate.

The daemon smiled at the greeting moving over to kiss both of the blond’s cheeks, causing them to instantly turn red. Both Zyren and Harry had been much more open and giving of their affections towards not only each other but Draco lately—it was something that Draco, having grown up in a cold, indifferent house truly appreciated.

“Where’s Harry?” Draco asked after a second, surprised not to see the green eyed immortal…especially given what was going to happen tonight. Had he changed his mind? Decided that he didn’t want this after all? After all, no matter how close the three of them had grown recently, without the final step of confirmation the mateship could still be denied—not easily, but it was still doable.

Zyren smiled and squeezed Draco’s shoulders lightly as if knowing the blond was freaking out internally, “Don’t worry so, he is simply getting things ready….are you still sure you want to do this tonight? Do not feel as though you have to rush, we can wait until you are ready”

Draco swallowed, his throat suddenly feeling like Sahara-- he knew that the daemon was speaking the truth but he also remembered the absolute joy on both of his mates faces when he had told them that he was ready for the physical confirmation. He could not deny he was terrified at the thought but he knew that what he wanted.

“Yes, I am ready”

And speaking that short sentence out loud he knew how true it was. He was ready for this—and what was more….

He was ready for everything that came after.

Chapter Text


 

“... the vintage of history is forever repeating ~ same old vines, same old wines!” ― E.A. Bucchianeri , Faust: My Soul Be Damned for the World Vol. 2


 

250 years later

A harsh unforgiving wind pulled mercilessly at all who dared to have ventured outside on this cold December’s night, but Harry no longer noticed such things. He found it interesting that as the years trickled by (sometimes in a slow drip other times as a gush) that he could no longer clearly recall what it felt like to be cowed by the elements that he had been so vulnerable to as a human.

The same elements that had played a small but vital part in what occurred so long ago and still brought him here year after year in his own private pilgrimage to pay his respects. Draco mocked him mercilessly for being still holding onto his sentimental Gryffindor side, but he took no offense as he knew that Draco had secretly started to do the same thing himself, only with a different destination in mind. Zyren never mentioned either of their trips but you could see from the look he got in his red eyes at times that he understood the importance of such ‘trivial sentimentalities’-- of course neither of his stubborn, pratish mates would ever admit to such things.

He shook his head, smiling to himself-something that Leonor pointed out he often did when thinking, talking or more often than not, complaining about his mates…okay so yes, he was still a soft hearted fool; but as long as it was more heavily weighted on the first part of that adjective he didn’t truly mind.

The forest’s thick moss silenced his graceful steps as he walked slowly but surely deeper and deeper into the dark treed forest. So, much had changed in the mortal world, and yet nothing had. Having visited this spot…the place that had basically changed his whole life when Leonor found him, year after year (well….every decade in mortal years, but every year in the shadow realm) had given him a chance to discreetly sate his curiosity on the comings and goings of both the muggle and wizarding world.

While he couldn’t really have expected much differently from either population, it seemed as though each race in its own way was doomed to continue making the same mistakes and fighting the same wars over and over again (sure the wars were fought and started by different sides, had different victors and their ‘peaceful times’ were governed by ever changing governments with different laws, but when it all came down to it….it was the same old struggles and triumphs). It was rather disheartening to learn how very little one’s actions actually made a difference in the long run.

He had at first been shocked and appalled to find out that Dumbledore’s world was just as awful as Voldemort’s vision had been…sure during the forty years that Dumbledore, the order and the light side had been truly in charge after Voldemort’s defeat, the in your face violence and fighting had ceased—but the prejudice blossomed and spread like wildfire. Suddenly being a dark witch or wizard, or heaven forbid a dark creature was the equivalent to being the new ‘mudblood.’

Those who bore the stigma were just as suppressed and isolated from their roots as the light side would have been had Voldemort succeeded—imprisonment without trials were more common then naught. Of course after almost half a decade of strict subjugation of their beliefs and culture, the dark side and many of the magical creatures (both light and dark) had banded together to fight back, resulting in another two decade long war, victory going to the dark. Who in turn promptly forgot that the creatures had essentially been the reason they won and tried to stab them in the back…and on it goes.

Always one side winning, followed by a few years to decades of tense peace followed by another uprising of the wronged and yet another war. After a century of watching it happen, Harry had ceased to care about what he could now only see as trivial disputes and senseless slaughters between mortals; magical or not. When he had been here last year—or perhaps he should think in mortal terms for the time he was in this domain-- so last decade, they had been on the cusp of another war. This one old and familiar—fear of magical folks against muggles, though Harry did think that perhaps they had reason this time; for as fast as muggle technology had advanced, thanks to a muggleborn dark witch Helie Gaudz, wizards own protection against detection had also advanced.

But someone having some dispute with the witch (likely because she was a muggleborn who dared to practice dark magic—though from which side the resentment came from was unknown), in their typical bout of genius had been slaughtered her and her notes burned. Yes, great forward thinkers these magical folks were. So yes, it was true that the magical did have reason to fear that they would soon be found by the muggles. Well, in Harry’s opinion it served them right…their own prejudiced thinking and violent actions had led to this problem and Harry had become quite the fan of the ‘you reap what you sow’ philosophy.

He once again shook himself from his thoughts, coming back to this forest always made him way to open to long bouts of maudlin reflection. He stopped in the overgrown patch of forest where Leonor had found him broken and ready to die, and simply pondered how different things could have been.

Instead of learning what it was to truly have a father, instead of mending fences and acquiring the friendship of the snarky but loyal Severus, instead of ever having had the chance to enjoy Kiran’s warm manner and friendly smiles, and worse; instead of discovering what it meant to truly be loved and to love; discovering how completely frustrating and yet undeniably perfect it was to be mated to two such strong headed and willed mates such as Draco and Zyren…he would have had nothing.

He would have either faded into blackness—never having truly lived his life before ending it or on a rare chance he would have been found brought back to fight in a war he had never wanted to be a part of, for people who did nothing but expected everything… only to be discarded in the end. Yes….he would forever be thankful to Leonor for his whim to bring Harry with him.

A low pained whimper drew his eyes to a thorny patch of brambles and pine.

No! Seriously? Would his life truly be this ironic? As he cautiously made his way over to where he could make out a slumped figure (cautious for the figure—he himself had no fear of being in danger, but it was best not to startle whomever that lump of clothing and flesh belonged to) he wondered if Fate would ever get tired of pulling his strings.

Likely not.

As he drew closer he could tell that the pained, labored breathing belonged to a small child—matted blond hair, pale face streaked with dirt and dark brown eyes muddied with pain, he calculated the child…no, girl could not be much older than six or seven.

Despite his best effort’s Harry felt his heart constrict at the sight of this suffering child….even if he hadn’t found her here, in a circumstance that so eerily reminded him of his own happenings so long ago, he would have been unable to close off his heart to this. It was the reason he had always kept his distance from anyone when he came back to this realm….eternally soft, Draco would call him.

The little girl stared up at him blearily, more conscious then Harry had originally credited her with, “Are you an angel?” she asked her tone pained but the curiosity still present.

“No, I’m afraid I am not….what is your name child? Where are your parents?” Harry asked, all too aware of how creepy that question could have been taken. Great all he needed was a freaking lollipop and he could audition for creepy pedo guy. Ookay…..not the point at the moment-- back to the situation in front of him.

“Dead” the girl answered her voice sounding far-off and detached.

Well that certainly didn’t answer a whole lot, “Why are you hurt and out here in the cold? Who is supposed to be looking after you?” Harry asked again, not willing to kill or leave the child in this condition. Maybe she got lost? Someone was frantically looking for her?

“I ran away….my-my uncle is not a nice man” the girl wheezed out, making Harry far more concerned about her current state of wellbeing, although her words brought yet another swoop to his gut. Fate was truly cruel…this child was so, so similar and yet so different from the little boy he had once been.

“Is there anyone else to care for you?” Harry asked although in his gut he knew the answer to that. He knew what he was going to do….it was the same feeling or knowing he had relied on time and again, the itch telling him to go to the mortal realm all those years ago, the same one that had saved his life year after year while being mortal. He would not question it…it had never led him wrong.

“No” the little girl stated plainly.

“Would you like to come with me back to my home?” Harry asked (unlike Leonor, he thought the whole kidnapping first, asking permission later, was not the proper way of doing things).

The girl didn’t hesitate, “Ok” she agreed softly, “my name is Lily”

Harry was once again struck by the oddity of fate, coincidence and time….but he didn’t hesitate to lean over and pick up the girl, cradling her carefully as he prepared to apparate back to the Shadow Realm’s entrance.

He was not overly worried about either of his mates reactions, they had been talking about adopting a child (or heir—Draco’s words) for a while now (he was never more thankful to the law changes Kiran had instigated since Draco’s near death—it was now legal to bring a mortal into the realm if they were one’s mate or if you made a vow to eventually ‘turn one’ as an heir). He somehow knew that being here and finding this child here tonight was no coincidence, it was meant to happen.

“Ok Lily, my name is Harry….just hang in there, we are going home”

And Harry knew the truth in his words….

As cruel as fate could be, she gave rewards just as often as she gave punishments and trials; hopefully this small broken child could find what Harry had once found in this gift.

More than just love, acceptance and a home--- but the time to appreciate it.

Harry looked down at the small girl in his arms and for once he knew without a doubt everything would be alright. Fate and time were for once on his side.

THE END (tada!)