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Just A Matter of Time

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How did things turn out this way? Harry asks himself as he paces his bedroom.

How was he supposed to know the man he and Bill had saved is Aaron’s brother? He didn’t know Aaron had a brother. Their goal was to only find the artifacts that belonged to Gringotts but they came away with much more than that. He looks over on the bed at the sleeping child and wonders if he is doing the right thing by keeping her. Just earlier that night he’d claimed Aaron as his consort, revealing to his family and friends that he and Aaron are together, not just for one night but forever. And now he is hoping that Aaron will want to the same with the little girl sleeping on his bed. He is not a seer like Luna but his magic tells him she is meant to be part of their family. Things are moving so fast he’s afraid Aaron will run and not look back. Harry isn’t sure what he would do if Aaron decides to leave and not look back. They have only been together for a short time, but the love he feels for Aaron is deep and true. He can’t imagine his life without Aaron in it. A long, happy life built around their children and family. But now Harry isn’t sure this is going to happen. The expression on Aaron’s face makes him think he might have made the biggest mistake of his life by bringing his brother back to the house after the man had saved his life.

FLASHBACK

“Remember Harry, keep your head down. You might look like Penelope. But who knows what other enchantments they have in this place. I need to be careful as well. Since I look like your FBI man, he might not be a wizard but he’s come in contact with plenty of criminals. The last thing we need is for someone to recognize ‘me’ as an agent. Let’s hope the polyjuice last long enough to find the artifacts.”

Harry nods, hearing the underlying hope that the mission can be completed without it falling into chaos like things tend to when he’s involved. Doing what Bill suggests, he falls back and walks at Bill’s heels being the dutiful submissive. When Bill finds a table and sits, Harry goes to his knees and folds his hands at the small of his back. Bill runs his fingers through Harry’s hair and cups the back of his neck, squeezing it. Harry lifts his head as if Bill had roughly jerked it back.

“Go and get me a drink and get some water for yourself. You know what will happen if you disobey.”

Harry doesn’t respond and stands. The threat is to sell their cover. As he goes to walk away, he hears another Dom who must have been watching them speak to Bill. “She seems to be very obedient.”

Bill chuckles. “Some days she is. Today just happens to be our anniversary.”

Harry continues to the bar. Discreetly he looks around the club scooping out where the doors to an office could be. There were thick drapes all around the entire club. He spots at least four men standing in various parts of the club. It was going to be hard to figure out where the artifacts were. He gets to the bar and orders a fire-whiskey for Bill and water for himself. He turns to go back to their table and bumps into someone spilling the drinks over both of them.

“Oh, Merlin, I’m sorry,” Harry says. Whipping around, he grabs some napkins off the bar top and starts dabbing at himself. He still hadn’t looked up at the person he collided with until they spoke.

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”

Harry looks up and his eyes connect with a pair of honey brown eyes. I know those eyes , he thinks. He gasps, taken back for a second, thinking that somehow Aaron had followed him and Bill to the club. His eyes quickly scan the man’s face and notice stark differences between Aaron and the man in front of him. Aaron’s cheekbones were more pronounced especially when he smiled. The man in front of him might have Aaron’s eyes but he wasn’t his lover.

“Are you all right?”

“Um…  Yes, I thought you were someone else for a second. Excuse me.” He went to step around the man when a hand clamps down on his.

“Wait.”

Harry freezes and looks down at the hand that was similar but smaller in comparison. The grip is confident but not overbearing. Why does he remind me of Aaron?   His gaze moves back up to the man's brown eyes. Why am I so tongue-tied all of a sudden?

“Your drink.” Harry tilts his head confused for a second. “I’m sure your Master would be upset if you return without his drink. I would hate to see a beautiful thing like you get punished for what was my fault.” His eyes slowly travel down to his, well actually Penelope’s, cleavage and then back up to his face.

Wait, is he flirting with me? Harry’s eyes widen and he turns to reorder Bill’s drink. He was about to pay for it when a hand reaches over his shoulder and drops a few coins on the bar top. Harry looks over his shoulder to see the same man staring into his face.

“Allow me.” He licks his lips and Harry wasn’t sure if he should laugh or be flattered that he was being poached by another Dom. If he’d been with his real Dom, Aaron would’ve knocked the guy out before he had a chance to get out his wand.

“Uh… Thank you.” He turns and his large breast brushes against the man’s chest. He doesn’t miss the grunt coming from the other man. “Ex… excuse me.” Harry’s glad he doesn’t have breasts in real life. How do women move with these things?

“As you wish.” He steps aside giving Harry a small opening for him to pass by him without not being able to touch him. A hand wraps around his waist. Oh, for fuck sake, this guy is too fucking bold. It was flattering before but now it’s just downright annoying. “If your Dom isn’t satisfying you the way you should be, come see me. You may call me Master Hotch.” Then releases him and steps away, leaving Harry shocked to his very core.

He said Hotch, right? I must have heard wrong. Did Aaron really follow us here? Anger starts to boil inside of him that Aaron doesn’t trust him to do this without him. And he has the gall to flaunt his mistrust and flirt with me? If Aaron gets hurt because he couldn’t fucking listen, I’m going to kill him! Harry is going to murder the person that helped Aaron mask his appearance. Shaking his head, he clears his mind. He will deal with Aaron and whoever helped him later. He walks back to the table and sets Bill’s drink down. Kneeling back in his submissive position at his pretend Master’s feet, a petty part of him hopes the sight infuriates Aaron. Harry pretends as if he not paying attention to the surrounding conversation. Words of an auction and bidding for the highest price catch his ear. Bill rests a hand on his shoulder and is it was practiced Harry turns his head and kisses his knuckle. He touches a hand to the back of Bill’s legs and slowly sends him a coded message of what he saw on the way to the bar and what he heard coming from the others in the club.

“Come along, pet,” Bill says standing to his feet. “I think it’s time for us to find somewhere private.”

“Oh, you cannot leave yet, not when the show is about to start,” one of the Doms sitting at the table protests.

“A show?” Bill asks.

“Yes,” another joins in. “Lately, there have been some fine specimens being auctioned off. I doubt you’d want to miss this Master Wolf. Maybe, you will find something or someone to join you and your lovely submissive.

“Hm… sounds interesting.” Bill reaches down and cups Harry’s chin, lifting his head until their eyes connect. “What do you think, pet? Want to stay a bit longer before I take you elsewhere to celebrate.”

“Whatever my Master wishes.”

“Good answer,” Bill says, stroking his thumb along his jawline. “It seems gentlemen, my pet isn’t ready to be alone with me as of yet.”

“You let your slave dictate what you do?” one of the Doms asks.

“To an extent,” Bill answers with confidence. Nothing else is said. Harry almost raises his head when the lights of the club dim. Bill places a hand on his shoulder, letting him know he is there.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to club Whip.”

At the announcement, applause roars from the guests. Harry keeps his head down and his eyes closed. He has to wait for Bill to give him permission to look in the direction of the stage.  

“You can watch the show,” Bill tells him as if hearing his thoughts.

Harry has long since mastered how to shift only his eyes into his wolf’s without needing to do a full shift in his animagus form. With eyes of a wolf, his night vision is perfect. Harry raises his head slowly and takes in the other submissives and slaves that are sitting next to him.  They all have their heads down and aren’t affronted the same privileges that his master has given him. Their jealousy of his freedom is written in every angle of their bodies. If only they knew his real master is stricter than Bill, it’s been days since he’s had an orgasm.

“We have decided to spice things up a bit at Whip tonight. We’ve acquired a new stock of antiques that we are sure you will be quite happy with.”

Harry freezes and his fingers tighten on Bill’s legs. What kind of stock? thinks Harry.

The spotlight shifts and stops on a small naked form, a frail girl with silver hair reaching down to the floor. and frightened ink black eyes. The child looks no more than six or seven and is shivering violently. Not from the cold but from fear. Harry is drawn to the child on the stage; she turns in his direction. Her eyes stare directly into his and his heart breaks.  

“Ladies and gentlemen what you see before you is not a mere child,” the announcer walks over to the girl and stands behind her. He roughly yanks the girl’s head back and kissed her forehead. “This little one is a beautiful dark creature of the rarest kind. The kind thought to be lost to our world.” The announcer’s finger slid up and down the shivering girl’s body. If it’s an attempt to calm the child, it fails. The touch agitates her further. “Before you ladies and gentlemen is a dragon shifter. Not an animagi, but a fire-breathing dragon that could be yours to do with as you will. She is unclaimed and untried.” Seeing the excitement he garners from the audience the master of ceremonies smiles a greedy, smug smile. It angers Harry and he can feel the tension in Bill’s leg and knows he is feeling the same way, wanting to punch the slime git in the face. “We will start the bidding at one million.”

Bile burns in Harry’s throat and Bill’s fingers dig into his shoulder telling him to stay calm. They are going to get the sick bastard along with everyone in the room and make them all pay for selling a child.  He looks away for a second and closes his eyes as he tries to rein in his feelings. Seeing the helpless little girl on the stage, he cannot leave without helping her. Harry is sure that she is not the only one they have and plan on selling to the highest bidder. Children need to be protected at all times, the young especially. Harry is trying to think of a way to help the child and not botch up Bill’s case in the process.

Harry hears ‘Help me’ whisper in the back of his mind. His eyes snap to find the child staring directly at him. “Please, help me,” he hears again.

Harry stares into the child's eyes and watches as they shift going from pools of liquid black ink turning to gold before it flares bright red. He quickly scans the room, seeking someone else who noticed her eyes changing. When no one else reacts, Harry looks back to the child and instantly he feels a burning sensation in his chest as if it’s on fire. He touches his chest and grunts with an effort to hold back the scream that threatens to escape from the depths of his soul. Sweat beads on his forehead as the other parts of his body start to burn. He wants to look away but cannot, it is as if the little girl has a hold on him. The beast inside of him starts to howl and scream. His shoulder begins to burn as more sweat drenches his body to the point where he wants to rip his clothes off and shift. His beast howls louder and claws deep inside of him. Harry can see slits on his wolf’s back tear open, it feels real as if it is happening to him physically. Thick red blood gushes out staining the white ground beneath its large paws turning into puddles. Harry whimpers as he watches in fear as large bloody skeletal boned wings forces their way out of his wolf’s shoulder blades. His wolf’s roar reverberates inside of him, causing Harry to look away from the child, grabbing the sides of his head and moving closer to Bill. Whatever is happening has everything to do with the little girl on the stage. After a few minutes, the burning on his chest subsides leaving Harry panting gasping for breath.

He snaps his head up when he hears someone yell two million. Another bids two point five, raising the amount. With each bid the amount raises, and Harry cannot sit there any longer listen to men and women bid on a child as if she was a piece of meat and nothing else. With a fiery rage inside of him, he pulled out his wand casts a stupefy spell as he runs up to the stage and grabs the child. She holds onto him tightly. The entire room gasps and Harry assumes it is because they see a strange woman on stage holding a child for sale in her arms. That’s what he thought until he heard someone yell.

“It’s Harry Potter!”

“Harry Potter, what is he doing here?” Another yells.

“For heaven’s sake, everywhere we go, you cause trouble,” Bill says coming to stand beside him with his wand pointing out to the crows. “Now, if you all just keep calm, this can go easy. We’ll just take the kid and no one will get…” Before Bill finishes his words a spell flies in his direction and misses him by a hair's breadth, but that’s the chaos in the club. Spells start flying toward them from every which way, and they try their best to get out of the way.  It is then Harry notices Aaron with a wand in his hand.

Wait, spells! But Aaron is a muggle! thinks Harry.

With the child in one hand and his wand in the other, he sends spells clearing the people out of his way. He is trying to get closer Aaron to find out what the hell is going on. He doesn’t know where Bill is, Harry lost him in all the commotion. The next set of events happen so quickly Harry isn’t so sure he is seeing things accurately. He usually able to keep together whenever he was in battle mode, but whatever happened to his wolf has affected his reflexes and concentration. Poor timing as he doesn’t sense the spell that is directed right at him until it’s too late. He only has enough time to shield the child from the oncoming spell, willing to take whatever the damage may be. Feeling nothing, Harry can only blink in surprise. Something or someone stopped the spell from getting to him, Harry turns and gasps when he looks up into deep brown eyes of the man that looks like his lover. Harry’s anger flares inside of him and he sees red.

Harry remembers nothing else until they arrive at the manor. The child is still clutching to him tightly as he is to her. Shit! He drops to his knees and presses his hands into the gash in Aaron’s side. Harry looks into the man’s dazed eyes and knows he’s about to go into to shock.

“Dippy!” A second later, Dippy appears with a pop. “Get Andromeda,” Harry demands before the elf can say anything. Dippy disappears without a word, understanding the urgency.

Andromeda rushes and kneels down beside him. He doesn’t realize that Derek, Spencer, and Aaron is with her.

“He’s going into shock.”

“Let me see.” Harry moves his hands to let Andromeda inspect the wound.

“Oh my God!”

Harry whips around to see Aaron staring at the wounded man. Harry feels confused as he turns and looks at the injured man. If he’s not Aaron, then who is he?

“Sean,”  Aaron whispers.

Harry looks back at his lover. He knows him?! A myriad of emotion moves over Aaron’s face; concern and anger that Harry can read easily. Who the fuck is Sean? And why does Aaron look so uncomfortable?

Andromeda levitates Sean and guides him into the kitchen. She mutters a cushioning spell and lowers him down onto the table. Andromeda banishes his shirt and cleans the blood from his skin to inspect the wound, muttering softly to herself. Then she accios several potions and orders in a no-nonsense tone for Sean to drink them. Aaron looks surprised at how easily Sean acquiesces although he grimaces at the taste. A bit of relief is evident as the potions begin to work. It doesn’t erase all of it but the pain etched on his face lessens.

Despite the pain of moving, Sean looks over at Aaron, whose expression hardened before going eerily blank. “Aaron.” At the coaxing, apologetic tone Aaron’s mouth turns down.

Aaron demands in an irritated, clipped voice. “What are you doing here?”

Sean turns his head away from Aaron and looks at Harry. “So I was flirting with the Harry Potter?”

“Um…” Harry says and looks between the two men, trying to figure out who Sean is to Aaron and what happened between them.

“Flirt,” Aaron snaps, rage making his brown eyes nearly glow. “He was flirting with you?”

“Aaron, it’s not what you think,” Harry rushes to explain, the flat quality in Aaron’s voice makes him eager to clear up his wrong assumptions. “He was at the club, Aaron. He helped us when spells started flying; he blocked a spell I didn’t see coming.”

The explanation appears to do nothing to cool Aaron’s temper; if anything his rage burns colder.

“Blocked how?” he asks through clenched teeth.

Confused, Harry answers, “With a spell. And was hit in the process.” His eyes widen at the flash of betrayal, followed by the fresh surge of rage in Aaron’s brown eyes.

“You’re a wizard,” Aaron accuses.

Apology written on his face, Sean says, “I couldn’t tell you, Aaron.”

“Couldn’t or wouldn’t. Just like always you keep things from me and I’m always the one with egg on his face when the truth comes out. What’s your excuse this time?” Aaron demands. He doesn’t wait for an answer, stalking out of the room without another word.

Sean tries to surge up to follow him but cries out in pain.

Andromeda forces him back down. “Stupid boy.” She scrutinizes the wound. “Dippy!”

The elf pops in.

“Take us to Severus’s lab, carefully.”

Dippy apparates with Sean and Andromeda.

What the hell just happened? Harry swears he saw hurt hidden deep underneath Aaron’s anger. Is Sean going to okay? He isn’t sure whether to go after Aaron first or find out what Andromeda saw to have her so concerned. Harry heads toward the stairs where Aaron disappeared, only to be stopped by a tugging of his clothing. Turning around, he realizes the little girl has a hold of him. Harry squats down in front of her. “I’ll be right back, I promise. I need to talk to my mate.”

She shakes her head and her fist tightens. “Don’t leave me, apa.”

Harry’s eyes close. How can he leave her now? But then, how can he not go after Aaron? Conflicted, Harry tries to come up with a solution.

“I’ll watch her for you, besides I think we need to get her dressed for bed.”

Harry looks up and is happy to see Luna standing behind him. She whines and looks between Harry and Luna. He extends a hand and Luna steps just a bit closer. “This is my best friend Luna or Aunty Luna she is very nice can you stay with her until I get back?” The little girl whimpers and clings tighter to him almost digging her nails into his skin making him hiss.

“I don’t think you are going to be able to leave her alone, Harry,” Draco says.

Harry sighs and looks at the little girl. “No, I guess not.” He lifts her in his arms and cuddles her close turning to look at his brother, Spencer was standing next to him. “I need you guys to research something for me.”

“What’s up?”

“I don’t remember a lot from our Care of Magical Creatures classes at Hogwarts and what little we learned won’t help me with what I experienced in the club.”

“Okay,” Draco said absently and Harry can tell he was already thinking of books to look through before he explains what he needs.

“I need to know everything on dragon shifters. Our Dragon expert is miles away and I don’t think she will be able to make it here overnight. I think this little one somehow bonded with me.”

The muggles in the room gasps while Severus and Lucius shake their heads, the twins and Blaise snicker and Draco murmurs only Harry.

“Hey, it’s not my fault,” he tries to defend. “I couldn’t let her be sold off.”

That stops all laughter and the seriousness of the situation back in the room.

“Okay, we’re on it,” Draco says. “Come along Spencer, I’ll need your help to read through a few books as quickly as possible.”

Spencer nods and kisses Derek quickly and runs after Draco gushing how this or that was fascinating.  The twins follow behind them whispering that might need their help. Severus, Lucius, Blaise, and Luna walk out of the room just as Dave walks into the room.

“Anyone want to tell me what has Aaron all huffy?”

“Harry came back with a surprise or two,” Derek says dryly.

Dave raises a brow at the sight of the little girl cuddled in Harry’s arms. “The girl?” he asks, disbelief in his voice.

“Sean,” Derek answers.  

“Sean? As in his brother Sean?” At Derek’s nod, Dave scratches at his goatee thoughtfully. “That would do it.” He turns to Harry. “How the hell did you end up finding Aaron’s long-lost brother?”

“Brother? Sean is his brother?”

Dave says, “Half-brother actually.”

That explains the resemblance. “Um...well, Sean was at the club. He’s also a wizard?” Harry answers.

Wincing, Dave hisses in sympathy. “No wonder Aaron is like a wounded bear.”

Harry glances over at Derek, who seems only a little less lost than him. “I was going to go after him but this little one,” he nods toward the clinging girl, “doesn’t want to let me go. Could you maybe go talk to him?”

“Yeah, I’ll go talk to him.” Dave gives a distracted wave as he leaves.

Left alone with Derek and the little girl, Harry hopes to get some answers. “What do you know about Sean?”

Staring at where Dave disappeared, Derek shrugs. “Not much. Saw a picture of him once, that’s how I recognized him. Aaron never talks about him, almost like Sean’s dead to him. Whatever happened, he’s never talked about it to any of us. Except Dave. If you haven’t noticed, Aaron isn’t the most open of people. Aaron doesn’t like to show weakness to his subordinates; he’s the boss and keeps himself a little separate from us. Don’t get me wrong, all of us are family but Aaron hides a bigger piece than the rest of us do. Dave is different. He was there when Aaron joined the BAU and they have a lot of history together. If anyone can talk Aaron down, besides you, it’d be Dave.”

Another thing we have in common. He hid parts of himself from his friends and family before they forced him to open up. Aaron needs that as much as I did. Harry is determined Aaron will stop hiding from his family; it’s lonely and can be dangerous. By revealing their relationship, Aaron was forced to expose parts of himself his team didn’t know about. Maybe it will be the push he needs to come out of hiding. If they are to be a family, Aaron can’t hide from him or from their family. Father isn’t the most open of men but he is skilled at getting information out of people. Few can hold out. Time will tell.

He has much to talk to Aaron about but it’s clear he’ll have to wait for now. I better find out what’s happening with Sean.  “Mom?”

Lily appears a second later in the painting on the wall. She takes in the child in his arms with a calm and unsurprised reaction. “Hello, little one.”

The girl hides her face against Harry’s neck, then sneaks shy peeks at Lily, who smiles at her with warmth.

The look Lily shoots him demands an explanation. Knowing he’ll have to sooner or later, Harry opts for the latter. With his eyes, Harry promises to tell her everything later. “Could you please check on Sean, Andromeda’s newest patient and keep me updated on his status? They are in Father’s lab.”

“I can, of course. You take care of this little one. She’s special,” Lily says with knowing eyes.

Looking at his mother suspiciously, Harry wonders what she means by that. Before he can ask, she disappears. Too tired to think about it, Harry rubs the girl’s bare back. “How about we draw you a nice bath, clean you up, and get you some pajamas?” The girl snuggles closer and Harry decides to take that as a yes. “Dewie!” In pops a teeny elf with oversized floppy ears.

“Master Harry,” Dewie greets. Waiting for instructions, he nervously tugs on his ear.

“Please fill up the tub, this little one needs a bath.”

Dewie’s huge eyes go even wider as she turns to look at him. “Yes, Master Harry!” His head bobs up and down enthusiastically. “Dewie make it perfect for little mistress!”

Harry stares at the space Dewie had been standing, then shakes his head. What the hell? What is everyone seeing that I’m not? What his smallest elf saw when he looked at the girl is a mystery to be solved another time.  Harry looks back at the child in his arms and realizes that he has no idea what her name is.

“So what’s your name, little one?” She shrugs her shoulders and looks down. Her bottom lip starts to tremble; it breaks Harry’s heart. Merlin, what the hell am I getting myself into?  He hugs her close kissing her on the crown of her head. “Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine, I promise, Kaida.”

She lifts her head and looks at him when he says the name that rolls off his tongue as if it was a normal thing.

“Do you like that name? Kaida?” She smiles for the first time and shakes her head. “Well, then, it’s settled.”

Dewie pops back into the room. “Bath is ready little mistress.”

“Thank you, Dewie.”

He walks over to the bed and sets a few articles of clothing down on the bed before popping out of the room. Harry sighs and looks down at himself and realize he was in the same thing he had worn at dinner before transfiguring it into what he wore at the club. It still had Sean’s blood on it and it made him feel dirty. Taking a chance, he sets Kaida on the bed and prays she doesn’t start crying. He is grateful when she doesn’t and walks over to his trunk and takes out jeans and a t-shirt, putting them on the bed beside the clothes that Dewie brought him. He notices that the clothes belong to Teddy but they are magically shrunk to fit Kaida. He picks her back up and walks into his bathroom. Seeing the tub filled with water, he kneels and checks the water temperature before setting her down in it. They both seem to sigh at the same time for completely different reasons.

“Doesn’t that feel good?” he asks, she nods and kicks her legs, squealing and splashing some water on him. Harry chuckles and backs up a bit. The water appears to have dissipated the aura of fear surrounding her; she’s acting like a normal little girl. It warms his heart.

Dewie pops back into the bathroom with toys in his hands. “Toys for little mistress.” He holds them up for Harry to take and it gives him an idea.

“Dewie, can you stay with her for a few minutes please, I need to wash up and change out of these clothes.”

“Dewie will stay.”

He walks over to the tub and looks at Kaida who seems fine with the little elf. Sighing in relief, Harry walks over to the shower stall on the other side of the room and sheds his clothes. He turns on the shower to the proper temperature before getting in. As soon as the hot water hits his skin, Harry starts to feel better. He stands under the water and watches as the water turns from red to clear before he starts to cleanse himself. He doesn’t want to think about the fight he and Aaron are going to have. It hurt because all they seem to do is argue and he hates it. Jealousy fills him as he starts to think about all his friends and family relationships and how easy theirs seem. Of course, they argued but not the way he and Aaron did in the beginning. They always seemed to be walking on cloud nine. It isn’t fair. Finishing up his shower, Harry gets out and magically dries off. He is putting on his sweatshirt when whimpers reach his ears. It appears Kaida is tired of Dewie already. He walks back into the bathroom and his heart starts to break when he sees her little face red and her eyes filling with tears.

“Awe, little one,” he says, kneeling. He nods his head at Dewie, telling him that he can leave. “I’m right here.”

“Apa,” she murmurs.

“We are going to have to talk about that,” Harry says, grabbing a towel and lifting her out of the tub.

“Apa, hungry.”

“Ah dammit, I forgot to see if you had eaten. How about I get you dressed and we go down to the kitchen and get you something to eat?” Kaida nods. After feeling a bit more relaxed, Harry now notices that Kaida has an accent. He isn’t sure where she is from and decides to test her with the languages he speaks and understands.

As he gets her dressed Harry starts with Greek singing a song he was taught when learning the language. When Kaida doesn’t respond, he switches to Latin and moves on to Italian. When she responds to neither language, he sighs and considers giving up. He knows a couple more languages but is at a lost if he should sing in each and every one of them. Before he decides, he is surprised by Kaida singing in French.

Alouette, gentille alouette… Alouette, je te plumerai… Aloutette, gentille alouette… Alouette, je te plumerai…. Je te plumerai la tete… Je te plumerai la tete...

Her face brightens as he joins in. Within fifteen minutes she is dressed in Teddy’s pajamas holding his hand as they walk down to the kitchen. Feeling safer, Kaida is more receptive to his questions about how she ended up where he’d found her.

“How did you end up with the bad people tonight?” Harry asks her in French.

“I was with my mama and apa in the square when a man came up to them. We were shopping for my birthday. I am a whole hand now.”

“So you are five?” Harry asked holding up five fingers.

“Qui,” she nods. “My apa was a big man in our village and said he had to see someone and left us. After a few minutes, my mama and I was running and hiding… I heard screams and then mama fell in front of me...”

Her voice cracks and Harry picks her up, holding her in his arms. There was a lot missing from her story, but he can guess at what happened.

“My mama told me to fly away but I couldn’t apa, my wings wouldn’t come out.”

She starts to cry and Harry stops walking and holds her in his arms, giving her the comfort she needs. He needs to find out what happened and how it connected to Bill’s case. He dries off her face when her crying subsides. Placing kisses on her cheeks, showering her with love.

“Come on, let's get you something to eat.” Another plan starts to form in his head, she didn’t get a chance to celebrate her birthday. Harry knows once he tells his family they would insist on having a party for her. They make it down the stairs and he stops in his tracks when he hears Aaron’s voice. He remembers that Dave had volunteered to speak with his lover while he took care of Kaida.

“What’s worse, he flirted with Harry!”

“Ah.”

“If you ah at me one more time…”

Was Aaron jealous of Sean? Why? They were brothers and yeah they look alike but that is as far as things went.

Harry had thought Sean was Aaron trying to check up on him. Did Aaron think I would be so easily swayed to leave him after I’ve declared our relationship in front of my family and made him my Consort? How dare him, how fucking dare him? Anger boils inside him. Not wanting to hear anything more, Harry continues toward the kitchen in a bit of a huff. He will deal with Aaron Hotchner later when they are alone.

In another part of the Manor

Aaron paces the room as he goes over everything that’s happened a few minutes ago. Sean. Fucking Sean! He was flirting with Harry. My Harry! He doesn’t know if he’s more angry about the flirting or the fact his brother saved Harry’s life. I should have been there instead of Sean. I’m supposed to keep Harry safe. It’s my job, not his! Aaron doesn’t want to feel appreciative to Sean about anything. Owe him for keeping his Harry safe. He wants to stay angry at his brother. Half-brother , his mind reminds him in a sneer. Aaron clenches his fists tight enough his fingernails bite into his skin. He wants to punch something, anything.

He’s a wizard. Hurt rises and Aaron violently shoves it down, stoking his rage instead. Another lie. All he does is lie to me. Memories from the day Sean left surface. No. Not again. He won’t relive that day or how he felt, nor the days that followed.

“Want to talk about it?”

Aaron’s head jerks up, Dave is leaning against the door frame. “No.”

“No?” Dave asks, his eyebrow rising at the lie. “You don’t want to talk about your estranged brother, whom you like to pretend doesn’t exist, showing up out of the blue?”

“He lied to me.”

“What else is new, Aaron? According to you, all he does is lie to you.”

“He saved Harry’s life, Dave, with magic.”

Taken aback, Dave pauses for a moment to take that in. “He’s a wizard, like Harry?”

“Apparently.” While he’s thankful Harry is healthy and safe, he wishes Sean never showed his face. It’s easier all around when he and Sean can pretend the other doesn’t exist. Guilt flares, remembering how pale Sean had looked and the stark red blood soaking his clothing. Aaron sighs, waving Dave inside. “Shut the door.” He tries to gather his thoughts as the door shuts with a soft click. “He was hurt.”

“Harry?”

Aaron shakes his head. “No, Sean.”

“Ah.” A great depth of understanding is contained in the little word.

Torn between annoyance and relief, Aaron faces his friend. A look of compassion on his face sucks every ounce of anger and annoyance out of him. Aaron sags, finally allowing the worry to come forward. “He was bleeding, Dave. He got hurt saving Harry and what did I do? I attacked him, then stormed out.” Aaron starts pacing like a caged tiger. “No one gets to me like he does. Why couldn’t he have stayed away? Lived his life and left me to mine. Now, I find out he has magic?”

Dave leans against the wall, listening.

“What’s worse, he flirted with Harry!” Aaron drags his hand through his hair with jerky movements, making it stick out in different directions.

“Ah.”

Teeth gritted, Aaron warns, “If you ah at me one more time…”

Unafraid, Dave quirks up an eyebrow. “You’ll what?”

Punch you in your smug face. Aaron is tempted but it will only grant him a brief moment of satisfaction. Dave would probably be more annoying afterward. Not worth it.

“Don’t waste your time worrying about Sean stealing Harry from you,” Dave reassures. “I know a lot has happened recently but surely, you haven’t forgotten the magical proposal? Harry’s magic chose you, my friend. You. Not Sean. Not anyone else. You, Aaron Hotchner. And apparently, that’s a big fucking deal in the magical world. A pretty face and a little danger aren’t going to make Harry forget about you.”

Am I that obvious?

The side of Dave’s mouth turns up in a half smile. “No, I just know how to read you.”

“I didn’t say anything.”

“You didn’t have to.”

Being read as easily as a picture book is the price Aaron pays for being friends with one of the original profilers. He rubs his forehead, weariness weighing heavily on him. “I’m trying to keep up with all this shit but it’s like swimming against a raging current. I don’t know if I can deal with Sean on top of everything else.”

Dave nudges Aaron’s shoulder affectionately. “We’re all struggling. Take Derek. He still is having a hard time dealing with magic being real, adding Spencer’s squib status or whatever the hell that is and the possibility they could have children, Derek isn’t the steady, confident man he usually is. You have more to deal with than any of us, you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t struggling to absorb everything. I know you think you always have to be some kind of superman, unfazed and untouchable but you don’t. You don’t always have to be so tough. Talk through it with someone. Harry or me or anyone. Too much is going on for you to go solo.”

“How am I supposed to talk to Harry about this? All this shit is normal for him.” Frustrated, Aaron drops his head back against the wall. “It’s Sean’s world, too, apparently.” He closes his eyes, thoroughly depressed.

“You are an idiot.”

Surprised, Aaron turns around to face Dave.

“You cannot be this stupid. Harry’s been around wizards his whole life; his magic didn’t choose any of them. What do you think is going to happen, Aaron? Harry’s going to look at Sean and shrug his shoulders, forget about you and the choice his magic made? The choice he made? Choose Sean instead. Why? Because he looks similar enough to you and has magic like Harry?” Dave’s eyes scan his face. “Please tell me you get how moronic that is, having heard it out loud? Harry deserves more credit than you’re giving him.”

Crossing his arms over his chest, Aaron looks away. There’s no way he’s going to admit a tiny piece of him believes that is exactly what will happen. He can’t compete with magic and he knows it. If Sean goes after Harry, Aaron doesn’t know what he’ll do. Taking a deep breath, he fortifies his resolve. I’ll fight for Harry. Fight dirty if I have to.

“Promise me you will talk to Harry.”

“Yeah, yeah. I promise,” Aaron says distractedly, staring off into space. Harry is going to want to know about Sean and as much as he’d like to avoid it, a discussion will have to happen.

End Flashback

Harry paces the bedroom that he and Aaron would now share. After getting Kaida fed and settled in the configured cot placed not far from his bed. The second she falls to sleep he puts a silencing charm around her cot so that she would not hear the yelling sure to happen between him and Aaron. He takes long deep breaths to calm down but the more he thinks of Aaron’s words, the angrier he gets. He understands that maybe Aaron finding out his brother is a wizard threw him but that has nothing to do with Harry or their relationship.  He stops when he hears the lock on his bedroom door turns and Aaron walks in.

“You bloody sodding idiot,” he yells before Aaron can get the door closed. “How dare you? Who the fuck do you think I am? Do you have so little faith in me that you think all I would show my bloody arse to every fucking man I meet or that flirts with me? That I would throw myself at your brother because he looks like you and has magic? I choose you before my magic did, you bloody moron!” Harry can’t stop the anger he feels, he is frustrated in every way and to hear Aaron doubt him hurts more than he can say. As if I would just jump into bed with his brother because he flirted with me and has magic! How can he not know being a muggle doesn’t make me love him any less?

“Harry, wait. It’s not like that, let me explain…”

“No! I don’t want to hear your excuses. I’m not a fucking slut. And I’m certainly not a slut for magic.

“Then let me answer your questions.” Aaron takes a few short steps and stops in front of him.

Harry offers an abrupt nod for Aaron to continue.

“Yes, thinking of my brother flirting with you got me jealous. Hell, I got jealous of Bill touching you too much and I know how much he means to you now. But I didn’t doubt you, I doubted myself.” Harry goes to speak but Aaron stops him. “I’m jealous because I’m not a wizard and I can’t connect with you on that level. I want to mean the world to you and I’m afraid that my shortcomings will push you away. I want to be enough, worthy, of you. Ten years from now, I don’t want you to regret choosing me over someone who can understand you in a way I’ll never be able to. I’m never going to be a wizard, never going to have magic. I couldn’t bear if later on, you started to resent that.”

“You bloody sodding idiot!” Harry yells again.

“Why is everyone calling me an idiot! It’s how I fucking feel!”

“I’m not going anywhere, you are it for me Aaron Hotchner, when are you going to fucking get that?! My magic chose you, knowing you don’t have magic and never will. Not having magic does not make me love you less, you moron! I asked you to marry me tonight, Merlin, we are practically married and I would die if I cheated on you and I mean that literally. We are connected by our souls, Aaron.”

“What?” Aaron grabs Harry by the shoulders. “You could die? Why would you risk yourself like that you idiot!”

“Well I’m an idiot in love! With you!”

Aaron gasps and steps back, it is as if Harry’s words finally make it through his thick skull with blinding force. He sits on and bed and sags his shoulders. Harry kneels between Aaron’s open legs.

“I didn’t mean to tell you everything like that, I had it all imagined in my head that we would go…”

Before Harry can finish his words Aaron grabs him by the back of his neck and kisses him soundly. “Why do you make me so crazy?” Aaron asks against his lips.

“I want to believe it’s because you love me, too.”

Aaron rests his forehead against Harry’s. Green eyes open and connect with Aaron’s. “I do, I love you so much I don’t know how to handle it. We’ve only been together for less than a month and I feel like I can’t breathe if I don’t get to touch or see you. I yearn for you in ways I can’t explain. I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. It scares and excites me at the same time.”

Harry cups Aaron’s cheeks. “I get jealous as well, you know?”

“Of who?” Aaron asks, lifting his head to look at Harry.

“I know they are your friends but, as nice as JJ is, she’s intelligent, beautiful, and you depend on her a lot. And let’s not talk about Emily, she’s beautiful and can kick some serious ass. They have a lot of traits you’re attracted to. Then there’s Spencer. Even though I know Derek would kick your ass if you looked at his boy wrong, he’s the perfect submissive.”

Laughing, Aaron says, “You must be joking! I’m not attracted to any of them, JJ and Emily are like my little sisters.” A shudder runs through him. “Imagining them in a sexual way is disturbing.”

“And what about Spencer?”

Aaron holds up his hands. “Look, I am not going to lie and say I never thought about him in that way because he’s a beautiful, inside and out. But since the beginning, it’s always been Spencer and Derek, even before they officially started dating. Everyone could see. Spencer wasn’t ever going to be mine; I accepted that a long time ago. Now, all he is to me is my friend, nothing more. I love him but I will never be in love with him.”

Harry gazes at him and sees the truth in Aaron’s eyes. “I thought he was you.”

“Who?”

“Sean. I thought he was you when we bumped into each other at the club, and it made me angry that you were there to check up on me. I thought maybe you convinced the twins to help you because they love to irritate me as much as protect me. Not only that, it upset me that you would put yourself in danger after I told you to trust me. I thought you were a muggle among wizards and under the anger, I was terrified something would happen to you.”

“Looks like we argued even if it turned out to be my brother and not me.” Aaron sighs and cups Harry’s cheeks caressing with his thumbs. “It’s never going to be calm being with you is it?”

“I want to be able to tell you we will live a quiet, uneventful life but I can’t. We both know that would be a lie.” Harry got up and straddled his legs. Aaron’s hands went to his thighs. Harry wraps his arms around Aaron’s neck. “I have a lot of enemies that would love to see my head on a spike, as much as I have a lot of people who love me and think I’m some kind of hero. Do I want a quiet and boring life? Merlin, yes, but will never happen? No. I’m sorry but it’s too late for you to run and say you never met me or my crazy family...”

“I don’t want to run,” Aaron says. “I may not have had the life you have. I don’t have loads of fans following me or magic or saved the whole world from a monster. And the only person who thinks I’m a hero is Jack. But I have plenty of enemies of my own. Catching criminals doesn’t make me friends among the people I’m chasing.”

“Jack isn’t the only one who thinks you’re a hero.”

“No?” Aaron asked.

Harry smirked. “No, you are my hero too, Aaron. You do your job without the help of magic. And let’s not forget that I’m attracted to men who are intelligent, handsome, sexy, dom. . .”

Harry didn’t get to finish because Aaron pulls him in for another kiss. This one curls his toes and reminds him that it’s been a while since he felt his lover inside of him. They slowly separate their lips and Harry rests his head on Aaron’s chest enjoying their closeness.

“I don’t want normal,” Aaron says breaking the silence between them. “Normal is overrated and boring.”

Harry smiles and raises his head to look at his lover. “Would you believe I thought I was normal until the age of eleven? Even with the abuse I experienced from my aunt and uncle on a regular basis, I thought it happened to almost everyone who people saw as an outcast in their family. I might have found ways around it, not realizing my magic was helping me to heal and adapt to their abuse.”

“Abuse is never normal, Harry.”

“I know that now, which is why I try to protect children who are just like me, who are born with magic. I found out when a half-giant knocked on our front door so to speak. My aunt and uncle knew and kept the knowledge from me. They hated magic with as much passion as they did me. They were getting paid to take care of me but used the money on their son Dudley and gave me his hand-me-downs. I don’t want Jack or any child to feel as I did when they get a letter saying they got their acceptance to magic school. Magic is wonderful, but the powers that be are old fashioned and resistant to change.”

“God, we have so much in common.”

“What do you mean?” Harry asks. Something in Aaron’s face gets Harry’s spidey senses going.

Aaron sighs, resigned to what he’s going to have to relive. “My childhood wasn’t exactly a fairytale either. You weren’t the only one who was abused by someone who was supposed to love you.” He grimaces, remembering how his father used to look. “My father was a drunk and when he was drunk, which was most of the time, he got violent.”

Harry lays a hand on Aaron’s arm, an understanding expression, victim to victim, on his face. Aaron is relieved he can’t detect any pity.

“He beat all of us.”

“The scars,” Harry says softly. “They’re from him.”

Aaron shrugs as if it doesn’t matter. “Most of them, yeah.”

“I thought they were from your work with the FBI.”

“Most people do, it’s easier if I let them believe that.”

“Your secret’s safe with me,” Harry tells him.

“Yours are safe with me as well.”

Harry caressed the back of Aaron’s neck. “No one will ever be able to hurt you again. I hate your father and I’ve never met him. Please, tell me I will never meet him? Because if I do, I’m not sure I won’t try to curse him.”

“You don’t need to worry about him. He died when I was in college in a car crash. He went the way he lived his life, with a bottle in his hand.” Aaron’s smile doesn't reach his eyes. “It wasn’t even the tree he crashed into that killed him. He had a heart attack.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t waste your time with sorrys. He may have been my father but he was an awful man. I should have felt sad watching his casket being lowered into the ground. I didn’t. I felt nothing but relief he was gone and couldn’t hurt anyone ever again.”

Harry knows the feeling. He looks away from Aaron, not wanting to show his feelings of how much he hates talking about his childhood but if Aaron can bare his soul, Harry can as well. “They never wanted me.”

“Who?”

Avoiding Aaron’s eyes, still feeling the shame of being unwanted years later, Harry admits, “My aunt and uncle. They resented the fact that I was dumped on them.”

Aaron lifts his chin, kindness and understanding in his eyes. “Anyone who is given a child should love them. If your relatives couldn’t find it in their hearts to love an innocent, orphaned child, it was their shortcoming, not yours.”

“I see that now as an adult, but when you’re a child, you don’t see things that way. I…” Harry stumbles over his words. “I grew to hate them but I couldn’t leave, I didn’t know how to. For years, I took their abuse, wore my cousin’s hand-me-downs, was starved, and treated as their slave.” He feels his anger rising all over again the more he talks. Aaron doesn’t interrupt or silence him but offers him the comfort of his arms. “I lived in a closet under the stairs for eleven years. My birth father was over six feet and here I stand at five fucking eleven all because of what they did to me. The medi wizards believe what they did to me I stunted my growth.”

“Did you tell anyone what was going on with your aunt and uncle?”

Harry shifts to get off Aaron but the other man stops him. “I tried to, I even had the NSPCC come out to the house, but as always my relatives had an answer for every fucking question they asked. They bought their lies or at least couldn’t prove they were lying. I was being bullied at home and at school thanks to Dudley and his friends. I did everything thing I could to make them like me, earned good grades, did everything they asked me to do but nothing worked. And then one day it happened.”

“What? What happened?”

“Magic.”

“I don’t understand.”

“As I loved my mentor Albus Dumbledore, I hated him with the same depth for leaving me with them the way he did. He dumped me off and forgot about me until I was needed.”

“What do you mean by dumped you and forgot about you?”

“Since I was able to understand them, my aunt used to tell me that my real mother and father were alcoholics and the night they died was because my father was driving drunk. My aunt was jealous of my mom because she was the one that was born with magic and got to experience a different life. For eleven years, I was told my parents tried to kill me. Only to find out that they died protecting me. My parents sacrificed their lives for me. And instead of being happy about that it hurt worse than anyone could imagine. According to them I was in the car which was how I got the scar on my forehead. She took perverse joy in torturing me with the fact that I was orphan because of my father’s carelessness. And one day I showed up on their doorstep. You see my mother and Severus were best friends growing up, and he knew that Petunia was my mother’s sister. He was against me going there but at the time he couldn’t do anything about it, even then he was spying for the light side and if he had taken me in, it would have likely have exposed him as a spy. Not counting the fact that during their time at Hogwarts my biological father and Severus didn’t get along. Severus wasn’t happy that my mother fell in love with my dad because he didn’t think he was mature enough. Others thought that Severus was in love with my mother which was no true, but he cared for her deeply. Severus and my mom had an argument during their last year of school. My mom wasn’t happy that Severus had become one of Voldemort's followers and he was angry that she was determined to marry my dad. Severus called her a mudblood, but he had to do it, it was the only way he could think of to keep her safe. No one but Dumbledore and Lucius knew Severus was a spy. Lucius and Severus were lovers even then, but had to keep it a secret especially from Lucius’ father.”

“Why?” Aaron asked.

“Oh Merlin, so many reasons. One because the elder Malfoy was a staunch follower of Voldemort, he was actually his right-hand man. Abraxas was also a bigot, even though in our world same-sex relationship is not frowned upon. But you have your few wizards and witches who do not like the idea. And from birth, Lucius was betrothed to marry Narcissa Black, who was Draco’s mom.”

“Wait, are you serious? An arranged marriage, who does that anymore?”

“Its still goes on in the magical community, because even though they were afraid of Voldemort some were apathetic to his views. The pureblood thinking and all that jazz.”

“Wow, how dark ages.”

“You’re telling me. So anyway, my mother went off to marry my dad, Lucius married Narcissa and had Draco.”

“Wait, but wasn’t he in love with Severus? And how are they together now? Gods, I feel like I’m listening to the recap of a soap opera.”

Harry chuckles. “I’ve heard of those, never watched one.”

“You don’t need to your life story is drama filled enough,” Aaron said with a smile. “Okay, go on, I want to know more, this is really intriguing.”

“Okay, so Narcissa and Lucius got married, it was amicable between them. See Narcissa knew how much Lucius was in love with Severus. She also was not in love with Lucius, but they both had a contractual obligation to fulfill. Now I’m about to let you in on a family secret that not even the great Abraxas Malfoy saw coming. On the night that Lucius and Narcissa got married, she took a blood adoption potion.”

“What?”

Harry nods and smiles. “You’ve heard me brag about Severus’ being a potion master. Well on that night she took a blood adoption potion and became Severus’ sister. She essentially became a surrogate for Severus and Lucius.”

“Wait a minute, Draco looks nothing like Severus, you, on the other hand, have some of his features. But Draco looks exactly like Lucius.”

“That’s because Lucius’ blood is stronger,” came a voice behind them. Harry smiles as Aaron turns around.

“Hello auntie Cissa, what are you doing here?” He asks the ever beautiful and regal woman who had become an aunt to him even in death.

“I was visiting with Draco and decided to come and see you.”

“Who’s this?” Aaron asks.

“Aaron, I would like for you to meet Narcissa Malfoy nee Black, Draco’s mum. Aunt Cissa, I would like to introduce my mate and Consort, Aaron Hotchner.”

“She’s dead?”

“Obviously,” Narcissa says dryly just as Harry says, “Unfortunately.”

Harry snickers loving the confused expression on Aaron’s face. It is true that his life might resemble that of some dramatic show on muggle television but there’s nothing he can do about it. “She is also Sirius’ cousin.”

“Sirius? Who’s that?”

Harry sobers. Memories, both happy and sad, rise up. “He was my godfather. He was accused of giving Voldemort access to my parents’ warded home, which led to their deaths, and of killing one of his and my parents’ best friends, Peter. Sirius spent eleven years in hell for crimes he didn’t commit when a simple truth serum would have proven he was innocent. Because the Black’s family history of mental instability and what his family believed, he wasn’t even given a chance to prove his innocence. Sirius died protecting me, just as my parents did.”

“Oh, Harry. It wasn’t your fault.”

“I know that but sometimes it’s hard not to feel like it is.”

“Never blame yourself, Harry. Sirius was in many ways a child who never grew up but he loved you. Ensuring you survived was his honor and you know it,” Narcissa chides. She turns to Aaron. “It’s very nice to meet you,” she says with a slight bow of her head.

“Yeah, you too,” Aaron says unsure. He seems a bit overwhelmed, by Harry’s past and by Narcissa herself.

“Not to worry dear, you will get used to the dynamics of our family. And to clear things up, I loved Lucius but I was never in love with him. I was quite happy to help Lucius and Severus bring a child into the world. Too bad that bastard Abraxas died before Draco was born. But I am having so much fun torturing him in death.” She smiles and Harry shakes his head. “Well I must be off, I have people to torture, ta.”

Harry bursts out in laughter as she walks away, he really loves her sense of humor.

“Are all magical families as much of a soap opera as yours? Seriously, never a dull moment.”

“Nah, I’m special,” Harry says with a cheeky grin. “Are you regretting it yet?”

“Nope, you’re stuck with me.”

“Good,” Harry says reaching up to kiss him.

When they separate Aaron slowly reaches up and caresses the lightning bolt scar on his forehead.

“I hated this scar for a very long time. Even after finding out that I was a wizard, I still believed my aunt that my parents died in a car crash. She amped up her attacks even more by saying my parents hated me, they never loved or wanted me. She told me that night they were trying to kill me, but incompetent as they were, they were the ones that died instead. It didn’t help that Dudley and Vernon followed her lead and echoed her story, berating me with it.”

“Oh God, you must have believed everything they said.”

Harry nods and rubs his cheek against Aaron’s chest before he continues. “I believed it all. They enjoyed watching me cry. Dudley and Petunia especially.”

“So how did magic changed everything?”

“Petunia hated my hair, it reminded her too much of my father…”

“But…”

“I know what you’re going to ask, you see my father was a pureblood wizard and the Potter name was and still is very influential, and my mother was a muggleborn, which makes me a halfblood. When my mother was eleven, she received her Hogwarts letter telling her that she was a witch and would be attending school to learn how to do magic. Petunia on the other hand is a squib like Spencer, able to see magic but not perform it. They thought magic had died long ago on my mother’s side of the family so when she got her letter, her parents were overjoyed but Petunia became jealous. Her jealousy turned into bitterness. I’ve never known anyone as sour as Petunia, I never saw her happy once unless she was putting me down.”

“I’ve seen it happen,” Aaron says. “Jealousy and envy can twist people into monsters.”

Harry nods. As an adult, he can look back and see how his aunt’s fierce but hopeless wish to be a witch turned poisonous. “She hated Severus as well, taunted him about his family life, especially after his mother died. Everyone suspected that his father killed her in a drunken rage, but no one was able to prove it. Anyway, when I was born, I looked just like James Potter, spiky jet black untamable hair, and no matter what was done to it, it never changed. One day Petunia got fed up with my hair and shaved it all off. The next day it grew back. That was the first sign of me and my magic rebelling. But again, I wasn’t aware of my magic, I really thought something was wrong with me.”

“That must have pissed them off more.”

“It fueled her supposedly justified anger against me. And whenever she was angry, so were her husband and son.”

“It sounds as if she ruled the roost so to speak.”

“She was in charge and made it known. Whenever she wanted to hit me, she had Dudley do it and told everyone it was just boys being boys when they asked why I had bruises all over my body. Her husband Vernon wasn’t innocent at all either; they encouraged each other.”

“Did he...did any of them try to rape you?”

“No, thank Merlin. My aunt made sure I was a freak to them so that was my saving grace.”

“We’ve both had a rough life,” Aaron comments then kisses his forehead.

“Yeah,” Harry whispers. “I can see why my wolf picked you as its mate. Not because of our jobs but because of what we’ve been through.”

They are silent for a few minutes before Harry speaks baring the one thing he thought he would never tell another soul. His family knows because they were his saving grace. “Did you ever think about killing yourself? I carried the burden as a child knowing that everyone I cared about died protecting me and I pushed everyone away.” The arms around him tighten as Aaron gasps. Harry looks up into his lover’s expression and the same guilt he once wore registers on his face. “You can tell me, I won’t judge you. I tried when I was twenty, it was after the war and I expected to die. I didn’t want to live with myself and I’d lost the only best friends I knew. There was so much going on, I couldn’t deal with life; I didn’t want to.”

“What happened? What made you not go through with it?”

“Bill and for the most part Severus.”  

“That’s why they worry so much about you?”

“Yes.”

“What happened?”

Tears pool in Harry’s eyes as the memory comes back to him. He’s in the bathroom, the same one where he’d almost killed Draco before he had found out the Malfoy’s were working with the light side.

FLASHBACK

Harry stares at himself in the mirror, Moaning Myrtle is wailing in fear beside him.

“You shouldn’t do this, Harry.”

“Leave me alone, Myrtle, I thought you’d be happy since you’ve been after me for ages.”

“Not this way,” she says and starts to wail again. The toilets in the stalls flush and water sprays all over the place. He picks up the razor and holds it to his wrist. He tries to ignore the shaking in his hand. Closing his eyes, he takes a deep breath before opening them again. He can’t take it anymore, the beatings have gotten worse each year he goes home, and the attacks from Voldemort keep getting worse. Dumbledore isn’t listening to him, no one is. They all depend on him and all he wants to do is live his life. He’s the only one who hadn’t gotten to choose but with the war over,  he can choose this. No one will care if I live or die. With that last thought, Harry slices his wrist deep. He hisses at the pain but finally, for the first time in too long, he feels something. The pain feels like pure bliss and he wants more. He slices deeper and groans at the heightened pain. The deep red liquid coming from the cut fascinates him. Harry’s heartbeat speeds up, the thumping in his ears grows louder. He sways a bit, feeling light-headed but it only makes him want to feel more pain. Moving further up his arm, he slices into his skin again, moaning. He licks his lips and throws his head back, feeling high off the pain. Dropping the razor, he stumbles over to the nearest wall and slumps against it, sliding down slowly. His head lobs to the side and he smiles. For the first time in his life, he feels free. Free from responsibility, free from anyone needing something from him, free to die. He ignores Myrtle’s screams and cries. He simply feels free. When his mind goes black, he welcomes it.

END FLASHBACK

“When I woke up, everyone was at my bedside, Draco was the one that found me. Myrtle had told him what I’d done. That’s when Severus decided that enough was enough and as they say the rest is history.”

Aaron’s arms tightly pull Harry closer to him. “Have you thought of killing yourself since then?”

“I would be lying if I said no. But the thought and feeling go away when I think about all I have to live for.” Harry lifts his hand and looks at his arm. The tattoos hide the marks but they are still there as a reminder. Severus had offered to completely heal the scars but he declined. Each time he felt the need to cut himself, he looks down at his scars and remembers he has people who love him and not only need him, but he needs them as well.

“Is that how you got into BDSM?”

“Yeah, one night I was explaining to Bill how I felt when I cut myself and he introduced me to the lifestyle. I get off on the pain, true, but I also love the feeling of letting go and have a dominant take care of and comfort me.”

Aaron turns Harry face to his. “Anytime you feel the need to feel pain come to me. I will always give you the pain you need. You’re not alone anymore, baby. You’re mine now.”

“I love that,” Harry says.

“What’s that?”

“Being yours.”

“Now and always.” Harry pulls him into a kiss there’s more they need to talk about but for now, Harry simply wants to be in the arms of his man, having him hold and comfort him. They had shared a lot about each and will need time to absorb the information. But for now, all he needs is Aaron.

 

TBC!!