Birth of the Serpent King – Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine

Harry didn’t know what kind of mother Lily Potter would’ve been. He wanted to believe that she would have been nothing like Petunia except that Petunia had obviously loved her own son beyond reason. His own mother had sacrificed herself in love—a love some might say was beyond reason. He didn’t think she wouldn’t have been much like Molly Weasley, though Sirius and Remus both claimed she had quite a temper. Still for all of Molly’s smothering and well-meaning temper tantrums, she was as much a mother as he’d ever known.

Mehen portkeyed them to the edge of the wards, the Burrow jutted up in front of them in an improbable way—only magic seemed to keep it together but Harry thought that it was part of the charm of the place.

He thread his fingers with Draco’s, tucked Ollie close to his chest as they passed through the wards. They tingled over his skin in a way he’d never noticed before and he wondered if it was because of his Family magic or if the wards danced over his skin because of his contact with Draco. He doubted that the Weasley’s had added Draco to their wards which meant that Molly had been notified of their arrival.

The front door of the Burrow opened and she came out to look for them just as he opened the front gate. “Harry.” She smiled warmly and he barely had time to pass Ollie to Draco before he was dragged into a tight hug.

Her smile towards Draco was more reserved but Harry thought it was probably genuine. He didn’t think that she necessarily approved of his friendship with Malfoy but like everyone else in his life, with the exception of Ginny, she hadn’t said anything aloud.

“Draco, I’m glad you could come for tea.” She looked curiously at the elf as Harry took him again. “Where did the two of you come across a baby house elf?”

“It’s a long story,” Harry admitted and sighed when Ollie started to cry against his robes. “Does he need another bottle? It’s only been a few hours.”

Draco shrugged. “I have no clue.”

“Here, dear, let me have him.” Molly snatched the infant away and disappeared into the house.

Harry laughed and followed. “Do you think that maternal instinct transcends species?”

“Appears so,” Draco admitted. “But then—how would you explain your aunt? Maybe just some women are more motherly than others.”

“Right.” Harry scrunched up his nose as they settled into the kitchen where Molly already had tea set up.

By the time he’d finished his tea, Ollie had been returned to him fed and cleaned. He envied her ability to take care of a couple hundred things at once and make it seem like she wasn’t even trying hard. It went beyond magic and went into a different arena all together.

“I wanted to speak to you about Ginerva.” Molly sat down at the table and took a deep breath. “She is young and high strung as you know. I can’t apologize for her for her behavior or what she said to that reporter with the Prophet because it would mean so little. I regret what she’s done and would apologize for myself and any encouragement I might have given her over the years regarding her affection for you.”

“You don’t owe me an apology, Mrs. Weasley.” Harry pushed aside his cup and patted Ollie’s back gently as he considered what to say. “I realize, perhaps better than most, what it is like to be slapped in the face with a truth you don’t want to see. She had expectations and they’ve been… altered against her will.”

Molly nodded. “I wanted you to know—to hear it from me that we never considered your being part of us anything like charity. You, since the day you became Ron’s friend, have been a part of our family. When you were twelve… Arthur and I even tried to petition the Ministry for custody of you. Albus wouldn’t support us—he said it wasn’t safe for you to live separately from our aunt. I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am that let him change our minds.” She blinked back tears. “I should have fought for you because it was obvious, even then, that no one else was prepared to.”

“It’s not your fault. It isn’t like I said it to anyone. I never gave anyone the chance to help me.”

“Except for Dumbledore,” Draco murmured and frowned intensely at Harry when he started to protest. “He had every opportunity to help you, Harry. He chose not to. He chose to avoid the obvious—in a hundred different instances. That’s not even taking into consideration the ways you’ve been threatened, mistreated, and endangered while you were at Hogwarts.”

Harry wanted to shrug off the concern and anger in Draco’s voice but he found he couldn’t. “We all make mistakes… choices that aren’t perfect. I don’t think that Dumbledore ever meant me harm. His actions haven’t always been to my benefit, that’s true. But he isn’t a cruel man. He isn’t someone who would… I just don’t think he would have had me live the life I did if he were really aware of it. The fact that he never made any decisions to make himself aware of it is an entirely different matter.”

“I wish things could’ve been different,” Molly whispered. “Perhaps in more ways than I have a right to.”

Harry flushed slightly and sighed. “It would have never been Ginny, Mrs. Weasley. I always thought of her like a sister—the idea of being involved with her romantically never once entered my mind. I can’t see how it would have in the future either. She’s my best mate’s little sister and nothing… I can’t imagine anything altering that for me. It’s not anyone’s fault. It’s not Draco’s fault.”

Malfoy tensed beside him and Molly’s eyes went wide. She laughed suddenly. “No, I don’t suppose, as pretty as he is, that he made you gay.”

Malfoy blushed and then laughed. “Mrs. Weasley.”

“Well, you are very pretty. Take after your beautiful mother in that respect. At Hogwarts, Narcissa rarely if ever wanted for attention. I suppose most of the girls in school were relieved when she accepted the betrothal contract with Lucius. They made a striking pair—both so fierce and beautiful. It was such a shocking thing when we heard that Lucius joined Voldemort. Everyone knew his father was a Death Eater, of course, but Lucius loved Narcissa so much. It just seemed improbable that he would risk her in such a way.” Molly sighed again as she left the table and retrieved another plate of biscuits. “Eat more, you both look like you haven’t eaten in weeks. I’ll be owling your mother, Draco, and telling her how thin you are! See if I don’t. Lord of the manor or not—you have no call to not take care of yourself.”

Draco hastily took a biscuit, shoved half in his mouth, and Harry burst out laughing but then grabbed one himself when Molly glared at him.

– – – –

Minerva McGonagall was waiting on them at the front gates when they returned for the day. “Lord Potter—we have a situation.” She paused and glanced at the baby. “Why do these things happen to you?”

Harry laughed weakly at her baffled and exasperated tone. “Never say yes when a goblin asks for a favor without giving you details.”

“Quite so.” She nodded and motioned them to follow her. “They started arriving two hours ago—all of them asking to wait here for you. So far there are twenty-three.”

“Twenty-three what, Professor?” Harry asked as she ushered them into the castle and towards the main hall.

“House elves. Female house elves.” She glanced at the baby and lifted an eyebrow. “You do realize that elves have collective magic, Mr. Potter? The gift you received at Gringotts was felt by them all—it was reported to the Headmaster by our own Head Elf shortly after it happened. It is quite a boon, my lord.”

“I don’t quite understand that, to be honest. House elves are classified as creatures…”

“They have pure magic, Harry. Their connection with wild magic is so profound that is defies imagination,” Draco murmured. “Wizards as a whole might look down on house elves but they are by far some of the most magical beings on this planet and you were given the magic of one.”

Harry’s fingers curled into Ollie’s tea towel as they reached the end of the hall near the Headmaster’s table where all the female elves had gathered with Dumbledore.

“Ah, Harry,” Albus smiled. “These lovely young ladies have come to see if one of them might join you as the little one’s adopted mother.” He moved forward and hesitated as he reached out to touch the baby. “The most interesting things happen to you, young man.”

Harry laughed. “It seems so, sir.” He glanced at the elves. “How do I…”

“Ollie will choose, Harry,” Draco guided him to a chair that had been placed in front of the table. “Each of them will approach and touch him—if he accepts their magic, you can ask her to accept a bond with you and she will become part of your estate.”

Harry nodded. “Dobby.” His vassal immediately appeared and several of the female elves tittered a little. He grinned when his friend averted his gaze and blushed. He didn’t even know house elves could blush. “Okay, let’s get started.”

One by one, they each stepped forward to touch Ollie. Harry noticed that while they didn’t hesitate at the interaction each of them looked at the baby and at him with so much reverence that he was starting to get uncomfortable. Ollie didn’t cry at the touches but he didn’t respond either. The last of them stepped back with a small disappointed sound.

“I want to thank you all for coming and trying to bond with Ollie. Your eagerness to help me and serve as his mother is honorable and I’m pleased to have met each of you.” He turned then, a whisper of movement having caught his attention. Winky was hovering in the back of the room. “Winky, would you like to come try?”

Winky disappeared from her spot in the shadows and immediately reappeared in front of him. Her hands twisting in her battered and worn little dress. “Oh, no, Harry Potter. Winky is a bad elf. I was given clothes.” The last word was said softly and so shamefully that Harry winced. “Bad elf.”

Harry frowned and reached out carefully to touch her—elves all over the room tensed, some he thought were probably horrified by his concern. “Winky, Mr. Crouch was a horrible man and he did bad things to hide his son who was a Death Eater.  He made you do something bad and then to hide his own shame—he tried to shame you. I don’t believe you’re a bad elf. Not at all.”

He knew she’d lived for quite a while without a bond and that the Headmaster couldn’t bond her to Hogwarts because the school charter only allowed for one hundred bonded elves. Winky was probably living only because of her close proximity to Hogwarts magic itself. Dobby feared she would die within the year and Harry was ashamed to realize it had never crossed his mind to offer her a place on his estate and bond with her until now. His magic shifted in him and started to expand in the oddest way—he’d never experienced anything like it—not even when Dobby had become his vassal. He thought briefly that it must be part of what Libby had given him.

He offered Winky his ring. “Winky, I offer you the bond of service to the House of Potter.”

Her mouth trembled and fat tears rolled down her face as she touched his ring. Magic flowed between them, lighting up the entire hall with it. Briefly, he heard several exclamations of surprise but her intense relief and devotion to him was so overwhelming that he thought for a moment he might pass out. Her fingers lifted away from his ring and when the light around them faded she was dressed in a smart little smock made of a fine black pillow case—the Potter crest on her pocket like a badge.

“Now, would you like to see if Ollie would accept you as his mother?”

Winky nodded and everyone in the room leaned forward a little as she reached out and touched the baby without hesitating. The snap of magic and the bonding connection was audible. The other female elves in the room bowed carefully and disappeared in a series of pops. Harry relaxed, relieved when he felt Ollie’s magic settle. He’d known for most of the day that he wouldn’t be able to keep the baby alive on his own. He also hadn’t been surprised that no one had been willing to tell him that little fact. Winky accepted the tiny elf baby with a little cooing sound that made Harry laugh.

“Willaby.”

The Head Elf for the Potter Estate appeared immediately and bowed. “My Lord Potter.”

“This is Winky—Ollie has accepted her as his mother. She will be returning to Potter Manor with you. I trust you will see them both settled into appropriate lodgings as soon as possible and make sure the kitchen can handle all of their needs.” He turned to look at once more Ollie before focusing on the new little mother in his life. “I will see you both at Christmas, Winky.”

– – – –

“You’re very upset, dear.”

Ginny shrugged and looked away from Delores Umbridge. She didn’t much like the woman but she was getting the silent treatment from everyone in the school because of what had happened the day before. Even Hermione had looked at her like she was the most disappointing person she’d ever met. Not to mention the letter her mother had owled her with. She cringed just thinking about it. “No one understands.”

“I do.” Delores smiled. “You know that Malfoy boy is dark. You know he’ll only hurt your Harry.”

Ginny nodded, miserable and she took a deep breath. “He’s going to turn on Harry and kill him. I can’t make anyone see that.”

“I can help.” Delores placed a small potion vial on the desk between them. “This would reveal his true loyalties, child. Of course, I can’t administer it. It’s illegal and I’m bound by laws that don’t pertain to you because you’re a child.”

Ginny frowned at the white potion. “What does it do?”

“Did you know that Narcissa Malfoy has Veela blood in her family? Her son is ¼ Veela. While male Veela aren’t capable of transformation they do seek to mate. This potion would only cause young Draco to come into his inheritance. His Veela inheritance. He’d turn from your Harry to seek out his true mate and then everyone would know he was just using poor, young Potter for his own gain.”

Ginny frowned but then slowly nodded. “How…”

“It’s a vapor,” Delores explained. “He only has to inhale it.” She casually waved her wand and whispered Obliviate. It was easy, much too easy, to alter the girl’s memory—to make sure she would never remember where the potion came from. Then to insure the success—she cast a rather unforgiveable curse and instructed the youngest Weasley to dose Malfoy at the first opportunity.

– – – –

Harry let Dobby take his broom and wasn’t surprised when the elf held out a hand for Draco’s. They’d been flying all over the pitch hunting a practice snitch for an hour. Draco had finally caught it—but only because he’d grabbed Harry shortly before and kissed him senseless. Malfoy wasn’t even pretending to be upset by Harry’s accusations of having cheated.

They’d showered in the locker room—peeking at each other but keeping their distance more out of the desire to tease than any other reason. Harry knew that Draco enjoyed their little game as much as he did and he figured he should probably read up on exactly how two wizards could pleasure each other before long. Still, they had plenty of time to explore and seduce each other.

Ron and Hermione were coming down the stairs, hand in hand when Harry caught sight of them. He offered them a smirk that made Hermione blush and Ron look away but their fingers tightened as if they were both afraid the other would let go. It was kind of adorable. He held back a sigh as Ginny appeared on the landing and came down the final set of stairs.

She hadn’t apologized even after Harry had spoken with Mrs. Weasley the day before. He knew Molly had owled Ginny. She’d apologized to Harry with tears in her eyes. Her hurt had infuriated him because her daughter had caused it. It made him want to shake Ginny until she cried.

Ginny marched them toward them, smiled brightly and threw something at Draco. The small potion vial broke against his chest and they were both enveloped in a white vapor. It made Harry cough but Draco’s eyes rolled as he suddenly started to gasp for air and it was all Harry could do to catch him.

“What did you do?” Ron shouted as he grabbed his sister. “Are you mad?” He shoved her towards Hermione as the doors to the main hall were swung open under McGonagall’s hands.

“Draco,” Harry whispered fiercely as they stumbled together under his weight and he slid to his knees. “No, Draco. Don’t… don’t do this…” Malfoy’s body jerked in his hands and Harry’s magic unleashed in a wash of shock and grief when he realized what he was feeling. Draco’s magic was leaving. Windows rattled, the ground beneath them rumbled. Draco took a ragged breath and reached out for Harry.

“Harry,” he whispered, his voice hoarse with shock and pain. Their hands clasped together and Draco’s gaze fluttered shut.

“Dragon… no… don’t… please… I can’t… Merlin, don’t leave me,” he begged softly and choked back a sob. “Snape!” Harry shouted. “God damnit! Dobby! Elbe! Someone help us!”

Dobby appeared immediately, followed closely by Elbe, and Snape came from the hall at a run. Harry felt a tug on his magic and a cold swept over him—like death itself was reaching out for him. He shuddered under the weight of it and more magic poured from him as he screamed. White light burst from him and Dobby threw up a shield to contain the magic flowing from his Master in horrible, grief stricken waves. Elbe threw up another shield around Dobby’s and the castle shook. The magical stairs stilled and Fawkes appeared with a flash of fire. He flew directly through both shields towards Harry and phoenix song could be heard all the way  to Hogsmeade.

– – – –

“How did a child get hold of hereditas potion?” Narcissa Malfoy demanded fiercely and then took a calming breath. She held up a hand when Dumbledore would have responded. “We’ll leave that for later. My son has very little Veela blood—as you might remember my husband was a powerful wizard and his magic overwhelmed most of the hereditary gifts I might have had to offer, including the recessive Veela traits I have.” She looked across the room to where Harry Potter and her son were housed—in separate beds that had been pushed together. “This should have killed him.”

“It almost did,” Snape murmured. “But, Potter is anything if ordinary and while we aren’t sure what he did. He did manage to force your son to live with sheer magical power as the traits surfaced. The castle’s foundation cracked under the brunt of it. The repairs were arduous, to say the least.”

Narcissa’s gaze widened briefly and she nodded. “I see.” She bit down on her lip. “I would like to visit with them, Headmaster, and then I will join you in your office. This girl—she has done a terrible thing here today. I’d like to know her motivations and what we can do to make this right for everyone involved.”

She walked away before they could respond. Dobby and Elbe were asleep on the ends of their lords’ beds and both elves bolted awake as she breached their wards. She paused while they oriented themselves and then touched Elbe gently before sitting down on the edge of Draco’s bed.

She touched his face with reverent fingers—seeing the changes in him that never should have surfaced. He’d been beautiful before—an intoxicating combination of his father and herself but now he was something so ethereal as to appear almost angelic. She brushed his hair from his forehead and sighed. “My sweet boy.”

After a few minutes she stood and walked around so she could sit on Harry’s bed as well. Harry shifted and his eyes opened. He tried to move but she stilled him with one hand. “Our Family owes you a life debt, Lord Potter. You have saved the life of my only child and our Lord.”

Harry turned and looked at Draco. “He’s alright?”

“He’ll live but things will be different. He was dosed with a potion that woke his Veela heritage. He has so little Veela in him that it almost destroyed his magical core and killed him outright. Severus tells me that you kept him alive with raw power. It is a stunning thing you’ve done.”

“I couldn’t…” Harry blushed and looked away. “I couldn’t let him die. I just couldn’t.”

“Sleep,” Narcissa leaned forward and kissed his forehead with sincere affection. “You have saved my child but clearly exhausted yourself. Rest now as I’m sure there will be many questions for you to answer.”

– – – –

“She was under the Imperius Curse—they are treating her at St. Mungo’s,” Albus raised a hand at Molly’s obvious relief. “It was a very mild suggestion she was given, Molly and there is evidence of a memory wipe. She doesn’t know who gave her the potion but she wanted to use it on Draco to make him leave Harry alone.”

Molly’s mouth dropped open. “Albus.”

“She was questioned without Veritaserum,” Albus murmured. “As far as we can tell her instructions were to dose Lord Malfoy with the potion and even now that the curse has been lifted she’s not remotely sorry she did it. In fact, she told Auror Tonks that she wished she’d killed him.”

Molly paled. “But why…”

“The child is obviously mentally ill,” Narcissa began and sighed when Molly protested. “Molly, I’ve interacted with your family over the summer and met most of your children. There is something wrong with Ginerva. I can’t think that she was raised to place so little value on the life another human being. Draco wrote to me and told me what she said to Harry. She was cruel and vicious. As hot tempered as you and your children are—cruelty on that level towards someone that everyone knows is practically an adopted Weasley just doesn’t make any sense.”

“She’s right,” Arthur murmured. “She’s not been the same… not since the incident with the diary and the Chamber of Secrets.”

“Arthur!”

“Molly, love, it’s true. She’s always refused to talk about it and what happened—and we both know her crush on Harry was even more intense after that incident and not in a healthy way.”

“Her husband gave her the diary!” Molly pointed at Narcissa.

Narcissa nodded. “Yes, he was forced to. Even when the Dark Lord was without a body, Molly, he lingered in our lives. His connection with my husband was both painful and often times such a burden that I wondered how Lucius stayed sane enough to appear somewhat normal in public. Shortly before his rising, Lucius slept as little as an hour a night as the Dark Lord struggled to return to a body. It’s no excuse for what he exposed your child to, but we had hoped she would turn it over to you and your husband. When we realized she’d kept it—there was little we could do. The Chamber of Secrets had already been opened and the Headmaster had allowed most of the school to shun Harry as the Heir of Slytherin.”

Molly glared at Dumbledore and the old man had the grace to look abashed. “I remember.” She looked up as the office door opened and Harry entered with Snape. “Harry, you should be asleep. You’re exhausted.”

“He refused to listen to reason,” Severus muttered. “He spends too much time with that mutt godfather of his.”

“Git,” Harry muttered as Snape carefully lowered him into a chair and tossed a blanket over him.

“Five points from Gryffindor for being mouthy,” Severus muttered and then grabbed Harry’s chin and tilted his head so their eyes met. “And two hundred and fifty points to Gryffindor for an unimaginable and unspeakably brave act of magic on the behalf of another. I’ve never seen anything like that in my entire life and I dare say I never will again, Lord Potter.” He released his grip on Harry and walked away.

Harry blinked and took a deep breath. “Madame Pomfrey said that Draco would wake tomorrow.”

“Yes,” Albus acknowledged. “Thanks to you.”

“He looks different already. What did that potion do to him exactly?” Harry focused on Narcissa. “And please don’t treat me like a child, Mrs. Malfoy.”

She inclined her head. “I wouldn’t. As I said, Draco has a small amount of Veela blood in him. That potion activated his recessive Veela traits. While male Veela do not transform as females do—they are extremely beautiful, sexual, and when they mate—they mate for life. When Draco wakes—he’ll likely seek a mate, Harry.”

“And it won’t be me,” Harry murmured. “Is that what Ginny wanted? To make him leave me by activating his Veela traits?”

“It appears so—though she was quite pleased to have almost killed him,” Snape ground out through clenched teeth and glared at Molly when she started to protest. “I was there when she was questioned, Molly. We had to treat her here before she could be moved to St. Mungo’s.”

“Treat her?” Harry questioned. “For what?”

Albus sighed. “Your magic lashed out at her, Harry. I realize it wasn’t intentional but you showered the entire school with your emotions when Lord Malfoy… when you thought he was dying. People as far as Hogsmeade were knocked unconscious. Since Ginny was acting under an Imperius Curse—her mind was in a very weak state. She went into hysterics and had to be stunned quite violently in order to be subdued.” He leaned forward. “Can you tell us what happened, Harry?”

“I…” Harry closed his eyes. “I felt his magic leaving—like I felt yesterday with that poor little elf at Gringotts and then something snapped inside me—I think it was the Liege Bond. I didn’t want to let it go. So I grabbed it with my magic and then I just—I held on to it with everything I had and pushed everything else away so I could focus on him. Then the next thing I know I was in the infirmary.”

“You have Liege Bond with Draco Malfoy?” Arthur Weasley questioned softly and then paled. “I see.”

“It wasn’t something… it’s a private thing, Mr. Weasley. Not many people know about it,” Harry huddled in his blanket and glanced towards Snape.

“Does it change things? Familial or personal?” Molly questioned.

“Familial,” Narcissa murmured. “It might not be enough, Molly. It’s already crossed my mind. Their connection is very personal but the Liege Bond wasn’t. I witnessed it and I’m not sure it has the emotional connection to prevent Draco from seeking his mate if his Veela instincts point him in a direction other than Harry. Such bonds aren’t meant to be about love but about loyalty.”

Harry knew that. He’d read about the bond to make sure it wasn’t making him fall in love with Draco. He sighed. “Riddle hurt Ginny when she had the diary—emotionally and psychologically. He preyed on her romantic fantasies and insecurity that just comes from being eleven years old. His betrayal changed her and it made her harder than maybe she ever would have been.” He closed his eyes briefly to keep what he realized, with some horror, were tears at bay. “I never once encouraged her.”

“You didn’t have to, dear one.” Narcissa stood and walked over to him so she could sit in the chair next to him. She took his hand carefully and held it in both of hers. “I’m going to tell you something that will probably embarrass you horribly…” Harry laughed and Snape snorted. “Since your ancestral magic has settled—you’ve gone through some physical and magical changes that I’m sure you took in but didn’t really process. You’re beautiful if I may be quite frank.”

“Oh. That’s…” Harry blushed furiously. “I am not.”

“You are,” Snape said dryly. “It’s the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen. Your father never looked like that—not even when he accepted his title and received his inheritance. The magical power you have in you is stunning and a little irritating since you seemed to be completely unaware of it.”

Harry hitched his blanket up a little more and frowned darkly at the corner of Dumbledore’s desk. “Ten points from Slytherin for being inappropriately complimentary. You’re a blight on your house, Professor Snape.”

Narcissa laughed. “Oh, Harry.”

“I won’t make things more difficult for Draco than they already will be.” He took a deep breath. “I’d like to go back to the infirmary now.”

– – – –

Draco woke slowly and agony washed over him so fresh and vicious that it took his breath. Elbe was suddenly there, nervously trying to soothe him but failing miserably. He shivered against the pain and sighed when Madame Pomfrey lifted his head to give him a potion. Pain reliever he hoped. It took quickly, though the muscles in his body were still jerking the pain lessened immediately.

“Draco,” a voice murmured and cool fingers caressed his face. He opened his eyes and found his mother staring at him with tears in her eyes. “There you are, love. I know it must hurt.”

“What’s happening?” Draco questioned.

“You were exposed to hereditas vapor. It woke…” Narcissa hesitated. “It woke your latent Veela traits, darling.”

His eyes widened in horror. “No, Mother, no!”

“I’m so sorry, Draco,” Narcissa whispered. “I was assured that the traits would always remain dormant in any children I had because I don’t have much of the blood to pass. Your father was powerful and his inheritance was dominant in your magical blood. In fact, the exposure should have killed you.” She glanced over at Harry. “And you nearly did die—from what I’ve been told, your Harry refused to part with you and forced you to live through the physical change and the activation of your Veela traits with his magic.”

“It’s complete then?” Draco questioned. “It can’t be stopped?”

“It is done.” Narcissa brushed hair back from his forehead. “The changes are quite small over all but you have the allure, your hair is finer than it ever has been and it is more golden than the white blond you had before, your eyes are rather sparkly as well.”

“You look like a fallen star,” Harry murmured.

Draco turned and stared at his friend. “Except I’m not.”

“No.” Harry agreed, obviously tired. “But you look like one all the same.” He turned then, rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. “Mrs. Malfoy, you should probably cast a silencing charm and explain the rest to him.”

“Not necessary,” Draco said with a glare. “Whatever it is—I’ll tell you anyway.”

Narcissa took a deep breath. “Your Veela magic has settled completely and that means within the next year you’ll have your first mating season, Draco. You’ll seek a mate. The Veela in you will act on instinct and no matter what you might feel in this moment you won’t have a choice if you come across your destined mate. You may never meet that person but there stands every chance you will.”

Draco felt the hurt settle in his gut—as if someone had taken a knife and just pushed it into him. “I see.” He closed his eyes and shivered. “That’s what she wanted, right? She wanted me to leave… wanted to separate us because she was jealous.”

“Yes, but that is the least of little Ginny’s problems.” Narcissa sighed. “She was under an Imperius Curse and the Healers at St. Mungo’s says that she’s quite mentally ill. She probably has been for some time.”

“Since… the diary,” Harry murmured. “Voldemort ruined her when she was a child and now it’s probably too late for her. She may never be right again.”

Draco took a breath to steady himself and closed his eyes. “Can you send for Uncle Leenus? I need to ask him a few questions and would you ask Severus to visit me? I want to his advice on something. Have you asked him about suppressing the traits? At least the mating drive?”

– – – –

When Harry woke the next time Draco was staring at him—his eyes hard and bright like diamonds. It was so insanely attractive that he could barely remember to breathe.

He wet his lip and watched Malfoy’s cheeks flush. “I want to wrap myself around you—take you, brand you on some level that will let me keep you forever. I feel like a selfish prat for it.”

Draco reached out and trailed his fingers down Harry’s arm. Their beds were still pushed together. “Why are we close like this?”

“Because I apparently held your hand for a few hours after we were brought to the infirmary. We had to come here on the same stretcher and when they tried to separate us by force—my magic threw Dumbledore and Snape across the room,” Harry blushed. “I didn’t let go until you’re heritage settled and stabilized. I guess when my magic understood that you wouldn’t die I let go.” He looked down and watched Draco’s fingers moving on his skin. “This is… really unfair. I want to explode and just let everyone know how much it’s going to hurt when you find your mate.”

“I already have found my mate,” Draco murmured.  “My Uncle Leenus was here while you were sleeping. He was entirely inappropriate so I’m glad you slept through it. He drooled over you quite a bit. I don’t look forward to future family get events.” He curled his fingers against Harry’s hand aware that he’d upset him. “He theorizes that on some instinctual level that I recognized you as my mate immediately and when you rejected my friendship on the train—it really pissed off the Veela in me but those traits were recessive so all of that rejection was just sublimated and turned into my anger-fueled crush on you.”

Harry was still for a moment and then he rolled toward Draco, resettling himself entirely on his bed and burying his face against Malfoy’s neck. “I didn’t know how I was going to survive it.”

Draco buried his fingers in Harry’s hair and pulled him as close as he could. “Me neither—I didn’t understand how I could want you so much only to have my body turn against me and destroy it.” He rocked Harry gently. “My uncle told me that he’s never been in love—not ever. He respected his wife but he never loved her. He says that people with Veela traits rarely fall in love and when they do it’s always with the person that was meant to be their mate.”

They both stilled as the wards around them were breached. Elbe and Dobby appeared immediately. Harry was entirely certain one of them was growling. He sat up as one of the most attractive people he’d ever seen in his life walked around the partition.

Draco sat up and maneuvered himself between Harry and their visitor. “You’ll do well  to keep your distance, cousin. I’m not exactly in a civilized mood.”

The young man smirked at him and inclined his head as his mirror image came around the partition to join him. “Look how pretty our Draco’s mate is, Casteus.”

“Lovely, he looks delicious.” He shivered a little. “His magic feels different, Polleus.”

“Very different,” Polleus agreed.

“It’s wild,” a voice said and another man came around the partition. “I doubt you’ll ever encounter another quite like him—his House is known for their ability to harness and use wild magic and he is currently the last of his magical line.” He inclined his head. “I am Leenus Malfoy.”

Harry smirked. “Did you really get caught with six Muggle hookers in Monte Carlo?”

Leenus grinned. “Yes, shortly after I came into my inheritance. As punishment, my father made me marry.” He inclined his head towards his sons. “They were the result—it’s a never ending punishment now that I think about it.” He paused and then laughed lowly. “But it was worth it.”

Harry just bet. The man looked like a walking sex act and he frowned intensely. Then he took a close look at Draco and frowned some more. It was fortunate really that he was practically a force of nature all of a sudden because he didn’t know how he was going to keep people off Draco.

“Stop frowning at me, Potter. I’m too gorgeous to be frowned at,” Draco muttered. “Elbe, bring us a tea tray. Potter needs some chocolate biscuits.”

“You’re the one that likes those chocolate biscuits,” Harry complained. “I like the vanilla ones but Elbe never brings those. It’s quite selfish.”

Leenus cleared his throat and one of his sons retrieved him a chair. Harry was instantly reminded of Lucius and his face fell. He turned from them and took a deep breath. “You look a great deal like your brother, Mr. Malfoy.”

“Call me Leenus and yes, Lucius and I both took after our father who surprisingly had no Veela blood at all but did manage to mate with one the second time he married, after he lost Lucius’ mother.” He paused briefly and then continued. “I’d like to ask you a few questions about what you did on Sunday, Harry.”

“Sure.” Harry inclined his head then and smiled. He was out of the bed before the outer door of the infirmary opened. He shrugged on his robe as Sirius came around the partition. “Sirius!”

“Pup.” Sirius grabbed him and pulled into a tight embrace. “I came as soon as I heard.” He carded his hands through Harry’s messy hair. “What… the hell happened?”

Harry hands clenched on his robes briefly. “When? Merlin, it’s been one thing after another for the last week or so.”

Sirius laughed. “That’s something you get from your mother, she had the most amazing brand of luck—neither particularly good or bad. Just…” He waved a hand as he prodded Harry back towards the bed. “Interesting things were always happening to her.”

“Right.” Harry sat down on the bed and took a deep breath. “Well, on Saturday I went to Gringotts to bully some people I don’t know and sell some stuff and make money.” Everyone nodded because that seemed like a reasonable place to do all of those things at the same time. “But I was roped into doing Ragnok a favor. There was this elf—her owner had tried to force her to give up her baby to him so he could compel a bond when he was an infant and he beat her. She died.”

“But not before she gave Potter here her magic,” Draco provided when Harry ended abruptly. “Then he holds out his hands and calls the baby. The ugly little precious bundle of joy popped right into his hands.”

Sirius mouth dropped open. “You.” He reached out and touched Harry’s shoulder. “She gave you her magic?”

“He, of course, had no idea how amazing that was,” Draco muttered as Snape came around the partition. “Then he was all snotty with the git who had killed the house elf when he tried to take the elf baby and paid him to go away. It’s really quite horrible the way Potter has gotten used to throwing his money around to get his way.”

Harry laughed and sighed. “Draco.”

“The man, who we’re going to absolutely ruin when we have time, first said no and the Boy Who Lived over here cheerfully told him if he didn’t take his money that he’d be happy to duel with him for insulting him.”

Harry huffed. “His breathing the same air I breathe is an insult to my House, my ancestors, and the next ten generations of Potters.” He glared when everyone laughed at him. “You’re all prats.”

“So on Sunday we did some flying and practiced with a snitch for a while. Then we came back into the castle…” Harry took a deep breath. “And Ginny threw this potion on him.”

“It was hereditas vapor,” Snape offered, his tone cool and precise. “The Weasley girl had been cursed and instructed to dose Draco with it the first chance she got. Due to the small amount of Veela blood in him—exposure to the potion should have killed him in less than a minute.”

“His magic was leaving,” Harry murmured. “And I grabbed on to it. I don’t know how I managed and I just held on to it. I heard Fawkes singing. He always comes when I need him most,” Harry murmured. Fawkes appeared in a flash of fire and landed on Harry’s bed in front of him. “And sometimes just when it suits him.”

He held out his arm and the bird jumped to curl his feet delicately around his wrist. Mehen stirred but settled quickly with a small disgruntled hiss. “Hello, there, I didn’t hurt you did I?” Fawkes twittered at him and then sang a few notes to the shock of several of the people in the room. “I know. I do try to keep it contained. At least Dobby and Elbe were able to stop most of it.” He stroked Fawkes feathers gently. “And you were very helpful as well, as always.” The phoenix responded again with a burst of song that was kind of shrill. Harry blushed. “I do believe it is your job to berate Albus Dumbledore and not me.” The bird walked up his arm, nipped his ear, and then disappeared in a flash of wind and fire.

Draco cleared his throat. “Harry, how long have you been able to understand Fawkes?”

“Since the Chamber of Secrets,” Harry admitted. “He cried for me and after that—I understood him. He is less than thrilled with my Animagus form by the way. He says it reminds him of the basilisk that was in the chamber.”

Leenus nodded thoughtfully. “Severus, could you tell us what you witnessed?”

“I heard Potter screaming—for me and their Vassals. When I reached the entrance of the castle I found them both on the floor. They were both enveloped in a bright white light and the elves…” He paused and looked at Dobby and Elbe who were arranging a tea tray on Draco’s bed. “Were shielding them—two layers. Dobby was in the center and Elbe had raised a shield around them all. Fawkes appeared and breached the shields with what seemed like no effort and then he started to sing and Potter stopped screaming.” He took a deep breath. “When it was over—half the students in the school were unconscious and seventeen residents of Hogsmeade were so over wrought they had to be sedated. Everyone within five kilometers of the school reported hearing Fawkes singing. The foundation of the castle cracked and every window in the castle shattered under the vibration.”

“How long did it last?” Sirius asked.

Snape’s face went blank. “Sixteen hours. When the elves dropped the shields we moved the two of them to the infirmary and three hours after that we were able to physically separate them.”

Harry’s eyes widen. “What? It didn’t… it seemed like minutes to me.”

“Trust me, Potter, sixteen hours. As I said it was an act of magic the likes of which I’ve never seen.” Snape frowned intensely at Sirius and then swept from the room with a sweep of his robes.

Harry sighed. “Would you go fix that? I’m really tired of being concerned about that git’s sex life!”

Sirius huffed dramatically and then leaned in to plant a kiss on Harry’s forehead. “Try to keep the acts of unspeakably powerful magic to a bare minimum until you recover.” He stalked away with that, shouting cheerfully after Snape. “Severus! Harry says we should resolve our UST!”

Harry laughed softly and fell back on his bed. “Merlin, I’ll never pass Potions now.”

– – – –

Draco paused as he entered the common room and paused as Blaise stood slowly. “Don’t do something stupid, Zabini.”

Blaise smirked. “You look quite fine, Draco.” His gaze travelled over his body, more pure inspection than insult. “Easy to see what pretty Potter sees in you these days.” His eyes darkened. “Still don’t know how either of you survived what happened on Sunday.”

“He might as well be dead,” Pansy muttered and glared at him. “For all of his allure, he’s a creature now, Blaise. He’s been ruined.”

Draco laughed softly. “You’re an idiot, Pansy. It isn’t like the vapor gave me Veela blood. It activated it. I was born with it and your parents always knew. I suppose they really didn’t care that they were going to give their daughter to a wizard with creature blood as long as they benefited from it.”

She flushed furiously and then huffed. “Well, I’m glad they ended that agreement.”

Draco grinned. “You’re kidding, right? Is that what they told you? I ended it, Pansy. I cancelled the contract the day after I buried my father and ignored all three of your father’s offers to renew it since then.” He started down the hall towards his suite. “Close your mouth before something nasty flies into it.”

In his suite, he warded the door and added a few new charms to the locks as Elbe put away some laundry. He took off his robes and folded them over the back of his chair. “I’m exhausted.”

“Too bad.”

He turned and sighed at finding Harry leaning in the portrait hole that lead up to the top of the tower. “Hmm, Potter, want to sleep with me?”

Harry grinned. “Yes, of course, but I can’t.” He moved into the room and walked to stand in front of Draco. “I promised Hermione I would study with her tonight and help her with some defense spells. The wand movements always come quickly to me but frustrate her.” He moved closer and let his hand rest on Draco’s hip as the Slytherin moved into his embrace. “It was selfishness,” Harry admitted.

“What?” Draco asked softly.

“It was selfish—what I did. I couldn’t let you go because I want… I want.” Harry buried his face against his throat and shuddered as they came together fully. “I want you so much and I couldn’t part with you. I keep waiting for someone to realize that I wasn’t going to ever let go—that I would have followed you into death.”

Draco shuddered and held Harry tight. “Shh, love, no one in our lives is going to make that leap of logic. They see you as heroic, the Boy Who Keeps On Living no matter what gets thrown at him,” he whispered fiercely. He ran his hands through Harry’s hair with a sigh. “I hate her for what she’s done—for what she woke in me. I could have lived my whole life a normal wizard.”

“You’re not abnormal,” Harry whispered fiercely.

“Many won’t agree with you. While some Wizarding families consider it an honor to have Veela in their bloodlines—others believe it to be a foul and disgusting situation. Pansy called me a creature.” Draco frowned when Harry stiffened. “Hey, don’t. She won’t be the last to do it. Veela are classified as creatures per the British Ministry. Thankfully, I don’t meet the standard to be classified as Veela. You have to be at least 1/2.”

“What would happen if you could be classified as a Veela?”

“My Uncle Leenus keeps his money in France because the British Ministry of Magic  would tax him heavily and he would have to submit to questioning regularly to keep his wand. Both he and my cousins, in fact the rest of my family are French citizens and are therefore immune to those policies due to international treaties.”

“Right,” Harry frowned. “Could they take your seat on the Wizengamot?”

“No.” Draco shook his head. “The Wizengamot is a body of the Crown, Harry, not the Ministry of the Magic. The minister has a third tier seat in the court but that’s it.”

“Third tier?” Harry questioned softly.

Draco sighed and looked pained. “Do pay attention when I teach the Muggle-borns about Wizarding law, love, you’re killing me. The Wizengamot has three levels—the third tier is made up of the Minister of the Magic, the head of the Magical Law Enforcement, head of the Wizarding Examinations Authority and various department heads on a rotational basis. The second tier is made up of minor lords, those families, like Blaise’s for example, that have less than five generations in the nobility.  The first tier are nobles of Ancient houses—ten generations or more. My family joined the first tier of the court about a hundred years after yours did.” He trailed his hands along Harry’s rib cage. “Stop teasing, Harry. Kiss me.”

Harry brushed his mouth over Draco’s and soft moan passed between them. They pressed closer together—fell into an exploring kiss than left them both aching for more. He nipped at Draco’s bottom lip and sighed. He let his forehead rest on Malfoy’s for a few seconds. “Ah, Dragon, you have to know how much you mean to me.”

“I do know.” Draco’s fingers pressed firmly against Harry’s back as he pulled him closer. “I know. It’s so stupid, Harry, how did this happen to us?”

Harry laughed. “Hermione said there has always been a lot of energy and passion between us—once we stopped fighting it had to go somewhere.” He leaned in and kissed him again. “Apparently the line between love and hate is very thin.”

“Agreed, she’s quite brilliant.” He sighed. “Don’t you dare tell her I said that.”

Harry laughed. “I have to go.”

– – – –

He found Hermione in the common room at the table they normally sat at to study. He slid into place and dropped his three books on the table in front of him with a sigh. “You look…irritated.”

“I am beyond irritated,” Hermione snapped. “Terence Higgs hexed Neville in the hall on the way back to the tower.  It was a nasty stinging hex and Neville fell down a few stairs and broke his arm. He’s in the infirmary.”

“What kind of punishment was he given?”

“None,” Hermione snapped. “There were no teachers around to witness it and when Snape tested his wand it was too late—he’d already performed a couple of other charms to cover his tracks. I took house points, of course, but that’s it. It’s certainly not enough for what he did.”

Harry took a deep breath. “Dobby.”

The elf appeared immediately. “Yes, Master Harry?”

“I need parchment and my quill.” Dobby disappeared and reappeared less than thirty seconds later.

Harry quickly penned missive and then pulled his wallet out of his pocket. Once he expanded it on the table, he signed his name, applied his seal, and then folded it neatly. Then sealed the whole thing with wax. “Take this to Mr. Higgs. Let him know that I expect a response within the hour or I will have no choice but to pursue legal charges against him.”

Hermione’s gaze widened as Dobby disappeared. “Harry, what did you do?”

“I challenged him to a duel for insulting my House and causing my Heir grievous injury. It’s perfectly legal. Higgs is seventeen and I have legal standing as the patriarch of my house. I won’t have my Heir bullied by an adult while the adults around us do nothing to stop it.”

– – – –

Draco had made a half way decent attempt at his Charms essay when there was an abrupt knock on his door and the shout of a “house meeting” from one of the prefects. He sighed and pulled on his robes but left them hanging open. The common room was packed when he arrived.

“What’s going on?”

“We’re waiting on Snape,” Pansy muttered and then moved away from him when the portrait hole opened and Snape glided through.

“Well, Mr. Zabini, what is the meaning of this?” Snape glared at him.

Zabini jerked his head towards Higgs who was pale and shaking. “Terence was challenged to a duel by Potter for what he did to Longbottom.”

Snape raised an eyebrow. “Is that so?” He smirked. “Well, Mr. Higgs, have you responded?”

“No.” Higgs frowned. “Professor… he can’t challenge me to a duel. He’s not of age.”

“He is the Lord of his House and is an adult with all of the responsibilities and privileges thereof,” Draco murmured. “I assure you, Higgs, he can challenge you to a duel. I was the Noble Witness to his title claiming. You could have killed his Heir with that stunt you pulled. You’ll be lucky to come out of this without being maimed.”

“Fine.” He glared at Draco. “You’re my second.”

Draco laughed, low and his eyes sparked with malice. “The last thing you want, Terence, is to have me at your back in a duel with Potter. You should pick Miles.”

“He’ll have to settle for me,” Snape responded evenly. “In such circumstances, he is required to pick the Head of his House to act as his second. The duel is legal, the challenge is legitimate, and considering the fact that Potter could level charges against Higgs in front of the Wizengamot for a crime of attempted line damage against his House… Terence is getting off extremely lightly. If Mr. Higgs were under age, there is little Potter could do to him personally but as it stands, Mr. Higgs is an adult and he attacked and grievously injured an underage wizard in front of a half a dozen witnesses.”

– – – –

“Harry you don’t have to…” Neville trailed off and looked away. “No one has ever stood up for me before—not even me.”

“Yes, well, I’ve been a crap friend and I don’t know how you’ve tolerated me as long as you have. I asked for your support the first day of term and you said you’d give it to me. It is way past time that I returned the favor and it’s… my duty, Neville. I feel quite compelled to see this matter through.”

He nodded. “It’s your ancestral magic at play, Harry, and I understand. It must be hard on you to realize how much you’ve changed in just a few weeks.” He frowned down at his arm. “I was lucky the stairs moved the way they did or I would have fallen all the way… well. I would have probably died, I guess. Higgs has always been a mean git but he’s gotten worse this year. He’s real bitter.”

“I noticed.” Harry shoved his hands into his pockets and frowned. “But I’ll teach him a lesson he won’t soon forget.” He took a deep breath. “I’m going to bring people to Potter Manor this summer to teach me. I’d like you to come, too. I realize you’ll want to spend time with your grandmother. She’s welcome to join us at the manor for the summer if she wishes.” He glanced at Neville who looked uncertain. “She isn’t in a position to tell me no, Neville and it’s time you harness your magic. I feel it in you, you know. You’ve a lot of magical power but you’re afraid of it and it’s time you master that fear.”

– – – –

“You can’t mean to let these two boys duel!” Minerva glared at Dumbledore and then turned to stare at Severus. “Potter is fifteen years old.”

“He challenged Terence Higgs and we have two choices—we can sanction what is a legal challenge and allow it to take place in a controlled environment where we can set limits and rules…” Snape trailed off meaningfully.

“Albus.” Minerva turned to him and stared.

“Severus is right,” Dumbledore murmured. “If we tell them it can’t take place on school grounds—they’ll arrange to meet in private in a situation where we can’t monitor them or provide aid in case things get out of hand. The duel is legal and Lord Potter is well within his rights to address the insult done to his House. Mr. Higgs parents have been notified and they are set to arrive to bear witness.”

“They aren’t protesting?” McGonagall demanded.

“Actually, I think they are quite looking forward to their son dueling with the Boy Who Lived. They asked if they could bring a reporter from the Prophet,” Dumbledore informed her blithely. “I agreed. Minister Fudge has requested to attend as well. I’m considering putting a coverage charge on the event and making a few galleons for the school scholarship fund.” His eyes twinkled brightly and she quit his office with a swish of skirts and a glare.

– – – –

Harry closed the spell book in his hand when the private passage portrait swung open and Draco slipped into the room. “Hey.”

Draco laughed softly. “Potter, you thrill me.” He dropped his robes on the floor in front of the small couch and crawled right into Harry’s lap. “Higgs is horrified and didn’t stop shaking for an hour.”

Harry grinned and tossed the book aside. “I heard that McGonagall is upset but she hasn’t been to see me, yet.” He picked up his wand and warded the door that lead to the rest of the Gryffindor tower before pulling Draco close, his fingers clenching in the material of the other boy’s slacks and shifting upward for a brief kiss. “I thought you were going to bed?”

“It lost its appeal after you kissed me and then abandoned me to study with that girl,” he murmured and moved until they were flush against one another. “Higgs is petrified of you.”

“Well, I do have the power to slay a Dark Lord,” Harry murmured and grinned when Draco’s mouth dropped open. “At least that’s what he’s thinking. You and I both know I doubt how accurate that nutter’s prophecy is.”

“She is a nutter,” Draco agreed but he frowned. “However, I think you are uniquely powerful in a way that Voldemort could never be and there will come a time when you face him and he will end because no matter how evil he is, Harry, you are four times as good and wonderful. That has to mean something.”

Harry blushed and relaxed back on the couch. “I’m not that good, Dragon.”

“Oh yeah?”

“I’m pretty sure good boys don’t think about how much better it would be if you were naked right now.” He grinned at the blush that ran across Draco’s face and then sighed at the sharp knock on his door. “And that would be my Head of House.”

Draco frowned.

“Get your robes and go hide in my bedroom,” Harry suggested and kissed him quickly before urging him off his lap.

Draco picked up his abandoned robes and hurried into the bedroom. Harry waited until he shut the door before unwarding his entrance and walking to answer it. He stepped aside to let McGonagall enter and closed it gently.

“You’re upset with me?”

She eyed him shrewdly. “Only if you do poorly.”

Harry grinned then and walked to the couch. “The thing is that I know I could knock him unconscious in under a minute but that really wouldn’t do much more than embarrass him briefly. Everyone knows he’s not a powerhouse magically.” He motioned her to sit in the chair. “Tea or perhaps cider? There is an orchard on my ancestral property and the elves put up a large amount of cider.”

“Cider would be lovely,” Minerva murmured. She didn’t appear surprised when Dobby appeared with two thick slices of spiced cake and hot apple cider. “Thank you, Dobby.”

“I teach Master Harry to be proper host,” Dobby boasted and then bowed before disappearing.

Harry laughed. “That’s true enough. He keeps me on track in a lot of ways.” He poured the cider for her in a delicate cup and then poured himself some as well. “I’d like to teach the entire a school a lesson next Saturday when I duel Higgs.”

“And what is that lesson, Harry?”

“Higgs bullied Neville because he viewed him as an easy target. First and foremost, I want every wizard and witch in this school to know that Neville’s place as my Heir is one I take seriously and respect wholeheartedly. Second, I’d like to see the other older students take a more active role in making sure that the bullying stops. Four of the witnesses were from our own house and they didn’t interfere. I have a real problem with that. They let Higgs hex Neville and didn’t help him until they realized he’d been seriously hurt. Third, I want to let Snape know if he can’t keep his snakes in line that I’ll be more than happy to do it for him. I think they’ll find I’m a far bigger snake than all of them combined.”

Minerva smiled and sipped her cider. “Those are worthy goals. Mr. Higgs has more experience than you—more education. He’s probably learned all matter of spells from his father.”

“Yes, and my godfather is Sirius Black.” He inclined his head. “Try the cake. Petey, the cook for the manor, makes excellent cake.”

She smiled and picked up the plate and took a fork. “Higgs’ parents are coming to watch.”

“Good.”

“Perhaps. His father is rumored to be a Death Eater. One of the rules of a duel is that the only four people in the room allowed to draw their wands are the participants and their designated seconds. Albus will place a heavy ward on the rest of the room preventing anyone else from participating. It’s a difficult spell and a taxing one. I trust you won’t make the Headmaster carry such a heavy ward for very long.”

“I’d hate for him to be too tired for Saturday afternoon tea,” Harry conceded.

“The cake is quite tasty,” Minerva murmured. “I should probably lecture you about Dobby. Delores fumes about him and Elbe in the staff meetings. She hates you quite a bit.”

“The feeling is mutual. She’s a bigot and I have no patience for someone like that,” Harry murmured. “She would do good to mind her own business.”

“She’s also complained about the classes you’ve been organizing for the Muggle born’s. She’s of the opinion that if they can’t educate themselves on our world—then they should be left in the dark.”

Harry would like to leave in her in a dark place for a while. “It’s people like her who foster the ideals that fuel Tom Riddle and his followers. I don’t understand the mindset really but then I didn’t grow up thinking I was superior to anyone.”

Draco was asleep on the bed when he finally managed to get into his bedroom. Harry changed into his pajamas and then called Elbe. How or why the elf chose to respond to Harry remained something of a mystery but Elbe appeared with an armful of silk. With a snap of his fingers—Draco was dressed in green silk pajamas and Elbe disappeared with his uniform.

Harry slid into the bed and pulled his dragon close. With a sigh, he dragged the covers over them both and buried his face against Draco’s neck. His magic shifted in him as he relaxed and he let it drift over his skin and envelope Draco. It was perfect then—the connection that had been missing since they’d been separated in the infirmary hummed sweetly between them.

Chapter Ten

Keira Marcos

In my spare time I write fan fiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on Facebook. It's not the usual kind of hobby for a "domestic engineer" in her 30's but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people's expectations.

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