Well ladies and gentlemen, I am not dead, nor have I been kidnapped, held hostage or any other such things. Unfortunately, since the last update on An Innocent Gift, Real Life decided to show me just how nasty it could be. My life since the last update has been pretty devastating for me. My family broke up, then my fiancé broke off our engagement. Suffice to say life sucked. And I cannot write angst, especially on a fic that is so close to my heart. Life however has gotten so much better for me, I've managed to move past everything, and finally rediscover my muse. Anyway, enough of that, as per usual, I do not own the characters featured in this chapter, nor am I making any profit from this.
Enjoy the next chapter of An Innocent Gift.
"Professor McGonagall, may I please speak with you after class?" Harry asked, as he took his seat beside Neville, feeling the gaze of his two best friends' on his back as he did.
He sighed internally. They had been watching him again, ever since he and Neville had called on the Old Ways, two days ago.
Ron's behaviour, he could understand, and had been expecting ever since he first learnt of the attitude Molly Weasley had instilled in three of her children regarding the Old Ways. Hermione's behaviour confused him though. She was acting as if she had no clue as to what he had done, and that couldn't be right. This was Hermione, after all, she researched everything and wouldn't miss out on an opportunity to learn something new.
"Of course, Mr. Potter." Professor's McGonagall's voice broke through his thoughts. "You have a free period after my class, correct?"
Harry nodded his head. "Yes ma'am, I do."
McGonagall nodded once and turned her attention to the now full class. "Today, students, we shall be covering the theory behind the animagus transformation. Should you prove to have a form, we will be covering this in detail," There were several groans that were quickly silenced by McGonagall's sharp gaze. "This is to ensure that you don't get trapped mid-transformation." McGonagall then swished her wand and the board behind her was filled with notes, as she proceeded to explain the theory behind what was going to be, as most students thought, the most anticipated class of the year.
"So, what is it that you wanted to speak with me about, Mr Potter?" Professor McGonagall asked, as she led Harry to her office, offering him a seat.
"I wanted to talk to you about the animagus classes."
"I imagine you want to follow in your father and his friends' footsteps…" McGonagall broke off as she saw a brief wince of guilt flash across Harry's face. "Mr Potter?"
Harry blushed, knowing he'd been caught. "Umm… well, you see, I've already followed in their footsteps." He muttered softly.
"And who supervised your training?" McGonagall demanded.
Harry fought off the urge to squirm under her harsh gaze. "Uhh… Hedwig?" He offered lamely.
McGonagall blinked, before her gaze grew incredulous. "You had Hedwig, your OWL, supervise your training?!" She demanded, her voice raising in shock. "Have you attempted the complete transformation?"
Harry looked at his shoes guiltily. "I've completed the transformation, Professor. My form is a tiger, of sorts, however, I think my magic's kinda mutated it though."
"Why haven't you registered your form?" McGonagall asked sternly, before focusing on the second part of Harry's statement. "What do you mean, mutated?"
Harry sighed. "I guess I should show you." He made his way to the back of the office. He took a deep breath, pictured his form and flowed into it.
When he stood before McGonagall, fully transformed, he heard her gasp in awe.
"Well, Mr Potter. I understand what you meant by your magic mutating your form. Do you have any idea as to why?"
Harry opened his mouth to answer, but stopped, looking slightly sheepish at the raised eyebrow that McGonagall sent his way. Transforming back, he blushed lightly. "Sorry about that. Sometimes I just forget that I'm not human anymore when I'm like that."
McGonagall graced him with one of her rare gentle smiles, reserved for only her most favourite students. "I do understand, Mr Potter, what it is like to lose yourself in your form." A glint of curiosity flashed in her eyes. "Now about your form's wings?"
"I can't really explain it, Professor. All I know is that when I found my form, it was just a tiger, however, when I first attempted the complete transformation, my magic seemed to object at the fact that the tiger is a land animal and cannot fly." He grimaced slightly. "The pull to fly has never been that strong while I've been human. The minute I turned into a tiger and literally couldn't fly, the pull, the need to fly was overwhelming."
McGonagall blinked. "You always feel this pull to fly?"
Harry nodded. "For as long as I can remember, I've always felt a need to do something. I just wasn't sure as to what that something was until my first flying lesson." A dreamy smile appeared on his face. "The moment I was in the air, I knew that was where I belonged. I was born to fly, I lived in the air. Now that I've flown, I know what the pull is, and if I don't fly, I tend to get very antsy, almost snappy."
McGonagall frowned. "That sounds familiar." Suddenly McGonagall's eyes lit up with understanding. "Tell me, Mr Potter, does it hurt to not fly after a long period of time?"
Harry frowned. "Not noticeably. I do feel better, less weighed down, if I do fly though."
McGonagall smiled. "Then I know why your form has wings." McGonagall looked confused. "However that doesn't make sense unless…" She broke off, looking at Harry in concern.
Harry noticed the look. "What's the matter, Professor?"
The professor flushed. "The only explanation as to why your magic would feel so compelled to alter your animagus form was if your bloodlines were added to by a magical race, however, the Potters have no record of marrying a Magical line. Which means…" McGonagall broke off again.
Harry smiled slightly, it was nice to know that his Head of House was so concerned about him. "It's alright Professor. I have done some research into my family's history. I know that Mum was of a Squib branch, but I'm not yet sure which one. The Goblins indicated that Mum, and myself were the heirs to a line, but they couldn't tell me which, and, despite my emancipation from Sirius, I needed to be of age to take the Blood Heritage potion. And then when I came of age, I had Severus to take care of and didn't have a chance to get into Gringotts. Maybe that line mixed with a Magical line?"
McGonagall nodded. "That would make sense, Mr. Potter." She smiled. "I suggest on the next Hogsmeade weekend that you take advantage of the fact that you are a student of age and go to Diagon Alley to undertake the Blood Heritage ritual. It would be advantageous to know exactly what bloodlines you are descended from and what gifts you may still yet receive."
Harry blinked. "But I thought we weren't allowed anywhere but Hogsmeade on those weekends." His mouth almost dropped open in shock as McGonagall winked at him, a sly look in her eyes.
"You're not. Unless you are the Head of you line, which, Mr Potter, you are." She said, a hint of laughter in her voice.
Harry grinned and nodded his head in respect. "Now I understand how you were able to remain Head of Gryffindor after both the Marauders and the Weasley Twins."
McGonagall drew herself up, managing to look aloof, despite the twinkle in her eyes. "Of course, Mr Potter. And it might behove you to make enquiries to both parties to see if either of them ever managed to prank me."
Harry snickered. "I may just do that, Professor." He brought himself under control. "Professor McGonagall, do you have any idea as to what Magical line may have married into my mother's?"
McGonagall pursed her lips in thought. "I'm not entirely sure, Mr Potter. Firstly it must be a line that has the capability of flight, and secondly, they must be of an extraordinarily magical strength to manage to affect your own magic so. There are few Magical lines that can affect their descendants' magic past three generations, which, I am assuming is at least how far back your line's merger goes." McGonagall closed her eyes. "The Goblin lines are one such line that is powerful enough to affect their descendants, but they're of the earth, not the air. Veela too, if they've come from the Royal line are powerful enough, however their wings are not feathered, and they are more of mind magicks, considering their allure. Besides, I'm sure if you were of a Veela line, Ms Lovegood would have informed you already."
Harry nodded, knowing that Luna, in her own way, would have let him know if she knew anything of his heritage. "Professor, you said that Goblins are of the earth, what did you mean by that."
"Goblins draw their strength, their magic from the earth, just like Mermaids draw their magic from the wa…" McGonagall broke off, her eyes wide. "You're of the Fae." She whispered in awe. "Their Lines haven't been joined with a human line for at least 500 years. Especially not a Fae of Air. Mr Potter, you must undergo the Blood heritage ritual to discover what line of Fae you are descended from."
Harry looked stunned. "I'm of the Fae?" Harry was well aware that being one of the Fae, one of Magick's chosen was a very high honour for those of the Human lines.
The Fae quite often looked down on the Human lines, seeing them as being unworthy of Magick's gift to them. Specific races of the Fae like the Dwarves or the Selkie in fact had ruled it treasonous for them to have relations with the Human lines and executed both perpetrators. It had been that way since the Dark Ages, having felt that Human kind had been in a rapid decline since the end of Camelot's reign and Myrddin's council. If he was indeed of the Fae, then he had to present himself to the Court of whichever branch he had descended from and hope they accepted him.
He swallowed. "Uh, Professor McGonagall, when exactly is the next Hogsmeade weekend?"
McGonagall started at Harry's question, hearing the concern in her student's voice. "It is in the next fortnight, Mr Potter. I suggest you mail the Goblins and request a chance to take the Blood Heritage potion."
Harry nodded. "I think I'll do that, Professor." He turned to leave the room, but stopped at McGonagall's voice.
"Oh, and Mr Potter, 25 points to Gryffindor for taking the initiative and completing the animagus transformation. And do not worry, I will excuse you from the classes where your form could be seen."
Harry nodded again and left the office, deep in thought.
"Neville, can I have a word with you after class?" Harry asked softly, glancing over at the young man beside him.
Neville looked up from his Charms text, seeing the near pleading look in his best friend's, and Lord's eyes. For that was what Harry was to Neville, both his best friend and Lord, despite the fact that he hadn't sworn himself to Harry yet. "Of course Harry. Your rooms?"
Harry nodded with slight relief. He needed someone to talk to about this, someone his age, and while he could go to Hermione about it, who would be delighted to have something new to research, he wanted to speak with someone who understood the burdens of a Lordship and how he would be further affected by the revelation that he was of the Fae.
Neville, who was not only a Lord, but also so gifted with plants that he was believed to be a low level Earth Elemental, would understand.
Suddenly, Harry felt someone watching him. Now this was not unusual, especially with the events that happened earlier that week, but the individual watching him was watching him with a high level of intensity. Looking through his lashes discreetly, he noticed that it was not just one person staring at him.
'How curious,' Harry thought to himself. 'I wonder why I'm such an interest to both Seamus and Zabini.' He shrugged internally. 'Guess I'll just have to ask and hope I don't get cursed in response from either of them. After all, Zabini IS a Slytherin, who probably still isn't impressed I'm caring for Severus, and Seamus, well, Seamus is Seamus and...' Harry's thought process came to a screeching halt. 'And Seamus is the heir to the Ennis Clan... A clan that has ties with the Fae. They may not be of the Fae, seeing as they haven't a Magical line merged with them, but still, the Ennis Clan is considered to be one of the top authorities on the Fae, for they are the only Clan of a Human line to still remain in close contact with the majority of the Fae located in Ireland, and have a cordial relationship with most of the Fae in the rest of Europe.' Harry thought furiously. 'I could very probably use his knowledge and connections when I have to present myself to the Court. But what if he doesn't believe me?' Harry almost snorted at that thought. 'Of course he'll have to believe me, to falsely lay claim to the Fae is to invite death, and I have enough trouble with that. Of course, none of this is useful unless I take the potion.' And with that thought firmly planted, he returned his focus back to his Charms text.
As Harry led Neville through the portrait to his rooms, he felt a light something impact against his leg and heard a soft whisper of 'Daddy'. Looking down, Harry saw that his leg now had an attachment on it, the attachment being Severus.
"Hello Severus. How was your afternoon? Did you have fun with Dobby and Winky?" Harry asked his charge softly.
Severus smiled up at him. "Daddy." He said more firmly.
Harry grinned and ruffled Severus's hair, before shifting slightly to reveal Neville. "Look whose come to visit, Severus." He said, indicating to Neville.
Severus's eyes lit up and he took a few cautious steps towards Neville to lightly embrace his leg. "Unca Nevlil."
Harry snickered at Neville's dumbfounded look. Apparently he wasn't used to being 'Unca Nevlil' just yet.
Neville mentally shook himself at Harry's snicker, before he mimicked Harry's earlier movement, leaning down to ruffle Severus's hair. "Hi Severus. Have you been a good boy today?"
Severus nodded enthusiastically, before realising Neville's leg to go and cuddle Winky who popped into the living room.
Winky returned the cuddle before looking at Harry. "Young Master Severus is being a very good boy today, Master Harry Potter sir."
Harry nodded. "That's very good Severus. When I finish talking with Uncle Neville, would you like to go flying?"
The child's entire face lit up with joy and excitement. He quickly released Winky and walked over to where Harry kept his Firebolt. "Now?"
Harry shook his head, "Not now Severus. I need to talk with Neville first, ok?"
A pout formed on Severus's lips, before he stiffened and looked about in fear.
Harry moved quickly to pick up Severus and cuddle him close. "It's alright Severus, I wasn't mad, you don't need to be frightened."
Slowly the frightened look left Severus's face as he calmed down, holding tightly to Harry.
"I promise, we will go flying, I've just got to take care of some things first, ok?"
Severus nodded and released his tight grip on Harry, allowing himself to be put back down on the ground.
"Now you go and play Severus, alright?"
Again Severus nodded and went over to his toy-box, pulling out his little silver snake and snuggling into it.
Harry smiled at the sight, before offering Neville a seat.
Neville sat and looked at his friend in slight concern. He desperately wanted to ask Harry what was so wrong that he would delay flying with Severus to discuss it.
Harry took a deep breath and looked at Neville. "When you helped me that day, what prompted you to go down that passage? Its one of the few unused passages here."
Neville blinked, of all the things he expected Harry to say, that was not it. He looked at Harry in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"Why were you down there Nev? How did you know that Severus was in trouble?"
The look of confusion lifted from Neville's face. "Ahhh. Now I understand. I followed you, or at least, I assume that you have the animagus form of a winged tiger?" He raised an eyebrow.
Harry sighed in relief. "Yes I do. And that's why I wanted to speak with you. I needed to speak with someone who could understand the pressure of what I've just found out." Here Harry sat and considered his words. "As you can probably tell, my form is not the most... normal of forms."
Neville snickered. "Don't see that many winged tigers, even in the Wizarding World, Harry. But then again, it is you."
Harry mock glared at Neville. "Thanks Nev, thanks a ton. In any case, I haven't registered my form, because I want to use it in the war effort. Which meant I had to talk to McGonagall about the situation, and how I couldn't show my form in class. However, I did tell McGonagall that my original form was a tiger. Just a normal tiger."
"Wait, Harry." Neville raised his hand. "Normal tiger? You mean your form has changed?"
Harry nodded. "Yes. My magic mutated it and changed it, to reflect the Magical line that joined my mum's Human line."
Neville's mouth dropped open in shock. "You're of a Magical line?"
Harry nodded. "That's what McGonagall and I figure. I have an instinctual need to fly and because the tiger is a purely land animal, my magic, influenced by the power of the Magical line that I'm from, forced the form to adapt to my need to fly."
Neville nodded in understanding. "That makes sense, but my Gran told me that there were few Magical lines that could affect the descendants more than three generations."
Harry snorted. "I guess both your Gran and McGonagall had the same tutor, because she said the same thing."
Neville grinned. "Its one of the things upcoming Lords and Ladies are taught. Didn't you already know that?"
Harry flushed. "It was actually covered, but I didn't really pay attention in that lesson, since I didn't think that it would apply to me."
Neville chuckled. "Sure, as if you could be normal. As if Harry Potter wouldn't be linked to something unusual."
Harry mock pouted. "Neeeev. That's not nice. I know I should have considered that anything weird and not common would be related to me, but still. A guy can hope right?"
Neville chuckled some more before he stopped suddenly. "Wait a second; you're of a Magical line that belongs to the air! You're of the Fae!" He exclaimed.
Harry blinked. "Now how did you guess that?"
Neville, still shocked, answered softly. "They are the only Air bound Magical lines that are powerful enough to manifest their powers, their gifts, in their descendants this far down the line. And if you're of the Fae, then that means..." Neville broke off. "Oh damn Harry, you really never get a break, do you? You're going to need to present yourself to their Court."
Harry nodded glumly.
"Do you know what Fae your line might have originated from?"
Harry shook his head this time. "I know that Mum is of a Squib line, but I didn't have a chance to take the Blood Heritage potion before we came here what with Severus and all, not to mention that the one time I was in Diagon Alley, I was with Hermione and Ron."
Neville looked understandingly. "So you haven't been able to get into Gringotts for an extended period of time."
Harry nodded. "I'm owling Gringotts later today to see if I can make an appointment to undergo the Blood Heritage ritual in the next fortnight. That should reveal what Magical line mated into Mum's line."
Neville smiled and looked over to where a quiet Severus was playing with his silver snake. "Now you know that I'm going to help with the whole Court situation, but I think there's a little boy whose hoping his Daddy will take him out flying."
Harry flushed slightly at the 'Daddy' comment, but then grinned. "Thanks Nev." He silently summoned his Firebolt, before turning to look at Severus. "Severus," The little boy looked up and lit up with glee at the sight of Harry holding his broom. "Would you like to go flying?"
Severus leapt to his feet, went to run towards Harry, before stopping to turn around and place the snake away in his toy-box.
Harry smirked at Neville. "You can let yourself out, right? I think I'll go a different way out." And with that Harry swept forwards to grab Severus around the waist, muttering a quick sticking charm to hold Severus to his chest, before he ran back to the window, motioning it open and diving out it, positioning his broom beneath him and Severus, allowing them to spiral down towards the ground, Severus's happy shouts of delight echoing in his ears.
A fortnight later found Harry standing in the lobby of Gringotts, looking at the owl he received from Gringotts to reconfirm the time. His appointment was at 2:30 pm. He walked up to one of the counters.
"Good afternoon, Manager Goblin. I have an appointment with Master Dragonthorn."
The Goblin at the counter looked up and nodded. "Ah, Lord Potter, yes, Master Dragonthorn is waiting for you in one of our ritual rooms, allow me to escort you."
Harry followed the Goblin to a large opened cavern like room, with Runes covering the entirety of it. Harry scanned the Runes, recognising some of them.
The Goblin bowed to the other Goblin standing in the Ritual Room. "Master Dragonthorn, Lord Potter is here to undergo the Blood Heritage ritual."
Dragonthorn nodded. "Thankyou, Scribe Stonespear."
Stonespear bowed again and left.
"Lord Potter, welcome to one of Gringotts most finest Ritual Rooms."
Harry bowed in respect. "Gringotts honour me, Master Dragonthorn." Harry looked around again. "I do not mean to sound impatient, Master Dragonthorn, but I was hoping we could start this as soon as possible. It is one of the few days I get to spend with my charge, as you are aware of."
Dragonthorn nodded again. "Yes, we here at Gringotts are aware of the situation between you and Lord Prince-Snape."
Harry thought of the other letter he had received from Gringotts. This letter had informed him that due to a change in the Magickal Registry that the Goblins had in their possession to monitor the accounts, Severus Snape was no longer an adult capable of overseeing his accounts. Instead Magick had declared him, Harry Potter, guardian over Severus, and that meant that Harry now had control over Severus's account, as well as holding the title of Lord Prince-Snape in proxy of Severus until he was of age to take back his finances. Finding out that he now the added title, if by proxy, of Prince-Snape to his already cumbersome Potter-Black was quite a shock, not to mention that he also had control of both the Snape and Prince vaults, which was on top of the fact that Magick itself had accepted Harry as Severus's guardian.
Harry, of course, had advised the Goblins to continue with whatever Severus's previous instructions were. After all, Harry barely had any intention to die at the hand of the megalomaniac that was after his blood, he certainly wasn't going to die at the hand of the man that he thought of like a son.
"Lord Potter, ff you would kindly disrobe so that we could prepare the runes, we'll begin the ritual." Dragonthorn stated.
Harry nodded and began to disrobe. Soon he was standing before Dragonthorn, naked, but not feeling self conscious at all.
"Please sit, Lord Potter."
Harry sat as was indicated, and closed his eyes, beginning to lightly meditate, to ignore the tickling sensation that was caused by the rune brush.
"Now Lord Potter, if you would kindly drink this potion, the results will be accessible to you within the next thirty minutes." Dragonthorn informed Harry, handing a goblet that had a bubbling liquid within it.
Harry grimaced at the sight. "I hate potions." He muttered, before downing the vile looking thing. He shuddered at the taste. "Not quite as bad as Polyjuice, but still." Harry shuddered again, before he stiffened, his eyes rolling to the back of his head as he passed out.
Forty-five minutes later, Harry gingerly sat up, holding a hand to his head. "Gah, Master Dragonthorn, you didn't happen to see the Hippogryph that just trampled me, did you?"
Dragonthorn snickered, almost evilly. "No, Lord Potter, I didn't. But I do have the results of the ritual. Would you care to see?"
Harry nodded, but groaned at the pain it caused. "I would like to see the results." Harry responded vocally. "Thankyou Master Dragonthorn." Harry thanked the Master Goblin as he was handed the sheets of parchment that would reveal his full history.