Daemon: So we've moved from HPYGO crossovers to just HP?

Rio: Yup! This plot bunny wouldn't go away!

Ryu: So we nurtured it!

Daemon: "nurtured"?

Ryu:Yes! You either nurture a bunny or you ignore it.

Daemon: Whatever Ryu.
Rio: Anyway, Daemon will you do the warning?

Daemon: Slash, shounen-ai, m/m themes. Rated PG-13 for (sort of) adult themes (coughHomosexualitycough). Nothing very graphic.

Rio: I claim ownership of everything to do with the Veriae, and the addition of middle names to Draco and Lucius, along with the name of Draco's three-greats-grandfather and grandmother. But that's it.

Ryu: Rio and Daemon and I do not claim ownership of any of the Harry Potter themes, characters, locations, or ideas. We will not make any money off this... well Daemon and I are muses so we don't get any money anyway, but Rio does not get any money off of this. .

Daemon: Pairings include (but are not limited to): Draco/Harry(main), Ron/Hermione(minor). We will add more if they appear.

Ryu: Romance! But a bit of angst for little Draco... but it will turn out all right in the end.

Rio: This fic was beta'd by our wonderful beta, Ms Trick! Go give her a hug for all her wonderful work! Now on with the fic!

Black Truth

Chapter One: Family Heirloom

Draco had never liked jigsaw puzzles very much, (especially the wizarding ones where the picture of the puzzle moved even when the pieces were apart... it was very disturbing to hold a piece with a hand on it and have it wave at you while the head was on another piece, completely unaware of what it's hand was doing) but as he looked at his Divination homework for the weekend it was like looking at the final piece to a jigsaw puzzle, the kind where the picture is completed when you place it with the other pieces and you can sit back and admire your work. And Draco was admiring this work, after all it was about him (and there is often nothing more important than oneself).

Now what was so special about this Divination homework? Not much really. In class they were working on family lineage and were going to see how that ties into their future, but right now they were just working on the spell that would show them the family tree, or more accurately the group of spells that would show all the information needed for this part of the course. The first spell was simple enough, and would cause a basic outline of the family tree to appear on the parchment. The larger the parchment, the farther back the tree would go (Draco's tree currently went back to his sixth-great-grandfather). And, looking at this tree, he could find the answer to something that had been nagging at him since... well since he had turned fifteen and woken up that morning to find his bed and himself covered in black feathers.

This had triggered a memory of his about his father: when Draco was a five-year-old, he had found a similar black feather on his father's bed and his father had been... extremely angry at the house elves for not finding that before his son. Draco had never known why, but this was the first piece of the puzzle.

The second piece had come from his godfather as a Christmas present. It was by now everyone's (well everyone who didn't think he would become a Death Eater, which was himself, Snape, and his father) expectation that Draco would follow in Professor Snape's footsteps, because of his skill in Potions, and Draco himself was not against that kind of a future. His godfather knew this and had sent him a, rather large, book about the rarest potions that could be made and what their purpose was. It had surprised Draco that many of these potions were for dealing with problems caused with having the blood of magical creatures in your veins. This seemed to be a problem more for wizarding families that had at one time been or still were pureblooded. Draco had found it very ironic that in older times, it was considered more pure to mate with a magical creature than a mudblood... and it did make some twisted sense he guessed... but some of the combinations were just sickening.

Then the third piece had fallen into place when Draco had read about this one potion for making sure that your child was not born with dominant Veriae blood. Draco hadn't known what a Veriae was, so he had gone to his mentor and godfather, Severus Snape, to ask. At the time he thought that Snape's skin had paled a few shades lighter when he asked his question, and now he realized why. But the professor had given him a pass for the Restricted Section and the title of a book that was one of the few about Veriae. It was so old that it was written in Latin and obviously by someone with pureblood lineage, but thankfully there was a translation. Draco remembered his blood turning cold as he read the opening text, as the original doubt appeared in his head.

Veriae, more widely known in legend as the Atra Veritas, or Black Truth, once widely populated areas of Europe and North America. These creatures looked and acted exactly like wizards or mudbloods. In fact these creatures had the same genetic structure as wizards except for one difference: their wings. Veriae have been known to sprout beautiful wings of black feathers when either very happy or very angry, wings which it has been seen have feathers softer than silk when happy, and sharp as a blade when angry. Veriae are somewhat like the Phoenix in the sense that they too go through the process of being reborn, which occurs for a Veriae once a month. Instead of burning to ashes and rising from them, the Veriae's wing sprout and then disintegrate into a waterfall of feathers. When all the feathers from the old wings have fallen off, new wings will sprout (most often during dawn of the next day). Because of this monthly rebirth, Veriae (like the Phoenix) seem to age up to the point of thirty or so and then stop or age very slowly in outward appearance afterward, though their lifespan tends only to be twenty years or so longer than a normal wizard's lifespan.

Veriae tend not to live in a pack, although sometimes groups can be found together, but do develop a system like a pack system among individual families or groups. One Veriae is the "pack leader" called the "auctor" whom is looked to for guidance by the other Veriae in the group.

Veriae mate for life in a startling process called the Aspectus in which the color of the Veriae's eyes changes to a mixture of silver and gold. In this state the Veriae can see the aura of every being and plant around it, including itself. The Veriae will look for the aura that is identical to his/her aura. If their mate accepts them, they mate for life. If not, the Veriae is likely to kill himself/herself within twenty-four hours. There have been cases where a Veriae can live without their mate if the mate dies before mating or in childbirth, but hardly ever in the case of absolute refusal from the mate.

And the book when on, about the traditions of the Veriae in mating, and childbirth, and other things that Draco was not interested in learning, but the idea that maybe there was Veriae blood in his line was now stuck in his head. And here in the family tree the final piece clicked into his head in the form of his great, great, great, grandfather. Catalina Malfoy (married to Aurelia Malfoy): a full blooded Veriae, as the second spell showed. This spell traced the blood through the family tree, showing what was dominant in the person and what was not. Draco followed the dormant silver line of the Veriae blood down the map until he stopped at another name. Lucius Sergius Malfoy (married to Narcissa Malfoy): the second full blooded Veriae with dominant Veriae blood. Draco's father. And, with bated breath, Draco traced the silver line down one more step in the family tree. Draco Lucius Malfoy... the third full blooded Veriae in the Malfoy family.

And with this realization, Draco felt many other pieces, that he never knew were in this particular puzzle, fall into place. How he had always looked up to is father, long after the time when other boys in his dorm were complaining about both of their parents. How he had been crushed by the fact that his father was in prison, and not the fact that his mother didn't care. How he had practically laughed out loud when, due to said fact that his father was in prison, the entire Malfoy fortune had fallen to him and not his mother. How he hadn't cared that his mother had left the Manor in a rage, only been sad because his father hadn't been there to watch... it had been very funny after all. Obviously his father was the auctor of his family.

But that mating thing... Draco didn't like that. Another obvious thing was that his mother had not been his father's mate, so it was perceivable that his father's mate had died... and Draco had one guess as to how that happened and the name started with a "V". The thing that Draco was now upset about was the whole "suicide if your mate doesn't like you" thing. No, that didn't sit well with Draco at all. So, with the absence of his father, Draco went to the next best person... his godfather.

Half an hour after Draco had come knocking on his door, Snape stood inside Dumbledore's office drinking the strongest coffee that could be provided. The other wizard waited patiently for him to say why he was calling on the Headmaster at three in the morning, looking as if he had just been given a sign that the apocalypse was coming.

"It's about Draco." Snape said at last. And Dumbledore knew that the outward Snape-who-is-a-bastard facade would soon fall to reveal the Snape-who-is-a-worried-godfather underneath. A side of him that only himself, Draco, and maybe Draco's father had ever seen.

"He just came to see me with his Divination homework, you know the one about family trees and such-"

"And he has found out how similar to his father he is?" Dumbledore finished quietly.


Dumbledore was silent for a moment. "Well, I never expected Hogwarts to be blessed with having two Ater Veritatis to walk through these halls, especially in this day and age."

"But what about Draco? This will only become harder for him."

"Yes, he will need a room of his own away from the dorms of other students so they will not find his feathers." Dumbledore stroked Fawkes's bright feathers as he thought.

"That's not even half of the problem Dumbledore, and you know it." Snape snapped. "What about Lucius? Draco won't be able to survive without an auctor, especially throughout the Aspectus. And I doubt Lucius ever spoke to him about controlling when his wings appear, other than the 'Malfoys don't show emotion' thing that the entire family should make their motto or something."

"I know he can't do that from Azkaban, Severus. But there are only so many rules I can bend. And Lucius Malfoy was one of the Death Eaters found at the Department of Mysteries. No one in the Ministry will be happy with just letting him walk out."

Snape smiled slowly. "But Lucius's Dark Mark will have faded by now."

"What are you talking about Severus?" Dumbledore asked sharply.

"Lucius is a Veriae. Only his life mate could Mark him. His mate never did, as Lucius went through Aspectus later than most Veriae do. Voldemort happened to kill his mate, therefore no one can Mark Lucius... not even the Dark Lord. The "Dark Mark" that other Death Eaters see is a complex spell that Lucius casts upon his arm to give the appearance that he is Marked. It fades after a few months or so."

"But it will not sit well with my soul, Severus, if I hand a Death Eater a pass out of Azkaban."

"Give him an ultimatum then." Snape suggested. "I think you'll find that, given the choice, Lucius would choose his son over the Dark Lord."

"How can you be sure Severus?"

"You didn't see Lucius after Draco was born. Lucius had followed the Dark Lord because Lucius, like all his kind, needed an auctor. It wasn't a perfect situation, as Lord Voldemort is not a Veriae, but Lucius resigned himself to it. Then when Draco was born-"

"Lucius became the auctor."

"Exactly. His blood will not allow him to leave his son without an auctor."

Dumbledore nodded. "Have Draco write to him then, and I will see what I can do about having another hearing for him."

Snape nodded, the "bastard" mask firmly back in place, and the Potions master left Dumbledore's office, black robes flaring behind him.

Fawkes seemed to look at Dumbledore questioningly. The Headmaster sighed. "Yes, Fawkes, I know I would have worked to free Lucius even if he would have stayed a Death Eater." He looked at the bird. "You can sense auras, can't you feel it? I am almost certain who Draco's mate will be."

Fawkes let out a keening sound, the same collection of notes that he used whenever Dumbledore talked to the bird about the "Gryffindor Golden Boy", and Dumbledore nodded.

"Yes, Fawkes. Harry Potter."

Nestled safely in the Gryffindor dormitory, Harry Potter tossed and turned in his bed, clenched in the jaws of a nightmare.

Blood. There was blood everywhere. Blood that he had helped to spill. Yes, all of it must have been his fault. Sirius, his mother, his father, countless others that had been killed during the summer raids that the Death Eaters had launched while he was tucked away in Privet Drive. He had only found out about these when he arrived back at school, and now, three weeks later, it still haunted him.

Darkness seemed to surround him, but this was a different darkness. Not the darkness of hatred that was filled with blood... this was almost a comforting darkness, a darkness that felt like... feathers? Silken feathers. Wings.

Two arms encircled him as the black wings seemed to cradle his body. "Do not despair Harry," a voice whispered, "Do not despair."

And Harry slept peacefully.

"Yo, Malfoy!"

Disdainful eyes shifted from where they had been contemplating the wall of the cell to the wizard that stood at the barred door to this, this cage.

"You got a letter." Then the guard muttered under his breath, "Though why anyone would be sending a letter at this hour is beyond me."

The guard was shaken out of his reverie as the letter was snatched out of his hand and the cell's inhabitant retreated back into the cell. Muttering inaudibly about manners of prisoners and idiots who sent letters at five in the morning, the guard went on his way back to his post where he had been shaken from his stupor by an eagle only a few minutes before.

Lucius looked at the letter briefly before ripping it open. Draco had written it. His eyes seemed to race down the letter, an emotion that was never seen by the world apparent in his eyes. As he read it Lucius smiled. Draco knew. His pride, his son, was now just beginning to grasp the truth of the road that he himself had walked. Lucius felt a small pang of regret that he would not be able to help his son become accustomed to this life... until he read the last paragraph. The elder Malfoy smiled in the shadows, and for once he allowed his emotions through. Beautiful, wings that glistened in the moon-light streaming into the cell from the barred window, erupted from his back and fluttered as if they were happy that their owner was happy. The soft rustle of feathers filled the cell as the wings stretched, their wingtips touching the ceiling. Lucius looked at his wings thoughtfully. Someday his Draco's wings would be this size, twice the length of a grown man and powerful enough to support his son in flight, and in battle if necessary. Out of curiosity Lucius rolled up the sleeve of his robe and looked at the pale flesh of his upper arm. No blemish, not even a smudge of the Dark Mark to be seen.

Latin translation:

Veriae - made up word with the basic structure of a Latin word

Ater - black (for the black wings)

Veritas - truth (because they can see the "true" aura of everything during the Aspetus), the pl. form being "Veritatis"

Aspectus - sight

Auctor - leader (as in an enterprise) Strangelyit can also mean "founder"(as of a family)"

Catilina - named after Lucius Sergius Catalina who lead a revolt in Rome

Aurelia - common name for a woman in Rome