Well, this took forever… And might need tweaking later on, but not a lot.
Warnings: This story is slash, shounen ai, gay, whatever you want to call it. Tom/Harry, Remus/Sirius
Notes: (X) is pov change and or time jump
Chapter 30: Investigation
Spells shot across the room, mini explosions erupting as the magical energy collided with whatever was stupid enough to remain in its path. Pieces of the walls crumbled, and objects shattered, while cracks formed in the floor. Desks laid splintered and burned, Umbridge's own not only included in the wreckage, but by far the most damaged. The lace and any other flammable items throughout the room had been reduced to ashes. The windows had been shattered at some point, and now two pixies were investigating the room, like they were debating if they should move in. Harry hoped the Defense room didn't collapse around them. Honestly, it didn't look like it could take much more.
Aderes squeezed Harry's hand. 'The attacks are slowing down.'
Harry nodded. They were. Most of the students, seemed more interested in watching the match between the last four duelers than destroying anything anymore. Draco and Hermione, representing the light side, were standing behind a stone wall Hermione had transfigured out of the floor. Neither of them looked like they were going to give up any time soon. Their opponents on the dark side, two fierce looking Slytherin teens, Henry and Noah. The two were crouched behind what was left of some destroyed desks.
'I'm surprised Draco and Hermione are working so well together.' People who didn't get along rarely dueled well as partners, so to see his two friends pulling off such coordination was an amazing feat. You'd never know they'd been trying to ruin each other's lives for the last four years until a few weeks ago.
'Their skills are impressive,' Aderes agreed.
'Yeah.' He'd known how brilliant Hermione was, but until the other day, he'd have never imagined it of Draco. Maybe his anger towards the Slytherin had stopped him from being able to see it. Draco had tried to pull off more than a few attacks on Harry and his friends over the last few years, but most of them had resulted in nothing more than some minor psychological damage or getting Harry and his friends thrown into detention.
Aderes snorted. 'Draco is no fool. He's spent the last few years enduring the insufferable company of Crabbe and Goyle so no one could figure out he was purposely sabotaging his own plans.'
Wait, what? 'You're joking.'
'Draco had to keep up the illusion that he despised you. If his father suspected otherwise, his life would have been a nightmare. Though I imagine some of his anger directed at you was real after having to spend so many years pretending to be friends with those… I'm not quite sure there's a proper insult that truly encompasses how mindless Crabbe and Goyle are. Even your parasite is capable of thinking, even if he tends to be wrong.'
It was nice to know his boyfriend thought Ron was at least smarter than Crabbe and Goyle. 'Are you telling me the Draco we've been dealing with the past few years—"
'Was a carefully constructed persona in order to keep his father happy and from Draco being disowned.'
'Why would Draco think you could protect him from his father?' Aderes had just said Draco had been acting as a bully to avoid being disowned by his family. How could Aderes possibly prevent something like that from happening?
Aderes chuckled at that. 'Harry, the only ones foolish enough not to fear me are the ones who don't know the truth about me.'
There was that dark confidence Aderes always seemed to have. He truly believed that the wizarding world as a whole should fear him and so help those who didn't.'So, I should be scared of you?'
'No, of course not. You are the one person I will not harm.'
'Why must you be such a git?'
Well, that didn't make him feel any better. He opened his mouth to ask Aderes to explain further when the bell rang. All the students in the room groaned as the last four students paused their duel. For the first time ever, everyone looked disappointed for one of Snape's classes to end. Aderes seemed finished answering any of Harry's questions and left him standing by the wall by himself.
"Well done," Snape said. He nodded at the four students. "You four have earned your houses an extra ten points each." A round of cheers erupted.
'Since when does Snape award points to other houses?'
'I guess he hates Umbridge that much.'
"Aderes, the door?"
Aderes pulled his wand out of his robes and waved it at the wall. The air shimmered and the door returned as if it had never been gone to begin with.
"No homework. Instead use your time to work on real assignments, such as your next essay for my class." Snape left before anyone could comment, leaving the students alone standing in what could only be considered a disaster zone. In fact, the only things not harmed were the ceramic plates thanks to Aderes' spell. The kittens had fled at the beginning of the class though and Harry had no doubt that every painting in the school now had at least one, maybe even two felines, residing in it.
"That was the best class ever," Ron said.
"Definitely," Dean agreed.
"Think he'll teach our next class," Ron asked.
"I hope so," Neville said.
Best class? It was true, this was the sort of thing they should be doing in Defense class. Just reading books and taking notes would never replace actual spell practice. Even so, the sheer amount of destruction made him uneasy. Those feelings hadn't quite set in while he'd watched the duels, probably because Aderes had been beside him and holding his hand while chaos had consumed the room. Now that he was seeing the results of it all, he couldn't shake the idea that this wasn't right.
Movement to his right had him looking towards Hermione. She walked past him, grabbed her bag, and ran out of the room without a word.
A hand grabbed Harry's shoulder, the bond letting him know it was Aderes before his boyfriend said anything. "Is everything okay?" He held Harry's bag out to him.
"Yeah. Fine. Hermione just ran out of here and I was wondering where she was going." He frowned and looked at Aderes. Just standing there his boyfriend didn't seem any different from the rest of the students in the classroom. Better looking, yes and quite more intelligent. And there was that sense of darkness about him that always seemed to lurk beneath the surface, but nothing that justified the amount of confidence he'd given off while speaking of how everyone should fear him.
"That's what you're worried about?" He didn't look convinced and his mind assured Harry he was not.
"I don't like seeing the Defense classroom keep getting destroyed. It didn't ask to have idiots teaching inside of it." He had really good memories of this room. Why did it have to become a place of anxiety and at times, of horror for him? His first lessons with Lupin had been in this room. He'd learned to cast his Patronus in this room. He was alive because of all the things he'd learned in this room, both the good and bad. "And I'm beginning to wonder just how dangerous you actually are."
Aderes removed his hand from Harry's shoulder. "You're serious."
"Why would I bother lying? You're just going to find out a second later after you go through all my thoughts."
Aderes seemed to consider this. "True." He slid Harry's book bag onto his shoulder before he wrapped arm around his waist. "I shouldn't have said anything."
Harry closed his eyes and sighed. "You can't hide everything from me. Eventually I'll find out."
"For your sake, let's hope you don't."
"I thought you weren't going to hurt me," he snapped, glaring up at his boyfriend.
"I'm not, but with the moral dilemmas you're already having, I imagine you'd never forgive yourself if I explained the current situation."
"And that's supposed to make me feel better," he demanded.
"No, but it's the only explanation I can offer." He released Harry. "Unless you'd like to test how strong our feelings are for each other." Harry shook his head slowly. "We're in agreement then." He smiled and took Harry's hand into his own. "I told Draco I'd help him with something after dinner, so I won't be joining you in the common room until later." He hesitated a moment. "I'll keep our connection open to avoid any… complications."
"What does Draco need help with?" He felt like a coward letting Aderes change the subject so easily. Whatever his boyfriend was hiding, he was willing to tell him, so it wasn't anything that would possibly destroy his mind, and yet, the one piece of information he could have, he was too scared to learn. "You're not going to burn the infirmary down, are you?"
Aderes snickered. "You know me far too well, but no. He has a few questions about Transfiguration. It shouldn't take too long."
"Okay… Listen. I want to know." Aderes' hand tensed. "Not tonight… not even this week, but at some point… we should probably talk about it."
"… Until you can accept that not everything is a clean cut between good and evil, our relationship will end once you hear what I have to say."
"You don't know that."
'We foolishly linked our spirits together; I most certainly do know.'
"You make it sound like I shouldn't be with you."
He cupped Harry's cheek, their eyes locking, as he smiled at him. "As far as you're concerned, you probably shouldn't."
But I want to be. There was no way his boyfriend was as dark as he was hinting. Dumbledore wouldn't have let him into number twelve or Hogwarts otherwise. But he had let Voldemort into Hogwarts. And all the other people who eventually became Death Eaters. "Aderes?"
Could he really stay with Aderes knowing that for some reason they shouldn't be together, even if he didn't know why or how it was wrong? Surely whatever it was, Harry would be willing to live with. He hadn't broken up with him yet despite all of Aderes' questionable actions over the summer. But if there was even a small chance they might, was he really willing to risk lost Aderes? …No. "Can you write down the Transfiguration assignment for me so if I have time, I can start it?" Guess I'll just live the rest of my life as a coward and remain in ignorance. He really shouldn't have been placed in Gryffindor. The Sorting Hat had been right to try and shove him into Slytherin.
Aderes stared at him, eyes wide, the emotion mimicked through the bond.
"I just want to get a head start." When Aderes didn't answer right away, Harry turned towards him, only to find himself pinned to the wall and Aderes' lips pressed against his own.
Harry sighed as he took in the sleeping form of his boyfriend beside him. This would probably be the only time today he'd be able to look at him without going crazy as he desperately tried to keep up with Aderes' demented mind and did everything, he could to stop him from spending the rest of his life in Azkaban, or worse. Getting kissed by a Dementor. And of course, there was now that wonderful warning sign hanging above their relationship flashing in bright red lights "This is wrong" that he had to worry about. He was pretty sure most romantic relationships weren't this tiring, not for reasons like this anyway.
Yesterday had been a whirlwind and he still had no idea how he was going to keep Aderes from doing all the horrible things he wanted to do. He closed his eyes, moving of an inch or two closer to his demented boyfriend. Something was going to have to give, and he wasn't sure what.
I can't get the grades he wants me to get. I refuse to become the monster he wants me to be. Somehow, he was going to have to figure this all out. And more importantly in case there was no solution to the first two problems, he needed to find a way to end his unhealthy reliance on him. No, he needed to work on that even if he fixed everything else. He couldn't spend the rest of his life in a state of panic every time Aderes wasn't within touching distance or thinking that any disagreements, they had would ultimately lead to them breaking up for good. And while he had gotten better, it wasn't enough. He'd only managed to go from completely obsessed to just past the line of being obsessed. It was a start, because until he figured out what had triggered his obsession, he wasn't sure how to stop it.
There were plenty of suspects. The necklace being right on top of the list. None of this had started until Aderes had mailed the necklace to him. His boyfriend could claim it wasn't that all he wanted, but he'd experienced firsthand the anger and fear, the absolute hopelessness that assaulted him the second he removed it from around his neck. Aderes had said it would take another month before his soul was completely out of the necklace. That meant wearing it another two weeks and five days before he could try weaning himself off it without the fear of getting his boyfriend killed. Or whatever happened when a part of your soul was damaged and holding itself hostage inside a magical necklace pendant. What were the chances Aderes' conscience was the last part in there and once it came out, he wouldn't be such an arsehole? He snickered.
As nice as it would be to blame the necklace, the weird mental bond they shared was probably the real reason. Not having Aderes next to him made him feel like a part of himself had wondered off. Who could relax when a part of yourself was off frolicking, possibly destroying something, somewhere else without you?
And while he was pretty sure it couldn't be the only reason, the fact that he'd been completely deprived of all contact that summer until Aderes had shown up had definitely played a part. Sirius had said as much and if anyone understood isolation, it was his godfather. If Harry had been talking to or with his friends at number twelve, he would have thought twice before talking to a necklace. Hermione would have freaked out the second she realized it was intelligent and ran off with it to Lupin or Mrs. Weasley before he could think to protest. Granted if he'd been at number twelve, Aderes wouldn't have had to shove himself into a necklace to get to Harry in the first place.
He tried to imagine how that would have gone and grinned. Aderes would have arrived or already been at number twelve when Harry got there, possibly with his parents. They might have stopped… Yeah right. Aderes' parent's disapproval would have only spurred Aderes to get closer to Harry. Would he have let his defenses down enough for Aderes to get close? The more he thought about it, he knew he wouldn't have. Not at first anyway. Aderes would have had to literally break him down until he gave in and that would have taken all summer. He probably would have found Aderes annoying, possibly even locked himself in his room until Sirius did something about the other teen. Aderes would have ended up doing something drastic and Harry would have either given in or refused to acknowledge he existed anymore.
Wait, Aderes said he'd put himself into the necklace a while ago… He'd told Harry they wouldn't have been able to be together without the necklace. What did that even mean? Had Dumbledore been trying to keep them apart and the necklace was the only way for Aderes to get around his defenses? But then Aderes had said Dumbledore had wanted them to be friends…
My brain hurts.
Something wasn't adding up. And while he wanted to know what, he wasn't ready to risk losing Aderes over it or his sanity for that matter. His boyfriend would tell him when he was ready, or Dumbledore would after Aderes dumped him for failing most of his classes. In other words, he'd have answers within the next two weeks give or take a couple of days.
Sighing, he wrapped his hand around the necklace, and squeezed it, more out of habit than anything else. Why did his life always have to be so complicated?
"Did you finish your essay last night," Aderes asked, yawning as he and Draco joined Harry and his friends in the entrance hall.
Harry gave his boyfriend a quick look over. He looked tired, but not snuck into the infirmary, committed murder, and then spent the rest of his night trying to cover it up tired. "Yeah, all five pages. I didn't get to finish the Transfiguration assignment. Oh, and thank you." He kissed Aderes on the cheek, the Slytherin perking up slightly.
For not killing anyone. "Without the notes you had me take last week, I don't think I'd have finished at all last night." The essay in question had been for History of Magic on the different tactics used on both sides of the war and what strategies each Roman general had contributed to on the human side.
"I'm glad you're starting to understand just how important it is to pay attention and take notes in class."
"Stop talking about homework so early in the morning," Ron groaned.
"Shut up Weasley," Draco snapped. He looked even more tired than Aderes.
'You didn't share any answers with that parasite, did you?'
'No. Ron fell asleep right after you left.' Not that he was going to share his homework with Ron anyway. He knew Aderes would burn his finished essay and make him do it over without his notes as he'd threatened the night before if he had. Besides, he was still annoyed with Ron for making him give up his entire Sunday to help him with his homework when he could have been snogging Aderes.
'And now you understand why you two shouldn't corner Hermione and make her help you with all of your homework.'
'I get it.' Hopefully if he tried hard enough, he wouldn't need Aderes' help either. 'But I didn't realize Hermione wanted to snog you on Sundays too.'
Shock. Aderes' face began turning red as he turned to Harry. 'Why in the—No! I would never kiss Hermione.'
Harry couldn't help enjoying the panic bouncing across the bond. A little payback for not returning to the dorm by lights out. Falling asleep with Aderes by his side had not been fun. Luckily, his nightmares hadn't taken advantage of the situation. 'Yeah? I was pretty sure the two of you hit it off—'
'You know I have no feelings for her!'
'If you say so. When did you and Draco finish last night?'
Aderes' mind seemed to deflate at Harry's sudden topic switch. 'Eleven, I think. And for the record, I did not kill anyone, and you are the only person I find worth kissing.'
Harry smiled. Aderes was trying to hide it, but he could clearly see him mentally pouting. 'Can't blame me for worrying.' He laced his fingers in between Aderes'. 'You can be in two places at once, right?'
Aderes nodded. 'In a way.'
'Would anyone notice if you went back to the dorm and got some sleep?'
'Of course, they would.' He mentally rolled his eyes. 'I'll be fine. Transfiguration is review and I already finished the essay last night while I was helping Draco. I finished the assignment for History of Magic. Do you think you'll need help in Charms or Transfiguration?'
It must be nice to be a genius. Why couldn't he understand the coursework and finish all his assignments an easily as Aderes? Even with the note taking, book reading, and spell practice, he still struggled to finish everything. "I should be fine."
They entered the Great Hall, all five of them heading straight for the Gryffindor table. Two men, the taller of them wearing a black leather trench coat, the slightly shorter one in a tan trench coat, stood next to the staff table talking to Dumbledore. Harry was pretty sure he'd never met either, but just seeing them made his stomach upset. Maybe it was the way they kept glancing at all the students like they were some kind of horrible creatures.
Aderes stopped at the end of the Gryffindor table. "What are they doing here?"
"Who are they?"
"If I could have everyone's attention," Dumbledore said. The room grew quiet as the students looked towards the headmaster. Harry pulled Aderes down with him onto the bench, their friends also taking seats quickly. "Due to the unfortunate events that transpired yesterday, the Ministry—"
"NGH!" Harry doubled over, hatred burning through the bond. 'A, Aderes!' The bond shut and Harry gasped.
"Sorry," he muttered, his attention on adults.
"…And so, I would like everyone to cooperate with Mr. Runcorn and Mr. Dawlish to the best of your abilities and answer any questions they have truthfully." He gave the entire room a look over, his gaze eventually falling onto Aderes where it remained a few seconds longer than it had on anyone else.
Aderes returned the gaze with a glare. Harry didn't need the bond to know his boyfriend was ready to kill Dumbledore and the two ministry workers.
"Like we didn't have enough ministry people here," a Gryffindor grumbled.
Aderes snarled and Harry found himself grabbing his boyfriend by the arm to keep him in his seat before he could try and do anything stupid, like Crucio one of the ministry workers from across the room.
"They can't blame either of us," he whispered. "There's an entire room of witnesses that not only saw Umbridge fall, they saw me try and stop her from my seat."
"Do you really think that will stop them from trying to blame you? You had Dementors chasing after you in a Muggle town and they not only said you were lying, they accused you of illegally casting a Patronus!"
"Aderes." he grabbed his boyfriend's chin and forced Aderes to look at him. "Everything. Will. Be. Okay." He couldn't afford to back down anymore. Fudge being the brainless git that he was had just served up two sacrifices for Aderes to have his way with and he wasn't going to let his boyfriend end up in Azkaban because of Fudge's stupidity. "Let them do their jobs so they'll leave." He released Aderes' chin.
Aderes blinked at him. He didn't seem to know how to react to Harry's sudden attempts at dominance.
Harry knew Aderes would eventually gather himself and then he'd probably lash out at him, but he was getting his point across now, before the Slytherin could properly think. Unfortunately, his boyfriend seemed to be gathering his wits a lot sooner than he'd thought he would. Anger flashed through Aderes' eyes and before Harry could think it through, he leaned forward and kissed him.
It took Aderes a moment to respond. It seemed Harry had thrown his boyfriend off again. It was good to know that was possible.The bond slid open, most likely so Aderes could get a better idea of what random thing Harry was going to try next, but he himself wasn't thinking, just reacting. With the Slytherin focused on trying to read Harry, the Gryffindor was able to pick up a few things from his boyfriend. The strongest being his willingness to hurt the Ministry workers who posed such a dire threat to Harry's wellbeing. Buried deep beneath that was the worry that Harry might leave him if he knew just how far he was willing to go for him.
Maybe a year ago Harry would have. Whether he wanted to admit it or not though, he couldn't be angry at Aderes for those thoughts. Not when a part of him felt the same way when it came to protecting Aderes. Hopefully they could work together to keep each other from killing anyone.
Aderes' mind instantly pulled back, anger tinting his thoughts. 'How dare you—'
He broke their kiss, resting his forehead against Aderes'. 'I can't promise you I won't get mad if you start hurting people, but if you kill someone, I won't stay with you.'
'Do you actually think I'd let you end this relationship?'
'You can stay in it if you want, but you'll be in it alone.' He placed his hand on Aderes' shoulder. 'I understand you wanting to keep me safe. I don't want anything bad happening to you either. You… You make me want to fight back. Being with you makes me want to survive whatever crazy things life throws at me, Voldemort included. I can't do that if you're in Azkaban'
Confusion. 'I'm not going to Azkaban.'
"Yeah, I'm finding it hard to believe you given all the…" 'Creative ways you're thinking about skinning the two Ministry workers.'
'My thoughts won't change.'
'I didn't ask you to change your thoughts. I'm asking you not to kill them so we can stay together.'
Aderes slowly blinked at him. 'I… I won't kill them.'
Harry kissed him again. His boyfriend was probably lying, but hopefully the supposed promise would keep him from rushing off and trying to kill the two ministry workers within the next five minutes. By then Harry should have thought of something else he could do to throw Aderes into shock and give the Ministry workers a chance to run for their lives. "Thank you."
Harry had barely put his stuff down in the Charm's room when the two Ministry workers had shown up asking for him. It wasn't exactly a surprise that he was the first one on their list to talk to given what had happened over the summer and now. I wonder if I'm being accused of setting fire to the Defense room too. The thought made his walk down the empty hall following the two Aurors that more daunting. Stop it. So far Aderes hadn't reacted to his little field trip, no doubt because of how tired he was, and he wanted to keep it that way.
If only their meeting was under different circumstances. It would be great to ask them about their job, like what they did on a regular day or how much they had to actually listen to Fudge, especially right now when he was clearly out of his mind.
The shorter of the two wizards opened a door to an empty classroom. He waited until Harry entered the room before the taller one went in. The shorter one entered and shut the door.
Harry slid into the nearest empty chair, the two ministry workers taking seats in front of him. Both were wearing dark suits under their trench coats. The taller of the two hard dark curly brown hair and a full-grown bread. He didn't look too friendly. The shorter man had brown hair, was clean shaven, and looked more dazed than he did scary. Kind of like he had no idea what he was doing or how he'd gotten dragged into this mess. Harry could sympathize. For some reason the man's eyes seemed to keep floating in opposite directions of each other.
A piece of parchment and a quill appeared in front of the taller man. "I'm sure you know why you're here," the taller one said.
"I do." Harry said. He gave a quick look around the room. Still no sign from the bond that Aderes was rushing to his side, wand drawn. Even better, he didn't see Aderes in his shadow form anywhere in the room. What were the chances his luck would hold out and he could get through this entire process before Aderes realized he was being interviewed? "Professor Umbridge fell."
The taller wizard snorted. "Right, fell."
Don't lose your temper. "Professor Umbridge was watching Professor Trelawny's class. She asked Professor Trelawny to predict something, and Professor Trelawny went into a trance. Professor Umbridge got scared and started backing away from her. I called out to Professor Umbridge and told her to be careful, but she didn't listen to me. She kept backing up and fell through the trapdoor." Just tell them the truth. While Fudge didn't want to hear Harry's truth, the Wizengamot had. Hopefully these two Aurors would want the same thing. And if they didn't, well, too bad for them. There was an entire room of Gryffindor who'd seen what happened and he'd been the one to tell Dean to heal her and had Neville go get Madam Pomfrey. Umbridge might not have survived without him.
The shorter wizard raised an eyebrow. "Are you saying Professor Trelawney pushed Dolores Umbridge?"
"What? No," Harry said, immediately. "No one touched her. She walked backwards and fell." Was tan trench coat guy even listening to what he'd just said?
"Walked or pushed," the taller wizard asked.
"Walked," he said, more firmly this time. There was no way he was going to let these two railroad him. She probably wouldn't have fallen at all if he hadn't asked Aderes to help Trelawney, but if the stupid woman had just listened instead of continuing to back up… "Professor Trelawney collapsed—"
"How convenient," the taller wizard snorted.
"And a few people stayed with her, the rest of us went to check on Professor Umbridge. When we saw her, I told Neville to go get Madam Pomfrey and for Dean to heal her."
The two wizards shared a look.
"I'm sure you know how bad this looks," tall wizard said.
"I don't care what it looks like, no one touched Professor Umbridge." Harry had never thought it would be so hard to tag the title 'Professor' in front of a name. Not adding it though would just prove to the Aurors how much he hated her.
"Watch it," the taller wizard warned him. "Even you have to know who's in charge here."
He did and he wished someone smarter would take the reins since these two idiots seemed more interesting in trying to bully students than they did getting to the truth of what had happened to their precious toad.
"I told you what happened, and my story isn't going to change." And once they had a chance to talk to everyone else, they'd have no choice, but to accept the fact no one had touched Umbridge. The idiot had ignored his warning and stepped through the trap door of her own free will.
"We'll be talking to everyone," the taller Auror said.
"If we find out you're lying about anything, I'm arresting you," he warned.
"I'm not lying," he said, biting back a growl.
"You better hope not.