Warnings: This story is slash

Notes: (X) is pov change and or time jump

Random: I have very mixed feelings about this chapter.

Chapter 31: Anxieties

Stay calm. If they had any proof, we wouldn't be talking. He tried to mimic the confidence his boyfriend seemed to radiate at all times, minus the arrogance.

The two wizards continued to stare him down.

Damnit. This would have been a lot easier if he could open the bond and tap into his boyfriend's actual emotions. Unfortunately, that would only tip Aderes off as to what was going on and things would then spiral out of control before the Slytherin even stepped into the room. I might need to reconsider this relationship.

"Funny," the shorter wizard said. "According to Hogwarts' records, no one has ever fallen from the astronomy tower before now. So why do you think Professor Umbridge suddenly did?"

Because she's the stupidest professor we've ever had, including Quirrell, who let Voldemort hijack the back of his head. If that idiot woman had just shut the trapdoor like she was supposed to once she'd entered, none of this would have happened. Not even Neville's cursed luck had ever sent the poor jinx flying down any of Hogwarts's many staircases, moving or otherwise, and most definitely not from any of the towers. But leave it to Umbridge to manage it just so she could try to screw over Harry's life more than it already was. Saying any of that out loud, however, would only get him thrown into Azkaban, or at the least, back at the Ministry for another trial. Both of which he wanted to avoid.

Don't react.

"I have no idea, sir," he said, his voice even and without a hint of force. For once, he was grateful for growing up in an abusive household where he'd been expected to show respect even after enduring untold amounts of mental and emotional abuse. The Aurors shared a look and Harry realized he didn't need Aderes' confidence. There wasn't a single thing these two could say short of telling him he'd be going back on trial that would make him lash out. And if he didn't lash out, they couldn't do anything to him.

Flashes of disappointment appeared in their eyes before their emotionless masks snapped back into place.

"You were just at trial over the summer," the taller wizard said. "For illegal use of magic." He gave Harry another long, hard look. "The Wizengamot found you innocent, but Professor Umbridge was certain, and vocally so, that you were guilty."

"Professor Umbridge is entitled to her opinions," Harry said. Unlike me. Something he was seriously getting tired of. Everyone else could yell their opinions at him or anyone else but let him utter something and everyone tried to get him sent to Azkaban or detention. Soon enough, they'd probably just give up on having him locked up and start trying to kill him.

"I've heard you have quite a temper on you, Potter. Attacking other students, you nearly blew up your aunt during a previous offense of use of underage magic," the taller wizard went on. "Why should we believe anything you have to say?"

What does any of that have to do with me lying? Doby had been the one to cause all the issues with his aunt. He'd never attacked another student, not that anyone believed that since everyone had found out he was a Parselmouth when it'd happened and couldn't understand a word he'd been saying. And who the hell wouldn't have a temper after everything he'd gone through? The fact that he hadn't joined Voldemort and become one of the darkest wizards yet, as a result of his life, was a miracle. The world should be glad the most he did was scream at people from time to time and lock himself up in his bedroom. Focus. "Because I didn't do anything. My story will match everyone else's. So, you don't have to believe me."

The taller wizard made a face, like Harry had kicked him in the shin. If only he could have the pleasure of actually doing so. "We'll be talking to you again soon, Potter."

"I'm sure you have my class schedule. You'll know where to find me." He smiled at them. "Can I go now?"

"For now," the shorter one growled.

"Thank you." He stood up and pushed his chair in nicely before leaving the classroom without a second look. When he'd gone two halls down, he let out a breath, closed his eyes, and leaned against the wall. Somehow, Aderes hadn't picked up on his 'interview.' Now he just needed to figure out how to tell his boyfriend about it without getting anyone killed. Nothing happened, though. Perhaps that was enough to stop Aderes from doing anything? They'd asked him some questions, stared him down, made some snotty remarks, but they hadn't actually touched him.

He slid his hand into his shirt and squeezed the pendant. "Please let that be enough," he whispered.


Aderes dropped into the chair next to Draco, glaring at Zabini, who was just about to sit down on Draco's other side.

"We'll talk later, Zabini," Draco sighed. The other Slytherin gave a slight nod and continued on to another seat a few rows back. "Not everyone is worthless," Draco said, turning to Aderes.

"Worthless enough. What does he know beyond Quidditch?"

"Shouldn't you have followers of all kinds?"

Aderes snorted at that and pulled his Transfiguration book out of his bag. "His family may be devout followers, but they're nothing. He wouldn't trust them to do his laundry. Which, given his current fashion standards, is quite sad."

Draco stared at him. "My family—"

"He has a soft spot for your family. Your father still holds enough persuasion in the Ministry with his money and he's easily manipulated."

Draco couldn't deny that, but it still bothered him to hear it. Voldemort had indeed stepped back into his family's life, slowly, but surely. His eyes unconsciously shifted from Aderes to his left arm where his father had promised him would be covered in a Death Eater's mark on his next birthday. The most important gift he could ever receive, his father had claimed. One he would cherish for the rest of his life. Yeah, right.

Aderes nudged him. "Hey, we took care of it."

Draco looked back up. "I wasn't thinking about last night." Though that had nearly given him a heart attack. He'd gotten a letter yesterday afternoon from his father, ordering him to join something called the Inquisition Squad, some kind of stupid group the Ministry was setting up to basically enforce the lie that Voldemort wasn't rising back to power, despite Fudge having direct knowledge that he was, as well as to support Umbridge in any way possible. It seemed Fudge was so far gone in his insanity he'd forgotten the definition of treason.

"I know," Aderes said. He leaned back in his chair. "My answer doesn't change."

Draco gave a small shake of his head. It must be nice to be so confident. He missed having it. Ever since he'd learned about his father's connection to the chamber and how willing he was to let others die to gain Voldemort's favor; his courage had faded. Before that, he'd always believed his father would put him first. During the summer leading into his fourth year, he'd learned the truth. He was just another sacrifice to the dark lord as far as his father was concerned. If he hadn't met Aderes…

"Class is going to start soon."

Draco looked up, surprised to see Professor McGonagall in front of her desk shifting through some papers. "Right." He began retrieving the items he'd need for the class from his bag.

"We have this under control," Aderes said, his voice quiet. "I promise."

Draco hesitated, his hand hovering over his Transfiguration book. "Did you talk to Dumbledore?" It was the only chance he had at this point. If Dumbledore said no…

A slight frown tugged at Aderes' mouth. "Not exactly."

"Then I have every right to be worried." Only Dumbledore would be able to keep him safe.

"I talked to someone else…" He blew out a breath. "You'll most likely be disowned though."

Draco froze. "…. Doesn't that ruin your plan?" The main reason Aderes had approached him was due to his family's connections with Voldemort. Without that…

"Do you know what I did this summer?"

"Saved Potter's sorry arse."

Aderes smiled at that. "I wasn't sleeping while you were holding onto the necklace."

Draco did his best to keep his face neutral. He hadn't known anything about the necklace beyond Aderes' orders to keep it safe from Dumbledore, and to get it sent to Harry using a school owl on his birthday. Aderes hadn't said a word the entire month he'd been at Draco's, so he'd just assumed he was in some deep sleep state so he could heal. He tried to remember if he'd said anything stupid during that time. Nothing came to mind.

"Look, we had an agreement. Without you, Harry would be dead. We're friends, and I won't tolerate anything happening to you."

Draco nodded, hardly believing what Aderes was saying. Sure, he and Aderes got along, but since when had he ever considered them actual friends? "Thanks."

"Draco, you have my word."

"I appreciate it."

"You better. I should have an answer later tonight."

Draco nodded. He still felt like Dumbledore was his best chance at survival. Maybe he could talk to the headmaster himself? Harry might if Aderes wouldn't, but he wasn't supposed to get Harry involved.

"Draco." Fingers touched the top of his hand, and he jumped. "As soon as I get a reply, I'll talk to Dumbledore."

"Good." He relaxed a little. But only a little. Until he knew for sure he wouldn't become his father's next gift to Voldemort, he couldn't afford to let his guard down.

Aderes sighed. "Would it make you feel better if I told you I still find you quite valuable, especially with your father being so insistent on you helping out certain…people?"

That's right. Once Umbridge recovered, Draco would be "helping" the idiot with her 'club'. He could keep Aderes informed on all of Umbridge's plans and help sabotage them when needed. He was still useful.

"But even if you weren't," Aderes continued. "I've found I enjoy your company and would like to keep you around."

Draco snorted. "Gee, thanks." That was good, though. He could work with being useful. Merlin, I'm no better than my father. The only difference was he'd handed his life over to someone trying to kill Voldemort instead of joining the dark lord himself. At least he'd be able to sleep at night one way or another when everything was over.


Harry entered the Charms' classroom, half expecting it to go silent as everyone turned their attention on him before they burst into a huge barrage of questions. Instead, his entrance went unnoticed. From the looks of it, the assignment was for everyone to get into groups of three so two people could try to levitate the third. He stepped into the room just as Dean came flying past him, screaming so loud other students were placing their hands over their ears, and crashed into Flitwick's desk. Flitwick's desk flipped over, taking the unfortunate professor with him. Papers flew into the air, books hit the floor, and for a final touch, the goblet on Flitwick's desk crashed down on top of Dean's head, covering him in what looked to be water.

"People are going to start accusing Gryffindor of trying to kill all their professors," he muttered. First Umbridge, though, that'd been her own fault, and then Trelawney, which no matter how you looked at it was his fault, and now Dean had tried to take out Flitwick.

A small hand shot up through the chaos on the floor. "I'm alright," Professor Flitwick squeaked.

"I'm not sure I am," Dean groaned.

"Sorry!" Seamus and Neville yelled. The two of them ran down the raised rows of desk towards the destruction they'd caused. Or no doubt Neville had caused.

Normally Harry would have helped, but he didn't want to draw any attention to himself. Using the distraction, he made his way over to Hermione and Ron without anyone realizing he'd returned. He dropped into an empty chair beside his two friends and let out a long breath. Safe. For now, he was safe and, as a result, so were Aderes and Sirius.

"What was it like?!" Ron dropped his wand arm and Hermione, who'd been levitating a few centimeters off the floor, came down hard on her feet with a loud thump.


Ron gave her a quick look. "Sorry." He turned back to Harry. "Well?"

Hermione shoved past Ron, the teen protesting as he stumbled to the side, and sat down in the seat next to Harry. "How was it," she asked quietly.

"I don't know," he admitted. "They've already decided I'm guilty. They can't hold me accountable though, since there's an entire room of witnesses who'll say I didn't do it, but with Fudge, who knows?"

"It'll be okay," Hermione said.

He shook his head. No. It wouldn't. Even if Fudge couldn't pin this on him, he was going to keep trying to find something, anything, to get Harry to shut up. "I haven't even done anything," he said through gritted teeth. It's not fair! Harry officially had two targets painted on his back, one by a dark lord determined to kill him because he'd been dubbed the 'chosen one'. And now by the leader of the magic community, because Harry was willing to tell the truth while Fudge screamed denials. How could Hermione possibly think everything was going to be alright when both sides of the Wizarding world were against him!? "I think next time I'll just shove her down the stairs." Aderes was right. If he was going to get blamed for the crime, he might as well have the joy of actually committing it.

"Harry!" Hermione looked horrified.

"That bad, huh," Ron asked, making a face. He pulled a chair next to Hermione's and dropped down into it.

Don't get them involved. If he told Hermione or Ron anything concerning, it might get back to Sirius or Aderes. He couldn't be the reason they threw their lives away. He stared down at his hands spread out in front of him on his desk. This is my problem. And there was a solution. He'd just have to find it by himself. Somehow and hopefully before he was being dragged away by a Dementor.

He took a calming breath. You can do this. "I owe the Dursleys a gift basket." He said to change the subject and sank further back into his chair. He dropped his hands to his side as he watched the students scrambling around in front of them. They'd unburied Flitwick, who was now making Dean, Seamus, and Neville levitate everything back into order, but Neville was still having problems and every now and then a piece of paper or a book would shoot off and hit one of the students still sitting at their desks resulting in loud screams. Harry decided to ignore them all and look at the homework assignment on the board instead. By the next class, they were supposed to be able to levitate another student by themselves.

"Why would you give them anything," Ron asked.

"The only reason I'm not in Azkaban right now is because of all the self-control I've learned over my life dealing with them." Who'd have ever thought being abused his entire life would end up benefiting him? He noticed both of his friends looking at him and decided to change the subject again. "Eh. I'm just glad Aderes doesn't have to talk to them." How had he gotten lucky enough for those idiots to grab him while Aderes had been distracted?

"No kidding," Ron said. "He'd definitely go to Azkaban."

Harry nodded. Okay. He'd avoided getting in trouble with the Ministry. Now he needed to figure out how to keep the situation under control with Aderes. If he didn't tell his boyfriend, someone else would and then there'd be hell to pay. Besides, he really didn't want to add to the secrets they already had between them. That was no way to keep their relationship going… or was it? Aderes had said if Harry found out his secret, they'd break up and Harry was already hiding his potion's grade. Being interrogated was a bit more serious than a poor grade, though. Besides, his boyfriend wasn't stupid. Aderes already knew the arseholes were going to talk to Harry sooner or later.

"Here goes nothing." Sighing, he opened the bond.

'Aderes?Can you talk?'

Mild surprise. 'It's fifth year Transfiguration.'

Harry wasn't entirely sure what that meant until he saw the mental nod from his boyfriend. 'I talked to the Aurors.'

He had Aderes' full attention now. '…and?'

'And I told them they were out of their minds, that no one needed to attack Umbridge. She was stupid enough to off herself.' Harry could feel Aderes' attempt at keeping himself from laughing out loud and smiled.

'You did not. I may have influenced you to a certain extent, but not that much.'

'I told them the truth, excluding your puppet show, and that everyone else they interviewed would say the same thing.'

'And they believed you?'

'No, but they won't have a choice. Everyone will say the same thing I did.'

'Did they say anything about Dumbledore?'


Relief. 'Good.'

Harry couldn't stop himself from frowning at that. He was glad that Aderes wasn't going into a rage. He hadn't been sure what he'd do if he had. But even with his minimal skills with the bond, he could tell Aderes had been more concerned about Dumbledore possibly getting dragged into this mess than Harry getting arrested. From that line of thinking, he could also see that Dumbledore dominated far more of Aderes' mind than the Slytherin had originally let on.

So that's how it is. 'I should probably get back to my class.' If Aderes managed to untangle his thoughts and see how unreasonable he was being over Aderes' concern for the headmaster, he'd dump him in the next five seconds.


'I have to go help unbury Professor Flitwick. Neville just flipped his desk over again.' He got a clear sense of confusion from his boyfriend before he managed to shut the bond. The isolated feeling took over as it usually did, but with it, also a sense of relief. Stupid. Who in the hell would ever choose me over Dumbledore?

In the end, Harry was just a mere afterthought to Aderes and there wasn't anything the Gryffindor could do about it. From what he got from the bond, Aderes and Dumbledore had known each other for a long time, years from the looks of it, while he'd known his boyfriend for what? Two months? And he'd spent a chunk of that time thinking Aderes was nothing more than a magical object. No, short of tracking down a Timer Turner and shoving himself into Aderes' life sooner, he was stuck being the newcomer, the outsider.

And now that he thought about it, that was always the case for him, wasn't it?

Until he'd gotten his Hogwarts' letter, no one had even acknowledged his existence besides his abusive aunt and uncle and a terror of cousin, all three, who'd made sure he never considered himself a part of their lives beyond the chores they needed done. He was more their butler than family. The Weasley family may have taken him in, but he'd never be one of them.

If he could have just had one person who gave a damn about him while he was growing up… He closed his eyes. Sirius was in jail. He couldn't have even written anyone, least of all Harry, since he'd been framed for his parents' death, let alone visit him. But Remus could have. Or Hagrid. Or any number of those 'wonderful' people who claimed to have been friends with his parents. Not even Dumbledore had bothered to send him a birthday card until… he started mentally laughing. Dumbledore hadn't sent him a birthday card ever. Aderes had sent him one pretending to be Dumbledore.

Sighing, he slouched in his chair. He needed to get over this, and fast. Once this class ended, he had to go to Transfiguration, where Aderes would no doubt be waiting for him. Harry didn't know what to do, though. There was no solution to this. For some stupid reason, he'd just assumed since they were dating that Aderes would consider him number one. Or close anyway.

I can't expect that of him or anyone, for that matter. He was always getting himself into some kind of mess. If Aderes expressed the same amount of worry for him that he did Dumbledore, his boyfriend would be in a constant state of panic and exhaustion, and he didn't wish that for him or anyone else. He just wanted someone to put him first, for once… But maybe this was for the best. If his boyfriend didn't consider him that important, Harry's impending death wouldn't bother him too much.

"Is everything alright," Hermione asked.

Harry opened his eyes. His friends were standing there looking anxious, and for once, it made him happy. Not really, but I can't tell you that. He gave them a smile. "Yeah. Since nothing happened, he wasn't worried."

Hermione smiled at him. "Good! Why don't we see if you can lift Ron up by yourself, then?"


It wasn't long before the Aurors showed up at the Charms' classroom and started calling students out one by one. Every time someone came back, it took all of Harry's self-control not to go running up to them and ask them how the interview went and what the Aurors were asking them.

"Ronald Weasley," the tall Auror called from the open door.

Ron nodded at Harry. "Don't worry. I'll make sure they know you're innocent."


Ron grabbed his stuff and started for the door just as the bell rang for classes to end.

Everything will be fine. Harry took in a breath and slowly let it out. Ron would tell them the truth, just like everyone else had, and hopefully, the arseholes would be out of the school by dinner. Then he could focus on his other problems, mainly what he should do about Aderes.

"Harry," Hermione asked, quietly.

"Why do the core of all my problems seem to be Aderes?"

Hermione stared at him. "What?"

"Never mind." Maybe he should just open the bond and let Aderes break it off with him and save them all some drama. Not that he wanted to break up. What were the chances Aderes would be able to read him clearly, see that he was trying not to be weirdo, and not leave him?

The Transfiguration room came into sight, and Harry felt his heart quicken. Aderes was just leaving. He was talking with two students he didn't know, a Ravenclaw girl and a male Slytherin who looked to be older than them. Part of him wanted to run and tackle Aderes down and explain himself. His common sense side told him not to be an idiot.

Wait. He managed to stop himself from opening the bond. Aderes hadn't been waiting for him, demanding any sort of explanation, so maybe he'd taken Harry's lie about panicking over the Charms' professor as the truth? I don't want to lie to him. Not about this. He gripped the strap of his bag so he wouldn't squeeze the pendant instead.

"Mr. Potter. I suggest you get into the classroom before I shut this door." Harry jumped, his attention shifting to Professor McGonagall. She looked amused at his reaction. "What's wrong?"

"N, nothing…"

"With the way you're looking at Mr. Keaira, I wouldn't be surprised if his robes burst into flames any second now."

Harry's face burned. "I had my interview with the Aurors and I wanted to talk to him."

McGonagall raised an eyebrow at that. "So, talk with him. After my lecture." She motioned to the door with her free hand.


Ron didn't return during Transfiguration. So far, he'd been gone the longest of all the interviewees, and Harry was sure something had somehow gone horribly wrong.

"I'm sure everything's okay," Hermione said as they walked towards the Great Hall.

He gave Hermione a look. "They got through everyone else in our class, but Ron."

"Well… yes, but—"

"He missed Transfiguration." Which McGonagall had not been happy about at all. She'd kept giving him looks the entire time, making Harry worry even more. He hadn't been able to focus at all. So, not only did he not take any notes, he hadn't practiced during class despite Hermione's prompting, and he wasn't even sure he'd copied down the homework correctly. Or in other words, Aderes now had one more reason to be mad at him. And knowing Aderes, it would be this last offense that pissed him off the most. You have more important things to think about! Like how Ron might have been dragged off to Azkaban or was being held somewhere in Hogwarts against his will until he told the Aurors everything they wanted to hear. "Something's wrong."

"Yeah it is." The two Gryffindor jumped at the voice. Ron was just coming up to them, his face red. He gave Harry a hard look before dropping his gaze to the floor.

That couldn't be good. "What?"

The redhead grimaced. "They really don't like you."

Harry was pretty sure he'd explained that to Ron right after he'd gotten back from his own interview. "What'd they say?"

"They asked about the class and I told them the truth. You didn't do anything. They weren't too happy about that." He frowned. "They said I needed to cooperate since my dad works at the Ministry and if I didn't, they were going to talk to Fudge about my dad. Something about if he couldn't raise trustworthy children, maybe they needed to reconsider letting him work for the Ministry."

"They can't do that," Hermione shouted. "That's blackmail!" She cursed when she saw the students closest to them now staring in their direction. "Sorry," she hissed and dropped her voice. "But that's completely against the law!"

"I told them I wasn't lying. But all they wanted to hear was how Harry had done it." He was shaking now. "My dad can't lose his job."

"He won't," Harry said. "There are too many witnesses."

"W, what if they talk to Fudge?"

Hermione shook her head. "Harry's right. There were students from all four houses present. Even if our house lied to save Harry, the other three wouldn't. And not even Fudge can just go around firing people without a legitimate reason."

There has to be a way to fix this. Harry wouldn't be able to live with himself if Mr. Weasley lost his job over this.

"They kept asking about Aderes too…"

Harry's heart sank. "What? Why?"

"I guess someone mentioned he was your boyfriend. They were asking me all sorts of stuff about him. When I couldn't answer those questions either, they got mad."

"Damnit." Why in the hell were these idiots trying to drag Aderes into this mess? Aderes wanted an excuse to kill them and if they got his boyfriend into a room alone… "I have to go."

"Harry, you can't!" Hermione said, her voice rising again.

"I don't have a choice. I can't let these arseholes threaten everyone and if they question Aderes, they're not going to survive and then we'll be in court for murder!"

"Harry, they can't—"

"But Fudge can," he snapped.

Hermione looked scared. "Harry! You don't need to do this!"

He ignored her and started down the hall Ron had just come from. Hopefully, the arseholes were still doing their interviews in the room he'd been in earlier. He considered his options as walked down the hall, mentally cursing every few minutes. He was going to regret this, and he knew it, but short of finding Draco or an Order member, who could he ask?

He opened the bond. 'What's the best way to get an honest answer out of someone without torture?'

Mild surprise. 'Truth serum.'

'Do you think the Aurors would have that on them?'

Harry could feel Aderes' anger start to flare. 'Possibly. It's illegal to use at Hogwarts, but given why they're here, it wouldn't surprise me.'

'Is there a way to defend against it?'


'How?' Harry felt Aderes' mind probing his own. Seconds later Aderes' own anger was mingling with his.

'I hate Aurors.'

'Just tell me what to do.'

'If you suggest the truth serum, they're going to know you're prepared to fight against it.'

Harry felt himself deflating. 'So how…?'

'Instead of running head first into this like an idiot, meet me in the Great Hall. We'll get some food and go outside and talk so we don't have to rush to Care of Magical Creatures.'

'Promise me you won't kill them.'

'I'm not promising anything—'

'Then I'm going to talk to them now.'

Anger hinting at rage. 'Are you threatening me?'

'I'm terrified one day I'm going to look and you're going to be gone from my life as fast as you got involved with it.' Harry had to do a double take at his response. He hadn't even considered saying something like that, but it was the truth. Aderes had dropped into his life without warning. What if he left just as abruptly? And given Harry's past relationships, that was exactly what was going to happen sooner or later. He didn't remember his parents, but they'd been taken from him. Sirius had shown up only to run off again where he'd remained more a pen pal than a family member until they'd met again at Number 12. Remus had only gotten involved with him because of school and the second he left, he'd never written Harry again until this past birthday. Mrs. Weasley was dead. He liked Mr. Weasley, but he hadn't cared for Harry like Mrs. Weasley had and both of them had their own children to prioritize over him. He had friends, but like Sirius, they were nothing more than pen pals during the summer and he could really use a friend during that time.


The panic from Aderes' side made him snap out of his thoughts. 'Sorry. I didn't mean to go off like that.'

'Harry. I'm not leaving. We're bonded. There's no going back from that.' Hesitation 'At least not at this point.'

'You could close the bond.'

Aderes mentally sighed. 'I'm as addicted to this feeling of having you forever present with me as you are. Let's just sit down and figure this out. I'd much rather have you in my arms while we untangle your thoughts rather than risk you having a full-blown panic attack in the middle of a hallway in Hogwarts.'

'O, okay… but I don't think we're going to like what we find.'

Slight amusement. 'Were you mentally cheating on me with someone?'

'Of course not!' There wasn't a single person in the school that even compared to Aderes in looks, brains, or most importantly, straight up being there for Harry when he needed them. 'But… I don't think I copied the Transfiguration homework properly.' He turned back towards the Great Hall, smiling.

Another sigh. 'Lucky for you, I did.'