Warnings: Yaoi/Slash, Angst, DARK themes, Backstabbing,
Incest, Yuri/Fem-slash, and other various nastiness. Hard R
Disclaimer: Ain't mine.
Thanks to Ebony Rayne for beta-ing!
A Wise Old Owl
It had taken more prodding than Harry liked to admit to get Voldemort to agree on letting the Weasleys have access to the manor. Since Draco was technically the owner in Narcissa's absence, Voldemort finally put the matter in his hands and then was rather surprised when Draco gave the go ahead. He had been banking on Draco's continued dislike for Weasleys in general but only sighed a little and left the matter be. After Draco gave Harry the specific instructions one needed to find the house and get in, Harry had Ron owl them off to Mrs. Weasley.
"So, we need a name," Harry said with a shrug. "Something that won't connect to Voldemort-"
Ron still shivered at the name but the other two boys ignored him. They were in the library again, sitting around their table and brainstorming. The girls were off doing something but hadn't invited them, so Ron had deigned to stick around even with Draco there.
"Something that sounds strong and powerful..." Harry tapped his chin thoughtfully, "and hopefully not frightening."
"I suppose Neo-Death Eaters is out then," Draco muttered with a roll of his eyes. Ron shot him a dirty look.
"No shit, Sherlock," he shot back with a scowl. Draco's lips pursed and Harry sighed a bit, knowing what was inevidibly coming. He'd started to understand that his emnity with Draco had never been as deep or red hot as that between the blond and his best friend.
"When I give a non-retorical statement, Weasel, then your imput might be warrented," Draco drawled. "Not that the words of a hanger-on are ever that important."
Harry felt like he was a hundred miles away for all the impact he could have. He saw the rage burning, coiling, and then, in slow motion, saw it leap. Ron's fist slammed into Draco's face. The blonde's head jerked and then he struck and it was on from there. The two fell upon each other in a flailing heap on the ground and Harry had half a mind to just let them kill each other.
Alas, that hero instinct reared its ugly head. Harry sighed as he got into the middle of it and started tearing the two combatants away from each other. They fought him just as hard as they fought each other, but a strike to Ron's middle with Harry's elbow and a glancing blow to Draco's shoulder from Harry's fist finally managed the deed. They both stumbled back, holding on the injuries, and Harry glared at the both of them.
"How old are you guys? Four?" he asked with audible disappointment, folding his arms over his chest. Ron gave him a betrayed look and opened his mouth to say something, then seemed to just decide it wasn't worth it.
"Fine. I'm obviously not needed here," he snarled instead and then he left. Harry sighed a little, running a hand back through his hair.
"That takes care of one distraction," Draco mumbled and Harry turned on him with a glare.
"Stop antagonizing him," Harry said sternly and Draco raised a brow as if to ask when Harry had gotten the authority to order him around. "Ron's trying to be civil, Draco. He's really trying. But you keep being an ass."
"You're blaming it all on me?" Draco asked angrily, almost betrayed.
"There's equal blame," Harry replied. He was not going to let this up. "I need Ron. I need you, too. Most of all, I need to know that I can count on the two of you. This pack dominance thing you two have going stops now."
"Tell him that," the blonde snarled. Harry scowled.
"I will," he replied cooly. "Both of you are acting like babies and it's annoying. We'll never get anything done if we keep fighting each other."
Draco folded his arms over his chest and looked away angrily. "Fine. You keep him from annoying me and I'll ignore his existance."
Harry sighed a bit, but he conceeded to that. It was better than an outright refusal. Draco's pride was tricky to manage.
"So.. do you have any serious suggestions for a name?" Harry asked, trying to leave the fight behind them. Draco gave him a weary look, then sat back down on the floor next to the low table, resting his head on one fist. Harry settled down beside him.
"You don't want to be frightening, right?" Draco murmured as he thought about it. "Well.. It still needs strength. What about coining something quasi-military?"
Harry blinked but didn't outright shoot it down, so Draco went on.
"Military groups sound strong," the blonde murmured. "They don't necessarily have to be frightening, but they are intimidating which is something we do need. We need to show the enemy that we are a threat, but not so much of one that they rally normal people against us."
"I suppose I get it.." Harry murmured thoughtfully. "But I don't like the idea of being called an army."
"Well, there's always corps or division, or brigade-" Harry gave a particularly sour look that the last that nearly made Draco laugh, "Regiment, battalion, squadron-"
"How come you know so much about this?" Harry asked with a slightly suspicious look.
"Father had a secret passion for muggle military and wars," Draco replied with a shrug. "He thought it would be good for me to learn tactics of muggles since wizards wouldn't expect that kind of fighting. You can learn a lot from muggles... not that they aren't still very inferior."
Harry shook his head a bit ruefully, then said, "Well, I haven't liked any of them you've said yet. Are there more?"
"Of course." Draco started ticking off his fingers as he listed. "Battery, troop, platoon, squad, fireteam.. I'm forgetting one. It was...Ah. Company."
Harry blinked a little. "Company?"
"Yes. Usually somewhere between seventy to over two hundred troops," Draco replied. Harry didn't really care what number of troops the word implied, but the word itself seemed... just what he wanted.
"That's good. Company," Harry murmured, mind racing. "But it's unfinished. There should be something more to it."
Draco sat back a bit, thinking. "You're right. It needs more...but at least it's a start."
Harry wasn't happy that he hadn't gotten the name figured out completely but he had to agree that it was a start. Once Ron had cooled down and the girls were back, he'd talk to them about it. He found his eyes sliding back over to Draco, watching the other teen as he quietly contemplated some dust specks in a shaft of sunlight. He liked it when Draco was calm because he looked serene and untouched by everything else. It calmed Harry in turn.
"Draco," he asked, feeling a sudden nervousness. Cool gray eyes settled on his face with vague curiosity. "Draco, I have to go back to school."
The blonde was quiet a moment, then nodded a bit. "I was wondering how long it would take you to figure that one out."
"I know your mum offered to get tutors, but we need to be seen and we need to gain more people." Draco didn't stop him, so Harry went on. "I want to talk to some of the teachers. They might have seen the same things in Dumbledore that we have. Or something. I don't know."
"Either way, I think making sure Dumbledore knows you're not afraid to step outside of this protection is the important part, really," Draco said with a shrug. "Right now, he probably thinks he can still cow you into submission."
Harry frowned at the idea. "Yeah... So, I have to go back and I.. I really don't…want to go alone."
Draco lifted a brow. "And you think I'd let you?"
Harry felt a sudden burst of relief. He dragged his hand down his face, suddenly feeling a little shaky from stress he hadn't known he was experiencing. Draco reached over and touched his arm and Harry gave him a small smile of appreciation then-
Lips brushed his lightly and he noticed that Draco was suddenly close, that he'd... They brushed again with more solidarity and Harry felt a hand touching his cheek and he was responding to the light pressure-
Then Harry found his back on the floor. He realized belatedly that he was being kissed soundly. His fingers fisted tightly in soft blonde hair and he felt firm touches to his neck and face and shoulders. Hard muscle pressed to bony planes of flesh and it didn't matter what belonged to who because it just felt so good suddenly, and there were teeth at his lip and he heard a faint, shaky moan and then wet tongue against his own, sending shivers down his spine and making him feel something he hadn't felt before because it was better than Cho, better than any dream and- and-
And he was kissing Draco Malfoy.
It seemed to hit both of them at the same exact time because they suddenly jerked from one another in perfect tandem. Draco scuttled back a few feet and Harry sat up and they proceeded to stare at one another. Harry watched Draco's chest move as he panted, saw the red flush to his cheeks, the bruised pink to his lips, the glitter in his eyes, his mussed hair, and a startling realization settled itself in Harry's mind: he found the whole effect quite a bit more attractive than he ever should have and that frightened him.
The seconds ticked by but neither of them could move or look away. They started to recover their breath, the flushed faces slowly paled back to normal, and the magic of the moment wore off. Draco finally broke the stare as he quickly got up, running his fingers through his hair to straighten it. Harry didn't know if he could stand.
"I'm sorry," Draco said suddenly and Harry looked up at him but the blonde had his back to him. "I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. It won't happen again."
Harry saw tension in his shoulders and his fists were curled at his sides. He didn't know if there was anything he could say to the blonde, or even anything he wanted to say. Draco seemed to take that as an answer in and of itself. Without another word, he left and Harry ended up staying there for quite a while as he tried to figure through his own confused feelings.
Tonks was in a bit of a tizzy. She'd been asked to find an unplotable house with no idea where it might be anyway and only the name of Malfoy to guide her. The Malfoy family was as old as time and just as powerful even with their monarch in jail. Of course, Lucius Malfoy had escaped only a little while ago but there were no signs of him anywhere. The ancestral Malfoy home was no longer in any records save the deed that had been rendered unreadable unless someone of Malfoy blood was touching it, so there was no way they could use that to search for him. So, here was Tonks, looking for that exact place. She knew it was somewhere in or around Wiltshire, but so far, her efforts were for not.
The place might as well not exist.
Still, Tonks persevered. She searched high and low, never giving up…
Until an owl sudden showed up and dropped a note into her hands. It was quick and to the point.
"Cease searching for the Malfoys immediately.
Oh, Tonks did all the right spells to make sure it was authentic, but she still felt riled that all that work was suddenly for naught. She huffed and took herself back to London for the Order meeting that evening at Grimauld place, and, hopefully, Dumbledore would be there to give her a damn answer.
The full Order had gathered by the time Tonks got there. She was surprised but tried not to show it as they gathered in the kitchen. Then she saw Dumbledore. He looked tired, strained, and older than she'd ever seen him. The twinkle in his eyes was gone. He looked fragile and her heart leapt out to him.
"Thank you for gathering so quickly," Dumbledore murmured and Tonks assumed his letters to the others had been a bit lengthier than her own. "I know most of you were attending your duties and I know most of you are wondering why I have asked that some of those duties be forgotten."
'No shit,' Tonks thought privately.
"Since losing Severus," there were a few grumbles to this, "I have had to rely on another source for information of Voldemort's activities. I'm afraid I cannot reveal this source to you all yet, but know it is trustworthy. This source has informed me of what has become of dear Harry."
This instantly got attention. There were murmurs, then outright demands, to know about the boy. He was well loved after all, and the last any of them had seen of him, he was broken beyond help.
"Quiet now," Dumbledore admonished gently. "Harry is recovering well, under the circumstances, but he has been compromised. We can assume that Voldemort has brainwashed him."
"Then we have to find the boy and rescue him now!" Moody growled out, arms crossing over his chest. "Before the brainwashing sets."
There were agreements but Dumbledore raised a hand to quiet them.
"I'm afraid that isn't necessary," he murmured and then smiled a little. "You see, Harry has decided to return to Hogwarts."
Tonks blinked in surprise. The Dark Lord would let Harry out of his grip? Did that mean Harry was brainwashed well enough that the Dark Lord didn't think he would turn?
"It is reasonable to assume that the other missing children with Harry will return to Hogwarts as well," Dumbledore continued. "We will do what we can there."
September first was tomorrow. A lot of planning was to be had…
Molly and Arthur arrived at half past noon. Draco awaited them at the apparation point he'd told Harry about, for he, and the other teens, had decided it would be safer than letting Harry do it. Neither Weasley were very happy to see Draco but they were at least civil.
"Follow me and don't stray," Draco told them, hands in his trouser pockets. "There are way more protections than you want to deal with on this place."
Arthur made a bit of a face at getting talked to in such a way, but the two adults heeded Draco's words. They followed him through a winding path, the guest path, actually, since only blood relatives and keyed individuals could get through the short way. The path wound around the whole property but Draco never got lost. He'd had the way pounded into his mind enough times to get it right.
Finally, he got the Weasleys through the last protective barrier and into the house itself. Harry and the rest of the children were there to meet them.
Molly let out a soft sound before she grabbed Ron and Ginny up, hugging them tightly with a little sob. Arthur watched, smiling with relief to see his children well and whole. Molly then turned on Hermione and Harry with the same reaction. Hermione just smiled while Harry clasped the woman back tightly.
When the meeting was over finally, Harry led them to a sitting room.
"You're probably wondering why I've asked you here," Harry said once everyone was settled. "Ginny, Ron, Hermione, and Draco already know what I've been up to but we've decided to include certain adults as well."
He then started to explain, first about why he was in Malfoy Manor in the first place, Voldemort's supposed turn around, Severus and Lupin, and, when he got to Sirius, Molly swooned a little. Harry was glad he'd decided not to bring his godfather in until later. Then he got to explaining his thoughts on Dumbledore, the answers he wanted, and his plans for creating a group of his own much like the Order, but under his own guidance.
"This is al very big, Harry," Arthur murmured when Harry went silent. "It's a lot to take in."
"I know," the boy said quietly, arms folded over his chest defensively. "I've asked Draco to key you into the house's protections so you can come and go. I know it's a lot, and it's okay if you want to go and think about helping me."
"Oh, Harry," said Molly as she got up and quickly embraced him. "It's not that. We'll always be there to help you and this is no exception. You're as much family to us as our own children. That won't ever change. There are some things we need to think about, but we will help you in whatever ways we can. You don't have to take everything on your own shoulders!"
Harry blushed a little at the attention, but he didn't pull away as she continued to hold him and pet his hair.
"That's right," Arthur seconded. "We're behind you, Harry."
"Thank you," murmured Harry very, very quietly around the lump in his throat.
After that, they brought in Sirius, Remus, and Snape so the adults could talk. It was then that Harry remembered he'd forgotten to tell the three men of his plans and had to go over them again. Sirius and Remus were both worried but didn't tell him to stop. Snape was his usual, pensive self about the whole thing.
"You'll need to think of a symbol," Sirius said at last once the talking had died down. Harry hadn't thought about that but nodded.
A symbol… Symbols could be very powerful things. He'd have to think deeply on it and now he had help. Draco had been right. He'd needed it.
He glanced over at the blonde boy and found that Draco's eyes were on him as well. The stare lasted less than a second before they both looked away.
Narcissa did not enjoy speaking with Bellatrix Lestrange and tended to avoid her whenever possible. The woman was insane. Even being her sister would not make Narcissa any fonder of her. Still, sometimes one had to do what one did not wish to.
Bellatrix wasn't happy to give up her vault key but wilted immediately when Narcissa told her it was on the Dark Lord's orders. The Lestranges were fanatically loyal and Narcissa had suspicions that Bellatrix's loyalty might be rooted in some deeper feeling for Voldemort. The thought made Narcissa feel uncomfortable.
The goblins, after a quite a bit of fuss and grumbling, led Narcissa down to the Lestrange vault. The old vault was huge and brimming with wealth, but Narcissa had seen more galleons in one place before, so she felt little about the whole thing. Searching through carefully, mindful of traps Bellatrix had told her of, she searched out the item held there.
The cup was very pretty but Narcissa dropped it into her bag without lingering to examine it then left Gringotts to get back to her quest.
Harry didn't know how to talk about this. He didn't know how to start or even speak one word on the matter. Unfortunately, Snape was disinclined to read his mind and find out. So, they stayed in silence as Snape brewed a nasty scented potion that bubbled merrily along. Harry sat by the door in a rickity wooden chair that felt as if it could break at any moment. He concentrated on the rough texture under his fingers as he gripped the arm rests, the discomfort of the seat, and the splinter he just knew was going to jab into his neck from the back of the chair.
It wasn't helping to take his mind off anything. Harry wondered if it was possible to die of mortification.
"Snape," he finally murmured, and, though the man didn't look at him, he knew he'd been heard, "Have you ever liked anyone?"
"I suppose there are some people less annoying than others," Snape replied quietly as he added a new ingredient that made the brew smell that much worse. Harry frowned a bit.
"I don't mean like that. I mean... liked someone. Like like." He blushed and felt rather childish to put it that way.
"Ah, have I been attracted to anyone, you mean? Speak clearly, boy." Harry bristled a little. "Everyone feels physical attractions, Harry. It's normal, especially for someone your age."
"But...but what if..." Somehow, he just couldn't make himself ask 'but what if it's a boy.' Snape glanced at him from over his shoulder and lifted a brow.
"Look, I can't help you if you don't ask actual questions."
Harry looked at the floor. Snape let him stew in silence for a while before he finally sighed.
"It seems to me that the only problem you could have is that the person you like is either taken or someone you would rather not like."
Harry jerked his head up at the second and Snape gave a small nod.
"The latter, I'm thinking," the older man murmured. Harry bit his lip.
"Yes. Sort of. I think."
Snape turned back to his potion and tended it quietly. Harry stared at his back, waiting for the great solution to his problem because, if anyone could give him one, it would be Snape. The man was silent for a long time, but Harry still waited.
"How long have you liked this person?" he asked finally. Harry blinked and wondered why that mattered.
"Well.. Not long, really... I mean, for a while I hated- but then it was nice and now-" Harry stopped with Snape glanced over his shoulder with a lifted brow. Taking a moment to compose himself, he realized he couldn't really explain things without mentioning the gender of the other person. If he just said "someone" Snape would have to wonder why he hadn't called that someone a girl or "she". He swallowed and hoped with everything he had that this didn't damn him farther than he'd already dropped. "He's been really nice to me recently."
Snape blinked once and looked back at his potion. "I see the problem."
Harry's heart went cold. This was it. This was the prequel to rejection, and, without Snape, he couldn't do it, he couldn't do any of it, and they would fail and Dumbledore or the Dark Lord or whoever would destroy everything and- and- Harry managed to work himself into quite a panic before Snape finally spoke again.
"Harry, homosexuality is not the taboo for wizards that it is for muggles." Harry stared at him without comprehending, looking pale and a little shaky. Snape still hadn't turned to look at him again. "I understand your hesitance to mention being attracted to a male, but your nervousness is misplaced. Most families would prefer their young to produce offspring of their own, but a child is very unlikely to be condemned simply for his sexual preference."
Harry let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
"Therefore, if that was your greatest concern, consider yourself comforted," Snape went on. "If it was my own reaction to such a confession, I have no say over your personal life and would rather it stay that way. I am not your father."
"Would he..." Harry swallowed thickly. "He and Mum. Would they..."
"No. Your mother was exceptionally open minded for a muggleborn and Potter, idiot and bastard that he was-" Harry felt a spark of amusement from this that soothed the nervous tension in his body- "would still have accepted it in time."
"Okay." Harry closed his eyes, rubbing his forehead a bit as relief flooded him. "Okay."
"Do you wish to speak further on the subject of your beau to be?"
Harry blushed and gave a shaky laugh. "Maybe later?"
"As you will." For some reason, Harry thought Snape might have been a little relieved over that.
There were smiling faces and cheering all over the school as the seventh years said their goodbyes to Hogwarts. Parties were being planned for the summer, vacations gushed about, and a few spoke of continuing education as apprentices or finding jobs immediately. Many were staying in the family while others were drawn to Ministry work or other vocations. He rather liked listening to them usually, but their little lives didn't interest him now, really.
Tom, as usual, was not celebrating with the rest of them. He stayed off to his own, watching them all with eyes that were too old. Tom hadn't recovered from the death and fear of their sixth year. He was quiet, pensive, and no amount of coaxing could erase the damage.
Tom glanced up when he strode to him but said nothing.
"You aren't happy to leave, Tom?"
"I am, I guess. It just seems like I've got more of myself here than anywhere else. I love Hogwarts."
"I notice that when you say that, you don't smile."
Tom shook his head a little, then tucked a lock of black behind his ear. "No. I have bad memories here, but it's important to me. Hogwarts, that is."
Tom was quiet, watching as a few girls hugged one another, sobbing on each other's shoulders.
"Everything changes now, doesn't it?" he murmured softly. "We're adults now. Apparently ready for the world. It's time to go out and get jobs and build families…"
"Do you feel ready?"
"No. No, I'm terrified of being out there. I'm alone, sir. I have no one. From now on, I'm purely responsible for myself and that scares the piss out of me."
"Language, Mr. Riddle."
Tom sighed a bit, closing his eyes. "Sorry. Anyway, I'll be okay. I'm just scared right now, but that doesn't mean I'm just gonna run away from it all."
"I'm glad to hear that."
"Thanks for listening," Tom said as he got up and dusted off his slacks. "It means a lot."
"I'm always here to listen if you need it, Tom. Even after you've left Hogwarts for good."
Tom left then to finish packing. He watched the boy walk. Tom had a confident stride, regardless of the fears and anxieties that plagued him like every other boy. He saw this and then turned to go back to his office. The next stage of Tom's development was already planned, and time would bring it to fruition.
A/N: And, at long last, new chapter! And...Lookie there, we finally have some slash. Happy now?
Now to you guy's comments:
Yay insane Dumbledore!! About Dumbles/Grin, I found that reveal to be hilarious since J.K. said there'd be no slash in the books. Technically, I suppose she's right, but it still made me laugh a bit.
Voldie's trust for Cissy is juuuust beginning to show itself, kiddies.
Ron and Hermione are not gonna be left back from harry. He's just having troubles being friends to them AND dealing with all the stuff going on in his world.
About Harry's treatment from the muggles, yes, it was going on before 5th year but escalated during the fifth summer.
Conditions Met (since I forgot last time):
1. Voldemort must be Harry's father
2. Severus and Harry both eventually are loyal to Voldemort
3. Sirius comesback
4. Black and Lupin side with Harry
5. Dumbledore is the actual bad guy
6. Voldemort is kind.
7. Harry gets his own group (UNFINISHED)
8. Draco must be in the group.