Before I start this chapter I wish to apologize for the very long delay between updates. In a case of life being stranger than fiction, a few weeks ago I was involved in an accident that left me in the hospital for a few days with a broken wrist and a large, deep cut that required 31 stitches on the back of my right thigh.
What makes the accident so strange is this. I was the only one hurt and I was also the only one with a totaled vehicle and I was the only one not even involved in the accident.
Texas doesn't snow over most of it but ice storms happen once or twice a year. When it does we just kind of shut down the state and wait for the ice to melt. An ice storm happened when I was on my way back from delivering a load.
I was driving about 50 mph when I saw flashing lights ahead of me on a bridge. Slowing my truck down I parked on the shoulder and being the first on the scene I got out of my vehicle to check on the others involved in the accident. A tractor trailer had hit the ice on the bridge and went out of control striking a SUV. The truck passed the four wheeler and jackknifed on the bridge.
I was about ten feet in front of my truck heading to the first vehicle when another tractor trailer came up from behind. This one lost control of his vehicle and hit mine, knocking my truck off the shoulder and down the hill. I was hit in the back of the thigh with a piece of shrapnel from my own truck. When I fell forward I broke my wrist. The driver of the other truck regained control of his vehicle and continued on with his journey. He was later apprehended at a small truck stop about ten miles down the road…
And now on with the story.
Chapter 27 Bloody Feet and Big Misconceptions.
Kestral picked up his son and walked away from the others. "Why does he hate me so much? What do I keep doing wrong?" Harry asked with a sniff.
Kestral started to rub Harry's back as he thought about the answers to his son's questions. "I honestly don't think it's you, son. I think that Draco has been doing a lot of umm, digging, I guess you could say, into his own mind and doesn't much like what he's finding out about himself, so he lashes out in self defense. You're just a habit or familiar target to him, so you get hit with more than your share of abuse."
Harry reached up and knuckled the tears from his eyes. "Dudley and Lark shouldn't have hit him."
Kestral gave a small smile. "You're right about that and I'm sure their fathers are talking to them about that right now."
"So umm, what set Draco off then?" Harry wiped his eyes on the sleeve of his shirt before his father could hand him a tissue. "He said he told Duds that stuff in private and I wouldn't have some of it soon, so I shouldn't even know about it 'cept I don't know what they were talking about unless it was Neville's parents But that doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make any sense that Death Eaters would target them to try and find me when I was a baby, either." Harry stuck his bottom lip out in a classic pout before he concluded with, "I hate it when I don't know what I should have been bloody well told." It took him a second to process just what his mouth had blurted out but when he did his cheeks pinked. "Sorry, I shouldn't be cussing."
Kestral smiled a little about that last. Harry was such a delightful mix of innocence with a very thin veneer of worldliness that fell apart at the most unexpected moments. He had a quick and ready wit tempered with a major inferiority complex that kept him from understanding his own appeal. All of his new relatives had loved him within moments of having met him and indeed, Laural and he were much envied for the having of him. Although no one would have ever wished for Harry to have gone through the pain he had experienced when he was made younger and again when he had somehow turned himself into an elf, it was a simple fact that it gave his adopted family an additional eighteen to twenty years to cuddle and spoil the boy. A gift no one was willing to waste, especially not his parents.
With that though tucked someplace in the back of Kestral's mind, he gave Harry a gentle hug before he once again set him on his feet. Holding out his hand, he waited until Harry grabbed it before the two started a slow walk around the little lake.
Once the two reached the falls Kestral stopped walking and sighed in approval. "I've always loved this spot. Sunsets and sunrises showcase it with color." Motioning toward a large rock he asked Harry, "Want to sit and talk about it a bit? I heard Draco talking to Dudley earlier so I know what he was referring to."
"You'll tell me?" Harry asked in amazement.
Kestral reached down and gently tugged on Harry's braid. "Harry, your mother and I will always tell you what you need to know. Most of the time, we'll tell you what ever you want to know too." He sighed a little and sat down on the rock. With a quick tug he had his son seated in front of him. "If you ever ask for information we don't think you should have, we'll at least explain why we won't give you that information. All right?"
After snuggling up against his father's chest, he said "Good. At least I won't feel like a mushroom anymore. So what was Draco blathering on about?"
Kestral sighed once again. He knew this was going to cause Harry some pain. "You told us about your Godfather. How he died, how you refused to go to the reading of his will? How he was put in prison without a trial and about how he was innocent all the time." Harry tensed and his father started to rub his arms hoping to calm him a little. "Well, apparently your Godfather held a title in the magical world that Draco's birth father tried to get passed on to his son as the next heir but because your Godfather was never convicted in a court of law he couldn't."
Harry was shaking slightly with emotions he had never had time to deal with. "Siri –Sirius was disinherited by his mother, though."
"Perhaps, I don't know if he was or wasn't. What I do know is if he was it wouldn't affect his inheritance from his father which is where his title and the bulk of his estate came from. That was never his mother's to give or take. Your Godfather at some point contacted his family solicitor and had formal papers drawn up to disinherit two of his three female cousins, Bellitrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy which just left one cousin, who only ever produced a girl child. Your Godfather named you as his heir for both his estate and his title. Draco is convinced that his blood father will fight for and win both away from you." Kestral shrugged before he finished. "He won't though. Draco thinks that he should, at the very least, get the money associated with the estate and that's why he didn't want you to know about it."
Harry bared his teeth and almost growled. "He can't have it! If he got it, his father would control it and it would just be used to support Voldemort. Sirius wouldn't want that, so Draco can't have it!!"
Kestral was a bit surprised at the fierceness Harry was displaying. Up until now, he had been very mild mannered and although he had displayed a temper he had never really been angry, well, 'til now that was.
Making an educated guess he asked his son. "It's more than that though, isn't it?"
Harry blushed and dropped his head in shame. "I know its wrong to hate people and stuff but I just can't like Draco's father. At least with Voldemort you know he's evil. With Mr. Malfoy you don't. He could knock on your door and charm you till you were sure he was the next best thing to an angel, drink your tea, eat your food, and poison your kid on the way out the door while you'd be standing there wondering what happened." Harry's voice got very soft as he said the next part. "He scares me worse than Voldemort does."
Kestral pulled Harry tighter against him and rested his chin on the top of the boy's head. "You actually have cause to be more afraid of hidden evil or danger, you know?" He gave a quick shrug that Harry only felt. "After all, if you can see a pit you would know to walk around it, right?"
Harry giggled before he answered. "Not me. I'd probably fall in after getting too close to the edge trying to see what's in it."
"Ummm…Nope, I don't think you would. If you got too close to the edge your mother would use your hair like a leash and haul you back. Then, I'd restrict you to our property till you were ninety seven years old, but before I did that, I'd let your siblings and Lark have a go at you."
Harry shuttered theatrically, "Right – no pits. Got it." He sighed before he asked, "So what do I do with the stuff Sirius left me? I don't want it or even need it."
Kestral cuddled Harry just a bit closer and gave a satisfied smile before he answered. (The last cuddle had placed Harry directly on his lap and without the boy even noticing.) "I would imagine that when you're a bit older your mother and I will take you to his vault and we'll help you sort any personal items he left you. After that we'll talk about what you should do with the rest. As for the title…My guess is that you would only use it and your other titles to try and make positive changes in your world."
Harry gulped, "Other titles?"
"From what I understand, yes, other titles as in more than one. I don't know much about them and I don't know how reliable my source of information is When we get home, I'll send a good friend of mine to do some research for us and as soon as I know what we're dealing with your mother and I will explain it to you. Don't worry Harry, we'll get it all sorted out."
Harry gave a jerky nod. At least now he had someone who would help him when he needed it.
Dudley and Lark were both forcibly sat down on the log situated in front the campfire by their respective adopted fathers. Although he knew he was in trouble now, Dudley couldn't help but grin. This was the first time a parental figure had ever got upset with him for fighting and it was sort of ironic that the same person he had once been praised and rewarded for hurting was in a way responsible for his downfall except this time it was for avenging him because someone else had hurt him.
Lark, on the other hand wore a fierce scowl. He had been understanding and patient with the little shit ,until he pushed too far and now all Lark wanted to do was break him and it was so damn unfair cause he had only got in one punch before his father had stopped him and then Lancer just had to go and heal up what little bit of damage he had managed to inflict.
Blood pounded through Lark's body as his heart started to slow and the red haze covering his eyes slowly faded. It took almost fifteen minutes before he became aware of the fact that his body had been pushed forward and his chin was resting on his chest and someone was behind him using the soothing massage technique designed for use on the very youngest elves to calm them and send them off to sleep. He managed to mumble "Not a baby," before he succumbed to what was being done to him. Boneless, he almost fell off the log before his father caught him. His father carried the sleeping elf to their tent. When he came back from the tent sans elf, he wore a big grin.
"I'm betting his hair grew a good eight centimeters over this. When he wakes up and notices he's not going to be very happy about it." Reaching out his hand, he clasped the wrist of Greenfall in greeting, who returned the gesture. Elf and Titan shared a grin over the folly of youth
"So what was it that set your son off this time?" Greenfall asked.
DeLeon grimaced. "The blond child, Draco, has been a less than desirable companion on this trip. He's been whiny and petulant ever since we started out. His bad temper finally resulted in an outburst of verbal abuse that was spoken to Dudley, but directed against Harry. The vitriol the boy spouted left Harry in tears." DeLeon shrugged. "Lark lost control and attacked Draco. I pulled Lark back and controlled him so Dudley decided he would fill the gap." DeLeon grinned. "Both attacks were effective but the emotions were too much for Harry, so his father took him away to give him time to get himself back together. I think it was a combination of unrestrained rage and the knowledge that he frightened his little one that sent Lark over the edge."
"If that is indeed the case, then this incident will help Lark focus on his training. He won't want a repeat of tonight. I don't see either of Harry's mentors so I'm assuming that Kestral is dealing with Harry's upset." Greenfall sighed, "Its never easy with that child is it?" The two men exchanged somewhat sad smiles over the truth of that statement.
Greenfall reached out and lightly slapped DeLeon on the arm. "Lark will most likely sleep all night now. Do you need me for anything else?"
DeLeon shook his head. "I hope not. Thank you for coming."
The dark elf sketched a quick bow. "My privilege to assist." And vanished without a sound.
After having dealt with Draco, Lancer returned to the campfire and sat down on the log next to Dudley. Uncertain of his intentions, Dudley shifted away from the older man without trying to be too obvious about it.
Lancer hid his grin and asked Keeley. "Do you want me to stick around to translate for you?"
"Does Kestral need you?" was the response.
Lancer wrinkled his eyebrow as he thought. "You know, until just now I didn't see how rapidly Harry was assimilating our language. Its not often he can't make himself understood now. I wonder if he's using telepathy or if he just has a natural gift for languages."
Keeley gave Lancer a small grin before he said, "Most likely a bit of both. My son on the other hand, is horrid at languages. He doesn't seem to have an ear for subtle differences in tone, pitch, and pronunciation. When he's hungry, he keeps asking for toenails instead of food."
Lancer barked out a startled laugh before he collected himself. "Does he know?"
Keeley shook his head no. "Telling him would only confuse him since he can't hear the difference between the two words. I think Harry noticed tonight, and I know Lark noticed at dinner but neither boy said anything." Keeley shifted his gaze from Lancer to Dudley. "Translate please, Lancer." And so he did.
"Son, what were you thinking of attacking Draco like that?"
Dudley dropped his gaze and tried to wipe the grin off his face before he answered. "I'm sorry. I didn't really mean to. I just…I don't know. I thought of all the times I use to pick on the little kids before I came here, and all the stuff my father would do to Harry and my mother would just watch." By now the grin had gone and Dudley had become thoughtful as he sincerely tried to analyze his feelings and actions. "And I guess a part of me saw myself in Draco and I didn't much like what I saw, so I hit him."
Keeley reached out and took Dudley's hands in his. "Who were you hitting? Yourself or Draco."
Dudley chewed his bottom lip as he thought about the question. "I'm not really sure. Maybe all of us a little bit but I think mostly it was me."
"And do you feel better now?"
Dudley blew out a gust of air before he shook his head no. "I did until you started talking to me" he admitted ruefully.
"Dudley, sometimes violence is necessary. To administer punishments or to obtain justice and sometimes to prevent further harm to others But violence should never be used in anger and when it is necessary, it should be used cautiously and always tempered with mercy. To do otherwise marks your soul."
"Ha – have you ever used violence?"
"Twice. I was chosen to be Enforcer on a quad. That is the one who administers justice. I executed two people. A man and a woman who had kidnapped a two year old boy child. They tortured the child and recorded what they did. The film was later sent to a news agency that aired parts of it on television. We could not save the child, but he was avenged."
Dudley's face paled as he listened to his father. "Wait, when did this happen? I…remember something like that I think…I was what? Seven or eight years old I think. The two who did it had their throats cut." Shame flashed across Dudley's face. "My dad said they should have taken Harry 'cause then no one would have cared."
Keeley reached out and enfolded Dudley in his arms. "I think that even then you would have cared."
Lancer watched father and son with a contented smile on his face. He wasn't needed here anymore tonight because some things didn't need to be translated. The love the two were developing for each other was one of those things. Losing his smile, he climbed to his feet. Now it was time for him to deal with his own little problem child.
Lancer studied his son's defiant expression for a few moments before he walked over and sat down next to the boy. "Care to explain yourself?" he asked. Draco turned his head away from his father without answering.
Reaching out he patted Draco on the knee. "It's ok, I'll give you some more time to think about your actions before we talk about them. Will another thirty minutes be enough or would you like an hour?"
Draco snarled but didn't talk. Well, he stayed silent until Lancer started talking that was.
"You know, you made Lark loose control so badly that his hair grew longer. I don't know if he'll ever forgive you for that."
Draco looked outraged over that matter-of-fact comment. "I don't have anything to do with his hair, but I should have known you'd take his side over mine!"
"I'm not taking sides at all, Draco. I can't. How do I decide which wrong was the lesser one? Yours, Dudley's or Lark's. All I'm doing is what all four of us adults are doing right now. Dealing with our children hopefully in a skillful enough manner that you will learn and grow from the experience." He patted Draco on the knee again. "Have you decided to tell me about it, then?"
"What's to tell? Dudley was being a prat and when I got mad at him for it, Lark and Dudley attacked me, and then you dragged me off here. That's the story."
Lancer put his arm across Draco's shoulder and pulled the boy to his side. "I thought we had talked about you telling yourself lies. You might be able to get away with lying to others, but never to yourself."
Draco tried to pull away from the man, but instead of allowing him to, Lancer just sighed and wrapped his arms around him and pulled him closer. Once Draco was almost sitting on Lancer's lap the Titan rested his chin on Draco's head.
"What you did was attack Harry by using Dudley as a sounding board, Draco. It wasn't well done of you."
"Harry, Harry, Harry. Everything comes down to him doesn't it? It's always about Harry isn't it? Harry wants to go camping so we go camping; Harry wants my title so he gets it. Harry wants to do wandless magic so he learns how when I can't." By this time Draco had tears in his eyes ready to spill down his cheeks "Well what about what Draco wants?"
"What do you want, Draco?"
"I don't know." Draco hissed between his teeth. "I guess for once I'd like to be first, be the good son or the talented one. I'd like to be special" The tears finally spilled over and Lancer turned Draco till he was wrapped in his arms. Lancer started rubbing circles on Draco's back and made soothing noises until Draco had calmed enough to continue.
"He's so good at everything he does, I get j-j oh fuck, all right, I get jealous of him. Mr. Perfect. Hell, he can even bloody cook and I can't do anything right. It's not fair! It's just not fair."
Lancer held Draco close and let him cry it all out before he tried to talk to him again.
Red, puffy eyes glared up at Lancer after Draco had managed to calm down enough to stop crying. "Sometimes I hate it here." He muttered, "It seems like all I ever do anymore is cry."
"You've never really even talked to Harry have you, Draco?"
"Of course we've talked. If you'll recall we talked his first day at school here and before we got here we talked at Hogwarts all the time."
Lancer allowed Draco to squirm around until he was once again facing away from his father but once the boy was more or less settled, he gently pulled him back so he was once again leaning against his father's chest. "The first day Harry attended school here, he told you a little bit about his recent history and before that it wasn't talking. It was taunts. I think the two of you should just sit down and talk for once. I'll bet you'll find you have more in common with him than you think you do."
"In common, yeah right. What could the two of us have in common other than the fact that we're both here?"
"Well, that's a start isn't it?"
The Titan had only taken a moment to assess what had happened before Theo had his sister shoved into his arms by the woman who was soon to be their adopted mother. She knelt down at the red haired boy's side and gently placed her hands to either side of his temples. A pulse of white light passed from her hands into Ron's head and the strange keening sounds emerging from the red head slowed.
Ron shuddered in pain, his vision tunneling inward before fading to black. He didn't precisely pass out but he wasn't exactly coherent either. The warm feeling entered his head and traveled throughout his body offering comfort. He shut his eyes and shivered at the keening noises he kept hearing; never even realizing it was coming from his own mouth.
Drama who had been watching everything going on with the boy in horrid fascination up until this point turned and buried her face in her brother's robes. The child started shaking and crying softly over what she had just witnessed and Theo was at a loss on how to comfort her. He began patting her back and making shhing noises, but she just cried even harder.
Celesta sent out a call for help and fortunately it didn't take very long before two Titans appeared at her side. Glancing up she was relieved to see one of the two was healer Arabeth.
Arabeth took in the situation at a glance and without a word knelt down over what was left of the boy's feet. Her hands reached out and a warm yellow glow encased the damaged appendages. Blood stopped flowing and as the pain relieving portion of the shield engaged the terrible keening finally stopped. Once the boy was stabilized, Arabeth took what appeared to be a cell phone out of her pocket and made a call for transportation to the medical facility for her and her patient.
Within fifteen minutes, Ron was in the emergency room at the medical facility where he was given a shot of something that gently pushed him over the edge and into sleep.
After the two Titans arrived, Celesta had gone back over to Theo and had collected his little sister from him. She was able to calm the shaking, crying child in next to no time as she assured both siblings that the injured child would be well cared for now.
Theo swallowed convulsively as he watched the healer work over his school house rival. "What happened to him? I saw him in the hall at Hogwarts and he was all right then. What happened to him?" he asked his new mother once again.
Celesta had a grief stricken expression on her face and for a moment Theo was afraid she wouldn't answer but she finally did. "I am not one of those who can pass synthetics into our dimension. When he followed us his footwear was not all natural so the parts that were not could not pass. From the looks of his feet I would guess that a lot of his footwear passed through his feet in its quest to remain in its own dimension."
Theo gulped before he asked for clarification from the woman. "What exactly do you mean 'passed through his feet'?"
At the grave look she passed him before taking Drama back into her arms, Theo wasn't to sure he really wanted her to answer his question and when she did answer he knew his first instincts had been right. "I meant just what I said, little one. That's why it's so important to have anyone coming to our dimensions change into all natural clothing. Synthetics will always stay where they are and only the natural things will pass. When his feet moved the synthetics in his shoes remained behind and the only way they could do that was to literally pass through his feet. I can only thank the powers that look after fools and children that the rest of his clothing was all natural."
Theo's face turned green as he thought about the mess Weasley's feet were in and imagined what the rest of his body could have been like if say his shirt had been made of a synthetic blend or even a synthetic color. "Will he be all right?"
Celesta gave him a sad smile before she answered, "Our healers are the best, child, he'll recover fully but it will be a long convalescence for him. Do you know who his family is? We need to contact them and let them know what happened here."
Theo gave a quick nod before he hesitated a bit. "His little sister goes to Hogwarts and I knew three of his older brothers slightly when they went to the school. I've never met his parents, though. If you check with the Headmistress, she'll be able to help you get in touch with them. Do you know why he chased after us?"
Celesta shook her head no. "I was hoping you knew."
By this time transportation for Ron and the healer had arrived. Celesta, Theo, and Andromeda watched as the boy was lifted carefully onto a stretcher and put into the back of the vehicle, the two Titans who had responded to Celesta's call climbed into the back to watch over Ron on his journey to the healing center.