Red Sun Rising

Chapter V: A Letter to the Prophet

Harry slumped into one of the chairs in the drawing room, utterly exhausted. The twins had taken him to the Ministry, demanding that he take the Apparition test before he got in trouble for Apparating so much without a license. Harry was sure there was another reason behind it, possibly that Ron wasn't with them and therefore still wouldn't have a licence, but he had been eager to take the test so he hadn't balked much.

He'd passed the test with flying colours, which was no surprise since he'd been successfully, though illegally, Apparating for several months now. Still, having to Apparate somewhere with only a description and not an actual knowledge of a place was exhausting. He was glad they had taken him at the end of the day. He wasn't sure if he could have brought himself to help finish decorating if they had gone in the morning.

So now he was looking forward to relaxing for the rest of the night, maybe going to bed early. But before he had a chance to settle at all, George poked his head into the room, gesturing excitedly.

"Harry, you have to see this!"

Harry sat up slightly, blinking at him. "What is it?"

George shook his head. "You have to see it for yourself. Come on!"

George disappeared from the doorway. Harry could clearly hear him running upstairs. Curious, he got up and followed, his exhaustion all but forgotten.

He caught up and saw George turn into Draco's room. That only made him move faster. Why would George want him to come to Draco's room unless…?

He froze in the doorway, staring at the bed in shock. Madam Pomfrey bustled about the bed as usual, and Fred, George, and Hermione stood at the head of the bed, chatting amiably with Draco.

Who was sitting up in bed.

Who was responding as attentively as Harry had ever seen him.

Who gave a heart-breaking smile when he saw Harry standing in the doorway.

"What are you waiting for, scar-head?" Draco asked, deliberately sneering but unable to keep a smile from his eyes. "I can't come to you, you know."


He didn't notice he'd moved until he was in Draco's arms, holding him as close as he dared. He didn't notice he was shaking until Draco started hugging him back and murmuring in his ear. It was too good to be true. It was a dream. He would open his eyes and find himself in the chair downstairs with Draco still unconscious.

But finally, Draco gently pushed him away, as though to reassure him that he was actually there and wouldn't disappear.

"Are you okay?" he asked softly. "Ow! What was that for?" he exclaimed a moment later, rubbing at his shoulder.

Harry drew his hand back. "You're such a prat! Do you have any idea how worried I've been? Merlin, Draco, I thought you were going to die! You almost did die! What the hell did you—"

He let out a muffled exclamation of surprise when Draco suddenly leaned forward and kissed him hard. Somewhere in the background, he thought he heard Hermione make a noise, but Draco's lips on his own were far too distracting. After being terrified near to insanity that Draco's condition would relapse or that he'd never wake, he was eager for any signs of life from the blond.

But again, Draco gently pushed him away far too soon. He was panting a little and his bluish eyes were glazed over with pleasure. Madam Pomfrey made to move forward, but Draco shook his head to keep her back.

"I will never leave you," Draco murmured, only loud enough for Harry to hear. "If I have to claw my way out of hell to stay with you, I will."

Harry blushed very faintly, but his shock that Draco would be all right kept most of his embarrassment away. "You'd better not get into a position where that's even a possibility," Harry murmured, unable to sound as annoyed as he would have liked. "I'd claw my way into hell first just to get you out."

Rather than looking embarrassed by this, Draco looked ferally pleased.

"Is anyone else here?" Draco asked, glancing at around the room over Harry's shoulder.

Harry nodded, hearing someone hurry out of the room behind him. "Dom, Angelo, and Kiran are here, and Aaron's been looking in every couple days."

Draco nodded. "Good. They should hear what I have to tell you too."



Draco smiled and reached out to greet Angelo. The Vampire rushed forward to grasp and kiss the blond's outstretched wrist. Kiran and Dominique followed much more sedately, pausing behind Angelo. Angelo opened his mouth to say something, but at that moment, Draco's eyes lighted on the babe in Dominique's arms and he had attention for nothing else.

"Ah, so that's Michelle," he said with a fond smile. "She's as gorgeous as Cassius said. Of course, she inherited none of his looks, only yours."

"You're as flattering as your fiancé," Dom said with a smile. She stepped forward so Draco could see her better. Michelle blinked curiously down at him.

"May I hold her?" Draco asked. Dominique glanced questioningly at Madam Pomfrey, who nodded her consent with the greatest reluctance. Draco accepted Michelle into his arms with a smile brighter than Harry had seen in over a year.

"I regret that she will grow up without a father," Draco said softly, only laughing softly when Michelle reached up to grab his nose. "But she will have two wonderful mothers who I'm sure will spoil her horribly, so it's not such a great loss."

"It's no loss at all," Dominique said quietly.

"What happened, Draco?" Angelo asked before Draco could comment. "Harry said Voldemort has been torturing you, and Dominique said that Cassius is likely dead."

"He probably is, I don't know." Draco carefully handed Michelle back to her mother. "Obviously, I didn't stick around to find out."

"Why would you know what happened to Warrington?" Harry asked curiously.

"Cassius was the Death Eater assigned to guard me."

Harry nodded slowly. He didn't doubt that Warrington had been either killed or driven insane. Voldemort didn't take well to failure.

"How'd you get out?" George asked.

"Not easily, let me tell you," Draco said with a laugh. He sobered a moment later and added, "Severus helped me get out."

"Snape?" Fred this time, and he look furious at the name. George, Hermione, and Madam Pomfrey all seemed to share his sentiments. Harry couldn't blame them. They hadn't been around to hear Draco proclaim that Snape was going to help him out. He was just surprised the git had actually gone through with that supposed promise.

Draco frowned at them. "Yes, Snape. He isn't bad, you know. He's a Slytherin."

"He killed Dumbledore!" George exclaimed, staring at him incredulously.

"Yes, he killed Dumbledore. Do you think he wanted to do it?"

"If he didn't want to, he wouldn't have done it," Hermione snapped. It seemed all her short amity toward Draco had gone as soon as Snape's name had been mentioned.

Draco sighed and closed his eyes. "You wouldn't understand. None of you are Slytherin."

"Harry's a Slytherin. I doubt he understands," Fred said.

Harry scowled at the red-head, annoyed that he'd been brought into the argument, but he couldn't do much about it now. "Actually, I do understand, because I know all the facts, but this has nothing to do with how Draco escaped Voldemort."

"Harry's right," Draco said before anyone else could say anything. "Can I keep going, or do we have to argue this inane point?"

"Keep going, Draco," Kiran said, leaving no room for argument.

Draco nodded and opened his mouth again.


Draco looked up at the familiar voice, hissing in pain as the movement stretched his healing wounds. He'd been so worried that Severus had forgotten, that he wouldn't be rescued in time. He was already in constant pain from being away from Harry for so long. With his added injuries, he was sure he would die in a few days if he didn't escape.

Severus's face appeared on the other side of the bars. Draco gaped as the tip of a wand appeared and waved silently at the heavy iron doors. Where had Severus gotten an invisibility cloak?

The man didn't give him a chance to figure it out as the door swung open. Severus swept into the cell and carefully helped Draco to his feet.

"Can you walk?"

"I can try," Draco murmured. He took a tentative step. His leg shook violently, but after a moment, he wasn't afraid that he would collapse. He nodded up at Severus and took another step.

Severus pulled off the invisibility cloak and wrapped it around Draco's shoulders. "The path to the house-elves' door is clear. This will not be unnoticed. The Dark Lord will send others to investigate. I will hold them off."

"They'll kill you," Draco said, horrified that Severus wasn't going to come with him. "Or the Dark Lord will."

"Do not worry about me. Get yourself out." A door banged open somewhere down the hall. Severus pushed him roughly forward. "Go, now!"

Draco hesitated a moment before his own survival instincts kicked in and he dashed down the hall. He didn't notice whether the invisibility cloak covered his feet or turn back to see how Severus was doing. His legs were shaking so much he was afraid that if he stopped, he'd collapse and wouldn't be able to move again.

"FOOLS!" hissed a voice from far behind him. His blood nearly froze; the Dark Lord had come himself.

"Leave Snape! Leave him! The boy is what's important! Do not let him escape!" the Dark Lord shouted. Then he hissed something Draco was sure was Parseltongue and he nearly tripped over his feet. The Death Eaters he could deal with, and easily if he so chose at this point. He was terrified of Nagini.

But he didn't hear feet chase after him immediately. Severus had to have still been holding off the Death Eaters as best he could. He couldn't imagine how his teacher would hold off the Dark Lord, but he was thankful for every second he got.

He ducked into the kitchens and raced for the door outside. In some ways he was thankful that the Dark Lord had chosen to take Malfoy Manor has his temporary base, one being that he knew every way out of the mansion. The house-elves could not Apparate off the property, so they had their own door outside for when they needed to go shopping for supplies. Draco had seen it when Lucius had taken him on a full tour of the mansion, revealing all its secrets in preparation of his coming-of-age.

He slowed once the door was in sight, looking around cautiously. He had expected a Death Eater or Nagini to show up before now. That they had not only put him more on guard.

He saw a flash of movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned and sent a Body-Bind flying at whatever it was.

A huge snake flew out of the shadows at him. He barely had time to raise a shield so she wouldn't hit him. Nagini hit the shield and fell to the floor, hissing madly.

"Diffindo!" Draco shouted, flicking his wand at the snake. Nagini hissed and slithered out of the way faster than Draco had thought possible. Frantically, he waved his hand and brought up a Shield charm all around him, so the snake wouldn't be able to get past it.

"Sectumsempra!" Draco said, flicking his wand again. But again, Nagini only dodged the bolt of light. She started circling him, trying to find a way in. Probably to eat him, Draco thought. That would be something the Dark Lord would order his pet to do.

Shouts bounced down the hall outside the kitchen. Draco flicked his wand at the snake again, panicking.

"Evanesco! Die you stupid snake! I need to get to Harry! Incendio! What it is going to take to kill you?"

Nagini only hissed mockingly at him and the voices got closer.

Draco wasn't sure how long he could keep this up. The energy needed to keep up a constant shield wandlessly was taking a huge toll on him. His legs were shaking uncontrollably, and more than once he had to reach out for the wall to keep himself up. But the moment he let it go, Nagini would kill him.

The door to the kitchen banged open. Draco sent a Stunner at the man without pausing to think. But now the Death Eaters knew where he was. He had run out of time.

"I can't do this anymore, Draco. I need to be able to trust you; I need to know that you're still there, and you're not."

That was right; Harry didn't trust him. He was worried about Draco, but he probably still wasn't sure whether he could trust Draco or not. After all, when they had talked a month before, he hadn't offered to take the ring back.

"I'm still here, Harry," Draco whispered. "I promised to come back, and I will."

Another Death Eater rushed into the room. Draco Stunned him and looked back at Nagini. He would only have one chance to do this. If he failed, he didn't deserve to go back to Harry anyway.

His hand dropped to his side, taking the Shield Charm with it. Nagini coiled up and sprung up at him. He raised his wand, focusing on Harry and why he had to do this.


In the air, Nagini couldn't move to get out of the way. The sickly green bolt hit her straight on. Draco ducked out of the way as her momentum carried her across the room. She hit the ground, not with a thud, but with a horrible screech that had him clutching at his ears. Something like smoke rose out of the snake and dissipated into the air, taking the screech with it. Then Nagini was still.

Draco stared at the snake in horror, almost regretting now that he had killed her. Only shouts from the hallway stirred him from his trance. He ran to the house elves' door, pulled it open, and ran off into the night.

"By the time I reached the edge of the Manor's wards, I was almost too exhausted to keep going," Draco finished. "I was barely able to Apparate. But I wasn't going to go through all that just to get caught. I Apparated to a park in Harry's neighbourhood and walked to his house from there."

He fell silent. No one moved for a long minute. Finally, Harry whispered cautiously, as though afraid to believe it, "You killed Nagini?"

Draco raised an eyebrow. "Isn't that what I just told you?"

"And you're sure she was dead?" Hermione asked in the same tone as Harry.

"I didn't stick around to find out, but I'm pretty sure that's what the Killing Curse does," Draco said, sneering this time. "Please, tell me now if I'm mistaken."

Harry couldn't find it in himself to be the least bit offended by Draco's attitude, nor did he think Hermione could. Nagini was dead! A Horcrux had been destroyed with so little effort it made Harry want to cry in relief. Not only that, but it was the one Horcrux he had been worried the most about, because Voldemort rarely let Nagini out of his sight.

And Draco had no idea of what he had done. He thought that perhaps he'd angered Voldemort with that little gesture, or just destroyed the snake. He had no clue that he had just helped ensure Voldemort's ultimate defeat.

Draco was starting to gain an annoyed look on his face from the silence. "What is it?"

Harry only shook his head with a stupid grin. "God, Draco...You have no idea...That's the best thing I've heard in over a year."

Far from looking relieved, Draco only seemed more annoyed. "And I have the feeling you're not going to tell me why that was so great."

Harry's grin faded. "I can't yet," he said, shaking his head again. "I want to, but...we'll see. I may be able to tell you eventually."

Draco eyes narrowed at him. "This had better not be another case of you picking Dumbledore over me."

"It's not. Well, Dumbledore did tell me not to tell anyone but Ron and Hermione—but that's not it!" he added hastily at Draco's look. "I'm choosing not to tell you, not because Dumbledore said not to, but so you're not in danger again."

"I escaped from the Dark Lord, killed his snake, and came to you," Draco said. "I'm pretty sure I'll always be in danger."

"I know," Harry answered. "And I'll only try to keep you out of it while you're injured."

Dear Daily Prophet and readers,

Fred and George Weasley here, owners of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade (coming soon!).

As you may know, recently Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived and Chosen One and all that, was accused of being Dark for associating with vampires. Well, he was associating with vampires, we can tell you that much (I was there! –Fred), but there's much more to the story than that. You want to know it?

Well, we can't tell it here, can we?

But we'll tell you where you can hear the full story. Tomorrow, August 9th, Harry and his alliance are holding a coming-of-age style event to celebrate his 17th birthday. He will also officially announce the details of the alliance and what we plan to do to combat the Dark Lord. Anyone who wants to come is welcome. If we decide we don't want you there, we won't have any problem in kicking you out.

And if Harry isn't enough incentive to come, the guest list also includes heartthrob singer Lorcan d'Eath, who will be giving a private concert as part of the entertainment, and the Puddlemere United and Bulgarian National Quidditch teams. Also, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes will be handing out door prizes and free merchandise throughout the day.

We'll be holding the event near Ottery St. Catchpole, two hills over from the village. It'll start at noon and continue until dawn Sunday (for the vampire guests).

See you there!

Fred and George Weasley

Owners of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes

"It's brilliant," Draco said, handing the paper off to Kiran.

"It's horrible," Hermione said immediately after. She'd been reading the paper over his shoulder.

"It is perfect, isn't it?" Fred said, sharing a grin with his brother.

As soon as the paper had been delivered that morning, the twins had ordered everyone in the house to gather and read it. Of course, Michelle had chosen that moment to notice the house elf heads still hanging on the walls, so Angelo and Dominique were off calming her down. The rest of them had gathered in Draco's room to take turns reading the paper.

Draco narrowed his eyes at Hermione. "It's brilliant. It says exactly what's needed. You just don't understand."

"Don't understand? They practically admitted everyone's right and Harry is going Dark! What's not to understand?"

"I didn't think it said that," Harry said, trying to head of the argument before it really started. While Hermione had miraculously started acting nicer towards Draco, the two of them still got at each other's throats when they could.

"This is definitely what we needed," Kiran said as he finished reading. He handed the paper off the Gabrielle and eyed the twins with something akin to surprise. "You two actually did something right for once."

George rolled his eyes. "Glad you think so."

"Half of Britain will show up tomorrow." Draco smiled dreamily at Harry. "We'll be able to tell them everything, and we'll gain more people than Voldemort could ever dream."

"'We'll'?" Madam Pomfrey spoke up, crossing her arms. "You're not going anywhere tomorrow, Malfoy."

Only because of his past breeding could Draco keep himself from gaping at her. "What do you mean I'm not going anywhere tomorrow?"

"You only woke up yesterday, Malfoy," Madam Pomfrey said, "after a week of being unconscious, I might add. I won't allow you out of that bed, much less across the island."

Draco frowned and narrowed his eyes. "I need to be there to support Harry, Madam. The Serpent Guard is ours together."

"I'm sure you'll have the chance to do that some other time, when you aren't gravely injured."

Draco turned to Harry, who had been desperately wishing Draco had forgotten he was there. "Well? Don't you want me to be there tomorrow?"

"Of course I do," Harry said. Draco flashed a triumphant grin at Madam Pomfrey. "But," Harry continued, "I want you to get better more."

Draco scowled at him and opened his mouth to say something, but the doorbell cut him off. Mrs Black's portrait started screaming a second later.

"I'll get it," Kiran said, standing up, just as Angelo ran by the door. "Or Angelo will..." he said, frowning faintly at the doorway.

The screaming downstairs stopped. They heard the door open and the murmur of excited voices. The twins grinned as the voices came close enough to be heard while Kiran scowled at the doorway. Finally, Angelo walked into the room, followed by Lorcan d'Eath and a girl in torn Muggle punk clothes.

Lorcan grinned as he looked around the room and spotted Harry, Hermione, and the twins. "Hey, fancy seeing you guys here." His eyes landed on Draco and he raised a hand to wave at him. "You're Draco Malfoy right? Harry was pretty damned worried about you last time we met."

"What are you doing here?" Harry asked. "The party's not until tomorrow."

"I gotta get ready for it, yeah?" Lorcan said, shrugging. "The Weasley's said we could camp out here and go with you tomorrow, thought you wouldn't mind."

"Yeah, that's fine, I was just surprised."

"We'll help you find rooms," the twins offered. The girl smiled and held out her arm for Fred to take so he could lead her from the room. George and Lorcan followed shortly after.

Draco turned wide-eyed to Harry. "Was that Lorcan d'Eath? And did he know my name?"

"Yes, and yes," Harry said, amused. When it was someone else that was being gawked over, especially someone who probably enjoyed it, it was rather amusing. "And before you ask, yes, he's my ally. He helped save my life a few weeks ago."

He only just noticed Kiran shift uncomfortably out of the corner of his eye. No doubt the blond knew what day that had been and had remembered that he had been unable to do anything to help them. Harry made a note to remember to ask him about that.

"Is there anyone else we know is coming early?" Harry asked.

"Mr Adfaer sent an owl last night saying he would be," Remus said. His eyes were now constantly flicking toward the door. Harry felt sorry for him; he couldn't have been comfortable with another vampire in the house.

"My mother may be coming today," Angelo said with a slight shrug. "She has not decided whether she wants to come at all yet, though she wishes to meet you. Oh, and," he added, wrinkling his nose in distaste, "Aether plans to arrive shortly, though I told him it was unnecessary."

"A few of my family are thinking of coming early too," Kiran said, shifting uncomfortably, "to decide whether they want to attend the party."

"Bill, Charlie, and Phlegm are thinking about arriving today too," George said, walking back into the room. "And Lorcan said Sanguini and a couple friends of his plan to arrive today too."

Harry frowned slightly. "I don't think we're going to have enough room for that many people."

George shrugged. "I'm sure the Blacks thought of that. This house'll probably create more rooms as they're needed."

The doorbell rang again. Harry sighed.

"I guess I should go answer the door this time."

"I'll come with you," Draco said, even moving to get up. He didn't get far though; before Madam Pomfrey could make a move to push him back down, he winced and lay back down on his own.

"You're going to stay here," Harry admonished. He stood and made his way toward the door. "I'll tell everyone to stop by here to meet you, okay?"

Draco said nothing. Harry was sure the blond was glaring at his back. It didn't unsettle him as much as he thought it should.

"I will come with you," Angelo said. Harry nodded, though he was sure he felt Draco's glare move from his back to the vampire's.

He didn't want to leave Draco exactly; he would have loved to have Draco by his side as he greeted his guests both now and the next day. Draco was as important to the Serpent Guard as he himself was, and far more important to Harry than anyone else who might be there.

And being so important, he had to get better. So while Harry felt a little guilty that he was leaving Draco behind, he would have felt more guilty if Draco's condition got worse because he was pushing himself when he shouldn't be.

Mrs Black stopped screaming as he and Angelo stepped into the entrance hall. She seemed to like Angelo for some reason, and therefore liked Harry as well by association. Harry didn't understand it—he'd thought she would hate Angelo for being a vampire—but he certainly wasn't complaining if it shut her up.

Angelo stepped foreword and pulled open the door, standing so that he blocked Harry from view. It didn't last long, however. Almost as soon as he opened the door, he let out a soft sound of delight and took a step out to embrace the person standing there. Then he stepped back again and opened the door wide.

Harry gasped. Standing on the threshold was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Compared to her, Angelo looked horribly human and normal, though one could tell they were related. They had the same black hair, though hers was long and seemed weightless. Instead of hazel, her eyes were a deep blue as clear as the sea. They lit up as she smiled at him and gave a small curtsy.

"Harry Potter, I presume?" she said in a soft voice. Something about it seemed off, though Harry could hardly think to figure out what it was.

"Yes, that's me..."

"I have heard so much about you from my darling." She smiled briefly at Angelo. "I am Helen Haemon, Angelo's mother."

That surprised him. The woman looked young enough to be Angelo's sister.

"It's nice to meet you, Mrs Haemon," Harry said, awkwardly giving her a small bow. It seemed to be the right thing to do; her smile widened slightly.

"You may call me Helen, Harry," she said, shaking her head. "I hope we shall get to know each other very well in the upcoming months."

"As do I."

Harry almost flinched at the voice and turned his head toward its owner with trepidation. Aether smiled silkily back at him from behind Helen.

"Hello, Harry. I'm sure Haemon told you I would be arriving this morning?"

"He mentioned it, yes," Harry said.

Aether smiled and held out a hand to Harry. Harry kept his arms at his sides. The Elvin retracted his hand with a frown.

"May we come in, Harry?" Helen asked softly. "I know that I, personally, had a long journey and must rest a minute."

"Yeah, sure, make yourselves at home." Harry stepped aside to give them room to walk in. To his surprise, Aether seemed to have forgotten about him; as they walked in, the Elvin leaned down to whisper into Helen's ear. She smiled and whispered back. Harry shuddered; the two of them together was not a pleasant idea.

Angelo seemed to feel the same way. "I had hoped my mother had better taste than that..." he muttered, walking back inside after them.

The doorbell rang. Mrs Black started screaming louder than usual.

"Does that happen often, Harry?" Constantine asked, wincing and putting his hands over his ears. He had arrived about an hour before with the elder Weasley brothers.

"Any time the doorbell rings." Harry sighed and put down the program he'd been looking over. "I need to put a sign up to keep people from pushing it. Any idea who that is?"

When no one in the room responded, he sighed again and got up to answer the door. "This is too much work. We should just call the whole thing off."

"I think Draco would be quite upset," Angelo said, getting up to go with him.

"He'd get over it. He's not physically going, after all."

Mrs Black seemed to scream louder the closer they got to the front door. Frowning, in pain and annoyance, Harry reached out and pulled it open. Immediately, Mrs Black stopped screaming, though Harry heard a small whimper come out of her.

A man and a woman stood on the front step. They could only be Kiran's relatives; both had shining gold hair and gold eyes like his. They also shared Kiran's preference for white and light coloured clothing. And Harry could easily see where Kiran temperament came from.

The man scanned over both of them, his eyes narrowing as he looked at Angelo. The vampire only crossed his arms and glared back, clearly not intimidated. The man snorted and turned back to Harry.

"You're Harry Potter?"

"Yes." Harry bristled when the man's eyes narrowed again. "Can I help you with something?"

"I'm Raphael Erebos. I was under the impression I could meet you before your—" the man paused as though he couldn't stand to say the rest— "alliance party. To decide whether you're worth helping or not."

"If you want to. Would you like to come inside?" He moved so he wasn't standing in the way if Raphael did want that. Harry had the feeling he didn't.

"Perhaps if my son is here. I would like to speak with him."

"I'll get him," Angelo offered. He left before Harry could protest. Maybe he was more uncomfortable around Kiran's family than it had seemed. Harry didn't blame him. Kiran's father was intimidating without saying a word, and the girl next to him was almost as bad. They reminded Harry of Kiran back when Kiran still hated him.

Raphael's eyes suddenly shifted to look past Harry's shoulder. The girl's eyes narrowed. Kiran stopped next to Harry, his own expression stony.

"Good afternoon, father, sister. You wished to see me?"

Neither of them had time to react. Raphael's arm shot out to slap Kiran across the face.

"Impudent brat," Raphael hissed. "I see that vampire's manners have rubbed off on you. You will use the proper greetings with me and the proper language."

"I refuse to use either around those who are unaware of them," Kiran responded, clenching his fists, "especially when they obviously will not be returned."

Raphael raised his hand again, but Harry stepped between them.

"I'm sorry, Mr Erebos, but I don't tolerate violence between alliance members," Harry said coldly. "You're welcome to come inside to hear the details of the alliance, because I'm going to have to ask you to leave if all you came for was to abuse your son."

Raphael scowled and dropped his arm. For a moment, it looked as though he actually were going to leave. Even Kiran's sister turned slightly to get ready for it. But after a long moment, Raphael scowled again and nodded.

"I will hear the details of your alliance," he said, spiting out the words like they were painful to say. "My hatred of Voldemort outstrips my dislike of you."

Harry didn't trust himself to say anything. Instead he gestured for them to follow before heading back inside. Kiran passed him on the way and practically dashed up the stairs to the second floor; Angelo wasn't far behind him. He could hear Raphael and Kiran's sister follow him into the sitting room, and Hermione's sharp intake of breath when she saw them. He hoped he could get through explaining everything without trying to kill them. Kiran's attitude made a lot more sense now.

"Make yourselves at home," he said, sitting in his own chair. "Where do you want me to begin?"