Part Twenty Three
Sirius, Remus, and Chara were the first people in Harry's line of vision as he woke, temples pounding like kettle drums and vision swimming slightly. For a moment, Sirius and Remus blurred together and Harry suddenly knew what any offspring of theirs would look like-well, if they were capable of having offspring. He moaned a little, wishing he'd never seen such a terrible sight. "Harry?" Remus brushed his bangs back with one, cool hand. Harry sighed softly, leaning into the nice touch. He felt so warm.
A soft puff of air made him realize he wasn't alone in bed, and Chara held up a lock of fire-red hair to show that Phyrrus was sprawled next to him, soft breaths tickling the downy hair at the back of Harry's neck. "He's still out. Probably will be for a few more hours." Chara gave a half smile, her eyes slightly red. "I'm glad you two are okay."
"Dumbledore saved us," Harry explained, yawning widely. How could he still be tired? He'd been out for. . . out for. . . "Er-How long was I asleep, Mum?"
"About twelve hours, but you were in a coma for two days prior." Chara chuckled. "You two used up a lot of magical power. I'm so relieved you survived it. Both of you. As it was, your magic had to keep you both safe for awhile. Though Fawkes did help."
"Glad I could be of service. Will Phyrrus be all right?"
"His magical exhaustion is just a little more severe," Chara pressed a kiss to Harry's forehead. "The minister keeps demanding to see you. He arrived in time to see Voldemort run off. He saw you collapse, too, but he missed Voldemort attempting to take over."
"That's good. How is. . . how is everyone else?" Harry chewed his lip. "I. . . did anyone die?"
Chara looked away, lips turning to a thin line. Sirius brushed a hand down Harry's cheek. "Alvin died fighting Voldemort. And. . . well. . . "
"I killed Bellatrix, didn't I." Harry closed his eyes, feeling hot tears drip down his cheeks. "I murdered her."
"That wasn't murder!" Leon's sharp voice made Harry jump. "She tried to kill both Sirius and Lucius! That was self defense and if anyone attempts to tell you otherwise, I will kill them."
"I. . . I wasn't sure what the veil did," Harry admitted. "But when she didn't come out. . ."
"No one is entirely sure what the veil does," Sirius admitted. "We think it kills people, but for all we know. . . it just spits them back out somewhere else. No one has ever come back to let us know. But it wasn't your fault, Harry. You were protecting people and Bellatrix. . . I won't say she deserved it, that's not for me to judge, but I will say that it was her or us. . . and I'm glad Lucius and I are safe."
"Me too." Harry reached up to hug his godfather tightly. His eyes grew wide as a thought struck him. "I saw Lucius' arm go into it! What happened to him?"
"I am just fine, Mr. Potter." Lucius' voice made him jump again-though this time in surprise rather than startled fear-and he gave a bright smile at seeing the man. His face fell, however, at the sight of Lucius' arm. It was nothing more than a stump, everything gone beginning halfway down his left bicep. Lucius let his eyes follow Harry's gaze. "Better my arm than my life, child," Lucius told him, patting the stump.
"Is. . . is Draco all right?"
"He is unconscious. One of the Death eaters attempted to put him through a wall." Chara scowled.
"Should I ask what happened to the Death Eater?" Harry managed to smile.
"Remus." Sirius shrugged. "That guy won't be bothering us for quite some time, now!"
"Don't worry." Chara's grin showed far too many teeth. "He won't be bothering us again at all."
"You didn't kill him, did you?" Lucius looked worried for a moment. "You do know that's in total violation of your Hippocratic oath."
"He's not dead, you ninny," Chara rolled her eyes as nearly everyone in the room sighed in relief. "What kind of person do you take me for?! I just left him for the aurors, that's all!"
"Did you . . . leave him naked and . . . and tie him with . . . a bow?" Phyrrus' voice was slow and slurred, a show of his exhaustion, even then.
"Of course I did," Chara looked almost offended. "And River and Rayne left a few gifts of their own as well. You didn't think I'd let him get away with nearly putting one of my boys through a wall, did you?"
"Had to . . . to ask." Phyrrus managed a smile, though it was hard to see. He was just too tired to move his muscles that far.
"Go back to sleep, both of you," Chara ordered.
Phyrrus gave a soft grunt and cuddled back up to Harry, his breathing evening out almost immediately. Chara laughed. "He wasn't even awake. He's going to wake up later and have no memory of this conversation. But I do mean that, Harry. You really need to rest. Magical depletion as serious as yours probably would have killed anyone else. You had us all so worried."
"Kay," Harry yawned, eyes fluttering closed. "I'm just-so glad we're all safe."
It was another two days before Harry and Phyrrus were up and about, though they were still suffering from some magical depletion. Madam Pomfrey, though she had let both out of bed as they had no further physical injury, had warned them not to use anything higher than a second year spell for at least a week more. Phyrrus, who didn't look like he could cast any level spell at that moment, even one using so little magic as that, just nodded. Harry, on the other hand, tilted his head in slight confusion. His magical reserves were almost fine. Nearly to the point of the average witch or wizard.
"Because your bonded has so little magic at this point, any casting you do may backlash to him and deplete him. No one knows why magic is connected that way, but so far nearly half the bonded couples we see do have that in common," The nurse explained, patting Harry on the head. "Possibly because he's currently feeding off your magic to build up his wells and if you use it he will be cut off for a short time."
"Just have him toss a thicker rope to me," Phyrrus sighed, rubbing his face. "It worked for him, maybe it'll go the other way."
"I would avoid that as well," Madam Pomfrey crossed her arms. "There is no telling what may happen to you, since he has such high reserves and probably does not posses the high control he'll need to do such a thing."
"I trust him," Phyrrus offered quietly. "He won't hurt me."
"You may try, of course, but I still don't recommend it." The nurse shook her head. "But I could also be wrong."
Harry chewed his lip. "Phyrrus?"
"We need to learn it sometime, and waiting isn't going to help." Phyrrus laid his head on Harry's shoulder, despite the awkward angle he had to lean. "I want you to try. I'm so very tired because my reserves are so low. At the very least, I won't be exhausted."
Harry nodded, gripping his bonded's hands and closing his eyes, carefully falling into what he knew to be his magical core. It always felt to warm and bright, and Harry could feel himself relaxing as he brought his magic to the surface. Finding the tie that bound he and Phyrrus together, Harry carefully began to pass his magic along it, filling Phyrrus' reserves as much as he dared before letting go. He gave Phyrrus a soft smile and Phyrrus blinked. "You had that much extra?" He asked, awe-struck at the power Harry had just displayed. "That was. . . I. . . "
"I'm fine. I just took my reserve down a little." Harry shrugged. "It really wasn't that big a deal."
"But I'm almost fine!" Phyrrus protested, testing Harry's magic and discovering Harry had not depleted himself as much as Phyrrus feared.
"Yes, but it seemed to grow when you got it. Like I only needed to give you half as much," Harry shrugged. "Didn't you say the same thing when I collapsed from magical exhaustion last time?"
"He did. But if you two keep coming in here like that, I'm afraid you might damage yourselves. You two are far too young to suffer from magical exhaustion of this magnitude." Madam Pomfrey scowled. "So you two had better start behaving."
"We wouldn't do it if we had a choice," Harry scowled.
The nurse huffed. She knew it was true, of course, but that didn't mean she had to like it. Nodding, Madam Pomfrey sent them from the room, directing them to find the rest of the Lugovalos family and most of the adults that had taken part in the fiasco at the Ministry.
Harry carefully opened the door and was surprised when he was swept into Sirius' arms and held tightly, but he was more surprised when, after Phyrrus stepped outside, Cyrrus pounced on him, slamming a fist into his face. "You let him die, you asshole! You fucking let him die! We should have stayed and fucking fought but you made me run away and you fucking let him die!" Cyrrus was pummeling his cousin, tears streaming down his face and splashing onto the floor.
Harry's protest about no one attempting to help Phyrrus was quickly silenced by a look from Clayton as Cyrrus continued to beat his cousin, sobbing. Phyrrus made no move to fight back or even protect himself, just let Cyrrus hit him. Finally the other boy gave a loud, gasping sob and collapsed on top of his cousin, hands clenched in Phyrrus shirt. "We fucking let him die," Cyrrus whimpered softly. "I finally got my dad back, and we let him fucking die."
"I'm sorry, Cye," Phyrrus wrapped his arms around his cousin, carefully shifting them both into a seated position. "I never wanted Dad to die."
"I. . . I don't have. . ." Cyrrus clutched Phyrrus. "What will I do? I was going to go live with him and we would be a family again. . . and now he's dead. Phy. . . I don't know what to do."
Harry had never seen Cyrrus cry so hard. His body was shaking from sobs as he held onto his cousin, face buried in Phyrrus' shoulder. Phyrrus was also crying, tears streaking down his face, and the two boys just held each other and cried for nearly twenty minutes. It was Clayton that finally forced them to move, settling Phyrrus next to Chara and holding Cyrrus tightly while he continued to cry softly, arms locked around his uncle. "Chara," Clayton glanced at the woman. "I know you face your own hardships, and it will be hard, so far from us, but will you consent to keeping Cyrrus and acting as his guardian until he has reached majority?"
Harry blinked, wondering why Clayton was asking Chara. Cyrrus had been living them for nearly two years, after all. Not to mention that it had been Grandma Lugovalos to petition Chara last time. Even so, it seemed important for Clayton to ask.
"I will," Chara consented, gently prying Phyrrus off her and reaching for Cyrrus. "I will take him and treat him as my own son. As I fulfilled this wish for Connor and Charon, so I will fulfill it for Alvin."
"While you were not born into the Lugovalos Clan, Chara, we thank you for agreeing to fulfill the duties that Connor's absence has left." Clayton handed Cyrrus to her, letting him hug the tiny woman tightly before he turned back to Clayton to seek further comfort. As much as Cyrrus loved Chara, he wasn't what he needed. She was too small to hold him tightly and offer him physical comfort, where Clayton simply tucked Cyrrus close to his body, his powerful frame seeming to wrap around his nephew.
"When. . . when will we honor Dad?" Phyrrus asked softly, his own eyes red from tears.
"When we are all home again," Varius, the third oldest sibling, sighed. "There is a lot to do until that ceremony. Chara, I trust you will bring all the children."
"I know the rites," Chara gripped Varius' arm. "Do not worry. But we have other things to do now, Varius. Even though Alvin's death has hurt us, there are things that must yet take precedence."
"You're right, of course," Varius sighed, but sat back down. "Dumbledore should be here shortly. Leon, you have the prophecy?"
"Yes. But I don't think we should all listen to it. This affects Harry, not us. He should listen in privacy and then be allowed to decide who he wants to hear." Leon crossed his arms. "As much as he is part of our family, he is not a Lugovalos and is not required to share anything with us, no matter how much we want him to."
"No," Harry broke in, looking nervous. "I. . . I want you to hear it. I want your help with whatever it is."
"Leon is right however." Clayton smiled. "You will select a few to listen with you in private, and then you may tell anyone you choose. Leon, give him what is rightfully his."
"Will do," Leon's flip answer made most of the room smile, despite the somber atmosphere. He gracefully handed Harry the glass orb, then retreated, settling next to Severus. Harry stared at the orb in his hands, then around the room. Grandma Lugovalos smiled at him, and Harry was surprised that she had not been taking charge. In fact, she had been very quite throughout what almost seemed to be a family meeting.
"I want. . . Phyrrus, will you? And Sirius and Remus. . . and. . . and Grandma Lugovalos and Mum. But. . . Phyrrus. . . I don't. . . I want your family. . ." Harry stumbled, not knowing how to ask if the Lugovaloses would help.
"Uncle Clayton," Phyrrus murmured softly. "He is head of the clan now, technically, no matter how much Grandma seems in charge. He is the oldest Lugovalos, after all."
Harry gave him an odd look, but nodded. "Uncle Clayton, please?"
"I'd be honored, Harry." Clayton rose to his feet. "You know by having me listen to this prophecy it becomes. . . an issue for all of the clan and we may pass on the information to whomever we see fit?"
"I trust you." Harry smiled softly. "I want. . . I want my family to help me. Please. I know I'm not always good at going to people with my problems, and I'm still a kid, but I want my family to support me. Even if we aren't related by blood."
"As you wish, then." Clayton hugged the teenager with a grin. "There's a room off the back suited for this. We'll listen to it there." Clayton led the way into the next room, closing and barring the door while the others put up silencing charms.
"Now what?" Harry whispered to Phyrrus, staring at the orb.
"Smash it," Grandma Lugovalos ordered, nodding when she saw Remus pull out paper and a quill.
Harry nodded obediently, and threw the orb to the stone floor, watching it shatter into a million pieces. And then he heard the words that had fated his life from the very beginning.
"THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD APPROACHES. . . . BORN TO THOSE WHO HAVE THRICE DEFIED HIM, BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DES. . . . AND THE DARK LORD WILL MARK HIM AS HIS EQUAL, BUT HE WILL HAVE POWER THE DARK LORD KNOWS NOT. . . AND EITHER MUST DIE AT THE HAND OF THE OTHER FOR NEITHER CAN LIVE WHILE THE OTHER SURVIVES. . . . THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD WILL BE BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES. . . ."
Harry took a deep breath, licking his lips while he tried to think of something to say. It was Grandma Lugovalos that broke the tense silence. "What a load of shit," She commented, waving her wand to clean up the glass shards of the prophecy. Harry blinked at her, looking startled.
"You look rather worried," She explained. "And all that because of a pickle jar. You shouldn't worry about it. No matter what the people may think of you, they put all their hope in a baby. They need their heads checked."
"I'm inclined to agree," Clayton nodded. "In fact, I recommend that we ignore this prophecy-"
"I'm still needed!" Harry protested. "They think I'm going to do it, and that I'm make everything better-"
"Enough." Clayton's order made Harry fall silent. "We will not take you from your fight, child. But we will be helping you. For anyone to think you should have to do this alone. . . the prophecy is already useless, because you have Phyrrus. Whomever made this prophecy did not count on your bonding."
"I don't understand."
"Everything in the prophecy speaks of a single person. But you are no longer a single person. You and Phyrrus will do this together, I have little doubt, and therefore you are not one but two that will vanquish the dark lord."
"I agree." Phyrrus gripped Harry's hand, kissing it and meeting Harry eyes. "We will never be alone. I will never leave you alone. If we go against moldy ass, it will be together. This pickle jar is just a load of shit."
Harry sniffed slightly, flinging himself at his boyfriend. "Thank you so much."
"You're welcome," Phyrrus murmured into his bonded's hair. "I love you so much."
"I love you, too." Harry hugged Phyrrus tightly, relaxing in the powerful embrace. Phyrrus glanced at his Uncle.
Clayton winced. "Now we tell the family." He offered, and Grandma Lugovalos and Chara both winced as well. Harry nearly groaned. Telling everyone else was bound to cause one thing: Chaos.
Apparently Cyrrus' view of prophecies-that they were nothing but a load of tripe-was a sentiment shared by most of the family, so Harry found that they didn't really treat him any differently. He had to admit relief at the notion, since the last thing he wanted to happen was for everyone to start thinking he really was the savior of the wizarding world. In fact, most of the Lugovaloses seemed to think that it was outrageous for the British Wizards to put all their hopes in a baby and prophecy, and most had no qualms about saying so. Harry was relieved about that, too. It meant he wasn't expected to fight alone, and he suspected that most of his new family would be gravelly offended if they weren't helping him fight.
"So I have a question," Harry finally admitted, leaning against Phyrrus the day before they were due to leave on the train. "You said Uncle Clayton is the head of the family, but Grandma Lugovalos always seems to be in charge. Why is that?"
Phyrrus blushed. "It's kind of complicated," He admitted. "Since Grandma married into the family, she can't be the magical head of the family. When Grandpa died, Clayton became the magical head. Usually it's the oldest, though we've had a few instances it wasn't. Most of them expected my dad would have gotten the position if he wasn't a squib, actually.
"But Grandma is still the matriarch in the sense that everyone listens to her. Basically her word is law, but Uncle Clayton is the one that represents the family in magical matters, like when we were listening to the prophecy. Having Uncle Clayton there made it legal for us to let the rest of the family in on it. Does that make sense?"
"I think so." Harry pondered that for awhile, then decided it really didn't matter. Phyrrus was the oldest of Connor's children, but would likely never take the position Clayton held. Harry shook his head, trying to clear it. Americans were so weird when it came to magic. It seemed that clans like Phyrrus' were fairly common there, and that was how magical law in America worked. Most of the responsibility laid in the families, and when witches or wizards were born to muggle parents, they were adopted into one of the clans to be taught.
Harry nearly snorted. And they had the nerve to call British witches and wizards archaic!
Phyrrus shifted a little, forcing Harry from his musings and off the couch. "We still have to testify about Umbitch using the Cruciatus curse and I haven't packed to leave, yet," He told his boyfriend, half dumping Harry to the floor when he stretched. The couches in the common room simply were not made for someone the size of Phyrrus.
"We have to testify for that?" Harry nearly groaned.
"We were lucky we weren't hit. And if they find her guilty, they'll lock her away for life," Phyrrus yawned. "So we really have to go."
Harry yawned as well, scowling at Phyrrus. Phyrrus should know yawns were catching! "I don't want to go back to the ministry. And you know Fudge will do something stupid while we're there."
"I know that, and you know that, but apparently no one let Fudge in on the secret." Phyrrus grinned. "Uncle Leon's making a special trip for the trial, and Mum said she'd be there. Sirius and Remus get River and Rayne for the day."
"I don't know who to feel sorrier for. Umbitch or Sirius and Remus," Harry laughed.
"If it helps, Uncle Leon intends to make the trip in full regale." Phyrrus' smile showed too many teeth for Harry's comfort.
"It doesn't help," Harry grumbled, crossing his arms.
"Well, I tried." Phyrrus hooked an arm around Harry's waist. "So I guess now I need to distract you."
"And how do you intend to do that?" Harry grinned, letting Phyrrus pull his head down so they could kiss. Harry gave a soft sigh, letting his eyes flutter closed. He had missed being able to kiss Phyrrus like this. The past couple of days had been so hectic that he'd barely even seen his boyfriend, forget any thoughts of kissing. Sure they slept in the same bed, but by the time they got there the two were so exhausted all they could do was flop down and sleep.
Deepening the kiss, Harry gave a soft moan and tightened his grip a little more, mind put at ease. No matter what happened in the future, he would have Phyrrus and the rest of the Lugovaloses to help him.
The train ride home was uneventful, and Harry found himself trying to forget the last two weeks of the year. He didn't want to even think about his O.W.L. scores, and he didn't want to think about Uncle Alvin dying at Voldemort's hand. Cyrrus was dry-eyed for the trip home, though Phyrrus forced him to sleep, head on his cousin's lap. His breathing was shaky and Harry had to wonder if he'd been crying ever since Alvin had died. Phyrrus didn't say anything about it, just settled Cyrrus' head on his lap and told him to sleep. Ginny swallowed hard. Not even she had been able to get Cyrrus to sleep for long, and his temper was just about shot from his exhaustion.
"I've got him," Phyrrus told her gently. "It's nothing against you, I promise. Just that. . . he needs his family right now."
"I wish I could have been more help." Ginny whispered, wiping her eyes. "I just. . . I didn't know how to help him."
"You were there for him. That's enough." Phyrrus patted her hand. "But let me take care of him now. Why don't you keep Harry company? I'm afraid I will be poor company while I'm trying to keep Cyrrus asleep."
"Stop waking me up, then, you wanker," Cyrrus muttered sleepily, and Phyrrus grinned, smoothing a hand over his cousin's hair. Harry thought he saw the glint of magic, but it was gone when he blinked, so he passed it off as nothing. He'd ask Phyrrus about it later, if he decided it wasn't just a trick of his imagination.
When the train arrived at the station, Phyrrus woke Cyrrus and everyone headed toward their families. Chara had already made plans for the children to come to the farm, and the Grangers readily accepted the invitation for a short vacation. They would arrive for Alvin's funeral, and then stay for a couple of weeks. Hermione would be there much of the summer, and Leon had already told them he would readily be training them since Voldemort had returned.
They would have to come back near the end of summer for Umbridge's trial, and Chara had said that since it was scheduled for two weeks before school started in the fall they would just stay in England. Harry wasn't sure how he felt about that. They hadn't spent much time near the Dursleys, really, since Harry had left, and the Weasleys resolved the problem by asking Chara if Harry and Phyrrus could come for a visit that week. Phyrrus was growing excited. He'd never actually seen Ron's home before.
Waving to everyone, Chara called a reminder that she'd see them shortly so they could get to America, and then headed home with her family. They needed to get ready to leave as well, and there was a lot to do before Alvin's funeral. Harry bit his lip. Alvin had died a hero's death. The heartbroken look on Cyrrus' face made him vow to make sure it wasn't a vain one.