Alas, my Spring Break was a mere week that has all too quickly faded away. You are getting a present out of it though!


Disclaimer: Own Harry Potter? Not I.

Chapter 10: Like Feathered Wings

That Christmas was soon to be upon them was heralded by a terrible snow storm that cooped everyone up in the castle for three days. The second herald was the list that had gone around so that the professors would know who would stay over the holidays and who would be taking the train home. Kailen had eagerly placed his name on the list for those that would be leaving Hogwarts and heading home, home to his parents and where the weather would be crisp but mostly too mild for snow. It was rare that they experienced snow in the Fey Realm and when they did get snow it was only the fairest of dustings that covered the ground. The cold permeating Hogwarts froze his wings even though they were hidden within the confines of his flesh and Kailen had been forced to have Severus place a permanent warming charm on his cloak to keep his back from aching fiercely with the cold that found its way to settle in his wings.

Meanwhile Severus grumbled about having to stay at Hogwarts over the Holidays now that he actually felt he could go home, but the Headmaster had requested the staff remain at Hogwarts for some reason; Kailen bet it was because of whatever Fluffy was guarding. Kailen had forced himself to curb his curiosity about what that could be since Severus grew nervous and moody anytime he mentioned it. He couldn't help but feel that hiding something that was obviously important and/or dangerous in a school full of children was a serious risk, but Kailen had finally decided to leave the danger to the teachers instead of risking his friendship with Severus by pushing the issue. At least Severus was in a slightly good mood this evening as they huddled in their glade, a protective dome arching overhead to keep in the warmth of the fire they had kindled so they could toast treats and heat spiced cider.

"Here," Severus said suddenly, awkwardly shoving a neatly wrapped package into Kailen's hands.

"What?" Kailen was surprised that Severus had gotten him anything.

"It's a present you dolt," Severus seemed nervous; "you have to open it to see what's inside."

Kailen snorted with laughter as he pulled a wrapped present from his own cloak to hand to Severus, "I know that, I was just surprised. It's rare for a Fey to gift-give outside their own family. I got you this anyhow."

Severus took the present and shook it, "what did you get me?"

Kailen smirked and threw Severus' own words back at him, "you have to open it to see what's inside."

"Brat," Severus complained good-naturedly as he set about tearing into his present; Kailen forgetting decorum as he sent wrapping paper flying as well.

Inside his package Kailen found a beautifully wrought pendant about thirty-eight millimeters long depicting a pair of spread wings on either side of a downward pointing sword on a silver chain. Touched, Kailen immediately slipped the chain over his head and let the pendant rest upon his chest before he looked to see what else was in the box. Below where the first necklace had been rested a smaller version of the pendant, but this was attached to a leather band detailed with scroll work. Kailen wasn't sure what to make of it and turned to ask Severus only to find the elf staring oddly at the mini bow and arrow set resting in the palm of one of his hands.

"Not that I'm ungrateful," Severus spoke, seeing that Kailen was looking at him, "but what is the point of this?"

Kailen laughed and un-shrunk the bow and arrows for Severus, "sorry, I forgot to tell you that you needed to enlarge them. I know it's tradition in your society for Elves to receive a bow upon their Coming of Age, but since you never had yours I was hoping this would be an acceptable gift."

Severus nodded gravely as he ran his hands over the carefully carved wood, his fingers dancing over the bow string as if remembering a tune he had forgotten. It was at times like this that the pain Severus held inside over being so long apart from his people became apparent and Kailen left the Elf to his memories as he picked up the smaller pendant and tried to figure out what it was for.

"You're stumped, aren't you?"

Kailen looked up, a slight frown evident in the tilt of his mouth, "yes, I am."

Severus smirked, pleased with himself, before giving a brief whistle. Despite the fact that the cold and snow had driven most animals into hibernation, a flutter of wings answered Severus' call and a Kestrel of varying shades of brown and gray flew down to land on Kailen's lap.

"Aether is a flying companion for you. The little pendant is for him, it's linked to yours so you both can find each other and you can call him to you."

"Thank you," Kailen carefully fastened the pendant around Aether's neck, "but I have one more gift for you before we head back in and I leave tomorrow."

Severus shook his head, "you've already given me enough. This is the first true gift I have gotten in years besides the impersonal ones the other Professors give me."

Kailen set Aether a safe distance from the fire before standing and pulling Severus to his feet, "I promised you a dance upon the moonbeams not long ago, what better night than this one."

… … … … …

The light was fading by the time the Hogwarts Express pulled into platform 9 ¾ but there was enough time left in the day for the students to find their waiting parents without straining to see. The ride had been long and uneventful, leaving the students eager to disembark and get home, and so the platform became a place of chaos much to the dismay of the parents who had been hoping to grab their children and leave quickly. Kailen just followed the familiar auras he sensed, twisting smoothly through the seething mass of humanity, thankfully unencumbered by his trunk since Severus had thoughtfully shrunk it for him before he had left that morning; a little trick of Fey Magic would have it back to normal size in no time.

"Master Loren, Master Tamorin," Kailen called out as he got closer, alerting the two men to where he was at so that they could shoulder their way toward him.

"Young Kailen," Master Loren spoke as the two bowed slightly to him. "We're sorry your parents could not come to fetch you, but they were called away unexpectedly today. Who might your new companion be?"

Kailen smiled slightly as he lightly ran a hand over Aether's plumage. "It's alright. I understand. This is Aether, he was a present. Let's get out of here, it's a bit too crowded and rambunctious for my taste."

Taking place on either side of him, Master Loren and Master Tamorin began to push a way through the crowd, unconsciously sending out calming vibes to ease their way. Indignant murmurs of stressed parents soon stopped at the sight of the two men with the boy-who-lived. Most had not paid attention to Kailen's arrival in the fall, not knowing then who he was, but they watched now as he crossed the platform with the two watchful men protecting him on either side. As the trio passed through a more peaceful chaos took over the reunions being held, then the Faeries were safely through the barrier and Kailen was bundled quickly out of the cold into the waiting car.

"How can you stand it?" Tamorin no longer felt the need to hold his tongue now that they were ensconced in the warm safety of the car, "not even the Night Hags of the Dark Court are so rude as to stare such, and they consider you a rare treat in beauty young Prince."

Kailen shuddered and reached up to his shoulder to stroke a gentle finger over Aether's plumage, "it has not been easy, but I've had help. Severus, son of Septimus and Arlaina of the Elven has been a companion to me at Hogwarts. Thankfully my court training has stood me in good stead on mortal customs and to withstand the looks, but where it was not enough Severus was able to explain things to me."

Tamorin and Loren exchanged glances.

"Severus, son of Septimus and Arlaina?" Loren started, "wasn't he…?"

Tamorin nodded, "the one who pranked Queen Morrigan."

Kailen sighed. "Won't anyone tell me what this prank was all about?"

Both Masters shook their head. "We'll not risk speaking a word about that. The Dark Queen has ears everywhere. She may be fond of you, but we'd risk calling down her ire should she still feel sore over what happened."

Kailen sighed, but let the matter drop. He'd just have to ask his Aunt after all. Like the Masters had said, she was fond of him and he already knew she wasn't holding a grudge against Severus, Kailen just wasn't sure if she'd tell him or decide it would be more fun to play head games with him.

"How have things been at home?" Kailen changed the subject, "the dossiers my parents have been sending me have been keeping me well informed, but from them I cannot get true impressions of the reactions of the Court as I would were I present in person."

Loren was the one to answer; he spent more time in court than Tamorin did. "Things have been much the same though there have been whispers that sending you among the mortals was not a good move on your parent's part."

Tamorin smirked. "And of course most of those whispers come from those who have eligible sons and daughters who wish to embrace our dear Kailen with their wings."

Kailen sighed and rolled his eyes. "I can't even greet the young Eligibles of the Court without them taking it into their head that I have chosen them as my mate—and I have yet to hit the Age of Attraction!"

"Don't worry young Prince." Tamorin teased. "When they flutter their wings to gain your attention they are seeing you as well as your throne."

Kailen was saved from backing his glare up with an answer by the stopping of the car.

"We have arrived Prince, Masters." The driver announced as he left the car, a draft of cold air wafting over them as he courteously hurried to open the back door so they could get out.

"Thank you." Kailen inclined his head slightly as he got out of the car, hurrying along with the rest of them to the warmth of the house.

It didn't take long after that for the group to wind through the warren of mazes hiding the portal to the Fey Realm and passing through to their home, not many people could claim to own their own labyrinth, with Kailen's feet moving ever more swiftly as he neared his goal. His parents might not be home right at that moment to welcome him back, but he was sure they wouldn't be gone any longer than absolutely necessary now that he was home and he could already feel the pull of a phantom wind on his wings calling for him to come fly. It was good to be home, even if only for the holidays.

"Welcome home, Aether." Kailen told his Kestrel as they passed from the Mortal World into the Fey Realm. "Soon we shall both fly free."

Posted On: March 19, 2011