Hello again! Sorry for the delay... again. Claira's beta'd chapters 18 and 19 for me now, however we are having difficulties trying to actually get the chapters back to me which is also why this chapter is currenly unbeta'd.
A BIG thanks to all you reviewers, out there. I'm touched that so many of you have so much faith in my writing skills and even all the Hate mail I got for this, (taken light heartedly, of course.) You probably find me weird but I was actually touched that I created an angry mob of people and was threated with pitch forks and a torture chamber. (I'm seriously not being sarcastic,) I thought that was awesome! (And now you guys probably think I'm warped:P)
I'm almost completely certain I replied to everyone. If I didn't, it was because you reviewed under Anon and didn't leave an email address or somehow I missed it. If that latter was the case, sorry!
Anyway, on to what you guys are really wanting...
Chapter twenty: Dilemmas
"This has to be some sort of joke..." Harry somehow managed to voice, after a few moments of gathering his thoughts and getting over the shock. Even if his voice sounded slightly higher than was normal for him.
He squeezed his eyes closed. A nightmare. That's what all this had to be. One huge nightmare that he was just waiting to wakeup from, because nothing could be worse than this. There was no way... He couldn't possibly be ma— It all had to be some sort of error. The book was wrong somehow, because there was absolutely no way in the universe that he could be m— Not to Pan.
He opened his eyes to the book still in his grasp.
Nope. Still there.
And that was barely the beginning as he felt his stomach twist into a knot.
Demetrius sighed heavily, as he too, placed a comforting hand on the younger male's shoulder. Not bothering to say a word.
The only comfort Harry was able to draw, however, was from Draco who was trying to remain calm despite the anxiousness and regret that flittered from him and into Harry. It was simple to guess that the blonde had wished that he had ignored Harry's orders and gone along with him regardless. But it also meant he couldn't have been told a thing yet since Harry knew he'd erupt quite spectacularly when he finally heard the news. Considering the way he had reacted upon mere assumption of Harry and Blaise shagging each other.
Harry's hands shook while he clutched his family book, and he glared down at the added entry beneath his name and birth. Generations and generations of history and information from his ancestors long passed lay written within the tome's thick, age yellowed pages and Harry couldn't hate anything quite as much as he loathed it that very moment.
Not even Voldemort could come close.
Before he did something irreversible, Harry quickly handed the cursed book back to his Uncle. Plans already forming in his mind as to how he was going to get over this hurdle. Well, mountain, rather but the decision was a simple one.
"I'll kill him," he decided, aloud.
That was fairly easy a problem to solve and since Pan didn't know what was going to hit him, well, he'd probably welcome Harry with open arms. The realisation halted the tormented Angelus' progress though, as he froze just outside the door to his Uncle's drawing room, hand gripping the handle so hard, it began to warp within his fist. It just didn't feel right. Sure he'd wanted to kill Pan numerous times since they had met, but even now he couldn't bring himself to actually go through with it.
He closed his eyes as the situation of it all sunk in. Even if he felt nothing deeper for the incredibly irritating white-haired Invidian, and often wished harmful thoughts on him. It was all mostly empty. He had been given enough opportunities to get rid of the boy before or have Draco do it, but had prevented it.
Numbly, he allowed himself to be guided back to his original seat by Selene as Demetrius shut the door once again.
"You are unable to kill him, mon amour," Selene murmured, looking regretful as she combed her hands through his wavy, sable locks in a comforting gesture. "You cannot kill your other half without irreparable damage to yourself."
"But then," Demetrius intervened, as he eyed his nephew. "I think you already knew this."
And on some other level, perhaps Harry did.
"Aren't I meant to be drawn to my mate in some way, though?" He asked, eventually. Desperately as he tried to recall what his Uncle had told him about soul mates since he was still somewhat convinced that the book got it wrong.
Hadn't the man said that he'd almost be drunk on his other's magic? Harry's mind instantly flashed to Draco and his magic. While he couldn't exactly say it made him almost drunk, he was addicted to it. The feeling of it as it cocooned him in warmth or lashed out at everything else in the blonde's anger. If anyone was to complete him, he'd thought that it would have been Draco.
It was Draco that he was drawn to. His magic that Harry helplessly craved. Draco who Harry loved and he was proud that the feelings couldn't be passed off as some artificial emotion conjured by the intimacy created from a warder bond. He had fretted about it, true. Before he had actually realised that Draco felt the same way for him. And for that small moment, he had been happy only to have his happiness snatched away by an evil, broken book.
"You are," Demetrius conceded, as he looked over at his wife questioningly. "Which is why we're so surprised by this turn of events, considering you're Draconis' soul mate."
Harry's head snapped up to look at his Uncle so fast, spots danced before his eyes. He had to have heard wrong.
"You are Draco's soul mate," Selene repeated softly, tucking a few stray tresses behind Harry's ear as he spun in his seat to peer at her instead. "He's apparently known for some time now. But this—" She gestured to the book, Demetrius had replaced upon his desk. "—complicates matters."
Demetrius gave a slight nod, though seemed to expect Draco flying in the door at any moment. Harry noted, that he'd already shielded much of the room and placed a cushioning charm on the door. The faint glint of the spell work was more than enough of an explanation.
"It drove Lucius insane, having his only son and heir discover who his soul mate was and then withhold the actual name of said person for years. I still don't believe Draconis even told his father who it was, but assume Lucius would have figured it out soon enough, since Draco was always trying to keep you out of trouble."
The young Nikolai felt strangely numb. "That must have been difficult for Draco."
"Oh, I believe he took his frustrations out on you on a regular basis," Demetrius commented. "If anything either of you have said is anything to go on."
Well that was... that was...
Harry really couldn't think. It was almost like his mind had shut down and refused to function anymore after all the shocks he'd received that day. In less than an hour, really. There was, after all, only so much that one could take at a time.
Darkness was all Harry saw as he buried his face in his hands. It was somehow comforting with the absence of light allowing him to try and work things out slowly in his head. So he was Draco's soul mate. But Pan was his? How did that work? Shouldn't that have been impossible, especially since it was only possible to have one person who was meant to complete you? There was no such thing as a triad bond.
"Am I broken?" Was the first, thing he thought to ask and immediately wanted to take it back. 'Am I broken?' What stupid sort of question was that? It all just proved that everything was beginning to get to him. His intelligent thought had shutoff leaving his less than clever half to fend for itself.
Selene gently, but firmly lifted his head to look at her. "No," she assured, softly. "You are not broken. There is nothing wrong with you, Harry. Your Uncle and I are not sure how this may have happened... But a half formed bond does not just appear over night for no reason."
Half formed? It was only half formed?
"As I'm certain you would have figured out on your own," Demetrius stated, taking over the rather delicate conversation. "A soul bond, requires consummation before it will form completely... The physical act of love—"
Harry instantly blanched. That hadn't once crossed his mind.
"But I haven't—" The young Nikolai swallowed the bile that rose to his throat as he thought what his Uncle had said. He didn't feel any different than he had back at Hogwarts before meeting Pan.
Ok that wasn't entirely true. He did feel different, but that was all due to his instincts. He didn't feel like he had—But the implications of what the book had noted were enough to make his stomach turn and want to empty itself, even though he hadn't eaten a thing that morning. He couldn't say it. He could barely think it without his body and mind rebelling against the idea, but he forged on to get the words out.
"But wouldn't that mean that I had to... with Pan?" The young Angelus swallowed around the lump in his throat that tried to choke him. He couldn't remember a thing if that was the case which would mean... But he refused to believe the boy would do something so incredibly vile as to take away Harry's choice on the matter. And Pan had always tried to coax Harry into it. Had never forced him into anything when he knew the Invidian was physically strong enough to do so...
Then again, Harry had had someone steal an important necklace from him and that someone had also wiped his memories almost perfectly clean of said piece of jewellery. In a way, they had wiped all thoughts of the necklace and it's supposed charms. Everything, but what they had meant to Harry so maybe Pan had...
I'm going to be sick.
Throwing himself from the chair he had been seated in, Harry hastily summoned the small trash can that stood next to his Uncle's desk and proceeded to heave into it.
Selene's scolding of his husband was like a whip crack, even in her soft melodic voice as she hurried over to Harry who kept trying to regurgitate nonexistent food from the depths of his stomach and succeeding only in the sour, murky green-greys of bile and white froth.
The Angelus king looked a little confused. Not that Harry paid much attention to the goings on of everything around him, as most of his thoughts were focussed on the ugly swirl of colour splattered all over the bits of paper that had filled the trash can, as well as the acidic tang associated with the green-ish mess.
"It's not as bad as that, darling," his Aunt tried to reassure him as she rubbed his back in soothing circles. "While it is true that a soul bond is stronger than that of even a warder bond, you cannot be forced into the consummation of one. It must be of your own free will and your Uncle and I know you would do no such thing with Pandarius. Your magical aura, has remained unchanged since we first met, which leaves us in this unexplainable dilemma since his name should only show if you had been together intimately and yet you remain untouched."
That only made Harry feel marginally relieved by the news, but now his mouth tasted horrible and Draco was growing more concerned and impatient by his distress. But at least Harry hadn't shagged Pan. That was all that mattered at the moment. One small ray of sunshine in what appeared to be an underground crypt.
Wordlessly, his Aunt withdrew a tiny vial from her pocket and handed it to Harry.
With a murmured thanks, Harry uncorked the container, downing the entire pale, emerald green contents which instantly settled his stomach and removed the foul taste from his mouth. Leaving it tasting of peppermint tea.
"If I'm Draco's soul mate," Harry began, licking his lips nervously as he felt Draco abruptly turn around. It seemed that the blonde had had enough because he was now heading back towards Harry and the latter really didn't want to be too close when Draco found out the news. "How do we know this isn't some sort of trick? You said yourselves that I'd have to had been with Pan for his name to show in our ancestral book—but I haven't. How can you rule out Draco being mine?"
That felt like such an odd statement to Harry, as he mused about Draco as his. He'd never put any thought into it and as odd feeling as it was, knew that it was true. Draco was his just as much as he apparently belonged to Draco and he wasn't about to let a stupid and clearly broken book decide who he was meant to be with or not. And he wasn't about to let it decide who he loved.
Demetrius looked rather uncomfortable, but then so did Selene. Talking about this sort of thing with him couldn't have been so great on either of them. "Yes, you would have had to have been with Pan intimately," Demetrius worded slowly, pulling a slight face. "But this doesn't necessarily mean penetration... Merely completion in the sense of making lov—"
"Stop!" Harry cried, horrified.
He couldn't take anymore talk about Pan and sex in the same sentence. It was enough to know that that was how Pan would usually register as his mate within his family book, but as he had been told, Harry hadn't been with anyone in that way. The closest he had come to it was his first kiss with Draco.
I wonder what Draco and I did in the corridor would be classed as? Was the random thought that flittered across Harry's mind, fleetingly. A heavy snogging session?
"At this point we can't really rule out Draco being your soul mate, although the evidence at this point is rather lacking, but that news wasn't the worst of it," Demetrius said, looking like he was about to pronounce someone's death. He gave Harry's shoulder a squeeze in sympathy. "And isn't really what our main concern is."
Oh, Harry didn't even want to know how things could possibly get any worse than being partially mated to someone you barely even liked sometimes, when the one you loved was meant to be your soul mate and mysteriously wasn't.
He winced as he felt Draco's knuckles crack against something really quite hard and absently cradled his own hand against his chest in sympathy. It looked like it was safe to say Draco knew a little now, at least. This wasn't going to end well.
Whatever this was.
"The Elders have somehow caught wind of this and expressed their desire to have you entered into a betrothal with Pandarius as soon as possible. That was our main reason for calling you here. That and they were also observing Draco last evening and it seems they believe that his conduct during the entire ball left much to be desired in a warder..."
No, Harry's mind murmured in absolute dread, already knowing what was about to be spoken next. They can't. "I refuse," he cut in, forcefully. "I'm not giving up my warder bond to Draco."
Demetrius' expression softened and turned sympathetic. Harry was almost certain he'd never seen the man look sympathetic before. "While I believe Draconis is still the best option for you, they think that it's best to separate you," the elder male continued, "and since they are unaware of Draconis' attachment to you, they have no issues with what would usually entail a mated couple. I am also under the impression they've already picked out who they deem best suited as your new warder—"
Harry's eyes darted up to the door.
"Over my cold, lifeless corpse!" Draco exploded into the room with a loud crash and a flurry of beautiful black feathers, as his wings tore through his robes with such strength that it looked almost like the great dark appendages would tear the stone apart as they grew out into the now, decidedly smaller drawing room. It really made Harry wonder how his entrance would have turned out without the cushioning charms and shields in place.
The blonde's own parents trailed in behind him, both looking terribly harried. Lucius, more so than his wife and his robes appearing like he had been in a physical scuffle himself. Judging by the look on both male Malfoy faces, Harry wouldn't be surprised if they had fought each other.
It was then he noticed the way the elder blonde male was discretely working his jaw and had his theory confirmed. Draco must have busted his knuckles on his father's face.
"Draco, be reasonable," Narcissa tried to say. "The Elders—"
But Draco was having none of it and turned blazing silver eyes on his mother. "Aren't going to be around much longer, once I get my hands on them," he pledged viciously. "Since when have they ever interfered with the warder selection process? Never—it's not their place. They're doing this because they're scared."
No one said a word as he made his way over to Harry, who was still rather foolishly clutching his trash can in one hand like it was his saving grace, and was rather wishing he'd disposed of it sooner. Draco's features soften a little before taking in the messy contents of the rubbish and glanced at the others of the room, seeming to realise that there was more than interfering Elders amiss.
"What's going on?"
But it seemed no one was quite brave enough to say it. Just like with Harry, as the four supposed adults shifted almost nervously where they stood. It seemed even they were scared of how Draco was going to react.
"Doesn't Draco have his own book?" The young Angelus questioned, abruptly. Wondering why he hadn't thought to ask this sooner, since it seemed it would solve all their problems. Or so he had hoped.
Lucius inclined his head, in reply. "We do," he stated, while studying Harry appraisingly. "But unlike your's, it does not magically state certain aspects of our lives. My father had thought this best and removed such a trait, as our book would reveal a bond before consummation. Not after."
The Angelus swallowed, wondering whether the Malfoy's believed he had been unfaithful to their son. He hoped not. He really didn't need them against him as well as the Elders apparently were. Besides which, he wasn't sure which side Draco would take. They were his family and Harry was just... Harry.
"Harry?" Draco questioned, tensely. His emotions beginning to build and warp as he heard the discussion. He knew what they were talking about now, but seemed almost afraid to have it confirmed and how Harry hated having to be the one to do it.
It was something Harry had wished to avoid and yet somehow, it was placed upon his shoulders. Taking a deep, fortifying breath to try and calm his own severely frazzled nerves, the green-eyed boy revealed the words that had struck him so strongly. "I've apparently got a partially formed soul mate bond with Pan."
Harry couldn't quite meet Draco's gaze and kept his eyes off to the side as the room fell silent and tense at the pronouncement, until Draco's temper erupted exactly as the Gryffindor—and apparently everyone else—had been expecting.
"WHERE IS HE?" The irate Invidian prince snarled as he spun immediately for the door he had almost broken upon entry. Harry thought it looked that much more flimsy after Draco's last use of it as it hung there. A very weak deterrent for one extremely determined Invidian. It looked even sadder with the anger crushed doorknob. "I'm going to finish what I should have weeks ago."
"Draco," Lucius' voice rang out, loud and clear as he hauled his son back inside the room by his wings and threw up a powerful ward. Preventing the younger blonde from leaving the chamber before all was said. "You were taught better than this and this is, to some extent, the reason that the Elders have decided to replace you with another as Harry's warder."
Narcissa, who had been silently observing all, quietly added, "And if Pandarius truly does turn out to be Harry's soul mate, you know you would be unable to kill him."
That shut Draco up.
Though he stood perfectly still, he projected the very image of white hot fury. His body coiled tightly in sharp, tense lines. Even his gorgeous black feathered wings with the odd iridescent scales trembled where he stood, as a volatile desire to kill surged through his bond to Harry. It practically radiated from him in concentrated, furious bursts of wild magic. And despite his anger, as before the magic merely danced along Harry's skin. Soft like the afternoon sun, beckoning him closer to the source even as it tore around everything else in the room unprotected by shielding spells.
"I will not surrender my bond," Draco promised vehemently, staring his father down with blazing mercury eyes as he moved to shelter Harry within one large, ebony wing. Almost as though he was expecting Lucius to turn on him. As if the Invidian could. "They'll have to fight me for it."
"Are you so eager to die, my son?" Lucius asked quite calmly, as he he studied the other. His eyes briefly alighting upon Harry's form before focussing back on Draco. Harry wondered what that look had meant. Although he suspected it was tied in with the question. Would Draco be willing to die for the sake of merely keeping Harry's bond? Was he willing to continue to fight for what may turn out to be a lost cause?
"Yes," Draco hissed with conviction, refusing to back down from whatever confrontation was impending.
Lucius shook his head, dismissively. Yet Harry still noted the tiny, proud smile that flashed across the elder blonde's lips briefly. "And you might just get your wish."
"What do you mean?" Harry demanded to know, as he glanced up at Draco then back to his warder's father.
"Harry, you realise due to this... issue, that the Elders will want to have you tested?"
The aforementioned boy glanced over at his Uncle, utterly confused. How was that meant to shorten Draco's lifeline any? Hadn't the whole bloody lot of the Elders and Court tested Harry enough? He'd already killed one Angelus, he had thought that that would be enough but now he had to be tested again? And for what?
Selene must have seen the bewilderment on Harry's face or thought that the explanation wasn't good enough, because she added, "They will assume that you haven't saved yourself for your betrothed and will not allow a marriage between yourself and Draco.
"Virtue, amongst those of the Court is a very important thing. Even between both sexes and it is frowned upon for one to lose this to someone they have not be promised to, especially when it comes to any of the royal family. With us, this is more important as we cannot be allowed to taint the bloodlines by being unfaithful, although there have been some circumstances where this was allowed."
And Harry knew exactly one case of which she was referring. Selene had meant his own Grandfather, whom had sired both Harry's father and uncle out of wedlock. But the circumstances around that he supposed were special, since Dorea was Emmanuel's soul mate and he hadn't ever married.
Selene hesitated a moment, then turned her violet eyes on Draco. "And the Elders will be more stubborn about this. Especially with them now pushing to have Harry married to Pandarius."
That did sort of explain Draco's possibly much shorter lifeline.
The low hiss that Draco let out was pretty much expected.
"Doesn't this just keep getting better and better?" Harry grumbled, mortified. What was he supposed to do, then? Bend over, baring his bits to the whole lot of them for examination? Surely not. "And how can they want me married off to him? When I first met him he was in the midst of violating that very rule—" he cried, outraged.
The glance his Aunt gave him was sad. "But they believe he is your soul mate and that you've already been with him."
"They aren't to lay a finger on Harry," Draco threatened, as his hand came up to curl around the nape of Harry's neck in a possessive grip, and his own fingers tangled in the soft hair found there.
And it was times like this, that Harry really had to wonder how he hadn't seen the blonde's feelings for him earlier. Since it was so blaringly obvious and he suddenly had to wonder about all the off colour jokes that Blaise used to crack about Draco... Or how the dark Invidian had tried to tell Harry the evening before who Draco really loved.
But Harry was with Draco on that point. He wasn't about to allow anyone to touch him. Not even Madame Pomfrey had seen him completely naked. Nor did he intend to let anyone else see him totally unclothed. And definitely not Draco—at least, not until the blonde got it through his head that Harry had absolutely no intention of carrying the boy's kids.
There were just so many things one could tolerate without sacrificing ones' pride completely. Even though Harry had more or less guessed which role he was going to be stuck with when it eventually came to them being together physically—which in itself was really pushing it—he drew the line at getting pregnant.
"It will be a fairly quick testing," Demetrius reassured the blonde. "Just a few spells to ensure that the results haven't been effected by cloaking charms then the actual examination itself. As his guardian, I shall be present and you would be welcome as his warder."
Draco paused, his expression calculating.
"Why can't they just read my magical aura like you've read mine?" Harry suddenly asked, it seemed a far simpler and less invasive way of testing him. Plus he really didn't like the look Draco had opted to give him.
This time, it was Draco who answered, although still seeming to think over the entire examination. "You've always been under a stasis ward," he supplied as his hand uncurled the barest amount from Harry's neck to begin stroking it instead. "During your first appearance at Court, you were under the protection of one of the guards you were escorted in by. Since then you've always been under my ward or Zabini's..." His nose wrinkled slightly as a sneer tugged at his lips. "Torrez, at some point has also held you under his ward. None of the other Angelus have ever been allowed to read your magic. At least, none that aren't of the Sovereign Guard.
"And I wouldn't allow any of those interfering old sods a whiff of your magical aura at any rate. I don't trust them and neither should you."
It looked like there was a large gap in Harry's knowledge since he had thought they were trusted. More or less. Demetrius had only ever said that they could be an annoyance when wanting to achieve something.
Although, this would also explain what Draco had meant about them being scared.
Harry simply nodded then slanted a glance toward his family. "Then my testing?"
"We will be able to hold off any questions until the afternoon," Selene responded softly, drawing Harry's attention who gave a slow, grateful nod of his head. "As Draco is still your betrothed until it has been found that you have broken the clause of retaining your purity, Lucius and Narcissa still hold the right to reserve judgement on your union."
Harry wasn't sure whether to be insulted or not. Confused as he was by the woman's words. Was that meant to mean that the Malfoy's did believe him or was this simply a case of innocent until proven guilty?
Lucius glanced over the pair. Eyeing both carefully as he spoke but revealing nothing of his thoughts on the matter. "Make good with the free time you have," he cautioned. "You will not have it easy this afternoon, nor this evening."
It was simple to understand what he meant of course. Speculation would have spread by now, painting not so wonderful pictures of Draco and Harry. Though the Gryffindor supposed Draco would be seen as the victim while Harry and Pan supposedly went at it behind his back. Harry shuddered. Looking less forward to this ball than the one held the previous night.
"Then, we may go?" Harry questioned. He just wanted to go back to bed and forget all he'd been told. Oblivion was preferred over what he would have to face later that night. He wondered how many of those he'd talked with the evening before would turn their back on him. It was almost like school all over again but this time, these people were meant to look up to him as their future ruler.
And what a way to begin. Not even crowned as their prince and he was involved in a scandal of this magnitude.
Demetrius gave a distracted nod. "I'll have Raeda summon you when it is time."
Without further prompting, Harry hastily made his way across the room but stopped as Lucius halted his son. "Draco."
Rigidly, the younger blonde male stepped towards his father. His posture still taut and clearly one of defiance. It actually made Harry proud, since the previous night Draco had all but backed down to his father's words and now he was standing up to him.
Lucius placed something in Draco's hand which caused the younger Invidian to falter a moment. Neither one broke eye contact as Lucius removed his hand. "You've earned it." Was all he said, but it seemed to help relax Draco, whose body began to visibly unwind a fraction as he placed whatever it was in his robe pocket.
The elder blonde gave his son an amused smirk, before dismissing him as he turned back to Demetrius.
"Is that why you never drink from me?"
Harry gave a start as he peered up from his current book on potions—particularly, the one with the Veela-mate weening potion. He had thought to start with the basics, which hadn't offered any help to his current issue whatsoever, so Harry had quickly moved on to trying to find some sort of solution to the problem if it turned out to be a little more permanent than what he believed it actually was.
"No," Harry answered quietly, as Draco wandered over from the large pile of books they had collected earlier. He was flipping through a book of his own, though didn't seem to be paying too much attention to it's contents since his eyes were fixed on Harry's face. "I never drank from you because I didn't want to grow addicted to your blood. To become more dependant on you than I already am."
Climbing up next to yet another pile of research material scattered on his sofa, Harry picked out the one that looked most promising and began skimming through it's contents. Trying to focus his attention on what he was doing instead of Draco who was observing him quietly. His feelings a jumbled mess that made little sense to Harry, as was his almost unnatural quiet that was making the Angelus uneasy. He'd never before seen Draco so subdued.
"Then why won't you drink from me now?"
Because Harry knew that he wouldn't be satisfied with just drinking Draco's blood. Especially when merely kissing Draco had led very quickly down a path with an ending that neither could tread just yet.
Swallowing the extremely tempting offer, Harry shook his head. "I really don't think that's a good idea..." he murmured, his eyes darting over to Draco who was still watching him with an unreadable look. "At least, not until I figure out a way of cutting my supposed bond to Pan..." Or after my testing, at least.
"And what if you can't?" Draco asked, coolly. "What if that book was right and he is your true soul mate? Would you sever your bond then? " The blonde proceeded, with an air of complete nonchalance. It wasn't fooling the Gryffindor. "That would be like rending your soul in two."
Harry tried not to flinch at the blonde's words. Hadn't that been what his dream had showed him? Did that mean he had somehow succeeded in his attempt? Or had he tried and failed since he recalled himself drowning in his own blood. But if there was the slightest possibility that he could get out of being connected to Pan...
"Then I'll take it," Harry responded, as he picked up the potions text he had been reading earlier. "How about a modified form of the Veela-mate weening potion? It looks rather complicated but I'm sure you'd be able to make it... change a few things and then my problem vanishes."
"And I accidentally poison you," Draco deadpanned, as he seated himself on the remaining space of Harry's sofa and began flicking through his own book.
The Gryffindor frowned over at his warder. "Very few things can poison me."
"And I don't want to be the one to make another that will."
"So are you telling me to give up?" Harry questioned, closing his third book—which bizarrely, was on ancient ceremonial athames—and he set it aside, to stare at the the Invidian prince. Had Draco changed his mind? Earlier he had been adamant that he wasn't going to give up and now, mere hours later, it seemed like he already had. It felt like Harry's heart was both trying to sink into the floor and choke him at the same time, as he spoke the question that was foremost on his mind. "Is that my answer then?"
Draco peered over at him with an odd expression. "What are you on about?"
"You've decided to dissolve our bond and cancel our betrothal contract."
"Like hell I do!" Draco snarled and was suddenly up and pacing in front of Harry. "I'm not cancelling our betrothal I've waited too bloody long for it and there is no way—no fucking way—I'm handing your bond over to someone else," he said viciously, making Harry really wonder what he was feeling. "I know I've been distracted today. I've just been trying to get my head around the fact that my soul mate doesn't belong to me."
Harry's eyes narrowed at Draco's words. "You don't know that," he said.
Draco let out a laugh that was almost hysterical sounding in it's pitch.
The sound was a heart wrenching one and pierced Harry's ears and heart like glass, fragmented and splintering. It cut into his very soul.
"Then why don't you just kill Pan?" Harry suggested, half-heartedly. Since he couldn't do it, Draco could. Problem solved. The only other issue being, killing Pan over something he was no more to blame than Harry himself over their unlikely union of sorts, was about as idiotic as blaming him for the horrible weather.
But Draco shook his head. "And risk your sanity? You heard my mother back in there, I can't kill him. If it was that simple, I'm certain Lady Selene would have had him offed before we knew a thing. Natural death, such as illness, old age and accidents would be fine. But I refuse to take such a gamble." He gave another shake of his head, as his fingers mussed his hair in an uncommon display of frustration.
That confused Harry, since he believed that his Aunt and Uncle cared about Pan. Selene had informed Harry that they did, more or less. So did Draco not know that?
Draco seemed to read his mind, that or perhaps his expression. "Don't get me wrong. I know how Lady Selene and Lord Demetrius feel about Torrez. But your comfort comes first to them and if killing someone were to help you in any way, they'd do it n a heart beat." He let out a long sigh.
"I had always wondered why you'd take his side even when, by rights, your instincts should have been rebelling," Draco suddenly voiced, eyeing Harry contemplatively. "All the times he'd touch you and you'd hex and curse him but you'd always let him live. The times I would have killed him and you intervened. All the times I told you he couldn't be trusted and yet, you'd still trust him and I didn't get it then. I had just thought it was your blasted Gryffindor self being noble—"
"You know the conditions in which Pan should register as my mate within my family book," Harry interjected, not sure where exactly Draco had been headed with his spiel and undecided on whether he wanted to hear the rest of it or not. "But none of those conditions were met. He's only ever groped me and kissed me those times."
"Still more times than even I have," Draco muttered, bitterly.
That was something Harry really didn't want to think about. "Too bad no one's seen the dagger of Orion in centuries..." he murmured, as he scanned the page that his book on athames had fallen open to, in an attempt to get them talking about something else.
Draco scoffed, as he flopped back listlessly next to Harry and pushed the books further away. "The dagger of Orion is as much a myth as the sword Excalibur. There is no object in the world that can cut through everything. Tangible or not."
"Would be useful..." Harry disagreed, while trying to read Draco's expression and drawing up absolutely nothing, except for the short flickers of pain that seeped into his eyes. "You're worried that I'm going to eventually leave you," he realised with a vicious start. "That I'm going to eventually give in, even though we can't be sure if my bond to him is real or not."
The Invidian's eyes flared but he said nothing.
"If you think I'm a lost cause, then why even bother?" Harry questioned, hurt that Draco had—despite telling him the opposite—already written him off.
"I don't think that," the blonde argued then dropped his head into his hands with an exhausted sigh. "You feel so passionately about everything that I don't really believe you could ever succumb to the draws of your bond to him... Before when I thought—" He cut himself off abruptly and started again.
"Even as an Angelus, you're one of a kind," he said, regarding Harry in a way that made him highly uncomfortable. "You survived your full transformation alone and your blood lust... No one in all the records of our existence has ever achieved both until you came along. You refuse to be ruled by your baser instincts for more than you're able to... But if he is—" Draco stopped himself again. "That part of you will always be there and there will always be a chance that you will give in to it."
Dropping his head onto Draco's shoulder, Harry sighed heavily. What a tragic pair they made. "So in other words, you're going to have me for as long as I want you."
Instead of answering, the blonde lowered his head over Harry's, breathing in deeply. That was all the answer Harry needed anyway. He didn't want to think about it, and it didn't want to believe that Draco could be right. Not about this but if Draco was, by some chance correct, then Harry vowed that he'd fight it until the end.
"What are the differences in our magic?" Draco asked quietly, breaking the silence.
There was no need for Draco to be specific. Harry already knew what the other boy was referring to and tried to find the words that best described the way each of the cousin's magic made him feel.
"Pan's is like a coming storm," Harry replied just as softly. "Rain and sea mist. Sometimes blood. Volatile and consuming. Yours is kinda the same," he answered truthfully, letting the other's magic wash over him while he continued his description. "But yours is also different; a swirling vortex of ice and warmth. Like musk and hints of spice. It's... home," he confessed.
Draco seemed very interested in that, although he didn't say a word.
The Nikolai wasn't sure how to bring up what he wanted to say. He didn't want to even consider the possibility but he had to be fair to Draco and he didn't want a repeat of what had happened to Caligare happening to his warder. "If worst comes to worst, you can always sever our b—"
"That's out of the question," Draco cut in sharply, as he leaned back to glare down at Harry. "I've already told you, I'm never giving up your warder bond."
The 'because it's the only thing I'll have left' remained unsaid but seemed to echo through Harry's thoughts as though he'd read Draco's mind.
"You're my soul mate," Draco repeated in a carefully even voice. Albeit, a slightly strained one. "Severing our warder bond won't be of help to me, whatsoever. So you can banish that idea immediately unless that's what you really want..."
"Are you insane?" Harry exclaimed incredulously, as he glanced up at Draco. "Why the bloody hell would I want to do that? Then I'd likely get warder bound to Pan as well, since I'm fairly certain he was who the Elders had in mind as my next warder."
The Invidian's expression darkened. "He was right," he muttered under his breath.
"Who was?" Harry asked carefully, noting his warder's look and mildly confused by the sudden switch in topic.
"Torrez," Draco spat, with such venom that Harry doubted the two would be able to share the same room now without Draco launching some form of attack. And before had been rather difficult to begin with.
"He said that if I didn't hold your bond, I'd have nothing and he was right. I had thought he was just jealous but he knew..." He glared down at his clenched fists as the window panes began to rattle with the rise of his emotions. "You're my soul mate... but apparently, I'm not good enough to be yours."
It disturbed and disheartened Harry to realise that Draco seemed to truly believe what he had just said. That Draco, usually so confident and self assured didn't seem to think he was good enough for Harry, when, in a way the Angelus didn't think he deserved Draco. But until Draco gave up, he wouldn't either. He would, however, get angry at the blonde's self pity.
"And you believe that Pan is good enough?" Harry snapped and pulled himself away to glare down at the still seated Invidian. "If you honesty belief that, then maybe you aren't!"
Draco wasn't meant to look like a lost puppy. He wasn't meant to second-guess himself and he sure as hell wasn't supposed to yield, despite how bad things may have looked. He was meant to be determined and unwavering. Much like Harry himself, in a way. He was supposed to be strong enough to help bear whatever burdens Harry held and the Angelus prince hated that something like this could change his warder so suddenly.
"As far as I'm concerned, you are my soul mate," Harry proceeded, with eyes narrowed into sharp emerald daggers. "I'm not about to let a stupid book decide who I love, or who I'm supposed to be with and if you don't feel the same, well then maybe we were both mistaken and we do both belong to someone else.
"I can't believe I'm saying this," he muttered a little lower. "But I love you—for being arrogant and somewhat conceited and proud. That was the person that I fell in love with. The only person who was ever really willing to challenge my decisions and point out my faults, not caring how I took what you said. Even when you can be a right snarky git and we may fight—Gods, knowing us that's inevitable—"
"Is there a point to all this?" Draco questioned and Harry couldn't help but wince at his cold tone.
"My point," Harry said slowly, deliberately. "Is that I want you. Not someone else that you think will please me all based on some archaic book that is clearly broken, when all it will do is make us both unhappy. I want the person that is my warder and somehow became one of best friends. I want that person not someone who is supposedly my other half when I think we both know that it's untrue."
It was a fairly calculated risk, though Harry was dead certain that Draco wouldn't back down from the challenge and so, the latter wasn't disappointed when the Invidian's silvery eyes suddenly sparked and he smirked.
"That was all I needed to hear."
Harry got the feeling that he had been had.
He was further surprised when Draco slid from the sofa and dropped to one knee before him. The blonde was holding what Harry now took to be a small velvet box and the sight of it made him feel suddenly more nervous, as well as slightly baffled. He knew what that box was, only an idiot wouldn't be able to tell but he still wasn't sure what Draco was doing.
"Harry James Potter, would you do me the honour of marrying me?"
The Angelus was suddenly, inexplicably embarrassed as the box flipped open to reveal a thick platinum band inset with one large, oval looking stone. It looked sort of green then would appear suddenly red. Admittedly, the ring was beautiful.
"It's Alexandrite," Draco explained as Harry studied the ring. "One of my birthstones. It changes colour dependant on lighting—I thought it would be better suited to you than pearl..."
Harry, realised the boy was simply rambling to hide his nervousness.
"Draco, we're already getting married," Harry couldn't help but point out. "And if you've already forgotten, it's due to my betrothal to you that I must now prove my 'innocence' to be accepted as your... husband." That felt rather weird to say for Harry, but he pressed on. "Besides, if what I said earlier didn't quite sink in, I was perfectly fine with being engaged to you. Even though I'm still pissed you didn't tell me about it earlier," he added.
The Slytherin looked a little disappointed. "You're meant to say, 'Of course I'll marry you, Draco,' and the rest of what I had in mind would be considered Adults Only."
For long moments Harry stared at the blonde still kneeling before him. "You did not just say that," the shocked Gryffindor finally choked out amongst laughter so hard he toppled sideways, into the sofa. "Where did you get that idea?"
"It seemed to work for Muggles," Draco glared over at him.
"I'll bet," Harry snickered. "Perhaps Muggle porn works that way. But real life doesn't always besides which, we can't do anything that is considered remotely 'Adults only' just yet. You seem to keep forgetting that aspect of our current situation."
Draco muttered something under his breath, then added, a little louder. "At least I got you to laugh. Even if it's at my own expense."
Rolling his eyes, but sensing that this would bother Draco for a while, Harry tugged the blonde to sit up on the sofa next to him and tried for a straight face. "I'm sorry," he murmured, contritely. "But in answer to your proposal; Yes. Draco, I would love to marry you."
"Then let's elope," the blonde suggested, slipping the ring on Harry's left ring finger. It was surprisingly light feeling, despite it's massive size and incredibly warm. Sort of like it already belonged to him and had merely been awaiting him to finally receive it. He felt sort of bad, considering he didn't have one for Draco.
Harry stared at his warder, in incomprehension. Unsure if he had heard the boy's words correctly. "Are you feeling all right?" He asked, instead and checked the other's temperature.
"Perfectly," Draco responded, looking like he was ready to pounce.
"Draco, I highly doubt that your parents would be impressed and it would probably break Aunty Selene's heart if we ran off and got married." He grimaced, at the thought. "Somehow, I think she already has an elaborate wedding plan just hiding in the wings." He shot Draco a look. "One your mother was probably in on."
"Probably," the Slytherin repeated.
Studying the ring glinting warmly on his finger, Harry added, "And that's great and all but don't you think this whole thing is a little too soon?" He glanced up and into Draco's warm grey eyes. "I mean, we haven't finished school yet—in the Wizarding world, we aren't even adults and I'm fine with being affianced to you until we do eventually complete school but er—"
"Mm," was Draco's noncommittal noise, prompting Harry to believe that the Invidian hadn't heard very much at all, since his attention seemed more fixated with Harry's lips. Well, there was no need to figure out where Draco's mind currently was.
Letting out an annoyed sound, Harry pulled himself up and onto his knees then leant over to give Draco what he wanted, by kissing him soundly on the lips.
Even if he wasn't expecting it, Draco responded immediately by dragging Harry towards himself and forcing the Angelus to semi-straddle him, if Harry wanted to remain upright. But unlike earlier, Draco's kiss remained gentle and languid. Merely brushes of his lips against the other boy's. His hands trembling while they clutched at Harry, with the need to restrain himself from going any further.
Still, that didn't prevent Harry from being very quickly absorbed by the sensations of Draco's kiss. It was fast becoming one of the Angelus' favourite pastimes, as he coaxed his warder to deepen it a little more. The blonde's hands sliding against Harry's back as he tried to pull him closer, almost as though he was trying to merge them into one being.
It was very quickly shredding Harry's own self-control.
One of his own hands was caught in the blonde's silken hair while the other lazily ghosted down Draco's abdomen. Instinctively drifting lower as he felt the muscles move beneath his fingers. Sensed Draco's own resolve beginning to waver at his languid touches, intent on a different destination altogether.
"Don't," Draco voiced lowly in his ear. The warmth of it enough to make Harry shiver at the sensation and he pressed forward, ignoring the Invidian's half-hearted protest. Draco, however caught at Harry's hand and softly but firmly, detached it from the waistline of his trousers. "Don't start something that you know we both can't finish."
But Harry wasn't so sure that he couldn't finish this. The test was to ensure his own purity, not Draco's—and it wasn't like they were going to go the whole way. Besides, what was a little petting between fiancés? Peering over into the other's darkened gaze, Harry smirked. "I'm sure we can finish this," he murmured just as softly, his fingers inching back down Draco's trousers—
The startled shriek and following rattle of china shocked Harry before he could reach his target and he fell backwards, almost completely off the sofa. Fortunately for him, Draco's arm shot out and prevented the ungainly descent to the ground, as Harry's attention shifted elsewhere. His head jerking over to discover the intruder was none other than Raeda.
She had her own head turned resolutely away and appeared to be attempting to hide behind the tray she held out before her, as though the thing was some sort of shield.
It appeared she had rather delicate sensibilities.
"For Merlin's sake!" Draco snapped as he glared over at the elf, while trying to right his messed up robes.
This only caused the poor thing to cower away far more noticeably.
"Raeda is sorry!" She quailed, trembling so badly that the entirety of the tray she bore shook violently. So much so, that it could be assumed there was an earthquake. "Raeda was being told that the young masters has not be eating all day and Raeda knows, she does, that Master Harry needs his food! And Raeda has brought the master's favourites, too! Oh, but she does not be knowing the young masters would be busy. She was being told that they would not be busy! Raeda is sorry!"
The poor thing was nearly in tears and rambling to boot.
Harry vowed to go out and buy her a nice, new few pillow cases and other oddities she could wear as clothing for helping him out of his slight fix.
Pent up sexual frustration and hormones, he moaned internally.
"It's all right, Raeda," Harry tried to soothe and held his hands up in what he hoped was a calming gesture, despite the fact that he was no longer feeling quite so calm himself. And was actually feeling a little lethargic all of a sudden. "We weren't busy and I am starved. I appreciate that you thought to bring us something to eat without us having asked."
Slowly, she peeked over her still shaking tray and into Harry's eyes. Her own were large and watery. "So Master Harry is not being displeased with me?"
"No, I'm very pleased," Harry assure and carefully plucked the tray from the creature's tiny hands and placed it on the small table next to the sofa. "Thank-you."
"Anything for my master," she said with a teary smile and vanished with another pop.
Draco immediately started in.
"Why do you coddle your house elves? They aren't children, Harry. They exist to do our bidding. That's all. And your one is a right handful. Sort of reminds me of Dobby. He was somewhat mad, too. I'm not sure what my father used to do to him."
Harry really didn't need that mental picture. Even if the other's wording was rather innocently said.
Lifting the lid from the tray, Harry noted all the things that the loyal little elf had gotten for him and wasn't surprised to find a handful of his treacle tarts, shortbread cookies, scones with jam and cream. She'd also packed the little tea cakes that Harry knew Draco adored so much, though why Raeda even bothered with that, Harry didn't know. There was also other smaller bites to eat. Though nothing that could be considered remotely healthy. Except the tea, of course. Which smelled rather strongly of vanilla and something florally.
"Raeda was fine before you came along and now she's always nervous," The Gryffindor revealed, picking out a scone and after ripping off a mouthful to eat, plopped down on the other end of the sofa Draco occupied. Then, clearly thinking better of it, leapt up and dodged away from the seat before Draco had even moved. He grinned smugly over at his warder when instead of pinning him, the Invidian ended up crashing into the other arm of his seat.
"You terrify her and why she bothers to stay loyal to you, I have no idea," Harry continued eyeing his companion almost warily, as he revealed the platter that held Draco's little cakes.
To his credit, Draco was a little regretful. Miffed, too as he gradually peeled himself from his sprawled position looking completely unamused by the situation. "Is there any particular reason that you're suddenly avoiding being within my general vicinity?"
"If you mean touching distance, then yes," Harry responded, simply, then took a seat across the small table from Draco and the sofa. He dropped his head into his hands. "I know that I said we could finish it but I really don't think I can without, well..." he trailed off, miserably. The Angelus knew he didn't have that much restraint and at this point, it was clear that Draco was very close to losing all of his as well.
Peeking through his fingers, Harry glanced at his silently fuming fiancé. "You're not making this easier for me."
The look Draco fixed on Harry was one of incredulity. "And you think this is easy for me?" He drawled, as he levered himself up in a sitting position and peered over at Harry. "Having you walking around in robes that could just slide right off if I removed that belt and trousers that cling to your legs like those do?"
That caused Harry to frown. While the robe statement was more or less truth, there was only a few inches in which to really see his trousers since his robes stopped just above the knee and his boots just below, allowing a gap of a few inches at most. Although he supposed the split up the sides of his robes would reveal more...
Err, well maybe Draco did have had a point. But Harry didn't think his trousers were that form fitting. He frowned again.
Choosing to ignore Draco's words, Harry pressed on. "Why haven't you changed into another set of robes?" He asked, eyeing the tears in the blonde's slate coloured robes where his wings had been protruding some hours before. That was probably distracting him the most, since Harry could easily make out the toned muscles in the other boy's back and really wanted to touch.
"I think you know why," Draco replied, lazily. The smug git.
The Angelus pondered over what would have happened if he had found out about Draco's feelings sooner. Would they still have found themselves in their current predicament? Or rather, would Harry?
That reminds me...
"By the way, I found a note addressed to you last night," Harry said standing to retrieve it from his room. He just hoped that the house elves hadn't thrown his robes out yet since he didn't remember getting the parchment from his pocket. Actually, he didn't recall all that much aside from squireling all the books he thought were important away from the library the previous night and hadn't really paid attention to much else.
Excluding Pan's infuriating come-ons, that is. Those were rather difficult for him to ignore, with the white-haired Invidian's blatant requests. Until Harry had kicked the other out of his bedroom, of course. That had pretty much solved everything.
"Oh yeah?" Draco asked, sounding by far too interested as he followed Harry into what had come to be their shared bedroom of sorts. "What did it say?"
Searching around his room, Harry eventually found his missing robes in a messy pile under his bed. Along with some of the books he had brought back the previous night—or rather early morning. He left them under there and upturned all this clothing, trying to shake anything loose from the silk and velvet folds.
The note, however, remained missing.
"Damn it," he muttered, trying to remember where he may have dropped it. He had shown it to Blaise upon inquiry but no one else had seen it, so he must have lost it somewhere on his journeying from his bedroom to the library or possibly the other way around. He sighed in annoyance.
"Problem?" Draco questioned, leaning against the bedpost.
Harry nodded absently. "I've misplaced it. But I do remember what it said, roughly," he amended, glancing up at the other boy. "It said something about 'As one sows so shall one reap.' And that her death was to be decided by you. What's it talking about, Draco?"
But the blonde looked as baffled as Harry. "The only females I even care about are my mother and your Aunt," he replied, his brows drawn down. "And Parkinson. On good days," he added. "There aren't really very many of those." He was still frowning though. "Are you sure it was to me?"
Draco nodded. "I'd best inform your Uncle, then. And let the Guard know... If that was a kidnapping threat—"
"More like a death threat," Harry pointed out, blandly. "They said they were going to kill whoever this girl is and you would decide how. I'm assuming you've made a bad choice somewhere or are going to make one..." The Angelus trailed off, wary of sharing the rest of what he had to say with Draco, since he wasn't sure how the other would take it.
Casting him a suspicious glance, Draco arched a brow in question. Clearly sensing that there was far more to the story than what he was getting. Damn him.
"It was from the same person who killed Hedwig," Harry added, after a slight hesitation and glanced at Draco briefly as he felt the boy go suddenly tense. "Or rather, someone linked with her death."
"So they are within the grounds," Draco muttered to himself, appearing hesitant about something. Then he bent over and placed a light kiss on Harry's mouth. "Don't leave here until I come back," he advised, straightening. "I caught Mosiev snooping around this morning. I know he can't find your room but I don't want you wander the halls alone—"
Sighing, Harry sat on the edge of his bed. He was growing all very bored of the over protective routine. "Yes, yes I know. You've already lectured me but nothing is going to happen and you've already told me that I could best him anyway—"
"But you wouldn't stand a chance against him and his lackeys," Draco cut in, with a dark look. "If it came to a one on one duel between you and any of them, you'd win it hands down, regardless of your lack of knowledge. You may even be able to take on two. You're certainly fast enough, perhaps the fastest Angelus alive at the moment and your magical power outstrips a lot of those in both our courts—but you don't know how to use it properly.
"I've seen the sorts of things that Mosiev and his gang can do," Draco murmured, as he knelt down so he was eye level with Harry. "I've see what happens to those he and his minions get their hands on... Torrez was right in saying what he had. Mosiev would do just that, if for no other reason than to watch you break."
Harry's eyes were solemn as he stared back at his warder, quietly. "You speak almost as if from experience," he observed.
"No," the blonde replied, rubbing at his silvery eyes tiredly. They were sad and he was filled with a regret that reached further than Harry ever thought to imagine. "Someone I was close to. The only person I know that has ever gotten away fairly unscathed and I was forced to Obliviate them." His tone implied that anymore questions on the subject wouldn't be welcome but Harry being a Gryffindor, pushed for them anyway.
"Then why—" Harry began, not sure why nothing had been done about the renegade group of Angelus. Especially when it sounded like their exploits were rather well known to the Silver Court.
"You can't catch what you can't see," Draco finished, curtly. "With no proof and no sane witnesses to point the finger—it's all suspicion and hearsay.
"And you have to remember that until quite recently, the Mosiev family was held in high esteem; being one of the families close to your's and accepted into the Angelus Inner Court. So those of the Silver Court would have turned a blind eye to what was going on for the most part and now, well I haven't heard anything so I'd wager that he's set his sights on those further a field until he can get his hands on what he really wants."
The Nikolai prince was aghast. "But Veritaserum—"
"Another 'poison,'" Draco interjected swiftly, with an almost bitter chuckle. "One that has no effect on our clans whatsoever. How do you think we've managed to hide our existence from the rest of the magical community? How we've erased our names from all but the very fabric of history and kept it that way? It certainly hasn't just been because we have an excellent cleanup committee in place to erase all our spills—no. It's merely another natural defence for us, which in this case, does nothing but work against us."
Breathing out heavily, Harry slumped down where he was perched. This was quite possibly the first time he had felt ashamed of being what he was and all because of Alexsei and his little following. Knowing all this made Harry feel sick again, though not for himself but Draco. What would happen if Alexsei got a hold of him?
"What about you?" The younger boy found himself asking.
In response, Draco smirked. "You forget, I'm a matured Invidian," he drawled, confidently. "I walk around with my stasis ward almost constantly up so there is no way I could be ambushed. Besides which, I can sense an Angelus while they're in Incognito, remember? All Invidians can and there is also the bonus fact that I'm warder bound to you, which strengthens whatever natural assets I have."
His reassurances only went a small way into making Harry feel better.
"But your stasis ward won't protect you from the killing curse," the Nikolai replied, pensively as he stood from his bed and wandered over to his desk, to withdraw a piece of parchment and his self-inking Quill. Penning off a hasty note to his Uncle, Harry summoned Raeda to deliver it. "And would barely hold off a Cruciatus," he finished, turning his gaze on the blonde as Raeda vanished.
For whatever his reasons, Draco chose to ignore that comment. "Are you even going to explain what all that was about?" he asked, curiously as the elf popped out of the room.
"Simple," Harry replied blithely, while he swept across the room and back to Draco. "I just sent her off with a note to my Uncle explaining the death threat. He'll tell your father, so you don't need to go anywhere."
Draco was amused. "Any particular reason you don't want to be separated from me? Or was it just that you've had a change of heart and had a particular activity in mind which involves both of us?"
"I have a few ideas," Harry murmured, as he unhooked the belt that held Draco's outer robes closed. Then started on the chains.
"Yeah?" Came Draco's voice, huskier than normal and slightly uneven. His body was still thrumming with tension but this time, Harry knew it was the good kind. "I'm up for anything that you're willing to suggest," Draco breathed lowly against Harry's lips.
Harry leaned up, pressing his lips to Draco's in a lingering kiss while tugging impatiently at his robes. "Then we had best get you out of these."
Curiously, Harry glanced over at Draco. The boy had his arms folded across his chest and was currently cloaked in an irritated silence. Having been tricked, the Gryffindor supposed he had every right to be annoyed but it was beginning to annoy Harry as well.
"You can't stay angry at me forever," Harry murmured.
"Oh c'mon Draco, Malfoy's aren't meant to sulk."
A surge of irritation but still, no reply.
"So I tricked you," the Nikolai prince huffed. "You do me all the time."
"No," Draco stated suddenly, his eyes narrowed on the smaller boy but his lips had twisted into a strange smile. One that had Harry's insides feeling like they were turning to water as his uneasiness doubled. "But I'd love to do you now."
Harry had walked right into that one, hadn't he?
He hissed. "Draco, now is not the time—"
"To what?" Draco asked, cutting in front of Harry. Arresting all forward momentum for the time being. "So you're allowed to tease me but I can't return the favour?"
The Angelus shot the blonde an apologetic look. "I said that I was sorry," he muttered, glancing away. "And I am sorry for leading you on, but if I hadn't done that you would still be in your ruined dress robes and in this climate, you're bound to end up sick with something—probably pneumonia," he added, darkly.
"Well, I'm so glad that it's my health you're worried about," Draco replied, snidely. "Because you were most definitely not thinking about the effects that your teasing would have on me. And then, you left me to deal with it on my own."
Pink suffused Harry's cheeks but he resolutely refused to venture down that road. "If it makes you feel any better, those other few times were completely accidental."
"That doesn't make me feel better," Draco glowered back. "You already know how I feel about you and I know how you feel about me. We're both healthy sixteen-year-old boys and were it not for the fact that you have that testing sometime this afternoon, I can guarantee you wouldn't be able to walk right now."
Oh, Harry had no doubt that what Draco spoke was truth. He had already predicted he'd be bedridden for a few good weeks. And, if his suspicions were right about this passed little issue, well he assumed his stay had just been extended.
"And now that you know how I feel, and you know we are going to be married, I don't see the point in keeping what I feel to myself anymore." His hand slid up to Harry's face and stroked his cheek, startling the Angelus.
Harry had seen pretty much all of Draco's sides by now, but he was the most terrified of this new side—this kind of mushy side. Actually, he'd have preferred the other being angry at him to this. It just... didn't seem right. He hoped it was a passing thing because he didn't think he could cope with a completely-besotted-to-the-point-of-being-sickeningly-sweet Draco, who he was currently staring at.
Harry frowned up into Draco's serious slate grey eyes. "Are you sure, you haven't hit your head?" He asked the blonde, in concern.
"No," Draco snapped and shook him. Actually shook him. "I haven't hit my head."
This was more like it, Harry almost smiled. "Well now we've gotten over that—we had better hurry up."
"Just where are we going?" Draco asked, a little frostily.
This was where Harry got a little nervous. He didn't want to share just exactly where they were going because he knew that Draco would likely refuse. Uncertainly, the Gryffindor peered over at the blonde surreptitiously, only to discover the other's eyes already narrowed on him in suspicion.
"And you wonder why I react so strongly to everything you do," Draco groaned.
Harry wasn't sure whether he was meant to have heard the other's words or not. But decided to ask anyway. Bewildered he questioned, "What do you mean?"
"That look," Draco pointed out, appearing suddenly miserable.
It did nothing to help the baffled Nikolai heir. He blinked. "What are you talking about? What look?"
But the Slytherin just shook his head, looking vaguely disgusted. Though Harry was able to deduce that Draco's disgust was internal and not aimed at his ward. "And you have no idea that you're doing it," the blonde added, running a hand through his hair. Messing it up. "That's even better."
"Well sorry for whatever it is about me that upsets you," Harry retorted in an irritated puzzlement, prompting Draco to laugh.
"Oh, it doesn't upset me," the blonde boy assured Harry, as he offered the Angelus an almost leer. Really making Harry wonder if Draco had indeed switched personalities with Pan or if perhaps this had always been there, but very tightly reigned in. He was abruptly smirking. "And I doubt you realise the type of power you have with that look alone."
Deciding it was in his best interests to change the subject, Harry shot Draco a warning glance. "To answer your other question—since you won't make that potion for me as a backup plan and we have nothing better to do, we're going to visit Blaise."
"Why?" Draco questioned, his expression abruptly wiped blank. Even his emotions weren't much of an indicative of what he was feeling.
The Angelus gave his warder a blank stare. "You almost killed him," he replied, flatly. "If I hadn't intercepted, you would have succeeded. I think you owe him an apology. One of many, really, since your tormenting him was all based on assumptions that he and I were secretly shagging like bunnies."
Harry paused, deliberating whether he should ask his next question or not, since Draco was suddenly embarrassed and slightly annoyed. He was also refusing eye contact.
"How long did you suspect that?"
But Draco recrossed his arms and refused to answer.
"Fine," Harry sighed, irritated with the boy's childishness. Though he supposed Draco wouldn't like apologising to anyone and definitely not Blaise who was the lowest in the packing order. All things considered. Still, Harry had to resist the urge to call the blonde a name he wouldn't like in the least. "Don't answer, but whether you join me or not, I'm still going to visit him. Since I'm certain he can't have healed from the damage you dealt him, even with potions to aid in his healing process."
"The things I do for you," Draco muttered darkly, but didn't make a move to stop Harry or abandon him. Even though Harry knew that his warder would never desert him. He just wished he could somehow assure Draco of the same. "First sleeping on sofa's and now this."
Smirking, Harry shrugged off the attempt at sarcasm then cast the blonde a sidelong glance. "I could always have asked you to bo—"
"No," Draco cut in, severely. Apparently foreseeing exactly where Harry had intended to go with his sentence. "I would never agree to that. My mother would sooner beg a Muggle for assistance in redecorating the Manor."
Which was to say, never in a million years. Well, it was worth a shot.
"My father already believes I let you get away with far too much as it is," Draco continued and offered Harry a contemplative look. "I'm inclined to believe him. I do let you do practically anything that you want. I'm meant to restrict you—"
"You're meant to protect me," Harry frowned, not liking the idea of Draco becoming any more 'restrictive' than he already was. "And you don't let me get away with everything I want. You're always there telling me it's a bad idea or trying to get me to change my mind or outright using force to get me to co-operate."
Draco shot him an irritated look. "I've only used physical force on you a few times—"
"Oh, and pinning me to the ground when I wanted to go somewhere?" Harry asked, snidely. Recalling the time Ice had pinned him as Blitz, though of course neither feline had stayed in that form for long and Draco had ended up storming off in a strop because of Blaise. "To walls, the sofa, my bed?"
Draco's glare darkened. "Well forgive my enthusiasm, but you had just died!" He growled, heatedly. "And then you go and inform me that you hadn't a clue how I felt and that the argument we had had earlier wasn't for the same reasons I had initially believed—How was I supposed to act? Especially with you just lying there like an open invitation—"
"I was not!" The Nikolai bristled, indignantly. The way Draco had said that made him sound like a cheap tart.
Advancing on him, Draco smirked, "Oh but you were," he insisted, softly. His smirk only deepened when Harry's glower intensified. "All flushed after that modified pain reliever, eyes sparking with anger as you glared at me—" Harry immediately ceased his glare and Draco's expression warped into a smug superiority. "Then how you had felt as you lay beneath me—"
"I can't believe this," Harry muttered, unsure what he was feeling. Stunned, disturbed, angry? It was a strange combination of emotions that he found himself bombarded with, but he decided that disgusted worked just fine for this scenario. "I had just died and your main concern was that we hadn't had sex yet?"
At that, Draco looked about as dumbfounded as Harry had been. "I never said that—"
"But that's what you were working up to," Harry accused.
"No, you idiot Gryffindor," Draco snapped, irritably and pinched at the bridge of his nose in a very Snape-like manner. "What I meant was that you had died and all I could think about was that you hadn't really known how I felt about you. That if you hadn't somehow miraculously been revived, that I wouldn't have known and that you would have died thinking I loved someone else," he stated, lowly. His eyes dark, like he was daring Harry to mock him. "And were it not for your being drowsy after taking those potions, I would have shown you exactly how I felt."
Running a hand through his tousled locks, Harry let out a shaky sigh. "All right," he conceded, after pushing the nervous flutter in his stomach he was abruptly feeling aside. "So the bed thing wasn't a good example."
Draco peered at him in disbelief. "I just basically admitted to that fact that I had every intention of fu—"
"Would you keep it down, a little?" Harry interjected, as he cast a wary glance at the empty portrait of one of his ancestors. One of his Great-something a rather Uncle's. "That's not exactly something we want spread around the portraits like wildfire. Even if they are aware that you're my intended."
No more was said on the subject as the pair arrived at the door to Blaise's sick room. The wood, thick and heavy as Harry pressed the door open. Attempting to do so as quietly as he could, so he wouldn't disturb Blaise had he been asleep. Still, the large thing had let out a loud squeak that clearly startled the lone occupant to the room.
"Hey," Harry greeted as he drifted over to the prone form of Blaise. It was strange, to see the boy appearing so small and almost fragile amongst the sheets of the enormous seeming bed, but the Angelus prince had to admit, Blaise looked much better than earlier that day, if still a little drawn.
But Blaise's eyes had immediately fixed on Draco, who had followed Harry silently over the threshold to where the darker Invidian lay. Blaise's eyes then darted back to Harry, questioningly. "I had been told my room was warded," he spoke, sounding a little hoarse.
"The room is warded," the latter confirmed. "But I have access to all the rooms in the castle," he spared a look at his silent and once again brooding, blonde companion. "I assume Draco does as well."
Whatever colour Blaise may have retained, sudden evaporated like sweat in the desert.
Seeing this, Harry glowered over at Draco. Whose fault this clearly was. "The reason we're here," he eventually said, when he thought that his warder was sick of the glare, "was that Draco had something to say to you." Harry gave the boy a pointed look. "Draco?"
Scowling as darkly as Harry had been, the blonde stalked forward.
"I didn't—" Blaise immediately blurted.
"It's all right," Harry assured, though the glance Blaise shot at him was fearful. "Draco's not going to do anything and if he tries, I'll stop him again."
At that, Blaise gave him a considering look.
Draco looked mutinous. "The only reason you were able to stop me was because—"
Harry cleared his throat. "I'll just leave you to it, yeah?" He said, about to step outside and leave the two boys to work out their differences. Or rather, for Draco to apologise for his wrongdoing. Hastily he changed his mind when he saw Blaise was about to say something and looked seconds away from death. "I'll just be over here, by the door," he said and nodded to the open door, his digits still locked around the handle.
With a martyred expression, Draco turned to Blaise and the rest of what he said was lost as Harry turned his thoughts away.
He realised that Draco and Blaise hadn't really even gotten on but wondered how severely his own friendship would be strained with them now or whether it would mend itself since Draco's assumptions had been proven false. But would things go back to how they had been when it came to their pack? Ice had more or less chased Eclipse from the group and the Gryffindor had no idea of how that damage was to be repaired.
Was Blaise permanently exiled?
The Angelus' head snapped up suddenly, sensing something's swift approach.
"GET AWAY FROM THE DOOR!" Draco's voice thundered, even as he had flung it closed with a swish of his wand. As fast as he was, Harry had only managed to stumble back a few feet as the door slammed shut, shuddering violently and a burst of magic poured in from beneath the wood. Framing it in a ghostly light the colour of Harry's eyes.
The door was instantly shielded beneath layers of thick ice.
"Change our location!" Draco demanded, pulling Harry into the centre of the room, closest to Blaise. His eyes were fixed on the door, but he had an arm wrapped securely around the Angelus' chest and consequently, shielding his heart. "I knew this was a bad idea. I knew I shouldn't have let you leave the room—"
"Then maybe you should place me in a tower and just observe me from afar," Harry snapped, wrenching himself free of the other's grip but found himself spun around instead.
"It was my choice to leave my room," Harry pointed out, "and now I'll just have to live with the decision that maybe I made the wrong choice and should have stayed there. But you can't honestly expect me to just hide forever on the off chance I get my head cracked open by a stray Bludger or by some psychotic cult hell bent on my bloo—"
"Do you even know what spell that they just cast at you?" Draco asked him, savagely. His eyes were like ruthless mirrors of silver and his fingers were digging in to Harry's shoulders painfully. Fear and desperation pulsed through him like a sick, oily current. "Do you?" He didn't wait for an answer. "Change our location. NOW!"
"The dimensions of the castle don't quite work like that," Harry ground out, resisting the urge to yell right back. "I only have complete power in the library. I can't just place this room in a totally different corridor at will, the castle doesn't have that much magic to do that. It will only gradually change upon what I want. Corridors change at random placing me closer to a destination I want or further from somewhere. It won't place me directly where I want to go. You should know this."
Blaise, who until minutes ago hadn't looked quite strong enough to get out of bed, levered himself up and then tried to stand. "There's two—"
"Both Angelus," Draco confirmed, darkly. "Under Incognito..." His eyes narrowed and then he was glancing back at the door, his expression considering. "Raeda."
Almost immediately, the elf appeared with a bow, but Draco as was usual, had no patience for her. "Summon the Guards," he ordered. "They are to be informed that there has been an attempt on their Heir's life and are to cordon off all escapes from the corridor leading to this room. And I want all the Angelus guests questioned as to their whereabouts and their seals checked."
With a bob, the elf vanished.
"Seals, Malfoy?" Blaise asked, sounding a little incredulous. It was good to see that he was already recovering that spine of his. Or perhaps it was due to this new threat that he'd temporarily forgotten his previous worries about Draco. "That's a bit rude—" He cut himself off at the fierce look Draco gave him. "I suppose insulting the guests is of little importance when it comes to this," he voiced softly, glancing between the bonded pair.
If he noticed anything more off than usual when it came to them, he kept his silence
Wise of him, Harry reflected. "But what do you mean by seals?" He asked. His own eyes narrowed on the door as he felt the subtle shift and Draco relaxed, to some extent.
"The room must have moved," the blonde frowned.
Blaise glanced over at Harry then shook his head. "You can't honestly believe that Lord Demetrius would just allow that many Angelus into his home unchecked?" He queried in disbelief. "A Seal is just basically a miniature monitoring charm, to ensure an Angelus doesn't use Incognito while here. It doesn't stop them from using it but lets us know if it has been used.
"I believe both Lord Demetrius and Lord Lucius cast a combined seal on all of the Angelus in attendance. If a Seal was broken and replaced by another caster, they would know when the Seal is checked—and after this, well I congratulate them for their insight."
Harry shook his head. "But why would whoever attacked us risk being found out that way? Unless they didn't care if they got caught. That—"
"They were certain of the kill," Draco finished for him, stonily. The clenched fists at his sides shook with rage. Blood trickled from them, where his nails bit into the flesh of his palms. The scent of it was nearly enough to make Harry jump him. "And when they've been caught," Draco promised Harry, with a malicious smirk, "I have every intention of ensuring they don't get another chance."
Feeling the bloodlust pouring from his warder, the Angelus also suspected that Draco's victims were likely to suffer much before their passing.
Harry decided to leave the blonde to his scheming.
It was then that Raeda popped back into the room, her large eyes looked watery. Almost like she was about to burst into tears. "Master Demetrius is be saying that Master Harry and Master Draco is to be going to the ballroom now. Does the young masters is be wanting anything from Raeda?"
"That's fine," Harry spoke before Draco could. "Thank-you."
With a hesitant look and then a bob, the little elf vanished with a pop. Her ingrained manners never failed to amaze Harry, although he was curious as to her hesitancy.
"I don't like it," Draco voiced, glancing broodingly at the door that was very slowly defrosting. He had folded his arms across his chest and was frowning. "After what just happened, they shouldn't be calling us. Not for what I think they are. Not unless this is something big."
"Which it probably is," Blaise added, unhelpfully.
Harry had been thinking along the same lines but didn't want to voice his thoughts. Instead, he let his senses wander. Trying to pick up the magical signatures from those of the Guard and wasn't too surprised when he wasn't able to sense any. All of them had been under a Stasis ward since before their guests' arrival.
He could, however, sense the various guests through the dimensional shifts. Although, as always it was difficult pinpointing an exact location for any of them.
"Why are they summoning you? Shouldn't you be getting ready for tonight's ball?" Blaise abruptly asked. "I'm in here one day and I manage to miss out on everything that's going on out there."
Instead of answering, Harry turned aside. "We had better go," he sighed and tried to push his unease away. Was it him, or did disaster after disaster just seem to keep stacking up on top of the last? And he could see no resolution in sight as the top most always took priority. He was also going to have to tell Draco about the prophecy very soon. That was something he wasn't particularly looking forward to, but it had to be done.
Shifting slightly, he found himself back under his warder's scrutiny. "And off to the gallows, it is," he muttered.
"I'll just wait here then," Blaise called to the pair, as they turned to leave him. He wriggled himself down beneath his covers and fluffed his pillows in exaggeration. Harry wished he could just go back to bed. "And good luck, for whatever it is you're doing."
Luck, Harry very quickly realised, apparently wasn't on his side as he surveyed the face's of those belonging to the Elders'.
As he had predicted when he had just heard of them, they indeed reminded him of the members from the Wizengamot—but older. Their once youthful faces, lined with age. Their hair in varying stages of white and greying and their eyes held no kindness at all, only a wisdom that surpassed his years and expressions that made him feel like cattle brought at the market. Like they were weighing his worth and found him to be lacking.
Harry took an instant dislike to most of them.
Especially the tall Angelus with the light blue eyes. Her silvered haired pulled back from her severe face, made up of all planes and angles giving her a bold, masculine sort of beauty as opposed to his Aunt's soft and delicate features. Harry especially hated the woman's horrid voice with her heavy clipped accent that he barely understood except when she made snide remarks.
"This was all a farce to put off the inevitable!" One of the other Elder's roared suddenly.
Harry decided maybe he hated him more than than woman.
"Is that why you refuse to allow Demetrius or myself to test your Seal?" Lucius asked softly. He looked almost like he was carved from ice and Harry could tell the man was moments away from losing his temper. "Why you refuse to allow those of your family to be tested? Because this is all a farce to shame and disgrace those in attendance?"
The Elder, Lord De Vries, muttered something under his breath but said no more.
"I still say the boy's a tramp," one of the Elders muttered lowly. But not low enough that Harry and all those with him didn't hear. He turned to see a woman who looked vaguely familiar with age dulled sapphire eyes..
"What was that, Barichet?" Draco snarled, as he stood from his seat. The first one to react at the open slur against Harry's name. "You'd dare besmirch a name you aren't even worthy of speaking? You, who can't even control your own Granddaughter whose been ridden more than the Hogwarts Express!"
"How dare you?!" The woman shrieked, her nostrils flaring.
"Melinda," Selene intoned, coldly. At his side, Harry could see her fingers gripping at her robes beneath the table, as though it were a throat. "That is our heir that you are so willing to slander. The future king of our people, I would be very careful of what you say—even your status as an Elder will not save you if you continue down your current path or if Harry's warder finds you a threat.
"Nor do I believe you have a right to point fingers when what Draconis spoke was truth. Your granddaughter's exploits are well known to the entire Court. I would not be singing her praises were I you. Especially since Harry has been falsely accused of infidelity."
"He has yet to be proven innocent," said another woman. Though she wasn't accusing, merely stating a fact.
"And perhaps we would have moved on to that by now," Demetrius spoke, icily, "were it not for the childishness that supposed adults are currently displaying. You were all made perfectly aware of the conditions that you were to set foot within the grounds and agreed upon this." His eyes flashed gold. "You Sealed upon it, and now you refuse to honour your part of the agreement?"
The woman who had spoken before him stood and bowed. Her russet hair, more silver than brown, fell forward as she did so. "I have so been Sealed in accordance to your wish and by our contract will allow you to examine it and those of mine, freely," she spoke, formally and beckoned the younger members of her family forward.
This, only started an uproar.
One that was very quickly helping along the distant throb of Harry's head as he listened to grown adults squabble over a promise that they had made and by a law they created. That they were supposed to adhere.
His Uncle Demetrius had been right in saying that the Elder's were trouble when it came to wanting to do anything. They couldn't even seem to agree on anything and reminded him of Dudley fighting over who had the nicest lunch with his gang. Observing them, Harry had no issues in seeing why the nobles of his own race were constantly at the throat of one another. Just look what they had for role models.
"—have just killed them all."
Harry turned to Draco. "Did you say something?"
"No," the blonde replied, turning to look at him, confused. "I didn't say anything. Why do you ask?"
"I could have sworn you did," Harry frowned but shook his head and pressed his fingers to his temples as the pain began to spike. He'd be glad when it was all over. When they'd all just leave him be, but turned as he felt Draco's hand on his shoulder.
"Are you all right?" The blonde questioned, in concern.
Harry nodded, regretting it not a moment later. "Just my head," he replied.
Fishing around in his robes for a second or two, Draco withdrew a small vial of golden liquid. "I thought this might come in handy," he said, then passed it to Harry. His hand lingering.
Downing the vial, Harry grinned. "My own personal drug dealer."
It was in the bedlam that Pan waltzed into the hall and suddenly there was an unnatural and profound silence. A muteness so complete that Harry was unable to hear his own heart beating and it was almost as though time had frozen in place, with all the guests mid-argument and Draco, mid touch.
For a terrifying moment, Harry had thought that this was the effect of his supposed bond to Pan, but saw to his great relief that he wasn't alone, as all the other guests seemed to pause. Draco too, was unnerved and furious at his cousin's appearance. There was also a tendril of jealousy—prickly and poisonous, steadily growing within him.
Without looking at him, Harry placed a hand on the blonde's thigh.
Was the loud and rather rude exclamation that abruptly ended the silence. It was also due to this exclamation that Harry very quickly found himself the centre of attention once more, as everyone within the room gaped at him. Well, not so much him as something that was apparently above him.
And Harry was so certain he had died and gone to hell as he glanced up and saw the word floating above his head in pure white, but that wasn't the only loud shriek to be heard, as all others in the ballroom suddenly had their own state of virtue suddenly put on display. Some that quite frankly, was simply horrifying.
Bernadette, one of the Lady's of the Invidian Court had slapped her husband soundly across the face. Above his head he bore the word 'ADULTERER'in bright florescent pink and just under that, the name of whom he'd been with. And this scene, was repeated in various degrees all over the court.
Though the one Harry found the most disturbing was Elder, Lord De Vries. The man had apparently slept with his own young daughter, who sat crying at the edge of the pandemonium. Her mother too shocked to know what to do, had simply fainted.
Then there were the two that had a fetish for bestiality that Harry just really didn't want to go into. How was one meant to perform that with a giraffe?
The only people untouched by this spell were the Two Kings and Queens—everyone else it appeared was fair game. Including Pan himself, who strutted about bearing his spectacular title and list of conquests like a peacock his feathers.
Draco, Harry noticed, who was slightly pink in the face also bore the shimmering white state of 'VIRGIN' as did all but a few of the young Court members in attendance. Harry noted with some interest that one boy was Ryan, one of his apparent suitors.
"I guess this clears me," the Gryffindor stated, his face resting on the knuckles of his hand as he watched the Lords and Ladies of Court make idiots of themselves.
Not all of them, of course. There were an equal amount of those who were watching the chaos as raptly at Harry himself. The First Angelus woman who had agreed to be tested was among those. She winked at him as their eyes met across the room and Harry returned the friendly gesture with a smile.
It was nice to see not all of the Elders were crazy old fools and that not all of them were against him.
"I'd say this clears you, Harry," Draco agreed, lowly. He appeared to be watching the goings on with as much interest as the Gryffindor, except Harry wasn't fooled. He knew that the blonde was still tense due to the fact that the two who had attempted the killing curse on them in the Sick wing, were being detained down in the lower dungeons of the castle where he wasn't able to venture to just yet. That it was more than likely that the pair had a third accomplice. Possibly more. Draco's grey eyes never stopped scanning the crowd.
"Like my show?" Pan asked, with a grand gesture at the hubbub.
Draco was instantly out of his seat.
"Draco!" Harry leapt up after him, to stop the blonde boy from diving over the table for his stupidly smirking older cousin. Latching on to Draco's arm, the Gryffindor hauled him back down. "Remember what your father said," he hissed, lowly so Pan heard nothing. Letting his eyes settle on the snowy-haired boy, Harry released his hold but continued to lean into Draco. "Very creative, Pan."
The boy smirked, though it seemed somehow half-hearted at best. His eyes, Harry saw, had been very quick to note the exaggerated closeness of the two. "I thought so," he agreed.
"And I approve," Harry stated, his fingers gently ghosting over Draco's hidden thigh and was quite possibly the only thing that kept the blonde from diving over the table—as Harry still knew the boy was wanting to do—and leaving Pan in a state very much like Blaise's. As it was, the boy was tense. "But what I'm interested in knowing, is why this particular prank and now?"
"Yes, Torrez," Draco drawled condescendingly. His eyes merciless chips of ice. "Do tell."
As far as Harry had been informed upon arrival, was that the questioning of his purity lay with only those of the Elders despite his earlier assumptions. No one else had been made aware until they themselves had entered the room and then, the information had only been leaked because Lord De Vries couldn't keep his mouth shut.
Harry smirked inwardly. Wasn't karma a bitch?
From the corner of his eye, Harry caught his Aunt's look and knew that she, and quite possibly his Uncle, were listening in.
"I heard that the Elders were acting out of line," Pan grinned. His eyes flashing deviously. "That accusations were being tossed around like a Quaffle, so I thought why not reveal them for the animals that they really are? Most of them belong in a menagerie anyway—" his eyes turned on something and narrowed. "—though preferably away from the giraffes."
"Kickers, I hear," Demetrius added, thoughtfully.
Selene glanced at him, horrified.
Lucius turned then, apparently loosing interest in the scene before him and to see what Demetrius was talking about.
That is, until Lucius spotted Pan, then his face soured considerably.
Pan, simultaneously seemed to realised he'd been noticed by his Uncle and took a hasty step back. "Well, now I've had my fun I've gotta blaze. Though you might want to make note of Alexsei," he suggested with an elaborate bow before the the group of royalty. "Now his list of conquests is really quite impressive," he finished, blowing Harry a kiss and vanished into the crowd before Lucius could erupt.
Narcissa, on the other hand had clearly been watching the interaction from the beginning as well and spoke before her husband could. "It seems Pandarius is the one to take credit for our current entertainment," she said and, glancing briefly at the still warring hall added, "and what a production it is."
"Enough perhaps, that their allegations might be seen as minor in comparison?" Selene was quick to inquire. Her violet eyes gleaming.
Lucius' smirk was positively evil and Harry knew that was where Draco picked his up from. But on Draco it looked rather hot, even if malicious. Turning to glance at the blonde he found the other giving him a smug, knowing look and Harry glanced away. Feeling his cheeks heat.
"How can they speak of Draco breaking protocol when what they have performed is no better?" Lucius answered, looking victorious.
"This goes against their injunction..." Demetrius murmured with a grin.
Harry got the gist of what was being said but wasn't sure on which 'injunction' that was being discussed. He hadn't ever quite been able to remember all the cursed laws that were in place in his own clan Court let alone the combined one. "What are they talking about, Draco?"
But Draco was smirking, too. "In simplistic terms, the Elders forfeited their say on who you were to be warder bound to. Their grounds was that I was too... unstable. That I was incapable of rational thought when it came to being warder bound to you—and in some ways this is right—but by what has happened here, they have turned their own grounds against them.
"They deemed me as unfit to be your warder and now by what's happened, they can be seen as 'unfit' to make that decision, since over half of them are hardly acting in a rational manner befitting of their titles presently. Leaving us with a victory in a majority rules sort of way.
"While it is true that in the end both my parents and your Uncle and Aunt make the final decisions when it comes to their people, it must still be done within the laws that we live by. Going against this can mean wars. It may even lead to a dethroning. Executions—"
Harry felt all the colour bleed from his face. "You never told me all that could happen—"
"But I did," Draco refuted, softly. "I told you that I'd be willing to fight them to keep your bond and had meant it literally. My father also said this. Maybe it was selfishness on my part for dragging both our families into it—but I wasn't going to give your bond up. And I won't deny that things would have been difficult given the way our clans are made but..." He trailed off.
"We have our allies and our enemies," Draco started again, brushing an errant lock of hair out of Harry's eyes, "just as you do and this would have defined them more clearly. But all that would only have come to pass if we weren't able to find a solution."
It was almost enough to make Harry throw up all over again, but this time for a totally different reason. Draco had been quite willing to start war over him. A war in which both their clan's would have been pitted against each other. There was something innately wrong with that. "The Invidian's would end up being bond to an Angelus? In order to remove their restrictions and fight us?"
Draco inclined his head. "It would be the only way they could enter into a duel to the death against an Angelus. To protect their bonded."
That reminded Harry of something else he had almost forgotten. Something he had been informed of what seemed like a lifetime ago. Withdrawing his wand, he cast a quick scrambling ward. The kind that Hermione had used, before he spoke next. "I was told that in the lower classes, that this instinct to protect us was growing thin."
"It is," Draco acknowledged, giving Harry a thoughtful look. "Though we have found a way to get around this and strengthen that instinct. It's been a long time coming, but we've had a mild breakthrough on that."
"And Voldemort?" Harry queried, unsure where that had come from exactly. He blinked at himself in surprise at his own question. "Why haven't we dealt with him yet? From what I've seen, those of the Sovereign Guard would be more than enough."
The glance Draco fixed on Harry next was unnerving. Almost like he knew what Harry was thinking when the Gryffindor wasn't even sure what that was. "The Guard would be more than enough," the blonde agreed, his sharp eyes still adhered to Harry's. "Don't think we haven't attempted before but he is unable to be located. We've had Angelus try to sense him out. But they were unable to, we were told that his signature was fragmented. Unreadable."
Fragmented, Harry's mind echoed. Just like his soul.
"Is it possible that our magic and soul are linked?" Was Harry's next question. He wasn't quite certain where his thoughts were carrying him, but he just knew that he was heading down the right path to some kind of epiphany.
"It has always been assumed, somewhat," Draco said, sounding this time a little hesitant, his countenance pensive. "Our magic has always been linked with the core of who we are and it has been presumed numerous times that ones' soul is in fact what grants us the power to use magic, that it may even be our magical core—"
"So," Harry began then paused as he tried to gather his thoughts. "Theoretically, an Angelus can sense anyone's soul? As long as it meets specific requirements—such as being able to use magic?" He was going to need to test that theory, since he hadn't been able to read magical auras when he had been with the Dursleys. Perhaps he'd even be able to track down a Muggle based on their soul alone?
If that was all true, he had an even better weapon than Dumbledore when it came to finding Voldemort's horcruxes. Fragmented, Draco had said. Which was obviously why the other Angelus' had never pursued it, but Harry would since he knew the reasons behind the anomaly of a split magical aura.
"Possibly," Draco frowned. "What's made you so interested in this all of a sudden?"
"Curiosity," Harry replied, simply. The arch of Draco's brow let Harry know that he wasn't believed. Crossing his arms over his chest, the Angelus huffed and went back to watching the crowd.
There was still plenty of time before he told Draco everything. Before Draco attempting to lock him in that imaginary tower...
With that, his mind flickered back to Pan.
Harry had to wonder if the boy knew the whole story before he had gone and pranked the entire hall. Both clearing Harry of any accusations against him as well as somehow proving the Court to be unfit in making their own decisions; at least, for the meantime. That he had possibly saved both clans from rebelling. Had swayed their clans from what he knew would likely have ended in bloodshed.
"You realise we owe him," the Angelus prince voiced quietly. It was hardly something that he wanted to think about but it couldn't be helped as his eyes fell on the snowy-haired Invidian, leaning against the back of the hall wrapped in an air of smug satisfaction. His pale-jade eyes however, were locked on Harry and for once the Angelus wasn't able to read what he saw in them.
Draco, who was also looking at Pan—albeit through suspicious, narrowed eyes—nodded stiffly. "I know," he muttered, bitterly. A hand already buried in Harry's sable locks, combing through them absently. "And so does he."
And before anyone says anything: There is no Triad-bond. I don't do threesomes. Especially those that are incestuous. Besides which, Draco and Pan? -Ick. Pan doesn't feel that way about Draco and the latter absolutely loathes his cousin. His hatred is about equal to that of his loathing of Voldemort, especially after the bond-mate thing.
Any other questions, shoot :)