I spread my wings, and keep my promise

A/N; From Phoenix Catcher. I want to apologise now for the delay on the update and also for the upcoming delay between this one and the next because I am due to go away again until late September. Sorry to all for the delay.

Chapter 4; I don't want to be even

Five days. It had been five days since John watched Harry kill a man that he later learned was a werewolf. Five days since John learned Harry was a wizard. Five days since he'd last seen him.

John couldn't fault Harry for what he'd done to Greyback. He couldn't fault Harry for protecting his children. But Harry had been so cold. John had never imagined that Harry could be like that. And magic? Magic was real. Harry was a wizard. He missed Harry fiercely and constantly wondered what the other man was doing. He wondered if Harry was hurt or angry at the words he had hurled at him in anger and fear of the confession he was making. Magic! John was still having a difficult time reconciling it, but he believed it without a doubt and now that he'd calmed down he regretted his initial reaction.

Five days after he'd learned Harry was a wizard John gathered the courage to go and see him. He'd gone for a drive to clear his head and ended up at Harry's home before he realized he was going there. Cody opened the front door and looked at John blankly.

"Hi, Cody."

"Why are you here? Have you come to shout at my father again?" Cody raised an eyebrow at John's surprise, "Yeah, I heard what you said to him. I wanted to talk to him before I went to bed so I came downstairs. Don't bother, Major," Cody said coldly, "My dad doesn't need you for a friend. He has friends. He has loyal friends who care about him."

"Cody! Who are you talking to so disrespectfully?"A stern faced woman with glasses on the edge of her nose and a tight bun at the base of her neck came to stand behind Cody. She peered at John for a moment. "Can I help you, young man?"

"Is Harry here?"

Her eyes narrowed, "And who are you, exactly?"

"That's John. Major Sheppard, I mean," Cody said amended coldly, "He used to be friends with dad. More than friends, maybe," Cody said accusingly. John was completely taken back by the normally shy and mild mannered boy. Cody stared at him with anger and betrayal in his green eyes. John wondered if Harry was as angry as his son. It was like looking at a enraged miniature version of Harry.

"Mind your manners," the woman scolded Cody before addressing John in a much softer tone, "I'm sorry, Harry isn't here."

"Will you tell him I came by?" John almost winced at the hopeful tone in his voice.

Her expression softened for a moment, "We don't expect him back in the immediate future. He's taken an emergency assignment in New Mexico."

"Is it dangerous?" John asked before he could stop himself.

Cody scowled at him, "It's magical, if that's what you're asking."

"Cody!" the woman objected, "I've never seen you be so rude in your life. What has come over you? Go and fetch your grandmother."

Cody glared at John one final time before disappearing inside the house. The woman offered him a tight smile. "I'm Minerva McGonagall, an old family friend. I've come to stay with Andromeda and the boys until Harry returns. And so has he. That's Alastor Moody," she gestured behind him. John turned to see a scarred man with a wooden eye leaning heavily on a staff and observing him. The man grunted a greeting. "Really, Alastor. He's a muggle."

"Constant vigilance," the man barked before limping past John and Minerva and into the house.

Andromeda joined Minerva at the door and looked surprised, but was pleased to see John, "Come in, John. I'll make you a cup of tea."

He shook his head and couldn't help wondering if Andromeda had overheard their argument as well. Did the things he had said offend her? Was she disappointed? "I...I just came to see if Harry was here. I didn't know he was away."

Her next words confirmed that she was unaware of their argument, "Well, it was unexpected, but I did remind him to call you. I think he was a little frazzled. You wouldn't have heard, but there's a basilisk loose in New Mexico. They asked Harry to deal with it. Did he tell you he could talk to snakes?"

John shook his head, "No, it didn't come up. It… it sounds really dangerous."

Minerva seemed to take pity on him, "Harry's dealt with basilisks before, starting when he was twelve. He knows how to handle them. In fact, most basilisks are peaceful by nature. They have a second eyelid that allows them to look at living creatures without killing them, but people are still terrified. When they enter populated areas, Harry goes and explains to the basilisk how frightened the people are of them and asks them to allow him to relocate them to an unpopulated area. It's safer for everyone involved."

John stared at her blankly and Andromeda chuckled, "Minerva, he isn't one of your students." Andromeda again invited him to stay for tea, but John did not allow himself to be persuaded. He was too embarrassed to be around Cody and a little intimidated by the strangers. He'd never seen anyone who looked like Alastor before. Harry, Andy and Minerva looked normal enough, but John still wondered if most magical people looked like Alastor.

John took to driving by Harry's house and checking for any sign that he had returned until one day he saw a figure he recognized as Harry standing unmoving on the front porch facing the door. John approached him and spoke once he was halfway up the steps to the front porch.

"Hey. I've been coming by a lot since you left. I was hoping I'd be able to tell in some way if you'd returned from New Mexico. It probably sounds kind of pathetic," he admitted, "I haven't been able to stop thinking about the last time I saw you and how poorly I reacted." John took another step up. "I want to apologize."

Harry stiffened. "Have I offended you so much that you won't look at me? Are you that angry?" John approached Harry. "Harry, are you okay? If you want me to leave then I will, but can you turn around and talk to me for a minute? Are you okay?"

When Harry still did not respond, John gently turned him and his eyes widened in surprise at the other man's appearance. Harry's eyes were unfocused. He was covered in dirt and soot and his arms and face were burnt. "Harry? What happened to you?"

Harry's eyes focused on his face, "John? Am I home? How did I get here? The...the last thing I remember is the fire."

"Harry," he whispered, "Oh my god, what happened to you? Let me take you to the hospital."

Harry moved away as the other man's hands reached for him, "Don't touch me."


"No. I don't need your help. I don't want your help! Not you."

"Harry, you're hurt. Are you really going to go inside like that? Where your sons might see you? How do you think they'd handle it? You'll terrify Cody."

Harry sobered at the thought of frightening his sons. "Yeah," he said softly.

"Come home with me."

"With you? I'm trying to respect that you don't want me around you, John, but it's difficult when you show up at my house and Merlin I could curl up into your arms and not move for hours."

"Don't push me away and you can. Come with me until you're well enough to enter your home without upsetting your children." John gently wrapped his arms around the other man. John felt the tension leave his body when Harry didn't object. He buried his nose in Harry's thick locks and inhaled deeply. He'd missed this. He'd missed Harry. When Harry didn't pull away John ran a hand through his dark locks until he came to a section matted with what he immediately worried was dried blood. He held Harry's face with his hands and tilted it upwards to look into his green eyes. "Harry, did you hit your head?"

"I'm not sure. Probably," Harry admitted.

"Let me take you to the hospital."

"I'm a wizard, John. I can heal myself. I'm already healing myself. Don't concern yourself with it. Just…just go away," He said tiredly.

"Fine," John said softly and without releasing Harry, "Come with me or go inside and frighten your sons, if you think you can walk there by yourself. Your choice."

They both knew it wasn't really a choice at all. Harry would never risk frightening his children and probably wouldn't be able to make it into the house unsupported. Harry allowed John to help him into the passenger seat, but he ignored the soft questions John sent his was as he drove. John wasn't sure if Harry was too angry with him to discuss what had happened or if he just wasn't up to it. John helped Harry into his apartment and Harry only acknowledged his presence when John brought a damp cloth to wipe his face by swatting his hands away. John's lips tightened in annoyance.

"This is getting ridiculous. Stop being stubborn."

"Then stop touching me," Harry practically snarled, "Fuck, Pan. I get it. You always seem to think the worst of me. There are too many misunderstandings between us. I saved you from having your memory tampered with, at the expense of our friendship, and you've spared me from upsetting my children. We're even."

"No. I don't want to be even. I don't want to keep track. I just want to do this as your friend and have you accept it. I was scared, Harry. I was just scared. But I should have listened to what you were trying to tell me. I should have heard you out instead of running away. If you're still willing to tell me..."

"Not hardly."

John stood, "You're being unreasonable."

John was a few feet away from Harry when the other man spoke, "He had a dispute with Remus' father John and turned Remus into a werewolf as revenge. Remus was only six. Ever since then Greyback had a sick obsession with him. When Remus died Teddy became his obsession. I wasn't going take the chance that he'd be able to get to Teddy. You've never seen anyone turn into a werewolf, let alone a child. It's horrifying to watch and excruciatingly painful to experience. It doesn't get easier with age. There is no cure. I'm not sorry I killed Greyback. And I'm not sorry I revealed magic to you. I'm not sorry I hid you from them. Even though you despise me."

"I do not! I'm your friend. I may not have been a good one, but I don't despise you." John practically shouted, "Why won't you believe me? Harry-" he hesitated, "What happened in New Mexico? Did something go wrong? Minerva told me that you've dealt with basilisks before."

Harry shuddered, "This one was more stubborn than most and refused to go. Basilisks don't really like humans and they never object to being moved away from. She didn't trust me at first, so I had to prove myself before she would tell me why. Eventually she showed me her nest and I promised her I could move her and the eggs without harming any of them. She agreed to let me take her elsewhere, but the eggs were beginning to hatch and we decided to wait until after the hatching to move them. But it took too long for the townspeople and they were terrified." Harry's voice acquired a hard edge, "Or maybe they just greedy. They magically and physically sealed the cave where the nest was. They came back for me when they realized I was inside the cave. I hit my head struggling against them. I could hear the basilisk and her children screaming as they burned in the fire. They took my wand and held me down until all that remained of the nest was a smouldering ruin and carcasses. I went mad when they began to harvest the carcasses. They tried to reason with me, but I refused to swear an Oath of Silence. I'm not exactly sure what they were going to do to me, but I didn't stay around to find out. I overpowered them. I got my wand and the next thing I remember is you coming up behind me on the front porch."

"Come here." Harry didn't object when John wrapped him in an embrace, but he didn't return it either. Harry met his gaze when John pressed a kiss to his forehead.

"My emotions are out of control," Harry admitted, "I don't even know what I'm saying to you. I don't mean it. I was never angry with you. I'm angry with myself for frightening you."

"Harry you have every right to be angry about what happened. And at me."

"Things seemed like they were going well between us. I don't trust my family with just anyone. But you've been a good friend to all of us."

John took a deep breath, "I've doubted you twice. I won't again."

Harry shook his head, "No. Don't. Don't promise me that. There's a lot you don't know about me."

"Tell me."

Harry's eyes widened and he shook his head almost wildly, "No. No. I can't. John-"

"Okay. Okay, you don't have to. But I won't doubt you again," John insisted, "I promise. Our friendship means a lot to me, Harry."

Harry shook his head slowly, "I can't talk about this right now. I'm so tired. I need to sleep. I'm not rejecting you," he said slowly, "but I need to…. Please…"

John put his hands on Harry's shoulders, "Whatever you want. Whatever you need." Harry's eyes closed and he swayed before pitching forwards. John caught him easily and manoeuvred him so that he was able to lift him into his arms. He carried Harry into his bedroom and removed his shoes, socks, jacket and belt before tucking him in. He watched Harry sleep, his chest rising and falling at even intervals and after a few hours John noticed that his injuries seemed to be healing of their own accord.

"I'm going to be a better friend to you, Harry," John said softy, "I promise."


A week later

Andromeda tapped her foot to the beat of the song. Kreacher wrung his hands in grief as Andromeda cleaned the library. She hummed as she dusted the bookshelves and ignored Kreacher's mumbling. "Why must my mistress be distressing poor Kreacher? Why doesn't my mistress trust Kreacher to be cleaning the master's library?"

"The mama pajama rolled out of bed and she ran to the police station. When the papa found out he began to shout and he started the investigation. It's against the law." She sung.

Kreacher moaned loudly. He wrung his hands once more before running from the room. He found his master and the Major in the backyard raking leaves together. He threw himself at his master's feet.

"Mistress be doing it again. Master must be stopping Kreacher's mistress!"

John looked mildly alarmed by the display, but Harry just smiled, "What's Andy up to now, Kreacher?"

"Mistress be one of the purest of the purebloods. She be a daughter of the most Noble and Ancient House of Black! She mustn't be cleaning! Mistress mustn't! It be unseemly!"

Harry smiled at the wrinkled house elf fondly, "Is she singing too?"

Kreacher twitched, "My mistress be singing to muggle music."

Harry winced, "Why don't you work on the garden for a bit, Kreacher. For the sake of your ears and all that."

Kreacher blinked owlishly at Harry, his agitation changing into disapproval, "The master be making fun of the mistress again. The mistress tells Kreacher to be telling her if the master does so. What should Kreacher do? Kreacher can't be helping the mistress refuse the master his dinner!"

Harry chuckled, "Tell you what, Kreacher, you go work on the garden and I'll tell her that she has a rotten singing voice. Is it a deal?"

Kreacher walked towards the garden, "The master is naughty to say things about the mistress. Kreacher be thinking the mistress won't be feeding the master any dinner. Kreacher be sneaking some for the master when the mistress isn't looking."

Harry watched the old house elf go walk towards the garden with a fond smile on his face. "He fought in the war too."

John looked away from the house elf and back to Harry, "What war?"

Harry was still staring at Kreacher, "He used to hate me. But he changed and he rallied the other house elves to fight in my name. He was more devastated then anyone when Ginny and I broke up. He sulked for weeks. He wanted more children in my household."

John frowned, "Harry, what war are you talking about?"

Harry blinked, "The war that killed Teddy's parents, my parents and Andy's husband. It started before I was born. There was a reprieve until I turned eleven and then it started again and went on until I ended it when I was seventeen."

"Did this happen in England?" John asked gently.

Harry nodded, "Yeah. It was hell."

"War is always hell," John said softly.


"Your parents were soldiers?"

Harry nodded, "You could say that. Teddy's parents too."

"And Andy's husband?"

Harry shook his head, "No. He was a muggle. But they killed him anyway. I only met him once, but he was a good man. He and Andy must have really loved each other," Harry elaborated at John's frown, "I didn't meet Andy until after Teddy's parents died and the war ended."

"But you were just a kid then. How could you be involved in the war?"

"All my friends were involved the war," Harry said quietly, "Everyone was involved in some way. Children too, whether or not they wanted to be. But I was the king. We were all just chess pieces in the end." Harry sighed. "Let's take a break." He dropped his rake and tugged John by the hand towards the hammock.

They reclined on the hammock together. Harry dozed off and on, curling into John's side. His peaceful expression brought a smile to John's face. Since returning from New Mexico, it had taken Harry a while to relax and calm down. He'd been noticeably jumpy and on edge for days afterwards. John had remained true to his vow and done everything in his power to support Harry. Cody was still angry with him, but John didn't think anyone else had noticed. He was waiting for the right opportunity to resolve the problem with the young man. He knew he owed Cody and apology and an explanation, but would Cody understand the kind of fear John had felt? Cody had grown up around magic. Was he too accustomed to it to understand that it might be frightening?

Harry shifted in his sleep. John gently ran his fingertips across Harry's cheek. He'd been with Harry almost constantly since he returned from New Mexico, but they'd barely touched each other. They certainly hadn't advanced past the kisses they'd shared earlier. John thought about advancing their physical relationship more and more and wondered if Harry was thinking along similar lines. Was he still interested? Was it too late for them to be anything past friends?

Bright green eyes opened slowly and Harry smiled. "Did I fall asleep?"

John nodded, "Yeah. For a while."

"Sorry I'm not being very entertaining. I make you help me with my yardwork and then fall asleep on you," Harry laughed softly.

"I don't mind," John said honestly, "You should still be taking it easy. But I don't mind helping. Or watching you sleep. I don't mind at all."


"I certainly wouldn't say no to the opportunity to watch you sleep some more."

A slow smile spread across his features, "I wouldn't either."

"Do the master and the Major be needing anything?"

Harry turned away from John to smile at the house elf, "We're fine, thanks Kreacher." From his reclined position beside Harry sitting in the hammock sideways, John watched the house elf return to keeping an eye on Teddy and Cody as they climbed up a tree. John took his sunglasses off and frowned in concern at how high the boys were getting.

"Um, Harry, maybe they shouldn't go that high?"

Harry followed his gaze and chuckled, "The branches and the ground are covered with cushioning charms and I placed a deceleration charm on both the boys. If that doesn't cover it, Kreacher can prevent them from getting hurt with his magic."

Feeling both foolish and awed, John replaced his sunglasses and leaned back on the hammock. It seemed like he was surrounded by magic. It was unnoticeably woven into every aspect of Harry's life. John wondered what other magic was around that he wasn't noticing. Besides being introduced to Kreacher, a creature even stranger than Alastor Moody, nothing had noticeably changed now that John knew Harry was a wizard. John wondered if that's just the way it was or if Harry was worried about frightening him away. John frowned at that thought. Harry caught his attention when he interlaced their fingers and brought his free hand up to shield his eyes. "Hey, John?"


"Do you have plans tonight?"

"No. Why?"

"How about we have dinner at your place tonight?"

"Yeah?" John smiled, "Sounds like a good idea."

There was a shout of surprise and both men looked up in time to see Cody jump from a high branch and flutter harmlessly to the ground. Despite Harry's assurances, the sight had startled John. Cody let out another shout of something that sounded like French and bolted towards the house. Harry sat up and followed his progress, smiling when he saw Cody fling himself into a young blonde woman's arms. Teddy wasn't far behind. Harry and John stood as they approached. Chattering excitedly in French, the woman embraced Harry and kissed both of his cheeks. Without a doubt, she was one of the most beautiful women he had never seen and her familiarity with Harry caused a sharp spike of jealously. Harry rolled his eyes after a moment and interrupted her in English.

"This is Gabrielle Delacour. Gabrielle, this is John Sheppard."

She offered a heart stopping smile, "Enchanté."

"I've known Gabrielle since she was only a little older than the boys. Her sister married Cody's eldest uncle."

Cody smiled at John for the first time since Greyback had died, "He saved her during the Triwizard Tournament. He was only supposed to go and get Uncle Ron, but Aunt Fleur, her sister, couldn't find her so Harry dragged her up from the lake as well," Cody explained excitedly, "We stayed in France for a little while because dad was on assignment there. Gabrielle taught me and Teddy French, but dad never really liked it."

"I'm a little surprised to see you, Gabrielle. Is everything alright?"

"I need to speak with you," she admitted before turning to the boys, "Give me a few minutes with your father and I promise we'll have some fun before I leave, okay?"

Teddy and Cody agreed after one hug each from Gabrielle. She watched them run back to the tree with a smile on her face.

"I miss them, you know. I do wish you would return to France."

"Anywhere in Europe is too close to Britain for my taste," Harry admitted. Gabrielle glanced at John and raised an eyebrow at Harry. "He can stay. He was here when I killed Greyback. I trust him."

"Ah. We have heard whispers and rumours that the monster was dead. I look forward to telling my sister and brother in law."

"Don't mention my name."

She sighed, but didn't argue with him, "Of course, I will do as you ask. There's no easy way for me to tell you this. Ginny," she said the name with obvious dislike, "is engaged. The wedding will take place in the very near future."

Harry frowned at her, "Um, okay?" He wasn't sure why she had travelled all the way from France to tell him this. It wasn't like there was any lingering doubt or ambiguity about his feelings towards Ginny. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with her and Gabrielle was well aware of that.

"She's cleaned up her act. She's been talking about trying to get custody of Cody from you and have him live with her in England."

"That's not going to happen," Harry said bluntly, "Gabrielle, that's not going to happen no matter how much she's cleaned up her act."

Gabrielle wasn't reassured "She's been in touch with your muggle relatives," Gabrielle blurted out, "She and Ron had a screaming row about it the other day. I don't know the details. She's pretty confident, Harry."

John was surprised to hear that Harry had been brought up by muggles. Maybe it explained his ease and familiarity with the muggle world. He wondered how that could be related to Ginny getting custody of Cody.

Harry frowned, "That's pretty low, even for her. But still, it's nothing to be concerned about."

"If you say so. I thought you should know. Molly and Ron wanted you to know and I was looking for an excuse to visit," she smiled, "They all send their love, of course."

Harry caught her hand, "Thanks for coming out here to tell me, Gabrielle. I appreciate. You'll stay for a while, of course?"

John tried to not look horrified. Harry hadn't been unduly friendly with Gabrielle, but there was something about her that worried him. She really was unnaturally beautiful. He wondered if her stunning beauty was related to magic.

"Of course. Andromeda and I must catch up and I haven't seen the boys in ages."

"Gabrielle, come on!" Teddy called from the tree.

She grinned, "Duty calls," she mock saluted Harry before heading off to join the boys.

Gabrielle remained for dinner and John was still vaguely uneasy around her. She was too beautiful. Dinner, however, was an extremely interesting affair. With Gabrielle around, Harry seemed to forget that he was trying to keep from exposing John to magic again. Gabrielle brought news of Andromeda's family back in England. Her sister was doing well, Gabrielle had reassured her, and so was her nephew. They had both recently relocated to France and showed no signs of returning to England except to visit some place called Azkaban. The mention of Azkaban made all the adults at the table grimace.

Gabrielle had a lot to say about Cody's aunts and uncles and John had a hard time keeping track of them. Cody and Teddy were especially eager to hear about their grandparents, Molly and Arthur, and their cousin Victorie.

After dinner Andy suggested a walk to show Gabrielle some of the town. Teddy and Cody walked ahead with Gabrielle, eagerly pointing their favourite places out to her. Andy was watching, obviously amused. Harry lingered back and caught John's wrist to hold him back as well. "John?"


"What's wrong?"

John didn't try to deny that something was bothering him. "Your friend Gabrielle is…very beautiful," he said hesitantly.

Harry stared at him in surprise, "Are you attracted to her?"

John shook his head, "No. But I'm not blind. It's… she's so beautiful. Is it because of magic or something?"

Harry smiled, "Are you attracted to women at all, John?"

"No. Not really."

"I'd never thought about that. How interesting. You're immune to her allure. You're not attracted to her, but you can't help but notice her."

"I don't understand," John admitted.

"Gabrielle, where are you going?"

"Gabrielle is part Veela. Veela are a type of magical creature. They…" Harry stopped abruptly and looked towards the others. He saw Andy holding the boys back from following Gabrielle as she walked up the steps to the church. He paused long enough to tell John to stay with Andy and the boys before running after her.

The door closed behind Gabrielle as Harry reached the first the step and she was not in view when he entered the church. He slowly approached a middle-aged man standing at the front of the pews. The man did not react to Harry's presence even when Harry was in his direct line of vision. His eyes were unfocused. Harry touched his arm.


The man blinked and took a step back in surprise as his eyes focused on Harry. "Excuse me, young man, I didn't see you." He looked around for a moment, vaguely confused. "I can't seem to recall what I was doing…" he murmured to himself. He glanced around and a flash of red on his neck caught Harry's attention.

"Did you cut yourself, Father?"

He touched his neck and seemed surprise when his fingers came away bloody. "I must have cut myself shaving again. I seem to do that all the time now."

Harry slipped his hand into his pocket and touched his wand. "Father, I need you to leave the building for your own safety."

Influenced by the compulsion spell, the priest nodded agreeably and left without another word. Harry watched him go before slipping his wand out of his pocket. "Point me Gabrielle Delacour."

Harry tapped the top of his head with his wand and coated his body with disillusionment, silencing and scent dampening spells. They wouldn't make him undetectable to his foe, but they would hopefully give him the element of surprise. He cast another silent point-me spell on Gabrielle Delacour and started moving. He located Gabrielle on the second floor balcony so quickly it was too easy. Though unconscious, she was sprawled out elegantly on a pew and arranged with her blonde hair flowing around her, her arms crossed over her chest and her legs bent to one side. Harry watched the rise and fall of her chest for a moment. She was alive and breathing evenly, but his sharp eyes caught sight of a trickle of red on her neck.

Harry moved slowly. There was no one else in sight, but he knew that whoever had lured Gabrielle into the church and attacked her was still nearby. He or she was probably watching. Harry edged closer to Gabrielle knowing that the smaller and slower his movements were the less likely that any distortion of his spell would be noticed. He stood beside Gabrielle after what felt like an eternity and slowly stretched his hand towards her. He felt a sharp surge of rage at the close up view of the blood on her neck. He intertwined his fingers with hers and paused for a brief moment to gather his focus before apparating. He wanted to stay and confront her attacker, but getting her to safety was far more important.

The moment he took Gabrielle in sidealong, Harry immediately knew something was wrong. He felt like a boomerang. He'd begun the apparrition properly, but something had prevented him from completing it. The feeling was similar to that of trying to apparate within anti-apparrition wards, only more forceful and unpleasant. Harry and Gabrielle were slammed back into their original places on the balcony and Harry hit the ground hard. He looked up to see that Gabrielle's eyes were open, but not focused on anything in particular. A tear slid slowly down her cheek. Harry gently brushed his fingers across her cheek. She inhaled slowly and some of her fear seemed to abate. Her bright blue eyes fixed on something behind Harry and widened marginally in fear.

A soft chuckle drew Harry's attention and he turned his head slowly to see a cloaked male figure easily balancing in what would normally be considered a haphazard position on the railing of the balcony.

"Come back for seconds?" Gabrielle asked dryly.

He chuckled pleasantly, "Yes, but not as soon as you might think. I think I'll save you for dessert after I feed from your wizard friend."

Harry saw red. The vampire wasn't going to lay a hand on Gabrielle again. He couldn't apparate and he didn't have a portkey, but that wasn't going to stop him from getting Gabrielle to safety. He inhaled sharply and felt his magic surge around him. He couldn't apparate Gabrielle, but he might be able to achieve a similar end with a different method. He focused on Gabrielle and imagined a line connecting her to John. He concentrated until the line was completely cemented and then he pushed. He didn't want to hurt Gabrielle but he pushed as forcefully as he dared along the line he had created between her and John. Gabrielle disappeared after a small squeak of surprise and Harry felt her traveling along the line and felt the moment she arrived to John.

Harry stood and allowed his spells to drop. He was going to need all of his energy and focus for this fight and his movement would render the spells useless anyway. Harry heard a small gasp of either surprise or concern from the vampire but then he chuckled. "The famous Harry Potter. This is my lucky day."

He stood up, still balancing easily on the railing, and shed his cloak with a swift movement. He was tall and thin with eyes so dark they were almost black. Harry's eyes were drawn to his red lips, stained bright with blood. Gabrielle's blood. Harry made an angry sweeping motion with one hand and the vampire fell from the railing as though Harry had actually pushed him. Harry leaned over the railing to see him land of his feet easily. He smiled up at Harry and made a come hither motion with one of his hands.

Harry vaulted over the railing and fluttered down to land on his feet easily. He began casting the moment his feet hit the ground. The vampire avoided the sequential cutting curses sent at both of his arms and jumped to avoid the one sent at his torso and retaliated by ripping up a section of the nearest pew and throwing it at Harry. Harry dew his wand and cast a shielding spell that sent the pew back at the vampire. The pew broke in half where it struck the vampire and forced him back a few steps.

They circled each other slowly. Abruptly, the vampire shot forward and struck Harry squarely in the chest. Harry cast a burning spell as he flew backwards and the vampire cried out in pain and surprise. They rose to their feet and Harry cast another spell as the vampire flew at him. The spell struck him squarely in the chest and suspended him in a small translucent bubble. Harry realized too late that the vampire hadn't been rushing him, but merely getting close enough to look him in the eye.

Harry felt himself becoming abnormally calm very rapid. He began to wonder if he wasn't overreacting about this situation. No one had died. There was no need to be so upset. There was no reason to fight. It would probably be best if he put his wand down. He should definitely end the confining spell on the vampire.

The vampire smiled as the spell confining him slipped away. "Come here, boy."

Harry felt a sharp surge of revulsion at those words, but he walked forwards anyway. The vampire stroked his cheek and Harry tensed. He shouldn't touch him like that. There was only one person he wanted to touch him like that. Harry fired a blasting curse into the vampire's midsection and he crashed into a table covered with small burning candles. Harry fired another spell as he stood and from the tiny part of his sleeve that had caught fire from the candles Harry lit his entire wardrobe went up in flames. Harry took a moment to reinforce his occlumency shields while the vampire was distracted.

The cool amusement was gone from the vampire's expression when he stood after putting out the fire by rolling on the ground. He seemed to understand that the savior of the wizarding world wasn't a normal foe. "Tell me your full name," he demanded.

Harry snorted inelegantly. A flash of rage crossed the vampire's face as he realized that he couldn't affect Harry. His occlumency shields had reinforced Harry sufficiently enough to prevent him from being mentally influenced by the vampire. He wasn't used to his prey putting up this kind of fight.

"No matter," he said suddenly, "I seem to have recalled it on my own."

Harry took a step backwards and raised his wand. He wasn't sure why his full name was significant to the vampire, but he doubted it would be good for him. He clapped has hands together before his chest and intertwined his fingers around his wand. "Fulmen!" He bellowed.

Harry's arms shook as a surge of lightning exploded from the tip of his wand. The vampire let out a high-pitched scream that made Harry's ears hurt as the lightning struck him squarely in the chest. Harry tried to shift so that the lightning would strike the vampire in the heart, but the lightning was too heavy. Harry felt a sharp crackle of energy touch his fingertips. He ended the spell when the feeling reached his wrists otherwise the spell would utterly consume him. The vampire was hunched over, cradling his torso. Enraged eyes met Harry's green ones. The scent of burnt clothing and flesh was almost overwhelming and it took Harry a moment to realize that his wands were burnt as well. The vampire screamed again, rage in addition to the pain.

In one fluid movement the vampire pinned Harry against the nearest wall. Harry pressed his wand into the vampire's midsection. They stared at each other and for a moment Harry thought they were at an impasse in that neither could act before the other. They had to compromise or they'd only succeed in killing each other. But suddenly the vampire smiled.

"You're more powerful than they say. Did you know that?" He asked almost conversationally, "I've never met a wizard who could hold his own against a vampire in a battle like this. My kind can usually just overwhelm a single wizard when we command your minds. But your magic is too strong for that. How old do you think I am?"

Harry didn't answer the question and the vampire's cool amused attitude from earlier in their battle returned. "I'm probably much older than whatever number you've come up with. That gives me an advantage over the younger vampires. Do you know why I asked about your name? I'm sure you don't. The famous Harry Potter. It took me a moment to remember that your middle name was James. Do me a favor, Harry James Potter? Drop your wand."

Harry didn't realize he had dropped his wand until he heard it hit the ground. He moved, but the vampire grabbed his shoulders and shoved him against the wall with enough force that his vision blurred.

"In addition to commanding your mind, I was also command your body. If I know your full name, that is. Stay still, Harry James Potter."

Harry was powerless to do anything as the vampire's fingers stroked his cheek, his chin and finally his neck. He didn't bother to fight to gain control of his body. He knew it was pointless. He could feel that there was nothing he could do. He would gain his freedom only if the vampire released him, or if the vampire died. He leaned into Harry, putting enough pressure against his chest that he gasped for breath, and nuzzled his neck.

"It's ironic. You yourself said that I was more powerful than they say. Yet, you still underestimate me."

The vampire straightened to meet Harry's gaze, "How so? You cannot move. You cannot escape." He smiled patiently, "Perhaps you are simply stalling for time? Hoping that some hero will rush in to rescue you? I wonder who they will turn their adoration towards once the Boy-Who-Lived is no more?"

"I don't use my wand because I need to," Harry said.

The vampire took a step back and turned around, but it was too late. Dozens of pieces of wood, of all shapes and sizes, from the smashed pew hovered in the air. They shot forwards, all of them impaling the vampire before he could move or speak. Harry cried out in pain as a few of the small pieces clipped him and embedded themselves in the wall behind him.

Slowly, Harry felt his ability to move slowly return to him. He surveyed the vampire at his feet for a moment. He had been impaled with more shards of wood than Harry could count, and one of them had gone directly through his heart. Harry cast a strong fire spell and watched as the vampire burned to ashes in mere moments and then banished the ashes once the fire had receded. He surveyed the damage to the church and considered righting it, but he was too tired.

He left the church and wasn't surprised to find John alone waiting for him. Andy would have taken Gabrielle and the boys home for their own safety. John's eyes widened and he rushed over to Harry. "Are you okay?"

Harry nodded. "Yeah. My hands are burned and I've got some cuts, but its nothing serious. I can get a potion at home."

"Andy took Gabrielle and the boys home. She said to tell you that Gabrielle would be fine."

Harry nodded, "Good."

"So, what happened?"

Harry smiled at John's curiosity, hugely relieved to see that John no longer harbored any overt fear of magic after the incident with Greyback. "I'll tell you on the way. Let's go home. I'm exhausted."


End Chapter