Harry Potter and the Secrets of Truth
Disclaimer – Nothing but the plot is mine.
This is a challenge that was requested of me from Harry Snape-Potter.
Harry Potter and the Secrets of Truth
Chapter 1 - Coward
A single pale hand traced down a similarly pale chest, stopping to tweak a nipple before continuing on until...
Gabriel sucked in a gasping breath as he shot up in bed. 'Damn it.' He swore, pushing his blankets off his knees as he struggled to control the heavy breathing the dream brought out of him every time without fail.
'I knew it was a mistake.' An amused voice drawled from the doorway causing the young man's head to shoot up even as he quickly grabbed a pillow and shoved it in his lap.
'Knew what was a mistake, Father?' Gabriel snapped, mortified that his father had seen him naked, and aroused.
The figure in the doorway smirked. 'It was a mistake sending you so far away to school at Arcadia. I shouldn't have let you talk me into it.'
Gabriel scowled and reached for the blankets to cover himself more fully. 'We both know why you agreed, Father.' He said bluntly. 'And the reasons haven't changed. Either of them.'
The older man sighed and silently crossed to sit on the bed beside his son reaching out to take the boy's hand in his. He watched as several emotions flittered across his son's face. 'Gabe, you will be seventeen in a few short weeks. Don't you think it's time you faced up to the truth and told him?'
Gabriel swallowed heavily and looked away, pulling his hands away and clenching his fist tightly. 'I know.' He whispered. 'But he's going hate me. I know he is.'
'You can't know that, Gabe. But perhaps if you'd gone to school together you would still be close friends and it might have happened naturally.' Gabriel's father offered.
Gabe shook his head. 'If we'd gone to school together for the last six years...' The boy hesitated. 'I'm not sure if I could have controlled myself.'
'He may surprise you.'
Gabriel snorted. 'Well, I'll certainly be surprising him if things happen the way we think they will.'
His father let out a small laugh and squeezed his hand. 'Well, we've done enough research on the subject.'
'Does the old man suspect anything yet?'
The older man shook his head. 'What would he suspect? Firstly, you are for all intents and purposes, in blood, lineage and anything else that matters, my son. And secondly, he still doesn't know that you exist.'
'What about after my birthday? The gifts of the founders and Merlin are not exactly a secret, and while a descendant may well have one or two of them, to have them all, together with the rest of that mammoth inheritance, is something that is not going to be easy to hide. From anyone, especially Albus Dumbledore.'
'If you're at Arcadia it won't matter, will it? You can always do that extra Honours year.'
Gabe sighed. 'You know I cannot return there, not unless he agrees to go with me. And I can't see Aunt Cis letting him go that far away. I will have to go to Hogwarts this year, no matter how much I wish I didn't. Besides,' He added with narrowed eyes. 'Arcadia wouldn't have accepted him and even if they did, I couldn't have kept him safe.'
Gabriel's father leant forward and hugged him tightly. 'It will be alright, Gabriel. I promise it will. You will come as my apprentice and that at least will give you some measure of anonymity.'
Gabriel sighed and let those strong arms comfort him as they had done for over ten years, ever since his father had found him alone and on the streets of London as a waif of five, beaten, abused and dumped by his former family.
The man had known who he was of course, after a few minutes of looking him over anyway, but surprisingly, as Gabriel later found out, that didn't stop him from taking the tiny child home and nursing him back to health. Keeping his identity secret from everyone except his chosen godparents and casting an illegal blood adoption ceremony witnessed by those same two people to make sure that secret would never come to light.
And then when he'd turned eleven, the first of his gifts had shown themselves, and they knew that keeping his secret was going to be a lot harder than they'd first thought. In the beginning they had hoped that the adoption would negate his inheritance. But after that night it was quite clear that the inheritance he was due would not be denied, no matter whose bloodline he now carried. He had taken on his father's elegant and aristocratic cheekbones and jaw line, and the soft straight black hair and dark eyes but the lineage of his birth parents had refused to be dismissed and his birthright would not be repudiated.
The gifts of Ravenclaw had manifested first and, together with an uncontrolled and irregular Seer's ability and an affinity to working with water had also come the veela inheritance that had lain dormant for more than fifteen generations.
The night of his eleventh birthday had been the longest of his life. He'd gone to bed early, not realising the agony that would tear through him several hours later.
His father had run to his room when the screaming started and had taken well over an hour to calm the boy. It hadn't taken more than a few days for the gifts to show themselves and then Gabriel had found that it almost hurt to be around his best friend, the son of his godparents.
At first he'd been scared and pained at what had happened, but his father and godmother had quickly worked out the reasons why and they sat down with Gabriel and explained.
The decision had been Gabriel's. He could tell his friend everything, and hope that he would understand, or he could run.
And he'd run.
It was the most cowardly thing he'd ever done, but the very next day he'd left for Arcadia without a word to his friend. He'd come home for very short visits but had seen no one other than his father.
Now, on the eve of his coming of age, he knew that he no longer had a choice. He had come home as he knew he would finally have to tell the truth to the one person whose love and support he couldn't survive losing.
'What if he runs?' Gabriel asked, his voice muffled by his father's shirt he was still clinging to.
'He won't.' His father promised him. 'I'll admit he was upset when you left but I know you kept in touch with letters, even if they have been few and far between. He isn't stupid, Gabe, he knows something is going on but not what. Your godmother has been very good in keeping your secrets. But you are going to need to tell him, and before your birthday.'
Gabriel sighed and pulled away, leaning back against the pillows. 'I suppose that now is a good a time as any.' The boy summoned parchment and an always inking quill and began to write.
His father smiled and stood, leaning over to place a gentle, kiss on the top of Gabriel's head before he swiftly left the room.
Gabriel stood staring out the window, his posture tense with nerves as he waited for his best friend of over ten years to arrive. Oh, he knew the other may well have replaced him in the years since he'd left for Arcadia, but it didn't stop him from hoping that he might not have.
His father was down in his labs working on some, most likely god awful tasting, potion he was sure to make Gabriel try. Gabe knew he'd been pouring over several old tomes in an effort to make some sort of blocking potion for Gabe to take the night of his birthday. Idly he wondered if it would actually work, and if not, just how bad that night would be.
The fire flared behind him, startling him out of his musings; instantly his chest tightened and he staggered forward, his hands landing on the window sill in an effort to steady himself. The feelings just the boy's presence produced had only grown in strength over the preceeding six years and Gabriel was breathless at the weight of them.
He took several deep shuddering breaths before turning around leaning back against the window sill to keep his balance as he stared at the figure standing in silence beside the hearth.
He had grown considerably and was only a three or four inches off Gabriel himself. The long limbs were toned and the skin still as pale as moonlight to match his hair. The face had matured and the features were now as if chiselled from marble, only the eyes remained exactly as they had been.
A brilliant stunning silver.
'Dray.' Gabriel breathed out, swallowing heavily and closing his eyes.
'Coward.' Draco said harshly and Gabriel flinched as if struck.
He swallowed heavily again. 'Yes, I was.' Gabriel gasped in agreement. 'But please Dray, please hear me out.'
The silver eyes stared at him in calculation before Draco nodded finally and crossed the few steps to sit on the sofa, crossing his legs and straightening the crease down the front of his dark grey trousers.
Gabriel couldn't help but smile inwardly at the action that was so like his father. He wondered just how much time Draco had spent with his father at Hogwarts over the years.
'Well?' Draco snapped impatiently and Gabriel sighed.
'Dray, I have something to tell you but it is very difficult.' Gabriel began, ignoring the snort of derision from the other boy. 'As you know, when I was five my family dumped me on the streets of London, luckily Father found me and brought me home and a year later he adopted me magically and by blood.'
Draco waved a hand dismissively. 'I know all this.' He sneered.
Gabriel swallowed again. 'I know you do, but there is something you don't know. Something you need to know. The family that dumped me were not my birth family, they were my mother's sister and her family. They didn't like magic, and they didn't like me.'
'So who were your real parents then?' Draco's jaw tensed and he continued staring at the picture over the mantelpiece in silence for several minutes.
Gabriel waited until Draco was looking at him before speaking. 'My real parent's names were James and Lily Potter.' He said quietly, wincing in anticipation.
Draco's reaction would have been comical under any other circumstance but at that moment all Gabriel wanted to do was go over and hold his friend in his arms and never let him go. Draco's mouth dropped and his eyes widened so far Gabriel thought they might just fall out.
'But that would make you…' The blond trailed off.
'Yes, it would.' Gabriel murmured. 'Or it would have if Father hadn't adopted me.'
Draco's hands clenched into fists and he swallowed rapidly. Gabriel could see the anger building in his oldest friend and knew it wasn't going to be as easy as he'd hoped. Finally, when the blonde had some semblance of control over his mouth he unclenched his jaw and spoke.
'I don't understand.' He snapped. 'So what if you were the bloody Boy-Who-Lived. What the hell did that have to do with running away from me with your tail between your legs like some Hufflepuff?' Draco yelled, obviously well over his initial shock.
Gabriel pushed himself off the window and moved slowly across the room, swaying slightly as he got closer to his friend.
'Gabe?' Draco said anxiously, finally noticing the sheen of sweat that covered his friend.
'It's alright, just let me explain.' Gabriel gasped as he sat down heavily in the chair opposite Draco and closed his eyes. 'There are several things that are generally unknown about James and Lily Potter. One is that James Potter was a descendant of Godric Gryffindor and Merlin.'
Draco's eyes widened again but he didn't speak.
'There were any of number of rumours to that effect but it was something the Potter's kept very quiet. One thing that was never rumoured, or even considered, was that Lily Potter was not muggleborn. Not exactly anyway. She was descended from two squib lines that had originally come from Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.'
Draco's jaw had dropped again by this point but Gabriel couldn't see it as his eyes were still closed.
'Combining all of that with the Slytherin magic I absorbed when the Dark Lord cursed me as a baby, and well, you can just imagine what sort of inheritance is going to hit me in a few weeks. At first Father thought that the adoption may in some way negate the inheritance, or at least dampen it. That all changed the day I turned eleven.' Gabriel opened his eyes and stared at Draco. 'That was the day I had to leave.' He whispered.
Draco frowned. 'Why? Why did you run away?'
Gabriel leant forward rubbing his face with his shaking hands. This was so hard. It was so hard just to be in the same room as him. 'When I turned eleven the Ravenclaw gifts showed themselves. With the Seer's ability came a veela heritage that no one had known about as it had been dormant for so long. Best as Father can work out, the crosses of vampire to be found throughout Slytherin's history awoke the veela when the Dark Lord struck. It was most likely one of the reasons Ravenclaw descendants had always stayed well away from anyone with Slytherin blood.' Gabriel finished quietly.
'That still doesn't explain why you ran away.' Draco's voice held accusation and Gabriel looked up to see it highlighted in the silver eyes; achingly familiar silver eyes that had been in his dreams every night since he was eleven.
'Because it hurts to be with you.' Gabriel whispered. 'It hurts so much just to be in the same room as you.'
Draco's expression turned stony. 'I see.' He ground out.
Gabriel shook his head and looked away. 'No, you don't.' He whispered. 'You have no idea. It hurts, Dray. It hurts so much because…..because I want you so much more than is strictly decent.'
There was a stunned silence in the room that had Gabriel's stomach tying itself into knots. This was it. This was where Draco would get up and walk away. Walk out on him forever. A sharp pain shot through his chest and a sob caught in his throat. His entire body joined in the shaking of his hands and he curled forward into a ball so far he fell of the chair and onto the floor. He distantly heard Draco get up and run to the door, screaming for Gabriel's father.
The man swept into the room moments later and knelt beside his son. 'Gabe? Gabe, can you hear me?' He murmured softly, lifting the young man into his arms and sweeping back out in much the same manner as he had arrived.
Draco followed hesitantly, up the stairs to Gabriel's room where his father placed him on the bed and summoned a cold cloth to press it against his forehead. 'Father.' Gabriel gasped. 'Father, please.'
'Uncle Severus, can't you do something.' Draco pleaded, hating to see his friend in such distress.
'Draco, wait outside.' The older man said sternly as he tightly gasped his son's hand.
'But Uncle Sev.' Draco protested.
'Now, Draco. You're making it worse. Please, just wait outside.' Severus turned his attention from his godson and back to Gabriel. He gently pushed the sweaty hair back off his son's face and sighed as he heard the door close behind him. He could see instantly as Gabriel began to relax, but it was almost ten minutes later before the trembling stopped completely.
'Father.' Gabriel whispered, his eyes filling with tears.
'It will be alright, son. I promise it will.' Severus murmured.
Gabriel shook his head. 'He was so angry. Angry at me. I'm going to lose him. I know I am. I can't lose him.' He sobbed, curling onto a ball and leaving his father feeling impotent for the first time in almost six years. He knew how hard this would be for both his son and his godson. It was not something he could make Draco do. Draco had to choose to do this all on his own.
'Try and get some rest, Gabe. It will all work out in the end.' Severus promised softly, giving his son's cheek one last caress before standing and walking silently from the room.
He found Draco in the study and raised an eyebrow in question.
'I thought the further away I was the better.' Draco said sadly and Severus could see the boy had been crying. He gestured for Draco to sit down and moved to the fireplace, taking a handful of floo powder and tossing it in the fireplace.
'Lucius?' He called out and a face remarkably similar to Draco's albeit older appeared in the fire moments later.
'Severus, what is it? Is something wrong with Draco?'
The tall man pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. 'Not exactly. Could you find Narcissa and floo over please.' It was not a question and Lucius' head disappeared momentarily from the flames.
Severus kept his eyes on his godson as they waited in silence. Several minutes later the fireplace flared and two blond figures stepped elegantly from the hearth. Narcissa quickly moved towards her son but stopped at the expression on his face, turning to look at Severus.
'Gabe's here? He's home?' She asked hesitantly.
Severus nodded. 'He's been home for three days.'
'Mother, what exactly is going on?' Draco's small voice caused all three adults to look at him.
'Draco, there is something you should know about Gabriel.' Narcissa started, sitting hesitantly beside her son. 'He's...'
'I know all about that. He just told me.' Draco cut bluntly.
Narcissa's eyebrows rose as Lucius and Severus exchanged glances.
'Just how long were you in the same room together?' Severus asked, his voice betraying him the first time in his life.
'About an hour I guess.' Draco replied glancing around at the faces of the adults in the room. Lucius eyes widened and he looked to his oldest friend.
'Dear Merlin.' Severus breathed and together with Lucius he all but ran for the door.
The trip through the corridors and up the stairs seemed indeterminable before Severus finally darted through to doorway to his son's room.
'Oh Gabriel.' Lucius breathed, pushing past Severus who was standing just inside the doorway as if hit by a stunning spell, and rushing to the young man's bedside. The pillow beside the boy's head was covered in blood as it continued to flow unheeded from his nose. He was flushed and when Lucius reached out a hand to his forehead and he realised the young man was burning up.
'Severus. We need potions.' Lucius snapped abruptly and the other man was startled into action, stalking to the bed even as he raised his wand and accioed his potions kit.
The two men worked in silence for almost ten minutes. They managed to halt the bleeding and Gabriel's temperature finally began to fall after a number of fever reducing potions were poured down his throat. Once they were finished Lucius banished the blood on Gabriel's pillow and Severus banished his potions kit. Lucius watched as Severus' shoulders slumped and he rubbed his face roughly with his hands.
'I can't believe I wasn't more careful.' Severus' voice was self-deprecating. 'When Gabe told me he was going to tell Draco everything and then summoned parchment and quill, I thought he meant in a letter, not that he was going to invite him over and spend over an hour in the same room as him.' The dark haired man looked up into the eyes of his friend. 'It's too late now. There is no way to reverse this.'
Lucius didn't know what to say. It was true. The bond had already strengthened so much it was manifesting in physical symptoms. He knew there was no way Severus would ever ask Draco to do anything about it. He would never take away the child's decision like that.
There was a soft cough from the doorway and both men looked up to see Narcissa and Draco standing there. It was obvious they had been talking as although Narcissa was looking between her son and godson, Draco's eyes never left Gabriel. He shrugged his mother's arm off his shoulder and slowly crossed the room to stand beside the bed.
He lifted a knee to climb up but Severus grabbed his arm. 'What are you doing?' His godfather asked.
Draco looked up at him, his silver eyes suddenly seeming so much older. 'I love him.' He whispered. 'I've always loved him.' He added, and Severus' eyes widened as he dropped Draco's arm in shock. Draco's eyes returned to Gabriel and he crawled up beside the other boy and gently wrapped his arms around the still form. 'I'm sorry.' He whispered, burying his head in Gabe's neck. 'I'm so sorry.'