Chapter 13 – I Was Wrong
Draco let Gabriel place him gently down on the bed and then grasped his wrist as he went to move away.
'Don't go, Gabe. I need you here.' He insisted quietly.
Gabriel shook his head, his hands shaking as he dropped to his knees once again. 'I can't.' He gasped.
Draco tugged harder on Gabriel's hand. 'Please don't do this, Gabe. You did what you had to do.'
Gabriel almost yanked his hand out of Draco's grasp. 'I kissed him.' Gabriel whispered. 'I asked him to kiss me. I let him touch me.' The teenager turned a nasty shade of green and finally tore his hand from Draco's before darting across the room and into the bathroom, the door closing automatically behind him.
Draco could hear him retching violently and he carefully got up off the bed, moving across the room and leaning against the door. 'Gabe?' Draco called out after he tried the knob and found it locked. 'Gabe, please, please let me in. I love you so much. Please don't shut me out.'
Draco continued on this vein for several minutes before the door finally clicked open.
'Oh Gabe.' Draco's eyes filled with tears as he caught sight of his husband curled in a ball in the corner, once more sobbing as if his heart would break. The blonde sat carefully beside him, remembering cast a cushioning charm on the stone beneath him before reaching once again for the other boy and hugging him tightly even as he gently ran his hands over the downy soft wings.
As before Gabriel's arm went tightly around his waist and his face landed in Draco's lap.
'Shhh, baby.' Draco soothed, running his fingers through the black hair, well, as well as he could with it heavily matted with blood. 'You have nothing to be guilty for. I love you. I will always love you. You save my life, and the life of everyone there. There was nothing you could have done to change what happened. Don't let that monster break you now after you've shown such strength. I'm your mate, Gabe. I'm here and I love you. Please believe me.'
'I do.' Gabriel's voice was shaky but his sobbing seemed to have slowed.
'I need you, Gabriel.'
The use of his full name had Gabriel lifting his head and finally looking into Draco's eyes.
'I need to feel you beside me. Near me. In me.' Draco pleaded softly.
Green eyes studied grey as if searching for the truth. 'You forgive me?' Gabriel whispered.
'I can't.' Draco shook his head and the other boy's face fell. 'Because there is nothing to forgive.' He added lifting a hand to Gabe's cheek, frowning at the dried blood that still remained there.
'Dray.' Gabriel started but Draco moved his hand till it covered the other's mouth.
'No. No more talking.' The blonde moved forward and tentatively placed his mouth on Gabriel's.
The young mage let out a quiet whimper before shifting closer and gently pulling Draco onto his lap as he deepened the kiss.
Draco melted into the embrace for several minutes before he pulled away, leaving a last lingering kiss on the full red lips. 'Help me up.' He whispered and Gabriel rose immediately, Draco held firmly in his arms before he set him gently down on his feet.
Draco, keeping a tight hold on Gabriel's hand, led him over to the shower and turned it on, before returning his attention to the dark haired man as he carefully peeled off the blood soaked clothing and dropped it on the floor.
He started his own but Gabriel lifted his hands to stop him, gently undoing the buttons on Draco's shirt sliding it off his shoulders.
'Merlin, Dray.' Gabriel's eyes widened at the bruises and cuts scattered over his mate's body that Poppy hadn't had time to heal properly before he'd arrived. 'That bastard...'
'Is dead.' Draco cut in softly. 'And you and I are here.'
Gabriel's eyes returned to Draco's and his lips followed soon after. Just before Draco went to pull Gabriel into the shower he quirked a curious eyebrow. 'Will they melt if you get them wet?' He questioned, nodding to the silver tipped wings.
Gabriel gaped at him and Draco laughed, stepping backwards into the shower and pulling Gabriel with him.
'Guess not.' He chuckled and Gabriel couldn't help but join in the laughter. He closed his eyes and concentrated, imagining himself without the wings, and with a rather disgusting sucking noise like water down a plug hole, they shrank and disappeared into Gabriel's back leaving it smooth and unmarked except for the mage tattoo that appeared completely restored.
Draco wrinkled his nose. 'You do realise that that sounded revolting don't you?'
Gabriel smirked and moved closer, running his hands over Draco's skin and murmuring softly as he wandlessly repaired all the damage done to his mate. 'Yes, but with them it is so much harder to do this.' He breathed in Draco's ear, reaching down and lifting the blonde, holding him against the wall and crossing the long pale legs around his waist.
'You are so beautiful.' Gabriel murmured, and moments later he'd returned his lips to Draco's and nothing else mattered.
They slowly washed, spending time reacquainting themselves with each other as though it had been years since they'd been together instead of less than a day.
It was almost an hour later that they got out of the shower and moved to the bed. Gabriel hovered over his mate as he entered him slowly. 'Dear Merlin, Dray.' Gabe breathed.
'Please, Gabe, please.' Draco begged and the vampire in him needed no further encouragement as he lowered his head and sunk his teeth into the pale throat.
Gabriel couldn't help but let out a moan of ecstasy. He'd completed the same action only hours before but unlike the last time, when the blood had been sour and the intent had been to kill. Now the blood was sweeter than any chocolate and it warmed him from the inside out. Combined together with the feeling of Draco surrounding him, his arms and legs wrapped tightly around him and his heart beating in time with his own, had Gabriel crying out with joy.
Afterwards they lay quietly in each other's arms, Gabriel unable to keep from touching Draco. He'd stoke his cheek and run his fingers down the Slytherin's arm to rest on his hip.
'I thought it was impossible to love you even more then I do already,' Gabriel whispered. 'but I find myself loving you today more than I ever did even yesterday.'
Tears filled Draco's eyes. 'Just keep loving me.' He breathed.
Gabriel smiled and reached for his mate, pulling him close so that his head was resting on the young mage's chest. 'Always and forever.' He whispered, gently stroking his fingers through the blonde hair until he could feel that Draco had fallen asleep before finally closing his eyes on what had probably been the worst day of his life.
Gabriel woke late the next morning to find silver eyes studying him intently. 'Hey.' He whispered, letting his mouth curve into a soft smile.
'Hey yourself.' Draco returned the smile with one of his own.
'Did you sleep alright? How do you feel? Does anything hurt?'
The blond Slytherin snorted at the concerned questions Gabriel blurted out. 'Brilliantly, I feel fine, just a bit sore, and no, nothing really hurts.'
Gabriel let his eyes travel over Draco's body and then nodded as if confirming what the other boy had said was true. 'How about a bath?'
'Didn't we have a nice long shower last night?' Draco asked wryly.
Gabriel gave him a wicked grin. 'Yes, but then we got all dirty again.'
Draco laughed before yelping when Gabriel promptly slid off the bed and picked him up, carrying him through to the bathroom and closing the door behind them.
'I thought they would have been up by now.' Severus muttered, pacing before the fireplace.
Lucius and Narcissa exchanged an amused glance. 'It's hardly surprising, Severus.' Narcissa said lightly. 'You know what they've been through. What both of them have been through.'
The potions master sighed heavily and threw himself uncharacteristically ungracefully into a chair beside them. 'Merlin, I hope Draco was able to calm him.'
'I've never seen him in such a state.' Lucius admitted.
'Well, if what that friend of Gabriel's said was true, the Dark Lord could have raped Gabriel and I know that would weigh heavily on his inheritance.' Narcissa pulled her wand from her sleeve and conjured some tea and a plate of sandwiches for them all.
'He didn't do that.' Gabriel said quietly, startling them all. Three heads turned to see the two teenagers standing in the doorway to their room.
'Gabe!' Severus was up off his chair in an instant and at his son's side the next before wrapping his arms around the young man's shoulders and hugging him tightly.
'Dad.' Gabriel breathed, feeling his eyes prickle but refusing to let the tears come.
Severus felt his own eyes fill at the single word; the fact that Gabriel used it so infrequently making its power so much stronger. 'I was worried about you.' The potions master breathed.
'I know.' Gabriel replied softly.
Draco walked silently over to his parents and let them fuss over him even as his eyes remained on Gabriel. His mother got his attention as she moved into his line of sight. 'Are you alright, Dragon? Is Gabe?'
Draco nodded and smiled. 'Yes, we're both fine. I wasn't sure he would be able to forgive himself, but we did a lot of talking and I did what I had to do to make him understand that there was no other choice.'
'Do you think he believed you?' Lucius asked quietly.
Draco smiled as Gabriel turned and moved towards him. 'Yes.' He murmured. 'But I don't believe he will let me out of arms reach for quite some time yet.'
Sure enough the young mage took Draco in his arms and hugged him tightly, all but ignoring his godparents until he'd reassured the veela in him that his mate was safe. After a few moments he pulled away but kept one of Draco's hands held tightly within his own.
'It is so wonderful to see you are okay.' Narcissa gushed, quickly squashing him in one of her motherly hugs that she reserved just for him and Draco.
'We're very proud of you, Little Angel.' Lucius added congratulations of his own and yet another hug.
'Thank you.' Gabriel murmured, his arm returning to Draco again the moment he pulled away from his godfather.
'How are you, darling?' Narcissa asked carefully, reaching up and gently stroking his cheek.
Gabriel smiled, glancing down at Draco. 'I'm fine, Aunt Cissa. Really, I am.' He promised.
'Ready to face the world?' There was a spark of concern in Lucius' eyes that had Gabriel raising an eyebrow in question.
'What's going on?' He asked hesitantly, looking between the three adults.
'They found him, or at least they think it's him. There was no signature so they couldn't be sure.' Severus said quietly.
Gabriel's jaw tightened and his eyes became guarded. 'Where?'
Severus and Narcissa exchanged glances when the potions master reached out to place a hand on his son's shoulder and Gabriel stepped back out of reach, tugging Draco with him. 'All the wards fell on the Dark Lord's death.' The potions master went on anyway. 'The Manor was found still burning. It took the Aurors more than nine hours to put out the fire. They said they'd never seen anything like it.'
'Mage fire.' Draco breathed, his grey eyes wide in awe, as Gabriel looked away.
'Father.' The stiff formal tone Gabriel usually reserved for use in the presence of others was back and Severus sighed inwardly. He would have given himself three guesses as to what his son wanted to know and the first two didn't count.
'The house had all but collapsed but they found a number of bodies, one in particular was found on a bed on the second story. They believe this one to be the Dark Lord.' Severus tried to ignore the real question and divert his son's attention away but he was unsuccessful. His son had learnt from a master after all.
'What of the Ministry?' Gabriel ground out. 'I doubt they will let this go.'
'Perhaps we should sit down.' Narcissa said diplomatically, grasping Draco's free arm and tugging him back to the sofa, knowing Gabriel would follow.
Severus gave Lucius a pleading look that seemed very out of place on his normally stoic face and the blond aristocrat nodded in reply, waiting till all but himself had taken a seat before speaking.
'I won't lie to you, Angel. They are asking for you.' Lucius said honestly.
Gabriel let out a heavy sigh. 'I'll bet they are.' He muttered and Draco placed an arm around his waist, leaning his head on the mage's shoulder in an effort to keep him calm.
'It's not what you think though.' Lucius went on and Gabriel looked up with a frown.
'What else can it be?' He retorted. 'Once again those narrow minded fools are going to condemn that which they don't know, can't do, or don't understand. I'll tell you right now that if they want to put me in Azkaban they'll have a fight on their hands.' Gabriel's eyes were blazing again and his expression grim.
The three adults exchanged glances at the look of indignation on the teenager's face and before they could help it they all started snickering softly. Gabriel's expression changed to one of shock at the sight of his father and godparent's laughing at him.
'Excuse me, but what the hell are you all laughing at?' He snapped as Draco winced at the emotion flooding the bond between them. Gabriel sucked in a breath as he felt his mate's pain and he turned to Draco, his ire at his family instantly forgotten. 'Dray?'
Draco smiled softly and lifted a hand to Gabriel's cheek. 'It's okay. Just listen to them.'
Gabriel nodded slowly, his dark eyes studying the other in silence for a moment before he turned back to his father.
Severus gestured for Lucius to go on and Gabriel's black eyes moved to his godfather. Lucius seemed to hesitate, something that set Gabriel's teeth on edge. Finally he spoke. 'When Riddle died they found witches and wizards throughout the Ministry, clutching their arms and screaming. No one had realized just how deep they went but now Fudge has been impeached and the Wizingamot is calling on the Council to step in and lead, at least until they can be sure the rest of the Death Eaters and even those who were unmarked are caught and things settle down.'
Gabriel studied the expression on Lucius' face and raised an eyebrow. 'And?' He asked dryly, knowing there was more.
'Sir Wyndham has stepped down as Head of the Council.' Severus answered for his friend who seemed suddenly incapable.
Gabriel frowned. There was a tension in the room as if his family were unsure of his reaction to the news, and he couldn't work out why. 'This is not unforeseen.' He said curiously. 'Sir Wyndham was considerably older than even Dumbledore. It would be sensible for him to step down now and let someone else grow into the role while there is no significant threat around. That way it should be easy for Helene or Jonathon to step up.'
There was another exchange of glances that ate further into Gabriel's calm exterior. 'What? Why can't you just tell me? He growled.
'It isn't Helene or Jonathon to whom he has handed the torch.' Severus murmured hesitantly.
Gabriel opened his mouth to speak before abruptly closing it. The others watched as comprehension dawned on his face and his dark eyes widened comically. 'No.' He whispered. 'I can't. I couldn't possibly. He has made a mistake.'
'Gabe.' Draco's soothing voice quickly calmed him and Gabriel turned panicked eyes to his mate. 'You can do this, probably better than any other. Sir Wyndham and the Council would not have chosen you if they did not think you capable. You are an intelligent, powerful, diplomatic young man. You are just what this world needs. The Council has been grooming you for this from the moment you stepped through the doors of Arcadia. You know this. Deep down you know this.'
Gabriel's eyes flicked over Draco's face as if in question as Severus, Lucius and Narcissa watched on in silence. When Sir Wyndham and Madame Bones had come to them early this morning with the news of what had happened during the night, to say they were shocked would have been an understatement.
For Severus, the thought of his teenage son being suddenly shoved into the limelight he had shunned so much and forced to carry the expectations of their world, filled him with dread. Only now, seeing the inner strength he had, the wisdom contained in those too young black eyes and the devoted belief of the young man sitting at his side, did he realize that, in fact, that same young man was right. Gabriel had been destined to lead their world from the very moment he was conceived.
It mattered not the change in name….or even in blood.
The young mage was a born leader, and the Fate would not be denied her choice.
'Alright.' Gabriel whispered finally and Draco gave him a beaming smile. The dark haired boy looked at those gathered around him. 'What now?'
'I believe the Council, as well as your friends and several members of the Ministry are still waiting in the great hall. Perhaps we should join them.' Lucius suggested.
Gabriel swallowed and nodded. 'Yes, I must change first though.' He agreed, pushing himself up off the chair and tugging Draco with him and heading towards his room.
'What you're wearing is fine, Gabe.' His father assured him.
Gabriel stopped and turned, a hint of a smile on his face. 'Not for this, Father.' He admonished before disappearing into his room and closing the door once again, leaving three rather confused adults behind.
Draco removed his hand from Gabriel's, leaving the other boy standing in the centre of the room as he crossed in silence to the wardrobe. He reached in and drew out the Elemental Mage robes and turned to hold them up.
Not a word was exchanged as Gabriel took off all but his trousers and crossed to the room, the tattoo spreading across his back as he walked. Draco smiled as he swept the robes up and laid them gently over the taller boy's shoulders, Gabriel ducking his head so that Draco could reach. As he did up the clasp, the blonde leant forward and gently touched the other's lips with his own.
'Ready.' Draco whispered. It was not a question but Gabriel nodded anyway, taking Draco's arm and placing it through his own before he escorted his mate from the room and collected his waiting family.
The walk up to the great hall was made in silence, something that continued the moment Gabriel swept into the great hall with Draco on his arm and his family behind him.
Just over the threshold he stopped and waited, instinctively knowing what was coming even though he hadn't ever seen it before. Draco seemed to know too as, when Sir Wyndham and the other members of the Council stepped forward, he gave Gabriel's hand a squeeze and moved back a step, but stayed within arms reach of the still highly strung veela.
Gabriel waited as the group of five circled him, his eyes widening when they gestured for Draco to return to his side. He could see Dumbledore itching to speak with him, not caring that he would interrupt what would become one of the pivotal moments in history, only the glare from his father and the restraining hand of Madame Bones on his arm stopping him.
Gabriel returned his attention to Sir Wyndham as the elderly mage reached up and placed a hand on each of his shoulders. The man's blue eyes were like ice and Gabriel's found himself unable to look away. He barely noticed when Draco grasped his hand again and Helene and the others also joined hands and closed their eyes.
Information all but threw itself at Gabriel's head and he struggled to absorb it. Sir Wyndham's arms were shaking and his jaw clenched as magic flew around them, sparking and crackling. Draco's eyes were wide and it was easy to see that he was floored at the sensations running through the bond.
Finally the magic died and Sir Wyndham stepped back. 'It is as the Fates have insisted. The title is yours now, young man. Use it wisely.' He said softly.
Gabriel nodded once. 'I will.' He promised and turned to Helene.
'I knew the very first moment I saw you that you were going to be spectacular, Gabriel Snape.' The old Headmistress said proudly. 'And I've yet to be disappointed in you.'
Gabriel smiled. 'May you never be.' He whispered with a soft smile before turning to Givernie.
'You will always have us here should you need us.' The older veela murmured. 'Though I doubt you ever will.'
This comment garnered another smile. 'Sometimes even you, Givernie, will be surprised.'
Aranas had tears in her eyes as he turned to her. 'A very special child you were, Gabriel.' She said fondly. 'And a very special man you are now. Giless trias' She added in Elven.
'Thank you.' Gabriel felt his own eyes prickle and quickly turned to Jonathon, knowing that if anyone could stop him feeling any emotion but anger it would be this wizard.
Surprisingly the other man did not look angry, or even resigned. He held out both hands and clasped Gabriel's within his own. 'You will be great, Gabriel. Everyone knows that. But you yourself must believe it first. Do you?'
Gabriel stared into the intense brown eyes and saw the respect and belief the other man held for him. Respect and belief he'd never seen before and nodded slowly. This wizard was the second strongest mage in the world, someone who, if Gabriel had never been born, may well have found himself in this very position. To have the older man's such staunch support was earth-shattering.
'I do.' He replied and Jonathon actually smiled, the first time Gabriel could ever remember him doing so, and stepped back.
'Then it is your time now.' He added before moving further away.
The rest of the Council joined him as the Praesidiums stepped forward. 'I glad you are all unharmed.' Gabriel murmured softly, looking them all over with a critical eye. 'I thank you for your care of Draco.'
Carlisle glanced at Dorian before looking down. 'I don't believe we actually managed to do very much.' He offered sadly.
Gabriel stepped up and placed a hand on his friend's shoulder. 'He's still here, isn't he?' He said lightly, although there was a tense set to his jaw that hadn't been their previously.
Carlisle looked up again to see Gabriel and Draco both staring intently at him. There was silence for several moments before Gabriel spoke. 'Do you wish to remain?' He asked quietly.
Carlisle and the other praesidiums exchanged a short glance before, as one, one bowing low to the new head of the Council in answer. Gabriel waited until they'd straightened up before giving them a wry smile and inclining his head in response.
Araluen let out a quiet choked laugh and stepped forward to hug Gabriel tightly, the rest of the group quickly joining it until even Draco was included and Gabriel was barely visible in amongst them.
It was easy for the members of Hogwarts to see that, while long ago Gabriel Snape may well have been Harry Potter, he was not now, nor would he ever be part of their world. The young man was an Arcadian, and he would always be.
Eventually the group moved away, allowing Severus, Lucius and Narcissa to congratulate the teenager.
'I think I'm going to need some help with the Ministry.' Gabriel murmured softly to Lucius.
The aristocrat chuckled, hugging his godson tightly. 'You'll be surprised, Little Angel. Just how much you will be able to accomplish with a single word.'
'I hope so.'
'Me too.' Draco cut in quietly gesturing with a nod of his head to where Dumbledore was standing in conversation with Madame Bones and several other members of the Ministry. 'Because I think you should speak with them before the old man blows a blood vessel.'
Gabriel looked over and sighed inwardly.
'Think of your mother.' Severus whispered and Gabriel turned to him, a look of shock on his face.
'P..p...pardon?' He stammered. His father had never mentioned his birth mother before.
Severus smiled and cupped his son's cheek. 'Stay calm, be direct, and above all think before you speak. Always.' The potions master told him.
Gabriel's black eyes studied his father's intently. 'How do you know this?'
Severus hesitated, straightening his shoulders. 'It was a motto of hers. She used to say it all the time after she found out I'd joined the Dark Lord. I think she was worried he'd kill me. Can't think why?' He added dryly.
Gabriel opened and closed his mouth several times before raising an eyebrow. 'You and I are going to have a long talk later.' He said sternly causing the Malfoy's to laugh.
Severus just smirked, bent down and kissed his cheek before pushing him gently in the direction of Madame Bones.
He grabbed Draco's hand at the last minute and held it tightly within his own as he stepped up to the Headmaster and what looked to be three members of the Wizingamot together with the headmaster and Professor McGonagall.
'Madame Bones, Headmaster, Professor.' Gabriel said politely, nodding his head.
'Sir Gabriel, we cannot thank you enough.' Madame Bones said sincerely.
Gabriel just smiled in understanding.
'I too wish to add my thanks, Apprentice Snape.' Dumbledore murmured, Gabriel gritting his teeth at the poor use, or lack thereof, of title. He felt Draco squeeze his hand tightly and remembered his father's words.
'You're welcome, Headmaster.' He said stressing the man's title. 'I know you kept your end of our agreement so I made sure to keep mine.'
Madame Bones looked between them in curiosity but neither man would divulge exactly what they were talking about. Diplomatically she ignored it and moved to introduce the two wizards with her.
'Sir Gabriel, this is Nathaniel Craute, who is the current head of the second tier.' She explained, gesturing to a tall dark haired man with a smile that would have put Gilderoy Lockhart to shame. The man stepped forward and shook Gabriel's hand enthusiastically.
'An honour, Sir.' He all but gushed and Gabriel felt another squeeze on his hand from Draco and restrained himself from rolling his eyes.
'A pleasure to meet you, Mr Craute.' He said politely.
'Please call me Nate.' The man gushed again.
'I'm afraid I can not do that, Mr Craute.' Gabriel's face remained expressionless as he turned to the second man, ignoring the slightly stunned look on the other wizard's face.
'I'm Divian Hestian. I head the third tier. I'm also pleased to meet you, Sir Gabriel, and look forward to your leadership.'
Gabriel eyed the blond man for several moments. 'How can you look forward to that which you've never known?' He asked curiously, one eyebrow raised in question.
The man stared for but a moment before laughing loudly. 'You are going to be a breath of fresh air in this old stale Ministry, Sir Gabriel.' He added with a chuckle.
Gabriel just nodded and turned back to Amelia Bones. 'What state is the Ministry in currently?' He asked bluntly.
The witch looked slightly stunned at the question and quickly glanced at her compatriots, neither of whom were any help at all. 'Um, there are a number of departments that have been all but emptied with the death of You-Know-Who. We are working quickly to replace them but it is difficult.' He added hesitantly.
'You do not wish to replace those who are not loyal to the Ministry with others of the same stead.' Gabriel said knowingly and the witch nodded. 'How long do you think it will take for the Ministry to return to its full strength?'
'Wishing to step away from the limelight already, Apprentice Snape?' Dumbledore questioned.
Gabriel turned, his eyes flashing. 'I have no wish to remain in the so called limelight, Headmaster. I wish to assist in returning the British wizarding world to as it should be. Once that task has been accomplished I and my family will return to Arcadia where I belong.'
'You are not remaining as Minister?' Dumbledore questioned curiously, ignoring the death grip McGonagall had on his arm.
'No.' Gabriel said bluntly. 'I am not the Minister of Magic. I am the Head of the Mage Council, here at the request of the Ministry. Please do not confuse the two. Especially the title.' He added darkly, turning his body ninety degrees in a clear warning that any further conversation was not welcome.
'Where do you suggest we go from here?' He asked Madame Bones politely.
The witch threw a nervous look at Dumbledore before speaking. 'The wizarding world is still celebrating the end of You-Know-Who. I would suggest that now is a good time to bring them together.'
Gabriel thought for a moment, glancing at Draco and reading exactly what his mate had in mind. 'I suggest a full meeting of the Wizingamot then, perhaps for tomorrow afternoon, and allow as many of the public access as wish to come.'
The current temporary head looked nervous. 'That could be an incredible amount of people, Sir Gabriel.' She said quietly.
'Then we just enlarge the area required, or hold it outside.' Gabriel told her, easily seeing the concern on her face. 'I will set the wards to allow you to do so if that is what you wish.' He added and she breathed a sigh of relief.
'Thank you, but I believe outside, perhaps on the steps of the Ministry would probably be best. The square will hold at least two thousand and further people can spill into the streets of Diagon Alley. We may need further silencing wards around the Alley though, to keep any noise from the Muggles.'
'Consider it done.' Gabriel said amiably, inclining is head in deference before straightening. 'Just let me know what time and I'll confirm that the Council will be there with enough time to set the additional wards.'
Madame Bones beamed at him. It seemed that this had been her greatest task and she hadn't expected Gabriel to have conceded so graciously. 'Thank you, Sir Gabriel. I will be in touch.'
Gabriel just gave the witch a smile, nodding again to Professor McGonagall and the two wizards from the Wizingamot and without a second glance at Dumbldore, took Draco's hand and tucked it in his elbow and escorted the Slytherin away before the elderly wizard could say anything.
His eyes caught his father's and he smirked as he saw the amusement glittering in the black eyes. He could just imagine the look on the headmaster's face to have garnered such an open expression.
'Are you finished with everything?' Severus asked quietly, placing an arm around his son's shoulders.
Gabriel nodded. 'Yes, for now. The real party begins tomorrow.'
'What about some food then. Neither of you have eaten in over twenty four hours. It's not good for you.' Narcissa said promptly, smiling when Draco's stomach growled as if in agreement with her.
'Shall we then?' Lucius gestured towards the door, and without a backward glance the powerful young man together with his family, swept from the hall.
Gabriel glanced around at the hundreds of people squashed tightly together on the square in front of the Ministry and into the streets of Diagon Alley. The three levels of the Wizingamot consisting of forty odd witches and wizards were arrayed on the steps behind him. Sir Wyndham, Helene, Givernie, Aranas and Jonathon stood to the left of the small platform, resplendent in their mage robes that shone brightly in the winter sun. Madame Bones stood just behind him and to the right as Draco, Severus, Lucius and Narcissa sat in seats nearby that had been provided for them and other honoured guests, including several of the other staff members of Hogwarts.
Madame Bones stepped up to the dais and the crowd quieted instantly. 'Thank you all for coming today. I am glad that in amongst the celebrations at the final destruction of You-Know-Who, you have taken the time out to be here in this very important occasion. I will now introduce the Head of the Council of Mages, who at the request of the Ministry will be filling the post of Minister for the immediate future. I ask you to welcome, Sir Gabriel.'
There was sporadic clapping that was almost drowned out by both cheering and whispers as those watching couldn't decide what exactly to do. The young man before them was a member of a family known as supporters of Voldemort; he was also previously known as Harry Potter, their saviour; and he was the defeater of Voldemort. Most of all, he was just chosen as the head of the most powerful group of witches or wizards in the world…and he was just seventeen.
The hesitant acceptance didn't bother Gabriel, who cast a wandless sonorous before speaking.
"A very clever muggle president once said, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.' He began calmly. 'I too ask the same of you all. Don't ask what I can do for you all. I believe, that in the grand scheme of things, I have done enough. Instead, ask yourselves what you can do for our world. Do not leave it to a few to do the work of many any longer. You all can make a difference. You all have the ability to walk, and to speak. Use it. Tell the Ministry what you think could help the wizarding world. Tell me what you think. I can promise you that I will listen. We need to move forward. The wizarding world in Britain has barely made any progress in more than a millennium. It remains sheltered, and coddled, and ignorant. Well no more. Lord Voldemort is dead' Gabriel rolled his eyes as most of those watching winced or shuddered. 'And you all have a chance to stop something like him ever happening again. By acting, and collaborating, and most of all, by taking responsibility.'
Gabriel paused while he let his words sink in. 'Our time is now, all of us. Not me, not the members of the Wizingamot you see arrayed behind me. They are elected by you. Yes, the seats are given by bloodline, but the bloodlines were all elected originally. They serve at your pleasure. They work for you. Never ever forget that. If you don't like the direction this Ministry is taking, then do something about it. The past is over. We will never forget what has happened over the last years. But it will remain in the past, a reminder of what could happen if we sit idly by and let the Fates play with us all. Voldemort did not climb to where he was because he was powerful. Oh, he was. I do agree with that.' Gabriel added. 'But the depth of his power did not come from inside himself, but by the fact that the wizarding world allowed him to infiltrate every facet of our lives because we were ambivalent. Do not allow such a thing to happen again. You are all responsible, every single one of you. So make sure you remember that next time. You are the ones with the power. Not us.'
Gabriel could hear the discontented murmurings of a number of the Wizingamot behind him but ignored it. They too were responsible, probably more than any other. He could feel the profound depth of feeling swelling through the bond from Draco and could tell his mate was moved far beyond words at his speech. That alone buoyed him to finish as he'd begun.
'Now, there is a lot of rebuilding that needs to be done and I ask you all, over the next few days to speak with those members who represent you. Tell them you thoughts and ideas, and most of all, tell them what you think is wrong. The wizarding world will thank you for it, I promise you.'
There was a moment's silence before a roar of cheering broke out that would have fractured the silencing wards had Gabriel not immediately closed his eyes and opened his hands, quickly reinforcing them on his own until he felt Sir Wyndham and the rest of the Council hurry to his side and help him when alerted by Draco that something was wrong.
The cheering continued for some time before Madame Bones could finally bring the crowd under control and Gabriel nodded as the Council took over holding the additional wards.
'I thank you all for coming and I look forward to working with you all in the future to make this world, your world, a better place.' Gabriel stepped back from the dais and gave the silent crowd a long slow bow before straightening, leaving the crowd cheering wildly once again.
Over in the VIP seating Draco's eyes were suspiciously bright as he joined in the applause for the young man on the stage.
Severus jumped when he felt an old knarled hand land on his shoulder and squeeze gently. 'I was wrong, Severus.' Albus Dumbledore admitted softly, leaning forward until his mouth was close to Severus' ear. 'You did the right thing for that child. The best thing for that child. And for that I thank you. He has grown into a wonderful young man.'
Dumbledore sat back and Severus smiled as he looked at his son, who in that moment, looked back at him with such a look of love and affection it took his breath away. It may well have been the right thing, at the time. But it was also the only thing. The stunning, kind, diplomatic young man was his son, and he really was wonderful, just as the headmaster had said.