A/N: Okay, I missed the midnight deadline, but still got it posted within 30 hours from prior chapter. That's not bad, right?
Updated A/N: Thanks to Mystical Marauder, for pointing out my Harris/Hadrian mental bombarda. Damn, it is HARD to keep all the names I use for Harry straight! And don't get me started on Voldemort!
WARNINGS: All slash, all the time. Lemony, with a hint of sugar and a surprisingly acidic bite.
From Chapter 2
Thomas and Sherlock straightened abruptly, their close surveillance narrowing into keen attention as the main door of the charming little cottage suddenly opened and a small, lithe figure emerged and moved with familiar ease down the stone pathway toward the heart of the garden. Thomas's arm, which was wrapped around Sherlock's waist, tightened as the two drew deep, calming breaths and stared hungrily at the swift, graceful young man.
Finally, the devoted mate-pair were able to look upon their third with their own astonished, appreciative eyes.
Morgana, he was exquisite!
CHAPTER 3: SEEING THE UNSEEN
Harris Potter was a very smart young man. At age six, he realized with a regrettable lack of surprise that he was already more intelligent than his own father. As he grew, he realized that he also had a few very special abilities, most of which he kept private. It was impossible to conceal his facility with the living world, of course. His gardening business, in fact, had emerged from his joy in working with that which grows from and returns to Gaia. He had befriended his first garden when he was all of four years old, and had rarely gone more than a day or two since without having his fingers deep in rich loam and glorious soil. He viewed himself as a creature of Gaia, and a child of Maia. He was born of earth and born to magic. And he had gifts and abilities from both of the Sisters.
One of those abilities was singing within him right now. He had gone to bed last night expecting to awaken with the same sense of nearly unbearable anticipation that had plagued him for weeks now. Instead, all of his senses had seemed to suddenly still, as if a roaring maelstrom had silenced itself, and his entire being rang with the knowledge that whatever had been building was now complete. Whatever he had been expecting to arrive was here.
Despite this, Harris went about his routine with very little deviation. He saw no need for it. His life was not suddenly going to change just because a nebulous 'something' had somehow reached a conclusion that he could not point to or quantify or even name. And none of the unfamiliar emotions he was experiencing would change the fact that the moonstone flowers needed a touch of his magic today, or that the new hybrids he had created would be budding sometime this week, or that he wanted to inspect the charms and protections he had placed on his gardens and greenhouses to ensure they were all in order and would continue to maintain their charges regardless of his presence. True, he had obsessively confirmed that last detail over the past several days, somehow certain that his attention would soon be diverted from his daily life and he wanted to ensure that the home he had created here would continue to nurture and shelter and succor the minor children of Gaia should he be absent.
And so, he had dressed in his normal working clothes, which consisted of simple, khaki trousers and a heavy, knitted pullover with long sleeves and leather patches on the elbows and shoulders. He had pulled on his work robe, which was actually more like a sleeveless vest that extended mid-thigh and contained numerous pockets charmed to be weightless and somewhat bottomless. He tapped his thigh twice and nodded in satisfaction at the silent pops of sensation that confirmed his magic was channeling properly through the miniscule gemstones he had magically implanted in his chakras, a self-designed creation and procedure of which he was particularly proud, and headed out the door into his garden.
He was halfway across the yard when he sensed them.
Pausing casually at the multi-tiered stone pond & fountain he had designed and created to support some of the creatures of air and water that blessed his garden, he ran a hand assessingly over the cool, damp stone and asked the twin elements of Earth and Water to tell him what he wanted to know. He whistled engagingly back at a chipper little nargle that perched on the upper rim of the fountain, admiring its bright colors as he listened to its tale. He had rescued this one several years ago from the aura of Severus Snape, so it was especially happy to be here.
And then he straightened and turned, to stare directly at the spot where two men – perfectly concealed by invisibility charms - leaned tensely against Harris's low stone wall. Ignoring their shock, he smiled threateningly at them and said with admirable composure, "Perhaps you can explain why you are invading my privacy and why I shouldn't allow my guardians to pull you down into your own graves. You two would probably make wonderful fertilizer for some of my more … bloodthirsty … plants."
Somehow, he wasn't expecting the two men to nod so approvingly at his words. He also wasn't expecting his pet Devil's Snare and Demon Vines to release their grip on the feet and legs of the men and return to the soil as if they had greeted long-lost friends. He wasn't expecting the nargle, normally a vicious defender of his territory, to emit a charming song of sheer happiness at the sight of the two men.
And he definitely wasn't expecting his own magic to purr when they smiled.
COME DAY, GO DAY
Returning to their Manor without their Third was easily one of the most difficult things either Thomas or Sherlock had ever done. Thomas, while irritated and tense, was somewhat philosophical about it. Harris had not refused them, after all; he had simply sent them away with the promise that he would think about everything they had told him and would contact them in a few days.
Sherlock, on the other hand, was furious.
"How could you do that, Thomas? What kind of Dark Lord walks away from something he wants like a child told 'no' by his mumsy? Why did you let him get away with that? DAMN it, Thomas, why did you stop me?" Sherlock railed, pacing around the room with manic energy.
Thomas leaned against their desk and watched his mate practically vibrating with rage and confusion, moving through the room like a caged lion. Sherlock was brilliant, incredibly insightful when something interested him, capable of immense leaps of logic and intuition that bordered on being supernatural. But right now, Sherlock was confused, upset … and devastated.
On his next, furious pass near the desk, Thomas reached out and caught Sherlock's arm, easily dodging the man's immediate reaction in the form of a flying fist and pulled the raging detective flush to his stronger body with implacable ease. He allowed Sherlock to struggle and flail for several moments, knowing full well that the man wasn't trying to harm Thomas or to get away, so much as he was desperate to purge emotions he did not understand and could not control. Despite Sherlock's impressive mind-palace and undeniable self-control, he was without magic and therefore much more vulnerable to the turbulent whirl of emotions that surfaced in them both at the close proximity to Harris Potter.
Eventually tiring himself out against the immovable object that was his beloved mate, Sherlock collapsed against Thomas's chest and allowed himself to be comforted. A choked sob emerging from the handsome face buried his chest caused Thomas to tighten his arms around Sherlock and drop his cheek to press atop the soft, brunette curls that adorned the singularly brilliant mind that was currently whirling uncontrollably, seeking a logical conclusion that was just not there.
"He didn't reject us, little genius," Thomas murmured soothingly. "He didn't tell us to go away. He told us he needed privacy." He paused there, and waited, knowing that Sherlock would handle all of this better if his own deductions led him to the truth.
Pressed tightly against Thomas's firm chest, strong arms wrapped around him, Sherlock let his personal Dark Lord comfort him as he processed the words that rumbled against his ear. Now that he had 'vented', as LeStrade used to say, he was better able to consider the facts. Despite the painful ache in his chest, a fact which finally allowed Sherlock to understand why people believed that emotion came from their hearts rather than their minds or spirits, Sherlock realized that Thomas spoke the truth. Harris had not rejected them, not outright, anyway. He had allowed them to explain, albeit from a safe distance that prevented any possibility of the two touching him. He had allowed them into the outer ward, based on the behavior of his horticultural guardians, and so they had been able to sit on a bench that seemed to have grown from the living root of a simply enormous tree that shaded the yard. Harris had seated himself almost eight feet away, on a boulder that was perfectly formed to comfortably support a person, and watched the two men warily as they introduced themselves more fully and explained about the Pact of New Blood.
His reaction had been to quirk an incredulous eyebrow and comment dryly, "I knew it was going to be big, but I certainly didn't expect this!" His brilliant, emerald eyes had sparkled with interest and his, ebony hair had rippled gently in the morning breeze. He looked otherworldly, and at the same time completely a part of the lush gardens he had created.
He had also appeared unsurprised at the knowledge that he was a descendant of Morgan le Fey, and had finally smiled at them when Thomas had commented on that fact. Both Thomas and Sherlock had been intrigued when they learned that Harris was a descendant of le Fey but that no one else in Harris's family seemed to share that blood connection. It was not logical, considering that even the goblins confirmed that Harris was the child of James Potter and Lily Evans, a fact that the newspapers of the time reported on the third-month naming day. That particular tradition had interested Sherlock, who had found it fascinating to learn that wizards did not officially name a child as theirs until they confirmed, through regular checks during the first three months of life, that the child was not a squib. There were no naming days held for squibs; not in the wizarding world.
There were, however, the occasional, unmentioned trips to muggle orphanages, invariably followed by long, recuperative vacations by magical parents who had "lost a child".
Harris had taken a sip of the ice water he had poured for himself in lieu of the tea that the other two had accepted, and Sherlock remembered watching in aroused fascination as the beautiful young man's throat moved and a pink tongue briefly emerged to lick away residual moisture from the glass. He had been so caught up in sheer observation that he had been momentarily confused when Harris began talking, a fact that Thomas did not miss, if the gentle smirk he sent at Sherlock was any indication.
"James and Lily blood adopted me when I was two months old," Harris explained with a notable lack of emotion. "I was actually born to Lily's cousin, who was also adopted into the family by Lily's uncle. My mother's parentage is unknown, she was found at a camp site in the Midwestern United States. The story goes that she was found in a bunch of sweet grass that had grown into the form of a nest, and there was evidence that she had been fed milk, but no people were anywhere around. Lots of wildlife nearby, though, including a family of cougars and a pack of wolves, all of which had nursing mothers that could possibly have fed her. Of course, those are just from the notes I found in grandmother's journal when I researched some of my magical abilities; it's not like any of the Potters would ever admit to such 'unnaturalness' existing in their family," he commented wryly. To the closely-observing men, it was evident that Harris held a fair amount of emotional pain, disguised as witty contempt.
Taking another long drink, Harris studied his glass a moment before elaborating. "My birth mother was adopted by Aidan and Bernadette Evans, and named Genevieve. She found herself with child out of wedlock, refused to name the father, and died giving birth to me almost thirty years ago. My grandfather Aidan was willing to raise me on his own, absolutely refusing to cooperate when James and Lily tried to insist that I go live with her sister Petunia. I guess James' father Charlus finally convinced James and Lily to adopt me by telling them what he found after assessing my power levels. All it took then was for Dumbledore to hear about it, and suddenly, I was a Potter instead of an Evans. Lucky, lucky me," he ended with heavy irony.
Thomas had been amazed at the recitation, having never heard even a whisper that Harris was not the natural-born child of Lily and James. He was considerably impressed by the efficacy with which the powerful and wealthy Potter Patriarch and, undoubtedly, Dumbledore, had concealed the truth of Harris's birth. He was so caught up in that analysis, in fact, that he missed the more shocking point. Sherlock, however, did not.
"That damnable prophecy never actually applied to you at all!" Sherlock exclaimed. He was aghast, not so much at the fact that Dumbledore and the Potters had lied about the whole thing, but at the horrifying knowledge that Harris might have been murdered by his own blood-and-magic destined mate Thomas, had the Dark Lord been any less canny than he was. If Thomas had been the type to attack at the first hint of threat, he and Harris would been plunged into a nightmarish reality.
Thomas and Sherlock sat there, deeply shaken, and Harris watched as the two men comforted each other and struggled with their own abortive efforts to reach out and seize him. Sherlock seemed particularly intent on getting up and going to Harris, glaring at Thomas when the older man held him back. It was good that he did so, because Harris would have ejected him from the wards immediately.
He had intentionally kept a solid ward up between them and him, refusing to allow himself to be vulnerable beyond that which was unavoidable. Harris had deeply-ingrained life lessons about what happened to him if he allowed anyone too close. His own mother, albeit adopted, had provided ample reason for him to keep his guard up. Lily Potter was not the most stable witch around; in fact, of the two sisters, Harris felt he might have actually been better off living with the pinch-faced Petunia and her blustery husband. In truth, Harris kind of liked Uncle Vernon, having found something of common ground with the man in their mutual dislike of James Potter and his invasive mentor, Dumbledore.
Besides, Harris's efforts in the single day he had spent in their company had resulted in the Dursleys having an award-winning garden that year. That alone had won their approval – at least for him. Harris enjoyed the fact that they did not like Lily and James and had no qualms about saying so.
Feeling himself yearning to reach across the wards and let these two men pull him close, Harris abruptly stood and told them that he had work to do. He had steeled himself against the devastated look in the younger man's blue-gray eyes, and had said quietly to the older, more self-contained, wizard, "I do my best thinking alone in my garden. I need a bit of privacy, if you don't mind. " He had added with a need to reassure the two would-be mates, especially Sherlock, "I'll contact you in a few days, after I've had time to think."
And although he refused to apologize for his decision, Harris knew that his expression – despite his best efforts – held a plea for understanding, for acceptance, that he would normally never allow another person to see. These men, these two beautiful men, wanted him. They said that magic herself had chosen them to be mates. Harris could feel that they spoke the truth, could feel the pull of the bond that reached urgently between them like arms extended to each other. He just needed time to think.
He had to remind himself of that fact very sternly, when the two men reluctantly apparated out, Thomas's arms wrapped comfortingly around Sherlock as they watched Harris and the cottage fade from their sight. They were nearly grieving as they departed from the mate they had sought for over ten years.
Of course, they might have been reassured if they'd known that Harris collapsed to the ground, sobbing in loss, mere seconds after he felt them leave his wards.
WHAT DREAMS MAY … CUM?
Later that night, Harris paced barefoot through the dewy grasses around his home, chilled and lonely and yearning for Sherlock and Thomas, before finally returning indoors to seek the dissatisfying comfort of his overstuffed couch and the low fire in the hearth. As he reclined on the couch and stared into the flames, mentally settling into that slightly-dazed mental state that happens to most people as they study fire or water, Harris suddenly felt the distinct presence of Thomas and Sherlock in the room.
Shocked, he looked around and checked the wards and realized that, no, he was still alone in his home. But his … mates? … were definitely there. Nearby.
A warm breath whispered against the bare skin of his neck, and Harris drew a sharp breath of surprise when he heard Thomas's dark chocolate baritone murmur in his mind, "You have been alone long enough, little one." A warm, strong chest pressed against his back, powerful arms wrapping around him as another, strong body crept up his legs and settled astride his hips, long, elegant fingers tracing his face and trailing down his chest.
Harris gasped in confused arousal as Thomas, who was not there,… was he?... began to nibble and nuzzle against his neck and throat, pulling Harris back to recline against the muscular body of his older mate. Harris could feel everything, including the shockingly large erection pressing hard against his buttocks as strong hands held his hips steady.
Above him, Sherlock, his barely visible, transparent form feeling incredibly solid and real as he straddled Harris's hips and rocked against his smaller mate, trailed an invisible hand down Harris's chest and unfastened the buttons of his pajama top. Pulling the garment open, Sherlock leaned down and pressed warm, naked skin against the exposed chest of his mate, sensuous mouth settling just barely on Harris's open mouth, breathing with him as the small, bewildered wizard's wide eyes searched for visible evidence of the tangible proof pressing into him, front and back.
Sherlock whispered against Harris's gasping mouth, "We found you, little love. We've got you now. You will never be lonely again. Trust us, beloved. Trust us." Sensuous lips settled firmly over Harris's mouth, deepening the pressure into a delicious, toe-curling kiss that shook Harris to the core. He could no more prevent his own body hardening in response to the dual assault on his senses than he could silence the whimpering moan he emitted when Sherlock's tongue swept into his mouth at the same moment as Thomas, licking and suckling on his jawline, sent warm, oiled fingers beneath the back of Harris's pajama bottoms and slid between his buttocks to tease and caress his most private place.
Slowly, shyly, Harris began to move against the lovers that were there, but not. His tongue slid tentatively along Sherlock's, who rewarded him immediately with a needy moan as long, experienced fingers began to caress and tease Harris's nipples into pebbled points of sensation. Harris threw his head back and gasped when Sherlock's hands journeyed lower, grasping the younger man's waistband and pulling his pajama bottoms down, assisted by Thomas. Bared to the chill air of the room, Harris's skin felt incredibly alive as his transparent lovers sandwiched him between them and overwhelmed him with the touch of heated, naked skin; strong, sleek muscles; and impossibly hard, silken erections.
Thomas's oiled fingers returned to tease and torment Harris's twitching rosebud, finally dipping in to the heated center and slowly, sensually caressing his smallest lover's molten depths. Curling his finger just so, he unerringly found and delicately stroked the nub of nerves hidden in Harris's body, delighting in the young wizard's involuntary thrust back as Harris impaled himself further.
Sherlock, with impeccable timing, wrapped his long fingers around his and Harris's cocks, fisting them loosely in a slow, steady rhythm that gradually increased in speed and strength as the three men moved together toward ecstasy. Thomas slid his cock between Harris's buttocks, stroking it with his own thumb even as he kept his fingers buried in Harris's depths. His other hand reached around and pulled Sherlock down hard, pressing the three lovers tightly together as they bucked and gasped.
Thomas's face was tucked against Harris's neck, frantically kissing his mate's silken skin as he resisted the urge to bite a claiming mark on the young man's shoulder. Above them, Sherlock was employing all of his formidable skill at kissing to overwhelm their newest mate in pure sensation, and his hips pistoned even as he stroked his and Harris's cocks with somewhat frantic need. Harris, completely lost to the intensity of the moment, moaned in unrestrained pleasure and gripped Sherlock's hair, holding tight and kissing back with growing confidence even as his other arm reached up and back, clinging to Thomas's head and relishing the older man's gasping moans as they rumbled against Harris's neck and shoulder.
The long fingers deep within him somehow stroked even deeper, curled and caressing Harris's prostate in a final, devastating attack that sent the overwhelmed young man into rigid spasms, body grasping at Thomas and pulling the older wizard with him into orgasm as the hot jets of cum that pulsed over Sherlock's hand and cock sent him, too, into nirvana.
Frozen in a timeless moment of ecstasy, the three mates clung together as the bond between them pulsed with them before settling into a strong, steady glow of power.
Breath coming in gasping sobs, Harris felt his mates pressing gentle kisses against his forehead and cheeks and jaw, Sherlock descending like a transparent god to seize the young man's mouth in his own, before surrendering the sweet depths to the attention of his older mate. Thomas turned Harris's head to the side and claimed his youngest mate's mouth for the first time, establishing pure ownership as his tongue swept in and claimed the succulent territory for himself and his mate.
Sherlock met Harris's sleepy gaze with his own, transparent stare and said in his distinctive, deep tone, "Tomorrow, little one. We have waited long enough." He held the green eyes firmly, his message unequivocal, and sent warm approval down the bond at the young man's agreement. The brilliant man understood his younger mate's need to think and understand what was happening, but knew better than most how vital it was for Harris to feel for himself the complete love and acceptance that he and Thomas would give him.
Thomas stroked a strong, warm hand soothingly down Harris's flat stomach and placed a final, gentle kiss on the tempting mouth of his newest mate. With his mouth near the delicate, almost elven ear that peaked out from the raven locks, Thomas growled softly, "Sleep and rest, little love. Trust us. You are not alone anymore." As he and Sherlock slowed faded from the room, his last act for the night was to summon a warm blanket which the two mates draped over their beloved.
Drifting off to sleep, sated and somewhat bewildered, Harris hugged to himself the comfort that flowed through and around him from the newly-settled bond and allowed himself, cautiously, to hope that the happiness he was beginning to feel was real.
In the huge bed at Slytherin Manor, the two figures wrapped around each other slowly opened their eyes as Thomas masterfully brought them back from their legilimentic journey. Sherlock stared, enraptured, into the swirling ruby depths of his lover's eyes and offered a slow, sleepy smile. Thomas raised a strong hand to cup the side of Sherlock's face, thumb stroking the sharp cheekbone as he smiled back. Together, they studied the condition of their mating bond and saw with deep contentment that the bond now contained their delightful Third.
Soon, very soon, their bed would, as well.
A/N2: MIDNIGHT EMBER! YOOO-HOOOOO! This is officially a nag-note. I want so badly to see a chapter in "Cloudier Sky" when Marvolo & Silas are continuing their courtship. Please? I know I'm pressuring you, but also bribing. Shall I bring the mighty weight of our shared readers to bear? Lol!