Pairing: Harry/human!Fawkes

Summary: Fawkes comes back after the final battle, now a human and deeply in love with Harry. Slash, Harry/human!Fawkes.

Rating: PG

Word Count: 1,946

A/N: Just a little oneshot that I wrote for the Summer 2012 Rare Pair Wishlist event on LJ. For those of you who are waiting for On My Radar, I promise that I'm working on it! I am hoping to have it posted by the end of the summer.

Chasing Cars

All that I am

All that I ever was

Is here in your perfect eyes

They're all I can see

I don't know where

Confused about how as well

Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here

If I just lay here

Would you lie with me and just forget the world? - Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

Harry walked slowly through the Great Hall, trying to organize his thoughts as he watched Madame Pomfrey attend to the injured.

He was alive. Voldemort was defeated, never to return. The Light had won.

Now what?

The seventeen-year-old honestly had no clue about the future, his future. Would he join the Aurors like he had once thought? Harry's eyes roamed over the students and teachers gathered, searching for a familiar face. His eyes landed on long, red hair. Would he marry Ginny and start a family? He took a step toward the youngest Weasley. Yes, he could marry Ginny; it would be a simple wedding—perhaps in the spring—and Ginny would look as radiant as Fleur had looked last summer. They would have their first child a year later, and maybe, after stumbling through parenthood, have another. Harry continued to walk toward Ginny. Yes, he could clearly picture it now.

"Harry," a melodious voice called from behind him. The young man glanced over his shoulder, and his eyes widened. There stood a tall man with bright red hair and glowing tanned skin, eyes an equally golden glow. His dark red lips parted in a perfect, crescent-shaped smile and he stepped closer to Harry, who had turned around completely.

"Yes?" Harry asked, wondering whom this handsome man was. Had he met him before? He seemed so familiar…

"I see that the battle has already finished. I had hoped to get here in time to offer my help, but I should have expected you would do a fine job without me," the man said, looking both proud at Harry and disheartened that he wasn't able to help. Harry tried to console the man.

"Oh, well…we could always use help cleaning and rebuilding…"

The man's golden eyes softened with an emotion that Harry couldn't quite place.

"You are so warmhearted," he murmured. Harry rubbed the back of his neck and glanced down, feeling awkward from the praise. The golden man chuckled softly and Harry marveled at how dulcet it sounded, like a bird's song.

"You do not know who I am." It was a statement, rather than a question. "I was once a phoenix, Harry. I am called Fawkes."

Harry's head snapped up to stare at the man—Fawkes—in awe.

"But…how?" he whispered and reached up to gently run his fingers through the phoenix-turned-human's soft hair. Fawkes trilled softly and leaned into the caress. Harry could have stood there and preened the man's hair all day, if it weren't for the interruption.

"Harry? Who's this?" Ginny asked, popping up next to the green-eyed man and looping her arm through his. Harry blinked and slowly pulled his hand from Fawkes' hair, looking down into Ginny's soft brown eyes. For some reason, they weren't as pretty as he remembered, but he supposed that nothing could compare to the bright golden eyes of a phoenix.

"Ginny, this is Fawkes. Fawkes, this is—"

"Ginevra Weasley," Fawkes spoke in a strangled voice. Harry glanced up at the man in concern and noticed the pain darkening his eyes. "It is a pleasure to meet you." He held out his left hand and his eyes flickered down to Ginny's left arm wrapped around Harry's right. Ginny smiled and held out her right hand, ignoring the fact that Fawkes had to switch hands to shake hers.

"And you as well," the redheaded girl returned before a thoughtful look crossed her face. "Fawkes…didn't Headmaster Dumbledore have a phoenix named Fawkes?" She directed her question at Harry.

"Um…yes, he did," Harry spoke hesitantly, glancing up at Fawkes in silent question. The older man held his finger to his lips briefly and winked, causing Harry to flush. Ginny eyed him, casting suspicious looks between the two. She opened her mouth to speak at the same time as Harry, but both were interrupted by a third redhead.

"Hey mate!" Ron exclaimed with a slap to Harry's back. He looked relieved now that the war was over and everyone could begin to look forward to a brighter future. "Mum's cooking dinner tonight. She says that if you don't come, she'll hunt you down personally and drag you there by your ears."

Harry grimaced and Ginny laughed.

"Right. You can assure her that I'll be there," he said, before looking over at Fawkes. The man looked rather uncomfortable and he seemed to be torn between looking at where Ron's hand rested on Harry's shoulder and where Ginny's arm was still looped through Harry's. The black-haired man bit his lip.

"Um, can I bring Fawkes as a guest?" Ron stared at Harry blankly.

"The phoenix, Harry?" he asked incredulously. Harry cringed and gestured lamely to the exotic man in front of him.

"No, I mean my friend, Fawkes." Fawkes seemed to cheer up a little when Harry introduced him as a friend and the younger male relaxed; he didn't like seeing the former phoenix looking so miserable.

"Oh, sure, mate. The more the merrier!" Ron said and gave Harry one last pat on the back before turning to his sister. "Mum wants to see you, Gin."

Ginny pouted, but followed her brother anyway. "I'll be right back, Harry," she whispered into his ear. Harry watched her walk away in bemusement; Ginny had never been this touchy-feely before. Fawkes cleared his throat softly and Harry's attention snapped back to the tall man.

"Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't think to ask…do you want to have dinner with the Weasleys and I?" Harry asked sheepishly, feeling horrible for having ignored the other man's choice in the matter.

"Of course, Harry. I would love to," Fawkes answered, reaching out as if to touch Harry before dropping his hand with another brief expression of pain. Harry frowned and started to ask him what was wrong, but Fawkes changed the subject, asking about the Weasleys. Reluctantly, Harry allowed the change and began to talk about the family of redheads; where they lived, what all of their names were, and the experiences he'd had with them.

Soon the sun was hanging low in the sky and everyone was preparing to leave, having cleaned up Hogwarts as best as possible for the time being. Harry held out his hand to Fawkes and smiled reassuringly.

"Do you mind if I side-apparate you to the Burrow?" Fawkes shook his head and slowly reached out to touch Harry's hand. His expression became one of awe as he wrapped his fingers around the younger man's palm. Harry chuckled, feeling a strange fondness well inside him.

"You'll have to get a little closer, lest I splinch you on the way," he said and tugged the man toward him gently. Fawkes came as close as a foot away before he stopped. Harry wondered why the man was so cautious. Perhaps he simply wasn't used to so much human contact? But he had been fine when Harry had pet his hair earlier…

The world swirled around them before the two men were deposited onto the front lawn of the Burrow. Harry gripped Fawkes' bicep to steady the man.

"I…do not like that method of travel," Fawkes muttered, his face pale. Harry laughed and agreed with him wholeheartedly.

"Neither do I."

Dinner with the Weasleys was a more subdued affair than normal. George did not attend and everyone felt the loss of Fred, Remus, and Tonks heavily in their hearts, as well as the many others that had perished in the final battle. Harry was seated between Ginny and Ron, with Hermione on Ron's other side and Fawkes across from him. He couldn't help but stare at Fawkes often, watching as he ate with the human utensils expertly and wondering how long he'd been in this new form.

Harry had always liked Fawkes—listening to him trill and petting his feathers—but now that they could actually communicate, he was curious about what the phoenix had to say. And he was dying to know what had happened to the powerful bird to turn him into a human. Had Fawkes wanted to become human, or had it been some sort of accident?

As soon as dessert was finished, Fawkes excused himself from the table and hurried out of the room. Harry followed after him quickly, ignoring Ginny's questions. He found the redheaded man outside, sitting on the roof of the house and gazing up at the stars as if they held all the answers to his questions. Harry apparated to the spot next to him and sat down.

"Fawkes, what's wrong?" The man glanced at him from the corner of his eye.

"Why do you think that something is wrong?" Harry frowned.

"Because you look sad and pained. And you ran out of the house as soon as possible." Fawkes sighed and finally looked at Harry. Their eyes met and Harry saw that same indescribable emotion soften the older man's eyes. Carefully, Fawkes trailed his fingers over Harry's cheek and down his jaw, coming to rest at the side of his neck. Harry's eyes fluttered shut at the tender touch.

"I couldn't bear to watch Ginevra so close to you. I couldn't help but want to hold on to you as well. Harry, you…you are too kind; you would never reject me outright and I don't want to force you into that position," Fawkes whispered, the pain in his voice as clear as it was in his eyes. He stood then, and Harry could feel him gathering his magic.

"Wait!" Harry shouted and grabbed onto Fawkes' sleeve. He frowned when he realized that the man was trembling. "Wait, Fawkes…I didn't know that you…"

"Harry, love—" Fawkes began, but paused when Harry jolted. He cringed, afraid that he had angered Harry by using the endearment.

"Say…" the green-eyed man spoke in a breathy voice, "Say that again…"

"Harry, my love," the taller man whispered, not daring to hope. Harry shivered and stared into Fawkes' eyes. Now, he could put a name to that indescribable emotion; love. Fawkes loved him.

"Fawkes, why did you become a human?"

"I wanted to be with you, Harry," Fawkes murmured and placed his hands on Harry's cheek. "I wanted to talk with you, laugh with you, love with you. I wanted to experience the things that you experience, together."

Together. The word resonated through Harry's mind and stuck. Yes, Harry could see himself marrying Ginny, but was that what he iwanted/i, or was it just the only thing he could think of doing at the time? Had he been feeling desperate; disoriented now that all of his major goals had been reached and he had no further plans?

Harry looked up into Fawkes' bright, expressive golden eyes and twined their fingers together.

"Then be with me, Fawkes. Talk with me, laugh with me…love with me," Harry whispered. "Let's experience life together." Fawkes smiled brighter than the flames he once represented and pulled Harry closer, enveloping the smaller male in his embrace.

And Harry felt content to stay there in Fawkes' arms. He no longer felt the need to make immediate plans for the future because he would have someone with him, and they would discover their future together, day-by-day.