To say Harry Potter was surprised to wake up with wings on the 20th of July, eleven days before his birthday, would be a little bit of an understatement. To say he was further surprised by his most hated potions professor and his respected transfiguration professor turning up at nine am on the same day would also be an understatement. To then further be shocked by his subsequent removal to Hogwarts would be even more surprising. And now here he was, seated at a table in the Great Hall, his wings protruding from his back, completely shirtless, his scars and bruises on show for the world to see, desperately ignoring the sympathetic and pitying eyes of his teachers. It became even worse, at least in his opinion, when his class mates arrived. Only the sixth years, though, he noted before returning his face to the golden plate before him. It's burnished surface reflecting his refracted expression, causing himself to note his own depressed countenance and sad eyes. Six years he had spent hiding the Dursley's abuse. And now, here it was on show for all the world to see. The tight flesh that covered his protruding ribs. The contusions and scarring that decorated his pale skin. The clear scrawniness of his frame. It was embarrassing. Harry his his head, ducking it until it was level with the table, his back curved out uncomfortably, and his beautiful dark wings curled around himself unconsciously, shielding his shame from the world.
The first thing Draco Malfoy noticed when he strode into the Great Hall in the summer before his sixth year as was tradition for all Hogwarts students, was Potter seated at the single table. The second thing he noticed was the pair of great black wings sprouting from his skinny back, wings that were curling around him defensively. Potter had clearly already gone through his creature inheritance. Not all witch's and wizard's had one, a lot of the time it was only a handful of students to go through a transformation. To have an entire year go through a transformation was staggering. Sometimes it was obvious and noticeable like Potters, others like himself weren't. But then, his was noticeable if he relaxed his shields around his inner core enough for his aura to be felt. As Draco approached the table he could see the dark contusions littering Potter's arms, chest and back. The bruises and cuts also appeared to extend to his legs that were covered by his overly large trousers. Exchanging a look with his godfather, Draco couldn't help but wonder why no one had seen then before. Even the scarring was obvious. Why hadn't they seen it? Clearly Potter hadn't wanted it to be seen, much like Severus' own selfconscious defense of his own scarring. It was a thing of shame for those who were abused, more often than not, they felt it was their fault, Draco, as the only child of an illustrious pure blooded family, couldn't understand how people could abuse a child, let alone why said child would feel guilt and shame for having such a travesty forced upon their person. As a child he had asked his godfather, but Severus had been unforthcoming in an explanation, except to say "One day, perhaps I will tell you, but not today." It had been aggravating to say the least. Sighing to himself, Draco lowered himself onto the bench across from Potter, his silvery eyes curious and vaguely protective, of course, any empath would feel the swirling emotions of guilt, anxiety, shame, anger, fear and betrayal. It was like a thick miasma, that hooded and cloaked the scrawny, winged boy. Draco tightened his shields and put on his best 'Ice Prince' mask, betraying none of the accompanying pain that reading emotions caused him.
As the rest of the students filed in and seated themselves, the students arrayed themselves in their houses, Gryffindors seated next to the Hufflepuffs and Slytherins across from the Hufflepuffs, (Potter having moved himself to between the other two thirds of the golden trio) and seated beside the Ravenclaws. Dinner was a silent affair, everyone knew why they were here, and why they couldn't leave until they had both completed and mastered their transformation. It would be a long week. Most of the muggle born students were quietly inquiring about the possibility of magic in the blood lines with their neighbours. Such conversation held credence to the age old argument to squibs marrying muggles to produce magical offspring. Of course, it wasn't always easy to collaborate the evidence to such mutterings, and the argument was often left unresolved in bad humour by both sides of the fence.
Finally, Dumbledore stood and carefully explained why everyone was there. According to the legends and histories; many eons ago, when wizardry was new, people bred with the magical creatures, creating half breeds. According to the wizards and witches back then, it made people stronger and more formidable opponents. Despite this belief however, most half breeds went insane, causing incalculable damage to the ancient societies. The resulting war shoved the entirety of the world back into the dark ages. Despite this it was clear that something had caused a lot of families to have throw backs to past generations. That something, Dumbledore was certain, was an upsurge of raw magical power. Something that more than a few students could be responsible for. There were at least five students with unnatural power, Longbottom, Potter, and Malfoy were the three that leapt straight to mind there. While the other students had average albeit upper range amounts of raw power. They certainly were a unique group. And their sixth year had been eagerly anticipated by more than a few teachers eager to see who would be what, little did the group know that the staff pool held that the more powerful students would be incredibly rare, like dragon half breeds and things like that. While the teachers exchanged bets and hushed whispers, their calculating eyes upon the huddled group of students, more than one member of the student body was silently breathing sighs of relief that Umbridge was no longer among them, the tales of horror from the upper years had spooked more than one Hufflepuff student. Even the foolishly brave Gryffindors, had been horrified and petrified of the thought of Umbridge returning for another year of torment.
Draco surveyed his year group, if he wasn't mistaken there were more half breed veelas, dragon spawn and phoenix chicks than any other half breed kind. And then there was Potter, Draco had no idea what kind of half breed Potter was, with those ebony feathered wings. It completely ruled out dragon and phoenix half breed's, they usually had leathery wings or fiery red feathers; but at the same time there was that slight shift to his movements, the lifting of his wings, and flaring of his fingers as though he was grasping for something, that led Draco to believe that Potter, with some practice and dedication could manipulate the shadows. While thinking upon his intuition, and surprising suspicion of Potters new abilities, Draco personally only knew of one other person who could do that; and it was his godfather. Not that Severus would ever admit to being a half-breed or anything similar, it was far too dangerous in the current climate of war and distrust, even the Ministry, despite knowing certain individuals abilities, ignored or was outright prejudiced against half-breeds. Also, there was the The Dark Lord, who apparently hated them; of course, rumor stated that the Dark Lord had been among the twenty students in his year that did not receive a creature inheritance, but Draco didn't put much stock on such rumours. After all, the idea that the Dark Lord would reform the wizarding world on a fit of jealousy, was utterly ridiculous...
Harry flinched at the swelling noise of the sixth year students, Dumbledore had just initiated the feast, and many students were now pleasantly engaged with catching up with each other and happily bragging about what they could become. While Harry personally thought it was impossible that everyone in his year was a half breed creature, there was the chance that most of them would! As McGonnagall had explained it most of the pure blood and half-blood students would be the ones to transform, as no one really put much emphasis upon the debate of muggle burns being descended from squibs. And while the old families had inter-bred with the magical creature populations during the renaissance this causing the magical families to grow wings, or bigger auras, it was ridiculous, surely, to think that people like Hermione, were actually half-bloods. Equally strange, was that in his impromptu history lesson with McGonagal, was the knowledge that the ancient Greeks and Romans had actually openly worshipped the ancient wizarding cultures of the time. The winged being that he was, was a direct throwback to the Jewish ideal of angels; according to Snape he was apparently a Nephilim, also known as a fallen angel in biblical literature. Harry hadn't questioned it, personally he hadn't really believed such nonsense, and frankly he was still sore over the loss of his godfather, the subsequent telling of the prophecy and the newly elevated pedestal the Ministry had shoved him upon again. Umbridge would have had a field day with this, shuddering Harry drew his wings around himself, shielding himself from the cold biting air. He absentmindedly filled his plate, his silent friends observing his deviation from his normally more meat driven diet. Harry had attempted to eat a sausage for breakfast, the after affect had been that it had taken him twenty minutes to stop vomiting and a further ten on top of that to halt the dry heaves. It had been incredibly embarrassing, and Snape had explained that Nephilim while fallen angels, were not dark creatures and revered the light and all things growing. Thus he would not be able to eat anything that had been slaughtered for nutritional substance. Something Harry felt more than slightly annoyed about, not that he was pouting, no, he certainly wasn't pouting!
Ronald Weasley watched his best friend concerned. Harry clearly wasn't dealing with the newest turn of events in his life. Even Ron had to admit that it was highly unfair, after all, when would his mate catch a break? And now it appeared that his friend couldn't eat meat! Which in Ron's mind, was a far worse travesty than the death of his friends godfather, and all the other crap his life had been heaped under. But even the normally jealous and angry red-head could see that it was messed up, and for once in his life, Ron actually felt sympathy and empathy for his raven haired friend, and although he couldn't do anything, his silent support would help Harry even if he felt helpless in the face of the odds against them. Ron was so wrapped up with his thoughts he didn't feel the tingling of magic creeping across his skin, or did he see several students suddenly cry out in pain, nor the teachers who rushed down from the head table, concern for their students upon their faces. As Ron watched Harry, his own transformation took place. He grew taller, and more muscular,his blue eyes became more electric than grey and his skin whitened and then bronzed. His red hair was no longer carrotty red, but rather a deep blood red. And then he cried out, the pain took him by surprise, his scream echoing out across the hall.
Harry, completely taken by surprise, leapt about a foot high, his wings snapping out and pumping quickly. His instinct drove him to the highest reaches of the hall, and there he perched upon the arches supporting the great ceiling. Looking down, Harry watched as people writhed on the floor, their faces white with pain. It was distressing for the new Nephilim, his dark green eyes lit with sadness and concern for others, as the selfless being wept in his heart in the face of so much pain.
Severus Snape was for the most part, highly annoyed, well, the tiny part of him that wasn't busy fixing his students and ordering his fellow teachers around. Added to his annoyance was a sense of perfectly deserved (in his opinion) irritation towards his wonder boy student; mainly because he was the only teacher to see Potter's ridiculous reaction to his best friends pain and suffering. Boy wonder had taken a cowardly leap into the air and then somehow, on his new wings (which shouldn't have been able to support him) flew up into the upper reaches of the halls ceiling arches. Muttering under his breath about dunderheaded brats, Snape hurried over to Weasley and wrenching the boys mouth open he poured down a pain relieving potion. A reaction such as Weasley's indicated that the boy was going to be a quick bloomer, someone who's inheritance would come hard and fast. Other students were doubled up whimpering with pain, their changes less noticeable, but still marked. A quick sweep of the hall with his ebony eyes had Snape noticing that Granger and the others who hadn't started yet, pressed up against the wall eyes wide with fear. Draco, Snape noticed, was also hurrying from one student to the next, dispensing pain relieving potions and murmuring words of false comfort. If the boy got his way, Draco would make a fine healer.
Harry perched as he was, high in the rafters of the great hall, felt undeniably guilty for his cowardly flight, but now, looking down at the Great Hall, he couldn't help but feel helpless. Not to mention, how on earth had he got up here? Snape had told him that Nephilim couldn't fly straight away. That it was impossible, not to mention inadvisable. Harry couldn't fathom how, once again he had broken the impossible-or-the-shouldn't-have-been-able-to-do-that barrier. It was getting ridiculous. Harry sighed and resigned himself to waiting until someone noticed him and sent him up a broom. Which in and of itself, was bloody humiliating, Malfoy would have a field day.
Snape and Draco had finished administering the potions, and were gazing around the room, standing next to each other, their eyes - one set silver grey, the other, the darkest brown - compassionate as they stared at the sobbing and gasping students, the very air they breathed seemed thick with pain and excitement. Exchanging tired glances the man and boy nodded to each other in both respect and a sense of duty and responsibility fulfilled. Snape was the first to look up, his quick darting eyes trying to spot that infernal idiot, Potter. Black eyes glittered with amusement when he noticed the pale face framed with black peering down at him; Draco noticed Snape's preoccupation and glanced up, and with out even trying to restrain his amusement, a bark of laughter escaped his lips.
"Potter!" Snape snapped irately, hands on his hips and his entire posture radiating disapproval. "Get down from there!"
Potter peered down, his face decidedly nervous, "I'd love to Professor, but I can honestly say I don't know how. I didn't even know I could fly!"
Snape felt his mouth drop open. Well, he thought, that changed things, Potter, it seemed flew due to his panic at his friends screams, a clear and classic sign of the 'flight or fight' reflex that all animals have, obviously, and rather annoyingly, Potters seemed to be over developed. As it was, his friend Weasley was still in a foetal position and whimpering in agony, apparently the sudden addition of a foot of height was too much for his pain threshold to contain, although, perhaps the boy would be happy as it was clear that his transformation had been decidedly powerful. Sighing again, Snape quickly flicked his eyes towards Granger, but she looked to be busy with her own impending transformation; Snape sighed again, maybe it was time to let the veritable cat out of the bag.
Draco walked up to his godfather, his broomstick balanced on his shoulder. "I could fly up and go get him if you don't want to show people." Draco eyed his godfather, his eyes silvery in his worry, Snape hadn't even felt the young man leave, and probably wouldn't have noticed the blonde haired man return had he not turned around.
"Perhaps that's best." Snape allowed, he sighed heavily again and rubbed the bridge of his nose. As Draco swung his leg over the handle of his broom, Snape yelled at Potter to hold on. Potter's heavily sarcastic reply almost made Snape smile, apparently Potter had a sense of humour after all. Returning his attention to the new transformations, Snape started to curse the the summer equinox, why did it have to be this day that the magics aligned for human/creature half breeds to transform? Let alone why did it have to be on their sixteenth birthdays? Couldn't it wait until they were seventeen, like their magical inheritance did?
As Draco kicked off and soared into the air, he watched his godfather was bend over Granger a thoughtful expression on his normally immobile face. Weasley was seated next to them, his face a picture of worry, and his breathless pants added to the tension in that part of the hall. Draco soon saw why, Granger was in a rictus of agony, her face rigidly expressing a silent scream. Draco couldn't help wincing as Grangers shirt shredded and her back exploded into leathery wings and horns spiralled from her brow while a thick spiked tail shot from the base of her spine. A dragon half breed, they were pretty rare, not to mention scary, fiercely loyal and sometimes able to breathe fire. Draco suddenly, in a fit of self preservation, no longer wished to annoy Hermione Granger and thought that rescuing her best friend from falling to his death might be a good way to start. Concentrating on the task at hand, Draco levelled out next to Potter, who rather interestingly, appeared to be quite comfortable as he was. His right leg draw up under his chin with his arms resting on top. His left leg kicked backwards and forwards as he watched Draco fly up to him.
"Potter," Draco acknowledged, and Potter quirked a smile at him, Draco couldn't help but wonder at Potter sanity, mind you, he was in possession of wings, so maybe there was a reason for his blasé attitude. Drawing his left leg up, Potter stood smoothly and without effort, his wings extended out to balance himself. As Potter looked at him, Draco could feel Potters happiness at being so far from the ground, his confidence, his fear, his sadness, his anger. Draco reeled at the emotions swirling around the boy in front of him.
"You're an empath." Potter noted.
Draco drew his shields around him like an iron cloak. "Yes." Draco eyed the raven haired teen, his eyes compassionate. "Get on the broom, Potter."
Surprisingly, Potter did so, lightly stepping out onto the broom, as he did so the broom dipped slightly, and Draco gripped it firmly and held it steady. Potter then calmly slid on the broom behind Draco, his thin, wiry arms wrapping themselves around Draco's waist. His wings attempted to do the same before Potter quickly got them under control. Clearly his wings represented his emotions as well as his eyes did, which was highly amusing. Draco decided to ignore the muttered apology and dove sharply at the ground; Potter let out a yell of delight, laughing, and Draco grinned fiercely. The two of them loved flying, but Potter had it better, the moment he learnt to fly with his own wings he would be far freer than Draco ever could. And for that Draco envied him.
Landing neatly, Harry slipped off the broom. He grinned at Malfoy, his emerald eyes shining with pleasure. "Thanks Malfoy." Malfoy smirked, his face flushed with happiness.
"Welcome back to earth," Snape said snidely. His obsidian eyes tracking Malfoy's movements as he quickly exited the hall avoiding Snape's presence. Malfoy was far too self preserving to stand up to the annoyed potions master.
Harry ducked his head embarrassed, "Sorry sir, I don't know what came upon me."
Snape regarded him silently. "No, I don't supposed you would." Snape stalked away, his robes billowing out behind him. Leaving a confused man behind him, Harry didn't even bother to puzzle out Snape's words, his mind quickly turning to his friends.
Harry ran over to where Ron was seated beside an almost naked Hermione, and the trio sat and watched as their classmates went through various transformations. Hermione and Harry's were the most amazing. Harry was still transforming, his wings which were ebony back were streaked with the darkest green tips, feathers had been woven through his hair and trailed from the nape of neck down his spine. His eyes which had always been a mesmerizing green shone like the most flawless of dark emerald stones. His features had become more bird like and fragile; his hands, fingers, feet and toes were thin and fragile, each bone poking through the skin. His chest had stretched forward, the sternum covered with thickly roped muscles and his stomach was flat and too thin, while his thighs and calves were now heavily muscled so he could get airborne with a single jump, and it was obvious that his bones were now hollow enough to support flight. What was disturbing though, was his nose, it had become large and slightly hooked, like a bird beak, it also resembled a certain potions masters, to Ron's disgust.
Hermione had been told that she was a dragon hybrid, her spine was tracked with spikes and she had yellow eyes that were slit like a cats. Her tail was wrapped neatly around her ankles and was tipped by a nasty looking barb. Her great bronze wings were folded flatly against her spine and were massive folds of leathery skin. The colour of her dragon skin had bled into her normal skin, causing her to look incredibly tanned. Her hair was wildly curled and tangled, and two large horns of ivory decorated her forehead. She looked fearsome and dangerous. Hermione yawned revealing two long curved fangs and the rest of teeth were pointed and very sharp looking, while her tongue was thinner and pointed. She was drawing the eye of the only other dragon hybrid, his eerie gold eyes never leaving her form, which was making Hermione preen and groom her claws and wings. Harry found this vastly amusing, as did Ron, although the red-head found it bitter sweet.
Ron observed his friends, their instincts and features were so different to before, and while his transformation hadn't been as stunning as theirs had been, his was still markedly amazing. His eyes were now the clearest blue of a summers day and reminded a person of a dogs, loyal to a fault and trusting. His skin had become a russet colour and his hair a blood red and soft like silk. Ron dropped his eyes to his hands, they were broad and strong, the nails thick and black, while his muscles stood out like ropes of steel along his arms, and his ears were now pointed and his hearing was disturbingly sharp. Added to this he was now close to seven foot tall, he was still unsure what kind of half breed he was, but he suspected he was a kind of elf. He was yet to stand, but he knew that it would take a while to get used to the changes, as his feet and legs were as strong looking as his hands, and it was obvious that he would resemble Tonks in the klutzy department until he got used to the changes. Ron wasn't really looking forward to that. While Harry felt that it was vastly unfair that his already insanely tall friend was now ridiculously so, and he looked like a fragile bird in comparison.
The teachers looked around the Hall, the room was filled with panting, and gasping students. In a space of three hours every student had gone through their transformation. There were around three veela's, two dragon's, a Nephilim, a dozen elf types, two empaths, a telepath and half a dozen other empowered students. Dumbledore rubbed his eyes, feeling the strain of the last few hours upon his body. He himself wasn't a creature hybrid, but the staff that were would be teaching the newly transformed students glamours and other ways of hiding their transformations over the next few weeks. It would be hard grueling work, but it would be worth it eventually. For now though they needed rest. Casting a cushioning charm upon the stone floor, along with a warming-atmospheric charm, Dumbledore then summoned double size sleeping bags for everyone. Those with wings would be needing them. Sighing with exhaustion, the teachers then grabbed their own bags and set themselves up around the room. Dumbledore watched as the school predictably split up into its four houses, and not for the first time he thought about the house devisions and how he could resolve them. Sighing, the nearly two century old man settled down into his fat squishy purple sleeping bag, his bright blue eyes sagging shut from the past three hours of panic stricken, fearful, angry, joyful and excited students going through their transformation. It had been harrowing to say the least, he thought wearily.
The next morning dawned bright and early for the students and staff that were asleep in the Great Hall, Harry was once more sitting on the arches above the sleeping people. His emerald eyes watched them silently, he couldn't understand his desire to be up high, only knew that it was necessary. Sighing, Harry watched as Snape woke, the dark haired man snapping awake and snatching his wand up in a fit of unease. The potions master had left his sleeping bag completely undone, no doubt resulting in a freezing nights sleep, but allowing for the freedom of movement and the ability to roll out of bed with unnatural speed. Clearly the life of a spy was not all that it was cracked out to be. Harry sighed again, his breath making dust swirl up and around him, catching the first rays of sunlight refracting into a golden haze. Harry groaned softly before laying his head down, his eyes half closed, tracking Snape's progress through the hall. Harry allowed his wings to relax, drooping them down and over the side of the arch. His head pillowed on his arms and his feet kicking at the air. Harry felt remarkably relaxed, for the first time since Sirius had died. Harry's eyes slowly shut, the sun moved higher in the sky until it was shining onto the boy, even though it was charmed not to give off heat, the fake sun shining in the Great Hall gave a placebo warmth as it lit the boys face.
Snape was beside himself, he had checked the students and still he couldn't find Potter. Finally he remembered the events of the night before. Looking up, sure enough he spotted the boy lazily draped along an arch. Snape felt his mouth quirk upwards in a smile, he could remember the feeling of freedom that height gave him. It had taken him years to suppress the instinct to find the nearest ledge and perch on it, to allow the sunlight to hit his face, the wind to ruffle his hair and feathers. Shaking his head firmly, dispelling any such thoughts, Snape went about waking the students up for breakfast.
Harry was wakened once more by a voice shouting his name. Blearily Harry stuck his head over the stonework of the arch, there was a very irate potions master scowling up at him. Malfoy standing next to him holding a broomstick in his hand. Harry yawned and acting on instinct he rolled of the edge. There was a chorus of screams as Harry fell. Harry closed his eyes delighting in the feeling of weightlessness, before he snapped his wings open. Soaring up slightly, Harry beat his wings twice before landing neatly on the floor of the Great Hall. Ignoring the admiring and envious looks of his fellow students, Harry trudged over to his friends, the sudden feeling of being grounded making him feel depressed and unhappy with the world.
"Potter," Snape hissed, stalking over to the raven haired boy.
"Professor," Harry greeted, "I trust you slept well?"
Snape halted, suddenly feeling off. Had the brat really just ask him how he'd slept? Regaining his sense of equilibrium, Snape scowled. "Tolerably." He replied still scowling, his black eyes fixed upon the emerald eyes of the brat in front of him. "Potter, your little stunt was foolish and stupid." Snape was suddenly cut off.
"I'm sorry sir, I just felt like it should be done like that." Harry looked confused momentarily.
Snape pinched the bridge of his nose. "Nephillum." He growled. Snarling under his breath, Snape stalked away.
Harry watched him bewildered, before shrugging and returning to his current goal of returning to his friends. He wasn't sure what was going on, but Malfoy was being nicer, which was... Nice. He supposed. And Snape wasn't being as snarky as he once was, he wasn't quite sure what was up with that. Either way, he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Humming to himself and unconsciously lifting his ebony wings up, Harry lengthened his strides, crossing the Hall to Ron and Hermione in seconds. Settling down next to his friends they started to discuss their transformations, Hermione bemoaning her inability to go home again, she would certainly out of place in an all muggle neighbourhood.
Draco stood to the side of the hall, his face was a picture of pain. His shields had started to fail recently, and he suspected that his secondary transformation was about to start. Only the most powerful wizards got a secondary transformation. Or if they didn't fully transform at first. Draco whimpered, baring his teeth. The wave of emotions that swamped the Great Hall was just too much for him. He needed something to block the emotions from overwhelming but his shields were far too weak. Groaning Draco slid to the floor, a clatter of feet and a face swam into his vision. He could barely hear them, his grey eyes were agonized. Brown eyes, who has brown eyes? Draco closed his eyes, his shields shredded and leaving him open to the girls panic, concern and desire. He could hear her calling his name, and he tried to focus his attention upon her. A hand reached out and gripped his, and mercifully the pain stopped. His head clearing, Draco was able to look into the concerned brown eyes of his rescuer.
"Longbottom," Draco groaned. It would have to be the squib wouldn't it? Why had the squib sounded like a girl? Surely the boys voice hadn't been that shrill and panicked? Draco groaned again.
"Malfoy," Longbottom stuttered slightly, "Are you okay now?" He withdrew his hand like it had been burned and Draco felt the pain of being emotionally overdosed slamming into his body. Draco gasped and grabbed onto Longbottom like he was a dying man.
"Don't let me go," Draco gasped, his mind clearing.
Longbottom flushed embarrassed, "Um.. Okay. Why?"
"Empath." Draco said, the feeling of pain blissfully absent. "Somehow you're blocking the pain. My shields went down." Draco explained, not exactly realizing that he was curled up in Longbottom's arms, his face buried in his chest.
"I see." Longbottom had a funny expression on his face, both confused and disbelieving. His school yard bully was clinging to him unable to let him go. "I think I can explain why." Longbottom offered, his brown eye concerned.
"Go for it." Draco muttered, feeling himself pulled up against Longbottom's surprisingly firm chest, he could hear the boys heart thudding out a regular and comforting rhythm.
"I'm a shielder. I block things. Most shielders are rare, kinda snapped up quickly by telepathy and empaths. We're kinda like an extra buffer against unwanted thoughts and emotions." Longbottom explained. "My Dad was one too, he shielded my Mum who was a Telepath."
Draco thought about it, it certainly made sense. Longbottom was certainly making it easier to think straight and the pain was negligible now. And this was just from contact? Excellent, he thought sarcastically. "So what do I have to do to get this effect permanently?" Draco asked coldly, unable to believe, now he was coming around to his normal self, that he was curled up in Longbottom's arms, depending on Longbottom to give him relief from his own power. It was a seriously unfair, but then, wasn't life unjust?
"You can bond with me. Or you could choose someone else." Longbottom stuttered, his brown eyes wide with panic. "There are about another three shielders in the Great Hall all unbonded I think." Draco growled, unhappily. Somehow the idea that Longbottom didn't want him made him really unhappy and scared.
"Who are they?" Draco asked finally, trying to keep up the illusion that he was in control.
Longbottom flinched minutely, it would do to show Malfoy how much he, Neville, wanted to be the one to shield him from the out pouring of emotion in there. "The Patil sisters, Parkinson, and Nott. Although I think Parvati is spoken for." Longbottom said finally, his voice low and strong.
Draco thought about it. If he bonded with anyone, that person would know everything about him. And while Padma Patil was nice, she was also an annoying Ravenclaw book worm. Parkinson was definitely out. And Nott would probably laugh in his face. Sighing, Draco realized that Longbottom really was his only choice.
"I'll bond with you, I don't trust the others." Draco deliberately ignored the implicit 'but I trust you' vibe from his comment. He preferred to ignore anything that might, implicit, or not, make him seem like a decent human being. And besides, Longbottom was a Gryffindor, pathetic or not he could be trusted to leap into a dangerous situation to rescue Draco should he need rescuing. That was something he'd gladly take advantage of. Draco deliberately disregarded the fact that Longbottom was good looking, steady and perhaps one day a really good friend.
Neville grinned down at the blonde boy, and then with his instincts guiding him, Draco Malfoy and Neville Longbottom bonded as Shield and Empath. A silver light wrapped around them, lighting up their features in a soft light, then before their startled eyes the light became gold and purple hued. Draco couldn't help but let out an exclamation of surprise. They were just supposed to be Guard bonded, not Best Friend and Soul Mate bonded. How had that even happened? Neville raised an eyebrow and shrugged, weirder things had happened around him, of course, they usually happened to Harry, he was just usually around at the time. Draco sat up and looked his apparent soul mate in the eye, letting out an gasp, he pointed at Neville's eyes.
"You have a grey and brown eye!" Draco said startled.
Neville grinned, "So do you, Draco." Neville laughed, he no longer felt so adrift, he felt solid and grounded, he had a purpose in life. He had to protect Draco and surprisingly, he was okay with that. Standing, Neville pulled his bonded to his feet, noticing for the first time how frail and light Draco was. Draping an arm around the blondes shoulders, Neville guided him into the Great Hall deciding that his bonded needed a decent amount of feeding up. Draco felt himself be guided to the table where he attempted to ignore the whispering of his fellow classmates when Neville sat him down and heaped his plate full of food. Scowling Draco allowed himself to be bullied into eating. After all, it wasn't like Neville was actually scary. Catching Neville's eyes, Draco immediately ducked his head and ate uncomplaining. Okay, so Longbottom could be scary. So what?
Harry stood out on the Quidditch pitch, it was four days since his secondary transformation and the transformations of everyone else, and while, fundamentally he knew people would change, he wasn't actually prepared for the complete turnarounds of his classmates. All the empaths and telepaths had been bonded to those who were natural shields. Draco and Neville being the most interesting of that kind of pairing. They seemed to have jumped from bonded to lovers. It was mildly scary to watch the previous two boys who had previously hated each other, feed each other bites of each others food. Right now though, Harry was ignoring all the strangeness and changes, his own transformations leaving him desiring the thrill of flight, it burned in him, like an everlasting fire. Deciding he couldn't take it anymore, Harry quickly stripped off his shirt and unbound his aching wings. Extending his wings, Harry sighed in delight at the feeling of the wind caressing his feathers. Pumping them experimentally, Harry began to run. Flapping desperately, Harry launched himself up into the azure sky. Harry really couldn't describe the utter joy he felt while flying with his own wings; being on a broom was fun, sure, but it so didn't compare to the feeling of wheeling through the air on his own wings, the sky open and welcoming to him, he owned this place, it was his to command.
Harry let out a laugh, letting it bubbled up and out of his throat. Harry was so wrapped up in his delight and freedom he didn't see the incredibly pissed off black shape standing next to a slightly less pissed light brown shape. Behind them stood the other half breed dragon - but Harry knew, when he did see them, that Terry was just as bad as he was when it came to flying. When he finally caught sight of them, Harry groaned; dammit, he thought angrily, just when he was really getting into it, Snape and Hermione had show up. Two of the biggest killjoys out there. Grumbling under his breath Harry idly wondered if he would be able to get away with not landing until Snape had cooled off. Deciding it probably wasn't worth the effort, Harry swept down to them. Ducking his head like a chastened child, Harry approached them, his wings drooping behind him, knowing that he was in some serious trouble.
Snape to his own credit, felt bad for having to tell of the young Nephilim, it wasn't fair. But then, life never was. Sighing and restraining his desire to simply shrug the incident off, Snape prepared to rip into the boy. Only, to his undying amusement, to be beaten to the punch by Granger. His black eyes sparkling with mirth, Snape watched the boy scuff a hole into the ground with his toes, twisting the grass around while desperately not trying to meet the girls flashing yellow eyes.
"That's quite enough, Miss. Granger," Snape interjected smoothly. His voice velvety soft, his eyes still resting on the green eyed boy. "You are here to learn, after all, and I'm certain Mr. Potter wouldn't dream of doing such a dangerous thing again without supervision again?" The boy met his eyes and flushed before nodding quickly.
Granger opened her mouth to protest.
Snape held up a hand to halt her oncoming tirade. "Enough." He said completely uninterested in her protestations. "As it happens, I understand Mr. Potters desire to fly. There really is nothing like it." Snape said, a hint of a smile curving his usually austere expression. "Now, Miss. Granger, I wish you to attempt to fly today, for the past four days you have been strengthening your wings wonderfully. They should be strong enough for a small flight, from one end of the Qudditch pitch to the other."
With that Snape started to direct the girl in how to hold her wings, how fast she should run, how much force was needed to get her slightly more bulky body off the ground. No one could truly call a dragon graceful while they were on the ground, something that irritated Hermione no end. Harry for his part watched the teacher instruct his best friend. He was beginning to become suspicious of Snape. It was clear that Snape knew how to fly. But what wasn't clear was how? Using his newly taught skill of spotting glamours, Harry watched the potions master closely. After a half hour of instruction, Harry finally noticed it. A slight flicker. Harry grinned triumphantly.
Snape spent hours instructing Granger to fly, and Boot after her, eventually when he thought they were confident enough at it, he let them go. Allowing the young dragon half breeds instincts to take over, Snape leaned back, his guarded black eyes watched the youthful girl and boy sweep their wings and carry them up into the azure sky. Feeling a movement beside him, the potions master spotted Potter walk forwards a bit, a hungry expression on his face. He wanted to fly as well, Snape saw the moment when Potter decided to throw caution to the wind and join his friends in flight. Cursing the idiot boy, Snape drew his wand, fully intent on pulling the boy back onto the ground. Except that Harry's; no! Potter's laughter halted that idea. Joyful and beautiful like a birds song, Snape calmly reholstered his wand and watched the children play tag. Snape would have been horrified to note that a small smile quirked at the corners of his lips.
That night at dinner both Boot, Granger and Potter held the entire table captivated with their descriptions of flying and wheeling through the air. More than a few hard core Quidditch players were listening with envy. None the least was Snape. He too felt the desire to go flying, his wings were itching and aching for release, it had been ages since he flown, close to six months, and he felt both caged and chained. It was aggravating. As the future sixth years settled down for the night, Snape slipped outside and stalked over to the Quidditch pitch. Undecided, he stood torn on the side lines. Unnoticed the hours crept by as he hovered on the borderline of indecision. Snape didn't see the dark shape that crept below him, nor did he hear the faint beating of feathered wings as a snowy owl joined the slim shape. Instead, Snape made up his mind. Shucking his over robes and shirt, Snape unfurled his wings for the first time in six months. Stretching them fully, Snape groaned in pleasure, they ached so badly. Feeling the near desperate need to fly, Snape launched himself skyward. Beating his wings frantically in the still night air that surrounded the stands, Snape climbed into the upper reaches of the atmosphere with almost negligible effort.
After Harry landed, he spotted a large black shape launch itself from the section of the stands above him. The great wings were almost half again as large as his own and were eerily silent in flight. Using his enhanced vision, Harry observed his least favorite professor wheel through the air, an expression of calmness and serenity upon his usually dour face. Awed and breathless, Harry couldn't help it, he ran and launched himself into the air. He felt the vaguest idea to play and chase Snape through the air. His emerald eyes shone in the moonlight. Pale skin shimmered above him, darkened with shadows and scars, Harry tipped a wing spinning on wing-point. Soaring through the air.
Severus breathed a sigh of relaxation, the pressure of the air telling him that one of his own kind was near him. The night was their playground. And it was time for fun and games. The moonlight shimmered in the air, and as he opened his eyes he saw shining emerald orbs in front of him. The black wings highlighted with forest green, while the pale skin, characteristic of their race, was as flawed as his own. Their wings brushed each other in greeting and challenge. Severus wheeled away, pumping his wings to gain altitude. Harry followed him, chasing him. Severus' coal black wings were unmarked and glossy like obsidian, matching the cold black eyes that adorned his face. Wings bore their owners through the velvet sky, wheeling and turning; chasing one another through the night and into the dawn.
When pink threaded the sky, the highlights of bronze, gold and blue sky found the Nephilim to be perched upon the highest tower of Hogwarts. The morning air was crisp and sweet, the northerly breeze lifting their hair and spirits, taking their worries with it as it swept and curled around the castle. The taller had his wings curled around his companions body, their faces upturned to the sky, the air refreshing and cleansing their hearts, souls and minds. The heat of the new day beat upon their feathered backs and heads, and the winds teased and tugged at the locks of their hair, and the Elder turned to the Younger and smiled, his face melting into a calm collected expression that held untold measures of gladness at no longer being alone. The Younger returned the smile, and he ducked his head into the Elders body, and the Elder wrapped him more tightly in his wings, as was the way with mates, parents, friends and brothers. Below them the world was waking, while the forest dipped and swayed in the breeze, the leaves whispering tales of things to come. The castle upon which they perched was silent for now, but soon the shouts of children and adults would echo in her walls, and then the day would be a haze of rushing around and teaching, but for now, in the early morning stillness, with the horizon glowing with golden colours, the day was just for them. The day held their promise of a better future, far away from hatred, fear and bloodshed, and one day, they whispered, they would live in the mountains, their lives for themselves, untangled by mortal coils and trappings, living their lives as they lived that past night. Their lives uncomplicated and free, nothing but the air, wings and velvet night sky, dotted by twinkling stars. One day, they murmured, they would be free, in every sense of the word. Free.
Harry woke first, and as reluctant as he was to leave his professor, he also knew that there would be questions that would need answering by himself and Snape. Questions, perhaps, best answered on his own. Slipping from the relaxed grasp of the older man, Harry calmly leapt from the tower roof and soared down to the Gryffindor tower. There he landed on the ledge and slipped in through the open window. As he entered the Great Hall, Harry spotted the taller man standing beside his godson and Neville. Their conversation paused as Harry entered, Snape looked like he wanted to say something, although exactly what, Harry was uncertain. Nothing could be said though, it was impossible.
Ron and Hermione sprinted over to their wayward friend, completely missing the exchanged glances between him and the potions master, instead they tackled him and nearly ripped off his wings in their enthusiasm. Dragging him to the breakfast table, the Golden Trio went about discussing negligible problems and school work, glad for the moment where they could be their own persons. Glad for the time not spent running from megalomaniacs and their henchmen. Simply glad to be teenagers while they still could.
That night, Harry once again met Snape while flying at night. They spent time chasing and playing together. The deep bond of friendship growing between them and healing the rift that had been created between their families all those years ago. Severus was pleased to note that Harry was the perfect blend of his parents. Confident but unassuming, humble but not weak, proud but dignified and even better, calmly accepting of who he was and what he had done. Snape was stunned to note that Harry didn't judge. Harry for his part was fast finding a firm and steady friend in Snape, someone who was loyal, cunning, challenging, and equally accepting of his faults and issues. Time not spent in the air was spent discussing their respective lives. Causing rifts once open and bleeding to scab and heal. Tentative friendship was replaced with respect, loyalty and even better, admiration for each others tasks within the coming war.
As this careful understanding was reached, each man gave into their instincts as Nephilim to become roost-mates. Like the human equivalent of a shield brother from the dark ages, Nephilim found their survival was best based upon a system where two men or women or even mixed sexes spent time together, supporting and helping each other overcome anything and everything that stood in their way. The Nephilim elders created a magical bond that would form between chosen roost-mates and would either eventuate in a soul bond, familial bond or friendship bond. So far there have only been sixty documented cases where two bonds have been achieved; and about twenty where all three were accomplished. Severus and Harry had already accomplished the friendship bond, and were fast on their way for the second and third bonds. They would be the twenty first.
September came all too quickly, and the next year progressed horribly for all involved. The war reached its height and disappearances, death and destruction soon became almost the norm in the papers. While this was going on, people were forced to choose sides, on pain of death and torture, many chose the wrong side. Frightened and panicked, the wizarding world became a swirling soup of fear and horror. At the end of it all, the Light side suffered a terrible loss in the death of Albus Dumbledore. Causing many to lose hope and faith within their leaders and hero's. Far worse than this was the destruction of Harry's trust with the man who'd become a father, brother and friend to him during their night flights. Severus Snape had betrayed the Light and him.
Harry and his friends were left stranded in grief and loss, and eventually fleeing the castle to complete Dumbledore last request. Hogwarts, left to fend for herself was placed under the tyrannical rule of Voldemort and Snape, and although Snape spent most of his time trying to save students and help the suspicious teachers in keeping the children from under the Carrow's thumbs. It became harder and harder as the war progressed and each side fought dirtier and harder, each striving to survive and destroy the other. Severus played the most dangerous game of all, pretending to be the Dark Lord's slave while, all the while, supplying anonymous information to his former allies of the light.
Whilst this was going on, Harry was racing around the country trying to find the Dark Lord's horcruxes' and then destroy them. As he did so, he found the unbearable loss of his roost-mate and the loss of flight eating at him all the time. As he slowly succeeded at his task, Harry found himself irrepressibly drawn to Hogwarts, where he knew the final battle would be fought. Finally, on the month of March in the year 1998, Harry arrived and chased his roost-mate from his position as headmaster. Ignoring the impossible feeling of betrayal he felt each to e he saw the man, and the yearning to enfold the older man in his wings and whisper that everything would be okay, that they would be safe and free, as they had promised each other nearly two years ago. Thus, as they all knew it would, the final battle began. They fought long and hard, and it was bloody and horrible and no one was left unscarred. Tortured by the past and the present, and hoping for a better future, Harry gave himself up to Voldemort. And then the war ended with the Hero's death.
Or so the Dark side thought.
As Harry stood up once more, challenging and sarcastically tearing Voldemort apart verbally, Harry sought the eyes of his friend and bond mate. Severus wasn't there. Harry's heart broke, and thus angered, grieved, and fearing the worst, Harry prepared for the fight of his life. For his life. The showdown between the Dark Lord and budding Light Lord was anticlimactic to say the least. Voldemort's wand left him for it's true owner and the third killing curse thrown at Harry by his nemesis that actually hit him, rebounded once again and killed the Darkest of human Lord's. Voldemort was dead.
The aftermath of the war, was perhaps far worse than the actual war. Harry was paraded around, his wounds and hard won glory on show for all to see. Proud of his heritage Harry wore his wings in public, his green eyes challenging and hard, and still, the one who he desired above all else did not come forward. Three months it took for all the funerals and paperwork to be finished, the Ministry was overturned and shaken out, while the new government reformed everyone and anything it could, desperate to be seen as making the right moves. All the while, Harry became a figurehead, the sign of everything good and right in the world. Hardened and battle weary, Harry was so close, so desperately close to breaking, and still he did his duty. He stood and smile, he talked, he encouraged, he laughed with all the right people. And still he was chained to the ground. Months passes, and then, finally, finally, he was free. Finally, utterly bone weary and exhausted, Harry skipped out of town, out of the magical world and left everyone behind while he left to heal. Shattered in mind, body and soul, Harry exiled himself upon a clear skied mountain top. There, he built himself a tower and spent his days flying and soaring through the azure sky. Doing everything he had talked about three and a half years ago with the man he had come to love. And despite it all, despite escaping the media and the circus, the expectations and responsibilities, Harry still felt chained and lost. He still wasn't truly free.
It was two years later before he was disturbed. A dark shape with pale skin, flawed by scarring, and ebony wings joined Harry in his nightly flight around the glittering mountaintop. Racing each other down the sides, Harry welcomed his friend and bond mate back once more. The discovery of a pensieve by Hermione a year ago in Snape's house had led to the clearing of Severus' name and the hailing of him as a hero. Thus when Severus returned, Harry could, in good faith, see him, welcome him, and then invite him to play as they once did five years ago.
Happiness is a blessing and a curse. Particularly when it is not in anyway earned. The war hero's of the second wizarding war had earned their place in the world. They had earned their peace of mind. They had earned their happiness. And so it was with the two greatest of hero's. Severus Snape and Harry Potter found themselves inexplicably drawn together, drawn like no one else. The only explanation being a soul bond. After five years of trials and tribulations, Harry and Severus joined the ten percent of their race in being triple bonded. And no one could argue that they didn't deserve it.