Disclaimer: I own no part of the Harry Potter fandom nor do I make any money from writing this story.

Warnings: None

A/N: I felt I owed you all for the waits I keep subjecting you to. So I sat in front of my computer and forced my brain to be inspired to give you another chapter right away. Hopefully you enjoy it!

Chapter 18

Narcissa was waiting in the entrance hall of Malfoy Manor for Draco and his father when they Apparated home after the meeting. Her worried expression cleared to palpable relief when she saw they were both safe and unharmed. Draco gave his mother a kiss on the cheek before stepping aside to allow his parents to greet each other. He could feel Harry's presence nearby, somewhere within their manor, staying out of sight. Draco bit his lip for a moment debating the best way to tell his parents about his mate.

"How was the meeting?" Narcissa asked her husband in concern while Draco fought an inner battle with himself.

"It was… unexpected," Lucius said vaguely. "The Dark Lord was hoping to bring the vampires to his side tonight, but it did not quite go as he planned."

"How so?" Narcissa asked curiously.

Lucius opened his mouth to reply, though he was scowling darkly a moment later when he found he was unable to tell his wife exactly what had happened. Draco smiled slightly at Harry's forethought.

"The vampires rejected his offer," Lucius responded finally, quite a bit more vaguely than he would have liked. "They sent one representative and they more or less laughed in the Dark Lord's face. They also seem to have placed some sort of binding spell on us to prevent us discussing what occurred during the meeting." Lucius growled, unhappy that Potter had used magic on him without his knowledge. Or not Potter, as it would seem. He wondered who the boy's father had been.

"Did the vampire survive the meeting?" Narcissa asked in disbelief, unable to imagine any being laughing at the Dark Lord without punishment. Narcissa may have believed in many of the Dark Lord's goals but it didn't mean she liked the monster. In fact, she was upset that her family was being forced to follow the egotistical wizard. But she would support her husband and son, because that was all she could do at this point.

"Yes," Lucius gave a rueful smile. "I was rather amused against my will by the whole thing, truth be told. The Dark Lord was far too angry about the outcome to do anything other than send us away in a rage."

Draco's head whipped around to the fireplace as green flames erupted within it for a moment before the figure of his godfather was revealed. Immediately, his black gaze was fixed on Draco and he knew he was going to be interrogated about any knowledge he held in regards to his classmate.

"Hello godfather," Draco said, with a nervous smile as his parents turned sharply from their conversation to see who their unexpected visitor was. Snape narrowed his eyes at Draco's nervous expression, remembering the look Harry had sent Draco before disappearing. There was something there between them and he wanted to know what.

"So you knew," he said coldly. It took a lot of Draco's self-control to resist flinching from the accusation and hurt he detected in his godfather's tone.

"It was not my secret to tell," Draco replied as calmly as he could, though he was personally wondering where his mate was so he would be saved from this conversation. His parents and Severus all opened their mouths at once, obviously about to barrage him with their many questions.

"He's right; it was not for him to tell."

The new voice caused all the adults to whip around and Draco to sag with relief. Harry was leaning casually against a doorframe watching them all. He observed them all with a stony expression before grimacing slightly, clearly not looking forward to the coming discussion. He let his gaze fall to Draco, where it softened.

"I take it you haven't actually spoken to your parents yet, have you Draco?" Harry asked, partly in amusement and partly in exasperation. Draco just shook his head no.

"How did you get in here?" Lucius demanded.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Harry smirked.

"Potter-," Snape began furiously.

"Don't," Harry interrupted forcefully, shooting his father a look of such disappointment and resentment that the older man recoiled before he could help it. "If you insist on addressing me, at least use the correct surname. It's Renard, in case you're unsure."

Draco watched his godfather's face become absolutely blank, whether from the reprimand or Harry's rejection of his last name, Draco couldn't be sure. Lucius looked suspiciously between the two of them, obviously noticing the striking resemblance between them. He saw his mother lift a hand to her mouth as her wide eyes darted between them.

"How?" Snape asked quietly after a moment of silence.

"Why do you care?" Harry asked coldly. "It's no concern of yours any longer. And never was, obviously."

"Harry," Draco said softly, immediately drawing the attention of everyone in the room. He ignored them all except his mate, who he fixed with what he hoped was a slightly reprimanding scowl to remind him that he had to play nice. Severus was still part of Draco's family even if Harry rejected the ornery man from his own.

Harry let out an aggravated sigh before allowing himself to calm down. He held his hand out toward Draco, silently asking for him to come closer. With a small smile, Draco happily complied and grabbed his mate's hand when he was close enough while ignoring the worried gasp of his mother.

"Where to start?" Harry muttered to himself. "Shall we sit down? There is a lot I would like to discuss with all of you, starting with why I am in Malfoy Manor of all places."

Too curious to object to being told what to do in his own home, Lucius led the way into the nearest parlor, hoping his many questions would be answered.

"Tippy," Lucius called out. A little elf appeared by his side and he requested tea for their group. A moment later a steaming pot of tea and five cups appeared on the table between them.

"Draco, you knew?" Lucius prompted his son, fixing him with an intense stare. Draco shifted slightly in discomfort and guilt. Harry merely watched his mate in amusement, leaving Draco to speak with his parents first and hopefully smooth the way. He gave Draco's hand a little squeeze and felt Draco calm down before sitting up straight.

"Yes, Harry came to me a few weeks ago and told me the truth about himself," Draco finally said.

"But why did he tell you?" Lucius asked suspiciously, eyeing their joined hands. Harry smirked slightly to himself, hoping he was about to see some explosive reactions.

"He told me because I am his mate and we were both being affected by the bond that was starting to form between us," Draco said slowly, "We couldn't ignore it anymore. Though Harry was trying to, while I was just confused," he added in consternation, frowning at his mate.



"What do you mean 'mates'?" Lucius asked dangerously. Narcissa was simply staring at them in surprise while Snape's expression was more calculating.

"Vampires have mates," Draco said simply. "I am Harry's mate. It's similar to being soul-mates, from what I have learned."

"I have never heard of vampires having mates," Lucius insisted.

"Of course not," Harry interjected finally, joining the conversation. "I'm sure there are lots of things about vampires that you have never heard of; like our hierarchy, community, magic, and many other things. Tell me, am I acting as you thought a vampire would?"

"No," Lucius admitted, not at all happy that he was apparently clueless about vampire society. "If it weren't for the fangs you displayed earlier, I would be disinclined to believe you were a vampire at all."

"Yes, well, wizards hide their society from Muggles, not so hard to believe that vampires might hide theirs from wizards," Harry said. "We are very secretive and have ensured that wizards know nothing about our species. The only vampires wizards tend to cross paths with are the rogue ones, the ones who truly are no better than the mindless animals wizards believe us to be."

"So you are mates," Snape said, pulling the discussion back to the original topic, but making a mental note to question the boy later about vampires if he was given the chance. "Are you seeking permission from Draco's parents?"

Harry raised an eyebrow at Snape and said, "Of course not. We are already bonded. And I do hope Draco wasn't promised to some pureblood witch, because I might feel it necessary to kill her," he added casually to Lucius with a sweet smile. "I am here because Draco wants his family protected from this war, including you Snape, and I am in a position to provide such protection.

"Make no mistake," Harry continued with narrowed eyes, before any of the adults could voice their confusion. "I dislike you. My entire reason for reentering the Wizarding World after I died was to pay back everyone who made my life a living hell, including you three, and Draco as well. However, when I realized Draco was my mate, I accepted that I would probably not be able to attack you as I wished. You are his family, I can understand that. So regardless of my personal feelings and desires, I will keep you all safe for his sake. If I had had a family while alive, I would have done everything in my power to protect them as Draco wishes to do now. By extension, you seem to be part of my new family through my bond with Draco."

The bitterness in Harry's voice when speaking of family was unexpected for the adults. Lucius tightened his lips in irritation at the thought of being protected, but then Draco said, "Father, as angry as I am at you for entangling our family with the Dark Lord, I still love you and I want you to be safe. You know the Dark Lord is displeased with you and my Marking was a punishment for failing him. You may have joined in the beginning to protect your family but it is backfiring now. I am more at danger now than ever before. Please, don't turn your nose up at this opportunity out of misplaced pride and doom yourself and mother. Regardless of how you respond, I already belong to Harry. It is up to you now if you will follow or abandon me."

Lucius' expression was stricken as he looked at his son, realizing how truthful his words were and feeling appalled that his son thought he was capable of abandoning him. Every fiber of his being balked at the thought of accepting assistance to protect his family, but family was his first priority and he needed to accept that he was in a dangerous position with no foreseeable escape. He closed his eyes in defeat for a moment before whispering, "How would you help us?"

"The easiest solution would be to stage your kidnapping and keep you at my Sire's manor until Voldemort is gone," Harry shrugged, acting as though he wasn't shocked down to his bones at the many different emotions he just witnessed the cold, aloof Lucius Malfoy displaying. "And yes, I will get rid of him, not to fulfill my destiny or any such rot, but solely because my life was awful thanks to him and he Marked what is mine. As for you," Harry looked sidelong at his father, "I could do the same. Though I think you will be much more reluctant to accept any help, since you only have yourself to look out for and no family. We can talk later." It was Snape's turn to feel stricken. Harry felt Draco squeeze his hand harshly in reprimand. He was beyond furious with his human father, though, and he was going to make sure the man knew it. If Draco wanted them to reconcile, then Snape had to know exactly how betrayed and angry Harry was before there could be any attempt to move on. This couldn't be swept under the rug or downplayed.

He could more or less overlook Lucius' past transgressions towards his person since it hadn't been personal, merely a difference in political affiliations and such. His father had been extremely harsh and cruel to him because he thought Lily had betrayed him so he took out his rage on the child that he thought was created from her betrayal instead of investigating the real story. There past differences were highly personal, and Harry wasn't about to forgive the man any time soon, if ever.

Harry smirked at Lucius before saying, "And of course, I am going to ask for a favor." As he suspected, Lucius' face tightened in anger, sure the favor would be more than he was willing to pay. "Don't worry, Lucius. You are the father of my mate, it is not in my best interest to alienate you. I'm actually fairly sure that you will enjoy carrying out this favor. I ask this of you because you are in a position within the Ministry to take action and pay back some people I want to punish."

"Who?" Lucius asked cautiously, assuming Harry was going to force him to punish one of his Dark friends.

"The Weasleys," Harry smiled. Lucius' eyes widened while even Snape looked taken aback.

"Why the Weasleys?" Narcissa asked in confusion. "You say you had no family while you were alive but as far as I could see, the Weasleys were more or less your adoptive family."

"They are traitorous bastards," Harry said angrily. "They were not true in their feelings. They were being paid, by Dumbledore, from my own vault, to treat me as family. Ron hates me out of jealous and his own vain belief that he should have gotten some fame from my friendship or something. Mrs. Weasley gladly accepted the payments with the full knowledge of where they came from. Percy isn't even part of the family anymore so I could care less about his dislike of me. Bill and Charlie don't even live in England anymore and have lives of their own, so I'm sure they also are unaware of their family's treachery, so I am willing to ignore them. I am unsure of 's position, perhaps he was sincere, but I can't believe he didn't question his wife about the unexpected money their family started acquiring. He's too weak to stand up to his wife, so even if he knew the truth and opposed it, he would have eventually pushed aside his scruples and let his wife have her way. If money is so important to them that they would betray the trust of an orphaned child, than that is what I will take away from them. As annoying as Ginny could be, I do not believe she was intentionally malicious, while I know the twins, at least, were sincere in their friendship. And they are well off enough to survive any hardship that befalls their family."

Harry felt disappointed in Mr. Weasley. The man seemed genuinely kind and good natured, but he let his wife, and everyone else, walk all over him. Harry would have liked to spare him, but as far as he was concerned, the man had made his choice. If he ignored his own morals for the desires of others, he wasn't worth saving, no matter how kind he was. He was willing to ignore Ginny and he felt the best thanks he could offer the twins was to allow them to continue to believe he was dead. He was sure they would be devastated to learn of their parents' dishonesty and Harry was planning to completely withdrawn from the Wizarding World, or at least England's. No point in reestablishing their friendship when he was just going to disappear again.

"I'm sure you recall Arthur Weasley raiding your house when Draco was in his second year?" Harry continued, receiving suspicious looks immediately for his knowledge. He smiled charmingly and said, "I'm sure you would love to pay him back the favor, yes?"

"Indeed," Lucius agreed, still scrutinizing Harry.

"Yes, I provided him the information of where to find your stash of illegal items," Harry said dismissively, "and now I am going to allow you to get even. I will not tell you where I got my information back then either, so don't bother asking."

"Fine," Lucius got out, before he concentrated on the fact that he would be allowed to humiliate Arthur Weasley and his family. "What is it that you require me to do?"

"You are aware Arthur is a Muggle-lover to the extreme," Harry stated, receiving sneers from everyone in the room. He chuckled a little, before continuing, "I can't believe the man has never been raided considering he has such an open fascination. I would like you to raid his house, Lucius. He has a shed in the back that is full to bursting with Muggle items that he experiments on, trying to add magic to them and improve them. Clearly he is unfit to head the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Department when he is probably the largest offender, slipping in loopholes to his laws so he can continue his unhealthy obsession. I know he was investigated when his flying car was discovered years ago due to my own recklessness, but it would appear that he wasn't punished too harshly. He still had his job at the end of it and paid no fines as far as I know. Not that he would have had the money to anyway. Perhaps Dumbledore intervened.

"That will not happen this time," Harry assured Lucius, who was starting to look relatively excited about the favor Harry was asking of him. "I am already working on destroying Dumbledore's reputation so he will have his own troubles to concentrate on while the Weasley's are destroyed this time. Obviously Arthur's fascination with Muggles is a danger to the Wizarding World, especially now that the Dark Lord is exposed. The Ministry really needs to come down on those who endanger the secrecy of the Wizarding World, don't you agree?"

"I do," Lucius agreed silkily. "I can easily have him investigated. It would be my pleasure."

"Lovely," said Harry, pleased with Lucius' acceptance. He bit his lip for a moment, unexpectedly showing the others his slight nervousness with what he was about to say. "As much as I dislike you, I hope we can at least come to be civil with each other if not actually develop a friendly relationship. You are Draco's family, so we are going to be interacting for many years to come. It will be draining for everyone if we continue to be at odds." Harry looked between Narcissa and Lucius, before taking a deep breath, forcing himself to bury any resentment he still held before offering his hand to Lucius. "With that in mind, I would like to start over. What do you say?"

Lucius considered his hand for a moment before grasping it and letting his first genuine smile show, "I think I would appreciate that, Harry."

Harry turned to Narcissa and kissed the back of her hand and gave her a smile, which she returned. Then he turned to his father, and considered him for a moment, wondering if the man would make the first move or if Harry was going to have to be the bigger man and take the first step in this relationship as well.

"May I speak to you alone, Harry?" Snape asked impassively. The Malfoys watched them nervously waiting for Harry response. Sighing, Harry agreed before following his father out of the room, allowing the Malfoys to speak alone while he dealt with the broken relationship he had with his human father.

Though his face was expressionless, Severus' mind was in complete turmoil. He led Harry across the hall to another room. They settled into chairs facing each other and Severus took the opportunity, again, to observe the son he never knew he had.

It was blatantly obvious the boy was related to him, and Severus was cursing himself for being so unobservant. Not that he had any particular reason to watch the boy before now, but he was still annoyed with himself. He prided himself on his observational skills. He was a spy after all, he would not have lived so long if he were sloppy.

"Is it true?" he finally asked, though he knew it was; he wanted to hear Harry say it.

"That I am your son?" Harry asked with a raised eyebrow, looking remarkably like Severus himself looked when making the same facial expression. "Of course, I have no reason to lie."

Severus swallowed, not entirely sure where to go from here. He could apologize, of course, but he didn't think Harry would just accept an apology. He knew he wouldn't if their positions were reversed and looking back over the years and his interactions with Harry Potter, his son was just as stubborn as he was.

"Would you have told me if it weren't for Draco?" he asked, still maintaining his cool expression.

"Yes, exactly how it happened at the meeting in fact," Harry shrugged. "However, I would not have bothered taking the time to speak to you afterward as I am now if not for Draco. I am obligated to be civil to you for Draco."

That hurt, Severus couldn't help feeling wounded by his son's words. He didn't appreciate the unwelcome feeling, and so he replied angrily, "So you would have just revealed yourself and left me to wonder if you were truly my son?"

"You have no right to be angry at me," Harry hissed, and Severus could feel his son's volatile magic trying to break through his barriers in his anger. "You abandoned me! I don't care if you believed my mother had betrayed you! You should have at least double checked that I was not yours before you condemned me! Was your faith in Lily so weak that you couldn't even be bothered to investigate what was really going on? Did you believe my mother so callous and cruel that she would hurt you like that without batting an eye?"

Harry was standing now, apparently too incensed to sit down. There were many people that Harry felt betrayed by from his human life, but in his mind, his father's betrayal, however unintentional, was the most severe.

"Or maybe you didn't care for my mother at all, and you were happy for an excuse to be shot of her," Harry spat out, seething. "You have no idea how much I suffered because of you, you bastard! Though maybe I should be thankful you left me. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been to be raised by you compared to the tender affections I was given with the Dursleys."

"You have no idea what you're talking about!" Severus yelled back, refusing to be taken to task by his own son. His life had been hard enough; his son had no right to yell at him. "I'm sure you were perfectly fine with Petunia, more so than you would have been with me, a Death Eater! Dumbledore assured us that you were being raised by your loving relatives."

"Why would you believe him?! Even you must know that Dumbledore is a manipulative old bastard! Surely you must have been aware of how cruelly that muggle bitch treated my mother," Harry retort in disbelief. "I'm sure you can imagine how she would treat a defenseless child with loathsome magical abilities. An abnormal freak and abomination of the natural order of things. Though like I said, from what I've seen of your personality over the years, I'm sure I was better off being starved and neglected."

Severus paused, wondering how much truth there were to those words. Before he could respond, Harry sneered and continued, "Yes, just keep your stupid pride and hatred of your only child for the rest of your miserable life. Your dead son, may I add, because he was BEATEN TO DEATH BY HIS FUCKING LOVING UNCLE WHILE HIS LOVING AUNT AND COUSIN WATCHED!"

Severus just stared at his son, unable to ignore the honesty and pain he saw in Harry's eyes as he lost control over his emotions finally. And Severus was finally able to see just how much his son had suffered. He took a step forward without thinking about it.

"Don't come near me," Harry spat, stepping back, distrust and betrayal all over his face. Severus felt his already broken heart breaking a little more, knowing he deserved the look being directed at him.

"Can-," Severus paused and swallowed, forcing himself to show vulnerability instead of his mask of anger or indifference that he so wanted to hide behind. "Is there any way you could ever forgive me?"

"I honestly don't know, Snape," Harry said coldly, and Severus flinched when his last name was spat out. The last name his son had never, and would never, claim. "You have a lot to make up for in regards to me. I don't want to forgive you at all, but it's in my human nature to give people second chances. Were it not for Draco, I would have merely made sure you realized who I was before leaving every aspect of my human life behind and never seeing or thinking of you again. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. However, it looks like I will be associating with you for many years to come. So at the very least, we can probably establish a civil relationship. If you really want my forgiveness, you better show me, really show me, that you want it. Whatever you think that might entail.

"I don't necessarily want you to change your personality for me," Harry conceded. "You wouldn't be you if you became soft and loving, and I do not want to get to know someone who doesn't exist. But you better leave your snarly cruelty behind while dealing with me. I have had quite enough of being treated like shit by family members who should be caring for me. Show me why my mother loved you.

"And I'm not the only one you will need to convince of your sincerity," Harry added, heading toward the door. "My Sire is well aware of the life that I lived before he saved me."

Harry looked back at him and Severus saw the loneliness and sadness in his son's expression as he recalled his past. His heart clenched as he remembered his own childhood, and then Harry was slipping out the door with a faint, "I'm sure we will speak again soon, Severus."

And then he was alone with his thoughts, wondering how he could possibly fix sixteen years of mistakes. Though he was left with a very small flame of hope.

Harry had used his first name, at least, instead of spitting out his last at the very end. If Harry was willing to give him a chance, Severus was going to move mountains to make things right with the son he had so greatly wronged. Pride be damned, he would grovel if necessary to make this right. It was the least he owed his son for allowing him to be subjected to the life he had promised himself no child of his would ever experience.