Harry Potter and the Crests of Hogwarts
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Everything belongs to the wonderful J K Rowling. But I do own some OCs: Pixie, Shawn Livinsky, Amanda, Tabitha, the kitten, Star Sprite, the white unicorn, step-siblings: Yumiko and Chris, a mysterious wizard named Archarnas, Sandra and Pixie's older brother, Peter. Original figments of imagination include a title called 'Famous Figures in the World Known to Magic' (stupid title, isn't it?), the name 'Agnes Barnwell', Gryffindor password 'Phoenix Eyes', a random wizard's name 'Darius Silvermoon', a magical powerful jeweled pendant called the Potestria Star Jewel, the fictional history and creation of the Crests of Hogwarts, another title: 'Hogwarts: The Origins of Wizard Schooling' and the heavenly Fields of Caelastra. Asterix, Obelix, Getafix and Dogmatix: the key characters of the famous Asterix comic franchise are written by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo.
Important Author's Note: I have decided to add one more addition of an epilogue to end this re-edited Drarry fanfic on a high note and to celebrate how far it came and to bring full closure to this plot :) So this story will be classified as incomplete after reediting this chapter.
15/5/2013: This is it! The final chapter to edit! For this piece, I decided to shorten my OC's backstory to focus on her deceased brother since she doesn't have vivid memories of her parents. After this, I will create an epilogue to round everything up for this old story in my archive. (Special Bookmark): That will be the last of them. Wondering why I've been putting these bookmarks up? Well...all will be revealed in the next and final chapter: the epilogue!
Chapter Twenty Eight: Closure and Peace
The exam results were released two weeks later after the festive ball.
Both Harry and Ron had passed on every subject. It was also fortunate that Ron's divination mark just managed to scrap through, enough to make Hermione extremely proud of him and relieved that their tutoring sessions paid off. Meanwhile Harry was quite surprised that he given quite a good grade on Potions. While Draco insisted that he earned that grade on his own efforts, Harry was sure that his boyfriend still had something to do with it. But he decided not to pursue the matter any further since that he would have to worry about the NEWTs next year. Hermione once again took top honours of having the best marks in her year with Draco close behind in second place. This time, the Slytherin openly congratulated the studious Gryffindor, which was a pleasant surprise on her part. Shawn also performed exceedingly well in his exams, which made Pixie really happy for him. Neville, having formed great self-confidence in himself since the ordeal and making great friends with Yumiko and Chris, also passed his exams with surprisingly remarkable grades.
The students' temperaments were calm and collected. They wouldn't require to study as hard as before and gave them a good excuse to enjoy and savour longer trips in Hogsmeade.
Before long, weekends were often looked forward to and on a fine balmy Saturday morning, the students were preparing another trip to Hogsmeade. The two Gryffindor couples and the Winston step-siblings were all ready to go. However Harry, Draco, Shawn and Pixie declined the invitation to join the trip.
"Are you sure you guys don't want to join us to go to Hogsmeade?" Hermione asked as she stood near Ron, waiting in the common room for Ginny and Neville, "Chris and Yumiko are taking to some of the sightseeing spots we haven't been to before."
"Fred and George are dropping by Zonko's to show off their new products. Why don't you come along and have a look?" Ron said excitedly.
"There are other times to look forward to. We won't miss much," Harry told Ron, "Besides, Pixie said that Professor Dumbledore wanted to see me, Draco and Shawn about something important. She didn't say exactly what it is but it's to do with the upcoming summer holidays."
"All right, we'll be back by late afternoon," Hermione shrugged and turned to see Neville and Ginny descending the staircase to join them, "We'll bring sweet packages from Honeydukes back for you."
They headed to the Portrait Door where it swung open.
The four Gryffindors waved at Harry, "We'll see you later."
Harry was left alone in the common room for a moment before he too walked out and headed to the gargoyle gate where his boyfriend and his other friends were waiting.
Draco's eyes lit up the moment he spotted Harry coming his way. Harry smiled at his boyfriend and kissed his pale cheek before being enveloped by a hug. The two boys looked at Pixie who was currently being cuddled by Shawn as he hugged her from behind. Tabitha was napping contently in Pixie arms.
Both Harry and Draco noted how much happier and calmer their friend looked since the ball, seeing that she finally earned the happiness she longed for. And the way she often fleetingly caressed the shiny locket hung proudly around her neck proved how much she loved her birthday gift from her boyfriend.
"Come along, boys, grandfather's waiting for us," Pixie crossed to the front of the gargoyle gate and said the password. Just as the gate began to spiral, she called the others, "Let's go."
"Ah yes...we have an important matter to discuss," the Headmaster began as Pixie took her stand beside her guardian.
The three boys stood before his desk.
"I have news from the Ministry of Magic. This letter arrived just a few minutes ago," Professor Dumbledore produced a scroll from his desk. He held it out to Harry, "It's addressed to you, my dear boy..."
Harry looked at the official scroll in the Headmaster's hand. He made out his name written on it. His heartbeat quickened in trepidation. He shakily reached a hand and weakly gripped the scroll.
"Are you all right, Harry?" Shawn asked with concern when he noticed that Harry seemed so hesitant to unroll the letter.
Harry felt a mixture of excitement and fear at the same time. His mind was so full of questions. Did the Ministry of Magic believe Lupin's testimony? What about the treacherous Wormtail: what were they going to do to him? Are they finally going to grant Sirius's freedom? Was it going to be good news? Or would there be more bad news?
He felt a warm hand encasing his fist that was clutching the letter. He looked to see warm pewter-coloured orbs that belonged to his beloved dragon.
"It's okay, lion. I know you're worried about your godfather. But no matter what happens, you won't face the outcome alone. Go on and read it out to us," Draco said reassuringly and wound his arms around his waist, "We're right here."
The raven-haired Gryffindor broke the seal and unfurled the scroll with slightly unsteady fingers. He read the contents aloud.
"Dear Mr. Harry Potter...upon consideration in the testimony of Mr. Remus Lupin and the capture of Death Eater Peter Pettigrew, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in the Ministry of Magic have come to the unshakeable conclusion that Mr. Sirius Black is deemed innocent."
Harry felt like cheering. His godfather's freedom was secured! Draco's smiling face mirrored his reaction. Pixie clapped her hands with joy and Shawn thumped Harry on his shoulder in congratulations.
The Gryffindor continued to read the contents.
"To fully document Mr. Sirius Black's innocence and the trial proceedings to clear his criminal record, he is to remain in the Ministry for the processing, which will take approximately one month. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience. All lodgings and other necessities are provided for Mr. Sirius Black. You will be notified upon his release.
Yours Faithfully, Cornelius Fudge."
Harry's heart plummeted and the smile faded away. Sirius was finally free but his hopes to stay away from the Dursleys had been shattered. Draco saw his lion's despair and hugged him tightly. Shawn looked on empathetically at the two boys before observing Pixie who looked deep in thought.
Pixie pondered over the predicament presented before her. She knew how badly Harry was mistreated by his muggle relatives...she was there. Something needed to be done...she had an idea and she hoped that her grandfather wouldn't object to it. She turned to Professor Dumbledore and tugged on his sleeve. The Headmaster turned to face his granddaughter.
"Grandfather, I think there is an ample solution to this problem. I'd like to make a suggestion," she proposed.
"Of course, child. Tell me about it," the old man nodded and stood up to usher her to a more private spot in the office.
The three boys were left alone to themselves as Professor Dumbledore talked discreetly with Pixie.
"This is not fair..." Harry pouted, his emerald-coloured eyes flashing with irritation that his happy moment was destroyed, "I don't see why they need to document this whole incident when they already know Sirius is already innocent."
"The Ministry of Magic is stuck in the Middle Ages, Harry. They think paperwork is everything but these people don't even read their reports...your guardian must be quite strong-minded to put up with the nonsense," Shawn rubbed his chin.
"Well...I guess that I should take comfort that Lupin is with him for company..." Harry said to reassure himself.
"There has to be a way..." Draco wondered.
A soft cough interrupted the three boys. Looking up, they found Pixie walking over to them. Tabitha had woken up some time ago and was walking primly beside her mistress's feet. She looked back at the Headmaster who nodded for her to continue. Pixie looked quite pleased with herself.
Shawn noticed that the Headmaster was gesturing him to come forward
"Mr. Livinsky...may I discuss something with you?" the silver-haired professor asked, "I assure you that you're not in trouble."
"Of course, professor," Shawn nodded and followed the Headmaster, leaving the three young people alone.
"Before we go on, I need to ask Draco something," Pixie turned to the Slytherin, "Draco?"
"Are you planning to go back to the Manor this summer?" was Pixie's question.
Draco thought for a moment before speaking his answer, "It happens that I did receive news from my family lawyer just recently. He's owled me that I still retain my current funds and will officially inherit the remainder of my family wealth and property on my eighteenth birthday. Everything still remains in my father's possession until I graduate from Hogwarts. So technically...even though he's labelled a criminal and jailed in Azkaban...the manor isn't rightfully mine. It's most likely that...I'm not going back to the Manor this summer. I don't want to relive the horrible memories."
"Dragon..." Harry whispered, recalling how Draco was beaten by his father...
"Boys...then this solution will work," Pixie started, causing a hopeful look crossed over Harry's face, "Harry, as you know that you still have to remain in Privet Drive for this summer-"
"Get to the point!" Draco rudely interrupted.
"Hush! Let me finish! Goodness sake, Draco, don't interrupt me..." Pixie exclaimed sternly. Harry shot a reprimanding look at the taller boy, "Harry, how would you like it if Draco stays with you over the summer?"
A brief silence fell over them. Draco and Harry stared at her with goldfish expressions. Pixie found it hard to stop giggling at their faces.
"It's possible to make that arrangement. It's obvious that you two need each other," Pixie said, "It's fine as long as you two behave yourselves."
The news slowly sank in. Their awed expressions were replaced with joyous and relieved smiles.
"You hear that, Harry?!" Draco exclaimed, grabbing Harry's hands, "I get to spend the summer with you!"
"Really, Pixie? No objections?" Harry looked at Pixie incredulously.
"Of course! Why? Are you not happy?" she raised an eyebrow, a smirk present on her lips.
"No, I'm more than happy...thrilled, in fact. I want Draco to come. It's just that..." Harry hesitated and looked at Draco. He unknowingly started babbling, "Draco...my surrogate family may be terrible to you and the place may not suit your tastes and-"
Draco silenced his Gryffindor with a finger on his lips, "As long as you're with me, all these trifle matters are insignificant. And besides, I can be charming when I want to be and I won't hesitate to use magic to teach them a lesson if they do anything stupid to you."
Harry found his smile plastered back on his face at his Slytherin's craftiness and protectiveness. Draco instantly despised the Dursleys after Harry's lengthy accounts on how they mistreated him over the years he lived with them.
"That's all well and good, Draco, but you mustn't overstep your boundaries otherwise you'll get into trouble for overusing your magic," Pixie warned.
"Nobody's going to mistreat Harry when I'm around," Draco possessively brought his boyfriend close as he combed his dark hair, "And besides, it's a perfectly good excuse to cover up now that Harry's godfather is innocent."
"Point taken. So it's settled then," Pixie nodded in satisfaction.
It was then Shawn and the Headmaster reappeared. The elderly professor shook hands with the Ravenclaw who nodded back in return. Pixie immediately went up to Shawn who linked his fingers with his. Professor Dumbledore looked at his grandchild.
"So did Mr. Potter and Mr. Malfoy agree to your suggestion?" his bespectacled bright blue eyes were shining with mirth.
"Yes, Grandfather," Pixie nodded with a smile, "They agreed...so long as they behave themselves."
"That's good, child," the headmaster beamed.
"Professor Dumbledore, sir!" a booming voice came from the open door of the office. The four teenagers whirled around to see Hagrid.
"Hagrid!" Harry greeted, "What are you doing here?"
"Somethin' important for the young lady here, 'Arry," he beckoned to the girl in Shawn's embrace. Professor Dumbledore scrutinized the very serious expression on the keeper's face and frowned himself, knowing how much this bit of news would affect the young girl...
"Child, stay behind for a moment, I believe that this is something that may be important to you," Professor Dumbledore said.
He turned to the three boys.
"You three are free to leave now," the Headmaster said.
"Shawn? You coming?" Harry asked as he and his boyfriend were near the door.
Shawn seemed hesitant to leave Pixie.
"You go ahead with them, my love. I'll try to not take too long."
"Harry and I aren't doing anything for the moment. We'll wait with you if you want," Draco suggested, "Is that fine with you, Shawn?"
Shawn nodded, "All right then. We'll be outside the office once you're done, sweetie."
The Ravenclaw kissed her cheek before exiting with the two boys.
When the three boys were gone, Pixie took Tabitha in her arms and faced her grandfather and Hagrid who looked solemnly at her.
"Is there something I should know about?" she inquired as she took in their serious faces.
"Pixie, I don't want to shock ya," Hagrid said as he took her hand and petted it, "I know it's been a long time. But Pixie, I found 'im...I found out where your brother's buried."
Pixie's heart jumped in her chest. The news of her beloved brother's grave location intensified the crushing guilt. Guilt for forgetting her wonderful sibling who raised her for ten long years.
She shivered in Hagrid's touch. The bittersweet memories of their time together began to resurface as she felt her chest ache and the tears dripping down her cheeks.
"It's been so long..." she whispered, her shoulders trembling, "After nearly six years...Hagrid, where is it? I want to see him. I want to pay him respects."
"B-but Miss Dumbledore-"
"Tell me! I don't care how far it is! I have to see him...please..."
The sad agitated look on the girl's face softened the keeper's heart, "I found 'im in a remote part in the forest just outside Hogsmeade. Go t'the largest oak and you'll find a small path into the blackberry bushes. Follow it and you'll find 'im..."
"Thank you, Hagrid," she said as she hugged the half-giant, "Thank you."
She quickly ran out, the door slamming behind her.
"The poor child..." Professor Dumbledore sighed and went over to stroke Fawkes who crooned in question, "Even after a happy moment, she has to face an old memory, Fawkes...a very old memory filled with pain..."
"How d'you think she's goin' to take it, sir?" Hagrid asked.
"I cannot answer that question, Hagrid," the Headmaster said, "We'll just have to wait and find out...I just hope that finally she'll have true peace...Hagrid?"
"Thank you for helping her."
"Anythin' for you, sir."
Harry, Draco and Shawn were chatting something about Quidditch as they waited for Pixie outside the gargoyle gate.
Just then, the sound of the gargoyle gate opening alerted them. Shawn was shocked when Pixie crashed into him. Then he went pale when she began trembling in his arms. Harry and Draco were greatly alarmed by the sudden change of behavior. Tabitha mewled in protest and managed to wriggle out of the suffocating embrace.
"Sweetie?! What's the matter?"
"Hogsmeade...I have to get to Hogsmeade," Pixie mumbled and stood up.
"But we already missed the coach when we went to this meeting, Pixie," Shawn tried to reason as he held her in a hug. He frowned when she fought in his embrace, "Sweetie!"
The sight of tears running down her cheeks shocked her boyfriend, "Please! I have to go!"
"Calm down, Pixie!" Draco grabbed her shoulders to stop her from struggling in Shawn's arms, "Deep breaths...calm down..."
Pixie did as she was told and she fell lax in Shawn's arms. Draco tilted her chin up while Harry carefully massaged the back of her neck.
"You okay now, Pixie?" Draco received a minute nod from the girl, "Now what's all this about?"
"Hagrid...he's found Peter...he's found my brother's grave," Pixie quietly confessed, "That's why I need to go...I need to see with my own eyes and to pay my overdue respects to him...please...let me go...my heart won't rest until I've reconciled with my past..."
"Pixie..." Shawn kissed her forehead. Tabitha nuzzled against her ankles.
"Harry?" Draco turned to Harry who was frowning and in deep contemplation, "What's on your mind?"
"Guys, there is a way to get to Hogsmeade. Do you know where the statue of Gunhilda on the third floor corridor is?"
"Vaguely, why?" Shawn inquired.
"There is a secret passageway that leads straight to the Honeydukes cellar. I've been there before and I recall there is another passage that will lead outside the shop without having to shock the others there," Harry explained.
Draco turned to Pixie still in the Ravenclaw's arms, "Then let's go together..."
The little group headed to the third floor and found the aforementioned statue in the currently deserted corridor. Harry muttered 'Dissendium' as he tapped the back of the stone figure. It slowly moved to reveal the dark passageway. After making sure that no one was about, Harry went in first before the others filed in after him. Pixie was very reluctant to leave her kitten behind but she knew it would be far too risky to bring her along. She gently coaxed the kitten to not follow them before disappearing into the passageway. Tabitha loitered around for a while before deciding to leave and head back to her mistress's room. A few minutes passed and the statue slid back into its original position...
"Be careful, lion..." Draco grunted as he supported the smaller boy from behind.
"I know...just...need to push..." Harry heaved and pushed the hard wood above him. He coughed as the dust collected around his face as the trapdoor fell to the wayside with a loud thud, "Lumos..."
The Gryffindor pulled himself up from the opening, holding his wand high to illuminate the musty cellar. He reached down to help Draco up. Then they turned to Shawn and Pixie and pulled them up too.
"Wait a moment," Draco stopped his boyfriend and companions before he took out his wand, "Hold still, I need to Disillusion you all. Can't risk our friends to spot us..."
It was a very advanced enchantment but the Slytherin succeeded in his task as he tapped his wand on Shawn, Pixie and Harry, watching them change colour to match the peeling bricked walls in the cellar. Then he twirled his wand around himself and shivered when the charm took effect.
"Lead on, Harry."
After exiting Honeydukes, the four young people made their way to the forest outside the village. Draco neutralized the spell once they were sure no one was about. Pixie ran up ahead the moment she saw the giant oak tree just like Hagrid said. Then her silvered eyes caught sight of the blackberry hedges and several cobblestones lining in between them. She carefully pushed them aside and found a tunneled path open to her. Trepidation clenched her thumping heart and she felt scared. What was she going to find at the end?
"Pixie..." Pixie jumped and found Shawn behind her as he stroked her cheek, "It's okay...we're right behind you..."
The girls looked at her boyfriend and the two boys. Feeling much assured by their presence, she nodded and took her first step forward on the cobblestone path. It seemed like an eternity when she reached the other side and stepped through.
"By the..." Pixie whispered as she reached the end of the pathway, "Merlin..."
She found herself standing in a clearing with long sweeping grass and wildflowers. Birdsongs filled the vicinity and the heavy yet refreshing scent of ripe fruit hung in the air. It was as if she had stepped into another world like those beautiful places she heard and read in fairytales. At the very center of the clearing, stood a tombstone covered with vines and ivy.
She approached the tombstone and knelt before it in reverent fashion. Then she grabbed the vines and yanked them away from the stone. When the vines were disposed of, she ran her fingers over the smooth pure white marble that felt cool on her skin. She didn't wonder how the stone managed to stay unscathed and unaffected after all these years. Instead she was focused on the inscription carved into the stone:
Here lies Peter Darleston
May He Rest In Peace
A Wonderful Angel Whose Life Was Cut Short
"Brother..." she sobbed and threw her arms to hug the tombstone.
The tears she held back for her beloved sibling poured down her cheeks in endless rivers. Snippets of locked up memories of the times she had spent with her brother flashed before her. He had taken care of her and loved her dearly when her father couldn't.
She sobbed heavily. She could remember the strong arms that cradled her and held her when she was a baby...the large calloused hands that held her own...the sparkling golden brown eyes that always looked at her gently with adoration...the messy locks of dark black hair she loved to fiddle with and smelt like rain and mint...the cheeky smile he always displayed for her when she felt sad...his melodious laugh to cheer her up...the husky voice that always sang her lullabies to sleep and told her stories...the lean body that protected her from harm. And most of all...she was marveled by the way he did magic before her when they lived in the woods...he would make flowers blossom without the need for water...he made the candes glow without matches and he occasionally created magical illusions to accompany his stories. The most kind-hearted and most giving brother of her heart was now six feet deep beneath her feet.
"Brother...I'm sorry...I'm sorry...I'm sorry for taking so long to find you...please forgive me...please forgive me," she whimpered.
A painful jolt pierced her heart as she recalled a past memory she buried deep in her subconscious...the memory of how her brother left her behind...
Loud haggard coughs came from a small bedroom in the cottage. A strapping young man who looked to be in his twenties was lying on a bed with a pained expression. He was sweating heavily and his chest weakly rose and fell with each tense breath. A little girl with long black hair and dark brown eyes sat at his bedside, holding the man's larger hand. She looked fearful and her bespectacled eyes swam with tears.
"Brother..." Pixie whispered, clutching his hand tighter, "Why did you push yourself? Why must you always have to exhaust yourself like this?"
"Baby sister...shhhh..." the young man said and pulled the little girl down to his chest and hugged her, "I'm so sorry...I shouldn't have worried you...I...I don't think that the fever can be treated...I'm so sorry..."
"You told me that Mama and Papa died when I came..."
Her hot tears pooled on his chest. Peter clutched her tightly as he too cried.
"They left because they hate me, right?" she sniffled, "You're leaving me because you hate me..."
"No! I can never hate you, Pixie!" Peter coughed, feeling his chest hurt. He looked at her softly, "You're my dearest baby sister..."
"I want to come with you...I want to be with you...and maybe see Mama and Papa..."
"No! I can't allow that!" Peter said sharply, causing her to pull away from him, "You can't! You have so much to live for!"
The little girl's bottom lip trembled and she turned pale...her big brother had never shouted at her like that before...he no longer wanted her to follow him...
"You do hate me..." Pixie whimpered and turned away from him, "People leave others because they hate them..."
She backed away and hugged herself, trying hard to coccoon herself in the thin blankets.
"That's how it is, isn't it..." she sniffled in a very defeated voice.
The young man's heart split in two as he took in the sight of his broken baby sister.
"Why...why can't I follow you anymore..." she whispered to herself.
"No! Please...don't make this harder..." Peter whispered as he sat up with great difficulty. He gathered his little sister against his chest, "I'm so sorry...I do not hate you, baby sister...I love you."
"I love you too, brother...don't go...please...you promised me that you'll be with me forever," she implored. Her heart shattered when he sadly shook his head.
"I'm sorry, Pixie, for breaking my promise to you," Peter apologized as he laid back on his bed, pulling her with him, "But remember this...even if I'm gone...I still love you...and I will watch over you...and someday...you'll find someone who loves you as much as I did...perhaps even more..."
The young girl felt her brother's tender large hand cupping her cheek and closed her eyes. He still felt warm...she wished that this would last forever.
After a while, Pixie noticed that her brother's breathing was slowing down and his eyes were looking glazed.
"I see a light, baby sister..." he whispered, still stroking her cheek, "A very beautiful light..."
"No...no! Please! Don't go!" the little girl pleaded, "Don't leave me behind!"
"Baby sister...no matter what happens...I will always be with you...watching over you..."
Turmoil churned in Pixie's heart as the hand that was cupping her cheek fell limp and cold. She examined her brother's face. It held a serene expression and his skin was turning a pale silvery blue. His chest was still...he was no longer breathing.
Not wanting to believe what she saw and felt, she shook him, expecting him to wake up and smile at her like he always did when she jumped on him in bed every morning.
"Brother...brother...wake up...wake up..." she whispered. But it was to no avail, Peter was still... "No...no..."
Resting the hand onto his chest, she pulled the thin blanket over his head. She pressed her body against her deceased sibling and covered her face with her hands. She wailed and sobbed, giving into her heartbreaking grief for the loss of her beloved brother.
Just then, a neighbouring woodcutter who lived some miles away dropped by to deliver the usual load of firewood. He whistled a merry tune as he hauled his load up to the cottage. He strode up to the door and opened it.
"Lad! Lassie!" the burly man cheerfully called out, "I got yer firewood here!"
He began to frown when he heard no reply. These two fine young people were always home during weekends...usually the sweet-hearted lassie would come running up to him with the handsome lad behind her to offer him a glass of water and something to eat. Something was amiss...the atmosphere was tense and filled with heavy melancholy he couldn't explain...
Just then, he heard soft sobbing coming from the room upstairs. He carefully lowered his load of firewood and his axe at the doorway. He quickly sprinted up the stairs and went into the room where he heard the sobbing. The woodcutter couldn't believe what he saw.
The little lassie was crying heavily as she laid on a sheet-covered human-shaped lump...it couldn't be true...so the lad was...
He went over to the young man's side and uncovered the top portion. He flinched upon seeing the still and serene face. He felt for a pulse on the cold neck and found none.
"Lassie..." he turned to the little girl and took her in his embrace, "You poor little child..."
"I want my brother! Come back! Come back!" Pixie wept as she hiccuped and sniffled.
The man's heart painfully twisted in sympathy and empathic sorrow as he held the girl closer to him, allowing her to cry herself to exhaustion. Pixie eventually fell asleep, clutching onto the woodcutter.
"The poor lassie...what's to be done...I can't take her home with me...I barely have enough bread for the whole family and the lads are too rough...they wouldn't know how to take care of a delicate child...and there's nobody else around who lives here...what to do..." he wondered.
Just then, the woodcutter heard the sound of the front door reopening...followed by the creaking of the wooden floor. He protectively held the child close to him, preparing for the intruder. He didn't have his axe with him...but his fists still pack a huge punch.
An elderly man was standing before him. He had long silvery hair matched with a fine silken mustache and beard. His sky blue eyes shone with knowledge and a strange kindness and were hiding behind crescent moon-shaped spectacles. The clothes he wore looked very odd and out-of-place...
"What do you want, sir?" the woodcutter asked cautiously.
"I've come for the child, good woodcutter," the old man said, "I'm her guardian."
"The young lassie never mentioned about you," the stocky man as he stood up, carrying the young girl.
"She doesn't know me," the old man explained, "I'm her grandfather."
The old man could see the incredulous look in the woodcutter's eyes.
"I won't harm her. I will take care of her well," he assured the woodcutter.
The woodcutter was about to retort until he looked into his eyes. There, he saw the trusting twinkle in the irises, "Fine, good sir. I'll...I'll get some of my lads to carry the body."
"Yes...the poor boy...please find him a beautiful place where his soul could rest in peace," the old man said as the woodcutter placed the little girl into his arms.
"I have a place in mind...but how will she be able to-"
"She will know in time when she is ready...and she will come back to see him..."
"Sir?" the woodcutter addressed the elderly man, "May I ask who you are?"
"I can't reveal my identity, woodcutter. I wish to keep this between us and the child. But please know that I'm grateful for your understanding and kindness," the elderly man said.
"Somehow, sir..." the woodcutter gave a wry smile as he turned to leave, "I feel like I've known you all this while even though we've never met before...please...take good care of her...she's a special girl..."
"I know she is..."
The old man turned his attention to the young girl in his arms as the woodcutter left the room. He observed Pixie stirring awake and looked confused at why she was in the arms of a stranger. She yelped in fear at the sight of the old man.
"Hush, child," he gently cooed, "I won't hurt you...I'm taking you home with me..."
The old man held her closer, "You are not alone, Pixie."
"How...how do you know my name?" she asked weakly, "I...my brother..."
"Shhhh...hush..." he soothed the girl and tenderly combed her hair with his calloused fingers, "You're coming with me and I'll take care of you."
She made no resistance as she succumbed to the gentle caresses of the old man who seemed so kind and gentle.
"You will see your dear sibling again soon, child...when your heart has healed and when you become a strong and brave girl..."
She took one last glance at her dead brother as the old man carried her away from the room and the house she lived in all her life. A part of her died that day. She felt so tired...so sleepy...so drained.
She closed her eyes and dozed off to the rocking motions...
By the time she finished reliving the flashback, her face was stained with tears as they rained on the marble. She clung onto the gravestone, wishing it was her brother in place...it had been so long...
The three boys watched her from a distance. They had already followed her into the clearing but felt they had no right to intrude upon this sad moment. After a while, Shawn knelt behind his girlfriend and embraced her. Pixie's sobs hitched as she pressed her head against his chest. Harry felt his heart ache as he continued to watch. He felt Draco squeezing his arm around his shoulders.
"It hurts...it hurts so much..." she wept as she clutched her chest.
"Shhh...it's okay..." Shawn comforted Pixie and kissed her forehead.
"I wish I could see him...I just want to know if he's ok..."
A stray tear trickled from her silvered eye and dangled on Pixie's chin. It began glowing in a silvery blue aura before it broke off and fell onto the ground.
Shawn looked at the spot where the teardrop fell. Much to his surprise, a small bud blossomed in place of the tear's spot. Slowly, the bud unfolded its lush sapphire blue petals, transforming into a beautiful blue rose. Pixie gasped at the astounding sight. Her gasp caught Harry and Draco's attention and the two boys ran up to the couple to see what the commotion was. They watched in hypnotized awe as more and more flowers started to bloom and grew fresh vines to decorate the tombstone. As they did, golden sparkles were emitted from the centers of the flowers.
Just then, a bright light filled the entire scene, causing the group to cover their eyes. When the light subsided, they looked to see a a full grown man wrapped in a gold aura standing a distance away from them. When the man turned around, he smiled at them, particularly at the girl.
"Hello, baby sister...long time no see..." his soft voice echoed in the light breeze.
Pixie gasped and covered her mouth in disbelief, new tears brimming at the edge of her eyes.
The ethereal being had unruly black hair and the most beautiful golden brown eyes she had ever seen. He was taller than the boys by several inches. He was dressed in white robes, clearly outlining his muscled figure.
He spread his arms wide with a gentle smile on his caring face...
'There is no mistake about it...it's him...there's only one person who calls me this way...I know that look and smile anywhere...my wish came true...'
Pixie picked herself up and ran to the golden figure.
"Brother!" she cried out and flung herself into his arms. He was solid...and warm...and it made her heart sing with joy...
"My baby sister...I missed you so much..." he whispered delicately in her ear, "I watched over you as I promised..."
"Peter...I missed you...I missed you so much..."
"Look at you...you're so beautiful...you have truly grown up," he mused, tracing his fingers on her cheek, "You found my grave..."
"I had help...Hagrid told me where it is," she started to cry in his embrace, "I'm so sorry to make you think I've forgotten you. Grandfather, Shawn and my new friends helped me relieve the pain when I was in Hogwarts. I nearly gave up hope when I couldn't find you...please forgive me...
"Shhhh...baby sister..." Peter crooned as he nuzzled his cheek against her hair, "It's okay...I always knew that you would find me. It's okay...shhhh..."
Peter then looked over at Shawn, Harry and Draco. He beckoned them over.
"You must be Shawn...the boy my baby sister's in love with...you helped her, didn't you?" he asked.
"Yes...yes, sir," Shawn nodded.
"My gratitude to you for bringing my sister happiness knows no bounds," he looked down on the young girl, "Please continue to protect and love her. Both of you have my blessings."
Shawn nodded in promise.
"Thank you to you too..." Peter addressed to Harry and Draco, "For looking out for her...I'm glad that she has wonderful friends..."
Harry was too much in awe of the happenings before him but he and Draco managed a nod of acknowledgement to the man before them. The Gryffindor felt his heart twist...reminding him of his own deceased parents who loved and died to protect him. Draco himself did all he could to stay strong as he thought of his own mother...she was in a better place now just as his beloved's parents were. He glanced at Harry who looked back up at him with tearful eyes. He cupped the Gryffindor's cheek and thumbed away the tears.
"Sad tears do not fit you, lion..." Draco whispered.
"So do you, Draco..." it was Harry's turn to reach up and wipe the tears away from his pale cheeks. The Slytherin cursed silently why he didn't feel them.
"Pixie..." Peter tilted Pixie's chin up, "I must go...the magic to retain my form isn't going to last any longer..."
"But...but what if-" she was silenced by a gentle finger on her lips.
"Baby sister," he planted a warm kiss on her forehead, "I'll always be with you..."
When he pulled back, he smiled tenderly at her and pinched her cheek adoringly, combing her hair with his fingers.
"You will never suffer anymore. I'm so proud of you..."
"You will never forget me?"
"Of course I won't, baby sister. Remember...it's never goodbye..." Peter whispered before he pulled away and smiled beatifically at them.
A strong breeze blew past, making green leaves and stray blue rose petals circle around Peter. Shawn and Draco protectively hugged their partners close as the winds grew strong momentarily. When the winds eventually died down into gentle breezes, Peter was nowhere to be seen.
When Shawn looked at Pixie, his heart skipped at the serenity radiating on her tired face...in all the years he had seen her, she had never looked so calm and beautiful than this moment...
"I think it's time we headed back," Harry advised, finally calmed down from his silent tears, "The others are probably going to wonder where we are..."
"Wait a moment," Pixie broke away from Shawn. She transferred a small kiss from her fingertips to the tombstone, "See you later, big brother...I love you."
She and Shawn stood up and brushed the stray grass blades from their clothes before joining Harry and Draco to head back to Honeydukes.
A lone beam of late afternoon sunshine shone on the marble headstone. The roses looked like jewels as their velvety petals were illuminated by the golden light. A gentle whisper floated through the premises...
"I love you too, baby sister...I love you..."
"Thank you, boys..." Pixie said as they stepped away from the statue, "Thank you for helping me get to Hogsmeade...I no longer have to be heavily burdened by my brother's death, knowing that he'll be fine..."
"Hey...that's what friends are for," Harry smiled slightly and patted her shoulder.
"Hmm...speaking of friends..." Draco tugged his boyfriend's arm, "I have a feeling the others are looking for us. You two coming?"
"Actually...we'll see you later, Draco...I think Pixie still needs to have some quiet time before meeting the others," Shawn observed Pixie looking slightly lethargic as she leaned against his shoulder, "You guys go ahead. We'll see you at dinner."
"Sure thing. Let's go, Dray."
With that, Harry and Draco parted ways with Shawn and Pixie and made their way to the Great Hall just in time to see Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Neville seated at one of the tables. An array of sweets and various knick knacks and novelty items spread before them.
"Finally! We were wondering where you two were," Ron exclaimed when he saw the two boys heading their way, "Where're Pixie and Shawn?"
"They went somewhere else and said they'll see us. Weren't Yumiko and Chris with you?" Draco looked around for the Hufflepuffs.
"Yumiko is feeling a bit poorly when we got back. Apparently some of the Bertie Botts beans she ate earlier didn't agree with her stomach," Ginny explained, "Chris just took her to the hospital wing."
"Oh yeah! We got some sweet packages for you guys. Honeydukes was having a special bundle offer," Hermione beamed as she took out two bulging paper bags and pushed them to the two boys.
"Thanks for the sweets, you guys," Harry smiled at her as he accepted the package. He looked at Draco who peeked inside and nodded approvingly.
"Quite a commendable selection, Hermione, very impressive," Draco praised.
"Fred and George were wondering why you didn't come, Harry," Ron remarked, "You have to come on the next trip, no excuses."
"Fine. I'll keep my word on it," Harry promised.
"Hmm...I think I should head to the greenhouses. Professor Sprout was using my Mimbulus Mimbletonia to demonstrate its defense mechanism in class. I just need to go and check up on it," Neville stood up and kissed Ginny, "Sorry to be a bother, Ginny, but go ahead without me and I'll see you later."
"See you later," Ginny patted his arm. They watched Neville gather his belongings and headed out.
"I don't know about you guys but I think I want to wind down from this trip," Hermione stood up and stretched, "And I still have these sweet packages to pass onto to Pixie and Shawn."
"A nap sounds good," Ron rubbed his eyes, "We'll see you guys later."
While Ginny went to the hospital wing to check up on Yumiko, Ron and Hermione retrieved their purchases to head to the Gryffindor common room, promising to meet up again later. Draco and Harry decided to retire to their secret room. They sat down on the bed together and inspected their packages. Harry was pleased with the plethora of chocolate frogs, cauldron cakes, jelly slugs and liquorice wands.
"What did they get you, dragon?" Harry asked while he contented himself in eating a cauldron cake.
"Hmm...let's see," Draco looked at his own share of sweets, "Some sugar quills, chocoballs, glacial snow flakes...and some Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans."
Draco leaned forward to lick the crumbs lining the edge of Harry's mouth when the smaller boy finished the cauldron cake. Harry smiled and captured his boyfriend's wandering lips in a loving kiss. The Slytherin held out the open carton. Harry raised an eyebrow at the gesture.
"Have a bean?" his silvery eyes held a challenging twinkle.
"Only if you taste one," Harry said, "It's fair."
"Deal," Draco nodded.
Harry's eyes scanned the colourful beans, praying that he would get an edible flavour. He eventually chose a marbled daisy yellow and light green bean and popped it into his mouth. As he chewed it, he tried to discern the taste. But after a few moments, his face scrunched up in disgust and he spat out the remains into his hand.
"What flavour?" Draco asked with a mischievous smile.
"Rotten egg..." Harry coughed, "Ugh...it's so rancid! I'm not going to go for eggs for a while at breakfast..."
Harry took a licorice wand and sucked on it, letting the taste override the horrible remains of the bean.
Draco laughed at Harry who glared at him.
"Shut it, it really tasted horrible!" Harry retorted.
"My turn..." Draco said.
He picked a lilac purple bean with white specks and popped into his mouth. He chewed it contently. Harry stared at his boyfriend incredulously as Draco swallowed the sweet.
Draco shot him an arrogant and triumphant look.
"Sugared violet...one of my favourites, actually," Draco smugly said.
"You've just gotten lucky," Harry pouted.
"On the contrary, I know which beans are edible and those that are not," Harry shot a wide-eyed stunned look as his response to the statement, "Years of sweet tasting have paid off. I have a very notorious sweet tooth."
"You sneaky Slytherin! You set me up on this bean deal!" Harry's eyes flashed.
"What are you going to do about it, my dear lion-hearted Gryffindor?" Draco challenged.
Draco was greatly surprised when he was knocked flat onto his back and Harry suddenly towered over him, straddling his stomach. Their sweets were slightly strewn to the side from the impact. The raven haired boy smirked at the stunned look on his dragon's elvish face. Draco chuckled breathlessly. When did his sweet innocent Golden Boy become so bold? Draco cupped the back of Harry's head.
"I see that your Gryffindor-like boldness has finally prevailed," Draco commented as he combed through his messy hair.
"Oh...I have a very good teacher to help me bring it out..." Harry's eyes twinkled.
"Is that so?" Draco gasped slightly as Harry breathed hotly near his neck, "Harry..."
"But now you're going to pay for making me look like a fool..." Harry whispered as he kissed and nibbled Draco's alabaster skin of his neck, purring possessively with each minute suck and bite, "This time, you're beneath me so don't try to trick me, dragon."
Draco hummed in a tone which he hoped sounded nonchalant and laid back against the bed as he felt Harry's fingers hurriedly undoing his tie. Although he felt a bit outraged that his Harry would be the one in control in this situation, he had a good feeling he was going to enjoy his lion's sensual punishment...
Shawn smiled at the sight of Pixie playing with Tabitha as they sat against her bed in her quarters. The kitten was rolling on her back as she clawed for the butterfly toy Pixie was dangling above her.
"Hey Pixie? I need to let you know about something. It's to do with the upcoming summer holidays."
"Oh? What is it?" Pixie lowered the toy, finally allowing the kitten to grasp it in her paws.
"Professor Dumbledore talked to me while you were with Harry and Draco," Shawn rubbed the back of his neck, "I hope this doesn't come out as a rush but...will you come and spend this summer with me and my family? Professor Dumbledore has given you permission and is owling my parents."
Pixie felt her heart warm. She didn't expect this to happen and the news brought a smile onto her face and the silver sparkles in her eyes brightened.
"I'd love to, Shawn," she beamed, excitement clearly prominent in her response.
"Great! I'm glad you accepted. My parents are going to love you."
'I feel that she should widen her horizons, Shawn. She needs to go outside Hogwarts. I believe I can trust you with that duty, Shawn...' Professor Dumbledore's words echoed in Shawn's mind.
Shawn pressed his lips on her forehead, savouring the warmth emitting from the golden skin. Pixie nuzzled close and fiddled with the silver locket around her neck before unclamping it to let the sweet tinkling music fill the air.
"Shawn?" Pixie breathed after he pulled back.
"Yes?" Shawn ran his fingers through her hair.
"Thank you..." Pixie leaned her head against his chest, "Thank you for taking me out of the darkness...thank you for loving me...I love you..."
Shawn felt a warmth arising as he hugged the girl in his arms, "I love you too...and...thank you, my beloved...thank you for giving me another chance..."
"I see that the child is becoming much happier and calmer, Albus," Professor McGonagall commented as she and the Headmaster observed Pixie and Shawn tenderly embracing each other against the bed. Tabitha by then had grown bored and was now napping on the girl's lap, "I've never seen her smile so brightly before."
"She is at peace now...she can look forward to a bright future," the elderly professor took in the sight of Pixie's smiling face.
"Are you sure it's wise for Mr. Livinsky to take her away from Hogwarts over the summer?" the Transfiguration professor asked the Headmaster, "Hogwarts is her home."
"I have full confidence in the boy, Minerva. Just as her heart has finally opened, she needs to explore the world beyond Hogwarts. And he will be the one who will do just that," Professor Dumbledore explained, "This will be an enriching experience for her."
Professor McGonagall continued observing the young couple with hidden interest until the headmaster tugged her arm gently.
"Come, Minerva. Let's leave them," he then held out a packet of candies to her, "Care for a sherbet lemon?"
She eyed the packet that held the sweets inside and the elderly man smiling at her. Her stern expression softened at his sincerity and she took one of the candies.
"Yes, Albus, I'd like that very much," Professor McGonagall said as she demurely placed the candy into her mouth, "I must admit, Albus...they do taste good."
Harry blinked once...then twice...even though his body was aching pleasantly and practically exhausted, he didn't feel very sleepy. He nuzzled his cheek against the smooth muscled chest he was sleeping on as it rose and fell with each relaxed breath.
After dinner, they had excused themselves to go outside for some stargazing before rendezvousing to their secret room by curfew. In the evening shadows, the couple exchanged heated kisses and tangled together with sweaty limbs in a mesh of wanton cries and grunts. Their dance of love and passion finally ended with the tired Slytherin falling asleep while embracing Harry close to him. The raven haired Gryffindor fondly admired the sleeping blonde. He propped himself up on one elbow and carded his fingers through the fine golden hair before bending down to kiss his forehead. Pulling back, he wriggled out of Draco's embrace and got out of bed. He reached for his black robes to cover his bare body. Then he leaned against the window sill and gazed at the picturesque, moon-bathed landscape outside, feeling the cool night air dancing across his warm skin. Somehow...this moment felt surreal...for once, he no longer felt troubled...
In his deep pondering, Harry didn't notice the blonde boy blearily waking from his deep slumber. Draco had been missing warm human pillow and discovered Harry at the window. Slipping on his own black robes, he joined his beloved by wrapping his arms around the smaller boy from behind.
"What are you doing up, lion?" Draco inquired, feeling the velvet skin of Harry's smooth stomach.
"Just can't sleep, that's all," Harry shrugged but leaned back while gripping the hands resting on his torso, "What about you?"
"I'm missing my very warm sexy pillow," the Slytherin grinned as he kissed his cheek, "Come back to bed..."
"Hmmm...just a bit longer, Dray..." Harry tightened his grip, "I've never felt this peaceful before..."
Draco shuffled closer and kissed the top of his boyfriend's head as his consent to his beloved's request. Wrapped in a comfortable silence, the boys continued to admire the scenery while basking in each other's presence.
'So much has changed this year...' Harry leaned his head against Draco's shoulder, 'I never thought I would end up here...like this...'
"Harry? Is everything all right?" Draco asked in slight alarm when Harry'e eyes teared up despite the peaceful smile on his face.
"I'm more than all right..." Harry reassured the taller boy, "You're here...that's what matters..."
Draco tightened his embrace. It was the perfect moment for the sleepiness finally caught up with Harry. The raven haired Gryffindor yawned and leaned against Draco's chest.
"Let's go back to sleep, lion," Draco tenderly told the tired boy.
Harry mumbled a 'yes' as they ambled over to the bed and snuggled under the comforter.
Draco stripped the black robes away from their bodies and pulled his Gryffindor close to him. Harry kissed the pale neck and fell into a deep sleep. Draco dug his nose into Harry's messy ebony locks, the faint scent of mint and a hint of lilies hitting his nose. He cradled his beloved Gryffindor and pressed a butterfly kiss on the fading scar. Draco smirked when he felt Harry squirm against him and a breathy sigh escaping his lips. Giving into his exhaustion for the day, the Slytherin finally closed his eyes and joined his boyfriend in the land of peaceful dreams.
Meanwhile in the Forbidden Forest, the white wolf was sitting on a large boulder. It slowly transformed back into its human form. Archarnas's white and gold robes shimmered in the moonlight, which highlighted his serene face under his hood. He fixed his gaze towards the castle...
"Let me see where my chosen children are now..." Archarnas smiled as he closed his eyes in concentration. After a while, his body turned ethereally translucent not unlike a ghost, glowing in a silvery aura.
Archarnas floated into the air and glided towards the castle. He had a fair idea where the crest-wielders were located. He first found Yumiko sleeping in her dormitory bed with a sweet smile on her face. Floating by her bedside, he ran a hand through her hair and gently kissed her forehead.
"Pleasant dreams, my daughter of Hufflepuff...you've overcome great adversity and became strong..."
Next he traversed to the Ravenclaw common room and found Shawn slumped over a desk with several open books strewn before him. Archarnas chuckled and took a blanket from one of the couches and placed it over the boy.
"You have chosen wisely, my son of Ravenclaw...live to the fullest and keep your precious ones close..."
It took Archarnas a while to find the other two wielders. But he finally located the secret room and found Harry and Draco nestled in bed together.
"Such an unusual relationship..." Archarnas mused as he observed the two boys. He spotted their linked hands and the way they snuggled up close to each other, "But their love for each other...it is indeed very strong..."
He brushed his hands over their heads and his dark eyes crinkled fondly.
"My chosen sons of Gryffindor and Slytherin...you have fought well...be at peace as you and your friends should be..."
Archaras drifted away and exited the room through the window. He looked up at the starry sky, feeling satisfied of what he had done to help them.
"My duty has been fulfilled..." the spirit looked back at the castle, visualizing his chosen wielders he had sworn to protect, "Well done...my chosen children...until I am needed again...farewell..."
He closed his eyes and soared to the stars twinkling brightly above.
To Be Concluded...