Give Me Wings – a Harry Potter fanfiction by Xavien R. Maxwell
All characters and subject matter appearing herein are the copyrighted © creations of J. K. Rowling and Warner Bros., and are borrowed for the purposes of this fanfiction. No money in any form was earned in its production.
Foreword: A Brief Recitation
What I am, I must not show -
"A Faery Speaks" - The Monastery
Chapter One: A Mysterious Affliction
For once, when Harry suddenly sat straight up in bed at two o'clock in the morning, it wasn't due to any horrible nightmare, nor was it attributed to debilitating pain in his scar. No, this time, he thought groggily, this time was different. But how?
He glanced blearily around the room, trying to make it come into focus. Of course, it refused to oblige, and after a few moments of heavy thought, his brain finally fought through the haze of confusion to make the required connections. Oh yes, glasses. Right.
Feeling around on the bedside table, he managed to get a hold on his round spectacles and slip them over his eyes. But his surroundings, rather than snapping into focus like they did normally, stayed stubbornly fuzzy, and he had to blink several times before he got a semblance of clarity.
That was odd, he thought. Was he really that sleepy? And if so, then why did he wake up? Putting a hand to his forehead, he ran a finger along the jagged line of his scar. It wasn't hot and scorching like he'd grown accustomed to it being lately, now that Voldemort was gaining power by leaps and bounds. Rather, it was freezing cold, as if it had turned into a thin vein of ice. Unconsciously he shivered, which made him realize that his scar wasn't the only thing that was cold; his entire body felt like it had been dropped in the lake.
Except, for some strange reason, his back. His back seemed to have taken up his scar's responsibilities for the time being, burning hotly all the way down his spine.
A low growl escaped from his throat at the injustice. He'd been having enough troubles the past week as it was: not only had the perpetual headache brought on by Voldemort's increased activity been unusually ferocious, he'd also developed a voracious appetite that had caused many students to stare at him slack-jawed during meals. Furthermore, he'd lost an alarming amount of body mass that completely belied his food intake, to the extent that people had started to murmur rumors of bulimia behind his back. Of course, this was absurd, but he couldn't give any alternative explanation as to what happened to the food after he swallowed it. And now he was waking up with chills and a fevered spine. It was as if the world thought he didn't visit the hospital wing often enough, even though he'd been there more times in his Hogwarts career than the entire Ravenclaw house combined.
But no matter how much he wished he could simply go back to sleep and wait out the storm, he knew that such an abnormal condition could not be ignored. So, resigned, he made one last self-indulgent groan before heaving himself out of bed.
And stumbling when his legs nearly buckled under him. He grabbed onto the full-length mirror, the nearest thing available, to steady himself, and caught a glimpse of himself in the process. Of course, before he could react, the mirror summed it up quite neatly for him:
"Goodness, child, you look on the brink of death! Up to the hospital wing with you, no arguments now!"
"I'm going, be quiet!" Harry hissed, glancing back at the beds of his dorm mates. He needn't have worried – compared to him, the other four boys slept like logs. The only movement came from Neville, who grunted softly in his sleep and turned over, his hand unconsciously capturing the wayward Trevor, who'd been on the verge of escape. Trevor didn't look pleased at this, in his toady way.
Shaking his head, Harry turned his attention to the door, and concentrated on putting one shaky foot in front of the other. This was ridiculous, he thought. Why was he having so much trouble with such a basic movement as walking? Why did he feel as though all the strength had been siphoned from him like water from a tap?
His mood soured even further when he found he could barely turn the doorknob.
What was going on?
Only by clutching the railing like a lifeline did he manage to keep from falling down the twisted, wrought-iron stairway that led down to the Gryffindor common room. Similarly, he about smashed his head open while trying to negotiate the sharp drop out the portrait door, and had to lean against the wall to catch his breath before tackling the hallways. He was only thankful that the hospital wing, though being a tower itself, was decidedly lower than Gryffindor Tower. As such, his journey there would be completely downhill, which was lucky, because he sincerely doubted he would've managed to climb any stairs at the rate he was going.
Madam Pomfrey was tending to some laundry when Harry stumbled in. She gave a little shriek when she spotted him, rushing over to prevent him from falling in a heap. "Mercy, what in the world is wrong?" she exclaimed. "Surely those nightmares aren't as bad as this?"
Harry blinked - he certainly had never told her about the nightmares that had been constantly plaguing him since the Triwizard Tournament the previous year. But in his current state, he didn't give it much thought. "It's not that, it's – "
"Or is your body finally starting to miss all that weight you've lost this past week?" Madam Pomfrey interrupted sternly. "Honestly, I would think you'd know better than to neglect yourself like this, Mister Quidditch Star."
"I'm not!" Harry insisted. "I've been eating like mad all week, I swear, but it doesn't do any good!"
"Have you?" She gave him a peculiar look, standing back to survey him critically. "What have you been eating? All junk, I suppose."
"Er, no…" Harry's brow crinkled at the odd question. "Just normal food. Meat, potatoes, cheese, milk. Haven't really had many sweets lately. Didn't feel like it."
Madam Pomfrey nodded, as if all this was extremely enlightening. "Loading up on proteins and calcium," she murmured to herself. "So you're eating all of this, and not only are you still losing weight, but your energy is drained as well? Is that why I'm practically holding you up right now?"
Harry nodded weakly. "My back hurts, too."
This simple statement seemed to be the final straw. "I see," Madam Pomfrey said firmly. "Now, if I recall, you turned sixteen two months ago, correct?"
"Yeah, why?" Harry wondered as she guided him over to one of the beds.
She didn't answer, instead going around behind him and hiking up the back of his shirt. He heard her breath catch in her chest, felt her trace a line down the middle of his back with a finger, making him shiver inexplicably.
Then she sighed. "Dear me, everything does seem to happen to you, doesn't it?"
This did not make him feel better in the slightest.
"Always were a bit of a late-bloomer, weren't you?" she continued, crossing the room to rifle through a closet. "I suppose it's just as well – wouldn't have been pretty if this had started when you were with the Muggles. Here, put this on," she told Harry, tossing a hospital gown into his arms, "and leave the back open. I'm going to fetch the Headmaster, I'll be right back."
But she swooped out before he had a chance to ask.
Rubbing the material of the gown absently between his fingers, Harry ran Madam Pomfrey's cryptic statements through his mind, trying to make head or tails of it. Loading up on proteins and calcium… turned sixteen two months ago… always were a bit of a late-bloomer…
A flash of heat surged down his spine, making him jump. His back was so hot… and yet, when Madam Pomfrey had traced her finger down it, he'd gotten chills. Frowning, he pulled the hospital gown overtop the pyjama trousers he'd worn to bed. As he put his hands behind him to tie the fastenings, he let his fingers drift upward to touch the middle of his spine.
Beneath his fingers, he could feel something hard, unconcealed by skin, running in a long, thin line down his back.
Everything does seem to happen to you, doesn't it?
He bolted from the bed, which turned out to be a rather bad idea as he immediately fell to his knees for lack of energy. He had to crawl the entire way, but the panic surging through him gave him enough of an adrenaline rush to get him across the room and over to the mirror. He sat with his back to it, and twisted his head around so he was looking over his shoulder at the reflection.
The open back of his hospital gown made it easy to see the finger's-width, iridescent green ridge that extended from between his shoulder blades down to the small of his back, a good foot in length. In the low candlelight of the hospital wing, it almost seemed to glow, shining like polished emerald.
At that moment, the door swung open, and Professor Dumbledore hurried in with Madam Pomfrey on his tail. Harry didn't even blink, unable to tear his gaze away from the mirror, not even when Dumbledore stooped low next to him to place a hand on his shoulder.
"How are you feeling, Harry?" Dumbledore asked softly.
Harry glanced up at Dumbledore's reflection, directly into the steely blue eyes that seemed to stare right back. "Lost, sir," he said.
"That is understandable enough. Perhaps, if you would return to your bed, I'll be able to offer an explanation."
With Dumbledore's and Madam Pomfrey's help, Harry managed to get back to the bed and between the sheets. However, he had to lie on his side, his back in too much pain to withstand any pressure. Dumbledore rested on the edge of the bed, his face weary, yet contemplative.
"I suppose it starts," he began, "with a tradition that has stood at Hogwarts since the days of the Founders, the four men and women for which our student houses are named. Even then, Hogwarts was renowned for its excellence in magical education, as well as a safe haven from those who practiced the dark arts. It was both of these that first brought Endymion here in his eleventh year. Endymion was, at the time, the crown prince of Faerie, the Kingdom of the Fae."
"You mean he was a fairy?" Harry asked dubiously.
Dumbledore smiled. "Quite. You know of them, then?"
"Lockhart brought a cage full of them to class in my second year. He set them loose, and then left us to deal with them when he couldn't keep them under control."
"No, Harry, I believe those were pixies. There's a big difference. Don't ever confuse the two, especially in their presence – either race will very cheerfully kill you for such an insult. Their hatred for each other runs deep."
"Oh," said Harry, looking abashed. "Sorry."
"Just take care not to do it again – though, considering the circumstances, I don't think you'll be having much of a problem. In any case, Prince Endymion was the first Faerie prince to train at Hogwarts, and since then, every subsequent prince has done the same. Mind you, that's not a great number, as fairies tend to live extremely long lives, and as a result often wait to bear children until they're two-hundred, or even three-hundred years old. So in all actuality, there have only been six princes that have come to Hogwarts, over the span of a thousand years. Oberon, the most famous of the Faerie rulers, was the fourth, and is the present King of Faerie."
"He is?" Harry said, confused. "But what about the fifth and sixth? Wouldn't they have been crowned King after they finished Hogwarts?"
"That is usually the case, yes," Dumbledore said, frowning. "However, there was a rather nasty controversy involving the fifth prince that prevented him from ascending to the throne. You see, while he was here, he fell in love with one of his classmates, a very pretty and clever witch, but a witch all the same. As is often the case with royalty, the mixing of blood was strictly forbidden, and when the prince announced his intentions to marry a witch, a human, King Oberon was furious. He refused point-blank to let his son taint the royal bloodline, but the prince didn't back down for a moment. In the end, the prince ran off with his love, choosing her over his claim to the throne, and King Oberon publicly denounced his son and banished him from the kingdom. That was in 1978."
"Really?" Harry asked, enthralled. "That's not long ago at all. So you knew him, then?"
"Very well. He was one of my best students, very cheerful and kind. He didn't deserve such hardships, nor did he deserve what occurred afterward."
Dumbledore gave Harry a very pointed look. "Three years after his denouncement, he was murdered by Voldemort while defending his wife and one-year-old son."
Harry felt like he'd just been punched in the gut. He gasped violently, choked, and started coughing fitfully. In silence, Dumbledore conjured a glass of water, which Harry gratefully drank down.
"Alright?" Dumbledore asked after the spasms had passed.
Harry nodded weakly, staring into his empty glass. "So… my dad was…?"
"The fifth Prince of Faerie, yes. You are the sixth."
After a moment of thought, Harry shook his head. "But that can't be, Professor. My dad was banished, so wouldn't that put me out of the lineup?"
At this, Dumbledore sighed. "That's a difficult question to answer. While Prince James was indeed banished, Oberon has yet to produce any other heir. So for all intents and purposes, James was still the crown prince at the time of his death, and as you are his direct descendent, that distinction is passed to you. King Oberon, of course, would sooner kiss a pixie – so to speak – than pass the crown on to a half-blood, such that you are. However, it is widely accepted by the people of Faerie, who were intermarrying with humans long before Oberon's time, that Prince James was wronged when he was banished. It's really very similar to the Wizarding World's bias against Muggles: the ones who care are greatly outnumbered, but possess enough power to make their voices heard above the masses."
"Like Arthur Weasley versus Lucius Malfoy," Harry murmured.
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, that would be an apt comparison."
For a few moments there was silence as Harry tried to come to terms with everything he'd just been told. It was all so much to take in, and he didn't know what to start thinking about first. Boggled beyond belief, he flopped back on the bed in frustration – and then he yelled aloud and sat right back up again, pressing a hand against his stinging back. He'd been so captivated by Dumbledore's explanation that he'd completely forgotten what had prompted it. "So what does all this have to do with my back?" Harry asked.
"Ah, yes, that," said Dumbledore, eyes twinkling. "The interesting thing about half-bloods is that the fairy aspect of their magic doesn't emerge until puberty – specifically, their sixteenth birthday. Or, at least, that's usually the case. You're a bit late, but there's no harm done."
It took a few moments for the reality of this statement to sink in, but Harry eventually got the point. "You mean…" he said, stunned.
"That's right," Dumbledore replied with a smile. "You're growing your wings."