Chapter 1: A Peaceful Night
"Something always happens tonight, Theo," Harry sighed in exasperation. "Just because we're home—because I'm home, doesn't mean that nothing will happen."
His Alpha smiled indulgently and pulled him over for a kiss and cuddle. "That may be true, treasure," he murmured into one blushing ear. "But in that same line, I think we've all managed to keep the trouble from reaching you for the day, there is only tonight to weather and so as long as we are all together, I'm sure there will be no gaps in our logic or security measures." He nuzzled Harry's neck. "Upstairs and bed for you—we'll be right up."
"M'not tired yet," Harry started to say and then yawned. He offered a sheepish smile. "Alright, maybe a little, but that's Bruen and the twins' fault." He tilted his head to the side for more of Theo's nibbling kisses.
"Really?" Theo hummed. "I thought they adored you."
Harry bit back a groan. Farnati and Karnati, Quinn's twin little sisters were indeed his self-proclaimed shadows, delighting in following him about, helping—or interfering—with his every move and generally begging for stories of the Wizarding World, Hogwarts and Muggles. He'd managed to share what few happy memories he had of such things and in return, they would happily chatter on of Nevarean customs, holidays and household spells.
George had been delighted to have them about and halfway underfoot as apparently they reminded him of Ginny. Fred had immediately made himself scarce to the point where his hiding places and muted temper had begun to overlap with the one Bonded he could never quite get along with—Wikhn.
The dark fae in question had become increasingly grumpy and withdrawn after their latest Gheyo-vs-Pareya spat over something that neither side refused to disclose and so Harry had threatened to call his Ace on Wikhn, sending the Gheyo for a beachside run and banished Fred to the downstairs laboratory—without George. His grumbling Bonded had reluctantly complied.
It had been the only actual excitement in his day as he'd spent most of it in the kitchen with Quinn, Bruen and the Kalzik twins, making sugary treats and talking about their carnival evening with costumes and bonfires and caspers. They'd had bundles of fun and it was three very reluctant young dragels that were finally collected by their respective parents.
Quinn's mother, Surajini, had brought over some tasty dinner treats in exchange for watching her girls and to save them both the trouble of cooking for the evening, Harry had happily given her a portion of Theo's favorite Butterscotch pudding, to which she'd declared divine and hugged the stuffing out of him.
Overall, it had been a good day.
His Bonded had been wonderful in making sure that he was occupied and busy with things that would make good memories. He'd had the occasional twinge of unease, but chose to ignore it, when he would catch sight of one of his Gheyos hovering anxiously within view, keeping an eye on him, just because.
It made him smile now as he unwrapped his arms from Theo and pulled back for a goodnight kiss. "You'll be right up?" He clarified. "No more paperwork?"
Theo blushed beautifully. "Harry, the paper-"
"Paperwork is important, but if there is nothing that can't be done tomorrow, then I want you up there with me," Harry said, firmly. "Don't keep me waiting."
"I'll send Charlie up," Theo offered.
"That's fine. Send the twins too, but I know they won't come until everyone else is already up here and they won't come until you are, so don't keep me waiting." Harry headed for the stairs, he waited on the last step until Theo nodded. Satisfied, he took the stairs two at a time, humming as he went about his nightly routine for a warm shower, brushing his teeth and rooting out his favorite pair of cosy pyjamas.
He burrowed into the covers in the center of the bed and curled up, waiting for his Bonded to arrive.
True to his word, Theo sent Charlie up and his lovely hulk of a Beta appeared in the bedroom, pausing to kiss his forehead in greeting, before disappearing into the loo. One by one, the rest of his Bonded made their appearance, all save for his Ace, Wikhn and Fred and George. Theo appeared when George did and his Ace put in an appearance shortly afterward.
"Hmm?" A bleary-eyed Harry roused himself enough to see the shadowed figure bending over him. He propped himself up on his elbows and accepted the warm, minty kiss that followed. "Ev'rything alright?"
"Perimeter's fine, wards are up and our favorite pair is squabbling again. I'll call Wikhn off, but if they both end up here, keep them apart. I'll take the night watch."
"That's fine," Harry purred softly, greedily accepting another kiss. He let himself be tucked back under the covers and smiled when he felt Quinn's arms twining around him for a cuddle and George's searing warmth pressed up against his front. "Night."
His Ace left as quietly as he'd come.
Exactly as he'd promised, Wikhn appeared first, grumbling, muttering and generally swearing all sorts of terror and destruction on humanity in general—threats that tapered off when he entered the room. He went about his nightly routine with the occasional muffled bump and fae ranting without turning on the lights.
Disgruntled, he stood at the foot of the bed, contemplating whether to join them or bunk outside, when Harry wriggled free of George's grip and moved over to offer Wikhn the space between Quinn and Theo. With a quiet sigh, Wikhn slid beneath the covers and settled down behind Quinn, accepting Theo's blunt-toothed bite to the shoulder that settled his Gheyo instincts almost at once.
It took a few minutes before everyone was fast asleep.
Harry woke several hours later when he realized that Fred hadn't arrived and George was tossing and turning because of it. The twins were always very closely connected and he'd learned to watch for the signs early on. "George?" He shifted until he could rouse his first Pareya. "Wake up, George?"
He felt a sudden spike of worry through their shared bonds and knew that Wikhn and Theo were instantly awake. He pushed a few threads of calm down to them and shook George awake. The Pareya shuddered into his embrace with a low, pained groan.
"George?" Harry whispered. He smoothed back sweat-dampened hair from George's warm forehead and kissed his throat. "It's just a dream."
"…Gred?" came the sleepy question.
Harry bit his lip. "I don't think he's up yet."
George stirred, trying to will his tired body to rise and go in search of said missing twin.
"No, don't…" Harry shushed him. "I'm sure he's fine," he mentally threw his senses out, searching and finding his Ace first, then reaching out for Fred. He could feel a muted presence that suggested Fred was back in the laboratory and cooking up another scheme of some sort. He hoped it wasn't more pranks. This week had been almost unbearable, as in the spirit of good sportsmanship, Fred had attempted to prank everyone in turn.
That hadn't turned out well with the Gheyos and a certain prickly water-bonded. Harry stifled a laugh in remembrance, inwardly reminding himself of the entirely inappropriate timing. He had a feeling that Fred would have to watch his back soon, because Gheyos knew how to hold a grudge and if any of them should choose to give him a dose of his own medicine, well, it would be amusing.
"I'll call him," Theo began.
"Don't," Harry yawned. "He'll just complain."
"…hate this," George muttered, burrowing down back under the covers. They were paired Pareya and he was always hyper sensitive to Fred's half of things.
"He's in the lab, he's fine, reach out and see for yourself," Harry coaxed. "Alright, there…see? He's fine." He sighed and mentally reached out, drawing on the bonded strand of make his request known.
Fred's answer filtered back and Harry settled back down with a smile of relief. Fred would be up in a bit.
Fred did not show up that night.
In fact, as they all trooped down the stairs the next morning, they came across the very comical sight of their Ace practicing his morning stretching exercises with Fred clinging to one available sleeve.
"There you are," the Ace exclaimed, a look of fond exasperation. "He's all yours."
"Fred?" Harry was down the stairs and heading for the pair. "What happened? Morning," he paused for the morning kiss of welcome, his attention redirecting to Fred's vaguely terrified look. "Do I want to know?"
"Probably not," his Ace said, cheerfully. "But you're lucky I found him, he was about to start climbing the walls. He was wandering around in here like a blind man, when I found him."
"What is it? A spell?"
His Ace shrugged. "I'm not an expert on Fae magic."
All heads turned to Wikhn.
The pink-eyed dark fae in question merely shrugged.
Harry folded his arms over his chest. "Wikhn?"
"What do you mean climbing the walls?" George wanted to know. He'd crossed the room and hugged his twin, feeling their mutual bonds clicking into place and frowning when the hug was returned, but not ended. Fred was now hugging him like a lifeline, with no hint of letting him free any time soon. "Wikhn?"
Theo sighed. He walked over and carefully poked at the magic he could feel around Fred. He sighed. "Charlie?"
Charlie came over to join him. His eyebrows went up when Fred immediately latched on to him as well, still refusing to release George. "Fred?" He tried, gently.
"I think he can only hear you, because he couldn't hear a word I said and didn't respond to anything other than my attempt to have him release me," the Ace explained. He shrugged. "I figured it was a prank of some sort, but I didn't try to break it, because I didn't know if it would startle him any worse than this, he seemed to know it was me, but beyond that,"
George's eyes had narrowed to near points and he now glared at Wikhn.
The fae in question was now sporting a rather ferocious scowl.
"Wikhn?" Theo prompted. "Anything you'd care to add."
"Sure," Wikhn walked past, heading for the kitchen. "Ask him where he managed to find that spell."
"We can't ask him if he can't hear us," George began.
Wikhn snapped his fingers and disappeared from view.
A second later, Fred heaved a gasp and half-slid to the floor. A flicker of fire showed in his brown eyes and he straightened up, jerking around to face the kitchen. "Why you little-!"
Charlie thumped him on the head.
It had the desired effect and Fred turned to see himself as the center of their attention, a sheepish look came over his face and he ruffled his hair. "Er, hi Harry."
"Morning," Harry returned, evenly. "Care to share?"
Fred blushed deeply. "It was an accident, I really-" he stopped at Theo and Charlie's identical looks of skepticism. "It was, I swear—Forge-!"
George rubbed his forehead. "Don't swear, explain."
"…it was only a joke."
The Ace stifled a laugh. All eyes turned to him and he shook his head, a hand halfway to his mouth. "I see," he said, shoulders quivering with mirth. "You never learn, do you?"
Fred turned a few more shades of red.
It took Theo a moment to catch on as he stared after their Ace and then back at Fred, a moment later, the understanding dawned and he shook his head. "I'll be in the kitchen." He turned away. "Fred, please let that be a warning." There was a hint of frustration in his voice, but he made a dignified exit, with Harry's promise of a strong cup of tea following him.
Charlie exchanged a glance with George and they puzzled through it together. Wikhn wasn't really the vengeful type and he rarely ever engaged in their prank wars. He tended to keep to himself and his shadows, occasionally keeping company with their Ace and Harry. It was simply his natural inclination. He'd also sworn himself as Harry's Gheyo with very specific parameters.
"Oh," Charlie muttered, a moment later. He shook head and thumped Fred once more.
The twin ducked away from the heavy hand. "Charlie," he grumbled.
George puzzled it through a second later. "I already don't like where this is headed." He turned to Quinn and formed a few signs with his hands. The Healer hid a smile and headed for the kitchen.
Harry sighed. "Explain?"
"Simple," George half-guided, half-pushed his twin to sit on the settee and began to cast diagnostics over his other half. "What is the one thing you don't do to Wikhn?"
Harry's brow furrowed. "Touch his sword?"
George coughed. "Besides that?"
Harry was quiet for a moment. "Move his boots?"
George smacked his forehead. "Harry." He looked torn between amusement and the same touches of exasperation that had already appeared on the faces of his fellow Bonded.
"Fred must have tried to prank you," George began. "Wikhn would never let that happen."
Harry's frown deepened. "But I've been pranked before and-"
"Only the nice ones," George interrupted. "He filters your pranks. Fred must have had something interesting in mind," and here, he glared at his twin. "And Wikhn has a failsafe."
George offered a wry smile. "He's your Gheyo. Definitely your Gheyo."
Harry sifted through the memories of the most recent pranks and found them lining up with George's assessment. He knew Fred would never intentionally hurt him or otherwise, but he also knew what Wikhn had witnessed more of his triggers than Fred had. Wikhn would have known what would set him off. He'd always been a constant, shadowing presence since their Bonding.
A huff escaped as Harry unfolded his arms and stalked over to stand in front of mildly contrite Fred, who mustered up the expression after taking one look at his Submissive's face. His red hair was now turning an alarming shade of neon pink. Harry struggled not to laugh as he copied Charlie's earlier move and thumped said twin on the head.
Fred gave him an injured look, but George had already started to lecture as he cast the spell to remove the spell remnants.
Harry made his way to the kitchen and sat down in his usual space. Quinn produced a steaming up of tea and two toast squares as the rest of breakfast began to speed itself up. He picked up the toast, looked at it and then held it over his shoulder. There was a pause and then a tentative bite. Harry grinned into his cup and turned to offer the rest of it to Wikhn.
Fred with pink hair…that was just as funny as Fred with white hair and a Dumbledore beard.
A/N: Well, that was my hallowe'en fail, so to speak. LOL. Let me know what you think. Just random fluff and zero plot. I couldn't finish the latest chapter of TBDH before November, due to my student workload, so it'll be a little while before the next update. This was written in exactly half-an-hour, I apologize for any obvious mistakes, typos and inconsistencies. It's just meant to be fun. Thanks for reading