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A Different Kind of Magic

Chapter Text

"… What are you doing?"

He watched as the blonde man turned around slowly, and upon seeing him, widened his eyes as his cheeks pinked.

Cute.

Harry mentally shook that thought away – that would go nowhere good. He refocused on the other man, who was apparently … shopping for pink dresses. Doesn't he have a goddaughter? Frilly pink dresses, covered in bows and ruffles, two of which were being held up by the adorable man – shut the fuck up Harry, what the hell? – who had a bewildered look on his pale face.

"What are you doing here, Potter?" Malfoy hissed at him, cheeks darkening further at being caught buying children's dresses. Not that Harry was judging him; they were in the same shop, after all.

"I'm looking for a present for Rose, it's her birthday soon."

Malfoy blinked, taken aback. Harry's lack of argument probably shocked him, but Harry honestly couldn't be bothered to muster up any sort of anger for the other man. The war had already been finished for a decade, and they were both adults now. Jesus Christ, I'm not far off thirty. I feel old already.

"… Potter!"

He blinked back to awareness. "Sorry, did you say something?"

The other man scowled, though his face was flushed in what appeared to be embarrassment.

"I said, seeing as how you were raised by muggles, can you explain how I'm supposed to find a specific size for this?" he bit out through gritted teeth.

Harry smiled at him. "Sure. If you look at the label here, it has the sizes written down –"

He cut off hearing an intake of breath; he'd leaned over what Malfoy was holding, apparently a little too in his personal space judging by the look he was sporting.

Harry cleared his throat and started to lean back. "Sorry, I didn't mean to –" He bit his lip. "I mean –"

This time when he cut off, it was because there were lips on his.

Well then …

He mentally thanked the privacy of the high shelves and pulled the Slytherin closer.

Chapter Text

He walked through the no-longer dilapidated hallway of Grimmauld Place, committing to memory the new reality of the building.

No longer did the house seem like a cold space of hatred, it was now a warm and cared-for home. It was a home where people who cared for each other lived, and even if he would never have what he truly wanted, he had enough to be happy.

As long as he was happy, Harry would accept anything.

He made his way down the stairs to the kitchen, no longer grubby and dingy, the long wooden table gleaming in the soft light radiating from the ceiling. The back door was open, the sound of rain permeating the room with the smell of smoke, the latter of which was emanating from the man in the doorway.

Sirius turned and smiled at him, and Harry swore he could feel his heart clench and warm at the same time.

Terrified didn't begin to describe what he'd felt at fifteen, seeing Sirius hit with an unknown spell and nearly falling into the Veil, then ending up in a coma that ended up lasting for years. Throughout that time he'd realised that he didn't just love Sirius, he was in love with him.

That almost terrified him more.

Surprisingly, Remus was very supportive of his feelings, most likely because of his marriage to Tonks, but Harry was nonetheless glad to have someone who didn't think him fundamentally wrong for feeling how he did.

Having Sirius wake up after the war – the spell Bellatrix used had been linked to her life – had been amazing, but it also highlighted just how scared he was. Sirius had had a shit life so far, and he promised himself that he'd do all he could to make the man happy.

Cleaning up Grimmauld Place had been a bonding experience he'd never forget, but Harry despaired at the idea that one day Sirius would want to share his home with his future spouse.

"What are you thinking about?"

Harry answered before even thinking. "The day you get married to someone and live here with them."

Silver eyes darkened and the older man frowned before sighing. He put out his cigarette before moving closer to Harry.

"You're bloody smart, you know, but sometimes I wonder how you miss things."

Sirius' fingers – he'd always liked his fingers – came up and grasped his chin, thumb reaching out to softly play with his lower lip. Harry felt himself blush, and he watched in bewildered happiness as the older man leaned down slowly and sealed their lips together.

The younger of the two lost himself in the bliss, though eventually Sirius pulled back and looked into green eyes intently.

"Of course I want to share this house with the person I love, but I was under the impression I already was."

Harry didn't give a shit what anyone would think about his actions and what they said about him, and he leaned forward to bury his head in Sirius' chest, quietly hiding his silent tears.

He had a home with the man he loved.

Chapter Text

Harry could honestly say that he loved Ginny, but he wasn't sure what that even meant anymore. He loved Hermione too after all, and he loved Fred and George, and he'd loved Sirius and Remus when they'd been alive.

What did it mean to love someone? How did you know if loving someone meant being in a relationship?

Ginny's face when he asked her looked both sad and relieved.

"I don't think I'll ever stop loving you Harry, but I just feel like we're …"

"Dancing to someone else's tune?"

She snorted. "Yeah, and I'm sick of it. You know … I always wanted a brother without red hair."

"Didn't have much hope of that in that house, did you?"

Her hugs didn't feel so suffocating now. They were still warm, but there was no confusion, no panic.

There was no expectation.

Others were upset, some were confused, most were happy for them, thankfully.

"I thought you and Weaselette were supposed to get married and spawn more Potters to ruin the world?"

The lack of malice in the voice was both shocking and not, so he answered Malfoy truthfully.

"Don't you ever get tired living for the expectations of others?"

The other teen looked at him, tiredness in his eyes, a contrast to the smart and put-together uniform of Slytherin.

"All the time."

It was the shortest conversation they'd ever had.

It was also the longest.

Days went by, and he realised that living for your own benefit was liberating. He liked being free. He wanted more freedom.

Freedom.

One day, he suddenly got the urge to see the thestrals.

"Hello, Luna."

"Hello, Harry. How are you finding your new life?"

The blonde girl turned to him with a gentle smile and his breath caught. She was wearing her bottle-cap necklace, with some sort of vegetable earrings hanging by her face. She had no shoes on, and was covered in dirt and blood, and Harry had never wanted more in his life.

Luna was his friend, was a person that he'd admired for years, and she'd always made him feel comfortable and content.

Free.

"Hey Luna, when we graduate, do you want to go looking for a Crumple-Horned Snorkack?"

She beamed at him.

"I think I'd like that."

They felt free.

(Years later when they got married, Luna would name this Harry's proposal. He would agree with her.)

Chapter Text

"Is this seat taken?"

He looked up from his Potions essay to see Regulus Black. He smiled at the other boy.

"Not at all."

The Slytherin sat down gracefully and looked at him, grey eyes meeting blue.

"Regulus Black."

"Michael Potter."

The other boy nodded once and turned his focus to his work.

Michael watched him for a moment before looking down at his essay. It was certainly different being Michael Potter instead of Harry Potter.

He still had no idea how he'd ended up reincarnated as his dad's younger brother, but it had certainly given him opportunities to work with. He'd managed to anonymously inform Lord Black about the behaviour of some of his family, donated a cure for Lycanthropy to his Potions master grandfather-turned-father, and even managed to get James to curb most of his bullying.

It was amazing what a pair of big blue eyes and a trembling bottom lip can accomplish.

That was nothing compared to playing the perfect pure-blood, visiting manors, liberating Horcruxes, and slowly destroying Voldemort's soul. It was amazing what hindsight can tell you, and he'd managed to make the idiot mortal by the time he was fourteen. He had no doubt that Tom had been surprised when he was taken out by a simple cutting curse during a raid by Alastor Moody. The infamous Auror had been heralded by the public, and nobody would ever know the truth about Voldemort even if Dumbledore still looked contemplative. They would never know it'd been him.

After all, who was going to suspect the quiet Hufflepuff?

He had made sure he was obviously known, but so normal he faded into the background. He wasn't Heir Potter, he wasn't loud, he had a few friends but wasn't a social butterfly, and he didn't stand out in classes.

He hid in plain sight.

There weren't going to be any crazy wars, Snape wasn't going to grow cold and bitter, Sirius wasn't going to run away, and the boy in front of him wasn't going to have to sacrifice his life to destroy something so vile.

He heard the bell ring and packed up his things, noticing Regulus do the same.

"Potter."

"Black."

They nodded to each other and went their separate ways, Michael wandering towards Gryffindor Tower to see his brother. He thought about Regulus all the way there, and kept thinking of him over the next week.

"Potter."

Michael turned to see Regulus stood in front of him looking distinctly uncomfortable.

"Black, can I help you?"

The other boy's face twisted and he cleared his throat.

"I would like to know if you would be amenable to the idea of accompanying me on our next excursion to Hogsmeade?"

Michael blinked, trying to sift through the formal words to find the meaning. His cheeks pinked at his conclusion.

"Are you asking me on a date?"

The flush on Regulus' face seemed to signify 'yes' but he was astounded. He hadn't thought to pay much attention to romance in this time, too concerned with fixing things. Michael Potter wasn't interesting, he was boringAlthough …

He looked at the other boy who'd started fidgeting and made a decision. He was still an impulsive Gryffindor, after all.

"I'd like that."

Regulus gaped at him for a moment before he smiled. Michael got up and walked over to him. After making plans, he stood on his tiptoes and pressed a shy kiss to a pale cheek before retreating to the common room.

If he'd looked back, he would have discovered that Sirius wasn't the only Black capable of a dopey grin.

Chapter Text

"Harry!"

He felt the wind get knocked out of him as the seven-year-old ploughed into his legs, holding on tightly. Teddy was adorable as usual and he was sporting his favourite shade of blue hair.

Harry grinned at his hyperactive godson and leaned down, wrapping his arms around him before lifting him off the ground and twirling around.

"Careful, Potter! He's just eaten, and if he pukes everywhere, you'll be cleaning it up!"

The man smirked at the voice from the hallway and slowed down despite Teddy's moaning. The boy was now pouting, but even he was aware not to challenge the owner of that voice.

"Mum! I'm not going to be sick!"

"That's what you said last week before you threw up on Charlie's shoes."

Harry snorted at the mental image and put Teddy down as his mother walked in. He smiled at Tonks and offered her a drink, which she took after ruffling her son's hair, smiling as he ran off.

The war hadn't been kind to anyone, though Harry had been so relieved when Tonks hadn't been dead as presumed. Though he'd still cried at Remus' death, there'd been a weary relief that his godson wouldn't have to grow up as an orphan.

He couldn't help but admire Tonks. She'd lost both her dad and her husband, yet she'd picked herself up and set about looking after her son immediately. There was no doubt that she'd grieved, but she didn't let it affect her parenting.

Harry had also been relieved that Tonks let him look after Teddy. He'd wondered if she would blame him for being a single mother and ban him from seeing her son. He wouldn't have blamed her if she did.

Voicing those thoughts got him nothing but a slap to the back of the head and a lecture.

"Harry, Remus and I both named you Teddy's godfather. We never would have done it unless we thought you could look after him. I'm not about to revoke that because Remus is gone. His death was not your fault. This was not your fault.

"None of this was because of you. This was because of one crazy old man who couldn't do us a favour and stay dead. I'm not punishing you for something someone else did, okay? Besides, I'll need a babysitter from time to time."

He grinned at the memory. He'd thrown himself into looking after Teddy and helping Tonks, even when others didn't agree. Ginny hadn't understood why he was doing so much, but she'd never grown up missing one or both parents. Their relationship had been stretched too far in the war and this had been the last tug before the bond broke. Not that he cared much anymore.

Tonks' voice broke his musing. "So, how was work?"

He shrugged. "Okay."

"Okay?" The woman looked unimpressed with his answer.

He tapped his fingers on the side before letting out a deep breath, running his fingers through his hair.

"Fine, it sucks. I actually hate being an Auror, and I think about quitting every single, bloody day. Happy?"

"So quit."

Harry gaped at her. "But …"

"Listen Potter, you don't owe anyone jack shit, so if you want to quit, go for it. Do what makes you happy."

"I … I already am."

She blinked at him. "What do you mean?"

"… Looking after Teddy and helping you makes me happy."

"Harry."

He kept his eyes down, feeling the heat on his cheeks. He knew falling for the widowed mother of your godson wasn't a good idea but apparently his emotions had decided to do their own thing over the past few years.

He looked up in time to see Tonks lean in and he froze at the feeling of soft lips on his. Warm hands held his arms, and he tensed before he relaxed into the kiss with his eyes closed.

When he opened them, it was to the sight of pink hair and green eyes.

"You're not betraying anyone, and it's okay for us to do this and move on."

"How is it you always know what I'm thinking?"

She smirked. "I'm just that awesome."

He huffed a laugh, tightening his grip around her.

Suddenly she grinned at him salaciously and he got a sense of foreboding.

"So, how many Heirs do you need anyway?"

"Tonks!"

He covered his reddening face to the sound of her cackling.

Why did I fall for this woman?

Chapter Text

"Ow!"

Harry hissed in pain, tensing as his shoulder hit the cold stone wall. He'd always thought the school provided comfort but the feeling of home had dissipated further and further over the years.

From being the supposed 'Heir of Slytherin' to being an attention-seeking psychopath, he'd found his safety net slowly vanishing the older he got. Sure his friends tried to help, but what did they know? Hermione liked to shove facts at him and lecture him, but she was so hard-headed sometimes. She had no idea what it was like being deprived of basic necessities, let alone love.

Ron's family had struggled growing up but at least he'd been compensated by love. He didn't understand what it meant to be so fundamentally unwanted. Harry knew he was completely unwanted; his home life was enough proof of that.

Ever since he'd been introduced to magic it seemed he was never normal enough. He was famous, his parents were heroes, he had 'exciting' adventures ... Personally he thought people were stupid; what sort of child actually wanted to end up nearly being killed at eleven?

Not that anyone ever believed him, and this year showed it more than ever. Cedric was dead - murdered - and they thought he was making up facts for fame? That he would lie about Voldemort for publicity?

The 'detentions' were just the icing on the cake. As if it wasn't enough to know everyone thought he was lying, now that stupid toad was having him carve words on his hand.

I must not tell lies.

He hated it. He hated that he was in this position, but he wasn't going to disrespect Cedric's death by keeping quiet. Hermione didn't get it. She hadn't seen the light fade out his eyes. She hadn't had to carry his body out the graveyard. She didn't feel guilty.

He felt guilty, and miserable he never got the chance to tell the other boy how he felt.

He felt like crap, but the emotions were being blurred out by the blinding pain in his hand. Umbridge had kept him for five hours this time and he was starting to feel dizzy. He'd just stumbled into the wall and he was blinking rapidly. Anaemia, his mind supplied. He'd lost too much blood, he was going to -

"POTTER!"


He opened his eyes, blinking into awareness before shooting up in panic. He had no idea where he was but he knew it was past curfew. Damn it! If I get caught I'll end up with another detention. He flexed his hands before realising the pain was gone. Looking down he noticed his hand was wrapped in neat bandages, and he could feel a cooling sensation underneath.

"You're lucky, you know."

Harry jumped a mile, not having realised he had company. His hand went to his wand and he grabbed it as his eyes found the room's other occupant, though it relaxed when he realised who it was.

Blaise Zabini.

Contrary to popular opinion Harry didn't actually hate Slytherins. He hated Malfoy and his two gorillas because they were bullies like Dudley, but he'd always judged the rest of the snakes personally. In his mind anyway. God knows Ron would have a fit for him being a 'traitor' otherwise. Harry thought it was stupid - he knew what it was like to be judged by others.

Zabini was actually fair and Harry had always admired his quiet confidence. He'd also admired his appearance as well but he would never say anything. A Slytherin would never go for a lion for one, and there was also the fact that Zabini had enough admirers.

"Zabini."

Dark brown eyes surveyed him before the Italian boy walked towards Harry. Zabini sat on the low table across from the sofa Harry was on and gently took the Gryffindor's hand.

"Why didn't you tell anyone?"

The Italian boy's hand was warm, and he could feel a blush trying to cover his cheeks as he felt a thumb gently stroke his wrist. For some reason he didn't want to lie to his classmate.

"There's no point. People only see what they want to when it comes to me. They don't see Harry, they see The-Boy-Who-Lived."

Zabini raised an eyebrow. "Is that what you really think? That nobody sees Harry?"

Harry blinked. "This is my fifth year, you know. It is how it is."

"Is it?"

Before he could reply, his personal space was invaded and a warm pair of lips were covering his. They were a little dry, and forceful, and utterly bewildering.

It was amazing.

He pushed back hesitantly, letting himself fall into the kiss. In that moment he wasn't an attention-seeking brat. He wasn't a lying psycho. He wasn't a traitorous Gryffindor kissing an 'evil' Slytherin. He was Harry, and Harry was really grateful he hadn't reciprocated Cho's hopeful gestures out of guilt.

The Slytherin pulled back, an actual smile on his face as opposed to the 'pure-blood' smirk.

"I've seen Harry for a long time."

Harry exhaled deeply. "Can I tell you something?"

Blaise smiled. "I want to hear everything."

Harry believed him.

Chapter Text

It was strange thinking about how one little meeting had probably changed the entire direction of his life, but Harry hadn't realised the consequences at the time. Why would he have? He'd been a tiny eleven-year-old and just so confused about the magical world. He still remembered his words that changed everything.

"Erm, do you think you could help me with my homework? It's just ... kind of confusing."

The slightly startled nod he'd gotten in return hadn't been strange at the time, but in hindsight it was a little sad the other student was so surprised at being asked a serious question. It made Harry more than a little pissed off, but he made sure to always appreciate them so they didn't forget how much they were valued.


The end of his second year was rife with tension, especially as he'd been trying harder in all his classes amongst the petrifications. Ron hadn't understood even as Harry repeated the words his new friend had graced him with.

"No knowledge is useless Harry. Who knows when a page could save someone's life?"

He'd been more receptive when they discovered the page in Hermione's hand, and Harry had put the clues together about Myrtle quicker thanks to a book he'd read.

(Later when Hagrid accidentally revealed the truth about Aragog, Ron shakily became a supporter of Harry's increased studying.)


Belatedly bursting into tears after discovering your godfather betrayed your parents was horribly embarrassing, even more so when it was in front of your friend that you had noticed was very nice to look at.

"You're from an old family Harry, and if you wrote to the DMLE you could probably get some closure. This isn't going to fix things, but you might get some answers."

It was a toss-up between being horrific and hilarious when a simple letter revealed Sirius' lack of a trial, especially when the rat was Kissed, and Harry revelled in the feeling of strong arms around him when he thanked his friend.


He could only imagine the bullying he would have experienced if he hadn't said a magical Vow in front of the entire Great Hall when he was entered into the tournament, and his letter of thanks was probably a little excessive.

"I can't help you get out of this Harry but I'm not letting you get hurt. You WILL read everything I send you, and for the love of Merlin, PLEASE practice the spells."

Practice with Ron and Hermione had them all get better at magic, and he attended the ball with Parvati (as friends) and a smile.

His smile was certainly wider after his first kiss.


His friend might have worked at the Ministry but they'd had enough common sense to see the problems with Umbridge. The woman was annoyed at him living with his godfather and had muttered his name too many times for his friend not to notice.

"Please be careful. She's dangerous, and even with you and Cedric telling your stories she doesn't believe you. Don't give her a reason to cause trouble."

Their kiss had been forceful and desperate. Those words permeated that year; Arthur's attack, a trial at the Ministry with the blood quills, and the Department of Mysteries vision, which was thankfully averted, and Fudge had finally seen Voldemort.


Having a war hanging overhead was oppressive but Harry wasn't alone. In one world he'd felt as if he couldn't explain anything to anyone. In this world he'd ignored Dumbledore and told Sirius and his friend. In one world Sirius had been dead, and his friend less than an acquaintance. In this world Sirius had made an ally in Kreacher and the goblins, and his friend had collaborated with his brother.

In one world Harry had been spiralling into darkness. In this world the Horcruxes had been slowly destroyed without him knowing, and he felt like he could breathe.

In one world Dumbledore had been killed by Snape. In this world Dumbledore had still been killed by Snape, but all the pieces of Voldemort were killed on the same night and Snape disappeared.

In this world the goblins made sure Harry didn't have to die.

"I don't bloody care what anyone tells you, you are NOT letting yourself get killed just to save everyone. Do you hear me? I said NO. There's always another way. In case you haven't noticed I'm actually quite smart, and letting yourself die is anything but."


Seventh year was surprisingly quiet for Harry. He'd become Head Boy, and wrote daily sappy letters to his boyfriend. He had never truly believed he would have a family and be free, yet now he lived with Sirius and Remus, and he and his boyfriend were discussing getting a place to live after school.

It was everything he'd ever wanted and more.

"Harry."

He turned towards the voice he loved with a smile, tilting his head back a bit to take in the full picture of the other man. The hair wasn't quite as messy and curly as it'd been when they were younger, and the horn-rimmed glasses had been traded in for an oval pair with thin gold frames. His hair was the same deep red though, and Harry swore he could still count the same number of freckles dotting his face.

Percy Weasley was definitely older, but he was still Percy.

Harry smiled as they sat together in the pub. It was a mundane routine he adored.

Percy turned to him. "It's funny to think we started talking because you were so bad at Herbology."

The black-haired man laughed. It was funny how life changed.

Chapter Text

This was wrong. It was so wrong. He knew that this was wrong but he was beyond caring at this point. What was the point in worrying about wrong when nothing was right? Sirius was gone and it felt like a black hole was in his chest, slowly destroying everything there was.

Hands grabbed at him, holding him painfully and tightly even as he was lowered gently to the bed. Lips were pressed to his forcefully, and though it hurt he welcomed the pain.

Pain was all he could feel right now.

There was no finesse or romance in their actions as they tore clothes off, gripped tightly, and bit each others lips. They could taste blood and smell tears, but holding on to each other was all that was keeping them going.

Harry gasped as the man pulled back, scraping slightly sharp teeth across his neck. It felt dangerous, and mad, and he couldn't help but want those teeth to sink in, binding him to the man above him.

He didn't want to be alone.

The teenager couldn't stop crying even as he welcomed the intimacy. Neither of them were in love with the other but they had both been in love with Sirius, and they had been determined to make it work. Now there was nothing to work out. They were alone.

Harry and Remus were alone.

Remus looked Harry in the eyes, amber-flecked green to emerald, and made a decision.

"Harry?"

The teen nodded, tears spilling down his cheeks.

"Don't leave me alone."

The werewolf nuzzled into the pale neck below him, dragging his nose back and forth across the pale skin – pale skin that he wasn't in love with – before stilling.

"Never."

He bit down.

Chapter Text

The table with the champagne was way too tempting, and Harry was sorely tempted to drown himself in enough alcohol to obliviate himself of any memory of this god-awful night.

He hated Ministry functions with a passion and always made sure to avoid them, but seeing as he'd worked on this project he couldn't justify missing it.

After the war he'd gone into politics, focusing on children and education; he didn't want anyone to have the same childhood he'd had.

Of course he hadn't been able to do much when he'd ended up single and pregnant at twenty. Getting drunk and sleeping with your best friend's brother was one thing, but ending up pregnant was another. It could have gone so wrong, but Charlie had agreed to marry him and said they could get divorced in a few years if need be.

They weren't in love but Harry would be lying if he said he didn't enjoy living with him. It was like living with a good friend who was also the father of your children.

Because having just one baby was too normal for Harry-bloody-Potter.

He'd nearly fainted when Poppy told him he was carrying triplets and Charlie hadn't been much better. Nine months after their drunken escapade the Potter family grew by three. Conor James and Leo Arthur were identical twins with Harry's hair and Charlie's blue eyes, and Iris Lily ended up looking exactly like her grandmother with bright red hair and Harry's eyes.

They were four now, Harry and Charlie had been divorced a year, and he was happily working again. Him and his colleagues had finally managed to get a magical orphanage opened – hence the 'happy' party.

Except people were going mad over him being single again.

"Bloody vultures," he muttered.

A chuckle from behind made him cringe, hoping it wasn't anyone awful. He pasted a smile on his face and turned slowly, prepared to flee. Instead he was surprised.

A smiling Lucius Malfoy would do that.

Malfoy Sr. had actually been one of his partners on this project as he'd thrown himself into work after the war. He supposed Lucius needed to keep busy what with Narcissa's death. The woman who'd saved him had been killed by Greyback during the Battle of Hogwarts before being taken down by an enraged Lucius.

Harry honestly hadn't been able to hate him since the war. The man might have done some stupid things but it had always been for his family. Since becoming a parent Harry knew he too would do anything for his children.

Besides, the man had genuinely changed from his past arrogant demeanour. He was still poised and elegant, but there was a humanity to him that hadn't been there before. Especially when he smiled.

Harry wished he wouldn't. That smile made him think things he shouldn't.

"Mr Potter."

"Mr Malfoy."

"Please, after everything I think you should call me Lucius," he drawled, lifting a brow playfully.

Harry felt himself blush. "Then you should call me Harry, Lucius."

"Harry." Jesus Christ, a voice should not sound that sexy.

"I take it you're not too pleased with your admirers, Harry?"

"They're not my admirers Lucius, they're admirers of my money and fame. Nobody here is actually interested in me."

The blonde man tilted his head. "Do you honestly think that?"

"I think I established people's motives long ago. I did just get asked how expensive my pyjamas were, after all," he deadpanned.

The older man chuckled once more sending shivers down Harry's spine. He really needed to stop thinking like this. Just because he and Draco got on now didn't mean he'd be happy knowing Harry was fantasising about shagging his fifty-year-old father. Not going to happen.

"I'll admit there are plenty of 'vultures' here, but now and again you do find someone with genuine interest."

"Really?" He turned back around from perusing the hall to see Lucius almost plastered to his front, an intense look in his silver eyes. Before he could open his mouth a pale hand lifted up and cupped his jaw, thumb gently caressing the corner of his mouth.

"Really. You really are an extraordinary man, and it baffles me how you cannot see your own appeal. You're someone who has never wavered from your chosen path and I respect that immensely."

The man smirked. "Not to mention you look utterly ravishing, and the thought of what you would look like in my bed has plagued me much too often. I'm dying to satisfy my curiosity."

Harry could feel his face burning, but before he could reply lips were against him while Lucius's other arm had a tight grip around his waist.

He could feel himself be pushed into the closest alcove but he couldn't pay attention to much else. All Harry could think of was Lucius' hands on his arse, the scent of his cologne, and the breathless feeling of their kiss.

"Merlin, I did not need to see that!"

They broke apart to see Draco looking at them with a slightly disgusted expression on his face. Harry stomach dropped.

"Draco –"

"I can't believe Astoria won the bet, she'll be smug for weeks. Couldn't you have held out for another month?"

Harry and Lucius were speechless and Draco rolled his eyes.

"It was obvious you were interested in each other, but you got together too quickly and now I've lost a hundred galleons."

The younger Malfoy walked off grumbling and Harry turned to Lucius incredulously.

"Did he bet on us?!"

Chapter Text

"Hermione and I broke up."

Harry turned to Ron, frowning concernedly. His green eyes bore into Ron's and the redhead noted once more how attractive his best friend was. Not that he could ever really forget. Harry was bloody gorgeous, yet for some reason couldn't ever see it himself. He didn't even realise Malfoy looked at him like that, and the bloody prat had been eyeing him up for years. Slimy git.

"What happened?" Harry turned to him completely and Ron silently thanked the summer sun as it fell over the black-haired man. The orchard near The Burrow was thankfully quiet except for them, and Ron could just sit back and look at Harry. Not that he felt good about looking at his straight friend like that when he was with Ginny. Wait, what did he say?

"Sorry, what?"

"What happened? With you and Hermione."

Ron flushed as he remembered the woman's words. "Ron, I do love you, never doubt that, and I don't doubt that you love me but I can't help but feel that our friendship was more enjoyable than this relationship. Besides, I'm pretty sure this relationship was over when you started looking at Harry more than me."

He'd been mortified and tried to deny it, but she'd just crossed her arms and told him to go for it. Mentioning Ginny had just earned him a book to the head and Hermione muttering under her breath about the stupidity of men. He had no idea what was wrong with her; women were mental.

"We … we decided we just weren't working out, you know? It was easier when we friends. Less arguments, definitely. It's simpler now. I feel good, actually."

It was true; it was weird how freeing it felt not to have to worry about every little thing with Hermione now. They'd even gone for a pint at the Leaky Cauldron and hadn't even argued once.

Green eyes bore into his for a few seconds before Harry' face softened and he smiled. "As long as you're happy, that's all that matters." Bloody hell, that smile should be illegal.

Ron cleared his throat. "What about you and Ginny, planned the wedding yet?"

"What?" Harry questioned with wide eyes. "You mean … you don't know?"

"Know what?" Was something wrong? Did he miss something important?

Harry squirmed and shifted away a little. Ron told himself it didn't hurt that much as he watched his best friend wrestle with himself before slumping in apparent misery.

"Ginny and I broke up a few months ago."

"What?! Why?"

"She … ever since we were on the run, she had to live in that castle with the others and things changed. Her feelings changed, and even after we got back together I wasn't the person she was in love with any more. She's with Luna now."

He could feel the familiar tinge of fury creeping up on him. How dare she do that to Harry?

"That wasn't – but that wasn't the only thing."

Harry lifted his head, and the guarded green eyes were like a punch to the gut – Harry expected him to react badly.

"I'm gay."

Gay. Harry was gay. And single. Harry was gay, and single, and the bloke he liked – his best friend – was completely available. Hermione's words suddenly made so much more sense; he'd have to send her flowers or something.

For some reason he didn't even consider rejection or embarrassment, subconsciously knowing Harry would never hurt him like that, and so he followed Hermione's advice. He went for it.

One moment he was looking into nervous and resigned emerald eyes, the next he'd dragged Harry into his lap with their lips together. Judging from the pleased whine and the hands holding his arms tightly, his actions weren't exactly unwelcome.

He lost track of how long the two of them spent attached at the face but eventually they pulled back to catch their breath. Ron was pretty smug to see Harry so breathless; his cheeks were red, pupils blown, and his glasses and hair were beyond messy. He was suddenly grateful the two of them were sharing a bedroom.

Harry snorted. Apparently his thoughts were pretty obvious. "You can take me out first, bastard."

He grinned. "The Cannons have a match next week?"

Harry laughed and Ron joined in. They'd certainly come a long way from two kids gorging themselves on sweets and chocolate.

They got there in the end.

Chapter Text

Well this was just great, wasn't it? It wasn't as if he didn't already know his family didn't want him – like all those rants didn't get the message across – now he was left with the very real knowledge that the Dursleys didn't want him at all.

Leaving him in London by himself with his trunk would do that.

He sat in the abandoned park and tried to swallow the lump in his throat. He was only thirteen for crying out loud! Why did he have to put up with this all the time?

"Hey, are you alright?"

Harry looked up to see someone who looked very similar to Ron and the twins, though much stockier than any of them. The man also had a load of burns over his bare arms, though his smile reminded Harry of Mr Weasley.

"Mr Weasley?"

The man smiled and laughed. "I think you mean my dad. 'Mr' makes me sound old, you know. I'm Charlie Weasley, and I'm guessing you know one of my brothers."

This was the brother who'd helped with the dragon in first year.

"I'm friends with Ron. You helped us with the dragon."

Charlie tilted his head. "You wouldn't happen to be Harry Potter, would you?"

Harry squirmed and waited for the usual glance to his forehead or mention of his 'fame'. "Yes?"

"That's great! I've wanted to meet one of Ron's friends for a while now."

Charlie's smile was rather nice and Harry felt himself flush. He told himself it was only because he'd found someone that treated him like a person rather than a celebrity.

"So Harry, what are you doing here with your trunk anyway?"

"My relatives left me here 'cause they don't want to look after a freak anymore."

As soon as the words slipped out he smacked a hand over his mouth with wide eyes. Why did he say that? He'd never felt so comfortable with someone that he didn't censor himself; he even held himself back with Ron and Hermione!

All of a sudden Charlie's eyes narrowed and he didn't look so friendly any more. Harry didn't feel scared though; he knew he wasn't the one Charlie was angry at.

"I think, Harry, you and I should go and visit Gringotts."

… What?


It turned out that Charlie was a lot sneakier than the average Gryffindor, and his older brother Bill – who looked really cool – worked at Gringotts, and after the two had a hushed conversation neither one was looking remotely happy.

Apparently the goblins could do a lot if you paid them, and they had enough power to get Sirius a trial, and find him somewhere to live – what the hell is 'Potter Manor'? – and help protect him from being entered into magical contracts. (Charlie and Bill knew about something happening soon that they were trying to avoid him ending up in.)

Money was something Harry had a lot of – and a lot more than he'd even realised – and soon enough the goblins had followed through on their deals.

His godfather was definitely enjoying spoiling him and they made arrangements to go to the World Cup with the Weasley family.

"Hey, Harry."

Harry turned to see Charlie grinning widely at him from the door of the tent's bedroom. He blushed, trying to ignore the squirming feeling in his stomach he got whenever the second-oldest Weasley brother smiled at him. It wasn't fair he was so attractive. He'd known he liked boys as well since his crush on Oliver, but this was different and it didn't help it was Ron's brother either.

"Hi Charlie. Weren't you going to see some school friends you saw?"

Charlie walked over and sat next to him on the bed. "It's fine, they're all drunk already and I'd rather not get stuck having to clean up puke."

He snorted and clapped a hand over his mouth, thoroughly mortified. He couldn't believe he'd made such a noise!

Charlie laughed and pulled his hand away. "Don't worry Harry, nobody's around to hear. Though I have to admit, it was a pretty funny sound."

Embarrassed didn't begin to cover what he felt, and he considered fleeing from the disastrous conversation before he felt fingers on his cheek. He looked up to see sky-blue looking strangely serious.

"I know I shouldn't but I really can't help myself. You're way too captivating to be fourteen."

Harry was about to question him before a pair of slightly chapped lips met his. They pushed gently, warming his as they lingered chastely on him for what felt like hours, though was probably only a minute.

He opened his eyes – when did he close them? - to see Charlie smiling ruefully at him. "You're only fourteen now Harry so I really can't do much. I don't want to take advantage of you before you know what you're getting into. Can you wait until you're sixteen?"

Harry nodded, probably a touch more emphatically than needed judging by Charlie's smirk.

"Charlie?"

"Yes Harry?"

"Can you kiss me again?"

Blue eyes darkened as the older man leaned in once more, silently promising to just kiss.

After all, good things come to those who wait.

Chapter Text

He hated how all it took was one little thing for everyone to turn against him. Well he supposed that the Tri-Wizard Tournament wasn't exactly 'little', but he would've thought his friends would have stuck by him.

He'd always known Ron was jealous but he'd thought his friend had understood that Harry hated 'fame'. He'd wanted to switch places with Ron ever since he'd first seen his family, but apparently Ron still hadn't caught on.

"Why's Ron such a bastard?"

"I'm pretty sure our parents were married when Ron was born."

Harry started at the amused voice and caught sight of a grinning Bill Weasley. He remembered his words and flushed; he hadn't meant that.

He cleared his throat. "Bill. Sorry, I didn't mean –"

Bill laughed and cut him off by ruffling his hair. He took a seat next to Harry who was now flushing for another reason. Bloody hormones.

"So. What's Ron done this time?"

After a few moments of deliberation – he didn't want to get between family – he explained everything. By the end Bill was frowning heavily and Harry was regretting speaking.

"Listen Harry. Ron was your first friend but you don't deserve this. Ron's always been jealous of others and he should've known you wouldn't do something like this. If you don't want to forgive him you don't have to. You're not alone."

Sitting with Bill, being reassured he would have help, Harry finally felt like he could breath since hearing his name echo around the hall.


"Amazing Harry! I told you you could do it!"

Harry wasn't accustomed to hugs but he was glad he could hide his blush in the man's chest. It was less embarrassing than stuttering in Bill's face like a blushing virgin, even if that might be the case.

He heard the voices of Rita Skeeter and Ron getting closer. He'd blown up at Ron for being a selfish friend last week, and all the lions were now giving him a wide berth.

The less said about Skeeter the better.

Harry tensed at the voices and alerted Bill who was still enthusiastically congratulating him on getting past the dragon.

"Hold tight."

He looked up to see an unrepentant grin before he felt himself leave the ground, and he scrambled to find an anchor as he was slung across Bill's shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Before he could ask what was happening he felt a hand slap across his arse and his face lit up with a bright blush.

"Bill!"

The man in question just laughed uproariously and ran out the tent ignoring the shouts of their names. After a while Harry ignored them and laughed too.


Luna was a strange find, but a good find. Apparently she was a neighbour of the Weasleys and Bill had babysat her as a child. The girl had a unique world view and seemingly delighted in stressing out people who preferred logic. (Harry thought it was hilarious.)

Even better was that the blonde girl had no romantic interest in him whatsoever, so she cheerily agreed to go to the Yule Ball with him as friends.

Harry later regretted it with a flaming face as she kept up a running commentary of how attractive Bill was and how good they would look together.

Harry hated her.

(He loved her.)


Rescuing Luna sucked, even if the gillyweed's effects had been kind of cool. Strange, but cool.

Getting to warm up in Bill's arms made him feel better.


Bill was a genius and Harry would never be convinced otherwise. The graveyard had been awful. Going from pride for winning to unrelenting terror was horrendous. All he'd thought about had been Bill, and after he managed to portkey he'd jumped into the man's arms and hadn't left, even after he was nearly killed by not-Moody.

Bill had been amazing and soon enough Amelia Bones had appeared. Apparently you had to be a sneaky negotiator to work with goblins, and Bill had managed to use her to overrule Fudge.


Sirius was getting a trial, he was free from some sort of dark magic – Bill's anger at his scar had been alarming, but Harry had known he was safe – and things were looking up for once. The adults at the Ministry were doing work instead of him, and his mind couldn't quite comprehend how things had ended up like this.

"Hello Harry."

The whisper in his ear made him yelp and spin around. The Burrow's kitchen was quite narrow, and he was uncomfortably aware of his close proximity to the unfairly gorgeous man in front of him. Said man just smirked and prowled forward, leaning his hands on the counter on either side of Harry.

"I'm so going to hell for this."

Before Harry could question the words he had firm lips on his and the feel of long hair tickling his face. The lips pushed harder for a few seconds before he was released.

Harry had nearly been put in Slytherin for a reason, and he knew all about how to get what you wanted.

"At least it'll be hot."

And with that he pulled Bill back down.

Chapter Text

"Hey!"

The crowding students looked up and were suddenly looking smug as he approached, and Harry couldn't help but want to pull a Snape and sneer at them.

"What do you think you're doing?"

"We're just telling her the truth, Potter."

Harry pinned them with a glare. "And what truth is that?"

"That she's nothing but a cowardly traitor."

He noticed out the corner of his eye as Parkinson flinched slightly, as though struck physically. His stomach clenched as she kept her eyes on the ground.

This wasn't Pansy Parkinson. Pansy Parkinson was prim and proper, bursting with confidence as she stalked the halls. She should be throwing snide and sarcastic comments at people and fluttering her eyelashes at someone like Malfoy, not standing in silence as people verbally tore her apart. The submissive stance to her was wrong, and Harry couldn't help but feel unsettled by the image.

He noticed the boys snicker at Parkinson and he breathed in deeply before he did something stupid. Like hex them.

"Oh really? Please, do explain how someone who tried to fix everything for their own family is a 'cowardly traitor'. How putting yourself in a situation where people are likely to turn on you all for the sake of trying to end things is the action of a cowardly person. While you're at it, why don't you elaborate on what it was you did exactly for the past few years while this world went to shit."

Apparently his words were sinking in and the idiots were staring at him with fear as they backed away slowly.

"You have no right to stand there and judge her while I bet you did nothing for any side of that despicable war. Did you fight? Did you tell your families about the danger? Did you even try to make a difference either way?

"Newsflash arseholes, we were in a civil war and the truth is that nobody wins in a war. I will gladly stand here and say that Miss Parkinson was extremely brave when she tried to hand me over to Voldemort 'cause she knew that people would turn on her for it, but she still went ahead and tried to finish things with the least bloodshed possible.

"I know damn well she wasn't the only person who thought about turning me over, but she was the only one who had the balls to stand up and actually say what she was thinking.

"So no, she's not a 'cowardly traitor'. If anything you're the cowardly ones for attacking her in an abandoned corridor."

The morons paled rapidly and stammered out apologies before they fled with as much composure as they could manage.

"Why?"

Harry turned back to the girl and noticed for the first time that her eyes were more hazel than brown, with a few flecks of green. He'd always thought of her as 'pug-faced' but puberty had been kind, lengthening her face so her features weren't so cramped, though her nose was still a little upturned. It was kind of cute.

He considered her question. He knew it was strange for Harry Potter, stereotypical Gryffindor to rush in and protect a 'slimy' snake, but being made to fight in a war really put things into perspective. The House rivalries didn't accomplish anything and it just seemed so childish now. He'd killed someone, what did he care what colour someone's uniform was?

"Honestly Parkinson? I'm tired of all this crap, excuse my language. We're teenagers, but we were made to fight when the adults should have handled things. Our childhood were basically ruined because of a mad man, and I really can't be bothered to keep up with a school rivalry that does nothing but make me even more tired."

He looked her in the eye. "And before you ask, no, I don't blame you for trying to hand me over to Voldemort. Nobody wants to admit it, but sacrificing one person so everyone else lives is a depressingly tempting scenario."

Her lips wobbled before a wary smile found its way to her mouth. "That's rather analytical and cunning for a Gryffindor, Potter."

Harry grinned, enjoying the light in her eyes grow. It made her very pretty. "Can I tell you a secret?"

She nodded cautiously.

"I was supposed to be in Slytherin."

Her eyes widened and she gaped, the overall image so innocent that he couldn't help but laugh, doubling over with the force of it.

He straightened up to see a determined expression on her face and quieted.

"I suppose if you can be cunning I can be brave."

Before he could question her she strode over to him and grabbed his face, pulling him down into a firm kiss. Her lips were soft, but she wasn't passive in the slightest. Especially as she'd already invaded his mouth with her tongue. It was a million times better than his other experiences, and she was very much an active participant, if not outright in charge. Which definitely wasn't something he'd ever considered but found he enjoyed immensely.

He held her waist gently as she pulled back, a mixture of resolve and hesitation in her eyes. It was breathtaking to see something so human on her face.

"Brave indeed," he smiled. "Since it's lunchtime, would you do me the honour of joining me in the kitchens for some food, Miss Parkinson?"

She snorted and grabbed his hand, all but dragging him along. "I've just had my tongue in your mouth, the least you could do is call be by my first name, Harry."

"Pansy."

He smirked. Apparently coming back to Hogwarts for another year was a good idea.

Chapter Text

"Look, it's him!"

"The Heir of Slytherin."

"A Lord twice over, you know."

The boy – man, really – tried not to sneer as he stalked the halls of Hogwarts, ignoring the gawking and whispering of his fellow students. They really were a bunch of hypocrites, running their mouths about propriety and traditional etiquette, yet quickly degrading into uncouth teenagers without a shred of shame in their bodies.

Harry knew he sounded cynical but life had fucked him over too many times to care at this point.

After living a miserable life married to a fangirl, children who seemed to think he was a horrible man for divorcing the cheating bitch, and a job that killed him from the inside, he'd thought death would have been a reprieve. There was just one thing he forgot.

He was Harry-fucking-Potter, and the Potter luck lived to screw him over.

Waking up in the body of some poor kid in a shitty orphanage made him want to scream, especially as his life was disgustingly similar to a young Tom Riddle's. Realising that he was eleven in the year nineteen nine was simultaneously infuriating and intriguing. The possibilities to stop certain things from happening had been too good to pass up, especially with his new body.

Cadmus Thanatos Peverell.

Firstly, the world could go fuck itself, and secondly, why couldn't wizards give their kids normal names for once?

Cadmus Peverell, undisputed king of Slytherin House (he didn't manage to talk the hat down twice), one of Headmaster Black's favourites, Lord Peverell, and Lord Gaunt. He was rather grateful that he'd dealt with having a fuck ton of betrothal contracts thrown at him before or he wouldn't have been able to deal with it.

Not that he was going accept just anyone. He actually did want a spouse and children to pass his titles on to, but nobody stood out enough for him to pursue.

His musing was cut off as a smaller body collided with his, and Cadmus' arms came up automatically to stop the younger boy from falling. He watched as the head tilted up and the boy apologised graciously, but he was captivated by the eyes.

Sirius' eyes.

He was holding onto Arcturus Black, Sirius' grandfather. The man in front of him had grown up to be the perfect Heir then Lord Black, even if he'd all but ran away to France after the war because his wife had died and his family had been falling apart. He hadn't had the best run as Lord Black, only inheriting after his father had made some truly atrocious decisions, like the marriage between Walburga and Orion.

The fourteen-year-old Arcturus wasn't even Heir Black yet, he had a little baby fat on his cheeks, and there was an innocence to the grey orbs that he hadn't ever seen in Sirius'. Could he really do it? Could he let the Black family play out in the same tragic manner as the future? Cousins marrying each other, killing each other … Sirius growing up as Walburga Black's son.

Fuck no.

"There's no need to apologise, Master Black. It was an honest mistake."

He smiled gently and inwardly smirked at the light red flush suffusing the pale cheeks. The boy was striking like the rest of the Blacks, and the suddenly shy demeanour made his stomach clench with desire. He knew full well he was probably a little twisted; Arcturus was fourteen, not to mention part of Cadmus' attraction stemmed from how much he resembled Sirius, the man he'd grown up having inappropriate feelings for.

There were two options available to him. He could allow this man to get married within the next few months to the former Hufflepuff Melania Macmillan, a simple girl who would never fully bond with her in-laws, an outcast light witch among the dark Blacks, or he could present Phineas Nigellus Black with an offer he really couldn't refuse.

There was no choice.

"Master Black, you wouldn't happen to be betrothed at all, would you?"

The boy cocked his head, eyes narrowing. "No. Why?"

Cadmus leant in, leaving barely an inch between them and whispering, "Would you like to be?"

Red painted Arcturus' face and Cadmus smirked lazily, keeping silent as he waited for the boy to process his offer. He wouldn't force him, but he could certainly entice. Grey eyes were wide, darting from side to side even as the teenager squirmed where he stood, no doubt imagining something illicit. Eventually he nodded cautiously, a delightful red still sitting high on his cheeks.

"Excellent. Perhaps we should take this to Lord Black immediately."

Standing in front of a satisfied looking Phineas Nigellus Black, the boy at his side still enticingly flushed, Cadmus could almost feel the future rearrange itself around him.

If one thing was certain, it was that he was going to play by his own rules this time.

Chapter Text

Marcus Flint was terrifying. He was huge and heavily muscled, had a mean streak a mile wide, and had a perpetual sneer on his face when he encountered any student not in Slytherin.

Everything about Flint promised pain if you were to cross him, and the reality was that he would definitely follow through on his threats. When Marcus Flint threatened someone they got hurt. Always.

He wasn't the most attractive of individuals, with a harsh bone structure and plain colouring, but his presence alone made it hard to dismiss him.

Harry knew that Marcus Flint was terrifying, but he also knew that he'd found the older boy intriguing for years now. He was strangely captivated by the hulking mass that stalked the halls, scowling at everyone in sight and sending people running in fear. Even the sight of the Slytherin deliberately fouling other teams during Quidditch games or unrepentantly trying to crush Oliver's fingers was fascinating to the last Potter.

Everyone else, even the other Slytherins, tried to make their actions unknown. They flew under the radar and hid their morally-grey deeds, making sure they would never be caught doing something that would reflect badly on them.

Except for Marcus Flint.

He never tried to hide who he was. He was mean and enjoyed inflicting pain on others, and everyone knew it. Flint had never tried to dress up his actions as something they weren't and Harry could honestly say he was envious.

Harry had to make sure to be the perfect little Gryffindor or everyone would turn on him again, like the Heir of Slytherin stuff last year. He wasn't allowed to just be himself, because Harry wasn't a perfect little Gryffindor.

He knew full well that he could be selfish, running away from problems and being non-confrontational. He didn't want to deal with Voldemort all the time, and he had a feeling that Dumbledore knew a lot more than he was letting on.

He didn't want to be at the forefront of all the fighting; to be perfectly honest, if Hermione hadn't been there he would have begged Sirius to take him away and run away together. The wizarding world wasn't half it was cracked up to be and he was sick of everything. People turning against him at the drop of a hat, being bullied by teachers, having friends that wouldn't let you learn ...

Magic was supposed to fun, not tiring.

He wanted someone to take care of him for once, not the other way around.

"Do you mean that?"

Harry jolted at the sound of the voice. He'd thought the edge of the forest would be safe from wandering people but apparently not. He looked up to see the towering form of Marcus Flint, small grey eyes boring into his intensely. Apparently he'd spoken out loud.

He didn't know why, but the sight of the older boy - man, really - made his stomach squirm. Though perhaps those random dreams of being held tightly in those thick arms had been a little more telling that he'd wanted to admit. He really should stop living in denial.

"Did I mean what?" he questioned warily.

Flint glared at him. "Do you want someone to take care of you?"

Harry listened to the Slytherin's words and had a feeling the question was a lot more serious than it sounded. Was he really offering Harry a way out? Could Harry really do it, just casually give up the 'Golden Boy' persona he'd built up for three years?

Did he want to be cared for for once?

"Yes."

He might have whispered but his voice carried through the clearing, sounding frighteningly final for a simple word. He still didn't know what he'd agreed to but the glint of satisfaction in Flint's eyes made him shiver - though whether or not it was from fear was a question to be answered.

Flint stalked over to him and pulled him to his feet none too gently, before pushing his back against the tree and trapping him with his arms.

"I'll take care of you."

He leaned down, a massive 6'5'' to Harry's measly 5' and smashed their lips together. It was slightly painful and overwhelming, and Harry found he couldn't breathe before Flint softened the kiss - was it a kiss? - and helped him breathe through his nose.

Harry could feel large hands gripping tightly on his hips, fingers ever so slightly holding his arse, and he let go.

He wasn't in charge anymore.

Chapter Text

Harry heard a hiss of pain and paused, slowly peering around the corner with his wand tightly held in his fingers. You couldn't live through a war and not come out jumpy, after all.

The sight of Neville gingerly pressing a bloodied rag to a cut on his arm wasn't what he'd expected.

"Nev?"

His fellow Gryffindor jumped a mile and grabbed his wand, quickly pointing it in Harry's direction with a certain ferocity on his face that eleven-year-old Harry would have never expected to see in his shy classmate.

Upon seeing him Neville widened his blue eyes and hastily dropped the wand. "Harry! Merlin, I'm sorry, I -"

"It's okay Nev, I get it." Harry waved off the apologies and finally rounded the corner. (Using the walls as cover wasn't something teenagers were supposed to do instinctively.)

He gestured to the blood. "Is your arm okay?"

The blonde grimaced. "It's fine, just had a bit of an accident in the greenhouse. You can't use magic on any injuries this plant causes though or they'll get worse."

"Do you want some help?" Harry questioned, nodding his head towards the bandages. "You know I grew up with muggles and I know how to treat cuts and stuff."

"Um, I mean ... If you don't mind."

Harry smiled at him and busied himself with gently cleaning the blood off his friends arm while trying not to act like a complete twat. He'd liked Neville for years now despite not saying anything, and even though he knew nothing would come of his feelings he didn't want to embarrass himself in front of someone he had feelings for.

He supposed it had started in fourth year. The other boy had looked unusually graceful practising his dancing for the Yule Ball, and the sight of his usually clumsy roommate moving so confidently had drawn his attention immediately. Not that he'd understood what he was feeling at the time. It'd gotten worse when the other boy had had the balls to steal the Gillyweed from Snape. Harry had been in such awe of Neville that it was actually pathetic he hadn't realised his feelings at the time.

Harry had to remind himself it wouldn't have done any good if he had. Neville had taken Ginny to the Ball, he'd dated Luna briefly after the war, and he'd seen the way Hannah Abbott kept looking at the taller Gryffindor. Harry clearly had nothing in common with the three beautiful girls that Neville obviously liked, so there was no point in even hoping.

"There we go."

He finished with the bandages and rubbed his fingers over them to smooth any creases out. A sharp intake of breath distracted him and he looked up to see blue eyes a little darker than usual boring into his, the intense look giving him a weird feeling in his stomach.

Before he could say something a broad hand lifted and cupped his jaw, the strong thumb rubbing back and forth across his cheek. He could feel himself blush a bright red and Neville's eyes darkened even further.

"Tell me to stop."

Stop what? His brain wasn't exactly working as the taller man slowly leaned down and pressed their lips together, pushing a little harder at Harry's small gasp.

There was no "this is wet", or "Ron's going to kill me", but rather a "wow, please don't stop."

After a few moments Neville pulled back to meet his eyes and swallowed, looking rather nervous all of a sudden. "Is this - is this okay?"

"I thought you liked girls," Harry said breathlessly.

"I don't only like girls, and I actually quite like you."

Huh. How about that?

Words were good and all but actions spoke louder. He lifted himself up and fastened their lips back together, moaning into the other man's mouth.

This is definitely okay.

Chapter Text

Harry looked down at the paperwork in front of him and wondered.

Could he do it? Sign up to carry on fighting? Continue tiring himself out doing something he didn't even want to do in the first place?

He was tired.

But everyone kept telling him he was supposed to. He was Harry James Potter, he was supposed to be an Auror (like his father), marry a nice girl (like his father), and have a 'proper' life with kids (like his father).

He wondered if people realised his name wasn't James.

Nobody ever asked him what he wanted. He liked Ginny, sure, but fighting in a war kind of put things into perspective. She was nice, but she kept nagging him like everyone else. She just kept pretending that things were the same.

They weren't. His nightmares could attest to that.

He looked at the parchment on his lap. He'd filled in the entire application for the Auror academy, but he hadn't signed it. Something was stopping him. Common sense, perhaps?

“Harry?”

He looked up to see Oliver Wood looking at him strangely. Well, frowning if he was honest.

“Hey, Oliver.”

The older man – and he was clearly a man now as Harry's hormones reminded him – walked over to him and sat down on the bench next to him.

“What are you doing in muggle London, Harry? What's that?” he finished with a nod towards the parchment.

Harry cleared his throat. “Auror application.”

Oliver frowned. “You don't sound very happy about that.”

“... Everyone keeps telling me it's what 'Harry Potter' would do, like they know me without asking.”

He wouldn't usually be so upfront with someone, but Oliver had always answered Harry's questions no matter how stupid they seemed. He'd be frank with Harry which he desperately needed right now.

“Well, ignore what 'Harry Potter' should do, what does Harry want to do?”

“Don't know.”

“So burn those papers to start with.”

Harry whipped his head around. “What?”

“Harry,” Oliver began seriously, “if you don't know what you definitely want, then don't let yourself get sucked into something with long-standing consequences. If you want to be an Auror later join then, but if you join now and end up hating it you'll end up miserable trying to deal with quitting.”

“Huh.”

It was quite a nice change not having someone telling him what to do.

“You know my parents wanted me to work in the Ministry.”

Harry turned to older man questioningly. “Really?”

He nodded. “Yep. They didn't want me playing Quidditch at all. Kept moaning constantly until they saw me play. They realised how happy it made me and they've supported me ever since.

“If people care about you they'll be happy if you are, regardless of what you do.”

Harry smiled at the taller man, feeling lighter than he had in weeks. “Thanks Oliver.”

Oliver good a considering look on his face and looked Harry in the eye.

“You know, you're pretty different from what I remember.”

He opened his mouth to say something – most likely something sarcastic about him being taller now – before he was cut off.

Oliver was kissing him.

Harry remembered what the other man had just said and he decided he wanted to be happy for once, not just for work. He pressed forward into the kiss. He didn't care they were in public, in muggle London, that his Auror application had just fallen into the mud. He kissed Oliver.

He eagerly opened his mouth for the other man to explore, he held onto the strong biceps he'd been admiring since he was eleven, and he enthusiastically started raking one hand through the other's hair.

When they finally separated he could feel his lips were wet and his heart was racing. He'd bet his face was bright red and his glasses felt a little wonky. Who cares?

“So, Harry Potter, what do you want?”

Harry grinned. “To be somewhere we can carry this on without traumatising anyone, like that middle-aged couple over there. They look appalled.”

Oliver looked and saw two wide-eyed faces and let out a deep laugh. “That can be arranged.”

The two got up and walked away, leaving the parchment behind.

 

Chapter Text

Violet thought that after everything that had happened her friend wouldn't be able to hurt her more than she had in the past.

She was wrong.

"It's alright for you, your parents are out of the way. I actually have a family."

Those words stung in a way that not even Malfoy tormenting her about being an orphan had. Despite having no parents she'd always been included in the Weasley gatherings, having presents sent to her and having Molly fuss over her.

Not now.

Her best friend had completely shattered that hope. It wasn't necessarily what she'd said, it was what she hadn't. She'd made sure to stress that she had a family. Clearly Violet was no part of Raine's family, no matter what delusions she'd been feeding herself for years.

Speaking of delusions …

She looked up to see her other best friend Hugh. Violet had probably fallen in love with him back when they were eleven, high off adrenaline after facing a troll and living to tell the tale. The studious and brash boy with a mess of frizzy curls had boldly stood and lied to the teachers despite it being Igraine's fault he was there to begin with.

It'd only got worse since then. Worse because Violet Potter was a walking disaster who attracted trouble like a magnet, worse because Igraine Weasley was always the more upbeat and captivating one with clear blue eyes and vibrant red hair, an worse because Hubert Granger had clearly become enamoured with their redhead friend by the age of thirteen.

Violet had entertained random daydreams of she and Hugh together but she knew nothing would ever come of them. Delusions, fantasies … Name them what you want, but it was clear they'd remain in fiction if Hugh was walking around with red-rimmed eyes at their other friend ditching them.

When she and Hugh had argued in third and sixth year he'd never look so put out at them not talking, but whenever he and Raine argued he was miserable beyond belief. Clearly he cared more about the other girl.

"I'm sorry."

She looked up to see chocolate brown eyes boring into hers. "What for?"

"For what she said. About you not having a family. You do."

"Do I?" she questioned with her eyes down. "My parents are dead, Sirius is dead, Remus is who knows where, and it's not like I have anyone close."

"What do you mean by 'close'?"

Violet ignored the footsteps moving closer and focused on her teacup. "You know, like you and Raine."

"Vi –"

"It's okay, you know. I wish you'd just come out and told me, but I get it. I'm not a part of it so it's none of my business." She looked up and tried to smile at her stunned friend. "I just want you happy, you know? If you want to hang around here for a bit to see if she comes back, we can. You two should be together."

"Will you just stop!"

The black-haired girl jumped at his voice and thunderous expression. What was wrong? Stop what?

Hugh frowned. "I'm sick and tired of you trying to make sure others are happy instead of yourself. What do you want?"

Fuck off. "How dare you?! You want to know what I want? How about not to be fighting a war at seventeen? Or how about to actually have someone to care for me as a parent without having to a friend of their own child? I want to be able to be with the person I love without them loving my best friend, you twat!"

She stopped and breathed heavily, vaguely aware of the fact that she was standing up and her tea was on the floor, seeping into the tent carpet. Those brown eyes in front of her had never looked so shocked and she felt some sort of vindictive pleasure. Why should everyone else get to moan while she has to stand and take it?

"You're in love with someone?"

She snorted. "That's what you took from that? Yeah, so what? It's not like anything'll happen. Not like you and Raine. Eventually you'll get married, have a few kids, work at the Ministry –"

The feeling of lips on hers cut her off and she squeaked, pushing back from her friend. "What the fuck are you doing?!"

"I don't know where you got this stupid idea that I'm in love with Igraine from, but I can assure you I'm not."

"Oh really? So you went to the Christmas party with Ginny for no reason? You started –"

"For the love of God," Hugh muttered. "I only started looking at Raine after you started watching Cedric everywhere he went."

… What.

"You clearly had feelings for him ever since third year, and with the Tournament, then … everything, I knew you wouldn't look at me, so –"

Violet groaned and jabbed him in the ribs, ignoring his shout. "I've been looking at you since we were eleven, you prat. I only liked Cedric because I figured there was no point pining for someone who wouldn't like me back."

The tent was suddenly filled with silence as they both processed the stupidity of this situation.

"This is ridiculous. I didn't spend all that time arguing with the Sorting Hat not to act like a Gryffindor when the time comes."

The girl looked up to question her friend when she saw him lean in once more, giving her time to pull away if she wanted. Violet held still and closed her eyes when Hugh was mere centimetres away.

For what felt like hours, she forgot everything. She forgot about their friend deserting them, she forgot about the war, she forgot she was supposed to be unselfish.

Violet forgot and she pulled Hugh closer.

Chapter Text

"Harry?"

Cedric watched as the smaller boy turned to him, big green eyes almost glowing in the moonlight streaming in through the windows.

Oh my god, Cho was right. I'm totally entranced.

Hearing his best friend tell him he was 'entranced' by the younger Gryffindor had originally made his eyes roll and scoff at her words. Entranced. Who even said that?

Apparently Cho did, and apparently Cho was right.

Harry was gorgeous, no doubt about it. He might only be fourteen, but he'd be fifteen soon enough. A few people even got married at fifteen, everything was okay. It wasn't as if Harry was so tempting he couldn't control himself, what with his pretty green eyes, pale skin, hair just begging for fingers to run though it, and lithe muscles covering his body that would look so much better uncovered or –

A low growl echoed through the Hospital Wing, and Cedric tensed as he lowered his eyes to that very large dog – that looked suspiciously like a bloody Grim – curled up next to Harry, studying him with grey eyes that looked way more intelligent than it should. The dog was apparently Harry's and it was currently eyeing Cedric in a way that suggested it was both amused and annoyed. Which was insane, it was a dog. It wasn't judging him or anything. Right?

"Cedric? Are you okay? How's your head?"

The Hufflepuff came back to reality to see the object of his affection a mere foot away, peering at him from behind the thick lenses that did nothing to hide the bright hue of his eyes.

He cleared his throat. "My head's fine, Harry. I'm okay."

"Are you sure? I mean … I hurt you."

Please don't bite your lip like that.

"Harry, you didn't hurt me. You saved my life. If you hadn't pushed me out of the way I'd be dead."

"But – but head injuries are bad! Madam Pomfrey said I fractured your skull! I pushed you so hard you hit your head against a bloody headstone and passed out, and –"

"Harry!"

The smaller boy stopped his ranting, and despite the severity of the situation Cedric couldn't help but noticed the attractive red flush on his cheeks.

(He also couldn't help but notice the giant dog looking at him as if daring him to do something.)

Cedric ruffled Harry's hair. "Harry. You saved me. Yes, you might have given me a hard bump to the head, but it was a bump I was definitely going to wake up from. If that spell had hit me you'd have had to carry my dead body back instead of my unconscious one."

Harry shuddered and Cedric swung his legs out of bed and stood up, gently wrapping his arms around the slim boy and marvelling at how well he fit there. Cho's going to laugh at me for years after she finds out how sappy I am.

The Hufflepuff bent down and buried his nose in messy black hair, nuzzling the surprisingly-soft locks before the tip of his nose hit the skin behind Harry's ear. The green-eyed boy shivered and let out a breathy whimper before freezing and gently pushing back.

"Harry?"

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't ..."

Cedric frowned. "Shouldn't what?"

"I mean, you have a girlfriend, and I'm just ..." he muttered, trailing off to mumble under his breath with red cheeks.

"Harry," he said slowly, "I don't have a girlfriend."

Green eyes looked at him questioningly. "But you and Cho …"

"Ah, no. Cho's my best friend. I guess you haven't heard, but Cho's in a relationship with her friend Marietta. She only likes girls."

Cedric watched as eyes widened and Harry seemed to retreat into himself to process the words. The truth was the girl was a nagging friend who always tried to set Cedric up with whoever she thought might suit him. Ever since the Quidditch game last year he'd been intrigued by Harry and Cho had been teasing him ever since.

"Cedric?"

He looked down to see Harry inching closer to him, green eyes peering up at him through thick lashes while he licked his lips. I'm doomed. Done for. Finished, ended, over, running out of synonyms …

He lifted his hands to cup Harry's cheeks, enjoying how smooth the skin was under his fingers before he bent down and sealed their lips together. He pushed harder at the moan from the other boy and trailed one hand down his back, feeling Harry's shirt before hitting his trousers and –

"Okay, hands off my godson, loverboy!"

He and Harry both jumped at the voice, but Harry suddenly paled rapidly and ran towards his bed. The bed where the dog had disappeared and where now sat a man with narrowed grey eyes and a wicked smirk on his face. A face which Cedric had seen before.

Sirius Black.

Before he could process the fact that a mass-murderer was just sitting there in their school, Harry grabbed his hands and looked up at him with pleading eyes which had teared up slightly.

"C-Cedric, this isn't what you think! He's my godfather, and he didn't murder anyone, he was thrown in prison without a trial, and he's my only family –"

"I think," he said blankly, trying to sort through Harry's explanation (he knew Harry wouldn't lie about something like this, not to mention he looked to be about to hyperventilate if Cedric didn't believe him), "that life is going to be far from boring with you."

The beaming smile he received made Cedric feel giddy.

"Now, let's discuss your intentions towards my godson."

The shiver he felt down his spine was terrifying. Far from boring, indeed.

Chapter Text

"Long time no see, Mr Potter."

Harry jumped a foot in the air and turned around, reaching for his wand as he took a step back from the voice which had just appeared out of nowhere.

Okay, not what I expected.

Instead of seeing someone like one of the Order or a Death Eater (and it was a toss up which would be worse at this particular point in time), stood in front of him was someone he'd only ever met once during Slughorn's Christmas party.

Sanguini.

The tall vampire was fascinating to Harry. He was rather thin, with skin as pale as snow and purple shadows like bruises underneath the black eyes. His eyes were similar to Snape's, but unlike the scorn and loathing of that murderous bastard, Sanguini had a flicker of intrigue in the coal orbs as he looked at Harry.

He supposed he should have been worried; Voldemort was supposed to be trying to gain the favour of the vampires, and having one in front of him when he wasn't in his house was a bad situation to be in.

Or it would have been if he cared. To be frank he was pissed off that people were ignoring him when he said he wanted to do things by himself. He wasn't being arrogant, he knew that Ron and Hermione knew a lot that could help him, but he didn't want to be held responsible if anything happened to them. The amount of times people had turned against him after something went wrong were too numerous to count, and he had no desire to see more death in front of him. They might say things would be fine, but they hadn't had to watch people die and bring back dead bodies by themselves. They didn't understand.

"You look like you have a lot on your mind."

Harry looked up to see Sanguini tilt his head to the side and study him intently. He was right. Harry suddenly had the urge to tell the truth.

"I have to kill a Dark Lord by hunting down loads of tiny pieces of him, and my friends keep trying to join in as if it's some kind of adventure."

The black eyes darkened as he spoke and flicked up to his scar, Sanguini frowning as he focused on the reminder of Harry's status.

"Mr Potter, may I examine your scar?"

My scar? "Go ahead."

Suddenly Sanguini had covered the distance between them without Harry even realising before he felt a cold hand brush his fringe aside. He shivered at the feeling of the icy fingers gliding across the skin of his forward, pushing forward towards the hand without even realising.

Harry had never understood the stupidity of pure-bloods looking down on so-called 'creatures'. They trusted goblins to look after their money then turned around and called them beasts – utter stupidity. Harry couldn't care less about species, especially as he was starting to remember a few of the rather inappropriate dreams he'd had of the man in front of him after the Christmas party.

"Mr Potter –"

"Call me Harry."

Sanguini locked eyes with him and smirked, revealing fangs that gave him a squirming feeling in his stomach.

"Harry."

Are voices supposed to be so attractive? Harry felt a little light-headed at that gaze; he felt like prey.

"Harry," Sanguini said, "there's some dark magic in your scar. I believe it to be another 'piece' you were supposed to hunt down."

Harry blinked dazedly for a moment before the words sunk in and he froze, feeling his stomach drop and leave him feeling sick. He had a … He was a Horcrux?

"I'm a …"

The vampire gripped his chin in an icy hand and tilted Harry's head up to meet his eyes. "I know how to get rid of it without you dying. I can also help you look for the rest. Do you trust me?"

Trust him. Harry didn't even know him. He knew Sanguini was a vampire, a few hundred years old, wasn't allied with any particular coven … He knew nothing.

It was a terrible idea.

"Yes."

It was a brilliant idea.

Sanguini grinned and bared his fangs, slipping his hand around to the back of Harry's neck to pull his head up. He didn't have any time to react before their lips met and he shuddered at the feeling of freezing lips.

The vampire took that as a positive sign and licked into his mouth, determined to map every inch of Harry he could with his tongue. Harry moaned and caught his tongue on a fang, tasting blood bead on the wet muscle. Sanguini suddenly pulled back, licking his lips at the taste of Harry's blood. He looked at Harry who noticed the dilated pupils, and realised what Sanguini wanted.

He was supposed to do things properly, hunt down a Dark Lord with his friends like a good little Gryffindor, probably get back with Ginny and have the stereotypical wife and kids and Ministry job. He wasn't supposed to be here snogging a vampire and preparing to run off with him while ignoring his friends.

Harry thought about being the perfect Gryffindor before he remembered he wasn't supposed to wear red and gold to begin with.

He locked eyes with Sanguini and tilted his head back to bare his neck.

Black eyes darkened to pitch black before he moved.

Sanguini bit down.

Chapter Text

"Okay everyone, great job! See you after the break!" 

Cho watched as Hazel smiled and bid everyone goodbye, the other students slowly leaving the room in small groups so as to not arouse suspicion from Umbridge or her stupid little squad. 

He frowned, annoyed at the idea that they all had to hide in their own school. This castle was supposed to be a safe haven, a second home to the students, yet they were being forced to learn in hiding. 

This wasn't just their education, it was their very lives that were at stake. No matter what the paper and the bullies said, he knew that Hazel wouldn't lie about something like this. The Gryffindor girl would never make up anything like what happened at the graveyard …  

Cho mentally shook off he thoughts and looked at the short girl. Hazel had always been interesting to him, even before trying to ask him out with a cute stutter last year before the ball. He'd thought of the girl as a great Quidditch player but too young for him. 

Until the Third Task. 

Seeing her come back with his girlfriend's dead body, sobbing but furiously refusing to abandon the other girl even in death put paid to those thoughts. Watching the other girl stand up to Umbridge, the students taunting her, the paper calling her a delusional psycho, Cho had been struck with how much the girl had matured. 

She wasn't a child anymore – couldn't be called a child thanks to what she'd experienced – and he was blown away. The girl captivated him even if he was still in agony over Ced dying. Why wouldn't he be? His girlfriend had been murdered just for the sake of being in the way. A Death Eater had infiltrated the school and had the audacity to teach them. The person he'd wanted to spend the rest of his life with was gone. 

"Cho? What are you still doing here?" 

He turned to see bright green eyes peering up at him from beneath thick glasses and a messy fringe. Hazel really was pretty, he thought. Not that he would do anything. He was still grieving over the girl he loved, and Hazel was dealing with witnessing the death of somebody she'd considered a friend. 

"Just wanted to talk. How are you holding up?" 

The girl grimaced and he wanted to smack himself. Way to go Cho, let's just ask the most insensitive question you can possibly think of. 

"I'm … I'm fine." 

"Did you know Ced once broke her arm saving her neighbour from drowning in a pond?" 

Hazel looked up and blinked in confusion. "What?" 

"She jumped into the pond thinking her neighbour was drowning and ended up needing help herself. She always thought she should help others because it was the right thing to do. Even if she knew things could go badly." 

He paused and met her eyes head on, letting the words sink in and watch as green orbs started tearing up. The girl looked so lost and he contemplated the situation. If would be so easy to lean forward and seal their lips together, falling into romance to cover up the pain, using their mutual misery to build themselves together. 

But it wouldn't be fair. It wouldn't be fair to the girl that had given her life to be brave and loyal. It wouldn't be fair to he or Hazel either, putting a bandage over their metaphorical wounds to cover up the problems underneath. 

He looked at the girl in front of him, really looked for once. She looked lost, determined to fight and help others but not knowing if things would help. She was tired, so tired with everything and was at the end of her tether. Cho knew that her home life apparently wasn't great, and combined with witnessing a murder and being tortured the girl needed help. 

She didn't need more responsibilities. 

It would be selfish to push for a relationship when neither of them were in the right state of mind, let alone everything happening in the world. For now at least, he would hold back and try and help. 

"You know," he said, interrupting the girl before she could break down, "Ced used to teach me a few tricks for catching the snitch. There's a spare broom that the Ravenclaws use, if you want to go now?" 

"But – I'm banned!" 

Cho grinned. "What nobody knows, can't hurt them." 

He watched as the girl wrestled with herself, obviously not wanting any more trouble but wanting some fun for once. He knew what is was to want to let go. People said that time heals all wounds, but six months wasn't nearly enough time to get rid of the black pit of despair in his chest. He could only imagine what it was like to have actually seen that night in person. 

Hazel looked up at him with a determined expression. "Okay." 

"Great! Let's go now. I'm afraid the spare Cleansweep isn't as good as your Firebolt, but …" 

The young man led the girl out the Room of Requirement while chatting about broomsticks, all the while ignoring the mistletoe that had sprung up above their heads. 

There would be time for that later. 

Chapter Text

"George." 

The sound of his name would have made him cringe as per usual if it weren't for him recognising that particular voice. 

Harry. 

Harry was always different, wasn't he? Even from the beginning when he and Fred helped him onto the train with his trunk, the tiny boy with the bright green eyes had looked at the pair of them, first at him then at Fred, recognising them as two separate people. 

He could remember Harry calling him Fred once, and when he was told he was wrong the small boy had looked mortified, guilty beyond belief at having gotten them mixed up.  

He and Fred hadn't been able to believe it. Nobody ever seemed to feel bad about mixing them up, other than Bill and Charlie, that is. Their brothers were fairly good and telling them apart and genuinely felt bad whenever they got it wrong. But that was normal, they were family. 

Harry was Harry. 

Little Harry Potter, the one and only Boy-Who-Lived, actually cared about getting their names right because he was a stupidly selfless git – honestly, who goes to find a basilisk because your friend's sister was in danger? A girl you barely knew. George still wanted to smack Harry over the head for being a stupid git. 

Not even six months into Harry's first year and the little shit managed to figure out who was who, and they barely even saw each other back then! Harry had been adamant about being seen for who you really were. (Finding out about his shitty home life had put a new spin on that. Horrible muggles. Really, they should be lucky Harry wasn't so vindictive.) 

Harry hadn't mistaken either of them for the other since he was eleven. He was the only one who hadn't used his missing ear as a marker for telling them apart. The prat had looked at it as if he was guilty of causing it – which he wasn't, duh – and tried to apologise, but even after then he'd acted the same, casually naming Fred and George without looking at the side of the head. 

He didn't use Fred's death to do the same, either. 

The rest of the world seemed to know who he was now because of his twin's death, and he suddenly had a new appreciation for all the crap Harry went through for being remembered for his parents' deaths. 

"Harry. What are you doing here? I thought you and Ron were going to go and sign up at the Auror academy." 

The black-haired man smiled wryly. "Nearly everyone thought that. Ron, Hermione and I had a talk, a proper talk about everything, and we can't really see the point in carrying on the fighting. Well, except for Hermione. She's taken all her exams already and she's going to join the Ministry helping Kingsley rewrite some laws. 

"Ron's actually signed on as the Quidditch instructor for when the school reopens, and I honestly can't be bothered with anything right now, let alone more fighting. I'm tired." 

George could empathise. Very much so. People didn't seem to realise he couldn't just open the shop again and carry on with life, carry on as if he didn't have a massive gaping hole where Fred should be. Being told that Fred would have wanted him to made him want to punch something. Fred would have wanted him happy, not miserably plodding along day in day out. 

Harry never told him to move on. 

He turned to Harry and met green eyes head on. "Forget about work. If you could do anything now, what would it be?" 

"… Travel, probably. I've never been outside the UK before, and getting away sounds quite nice." 

The soft but tired smile on Harry's face was stupidly beautiful, and having those emerald eyes focused on him made him want to squirm in place. Harry's smile was a little crooked, the corner of his lips pulled higher on the left, there was faint stubble on his chin and purple bruises under his eyes. His glasses were still too thick to be nice, and he desperately needed a brush. Harry looked like a mess. 

But he made George feel. 

Feeling wasn't something that had happened much in the past few months. Feeling numb perhaps, but wanting? Heart racing and flickers of desire? He used to feel those things a lot when thinking of the last Potter, but it didn't feel the same without Fred taking the piss out of him for fancying his younger brother's best friend. 

Fred had always found his feelings funny, but not in a cruel way. He'd been very accepting of George wanting Harry and had been very vocal about supporting the potential relationship if it were to ever happen. 

"What about Ginny?" 

"Too much time apart, too much change … we've already decided we're better off as friends." 

Fred would never forgive him if he didn't go for it. 

"Harry." 

As the younger man turned to him, he leant forward and fastened their lips together, pressing harder at the muffled gasp of surprise. Feeling a strong grip on his shoulders pulling him closer, George slid one hand through Harry's hair while the other held his waist.  

The sounds coming from the other man were addicting, the groans and gasps drowning out the painful thoughts and numbness that had become commonplace. He didn't feel dead inside, and he definitely couldn't hear his mind whispering horrible things to him. He could just feel Harry. 

He pulled back and looked at the red face and swollen lips, revelling in the feeling of actually feeling for once. 

"Do you want to go travelling with me?" 

The wide grin and enthusiastic nod he got in return made him feel lighter than he had in months. 

I'm going to be happy, Fred.  

Chapter Text

Was it wrong to be selfish for once? 

She'd lived through a shitty life, had to deal with having no family and having an insane Dark Lord trying to kill her at every turn. She'd had awful, painful experiences with teenage romance. Her life had been a caricature of human experiences, trapped within the expectations of what her life should be.  

Iris Potter was a character, not a person. 

Being reborn in a different body in another time had certainly provided no end of opportunities to stop things from going to shit, even if her new life had its own share of problems that caused her no end of trouble. Last name aside, she was still Iris Potter and the Potter luck was inescapable no matter who she was. 

"Evans! Long time, no see!" 

In one world, seeing James Potter shout such words at a young woman would have been followed by a scowling redhead shouting at him and proclaiming her having no feelings for him whatsoever. Lily Evans had always been an independent witch that detested having someone loudly express their interest in her, and she'd never reacted well to James Potter treating her best friend so badly. 

Though in this world, James Potter was not talking to Lily Evans, rather her sister Iris Evans. 

Being reborn as her own mother's fraternal twin sister had been bloody weird, and even six years later she couldn't quite fathom how her life had taken such a turn. Though it was definitely a bonus having said mother along for the ride with her. 

When Lily Evans had woken up as an eleven-year-old, her mother-turned-sister had been far from amused, though she had definitely decided to embrace the darker side to her personality and had decided to be selfish with her new chance at life. 

Iris knew that Lily regretted so much of her past life, and even if Iris found that her mother's perspective kind of put a dampener on her own thoughts of her parents she couldn't begrudge the redhead a chance to live how she wanted. 

But could she do the same? 

She turned to see James Potter, her once-father, stood before her in his Quidditch uniform and covered in a thin layer of sweat while grinning at her. He was leaning against the tree where she was reading at the edge of the Forbidden Forest, and as she nodded at him his expression brightened before he walked over and sat next to her. 

It had been more than a little disconcerting when she realised that James – she really couldn't think of him as her father after growing up with a different man as her father – seemed to be destined to have an interest in an Evans girl, though instead of being besotted with Lily he'd focused on her. 

She'd been freaked out for more than a year before Lily had ranted and raved at her about how she wasn't James Potter's daughter now, and if she wanted to have a relationship with him she could. There was no blood relation there at all, not to mention how she hadn't even been raised by James Potter. 

Iris looked at James from out the corner of her eye and conceded that he was rather attractive, his well-muscled frame complimented nicely by the wide grin usually adorning his face, hazel eyes sparkling with glee at one thing or another. 

Thanks to a few well-placed words years ago, James and Sirius had been persuaded against doing anything malicious for fear of being utter arseholes that nobody could trust. (Iris didn't care about it being emotional blackmail, she had no desire to deal with that crap.) 

James had managed to weasel his way into her heart over the years and she could quite easily say she loved him. Could she go for it? She knew that James had feelings for her – had been very vocal about it, in fact – and that Lily wasn't going to pursue the man she'd originally married for her own reasons, so she was free to do as she pleased. 

Was it wrong for her to want to be happy for once? 

"Hey, James?" 

He turned to her and cocked his head. "Riss? What's up?" 

She took a deep breath and met his eyes head on. "Do you want to go to Hogsmeade with me next weekend? Like … like a date." 

His eyes widened and he looked at her stupefied, though he didn't make a sound. He just kept looking at her in silence and she felt mortified. She dropped her eyes to the ground. Was she wrong? Did he not really –  

"Yes." 

She looked up to see him beaming at her and her breath caught. That was her doing that. He was so happy because of Iris. She wasn't The-Girl-Who-Lived here, she wasn't the last Potter, she wasn't really anyone important. 

But James wanted her. 

Iris smiled, feeling a weight lift off her shoulders at the sheer happiness her classmate was exuding. She could be selfish for once without things being horrible. 

She leant forward and kissed him quickly on the cheek, pulling back to smile up at him. His face was bright red and he looked frozen in place, making her bite her lip to stop from laughing at him. 

She stood up and grabbed her bag before turning to James. "I'll see you later, James." 

And with that, she turned and started heading back to the castle. 

Maybe being selfish wasn't so bad. 

Chapter Text

"Why?" 

That was the question, wasn't it? It wasn't just one thing either, it was the entire bloody situation. Why was he here instead of with the other Death Eaters? Why had Harry actually gone to meet him? Why were things between them so strange? 

Why did he save Sirius? 

Seeing his beloved godfather get hit with a spell and fall towards that ominous fluttering curtain in the Veil had been like a punch to the gut, a hand made of ice gripping his heart and squeezing until he couldn't think, let alone breathe. Sirius was one of the few adults that actually cared about him and spoke to him as an adult. He couldn't die like that. 

But he hadn't. 

Harry was the only one that had seen it, but from behind Sirius had come a powerful red flash, another Stunner, but one strong enough to propel his godfather's unconscious body away from the Veil. Sirius had landed several feet away from the dais, out of the line of sight of his insane cousin. 

While the sight of his father figure alive had been immensely relieving, that hadn't been his focus. He hadn't watched Remus nearly cry in relief, he hadn't listened to Bellatrix's furious shrieking, nor had he paid attention to the random spellfire across the cavernous room. 

He'd watched Rabastan Lestrange. 

Harry had always thought the man to be an insane Death Eater that enjoyed torturing others, but in that moment Harry had seen him deliberately save Sirius. The man had sent a look of pure loathing at his sister-in-law before nodding at Harry and hiding in an alcove to save himself from Bellatrix's ire. 

Why? 

Getting back to Privet Drive and finding a letter from a Death Eater had been beyond bizarre, though considering how often his life went tits up he shouldn't have been surprised. Despite every ounce of logic telling him not to, he'd still snuck out using his invisibility cloak and flown a few towns over on his broomstick to meet Rabastan. 

Which led to now. 

"Why?" The man scoffed. "You don't honestly think all the Death Eaters actually follow that monster because they believe him, do you?" 

Rabastan laughed, though the sound wasn't nice at all. The loud and bitter cackling sent a chill down Harry's spine, the tone of his voice that of a man who seemed to be done with life. Done with everything. 

"Thanks to my imbecilic brother I was branded like a slave at the age of seventeen. Thanks to that monster I lost my lover at nineteen. Thanks to that bitch Bellatix I got sent to fucking Azkaban for her own bloody insanity!" 

The man turned to him, blue eyes alight with fury and a touch of insanity. "I bet all those 'good guys' never told you that, did they? That Bella, Rod and Barty were the only ones who actually tortured the Longbottoms? Did you know, the only reason I was there was because I was trying to figure things out for my lover to kill the monster? 

"The only fucking thing I've managed to do is make sure his fucking brother doesn't die." 

Harry blinked. Brother? Wait, does he mean …? 

"Do you mean Regulus Black?" 

Rabastan looked at him, empty of anger. "Yes, we were together before he turned against the Dark Lord and went and did something idiotically Gryffindor and killed himself while trying to strike a blow against the madman." 

Harry opened his mouth before he paused, taking in the man in front of him. Rabastan was in his mid-thirties with short brown hair that lay flat against his head with pale blue eyes. His face was currently a little emaciated, and his overall appearance was that of someone too underweight to be healthy. He wasn't attractive in the traditional sense but Harry found the man to be weirdly intriguing. His demeanour, perhaps? His words? 

It was incredibly stupid to be standing here with a Death Eater talking about what had to be treason for one of Voldemort's followers. He shouldn't believe the older man's words at all, but for some reason his instincts were shouting at him not to let this chance get away. 

He'd stood and watched while his godfather nearly died. Could he really stand back and let others get hurt while saving his arse again? No offence to Dumbledore, but the man had been trying to fix the Voldemort problem for years the Gryffindor way. Maybe a Slytherin would have a better go of it? 

"Do you want to finish Regulus' work together?" 

Rabastan turned to him with narrowed eyes, studying him closely before walking over to Harry and peering down at him with a smirk that didn't nothing good for Harry's composure. 

"You do realise Regulus has been dead since before you were born? I'm not exactly pining over him." 

The man reached for Harry's hand and gently pulled it up before bending over and pressing a soft kiss to his knuckles. He lingered for longer than was probably usual then pulled back and grinned at the teenager. Said teenager wondered what it said about him that he found the somewhat mad grin to be very attractive. 

"I look forward to working with you, Mister Potter." 

What have I done? 

Chapter Text

"Daddy! Look, I made a new friend!" 

Harry looked up to see his current mini-me and a small girl with light brown hair and eyes, the girl looking up at him with poorly-disguised interest. 

He resisted the urge to grin. His son's new friend looked like she was trying to be calm and polite without gawking at him, but she wasn't quite old enough to pull off casual disinterest. He wondered if Teddy had somehow managed to find a pure-blood child in a muggle park. It wouldn't be the first time the imp had stumbled into an unbelievable situation. 

Harry had always wondered if it was possible for someone to die of a broken heart, but seeing Andromeda waste away just a few months after losing her husband, daughter and son-in-law was enough to prove that yes, it was possible. 

He'd immediately adopted Teddy and ignored the Aurors, though Kingsley was more than understanding, and had helpfully given him information about laws concerning adoption and whatnot. 

Everyone else had become more family-oriented since the war as well. Percy and Ron had somehow teamed up and decided to help George with the shop; Ron had finally put his strategic mind to good use with business plans, and Percy had decided to become some sort of accountant and financial advisor for the joke shop, and business had been booming ever since. 

"Daddy, can I show Ria our garden?" 

Harry smiled. "Teddy, did you ask Ria if she was allowed to come and see our garden?" 

The sheepish pout on his godson-turned-son's face was too adorable and he grinned. He loved Teddy so much, and even Gin tried to squish his cheeks whenever she saw him. He spared a moment to wonder where his ex was now with Neville and Luna. He had a feeling the three of them had something going on together and was happy for them. And wishing Gin and Nev luck with reigning in Luna, of course. 

He turned to the tiny brunette and smiled kindly at her. "Hello, Ria. My name's Harry and I'm Teddy's dad. Are you here with anyone?" 

The girl's eyes widened and she blushed, lowering her eyes as she muttered too low for Harry to hear. 

"What was that?" 

"… I forgot to tell Daddy I was going to see Teddy's daddy." 

Oh shit. 

Before he could panic at having to look for the girl's father, he heard a panicked voice calling. 

"Ria? Ria, where are you?" 

Harry looked up to see another man emerge from behind the trees and spot their group of three, brown eyes looking shocked at seeing him. Not that he could blame the other man. Harry could feel his own eyes widen at seeing his old classmate. 

"Nott?" 

"Daddy!" 

The small girl grinned brightly and ran over to Theodore Nott – her father – and start babbling about Teddy being her friend, and wanting to see their garden, and could they show Teddy the ice cream place? 

Harry had to fight a grin at the adorable scene, and as soon as she saw the sheer love in Nott's eyes he knew his former classmate was a genuine father. 


"I got married just before seventh year." 

Harry turned sideways to see Theo – as he requested to be called – looking at his daughter with a soft look he never would have expected to see on the blank Slytherin. Theo had never been one of Malfoy's cronies, but he'd never hung around with anyone else either. Harry had never really had a problem with him specifically in school, but he couldn't say he'd ever expected to be sitting here chatting with him while their children chatted and ate ice cream. 

"Really?" 

Theo nodded. "My father made me. He was pretty pissed off that she didn't get pregnant right away, but she conceived over Christmas break. Pure-bloods don't really check gender until about six months, so he was dead by the time he would have found out about Soteria. He wouldn't have been happy. 

"Then my wife died in childbirth, and there I was, a single father at eighteen. I'm sure you of all people know how panicked how I was." 

Harry snorted. "I'm surprised Molly didn't get sick of me, floo calling every other hour 'cause I thought something was wrong with Teddy." 

The other man laughed quietly and Harry was struck with how attractive it made him. He'd long since come to terms with not caring what genitalia someone had, but he found he was usually attracted to women more often than men. 

Theodore Nott was someone that Harry had never really interacted with at school, so he didn't have any previous memories to colour their current conversations, and he was someone that had seen the worst of Harry's teenage years so didn't hold him on some ridiculous pedestal.

He wanted to get to know him. 

"Theo?" 

"Hm?" 

"Did you and Ria want to come over for dinner this evening? That way she can finally see the garden that Teddy keeps telling her about, and we can bond over parenting stubborn toddlers." 

The brunette looked at him with eyes that looked far too knowing, though the smile playing about his lips softened the calculating air. 

"I suppose it would be very rude to turn down such a gracious request." 

Harry tilted his head and laughed loudly, unheeding of the people around them frowning at him. He hadn't felt this free in a long time. 

Fingers on the back of his neck caught his attention, and he looked over to see Theo playing with the ends of his hair before wickedly amused brown eyes locked onto his. 

"You'd look very handsome with longer hair, Harry." 

Harry could feel a blush work its way across his face, and he turned to the children ignoring the chuckling next to him. 

What have I got myself into? 

Chapter Text

Hazel pulled up from the dive and glared across the pitch, glaring at the infuriating smirk on Cho's face.

Bastard.

She nearly had the Snitch for crying out loud, and then Cho went and got in the way! She didn't care that her fellow seeker was trying to make sure Ravenclaw got enough points, that was a really shitty move.

Even if she admired his form.

Shut up Hazel, don't go there.

Though he really was different in the air, much more confident and aggressive, going for the Snitch and interfering in the passing of the Quaffle to help Ravenclaw. It was such a contrast to the genial and cheerfully studious boy who helped her with homework, and seeing him look so focused made her feel weird. Well, to be truthful it kind of turned her –

Seriously, don't.

Ever since the DA meetings last year, Cho had been a godsend for Hazel. He'd helped her in so many ways, academic and personal, and she didn't know what would have happened if the boy hadn't been there to help her. He –

"CHANG GOES FOR THE SNITCH!"

Don't you fucking dare, Cho.

The Ravenclaw sped past her, all the while smirking at her, and she narrowed her eyes and swung her Firebolt around, pushing magic and power into the broom to make up the distance between them and flew through the air.

She dodged around one of the Ravenclaw Beaters and Ginny before swerving past a stray Bludger and ending up shoulder to shoulder with the Ravenclaw Seeker.

The two flew in tandem past the stands on the left side of the pitch, trying to push one another out the air with their shoulders, all the while keeping one eye on the golden ball flying at high speed just a few feet in front of them.

Despite the irritating position – she wasn't guaranteed a win at this rate – Hazel couldn't help but appreciate how free she felt … how happy Cho made her. Cho didn't treat her like a China doll that would break as soon as she heard something horrible, and he didn't hesitate to tell her when she did something stupid. He didn't care about her supposed 'fame', he treated her like a person. He was kind to her.

This wasn't kind, but she still craved it.

The two Seekers ignored the screaming and shouting of the crowd, the excited commentary, the shouted advice from their teammates, everything around them as they shot through the air after the Snitch.

Hazel shouldered Cho out of his flight path before he retaliated by pushing her into the path of a Bludger. After dodging the ball of iron, she feinted and led him to crash into one of his teammates, and the glare she received made her laugh.

Back and forth the two carried on for a full two minutes after the Snitch, the teenagers getting more and more wound up, full of adrenaline, before a gloved hand reached out at just the right moment and wrapped around the small golden ball. They pulled up and waved their closed fist to the sound of approving roars, never once forgetting the other.


"Congratulations. Again."

Hazel turned to see Cho back in his school uniform compared to her Quidditch regalia. Her House hadn't given her the chance to change after she caught the Snitch, too caught up in the hype of her winning yet another game.

She paused and thought about that. Before Cho, she never would have been so candid about her success with Quidditch; the Ravenclaw had told her it wasn't arrogance to admit she was talented with the sport. She'd never wanted to sound like Malfoy, but she didn't think she was always going to win. Cho was right, Hazel was good at Quidditch.

"Thanks. Though I'll admit, I thought it was over when that Bludger flew in my face."

Cho grinned. "Sorry about that. But you know, I wouldn't have done that if I didn't think you could handle it."

Hazel looked up at the teasing glint in brown eyes and smirked back. She was still jumpy from adrenaline, and she wanted to be an impulsive Gryffindor on her own terms for once.

She grabbed Cho and pulled him into the closest door which turned out to be an abandoned classroom, and after locking and silencing the door she pushed him against the wall and fastened their lips together.

Almost immediately Cho gasped and pulled her closer, swiping across her lips with his tongue before thoroughly exploring her mouth. His hands were on her hips and in her hair, pulling slightly too hard to be comfortable, and her glasses were digging into her face. She didn't care, all that energy from the game was finally being put to good use.

A squeezing hand on her arse made her moan then whine as Cho pulled back.

"Do you have any idea what you were doing to me during the game? Smirking, looking so graceful and so proud, and – damn it Hazel, are you trying to kill me?"

Hazel smirked and forcibly pushed all thoughts of the war out her mind. "I'm not quite sure what you're talking about, Mr Chang. Perhaps you could show me?"

A moment later it was her back against the stone wall, and she let go.

Who knew Quidditch was such a turn-on?

Chapter Text

For the students of Hogwarts, several things existed in their school that they believed to be true.

Headmaster Dumbledore definitely had an addiction to muggle sweets, the staircases on the seventh floor deliberately made students late for classes, and the evenings during Hogsmeade visits were the best time to sneak around because the teachers were usually drunk.

Another thing that the students knew to be true was that Liam Evans and Jamie Potter were disgustingly in love with each other and needed to get together already.

Several people had tried time and time again to push the two besotted Gryffindors together to no avail, and hundreds of the castle's inhabitants were now surreptitiously watching the continuing drama in an attempt to discern when the teenagers would finally get over themselves and admit to what everyone else already knew.

After months of having to share a dormitory with Jamie - and really, that girl was so bloody dramatic - one young lady, who shall be unnamed for the sake of her safety - seriously, she would never admit to this - finally got tired of the mounting teenage drama and sexual tension and decided to do something about it.

The Marauders weren't the only Gryffindors capable of sneaking and pranking.

Listening to the sounds of the shower running, the mystery girl happily stole the clothes before her and switched them out with some pre-spelled ones that would inevitably cause mayhem and no small amount of embarrassment to her victim, but she was sick of them so she didn't care.

After a moment she decided she would punish both of them, so quickly left the room and sneaked into the boys' dormitory, repeating her somewhat vindictive actions without being caught.

She smiled to herself and left. They just needed some encouragement, after all.


Not even half an hour later, Liam and Jamie were united in complete embarrassment as the clothes they'd put on melted away to reveal something very different than they'd thought.


I swear to Merlin, whenever I find out who did this I will make them hurt

To say that Liam Evans was in a foul mood was putting it lightly. This morning his robes had vanished to reveal a mortifying ensemble of a leather crop top and shorts, and no matter what he did he couldn't get them off. If he covered them with other clothes they would vanish, he couldn't remove them because they were somehow stuck, and for some reason he'd been getting more hormonal all day.

It probably didn't help seeing Jamie Potter in a bloody bikini.

His fellow Gryffindor had also fallen prey to whatever this awful phenomena was, and for some reason they couldn't get back into the Common Room to hide. The black-haired girl looked beyond uncomfortable at all the attention she was getting. Cat-calls, wolf-whistles ... if you could think of a way that a girl could attract attention, it had happened to Jamie Potter today.

Not that Liam could blame them for appreciating the view. Jamie was usually in their school uniform or in Quidditch regalia, neither of which revealed the girl's voluptuous figure. Her hips were curved out from her nipped-in waist, her lean legs seemed to go on for miles, and of course her chest was clearly more developed than when she was younger.

More developed than most of our classmates, too. Damn, I didn't realise she was so b-

He froze and shook off those thoughts. Just because that bikini offered ease of access didn't mean anything.

Right?


Jamie had of course always loved Liam Evans, but she hadn't realised quite how much he'd filled out over the past few years.

His shoulders were broad and wide, his stomach clearly defined under that ridiculous top, strong thighs, and something the shorts really didn't hide very well -

Stop.

Yes, ever since puberty her dreams of Liam had taken a decidedly sexual turn, but dreams were dreams, not a six-foot-something reality standing in barely anything and sending her hormones into overdrive.

Though she could do without the random bitches eyeing him up every time they looked at him.


On the one hand, Liam wasn't entirely sure how things had gotten out of hand so quickly. He and Jamie had finally managed to have a conversation without bitching at one another, though that might have been because they were complaining about everyone else. Bonding over mutual embarrassment was a new experience, but he could admit that sitting next to a half-naked girl hadn't been a chore for him.

On the other hand, he wasn't too bothered, and was much more concerned about mapping the inside of Jamie's mouth with his tongue.

The sound of her groaning made him squeeze her body tighter, pulling her closer so she realised just how much he was enjoying this. The bare skin of her waist felt like it as on fire, and he slid his hands down to her hips, fingers dipping ever so slightly into the bikini bottoms before squeezing again. 

Her response was to push him into the armchair of the deserted room and straddle him, quite happily grabbing onto his top and yanking it over his head.

They both paused at her success after hours of failures, but Jamie smirked at him before moving her hands behind her back and slowly untying the strings of her bikini top.

Liam felt his eyes widen further and further as the flimsy material was pulled off completely before he smirked back.

Even easier access.

Chapter Text

Aurora was sat on her favourite armchair in the library, frowning at her heavy Defence tome as she absentmindedly turned the pages without taking in the words.

Orion Black was in her house.

The man was Sirius' father, a man that had been potioned into marrying his own cousin, and a man that didn't deserve half of what life had thrown at him. Aurora knew that she had the knowledge to stop things, but did she have the power?

Time travel and reincarnation made things so complicated.

Waking up as her own great-grandfather's daughter – basically her own great-aunt – was beyond weird, and that was without getting into the scandalous circumstances of her conception and birth.

Henry Potter may have been a serious politician, but that hadn't stopped him from taking a mistress in his late sixties when his son Fleamont was already thirty. His wife had been dead for nearly a decade at that point, so there hadn't really been a problem with his actions.

Until the mistress fell pregnant.

A quick and hasty marriage later, the couple were married and expecting a child. Everyone knew the truth even if they didn't talk about it – openly – and months later Aurora Olivia Potter was born.

(She wouldn't lie, she kind of preferred this name to the mouthful that was 'Amaryllis Euphemia Potter'. What had her parents been thinking?)

Aurora had been aware from the beginning – and being a baby was humiliating – so bore witness to her bitch of a mother running off with another man after abandoning her, but considering Henry made the woman sign over all her rights to Aurora, she supposed things worked out for the best.

Now she was twelve, her new dad was in his early eighties, and her older brother was in his forties, and here she was in the nineteen fifties with all sorts of knowledge about things like Voldemort and certain deaths, but she couldn't do anything.

Could she do something about Orion Black?

From what she'd seen of the man he was serious, collected, and way too attractive to be normal. (Aurora had unfortunately had to deal with puberty early in this body, and her hormones were constantly going haywire.)

The sound of the door opening broke through her musing and she lifted her head to see who'd wandered into their family library, subtly gripping her wand in case she needed it.

The door swung open, and the very object of her thoughts strode in.

"Heir Black, it's a pleasure to meet you formally. Do you require anything from the Potter library today?"

His head cocked to the side as he studied her with narrowed eyes. "Miss Potter, it's a pleasure to meet you also. I apologise for the impertinence, but I was under the impression that Henry Potter's daughter was merely twelve."

"I am twelve," she stated.

"Are you?"

Grey eyes bore into her green orbs and she felt her breath catch. It was as if he was looking through her, looking through the persona of Henry Potter's quiet and studious pre-teen daughter to who she really was, seeing the indecision and frustration buried under plans upon plans in the back of her mind.

This man was brilliant, and devious, and if she left this situation alone he would end up trapped in a loveless and hateful marriage, and she couldn't bear to do that to Sirius again.

But if she did something, Sirius might not exist again.

Aurora looked up at the inquisitive silver orbs and smiled widely.

"Physically."

Orion's lips twitched before settling in a smirk. "You're quite intriguing aren't you, Miss Potter? Your future husband will be delighted with you."

She frowned at the reminder of the betrothal contract she had in her room. Henry Potter would never sell his daughter against her will, but the circumstances of Aurora's birth made it so people were unwilling to associate with her. Accepting a contract would alleviate much of that.

A hand gently gripped her chin and tilted it upwards. If she were the stereotypical pure-blood girl she'd be screaming at having a man touch her without her permission, but Aurora was fascinated with Orion Black. Was this what Sirius would have become without Walburga?

"Are you betrothed?"

She blinked slowly. "Not yet. My father doesn't want to do that to me, but my situation has its issues. I'm sure you're well aware."

"I'm well aware that the entirety of magical Britain has managed to write off a fiery and intelligent young woman without even giving her a chance."

Before she could answer him she felt firm lips press against hers and she squeaked, eyes widening with shock. She was twelve! She was twelve, and very much underage, and she was being held against a muscled chest as her mouth was slowly devoured by the man towering over her.

A few minutes later he pulled back and smirked down at what she knew was a very red face, and she could feel one of his hands stroking her hair.

"If I said I wanted to petition your father for a betrothal contract between the two of us, what would you say?"

Aurora froze as she considered the implications of this offer. Her father worrying over her future, the power of a Black in her quest to kill Voldemort again – she might even be able to tell Orion the truth – and saving Orion, Sirius and Regulus.

Making changes wasn't necessarily bad.

"Yes." Her answer caused a smirk but she shot a question at him before he could start gloating. "What about my schooling?"

The smirk widened and he leant forward again, their noses barely a centimetre apart. "You will continue and graduate with your peers, of course. I've always been an avid believer in the best things coming to those who wait."

She flushed at the insinuation and glared up at him, eliciting an amused smirk that she wanted to wipe off his face.

At least things won't be boring.

Chapter Text

Harry wondered how much he’d been blind over the past seven years and how much he’d managed to miss through sheer obliviousness.

He watched the bigger man through the bookshelves in the library as he squinted at the book and tried to sound out the letters, attempting to read the heavy tome he needed for their Defence essay.

Gregory Goyle was dyslexic.

Harry was familiar with the condition from primary school, having had two separate classmates that had it, and as he watched Goyle try and spell out the overly-complicated Latin incantation he felt like an utter wanker.

For years he’d taken the piss out of him and Crabbe with Ron, but how much of what he thought was stupidity was Goyle’s brain just making the letters swim on the page? The longer he thought about it, he realised it was just like the other kids at school making fun of him for being Dudley’s ‘freaky’ cousin.

He was an arsehole, wasn’t he?

Well, then.

Harry straightened up and nodded to himself before striding along the aisle and turning into the one where his classmate stood. As soon as the taller man spotted him his features blanked into nothing and he quickly lowered the book, looking for all the world as if he was bored out his mind.

“Potter.”

“Goyle. Um, hi, I mean –”

Harry cleared his throat and wondered why he could never speak properly when he needed to. “I was wondering if you wanted to study together right now? That's the only copy in here, and I still need to do the essay. I’m guessing you do too going by how you’ve got the book.”

Goyle frowned at him. “Why? What do you get out of studying with me?”

“You mean other than avoiding Hermione lecturing me until my ears bleed?” he muttered.

He heard a snort and looked up into amused brown eyes and flushed. “Er, please don’t tell her I said that. I love her like a sister, but she can talk for hours about the same thing and I really can’t listen that long.”

“Right. So what else do you get out of this?”

Harry nodded at the book. “I actually do need that book. This way we can both use it and maybe get the bloody thing done quicker. I'm sure you know theory isn’t my strong suit.”

A slow and suspicious nod was his only response and Harry grinned.

Impulsiveness isn’t bad, no matter what Hermione says.


It was amazing what a spur-of-the-moment decision could do, and his eighth year had become infinitely more interesting thanks to his new friendship with Greg.

More and more people had taken notice of how much he didn’t give a fuck about what people thought of him, and the students in green were increasingly seen in groupings with other Houses. Apparently his apathy towards his reputation had prompted everyone to reassess the Slytherins and were extending olive branches with increasing frequency.

Greg was also smart. Not Hermione smart, but who was? The taller man was actually really good at Defence theory, and he and Harry had begun swapping theory and practical tips. They were both getting better every day, and Harry had actually managed to shock Hermione into silence with his new-found knowledge.

“Greg?”

“Harry?”

He looked at the brown eyes focusing on him and tried to ignore the squirming feeling in his stomach. It was beyond stupid to develop feelings for someone that would never reciprocate. Besides the obvious of them both being blokes, there was still the fact he was a political nightmare.

And the Crabbe incident. Can't forget that.

“Harry?”

He shook off the unwanted thoughts and nervously licked his lips. “You know those charts and tips I gave you for reading?”

Greg shifted and averted his eyes. “The ones because I can’t read properly? I already know they don’t fix things because I’m stupid.”

“You’re not stupid!”

He ignored the shocked expression and took a deep breath. “When I looked into it, I found out the magical world doesn’t really have enough knowledge of learning difficulties. You have dyslexia.”

Harry pulled out a book that he’d owl-ordered from a store specialising in procuring books from the muggle world. It was written specifically for dyslexic people so they could understand the condition without having to rely on others.

“It means you have difficulties with reading and writing, and it affects the way you plan and follow directions. Dyslexic people also have trouble learning languages and can have trouble with numbers.

“You’re not stupid Greg, your brain just makes things more difficult to understand.”

The last Potter watched as Greg looked at the book with both awe and disbelief, as if desperately wanting to believe there was an explanation for his difficulties despite his effort. And it was effort, as Harry had watched his new friend try and try again to figure out his written work when he thought Harry wasn’t watching.

“Harry.”

He looked up to see brown eyes boring into his, every inch of the broad face covered in a determined expression with a nervous undercurrent. Greg's fingers were twitching erratically and Harry could see him swallowing rhythmically.

“Please don’t hate me.”

Before he could question the bizarre statement, Greg invaded his personal space with a hand on the side of his face and pressed his lips to his.

Harry felt his eyes widen then close, and he relaxed into the very thing he’d been dreaming of with alarming frequency recently. The hand on his cheek was trembling slightly and sweaty, and the lips against his were pursed and forced shut in a very chaste kiss instead of what his imagination had supplied.

Greg pulled back with a wary face as if expecting to be hexed, and Harry smiled softly to reassure the other man. He glanced around the room before smirking.

“You do realise we’re the only people who can get in here now?”

And with that, he surged forward to continue where they left off. And hopefully get a little further.

Chapter Text

The woman sat down next to him while slamming her glass on the table, scowling at the wooden surface as if its very existence offended her on a personal level. Harry thought the table should be glad that Gin couldn’t set things alight with just her eyes. The phrase ‘if looks could kill’ seemed rather appropriate right now.

“What happened?”

She whipped her head around and glared ferociously, and Harry was quite glad he obviously wasn’t the cause of her murderous rage given how fired up she seemed. Why people thought that his ex was a docile and sweet girl he’d never know. Not that he’d say that to her face. (Contrary to what Hermione thought, he didn’t actually have a death wish.)

“What happened was that sexist wanker Andrew telling me I need to stop playing for the Harpies and start to settle down like a proper woman! The nerve of the bastard! Does he seriously think my only worth is putting my uterus to good use and popping out half a dozen kids for the selfish wanker?!”

As he listened to Gin rant and rave about her now ex-boyfriend, he had to wonder if the moron had actually had any brain cells to begin with. If Harry remembered correctly – not that he’d really been interested, truth be told – Andrew something or other worked somewhere in the DMLE and was the next Head of his family. As such he’d decided in all his infinite wisdom – or clueless stupidity – to tell the not very feminine, tomboyish, driven and independent Ginevra Weasley to become a housemother and give up her dream job.

(He wondered if he’d find a new occupant in St Mungo’s if he went and looked.)

“Ugh, what did I ever see in him?” Gin griped while wrinkling her nose in disgust.

“I believe it had something to do with the amazing sex,” he quipped while sipping his beer.

She rolled her eyes. “I was drunk and being far too generous.” Gin blew air out her mouth as she seemed to finally lose steam and turned inquisitive brown eyes on him. “What about you and Bianca?”

Harry grimaced at the reminder of that god-awful date and gulped another mouthful of alcohol. “She was a fangirl.”

“Ah.”

“Yeah. Ah.”

The less said about that the better.

It was fucking depressing that his love life was practically non-existent; he either ended up seeing women that were genuine but couldn’t handle his horrendous work schedule, or they were happy with his work and were secretly obsessed with The-Boy-Who-Lived.

Life sucked, basically.

His love life sucked, work sucked a hell of a lot more than he’d anticipated, and it was lonely seeing his friends grow up, get married and have kids. Bloody hell, even Draco had a son now! Though Scorpius was ridiculously cute, and he always made sure to thank Astoria in front of Draco for saving the Malfoy family.

Just because he was thirty didn’t mean pissing off Draco Malfoy had lost its entertainment value.

“I think I want to quit the Aurors.”

Gin snorted. “I could’ve told you that years ago.”

“Gee, thanks for sharing.”

“You know what I mean,” she huffed with a grin. “You’re a stubborn arse that charges ahead no matter what anyone else tells you. You weren’t going to quit without realising how much you hated it on your own.”

Despite the woman quite happily listing his character faults without shame, he felt warmth flow through him at her candid attitude. She got it. Gin understood him, sometimes even more than Ron and Hermione. For all he loved his best friends they could annoy him to death sometimes. Ron was stubborn to a fault in his opinions and Hermione tried to mother him too much.

Gin let him be.

She accepted that he needed to do things a certain way, not because it was necessarily the right thing to do above all else, but because it was the right thing for Harry. She never nagged him, she’d quite cheerfully whack him over the head or shout at him if he was being stupid, but not once had Gin ever tried to control him. The woman accepted his personality and behaviour, warts and all, and she was easily one of his closest friends.

Though he kind of wanted to kiss her.

That's new. Or it had been a while, anyway. The first relationship they had was hormone-riddled and in a war, filled with uncertainty and naïve beliefs. They'd parted on amicable terms back when he was eighteen and they’d been great friends ever since, the two single buddies that their mates took the piss out of and tried to set up on dates. (Often to varying degrees of failure.)

Now, he could almost see the life they’d live together. Harry doing what he wanted for once, Ginny kicking arse on the Quidditch pitch as she loved to do, and the two of them maybe even having kids one day.

Well, he’d always be an impulsive Gryffindor in some way.

“Gin?”

“What?”

“Do you want to grab dinner together on Friday? A proper date?”

Brown eyes bore into his for a few moments before they lit up, a Slytherin-esque smirk taking over her face as she studied him with her chin resting in the palm of her hand.

“You’re on, Potter. Once you’ve handed in those god-awful Auror robes, anyway. Who the fuck thinks reflective red is a good fashion choice?”

Harry snorted before he broke down laughing, tilting his head back and not giving one shit about his volume or the other patrons. He hadn’t felt this free in a while.

Crazy woman. What am I getting myself into?

Chapter Text

Ianthe wasn’t a good person.

A good person wouldn’t have decided everyone in their society could go and fuck themselves before leaving them to their own self-destructive devices.

A good person wouldn’t have eagerly delved into the horrific and forbidden magics of the Black family with gleeful abandon, happily shredding every inch of their stifling and sickening Gryffindor mask as they did so.

A good person wouldn’t have casually kidnapped half a dozen people to be used in a ritual that would be fatal to them without batting an eyelash at their pain-filled screams.

A good person would never have embraced the darkest aspects of their person so openly without feeling an ounce of regret for their actions, but she was not a good person. She could almost imagine seeing the horrified look in Dumbledore’s blue eyes, no longer twinkling in amusement, rather condemning her as evil as they passed hypocritical judgement.

People were a product of their environment after all, and Albus Dumbledore had gotten his little martyr without realising the consequences.

She was never going to be a perfect little hero while growing up having to survive each and every day, and she giggled at how Dumbledore had inadvertently turned her into Tom 2.0 when he was really trying to avoid that exact scenario.

He was an imbecile.

Ianthe Potter wasn’t a good person, hence why she had no qualms murdering people just for the chance to go back in time and have some fun.

After all, the possibilities of before were endless.


Ianthe Peverell looked around the Slytherin common room and smirked at how her peers tried ever-so-subtly to catch her attention and favour. She was the Queen of Slytherin, a girl that was Head of her own family, and all her fans were essentially tripping over themselves to be the one she gave her attention to.

Being a Parselmouth in Slytherin House was like being royalty.

Though she did wonder if anyone would be truly happy with her if they learnt about her ‘extra-curricular’ activities. Killing people so arbitrarily had never sat well with many, and the fact that she’d happily taken out more than a couple dozen adult magicals probably wouldn’t go down well with whoever she’d be with.

“Ianthe.”

Except her.

Ianthe turned to see her Housemate of seven years and had to concede the Black family were breath-takingly gorgeous. Long black curls were currently pinned back to the crown of her head with a few cascading down to frame her face, silver eyes with thick black lashes surrounding them, and flawless ivory skin she just wanted to run her fingers over.

Yes, Bellatrix Black was beautiful.

She was also startlingly sane considering her future self, but perhaps that had something to do with her insane parents and Walburga Black being amongst Ianthe’s list of victims.

It was such a shame the Black family suffered such a terrible duelling accident. On an unrelated note, Ianthe Peverell was a fantastic contribution to the field of ritual research.

“Hello, Bellatrix. You're looking lovely as ever.”

The barest hint of red crept over the other girl’s face and she looked so lovely that Ianthe decided then and there that Bellatrix would be hers.

Bellatrix was a Black with a penchant for dark magic, she wasn’t loudly proclaiming her allegiance to a Dark Lord that no longer existed – Goblins were so helpful when it came to soul magic – and she was incredibly intelligent. She was intriguing, and Ianthe was tempted beyond words.

There was also a part of Ianthe that was still as headstrong as ever.

“Bellatrix, did you want to see that book I told you about?”

Leading the subtly-confused silver-eyed girl through the room and towards the dormitories, Ianthe couldn’t help but be incredibly grateful that Slytherins had their own rooms. There was no way this encounter was for anyone’s eyes but their own.

As soon as the two seventh-years were in Ianthe’s room, she silently warded the room before grabbing Bellatrix and pushing her against the wall none too gently, leaning up on tiptoes to shove her tongue into the taller girl’s mouth.

She felt nothing but excitement and smug pride at the sound of Bellatrix’s moans. Her tongue tasted every inch of the Black’s mouth, lips pressing hard into the other set almost as a mark of ownership. Ianthe had one hand curled possessively around Bellatrix’s neck, her thumb pressed just a little too hard for comfort into the front of the throat, while the other was fisted tightly in riotous black curls holding the two bodies close.

Ianthe pulled back, smirking at the sight of a red face and laboured breathing. This was the sort of fun she wanted, and she’d be keeping it if she had her way.

“You’re mine.”

Bellatrix nodded rapidly, grey eyes alight with glee. “Yours.”

Ianthe’s lips quirked in a sly grin. She'd basically just won. Now all she had to do was explain her proclivities to her fellow snake and get in contact with Lord Black.

But first … Well, the body in front of her left much to be explored.

Chapter Text

Harry had always been fast at running, and though he hated it being because of his bullies he'd taken advantage of the ability every chance he needed it.

Fighting a war as a teenager was one thing, but when he had to speed through the streets of a muggle town from some thugs threatening to beat him was kind of annoying. The idiots screaming at him and threatening to 'teach him a lesson' were more annoying than anything. Compared to a sociopathic megalomaniac hell-bent on world domination, a few morons who didn't seem to have a proper plan didn't inspire much fear.

But they were fast, faster than Harry had anticipated and they wouldn't leave him alone. Harry could feel his lungs burning and the muscles in his legs were all but screaming murder at him to stop, but the last Potter didn't feel all that inclined to stop and get beaten by a bunch of strangers.

When he decided to move to a random Japanese town to hide after the war, this wasn't what he had in mind.

Harry rounded a corner and saw a flash of bright orange before an arm swung over his head – and no, he wasn't internally cursing his short height in the worst possible moment – and slammed into the head of the idiot in the lead of chasing Harry, shoving him forward into his companions and knocking them all to the pavement.

He watched them sit up with looks of fury before they caught sight of Harry's surprise saviour and paled rapidly, stuttering terrified apologies and stumbling to their feet before shooting back down the street like they were being chased by Death itself.

What the fuck?

“Tch. Lousy bastards.”

Harry turned to the other male and cursed once more as he realised how much taller than him the guy was. I thought Japanese people were supposed to be short! This dude's like six foot! Bastard.

He would have cursed some more if he weren't so intrigued by the colour of his mystery saviour's hair, the bright orange so far removed from what he'd seen around this town so far, and when the man moved the shades of blonde and light red hidden within practically glowed like a sunset. It went well with the lightly-tanned skin on the muscled frame, and the amber eyes looking at him with carefully-hidden concern were so warm and –

Hello again, my apparently not-so-forgotten libido.

“Are you alright?”

The gruff voice and frown would have probably put off most people, but Harry knew his expression looked startlingly similar to one Poppy Pomfrey when she was berating her patients. He probably just wasn't used to expressing his emotions. His English was pretty amazing, though.

Harry looked up and smiled, trying not to eye up the man and creep him out. “I speak Japanese, by the way. And yeah, I'm fine. Thanks for your help.”

He belatedly remembered he was supposed to bow in this country and quickly did so, probably making himself look like a right twat, but what can you do?

When he righted himself the other guy was staring at him with wide eyes and a slight red tinge to his face, but it was a bit warm out so it wasn't that surprising. He opened his mouth to speak before his mobile rang and he sent an apologetic look to Harry before opening it and reading whatever was on the screen.

The man grimaced before yelling 'sorry' and sprinting down the alleyway and round the corner. Before Harry could even process that, the guy ran back into the alleyway and looked Harry dead in the eye.

“You should be more careful and keep to busier streets, there aren't as many lowlifes around those parts.”

With a final nod he ran off again, leaving Harry to wonder what the hell was happening with his life.


A few weeks after being saved by the giant redhead, Harry was walking through the streets of Karakura happily enjoying the peace when he heard a massive roar then a man shout some random words.

There, not even fifty feet away, was a gigantic monster causing mayhem that the dozens of people around him apparently couldn't see. If that wasn't bad enough, the man was in fact the very redhead he'd seen before wearing some sort of traditional garb and waving around a sword that was longer than he was tall.

A beam of energy – really? – flew out the oversized weapon and hit the monster, then the monster screamed and dissolved into nothingness.

Harry blinked at the sight for a few seconds, then when the image remained he shook his head and walked away.

No way was he getting involved in that.


I spoke too soon.

He looked at the floor and sighed heavily, the unconscious and bloody form of the redhead a very obvious sign he wouldn't be avoiding involvement.

Damn my conscience.

Thankfully it was night and there was nobody around, so Harry bent down and grabbed the man before Apparating them back to his house. He spent nearly an hour cleaning and closing the wounds of the other man before yawning widely and laying on the bed next to him. Harry closed his eyes and relaxed. Just ten minutes.


“Er … hello? Where are we?”

Harry woke up abruptly and froze. That wasn't ten minutes. There was sunlight streaming through the windows, he could hear the faint traffic from down the street, and he was laying on top of a muscled chest with his arms wrapped around the other man's torso.

Please kill me now.

He braced himself and raised his head, meeting amber eyes head on and feeling his face blush at their proximity. It didn't help that the guy was only wearing boxers from Harry's first aid, and Harry of course did the only appropriate thing he could in that moment.

He shrieked and jumped off the bed.

Well, he tried to anyway. Unfortunately his leg got caught in the covers and as he twisted, he landed on his back on the floor. And so did the other man, as Harry had brilliantly got their legs caught and pulled the poor guy on top of him.

“Are you okay?”

He blinked up at the deep voice, gravelly from sleep and nodded stupidly, very much aware of their position.

The redhead smirked at him. “What's your name, anyway?”

“Harry. Why do you want to know?”

“My name's Ichigo,” he said, completely ignoring Harry's question.

“Nice to meet –”

Harry cut off with a squeak as lips were pressed to his, the heat a very welcome contrast to the Autumn weather outside. Burning hands were wrapped around his upper arms as his mouth was happily exploring another set of lips against his.

Ichigo pulled back and grinned. “I didn't want to do that until I knew your name.” He then faltered. “I mean, was – was that okay? I just –”

The wizard decided to set things right, and sat up quickly to resume the activity from a moment ago.

He enthusiastically carried on, not caring one bit that they didn't know each other beyond one encounter. We'll talk later.

Harry grinned as he pulled his shirt over his head. A lot later.

Chapter Text

Magic was supposed to be the weirdest thing she'd ever seen, so why the hell were there random muggles running around Italy with their hands and weapons on fire?

And more than that, why the hell was the fire multi-coloured? Seriously, she'd seen every colour of the rainbow appear when the mafia decided to fight in public – it was disturbingly easy to figure out they were organised crime – though some were a lot more destructive than others. Aster vividly remembered some guy with waist-length silver hair screaming and shouting while waving around a sword covered in light-blue fire.

What the actual fuck?

It didn't help that Luna kept dropping hints with that dreamy smile of hers telling Aster she was in the right place for it to happen. For what to happen? Didn't Luna realise all she was doing was giving Aster high blood pressure? Here she was, not even a year past the war and living in Italy for no apparent reason.

At least she had a fun job, even if it didn't use magic. Despite being made to cook non-stop for the Dursleys for years, Aster actually really enjoyed cooking and had managed to get a job working in a restaurant where she waited tables and learned from the head chef, a round and cheerful old man that seemed to love teaching others how to make food. Giorgio was clearly a family man and delighted in regaling Aster with stories of his eight children and twenty-five grandchildren.

She couldn't tell if the idea of that family reunion made her jealous or stressed.

One of her fellow waitresses wandered over with a panicked look. “Aster! You need to be careful!”

“Ella? What's wrong?”

“You have a mafioso in your section, he's dangerous!”

Aster warily peered around the taller woman and looked over at her table in the back corner which was currently being given a wide berth by everyone else. The man was clearly tall, several inches over six foot if she was right, dressed in a plain but expensive white shirt and black trousers, with calf-high lace-up boots and a black jacket casually hanging over the back of his chair. His skin was olive-toned and scarred, though no place more than his face which was covered in angry welts. The man's hair was black and spiky like hers was when it was short, and he had the most intriguing shade of scarlet eyes set in a stern face.

If she was being honest, he was hot.

“If anything, I'd say he looks more hungry than anything,” she replied dryly. “This is a restaurant, Ella.”

Ignoring her pale colleague, Aster confidently strode through the tables towards the criminal with a calm smile on her face, thinking of nothing more than this man was indeed very good-looking and how she really needed to start dating again and soon. (This man might be mafia but she'd killed a Dark Lord at seventeen, she had a different idea as to what constituted 'dangerous' than most.)

“Good afternoon, sir! Welcome to Giorgio's! Can I get you anything to drink?”

The man turned to her with a faint look of incredulity as his eyes subtly looked her over, though not in a leering way which immediately won him points with Aster. No woman liked being eyed up like meat. (McClaggen had never learned, even after having his nose broken several times.)

“Hmm.”

While he wasn't much of a conversationalist, years of playing Seeker had sharpened her peripheral vision and she noticed his fingers twitch towards a certain listing on the menu out the corner of her eye.

“Certainly.” She jotted down the expensive wine before looking up once more. “Would you care to order now, or would you prefer a few moments to decide?”

“… Steak.”

Aster beamed at him. “As you wish, sir!”

The woman turned and once more made use of her extraordinary vision, though this time she noticed a squat man unsubtly making his way towards her newest customer, reaching into his jacket pocket and pulling out something that glinted in the sunlight.

Now, while Aster Potter might have been small and slim like the perfect Seeker, Oliver Wood had discovered that she was also surprisingly suited towards being a Beater when she almost broke his arm by launching a Bludger at him from over forty feet away at breakneck speed.

So Aster took one look at the heavy bust in front of her – which she knew wasn't a collectable, thankfully – and used her tray to whack the thing hard towards the man who was trying to commit murder in broad daylight, and watched with delight as it hit him square in the face.

There was a loud crack where the ornament made contact with the idiot's face, then a subsequent shattering sound as the bust broke apart, and a satisfying crack as the man fell backwards and smacked his head on the wall, knocking himself out before he fell to the floor unconscious.

Aster grinned. She loved it when things went to plan.

A few seconds later there was pandemonium as people were running around screaming, and she had to calmly explain she'd seen the idiot try to pull a gun in a family restaurant, which was confirmed when someone searched his pockets. Seeing as how one of the customers was both a Police detective and a friend of Giorgio, the unsuccessful gunman was soon being pulled away to Aster's satisfaction.

She smirked for a second before paling rapidly. “Oh shit, I forgot his order!”

A rumbling laugh emanated from behind her and she spun around before craning her neck back to see the supposedly 'dangerous' mafioso laughing at her from just inches away.

Aster pouted. “Why are you laughing at me?”

The man grinned showing too many teeth to be friendly as his eyes glinted. “You're an interesting woman.”

She cocked her head to the side. “I am?”

He smirked and she noticed it was a very nice expression on him.

“Xanxus.”

It took her a few seconds before she realised it was his name and she grinned, holding out her hand.

“Aster.”

One thing she noticed when he took her hand was how much his dwarfed hers, his fingers wrapping around her slim digits entirely. The other thing was the strange and overwhelming sensation emanating from her core and forming a quick but rather solid bond to the man in front of her, and she gaped when she could feel him intimately and entirely.

A similar look of shock entered crimson eyes before Xanxus smirked dangerously.

“Hello, Cloud.”

What.

She had no idea what had happened and what he meant by that, but if there was one thing she knew it was this.

Aster was going to murder Luna when she got the chance.

Chapter Text

Harry stood in front of the mirror and once more happily cursed Death in as many languages as possible.

Why people thought being the Master of Death was a good thing Harry had no idea, when all that had happened was being reincarnated into another world after they died. And again. And again.

Harry honestly had no clue how many worlds they'd been in now, and that didn't even get into the fact that they were once more a girl in this world (though at least they still had the same colouring). Not that they hadn't had any experience with this before so Harry just accepted it and moved on as per usual.

Which was easier to accept than ninjas. Even so, despite ninjas being weird, fighting was something Harry had grown accustomed to and had signed up with only the slightest amount of trepidation.

Harry Potter, wizard. Haru, kunoichi.

This is now my life. Haru looked into the mirror, noting their standard uniform and grimaced, the reminder of the war a sobering thought.

Haru sighed again before straightening and narrowing their eyes. They had a mission and they'd do it, no matter what.

Konoha was Haru's home.


Haru had never been so grateful for their obscure interest in fuinjutsu than now.

Fighting in a war as a teenager tends to make you paranoid after a while, and Haru was well-versed in creating traps which they used on all their missions as a precaution. A precaution which had paid off well, seeing as their seals had captured several foreign shinobi making off with some of Haru's comrades.

What the hell have I stumbled into?

Everyone was on the ground unconscious, but the issue was that Haru was supposed to be on a solo mission and avoid contact with even allies for secrecy's sake.

As Haru was pondering the correct procedure, they automatically brought up a kunai to parry the sword aiming for their neck before jumping backwards, twisting to get a look at who'd tried to take their head off.

Haru's eyes widened. “Hatake-san.”

Hatake Sakumo was admittedly a gorgeous man, tall and lean, with long silver hair and dark slate eyes. He didn't look so friendly right now, but Haru had a feeling that those on the ground were the reason for that.

The man paused and narrowed his eyes, looking Haru over in a clinical fashion before meeting their eyes. “I know you, you work in the Genjutsu department.”

“Fuinjutsu,” Haru corrected, knowing Sakumo was trying to determine if Haru was an enemy in disguise. “The flames burn to protect the king, who in turn preserves the fire of us all.”

It was a strange code, but one that worked to assure the man of their status as a comrade and Haru watched the man relax.

“What happened?”

That voice should be illegal. “As of six minutes ago, four shinobi of unknown origins made their way across my barrier while carrying apparent hostages, triggering the release of sleeping gas which immediately took them out of play. I subsequently secured everyone with chakra-suppressing cuffs and administered the antidote to the gas, though I haven't yet interrogated anyone to determine identities or mission parameters.”

It was best to assure the man that his team hadn't been harmed by the seals, and indeed Sakumo had relaxed minutely upon hearing that. “Thank you … ?”

“Haru. Just Haru, I'm an orphan.”

He nodded, no pity in his eyes which was a nice bonus. “Thank you, Haru-san. I owe you.”

Haru was going to refute him, but then looked at the man again. “Actually, Hatake-san. There is something you could do for me, if you don't mind.”

Sakumo raised a brow. “Oh?”

“My mission clearly stated I was to avoid contact with anyone else, even others from Konoha. If you could avoid telling your team of the truth about my involvement and only reveal the circumstances to Hokage-same in private, I would very much appreciate it.”

The man smiled widely at Haru and they could feel the tell-tale heat of a blush working its way across their face. God, this is embarrassing. I hope he doesn't notice. Though considering the amused glint in his eyes, he did in fact notice and Haru started praying for the ground to swallow them whole.

“That'll be fine, Haru-san. I'm well-aware of secrecy when it comes to missions. Nobody will know you were part of this.”

Haru thanked the man and bowed in a slightly flustered manner before packing up their things and leaving the older man to his team and mission, sprinting off through the trees while thinking of dark grey eyes and a wicked grin.

They never knew they'd irrevocably changed the history of this world by being a bit paranoid.


Haru lifted their head at the knock on the door and stood up, stretching their back out quickly and wincing at the cracks.

Though they were thankful they'd managed to avoid any higher ranked missions recently ever since Hatake Sakumo's team had essentially expedited the end of the war by months if not years, they were admittedly getting a little restless. Haru briefly wondered what would have happened if their seal array hadn't been there to catch the enemy and shrugged; it couldn't have been that bad, surely.

They made their way through the flat, wondering who'd be coming to see Haru now. They didn't have a lot of friends, and Shikaku might be off today but he was too lazy to actually seek Haru out of his own volition.

Haru got to the door of their apartment and opened it, coming face-to-face with a very bright yellow and blinked rapidly. There was a bouquet of daffodils in their face, the colour a massive distinction to the darker uniform of the one holding them. Haru tilted their head back and looked up, meeting slate eyes once more and blinking rapidly.

“Hatake-san?”

Sakumo smiled, the expression bordering on a smirk and Haru felt their cheeks darken again despite their best efforts. Damn it, you're not supposed to blush at him like a schoolgirl! You're a grown adult, act like one!

“These are for you,” he said, holding out the flowers.

Haru gently took the flowers and smiled despite the embarrassment. They really were lovely. “Thank you.”

“You're welcome, Haru-san. On another note, are you free this evening?”

They blinked. “Free?”

“Would you like to get dinner with me this evening?”

Haru blushed deeply and froze, wondering if it was a good idea to get involved with someone in the current climate before questioning when on earth they had ever done the logical thing and inwardly snorted. Might not be the right lifetime, but I'm still a Gryffindor.

They looked up at the man and nodded with a smile. “I'd love to.”

As Sakumo beamed and started making plans, Haru re-evaluated their plan for this lifetime.

I'm going to be happy for once, consequences be damned.

Chapter Text

Harry sighed and kicked a pebble, watching as it bounced along the path before ending up in the grass to the left.

He didn't know why the hell Ginny was so determined to make sure they got back together but it was pissing him off. He didn't want to be with her any more, yet apparently his own thoughts and opinions meant jack shit in comparison to what she wanted.

He wanted to look after Teddy who was now his son by adoption, he wanted to learn about the families he was now Head of, and no matter how much his ex accused him of abandoning her he wasn't going to let her railroad her into doing what she wanted. He'd broken up with her before the war because he wanted to protect her, but afterwards he'd changed too much to want to start up again just because everyone expected him to be a picture-perfect copy of James Potter.

Walking through Hyde Park and kicking stones probably wasn't the best way to spend his time, but he was getting dangerously close to lashing out at Ginny and saying something he couldn't take back. It was even more exasperating when even Molly had told him not to mind Ginny and do what he wanted. If the woman who dreamed of securing her children's happiness above all else could accept the relationship wasn't going to happen, why couldn't her daughter?

Harry took a deep breath and turned a corner, pausing and blinking rapidly to see if his eyesight was acting up. There was no way Astoria Greengrass, perfect pure-blood daughter was wearing muggle jeans and a hoody while swinging her feet back and forth as she sat on a bench in muggle London.

Though seeing as the picture wasn't changing, maybe she was.

He thought about walking away from her, but the look of complete and utter abject misery on her face made him think twice. Just because he didn't really know her didn't mean he was comfortable leaving the younger woman to her depression alone.

Harry made his way over slowly, giving her a chance to notice him which she did, ice-blue eyes peering up at him with surprise. Harry noticed that Astoria was rather beautiful now he actually thought about it, with dark honey-blonde hair in comparison to her sister's golden tone, and flawless pale skin. She had delicate features with extraordinarily long lashes and soft, plump lips, and Harry was struck with the question of how the hell was I this dense for years not to notice her?

“Lord Potter-Black?”

Ah, the joys of pure-blood propriety. “Miss Greengrass. Do you mind if I join you?” Harry nodded at the bench.

She looked wary but capitulated. “Not at all. Please.”

He sat down, making sure there was a few feet between them before turning to Astoria. “How are you enjoying muggle London, Miss Greengrass?”

The woman gazed at him blankly before any composure essentially snapped and she looked at him incredulously. “Are you kidding me? Is that really what you want to know, Potter?”

“Well, what I want to know doesn't really matter, Greengrass. What matters is what you want to talk about. I mean, if you want to sit here and make small talk about nothing in particular we can, and if you want to get into anything else I'm here to listen. What you want to say is entirely your prerogative.”

At her bewildered look he smirked. “I know people seem to think of me as oblivious with no tact, but I'd like to think I'm a bit better than that.”

She smiled ruefully before shaking her head. “You're not the typical lion, are you?”

The words of a certain hat flashed through his head and Harry grinned. “Well, that's a story for another time.”

The quiet of the park was rather comforting, the background noise filling in the silence of the conversation and acting as a nice balm to Harry's recent headache. Maybe I should bring Teddy here soon.

“My parents want to betroth me to Malfoy.”

Ouch. “My condolences.”

She snorted before slapping a hand over her mouth with wide eyes. Harry took one look at Astoria's expression before throwing his head back and laughing out loud, heedless of anyone around him. She looked so free and casual, but the look of disgust on her face was what was really hilarious.

Harry cleared his throat and turned to the woman with a considering look. “Will your parents listen to you if you tell them you don't want to?”

Astoria sighed. “Probably, but they've discussed a marriage between Malfoy and I for years. They're business partners with the Malfoys and they want to keep the families close. They want me happy but they don't want to lose an opportunity to tie the Greengrasses and Malfoys together.

“Another issue is that my sister's being set up with a wizard from France when I'm sure she actually likes Malfoy, and I don't want her hating me for being with the man she has feelings for. Even if he is a slimy git,” she finished with a dark mutter.

“Hmm … That does sound like an issue. But why don't your parents just betroth Daphne to Malfoy? That'll fix that issue. I know she might find it difficult to explain, but surely the prospect of being with the person she wants as well as preventing her sister from being married to someone she doesn't is attractive enough to do something about,” Harry mused.

“You forget, I'm still from a wealthy pure-blood family that wants me married to a decent man to further their own position,” Astoria explained with a frown.

Harry suddenly had the most ridiculous idea that didn't sound like it had the slightest chance of working out in his favour. It was more than a little presumptuous, it relied on Astoria being a hell of a lot more daring than the average Slytherin – which he had no clue about – and it would be a very firm 'fuck off' to all the random women of their world who thought they could get their claws into him. Of course it would also help Astoria massively in avoiding a very shitty marriage, but he wouldn't deny the benefits to himself.

He grinned at the woman next to him, enjoying her sudden look of unease. “What would your parents think about a celebrity with two separate titles that need passing on to two separate children, meaning the woman that married this person would be the Lady of two Houses and the mother of two future Lords or Ladies?”

Astoria gaped at him for a few seconds before narrowing her eyes, the icy colour reflecting the inner danger of the witch. “And what do you get out of this?”

Harry smirked. “The aforementioned children to carry on my families, connections for them to start growing again, not to mention a wife that is a very clear sign that those silly girls who follow me around haven't a chance in hell of being Lady Potter-Black.”

“Would it be wrong to assume that one Ginevra Weasley is one of those 'silly girls'?” Astoria questioned with a teasing smile.

“I suppose you wouldn't be entirely wrong,” he revealed airily.

She laughed and Harry was astounded by how lively she looked when happy. There was a flush on her cheeks and her lips were pulled wide across her face in a carefree grin. It was a far sight from the torn expression from earlier and Harry wanted to keep her this way.

“You know, that's probably the most unromantic proposal I've ever had.”

Harry shrugged. “I'd say sorry, but something tells me you aren't actually that bothered.”

Astoria giggled. “Truth be told, I can't wait to see the expression on my father's face when he finds out I'm going to marry Harry Potter.”

Harry raised a brow and mock glared. “You know, that's probably the most unromantic proposal acceptance I've ever had.”

The woman smirked at him and he found himself returning the expression. What's she up to now?

“I think we should start off this relationship with some actual romance.”

Before Harry could question Astoria, he found himself with a lapful of blonde Slytherin and a rather enthusiastic tongue in his mouth.

Alright then.

He hadn't thought plans for a marriage and a relationship were on today's agenda, but he wasn't complaining.

Hyde Park was amazing.

Chapter Text

“Ow.”

He knew it wasn't the most original thing to say upon waking up in the hospital, but his head bloody well hurt.

Fred sort of remembered a wall exploding and a bit of brick smacking into the back of his head, but after that he was completely blank. He supposed he'd been knocked out or something, but he couldn't remember anything right now.

“Bloody hell, my head's as blank as Ron's homework.”

A strangled snort sounded from his right and he looked over to see a pained grin on his twin's face. He grinned back and waved, the movement a bit off from sleep.

“Hey, Gred. What happened to snake-face? Don't tell me he grew his nose back or something.”

George grinned shakily before his face dropped and his shoulders sagged, leaning over so his head was on top of the bed. He grabbed Fred's hand and squeezed, hard. Fred felt more alert than ever as a feeling of dread sunk into his stomach. Please, don't tell me …

“We won. We won, but … people died. So many on our side, and I just –” George stopped and took a deep breath, head still on the covers. “Hestia, Lavender, Sinistra …”

He paused for a second before continuing in a pained voice. “Tonks and Remus are dead.”

Fred clenched his eyes shut and drew in a sharp breath. The older woman was brilliant, was even a distant cousin to them and always made sure to put a smile on everyone's face. And Remus, Moony, he was one of their favourite professors ever. He was such a kind man, but firm in his beliefs and so gentle with everyone. And Teddy, Jesus that kid doesn't have parents any more.

Like Harry.

At that thought he froze. What happened to Harry?

“He's fine.”

Fred turned to identical brown eyes, realising he'd spoken out loud. “He's fine?”

“… Somehow.”

He narrowed his eyes. “George.”

“He –” George cut off with a sigh and ran his fingers through his hair. “Harry walked into the Forbidden Forest and let Voldemort kill him with a Killing Curse, martyring himself so everyone else could live. Just because he's alive now doesn't mean he's mentally okay.”

Fred listened as his other half spoke, the words gripping his heart like an icy vice and squeezing. Harry martyred himself. He died. For them. For everyone who sat on their arses and did nothing, for those who called him a lying psycho, for the gits that praised him but didn't lift a finger to help.

Bloody self-sacrificing moron.

“Where is he?”

George studied him with narrowed eyes before smiling widely. “He's at Grimmauld Place. I'll help you sneak out and go find our favourite green-eyed imp.”

Fred nodded and stood up. “Brilliant.”

Not five minutes later Fred was dressed and preparing to sneak out with George's clothes before his twin turned to him with a devilish smirk that set off all manner of mental alarms.

“By the way, dearest brother of mine,” said George from his spot lounging on the hospital bed, “make sure to tell Harrikins everything on your mind.

“After all,” he purred with a salacious grin, “I can't wait to have a cute little brother-in-law.”

Fred felt his face burn and he spun and fled, resolutely ignoring his twin's roaring laughs and trying to figure it out.

How the fuck did he know?!


“You're okay.”

The breathless exclamation, the sheer joy in the emerald eyes and the happiness on Harry's face was enough to obliterate his plans in an instant.

Fred had decided to come over to Grimmauld Place to see if his friend was in the right place mentally, maybe make him laugh a bit and drag him back to The Burrow to immerse him in the family. No matter what George said he didn't want to burden Harry with his feelings right now after such an emotional time. They'd fought in a war, there was no way things could start working out so quickly.

Instead Harry had looked at him like he hung the stars, and Fred's thoughts were 'fuck it'.

He strode determinedly over to the smaller man and grabbed his face, angling his face up as he bent down to press their lips together. At Harry's intake of breath Fred pressed harder, wrapping one arm around Harry's waist and licking into his mouth with desperation. He'd nearly died. He'd nearly died, and the person he was in love with would have never known, and he would never have known if Harry would have given him a chance.

He wasn't going to play safe any more.

Harry lifted his arms and wrapped them around Fred's neck, pulling him closer and kissing back just as enthusiastically. Fred felt his pulse race as he noticed the other man's physical excitement, but before he could try and calm them down Harry pulled back and gazed up at him with piercing eyes.

“You nearly died.”

Fred swallowed heavily. “I did.”

“Please don't leave me.”

He looked down into beseeching green orbs and nodded carefully, leaning down once more to seal his promise.

“Never.”

Chapter Text

On the one hand, Rhea thought she should feel bad about murdering her fellow student, but on the other hand it was Tom Riddle.

Said future-megalomaniac had in fact already killed Myrtle and done his dodgy immortality ritual on his 'woe-is-me' diary, so she honestly couldn't bring herself to actually care that much. It might have made her heartless, but the bastard would go onto murder countless people for no real reason, her parents included, so she just shrugged her shoulders and turned around, making her way back up to the infamous bathroom.

After all, who was going to think perfect Prefect Tom Riddle had been eaten by a basilisk?


Dumbledore was watching her, she could tell.

The time-travelling Potter supposed it was rather strange, a mysterious Potter nobody had heard of turning up at Hogwarts, then a well-known student going missing just one month later. And yeah, she actually was responsible, but the bastard needed to calm down! At least she got off her arse and did something about the creep. Hell, she even managed to get an anonymous letter to Hagrid to move his 'cute' spider into the forest before he could get expelled! It really wasn't that hard to get things done.

But back to Dumbledore. The Transfiguration teacher kept eyeing her with suspicion wherever she went, but Rhea had long since learned the trick to appearing oblivious to annoying looks; it used to drive Aunt Petunia hilariously crazy. Rhea Potter was a serious and introverted Ravenclaw who always had her head buried in a book, how could she possibly be involved in this fiasco?

Oh, how she loved having respected people vouch for her.

She definitely hadn't expected to land in a heap in the front room of Potter Manor in nineteen forty-three in her teenaged body – still can't figure that one out, but oh well – but her great-grandfather Henry was actually rather accommodating all things considered. He thought her situation was hilarious, even with the Dark Lord stuff she told him.

Through the power of lies, Rhea was now the daughter of a widowed Fleamont Potter – what the actual fuck? – and had transferred to Hogwarts to begin socialising with her magical peers.

Of course, the reality was that she'd shipped herself off to school for the sake of removing a rather irritating murderer from this plane of existence before he became an insane murderer and therefore more of a problem in the future. (Surprisingly, her plans were enthusiastically supported by Fleamont and Henry, so she had to wonder why everyone thought the House of Potter was so pure and innocent. It was such bullshit.)

“I know you had something to do with it.”

Rhea didn't even twitch at the voice and simply paused her reading, sliding her bookmark between the pages and lifting her head to see who thought they knew the truth.

And swore internally at the sight of Abraxas Malfoy.

Abraxas was admittedly attractive, much like Lucius and Draco of the future, but Abraxas had a touch more masculinity to his looks and demeanour. He didn't look as physically weak or uptight as his descendants; Rhea had born witness to the Malfoy scion participating in fast-paced duels before, paying no attention to the accumulated sweat and grime and whatever else that collected on his person.

Not only was Abraxas Malfoy more powerful than his future family – physically and magically – he was smarter, never loudly posturing and bragging about his family unless it was concerning objective facts that couldn't be refuted. He was quietly confident, his silver eyes brimming with self-assurance as he stalked the castle halls, looking perfectly put-together but willing to throw himself into the fray if needed.

Rhea hated that he was attractive and smart, it was a deadly combination.

“Mister Malfoy,” she spoke with a nod. “I'm sure I have no knowledge as to what it is you are referring. Is there something I should be made aware of?”

The boy – more of a man, really – raised a thin brow in an unimpressed manner. “Miss Potter, the two of us are aware that we're isolated at this very moment, nobody around to hear this conversation.” He leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs, gazing at her with assessing eyes. “I simply wished to thank you for removing the problem.”

Oh? This is interesting. Rhea was intrigued, and rather amused, if she was being honest with herself. (So she was a bit twisted, sue her.)

“I'm afraid you'll have to a bit more specific, Mister Malfoy.”

Thin lips twitched into a smirk. “Is that so? Well, let me be frank with you, Miss Potter. Thank you for swiftly and surely removing one Tom Riddle from the picture, he was beginning to become a nuisance.”

She cocked her head to the side, giving up on the oblivious act entirely. “I thought the two of you were friends?”

Abraxas huffed, mouth twisting in a grimace. “A political ally, nothing more, nothing less. Well, he was going to be until he decided extremism was the way forward. He failed to understand that politics would have effected real change considering the families he was courting, then he threw all caution to the wind and decided murder was the way forward. Idiot,” the blonde scoffed.

“I see. It seems many will be pleased by this outcome.” Who knew the other Slytherins wanted him gone, too? He must have really screwed them over for them to keep following him.

“Indeed.” Abraxas turned grey orbs onto her once more, studying her Killing Curse eyes as if he could pluck the answers he wanted from her mind. Which he couldn't, because Henry enjoyed giving her charmed jewellery that would fuck with the nefarious plans of others, for apparently no other reasons than he was a sadistic bastard. (Rhea was finally understanding just how Henry Potter had pissed off someone so much that the Potters were excluded from the Sacred Twenty-Eight: he was a genius at it.)

“Miss Potter, would you be willing to divulge just how you accomplished such a feat in such a short span of time?”

Rhea supposed she should be more concerned that she was indirectly admitting murder to someone like Abraxas Malfoy, but she was honestly the most entertained she'd been in years. This was a fun conversation, even if the topic was more macabre than most would deem acceptable.

She grinned wickedly, appreciating the interest from the man in front of her and said, “Mister Malfoy, are you really asking a young woman for her personal secrets without getting to know her first? Shame on you.”

Her teasing voice elicited a decidedly gorgeous smirk on the blonde before he replied. “I suppose that was rather forward of me, wasn't it? Please forgive me, Miss Potter.” He stood up and walked around the low table until he was dead in front of her, so close that Rhea had to bend her neck back rather uncomfortably just to see him clearly.

“Miss Potter, would you do me the honours of accompanying me to Hogsmeade on our next weekend excursion? I promise I'll even find appropriate chaperones.”

On the one hand, Rhea knew she should probably be more than cautious accepting the proposal with Malfoy, but on the other hand when had she ever thought things through all the way?

She smirked up at him. “I would love to.”

Silver eyes glinted with mischief she wouldn't have thought possible on a member of this particular family, the owner looking just a tad smug as he lifted her hand to brush his lips across the back of her knuckles.

This life was going to be fun.

Chapter Text

Eighth year was … difficult, to put it simply.

Everywhere she looked, she saw battles, flashes of deadly spells, blood coating the walls, bodies falling …

She couldn't even walk down the corridor where Fred died.

Euphemia found herself by the Thestrals, simply gazing up at the skeletal creatures as they mingled in the forest. She knew Luna had already fed them today, not even two hours ago if Euphemia was right, so they weren't bothering her for food or anything, just letting her observe as she tried to do something about the screaming in her head.

'Tried' being the operative word in that sentence.

Being on the run for a year had done wonders for her instincts (sense the sarcasm), and the sound of crunching leaves to her left had Euphemia up and wand drawn in a split-second, her faithful holly pointed at the sound of someone approaching. She kept it up until the person walked into the clearing, pausing at the sight of a highly-strung and armed Euphemia Potter. (Sometimes she wondered how she appeared to others, but she decided she had enough to worry about as it was. She'd rather not know.)

“Potter.”

The other woman definitely wasn't the same girl as before, with dark circles under her eyes, long blonde hair limp and uncared for, even the confident composure had been replaced by sagged shoulders and a weary shuffle.

She hated it, but Euphemia could empathise with Daphne Greengrass a lot right now.

She looked into blue eyes and flushed, hastily stuffing her wand away and turning her head. “Sorry about that, I'm just …”

“It's fine, I get it,” Daphne replied with a grimace.

That was the sad thing about their class; everyone in their year that returned – that could return – got it. Intimately. How bloody ironic was it that all Houses were finally on the same page, and it only took a war and their school becoming a battlefield to do it?

“Do you mind if I watch the Thestrals as well?”

Euphemia looked back at the other girl and wanted to laugh, though she knew it would probably be hysterical and more than a little worrying. How pathetic was it that they were reduced to wanting companionship so badly they'd sit on the dirty forest floor and look at creatures that were associated with death?

Eighth year was definitely difficult.

“Go ahead,” she murmured, moving back to her original spot against the tree, shuffling over to give the other girl more room. A minute later another body joined her on the dirt, and the two of them sat in silence and watched the no-longer-invisible creatures.

For once, the silence wasn't so loud.


Euphemia never would have thought she'd one day call Daphne Greengrass a friend, but here they were.

Every day for the past six months they'd visited the Thestrals at the same time, sat in silence and soaked up the lack of anything to sooth the sheer wrongness of the world around them. They didn't always go at the same time exactly, and one of them usually had to leave at some point before the other, but there was always a time when they were together.

Then they started talking, mundane little conversations about their lessons, or the Thestrals, even some amused reminiscing about some of their funnier past lessons or professors – though never the ones who'd passed on, no way.

Soon after, they were making plans to walk to the forest together, wrapping up warm in the winter cold and bringing food from the kitchens – treacle tart for Euphemia and apple pie for Daphne – and practicing heating charms so they wouldn't freeze to death.

Eighth year was starting to be … less difficult, for some reason.

As she threw a lump of raw meat at one of the baby Thestrals, she turned to see Daphne laughing at the scene, a red flush on her cheeks and hair shining once more, and Euphemia finally realised.


“What are you doing after graduation?”

Euphemia turned sideways to see Daphne munching on a sandwich, looking rather blasé and uninterested, which she would have believed if not for the tense line of her shoulders and the way her blonde head was determinedly facing away from Euphemia. She felt her heart thud heavily and wondered not for the first time if she'd ever have a chance to be happy for once.

She'd tried with Fred, but trying hadn't been enough.

“I … don't actually know. You know I was going to be an Auror, but the thought kind of turns my stomach now. I … is it selfish for me to say I want to take some time and figure things out?”

A pale hand was suddenly wrapped around hers and squeezing tightly, though the appendage was shaking terribly, and Euphemia could suddenly feel her heart in her throat for reasons she couldn't understand.

Daphne cleared her throat. “I'm going travelling after school. My family has a few houses across Europe and America, even one in Australia, so I want to go out and see the world. Tracey … it's something she wanted to do, and I want to do it in her memory.

“Come with me and figure things out on the way.”

Euphemia watched as Daphne finally turned to face her, wide blue eyes flashing with terror and determination, hope and resignation. Daphne Greengrass wasn't someone who usually bared her soul for anyone, especially not after losing her girlfriend in the war, and Euphemia was floored at the trust she was being shown right now.

And she wanted.

“Yes,” she breathed quietly, throat too raw to say anything louder. She nodded her head rapidly, beaming like she hadn't for years, like she hadn't since Sirius had told her she was his family.

As Daphne leaned forward and sealed their lips together, Euphemia finally felt free of burdens, even if it was only going to be for a short while. If that were the case, she'd embrace this warm and cherish the moment.

Eighth year was freeing for once.

Chapter Text

Harry strode out of the bank, trying not to shake his head at the vicious grins he'd just escaped from minutes before. Goblins were bloodthirsty creatures at the best of times, and it seemed that igniting their love of brutal vengeance just made them even worse.

Granted, taking a one-way trip back through time by using goblin magic certainly opened up a great many avenues for revenge, but Harry had far more to worry about than the warrior race using his future knowledge to spite all their enemies, genuine or perceived.

Voldemort had made a complete and utter mess of their society, and Harry just wanted to live somewhere that wasn't overrun with rampant ignorance, stupidity, and segregation. Was that really too much to ask?

(He wasn't even going to answer that question in the privacy of his own mind.)

There was also the desire – perhaps selfishly, but he definitely deserved it at this point – to simply be happy. To have a home of his own, a working life he enjoyed, a partner he trusted (and hopefully loved), and children that he adored. Harry didn't care how contrived or cliched his desires might sound, that was simply what he wanted.

All in all, giving up a dissatisfying existence where he was truly miserable for the mere possibility of happiness wasn't that difficult in the end.

Hence why he was now walking out of Gringotts as Lord Hardwin Linfred Peverell, completely ready to be someone entirely knew.

He knew it was rather extreme changing nearly every aspect of his name, but it still provided him with links to the Potters, while also allowing him a clean slate for this new life. It was invigorating.

Harry was only twenty-five; he had his whole life ahead of him. Now he even had the chance to live it. The goblins were already sending curse-breaking teams off to the Horcrux locations, and the insane Dark Lord plaguing the country would soon be put down before he had the chance to truly rise.

As he turned a corner, absentmindedly studying the differences in Diagon Alley between his time and the early seventies, he felt himself collide with a hard chest and tripped forward rather ungracefully. A pair of leanly muscled arms came up to catch Harry, holding him steady against a warm chest that was wonderfully flat and hard. (Yet another sign that his tryst with Ginny had been nothing but wishful thinking for normality on his part.)

Harry felt himself blush at his clumsiness – nobody was going to take him seriously if he couldn't even walk without tripping over his own feet – and cursed silently, pulling himself back and straightening his robes. After taking a deep breath, Harry pasted a polite smile on his face and looked up at his unfortunate target.

And very nearly gaped at resemblance to his godfather.

Orion Black certainly cut an imposing figure, standing at just over six foot tall, with lean muscles that he remembered seeing on photographs of Sirius and Reglus as teenagers. The silky black curls fell to strong shoulders like how his godfather wore it, and those sharp silver eyes were identical to both his sons. The current Heir Black was, without a doubt, an intimidating individual, and definitely not one to accidentally walk into.

Harry blushed, noting the man's large hands were still holding his upper arms. “My apologies, Heir Black. I didn't mean to cause any issue or accidentally interrupt your day out.”

Grey eyes flicked down to Harry's own hand before returning to meet green orbs deliberately. “It is of no consequence, Lord … ?”

He flushed again – the curse of inheriting his redheaded mother's complexion – and cleared his throat. “I'm sorry, please forgive my lapse in manners. My name is Hardwin, Lord of The Ancient House of Peverell.”

Grey eyes widened minutely and Orion's mouth opened, likely to question the existence of his House for the past several centuries, but the opportunity was taken by a terrible screeching voice the next street over.

“Orion! Orion, where are you?”

The man in question subtly cringed at the sound of his wife – a woman whose presence was definitely a negative to his trip through time – and tightened his grip on Harry's arms. Whether it was deliberate or not was unknown, but before Harry could think it through he was moving, essentially being bodily dragged down the street and pulled into a darkened alcove at the side of a small bookshelf.

The two wizards were hidden by standing advertisements and stacks of books at least ten feet high, but all Harry could think about was the warm body pressed tightly against his own, the heady feeling in his mind swirling at the enticing proximity.

“Do I even want to know why you're avoiding your wife, Heir Black?”

Orion peered down at him and raised a brow, lips twisted into a lazy smirk. “Do I even need to explain why I'm avoiding my wife, Lord Peverell?”

That voice really isn't good for my composure. The deep tone, slightly rough but tempered with the clear accent would have been enough, but the sheer masculinity of Orion Black's voice was enough to make Harry lose his head.

“I …”

“Forgive me, but Blacks aren't prone to denying themselves when they desire something,” the taller man murmured. “Or someone.”

Before he could comprehend his meaning, Harry found himself pressed against uneven bricks, wickedly skilful hands stroking and rubbing his neck and waist, all the while trying not to drown in the sea of kisses being delivered to his mouth.

Orion's mouth was hot, the heat of his soft lips almost scalding as they forced their way onto his, taking and taking with no reprieve. If that weren't enough, the deadly tongue dancing with his in rushed strokes, mimicking what could be later on between the sheets, was more than enough to make him dizzy with need. And want. So much want.

Harry felt lightheaded from desire, a tingling sensation flowing through his veins as he kissed back as much as he physically could. He practically molded his body to the Black's front, delighting in the evidence of the other man's enjoyment. A lot of enjoyment if what Harry could feel was correct.

After what felt like hours, though he couldn't tell anyone if they asked, the two men pulled back for air, gasping in unison as they held each other tight. Harry had no doubt his lips were bruised, hair a mess and clothes more than a little ruffled, but he felt … light. Good. He felt happier than he had in months, years even.

“Merlin, that was …” Silver eyes opened slightly to study him, the heat still visible making Harry's stomach clench. “Please tell me you're planning to stick around in Britain.”

“Yes,” Harry breathed quietly, wondering where this exchange was going.

“Good. I think it's time I finally went ahead and got that divorce I was thinking about.”

Harry choked on his breath. “What?!”

A thin brow was raised in response. “Are you currently in a relationship with anyone else?”

Harry just shook his head, bewildered – yet admittedly delighted – at this turn of events.

The man pushed his face closer to Harry's, breath mingling as they breathed. It was intoxicating.

“You soon will be.”

Harry sank into the second kiss, slower than before but no less sensual for it. Orion Black was a deadly flame, and he felt as powerless as a moth. This man was married, heir to one of the wealthiest and darkest families in the country, had two children, and was a man that Harry once though of as an evil pure-blood supremacist that tortured his own sons. Clearly, something had been lost in translation over the years.

Orion Black was forty-three years of age, powerful and deadly, decidedly not the weak-willed man that Sirius had described all those years ago, and so, so desirable that Harry was content to jump head first into the heat he now craved.

The Black pulled back again and pecked Harry's lips before stepping away, studying Harry with a heavy intent that had him pinching himself lest he follow Orion forward and reveal his desire for all to see. He'd once thought he had some morals concerning propriety, but that was before being snogged senseless in a dingy corner like a horny teenager.

The sounds of Walburga Black's harsh voice floated over to them once more and Orion grimaced, casually fingering his wand where he stood. The man pursed his lips slightly before smirking at Harry, gazing intently at Harry's mouth. Being wanted was a heady thing.

Orion winked at Harry and turned away down the street, pausing briefly to turn back around and send Harry a look of smug self-satisfaction.

“Be seeing you soon, my Lord.”

And with that, Harry was left wondering whether or not he still had any self-control left to his name, or whether he was now set to be Orion Black's new partner.

Harry flushed and touched his fingers to his lips. Considering what the man was packing under his clothes, he certainly had no complaints about that path.

He pushed away the indecent thoughts and gazed up the alley, considering how this would change the fate of their gossiping society.

Oh well, only one way to find out.

Chapter Text

Harry sighed and ducked back the way he came, anything to avoid the crowds again.

It wasn't his fault he was a Parselmouth! How was he to know what that even meant?! And really, why was a language considered evil in and of itself? It was madness. People were bonkers.

“Bloody mental, the lot of them,” he huffed to himself.

And yeah, maybe he was still annoyed at everyone taking out their fear on him, but they were so bloody hypocritical it was ridiculous. So, he was a hero and whatnot when they wanted him to be, but he was also a murdering liar when it suited them without listening to any other explanation?

It was like being back at the Dursleys, and that wasn't a comparison he thought he'd ever make of Hogwarts.

The sound of cruel laughter, so much like Dudley and his gang, echoed down the hallway and made him stop short, wondering if someone was finally going to try and hurt him like he'd been half-expecting ever since he first spoke to that snake. He quickly darted behind a nearby suit of armour, for once grateful that he was so much shorter than most people his age.

“Ridiculous. As if being in Slytherin changes anything.”

“Of course not. He's still just a half-blood, and a blood traitor to boot.”

Harry watched as two older Slytherins sauntered off down the hallway, laughing nastily to themselves as they mocked what was apparently one of their own Housemates. They were built big like Crabbe and Goyle, but had all the superiority of Malfoy whenever he opened his mouth to mock anyone he deemed beneath him. It was an unfortunate combination, and Harry couldn't help but despise them for it immediately.

He stepped out from his hiding place and walked in the opposite direction from the bullies. He didn't want to be anywhere near them when they were in that mood. Harry was just about to turn the corner when he hear a low moan, as if the owner of the voice was in pain, and Harry paused to slowly peek around the corner.

On the floor, slumped awkwardly with a head wound bleeding badly, was another Slytherin. Harry recognised him as one of the Slytherin Quidditch team members, but he wouldn't be able to say who.

He darted forward and bent down, studying the cut with a worried gaze. Slytherin or not, he needed help. Help that Harry couldn't really give as he knew that head wounds could be dangerous. He made to stand up before a hand wrapped around his wrist and held tightly, preventing him from moving. Harry gasped in surprise and looked down at the boy who wasn't as unconscious as he'd presumed.

Blue eyes peered up at him hazily, a hint of green softening the shade to something like turquoise. Harry liked the colour, but he was more concerned that the person looked like he was going to pass out.

“What're you doin', Potter?”

Definitely about to faint. The boy was slurring his words and blinking rapidly, though his eyes weren't getting any clearer. Harry ignored how the Slytherin already knew his name – his hair was kind of distinctive – and cleared his throat.

“Um, I was going to get Madam Pomfrey? I mean, she's the only person I know of that could heal you right now.”

The boy scoffed. “Right. Since when d'you care 'bout Slytherins?”

Harry felt a wave of indignation at that and glared at the Slytherin. “I don't care about some Slytherins, that doesn't mean I hate the whole bloody lot of you! And yeah, I might be kind of wary of your House, but between the way Malfoy and Snape treat me, and how the man who murdered my parents came from Slytherin, I think I kind of have the right!”

Blue-green eyes widened with shock for a few moments, sitting there in stunned silence, before he let loose with another pained groan.

Harry took the chance to jump up and started to run off. He threw a quick, “I'll be back soon!” over his shoulder and sprinted to the Hospital Wing, all the while wanting to shake his head.

Stubborn idiot.


“Adrian Pucey.”

Harry blinked, turning to the red-faced boy in the bed. “What?”

The Slytherin huffed but carried on. “My name. It's Adrian Pucey.”

“Oh, er, right. It's nice to meet you. I'm – well, I mean, you already know – I,” Harry stuttered out, feeling like a complete and utter idiot and wanting the floor to swallow him whole. “I'm Harry,” he finished lamely.

Pucey snorted. “I know.”

Harry could feel his face light on fire and he ducked his head, hoping that the older boy couldn't see him. He didn't want to show anyone how embarrassed he looked, people always used it as ammunition.

“Potter?”

He peeked up from beneath his fringe to see turquoise eyes on his. “Yes?”

“Thank you.”

Harry ducked his head again, though this time his blush was caused by something else.

Adrian Pucey looked very nice when he smiled.


“Why is it, whenever I find you, you're always bleeding from the head?”

Pucey looked up at him and smirked, the expression just as deadly to Harry as his gentle smile. Ron was right, he really was fucked.

“Really, Potter? After coming here to help you win a war, getting in the thick of the fighting, almost losing my very life, you have the audacity to talk to me like that? I'll have you know that –”

Pucey – Adrian – always pulled the funniest faces when he was startled, and this time was no different. Harry relished in the rare chances he got to be the one to cause those faces, though this time was especially satisfying.

In his defence, he'd been dreaming about snogging this man for the past five years.

Harry leant into the kiss and wrapped one arm around Adrian's neck, the other coming up so he could run his fingers through the dark blonde mane he so admired. Adrian's lips were warm, so different to the freezing cold from living in a tent for so long, and he never wanted to stop. He almost wanted to thank Voldemort for giving him the courage to do this.

Adrian pulled back with a gasp and rested his forehead against Harry's. “Christ, Potter. You're going to be the death of me.”

“Harry,” he amended with a grin.

“Harry.” Adrian rolled his eyes before gazing at him softly. “So … it's you and me now, huh?”

“Mmm, sort of …” Harry trailed off with a wicked smirk, quite enjoying the wariness in those lovely eyes. “I mean, you will have to deal with Sirius and Remus after they realise you have some truly sinful thoughts about their innocent godson.”

Adrian blanched and paled, groaning as he leaned further into Harry. “You really are going to be the death of me.”

Harry just chuckled and hugged his new partner tightly, glad for the grounding warmth.

You and me, for all of time.

Chapter Text

Coming back to Hogwarts for an eighth year might well have been one of his worst ideas to date.

Sure, helping with all of the reconstruction and restoring his first true home to its former magnificence was truly rewarding, but every time he closed his eyes, all he could see was the war. Bodies, flying spells, heart-wrenching screams … It was a literal nightmare.

The only consolation was that everyone else in his year looked the same.

The Eighth Years as they were called now had their own tower, regardless of House affiliations, and each and every one of them were wearily pulling themselves along until they could graduate. Even if some buckled down and studied with a previously unseen fervour – like the newly dedicated Seamus – there was still a general air of suffering about the teenagers.

Harry leaned back against the tree in the Forbidden Forest, mere metres away from Hagrid's hut and mechanically ate the roll that Hermione stuffed in his hands before he wandered off. It wasn't that he wasn't hungry, it was just … tiring to eat, to force himself to care for himself. Not for the first time, he was astounded that Sirius had been as put together at the end as he was.

“Bloody little shits, as if – oh. Sorry, Potter.”

He looked up to see Hogwarts' new Potions assistant, one Terence Higgs. The former Slytherin had come back to try and earn his Mastery in the difficult subject, and McGonagall had proven herself to be one of the sneakiest Gryffindors to ever exist by all but jumping at the chance to improve House relations. Higgs was one of two students who'd been accepted as Mastery students this year, and he'd been put to work as Slughorn's assistant in the dungeons.

Having a hardworking Slytherin teach all the students – who also had a very polite demeanour – was doing wonders to ease the friction from the war. Having the personal backing of the Headmistress – an openly proud Gryffindor – certainly didn't hurt, either.

Well played, McGonagall.

“Can I help you, Mister Higgs?”

The other man huffed and rolled his eyes at Harry. “You don't have to be so polite, you know. I did do to school with you for five years, remember? I know full well how you usually speak to people.

“Anyway, have you see a group of firsties wander this way? I heard that some of them had been dared to come in here and look for werewolves.”

Harry snorted at the stupidity of the children. “I haven't, no. They might have given up before they even started. That is what kids tend to do.”

“Unless your name's Draco Malfoy, you mean,” Higgs muttered irritably.

Harry choked on his laughter, leaning back into the ancient tree and letting loose with his amusement. He snorted a few times trying to get back some control, but eventually he calmed down and grinned at his fellow Seeker. He wasn't exactly wrong, but times does lend itself to maturity.

“He's not so bad anymore, you know. I mean, yeah he spends way too much time getting ready in the morning, but at least he isn't the world's most Gryffindor-like Slytherin now,” Harry said with a grin.

“Don't remind me.”

Harry smiled and shifted where he sat, leaning more heavily against the solid tree so he didn't end up with an aching back later on. “Do you want me to keep an eye out for the kids? I've got the rest of the day off, and I won't be going back inside any time soon.”

Pale green eyes studied him intently for some reason, the other man's expression putting butterflies in Harry's stomach. Harry might have accepted that he was attracted to both men and women, but that didn't mean that he knew what to do when a good-looking man was looking at him so closely. Granted, he wouldn't have any idea if it was a woman either, but the point remained.

“No need, I'm quite content to wait them out. I've got nothing better to do.”

And with that, the older man strode over to Harry's spot and sat down next to him, leaving less than an inch between their bodies. What the fuck?

As if he didn't have anything else to do. Higgs probably had marking to do, or research for his Mastery, or brewing for the Hospital Wing, or even Family stuff to be getting on with. Why's he here? Harry thought. Even if Higgs wanted some peace and quiet, there were plenty of other places he could hide away in. And as for the troublemakers he was looking for, there was no doubt in Harry's mind that the other man could just use a Point-Me spell to find them. Or one of the many loyal elves around the castle.

“What are you doing?” Harry asked warily.

Green eyes turned to meet his own, and Harry noticed that Higgs had some faint freckles dotted at the tops of his cheeks, giving him a boyish air that contrasted with his strong jaw and defined cheekbones.

Cute. He blinked at that thought and immediately willed it away. Don't go there, Potter. Not going to happen.

Higgs raised a brow at his question. “What do you mean?”

“It's just – you don't need to be out here to find those kids, and I know how busy you are anyway. You've got god knows how much work to do, and …”

The other man just stared at him for a few seconds before a wry smile found its way onto his face, eyes crinkling at the corners. “You're a tad oblivious, aren't you?”

Harry wanted to feel indignant, but he was well aware that it was the truth. Hermione and Ginny had complained about it enough. His fiery ex had especially ranted on it a few times, before and after they'd broken up.

“Your point?”

Higgs smiled at him, the gentle expression at odds with the wicked amusement in his eyes. “My point is that it's hardly a chore to spend the afternoon alone with such an attractive man.”

Harry's eyes widened, and he felt his face burn with embarrassment. There was no way that that meant what he thought it did. Impossible. It –

He jumped a little as he felt soft lips press against his cheek, thrillingly close to his mouth. He sucked in a breath as Higgs pulled back a few inches until they were face-to-face. Pale green eyes had darkened slightly, the other man's face set in a mask of desire. Harry had to swallow at the sight; his mouth was far too dry.

Higgs – he should probably call him Terence now, shouldn't he? – leaned forward until their breath mingled, hot between them. “May I?”

“Please.”

And if Harry spent the rest of the afternoon getting acquainted with the inside of Terence's mouth, well …

There had to be some perks of Eighth Year.

Chapter Text

She dipped her feet into the water and smiled, relishing in the calm around her.

Sofia was an amazing place, and she loved visiting whenever she got the chance. Dorea hadn't ever gotten the chance to travel when she was a child, and it was something she threw herself into as an adult now. Culture or distance didn't matter to her, she was determined to see as much of the world as possible before she died.

Not that she could travel as much being pregnant.

Dorea rested a hand on her stomach and rubbed gently, feeling the child within wiggle and stretch out. As much as it ached sometimes, she was thrilled at how obviously healthy the baby was. Her baby.

She'd never really thought that she'd get the chance to have a happy family when she was younger. The Dursleys certainly hadn't given her any hopes or dreams, and having Voldemort after her during her teens had well and truly crushed the idea of a family. Even after the war, what with people trying to tell her what to do, Dorea had started to wonder if she might have to marry some random man just for the sake of her Houses. What was her own happiness worth in the face of duty?

Then Viktor had appeared.

He and Hermione had been good friends for years, and even Ron had gotten over his jealousy – and slight man-crush that he still denied to this day, but she wasn't blind – to become genuine mates whenever the Bulgarian was in the UK. Dorea too had gotten along well with him, but there was always something going on with her life to interrupt.

The Seeker had taken one look at her sad state a year after the war and immediately dragged her on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Bulgaria, eventually stopping at Sofia. Bulgaria was … peaceful, in a way that Britain had never truly been. Not in the literal sense, but in the way that her appearance wasn't well-known in the Bulgarian magical alleys, or known at all by the non-magical people. She could do whatever she wanted without feeling as if she were constantly under a microscope.

It was probably how she'd even ended up married to Viktor. The two of them collectively had the means to travel and find their way into obscurity, avoiding the media together and learning about one another by themselves. She'd told Viktor about her childhood, about Sirius, about her past loves, everything. He'd told her about playing for his national team, about his hopes for the future, about his younger cousins who were practically his siblings.

Falling in love had never seemed so simple.

“You look very happy.”

She smiled and leaned back into the muscled chest behind her, holding onto to the thick arms that were encircling her. Dorea loved sitting between Viktor's legs, just enjoying life as he ran his hands over her stomach. If there was one thing that she loved about being pregnant, it was witnessing the sheer awe and adoration of her husband every time he touched his growing child. It was humbling to watch, and it made her fall in love with him even more.

Dorea replied, grateful that her Bulgarian was finally as good as her husband's. “I am happy. Teddy and Andromeda are coming over for the birth next week. It'll be nice to see them again. It won't be long until he starts Hogwarts.”

“Hmm … I'm sure he'll be fine. After all, he's got the world's best godmother, hasn't he?”

She laughed lightly, turning around to press a chaste kiss to Viktor's lips, holding his jaw gently with her hand. Dorea pulled back and grinned up at him. “Speaking of, we need to decide on godparents. I'm due in less than a month, you know.”

Viktor snorted and buried his face in her dark curls. “I'm sure we'll be fine. We handled it every other time, didn't we?”

As if on cue, Dorea heard a delighted shriek from behind her, accompanied by high-pitched giggles that brought a smile to her face. Her husband's too, if the twitching lips in her hair were any indication.

“Mama! Papa!”

She leaned around Viktor and smiled at the sight of her children, laughing and screaming as they ran around each other in circles, trying to have a food fight with cake. It was messy, and somewhat disgusting, and the cake given to the children was a lost cause at this point, but Dorea wouldn't change anything in the world if it allowed her babies to be this happy.

Her oldest, bright and bold Sofiya Krum, was only four yet already more outgoing than both her parents put together. Her dark brown hair shone in the summer sunshine, chocolate eyes lit up with glee as she threw some mashed-up substance at her brother. (Dorea really didn't want to know.)

Little Altair Black, three and tiny and already looking like a miniature Sirius had an adorable pout on his chubby face as he looked at his sister, but silver eyes were glinting in a way that made Dorea dread what her son was going to be like as a teenager. (Saying that she was surprised when she'd given birth to a Black before a Potter was an understatement, but her son was too precious to regret in any way, sneaky side notwithstanding.)

Dorea didn't know how to explain it, but she was convinced there was going to a new Potter within the next month. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but she didn't think so. Who knew?

Viktor leaned his chin on her shoulder. “Have you thought about names yet?”

“Of course I have,” she replied airily, giggling at the reprimanding tickle she got. “Viktor!” she laughed. “You prat.”

Chocolate eyes sparkled with mirth as he gazed down at her. “Sorry about that.”

“No, you're not,” she huffed. “Anyway, I had an idea. I was thinking 'Nikolai' for a boy, or 'Nikolina' for a girl. What do you think?”

Viktor blinked slowly. “I thought you wanted to use English names. House Potter is based in Britain, after all.”

Dorea rolled her eyes. “Yeah, but you're still their father.” She smiled softly at the surprise on his face. “Why wouldn't I want to honour that?”

She was shocked by the intensity of his kiss, but she smiled into her husband, trying not to laugh at the disgusted sounds of her children as they watched their parents get lost in each other. It was adorable, how innocent they were.

Her family might not be as calm as the lake they were visiting, but Dorea wouldn't change them for anything.

Chapter Text

Harry turned round the corner and stopped short at the sight of his fellow student sat in front of the memorial.

Smith had always been a prick in every sense of the word – almost like Malfoy's Hufflepuff counterpart – but Harry felt his stomach drop at the blonde's slumped shoulders and defeated posture. It was a sight that he'd become intimately familiar with himself.

The blonde tensed suddenly and turned around, light blue eyes finding Harry's face before narrowing. “What do you want, Potter?”

“I was coming to pay my respects,” Harry said with a nod towards the statue, ignoring the accusatory tone with nary a thought. He was rather accustomed to dealing with grieving people now, he thought morbidly.

Smith's shoulders tensed even more than he thought possible before slumping back into that nauseating set of misery. “Oh.”

Yeah. Oh.

He'd never been the best conversationalist around, but the war had well and truly ripped away any of his verbal communication skills when not fighting for his life. How was he supposed to respond to this? Was he supposed to carry on talking? Try and help his classmate, or just turn around and leave the man to mourn in peace? This was why he hated dealing with people. Animals were so much simpler. Or Luna. Luna was sheer peace right now.

“You're welcome to sit down, Potter.”

This should be fun. Harry cautiously walked over and lowered himself to the grass, sitting cross-legged a few feet away from Smith. He turned his attention to the carved names, visually tracing each one and trying to breath properly at the sick feeling elicited from reading of so many deaths.

The ones he knew personally were the worst. Fred. Colin. Lavender. Cedric. Remus. Tonks. And so on and so forth. He still thought he would have preferred to have his own name on there in exchange for all of theirs. It was a fair exchange, wasn't it? Then Molly wouldn't be sobbing over the loss of a son, George wouldn't be lost without any direction, Teddy wouldn't have to grow up wondering why he didn't have any parents …

It should have been him.

“I'm sorry.”

Harry jumped violently and drew his wand, realising a split-second later it was just Smith and not an enemy. Fucking hell, Potter. Get it together. He put a hand over his heart and tried to control his breathing. Why on earth had he come back for another year?

“Fuck, sorry about that. I didn't mean to –”

“It's fine, Smith. No harm, no foul.” He turned to the blonde with an inquisitive look. “Why were you apologising before?”

Smith cringed slightly before dropping his gaze. “For how I acted before, for all of it. I … I never really doubted you about You – Voldemort's resurrection, you know? It wasn't a lack of belief, it was …

“I was scared.”

Blue eyes lifted to meet Harry's. “That monster might have been stopped before by an infant, but there was no way we weren't going to end up in a war again. That was what was going through my mind back then. We were going to be trapped in a civil war, and my family …”

Smith broke off to laugh harshly, the sound grating on Harry's ears. He couldn't decide if he wanted to hear the rest or if he wanted Smith to shut his mouth and never open it again.

He didn't say anything.

“The House of Smith have always been Hufflepuffs in the same way that Malfoys are Slytherins or Potters are Gryffindors. Our House has never been looked on favourably by the Slytherin traditionalists, but the Smiths are pure-bloods. That was a protection in and of itself.

“I figured the only way to protect us was to be the stereotypical pure-blood in the Death Eaters' eyes,” he carried on quietly, eyes almost dead of all emotion. It made Harry's skin crawl. “If I could protect my family by being a self-entitled prat, then what was the harm?

“Don't get me wrong; I was always a bit of a spoiled brat who thought that my name made me superior, but I've never had anything against anyone who wasn't a pure-blood. I might have been smug about being descended from Helga Hufflepuff, but I never believed status to be determined by blood.”

Smith flicked his eyes up to a particular spot on the memorial before settling on the grass again. “All I needed to do was keep my head down, be a proper pure-blood, graduate from Hogwarts, then escape with my family to distant cousins in Canada.

“Of course, life never goes to plan.

“It was awful here last year,” Smith murmured quietly, almost as if speaking loudly would make it worse. “I took to hiding whenever the punishments happened, using the time to throw myself into my studies as an excuse to escape the outside world. It worked, until I got discovered by one of the sixth years.”

The blonde shifted slightly. “Her name was Louise, and she was a half-blood. Her mother was a muggle, and she'd never been shy about supporting The Order of the Phoenix. As you can imagine, the Carrows didn't like that.

“I fell in love with her, Potter. I fell in love with a crazy girl who seemed to be doing her hardest to get herself killed, and I'd never felt more alive. Or terrified,” he added with a rueful smile.

“She came back in for the final battle and saved Susan's life, getting herself killed in the process.

“I fell in love with her, but I never said or did anything to help her because I wanted to protect my family. My loyalty was to my family first.”

Harry cleared his throat, hesitant to upset his classmate further. “Were the two of you in a relationship last year?”

“Yes,” came the whispered reply.

“And was Louise smart?”

“Yes.”

“A good judge of character?”

“Yes.”

“Then I don't doubt for a minute that she knew what a good person you truly were.”

Smith looked at him abruptly, opening his mouth to protest before Harry cut him off. “No, listen. Everyone that lived in this castle last year suffered for it, physically and mentally. Differently perhaps, but all suffered. I bet that Louise knew at least some of what you were working towards for your family, and there's nothing wrong with that.”

He vaguely remembered the desperate devotion of the Malfoy family; a group of people who definitely weren't good people, but were incredibly devoted and loyal to one another. He thought about Sirius' conflicted expression when he spoke of Regulus' days as a Death Eater. He mused on the twisted devotion of one Severus Snape, coming to his rescue because of his warped loyalty each and every time.

There was nothing wrong with putting your family first.

“Being loyal to your family isn't a bad thing, and you have to consider that that's what Louise was doing, too. She wanted to stand up for her own family, that's why she acted as she did. She probably knew that you hated how she put herself in danger, but if anything you were both doing the same exact thing, just in different ways.”

Smith's eyes shifted, the dead light morphing into something like consideration. He wasn't healed by any stretch of the imagination, but not looking like he could lay down and never wake up again was a definite improvement. Harry felt more than a little bewildered at the sight, at the idea that he might have had something to do with it. Maybe be wasn't totally ruined for human communication.

“Thanks, Potter.”

Harry looked into blue eyes, noticing how Smith smiled ever so slightly, lips pulled up at the corners with polite gratitude. His eyes were crinkling with genuine warmth, and Harry felt it like a punch to the gut.

Fucking Hufflepuffs.

Gin was the only one to truly know about his attraction to men – though he didn't doubt for a moment that Ron and 'Mione had figured something out themselves – and especially how he'd felt about Cedric. There was a reason that he'd completely lost it at the end of the Tournament.

Why did he always have to fall for Hufflepuff pretty boys? It was almost as if he liked setting himself up for failure. Hopefully Gin would let him moan and vent later on. Though more likely she'd punch him in the arm, tell him to get over himself, and then drag him to the Quidditch pitch for more practice. Bloody woman.

Harry shook off the thoughts and smiled back gently. “No problem, Smith. Though you're welcome to call me Harry, if you want.”

“Then call me Zach, Harry.”

He really is too pretty. Stupid hormones.

He stood up and brushed off the dirt from his trousers before looking down at his companion. “If you're not doing anything right now, did you want to come into Hogsmeade with me? I've got the rest of the day off, so …”

Zach saved him from awkwardly trailing off and answered with another smile, looking just a little more alive. “Sure, I haven't got any more classes today.”

“Great.”

Harry turned back to the monument briefly, feeling a pang in his chest for all the people named, for all their families, for the fact that hundreds upon hundreds of lives had been ruined all for the insane desires of a self-absorbed psychopath. What would have happened if a young Tom Riddle had decided to be known for his academic genius instead of his vile machinations? If was disturbing to know how much could have changed. He might –

He startled at a body falling into his, arms coming up to automatically catch the lithe form. He looked down to see a blonde head buried in his chest, before Zach snapped his head up to look directly into Harry's eyes. Blue eyes froze and a red blush erupted across the pale face, highlighting a tiny scar just below Zach's right eye. Cute.

Zach mumbled a small apology and hastily pulled back, straightening his uniform while avoiding Harry's gaze. It was stupidly attractive, and Harry once more chastised himself. Why did he always fall for people so quickly.

“Erm, Potter – I mean, Harry, are you ready to go?”

Harry took pity on the other man and ignored what just happened. “Sure. Any idea where you want to go?”

As Zach latched onto the topic with an almost desperate fervour, Harry contented himself with playing the willing ear to his new friend's musing, enjoying the sheer life of the blonde compared to before.

He remembered the bright blush when their eyes met and felt a small smile on his lips.

Maybe things would go better with this Hufflepuff in the future.

Chapter Text

On the one hand, she knew this was complete and utter stupidity, but on the other, she had to know.

Magnolia hated her life, and she had long before being entered into this stupid tournament by some idiot trying to get her killed. People were too fickle, too hypocritical, and everyone on Dumbledore's side was far too hesitant to do what they needed to do to sort things out.

She'd admit, she didn't know as much as she should about their society, but Magnolia had no doubt that Dumbledore could have done something to help Sirius. Or helped the petrified students last year instead of leaving them in the Hospital Wing for an entire year. Or – bloody hell, she could go on all day at this rate. Either way, the point remained. Dumbledore was a patronising twat.

And don't get her started on her friends. While she could still see their good points, their bad ones were far more overwhelming. Hermione always had to be right, and Ron was a fucking jealousy-ridden wanker who turned on people whenever he felt slighted. It was ridiculous, not to mention that being jealous of someone who only had money because their parents had been murdered was one of the dumbest things she'd ever heard, and she'd grown up with Dudley.

Magnolia was more observant than people gave her credit for, she just didn't say anything because she'd grown up knowing that any sort of attention was bad, would always be bad for her. Unlike Hermione who thought that regurgitating text books was knowledge, Magnolia preferred to know things that would actually help her. Like which portraits and ghosts would help students without reporting on their behaviour, or how certain Professors would be more lenient with punishments if you made yourself look more downtrodden, or which students you should never let yourself be alone with.

She'd much rather know how to keep herself alive rather than how to turn a match into a needle.

Hence why she was stood outside of Professor 'Moody's' office just before curfew.

She knew damn well it wasn't actually Alastor Moody running around the castle as their professor. One thing she'd gotten used to doing was watching the map and how people moved, and she knew how odd it was for people to stay completely still for hours at a time, not to mention the person in question.

It seemed as if Barty Crouch and Moody were always in the office together, but Magnolia had seemed them together just after her name came out the cup. They despised each other. They never spoke without the both of them pacing around and sniping at one another, so having Moody not moving an inch while in the vicinity of Crouch was ridiculous.

Then there was the fact that she'd been watching the map out of boredom once and noticed Crouch walking around with Dumbledore for ages despite having an actual job at the Ministry. Then of course she saw the Headmaster with the new DADA Professor instead of the uptight git she'd expected, and she'd thought, well, fuck.

Having once deliberately brewed Polyjuice for some illegal escapades herself, Magnolia hadn't taken long to guess the truth. Well, half the truth, because seeing both 'Moody' and Crouch together had admittedly stumped her further. She didn't think it was a Time-Turner, because her new Professor's hatred for the Ministry official looked to be entirely genuine, with a glint of pure hatred in his natural eye whenever he spotted the grumpy sod that was Bartemius Crouch.

So who was it? Well, that's what she was going to find out, for better or worse. And if it really was some sort of Death Eater, well …

There was a reason that the Sorting Hat had tried to put her in the House of self-preservation.

She took a deep breath and knocked.


“Lady Potter?”

She turned from her desk to see Barty looking at her somewhat warily.

The man looked to be infinitely better than he had when she was fourteen, but now and then his nervous behaviours tended to run away with themselves, making him twitchy and trigger-happy with his wand, slipping back into the Imperius Curse-driven insanity that had almost swallowed him entirely.

Tom – well, she supposed it was Marvolo now – had managed to coax his loyal servant back to a sound mind after his own psychological state had been restored. Somewhat, anyway, because the man that had decided to become a Dark Lord as a teenager was always going to have some sociopathic tendencies born from his lack of empathy.

But he wasn't a maniacal murderer anymore, so there was that.

“Lord Crouch?” she asked with a small smile, lips twitching further at the older man's red cheeks. Magnolia knew that she'd grown to be an attractive woman, helped along with her finally learning how to care for her appearance. (Her cousin Narcissa was a godsend when it came to her hair, and Magnolia would never be convinced otherwise.)

Barty himself was more than enough to catch her eye, even though others might disagree with her. She liked his common dark brown hair and the way it reflected the light around him. His eyes were narrow, but a stormy shade of blue-grey that reminded Magnolia of stormy days at Hogwarts. Barty certainly wasn't a tall man, just 5'8”, but there was enough of a difference between them that she couldn't care less. Not not mention that five years later the man had very much regained his slim yet muscled figure, finally filling his clothes instead of them hanging off of his frame.

The man was to her liking, clearly liked her, so really and truly, she just had to start things going. Marvolo might be annoyed at her, but she had warned him that she was going to do things her own way if he let her live. It was his own fault for not firing off a green flash at her all those years ago.

“I was wondering if you might –”

Magnolia cut him off by leaning up and pushing her lips against his, taking advantage of his silent gasp to slip her tongue in his mouth, exploring every inch possible. She gently raked her fingers through his hair, subtly pushing her not-so-inconsiderable breasts up against his shirt. Narcissa had told her time and again that sometimes a woman had to remind a man what she had at her disposal, and the blonde hadn't been wrong yet.

She could sense Barty's hand's flailing somewhat at her sides and almost groaned in annoyance. She wanted him to give in, not flap about and pretend not to want it like the gentleman she really didn't want. Magnolia pushed harder, moaning lowly into Barty's mouth, the sound ending in a desperate whine as she sucked on his tongue, trying not to grin at the hardness she could feel against her abdomen.

The woman pulled back and gasped in an exaggerated manner, ensuring her heaving breasts were well within the older man's sight. She licked her lips and tilted her head slightly forward before peeking up at Barty from beneath her thick lashes. Merlin, she was so fucking close to getting him to break, she could feel it.

Magnolia bit her bottom lip and blinked slowly, almost innocently. “Do you want me, Barty?”

And with a growl, the older man crushed her slight frame to his body, mapping out the inside of her mouth as he hastily threw up several wards around her door. She let herself get walked back towards her bed and collapsed on it, feeling the fire race through her veins as she smirked up at her soon-to-be lover.

Who knew seduction of the dark side was so easy?

Chapter Text

Alya Black, once Alya Potter before a bewildering bout of reincarnation that she still didn't appreciate, watched the spectacle unfold before her and mused.

No, it certainly wasn't what she'd wanted, being born as the oldest child of Walburga and Orion Black, Sirius and Regulus' older sister, but life had long taught her that the best way to cope was to just to roll with the punches. Outright rebelling wasn't the best path to take like her future godfather; she had no desire to be harshly punished at every turn of her life.

It had become slightly easier to deal with her new life when she'd figured out the reason for her new parents' shitty behaviour. She supposed it wasn't exactly nice for your grandparents to marry you to a cousin just for the sake of keeping the power of the family within the family, irregardless of personal wishes.

Orion and Walburga had had to marry as soon as Orion graduated, but had taken out their frustration on one another and refused to try for a child for years out of spite for the previous Lord Sirius Black. Apparently, once the old bastard had died they'd vindictively celebrated with copious amounts of alcohol and, rather ironically, ended up Alya nine months later.

Seeing as that hadn't happened last time around, it was clear that Fate was just fucking with her.

Now here she was, at one of these ridiculous parties where everyone kept on throwing their children at each other for the sake of political matches. Alya knew that Sirius and Regulus had escaped upstairs, using the excuse that they had to look after their little sister Meissa. Sneaky little shits.

Alya leaned back against the wall slightly, making sure she wasn't slouching as she sipped the elf-made wine her mother had imported from Iceland. It was surprisingly nice, though she shouldn't be surprised seeing as Walburga had fantastic taste. And was nicer about it now she had something of a friendship with her father, despite their respective lovers.

She watched as Lady Lestrange was very unsubtly showing her oldest son off to Bellatrix like a prized show horse. Something neither Rodolphus nor Bella seemed to appreciate. Seeing as Bella was currently informally dancing around a relationship with Heir Lucius Malfoy, it was no wonder why. Narcissa was no longer set to become Lady Malfoy this time around, apparently enjoying many a study session with the Heir to House Nott, Edwyn.

Sirius was such an adorable little informant.

The cousin her own age, Andromeda, was already married to Heir Gideon Prewett and had given birth to a daughter last year, though thankfully with the more palatable name of Eugenia. (Though knowing Tonks, even that wouldn't be normal enough for her.)

Nearly her entire family was happy to marry off every daughter of House Black for alliances, though Walburga was viciously defensive of their well-being, probably because of her own experiences with marriage. It was rather touching, especially coming from a woman that had once tried to Crucio one of her Crabbe cousins for calling her a broodmare.

Alya knew that Bella was trying to keep her relationship with Lucius a secret because her father disliked the Malfoys. How Narcissa had ended up with Lucius before still baffled her. Alya needed to do something before Bella acquiesced out of some desperate desire to please Cygnus. Which was a lost cause because the sexist twat still hated that he'd only sired daughters. Misogynistic wanker.

She placed her empty glass on the table to the side and stood up straighter, subtly smoothing down her dark violet dress. Alya knew that she was attractive, standing tall and willowy like her mother but with her father's high cheekbones and curls, her silver eyes the customary shade of the Blacks but slightly wider like her grandmother Melania. With her black hair pinned back in a multitude of braids and a silver choker embedded with diamonds around her throat, there was no question as to why she kept having to turn down the idiot men around her.

The young woman strode forward with her back straight and a polite smile on her face, stepping directly into the small party and catching sight of her cousin's relieved expression. What a world she was in, Bellatrix looking ecstatic to see her. Would wonders never cease?

“Good evening, Lady Lestrange, Heir Lestrange. I'm so sorry to interrupt, but I'm afraid that I'm going to have to steal my cousin from you. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want to keep the Lady Black waiting!”

She finished with a gentle smile and a small laugh, cocking her head just slightly to the side to disarm the older woman.

“Oh, yes, well –”

“I see I'm needed elsewhere,” Bellatrix interrupted brightly. “I apologise for cutting our conversation short, but I'm sure I'll see you around later. Lady Lestrange, Heir Lestrange.”

Her cousin escaped as quickly as was appropriate and Alya had to bite the inside of her cheek so she didn't burst out laughing. Who knew a Bellatrix Black without insanity meant a nervous and slightly floundering young woman? It was rather cute, Alya thought.

“Mother, I believe Father would like your company.”

Lady Lestrange said something in a disappointed and flustered tone and went off to join her husband, and Alya turned to her former classmate with a smirk on her face.

“It's been a while, Heir Lestrange. How are you enjoying the party so far?”

Rodolphus returned the smirk after a few seconds, huffing a quiet laugh. “The House of Black has been very gracious in hosting this wonderful event, Miss Black. Though I've never visited this particular Black residence before. Would you do me the honour of giving me a tour of the property this evening?”

“I suppose I can be persuaded to miss some of the party in favour of a leisurely stroll around the manor,” she replied airily, linking their arms as she did and leading the man out of the main hall.

They spent the next half hour wandering through the winding halls of Raven's Court, exploring the various drawing rooms and parlours. Alya knew her classmate could be very charming when he put his mind to it, and it certainly helped having no Voldemort around to mess with his mind. (The Unspeakables were extraordinarily helpful when they actually deigned to do anything.)

“Alya.”

She turned to her companion with a raised brow, lips twitching with amusement. “My, my, how forward of you. I don't remember giving you permission to call me by my given name, Rodolphus.”

Alya suddenly found herself pressed against the wall of the small library, the heat from the nearby fireplace warming her throughout just as much as the dangerous look in those cinnamon-brown eyes. She'd never been good at staying away from danger, whether as a Potter or a Black.

“I don't want to marry Bellatrix.”

“Well, that's good, seeing as she doesn't want to marry you, either.”

He leaned further, their breath intermingling and making her heart thump in her chest. “You know, the first thing I thought when I first laid eyes on you at eleven was that you'd look glorious in Lestrange colours.”

She grinned widely, finding this situation hilarious for some reason. “Oh? Is that why you spent the whole seven years at school picking on me?”

For the first time ever, Alya saw Rodolphus Lestrange blush. “I wanted you to pay attention to me, for me to be the one who made you smile and laugh. Even when you were furious, you were mesmerising to me.”

Alya remembered another similar confession from her original blonde bully and wondered why she kept attracting emotionally-constipated Slytherins.

She lifted her hands and ran them through light brown waves, smug at the sharp inhale of breath she caused. “I won't let myself be a plaything, Rodolphus. I want a contract, one where I'm still my own person. Even if I become your wife, I'm still Alya.” She gripped his hair tight and yanked him closer, eyes locking onto his with a deadly promise.

“If you hurt me, I'll pay you back tenfold like the Black I am.”

Cinnamon eyes darkened with lust and the man crushed their lips together harshly, swallowing her moan and gripping her waist hard enough to bruise. Alya leaned into him and grinned.

What was life without a little danger?

Chapter Text

Harry leaned back into the bed and groaned, gripping the dark brown hair tightly, loathe to let go for even a moment.

This was insane, stupidity without reason, sheer Gryffindor diving into danger without nary a thought at its finest. There was no thought about what his friends would think, how they would be appalled and feel betrayed at his behaviour. He moaned into the harsh lips and arched up into the massive body above his, feeling light-headed at the physical evidence of the wild man's attraction.

Fenrir Greyback was going to be the death of him, and Harry didn't give a flying fuck.

He didn't want to think anymore, feel hopeless any longer. He wanted to sink back into the rough yet thrilling care of the werewolf and forget every shitty part of his life. Fenrir had committed some truly atrocious acts over the course of his life, but Harry had given up wanting to be good, wanting to be moral and just and whatever else he thought his parents would have wanted.

Was it so bad to want to be taken care of?

Fenrir did that. He held Harry protectively whenever he felt down, cradled his hips as he made him see stars for hours on end until he was panting, sweaty and dizzy, took him places that Harry had only ever imagined before. It was a life of no responsibilities, no manipulations, no patronising reprimanding.

Harry gasped and whined as they finished, breathing heavily as the massive body of the werewolf collapsed on his. He didn't care if the man was heavy and made it difficult for him to breathe. He was there. Fenrir was present, grounding him in reality, forcing him into awareness of their surroundings. The thick furs covering the low bed, the exposed wooden walls, the night breeze through the open window.

They were both there, together, and it was peace at its finest.

Fenrir rolled off slowly and Harry sighed at the glorious ache in his muscles. He closed his eyes and lifted a hand, waving it lazily to clean up before lowering it to his stomach, rubbing small circles as he imagined what was happening inside.

He'd always wanted a family, a true family of his through blood, and the prospect of having one soon, one that bound him to Fenrir was enough to make his breath catch. He didn't have to go back to a crowd of people who considered him a pawn, a mere character in their own plans, he was going to stay right here and build something for himself, by himself.

Harry opened his eyes to see dark eyes tinted with amber watching the gentle movements of his hand, a look of pride and love plain to see. Harry smiled and rolled over to lay on Fenrir's chest, snuggling closer as a muscled arm wrapped around his waist to lay on his stomach. It was warm.

He closed his eyes and relaxed into the clutches of sleep.

It wasn't what he'd expected, but life was perfect.

Chapter Text

“Raine …”

Don't. Just … don't.”

Harry looked at his redheaded friend, her back to him and clearly tense even through her thick jacket. Her hair was sopping wet, a dark auburn with the water instead of the usual vibrant orange tone that he loved. She looked … defeated, and that was one word that he never thought he would have associated with Igraine Weasley.

She'd grown up with five older brothers and Ginny the everlasting tomboy as a sister; there was no way that she'd ever be anything other than fire incarnate. Fiery passion for her hobbies, her temper a storm of flames, hair with the colour and and vibrancy of a wave of fire. She might have felt like she was yet another Weasley sometimes, but Raine often forgot that she was the first daughter of her family. She was always going to be a focus of her brothers' overprotectiveness with Ginny.

Harry had admired her since the crazy girl knocked out a troll with a spell she'd struggled with mere hours before. He'd always known that he was fascinated with the ball of energy that was his best friend, was taken in by her energy and stories and her wild temperament. Harry was just one person that had never had friends as a child, and his eleven-year-old self had been completely swept away by the inferno that was Igraine Weasley.

He'd also long since fallen in love with her.

Harry was in love with a woman who was refusing to look in his direction after destroying the locket, killing the evil soul shard inside like the hero Raine had always truly been, despite thinking otherwise. She was staring off into the trees, ignoring her freezing state and clenching her fingers around her wand, clearly seconds away from sprinting off into the forest for the second time.

He stepped forward, making sure she could hear him. “Raine … you do realise that Hermione's like a sister to me, don't you? I mean, she literally called me 'brother' at my party. I don't …”

“Just forget about it, Harry.”

Forget about it? How was he supposed to forget about that locket mocking her? Latching onto her deepest insecurities and laughing about them as if they were inconsequential. Not to mention that bizarre – and horrifying – image of him and Hermione and kissing like lovers. He wasn't lying when he said she was his sister. The two of them were only children who'd always wanted siblings, so they'd decided to be brother and sister themselves. She could never be the object of his romantic affection.

Harry cleared his throat, trying to calm his racing heart. There was every chance that he was misreading the situation, but he had to at least try. They were in a war, and he wanted to be a little selfish for once. He didn't want to be constantly wondering about the possibilities of his life just because he couldn't muster up some Gryffindor courage.

“What if … what if I don't want to forget about it?”

Raine snorted and spun around, her blue eyes glaring at him like deadly ice. “Well, if you don't want to forget about if, why don't you bugger off back to the tent so you can snog Hermione's brains out?”

Harry wanted to ram his head against the tree at the misunderstanding. Not what he wanted to think about. And if he didn't clear things up soon, he'd soon be having constant nightmares about kissing his adopted sister. Revolting.

He stepped forward, ignoring Raine's fuming temper with an ease born of years of exposure, and stopped mere inches away, lifting his hands to settle on the woman's shoulders. “That wasn't what I meant, you obstinate Weasley. You aren't the only one whose stomach turns at the thought of me and Hermione locking lips.”

Before she could open her mouth and respond – and probably say something scathing that would incite yet another argument – Harry bent down and kissed her gently, leaning in closer when his cold lips tingled from the sudden warmth. She was frozen still, but she hadn't punched him in the face yet, so he counted that as a success.

Harry lifted a hand to rest against her cheek, his thumb stroking her smooth cheek as he tried to get Raine to respond in any way. For once his prayers were answered, and Raine gasped loudly before moaning, pushing closer to lick into his mouth as she wrapped her arms around his waist.

Harry couldn't help the groan that left his mouth, pulling the woman closer so he could feel every inch of her body. This was infinitely better than the disaster kisses he'd had with Cho and Lavender. Igraine was someone he'd probably been in love with for years before actually realising, but pushed aside in his mind to protect his own heart. Considering her own interests had been for physically imposing men oozing with casual confidence, Harry had never wanted to consider the possibility of the two of them together.

Then again, the way Raine was biting his lip said maybe they'd both been blind through the years.

Harry pulled back slowly, breathing heavily, feeling more alive than any time he'd literally been saved from death. This was what he'd wanted in his life. He wanted to be happy, to have a life that he could be proud of. People thought that he meant a successful career and the respect of their society, but all he truly wanted was a family of his own making. Blood family, a wife and children, people he adored … It might be simple, but it was Harry's dream.

“Harry?”

He looked down, rather pleased with himself at the sight of red cheeks and bruised lips. “Raine?” he asked with a small smile.

She flushed even more than he thought possible – he thought it was adorable the way it clashed with her hair – and swallowed heavily. “Did you – I mean, why did you do that? K-kiss me, I mean?”

Harry wanted to sigh in exasperation but he didn't want her to get the wrong impression. This woman'll be the death of me.

“Because I'm in love with you, and I've … er, I've been dreaming of you being my wife since I saw you in that dress at the Yule Ball …” Harry trailed off while staring resolutely at the trees over Raine's shoulder, trying desperately to ignore what was no doubt a deep blush on his face. He hadn't meant to say that last part. It wasn't wrong, but probably not something he should say when they weren't even in a relationship.

Raine snorted and chuckled quietly. “You're an idiot, Harry.”

He blinked and looked back at her. She was also blushing, clearly embarrassed at what she was going to say, but refusing to back down. A true lion, this one.

“While I might have been thinking that 'Igraine Potter' sounds good for years now, there's no way I'm going to accept that as an actual proposal. If you want to me to marry you, you'd better get your arse into gear and ask me properly after this bloody war. I'm not getting married when we're on the run.”

Harry just gaped at her decisive words, the matter-of-fact tone saying that their lives were a foregone conclusion. He stared at her for a few seconds before laughing loudly – the first time in months, maybe years – and wrapping his arms around Raine's waist, lifting her off the ground and spinning her around while ignoring her shouting at him to stop.

Maybe a post-war world wasn't going to be so dreary, after all.

Chapter Text

The blonde witch was absentmindedly cleaning a glass when a man she vaguely recognised sprinted through the bar and dove behind the counter, pressing himself into a dark spot as if he could turn invisible from sheer force of will.

Hannah froze and blinked repeatedly, trying to figure out just what the fuck was going on. She slowly tilted her head down and met the gaze of the crazy bloke, who had a weird combination of fear and pleading on his face as he looked into her blue eyes. It was pretty funny, in all fairness.

In her defence, she hadn't really expected to see Harry bloody Potter hiding in her bar today.

The blonde woman opened her mouth to ask – something. She wasn't really sure she wanted to know what was going on, but Hannah was the owner, so she should probably question why her old schoolmate was hiding like a child, saviour of the Wizarding World or not.

Just as she started, an unholy screech echoed through The Leaky Cauldron and Hannah automatically reached for her wand. She might have gone overboard with all of her wards, but life had taught her that you could never be too careful.

“POTTER! WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU, YOU LITTLE TWAT?!”

From her peripheral vision, Hannah could see Harry simultaneously grimace and pale rapidly. So, he was probably responsible for Pansy Parkinson's righteous fury, but that didn't exactly say much. The former Slytherin had once had a temper tantrum because her robes were the wrong shade of green.

Parkinson was followed into the bar by Daphne Greengrass, the blonde witch trailing with an amused smirk on her aristocratic face. Hannah took that to mean that nothing truly awful had happened, it was just Parkinson. Again.

Hannah smiled cheerfully at her newest patrons. “Long time, no see! Can I get you guys anything?”

The glare she got in response would have her younger self pissing herself on the spot. Yikes. What did you do, Harry? “Have you seen Potter come through here?”

The wizard in question twitched by her feet and she resisted the urge to laugh hysterically. Instead she settled for a friendly grin, leaning on the bar casually. You owe me for this, Potter. “You just missed him, actually. He went out the muggle way. Maybe he's gone to do something with his godson? He goes over quite often, you know. It's pretty cute, actually.”

Wow, who knew he blushed so adorably?

Parkinson just scowled and spun on the spot, stalking away while muttering viciously under her breath about what she was going to do when she found a certain green-eyed wizard. Daphne just smirked even more, bade a quick goodbye, and followed her childhood friend out of the bar. And that was that.

Hannah hung the glass overhead then crouched down as if to look under the counter. Instead she turned to her old schoolmate and grinned evilly. “So … Do I even want to know?”

Harry coughed and flushed a deep red. “Err … Well – You remember Parkinson had that party last week at her flat?”

“Yes?” This is going to be good.

“And you know how she was really proud of that imported sofa? Like, really proud?”

Hannah's lips twitched. “I remember.”

“Well, I may or may not have … gotten completely wankered and … kind of slept with Malfoy on it after the party …”

The witch was silent for a few moments before she snorted, slapping a hand over her mouth to muffle the cackling laughter that she couldn't contain. It wasn't her fault. Everyone had been aware of the sexual tension between Harry and Malfoy, even if it definitely wasn't romantic. They'd probably kill each other if they got together, but it was obvious that they'd fuck at some point.

Now they had. On Parkinson's sofa. Brilliant.

“Oh, Harry,” she giggled, “she totally going to murder you.”

He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, thanks for that.”

“No problem,” she quipped with a grin.

Harry just huffed and shifted so he could cross his legs and get more comfortable. “Isn't this where you lecture me on having a proper relationship like everyone else?”

Hannah just shrugged, mirroring his position on the floor. “It's not my life, is it? Besides, having a quick shag with someone who you're not with isn't the end of the world. Do what you want.”

He just eyed her with a bemused expression before shaking his head a little. “Fair enough. What about you? Been up to much lately?”

“I went on a date with Zach.”

“How was it?”

“Worst decision ever.”

Harry snorted quietly. “Never would have guessed.”

She rolled her eyes and smacked his arm lightly. “You arse.” Hannah looked him in the eye and cocked her head. “What are you going to do now? Parkinson might be waiting outside for you. Are you going to head home?”

He hummed. “I was actually looking for something to eat, so I might head back into Diagon and look for some food.”

Hannah leaned back and flicked her eyes up and down Harry's form, noticing how adult stability seemed to suit him a lot more. Harry hadn't grown that tall, but he'd filled out a bit, lost the glasses, dressed better. Even more obvious was the confident happiness. It was a good look on him. Very good.

She checked her watch and grinned before looking back up at Harry. He quirked a brow at her, a lopsided smirk on his face. If he'd gone about smiling like that at school, he would have had even more fans than he'd already had.

“My shift's almost over, you know. Why don't we go and get dinner together?”

Harry blinked. “You mean …?”

“Well, you can't be any worse than Zach,” she replied blithely.

“Wow, what a great endorsement,” was the sarcastic reply she got. Even so, she could see the visible interest in his eyes as they studied her form without leering. Another point to him.

He met her eyes once more and smiled warmly, less teasing and more honest. “I think I'd like that.”

She returned the expression, and before he could react, she leaned forward and kissed his nose. Hannah laughed at the dazed look and cute blush, standing up so she'd be able to hand over quickly to her newest bartender.

She had a date to get to.

Hannah looked down to see Harry still on the floor and sent him a questioning look. “What, are you going to wait down there for me?”

He grinned up at her. “I'm pretty sure it's the safest place for me right now. Besides, I wouldn't want to get myself put in the hospital and deprive you of an awesome date.”

The witch just laughed and went back to stocking the bar, shaking her head as she did.

Tonight was going to be fun.