Harry slipped back into bed after coming home from an early shift at the restaurant and saw that Draco had not left yet. The last two months had been interesting with Draco in his life. He couldn’t hide from anything when around him. Harry wasn’t sure what he was feeling as he slipped out of his clothes and took a quick shower. After drying off he walked back out and slipped back into his bed, wrapping around Draco. For some reason, Harry felt both safe and not safe with Draco.
Talking had been slow, but he didn’t want whatever this was between them to continue if they didn’t talk. He had needed to know where Draco’s mind was at and they had laid themselves bare with each other. Draco had always thought Harry just didn’t care about Wizarding tradition, it never crossed his mind till it was too late that it was abuse and growing up apart from the Magical world. They yelled, they fought, but they got all of those old hurts inflicted on each other out of their system. Harry reluctantly actually liked Draco.
“You’re all soft and warm.” Draco turned around and pulled Harry down to where they could kiss. Harry gently caressed Draco’s side, feeling the soft warm skin under his hand.
“Don’t you have to get up for work?”
“Hmm, I do, but I have a little time.”
Harry moved to blanket Draco’s body with his. The time with Draco in his bed, he and Harry had an agreement, no outside partners. Harry was good with that, in fact, he was becoming a little bored with the partying and anonymous sex. He didn’t regret one minute of the past few months, but getting healthy, both mentally and physically were helping Harry to find the strength that had always been inside him that he had lost after the war.
“Those potions you’re on are really working. You’ve put on weight, and your skin is softer.”
“It took me too long to admit I needed help.” Harry sighed as he dropped a kiss on Draco’s shoulder. “I didn’t really have anyone to help me through it all. Not even Mi. I love her to death, but right now…”
“You need the distance. It’s understandable Harry.” Draco ran his hands through Harry’s hair and smiled. “Now, if you aren’t going to shag me, then let me up so I can get a shower.”
Harry laughed as he conjured some lube in his hand and slicked up his cock. Reaching down, after Draco wrapped his legs around Harry’s waist he could tell that Draco was still loose from the night before. Slipping in was easy and Draco’s hands curled around Harry’s shoulders. The sex was lazy, but it felt good for both of them. Draco tipped over first, then Harry followed after.
Harry used a cleaning charm on both of them, then cuddled Draco for a few moments before letting him go. He was more than halfway to sleep when Draco kissed his forehead then let himself out of Harry’s flat. Harry was asleep before the door even shut.
“How do you feel about this change in your relationship with someone you considered an enemy?” Tony conjured up some tea and set it out for the two of them. Harry was getting more secure in having some magic back in his life and he noticed that Tony was using it more and more around him.
“I don’t rightly know. I mean, the sex is good. Actually the sex is bloody fantastic, and we talk. I can be myself with him. He knows my school history and even supported me when I basically called all of the Wizengamot bloody fuking arseholes who treated abuse like it was nothing. We’ve had a few row’s but, I don’t know it’s nice having someone who understands me, or at the least is trying to understand me, and not making any demands.”
Tony took a moment to sip his tea as his pen scratched across the ever-present notebook.
“Can you be honest about what it is you want from Draco?”
Harry pulled his legs up under him as he sat on the couch giving serious consideration to the question.
“I don’t know if this thing is long term. I find, and if I had said this in school it meant someone hexed me, that I enjoy the bleeding git’s company.” Harry was amused with himself and wondered if his new-found maturity was letting him see Draco as a possible friend.
“And that amuses you.”
“If you had known us in school, it’s fucking hilarious. Malfoy was my biggest enemy, and all because I rejected his friendship. I am not above admitting that I didn’t help the situation between us. I as much at fault as he was.”
“Harry, there is never an excuse for abusive behavior. Even amongst your peers. I’m sure that your reactions were something any normal person would make who was protecting themselves. Don’t take on blame for something that you had no control over.”
Harry took his time to let Tony’s words sink in and felt the truth of them. He had a hard time accepting that it was abuse, and even he and Draco had talked about it one night. Draco told him more about his home life. While his mother loved him unconditionally, his father had been an outright arse. Knowing both of them had come from abusive homes had put a lot of their interactions into perspective.
“It’s frightening how similar our home lives actually were. Draco was lucky, though, that he had at least one parent who loved him and tried to care for him.”
“Where you didn’t have anyone.”
Harry closed his eyes and nodded.
“If this relationship isn’t hurting you, I can’t see why you shouldn’t pursue it. Even if you find after it’s run its course a friend, or at least someone you can talk to that knows the things you’ve gone through.”
“Maybe you’re right. Draco isn’t so bad and I think seeing his father sentenced to Azkaban gave him a reality check. He’s a lot more grown-up than how I feel half the time.”
“Harry, you’re only going to be twenty this year. I think you need to give yourself a break. Growing up takes time, don’t try to do it too fast. Enjoy your youth, Harry.”
“Sometimes I don’t feel very young.”
“You were thrust into a situation you had no control over. You grew up too fast and too much all at once. With no one to guide you or help you, I’m not surprised that you had to take care of yourself. And you’re still doing it, but maybe, just maybe, letting yourself lean on someone for a while would be good for you.”
Harry was going to try to take Tony’s words to heart. He knew that even though he, Ron, and Hermione had been close in school, he still kept himself apart from them. Not telling them things about his life, ignoring it had kept them at a bit of arm’s length. He protected himself even while trying to find comfort in others. That had been a huge revelation to him and it took him weeks of talking to Tony about it to come to terms with it.
“I think we should end here.” Tony leaned forward, setting his cup of tea aside. The notebook closed with the wave of his hand. “Harry, for now, don’t think too hard about what is happening with you and Draco. Let yourself have something just for you. Eventually, you will figure out what it is you want.”
“Thank you, Tony. Next time, I’ll bring Valiant and you can meet her. She’s growing fast and I think I might need to find a new place. I’ve proved to myself that I can actually make it on my own, so maybe it’s time to use my money for good. A cottage, or small house. Unplottable, because I seriously do not want those sharks from the Wizarding Press to bear down on me.”
“I think that’s a good idea. You’ve come a long way, Harry. Just keep moving forward.”
“I will. See you on Thursday.”
“See you then.”
Harry left Tony’s office and felt like another weight he had been carrying around since before the war had been lifted. He had some time before his shift at the restaurant, he decided to make the time to speak with Ragnok and start looking for something more permanent to live.
“Unka Harry,” Teddy happily screeched as Harry held him high in the air and spun him around. “Want to play with the balls, Unka.”
Teddy still had some trouble pronouncing some words, but the almost three-year-old was talking up a storm. Most of it was legible unless he was upset and talking too fast.
Harry set Teddy down on the ground and pulled out the teaching balls. Teddy was keeping them in the air longer and higher each time they practiced. It also helped to bleed off some of his magic and cut down on the accidental magic incidents.
“There’s my little Teddykins.” Andromeda walked out and set a tray of drinks down on the table. Teddy stopped playing and ran to his grandmother.
“Gamma.” The boy flew into her arms and a moment later Harry was walking up and sat down at the table.
“I’ve come to quite enjoy American Iced Tea. I know it isn’t very British, but come try it and tell me what you think.” Andromeda poured Harry a glass and handed it over to him. He took a few sips then set it back down on the table.
“I am not entirely sure that I like that.”
Andromeda leaned back and chuckled softly. “It does take a bit to get used to. Though it is good English Tea, I couldn’t use anything less.”
Harry almost hated that he had introduced Andromeda to American lemonade. Now she was on a kick to try everything drink related, even American fizzy drinks. Her current favorite, which Harry deplored, was Dr. Pepper. Taking the tea he tried it again and could admit it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t tea, at least not to him.
“There is even something called an Arnold Palmer. He is some sort of sports figure and has made popular iced tea with lemonade.”
“Oh, now you go too far, Dromeda. That sounds deplorable.”
“Child, try it before you knock it.”
Harry laughed and shook his head before drinking more.
“More please, Gamma.”
“Bollocks, now you have poor Teddy indoctrinated. Before you know it he’s going to want everything American and he’ll be lost to us forever.” Harry teased.
“Theodore, where are you, young man?” A voice called out that Harry had never heard before. He raised an eyebrow as he looked over at Andromeda.
“Teddy’s new tutor. She’s quite a lovely young Witch. She graduated from Muggle Uni with a degree in Early Childhood Education, even went to America to do it. As well as advanced Charms, Transfiguration, and several other studies. Now, do be nice, Harry.”
Harry just waited for the Witch in question to make her way outside. When she did, he was quite struck by her appearance. Part of her head was shaved, but the other part the hair flowed down around her shoulders and from what Harry could tell, it went further down her back. She had two earrings in one ear, and several small hoops that ran the length of her other ear. Her wrists had several bangles, and chains of varying lengths draped around her neck.
The white peasant blouse that had some pretty little details over it charmed Harry. She had two overlapping belts around her waist and a long flowing skirt. Harry stood as she came out onto the patio. He knew he had a stupid grin on his face, but he just couldn’t help it.
“Oh, hello,” the Witch said and Harry detected a lilt to her voice that he couldn’t place.
“Um…hello. I ah…I’m Harry.” Harry held out his hand and the Witch smiled brightly.
“Willa. And I know who you are, Teddy’s Godfather. He can’t stop talking about his “‘Arry”. It made me curious.”
Harry was taken aback. She completely ignored all of the boy-who-lived crap that most he was just meeting for the first time gushed over.
“Come on, kiddo. Time for lessons.” Teddy scrambled out of his chair holding his cup carefully in his hands. “Nice to meet you, Harry Potter.” Willa lifted her lips in a crooked smile and winked before she took Teddy inside the house.
Flummoxed, Harry sat down hard in his chair staring after the woman and Andromeda didn’t even try to hide the fact that she was laughing.
“Feelssss nice.” Harry had Val wrapped around his wrist. She had grown several inches in the last couple of months and could almost wrap down to his elbow. She was also more verbal, even if it was a little rudimentary. Harry looked at his tutor, Kai Hathale, acknowledged that Harry was doing well interacting with Val. He had not needed to learn the language of a Parselmouth, but it was nice having someone there who didn’t freak out about him using it.
“You are a greedy girl.”
Val made a serious of hisses that had both Kai and Harry laughing.
“You are communicating well with her for not using your knowledge for so long, Harry.”
Harry could admit that Kai was a very beautiful woman. She had come all the way from America to tutor people in Parselmagic. When they had met, Harry had been surprised. She came from one of the unincorporated Magical Reservations. She grew up around a mix of First Peoples, all with magic. The Native school she went to taught magic differently than they did at other American schools. One day after Harry’s lesson, she had told him about her people and the ways they were taught. Harry was learning that there wasn’t just one single way to learn magic.
“She’s got a cheeky sense of humor, don’t you little one?” Kai laughed as Val tried hard to sound indignant. Kai gave Harry an assessing look before she spoke again. “You’ve got a part of your soul that is missing. I think Valiant wants very much to fill it. You lost a familiar, didn’t you?”
Harry had not talked about Hedwig, or even Dobby to Tony yet. There was still too much emotional pain when it came to his most loyal companions. Val’s cheekiness reminded him of Hedwig a bit.
“My Owl, Hedwig. She um…” Harry tried to avoid Kai’s face, the Medicine Woman, as she called herself, had a way of seeing into Harry that was both fascinating and unsettling. She told Harry she had come from a long line of seers. She herself didn’t have the full abilities, but she had some and she could see grief on a person. “She was killed when I was escaping my house when Voldemort tried to get me that last year.”
Kai rested a hand against Harry’s neck, gently holding him.
“It is never easy to lose someone we love. Especially those that are so innocent. You loved her very much, but you have not fully grieved her loss. Until you do, your bond with Val will not be as strong as it could be.” Kai pulled back and sat cross-legged. “I think you should speak with your Mind Healer. You trust him and he can guide you in letting go.”
Harry held back the tears that pricked the corners of his eyes. Val had unwound from Harry’s arm and slithered up his arm and draped around his shoulders.
“Now, since your Parselanguage is excellent, there isn’t anything else I can teach you with that. Now, we can begin exploring Parselmagic. But, before we begin, what would you like to do with this knowledge, Harry?”
Harry didn’t really know. He had never had a tutor like Kai before. He had tried to read some of the books in the Potter and Black libraries, but there wasn’t as much as he had hoped. From his Father’s personal journals, which he had been reading since he brought Val home, even his Father despaired of finding anything on the Magical practice.
“I don’t know. I know it’s very powerful, and I know that one needs to have an affinity for it. Someone can have it awakened if they have never tried to get in touch with that part of their magic, and you need to have a very strong and stable core to utilize it.”
“Very good. But that isn’t all. You need to have pure intent, Harry. That’s why Voldemort was not a true Parselmouth. His intent was to harm and kill. If you truly accept this path, you will be considered a Grey Wizard. Which, I think you are already, but this would push you even further. Are you ready for what that could me socially?”
Harry laughed a bitter laugh and Val quietly hisses at him.
“My give-a-fuck about what people think or want from me broke the moment they tried to hound me after the war was over. I don’t rightly care. I am the Lord Potter-Black and for all I care, the British Wizarding World can go fuck itself.”
Kai laughed a deep hearty laugh as she took Harry’s hands in hers.
“You are very refreshing, Harry. Now, while the magic is, in its intent very Light, there are ways to use it that make it a Grey art. Your intent must always be pure, Harry.”
“Alright. How do we get started?”
“First, put your wand away. Parselmagic does not use wands. It is more primal, wild even and is done wandless.”
Harry frowned and tried to puzzle out how he was going to do what Kai wanted to teach him without using a wand.
“Your wand is only a focus, Harry. You Wizards rely too much on it. Going so far as to anchoring your wand to your very core. Do you know how dangerous that is? What if you lose it? Or it gets destroyed? You could be magically damaged. No, you need to untether your wand from your magical core. It is only the instrument through which you do magic. Wands themselves have no magic other than what we put into it. Now, you said you had limiters that were removed?”
“I suspect that when those limiters were removed, the tethering of your wand to your core was also removed. Here, let’s do a little demo.” Kai handed Harry back his wand. “Do a simple spell that you would probably use quite frequently.”
Harry took a moment to think about it and smiled. The first spell he ever did, brought this whole thing back full circle. Lifting his wand, he said the Lumos charm and what he saw surprised him. It wasn’t the small ball of light that was usually at the end of his wand, it was almost the size of a cricket ball.
“Merlin,” Harry breathed out as he saw the bright light.
“When you attach your wand to your Magical core, it actually limits how powerful your magic is. Now, watch me.”
Kai laid her hands in her lap, palms opened and resting on top of each other. She hissed out a spell that Harry didn’t recognize, but in her hands was a ball of light almost twice the size of his Lumos spell.
“Wandless Parselmagic, Harry.” Kai smiled as she held up the light in her hands.
Harry smiled wide and for the first time in more than two years, he fell in love with Magic once more.
“Anything can become a focus, even your familiar. The greater your bond with your familiar, the greater your magic.”
“Blimey, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to learn everything.” Harry reached up and gently scratched at Val’s head and letting her lick his fingers. “What if we asked the Goblins for a time chamber? We can train in-depth for a set amount of time.”
Kai took a deep breath and canceled the light spell. Leaning forward she looked like she was thinking really hard. She gave Harry a speaking look before she leaned back on her arms that she stretched out on either side of herself.
“Wizards. Playing with time. Time-Turners, Time Chambers, even spells, potions and other magical equipment that lets you play with time. We don’t believe in playing with time, Harry. It is a delicate thing. I have seen one or two of my people play with the concepts of time and get lost. There is no time limit here, Harry. I will stay in London and teach you. I will guide you, and if you are as good at the magic as you are at the language, you will be learning so much in a short amount of time. No need to upset the Grandfathers, Harry.”
“Okay. I can be patient when it’s important.”
“I’m sure you can. Now, when can I see these boxes you were talking about?”
Harry laughed at Kai’s enthusiasm. He had told her about the stasis boxes when they had first met and he promised he would show her as soon as he could. He hoped she could tell him more about what might possibly be inside.