Harry’s life had an odd sort of rhythm to it. Shifts at the restaurant, either on the line or baking. Two days a week he went and saw Tony, he was down from three days and his sleep had improved immensely, as well as the anxiety he had first been feeling on a daily basis. Loud noises and strangers no longer sent him into panic attacks, but it didn’t mean that he was a hundred percent better, he just knew he was getting there but in his own time.
Nights had been spent at various clubs around London where he could get lost in the music and the dancing. He reveled in his newfound sexual freedom and tried just about anything once. There was a lot he wouldn’t have a repeat of, but there was, even more, he had fun doing many times over. Men, women, threesomes, were all on the table and Harry very rarely said no.
His hardline was drugs and even being careful with alcohol. He liked the occasional beer, muggle whiskey, or he had been turned onto brandy by Jade before he had left.
Harry got the occasional letter from Jade telling him how things were going in Italy. Even though Harry missed him greatly, he had healed from the loss. He would write back about some of his escapades and Jade was both amused and a little jealous, but Harry had to remind him from time to time that he had no right to be.
Teddy was growing, and Harry was having fun teaching him more magic. What Harry was avoiding was going to Gringotts to read his parents will. Neville had practically kidnapped him one day and forced him to go. That’s why he currently found himself in Ragnok’s office with Neville beside him, anxiously waiting for the Goblin to return.
“Here is the Will in question.” Ragnok handed it over to Harry who saw that the seal on it had never been broken. “That bastard,” Harry growled under his breath.
“Open it, Harry.”
Taking a deep breath, Harry unsealed the Will and rolled it out. He read it over silently at first, then got so angry he shoved out of his chair and stalked around the room.
“Fuck.” Harry was pissed.
“What did it say?”
Harry turned to Neville, letting the tears slip down his face.
“First off, Sirius had adopted me by blood. He wasn’t just my Godfather, Nev. Christ, he was another parent. If anything happened to my Mum and Dad, he was supposed to take me. Then, if he couldn’t it was to be your Mum and Dad. Even McGonagall was on there, as well as an American Cousin but at no time was I supposed to go to the Dursleys. In fact, Mum and Dad had dissolved the damn blood wards!
“Dumbledore blocked the reading of the will, he kept Sirius in Azkaban, and denied me a magical upbringing. I want this Will read in the Wizengamot. I want all of those bastards to hear it and I want restitution from the Ministry for letting that bastard run roughshod over Magical Law. I want a damn full investigation into every single person who had anything to do with this, with keeping me in an abusive home.”
“If you accept your legacy rings, Mr. Potter, that will hold more weight. And I would have the authority of a Lord to go after those Wizard arseholes.”
Harry was pissed off enough that he agreed.
By the time it was done, Harry had the Potter ring, Black ring, and a minor ring from the Peverall line from his mother’s side. His magic had flared and opened up even more to him.
“Blimey, Harry. By the time you are twenty-five and go through your last maturation, you are going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
“This doesn’t mean I am back in the Wizarding World. But, I want those who had any hand in forcing me towards the inevitable with Voldemort dealt with.”
“As you wish, Lord Potter-Black. There are a few muggle titles you are entitled to as well.”
“That is something I will deal with later. One thing at a time, Ragnok.” Harry would see this done, then he just wanted to go back to his flat to try to process the emotions this whole thing churned up. He knew something had been hinky for a long time, but he had just been so tired of dealing with the utter shite storm that was his life, he had ignored that feeling of wrong for far too long.
“After this I want to see a Healer. I’ve put it off for too long. And…”
Harry looked around the Goblin’s office and took his time to think about what he was going to ask. This would be a big step, and it would be putting him somewhat back in the Wizarding World, but the dreams he had been having were pushing at him to seek out a Parselmage to teach him.
“I will give you the name of several very good teachers, Lord Potter. Also, I believe if you take a look in your vault, there might be something there for you.” Ragnok smirked as he closed several books after assigning some of his best investigators to do as Harry had requested.
“All right. Let’s go.” Harry was curious now about what was in his vault that had Ragnok smirking at him.
The trip didn’t take long and Harry was glad that he had brought his key with him. He had subconsciously taken it with him, not thinking he was actually going to use it..
“Merlin, Harry, this is all yours?”
Harry blushed at Neville’s awe as they walked into the vault. He had only been there once before. Now he was going to be taking a better look around. Harry saw books, storage trunks, shelves full of things that he wasn’t familiar with at all. He would need to come back and catalogue everything when he had a chance. But, what caught his attention was a shelf with several ornate boxes all in a line. The one that he was compelled towards had a Dragon on the top of the box. Harry gently grabbed the box and after Neville conjured a table he, with Ragnok and Neville next to him, opened the box.
“It’s an egg.”
“Yes, perfectly suspended and meant for you, Harry.”
Harry picked up the small egg, breaking the suspension magic and held the small thing in his hand. After a few moments the egg started to crack and a head poked out and looked around. The little thing kept working to break itself out of its shell and once it did, Harry was looking at a baby snake that had some of the most beautiful colors he had ever seen. The scales were very pronounced, almost like those of Dragon scales.
“Ahh, yes. A Dragon Snake. You father, Lord James Potter, had the parents of this little snake. He wanted you to have your own.”
“So, my Parseltongue, it wasn’t from Voldemort?”
“No, Lord Potter-Black. Your father was a Parselmouth, as was his father. They kept it quiet because of the stupid stigma that surrounds the magic. This as well as the others, were a magical legacy you were supposed to inherit.”
The snake had licked at Harry’s hand, then started to slither up his arm. The tiny creature Harry had felt an immediate bond with it.
“When you name it, the bond will grow stronger, as the serpent matures, the bond will grow even more between the both of you. But for now, it is light and you will both grow into it.”
Harry looked at the other boxes and wondered, but he would leave them alone for the time being. Right now one snake was going to be quite enough. Gently he pulled the baby snake off his arm and let it coil in his hand.
“I think I have some things to buy. I might even have to look for a new place. What is your name, sweetheart?” Harry didn’t know how he knew, but he knew it was female. The colors on her ranged from a flame red to a bright blue and everything in between. Her colors would be very hard to miss. Smiling at her he was already in love with the little thing.
“Harry,” Neville held the box up and pulled something from inside. “There is a little manual on how to care for her.”
“Oh, brilliant! I wonder if she’s magical.”
Ragnok moved towards Harry and did a quick diagnostic on the snake and all of them saw the tiny magical core that she had.
“Very magical, Lord. She will only get stronger. We won’t know what she is capable of till she grows a little more.”
“All right sweetheart, let’s go make some people pay.”
By the time Harry had his say in the emergency session of the Wizengamot, and the reasons he basically told the Wizarding World to fuck off, the Lords and Ladies were not only stunned, but some looked shamefaced, and Ragnok made quick note of who those people were, and some were cowed. Harry knew he could name a reagent to sit in his box and vote on bills and policies. He would think long and hard on who he would want for that position. Certainly none of the people in the room, except for Neville, and Bill Weasley who was observing the proceedings, had his trust.
After the long day at the bank, Harry found himself not at St. Mungo’s but at a private healers that had been recommended to him by Ragnok.
“Lord Potter-Black. Thank you for trusting me with your care.”
“Healer Williams. I’m glad you could see me on such short notice. I know I’ve been rather neglectful about my health, but there were too many things going on in my life, then when I thought about it, frankly at the time I didn’t give a fuck.
“But, with changes that I’ve made for my mental health, I thought it prudent to start taking better care of myself physically.”
“Really, please just call me Harry. I am in no way ready to fully take up my titles and whatever the hell it all means. I’m just Harry.”
Healer Williams smiled and nodded.
“All right, why don’t you get undressed and put this on. It’s better for me to get a full picture of your overall health and clothing can often skew the diagnostics.”
Harry quickly changed while the Healer turned away and appeared to get things ready. Harry laid back on the table and gently cleared his throat to get Healer Williams attention.
“Right then, let’s get to it.”
The diagnostics only took a few minutes, as did the full physical. Healer Williams asked Harry a few questions, which included his sex life, contraception, and other rather invasive, but necessary questions.
“All right, you can get dressed and we’ll talk about a few things.”
Harry quickly slipped on his clothes and sat back down on the diagnostic table. He waited patiently for Healer Williams to finish whatever he was doing.
“Well, the first thing we should discuss is the block on your magical core. It looks like there are at least three. The oldest is one that parents usually put on a highly magical child to tamp down on their accidental magic. This should have been removed just after your fifth or sixth birthday for your first magical maturation. But, it wasn’t.
“The second block looks like it has been there since you were about twelve or thirteen, and the third was after your fifteenth year. Harry, these blocks must be removed before your twenty-first birthday or there is the possibility of core fracture. Why these are there I am uncertain, but it quite angers me that someone blocked your magic.”
Harry had no doubt who had done it and when. The second block was most likely done after the basilisk had bit him, and the third after the Tournament. And, there was only one person he knew that would do such a horrible thing to him and it hurt more than Harry wanted to admit.
Harry took a deep calming breath before he spoke with Healer Williams once again.
“Who can remove these blocks?”
“I can, but it needs to be done in one of our stasis rooms. That way as each one is removed your magic won’t backlash and we can do it slowly and carefully. I can schedule a time to come back, it will take a day to prepare the room for your unique magical signature. We don’t want any accidents. Then, if you have someone you trust to take you home, you will sleep for at least two, maybe even three days. The exhaustion you will feel will be your magic trying to reset itself.”
“And what do I tell my work?”
“What is it you do?”
Harry smiled because he knew the Healer was going to probably be shocked.
“I’m a chef in muggle London.”
“That’s rather intriguing. Well, I can certainly give you an absence note that will be worded for Muggles. Many of my patients work in both worlds. “
“Right, thank you. And I can ask my Godbrother to help me out. I can stay at his place as well so that I’m not alone.”
“Good. We’ll take care of that before you leave. Now, as to your overall health, you have a lot of healed over internal scars, as well as minor fractures that have healed over time. You’re also a few inches shorter than you should be, and you have some minor organ damage. Nothing to worry over right now, but you should have that healed before getting too much older. I can put you on a potions regimen that will deal with each of these issues. And, I want to see every other week for the first six months to monitor your progress.”
Harry was given a list of potions and in what quantities and when he should take each.
“This is not going to be a quick fix, Harry. But, if you follow this plan, you’ll be where you should be, I predict in about sixteen months. Then a year of maintenance and monthly follow-ups.”
Harry blew out his breath and wanted to protest the aggressive regimen, but he knew he couldn’t put this off any longer.
“The good news is, you are in good health otherwise. How is your eating and exercise routine?”
“The restaurant is where I usually eat most meals and it’s fairly healthy. Lots of veg and moderate portions of carbohydrates with healthy meats. I try to watch my portions. I do drink, but I’m not stupid about it, and I don’t do any drugs of any kind.
“I try to see my Godson about once a week and we are very physical outdoors. I’ve kept up flying and other activities.”
“I’d like you to try to add in some more physical activities where you can during your weekdays. I know it’s tough when working in a restaurant, but even thirty minutes of a good workout will do you a world of good. Now, there is a magical pharmacy near where you live in muggle London, would you like them to fill your potions?”
Harry thought about it and when Healer Williams showed him the address, it was near his flat. They had a good reputation so Harry agreed. If he felt anything off he would address it with Healer Williams.
“Okay, I think that’s it. Let’s get you scheduled for that appointment, after I take a sample of your magical signature. I promise, Harry we will do this as painless and gentle as possible.”
“Thank you. I appreciate this. And…”
“There is a strict confidentiality charm that is placed in this office. No one can speak a patient’s name or what they were in for. I hold privacy above all else.”
Harry was relieved at those words. He was now going to have to go home, get the script filled and try to deal with all of the information he was being given. Making sure his new little companion was with him, Harry left Healer Williams office and went to Neville’s to tell him what happened. Harry stayed for lunch, he played with Teddy who was controlling his magic rather brilliantly for a two and half-year-old. He made a note to ask Andromeda about the limiters and what they did and if Teddy had one. Harry had a very bad feeling he wasn’t the only one that Dumbledore tampered with. He wasn’t ready to bring that up, but maybe if he talked to Bill about it at their bi-annual meeting, the head of his company could bring it up and have it investigated.
The next few months of Harry’s life were going to get interesting.
Sleep had very much been the best thing for Harry. After taking off the blocks to his magic, Harry felt better than he had in a very long time. He wondered if some of what he had been feeling after the war was because of those limits on his magic. He was now out with Neville and Luna trying to expend some of his newfound energy. He needed to bleed off some of the excess magic that had thrummed through his body when he woke up three days after the procedure.
After spending another day with the Longbottom’s, Neville and Luna having gotten married in a simple ceremony at the Ministry, Harry went back to his flat and wondered if it was time for something better. Even if he moved somewhere out of London itself, he could easily apparate to work. For now though, he set-up Valiant’s new home. A magical warming box that would grow as she did. It looked like a muggle terrarium, but it had a lot of magical bells and whistles. All Harry had to do was provide a shallow water dish and the fresh food. Since she was so small she wasn’t ready for mice quite yet.
“There you go, sweetheart. I hope you like your new home.” Harry smiled softly as Val slithered around her enclosure, then draped herself over the beechwood branch Harry had placed inside for her.
Getting ready for work, Harry looked at himself in the mirror. He could see minor changes already. His eyes were losing the dark spots that had already been fading. He looked a little broader, and if he wasn’t mistaken, just a tad taller. Laughing at himself he finished getting dressed and made his way to work.
The shift had been brutal. The new hostess had double booked the first service and then decided to let in a few people who had no reservations for that evening. Harry knew that Margaret was going to rake the girl over the coals, so to speak, because the kitchen was slammed and they were doing their best to keep everything to Margaret’s very tough standards.
Second service came, and though it wasn’t as rough, there were ripples from the first that impacted second. Harry was doing his best as Sous Chef to keep everyone going and keeping communication open with the expediter and the servers.
When the last entree’s went out and no more tickets were left there was a collective sigh of relief around the whole kitchen. A moment later, they all got quiet as Margaret came into the kitchen.
“Harrison, there is a customer that wants to speak with you.” Harry looked at his fellow chefs and shrugged his shoulders then followed Margaret.
“He wants to thank you for how smoothly service went, and for the excellent meal that you put together for him.”
Harry felt a little nervous. It wasn’t like he hadn’t done this before after a particularly good service, but it always made him a little self-conscious.
“Mr. Malfoy, this is Harrison Black, my Sous chef and the one responsible for your table this evening.”
Harry did a very good job of hiding his shock as Draco Malfoy stood and held his hand out. Harry gripped it and shook, trying to keep any awkwardness out of the handshake.
“Chef Black. I wanted to thank you for the extraordinary meal you provided this evening. My companions and I were impressed with how well the kitchen dealt with all of the issues that were clearly seen in the dining room. So, congratulations.”
“Mr. Malfoy. I’m glad I could provide you with excellent food and service.”
“You should be very proud.” Draco looked right in Harry’s eyes and Harry wasn’t sure how to take all that. This was the first time that anyone he knew besides Luna and Neville, had come into the restaurant.
“I am. Well, if you’ll excuse me I believe you have some dessert ordered.”
“Yes, and Margaret some of your excellent coffee.”
“Of course, dear. Just give me a few moments.”
Harry had turned on his heel and walked back to the kitchen to see that the staff was working to clean up after the hectic service. Even the desserts for the evening had been pulled out and two of the other chefs were plating. After they went out, Harry needed a few moments to get his head around seeing Draco Malfoy of all people in his restaurant.
“Well, Potter. I wondered, as did many, where you have been this past couple of years. I would have said slumming it, but seeing as Margaret doesn’t hire stupid people, and the caliber of the place, you’ve done well.” Draco leaned against the wall of the restaurant just at the edge of the little alleyway.
“And how do you know, Chef?” Harry didn’t even try to be civil anymore. They weren’t inside, so he could let his broken give-a-fuck out.
“Met her about a year ago when I came in to have a little party catered for my Mother. I kept asking who her pastry chef was, and who made that excellent cake, but she wouldn’t tell me. I’ve come here every morning since and we have gotten to know each other. Why? Is your paranoia making you think it’s about you?”
Harry glared at Draco and fisted his hands at his sides.
“No. But she’s a good person and I don’t want to see her hurt.”
“You’re Gryffindor showing there, Potter?” Draco sneered as he watched Harry march up to him.
“I gave up that house loyalty shit once I killed that dark fucker. If you’re here to start some stupid feud up again, then you can just go fuck off, Malfoy.”
Draco sighed then turned to lean his back against the wall, arms crossed over his chest.
“No, actually I came to apologize. I was a git in school and for the first year after the war I was an utter shite. I took to the firewhisky and it took my Mother cutting me off to make me see how I was destroying myself. I had been looking for you, I wanted to make amends.”
Harry was confused. He had been grateful to Draco for not giving him up, but it hadn’t meant that they were friends now. He tried to think about what angle Draco was playing when he started to laugh as he leaned against the wall as well.
“You know I was standing there thinking what your angle was and thinking like a stupid, scared schoolboy once more. We aren’t boys anymore, and neither of us has been in school for years now. I’m trying to grow up, give my life some balance, some meaning. I never expected to run across you.”
“I was just as surprised, Potter.”
“Look, let me finish up inside and we can go to my flat and talk.”
Draco looked thoughtful for a moment, then he nodded.
“I’ve already said goodbye to my companions, so sure, why not.”
Harry nodded then went inside and helped to finish the final cleanups. After throwing his Chef’s coat in the laundry, Harry grabbed his things and met Draco back at the mouth of the alley.
“Come on, there’s an apparition point close to here.”
Harry had wrapped an arm around Draco’s waist then quickly apparated to his flat. He set the wards to accept Draco, then went to strip out of his clothes.
“I need a shower. There’s drinks in the fridge. I’ll be right back.”
Harry wasn’t sure what he was doing. Draco fucking Malfoy was in his flat, and he looked amazing. Harry was not going to go there as he quickly cleaned up, used a quick-drying charm on himself then wrapped a towel around his waist. Opening his wardrobe, he pulled out soft lounge pants and an oversized t-shirt. Once he was dressed a drink was being pressed into his hand.
“I see you don’t have a lot of alcohol.”
“I spent too much time after the war brooding and drinking. It didn’t get worse, but I knew if I didn’t stop it could have.”
“Why did you disappear?” Draco asked as he practically draped himself on Harry’s bed. The sight had Harry swallowing hard as he took sip of the lemonade Draco had poured for him.
“Why would I have stayed? Too many people wanted a piece of me for various reasons. I was too messed up to stay, Malfoy. I needed to find out who I was away from all the damn hype.”
“I thought you were hot and heavy with the Weaslett.”
Harry plopped down in his chair that he had turned away from the window.
“Well, we came to understand that there was nothing really between us. She did too, and I think the both of us are better off in the long run. I knew if we had stayed like we were I would have hurt her. She’s not a bad girl, she just needs to find her own way.”
The air in the flat was thick with anticipation, but for what Harry didn’t know.
“Your snake, she’s quite unique.”
Harry smiled as he turned to the tank.
“She’s a Magical Peruvian Dragon Snake. She had been in stasis in the Potter vault. There are several others as well. Seems my father was a Parselmouth. I never wanted it after finding out Voldemort was one, but it seems it’s part of my family legacy.”
“Well, he wasn’t one, you know. Oh, he learned to speak it enough to keep Nagini at his side, but he wasn’t a true Parselmouth.”
“Wow. Do I want to know what he was really doing with Nagini?”
Draco sneered again and shuddered.
“No, you really don’t.” Standing Draco moved to the tank and looked closer. “Can I hold her?”
Harry smiled and stood. He held his hand out for Val and after a moment she slithered up onto Harry’s hand. He held her out for Draco, who patiently waited for the snake to get accustomed to him, then she slithered over and pooled in his open hand.
“Merlin, she’s gorgeous.”
“She’s only a few days old. She won’t start speaking for a couple of months. I’ve hired a tutor. I want to access my Parselmagic. I’m not sure what i want to do with it but I’m tired of not having all of the things I should have had as a child.”
“You’re speech in the Wizengamot had everyone wondering if you’d gone round the bend. Then the whole thing with Bill Weasley talking about limiters on magic and finding out that more than half of our class had blocks, well it sent the rest of the unbelievers over to the side that thought Dumbles was a fucking manipulative arsehole. Parents become absolute bears when it comes to their children. You should have been there, it was spectacular.”
Harry wasn’t sure why he did it, but being so close to Draco, the fact that his magic felt good next to the man, and that they weren’t fighting as they had in school, Harry leaned over and kissed Draco.
Putting the snake back in her enclosure, Draco grabbed Harry’s shirt and kissed him back. What ensued was hormone and magic fueled sex. It wasn’t silent, it wasn’t gentle, it was the ripping of clothes, biting, pushing back and forth till they were on the bed, then it was messy and hard. Two men who had once hated each other were now fucking out all of their resentments, and old hurts, and slights made against each other. They spoke with their bodies what they couldn’t say with their words and it wasn’t fast or easy.
Harry had taken Draco, holding the Slytherin down and having his way with him. Then when he was spent, Draco flipped them till Harry was on his stomach. Draco wasn’t gentle, and Harry knew he was going to have aches and bruises the next day, but he didn’t care. He screamed as his body shuddered through a dry orgasm almost at the same time as Draco came inside of him.
The two were panting hard as Draco slipped out and fell to the side. Harry covered Draco’s body wanting that mouth again. The kissing wasn’t as hard or primal, but it was greedy. Finally, after his magic settled, Harry pushed off and went to the shower. He needed a moment to get his head around the fact that he and Draco just had sex. It wasn’t planned, but somewhere deep inside Harry he knew it had been something they had both wanted, craved even far longer than either would willingly admit. Once he was done, he saw Draco sitting up in bed.
“Shower is yours if you want. And…um, you can stay.”
“That wasn’t so hard now was it,” Draco smirked and stood. He smacked Harry’s ass on the way to the shower. “I’d love to stay, only if we can do that again.”
Harry didn’t even stop the eye roll as he changed his sheets and waited for Draco to get in next to him. They slept in the same bed, but there was definitely no cuddling. Harry wondered to himself what this was and if it was just a one-time thing. He wasn’t sure how he felt about either of those questions as he drifted off into sleep.