Fandom: Harry Potter
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: Harry is supposed to be getting married, but appearing naked in Draco Malfoy's study and then spontaneously growing wings put pay to those plans.
Author's Notes: Written for snugglemint in the charity vgift meme thingy. Sorry it took so long, I wrote myself into a corner and had to write myself out again :). Thanks to Soph for the beta.
Word Count: 6,685
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The world didn't quite seem to be right in Harry's estimation. It hadn't been normal for the last couple of days, but now everything seemed fuzzy on the edges and he was pretty sure he'd just done something with magic he wasn't supposed to be able to do. He hoped it was a dream, because if it wasn't, he'd managed to reach an all time low of mortification. He had been in Diagon Alley heading for a final fitting for the robes for his wedding, but he'd left that behind as well as, it seemed, his clothes. The last person he wanted to see was Draco Malfoy standing in front of him.
"Potter, what in Merlin's name are you doing here?"
He was wondering that himself.
"Don't know," he replied and it came out slurred.
The feeling of oddness was growing and he didn't know where he was.
"Potter are you drunk?" came the next scathing question. "If you are inebriated and decided it was a lark to invade my home stark naked I will press charges."
Harry shook his head and wobbled precariously.
"Not drunk," he said, or at least tried to say, but it didn't really sound much like it when it came out of his mouth.
He hadn't touched a drop in days and he honestly had no idea what was going on. At least he knew where he was now, Malfoy of course lived at his family's Manor. That confused him even more though; he knew for a fact that Malfoy Manor had wards to stop unknown people Apparating in and out.
If his body had been of a mind to obey him he would have asked questions, tried to figure out what was happening, but it was not to be. When pain erupted in his back, sending him to his knees with a cry, his last ounce of control was ripped from him. Agony lanced between his shoulder blades and down his spine. It was like something was tearing the skin off his back and his whole body went weak with it. He fell forward, his arms barely able to stop him planting his face in Malfoy's carpet and he couldn't stop the keen that was dragged from his throat.
"Potter," he heard Malfoy say, but he could do nothing to respond. "Merlin's balls, it can't be."
He had no idea what it couldn't be and he had no time to find out either. There was a crack that sounded like it should have been fatal and it sent new agony racing through him. It was too much and, finally giving up, he passed out onto Malfoy's, undoubtedly, very expensive rug.
Harry woke up still face down, but on something much more comfortable than the floor. The smell of lavender was what made it into his head first and he finally realised the lovely soft pillow half of his face was lying on was giving off the scent. Unless that was a treatment he didn't know about he didn't think he was in St Mungo's; he'd been there enough to know their particular smell. With that in mind he tried to shift his head to figure out where he was now.
Moving was his first mistake. His back decided to remind him of the pain he had been in when he passed out, only it was nowhere near as intense. The second mistake was trying to say something to voice his discomfort, because his throat felt like it was a touch dryer than the Sahara.
"Potter, just lie still."
He really hadn't expected to hear Malfoy after he woke up. Luckily for him, he seemed to be as weak as a kitten so he couldn't move any further in his shock. When Malfoy crouched down in his eyeline he was more than surprised; usually when they met they went out of their way to make things difficult for each other. They might have both been grown men, but sometimes they really acted like school boys; even Harry knew that.
"What?" He tried to be more articulate, but that was about the best he could do.
"You're safe," Malfoy said and for a moment actually looked genuinely concerned, "just try and relax."
Harry wanted to know what the hell was going on and he was not about to just lie around. Malfoy always brought out the worst in him and he tried to move again. That was mistake number three and he heard himself whimper as his back screamed about the abuse it had suffered.
"Why did I even bother?" he heard Malfoy say in a much more familiar tone, but he had his eyes squeezed shut so he didn't see if a scathing look went with it. "Potter, I'm not just saying things for my own amusement. Try and relax or you'll hurt yourself."
He was inclined to believe Malfoy this time and did attempt not to tense up. It was difficult because his back was sore and it felt as if something heavy was lying on it. Slowly he opened his eyes so he could see Malfoy again.
"Going to behave now?" his host asked with a raised eyebrow.
It wasn't as if he had much choice in the matter, so Harry made a humming noise in reply.
"Good. Now I'm going to get you something to drink. Do not move."
To say that Harry was shocked that Malfoy was lowering himself to personally helping him was an understatement. He was so astounded that when Malfoy returned with a beaker and a straw, Harry simply took a sip of the offered liquid. It was sweet with a vaguely metallic after taste and he knew he'd just swallowed some sort of potion, but he didn't know which. As an Auror he was trained to recognise potions in case he came across them in a case, but this one was new to him. Almost as soon as he had swallowed it he felt the ache in his back begin to ease and he automatically relaxed more.
"The potion is my own design," Malfoy told him, offering him the straw for a second sip; "it should help with the discomfort and keep you hydrated and energised until you are well enough for real food."
Once again Harry just didn't know how to react, so he took another sip of the offered drink. In the end Malfoy fed him about half the beaker and then took it away.
"Why?" he asked when Malfoy turned back to him.
This time he managed to speak without pain.
"You really don't know what's going on do you?" Malfoy finally said after several long seconds of contemplation.
"No," he replied, after deciding that trying to shake his head would be a very bad idea.
For a while he thought Malfoy might leave him in the lurch, but it seemed Malfoy was only thinking. "I am helping you, Potter, because you came to me for sanctuary. Any wizard or witch would have done the same."
That didn't make any sense at all; Harry was sure he had not suddenly decided to appear naked in Malfoy's study. It had just happened.
"I don't understand," he admitted, because he was thoroughly confused.
"Have you ever heard of an Angelus, Potter?" Malfoy asked and then sighed. "Actually, forget I said that, I neglected to remember who I was speaking to for a moment there. An Angelus is the highest form of law known to magical people. They are a pure soul given the power to be judge, jury and executioner by magic itself."
It was an interesting story, but Harry was not really following what it had to do with him. All he could think of was that he had been judged or something.
"They come into being only at times of great magical upheaval, when there is going to be great change," Malfoy told him. "When it is time for them to be revealed they seek out the one person who can balance and help them through the transition." Malfoy paused and looked him in the eye. "They seek sanctuary."
For a moment Harry's mind just came to a halt. It couldn't be, Malfoy couldn't be saying what Harry thought Malfoy was saying. It seemed as if Malfoy was suggesting he was one of these Angelus things and he'd gone to him for help, but he hadn't done anything of the sort. He hadn't even known why he had appeared at Malfoy Manor. For a moment he forgot what was going on and he tried to push himself up so he could protest properly.
"Potter, you imbecile," Malfoy all but squawked at him as he made it about half way and then collapsed back to the bed; "you're still transitioning. When I say don't move I mean it."
Harry would have added his own voice to the conversation, but he didn't have a chance. As Malfoy continued to cast doubt on his intelligence and berate him, he realised with annoyance that he was passing out again.
"Are you going to behave this time?" Malfoy asked as soon as Harry opened his eyes a second time.
Harry just blinked and accepted some more of Malfoy's potion when offered it. He didn't think he felt quite as bad as he had before, but he still felt bloody awful.
"I don't have much choice," he said once the potion began to take effect.
"Well neither do I," Malfoy told him in no uncertain terms, "so do not undo all my hard work."
Malfoy seemed to be annoyed with him.
"Thank you for helping me," he said, since he did feel grateful, "but you don't seriously think I'm one of those Angelus things do you?"
He couldn't move, but at least his brain and voice seemed to be back on track.
"I don't think, Potter," Malfoy said in his usual scathing tone, "I know. Last time I checked it is not normal to grow five foot high wings ... do not even think of moving."
Harry froze; he had been about to twist. He could see something white out of the corner of his eye, but he had assumed it was something Malfoy had put on his back to help with the healing.
"Wings?" he asked in a rather helpless tone.
"Yes, wings," Malfoy replied with a nod, "lovely white ones. I've bound them for now because you kept trying to spread them while you were asleep."
Harry was kind of stuck on that thought and Malfoy just lifted an eyebrow at him.
"You've also been glowing on and off," Malfoy told him as if he deemed the second wings enquiry beneath his notice, "and trust me I know what you are, because I can feel it. You radiate, for want of a better description, wisdom and purity. I am sure I should find this terrifying and utterly disgusting considering it's you, but, Merlin help me, I don't."
The world was insane, it was that simple. Harry had clearly gone off his rocker, what with the stress of the upcoming wedding and everything.
"Oh god," he said, as he remembered, "I'm supposed to be getting married next Saturday."
"Not anymore," Malfoy said as if that was the end of the matter.
"But I have to, what about Ginny and the whole of her family are coming," he said, rather desperately, "we can't cancel now."
"It's off," Malfoy said in an unsympathetic tone, "live with it. Oh, and while we're on the subject, I have been dying to know, why are you marrying the Weasellet anyway? You didn't knock her up did you?"
Harry was scandalized on behalf of his fiancé.
"No! And why shouldn't I marry Ginny?"
Malfoy lifted an aristocratic eyebrow at him.
"Well for a start, Darling, you're gay."
Harry honestly spluttered and probably would have flailed if he had been able to.
"I'm not gay," he said as soon as he managed to wrangle some actually sensible thoughts together.
He was shocked when Malfoy laughed.
"Remember who you're talking to, Potter. Like knows like, y'know."
Of course Harry knew that Malfoy played for the other team; it was one of those open secrets in Wizarding society, but that did not give Malfoy the right to accuse him of things.
"You don't know what you're on about," he denied firmly; "I have never looked at another man."
He was on the receiving end of a very hard stare for that.
"By Merlin, you really are in denial aren't you," Malfoy finally concluded. "Look, trust me, we've been at enough social functions together and whether you like it or not, you do look at other men. What you don't look at is women, and then of course there's now."
Harry was just becoming more and more confused.
"How do I put this delicately?" Malfoy asked himself and then gave Harry an appraising stare. "Okay, forget that, I can't. Potter, sooner or later we are going to end up having sex."
It was close, Harry almost laughed, but that would have hurt.
"Have you been sniffing cauldrons?" was what he finally decided to ask.
"Fine," Malfoy replied and rolled his eyes, "but when the time comes don't say I didn't warn you."
Then Malfoy stood up and was gone from his line of vision. It seemed the conversation was over.
Over the next few days Harry slowly became stronger and somehow he and Malfoy managed to remain civil to each other. The subject of sexuality was not brought up again, thank heavens, but that didn't mean Harry could get back to sorting out his wedding. It seemed that while he was recovering all communication to and from the Manor was cut off. The house elves could come and go as normal and pick up anything they needed, but when asked to carry messages they simply refused. That was what had convinced Harry that it wasn't some trick, that and the glowing, which was honestly disturbing.
The wings were interesting to say the least. They were huge, but something about the transformation he had been through meant that he seemed to have automatically adjusted to having them. When he had stood and looked at himself in front of one of Malfoy's full length mirrors his first thought had been of the illustrations of angels he had seen in books as a child.
"Here," Malfoy said, entering the room as he padded back to the bed after visiting the bathroom; "this is the only book I have on Angelus."
"Thank you," Harry replied as he took the offered tome.
He couldn't wear a shirt with the wings, although Malfoy said he was working on something, so he was just in pyjama pants and he climbed onto the bed and sat down cross-legged. His wings flared a little to adjust to the position, but he had discovered that they didn't get in the way with most things.
"Lunch will be ready in half an hour," Malfoy told him and then left.
Now that Harry was getting stronger Malfoy seemed happier to leave him alone for periods of time, but it felt kind of odd not having him right there. Harry didn't try and explain things like that, he just went with it. Opening the book, he began to read.
Lunch came and went and Harry only ate because Malfoy shoved something under his nose. He was far more interested in the book and what it was telling him and he just kept reading. Being an Auror had taught him how to speed read and by the time evening was coming on he had finished the whole volume. It had explained a great deal and one thing he realised was that Malfoy had been telling the truth.
Standing up, he put the book on the sideboard and headed out of his room. It was only as he realised that he did not know Malfoy Manor that is dawned on him he didn't need to; he just began to walk in the direction his instincts told him to.
"Angelus," he heard several of the portraits whisper as he passed them.
He found Malfoy in the room he recognised as the one he had first appeared in.
"You're my balance," he said simply as soon as Malfoy looked up at him.
"Of course I am," Malfoy replied and gave a rather irony filled little smile.
There was the outside possibility that Malfoy had created an entire book just to fool him, but Harry was not inclined to believe that. He was beginning to feel things, things that seemed to point him towards truth.
"Why do you think I'm gay?" he asked, finally deciding that they had to revisit the subject.
The book categorically stated that his choice of sanctuary would be more than just a friend and he believed it, but that did not explain everything else. He saw Malfoy open his mouth to reply, that scathing look on his face that meant Harry was in for a sarcastic remark, but then Malfoy took a deep breath.
"You give off all the right signals," Malfoy finally said. "For someone looking, your body language screams it."
So far Malfoy had been sarcastic and cutting with his remarks, but he had not lied, so Harry decided to take that at face value.
"But I'm in love with Ginny," he objected and he felt heat rush up his spine in a rather unpleasant way.
His wings flared a little and ruffled like an upset bird.
"I think you may be lying to yourself," Malfoy pointed out, but the tone was nowhere near as scathing as it could have been.
"I did love her." He was sure of that and this time he felt no reaction.
He was honestly confused; it didn't make any sense to him. Malfoy was his only source of help and so he looked at the other man.
"When did you fall in love with her?" was the rather surprising question.
"At school," he replied, since he remembered exactly when, "during sixth year."
"What about before?" Malfoy asked and raised an eyebrow.
Harry thought back since it seemed like a good idea to be sure.
"She was always like a little sister to me," he replied and smiled fondly at the memory, "because of Ron."
"And other girls?"
That was not such a nice recollection.
"I was never good with girls," he admitted and decided not to explain about the disaster with Cho.
"Trying too hard," was Malfoy's deduction.
It wasn't quite what Harry would have decided, but he chose not to argue.
"Did you realise gradually that you were in love with Ginny?"
Harry shook his head; it had never been like that between them.
"No, it was like I suddenly woke up to it," he admitted, wondering where Malfoy was going with his question. "It was like my heart finally got a clue."
Malfoy nodded as if that made sense.
As soon as the words left Malfoy's mouth Harry felt the indignation rise.
"Don't be absurd," he said, angry on Ginny's behalf. "Are you suggesting my fiancé enchanted me?"
"It doesn't have to have been her," Malfoy said, as if he didn't really care one way or another, "but someone who wanted the pair of you together charmed you. They used the feelings of familial love you had for Ginny Weasley and made them something else. It fits all the facts."
"But," Harry tried to protest, but he felt that shiver of recognition that seemed to come with being presented with the truth.
He didn't know what to say.
"When your true power emerged, the spell broke," Malfoy told him and Harry sat down rather heavily in one of the stylish chairs.
"I was getting married," he said in little more than a whisper.
It felt as if everything he believed in was being rearranged.
"You would probably have been very happy," Malfoy said after a few moments and surprised him.
"I was under a spell," he said, feeling somehow violated.
"But not an evil one," Malfoy said, even though it seemed to pain him to do so. "It did not twist your feelings, it merely enhanced them. It was illegal, but not evil."
Harry narrowed his eyes at his companion.
"You know who did it," he accused.
"No I do not," Malfoy replied and Harry had no choice but to believe him. "Now if you don't mind can we leave the subject of your love life, it is making me uncomfortable."
"Jealous," Harry corrected and Malfoy made a face at him.
They had never been friends and really they had mostly been enemies, but Harry could feel the attraction he must have been ignoring for years. At first it had been something along the lines of comfort with Malfoy being there while he recovered, but, now that he was stronger, it was nowhere near as innocent. It seemed almost alien to him, but he couldn't deny it was real.
"Why us?" he asked as they stared at each other.
"Because the universe likes a good joke as much as the next person?"
It came out in such a bitter tone that Harry was silent for a while.
"We weren't supposed to be enemies," he said eventually and he knew it was a fact.
"That day in Madame Malkins," Malfoy commented.
"That day on the train," Harry agreed and he couldn't help wondering what would have happened if they had been friends.
It was an honestly fascinating thought and he let it wander around his head for a while. So much might have changed, but he couldn't really imagine how. They had been placed on opposite sides of a line by their parents and it seemed impossible to see how they could have crossed it. Standing up slowly, he wondered how they could cross it now. It was not as obvious or as well defined anymore, but the line was still there.
"Why when I appeared did you just accept this?" he asked, stepping closer to Malfoy.
"There is no point in fighting the inevitable," was the succinct response.
Harry snorted a laugh at that.
"Malfoy, I've been fighting the inevitable my whole life," he said pointedly, "and you didn't go down without a fight either."
He was glared at for that observation.
"Okay," Malfoy said eventually, "it's because I finally knew why."
That didn't make a whole lot of sense.
"Why everything I ever did to hurt you failed," Malfoy confessed. "Why I never could bring myself to go that one step further, make that one move that would mean I would have won. I was brought up to be the perfect Slytherin and I kept failing, and what was worse is I knew I was failing."
It had never occurred to Harry how Draco might have seen their school years, but it made more sense now.
"Could have fooled me most of the time," he said, a little lamely.
At that Malfoy actually laughed.
"Thank you, Potter, but I don't think my ego can take you actually trying to be nice to it."
"Harry," he said, ignoring the rest of the conversation, "call me Harry."
The expression on Malfoy's face was undecided for a moment and then the Slytherin rolled his eyes.
"Fine," Malfoy said, "and, if you must, feel free to call me Draco."
Harry smiled; they were making progress.
It was the next day, as Draco was helping Harry put on a specially modified shirt that Draco kissed him for the first time. From the look of shock Draco was wearing when he pulled back, it seemed to have been as much a surprise to Draco as him.
"Subtle," he said and couldn't help smiling.
"You're a Gryffindor, you wouldn't know subtle if it jumped up and bit you," seemed to be the best comeback Draco could manage.
Harry decided that he might as well be as Gryffindor as Draco was suggesting and leant in to reinitiate the kiss. He was almost surprised when Draco let him and when Draco kissed back Harry let himself sink into it as well as he could. Kissing Draco was not like kissing Ginny, in fact he felt parts of his body light up that had never been quite so insistent before and he pulled back feeling dazed.
"You have hidden depths, Harry," Draco said and seemed amused by his state.
"I'm beginning to believe you," he said as he waited for his brain to catch up with his body.
His cock was definitely way ahead, as he realised he was already half hard and it was more than obvious. He wasn't used to being so far behind his body; before it had always been a slow burn, but this was like fireworks. Something else that bothered him was the fact his right hand seemed to be tingling and he released Draco to rub at his palm. He felt rather off balance and was more than surprised when Draco took his hand. He found it being placed over Draco's heart and the Slytherin was looking him directly in the eyes.
"I know what you need to do," Draco said simply.
"Well I don't," Harry replied in a slightly helpless tone.
"Yes you do," Draco told him and covered Harry's hand with his own.
Harry opened his mouth to refute that, but he felt something and Draco's calm certainty led him on. Draco's eyes seemed to be so clear and almost silver as he looked into them. He felt something inside him shift and his hand seemed to be warm where he was touching Draco. It was as if they were as close as they could possibly be, only that was silly because they weren't even kissing anymore. Then the images started, ripping into his mind one by one, each a fraction of a second, showing him things about Draco. As each flashed past, he comprehended it, but he did not remember it and each added to the feeling deep within him that he did not quite understand. Only as the onslaught finished and he found himself simply looking into Draco's eyes as he glowed did he know what it was and then he was horrified at himself.
"Oh god," he said, snatching his hand back, the glow dying, "I'm so sorry."
Draco grabbed him before he could step away.
"Stop," was the simple instruction.
He froze as Draco refused to let him go.
"How do you find me?" Draco asked in a perfectly level tone.
"Atoned," Harry said, unable to hold the word inside.
He was shocked when Draco smiled a tiny smile at that and then kissed him again.
"I knew that," the Slytherin said quietly, but Harry didn't believe him for a second.
"Why?" he asked as the full weight of what he had just done hit him. "Why did you let me judge you?"
It was something he had read about in the book; the ultimate power of an Angelus, to read the soul of another person.
"Because they will never believe otherwise and we both knew it," Draco told him simply; "complete the judgement, Angelus."
Harry's palm tingled again and he did not try and refuse it this time. He placed his hand against the side of Draco's neck and let the feeling inside him flare. As his power burned through his palm, Draco gasped and he felt Draco's fingers dig into his other arm. It was over in seconds and when he pulled his hand back there was a small silver wing where his palm had been. White was for a pure soul, silver for one with atoned guilt and black for the guilty. The mark could never be hidden or removed; Draco had risked a great deal.
"Take me to bed, Harry," Draco said, quietly, no sign of Slytherin guile or snark there at all, just a simple request.
Sex seemed so shallow after what Harry had just done, but he could still feel the desire and it seemed utterly ridiculous to worry about it anymore. Lifting Draco felt so easy as his body flared with the power of the Angelus and he carried Draco to the bed, placing him on it gently.
"You have to show me," he said as he climbed on as well, leaning down to kiss his soon to be lover.
Finally Draco smiled again and then the Slytherin did just what Harry asked.
When Harry finally woke up after what had seemed to be hours and hours of amazing pleasure, he discovered there were consequences to marathon sex session. He ached just about all over, but he decided that it was a good ache.
"It's about time you woke up," Draco's voice cut through his musing and finally made him move.
As soon as he half rolled over his lover passed him a cup of tea and he had a very undignified urge to laugh.
"The barrier is down from our side," Draco said and cut through that desire; "you should shower and then we need to decide how to proceed before the Ministry arrive and try and beat down my door."
Harry sat up quickly and went to put the tea down.
"Drink it if you don't want to ache for days," Draco said and Harry couldn't help noticing that his lover was giving him a very slow once over.
Of course he was completely naked and even after what they had been doing he managed to blush.
"I think maybe I want to," he said and stood up.
That made Draco laugh.
"Oh my, Harry, you're kinkier than I thought," Draco said before sobering. "You know where the shower is."
It didn't take him long to clean up and when he returned to the bedroom there were clothes laid out for him. Draco helped him dress; he didn't have the wings totally figured out yet and, once he was ready, he let them flare once. It stretched the remaining kinks out of his back and then he was ready.
"The Burrow," he said simply and held out his hand to Draco, "Ginny deserves to know the truth before the rest of the world."
Surprisingly Draco did not argue at all and slipped his fingers into Harry's. Harry's wand had been left behind with everything else when he had appeared naked at Malfoy Manor, but he didn't exactly need it for quite a few things anymore. One of those was moving from place to place; it wasn't Apparating and it didn't require a wand, but he knew he could do it. He pulled Draco close and curled his wings forward so they were half round them both, then he concentrated on the Burrow.
It didn't feel like Apparating either, it was much softer and was more like gently parting a curtain and stepping through it. Malfoy Manor disappeared and then they were standing outside the Burrow and Arthur was in the garden. Harry shook his wings and gently folded them onto his back before carefully looking over to meet Arthur's eyes.
He should have been married the previous day and he knew Ginny would be inside, probably desperately waiting for news of him. They had to have found his things right where they had dropped and he could only guess at what theories would have been put about. Half the world probably thought he was dead.
"Oh, Harry," Arthur said after long moments of silence, "why is it always you?"
Harry smiled sadly. "Destiny I guess."
He still had his arm protectively around Draco; it wasn't just him who had to deal with this. Arthur's eyes skipped to his hand when he squeezed Draco's shoulder and from there Arthur's eye alighted on Draco's neck.
"Come in boys," Arthur said and opened the gate for them.
"Thank you, Arthur," Harry replied; "we came as soon as the barrier dropped."
"Of course you did, Harry," Arthur said, as if he would never have doubted it for a second. "The Aurors have been trying to find you since they found your clothes; they have all your things at the Ministry."
"When did they realise Malfoy Manor was sealed?"
No one would have failed to check on the Malfoy seat if Harry Potter had disappeared; it would have been almost routine.
"Later the same day," Arthur replied, leading them to the front door; "of course no one has guessed why."
"I left the family wards down," Draco said in a gentile tone as Harry had ever heard a Malfoy use with a Weasley; "they are probably searching it by now."
Harry was pretty sure even the most prudish Aurors would not be able to deny what they would find in his bedroom. He hoped someone had the sense to keep it under wraps, sometimes their department could be a little leaky.
He knew the Burrow would be full, everyone had been coming for the wedding and were staying, including Hermione and Fleur. At least everyone would know in one fell swoop, even if Harry had to ball up all his Gryffindor courage to walk through the door as Arthur led the way.
"Gnomes gone, Dear?" he heard Molly ask from inside.
There was worry and pain in her voice and it cut straight into Harry; none of them needed more of that.
"No, but we have guests," Arthur replied and then Harry found himself being stared at.
"Oh my word," Molly said, eyes as big as saucers.
It seemed that Molly was doing her usual of feeding everyone when she was worried, because she was surrounded by food and Hermione, Fleur and Bill were all there helping her. All of their eyes were on Harry's wings.
"Hello," he said quietly, trying to get a handle on what he was feeling.
His emotions had a nasty habit of causing him to glow if they became out of hand. He lit up like a bloody Christmas tree when he and Draco had had sex the first time and he had to fight very hard not to start illuminating the area as his anxiety spiked under everyone's scrutiny.
"Mum, did I hear..?" Ron came barrelling down the stairs and broke the moment, stopping dead when he saw Harry. "Bloody hell!"
Harry didn't blame anyone for their reactions, his had been similar, but he really didn't know how to continue. For once Draco did a very unSlytherin thing and moved out from behind him, drawing everyone's attention to him.
"Harry ... you ..." Ron didn't seem to know what to say even though they were best friends.
"Sought sanctuary," he said quietly.
Over the time Draco had looked after him, the Slytherin had mentioned how Angelus were viewed in Wizarding society and they were kind of like a fairy tale. All the purebloods knew about them and somewhere knew they were real, they just never believed they'd see one.
For a split second Hermione appeared stricken and Harry caught it, but then her face cleared. Of course Hermione knew what he was; he had never doubted that she would understand and she was the first from inside the house to really look at Draco.
"Harry judged you," Hermione said, her eyes flicking to the mark on Draco's neck.
"I asked him to," was Draco's seemingly calm response.
There was the sound of more feet on the stairs.
"I heard..." Ginny said, sounding so hopeful until her eyes took in the whole scene.
That was the hardest moment; to watch her see and then understand what she was seeing. He had loved her with all his heart, spell or no spell and it hurt to see Ginny in pain.
"I'm sorry, Gin," he said as quietly and evenly as he had said everything else, "I didn't know; I really didn't know."
They should have been married by now and been off on honeymoon, but instead they were divided. Part of Harry was so sad that that section of his life was over, but it almost felt like part of a dream now. He was whole for the first time in his life and he was gradually coming to realise it.
Ginny slowly crossed the room towards him and all he could do was stand there.
"Oh, Harry," she said, so softly he almost missed it, "I knew it had to be something big. With you it always is."
Reaching out, she gently touched the side of his face. He could see the tears in her eyes, the fierce tears he knew she would have been holding back no matter how terrified she was for him, but they didn't fall. No one needed to explain anything; everyone could see the truth, but it wasn't any easier.
"I loved you," he said, looking into her gaze, "I promise I loved you."
"Of course you did," Ginny replied, her voice calm even though Harry could see her breaking inside, "you can never do anything with half your heart."
They had been so close and yet they were suddenly so far apart. He could feel Draco by his side and he felt so much more connected to a man he knew only half as well than to the woman he had been going to marry. For a moment he wished he could regret what had happened, but he wasn't capable of that now. He could look back and wonder, but he couldn't deny what he was, he could only move forward.
"I think I'll go upstairs now," Ginny said, finally turning away from him.
He knew she would go to her room and cry, but he didn't dare follow her. He left that to Molly, who hurried after her daughter, leaving the rest of them just standing there.
"I have to go to the Ministry soon," Harry said before anything else could happen; "I need to find out what's going on so I can figure out why I'm needed, but if you have questions, that's why we are here."
For a moment there was simply silence, but then Bill cleared his throat.
"Why did you just disappear?" Bill asked and Harry found he didn't mind that question at all.
There were more questions and cups of tea and it was better than Harry had feared, but still difficult. It was not Ron who would not meet his eyes either, it was Hermione and he knew exactly why, which was why he finally cornered her as he felt the need to leave building up.
"Hermione," Harry said quietly as they stood to one side.
When she finally looked at him, Harry could tell that she knew he was aware of the truth.
"I was happy," he said before she could say anything, "thank you. Never tell Ginny what you did."
Hermione appeared shocked and just nodded. There was only one person who could have cast the love spell on him, only one person who was clever enough and loved him enough to take the risk. Her split second reaction to finding out what he was had sparked the knowledge in him and her behaviour had only confirmed it. It had caused him pain in the end, but he also knew himself well and he was all too aware he would never have figured out love on his own. His formative years had been full of abuse or the fight to save a world; he had had no chance with relationships.
"It's time to go to the Ministry," he said, turning back to the rest of the room and held out his hand to Draco.
He didn't know why he was needed, might not until it actually happened, but it would be soon and he had to be at the centre of things. Pulling Draco to his side he set his mind to larger things and stepped directly into the Minister's office. It was time to find out what was really going on and why the magical world needed him.