Title: Fallen Angel (Harry Potter/Good Omens)
Written: April 2010
Summary: That summer Harry had first learned Fell’s real name, had seen his true form, had feather light kisses placed on his cheeks with the swish of angelic wings, and the memory now gave him strength as he stared at McGonagall’s stern form behind her desk. Preslash. Harry/Aziraphale.
Warnings: Pre-slash, Mentions of Child Neglect, Strong Religious Content
Harry wended his way through the crowded halls, his best friend Seamus Finnegan at his side. “So, career meetings?” he griped. “Why do we need to have meetings about our future careers? I know what I’m doing with my life.” He paused and glanced at Hermione Granger, his rival for the top grades in Gryffindor and fellow prefect, hurrying past as if she had just forgotten to read a very important footnote. He shook his head in bemusement.
Seamus clipped his shoulder affectionately. “I really want to see McGonagall’s reaction,” he laughed. “It will be priceless!”
Harry grimaced. “Some friend you are.” His tone, though disgruntled, was also affectionate. He looked over at his friend, and gave him a small smile, remembering how they had banded together their first year to try and get a priest to come give them the sacrament. Seamus was a devout Roman-Catholic and Harry, well, ever since Aunt Petunia began taking him to services when he was seven in order to show him the way to God, had been enchanted with Anglo-Catholicism. Soon he was a member of the boys’ choir, an altar boy, and had almost turned down his place at Hogwarts until Mr. Fell and his priest, Reverend Summers, had convinced him (and an astonished Aunt Petunia) that his magic was a gift from the Lord and that he should use it to glorify his name. Ever since that day he’d known what he wanted to be when he grew up.
“Just keeping it real.” Seamus smirked. “Make sure to have that Bible Mr. Fell gave ye.”
Harry had to suppress a groan. “Let up on the Bible.”
The grin Seamus flashed Harry showed him that that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. “Look, it will just startle the old hag a bit more.”
“Seamus,” Harry warned.
“I know, I know. She’s me teacher and I shouldn’t disrespect her. Christ, Harry. I know.”
“But you think she’s a hag,” Harry laughed.
“And you do too, if ye would only say it,” he grumbled. “Bitch not allowing a Muggle priest into the school. I’m tired of stealing bread and paying seventh years to sneak in bad wine that hasn’t been blessed. Me dad would be ashamed.”
Harry laughed despite himself. “Yes, well, at least Dean’s brother was able to sneak us some from his parish. What would all those Muggles say if they knew he was sending the Eucharist by owl?”
Seamus guffawed and they paused outside of McGonagall’s office. “Right. Bible.”
“You need to do this right. You, Harry James Potter, are going to be ruining the wizarding world’s hope in one little meeting. And it’s all Mr. Fell’s fault.”
“It’s not his fault,” Harry protested too adamantly, a blush across his cheeks. His mind strayed to the middle aged man who had appeared at St. Catherine’s about two weeks after Harry had begun to attend and become somewhat of a mentor. Of course, his hands were so graceful and Harry loved to watch them when Mr. Fell gestured, illustrating a point. He shook the thoughts away, lingering only for a moment on “Mr. Fell’s” kind blue gaze that sent shivers down his spine. “And it was a thoughtful gift for when I went away for school.”
“I still don’t think you would have read it as much if he hadn’t been the one to give it to you,” Seamus countered with a knowing grin. “How old is Mr. Fell again?”
“I-I don’t know,” Harry squeaked, his mind turning to a night at Fell’s bookshop. It had been after evensong, and Harry had been surprised when Fell had invited him, not thinking when he sat in the passenger seat of Fell’s car that they would be going all the way to London. That’s when Harry had first learned Fell’s real name, had seen his true form, had feather light kisses placed on his cheeks with the swish of angelic wings. “Late thirties maybe?” He always tried to forget that Mr. Fell was old enough to be his father, at least physically.
Seamus didn’t look at all surprised. “Maybe you should see a psychoanalyst.”
“Nice,” Harry quipped, neither boy noticing that the door had swung open as Harry was taking out his worn Bible. His thumb traced an indent in the pages at the beginning of the book. The Garden of Eden. It was Harry’s favorite part of the Bible, the part where Fell—Aziraphale—was mentioned, though never named.
“You do realize,” Seamus persisted, “that although ye lucky bastards don’t have to take a vow of celibacy, you can’t be with a bloke.”
“Yes,” Harry admitted, not looking Seamus in the eyes. “It doesn’t matter though. I just fancy them. He’d never feel the same way.” It was a lie, and, as the friends glanced at each other, they both knew it. Seamus watched as Harry turned to the same chapters of the Bible again and again, how he slept with the book curled in one hand as if it were his only connection to reality. Harry had his memories, of brilliance, of truth, of yearning that shone out of Fell’s eyes as they partially undressed in front of each other, their steady gazes the only promises they needed.
“Inscription,” Seamus said cryptically, pulling Harry out of the memory. Harry glared at him.
“Mr. Potter, Mr. Finnegan,” McGonagall’s stern voice interrupted them. “As fascinating as I’m sure your conversation is, I believe I have an appointment with one of you.”
The two friends turned to her, one surprised, the other resigned. “Of course, Professor,” Harry said and, squeezing Seamus’s shoulder in passing, he entered her office.
He quickly took a seat, placing his worn Bible on his lap. It had a worn leather cover and his name carefully embossed on the front. Tracing the words, carefully, a small smile formed on his face.
Professor McGonagall cleared her throat. “Mr. Potter,” she began. “As you know, I’ve made appointments to see all fifth years about possible career choices. Now.” She looked at a file in front of her. “You’re top of your class, battling for the top spots. You take after your mother in that way.”
“Thank you,” Harry whispered.
“She was a fine witch, as you are a fine wizard. If you keep this up, you’ll achieve Outstandings in all of your O.W.L.s, though in Potions you may have to try a bit harder, as you’re a borderline candidate.”
Harry grimaced at the thought. No matter what he did he just didn’t succeed as much as he wished in potions. He’d applied himself to his studies as soon as he went away to Hogwarts, wishing to please Reverend Summers and Fell, and hoping to show Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon that magic could be used for good, but Professor Snape hated him and seemed to sabotage some of his work, if he were completely honest with himself. Fortunately, he wouldn’t be there during the practical exam.
He’d just have to study harder. He was determined that either he or Draco Malfoy take the first spots in all of their classes, leaving Hermione Granger at third. Harry knew it was petty, that it was beneath him, that Fell would not be pleased in the least (though his friend Crowley, who came around far too often for Harry’s liking, would think it good form), but Harry wished to be vindicated, if only just a little.
“Now,” McGonagall said, drawing him from his thoughts. “Have you thought about your life after Hogwarts, Mr. Potter?”
There was a pause that Harry didn’t quite want to fill just yet.
McGonagall looked at him expectantly.
“I want to get a degree in Divinity,” he then supplied.
The witch stilled, her hand pausing over a flier for Auror training that she had been about to pick up. Her narrow eyes focused on him. “I beg your pardon?”
“Divinity,” Harry supplied, helpfully. “I’ve wanted to be an ordained minister for years and I only came here when my priest assured me that I could use magic for the glorification of God.” He left unsaid that Aziraphale’s quiet words and gentle encouragement had been the true deciding factor. He knew, from spending hours in the library earlier that year that wizards didn’t know about angels. They thought them Muggle myth, and Harry was going to keep it that way.
Aziraphale was too precious to Harry. Even if Fell never spoke another word to Harry, he would keep his secret to his grave. He’d even taught himself Occlumency that autumn to keep the secret safe. He didn’t trust the Headmaster or his happy twinkling eyes. Harry had a sneaking suspicion that Crowley had come across him in the wizard’s long life and somehow tempted him with something.
McGonagall blinked several times. “It is most unusual for wizards to enter the Muggle world,” she finally said, her voice tense. “The few who do are Muggle-born or those who have been expelled.”
“Then I will be one of the few—and I was Muggle-raised.” Ever since the night all those years ago when He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had been destroyed, and Fell assured him that despite the whispers of a possible return he was in fact gone, he’d been sent to live with Muggles as, for some reason, Dumbledore thought it would be for the best.
Harry couldn’t fault him, not any more. It was his Christian duty to forgive, and he had forgiven Dumbledore and his relatives for those horrible six years he’d lived there before everything changed. He’d even forgiven Crowley for his possible role in the entire affair, if indeed he had been involved (Harry rather suspected that he had been; the previous August he had dropped by Fell’s bookshop on a whim after shopping for his Hogwarts books, and had found the angel and the demon both completely drunk and arguing about flying motorbikes, tabby cats, and children left on the doorstep of potentially abusive mortals. Crowley had left shortly after that). Still, Harry did not trust the Headmaster. He never would.
Professor McGonagall regarded him over her spectacles. “Might I ask why you want to do something so drastic? The wizarding world is your heritage, it’s in your blood.” He could sense the disapproval in her voice, and Harry sighed, knowing it was to be expected. Wizards, especially purebloods, looked down on the Muggle world, and viewed religion as hocus-pocus without a wand. He could understand it; respect it even to a certain extent.
They were from two different cultures, one where magic was in the very air breathed and the old gods were worshipped for so great a gift, the other where magic of a sort could only be reached through one God who performed small miracles in every day life.
He, Seamus, and Dean were in the rare position of straddling both worlds: the magical and the miracle-filled mundane. McGonagall was clearly of the former, as was Malfoy.
They could not understand the power of a God who could perform miracles and love unconditionally, forgiving the sins of humanity. For them, forgiveness was not needed. Magic leveled the differences between good and evil, not angels and demons, the balance of power would eventually be restored. The old ways told that souls would become the magic around everyone once a wizard died. There was no Heaven or Hell, and Harry secretly mourned the thought that he might turn into magic once he was gone and not rejoin Fell in Paradise.
“No it isn’t,” Harry disagreed calmly, his thumb swiping over his Bible. “I didn’t know I was a wizard until I was eleven. My parents obviously didn’t leave a Will as I was left with Mum’s sister. If they’d wanted this to be my heritage, they would have chosen a better godfather or stated provisions in an official document. I know Voldemort was after them—they went into hiding. If they wanted this to be my heritage, they should have been more responsible,” he whispered brokenly, an old pain in his eyes.
He briefly remembered his early childhood with the Dursleys: sleeping in the cupboard under the stairs, never having his own things, cooking and cleaning for everyone. That was before he met Aziraphale, his Fell, his savior who had come round for tea and had charmed Aunt Petunia into thinking that the way to save a child’s soul was not through neglect, but through affection and giving him an equal place to her own son, to allow him to thrive and be a credit to the family instead of a delinquent in the making.
Harry had heard, of course. He had been just outside the door, listening, his cousin off somewhere with Piers Polkiss.
He’d fallen in love with Fell that day. It had been a child-like and innocent emotion at first, but with each small kindness it had grown. Everything Harry did he did for him. Sometimes, during the early summers, he almost thought that when Mr. Fell looked at him, he could even see more than affection shining from his bright eyes.
“I think,” Professor McGonagall began, “you might be better suited to another line of work. Your aptitude shows—“
“That I am intelligent,” Harry cut her off. “I know. And I am perfectly suited to it, thank you. I’m an altar boy and sing in the church choir. I wish to immerse myself completely in my religion, study the Bible more closely, preach to others, and not live in a world where a child’s religious rights are denied.”
“Mr. Potter, you know full well that we cannot allow Muggles into the school,” McGongall stated tiredly. It was an old argument that she, Seamus, Harry, and Dean had had many times before. Once an even smug-looking Hermione Granger, who had told him their first year that religion was for the ignorant masses and he should trust in magic for “miracles” and not his so-called God, had witnessed it. He knew that McGonagall’s mind was never going to change. She wouldn’t allow a Muggle minister or priest into Hogwarts, and wouldn’t allow them out for mass once a month—which led to having the Eucharist smuggled in by owl, or stolen bread and wine used in a makeshift ritual. He and Seamus thought it was better than nothing, although the host had not been blessed. Sometimes Harry thought of drafting Aziraphale to bless the host—surely an angel of the Lord and not just a priest had that power—but he wanted Fell to remain unseen and safe.
McGonagall sighed. “A Muggle University will not accept you without the proper tests and evidence of your schooling.”
“Yes, well, it so happens that my minister is friends with a Dean at Cambridge and I’ve been preliminarily accepted on the basis of some papers on religion I submitted to him. I also know that Hogwarts is bound to give altered records to Muggle institutions if a student desires.”
He held her gaze for a long moment, calling her on her lie, before she looked away. Harry was now glad that he’d read the Hogwarts Charter his first week there, as he had no intention even then of remaining in the magical world for longer than you have to. Still, he hadn’t realized she would resort to such tactics. It made him lose what little faith and trust he had in his Head of House. It had been heart-breaking his first year, when she had attempted to deny his right to his religion. The matter had gotten out of hand with a rather large argument just before Transfiguration, that the matter was even taken to the Headmaster. Dumbledore’s blue eyes had twinkled as if he were a kind grandfather, shaking Harry, before he told Harry that wizards did not hold with such antiquated beliefs, and Hogwarts was a place of learning, not a place of antiquated superstitions.
Harry had cried all night, Dean and Seamus holding him as tears slid down Seamus’s face at the thought, and the next morning Harry had sent a long letter to Fell, begging to be allowed to come home. He had even packed his bags, ready to trudge down to the magical village in the dead of night if he needed, when Hedwig returned with loving words of support, understanding, and the hope that Harry would not allow one test in adversity to affect his entire future. The letter was still folded and placed at the back of his Bible. When he felt particularly discouraged, he would take it out and read the faded words again.
“You do understand the full implications of such a choice,” McGonagall said harshly, her eyes flashing at him. “Eventually the Daily Prophet will get wind of this story, and the entire wizarding world will strongly disapprove your choice.”
Harry grimaced, his mind flickering back to the previous year and the Triwizard Tournament. An escaped Death Eater, masquerading as Mad-Eye Moody, had entered his name and he’d been forced to compete. He’d drawn a lot of criticism for employing Parseltongue to get past the Hungarian Horntail and using Holy Water that Aziraphale had smuggled to him through Crowley of all people during a Hogsmeade weekend to help him through the maze at the end. The press had been less than pleased and Headmaster Dumbledore, who was known to have placed Harry despite the laws that as a wizard Harry should be left in the care of other wizards and that as an orphan the Ministry should have handled his case, had even been denounced for allowing such influences on the Boy-Who-Lived’s life. The professor had even been forced to resign as Head of the Wizengamot, and Harry’s prize money had been cut in half because of his “unorthodox” and “unapproved” methods of getting through the task. Harry didn’t really mind and exchanged the money into pounds, donating it to his church anonymously.
“Is it those Muggles you live with?” McGonagall asked again, a sense of hope surrounding her. “Are they making you do this to ‘atone for your sins’ or some such nonsense? Once you’re seventeen, Mr. Potter, you are of legal adult and don’t have to bow to their wishes.” She nodded her head imperiously, as if that settled it, and picked up a few brochures. “Now, the Auror Programme would be perfect for you, or some other career at the Ministry.”
Harry clenched his jaw. “No,” he stated quietly. “I don’t want to go into the Ministry.”
“Of course,” she said, looking through her pamphlets. “A Healer then? Your Potions could do with a little work, but I know you’re up to the challenge.”
“No,” he repeated. “I told you. I’m going to a Muggle University and hoped to be ordained.” His hand clenched around his Bible, bending the soft, worn leather. He allowed his mind to flicker back to Fell, to calm himself, and felt the angel’s soothing and loving presence settle around him, words spoken only with their eyes as they went through his large book collection together, laughing at the dust and then settling down on an old loveseat together, Harry leaning against the angel he loved as an ancient wizarding tome in Aramaic rested on their laps, detailing a wizard account of the Muggle Healer, Yeshua.
“Muggle religion is pure superstition,” McGonagall said calmly.
“As is magic, supposedly,” Harry countered her, lifting an eyebrow in warning. “And yet our very existence, which is kept a secret to be only dreamt of in fairy stories, is quite evident.”
“There is no such proof of your Muggle religion,” McGonagall said sternly back, leaning back in her seat. She was resplendent in emerald green robes, a large witch’s hat on her head and her gray hair pulled back severely in a bun, making her look like a Muggle matron who was attempting to retain her dignity on Halloween when she was escorting her grandchildren door to door.
“There is proof,” Harry whispered reverently, fiddling with his Bible and allowing it to fall open to the Song of Songs, his favorite book. He’d spent so many afternoons with Aziraphale this past summer, eating ices or drinking cool lemonade, as they read the words back and forth to each other. Crowley claimed that Harry was corrupting Fell, making him more holy and soon he’d lose his best friend since the earth’s creation. Harry had smiled at him, sadness shining through his eyes as he thought that this man, whatever his faults, was a demon and a minion of Hell and would never know God’s grace. He shook himself from the memories. “Proof is everywhere, Professor. In this very room, in creation itself.” In every word that Aziraphale spoke there was proof of God, his pink lips, thin and perfect and so kissable, but it was too soon for that. Harry was too young, much too young for years yet. The existence of a love that should not have sprung up between an angel and a wizard was all the proof Harry would have needed if his faith faltered.
“And you are quite decided?” Censure settled in Professor McGonagall’s form, and Harry sighed. He knew he would be degraded, called a fool. He expected it, welcomed it almost. It meant that he was holding true to his ideals and, well, once he finished his seventh year he would leave the wizarding world forever. He would never even return to platform nine and three-quarters as he would never have children. His heart belonged entirely to Fell, even if he had to content himself with words whispered in a dusty bookshop that never sold books and long looks across church pews, it would be enough. Knowing he was loved would be enough, though he hoped one day for more.
“Quite.” Harry’s words were firm and resolute. He had never been more certain of a decision in his life.
“Your father,” McGonagall began in a last effort perhaps to persuade him, “would have wanted you to remain here, in our world.” Harry could hear the fondness in her voice at the man who had fathered him—a wizard, a pagan, someone who had not loved him enough to ensure his future, a bully. Harry tried not to think of him much, or his mother who had turned her back on the world that had given birth to her and raised her.
“Yes, well,” Harry whispered, fingering the edges of the Bible, “I am not my father—and he’s not here.”
Silence settled awkwardly around them, each lost in their own thoughts of the past. McGonagall, like his godfather, wished he were more like James. No one was ever quite content that he was himself, that he was a different person from the people who had given him life, and he resented them for it. He looked like Just Harry in his mind, not James with Lily’s eyes. Even Professor Lupin, who Harry learned in his fourth year had been one of James’s best friends although they had met Harry’s first week of school, looked for more of James in Harry’s features, in his actions, and tried to persuade him to give up his beliefs and immerse himself in the wizarding world. He tried to stress the need to integrate, to find his place, never accepting that Harry had found his place years ago in a quiet vestry, where he could close his eyes and hear God whispering to him.
Magic could fail, but God was always present, if one knew how to listen. He loved mankind for their choices, for their flaws and faults, and forgave them as long as they repented and believed—and Harry would never stop believing.
“Well, with your grades you can become anything, so you have plenty of time,” McGonagall insisted, choosing to delay a further argument until Harry’s seventh year. Harry chose to ignore her.
Gathering up his bag, he exited the room, not caring that her stern gaze rested on him. He knew he was her favorite student, despite the disagreements they’d had in the past. She, though, was one of his least favorites. Only Professor Snape was more disliked.
Seamus was slumped against the wall, as well as Dean, when he came out.
“Well?’ Dean asked, a question in his dark eyes.
“McGonagall was less than pleased,” he stated, falling into step with his friends. “I think she wants me to consider being an Auror—or anything magically oriented really. Her hand was hovering over the brochure for over half the meeting.”
“Auror Potter,” Seamus laughed. “What would the reverend say?”
Dean squeezed Harry’s arm in support. “I’m not looking forward to my own meeting,” he confessed quietly. “I’ve actually been thinking for a few years, though I never talked about it, and do you think I’d make a good minister?”
Seamus and Harry stopped, looking at their friend.
“I’m a Presbyterian,” Dean continued, blushing, his chocolate-skinned fingers turning paler as he clenched his books. “We probably won’t wind up at the same Divinity School or anything—and we’d have to get some other degree first.”
“It’s a postgraduate bachelor’s degree,” Harry told Seamus, who was looking confused. “We’d have to get an undergraduate degree first and then go on.”
Seamus grimaced. “So, it’s going to take you six years?”
Harry nodded. Three for undergraduate, three for the Bachelor in Divinity. He’d be twenty-three when he was finally done, but it was worth it. This was what he wanted, and he secretly knew that Fell would follow him wherever he went.
“Where are you thinking of going?” Harry asked Dean encouragingly.
“I don’t know for my undergraduate,” Dean began happily, “but probably Saint Andrews for the B.Div.”
“Good choice,” Harry agreed, smiling. “We can each smuggle in our owls and send them to each other in the dead of night.”
Seamus laughed and then began prattling on about how he had no desire to take a vow of celibacy to be a Catholic priest.
Harry gave him a small smile and the three friends turned to other topics, notably Quidditch and which Seventh Year they could bribe this month to get them a bottle of red wine. Still, the Bible remained in Harry’s hand.
That night, Harry drew the curtains of his bed, and took the book again and opened the front cover. Neat, elegant script marred the page, and he smiled as he read it.
“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.” Song of Songs 8:7. Aziraphale.
He traced the words, reveling in their hidden meaning. It was only a few months until Christmas, he reminded himself. And then he would lie in his fallen angel’s arms again, loving and chaste, each quietly condemned by their religion to go no further at least for now.