With a flick of his wrist over the edge of the table, Artemis let Butler know they would need the limousine or at least a taxi as soon he and Harry were finished. It wouldn’t do to give Harry too much time to change his mind, such as walking through Dublin with two strangers might.
Harry had turned his attention to his meal and was happily eating it. He could see the tension in the lines of his beautiful face, subtle, but still there. Artemis wondered how long he had been carrying such worry around with him.
Taking a long sip of his coke, Harry leaned back and assessed Artemis once again. “There’s one thing I don’t understand,” he began and Artemis tilted his head, showing that Harry could ask him anything he liked. “I can understand that once you dreamt of me, coming here, but why search for your twin flame at all? Why not pass over the reference?”
“I would think it were obvious.”
“Obviously not,” Harry countered. “You’re wealthy, handsome, intelligent. You could probably have anyone you wanted or buy them if they weren’t completely willing. Why go through all the trouble?—and it must have been difficult.”
“Not as much as you would think. You simply need a willing Fairy.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “I think most humans would find that impossible, let alone difficult.”
Artemis’s eyes flashed in amusement, thinking of Holly who was still locked in her cell back at Fowl Manor. It was a little disturbing that there were cells at all in his ancestral home.
“Tell me,” Harry implored, as if he had been wanting to know for years. “Make me not want to disappear, make me want to stay. If you’re my twin flame, as you say, then make me understand.”
Artemis took a deep breath and, hesitating, reached out and lovingly caressed Harry’s cheek, remarking on its smoothness. “I searched for you because no one, not even my parents, has touched me like that. I may be many things, but I am not heartless—and I wanted it, wanted you, so I searched for you. I know a former member of the Lower Elements Police and convinced her to guide me in the process as I needed fairy dust. I would have gone to the ends of the earth to find you. I have read that lust and affection can warp and change and fade over time, and I knew that if I were lucky enough to find those emotions just once, I wouldn’t be able to bear for that to happen. You’re a twin flame to my soul, the second half, and if a love like that cannot be kindled and last then I doubt anything can.”
Harry leaned into the touch and closed his eyes, sighing. “No one’s touched me like that either, before now.”
“I know,” Artemis admitted. “How old are you, Harry?”
“Fourteen last July.”
Artemis closed his eyes and nodded. “I can hide you away,” he promised. “We can go anywhere in the world and I can keep you hidden. They won’t find you.” Tentatively, he moved his hand up and brushed Harry’s fringe away from the scar. “I take it from your conversation with Krum that this is a well-known feature.”
Harry glanced nervously at his plate, fiddling with another chip.
“How long have you had it?”
“Since I was a toddler.”
Artemis eyed it in curiosity, not minding that he had to shove his half eaten meal to the side to get a better look. The scar was still pink, looked freshly cut and yet it had been over a decade since Harry had received it. “Magical?” he questioned lightly and Harry nodded. “I’ll ascertain if Holly knows anything that can heal it, but if not we can have you in to see the best plastic surgeon within a week. Normally, I’d take you to London but under the circumstances, France might be safer.”
Harry reached up and wrapped his hand around Artemis’s wrist, drawing his gaze down to Harry’s eyes. “Would that really get rid of it?”
“It should, I imagine. That with your hair and the lack of glasses should make it very difficult to recognize you. Within a few years, you should be completely unrecognizable as you grow into your full height. We can change your name legally, as well, preferably to Fowl eventually.”
Harry’s hold tightened on his wrist. “Fowl?”
“Harold Fowl. Harry is short for Harold or Henry, I assume.”
He shook his head. “Neither. Just Harry.”
“Just Harry, then.” He thought it a rather plebian name, not suited for the beautiful boy before him, but he was clearly attached to the name. “Though perhaps we should consider a variant to make it less traceable, though with my lawyers there wouldn’t even be a paper trail. We can make it so you were always who we claim you are. You’ll have a proven lineage, birth certificates, and it will be entirely legal. You should probably stop using your credit card as well.”
Harry stared at him. “Do you do this often?”
He inclined an eyebrow.
“I have been known to use aliases on various occasions. Most hear my name and either become obsequious or run the other way.”
“I know what that’s like.”
Harry held his gaze and Artemis found himself relax despite the seriousness of the encounter. His twin flame then began to eat more of his fish. It appeared to be fried. Artemis realized he’d never had fried fish before.
“Is that why I’m feeling it—this pull? Because we’re twin flames?” Harry’s green eyes looked desperately at Artemis. “I never trust anyone, but you just walk in here and I—“
“May I inquire what happened? I don’t know anything except what I heard last night.”
Artemis nodded, still incredibly curious, but willing to let it go. There would be years for stories, after all.
“I live at Fowl Manor currently, though I plan to move out next month once I turn seventeen,” he offered. “Butler’s always somewhere nearby, even when I travel. Do you like to travel?”
“I’ve never really traveled—not since today.”
“Would you care to? My life is rather active with the Fairy folk, but if you’d prefer to—“
The calloused finger was once again pressed to his lip and rubbed it gently. Artemis looked at Harry, startled. “Less talk. We can talk later. I’m still tired,” he admitted and Artemis nodded once to show he understood.
“You are welcome to come to Fowl Manor as soon as you wish—it is comfortable and secure,” Artemis offered. “It’s on the outskirts on the city.”
“Don’t you think it’s a bit soon, me moving in?” Harry teased tiredly, eating his fish happily and drinking his coke. Artemis noticed it needed refilling and signaled the waiter who promptly came over.
“It is an entirely singular situation,” Artemis countered with his vampire-smile, causing Harry to stop and stare at him for several seconds, before quickly returning to his meal, a slight blush to his cheeks.
When they were finally finished—Harry had ordered treacle tart for dessert, which he said was his favorite and Artemis had tried it as well, curious as to the likes and dislikes of his mate—Artemis closed his tab.
“Will you come?” he asked Harry quietly, trying not to get his hopes up.
“I—“ Harry paused, biting his lower lip. “I can come and go as I please?”
“My home is your home. You would never be my prisoner.”
Carefully, Harry placed a cool hand on Artemis’s cheek and stared into his eyes probingly. “Your eyes don’t match,” he finally whispered, his face coming closer as he took a closer look. “I thought they were both blue, but—one is hazel. Why?”
Artemis could feel Harry’s breath ghosting against his lips, tantalizing him, but he held himself back.
“I visited the demon isle of Hybras. It was in limbo, out of time, and when I returned I discovered that I had accidentally switched eyes with the fairy who aided me in finding you.”
“It suits you,” Harry said after a pregnant pause. “Somehow. It makes your face unearthly and yet gives you a hint of vulnerability.”
Artemis tried to keep himself from tensing.
“I like it—it makes you human and inhuman,” Harry concluded before drawing away again.
Artemis watched as Harry’s hand fell back to his side. “Is that a yes?”
“I’d get my own room?” Harry countered. “No expectations.”
“Agreed,” Artemis concurred with a hint of a smile.
He cautiously followed Harry back up to his room, which was just as he remembered it except with fewer dark blues and haunting greens, and watched as Harry packed up his meager belongings. Carefully, Artemis took the broom that was leaning up against the wall and felt it hum at his touch.
“I couldn’t bring much,” Harry explained carefully. He fingered what must have been his wand before setting it in his bag. “I shouldn’t have even brought my wand. If I cast any spells they’ll be traceable.”
“If you desire, I can have it locked in the family vault. It will be safe there and it would remove temptation—“
“Perhaps,” was all Harry would answer.
Harry quickly checked out and the barman looked between the two teenagers with curiosity on his face, though he didn’t ask any questions. Artemis was pleased that the limousine was waiting just around the corner when they exited the pub and stepped into the December night.
“I’m in Dublin when the snow falls,” Harry murmured as he turned his face upward to the heavens, snowflakes coating his eyelashes. “Is there any way we can get a wizard newspaper?” Harry questioned, once he was ensconced in the warm backseat, his bag still in his lap as he looked curiously around. “I’d like to keep track of the rumors about my disappearance and the search that will probably begin.”
Although the partition was raised, Artemis could see the shadow of Butler’s eyes on them, trying to familiarize himself with Harry’s outline and whether or not he could be a potential threat although, to Butler, he would appear unarmed.
“I’d have to ask Holly or another Fairy. As I said earlier, I didn’t know wizards existed until I dreamt of you and saw you fly on your broom.”
Harry nodded, resting his head against the cushioned seat. “I’ve never met a Fairy before,” he admitted before falling off into a quiet slumber.
He looked so peaceful as he slept and Artemis couldn’t help but watch him. His forehead smoothed out, free from worry, and his beautiful pink lips formed into a slight pout, begging Artemis to kiss them.
He shook himself mentally. He wouldn’t steal their first kiss. Instead, Artemis would wait for it, earn it, and hope that at least affection shone out of Harry’s beautiful eyes, although there was a strange shadow of that emotion in his gaze already, as if Artemis were a dear friend he hadn’t seen in years and wasn’t quite certain if he was the same as Harry had remembered him.
Harry’s eyes were the most curious shade of green. At first glance and in his dreams, he’d thought they were emerald, but they were darker, more resilient, hard and yet with an innocence of childhood that was not quite completely destroyed.
Harry shifted in his sleep and Artemis leaned forward, removing the backpack so that Harry could curl up comfortably, his feet tucked beneath him.
Half an hour later, they arrived and the door was opened for them. Artemis handed out Harry’s bag and broom and then, carefully, unhooked Harry’s seatbelt and tentatively took him in his arms. He’d never really carried anyone except for the twins, and he found it difficult to step out of the car, but managed to straighten again so that he was no longer hunched over.
“Is that him, Master Artemis?” Butler asked and Artemis nodded, never taking his eyes off of Harry’s sleeping frame. “He’s so young.”
“Fourteen,” Artemis answered as he walked up the winding steps to the front entrance. “I need a room arranged immediately—in the family wing and preferably close to mine.”
He felt Harry stir in his arms, his hand unconsciously grasping Artemis’s shirt.
“I will ask Juliet,” Butler agreed. “Until then, perhaps your room.”
Artemis glanced at him and then took the grand staircase to the family wing.
He couldn’t describe the myriad of emotions that played through him as he set Harry down on his wide bed. Deciding to only carefully remove his shoes as anything else might be seen as inappropriate considering they just met, Artemis sat down on the edge of the bed, continuing to watch Harry sleep.
He’d have to take his measurements the next morning if not sooner, he decided. He doubted Harry had any other clothing apart from the pajamas he wore to escape.
A knock on the door drew him from his thoughts and he carefully opened it, seeing Juliet on the other side. “The suite next to yours has been readied,” she whispered and Artemis nodded.
“I need a full set of house keys and codes for our guest before he awakes.”
“A full set?”
“He is not a guest but family,” Artemis explained and Juliet looked genuinely shocked before she smoothed out her expression.
“As you say.”
“I need his measurements taken as soon as possible,” Artemis added after a moment. “Can it be done while he sleeps?”
She blinked at him.
“His luggage was unfortunately lost.”
Juliet sighed, accepting the reasoning. “Of course. I’ll go get a tape measure and it should be done with little trouble, as long as you are able to hold him upright for a moment or two.”
“Excellent. I’ll need a full set of catalogues from the usual establishments.” He glanced at his watch. “You should have Butler call them to tell them they’ll be getting full specifications by midnight for the House of Fowl.”
“Of course, Master Artemis,” she said before disappearing again.
Artemis left the door open and quickly strode over to his bed, pausing momentarily to note the way Harry’s deep auburn hair fell into his eyes, flecks of gold catching in the light and a stray black hair, now that he was able to look more closely. Reverently, he reached out and brushed the rough fringe away from Harry’s sleeping eyes and then traced the lightning bolt scar on his forehead. So angry and raw. Artemis wondered if it was still painful to his twin flame.
Carefully, he lifted Harry again, cradling him against his chest and left his room. He walked down the hall until he came to a set of elaborate double doors, which had been left wide open for him. The room was decorated in various shades of blue. Rich, hand painted ice-colored silk decorated the walls and a large, four poster bed sat imposingly in the center, covered in rich blues and embroidered with silver and gold flowers.
His mother, Angeline Fowl, had decorated this room, he remembered, as one of her projects when he was a child when the British Prime Minister was going to be a guest at Fowl Manor. No expense was spared and still, over a decade later, it was simply exquisite.
The edges of the hardwood floor glittered in the warm firelight, covered with a warm carpet. Velvet drapes hung from the windows, which were further covered with silver gossamer, to filter in the light so it was less harsh in summertime.
The Fowl coat of arms was above the mantle and a single line of shelves skimmed the room at about five feet off the ground, various classics and more modern offerings on them for whoever stayed. An antique, handcrafted desk made of solid oak was at one of the windows. Already he could imagine Harry sitting there for their short stay at Fowl Manor before he agreed to forever with Artemis and they moved into their own home.
Perhaps, when Artemis inherited, they would use this suite as their master bedroom. He would delight in making love to Harry on the hearth rug or in the sumptuous bed, his red-gold-black hair glinting in the firelight against the blue that Artemis thought would heighten his mesmerizing eyes.
He heard Juliet enter the room quietly behind him and shut the doors to give them privacy. Coming up to them, she laid a set of keys on the bedside table and a ghost of a smile played on Artemis’s lips.
“If you can hold him up so I can measure his waist and the breadth of his shoulders,” she murmured and Artemis carefully supplied, holding Harry to him by his torso.
He watched Juliet efficiently mark down Harry’s sizes before laying him on the bed and setting his limbs straight so she could measure his foot size and the inseam of his legs.
“Is that everything?” he asked her when she closed the tape measure.
She nodded. “I left the latest catalogues and style sheets on your bed.”
“His luggage?” he asked quietly.
“In the corner,” she responded, nodding toward the bag and the broom.
“I’d like my usual wake up call but Harry is to be allowed to sleep however little or much he desires,” Artemis instructed, dismissing her.
After tucking Harry in, his fingers lingering against Harry’s hand, marveling at how small it was compared to his, Artemis quietly left the room. He wasn’t certain if he could sleep that night, but he knew he wanted to be awake and ready for the day whenever Harry awoke. With that last thought, he left to choose Harry’s preliminary wardrobe as well as contact the Goblins so that Harry’s name could be changed as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
“Goblins,” Holly repeated, still in her cell beneath Fowl Manor. “You wish to get in contact with the goblins.”
“I inquired if you would be able,” Artemis reiterated, growing tired of the conversation already. He’d spent the last two hours carefully choosing outfits and then having the order sent out. He’d been informed that the clothes should arrive within a few hours, well before Harry should awaken. He’d chosen a variety of styles, not quite certain what Harry would prefer.
Holly sighed, breathing deeply. “Yes, Artemis, I would be able,” she said sarcastically.
“Excellent. It is imperative that his name be changed as quickly as possible. The goblins have a bank—“
“Gringotts. Yes, I know.”
“They will be able to do it quickly and efficiently, and it would be better if Harry had a new, fully formed identity before we change anything else.”
Holly looked up, curious.
“The scar, unless you are able to remove it.”
She blinked a few times at him. “We do not touch wizard magic.”
Artemis inclined his head in understanding.
“Does this mean I’m finally allowed out of here?” she asked with a sweet disarming smile. She rarely employed it, but when she had when he was younger, it used to make his stomach flutter—until he realized he didn’t actually find the girls he knew attractive, only small elements of them that looked far better on boys, such as smiles.
“Butler will release you,” he answered caustically. “How soon can you contact this Gringotts?”
She shrugged. “A few days, a week at most. I did swear on my magic to aid you,” she reminded him.
“For which I am thankful.”
If Holly had muttered curses at him, he chose not to notice, and instead quickly left the room, ascending the long stairs back up to the main level of the manor house.
When he entered his room he found another vial of fairy dust and a glass of water. He looked at it in confusion before accepting it. There were obviously elements of this ritual that would continue, for Holly to provide him with dust and instruct Butler he needed a glass of water before bedtime.
Carefully, he poured half into the glass and watched the blue and purple dust swirl, darkening into a deep burgundy, almost like wine. Remembering the sickening taste from the night before, he quickly drank it and gasped at the sweet taste that was too cloying, his teeth even aching from it.
The glass was soon set aside and, after changing into his pajamas, he spread the rest of the dust on his eyelids before drifting off to sleep.
Colors faded and merged as he found himself in a stone stairwell that was moving upward of its own volition, perhaps by magic. Torches flared around him and he was surprised to note that suddenly there were more people on the moving stairs who might not have been there just a moment before, a collection of odd people wearing pointed hats and colorful robes. Wizards, he decided. At the sight of a stern looking witch in emerald robes and a rather impressive hat, he quickly amended his perception to include witches as well.
When he reached the top of the stairs, Artemis stepped off of them with the assembled wizards and witch and walked through a door into a wide, open room. Portraits hung on every available space of the wall and they actually moved, flitting about and whispering to each other while strange devices whirred on the many shelves. An imposing wizard, with a long white beard and sparkling blue eyes, paced in front of the fire, while a man in a pinstripe suit and bowler hat was sitting in one of the many chairs, looking decidedly displeased.
“Anything, Minerva?” the first wizard asked, his eyes turning toward the witch in emerald green.
“I’ve spoken with Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley, and they’ve admitted they know absolutely nothing. Mr. Weasley is quite adamant that Mr. Potter was in his bed when he went to sleep last night and then wasn’t there this morning, but he had thought he was off elsewhere in the castle. They haven’t spoken since Mr. Potter’s name came out of the Goblet, at least according to Miss Granger, though she said that Mr. Weasley had attempted a reconciliation and was refused.”
“Refused?” a small wizard asked. He barely came up to Artemis’s waist.
“Miss Granger said that Mr. Potter wouldn’t accept his apology and instead left. He didn’t even join the party in Gryffindor Tower last week, Albus,” she said to the first wizard.
“I see,” Albus said grimly.
“How could someone infiltrate Hogwarts and spirit Potter away?” Pin-stripes asked, standing and clearly angry. “He is the Boy-Who-Lived. If word got out there will be public panic.”
“I think we may assume that Mr. Potter might have left of his own accord, though how and why have yet to be determined,” Albus said resignedly.
“Pretentious brat, just like his father,” another wizard, with sallow skin and a large hooked nose, muttered as he leaned against a wall.
“Severus, please,” Albus chided him, and Artemis quickly filed away the name. “Was anything missing?”
Minerva swallowed. “We’re not certain. It appears that—somehow—Mr. Potter’s trunk has been blood warded. Only he can open it, and, well, if he doesn’t return within the next few days, it should be sent to Gringotts for safe keeping.”
“So he could have been taken,” Pin-sripes muttered to himself, running his hand tiredly over his eyes.
“And no one—no one—knows anything?” Albus inquired again.
“Nothing was seen, nothing heard. Perhaps if you asked High Master Karkaroff and Madame Maxime,” she suggested and Albus waved his hand dismissively.
“They’ll be glad that there’s less competition, as Harry was the fourth champion.”
“Do you suggest sabotage?” a rather large wizard asked. “One of the other champions?”
“I wouldn’t discount it,” Albus said. “I think for now, we try to keep it as quiet as possible, announce that he’s in the hospital wing if need be and mount a search. Cornelius?”
“I’ve already asked Scrimgeour,” Pin-stripes—Cornelius—answered. “He has several of his best Aurors on it, but we still have nothing in Scotland and England.”
“Keep it quiet. Harry’s safety is our paramount concern and if certain persons learn he’s missing, who knows what will happen.”
“He’s probably hiding for the attention of it all,” Severus groused again, but only Artemis seemed to hear him.
“Miss Weasley,” Minerva stated, “has been weeping since it was suggested Mr. Potter is missing. We weren’t able to calm her until Poppy gave her Dreamless Sleep. It appears she was rather fond of Mr. Potter, especially since he rescued her at the end of her first year.”
Albus sighed. “Quite.”
Before anyone could say anything else, however, Artemis saw the room fade again, reds blurring with blues, greens morphing into purples, and soon drifted off into dreams only of Harry.