Artemis was frustrated. Holly insisted that because Harry was living with him, had kissed him, and even allowed himself to be referred to as “Harry Fowl,” she had fulfilled her end of the bargain. He was also safe, hidden, and she had other problems that did not include Artemis’s need to infiltrate the wizarding world. Apparently, fairies tried to stay as far away from it as inhumanly possible.
She had, however, provided him with twenty vials of fairy dust for future use and informed him that there might be more if he asked her kindly and refrained from kidnapping her in the future.
There was nothing to be done, for now. He simply had to wait, which although difficult was not impossible. Harry was safe, completely hidden, and his wand was even locked in a safe in Dublin so that wizards couldn’t trace it.
A week after his identity had been legally and magically changed, Harry and Artemis wandered into magical Dublin and purchased a new wand for Harry. It was now almost Christmas and carolers had been around every corner, which brought a smile to Harry’s face.
The wandmaker was a quiet and studious young man, who had bowed them into his shop. It was neat, clean, and very small.
“I don’t believe I’ve seen either of you before,” the wandmaker was saying as he carefully began to measure Harry’s arm length manually, a small book floating behind him and writing down the measurements.
“No,” Harry blushed. “My wand broke and Gringotts recommended you as I was here in Ireland.”
“Excellent,” he breathed happily, a light to his dark eyes. “I just opened up a few years ago, for the Irish students who attend Hogwarts, of course. Sometimes it’s impractical to go all the way to London when you can get almost everything else here in Dublin.”
“What type of wand did you have before?”
“Holly with phoenix feather.”
The wandmaker paused. “Unusual combination,” he finally said before bustling about and examining a particular row of boxes. “How did it work for you?”
“How long did it take you to perform your first spell?”
“Er—awhile. Wingardium Leviosa was a bit difficult.”
The wandmaker tsked. “Shameful. Ollivander—I’m assuming you got your wand from Mr. Ollivander?—believes that the wand chooses the wizard. It’s true, of course, but sometimes the first wand that makes a connection isn’t the best in all cases.”
Artemis was sitting calmly and watching the proceedings with curiosity.
“He also has a tendency to manipulate which wands he chooses to get a desired result.”
Slowly he began to choose several boxes meticulously and then set them on the counter top in a straight row.
“Let’s try these to begin with.”
In the end two wands responded to Harry, who after careful consideration chose the second. It was a Phoenix feather and Apple wood wand that he said just felt better in his hand than the first.
“Might I have your name for my records?” the wandmaker asked, taking Harry’s money although Artemis had tried to pay. He looked up expectantly, almost as if he didn’t think Harry would actually give it.
The man’s eyes widened. “A Black in my shop,” he said happily. “Thank you for your custom. Oh, and as an Irish wandmaker, I’m not regulated by the English Ministry of Magic so there’s no trace on your new wand. Use it wisely, Mr. Black.”
Wherever Harry went the wand was always with him. When his trunk was finally deposited at Gringotts, it was forwarded to them and Harry’s spell books littered his and Artemis’s room. He never performed magic outside of their suite, but casting small spells obviously comforted him and Artemis always watched eagerly when Harry would take out his wand and flick his wand a certain way.
“I loved my old wand,” he admitted one night as he snuggled closer to Artemis, the wand carefully placed beneath their shared pillow, “but this one just makes me happy for some reason.”
“I’m glad you got it, then.”
“I wonder if it’s been officially registered,” he murmured as he fell off to sleep, leaving Artemis with more to wonder about before sleep finally took him.
The first of the expected letters arrived on Christmas Eve, just as Harry and Artemis were drinking hot chocolate near the Christmas tree. Normally the servants would have decorated it, but once it arrived Harry had been insistent that they do it as he had never actually had a Christmas tree before, and Artemis found that he could deny Harry nothing, especially when it brought smiles to his face and caused Harry to kiss him joyfully when he agreed.
“Master Artemis,” Butler said imperiously from the door, a beautiful eagle owl on his arm. “This arrived.” The poor bodyguard looked confused and Harry, with a small exclamation, leapt up and retrieved the owl.
“Thank you, Butler,” he said kindly as he took the beautiful creature in his arms and untied the letter that it was carrying. “Do you have any owl treats? Bits of bread perhaps and a bowl of water? He probably came from England.”
Butler looked at him shrewdly and then nodded, leaving the two of his young masters—and the owl—alone.
“Owl post,” Harry calmly explained as he allowed the magnificent bird to hop onto a nearby chair. He sat down again in front of Artemis and looked over his shoulder expectantly until Artemis wrapped his arm around his waist.
Harry, Artemis had discovered, was an affectionate being who seemed to crave any and all contact. He found he rather liked it.
Carefully, Harry broke the seal and opened the letter, which was on some ornate parchment and written in carefully and formal script. Harry’s eyes widened. “How—How am I supposed to read this? It’s in French!”
Artemis chuckled lightly and rested his chin on Harry’s shoulder. “To Young Master Hyperion Black,” he translated obediently.
“Just tell me what it says, not how it’s said.”
He held the letter out for Artemis who obediently took it. “It’s from a Narcissa Malfoy, formerly of the house of Black. She states her pleasure that you are now being recognized, speaks of her deep affection for your father and her respect for your late mother whom she knew when they were children.” He paused. “She speaks of the current situation of the Black family, as well as your Uncle Sirius—about her own family—and invites you and anyone of your household to Malfoy Manor for the Easter Holidays or, if you are more comfortable, to the Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament. She signs it with the closing term, ‘Affectionately.’ Hmm, that’s one way to figure out what’s happening.”
“The Triwizard Tournament. We could see what’s going on and be completely untouchable,” he mused aloud. He squinted at the page. “She suggest some sort of close relationship with both Minister Fudge and Viktor Krum.”
“Really? Viktor?” Harry grabbed the letter and skimmed the formal handwriting and Artemis pointed out the section to him, although Harry wouldn’t be able to read it. “How strange. Well, Viktor and Malfoy took their meals together.”
“What does this Draco Malfoy look like?”
Harry stilled, clearly thinking for a moment. “He has white-blond hair and gray eyes. An angular face. I can’t believe we’re related—even before all of this.”
“Is he attractive?” Artemis questioned, hoping and fearing for a positive answer.
“Attractive?” Harry said in disgust. Artemis was slightly relieved. It wasn’t unheard of for animosity to be created or amplified by attraction.
“Viktor Krum, I gathered from the dream, is homosexual. If Draco Malfoy is attractive and they ate together, it could suggest the degree of their connection.”
Harry narrowed his eyes. “I don’t think Viktor is—like us—“
“He is. His eyes followed you too closely.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “Are you certain?”
“I’m possessive. Of course I’m certain,” he responded absently. “I wouldn’t tolerate any competition for your—love.”
The word hung between them, intense and full of meaning. Artemis held Harry’s eyes searching for the elusive emotion, but he couldn’t read the bright gaze, and sighed when Harry eventually glanced away. The moment quickly passed and Artemis returned his attention to the letter.
“The Malfoys—are they wealthy?”
Artemis only nodded.
Christmas was a day spent lazily in bed, kisses quietly exchanged beneath the covers as Harry fell in and out of sleep. Artemis was content just to watch him and then kiss the upturn lips again when Harry’s eyelashes began to flutter, only to have the process repeated again. They had agreed, after Harry’s insistence, that they only give each other one present each, and there was no hurry. Artemis had picked out one of the lesser Fowl heir rings for Harry. It would identify him to anyone who mattered that he was a Fowl by right and entitled to all of the privileges and security that that entailed.
Harry’s hands were tentative and warm around noon, when his eyes fluttered open again, fully awake, and he pulled himself on top of Artemis, settling his weight carefully on the older boy. “Happy Christmas,” he breathed against Artemis’s mouth, opening his tentatively in an almost-kiss.
Artemis gently held Harry’s face in his hands, red hair tickling the ends of his fingers, as he really kissed Harry for the first time, his tongue carefully sliding through Harry’s parted lips. They both moaned at the sensation and Artemis tentatively explored Harry’s sweet mouth, pressing his body up so he could feel more of Harry everywhere possible, and he gasped in delight when Harry’s tongue tentatively met his.
Needless to say, they didn’t crawl out of the bed until much later, Harry’s lips red and swollen from Artemis’s insistent kisses and Artemis in need of a very long and rather cold shower.
Harry’s shy smile, as soon as he got out and was still dripping wet, made it entirely worth it.
When they finally made it out of the suite, Butler was waiting with an unreadable expression on his face. “Master Artemis, Miss Paradizo has called six times this morning and claims it is important.”
Artemis made no sign that the news had affected him and instead nodded. Harry looked at Butler curiously.
“Minerva Paradizo. A close friend of Master Artemis and a genius in her own right. A fine young woman if I do say so myself.”
Harry’s eyes narrowed and he looked at Artemis who was pointedly not looking at him.
“Did she say what it was about?”
“She did not.”
“If she calls again, tell her I’m with family and will return to the call within the week.” His eyes lingered over Harry’s tense frame.
“I believe—“ Butler began, and Artemis’s sharp gaze landed on him. “Although she did not say for certain, I believe she wished for an invitation to Fowl Manor. She is very fond of you, Master Artemis, and your parents do approve of her.”
“I consider myself engaged,” Artemis replied icily, taking Harry’s still hand in his own and leading him toward the room with the Christmas tree, where they were to exchange their simple presents.
Harry had been almost completely silent after that, though he did smile when he opened the ring and allowed Artemis to slide it onto his finger.
“A Fowl. Now and always.”
“And this Minerva—?”
“Is annoying and female. It’s wishful thinking on her part,” he tried to patiently explain, but still there was a haunted look in Harry’s eyes. Artemis decided that Minerva was never going to be allowed anywhere near Harry as long as he could help it.
That night he held Harry close and tried to dispel his anxieties, but he found quiet tears pouring down Harry’s face while he slept. He kissed them all away, but still his heart strangely ached at the thought that Butler had unwittingly ruined their first Christmas together. Clearly, his bodyguard didn’t understand exactly how necessary Harry was to his life, a mistake that Artemis was positive he would never allow Butler to make again.
When he did finally manage to call Minerva back, Harry was in the kitchen helping Juliet bake a cake. Artemis, he claimed, wasn’t being very helpful, trying to steal chocolate filled kisses, and Artemis had been banished for the next hour and told to annoy someone else. Minerva was an obvious choice.
“Minerva,” he greeted coldly as soon as she picked up. “I heard that you called several times on Christmas.”
“Yes. How are you, Artemis?”
“Engaged,” he answered succinctly. The Fowl family ring, in his mind, served as a formal engagement, although Harry was still only fourteen and, ever since he had legally become Hyperion Black, his birthday had been pushed back to early September instead of late July. It meant he had another month to wait on top of the two and a half years. There had been longer engagements, but he didn’t like the idea of having to be so patient.
There was silence on the other end of the line. “Since when?” Minerva finally asked.
“Christmas.” He had no need to mince words. This had to be done. He knew that during the three years he had been missing in the lost Demon colony of Hybras, she had wormed her way into the hearts of his family. Very little time had passed for him, and yet when he returned he was informed that he now had twin two-year old brothers and that Minerva was now physically and mentally the same age as him. Butler had also hinted at the time that she was now beautiful and spoke of little else but him. At the time he had been flattered, curious even, but after taking one look at her beautiful corkscrew curls and smiling face and he knew that perhaps there was something different about him. Careful consideration and analysis of his darker dreams led him to realize that he in fact was not attracted to women at all—which led him on the search that eventually brought him to Harry over a year later.
After several more minutes where Artemis just listened to Minerva breathing, he inquired, “Was there anything else?”
“Yes, actually. I’ve heard of possible Demon activity near Ireland and thought you might want to know.”
“I had heard of something similar. Where’s the location?”
“Scotland or Northern England. This is more your forté than mine, Artemis, and, well, you’re usually in Ireland when you’re not somewhere else. Where are you?”
“Here and there.” Artemis didn’t want her just showing up as she might do to catch a look at Harry, though Minerva probably assumed that his fiancé was female and Harry, no matter his beauty, was certainly not that.
“All right. Bring your wife around for tea at some point,” she said dismissively before hanging up.
Artemis rather suspected he wouldn’t be hearing from Minerva again any time soon.
“Why are you staring at the phone?” Harry asked from the door, pulling Artemis out of his thoughts. He had a sly grin on his face, and chocolate on his fingers. Somehow, probably through magic, his expensive clothes were completely clean.
Harry, Artemis had decided, was born for wealth. He looked stunning in the latest fashions, wearing them casually almost as if he didn’t quite realize that a single outfit was more than an entire family usually spent on clothes in a year. Artemis could never get over the sight of Harry. He had chosen mostly blacks and browns for Harry, which complimented his bright eyes and fiery hair.
Just one glance at Harry would instantly remind Artemis just how he had fallen in love with his twin flame so quickly.
“I didn’t quite realize that women would hang up on someone when they realized they never had a chance. It was slightly startling.” He offered Harry a small smile. “Is it a common behavior?”
Harry shrugged and came to sit on Artemis’s lap. He made to take the phone in his chocolate covered hand, but Artemis grabbed his wrist and brought the messy fingers to his mouth, gently sucking off the residual cake batter and frosting, his eyes never leaving Harry’s surprised gaze.
“I—“ Harry gasped “—suppose so. I never told Ginny I didn’t want her so—don’t stop,” he begged, pushing himself closer as Artemis swirled his tongue around Harry’s finger. “That feels so good,” he moaned out.
Artemis, naturally, obeyed.
As soon as Harry’s fingers were clean, he drew them slowly out of Artemis’s mouth and claimed his lips, moaning, as his tongue flicked forward. Artemis allowed Harry to explore his mouth, to gently control the kiss, and leaned back happily as his arms went around Harry’s back, pulling him forward as his hips rocked upward almost of their own accord.
A gentle gasp fluttered into his mouth and he did it again, pleased when Harry rocked his hips back, creating exquisite pleasure between them. “Don’t stop,” he begged against Harry’s lips before the kiss was once again deepened, Harry mewling in the back of his throat, inciting Artemis’s pleasure even more if that were possible.
His lips were claimed again and again with each rocking motion, and he didn’t think anything outside of the thought that Harry was in his arms and gasping happily and then mewling, the sound just increasing the intense pressure in Artemis’s groin.
“Love you,” he gasped when Harry’s hands clutched almost painfully against his hair and then, a moment later, Harry cried out and was shivering in his arms, his head pressed against Artemis’s neck.
A moment later and Artemis had followed him over, Harry’s name on his lips as he clutched the young boy to him possessively, swearing quietly to himself that he would never let his twin flame go and soon—soon—words of love would be whispered back to him.
“I’m sorry,” Harry mumbled when his tremors had lessened and his breathing had evened out. “I didn’t—I didn’t realize that would happen.”
“Nothing to be sorry for,” Artemis assured him, placing gentle kisses on the top of Harry’s head, “unless you regret it, then I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
“No!” Harry gasped, his face red in embarrassment. “No, I liked it. A lot.”
“Good then. I liked it, too.”
Near the end of January, Artemis found himself staring at a vial of fairy dust again. A glass of orange juice was waiting by the side of the bed and he could only imagine how horrible it would taste.
Harry had been asleep for a few hours, but Artemis hadn’t been able to drift off himself even as he watched peacefully as Harry dreamed his worries away. Earlier that day they had finally responded to Mrs. Malfoy’s letter. Harry had been practicing his handwriting for weeks for a few hours every morning as Artemis patiently instructed him on proper penmanship. Finally, his writing was not only legible but could be decorative when Harry needed it to be, and Harry rarely thought about it any longer.
In less than a month they would be flying to England and infiltrating Hogwarts, Harry using his legal name and Artemis possibly going under one of his many aliases as a member of Harry’s household. Somehow they would have to convince Butler that he couldn’t follow them past Edinburgh or London.
Artemis was nervous. He had never entered the wizarding world and knew so little about his twin flame. There were secrets and politics wrapped up in his previous identity, and he felt himself completely unprepared. The orange juice and fairy dust should at least begin to dispel his worries.
There was nothing for it.
He watched impassively as the blue and purple dust mixed with the juice, turning it a sickening midnight blue sludge. It tasted almost as bad as it looked, like rotted eggs and half-digested cookie dough, but somehow Artemis managed to drink it all down. He desperately wanted to rinse out his mouth, drink a glass of water, but instead he lay down on the bed and spread the dust over his closed eyes. Just as he was falling into a restless sleep, Harry’s hand sought him in the darkness and Artemis smiled.
A boy, with large spectacles and messy black hair, stood before a mirror in a chamber, a confused look on his face. Artemis stood behind him and he recognized Harry, before they had met. He was so small, scrawny, his wrists so brittle that Artemis could have easily broken him, and yet still he loved the small child with everything in his heart.
“Good evening, Harry,” a voice spoke from the darkness and Harry started instantly, although his eyes never quite met Artemis’s in the mirror. “I see you have found the Mirror of Erised. Tell me, have you discovered what it shows you yet?” The voice was kind, grandfatherly, but still Artemis didn’t trust it. He glanced quickly at the mirror and saw the inscription and quickly worked it out. It was clever—if one weren’t asking an average eleven year-old.
“I—I see a stranger—a friend—behind me,” Harry answered in a gasp. “They love me I think.”
Their eyes met one more time and Artemis almost gasped when he realized that here, in the past, Harry could see Artemis as he was now, standing behind him with love shining out of his strange unearthly eyes. A smile spread across his face, wide and sinister, but Harry only smiled back, pressing closely to the mirror so that his hands touched the reflection of Artemis’s.
The voice—Albus, Artemis realized—asked something else but already the colors were fading and Artemis was being pulled away, elsewhere. His eyes met Harry’s one more time and he mouthed ‘soon,’ hoping the small, eleven-year-old boy would understand him and know that in a few short years, he would be sleeping in Artemis’s arms.
The room was different this time, torches all around the stone chamber, but still the mirror stood in the center. A man with grotesque features and short brown hair was staring in it desperately, searching the engraving and trying to find something. What it was, Artemis wasn’t certain.
“Why?” a small voice asked from the corner and Artemis turned to see a young Harry. “Why would you—what are you searching for, Professor?”
“I need it, desperately,” he whispered, his eyes never leaving. “I can’t—I can’t die. If I get it I won’t die.”
“Sir,” Harry said cautiously, “everyone dies eventually. You’re still young—“
The professor clenched his jaw in either anger or desperation. Artemis immediately backed away to Harry, putting himself in between them, although he knew that neither of them could see him unless Harry looked into the mirror again.
“You don’t know what it’s like—what it was like in Albania. The things I’ve seen—and that’s when you’re alive—I don’t want to die—I can’t—“ He turned back to the mirror, his eyes wide, and Harry sighed behind Artemis.
“It shows you what you most want. It won’t give you what you seek—not yet anyway.”
Artemis instantly turned and looked at the expression of longing on Harry’s face, his heart restricting painfully. Before he could say anything, even if it would be lost in the strange whispers of this place, the room once again faded until he found himself in some sort of hospital, a small boy resting peacefully in one bed.
Albus was sitting beside him, waiting for the boy—for Harry—to wake up.
Harry stirred. “Good evening, sir,” he said tiredly. “Is Professor Quirrell all right?”
“Alas, I’m afraid that Professor Quirrell is a professor no longer. He’s been escorted to a Ministry holding cell for attempted theft and breaking and entering. Tell me, Harry, what happened?”
“He didn’t want to die. He’s afraid of it and—well—for some reason he thought that the Mirror of Erised would give him eternal life.”
“And Voldemort, Harry?” Albus’s eyes shone a haunting blue and he looked at Harry plaintively. “What of him?”
“Vo-Voldemort? He’s dead, sir. He died the night he killed my parents.”
“Oh no, Harry. Gone perhaps, but not dead.”
“How can you—?” Harry asked, gasping, pushing his messy black hair away from the angry red scar on his forehead. “He’s dead. I killed him.”
“Ah,” Albus said sadly, clearly not believing. “If that’s what it takes to make you sleep at night, but I know, Harry. When you’re ready to admit it and speak to someone, understand that I know that Quirrell was Voldemort’s agent and tried to get the stone for him. Ah, the ignorance of youth.”
“What stone? And it was just Quirrell.”
“Of course,” he said, and once again, Artemis drifted away from the scene, returning to dreams of kisses as he held Harry close to him as they slept.