Harry was laughing as he opened the door of the limo and half-fell, half-ran toward the Manor. Artemis had taken him into the countryside for proper sledding with the local children. It was a common spot for family trips as the hill was perfect for sledding for all ages. There were steeper sides of the hill for more daring and gentle slopes for toddlers and their parents.
As Artemis expected, Harry had loved it. They had gone tearing down the icier inclines, Harry’s head tipped back onto Artemis’s shoulder, the two of them smiling happily at each other. Artemis had frightened a few of the younger children with his vampiric smile, but Harry had quickly kissed him before dragging him away for a race. “We should bring your brothers next year,” Harry had suggested, “or our children a couple of years after that.”
“Well, yes,” Harry blushed. “I assumed you’d want children.”
Artemis had blinked at him. “I hadn’t really thought about it. All I wanted was you—and if they’re not yours, then I think I’d rather not have them at all.”
Harry had given him a smile. “What if I could? It’s sometimes possible in the wizarding world, but only in the case of soul mates and—well—we’re twin flames.”
Artemis had soundly kissed him, pulling their bodies flush against each other and not really minding that at any moment they might be run into by some five year-old’s sled. “I love you,” Artemis had murmured against Harry’s lips and, in his green eyes, he thought that he might have caught a flicker of the same sentiment.
Artemis had held Harry the entire drive back, snow melting from their hair and water pooling in their boots, but neither of them had cared. They were content with each other, in their quiet and peaceful winter wonderland.
“I never had a childhood,” Harry had explained after half an hour. “I was a child of course, but my aunt and uncle thought I was a freak and tried to quash the magic out of me. I slept in a cupboard.”
“Well, our children will have a childhood,” Artemis had soothed. “And you’re fourteen—there are a few years left, I expect.”
Now Harry was running and laughing, kicking the snow up that was in his way before racing up the slick stairs, his hand on the railing. Neither of them noticed the tire tracks that were already in the snow, as Artemis quickly took up after Harry, feeling freer than he had in years.
“Hyperion!” he called, teasing him, only to hear Harry’s laughter again.
There were wet footprints showing that Harry was rushing toward the Christmas tree room, as they now called it, bits of melting snow everywhere on the oriental carpets, a mitten thrown over an expensive vase, a scarf unwinding near the foot of a seventeenth century armchair.
Artemis quickly began to unravel his own clothes, tossing off his mittens and then throwing his scarf near what looked like a letter tray, before quickly unbuttoning his Versacci coat and leaving it in a puddle on the floor.
He could feel desire running through him, imagining just what would be waiting for him as soon as he caught Harry. Sweet kisses, perhaps, beneath the mistletoe, Harry spread out across the hearth rug as fire played with his unearthly hair, so like fire itself with its different highlights of gold, red-gold, and a coppery ginger that were only revealed in certain lights. He often wondered at the potion that had given Harry such an otherworldly mop of color. Knowing that Harry’s mother’s hair was red, he perhaps wondered if instead of turning Harry’s coloring to ginger it didn’t also activate the natural and recessive gene, creating the hues and myriads of colors.
How he longed to fully claim Harry, to see him completely bare and wanting him as desperately as Artemis desired him, but he was still so young, so perfect, yet not quite old enough to understand all of Artemis’s passions, to fully feel them himself, to have the depth of emotion perhaps to completely fall in love though Artemis occasionally caught the hint of that darker and all-consuming emotion in his eyes and the ever-present affection that showed Artemis that he was wanted and cherished already.
The door to the Christmas tree room was wide open and he quickly ran in, not noticing that Harry’s laughter had suddenly quieted as his mind sped through various images and ideas of what he might find.
He instantly stopped as he saw the scene before him.
Harry was standing in the middle of the room, his coat halfway off his shoulders to reveals the dark forest green turtleneck and black jeans he was wearing, as well as the black Wellington boots his stockinged feet had been gently placed in earlier that morning by Artemis, once he had layered his toes in several layers of warm socks. His hair was stuck up at several angles, half an ear revealed here, an eye covered there, and his eyes were sparkling as his cheeks were flushed an attractive pink from the combination of the sudden warmth and the exertion of his teasing run.
The tree was still in the corner, fully lit, but there were several other people in the room—his father and the twins. Artemis Fowl I was a tall man with broad shoulders and graying hair, his eyes a dark blue like Artemis’s had once been. His prosthetic leg was neatly hidden under his pressed trousers, and although there was a twinkle in his eyes, his mouth was drawn as he took in Harry’s appearance.
The twins were on opposite sides of the room. Myles, at the age of three, was reading a short chapter book that Artemis recognized was designed for children more than twice his age, while Beckett was playing with a train set, making the appropriate choo choo sounds.
His father’s twinkling gaze snapped to him. “There you are, Artemis. Juliet told us you were out for the day.”
“Father,” he said quickly, too quickly, “I didn’t know you were returning from Switzerland. How was your trip?”
Mr. Fowl swept a hand through the air, showing it was of little consequence.
“Your mother and I received an interesting call in Switzerland—it had your mother in tears. Can you guess just who might have placed this phone call, Artemis? And you haven’t introduced me to your guest.”
Artemis swallowed. “Hyperion Black of the House of Fowl. He’s my fiancé, Father.”
Harry tried to smile but instead looked anxiously at Artemis.
“So, it’s true then. Minerva informed us that she called you on Christmas Day and that you later told her that you were getting married. She was under the impression, however, that the person in question was a young woman most likely of age, and not a thirteen year-old boy.”
Neither Artemis nor Harry saw fit to correct him.
There was a long pause.
“Where’s Mother?” Artemis finally asked, taking a seat and gesturing to Harry to join him. He hated how his father had made Harry appear nervous and less at home at the Manor. If this continued for much longer, he would have one of the other Fowl properties immediately opened and have them moved in by the end of the week.
“Interrogating the servants on Mr. Black. They seem to all think his name is Harry Fowl.”
“It is his nickname. Hyperion is rather long for everyday use,” Artemis replied coolly. “And he is a Fowl as far as I’m concerned and should be treated as such.”
Harry was looking decidedly uncomfortable now, his eyes focusing on Beckett who was staring at him, his train set lying a few feet away, completely forgotten. Artemis smiled as he saw the gentle affection in Harry’s eyes. He would make a wonderful father one day.
“During the three years you were missing, your mother became rather set on the idea that, if you should ever return, Miss Paradizo would be the future Mrs. Fowl.”
“Yes, well, I had different ideas.”
“I can see that. I had not known that your—affections turned that way.”
Harry stiffened, clearly expecting the worst.
“You never asked.” Artemis’s eyes flashed dangerously at his father, silently telling him that the matter wasn’t up for debate.
Mr. Fowl sighed once before looking down at his twin sons, possibly thinking of future generations of the Fowl name. He looked tired and old in that moment before his shoulders visibly relaxed and he looked back up at Harry.
“Hyperion,” he began. “That’s a singular name.”
“It’s a tradition in the Black family to be named after celestial objects,” Artemis explained, knowing that Harry was still uncomfortable. “They are a very old and wealthy English family and Hyperion is currently the head of it, despite the fact that he is only fourteen years of age.” It was a subtle dig, he realized, but it needed to be said.
“Wealthy,” his father repeated, his eyes glinting briefly, showing that his previous character before his reform to a legal businessman was still buried somewhere within him.
“One of the wealthiest,” Artemis said with a smirk.
“Perhaps it’s not a complete loss after all,” his father mused and Harry stiffened again. “How long have you two known each other?”
“The second of December,” Harry replied, his voice firm. His left thumb was absently turning the Fowl ring that was on his ring finger. “I was passing through Dublin on my way to France or Germany.”
“And your family?”
“I’m an orphan and grew up in an orphanage outside of Cork,” Harry replied, his speech well rehearsed so that it sounded natural. “I have recently discovered distant family and we’re visiting them later this month.”
“We need to have your tutor in place,” Artemis reminded. “They can’t touch you in court, but we don’t want problems if they think you’re not being properly looked after.”
“I’m not going back to that school,” Harry responded darkly, both of them momentarily forgetting that Mr. Fowl was watching them closely. “You couldn’t pay me.”
Artemis leaned forward and took his hand. “You’re not going back. Wasn’t that the point of everything? A tutor will give you everything you need and you’ll only be graduating a year later than if none of this had happened.”
“Simple-toon,” Myles said from the corner as Beckett went back to his train set, drawing Harry’s attention back to them.
“How old are they?” he asked.
Harry nodded and glanced back at Artemis lovingly. “What of Lupin?” he whispered, naming one of his father’s closest friends.
Artemis hesitated. Harry had told him late one night about the Marauders, of Remus Lupin who had taught him Defense the previous year, but had never contacted him before—who was a werewolf with a heightened sense of smell.
“That would not be wise,” he murmured. “It would not be safe for you, Hyperion.”
Understanding flicked across Harry’s eyes and they darkened before he nodded. “Someone competent then.”
Artemis glanced back at his father who was watching them closely.
“Angeline is not going to be pleased,” he warned Artemis who simply looked away. He knew his mother wouldn’t be happy if she had cried at the news, but there was nothing he could do about it, and he wasn’t going to give up Harry for anything or anyone.
After the tense meeting with his father, Artemis spirited Harry up to their private suite and barricaded them in, only telling Butler briefly that they would be taking all their meals there for the next few days while the rest of the family settled in.
He laid Harry out on the bed, stripping off the wet Wellington boots and then pealing off the many layers of socks he had insisted on, his fingers playing across Harry’s pale skin at his ankle.
“I don’t think I like this Minerva,” Harry commented as Artemis slid up his body and began to kiss his smooth stomach, his hands pushing up the forest green turtleneck to expose the lightly muscled expanse of skin. Harry was absolutely stunning to him.
His tongue dipped into Harry’s navel and Harry keened forward, his hands coming up to tangle in Artemis’s hair.
Fortunately, Harry seemed to instantly understand that words were not needed. As Artemis continued to push the sweater up to reveal the pale chest before him, he continued to swirl his tongue inside Harry, delighting in the taste of frost-cold skin recently heated. The pads of his thumbs sought out Harry’s nipples, teasing them with light strokes as Harry arched into his touch, before yanking at his hair, pulling him up his body until their lips achingly touched, soft, moaning, gasping. Artemis was in heaven. As Harry’s legs came around his waist pressing them closer together, Artemis sighed, sucking wantonly on Harry’s lower lip.
Harry’s hands were now pulling at Artemis’s shoulders, urging him closer as his hips thrust upward, searching more contact.
“Shh, my love,” Artemis soothed as Harry’s thrusts became more erratic. “I’m here. I love you. You’re safe.”
He could taste Harry’s salty tears as he continued to claim the sinful mouth before him and then wrapped his arms lovingly around Harry, abandoning the sensitive nubs for now in his desire to comfort his twin flame.
“Please—need—“ Harry gasped as he wrenched their lips apart and Artemis nodded imperceptibly before grinding their pelvises together. A surge of electric heat shot through him and he heard Harry groan his name before gasping his pleasure and clutching almost painfully to Artemis.
As Harry rode out his pleasure, Artemis’s lips latched onto Harry’s arched neck, nipping gently and then sucking the bruise as he continue to gently thrust, wave after wave of pleasure mounting before he, too, with a strangled cry came, the world momentarily fading into a gentle white.
His vision cleared and he found bright green eyes staring up at him. He kissed waiting lips before rolling over onto his back, Harry still clutched in his arms.
Artemis’s breathing was still slightly erratic, so he settled back, looking up at the ceiling and stroking Harry’s red hair absently. “He liked you,” Artemis finally said when he had collected himself. “Father definitely liked you.”
“You call that him liking me?”
“Well, he didn’t order me to marry Minerva and didn’t insist that you no longer be referred to as Harry Fowl. He definitely liked you.”
Harry laughed breathlessly. “If you say so.”
They lapsed back into silence, Harry gently playing with the collar of Artemis’s shirt, shifting every few minutes as if to get comfortable. Finally, he huffed and sat up again, his turtleneck sliding down to hide his beautiful frame. “I need to change,” he said by way of explanation, and carefully got up.
Artemis had pushed his own discomfort out of his mind, but felt it as well. “I think—you need a bath.” His unmatched eyes glinted mirthfully and Harry laughed, carefree.
“Most certainly,” Artemis growled, and before Harry could cry out in surprise, he was in Artemis’s arms again, being carried to the bathroom.
Artemis was dreaming again, floating in the air as the blue and purple speckles of fairy dust invaded his sleeping world to carry him to the past. A small girl, no more than ten or eleven with ginger hair that was dull compared to Harry’s, was smiling as she covertly watched a boy with messy black hair and glasses. Her robes were threadbare and a battered old book was under her fingers. He could see the longing in her dark brown eyes, the want that a child her age should not understand, but it was still there as Harry remained oblivious.
She was now writing on a four-poster bed in the old book, ink dripping from her fingers. When she finished, she blew on the ink and closed the book. The initials T.M.R. glittered in the darkness. “Speak to me,” she murmured to the book, tapping it with her wand, and when she opened up the diary again, a second hand, more masculine and less childish than her own, had appeared.
It was an odd book—clearly magical—and Artemis found himself leaning forward, trying to read it.
“What is it?” a boy later asked. He looked just like her, the same threadbare robes, ginger hair and an impossible number of freckles. He held the book and showed it to his companion, a young Harry who was looking at the book with slight interest.
“Just a diary,” the girl answered quickly.
Her brother took the book and flipped it open despite her cries, scanning through it. In a matter of moments, his face darkened to an angry red and he shoved it at Harry, indicating that he should read it.
“That’s sick. This—this Tom person—he offered to give you Harry as a husband in exchange for the attacks around the school?”
Artemis quickly looked around and saw they were standing in a hallway, water all over the floor and a dead-looking cat hanging from the ceiling. He swallowed. Whoever Tom was, he was sadistic, and the little chit of a girl was not much better in his mind if she had actually done it for him—and all for Harry.
He wondered why she would be so fixated on her brother’s friend.
“It’s not that bad. No one was that hurt,” the girl whispered, blushing.
Harry snapped the book shut. “No one was hurt, Ginny?” he whispered angrily. “Colin Creevey and Hermione are in the hospital—petrified. It will be months before the cure is ready.”
“But—they’re alive,” Ginny—the girl—answered desperately. “Please, Harry.”
“You disgust me,” her brother said. “I can’t believe—my own sister—do you want to be famous that much? Do you want his money? What is it?”
“And what about you?” she shot angrily back. “You wrote home all first year about how you were best friends with your precious Boy-Who-Lived.”
Harry was now backing away, a betrayed look in his eyes, and Artemis found himself moving closer, their reflected eyes staring at each other in the water that rippled as Artemis walked through it. “I love you, just you,” he whispered into the tense atmosphere, and Harry’s young eyes somehow shifted toward him, almost as if he heard. “Wait for me,” he begged, and the young Harry nodded.
The scene shifted again, and Artemis saw Harry, so young and so defeated and small, sitting next to a bed, holding the hand of a girl with bushy brown hair. She was not moving at all, her eyes wide open. She was so still that Artemis wasn’t quite certain that she was breathing. Hermione, he thought. This must be Hermione.
An empty chair rested next to Harry’s and Artemis found himself sitting in it, looking at the boy as tears streamed down his face, the angry scar just peaking through his messy black fringe.
“I love you,” he whispered and for a moment Harry’s eyes flickered.
Time shifted a little again and now Albus in horrible black robes with yellow and orange bumblebees flitting across it was sitting across from them, his eyes trained curiously on the chair where Artemis was sitting.
“Who is your companion, Mr. Potter?” Albus asked and Artemis looked up, startled. The wizard’s blue eyes became dull and it was almost as if he hadn’t spoken the question now that he can no longer see the apparition in the chair.
“Do you know who Tom Riddle is, Harry?” Albus questioned this time, his eyes on Harry and not the poor girl in the bed.
“I don’t care. He’s a sick bastard and that’s all I need to know.”
“He was—still is—Lord Voldemort.”
Harry’s eyes narrowed but he didn’t say anything.
“You did a fine thing, my boy, intercepting him before he could fully control young Miss Weasley. You saved many a life, Mr. Potter. You should be proud.”
At his words, Harry’s jaw clenched.
“Thank Ron. He’s the one who discovered it. Is Ginny going to be expelled?”
Albus looked displeased at Harry’s hard tone. “No. It was clear she was brainwashed. Possibly possessed. She was not acting of her own free will, the artifact was controlling her completely.”
Harry scoffed and his green eyes looked up, hurt, before glancing back down to Hermione’s prone frame.
“As you say, sir,” Harry replied scathingly.
Time once again shifted and Artemis was all alone in the hospital ward, the bed empty where once Hermione had rested.
In his dream, Artemis could taste the vile combination of fairy dust and orange juice in his tongue. He looked about again and he was in a busy train station and a small boy was leaning against the wall between platforms nine and ten.
“There you are,” he said to Artemis. His hair was an odd combination of phoenix-red and black, his eyes bright and vibrant behind spectacles and a thin white scar poking through his messy fringe. He didn’t look human to Artemis—but other—almost fairy with a good dose of human biology to confuse the average person. “I’ve been wondering when you would appear again.”
Harry was younger, ten, eleven, long before the transformation, and yet he was looking right at him.
“You’re not going to want to miss this,” Harry murmured, smirking. “This is important.”
Then he was gone and Artemis was alone except for the many people who were rushing along. He squinted at the barrier and hesitantly touched it, surprised when his hand shifted through it. Quickly withdrawing his hand, he looked at it before stepping through, only to find himself on another platform that was full of waiting students, owls hooting in cages and cats darting in between parents, their tails flicking in the fog-filled air.
A boy with messy black hair, once again no older than ten or eleven, was struggling with his trunk, trying to get it onto the train.
Before he could properly think, Artemis was beside him and easily lifting the trunk. “Here, let me help you,” he said to a younger Harry, whose eyes fixed on him as if he were solid. Judging by the fact that he could feel the trunk in his hands and was able to move it, he thought that perhaps he could be seen.
“Thank you,” Harry breathed gratefully, a small smile on his beautiful lips.
“You have a lovely owl,” Artemis complimented, seeing the bird preen in her cage, her white feathers flashing in the early morning light.
“Her name is Hedwig,” Harry supplied. “I got her on my birthday.”
Artemis was now walking down the hall, weaving between students, as Harry followed behind him, his small hand curling in Artemis’s larger one. He squeezed it comfortingly. “This one looks empty,” he murmured and opened a compartment, ushering Harry inside away from prying eyes and carefully placing the trunk that he recognized from Fowl Manor up on the rack before carefully sitting down.
Harry’s eyes were wide and watching him.
“Are you a seventh year?” he asked and Artemis laughed, the sound warmer than he was used to.
“Not quite,” he responded. “I’m a Muggle.”
“A Muggle? How?” Harry leaned forward, interested, and Artemis wished he could draw the vulnerable boy into his arms, but he didn’t want to scare him.
He could feel the familiar pull on his senses, pulling him to a more innocent sleep, but he gripped the seat beneath him.
“I need to tell you something. There will be a man—Albus—and he’s some sort of professor.”
“Yes, Albus Dumbledore,” Harry agreed. “Hagrid said he’s the greatest Headmaster Hogwarts has ever seen.”
Artemis wondered just who this Hagrid was and wanted to give him a firm talking to for such blind hero-worship.
“Be that as it may, I need you to trust me, Harry. Albus is old and is convinced for some reason that someone named Voldemort is not dead.” He took a deep breath, trying to organize his thoughts, knowing he had to warn his twin flame so he would be on his guard. “He’s deluded—I don’t know why—but he will try to manipulate your words to prove that Voldemort really isn’t gone, but he’s dead, Harry. I’m almost completely certain.”
Harry’s green eyes widened and then narrowed again. “Who are you?”
“A very dear friend, though we won’t see each other for a few years. See you in Dublin when the snow falls,” he whispered, remembering Harry’s joy when they first met and snow was falling on the Irish city. “I’m waiting for you,” he murmured, the love shining through his mismatched eyes until, with a great breath, the past faded away from him again and Artemis drifted off into his hopes for the future.