Artemis sat by the Black Lake, staring out over the dark waters that fell and rose in a gentle underwater tide. It seemed like so long since the last time he was beside this lake, Harry not yet his and yet already in love with him, dark hair that blended into the blackness of the night, green eyes hidden by glasses, a marred forehead, ears possibly slightly rounder.
So much had changed and now he was sitting at the place where it all began, staring at the dark waters as he felt demon eyes upon him, watching, waiting. They were stalking this place, his dreams, his memories. They wanted something—he just wasn’t certain what it was yet.
A warmth settled beside him and he looked over to see Krum, his face betraying nothing and his back erect. “Vot do you know?” he demanded coldly.
Artemis took in a deep breath, considering his options. Krum knew who Hyperion once was, Artemis knew he knew, and Krum knew that Artemis was aware of it as well. He could easily confuse him, not give anything away, but he’d already admitted publicly to knowing Harry for years. “Truthfully—I know that you helped him escape, that he gave his owl to you, that he’s starting to forget small details of his life before.” He glanced over and saw Krum staring at his clasped hands. “I trust you won’t bring this up to Draco?”
Krum’s jaw clenched. “I vould not do that. I know off Goblin magic—I know vot it does—I know that soon there vill not be a before but only Hyperion and that this identity vas chosen vith care.”
Artemis nodded solemnly. “Thank you. Hyperion desperately wants a family, a connection of some sort.”
“Draco as well. He has but vone other cousin, and she is half-blood and child off blood traitor.”
He sighed. “Nymphadora Tonks?”
“I am knowing not the name,” Krum admitted, “but it is possible.”
Artemis leaned back, his eyes still looking out over the waves. “I don’t understand blood purity,” he confessed. “The concept eludes me.”
“Vot are you? You are not Muggle—your eyes.”
“I am,” he paused, thinking, feeling Krum’s black, steady eyes on him. “I am something indefinable—like Hyperion.”
“Vot do you mean?”
Artemis looked at him in confusion. “You haven’t noticed? He isn’t fully human. At some point, somehow, he’s descended from the fairies. You can see it in his ears and with his hair—a potion wouldn’t make it look that otherworldly. I suspect that his hair before would have held some traces, though it would have been more difficult to see.”
Krum considered for a moment and then nodded. “I see your point. It is possible. Many off the old pureblood families once married vith creatures to strengthen inherent magic. It is not so much practiced anymore, though it sometimes is. There is too much distinction on species than there vas before.”
“It must be recent—for it to be so strong,” Artemis elaborated.
“A grandparent—or the parent off a grandparent—how you say?”
“That. It vill probably haff been an affair off passion or unknown. Sometimes there are spells to hide the signs and vith his hair before, no vone vould haff noticed. It is strange, but I suppose ve vill never know—at least I vill not, I suspect.”
They fell into silence and stared out over the Black Lake together.
“If you are hurting him, I vill find you and kill you vithout a vand,” Krum finally said, breaking the silence.
“What was he to you?” Artemis asked, his eyes narrowing. “I know you felt something for him. It was obvious.”
Krum played briefly with the hem of his robes and didn’t look at Artemis. “He vas very beautiful boy. I felt protectiff off him, especially vhen no vone vould help him. You haff nothing to vorry from me. I care for Draco as a lover, for the other as a child who I might haff cared for in other life. Do you understand?”
Their eyes met, two black, one blue, and a fourth hazel, and slowly Artemis nodded. “I won’t hurt him,” he swore. “Never that. He’s everything.”
“Then guard him and his memories vell for vhen he can no longer remember,” Krum suggested. “Remember vhen he cannot and luff both who he vas and who he is becoming.”
“I swear.” The words were whispered so softly that the wind quickly swallowed them, yet they somehow remained silently acknowledged between the two companions.
Knowing Harry would want more information, Artemis glanced over at Krum. “So, as Hyperion’s fiancé, what exactly are your intentions toward his cousin?”
A bellow of a laugh erupted from Krum and he looked over at Artemis, his rounded shoulders shaking in mirth and the usual scowl gone from his face. “I threaten to kill you if you hurt your fiancé and now you ask me intentions—it is strange, no?”
“Life, I find, generally is.”
Krum continued to chuckle until finally he looked back at Artemis. “I care for him very much,” he stated.
“And? You’re eighteen—Draco’s fourteen and from a very wealthy and influential family. I know you are some sort of international sports star, but one generally doesn’t just casually date someone like Draco Malfoy unless he instigates it. Hyperion will want to know,” he coaxed, no emotion coming from his voice.
“I am thinking he is unlike any boy I haff ever met. He is intelligent and insecure. Beautiful and vitty vhen he is comfortable. He feels that the vorld is on his shoulders and is still trying to discover how to handle it. It is hard, I think, and I vould like to help lift it.”
“Serious then,” Artemis remarked, leaning back against the rock where he was sitting.
“If he is vishing it. I vill not pressure him and vill not speak for several years. He is English. I liff in Bulgaria. So much can go wrong.”
“Patience,” Artemis advised. “Go at his pace. It worked for me—then again, Hyperion was already in love with me when we first met, I just hadn’t become aware of it yet.”
“I can make Draco fully luff me,” Krum admitted softly, the two young men somehow bonding over their relationship with two cousins and their genuine concern for Harry’s wellbeing. “At first, vhen ve met, I knew his interest vas that I vas Quidditch star. I vas using it to grab his attention and keep it—vonce that vas done I knew that I could giff him vot he needs although I think he does not know himself.”
“Vot is the point off being International Quidditch player if I cannot get the person I vant?” Krum shrugged. “Some use beauty, like Delacour. I am not haffing that, but I haff fame and vealth.”
A smirk crossed Artemis’s features. “I suspect Draco used his wealth and beauty as well to try to draw you in.”
“Off course. It vas to be expected and it gafe me hope.”
A rustle sounded behind them and they saw Draco approaching, a confused look on his pointed face. “Viktor!” he called. “There you are!”
He scurried down toward them and Harry wasn’t far behind him.
“What are you two talking about?” he drawled demandingly as he settled next to Krum.
Harry instantly found himself in Artemis’s arms, leaning up against him in the February chill.
Krum scowled playfully at him and a soft smile graced Draco’s feature. “Ve vere talking off how ve managed to ensnare two cousins.”
Harry laughed openly and leaned against Artemis. “That’s easy. Artemis was the first person to be really kind to me and the first to tell me the truth. I was eleven,” he confided to Draco more than Krum. “I was getting on a train and he came and helped me with my bag. I didn’t know who he was—not even his name, but he sat with me. What about you, Draco?”
Draco, surprisingly, blushed a bit. “In December he walked with me out of the Great Hall and then just—“
“I kissed him,” Krum admitted smugly. “I don’t think he has ever been so startled. Then Parkinson found us and she began to scream. It vas most amusing.”
“Why was she screaming?” Artemis inquired.
“She vanted to be the next Mrs. Malfoy, I think.”
Harry began to laugh. “I’ve had that problem. There’s this girl, who is a close friend of Artemis’s parents who wants to be the next Mrs. Fowl. I don’t envy you.”
“Anyone I know?” Draco drawled.
Draco wrinkled his nose in disgust. “I don’t understand why some wizards marry Muggles. If they’re uninterested in other witches and wizards—there are fairies or Veela. It would be less shameful, in my mind. Muggles don’t even have magic.”
Artemis and Krum shared a look, and then glanced away again.
“Mother and Father were purebloods,” Harry said listlessly, leaning against Artemis. “I know nothing about them, though.”
“Mother will tell you,” Draco said softly. “And the portraits at Grimmauld Place. It’s legally yours.”
“The ancestral home. It’s in London. Great Aunt Walburga died about a decade ago and I’ve heard it’s fallen into disrepair, but it should be easy to fix with magic, money, and a devoted house-elf. I think the Black one is still there. Mother will know more.”
“Hmm,” Harry said, glancing at Artemis. “Something to think about once we’ve traveled a bit.”
“We can live wherever you want,” Artemis whispered, touching their noses lightly together. “The world is yours.”
Harry laughed quietly. “And when there are children?”
Artemis’s mind turned to the small girl with Harry’s impossibly green eyes and his dark, fine hair, a smile that was both loving and menacing pulling at his lips. “Ireland hopefully, but still—the world is yours.”
“Children?” Draco was looking between them curiously.
Harry bit his bottom lip and, glancing once more at Artemis, turned to his cousin. “We’re twin flames. It’s how we met, actually. Artemis performed a ritual to find me.” He tugged lightly on Artemis’s collar. “He technically first met me in December and I him when I was eleven. That’s why it’s so complicated.”
Krum’s eyes narrowed and then he nodded once, accepting the answer.
Draco’s gray eyes had widened and then he glanced between them. “That’s incredibly rare—c-congratulations,” he stammered out inelegantly. “Mother will be pleased, I think.”
“I like your mother,” Artemis confessed, drawing attention to himself. “I saw her confront Sirius Black, and was impressed with her elegance, poise, and caring.” His mind turned to his own mother, the years she spent descending into madness when she could not even recognize him to the current confusion. They’d grown apart when Artemis had essentially raised himself and taken care of her, and now he felt occasionally almost as if he didn’t have a mother, especially when she and his father went off somewhere. “Your father didn’t say much, though.”
Draco nodded. “It is a Black family matter. He would have been there only in an auxiliary capacity.”
“Yes,” Artemis trailed off, squinting toward the castle where he saw a large man bumbling about. He had no idea who he was or why it seemed, for some reason, an imp was speaking to him, although the view was partially concealed and the two were looking about as if hoping they would not observed. It bore thinking about, especially if this wizard was actively involved with the demons and their goals, whatever they were.
Now they looked like they were arguing.
Another man, this one sterner and with a mustache, came out of the front gates and looked at the wizard and the demon impassively before walking swiftly past them.
“Who’s that?” Artemis asked, interrupting the quiet conversation around him, as he indicated the man with a mustache. The demon and the other wizard had separated after they were interrupted although the stern-looking wizard looked as if he would pretend he hadn’t seen it.
“Bartemius Crouch, Sr,” Draco supplied, glancing over his shoulder. “Head of the Department of International Cooperation. He’s one of the judges to the tasks.”
“He was at the World Cup,” Harry said absently and Draco turned a wide gray gaze to him.
“You were at the World Cup?”
Harry nodded. “So was Artemis though I don’t think he was actually watching any of the game.” He smirked at Artemis. Artemis, of course, hadn’t been there until the attack and wasn’t quite certain what Quidditch entailed at all. “He got me out of the way when the Death Eaters came through.” He shuddered. “That was—unpleasant.”
Draco nodded. “I made it to the woods. Viktor?”
“I vas very drunk and I am not certain vhere I ended up. I do not like losing,” he said in a surly tone.
“It was a phenomenal catch. I think I have it on my Omnioculars.” He glanced at Artemis. “Those are in my trunk, right?”
“I’ve never been through your trunk, Hyperion, so I don’t know.—So tell me more about Mr. Crouch.” There was something not quite right about the man, the way his eyes lingered and then shifted over the demon that Bagman was speaking to. It made him suspicious.
“He—well—he was very important during the war,” Draco began hesitantly. “Very firm about the charging and sentencing of Death Eaters. He was supposed to be a shoo in for the next Minister of Magic until, well, his own son was found with the Dark Mark.”
“What happened?” Harry asked with wide eyes.
Draco shrugged. “Crouch Jr. got a trial unlike most, but was sentenced to Azkaban for life. He died a year later.”
Artemis’s lips thinned. The story sounded innocent and yet—his eyes narrowed—he instinctively felt as if there were more to it.
“Mrs. Crouch died shortly after that,” Draco said, musing. “Private funeral. I don’t think anyone was invited.”
That explained it then; there was only one body. If there was only one body then something must have happened to the other, he thought. His eyes glanced over at Harry who was looking calmly over the Black Lake.
Strong hands grasped Artemis’s hair, pushing his head back submissively as soft lips began to nibble on his neck. “Hmm,” Artemis groaned as his hands wrapped around Harry’s hips. “Don’t stop.”
“Never,” Harry promised, his bare chest pressing against Artemis’s. They were lying on the bed in their guest suite and as Artemis was about to take the fairy dust potion, Harry had lain on top of him, kissing him almost breathless. “Love you,” Harry sighed. “So much.”
Artemis arched against Harry, his head tipped almost painfully back as Harry’s teeth began to nip calmly at his earlobe before gliding to his waiting mouth that so desperately wanted to be kissed.
Everything was sensation. Harry’s soft lips kissed him, his tongue gently mapped out every corner of his moaning mouth, and his hands gripped at Artemis’s hair.
“What brought this on?” Artemis gasped as Harry began to suck longingly on his lower lip, his hips pressed tightly against Artemis.
“I—“ Harry began, stopping the gentle suction, his green eyes capturing Artemis’s. “I can’t—“ He looked away again, tears glittering in his eyes suddenly.
Carefully reaching up and cupping his cheek, Artemis leaned up to nuzzle Harry’s throat lightly. “Tell me,” he murmured. “I love you—so much.”
“I know,” Harry whispered, but he still wouldn’t meet Artemis’s gaze.
A moment later and he was on his back, Artemis leaning over him, his lips gently claiming Harry’s sweet mouth. “You can tell me anything. Let me protect you.”
“Swear you love me,” Harry whispered brokenly and Artemis captured Harry’s lips in a searing kiss, swallowing Harry’s wanton gasp.
“I love you, always,” he murmured against Harry’s lips before slipping his tongue into the waiting, warm mouth. “Always love you.”
Arching against him, Harry’s hands clutched at Artemis desperately as he continued to ravage his mouth. Artemis felt that he could lose himself in one of Harry’s kisses, so desperate and full of longing.
One of Harry’s legs slipped around Artemis, pulling him closer before thrusting up against him. “Ngg,” he breathed out as he thrust again and, at the searing pleasure, Artemis soon found himself thrusting against Harry, their clothed erections grinding each other as Artemis nuzzled Harry’s chin and nipped at his neck at a particularly harsh thrust from beneath him.
“Please, Artemis,” Harry begged, his hands still tangled in Artemis’s hair. “Please.”
Pressing one elbow into the mattress, Artemis removed his other hand from Harry’s hips and skated it over to Harry’s erection. Tentatively he touched it, feeling the heat from beneath the cotton trousers and the hardness, and he rubbed it gently, thrusting against Harry’s leg as he shifted down slightly. “Like this?” he murmured, almost unable to think at the pleasure that was so close.
“Yes,” Harry murmured. “Gods, yes.”
Spurred on by Harry’s breathy pants, Artemis stroked the bulge harder in between thrusts and, with a soft cry, Harry was shivering beneath him, his glorious hair spread against the pillow to form a picture of absolute perfection. Just the sight of Harry in his pleasure combined with one last final thrust sent Artemis over the edge, gripping Harry to him as pleasure shook his entire body until, finally, they lay quietly in each other’s arms.
Harry lay snuggled in Artemis’s embrace, both holding each other in the gentle afterglow of pleasure. “I—“ Harry began and bit his lip in worry.
Artemis leaned over and gently kissed him. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t—remember—why I was on the train where we first met,” he whispered dejectedly, burying his head in Artemis’s shoulder. “Why can’t I remember?”
“Old magic,” Artemis reassured him. “I know it’s hard.”
“Why was I on that train, Artemis?” he whispered brokenly. “Please.”
“You were going to Hogwarts—when you weren’t yet Hyperion Black,” he murmured. “But that was another life ago, like a dream.”
“Yes,” Harry agreed, taking a deep breath. “Exactly like a dream.”
Artemis stroked his hair lovingly as Harry fell into a deep slumber, loving his twin flame and wishing he could take away his uncertainties and confusion.
Artemis blinked within the dream, confused that everything seemed to be distant and blurred, almost as if he were looking into a watercolor painting. He was on a small boat in the middle of a harsh sea, looking at an island with a fortress on it. Cold swept from around him, draining his happy thoughts and making him begin to wallow in despair. All he could think was his mother, her madness, remembering how she was dying from Spelltropy and the thought that someone else had loved his Harry once.
Again and again and again.
He saw a small figure emerge from the fortress carrying another in his arms. They were too far away to make out and he narrowed his eyes, but before he could think more about it, he was plunging through the cold, everything else going dark.
“Please,” a gruff voice was begging. “He’s my son.”
“We don’t care,” another voice answered. It was fairy—not human. Never human. “Why should we help you?”
“What do you want?”
“We want nothing but to remain away from the scum of humanity,” the inhuman voice replied. Demon, Artemis thought through the fog of nothingness. A young demon, an imp.
“Please—anything—“ the voice begged, pleading.
“You should have left him to rot in Azkaban.”
“I couldn’t. He’s my son. Just my son—my wife, she begged me with her dying breaths—please. He can’t be allowed to exist in this time.”
There was a shuffle that tickled Artemis’s consciousness, but still he remained only aware of the darkness and the sounds that filtered into it.
“You want to keep him out of step with the rest of time?” the demon voice sneered. “You would condemn your own son to that?”
“Yes,” the man sobbed. “Oh, yes. Please.”
Then there was nothing.
Stars began to fall from the heavens and Artemis found himself lying in a field of paper flowers. He smiled to himself, not quite softly, and yet he felt at peace after the confusing darkness. This was the type of night he hoped he would share with Harry for the rest of their lives.
“What you don’t know,” Hyperion said from beside him somewhere in the tall grass and paper flowers, “is that the legends are true.”
Artemis turned in the pale night and tried to make out Hyperion, but all he could see was the familiar profile, though it seemed more defined, almost as if Hyperion was somehow older than Harry’s fourteen years. “Which legends?”
“The fairies sometimes dance under the full moon,” Hyperion whispered back to him, “much like this one. They’ll dance with a mortal maiden and spirit her away to a den of nothingness. Drops are placed in her eyes so that she will see richness and decadence and comfort and when a fairy beds her, she sees the face of her beloved. The maiden is then returned—but the child—whose is it? Is it the fairy’s or the man she thought was making love to, her lover, her husband? Is the child a pureblood or a half-breed?”
Green eyes flashed and then Artemis was alone again, breathing in the scent of cherry blossoms deeply. As he looked up at the moon across the field, he could see a young woman dancing with flowing black hair, laughing and whispering with companions he could not see.
“Her name was Dorea Black,” Hyperion whispered from nowhere. “She’s to be wed later this week to Charlus Potter.”
Artemis gasped. “He’s not a Potter,” he realized verbally. “Harry—he was never a Potter.”
“My name is Hyperion Black.”
The girl laughed happily, twirling about in the moonlight that fell around her before with a sigh, she was spirited away under the full moon.
“Amarante!” a boy called as he rushed forward toward Artemis.
It was a different night, so similar. The paper flowers were different, less ornate, less magical, and the moon was now a waning gibbous.
“Come and find me,” Amarante playfully shouted back, her robes whispering against her ankles as she moved through the long grasses, close enough for Artemis to see her green eyes sparkling even darker than they were.
Regulus was running toward her, the black and blue marks still on his skin and yet a small smile on his face. With a sharp cry, he swung his arm around her waist and they fell into a heap in the field, Amarante leaning over him, her deep auburn hair falling over them, hiding the two friends from view. Regulus reached up and pushed it behind her shoulder and Amarante smiled down at him.
“See, eez thees not better, mon ami?”
“Perhaps,” he agreed with a tired laugh. “What would I do without you, Amarante?”
“I do not know,” she replied with a pout, laughing. “But what weell ‘appen when you fall een love and forget zee pretty girls zat you once were frolicking under zee moon?”
“Be careful,” he teased her. “The fairies might come and whisk you away to their dance.”
Her eyes glinted. “Thees eez France, Regulus,” she reminded him. “Zey rarely come ‘ere eef at all.”
“You never know,” he murmured, his hand still in her hair and they stared at each other, time stopping for the two friends as the air became thick between them.
“C’est vrai, you never know, do you?”
Achingly, he lifted his chin and then their lips met in a gentle kiss, only the paper flowers and Artemis seeing them.
The world continued to turn and the friends became silent, just lying with each other under the pale moon, and Artemis ached to feel Harry’s arms around him, sense his breath with every moment and then he was away, moving off into true sleep.