“I remember something,” Harry murmured as they took one last walk around Hogwarts. They were leaving on the Hogwarts Express the next morning, and Harry had wanted to imprint the castle in his memories. It was, as he reasoned, probably the last time he would walk those halls, and he at least wanted one remembrance that wouldn’t fade.
He turned toward Artemis, a gleam in his eye, and Artemis grinned back at him.
A few first years that had been looking at the pair unabashedly ran away in fear at the sight.
That only made Artemis’s grin wider and more terrifying.
“Lead the way,” he murmured, squeezing Harry’s hand affectionately.
The last day and a half had been strange. Artemis had slept through Thursday and then awakened Friday. Harry and Artemis had made their first appearance at dinner that night, to speculative whispers and stares. Draco had showed them the most recent Daily Prophet, which had a full cover of the scandal.
Following an emergency meeting of the governors, Dumbledore had been forced to resign by the end of the year given irrefutable evidence from a “changeling prophet.” A reporter named Rita Skeeter had managed to get interviews with people close to the headmaster, in which she reported that he claimed You Know Who was not really gone, that one of his followers had placed Harry Potter’s name in the Goblet—therefore disproving her earlier editorial assertion that Potter had entered the tournament because of a pathological need to be recognized and admired, though no one seemed to really notice that—and it was all a plot in order to kidnap Harry possibly for a dark ritual to resurrect the Dark Wizard. It was also reported that Dumbledore had been forced to resign as Head of the Wizengamot and was now receiving care in St. Mungo’s.
There was also speculation as to who would take Dumbledore’s place, as the governors weren’t certain that Professor Minerva McGonagall was the wisest choice, given the fact that she had allowed Dumbledore unfettered access to one of the students in her house and had not recognized the signs that the boy had needed an ally. Flitwick was rumored to be the next Headmaster of Hogwarts, though it was at that time as yet unconfirmed.
Crouch’s home had been raided and his son found, putting them both in Azkaban, and Bagman had been forced to resign from the Ministry of Magic given the scandal of his outrageous debts to Goblins, Demons, and several prominent members of English wizarding society.
Artemis was also lauded for his bravery and his quick thinking, recognizing the signs of danger when none of the judges did. He had grimaced when he saw a photograph of himself in Harry’s arms, exhausted from the ordeal. At least, Artemis mused, it cemented his place as a changeling in the wizarding world, so that he could move through it more easily at Harry’s side. Also, his family would never be the wiser as they were ignorant of wizards.
Harry led Artemis up several staircases, and Artemis peaked out many windows, looking out over the snow-covered grounds and at the now silent Black Lake. They seemed to be in one of the towers and, eventually, they came to a portrait of a rather large woman wearing a pink silk dress.
“Password?” she asked, looking curiously between Harry and Artemis.
“Er—“ Harry began, clearly not knowing it.
“No password, no entrance, dear,” she replied not unkindly, and Harry looked slightly dejected.
Artemis cleared his throat. The Fat Lady turned to him and caught his unearthly gaze before gasping. Her eyes then rested again on Harry, at his slightly pointed ears that stuck out of his otherworldly hair. “Changelings,” she murmured to herself and, after considering for a moment, swung open.
“Thank you,” Artemis said and then climbed through after Harry scrambled into the room beyond.
There were several students in the circular room, in red and gold comfy chairs and couches. Several tables were pressed against the wall, and a large fireplace dominated the room. He recognized it from some of his dreams. Artemis’s unmatched eyes rested on the patch of carpet where Sirius Black and James Potter had had intercourse in their anger.
He looked at Harry, a question in his eyes.
“The Gryffindor common room,” he supplied. “I wanted to remember it.”
Artemis only nodded and stepped further into the room, his eyes lingering on a beautiful Medieval unicorn tapestry. He thought that all of the surviving ones were in various museums across the planet, most notably in the Cloisters in New York City, but it was certainly authentic. He wondered how many other treasures were hidden away in the wizarding world, the general world unaware of their existence, thinking they had been lost through the ages.
“What are you doing here?” a voice asked from the side, and Artemis turned to see a redheaded boy about his age, standing angrily in the center of the room, his arms crossed over his chest.
Harry bit his lip and glanced at Artemis.
“I beg your pardon,” Artemis replied quietly, his eyes glinting in malice and a slow, scary smile spreading across his pale face. “The portrait let us in.”
The boy was momentarily flustered. “How’d you get the password? You’re not Gryffindor students.”
“How do you know?” Artemis questioned in return, buying time. “Do you know every Gryffindor student to be able to positively say that we are not?”
He scoffed and a second boy, his twin, came up beside him, resting a hand on his shoulder. “Fred,” he murmured.
Artemis’s eyes narrowed. He glanced back at Harry who was staring wide-eyed at Fred and George. He swallowed down his rage. Harry was his husband, he reminded himself. In less than a day he would legally carry his name in the Muggle world. He slept in Artemis’s arms every night, made love to Artemis, only gifted him with his sweet addicting kisses and was possibly carrying their child at this very moment, given that Artemis had already begun to dream of their future daughter.
“You’re the visitors who are guests of Draco Malfoy,” Fred responded. “The whole school knows who you are. Now—what are you doing in our common room?”
“Visiting,” Artemis replied scathingly. “I thought that was obvious, however I must have been mistaken.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Harry inch toward one of the two staircases, and returned his eyes to Fred.
“I don’t believe we’ve been introduced,” he finally stated, wishing to keep attention on him and not his twin flame. “I’m Artemis Fowl the Second.”
Fred looked momentarily stunned. “Fred Weasley,” he supplied grudgingly when a girl behind him elbowed him in the ribs. “Now. What are you doing here?”
“Are you a prefect?” Artemis deflected. He was certain this school had prefects and head boys and girls, or at least he hoped it did. He honestly didn’t know.
“Then I don’t believe you have the authority to ask me such a question.”
Fred blinked at him. At least he had stalled the boy for a moment. Before either of them could speak again, however, the portrait hole had swung open to admit Hermione Granger and a peeved looking Minerva McGonagall behind her. Granger, it appeared, trusted authority too much.
Artemis wanted to roll his eyes. He didn’t particularly trust or respect authority figures, primarily because his IQ was so much higher than theirs despite his age. Having the highest IQ in all of Europe had many perks, after all.
“Mr. Fowl,” she said sternly. “Might I ask what you are doing in Gryffindor Tower and how you gained admittance?”
“The portrait let me in.”
“Yes, well, you’re not a student,” she reprimanded him.
“I am aware of that fact, professor. Thank you for stating the obvious. I clearly was too unintelligent to understand that basic concept for myself.” His eyes flashed dangerously at the woman who had never shielded Harry from Albus. As an orphan, he should have been one of her first priorities. He didn’t have parents to champion him and, as his head of house, she should have taken up that position. Clearly, though, she hadn’t.
“Mr. Fowl, I will not be spoken to thus, especially from a child.”
“I am twenty years of age,” he responded, stating his legal age. “I am an adult, professor.”
She appeared momentarily flustered, and then sighed. “Why are you here?”
He paused, wondering how much he should say, before settling on a half-truth. “Hyperion, if circumstances had been different, would have attended Hogwarts. His uncle was sorted into this house and he wished to see it for himself before we leave.”
“And where is Mr. Black?” she questioned.
Artemis clenched his jaw. “Exploring, I would imagine. We are special guests of the Minister of Magic and one of the school governors—the portrait also recognized our right to enter. We are not harming or disturbing anyone.” At the disbelieving look on her face, he qualified. “It was not until Mr. Weasley demanded to know our purpose that our heated conversation even began. I was unaware that Great Britain’s national stance was to antagonize foreign visitors of state.”
“Do you think that this behavior is not antagonistic?” he questioned, raising one eyebrow. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I wish to find my husband.”
Fortunately, Minerva was too startled to stop him from walking up the staircase that he had seen Harry take earlier.
“Hyperion?” he called out, poking his head through different doors until he came to one that was marked ‘Fourth Years.’ “Hyperion?”
“In here,” his voice answered and Artemis pushed the door open to reveal a handsome room. Four four-poster beds were placed against the walls, hung with crimson and gold drapes. “They’ve gotten rid of my bed,” Harry whispered, and a moment later, Artemis had encased Harry in his arms, pulling him against his chest as he buried his face in Harry’s shoulder.
“Hush,” he murmured as small sobs racked Harry’s body.
“It was my bed,” he whispered brokenly, his eyes on an empty space where he supposed the bed had previously rested. “Next to Ron’s. It was mine, just mine. Little could touch me here.”
Artemis turned Harry in his arms and took in the beautiful tear stained face and red eyes. “You’re safe. Safer than you were here,” he murmured, kissing the tracks of tears that continued to form.
Harry clutched to him desperately, quietly crying, and Artemis just held him, knowing that Harry was mourning his memories that were quickly fading, the change that he had undergone, the end of one part of his life that would be little more than a dream in years to come, Artemis being the only person who knew the entire truth.
“I can feel my magic change,” Harry finally whispered, his hands clutching the back of Artemis’s suit jacket. “In the last few days, it’s changed somehow and it frightens me.”
Artemis could hear footsteps nearby and the door creak open, but he didn’t look. These stolen moments were about Harry and his fears, and he’d be damned if anyone or anything interrupted them.
“What kind of change?”
“It’s grown, fluctuated,” Harry admitted. “Almost as if I’m no longer alone—“ His voice trailed off and he looked up at Artemis, frightened.
“Hyperion,” he murmured, kissing Harry softly.
Harry smiled at the use of his full name, and Artemis made a mental note to use it more often. It was the name he remembered now, Harry nothing more than an affectionate nickname or perhaps a reminder of the orphanage and his life there, where he claimed through his reforming memories that no one could pronounce ‘Hyperion’ and so had to call him something else.
“Do you mind? It’s so soon—“ Harry began, one hand sliding away from Artemis and pressing lightly against his stomach. “It just—it feels.”
Artemis’s eyes sparkled and he kissed Harry deeply, pulling him closely to him. “No,” he promised. “No, Hyperion. I’m happy, so very happy. I love you, both of you,” he swore, his mind turning to the beautiful little girl with unrounded ears, bright green eyes, and black hair.
“Thank the gods,” Harry breathed out. “What shall we call him? Her?”
“Her,” Artemis whispered lovingly, his hand resting over Harry’s, their fingers intertwining as they touched their child. “I’ve seen her. She’s beautiful.”
“Her, then. A celestial object perhaps?”
“Yes. She is a Black after all.”
Harry nodded. “Our little changeling.”
“Our changeling,” Artemis agreed, claiming Harry’s lips once more in a gentle kiss.
He was floating through colors—greens, and blues, and violets—and somehow Artemis knew this would be his last vision for quite a long time. A little girl was smiling at him, no more than three or four years old. “M’randa!” she called happily and pointed to herself.
Artemis smiled in his sleep. Miranda. The fifth moon of Uranus. He thought it fit his little girl.
She disappeared again and once again Artemis was traveling through images. Lily lying on a bed in a home, crying out in pain as she gave birth to a little boy, the midwife there to catch the child.
A moment later and James Potter was being handed his son, a look of love in his eyes. Lily was nowhere to be seen. Artemis doubted the two had spoken in months since the last conversation he had witnessed. It didn’t matter.
A figure draped in black was now walking through the streets, children in Halloween costumes around him, as he entered a cottage. A flash of green and Lily lay dead on the floor, having looked up from a quiet, private sitting room near the door, a book in her hand. She hadn’t had time to reach for her wand and defend herself.
The man in a cloak—the Dark Lord—swept up the stairs to a room where James Potter was playing with his son on the floor. Artemis couldn’t watch as he heard James beg for his child before shielding the boy, his life taken in another flash of green. A few moments later and another flash of unearthly green light, so like Harry’s beautiful eyes, and the Dark Lord was dead as well, Harry crying on the floor as he pushed at his father’s unresponsive shoulder.
Artemis stepped across the fallen bodies and picked up the crying baby. “Shh,” he murmured, placing kisses in his messy black hair and rocking the child in his arms. “I’m here. You’re safe. No one’s going to harm you,” he promised. He left the room and went into the kitchen, a kettle boiling forgotten on the stove.
The table, he noticed, was set for two—a toddler and an adult. He sat down in a rocking chair in the corner and rocked Harry to sleep, watching over his future husband until he heard a rumble outside. Kissing the jagged scar on Harry’s forehead, he rushed back up the stairs and placed him back in the crib, whispering that he would be watching and that Harry would never be alone.
The night bled into day again and Artemis was walking through paper flowers in a field that looked familiar. His hands were in his pockets, and his shirt was slightly undone due to the heat.
“You ‘ave graduated,” Amarante exclaimed happily and Artemis looked to the side. The lovely Amarante, so young and full of life was walking hand in hand with her friend Regulus. “What are you going to do?”
Regulus smiled up at her. “Try to make a difference, in my own way.”
She nodded. “I ‘ave ‘eard of your Dark Lord. Are you certain eet eez safe, mon ami?”
“Yes,” Regulus whispered quietly. “And you, Amarante?”
“Papa weeshes for me to marry,” she admitted. “But I am not ready, je pense. I am only dix-neuf ans.”
Regulus stiffened at the topic of marriage, but then relaxed again.
“I am theenking to go on a trip around Europe. There eez so much I weesh to see and, well, Suzanne can come, too.” She looked over at her friend. “I promise I weell write.”
“Thank you,” Regulus responded quietly, squeezing her hand. “Do I—do I have hope, Amarante? When you’re ready and you come back?”
They paused and Artemis stilled, looking at the pair. Amarante was willowy with haunting blue-green eyes and long auburn hair. Where Lily Potter was pretty, Amarante was stunning. Artemis doubted he had ever seen a more beautiful woman.
She brushed her hair away from her face and tucked it behind her ears, revealing unrounded ears.
Artemis smiled quietly, his eyes lingering on her long fingers, the slight flecks of unearthly gold and the occasionally shadow of ebony in her hair. It was subtle, barely there, more diluted than Harry’s own blood, and yet it was still present. Amarante was a changeling, and Artemis wondered if Harry’s almost-mother had known this about herself or the goblins had known, choosing her quietly as a potential candidate because of this inhuman heritage.
“I do not—“ Amarante began. “You should not wait for me,” she whispered brokenly, and Regulus nodded once, releasing Amarante’s hand.
“Regulus, you know I care for you,” she whispered brokenly and he gave her a tight smile.
“Merci,” he whispered and then turned, walking away from her through the purple flowers, ornate, made of crumpled paper and yet blowing in the wind as if they had grown from the soil.
“For what?” Amarante asked, tears streaming down her face.
Regulus stilled. “For being honest with me,” he said, turning his head to the side so she would be able to hear him, revealing his saddened profile.
Nothing else was said as Regulus walked through the flowers, his back erect and firm, pride in his every movement. Amarante just stood there in her flowing lavender gown, watching him go. “What ‘ave I done?” she whispered to herself. “Mon dieu, what ‘ave I done?”
He was in Ireland and it was raining, Artemis realized, previously unaware that the scene had shifted once again. Amarante was holding a parchment in her hand and tears rand down her cheek. “First Suzanne and now Regulus,” she murmured. She stood on a bridge, a river raging below her. A carriage was nearby, pulled by beautiful winged horses. The back wheels, despite whatever magic the carriage possessed, were stuck in the mud and the vehicle was slightly turned on end. The horses had been released from their harness though they were tied to a nearby tree that gave them little protection.
Artemis looked closer. There were only three horses, although the carriage was made for four, judging by the harnesses. The coachman, perhaps, had gone for help.
Amarante breathed loudly, the sound rattling in her lungs through the rain, and her eyes met Artemis’s, the letter falling from her gloved hand.
“Who are you?” she whispered, confused.
Time shifted and Amarante was now looking through him, as if she hadn’t asked the question. Her hair clung to her face, making her appear more otherworldly and beautiful than before and, with one last look at the accident, she scrambled over the guardrail and plunged down toward the waiting rapids and rocks.
“No!” Artemis cried. He ran to the edge of the bridge and looked down helplessly at Amarante, who was now lying broken on the rocks. His eyes welled up with tears and rain despite himself.
A warm breeze brushed against his cheeks and he was somewhere else, his suit slightly damp and his hair plastered to his forehead, but he was otherwise dry, almost as if he hadn’t just been in an Irish downpour.
“I’ve seen you before,” a voice whispered and Artemis looked into the gray eyes of Regulus Black. They were sitting beneath a crab apple tree, sunshine all around them. “Who are you?”
“When is it?” he asked instead, looking at the dark bags under Regulus’s eyes.
Regulus looked surprised. “October, 1979.”
Artemis breathed out. He knew that Regulus would be dead in about two months, though no one had ever been sure how, only that he was gone.
“I’m your son-in-law,” he admitted quietly.
“Son-in-law?” Regulus asked in amazement, his eyes flicking over Artemis.
“Yes. You and Amarante have a son—Hyperion. We’re soul mates,” he whispered. “We’re having a little girl in a few months.”
Hope and happiness flashed through Regulus’s gray eyes. “How did you—How are you here?”
Artemis looked into Regulus’s eyes and saw recognition there. “Of course. Hyperion. I never thought I’d choose that name,” he murmured absently. “A son.”
“The Lord Black. I hope you don’t mind, but our children’s names will be hyphenated.”
“No, of course not,” Regulus whispered, still in awe. “The Black name will survive.”
“A son. We marry and have a son.”
And then Artemis awoke, fingers running through his hair as his head rested in Harry’s lap. He could feel the Hogwarts Express rocking beneath him and he sighed.
“Shh, go back to sleep,” Harry murmured lovingly. “There’s still a few hours left.”
A light kiss was pressed against his temple, and Artemis sighed in contentment. He was loved and he loved Harry with every ounce of his being. He’d never thought so great a love was possible as he was reading The Book of the People, never hoped that he would feel the elusive emotion so soon, but he did.
And, happy and content, Artemis drifted back to sleep, dreaming not of the past but of Harry’s sweet kisses and all-encompassing love.