Quidditch World Cup, Summer 1994 (Viktor 17, Harry 14)
Draco Malfoy took a deep breath and then looked over at the beautiful boy who was sitting next to him. Don’t blow this, he thought to himself. Just don’t blow this.
“Have you ever been to England before, Henrik?” he inquired, careful to pronounce the Bulgarian’s name correctly, briefly wondering why he had a German name. His father looked over at the two boys, smiling slightly, before returning his attention to his wife. Draco had few friends that were his social equal, and the close friend of Viktor Krum, International Quidditch Sensation, and the godson of a foreign Minister of Magic was an ideal companion for him.
Henrik glanced over and sucked in a breath, wondering how he should answer. He knew that the official stance of the Bulgarian Ministry was that he was the birth son of Damyan and Silva Krum, who had been kidnapped by Muggles when he was less than a year old, before he was recovered at the age of eight. A special law had even been passed so that the greater European press couldn’t take photographs or write about him, for his own protection.
It was a perfect cover for a pureblood wizard who had been abused.
And an even better one for a government who had given the Boy-Who-Lived political sanctuary.
When Henrik had first come to Bulgaria and the Ministry had quietly announced his return, the public of Eastern Europe had been absolutely shocked. Although his adopted name had not been released, the wizarding world had been horrified that such an atrocity could have occurred and had vowed that he would be cherished and given every aspect of life he would have had if he had not been abducted – including utmost privacy. Whenever Henrik, thus, was connected with the “Stolen Child,” as he was called, he was assured discretion.
“Yes,” he replied hesitantly.
Obalonsk looked over at his godson and smiled slightly, giving his support. He knew that the Bulgarian Ministry’s magical laws were flawless. Whatever Henrik chose to say about his past, his confidant would never be able to reveal it, nor even remember it if Henrik so chose.
In Western Europe the Secerno Charm was considered borderline dark and had thus gone into disuse, but the East had never had such qualms. The safety of its citizens and most especially its children was far too important.
He could never understand England’s blasé attitude toward some of its wizarding youth, placing half-blood and occasionally pureblood orphans in Muggle homes.
Henrik was the perfect example for just how detrimental such an environment could be, and the English even claimed he was their savior!
In his opinion, they were all self righteous hypocrites – Fudge being perhaps the worst.
“That explains your perfect English, then,” Draco smiled. “I wish my French were as flawless, especially as I have distant cousins in that country.”
“I only know a little of that language,” Henrik confessed, grabbing onto the change of topic gladly. “Viktor’s French is far –” He hesitated, searching his mind for the right word. “It is much better,” he concluded.
The bushy-haired Muggle-born, who Henrik noticed was unfortunately sitting in front of them, turned around, her eyes bright. “Does he?” she began excitedly, perhaps wishing to make amends for her earlier actions, or wanting to participate in more intelligent conversation than Ron and Ginny Weasley’s odds on who would win the match. “I know French quite well. My parents often take me for summer hols and—”
She stopped when she noticed the Malfoys as well as Henrik and the Bulgarian Minister were all looking at her pointedly.
“Miss—” Obalonsk began as Henrik was his responsibility.
“Granger,” she put in, her large front teeth biting down on her lower lip.
“Miss Granger,” he said coolly, the entire box now looking directly at him, “according to International Law, you are not permitted to speak to Henrik vithout express permission.”
The Weasleys looked horrified at the statement.
Granger’s lip quivered.
“That’s racist,” she whispered and Henrik frowned at the term, not recognizing it.
“What’s ‘racist’?” he inquired of his companion.
“Minister Oblansk –”
“Obalonsk,” Henrik corrected immediately. Was this man, and he used the term lightly, really the British Minister?
Fudge’s cheeks colored slightly, but he swallowed and accepted the rebuke. “Minister Obalonsk, surely –”
The Malfoy patriarch leaned toward Henrik as they quietly explained. “The Muggle-born is using a misnomer. She believes you will not speak to her because you think she’s of an inferior race. It’s a Muggle concept for those that cannot grasp the,” He glanced at the Weasley patriarch, “finer aspects of blood purity.”
The brown-haired witch colored at his smooth words, and tears began to fill up her eyes.
“I do not understand Muggles or their children,” Henrik confessed, slightly annoyed. “Their beliefs astound me repeatedly, no matter how much older I grow.”
Obalonsk looked over at him kindly, and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. “I haff an emergency Portkey if you are wishing to return to Sofia. Viktor vill understand.”
He shook his head, trying to block out the memories of the crying and terrified boy he had once been. Muggles, he thought. Ignorant Muggles had done that to him. They had nearly ruined him, trying to make him as ignorant and stupid as they were. Clearly they had partially succeeded with this witch before him.
The Weasleys were in an uproar and Obalonsk, having little choice, turned to them and their Minister. “Henrik is the ‘Stolen Child’ and, as such, his parents are not permitting him any contact vith Muggles or any off their offspring, even vizards and vitches. It is a matter of Bulgarian National Security.”
Hermione and the Weasleys looked at him blankly.
“If I vas avare that you vould be in this box, you vould haff been reseated,” he further explained and Fudge gulped audibly.
He looked quickly at Henrik and appeared visibly shaken. “The Stolen Child?” he asked with awe in his voice.
“Stolen child?” the redheaded witch repeatedly stupidly as she stared hungrily at the boy. Her father looked just as perplexed.
Henrik blushed at the attention and Draco squeezed his arm gently in reassurance.
“Clearly, Weasley,” the Malfoy patriarch drawled, “you do not follow pertinent international politics.”
Draco quietly tugged on his new friend’s sleeve, and led him off toward the corner of the box where only a house-elf was sitting, permitting his father to explain the circumstances to the uninformed Weasleys and Mudblood.
“The English are often ignorant,” Draco said, excluding his family from the remark with tone alone. “It’s quite shameful really. They obsess over the Dark Lord in their fear and yet they do not analyze the underlying problems from the war.”
Henrik inclined his head. “I –” he began hesitantly. “Some of his views are to be admired. His methods, however…” He trailed off, analyzing his companion’s reactions.
Draco was startled at first and then, for the first time in public, he smiled openly. “Your opinion is quite refreshing,” he admitted, looking over Henrik’s shoulder to his father, who was studying them discreetly.
“I want to go into politics like my father, and perhaps rectify a few problems internationally.”
“Your father?” Draco inquired, genuinely curious.
Draco blinked at him. “Viktor Krum is your brother?” He didn’t wait for a response, not wishing to sound like an adoring fan, unlike Ron Weasley. He found himself genuinely liking and respecting Henrik, and now that he knew his companion was from such a respectable pureblood family and Krum was only his brother…
He quickly filed away that thought for later. He knew his mother was considering opening marriage negotiations with the Greengrasses – he had been hoping that, if the talks were completed and a betrothal contract was signed, his future bride would be the pretty and intelligent little Ravenclaw Astoria and not her older sister, whom Draco disliked.
His mother, though not his father, attempted to take his personal tastes into account, but there were no young wizards of high enough standing in England to be considered worthy of the Malfoy Heir. Henrik, however, was graceful and had a natural beauty. He was also wealthy, well connected, and had all of the correct political views.
“Father is very political,” Draco continued good-naturedly, gloating inwardly when he saw Ginny Weasley glare at him for his closeness to Henrik.
Ah, so the little girl had found someone new to hero worship, now that the Boy-Who-Lived had been missing for six years.
“Yes. He works behind-the-scenes, but he is one of the more notable pureblood Lords left in England, and thus has a say in new laws that are passed.”
“And you, Draco?” Henrik inquired.
Draco repressed a shiver when the foreign wizard whispered his name for the first time. A hint of his Bulgarian accent caressed the word, Latinizing the name until it came out as a soft purr, drah-ko.
He adored the simple sound.
“I wish to be a Healer,” he confessed freely. “Go into research, perhaps.”
Henrik smiled. “A noble cause, and that –” His eyes scrunched up slightly and he sighed at his lack of English vocabulary. “Not many value it.”
The conversation ended when they heard Fudge’s magnified voice echo throughout the stadium, announcing the Irish and Bulgarian teams’ mascots. When the Veela came out onto the pitch, Henrik couldn’t help but smirk when he noticed the Weasley patriarch attempt to climb out of the box and go after them. Well, clearly that many children did not mean he was in love with his wife, he thought smugly to himself.
When the game began, he took out his pair of Omnioculars, which had been a gift from his mother when he first went to one of Viktor’s Quidditch games at Durmstrang. Henrik had been just nine years old and still struggling with his Bulgarian; he had happily talked to the other students in the stands as he watched his hero fly through the sky, going after the Golden Snitch.
Viktor had caught it that game and he hadn’t missed one since.
Henrik smiled at the memory as he kept his eyes trained on the small figure in the heavens.
“Viktor,” he whispered as he spotted a glint of sunshine off of a small ball before it was gone. “Damn,” he cursed.
Bulgaria was already down sixty points.
What were the other six players doing? he mentally griped.
At the after party—if there was an after party, which was looking doubtful judging by the team’s performance—he would give them all an earful.
None of the other players, not even Dimitrov, wanted to upset Viktor’s usually sweet little brother. He was a force to be reckoned with when it came to the team’s support of his brother. And an unhappy Henrik meant a livid Viktor; for if there was one thing Viktor never wanted to see, it was Henrik upset.
And that was never a pretty sight.
He noticed the Weasley brats cheering as Ireland scored another goal. He grimaced.
His eyes still trained on Viktor, he saw the Seeker fidget slightly and smiled. Viktor couldn’t help but fidget when he got exasperated looking for the Snitch and felt Henrik’s gaze on him. No matter how much Viktor loved Quidditch, he would whisper often after a match, he loved Henrik’s smile more.
Then there it was – another glint of gold. “Viktor, Viktor,” he chanted under his breath, willing his protector to see it.
With a swish and a loud shout from the commentator, Krum was zooming after the charmed ball and Henrik held his breath as he noticed Troy was following him closely. “Viktor Damyanovitch Krum.” He whispered a silent prayer and then held his breath with the millions of wizards and witches whose eyes were now trained on the youngest Quidditch player in the International League.
A hand outstretched, the forward tilt of the Firebolt, a grim look, and –
“Krum has caught the Snitch!” the announcer cried in triumph and, with a roar, the crowd erupted into shouts around him. “Bulgaria 150 to Ireland’s 70, witches and wizards. Krum has done it again, and Bulgaria wins! But what’s this?”
The crowd’s attention snapped back to Krum as he flew toward the stands.
“Krum is heading to Minister Fudge’s Box!” the wizard cried out, his voice still magically amplified.
Henrik smiled brightly, looking over to Draco whose eyes held slight shock at the announcement. With a rush of air, the world went quiet around him and he found himself in Viktor’s arms.
“My Harry,” Viktor whispered into his ear, holding onto him tightly.
“Viktor,” Henrik answered, smiling into his savior’s hair. “You caught the Snitch.”
“Off course,” he answered, running his free hand through Henrik’s soft locks. “You asked me to.”
Henrik beamed at him.
Pulling away, Viktor brought his hand, which was still clutching the Snitch, in front of Henrik’s face, as he did after every match. “Henrik Ivan Gavrail Krum.”
Henrik took the small Snitch and whispered a quiet thank you, oblivious to the fact that hundreds of thousands of Omnioculars were watching the interaction between the two wizards in shock, the commentator navigating every action they took.
“Might Draco come to the party tonight?” he asked before the older boy could whisk him away on his broom, as he knew Viktor was dying to do. There was little the adopted brothers enjoyed more than flying together, and with the glint in Viktor’s eyes Henrik knew that he wanted to hold him close, protecting him from the society that had allowed him to be beaten as a child.
Viktor glanced toward the boy Henrik indicated and nodded. “If Mr. Malfoy…”
“I’ll ask him,” Draco responded quickly, before stepping over to where his father and mother sat, discussing the game between themselves. “Father,” he inquired softly, “may I go to the Bulgarian team’s after party with Henrik? His brother said I could with your permission.”
“Brother?” Narcissa inquired.
“Viktor Krum,” her son responded, lowering his voice further.
“He’s Damyan Krum’s son?” Lucius mused, “I didn’t know he had a second child.”
“Yes, but considering Henrik’s history,” Narcissa said discreetly, thankful that Fudge had left and none of the Weasleys were paying attention to them, although the youngest two children and the Muggle-born were glaring holes in the back of Draco’s head from a distance.
Did their parents teach them nothing but jealousy?
Draco glanced back at the Krums and noticed they were still in conversation together, most likely now speaking in Bulgarian. “And Father,” he began hesitantly, not certain how to vocalize his desires.
“Of course you may go,” he said. “The Krums are entirely respectable. Just be safe tonight,” he said with a knowing look.
“Thank you.” It was now or never, he thought. With Henrik’s godfather in the country, and in the box, it was an ideal situation. “Would you perhaps consider opening negotiations with the Krums for Henrik?”
Narcissa looked at him perceptively. “If that is what you wish?” she asked for confirmation.
Lucius studied the foreign boy, truly looking at him for the first time. He was lithe and graceful, quiet and understated. Although his brother clearly fussed over him – and who wouldn’t in such a situation? To have a wizard child kidnapped and then abused by Muggles, it was unthinkable! – he had a quiet strength and presence that would surely mature as he grew older and came into his own.
A fresh injection of foreign blood could only aid the Malfoys magically. He looked back at his son, noticed the hope radiating in Draco’s eyes, and nodded his approval. “Very well, I will speak with the Bulgarian Minister.”
With a smile and a smug look toward the Weasleys, Draco returned to the Krums, his eyes shining in rare happiness.
Invented by me. Secerno is the Latin root for Secretus, or Secret. It’s meant to be a dark spell that only government bodies can use in order to protect citizens who are the equivalent of a Muggle under the Witness Protection Program. Anyone who learnt that Henrik is the “Stolen Child” wouldn’t be able to reveal his identity to anyone else or even remember it if the government or the Krums did not wish them to.
Henrik Ivan Gavriel Krum.
Henrik is German/Danish/Hungarian for Henry, for which Harry is often a nickname.
Ivan is Bulgarian for John, which although not the same name as James, is used interchangeably in languages that do not have James as a name.
Gavriel is Bulgarian for Gabriel.
I thought the Krums would want to give Henrik their own name, and Gabriel is an archangel, a bringer of peace and news from God.
Seven. No Bravery.
Lucius Malfoy turned to his wife of nearly twenty years and offered her a private smile. “You do not seem surprised, my dear,” he stated as he turned his gaze upon the Krum siblings and his son.
“I am perhaps more aware of Draco’s preferences, Lucius, that is all. However, there were no suitable candidates in England,” Narcissa replied blithely.
They looked over as Henrik beamed innocently at Draco, his hand still being clasped by his elder brother’s.
“They would indeed make a striking couple.” He paused, glancing between the Quidditch star and the younger Bulgarian. A curious and calculating gleam entered his eyes. “Narcissa, do you see any familial resemblance between Krum and Henrik?”
“Apart from the ebony of their hair and their similar mannerisms?” she inquired. She studied them intently and then shook her head. “No, none. I haven’t seen eyes so green since that Muggle-born who married Potter was at Hogwarts.”
The sentence hung between the married couple before Narcissa drew her attention away from the three young wizards, who were now ambling out of the stands, the Weasleys closely behind them.
“Lucius,” she gasped, “you do not think that—” She struggled for composure. “But he is the Stolen Child, protected by international law from all Muggle influences because he was abducted and abused—”
Her husband’s handsome visage turned even more calculating, his mind clearly working, before he smirked. “Dumbledore is a fool.”
“One moment, dear, let me speak to the Bulgarian Minister, and then we will continue this conversation.”
Narcissa Malfoy’s hands shook slightly as she attempted to regain her composure. Henrik—Henry—Harry. “My Harry,” Viktor had referred to the young wizard.
Bright green eyes.
Unruly Potter hair, grown long and tamed slightly.
A fringe hiding the boy’s forehead completely, falling into those eyes.
A Muggle-born’s eyes.
She took in a deep rattling breath. What had the Ministry of Magic done to their precious Boy-Who-Lived? How could anyone, even a despicable Muggle, do something so horrible to a child?
A child who had defeated the Dark Lord. Her husband’s lord.
She shook her head. There was no proof, she reminded herself, only suspicion. And he was no longer Harry Potter, but Henrik Krum, the second son of a notable pureblood politician. Besides, he possessed an inherent distrust of Muggles and Muggle-borns.
Narcissa wondered briefly how he felt about half-bloods – before she smiled to herself.
Dumbledore had made a grave miscalculation, indeed.
Less than two hours later, she found herself in the plush Malfoy tent, entertaining the Bulgarian Minister for Magic.
“Minister,” Lucius began, “you must be pleased with your national team’s performance today.”
“Indeed –” He inclined his head as he accepted a tumbler of Firewhisky. “– though it vas not unexpected vith Viktor Krum as Seeker. Henrik is, after all, how do you say, a lucky spell.”
Narcissa smiled at the translation. “Henrik informed Draco that Viktor is his elder brother.”
“They are devoted to each other. It is only being natural.”
“Of course,” Lucius agreed. “Such devotion is admirable. It is unfortunate that family is not as prized by half-bloods and those of—” He hesitated. “—lesser birth.”
Oblong said nothing, but instead took a sip of his Firewhisky. Lucius looked at Narcissa, who nodded for him to continue. With the complication of Henrik possibly being the biological child of James and Lily Potter, they had to tread carefully.
“Minister,” he began again, “before I come to the real purpose of this meeting, I must ask, is Bulgaria protecting your godson from England as well as those of Muggle descent?’
“Vhat vould giff you that impression?” he inquired, his voice betraying nothing although his hand was now gripping the tumbler rather strongly.
Narcissa placed a calming hand on her husband’s arm. Sidestepping the question, she explained, “It would not change the negotiations we wish to begin with you, only perhaps complicate them slightly. Minister, the House of Malfoy would be honored if you would consider opening proceedings for a marriage contract between our son and Henrik Krum. If Henrik, though, was in fact abused by English Muggles, we would assume he would not wish to reside in this country and an alternate solution would have to be found.”
The minister was stunned into silence and he looked between the Malfoys, hand tightening on the glass. “You vish to join vith the House of Krum.”
“We wish to join our son in marriage with the wizard known as Henrik Krum, no matter his—natural parentage,” Lucius corrected. The son, whether adopted or not, of Damyan Krum would only be an asset to his line. Furthermore, to have such a politically and magically powerful individual, even in hiding for the rest of his life, as the spouse of his son could not be overlooked. Despite his status as a half-blood, any children he would bear the Malfoy line would be purebloods, as all four of its grandparents would be magical.
And, if the Dark Lord were to return, the Boy-Who-Lived would either be forced to remain neutral in the conflict due to his beliefs and association with the Malfoys or lend the Dark Sect his support.
This match was more important than a simple marriage with an obvious affection between the two candidates.
Oblong exhaled slowly. “I confess myself surprised.”
“Is Henrik currently betrothed?”
Their guest shook his head. “He is not.”
Narcissa released a breath she had not realized she was holding.
“I know that the Krums haff, on numerous occasions, attempted to arrange a marriage for Viktor, but he has alvays refused them. Henrik may be off like mind. I do not know.”
“What are his aspirations after he finishes his studies?”
“Henrik is talented in Dark Arts, but he vishes to enter international politics. He is distressed on the placement of vizard orphans with Muggles, vhether related or no. He also vants harsher laws on Muggle-born interaction vith Muggle vorld. Damyan is most distressed as he vould vish his sons to be more tolerant off Muggle ignorance, but both sons mistrust those vithout the magic.”
Lucius inclined his head. “A noble cause. If anyone can push it through the International Confederation, the Stolen Child and protégé of a Minister for Magic might.”
“He is being intelligent and stubborn. Also impassioned. It vill serve him vell, I think.”
Narcissa inclined her head and offered the Minister a second tumbler.
“Draco wishes to enter healing, possibly do research. I do not think he would be adverse to living on the continent.”
“You haff another heir?” Oblong asked in surprise, knowing that if Draco were to abandon England the Malfoy family would lose incredible influence and would have to start again in Bulgaria or whatever country Henrik chose to live in.
“No,” Lucius responded, “but our son’s wishes and Henrik’s unique capabilities make us willing to pursue this match to its conclusion.”
Oblong smiled. Perhaps, just perhaps, this would work out after all.
“Forgiff me,” he began, “but I must ask. Henrik has been accustomed to much devotion and affection. I could not recommend this marriage to Damyan and Silva if I do not belieff that Henrik might find it. Your son – Draco – he is enamored?”
Lucius opened his mouth to respond, but Narcissa quieted him with a hand on his arm.
“Draco, although reserved in public, is devoted to his family. All Malfoys follow this principle—family comes first. And he requested that we broker this marriage when he has never shown an inclination toward a witch or wizard before.”
The Bulgarian Minister leaned back in his chair and smiled. “I belieff Damyan Krum vill contact you vithin the veek. Avait his owl.”
Ronald Bilius Weasley could not believe it. Here he was, lying on his back on the tent floor, in the girls’ room. Hermione and Ginny were in similar positions, albeit in bunk beds, and Ron knew, just knew, that he had lost his mind.
He briefly turned his mind to his father who had stared a little too pointedly at Henrik Krum just before the “trio,” as he called them, left the box, all happily chatting about a celebration party.
“Must mention it to Dumbledore,” his father had murmured half-distractedly to himself.
Ron had no idea what he meant.
Hermione’s sharp voice cut into his thoughts. “How could he be so—so…” Her nose scrunched up in frustration and Ron thought that it wasn’t remotely attractive.
“So gorgeous?” Ginny mused. “And to think, he was abused by Muggles. How dreadful!”
“Yes, it was wrong for them to kidnap him,” Hermione conceded. “But They’re throwing it out of proportion. An entire race of people should not be held responsible for the sins of the few.”
“Do you think he’s dating Krum?” Ginny asked petulantly, hugging a pillow.
“They were rather close,” Ron put in, disgruntled. Krum was a god. He wished he were that close to Krum. Well, maybe not that close.
“No,” Hermione reasoned, “otherwise they wouldn’t have invited Malfoy to the—”
A large explosion could be heard outside of the tent, and they all leapt up in confusion.
“Ron?” Hermione reached for him, but Ron was too distracted to notice.
A few moments later, his father ran into their room, and snapped, “Run to the woods, we’re under attack.”
Before the three children could even think, they were outside of the tent. Ron nearly vomited when he noticed a group of Death Eaters torturing the Muggles who were responsible for the campsite. He grabbed Ginny’s hand—she had become stationary in shock—and pulled the two witches after him toward the forest. As they ran through the thin lining of trees, he stopped abruptly when he noticed a moonlit sheen to a platinum head of hair.
He gaped when he saw Viktor Krum embracing Henrik to his chest, the boy ignoring him in favor of conversing with their other companion and looking out on the chaos in the camp.
“I thought Death Eater activity ended with the defeat of the Dark Lord,” Henrik stated factually, his back pressed against his brother’s chest, his hands subtly placed over the Quidditch player’s.
“It had,” Malfoy answered, unperturbed by both the situation and Henrik’s closeness to Krum.
“Henrik –” Ron heard Krum urge quietly.
“They won’t hurt us, Viktor,” he answered. “We’re well-known purebloods.” His eyes scanned the forest and landed on Hermione. “The Muggle-born, however, might be in danger.”
“I have a name,” she asserted.
“We know, Granger,” Draco responded dismissively.
Henrik turned back toward the spectacle and winced when a Death Eater caused a Muggle woman to turn upside down, her nightgown falling down to reveal her nude figure.
“Imagine Aunt Petunia like that, Viktor,” he said quietly, his voice tinged with sadness.
Malfoy looked at him questioningly. “Aunt Petunia?”
Henrik nodded distractedly. “Yes. And my cousin—“ He looked briefly confused. “I can’t remember his name anymore. How strange. My name was ‘freak’ then. Aunt Petunia called me ‘boy.’”
He slowly began to shake, his voice hitching as he appeared to go into shock.
Malfoy reached out toward him, but Viktor quickly turned the boy around in his arms, kissing his forehead. “Henrik,” he said determinedly, willing his brother’s eyes to meet his. “Henrik, she is not your aunt. The Muggle is not your aunt.”
“I didn’t do it,” he murmured. “I didn’t mean to do it. I’ll be good. I didn’t turn her hair blue.”
Malfoy’s eyes widened in fear and Krum just held the younger wizard close. “Henrik,” he repeated again. “You are Henrik Krum. You are a vizard. Your father is a vizard. Your mother is a vitch. The Muggles are nothing.” His voice was fierce and harsh, easily heard over the shrieks in the background.
Viktor’s hand ran through Henrik’s hair and slowly he calmed down, his eyes focusing. “Viktor?” he whispered hesitantly.
“I’m not in my cupboard,” he noticed conversationally, though his voice still shook slightly.
“Never again,” Viktor vowed.
Henrik shook his head. “They always said I was a good-for-nothing,” he confessed, forgetting that it wasn’t just himself and Viktor in the woods, the turmoil of the camp bleeding from his thoughts. “They said my mother was a freak and my father was a drunk and that they died in a car crash.”
Viktor’s eyes glistened as he continued to stoke his adopted sibling’s hair.
“They would lock me in my cupboard with no food when I did magic.”
“You vill never haff to go back again,” Viktor said softly into the darkness.
“And then you came. You told the boy that I had run somewhere else when I Apparated into the tree. You looked up and you smiled at me and took me home.” His fingers clutched at Viktor’s robes, fisting them, and the four English children stood entranced. “And then the English family was chasing me, but you took me home, and Mother and Father were there.” His expressive green eyes looked up into somber black ones. “Father’s not a drunk and they’re not dead,” he said slowly, attempting to reassure himself.
“No, Henrik. Father never drinks and he does not drive the car. And Mother is the most beautiful vitch in Bulgaria.”
Henrik glanced over Viktor’s shoulders, still not seeing the present. “I dream of it sometimes, Viktor.”
“Off the Muggles?”
He shook his head. “No, of the man. The vone who vould laugh,” he responded slipping into a Bulgarian cadence. “He—who vas he, Viktor?”
His brother didn’t answer, only waited.
“The snake man, he comes in my dreams.”
Malfoy sucked in a harsh lungful of air, recognizing the description of the Dark Lord.
Hermione stood fascinated, but looked away when she noticed that the cries had cleared and only smoke and dust swirled around the campsite. “Ron,” she whispered, tugging on his sleeve, “we should go find your brothers.”
Ron shook himself out of his daze and glanced over at Ginny, who had gone deathly pale. “Yeah, okay,” he responded, thoroughly creeped out, and then stumbled behind the witch who was now pulling his sister along.
Draco, Henrik, and Viktor didn’t even notice.
“Who vas he, Viktor?” Henrik asked again, more force in his voice this time.
“The Dark Lord,” Draco whispered, shuddering to himself. “Did he attack the Muggles who took you?”
Henrik looked at him intensely, the wheels turning in his head. “No, I don’t think so. The voman, she died.” He paused. “Avada Kedavra.”
Leaves rustled and Draco turned to see his father approaching, elegantly dressed in black robes, the Death Eater’s mask removed and most likely banished back to their manor. He couldn’t help but smile, knowing that he was safe.
“Avada Kedavra,” Henrik repeated. “Avada Kedavra, Avada Kedavra. And green. So much green light, and then nothing but laughter.”
Lucius approached slowly, taking in the sight of the terrified boy in Viktor Krum’s arms. He kneeled beside them and looked into eyes identical to Lily Potter’s, so expressive, and yet, so hard.
“Do you remember the Dark Lord, Henrik?” he asked quietly.
Krum shot him a mistrustful look.
“Trust me,” he said sincerely, “I will never reveal Henrik’s unique past to anyone. I give you my word on the life of my son.”
The blond boy sucked in air at the severity of the oath.
Viktor only nodded solemnly.
“Yes,” Henrik answered softly. “He came and cast that curse on the woman with the fiery hair.”
The Malfoy patriarch nodded seriously. “She was Muggle-born, Henrik. Her husband was a blood traitor. A pureblood. They were friends with another blood traitor—Albus Dumbledore—and were fighting against our ways.”
“Do you know their names?”
Lucius paused and glanced at his son. “They were James and Lily Potter. Their son’s name was Harry.”
Draco pressed a hand against his mouth reflexively, trying not to gasp. Potter. Henrik remembered the deaths of James and Lily Potter. Only one person survived—a boy who went to live with Muggles and then disappeared.
“It is unfortunate. We do not know what happened, but for some reason the Killing Curse was fired at the child and he survived with a scar on his forehead.” He glanced up at Henrik, the scar hidden behind his black fringe. “The Dark Lord disappeared. If he had not, the child would have been given to a magical family, to be nurtured in our ways, to be loved and protected. He was a first generation pureblood and with his association with one of our old families, he would have moved easily through English society. Do you understand?”
Henrik nodded as Viktor continued to card his fingers through Henrik’s hair, comforting them.
“We —” He left unsaid that the ‘we’ were the followers of the feared dark wizard. “—never would have left him with Muggles, unlike his Mudblood mother and Dumbledore, Henrik.” He took a breath and chose his words carefully. “But my wife and I are thankful that the child has been recovered, and mourn what happened to him—that he was tortured by his own Muggle family until he disappeared into a better world.”
The Stolen Child looked into his eyes piercingly, looking for something, before burying his head against Viktor’s shoulder again for comfort.
“We will honor this wizard’s secret, and the Malfoy family will take it to our graves if it is desired.”
“Thank you, Mr. Malfoy,” he whispered.
The older wizard smiled. “I hope my family and I will have the pleasure of seeing you and your brother on the continent.
“Come,” Lucius said, gesturing to his son who still looked stunned at the revelation. He lowered his head briefly so that only Draco could hear him. “Your mother and I decided this changed nothing and proceeded with your request, if it is still your wish.”
The boy looked up to his father and nodded in thanks.
As they left the woods, Viktor looked at Henrik steadily, all the while running his large hands through Henrik’s hair. “I luff you, Henrik,” he said. No words had ever been more true.
And the world fell away for Viktor as he held the wizard who was supposed to be his brother close, thanking Magic itself for letting him find the scared little boy all those years ago.
Eight. Good Enough.
Late August 1994, Sofia, Bulgaria (Viktor 17, Henrik 14)
A rough wind nearly shattered the glass of a small turret window in an old fortress on the outskirts of magical Sofia. In the dim light of a single candle, Viktor Damyanovitch Krum gazed into nothingness, his rounded shoulders hunched forward as his chiseled face rested in his open palm. Shadows played against his features, making him appear ghoulish, almost like an evil wizard out of the darkest nightmares of a Muggle fairy story.
No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t forget what he had stumbled across in his father’s study earlier that evening. He and Henrik had been running about their home, looking for the small Snidget Viktor had given him when they were children.
“Viktor,” Henrik had complained, “how can I possibly sleep once you go to Hogwarts without Snidget?”
The brothers had barely spent a night apart since Henrik had turned eleven, and Snidget had to have gone ‘somewhere safe’ in the intervening three years.
“Aren’t you a little old for such things, Henrik?” their mother had asked calmly, a twinkle in her eye.
“The Golden Snidget,” Henrik began in a self-important voice, “is historically one of the most fascinating Magical Creatures, especially as Muggles have no idea they even exist.”
Silva had laughed at her younger child. “Perhaps it is in your father’s study?” she had suggested. “I seem to remember he had it in there at one point to remind him of you once you had gone off to learn great things.”
Henrik had run over and hugged his mother, who had kissed the top of his head with affection. She hadn’t known, all those years ago, that this small child could be so dear to her, a son not of her flesh.
Viktor had leaned against the wall and just smiled at the picture. Henrik and their mother were undoubtedly the beautiful members of the Krum family and made quite the picture: Silva tall and stately with a mass of golden hair, and Henrik slim, yet sophisticated, with shining emerald eyes.
“I’ll get it, Henrik. You stay with mother,” he had offered with a fond shake of his head.
Silva and her sons rarely entered Damyan’s study, knowing that there were Ministry files and artifacts littered throughout. Although Damyan was a family man, and liked to share every aspect of his life with his wife of almost twenty years, he nonetheless handled documents that were matters of national security.
During the first years of his marriage, he had dutifully locked them up in a drawer so that he could take tea with her in the afternoons. But when Viktor was born, they had found it wasn’t practical, especially when Damyan had been promoted to Chief Warlock of the Bulgarian Wizengamot. Silva, however, had only smiled and told him that the study could serve as a place where he could work and no one else would enter it, except when invited or under unforeseen circumstances.
Henrik had never entered the small room, though Viktor remembered being summoned there a few days before he left for his first year at Durmstrang, his father wondering why he was so insistent that they not blood adopt Henrik into the family.
The room hadn’t changed much and, after a close inspection of the shelves, he found the Snidget plush he had given Henrik all those years before. Reaching out, he couldn’t help but touch it softly, almost in a caress, thinking of how much his Harry had changed over the years, though still possessing his childlike innocence and love of life.
Then he had seen it – sitting on his father’s desk – and he couldn’t draw his eyes away.
The document was larger than most, having been carefully transcribed onto a large sheaf of parchment, and written in a hand that was both elegant and economical. As he had looked closer, he had seen that it was what he had feared – a marriage contract. What had made it even worse, though, was that it appeared to be a fully detailed arrangement that needed only the signatures of the two family heads with the token signatures of the heirs involved.
Trying not to rip the parchment into shreds, he had looked closer, wondering what dimwitted Hungarian or Russian his parents wanted him to marry now, and had been startled when he saw the name ‘Malfoy’. Peering closer, he had seen that he was in fact supposed to marry Draco Malfoy, the little wizard who was friends with Henrik.
The thought had twisted in his mind and had sickened him and, without thinking of the consequences, he had pulled out his father’s chair and had sat down heavily. Picking up the document, he had inspected it closely, and felt his heart begin to break.
Draco Lucius Malfoy, he had read, scanning through the English the contract was written in. Marriage … Malfoy property in Southern France … property in Eastern Bulgaria … to take the Malfoy name … His eyebrows had shot up, wondering exactly why he was expected to take the Malfoy name, especially considering his successful Quidditch career. His eyes scanned again, … bearer of heirs to be decided no later than three years after marriage … when each reaches the age of majority … various Gringott bank vault numbers and sums … the wizard known as Henrik Ivan Gavrail Krum …
His black eyes had darkened as he read that name. This wasn’t a contract for him and the Malfoy heir, but for Henrik.
Could his Harry possibly know about the contract? Could he want to marry Draco so much that he was willing to give up his name?
He had felt sickened at the very thought of anyone touching his younger brother, anyone making him smile, anyone kissing his soft lips, anyone else holding him as he slept, sliding their filthy hands through his long black locks, daring to kiss his faded scar when he had a nightmare he couldn’t wake himself up from, loving him, making him call out their name …
Viktor’s hand had clenched around the Snidget and he could barely see anything around him.
Then he remembered. Henrik, his Harry, laughing with this Draco, inviting him to the Quidditch party when before only the two of them would go, talking to him in the dark forest as they watched the Death Eaters tear apart the campsite.
Henrik had even written to the interloper several times since they’d returned to Bulgaria. A smile would appear on his face when a great eagle owl would come and find him at random times of the day. When a response came, Henrik’s eyes brightened as he told Viktor that he could see Draco when he went to Hogwarts, and how perhaps Mother and Father would let Mr. Malfoy take him to the tasks.
Viktor had quickly left the study, shoving the Snidget into his father’s hands when he met him on the stairs. “Henrik wanted this,” he had practically snarled before shutting himself in the tallest tower, with nothing but his own thoughts for company, Damyan only sighing as he guessed what had happened.
Perhaps this was for the best, he thought to himself. Viktor was too possessive of Henrik and needed to learn that he would have his own life once he came of age. He needed to let his brother grow up and be loved as he deserved to be loved – by a lover and spouse.
Hours passed and Viktor still hadn’t moved. He hadn’t noticed the silver moon rising above the capital city, the wind rattling against the glass as it tore across the world in agony.
The house must have gone to sleep hours before, but he could not rest.
Henrik doesn’t want me, he chanted in his mind. Never had. He’d just imagined it. Viktor was nothing more than a brother, someone to watch and wait until Henrik was grown so Viktor could witness Henrik loving someone more than the paltry affection he obviously felt for the Malfoy boy.
Softly, in nothing more than the moonlight, he began to cry. His heart felt like it was being wrenched into thousands of tiny pieces, and nothing could put it back together again.
If only, he thought to himself, before pushing the idea aside.
If it hadn’t been Draco, it would have easily been someone else.
He, Viktor Krum, was nothing. He had always known he was next to ugly, inheriting none of his mother’s grace or his father’s stateliness. He was duck-footed and scowled at anyone who dared to look his way. He couldn’t help it. Nothing had mattered since he was a boy of eleven except for Henrik’s smile, and he’d only have that until Henrik turned seventeen – if he would even have it for that long.
The only thing he truly excelled at was flying, but what would be the point in that if he couldn’t present his Harry with a Snitch at the end of each game? Everything Viktor did, he did for him, but that hadn’t been enough. It would never be enough.
Henrik would never truly be his.
Viktor struggled to contain his sobs as his body hunched over. The tears marred his already shadowed face, but the heartache was too much to bear.
He was so lost in his own misery, Viktor didn’t even hear the creak of the door as it opened, the soft padding of feet against the cold stone floor being lost in the hiss of the wind.
Henrik stopped in front of him, looking down at his older brother, dressed in little more than a pair of pajama bottoms and a Weird Sisters’ shirt that Draco had sent him as a gift, insisting that they were better than any Muggle band Henrik might like.
He didn’t understand what had happened. One moment, Viktor was smiling at him and fetching his Snidget, before disappearing behind several slammed doors.
He had looked at his father, who had held out Snidget to him, but Damyan Krum had only shared a knowing look with his wife before telling Henrik to give Viktor space.
Henrik had nodded and waited, believing that like every night that summer, and every summer before, he would only have to wait long enough to slip out of his room into Viktor’s. But Viktor hadn’t been there. Instead, the room had been cold, unused, containing a half-open trunk littered with various books and robes.
He had slipped into the bed, pulling Snidget close in Viktor’s absence and waited, listening to the wind howling against the fortress’ walls.
But Viktor hadn’t come, hadn’t returned, and after eleven Henrik had begun to worry. For a painstakingly long sixty minutes, he had watched the hands on the clock move until he couldn’t wait anymore.
So he had gone in search of Viktor, wandering throughout the small citadel until he had finally opened the battered door at the top of an old case of stairs, only to see the one he cared most about in the whole world sobbing uncontrollably.
“Viktor?” he called quietly, reaching out to trace an escaping tear as it marred Viktor’s beloved face. “What’s wrong?”
Dark eyes looked into green, but Viktor couldn’t hold the innocent gaze and quickly looked away again, his shoulders shaking with suppressed emotions.
“Viktor,” Henrik whispered again, kneeling before his protector. “Viktor, Viktor. You didn’t come to bed.” He hesitantly reached out and brushed Viktor’s tears away, although Viktor refused to meet his insistent gaze.
He couldn’t think about those words – You didn’t come to bed. How long had Viktor secretly dreamed that Henrik would grow up and say those words to him in earnest with a knowing smile or a glint in his eye? He wanted to be the one to hold Henrik tight every night until death should claim them.
He knew it was wrong, had been telling himself that since the age of thirteen when his parents had first approached him about a marriage with a foreign family, and all he had thought was that he couldn’t marry that girl because he was going to marry his Harry one day.
“Viktor?” Henrik persisted, tilting Viktor’s face so it was facing him. “Viktor, please.” He swept his hand through Viktor’s short hair, making him sigh in contentment despite his sorrow.
Henrik smiled slightly at his brother’s reaction and grew bolder, wrapping his arms around Viktor’s neck until he was awkwardly nestled against his solid frame.
He said nothing, only watching the flickers of shadow over Viktor’s shoulder, gently stroking his hero’s neck, just wanting to give him some comfort. Anything, he wanted to promise him. I’ll do anything for you if only you would smile at me again.
Minutes ticked by, but neither of them moved, Viktor not even embracing Henrik as he normally would.
Henrik felt stiff against the unresponsive frame and finally drew back again, his hands never leaving the back of Viktor’s neck.
“Are you angry with me?” he finally asked in a small voice.
Viktor’s eyes snapped to Henrik’s face at the question, but now Henrik was looking elsewhere, too afraid of what he’d see in those dark eyes.
“Please,” he begged, “whatever I did, I’m so sorry. I’ll even go away if you want me to. Leave you alone so you can go to sleep. Anything, Viktor! Please, just don’t be angry! Ne plachi.“ His thoughts raced as he reviewed everything that had happened before Viktor had disappeared to this small, closed room. He could think of nothing. But it had to be something; he just knew it. Viktor had specifically avoided him, not even bothering to give him Snidget or go to sleep, knowing Henrik would be there waiting for him.
Rough hands alighted upon his face, and Henrik turned to see Viktor looking at him, his gorgeous black eyes laced with misery.
“I did do something,” Henrik sighed in resignation, only to find himself crushed against Viktor’s chest moments later.
“Never, my Harry,” he whispered into dark locks. “You could never make me angry. I love you too much for that.” And those words were the truth. No matter what happened, whatever Henrik wanted Viktor would give him, if he could.
And he would be content as long as he knew that Henrik was happy and well loved. That was all he could ask for in life, and he would do everything to make it possible.
“Then why are you here alone, where it’s cold?” Henrik asked innocently.
Viktor, at first, only answered with a soft kiss to Henrik’s exposed scar, and Henrik sighed in contentment, clasping firmly onto his brother again.
“Zavinage te obicham, Viktor,” he confessed softly. “I can’t bear to see you cry.”
Viktor closed his eyes in pain, willing himself not to cry again. He had Henrik in his arms at that moment, and that’s what truly mattered. He would hold him and keep him safe for as long as it was in his power to do so, before gently giving him to another upon Henrik’s wedding day.
“I’m sorry, my Harry,” he eventually ground out. “I was just thinking.”
“Thinking? About what?”
But Viktor couldn’t answer, wouldn’t do that to Henrik, refused to make him feel guilty for growing up and wanting another. “I’ll do anything for you. You know that, Henrik, right?”
Henrik nodded against Viktor’s neck. “I know. You’re my Viktor. You’ll always take good care of me, always be there.”
“As long as you want me,” Viktor vowed, “and perhaps even longer.”
Henrik’s brows scrunched together in thought before he pulled away, his eyes tracing Viktor’s every feature. “Is that what this is about?”
Viktor glanced away, but Henrik persisted.
“I know it’s not your fault you’re going to Hogwarts. I know you’re not abandoning me.”
Viktor couldn’t help but sigh, but he latched onto Henrik’s assumption. “I know, Henrik, but I can’t help but worry. You’ve never been without any of us before.”
“Then let’s make good on the time we have,” Henrik said sagely. “J-just be with me now, and I’ll try to visit, although you’re going to England.” He scrunched up his face as he had when he was a child for Viktor’s benefit, who couldn’t help but chuckle gruffly at the sight. “We also have two months before you leave,” he reminded gently.
“I know, my Harry, I know.” Viktor looked at the face before him and still saw the worry present in it. Trying to smile, he gently traced Henrik’s cheek before kissing his forehead again softly. “It’s too late for little ones to be out of bed,” he teased softly.
“I’m not little,” Henrik countered. “Not since Mother and Father gave me Nutrition Potions.”
“Smaller than me, though.”
Henrik smiled wistfully, taking Viktor’s larger hand in his own and tracing the curves of it gently. “I might surprise you when I grow up.”
“Never do that,” Viktor quietly commanded before he could stop himself. “Stay my Harry, always.”
Henrik gasped at the quiet emotion in his voice before smiling gently in the candlelight. “I’ll always be your Harry, Viktor. Only yours and never anyone else’s.”
And Viktor’s heart broke just a little bit more, wishing with all his soul that those words might possibly be true.
Bulgarian to English Translation(s).
Ne plachi. Don’t cry.
Zavinage te obicham. I will always love you.