Title: Kindred Spirits
Fandom/Genre: Harry Potter
Relationship(s): Harry/Draco; Severus/Remus
Content Rating: MA
Warnings: Feminization Kink
Summary: When your name is Harry Potter strange things are almost bound to happen around you. But with Voldemort and Dumbledore dead, and Hermione and Ron safely incarcerated in Azkaban, Harry feels he can let down his guard, learn what it is to no longer be at war, and live his life with his beloved Guide, Draco. He’s proved wrong when a visit to the US with Severus and Remus in tow turns the Strange-O-Meter up to 11, and Harry and Draco are presented with information which might change the world – both Magical and Muggle.
Word Count: 19009
A/N: This is a continuation of the LBD 2015 Challenge Story ‘Nothin ‘Bout Me’, although it can be enjoyed without having read that. It is also part of a trilogy that became apparent while I was plotting the three stories for the LBD 2016 Challenge on Rough Trade. I have called it ‘Body, Mind and Spirit’ and they should be read in that order. This story is the ‘Spirit’ section.
The idea for this story comes from a memory that Harry recounted to Hermione in ‘Nothing ‘Bout Me’ about how Dumbledore prevented the bonding of Severus and Remus by having Lupin bitten by Greyback as a child. His infection as a Werewolf prevented his emergence as a Guide.
“Oh it’s really beautiful here.”
Harry turned to his Guide and watched as Draco’s eyes sparkled with excitement, his breath hanging white in the cold mountain air. Despite his upbringing and undeserved reputation, Malfoy had always found the Muggle world intriguing. Harry had done his best to answer his questions, but this was the first time they had really had a chance to venture away from the Magical world since the war ended.
They’d managed to spot their Apparition slightly north of the Retreat, just far enough away so that they wouldn’t be seen appearing out of thin air. Apparition was a skill he’d learned early in life, courtesy of his Papa Sev. His powerful Magic, allied with his Sentinel gifts gave him exceptionally long range and pinpoint accurate landings. It was something Harry was quietly very proud of.
“Hey, you were a long way away then.” Draco murmured, as he trailed gentle fingertips along Harry’s cheek. Because they were Apparating into unknown territory, the Sentinel was on high alert; all his senses up at maximum. The heightened touch, allied with the cold from the snow around them was so pleasurable that it teetered on painful. It was a dangerous edge that Harry often loved to walk, especially in bed, and the promise of it made Harry shiver.
Draco grinned, feeling the arousal as it warmed their bond. “You’re going to have to hold that thought, Sentinel. Can you sense them?”
Harry sighed. “Yeah, I know. I can hear them coming down the trail.”
They carried on walking, empathically and physically sensing the approach of the Ultima pair. Harry was surprised that the leaders of the entire S/G community on Earth were taking the time to meet them personally.
Rounding a bend in the trail, the two pairs got within easy sight of one another. Harry watched as Sandburg looked into the forest at his side. Moments later a beautiful Timber Wolf appeared in a rush of blue psionic energy and loped to his side.
Harry’s breath caught in his throat. Draco looked at him sharply, obviously feeling the tension. He opened his mouth to speak, but was stopped by a slight shake of Harry’s head.
‘What is it?’ Draco asked along their mind link. ‘I know you’ve seen someone’s Spirit Animal manifest a hundred times before.’
Harry was too stunned to answer immediately. His Magesight was one of the many Magical gifts that coming online had given him, and the influx of Dumbledore’s magic had strengthened it exponentially. And right now it was disclosing something frankly unbelievable.
‘Blair Sandburg has an aura.’ He sent, lost in wonder at the revelation.
‘Well that’s not unusual, Harry. Everyone has an aura, even Muggles have a bloody aura.’ Draco’s voice in his head was a puzzled and slightly sarcastic.
Harry’s steps slowed until he came to a halt and watched avidly as the Ultima pair came towards them down the trail.
Draco was paying more attention to his Sentinel, grasping his hand and projecting his concern along their bond. Harry entwined their fingers, needing the touch of his mate to ground him, and also wanting to reassure Draco that he was alright. He was simply taken aback, and if what he thought he saw was fact, then it was certainly going to be an interesting few days.
‘Yes, I know that…but Dray…Sandburg’s aura is Magical.’
Draco’s mouth dropped open in a shocked ‘O’. ‘Did you know he was a wizard? More to the point – does he know?’
With an almost infinitesimal shake of his head, Harry began to study the aura around the other man. They were still over 2000 metres away, but Harry could easily see the bright smile on the Guide Ultima’s face, and the closed and wary readiness of his Sentinel.
Blair’s aura was dark green with umber and sienna margins. After a few moments Harry realised why it struck a familiar chord. ‘His aura reminds me of Neville’s…It’s Earth Magic, Draco.’
‘Wow, an Earth Mage? How powerful?’ Draco’s mind voice had a flavour of interest, coloured by his personal interest in the subject.
Harry was proud to note that his Guide had been the first to recognise that Neville’s difficulties with his Magic were not because he was less powerful; in fact, it was quite the opposite. Longbottom was very powerful, but children at Hogwarts were not taught the necessary skills to balance and wield Magic in the Old Ways. Earth Magic had died out as a discipline many centuries earlier through neglect and prejudice, and Draco had posited that those strong, but untrained in the Earth Arts, had been dismissed as squibs and exiled into the Muggle world. Severus had promised him that once the war was over he would help Draco research the subject.
And now it looked like here in the Muggle world he might have his first research subject.
‘He’s stronger than Nev, definitely. Its appearance was linked with his Spirit Animal, but it hasn’t receded. He’s either using his Magic passively, or my Magesight has tuned into it. It could well be on a different frequency to that of more orthodox Magic users.’
It was all conjecture and there were so many unanswered questions – Firstly, an echo of Draco’s query. ‘Does Blair know he’s a wizard’. And if he didn’t, then how were they going to tell him. The Statute of Secrecy was not something Harry wanted to play fast and loose with. Despite his status as ‘The-Boy-Who-Fucked-Up-Voldemort’ after the war, there were still many in the Magical world who were firmly in the enemy camp as far as Harry and Draco were concerned, especially when they had brought accusations against Hermione and Ron only hours after the final battle.
Secondly, and more exciting, was that this revelation made the reason for their visit to Colorado more likely to succeed.
‘This could mean a positive outcome for Remus. Do you think we should contact Papa Sev?’ Draco’s mental voice was filled with the excitement of discovery.
Harry smiled at his Guide. As always they were on the same wavelength. More often than not their thoughts would coincide on all kinds of subjects.
Before Harry had chance to answer in the affirmative, there was a call of greeting from Blair.
“Hey. I’m guessing you’re Harry and Draco. You should have let us know what time your flight was getting in. We could have sent a car for you.”
Harry shook his head. “We had private transport, but we also had some business to clear up, so we weren’t sure what time we would be arriving. We decided hiking up was a good way to decompress.”
Well that was stretching the truth a great deal as far as the transport was concerned, but they really had been caught up with the Wizengamot, having been called back several times to give evidence in Hermione and Ron’s trials.
“I’m Draco Malfoy. It is a very great pleasure to finally meet you in person.”
The Sentinel Ultima’s eyebrow rose and Harry nearly laughed aloud at Jim Ellison’s expression at his Guides plummy accent and aristocratic manners. With his white-blond hair flowing halfway down his back, (because Harry refused point blank to let him cut it), his sharp cheek bones, high-bred features and long elegant form, Draco was the epitome of a British nobleman. Even their Muggle travelling clothes were of the highest quality.
Blair, however, was grinning widely at his Sentinel. “They make them fucking gorgeous in Britain, don’t they, Jim.”
Ellison glared at his Guide. “And now he knows they make them mouthy and uncouth in America.”
Harry couldn’t help the snort of laughter that exploded from him, and they were soon all grinning widely at each other. It was a good icebreaker and Harry felt his tension dissipate slightly.
“Don’t you have any luggage?” Blair asked.
“Severus and Remus are bringing everything with them. They are arriving by commercial flight late tonight and staying at a hotel in Colorado Springs. We were going to ask for the loan of a car so we can collect them tomorrow,” Harry said, using the storyline they had dreamt up before leaving the UK. In fact, Remus and Sev were already in the Springs. Harry had insisted that he and Draco should scope out the lie of the land before introducing Remus to the Ultima pair. Harry had been fighting a war alongside Draco for most of their teenage years, and old habits died hard. Despite the fact that both the older wizards had fought in the first Voldemort war, as their Alpha Prime Harry felt responsible for them and finally they had bowed to overwhelming pressure and agreed.
There had been some concern about how to present the Werewolf’s Dormant state, without revealing his monthly affliction. Knowing that Blair had some Magic would make it much easier for them to explain, and also, Harry realised with some relief, would keep them within the bounds of the law as regards to the Statute. If it was alright for a Muggleborn to be told of the Magical world, then it would definitely be OK for an Earth Mage to be apprised of his own status. However, they would definitely have to come to some agreement as to how to approach it.
As he had been one of the Professors who went out to speak to the Muggleborns enrolled at Hogwarts, Harry thought Severus was probably the person who would have most idea about the best way to open a dialogue. He wasn’t sure setting the teacups dancing would go down well with the Sentinel in front of him.
“Come on,” Blair pointed up the trail. “It’s too cold out here. We’ve got hot chocolate waiting in the main building, although you neither of you look as cold as I thought you would. They obviously breed them hardy in the Britain…”
“…As well as hot?” Jim commented wryly, which gained him a punch on his arm.
‘Haven’t they ever heard of Warming Charms.’ Draco’s lips twitched with a barely there smile.
Harry intertwined his fingers with Draco as they followed the pair along the trail. He liked both men already. He only hoped they would still like him when they finally made the big reveal.
“…And we’re completely isolated here; only S/G pairs and singles ever come to the Retreat. So feel free to let your Spirit Animals know it’s fine to roam. I know Mundanes can’t do them any harm, but it really upsets them when some hunter takes a shot at them. Chief can pass as a dog, but Jim’s Jaguar finds it much harder for obvious reasons.”
Harry nodded and smiled apologetically. “It’s unlikely. They’re not the most sociable of animals I’m afraid.”
He hoped Blair wouldn’t question that. It would be almost impossible for Harry’s Phoenix, River, and Mireu, Draco’s Korean Sky Dragon, to manifest somewhere where they were likely to be seen by Muggles, either Gifted or Mundane. It would certainly cause a stir, that was for sure.
Then, as if called by Blair’s words, Jim’s beautiful black Jaguar appeared at his side. He rubbed his big head over the Sentinel’s hand and then twined sinuously around Blair, making sure every part of him made contact with the Guide Ultima, behaving to all intents and purposes like a huge house cat.
‘Anything?’ Draco asked, and it took a moment for Harry to realise he was asking about Jim’s aura.
He shook his head. There was nothing about the Sentinel that said anything but Muggle.
After a love fest between the jaguar and Jim, the cat’s green eyes eventually turned to the wizards following behind. On catching sight of Draco, he gave a strange little jump as if he was startled. Giving a happy little grunting, growling sound he rushed straight past Harry, making a beeline for his Guide.
Draco meanwhile was beaming with happiness. He crouched and met the big cat, grasping the big head in his hands, while Jag rubbed his black furred cheek ecstatically all over the Guide’s face.
Jim looked completely nonplussed by his Spirit animal’s behaviour. He shot a glance at Blair, who shrugged at his Sentinel as he continued to watch the strange little scene with close attention.
After a few moments the Guide called for his Wolf by name, and Chief appeared again with a familiar rush of blue energy. Harry noticed that Blair’s aura flared even more, and he wondered if it was because he had purposely called the Spirit, rather than Chief just appearing on his own.
Whatever the reason, the beautiful light now emanating from Blair graduated from a green so dark it was almost black, to a beautiful peridot, with shining gold and more earthy browns woven through it. At the sight, Harry began to wrack his brains for Charms that would allow Blair to see his aura in all its glory. He’d only met the man a few minutes ago, but it was common knowledge that he was highly intelligent, with a very curious nature, and it was a sure bet that if they told him what they’d discovered, then he would want proof of what Harry could see.
Meanwhile, Chief had given a little joyful yip and bounced across the snow like a puppy, bowling Jag over and pressing his nose into Draco’s hands.
Harry sent a little questioning ping to his Guide. He felt Draco’s joy at the contact with the Spirit Guides and then, ‘I’m getting a feeling that they want to talk to Mireu…I don’t get anything else from them; just that it’s important.’
Harry was more than a little surprised. Of course their Spirit Guides talked to them, and to one another, but he’d never known it to happen with someone they weren’t bonded to. ‘OK. Perhaps they’ll seek you out if it’s important to them.’
His concentration was broken when Blair made a little noise.
“Well isn’t that interesting,” Blair said quietly, and then dragged his gaze away from the tableaux on the snow to give Harry a measuring look.
Harry could almost see Blair’s quick mind making and discarding theories and connections, but Harry was pretty sure that he wouldn’t land on the correct one, not without the background information only they could provide. It was now a sure thing that they would be telling him about the Magical world, and Harry was guessing that Blair would find it all fascinating.
Jim however, was likely to be another story entirely. The Sentinel Ultima’s expression was more concerned than interested. It was obvious he would want to know everything from a strategic point of view. That was a need Harry understood intimately. Any threat to his Guide, no matter how small was treated seriously – there was no more important issue than the safety of his Bondmate. Harry decided they needed to be open and honest – and as soon as possible. Otherwise they could find themselves hip deep in all kinds of crap, with a powerful Sentinel right behind it.
“So are you going to tell me?” Jim flicked on the white noise generator and sat on the side of the bed wearing only a t shirt and his boxers.
Blair turned his head on the pillow and looked into the worried eyes of his Sentinel. He knew Jim was concerned about their two new houseguests, but he wasn’t sure what to tell him.
“Man…I don’t know how to explain it. There is something… ‘other’ about them. Harry is the most powerful Sentinel I’ve ever met – and I’m including you in that.” Blair threw his arm above his head and chewed on his bottom lip as he thought over what he had felt from them both.
Jim just nodded. “I know. And he’s got a highly tuned situational awareness. If I didn’t know better I’d say he’d been in heavy combat, and that he was a dangerous asset. He’s definitely killed.”
“But I don’t get a crazy vibe from him. He’s a good man, I’m sure of that. Draco…fuck, man. That kid’s like a supernova. He’s got that ice prince thing going on, all aristocratic manners and elegance, but he’s so fucking pure! It’s obvious that if Harry’s been involved in wet work or black ops, then Draco has too, but if that’s the case, then it has hardly touched him empathically. That will have everything to do with the depth of their bond. I’m willing to bet they’ve been together a long time. And…” he paused, finding it hard to be able to articulate his thoughts for once.
“They’re hiding something.” Jim said with a frown, offering his observations from his own particular standpoint.
“But not purposefully to deflect us. I think it’s something they feel they need to hide; not to keep it from us maliciously, but because it would be dangerous to them if we knew.”
Blair rolled over and covered his Sentinel’s hand with his own. He loved the way the physical contact added a new dimension to their bond. It was mind-blowing to touch during sex bonding, but somehow it was even more powerful in quiet, intimate moments like this. It underlined that they were together, safe and well, and they would always be there for one another.
“I got the feeling Harry will be willing to talk to me – in fact, I think they are here for something specific, and not just the R&R they requested and it has something to do with the pair who are coming up tomorrow.”
Jim nodded. “I agree. You know how it is. Usually the military Sentinels look to me. I often get that Brothers in Arms vibe where they look to me as Alpha. Firstly, Harry has that vibe going himself and he’s Alpha Prime and then some. But he hardly took his eyes off you. It didn’t feel inappropriate and strangely enough I didn’t get all proprietorial about you either, which is very unusual for me.” Jim raised his eyebrow at his mate. “According to you that is!”
There was a twinkle in Blair’s eye as he smirked at his Sentinel, and licked his bottom lip, loving the way Jim’s pupils dilated at the movement, and their bond began to thrum with arousal. “I love it when you go all caveman,” he breathed huskily.
“Is that your way of saying I’m falling down on my duties as your Sentinel?” Jim ran a fingertip in a meandering line from Blair’s clavicle to finally encircle his hardening nipple, giving the gold ring there a sharp little tug. “That I should be throwing you over my shoulder and having my way with you in our cave.”
Blair groaned as his dick jumped. Jim knew every little button to press to get him revved up. That was what fifteen years of bonding could do, and it never ever got old.
“No – ooh,” he moaned. “I’m just suggesting we put the talking on the back burner and go for the physical approach to problem solving.”
Jim grinned as he stripped off his shirt and straddled his Guide, pressing Blair’s shoulders into the mattress before slowly dipping down to take his lips in a breath-stealing kiss.
Blair whimpered at the sensation of Jim’s heavy cock through the sheet. He could feel the heat through cotton that was already damp with pre-come. “Please Jim,” he begged.
“Shhh, my Guide. You asked for the physical approach and now you’re gonna get it…”
And Blair couldn’t find an argument against that, as Jim started a slow undulation that had Blair on the edge in moments. Their bond flared to life – each feeling the arousal of the other, as a feedback loop of sensation began to spiral them higher and higher. And as they both fell over the edge they left the worries of their new houseguests for the morning.
‘There’ll be plenty of time…later…’ Blair thought, as he struggled to get his breath back. Jim was still rock hard against his thigh and Sandburg knew he was in for a long night.
‘Ain’t life great…’
The faint water mark on the ceiling looked unnervingly like a Dementor. He’d been tracing the almost invisible shape with his eyes for nearly 15 minutes, as he pondered what had brought them here to Colorado Springs.
When he’d heard that Harry Potter was coming to Hogwarts, Severus Snape had believed that for him to manage to spend more than a minute in the boy’s presence without hexing him would be a miracle. He knew the rawness of his feelings about James Potter and his cronies coloured his view, and he was self-aware enough to accede that it wasn’t the boy’s fault that his father had hurt Severus both physically and mentally. He also hated Potter Snr. for his involvement in Sev’s estrangement from Remus Lupin at school; the man who should have been the other half of his soul.
Then, almost immediately after Lily died, Snape’s Sentinel gifts had emerged, and it had quickly become clear that he had no one he could trust, least of all his supposed Mentor Albus Dumbledore, whose duplicity became obvious. Given that the old man was lauding James Potter’s progeny as his new protégé, it was pretty much a given that Professor Snape would detest Harry Potter.
But he hadn’t known to factor in the inexplicable force that was ‘The Miraculous Harry Potter Phenomenon’.
Miracle number one came on Diagon Alley, when a concerned cry from his eleven-year-old godson Draco, in the back room of Mme Malkin’s, had alerted him to the emergence of a new Sentinel. He hadn’t been able to believe his eyes when it became clear the young pre-teen lying in Draco’s lap was not only giving off a psionic signature that labelled him as an Alpha Prime or more but, judging by the empathic shield the young Malfoy was protecting him with, that he was Draco’s Sentinel.
And then, fuck his life, it turned out he was no other than Harry Potter.
Luckily, it had only taken a few days for Severus to realise that his fears about the boy had been unfounded. This Potter was not a pampered princeling, but was instead a mistreated child, starved both physically and emotionally. Under Snape’s tutelage and Draco’s love, he grew and bloomed like a Singing Daisy in a shower of warm spring rain, and it melted Severus’ frozen heart to see him thrive.
It took only a little longer for him to learn to relish every smile and hug, and to return the affection the amazing young man gave so freely. When Harry’s vicious Muggle relatives had ‘inexplicably’ died from a lightning strike, Harry had come to live full time at Hogwarts. Using a smokescreen willingly provided by Poppy Pomphrey and Minerva McGonagall, Severus had taken over the care and education of his new Alpha Prime, and had done so right under the noses of his erstwhile masters, Voldemort and Dumbledore. Severus, Draco and Harry had faced many problems together but the first time Harry called him Papa Sev, there were more than a few tears shed by the irascible Professor Snape in the privacy of his bedroom.
Severus sighed as the hiss of the shower came from the bathroom. He looked towards the closed door, wishing he could be in there with his chosen. But Remus had made it very clear there would be no sexual contact between them until he could respond as a true Guide. He had decided that to make love and not be able to bond was too much to ask of his Sentinel. Severus was not in agreement of that sentiment at all, but it was the status quo and he lived with it… albeit ungraciously.
Severus continued to manage as a Sentinel, stabilising his senses with a very weak imprint of taste, sight and smell, and with a great deal of empathic help from Harry and Draco. Although the two young men had never raised any concerns about the one-sidedness of the arrangement, he couldn’t help but feel that he was imposing on them and their bond.
Sev dialled his hearing up a notch, unable to help listening in for a moment or two as Remus stepped beneath the fast flowing water, his mind creating the image of his scarred and rangy love in all his naked glory. Feeling his cock twitch at the picture in his minds-eye, he dragged his thoughts away from a wet Remus and back to the water-marked Dementor on the ceiling. He was a patient man – he’d had to be.
The second miracle had come much later when Harry and Draco had achieved the seemingly impossible, and had sent Voldemort to his death. They had gone on to survive an attack from two people who purported to be Harry’s friends, and then as a final gift, they had rid the Wizarding World of the threat of Albus Dumbledore; a wizard who was Darker than the Lord they had all been fighting against. In doing that, the two young men had received an influx of Dumbledore’s power, as a gift from Mother Magic, and now there was no one in the Wizarding world who could stand against them. If it had been any other pair, Severus would have been frightened. But there was a purity of spirit in both boys that meant they would never use their powers for ill intent.
The feeling of freedom after the final battle, had almost been too much for Severus. He’d found himself sitting in a chair, breathless and dizzy, gently running his fingers over the empty expanse of skin where the Dark Mark stained him for so many years. He had no recollection at all of how he’d got there.
Disbelief had soon been followed by joyful celebration. Just like the rest of the Wizarding world, the four of them joined the festivities with Lucius Malfoy, although in the quiet of his manor house, rather than with the rowdy masses.
As the door into the bedroom opened, he didn’t need to look to be aware that unfortunately, Lupin was fully dressed. The swish of the fabric of the unusual, but rather fetching Muggle trousers he was wearing, was a dead-giveaway. The legs of the cotton trousers were wide and peppered with useful pockets, but most pleasingly, they outlined Lupin’s arse in a most fetching way.
“Have they called?” Remus asked, his soft baritone a balm to Sev’s senses.
“Yes, they’ll be here in about ten minutes. Harry says they have something to discuss on the journey back to the Retreat.”
And there was miracle number three.
Less than a week after the Death of two Dark Lords, the last few Death Eaters had been mopped up by the Aurors aided by Lucius Malfoy. The elder Malfoy Lord had always been ambivalent about Voldemort’s second coming, having suffered through his descent into madness during the first war. Once it became clear that Draco was going to be bonded with Harry, he had willingly been their clandestine informant, while Snape played the dangerous double blind, fooling both of his ‘Masters’ as to his loyalty to their cause. Between them, they had brought the information about the Horcrux, and helped Harry and Draco to find and destroy them, including the one in Harry’s scar.
Once the dust had cleared it became obvious that there was a need for a strong hand at the MoM. By unanimous vote, Amelia Bones had taken over as Minister for Magic, and her Sentinel, Kingsley Shacklebolt, was heading up the DMLE. Between shoring up the depleted ranks of the Wizengamot, and beginning the reorganization of the various departments, they had somehow managed to cover up Dumbledore’s mindless state with a concocted story, involving a stray Dementor that had apparently managed to breach Hogwarts overtaxed defences and proceeded to kiss the Headmaster while he lay helpless in an Infirmary bed. It was a relief to no longer have to worry what new evil the old bastard was putting in place.
Finally, when everything had been set to rights, and he was sure there was nothing more he could do for Wizarding Britain in the short term, Harry had made his proposition.
“Draco and I have decided that the four of us are going to America – Colorado Springs. I’ve been in touch with the Guide Ultima, and he has agreed that we can visit the Retreat he runs there. I’ve explained the situation as much as possible without revealing the obvious issues. I just told them that Remus is Dormant because of an unfortunate affliction, and that we were hoping that Blair could help us to find a way to break through the block. If there is anyone who can undo the effects of the Wolf on your Guide, then it’s Blair Sandburg.”
“But…Harry…What are we going to tell them. We can’t let them know what the problem really is – the Statue of Secrecy…”
Draco laughed gently, and patted a distraught Remus on the shoulder affectionately. “Remember who is going to be organising this trip. The Boy-Who-Doesn’t-Bleeding-Believe-In-Limitations. You should just let him get on with it, Papa Remy. You know he isn’t going to give up.”
And organise it he had, right down to the last item on their packing list.
Thanks to Harry’s extraordinary magical power, and the boost the Alpha Prime pair had got from Dumbledore, Harry and Draco had been able to Apparate all the way to America – a single jump of 4,724 miles, and a feat that Severus found truly awe inspiring.
Not being so powerful – or frankly as foolhardy – Sev and Remus had taken an International Portkey, which had dropped them right in the middle of the mid-range hotel room that Harry and Draco had booked them all into.
And now they were waiting.
And in Sev’s case, looking for another miracle. With Harry’s track record so far, he couldn’t help the little frisson of hope that had settled in his sternum and thrummed along with his heartbeat, right next to the empty space where his Guide was meant to rest.
“Hey you. I might not have my gifts, but it doesn’t take a Guide to know you are brooding over here.” Remus was fully dressed, his tall figure looking strange in his Muggle cargos and button down shirt.
“Not brooding, just remembering,” Sev replied, stretching his stiff muscles before pushing himself upright and swinging his legs over the side of the bed. He ran his hands down his own trousers, checking the lie of his wand in the holster he had spelled into the outside seam.
“I’m just thinking what a miracle those boys have been, especially Harry.”
Remus nodded, his eyes warm with affection and longing as they traced Sev’s face. “I hope he isn’t too disappointed if we get bad news.”
Severus knew that the space between what they were and what they could be, would seem like a small thing to any Mundane looking in at them from the outside. But it was a gulf impossible to breach for Severus’ Sentinel, as his Guide was trapped by the Werewolf inside Remus. Still, he had such trust in his surrogate son, that he had to believe he could do what no one else had ever managed. History could repeat itself – Harry had proved that over and over again.
“If it’s possible, he will achieve it.”
Snape was beginning to think he was beginning to develop some kind of Wizard Dementia. He surely couldn’t have heard Harry correctly. He watched the scenery pass by out of the car window, convinced that he hadn’t heard what he thought he had.
Harry carried on driving, completely at ease with the controls of the Muggle car – and that ability was a surprise that Sev had to tuck away for later in the face of what Harry said next.
“The Guide Ultima is an Earth Mage. I’m sure he doesn’t know it, and his Sentinel doesn’t seem to be Magical at all, but nevertheless, Blair Sandburg is a Wizard, and I’m pretty sure that if I could get a look at other high level Guides – Prime or above – I would find their aura would be similar.”
And there it was, miracle number four. Harry-Fucking-Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived-to-Change-the World-As-We-Know-It-AGAIN! He looked over at Remus and was sure his expression reflected the one he saw on his beloved’s face – shock, bewilderment and amazement.
“Now at first I was concerned – obviously we have to tread carefully with what we disclose, because of the Statute. But I seem to remember you telling me that as a Professor at Hogwarts you had dispensation to tell Muggles – parents, carers and siblings – about Magic, as well as the children who received their Hogwarts letter.”
Severus nodded. “Yes, but that was under the auspices of Hogwarts and the children being offered admission…”
“You be telling a Magical about Magic…An Earth Mage, Sev. Just think of the potential for our research project. There could be thousands more Magicals out there. The new influx of blood and Magic into the Wizarding World would be unbelievable, and the chance to bring Earth Magic practioners back into the fold, maybe even prove that many of the children who had been labelled Squibs and exiled were actually not at all..”
“And I would agree with you if it were only Mr Sandburg I was going to talk to. According to you his Sentinel is as Muggle as they come. I don’t want to go to Azkaban for breaking the Statute…”
“Severus, we have a Sentinel and Guide as the new Heads of the MoM, who both look to us as their Alpha Primes. They’re not going to be beating down our door to throw us in Azkaban. They trust us, as only one of our kind can trust another.” Draco said earnestly.
“This could be the first step in finally safely integrating Magic Users with the Muggle world. There is no one group more revered and trusted by Muggle Mundanes than Sentinels and Guides. There are systems in place to identify them, laws to protect them, and they have their own government, led by an Ultima pair. The Mundane world already trusts them to use their gifts wisely. This would just be the next evolution of that trust.”
The young Guide turned in his seat and looked over at the older men.
“Harry is stronger than Ellison and it was obvious they recognised that. With Harry as Ultima of the Wizarding World, we could begin to instigate a pride system in the Magical world.
“Using the Muggle S/G methods and some newly invented Charms…” He gave Remus a knowing look. “…we could identify all those Magicals who are gifted and train them, integrate their Magical and psionic gifts. Build a world where they are seen not as freaks, but as useful, productive members of both Magical and Muggle society. Give them a place to be safe…”
“…A place Dumbledore succeeded in denying us for decades. But now I…we can change that.” Harry said softly.
The promise implicit in Harry’s speech was thick with empathic power. No one in the vehicle was in any doubt that what he said would come to pass. He was a true leader – and one who cared for his people more than himself. If he took the role as Ultima of the Magical World, Snape had no doubt Harry would make even more miracles happen.
“But for now, we just need to tie up a couple of small things. Firstly, we have to find a way to free Remus’s Guide gifts, and then secondly tell the highest ranked Guide on Earth that he’s a Wizard.”
“Oh just two small things he says.” Severus couldn’t help the sneer that curled his lip, but Harry just grinned cheekily at him via the rear-view mirror. Their relationship had been built on this kind of teasing and neither of them ever took offense.
A large warm hand slid over his, and he entwined their fingers. Remus’s palm was callused; scarred from the monthly vicissitudes of the moon. There was fear in his scent pile and a faint tremor that told of his anxiety about what the next few hours would bring. Remus had been hurt so often, his hopes dashed at every turn, that he found any optimism hard to sustain.
Severus squeezed his loves hand, trying to let him know he understood his fears. He was feeling just as concerned.
All they could do was wait and trust their faith in Harry.
Blair relaxed in his Sentinel’s arms, feeling a little more hopeful now that Danny and Kelly had met. He’d been so concerned about Daniel, that he’d put Chief on ‘Danny watch’, and the Wolf hadn’t left Daniel and his Malamute since. It was premature to label the Alpha Prime Guide as a suicide risk, but the despair the Ultima was feeling from him had him all kinds of afraid. It had been Jim’s idea to get the Spirit Guides on the case and Blair had kicked himself for not immediately thinking of it.
“So, are we going to get a night to ourselves in the next month?” Jim asked gruffly, his voice rumbling seductively on Blair’s back.
Although he sounded disgruntled, Blair knew his Sentinel was actually OK with the recent goings on at the Retreat. Jim’s sense of duty to the Pride was only superseded by his bond with his Guide. Nothing came before Blair, but the Sentinel readily admitted that the issues their current residents brought with them to Colorado, were the very reasons they had set up the Retreat in the first place.
“Of course we are,” Blair promised. “Tonight even. Once Harry and his friends are settled in, you can do what you like with me.”
Jim nipped at his earlobe, tangling his hair in his hand and giving it a tug. Blair was sure he would be ruing that particular throwaway line by the morning.
“The car is coming up the mountain,” Jim murmured after a few more minutes of silence. “We have about twenty minutes before Harry and his party get here.”
Blair turned in his arms, ran the tip of his tongue across his bottom lip, and glanced up coquettishly through his lashes. “Wanna make out?”
He almost laughed at the speed with which Jim had him flat on his back on the couch, but his mouth was far too busy with mobile lips and a questing tongue. His eyes fell shut in rapture and he let himself go languid under the hard, hot body above him. He was quickly rewarded by the burning press of Jim’s rapidly filling cock against his thigh.
He fucking loved making his Sentinel lose control. The times he could make him crazy were the best; when he forgot his propensity to treat Blair like a fragile flower and just ploughed into him like a primitive; all straining muscle and grasping fingers, leaving tiny bruises Blair could savour for days. Sandburg shivered at the thought, and along their bond he felt Jim’s arousal as obvious agreement.
Suddenly Jim froze in mid-caress, every muscle under tension. Blair’s eyes shot open, alarm bells going off at the abrupt change in his Sentinel’s demeanour.
“What’s going on, Jim?”
Ellison frowned and shook his head. Blair could feel him stretching his senses, and he opened his shields, giving Jim the support he needed. Blair’s mastery of the psionic plane exponentially extending the power of Jim’s Sentinel gifts. Ellison rose gracefully to his feet and stepped quickly over to the large picture window. He placed a hand on the glass as Blair walked up to stand behind him, leaning in to his tense back. The Guide opened himself empathically and immediately caught the strange feeling Jim was getting full blast.
“I can hear four people in the car, but my line of sight is affected by the forest.” Jim growled, and in that moment Blair perceived Jag’s face superimposed over that of his Sentinel – the Spirit and the Earth bound in one. This was the true Sentinel in all his Spiritual glory. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, Blair was awed and immediately on his guard. There was trouble coming.
“There is something else in the car…but then not…Aargh!”
Blair could feel Jim’s frustration his inability to articulate what he was feeling. Blair was getting flashes through their bond, just disjointed pictures that seemed to focus on a middle-aged, scarred male, and when he dabbled his metaphorical fingers in the psionic flow, there was definitely a worrying disturbance. Whatever was travelling in that car was so totally outside their experience that it defied any definition.
“We’ll just have to wait till they get here.” Blair said, frustrated by their inability to lock down what was coming. They were the most powerful pair in the World and it was an unusual circumstance that found them at a loss.
“Me first.” Jim ordered.
When he became monosyllabic, Blair knew his Sentinel was rattled and he wasn’t going to add to his agitation by arguing…well not too much.
“OK, you can meet them in the courtyard, but I’m going to watch from the doorway in case you need me.”
Jim gave a deep rumbling growl but he didn’t demur, which Blair took as a win.
Almost to the second of the 20 minutes Jim had predicted, the car drew to a halt on the large circular drive outside the Main Retreat House.
Blair could see there were four people, the number they had been expecting and no one who looked as if they should be setting off alarm bells. But Blair could see the hairs on Jim’s nape rising, and there was a not quite sub-vocal grumbling coming from his Sentinel.
When the doors of the car opened, at the same moment Jag and Chief manifested in a flash of blue light. The black cat’s tail was swishing in irritation and Blair’s wolf, who was usually the mildest mannered of Spirit Animals, had a thick ruff of fur around his neck, which looked for all the world like he’d been shocked by a static charge.
Draco slid out of the car, closely followed by Harry, whose smile was wry but calm in the face of all the hostility aimed at the vehicle and its occupants. Blair was pretty sure the visiting Prime pair had a lot clearer idea of what was going on than they did.
Finally, two new faces exited the car and walked slowly around it, the slightly taller and more forbidding looking Sentinel positioning himself just ahead of the man who was obviously the cause of the commotion.
Jag went completely still, one huge paw slightly off the ground and scented the air, closely followed by his Sentinel.
“Wolf…” Jim murmured. “…but not…quite…”
Harry sighed and flashed a resigned look at the tall Sentinel who Blair could feel was as close to him as a father. Severus gave a terse nod. The Prime stepped over to Remus and placed a consoling hand on his arm.
“He’s a Werewolf.”
Blair thought his eyes were going to fall out of his head with shock. There was nothing in Harry’s empathic profile to say he was lying, or pulling some kind of prank. Before he could get out one of the million questions crowding his tongue, Chief stepped stealthily towards the man with the scarred face, his belly low to the ground.
The world seemed to stop breathing for a moment. Then the dormant Guide – because that was what he was – began to shiver and spoke directly to the Wolf.
“Please don’t make me. It’s too dangerous for all of you. With that skin on, I’m a beast; violent, destructive and vicious. I’ve never changed outside the full moon, and it’s nearly two weeks before…”
The man’s voice cracked with fear and Blair couldn’t stand how despairing he sounded.
“Calm down man. No one is going to make you do anything you don’t want to…”
“Especially if it’s a danger to my Guide,” Jim growled, his voice redolent with the growl of his Spirit Guide.
“Your Spirit Guide…he…he’s calling the wolf.” Remus’ eyes were wide with fear.
Severus took a step towards him, and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Remy…be calm. You are in control. There is ten days before the full moon, and we’ll be safely back in our home for your transformation. I have the Wolfsbane already brewed and under a stasis Charm. I promise, you are no danger to anyone.”
Remus was trembling and he turned his head into Snape’s shoulder. Severus looked over at Harry with the closest thing to a pleading look that the Alpha had ever seen from the usually stoic man. But he knew with every part of him that they needed to be here. His own Guide pressed a warm hand to the small of his back.
“Let your instinct guide you, Harry. You’ve always steered us right.”
Letting himself sink into the safety and warmth of his bond with Draco, he let his eyes fall closed, opened his mind to the psionic plane, and waited.
He didn’t have to wait long.
“Holy fuck! What the fuck is that?”
The voice was new but didn’t feel like an intrusion. This new person was a very powerful Guide and was definitely welcome as far as Harry was concerned. He opened his eyes to see a truly gorgeous man with the most sparkling green eyes, not quite as vivid as his own, and flecked with gold. Those eyes were not looking at him however; they were riveted on River, who was three times his normal size and flying in lazy circles around Harry’s head, trails of fire falling from the leading edge of his wings.
Harry opened his mouth to enlighten the new Guide, when a roar from the forest made him smile wryly. It was always the same. Where ever River was, Mireu was not far behind. Right on cue the Dragon burst out of the trees.
“Well, the Phoenix is my Spirit Guide, and the beautiful Korean Sky Dragon belongs to Draco – my very own beautiful dragon.”
He got a sharp jab in the ribs, but the pink flush on his Guide’s cheeks told how pleased he was to be so publicly adored.
The new Guide gave a shocked squeak as he was drawn back behind his Sentinel, who glared at the Spirit Animals and then at Harry. River wheeled around and gave a harsh skree in the older man’s face, and Harry couldn’t help the little burst of satisfaction when the Sentinel took a step back in surprise.
Then something clicked. He knew exactly what had to happen to help release Remus from his curse.
“We are waiting for one more,” he murmured to Draco, and a soft sound made him turn towards the large main building of the Retreat.
In the doorway, was stood another ridiculously pretty man, his bright blue eyes avidly watching Mireu without shock or fear; rather his expression was one of intense interest. As they watched, he stepped out of the house and walked slowly towards the group.
Behind Harry, Draco gave a sound of understanding. “Seven…you mean to build a ritual on seven.”
Harry nodded and leaned back as his Guide rested his chin on Harry’s shoulder. That was exactly what he was planning to do. He allowed his Magesight to surface and wasn’t at all surprised to the see the green, ochre and gold of Earth Magic dancing around the aura of all three supposedly Muggle Guides. Alongside the usual colours were mixed other, more unusual hues that spoke to Harry of their disparate connections to the psionic plane.
“Korean Sky Dragon,” the new man said as he walked, his delivery making it obvious that he was used to imparting information to groups. “Mireu, essentially the same as the Chinese lóng. Like the lóng, yong and the other Korean dragons, it is associated with water and weather.”
Mireu swooped down over the Guide and let his tail slither over his shoulders. Behind him, Draco gave a little shudder.
“Shit, he’s so fucking sad,” he murmured into Harry’s ear.
Harry nodded again but didn’t say anything until the man had reached them. They all stood in a ragged circle around Remus, who seemed to be relaxing by degrees. All the time there was a ticker-tape of information downloading into Harry from the auras and psionic signatures of the Guides around him.
“You went to the Spirit Plane to die,” he said bluntly to the green eyed Guide. The man went pale and his Sentinel glared at Harry.
“You were retrieved from death from the Spirit Plane.” Harry nodded towards Sandburg.
Blair had been giving the first Prime Guide a supportive look, but at Harry’s comment to him his eyes widened in shock and he turned to look at Harry.
“And you…well you did die, and existed on the Spirit Plane for long time…maybe as much as a year, before coming back.”
There was swell of noise as everyone began to talk at once. The Sentinel holding on to Green Eyes was working himself into a snit, and the studious Guide was giving Harry a considering look and shooting questions at him that spoke to hours of interrogation in the future.
Finally, as no one seemed able to bring the cacophony to a close, Severus lost his patience with them all. Drawing his wand, he fired a large blast of multi-coloured sparks into the sky.
The silence was almost a physical entity as they all turned to look at the wizard in their midst.
“What? We talk to you about my mate being a Werewolf and you manage to deal with that. There are two mythical animals flying above your head and you are merely curious about them. But I pull out Magic that usually doesn’t even impress eleven year olds and you’re speechless? How can you believe these people can help us in any way, Harry? By Merlin’s saggy balls. They’re fucking Muggles!”
“Magic, yeah, right! What are you trying to pull here?” Jim Ellison’s tone was one of complete scepticism, and he was joined in that view by the older, grey haired Sentinel who had a look of utmost disdain on his face.
Harry sighed. He’d known the Guides would be more easily won over. They were practitioners of Magic whether they realised it or not, and they would be aware of it on a subconscious level if nothing more. But they had to convince their more hidebound Sentinels too, if a ritual based on Seven was going to work.
Severus lifted an imperious eyebrow in a manner so redolent of his classroom persona, that Harry almost laughed aloud. He could feel the amusement of his Guide through their bond.
“What do you think, Draco? What would be the best way to prove we are telling the truth?”
“You’re telling us that all of you can perform magic?” Blair asked slowly.
“We are Wizards…And so are the three of you.” Draco said.
Once again the noise was overwhelming, but this time Severus didn’t even give them time to work themselves up. He cast a broad Silencio and then Incarcerous on them all. His ire was reflected in his casting, which was powerful and uncompromising. So much so, that the two Sentinels were bound from their ankles to their shoulders. Both were incensed at their immobility and struggled so violently against the bonds that they were in danger of falling towards the slushy gravel of the driveway. With a careless flick of his fingers, Harry conjured large armchairs behind them all, and with a little push of his magic toppled every one of the group into their soft embrace.
Harry walked towards them, Draco right beside him. “I can see auras, and each of you Prime Guides are using a well of Earth Magic every time you use your gifts. I don’t believe that less powerful Guides will have the ability, but it’s something we can look into.”
“We on the other hand were born both Wizards and Gifted,” Draco took over. “We know it is a difficult thing to believe, but Severus and Remus are both professors in a Magical School called Hogwarts, and they tell many children and their families about this, every year.”
“Your incredulousness is testament to how carefully we hide from the Muggle world, as we have faced dire suffering when Magic has been revealed in centuries past.” Severus continued. He seemed to have calmed a little, as he flicked his wand and quietly intoned ‘Finite’.
“The Witch trials,” Blair murmured as he was gently but firmly manhandled into his Sentinels lap.
The green-eyed Guide was patting his Sentinel’s hand, calming him with touch, although Harry could feel that the man was perilously close to losing his cool.
Remus stepped forward, seemingly back in control of his emotions, as his voice was clear and firm. “Harry is our Alpha Prime – and the most powerful Wizard on Earth, so much so that I would posit that he and Draco are the Ultima’s of the Wizarding World. His ability to see Magical Auras is unparalleled. I don’t care if I can’t be freed from my curse. If this trip could allow us to link Magic with Sentinels and Guides, it would offer so many benefits to Wizards, Muggles, Mundane and Gifted alike.”
Blair struggled out of his Sentinels grip and walked up to the scarred Lupin with an amused softening of his face. “Hey, man. Let’s not limit ourselves. Let’s just go for changing the whole world and finding a way to take your Werewolf problem away.”
There was a low grumbling from behind him, but the Muggle Sentinels were no longer actively trying to keep their Guides away from the Magical group.
Harry felt relief flood through him. He knew Blair was the key to getting the Sentinels to agree to be involved both with a ritual and the wider issues. The other Guides just looked curious.
Curious he could deal with.
Suddenly, and almost in unison, the two, still nameless Guides, looked at one another and said,
“Wait…what…Did you say a Werewolf??!!”
And then Harry laughed so hard until the only thing holding him up was Draco.
“I won’t believe it till I see it…” Jethro (for that was the name Harry had finally been given for the grey-haired Sentinel) set his teeth and the tension he was feeling was obvious in the hard line of his jaw.
“Oh, so silencing you and wrapping you up in Magical bonds was not enough to convince you?” Severus snapped sarcastically. He appeared just as tense if not more so but for different reasons, as he obviously realised the acquiescence of the two Sentinels was central to Harry’s plan to attempt a ritual based on seven.
“Love, you’re not helping,” Remus said gently, coaxing his friend to back off a little with a squeeze of his shoulder.
Snape huffed, but his shoulders fell and he allowed Lupin to pull him in to a one-armed hug.
“I’m not saying that you didn’t do something, although exactly what it was you did I’m not going to speculate on without more evidence.” Jethro continued gruffly.
There was a twitch at the corners of his Guides mouth…Tony, Harry reminded himself. In his bright eyes and the almost visible vibration of his broad body, Potter could see curiosity and willingness to believe in the young man – it would always be easier with the Guides. The proof of that was further evident by the twin looks of enthusiastic interest from Blair and Daniel.
Harry knew Draco was concerned about the lonely sadness of the unbonded Guide. His aura was very interesting too, rich with the greens and ochre of Earth Magic, but also edged with silver – a colour Harry had always associated with the Magically powerful. There was something more about him, something otherworldly and Harry feared that the man may be considering leaving for the Spirit Plane permanently, which set Harry’s protective instincts on edge. Along their bond he could feel that Draco was ruminating on what to do for Daniel, but he was frustrated by the small amount of information they had about the cause of his distress. Harry resolved to sit down with the Prime before they left and try to find out.
But before any of that, he needed to convince these hard-headed warriors that their beloved Guides were not in any danger – in fact, once they had recognised how to use their Magic, they would have new weapons at their disposal for their own protection, and also of their Sentinels.
He looked over at Draco who returned his regard with the rise of a pale eyebrow. He was haughtily gorgeous, and in that moment Harry wanted him so badly that the compulsion to step over and take his mouth was almost overwhelming. Draco caught the feeling along their bond and Harry was gratified to see his cheeks flush with arousal. But damn him and his control, Draco simply shook his head.
‘Come on Sentinel, pull it together. Get these bloody doubters fixed and then we’ll find somewhere to be alone’.
Harry gave him a disappointed smile and then turned to the expectant group, who had been watching them closely.
“OK. Well we need to do this in way that proves they are Earth Mages…”
There was a loud snort of disbelief from Ellison, but Harry ignored it and carried on.
“…So whatever method we use to prove it, they will need to do it alone.”
Remus looked thoughtful. “Would you say that it is the depths of winter here?” he said to the Guides.
The group nodded, with Tony casting a sarcastic gesture at the deep snow around them, snarking, ‘Well, Duh!’ making them all chuckle and relieving the tension, if only a little.
Harry was unclear where Remus was going with this, but the man had a deeper knowledge of Charms than anyone he knew, and Harry felt it was only right that the Werewolf had the chance to take control of the one thing which might release him from an almost lifelong curse– or seal his fate. He wandered over to Draco, and pulled his Guide into his arms, revelling in the way the other man sparked every one of his senses. He drew in a deep breath and relaxed, as the familiar and beloved scent settled a tension he hadn’t realised he was carrying.
“OK, OK, and as Harry says, it’s obvious that whatever method we use will only have to involve the three of you. Otherwise your sceptical Sentinels will just say we had a hand in the outcome.”
This time the three Guides laughed as Ellison and Gibbs grumbled at the veracity of the statement.
“Well Three is just as Magical a number as Seven…”
“Three’s a Charm,” Daniel murmured, and a light of understanding began to burn in his eyes. Remus waited for a moment, but Daniel just shook his head, obviously wanting to ruminate a little more on his revelation, whatever form it had taken.
Remus cast his gaze around the area and then pointed at a flat, untouched area of snow, about 50 yards from their group. “Would you agree that none of us have been near that area?”
Grudgingly the two Sentinels agreed. Harry wanted to laugh at the depth of their disdain. He had an idea where Remus was going and if it worked then it would be a spectacular demonstration that the two surly Sentinels would not be able to ignore.
Never moving from his place on the driveway, Lupin talked Blair, Tony and Daniel through crouching in the snow in their chosen area, and creating a sort of three-pointed star; left hands joined in the centre, while their right hands were pressed deeply into the snow, pressed down through the icy whiteness until they reached the frozen Earth beneath.
“Now…” Suddenly Remus looked lost and desperately sad. He turned to look at Harry and Draco.
“I have no frame of reference. How does it feel to be a Guide?”
Draco gave a little wounded moan, his empathy on full blast at the reminder of Remus’s plight. Harry squeezed his Guide, pouring his strength and support down their bond and allowing him to speak, albeit with a tremor in his voice.
“Imagine the feeling you get when you interact with the Psionic Plane; that warm, pulsing connection. Make it real in your mind; how it feels, how tangible it is. Then push it down into the dirt and call for the Spring.”
While Daniel and Blair seemed at ease, it was obvious that Tony was struggling a little with the metaphysical aspect of the exercise, but he merely set his shoulders, closed his eyes and began to concentrate, joining his friends in their joint effort.
Several minutes ticked past, and despite the cold, the Guides began to sweat and tremble with exertion, albeit mental and Magical. Harry saw the very moment when they succeeded, their auras flaring with Magic as they sent their power into the frozen earth.
Finally, their success became apparent to everyone. There was a sharp intake of breath from Ellison, while Gibbs sat silent, but engaged as the snow began to melt in a wide arc around the three Earth Mages. Grass of the deepest green sprang up, along with a multitude of wild flowers. Harry could see the moment when Severus realised that some of them were potion ingredients, which he’d often had to pay rather large amounts to have imported. Harry was sure their luggage was going to be considerably heavier on the way home.
Most spectacularly a Cherry tree took form in the centre of the glade; the fragile pale pink petals of the blossoms fluttering in the warm breeze that was reaching them from across the frozen driveway.
Another glance back at the Sentinels showed that they were open mouthed with amazement and Harry allowed himself to hope that even if they were not able to begin to integrate Guides and Magicals, that there was a good chance they would agree to help with the ritual.
Trembling with exertion and surprise, the three Earth Mages looked with wide eyes at what they had created.
“Is this real, or an illusion?” Tony asked.
“Completely real,” Harry replied. “You called the Spring out of the Earth.”
“And will it remain here, or dissipate,” Daniel asked, as he watched Blair walk steadily towards the Cherry and place a shaking hand on its trunk.
Draco walked over and placed his own hand on the edge of garden glade the three men had created. With a little push of his Magic he encouraged a small clump of Primroses to return to the ground, pristine white snow covering the place where they had been.
He looked up and found Daniel looking around him, tears rolling down his cheeks. Draco found it impossible not to reach for him, his sadness was so all-encompassing.
“If only I’d known about this. I could have saved so many.” He sobbed to no one in particular. The melancholy resonated with a deep seated self-blame, but who Daniel felt he could have saved was a mystery.
Without demur, Draco wrapped the man in his arms and send all the empathic support he could to the grieving Guide – because now he was in physical contact, Draco could feel the source of his sadness. It was obvious that recently he had lost love and a Sentinel, not to death, but to selfish ignorance. Before that he had lived a life of separation, loneliness and loss. Malfoy vowed to make sure the man did not suffer for much longer, and he felt that vow echoed by Harry through their bond. They weren’t willing to let him go without a fight.
Within moments they were joined by the other two Guides, who lent their own support to their friend.
“I think we all need some time to process what we’ve seen here,” Blair said quietly, and there was a murmur of assent from the entire company.
Ellison was the first to drag his Guide away, and Draco could feel the primitive timbre of Jim’s shields as he wrapped them around his husband. It spoke of possession and a primal need to protect him from this new power.
Draco hoped Blair was strong enough to hold out against it.
Gibbs also was quick to slide his arms around his lover, although it spoke less of possession than of concern. Tony turned a bright smile on his Sentinel and dragged gentle fingers down his cheek.
“Come on boss, I know you’re dying to know everything, and your shields feel a bit ragged…”
They walked away, completely intent on one another, Gibbs a silent presence as Tony talked quietly to him.
Draco was left with Daniel, who became rather tense in his arms. He could feel the mortification rolling off the other man but he refused to let him simply retreat. Draco was positive that allowing him go away to deal with all the revelations alone would be a major mistake. A little voice he knew was selfish was complaining about not getting any time with his Sentinel, but he pushed it down.
“Why don’t you come with us.”
Severus had modulated his voice to the one Draco remembered from the awful days during the war, when their Papa Sev would be on hand to hold them and talk them through the horrors they had had to deal with. He recognised the vague jarring touch of Remus’ broken empathy and looked over his shoulder at his surrogate fathers.
“We’ll take him.” Remus said kindly, with a smile at Daniel, who was already beginning to shake his head. “I’m sure we can find somewhere quiet to answer all the questions I know are whirling in that huge brain of yours.”
Draco could feel Daniel gearing up to be stubborn, but he stopped that train of thought, surprised at their assessment. Eventually he agreed to go into the main building with Severus and Remus, and by the time the three men hit the edge of the gravel driveway, he was already firing a myriad of questions at his companions.
“Well that just leaves you and me.”
Harry’s breath was hot against the column of his neck and Draco could feel the burning need his Sentinel had banked earlier, firing back up to claim him. Arousal shot through him, making him hard in moments and Draco moaned lowly as he leaned back against his love.
To his surprise, as they began to walk, Harry steered him into the forest behind the main Retreat building, leading them deeper and deeper until they were surrounded by hundreds of dark evergreen trees. Draco recognised a few; pine, spruce, limber, fir. But Harry was moving faster now, the urgency of his need thrumming through the bond like a pulse, and the scenery around them moved too quickly for Draco to catalogue.
Finally, they came to a clearing which seemed to meet Harry’s requirements. With several flicks of his fingers and a couple of Parsel Magic spells, he created a grove, very similar to the one back on the driveway. On the ground was a deep layer of thick, heavy moss, and a super-powered heating Charm gave their little grotto an almost sultry feel. The air was suffused with the perfume of flowers, some of which, Draco was very certain, were not native to the area.
“Hi, baby.” Harry whispered huskily in his ear.
“Hi.” Draco managed to get out, through a mouth grown dry with arousal. It was obvious that Harry was going to indulge in one of his favourite, but less easy fantasies to achieve…that of outdoor sex. While Harry’s privacy Charms were stronger than anyone else’s, Draco usually felt too exposed to really enjoy it.
Well if Harry was going to get to have his fantasy, then Draco felt he could have one of his own.
Harry was taking control as he always did. Draco loved it. He loved the idea of being protected; directed at his lover’s command. Their clothes melted away and reappeared in a tidy pile on a stump near the edge of the glade and Draco shivered in anticipation of what was to come.
Deciding to try something he had been practicing in secret, he prepared himself with a silent, wandless Lubricio and then moved away from his Sentinel, swinging his hips in a clever female parody. Behind him, he heard Harry give an excited gasp.
“Oh, there’s my girl.”
Draco felt his limbs go weak as Harry’s words tripped his kink. Moments later Harry was behind him, dragging Sentinel sensitive fingertips down his flanks, and over his hips, holding them gently.
“You want that I make you wet and ready for me, sweetheart?” Harry asked.
Rather than answer, Draco entwined his fingers with Harry’s and pulled his hand over one firm ass cheek, down the cleft, and circle his hole, which was slick, relaxed and ready.
Harry’s sub-vocal moan of appreciation passed through Draco’s skin and pierced the very centre of him, already building the pleasure pooling at the base of his spine. His cock rose, wet at the tip and trembled in time with his rapid heartbeat.
His Sentinel stalked around him, like the apex predator he was.
“Have you been playing with my hole? Getting yourself all wet?”
“No, Harry.” Draco’s voice was nothing more than a whisper, but he knew his Sentinel would hear it. “I’ve been practising my wandless, silent casting.”
There was a moment of silence, when all Draco could feel was the heat of his lover’s body as he stood a hairsbreadth away, breathing heavily.
“You naughty girl…”
Draco moaned loudly and then lost all his breath as Harry reached around and cupped his chest, as if he had breasts.
“One day we’ll find a way to give you what you want. Tits – just a handful, and a sweet wet little cunt so I can eat you out…”
It was only Harry’s body pressed against his back and his arms around him, that kept Draco upright as his knees almost gave out.
“…But for now…”
For a moment, Harry’s hands were gathering Draco’s hair up away from his neck, then soft fingertips ghosted over the Guides eyes and lips, leaving a faint impression behind. Just as Draco thought he would pass out from the sensory overload, with a negligent flick of his fingers, Harry conjured a shimmering mirror in front of them.
Draco shuddered as his reflection stared back at him. Hair caught up in a messy chignon, eyes outlined by smudged shadow, mascara and perfectly applied kohl, giving him a fey, feminine look that thrilled him. He ran his tongue over the raspberry coloured gloss that shimmered on his lips, and then met the predatory dilated pupils of his lover that shone with lust over his shoulder.
“Beautiful,” Harry groaned. “Gonna take you out to a Muggle club like this, maybe even find you a dress to wear…and silk stockings.”
That was the last straw for Draco. He could see himself dressed exactly like that, wearing spike heels and walking into a club, where Harry would treat him like a woman and insist everyone else did so too.
With a whimper, he turned in Harry’s arms and kissed him with all the passion he felt for his wonderful lover.
“Love, I promise you, I’ll give you the world.” Harry vowed, as he wound less than gentle hands around his thighs and hoisted Draco up to wrap his long legs around his waist. With a show of strength that thrilled Draco beyond bearing, he walked them both to the centre of the grove. Then with a single thrust, he pressed into his Guide, giving him the whole of his thick cock.
Draco’s cry of ecstasy rang out between the trees and seemed to rebound back at them. Harry was big and hot inside him, filling him completely.
“Yes, please… Fuck me, Harry, fill my cunt…”
With astounding grace considering he was dealing with the weight of them both, Harry sank down, sitting cross-legged on the deep moss, with Draco impaled on his lap.
They sat that way, rocking gently for a long time, letting the arousal rise to almost unbearable proportions. Harry kept murmuring compliments and promises in his ear, telling him how gorgeous he was, how pretty; how wet his soft little pussy was, how the pert nipples and swell of his breasts were pressed against Harry’s chest and exciting his love.
It was otherworldly; time seemed to stop as they sank into one another until neither knew where the other ended. But it couldn’t last. Their need grew beyond the soft and gentle and thundered towards hot and needy. Harry whispered another Lubricio and Draco shuddered.
Suddenly Harry was pounding up into him, jerking Draco down onto his long cock with an uncompromising rhythm that the Guide was only too happy to ride. He could feel his balls tightening as their joint arousal reached its peak. With one last conscious thought, he opened his shields to his Sentinel, drawing Harry in with his empathy and binding them closer than any Mundane would be able to fathom.
Come striped Harry’s belly as in turn he filled Draco over and over, moaning his Guides name in a discordant jumble of words.
They shook with aftershocks as they clung to each other, their lips meeting in soft affirming kisses.
“You alright, sweetheart. I didn’t take it too far did I?” Harry asked, and Draco could feel a tiny tendril of doubt through their bond.
“Fuck no, Harry. That was the single hottest scene we’ve ever played.” Draco swallowed and then looked at his lover from under his mascara slicked lashes. “Did you mean it…about the club?”
A heated look passed over Harry’s face. “Oh, baby. If you want it then so do I. We can research temporary Charms to give you tits, a notice-me-not for your groin – because there is no way I’m taking you out in a satin evening gown without having access to that gorgeous cock. You’ll be the hottest woman they’ve ever seen, and you’ll be all mine.”
Draco shuddered, his arousal rising again at the mere thought. Still buried inside him, Harry began to lengthen, Draco easily accommodating his hot thick cock in his still slick hole. With a deep moan, Harry pressed his Guide down until his back hit the cool soft moss.
“Beautiful,” Harry growled and then bore down on his Guide until Draco could only feel.
Evening had begun to draw in, and the fire was roaring in the central room of the Retreat House. Apart from Harry and Draco, the whole group had drifted in, and the Guides had quickly gathered around Remus.
Severus took a deep breath to gird himself for the coming conversation. He reminded himself that he’d faced Voldemort at his worst, so surely the Ultima and a Prime shouldn’t concerned him. However, he was well aware that these men held the ultimate power over whether Harry’s plans for the ritual could be fulfilled.
Pouring himself a weak Whiskey and soda from the small bar area, he walked across the room to where the Sentinels sat, their expressions less than welcoming.
“May I sit?”
Ellison gave a terse nod and Snape folded himself onto a leather chair opposite them, his forearms resting on his thighs. He didn’t attempt to hide his tension, there was really no use. The two men opposite him could read him more easily than an open book.
“I understand that what you’ve seen today goes against everything you thought you knew, and your first thoughts are to the safety of your mates, but I assure you that once they have their Magic completely under their control, your Guides will probably be safer than ever before. Magic isn’t only useful for parlour tricks you know.”
“No, I don’t know.” Gibbs said gruffly. “Why don’t you fill us in, Snape.”
Severus sat back in the chair and took a sip of his drink, wishing fondly for the bottle of 250-year-old Firewhiskey Harry had given him for Yule. Unfortunately it was safely tucked away in the drinks cupboard back home in Scotland. He wondered what he could possibly say to get through to the two men sitting in front of him. What argument could he make that would convince them.
Ellison shifted in his seat, his gaze constantly flickering around the room as he waited for Severus to begin. It was obvious that this man…both of these men in fact…were warriors, tempered by war, albeit Muggle. Snape was well aware that in the Muggle world, Sentinels were often drawn to the service of others, particularly law enforcement and military. It was obvious really what he should tell them, but he found himself strangely reticent to unearth the cesspit that was the Voldemort/Dumbledore War. Finally, he won the battle with himself and began to speak.
“You will not be aware of this, and I would imagine even some of the Magical community here in America would not either, but Magical Britain has been at war for the last twenty years. We had a hiatus of just over a decade in the middle, but many thousands of Wizards and Witches died in combat and as collateral damage, along with too many Muggles to number. The vile acts of a Wizard called Voldemort were covered up by the Muggle Government as acts of terrorism, which in truth they were.”
“So you’re telling me, our Governments already know about you…the Wizarding World.”
Severus was surprised at how unhappy both Sentinels looked at that thought. “Yes. We have Statutes of Secrecy, and each country has its own set of laws, but I am sure that somewhere in every seat of government there is a Muggle/Magical Liaison Office tucked away.”
Ellison cleared his throat and leaned forward, his expression grave. “So this Voldmar…”
“Voldemort,” Severus offered. “A made-up name which he rightly supposedly would make him more fearsome to the masses. He was also known by some as The Dark Lord, or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. His real name was Thomas Riddle.”
“OK, so this Riddle guy. Is he still a threat?”
‘To my Guide,’ was missing from the question, but Severus heard it loud and clear.
“No, he was defeated by Harry and Draco almost four months ago. They also disposed of another commination, a manipulative and evil man called Dumbledore, who was in fact a greater threat to the Sentinel/Guide community than Voldemort ever was.”
The two Sentinels looked taken aback and exchanged unreadable looks as Severus waited patiently for their next question.
“And did you also fight in this war – you and your Guide?”
The pain of having Remus described as such was physical, like a knife to his chest, and from the wince the two Sentinels gave, he could see that they had sensed his discomfort.
“I’m sorry, I’m still finding it hard to get my head around the fact that not only is your Guide Dormant, but he’s Dormant because he’s a Werewolf.” Ellison mumbled apologetically.
Severus nodded his understanding. “I was a spy, and Remus was involved in a resistance group called The Order of the Phoenix. It was run by a Wizard called Dumbledore, who was a liar and a manipulator who had the Wizarding World wrapped around his fingers. He sought to control everything and everyone and found the close bonds of our kind to be in opposition to that control. He also held extreme views about those of the same sex having relationships – mainly because of his own inability to sustain such a relationship himself.”
“Yeah, well we still have that here. In fact, I met my Guide in those kind of circumstances. The priest in a section of our religious community was using a mentally ill man to kill Guides.”
There was a moment of silence between the three of them that was filled with murderous intent. The functioning Guides across the room caught it easily and only settled when Ellison waved their concerns away with an apologetic smile at Blair, whose return expression was more warning than understanding.
Seeing this, Severus knew he had an advocate in the Guide Ultima, but he also felt it was his duty to explain himself to his fellow Sentinels, for him but more importantly for Remus. Even if it meant they didn’t bond, he would rather see his friend’s curse lifted, and his life freed from fear of the full moon.
“Somehow – and unfortunately we don’t know how many S/G pairs this affected – very early after Dumbledore gained power, he was able to identify those who would be Gifted in the British Magical community, and then take steps to either remove them permanently, or make them Dormant.”
The renewed swell of rage that came from the Sentinels was too much for the Guides, and all three were quickly on their side of the room, closely followed by a worried looking Remus.
“Sev, are you alright?”
“I just told them about Dumbledore.”
Remus went a little pale, and Severus was sure everyone saw the flash of gold that appeared in his eyes as the wolf rose, stirred by his anger and pain.
“Is this why you’re a Werewolf?” Daniel asked, and Severus was pleased to sense that the man held no fear or loathing for his love when Remus answered in the affirmative.
Over the next thirty minutes, the short version of all their lives, and Dumbledore’s interference in it, was told. By the end of it, the group looked angry and upset.
Just as Severus was about to suggest a break to recoup, there was a surge of Magic that washed through the room, filling everyone with a sense of wellbeing and completion.
“Well, that’ll be our two perverts having it off somewhere. No doubt in full view of a convent of nuns or something.”
Severus huffed out a sigh, too sated by the feel-good emotions Harry and Draco were transmitting on all frequencies to be able to get really pissed about their lack of decorum.
His sarcastic comment made everyone laugh, breaking the last of the tension that had hung over them all.
“What is it that you want from us?” Gibbs asked, and then shushed his Guide as he tried to answer the question instead of Sev.
Severus swallowed the last of his drink and reached for Remus’s hand, entwining their fingers firmly.
“Harry feels that if the seven of you – You and Tony, Blair and Jim, Harry and Draco, and Daniel, join together in a ritual cleansing of Remus’s Spirit Animal, then it will reboot his Guide gifts, and free him from the curse that him changing every full moon.” He looked over at the mutilated, sad face of the man he loved beyond all reason. “All the scars he carries he inflicted on himself while he was locked away to prevent danger to others each full moon.”
The flinch from the Sentinels was not unforeseen, but Severus was surprised by the quiet acceptance of the Guides. “I have created a potion…a medicine of sorts…which helps him keep his mind during that time, but the Wolf still eats away at him, and unless we can remove it, his life will be seriously cut short…by half at least. And for the time has left we will be unable to bond, as the Were curse binds his Guide gifts. As the average wizard lives to be 150 years old or more, that only gives me another thirty years with him – which means another thirty years as an unbonded Sentinel, if I last that long.”
He knew the pain he felt at the statistic was obvious, as it was reflected back at him from the pale blue eyes of both of the warriors in front of him. He leant forward in his chair and speared both of them with his gaze.
“So you tell me, what would you do to save your Guide from such a fate? How far would you go? What price would you pay?”
Gibbs turned to look at his Guide, who was smiling sadly, while Jim merely pulled Blair onto his lap and squeezed him tightly.
“Well I can only speak for myself, but I will help in any way I can,” Daniel said quietly. “I’ve never been bonded, but I’ve craved it. I’m…I have been in love, and I know what it is to want something so badly and be denied it.
After a beat or two, there was a quiet murmur of agreement from around them, and Severus felt Remus sag against him in relief. He wanted to believe it would work; knew without a doubt that if Harry thought it could be done, then it probably would be. But experience had taught him that hope was a fickle mistress.
Only time would tell.
The following morning, Harry led their whole party to the clearing in the forest that he and Draco had created. It was still green and lush, balmy in temperature and blooming with exotic plants, both Magical and Muggle.
“Wow!” Daniel wandered around the space, touching the unfamiliar vegetation with gentle fingers. He was shadowed by the other Guides, they too seemingly enthralled by the way Harry’s Magic had transformed the area.
“Right. I need the Seven of us around the edge of this space.”
Negligently, with a sweep of his hand, Harry created a seven pointed star incised into the rich, dark earth. It was intricate with a myriad of curves and angles, looking vaguely Celtic. The lines sparkled with his Magic, and even the normally stoic and unreadable Sentinels looked impressed by his casual show of power.
“Severus, I want you in the centre with Remus.”
There was a shout from Lupin as he shook his head. “No, no way. Everyone else will be safe, because of the ward you told us about. But Severus will be right here. What if you lose control, what if I…No, Harry! No fucking way!” He continued to shake his head and made to leave the clearing.
Severus quickly caught him and pulled him back to the group. “I would face any danger, complete any task to have you where you were born to be – in the heart of me. Don’t ask me to watch you live half a life, when there was something I could do to make you whole again. Please Remy,” he pleaded as Remus resisted, “Let Harry try.”
Harry walked to his Papa Remus and embraced him, pouring all the love he felt into the man. “I won’t let him be hurt. If it looks like it’s going wrong, I’ll pull him out, or take you down.”
“You promise?” Remus’s expression was desperate and frantic.
Finally, Remus relented and moved to the centre of the space, Severus almost glued to his side. Almost unconsciously, and with no thought to the concerns of the audience, they began to take off their clothes. Tony gave a little exhale of breath at the sight, but the Sentinels seemed the most taken aback.
“I did tell you they’d be Sky-Clad,” Harry said, a little amused by their reaction.
“Yeah well I’m not sure we really realised what that was.”
Ellison received a jab to his ribs from his Guide and he simply shrugged. Harry almost laughed aloud at the embarrassed and disgruntled expression residing on Gibbs’ face.
“OK, now I’m going to be at the topmost point, with Draco and Daniel opposite me. Gibbs and Tony at one set of diagonal points and then Jim and Blair at the other.” They moved as he directed until everyone was placed to Harry’s satisfaction.
“Now if you would all summon your Spirit Guides,” he requested quietly.
One by one the animals arrived. Jag and Chief were first, followed by Loki, Tony’s coyote along with Jethro’s lion. Both River and Mireu popped in together, wheeling above the group in lazy circles. There was a flurry of movement in the forest as it disgorged Salazar, Severus’ ten-foot-long, black and green Magical Viper, with Daniel’s Malamute, Talini, padding quietly beside him.
“I’m counting on you to contain and separate the Wolf,” Harry said to the Spirits, particularly looking at Chief. He had a good idea the Timber wolf was going to be the central pivot of that part of the ritual. “While you four Guides will provide the ward to enclose Severus and Remus.”
The men nodded in agreement, and knelt as they’d been coached, placing their fingers deep into the soft loam at their feet.
“And us?” Ellison asked, his tension obvious in the set of his shoulders and jaw.
“You are the conduits I will use to call the wolf out. We’re all warriors, well versed in war. And make no mistake, this is going to be a battle. But we will overcome. You will feel the weight of my Magic, and it might be a little uncomfortable, but it won’t harm you. On no account should anyone step outside of the Star.”
The two Sentinels nodded, although Harry was sure neither of them really realised what the ritual actually would involve, and how it would feel to take part, especially as they were to all intents and purposes Muggle.
Before he took his place, Harry walked around the area, placing shimmering wards that were so thick it was impossible to see through them. They included fierce Muggle repelling and Confundus Charms that would ensure no one would be able to stumble over them.
Gibbs had insisted that Kelly be nowhere near the Retreat while the ritual was going on, so Blair had included her in a field trip with two other young Sentinels, way over on the other side of the Springs. They wouldn’t be home for hours. It wasn’t until she had left the area that Jethro and Tony had finally agreed to be involved, much to Harry’s relief.
He passed behind his Guide, running his fingers tenderly across Draco’s shoulders as he did so. His lover raised his head and gifted him a beautiful and reassuring smile. Yes, this was going to work, Harry was sure, if only because his gorgeous and powerful Guide was right here by his side, as always his partner in life, love and Magic.
As he passed on, he didn’t miss the look of barely concealed longing and sadness from Daniel, and he made another reminder to himself to talk to the Guide before the day was over.
Once he reached his self-appointed place, he planted his feet a hip width apart and nodded to Gibbs and Jim to do the same. Once they were settled, Harry lifted his hands and called the full breadth of his power to him, causing the air around him to crackle with static and Magic, and a faint haze of mist to rise from the damp vegetation around them.
At his nod that he was ready, Draco pressed one hand into the earth and stretched the other to the sky, followed in turn by the others. Golden streams of Magic flowed from their extended fingers and criss-crossed the space, forming an aureate cage of power that arced over Severus and Remus, who were kneeling silent and naked in the centre of the star.
“Mother Magic,” Harry intoned, his voice reverberating powerfully around their circle. “We call upon you to bless our ritual here. Hold and guide our hands to free our brother Remus from the curse placed upon him. We ask that you accept the sacrifice I make in reparation.”
Harry was totally focussed, but he felt, and could almost see, the slight tug on his Magic as both Gibbs and Ellison reacted to his words. He’d explained all this once; how he was willing to forgo the portion of his power he had received from Voldemort and Dumbledore. It was a fair exchange if it meant his surrogate fathers could finally be bonded. Well, it was too late for them to start paying attention now. They wouldn’t be able to withdraw from the nexus of his power even if they wanted to. They were all committed to the path he had set them on, and Merlin help them if he couldn’t see it through to its end.
There was a small push of concern through his bond with Draco, and he realised his thoughts had given him pause for a moment. Having two Muggles – albeit Gifted – as part of the Ritual of Seven was already a little risky, so he couldn’t afford to lose his focus.
He lifted his face to the sky. A soft drizzle of rain was falling on them, dewing their faces and hair with sparkling droplets that gave them all an otherworldly look. He directed a command to River, who swooped down until he was hovering directly over the centre of the star, wafting his strong wings in a beautiful arc of movement. With a flash of blue, Loki and Talini moved through the golden cage of Magic and stationed themselves one beside each man. Chief stood between them and to one side, obviously in wait for his cursed brother to appear.
Sev’s viper wrapped his body around Harry’s torso, lending him support against the weight of Magic that was now pressing down on him, his head and tail reaching around the circle to touch Jim and Jethro, joining the three of them. Jag was leaning against Blair, while Jethro’s lion had his chest pressed against Tony’s back.
Above Draco, Mireu hung motionless, her own powerful psionic signature adding to the pressure building within the ritual space, her tail draped across Draco’s shoulders, with the very tip touching Daniel’s upper arm.
Just as Harry feared it wasn’t going to be enough, there was a heaving groan from Remus, as his body began to contort. Harry watched, desperately fighting the urge to step forward, as the man’s face elongated, and sharp canines protruded from his mouth. Harry knew his Papa Sev was brave, but he was amazed at how still the other man was, not moving one muscle as he was faced with the transformation of his lover and friend into everyone’s worst nightmare.
There was a tense moment where hope began to die for them all, and Harry had to hold on frantically to the power coursing through him, willing all of the Magic he had promised and more into their ritual binding, hoping against hope that Lady Magic wasn’t going to deny him now, not after all he had faced to uphold her laws, and to fight those who would defile her.
Suddenly as if Magic had heard his thoughts, with a tearing, rending sound that defied description, the Werewolf Spirit stepped out of Remus body, leaving the man kneeling limply in place. Harry could see the fear in Severus’ eyes, yet still the other man didn’t move a muscle. The Spirit took a step towards Snape, malicious hatred shining in its otherworldly eyes, but he was brought to a complete halt by a howl from Chief, which was quickly joined by Talini and Loki. The Were clapped clawed hands against his ears and writhed, seemingly agonised by the sound.
The golden cage that the Guides were supporting began to shrink in on itself, and Harry could feel them all struggling against it. Somehow, Harry knew that this wasn’t weakness on their behalf, but was in fact Mother Magic passing judgement.
It’s OK, Draco. Let it happen, he directed down their bond. This is what we were hoping for. If you let go, then the others will too.
He felt Draco withdrawing from powering the ward and the others quickly followed, all of them sitting back on their heels and watching with undisguised wonder as the golden threads of magic spiralled in on the now thrashing Were.
One by one the canine Spirit Guides flashed out of the centre of the star, leaving the cursed creature trembling between Remus and Severus.
Harry drew in a deep breath, knowing what was required, but more than a little afraid that the outcome might be negative.
“Mother Magic, pass judgement, we ask of thee. Banish the Curse of the Wolf and release your child, Remus.”
He knew his last statement was more of an order than a plea, but the slight feeling of amusement that shuddered through the heaving magic around them, told him as Her favoured child he was forgiven.
With a crack of thunder, the golden cage collapsed in on itself, the Were disappeared. Remus toppled forward, only just caught before he hit the ground by a distraught looking Severus. For a moment the whole forest seemed to hold its breath. Harry didn’t know what the final outcome would be, but he was sure that there was nothing more they could do.
The Ritual of Seven was complete.
Drawing all he could from the trembling men beside him, who were still somehow standing tall despite his now almost overwhelming dependence on them, Harry called his Magic back to him.
The rush of power he received was somehow greater than he had anticipated. Given the evidence the idea that he had gained, rather than lost power was one he couldn’t reject out of hand. Had he been gifted even more by Mother Magic? Had she decided in fact, that their purpose was so just that She hadn’t taken the power she’d been offered?
With his last dregs of strength, Harry once again lifted his head, knowing it was his duty to close the ritual.
“Thank you, Mother, for your gifts here today. May you bless us with your presence now and for all our days. So Mote It Be.”
To his surprise his final statement was echoed by voices all around him, including the Sentinels. The Spirit Guides disappeared in a blaze of blue psionic energy, and Harry couldn’t work out if that was a good sign or not.
As the Magic receded completely, and the shimmering wards fell, Harry dropped to his knees, every muscle trembling with exertion. He heard twin thumps as both Sentinels joined him in exhaustion on the ground. Moments later, the warm scent of his Guide drifted over his senses as Draco rushed over to him, pressing his chest against Harry’s back.
With effort, Harry lifted his head and rested it on his lover’s shoulder. His gaze drifted across to where Sev was cradling Remus. Harry really wasn’t sure what they had achieved, but he had a feeling deep inside, that something major had changed for his Papa Remy.
The area was deathly quiet except for the sound of their breathing, as they all tried to regain enough strength to rise. The other Guides had moved to their Sentinels, and Daniel was lying on his back, his eyes covered by his forearm, breathing deeply and slowly.
As if jerked by a string, all four Sentinels turned their heads to the forest, swiftly followed by the Guides, as there was movement in the trees. Harry knew that if there was danger then the Spirit Animals would alert them, so he relaxed against Draco and waited to see what was coming through the undergrowth.
One by one their Spirit companions appeared, forming an arc around the two men still half-lying in the centre of the seven-point star. As Chief brought up the rear of the cavalcade of animals, there was a disturbance at the treeline. They all peered into the gloom to see a tall, thick-set, silver-grey Tundra Wolf, the tips of his pelt limned with blue psionic energy. He scented the air and then whined quietly.
The humans in the glade held their breath. Even without the obvious psionic aura surrounding him, everyone knew this species of wolf was not native to the American continent. Draco’s hand tightened in Harry’s as they waited for the Spirit Animal to make his decision.
If he doesn’t think he’s worthy? Draco’s ‘voice’ across their bond was tinged with concern.
How could he not. He’s a good man who has suffered a terrible curse. Harry replied, aware he was reassuring himself as much as Draco. I don’t believe Mother Magic would make him suffer any longer, not when we asked so nicely. The Wolf is here – why would it appear only to reject him?
He felt his lover’s heartened hope as a warm caress that made the tension melt out of his muscles.
Finally, the Spirit Guide seemed to make his decision. He loped around the glade in a wide circle, his deep amber eyes warily assessing each of them as he passed. When he reached the group of animals they moved apart for him. He waited for a moment on the edge of the star, his muscles trembling, before dropping down into a low crouch.
With a tired sigh, Remus began to move in Severus’ arms, slowly turning his head until their eyes met.
“Sev?” he whispered. “What happened? Did it work…I’m not sure if it did. I feel…different.”
Severus gave his lover the sweetest smile Harry had ever seen from the older man, and tipped his chin towards the group of Spirit Guides.
Remus leaned up on one arm and Severus slid around him to support him from behind. His mouth opened in a shocked ‘O’ as he caught sight of the Wolf.
“Oh, Merlin. Look at you. You’re beautiful.”
“Like his Wizard,” Sev murmured, so quietly that Harry was sure only Remus and the Sentinels heard it.
Lupin held out a trembling hand, and there was a tense moment before the canine began to wriggle forward on his belly, and place his snout under the Guides fingers.
Harry felt the flicker of empathic power as it passed between the Spirit and the Guide, and he knew the others did too. If it wasn’t already clear what was happening, it became blindingly obvious when Severus stiffened as if hit by a Stinging Hex and then pressed his forehead between Remus’s shoulder blades.
“Oh Merlin, Remy…I can feel you…I can feel you…my Guide.”
For a heartbeat there was silence, and then a whisper…
Daniel looked up in surprise. He had been left alone for the first time in several hours, and was catching up on a little reading. Severus and Remus were busy bonding, and the others were asleep, resting and reconnecting after their exhausting morning. Daniel had tried hard not to resent them the chance.
And now somehow the Magical Sentinel Prime had managed to approach him without Danny sensing it, and that made him anxious. What with travelling through the Stargate, and spending much of his life in a state of heightened awareness, it was rare that someone could get the drop on him.
“What for?” Even to himself his tone sounded a little…spiky.
“I know you were the first to agree to be part of the Ritual of Seven. And that was the impetus for the others to take part.”
He shook his head. “No, I think Blair would have killed to see that up close…”
Harry sat down next to him, and Daniel was amazed at the Magical power he could feel literally streaming from the young man.
“No. If you hadn’t have agreed – asked all the right questions – I think Jim could have persuaded Blair to wait. And Gibbs would only go where Ellison led, so…”
Daniel shrugged, a little embarrassed at being thanked so sincerely. It was something that hadn’t happened to him much recently. He flinched as Harry’s hand landed gently on his.
“We’re worried about you…” he began.
“You don’t know enough about me to be worried,” Daniel countered a little snappily, feeling a hemmed in by the intimate closeness.
“I don’t need to know you. I can feel it. Seems like Mother Magic gifted me with a new heightened empathic sense I didn’t have before. You are an open book to me, Danny.”
The implication of that was frightening to Daniel. He had worked so hard to hide just how desperate he felt from Blair and Tony. Although his levels of empathic pain had lowered in the sanctuary of the Retreat, and his loneliness had been ameliorated a little by the gentle companionship he had found in Kelly Gibbs, he was still fighting against the overwhelming grief he felt at the loss of Jack.
“You love him, and he’s your Sentinel.” Harry said quietly.
He leapt to his feet, yanking his hand out of Harry’s as roughly as he dared.
“Stop fucking reading me…or whatever it is you’re doing. I am allowed to have secrets. My pain is my own, to do with as I wish. My Path is mine to walk – alone it seems.”
To his great irritation, Harry simply shook his head. “No, Danny. You’ve never been alone. Talini has always been with you, and you have a whole new family in the Wizarding world that you’ve never met.”
Daniel turned his back on him. “I don’t have a very good track record of keeping the people I love. They all die, or leave me, eventually.” He was angry at the tears that spilled so easily down his cheeks and dashed them away roughly.
“I know what that feels like,” Harry replied. “But you know that Jack still loves you.”
“But he didn’t choose me!” Daniel shouted, uncaring who heard. “He rejected me. I wasn’t good enough – I’m never good enough.”
“Well, you can fucking stop that self-pity crap right now.” Harry said, although his tone wasn’t as harsh as his words. “Did you fight for him?”
“The Sentinel Chooses, Harry…Or at least that’s how it is in the Muggle world. Once he chose Sam, there was nothing to fight for.”
Suddenly everything seemed to be pressing down on him and Daniel couldn’t stop the words that came pouring from his mouth.
“And then I meet another Prime who rejects me, and the next Prime I meet? Is a teenage girl who’s a lesbian, and quotes me line and verse all about how we could form a foursome and wouldn’t that just be the neatest thing. And there’s this big hole in my heart that makes me feel like I’m gonna die, day after day after day. But I’m not allowed to be weak. I have to be strong and look after my patients, and not let anyone see – especially Blair and Jim and all the other Sentinels and Guides – that if I could just lie down and let it all be over then I would. And all I want…all I fucking want…”
His sorrow seemed to be a physical weight on his shoulders, pressing him down until his legs gave out underneath him. Before he hit the ground, Harry was there, holding him tightly. And Daniel was sure it was the only thing keeping him from shaking apart.
“What is it you want?” another voice said calmly.
Daniel stiffened in Harry’s arms, hating that he’d lost it so completely, and that not only the Sentinel, but his Guide had seen him do it. But Harry held on tight, and Draco wrapped around Daniel, both physically and empathically. And god help him, he couldn’t help melting into the touch, feeding the skin-hunger he’d had for years now, even though he knew he’d regret it when it was gone.
“Tell us, Danny. What is it you want?” Harry prompted, his voice like a cool breeze on a sweltering day, soothing the tightness in Daniel’s chest and the thrumming of his heart.
“Jack, the motherfucking, two-faced, lying bastard. I want Jack.”
“Because he’s your Sentinel.” Draco stated. “I don’t know where this bull-shite about ‘the Sentinel chooses’ comes from, Daniel, but if Blair had anything to do with it, I’m gonna kick his arse.”
Draco sounded so completely sure about his ability to do that, despite the large and very fierce form of James Ellison, that Daniel couldn’t help but chuckle brokenly.
“No, it’s an old rule.”
“Probably set in place by high-minded Sentinels, who didn’t want Guides in a position of power. We Magicals know all about idiotic rules being made by those who are politically powerful and stupid. And it’s not true, Daniel.”
Two large warm hands pressed down over his heart, and he felt a surge of power pass through him.
“What the fuck was that,” he asked, squirming around to look up at the Wizards holding him.
“Verity Charm. Tell us, Daniel. Who is your Sentinel?”
“Jack O’Neill,” his mouth said, without any help from his brain, which was still running to catch up. “Whaa?”
“That Charm prevents you from stating anything but the truth. Your soul knows, Daniel. So now you have your answer, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to fight, or just give in?”
He leaned forward and they let him go. He wearily rose from the floor and walked to the picture window, looking out over the mountains. In his mind he began to form a rebuttal, but before he could speak, the door opened and a worried looking Blair walked in, closely followed by Jim.
“Daniel…Part of me thinks I shouldn’t tell you this…”
The tone of his voice and his expression, made Daniel’s stomach drop. “What, Blair?”
“I’ve just had a call from the Colorado Springs Centre…”
Daniel’s heart started thundering in his chest and he was halfway across the room before Blair had finished speaking.
“…Jack’s been brought in on the verge of Sensory Cascade Failure. He zoned almost as soon as they got him there, and he hasn’t responded to stimuli from any Guide, even the Alpha they have on staff. The last thing he said before they lost him to the zone, was ‘Tell Danny I’m sorry…’”
“I need a car,” Daniel demanded as without further thought he headed for the door.
“Daniel,” Jim sighed. “You don’t owe him anything…”
The Guide looked over at his two new friends, who were watching silently, their arms wrapped around each other. He could still hear Harry asking him if he’d fought for Jack, and the truth was he really hadn’t.
“There is no way I would leave any Sentinel in distress, but I can’t ignore Jack, Blair. I may be making a mistake, but if I don’t fight for what I want, then how will I ever know?”
Blair nodded wearily, and reeled Daniel in by his arms, pulling him close for a breath stealing hug.
“OK, we’ll drive you. But if that bastard hurts you again, it’ll be the last time.”
“And we’ll join you. There are hundreds of really good hexes we can teach you,” Draco promised as Daniel jogged hurriedly out of the room. He made himself stop and look back.
“Thank you. I don’t think the Muggle World knows what’s coming, but it’ll be amazing to hang on for the ride.”
And then he ran after the Ultima pair, praying to all the gods and Mother Magic herself, that for once, he could have what he wanted.
“Well I think that answered our question.” Draco leaned against Harry’s strong chest and sighed in contentment. The fears of the last few days had all been put to rest, because he had no doubt that this Jack O’Neill would finally see the huge mistake he had made.
“I just hope Danny makes him sweat a little; makes him work for it.” Harry feathered his fingertips across Draco’s face, giving him a reminder of their lovemaking only the day before.
Draco nodded, and let Harry pull him onto the large sectional sofa facing the window.
“It’s really beautiful here. Can we come back sometime?”
He felt the vibration of Harry’s hum of agreement right through his body, and it made him shiver with pleasure.
“I think we’ll be visiting quite a bit over the next year or so. There’s so much work to do if we’re going to begin integrating the two sides of the S/G community. Sev and Remus will want to help, I’m sure, once their bond allows them to leave the bedroom.”
Draco chuckled. “They have a lifetime of UST to deal with, let alone the pull of their bond. We’ll be lucky to see them before next month.”
“A month of quiet in the mountains sounds like a great idea. Just you and me, long walks in the snow. A nice warm bed, and lots and lots of sex.”
He snuggled in to Harry’s chest, sighing in pleasure at the thought.
“And…” Harry paused.
“Well I had chance to surf the internet, and there’s an alternative lifestyle club in Colorado Springs that runs a Cross-dressing night once a month.”
Draco felt all the breath leave his body, as his cock hardened and his nipples drew to tight points. He turned in Harry’s arms to see if he was serious. Harry simply lifted a quizzical eyebrow as he gave Draco a sultry smile.
“How about I take my girl dancing?”
Draco launched himself at Harry’s mouth and they fell back on the couch, their kiss hot and fervent.
When they finally had to come up for air, Draco was stretched out fully on top of Harry, looking down into his gorgeous green eyes.
“I thank Mother Magic every day that we found each other all those years ago. I love you my Sentinel.”
Harry gazed up at his Guide. In the ever-changing world around them, this beautiful graceful man was the one constant, and Harry blessed his luck for the pairing of their Kindred Spirits.
“I love you too. My beautiful Guide.”