On the Wings of an Angel

Chapter 28

As much as it pained Harry to admit, getting Dobby away from his master would take much longer than just a day and Harry would have little to do with the actual work behind it. Sirius would be the one to reach out to the Malfoy's and negotiate. Harry had known that since Dobby had told him who his family was. As the Boy-Who-Lived, any reaching out to that family would incite alarms, especially with his on-going feud, if it could be called that, with Draco. Getting Dobby away from them was out of his abilities alone.

Sirius, on the other hand, wouldn't cause any alarm if he reached out to his cousin. Family was everything in the Wizarding World and even family in disagreement with opposing view was still family. Asking his cousin Narcissa if she happened to have an extra elf that he could purchase in order to fill out the Black elves ranks now that most were dead was only to be expected. The iffy part was getting them to choose Dobby as the elf to sell.

That was where Dobby's part would come in. The elf would be doing his utmost to broadcast his dislike for his family and to subtly but openly defy them in small ways that would make him even more unsavory to the family than he already was; all the while being careful that it was Narcissa who noticed these things instead of her more violent husband.

Leaving Harry with nothing to do other than watch from the background and hope that things went the way they were supposed to. He hadn't needed to manipulate people on such a level during this lifetime and he was severely out of practice. Sirius was also still recovering from Azkaban and his own skills in the subject were lacking from it, leaving everything mostly up to Dobby. Not that it worried Harry any, considering how dedicated the little house-elf was.

That didn't mean that Harry wasn't anxious, however, and it was obvious in his posture.

"You really like that little elf, eh?" Sirius asked, smiling lightly. Harry wasn't sure why his godfather was so pleased about that but decided not to bother asking. He had a feeling that he didn't want to know the answer just yet.

"So what house are we going to see first?" Harry asked, changing the subject. Gabriel snorted in their mind at the obvious diversion yet Sirius seemed pleased with him for another strange reason that he would likely not like the reason behind. He wasn't sure why he wouldn't like the reason behind whatever it was that was causing Sirius to act the way he was, he just knew that he wouldn't. One of those sixth senses that people, even archangels, couldn't explain the reasons behind.

Sirius accepted the subject change easily enough. "We're going to visit the other Black Family properties first," he told him easily. "We have three other than this place and I doubt that the elves in those homes have been killed off yet so they should be in good condition."

"Why not assign those elves to help with Grimmauld?" Harry asked as he followed his godfather into the yard. It seemed that Molly had warned his godfather of his Floo problem as Sirius held out a portkey for him to take.

"Each elf is bound to the property that they've been assigned," Sirius explained as Harry took the portkey. "They've also been barricaded from all the other properties to prevent other Black Family members from ordering their elves into the other homes to sabotage each other."

'Brutal,' Gabriel grimaced. 'Not the kind of family that everyone wants to have, then.'

'Definitely not,' Harry agreed, mildly disturbed. Family harming each other had never sat well with him. Sometimes the mere idea had something within him aching. He didn't bring up the strange feeling to Gabriel, knowing that he wouldn't receive and answer if he did.

"Brace yourself," Sirius warned. Harry complied, remembering just how bad the memories of portkeys were and not really looking forward to the real thing. "Marauder."

Just like that, the portkey sparked to life and the world disappeared in a blur of color and light. His wings burned against the magic surrounding them, nearly throwing him off course as they tried to flare out against the momentum. He fought back a whimper as he folded them in tightly and barely noticed as he hit the ground as they arrived.

"Harry?!" Sirius' voice was alarmed. He blinked up to see his godfather staring at him with wide eyed concern. Groaning, he sat up to see that the patch of grass around him was charred and dead.

"I guess portkeys are out of the question," the man said with a rather forced chuckle as Harry stood up. "If this is how they react, I'd hate to see what Floo does to you. We'll try Apparition next."

Harry sighed, looking mournfully at the dead grass. He had no doubt that the problem had come from the magic of the portkey clashing with the Grace in his wings. 'Never. Again.' Gabriel moaned in their head. 'Our wings feel burned.'

They looked burned too, Harry noted. Making sure to study them when his godfather was looking, Harry noticed that the feathers were mostly charred and covered in soot like he'd been standing over a fire. The appendages had never looked so ragged before and Harry had to stomp on the urge to shift his fingers in the feathers and groom them. He knew that Sirius would definitely notice that.

"Here we are!" Sirius said, grinning. "Welcome to Black Manor."

Harry couldn't help but look around him in shock. The Manor was surrounded by woods on all sides of them and was made out of black marble, contrasting greatly amongst the greenery.

"It's very…" Harry trailed off, not sure of the right word that wouldn't offend the man.

Sirius snorted. "It's dreary and creepy on the best of days," he assured the boy. "I didn't particularly like it very much either but the manor is part of the Black Family history so there isn't much that I can do about it. I didn't really expect you to like it though I wasn't completely sure you wouldn't."

There wasn't much else to say to that and they continued toward the imposing manor. "Ellie!" Sirius called as they reached the manor entrance. A soft pop and the giant wood doors creaked open to reveal a startled house elf.

"Masters Sirius, sirs!" The little elf squeaked with large eyes. "Whats cans Ellie be doings for yous, sirs?"

"I just came from Grimmauld Place to find only one remaining elf. I came to make sure I didn't need to fill any positions here as well," Sirius told her, far more kindly than he had behaved with Kreacher. There was definitely some history behind them, Harry noted to himself absently. He had a feeling that he was better off keeping silent about the obvious differences. If Sirius decided to tell him, well, that was up to the older man.

After all, Harry wasn't one who could complain about others keeping secrets. He had so many of them himself that it would hypocritical of him. So he remained silent as Sirius spoke with the house-elf, enquiring into the welfare of their health and the state of the property. It was obvious that the man was anxious to leave and Harry really couldn't blame him. Just the feeling of this place was enough to make Harry want to run in the opposite direction. He had no idea how people had been able to live here at all and he didn't envy Sirius one bit for owning the place. Family home or not, Harry would have burned it to the ground.

Thankfully, they didn't stay any longer than a few minutes. Harry had little doubt that that Sirius had noticed his discomfort and had cut the visit short for his sake. He wasn't sure why but the entire place had his skin crawling, as if there was something sinister in the very ground that the Manor sat on. Gabriel silence only made his skin crawl all that much more. The Archangel hadn't spoken more than once since they got here and it was unlike his other half to keep quiet like he was.

'Don't draw attention to us,' said Archangel hissed, suddenly. Harry almost jumped at the sudden voice. Of course as soon as Harry even so much as noted his silence, the Archangel would choos then to speak up.

'What's wrong?' he asked ad he followed Sirius to the apparition point.

'We're being watched.' Gabriel told him and Harry could feel the hairs on his arms stand on end.

'By what?' He hissed, glancing around quickly. He saw nothing but Sirius in front of him, the hallway to the apparition point empty of everything.

'A being from the Other.' Gabriel practically whispered. 'There must be a breach here. It shouldn't be able to see us clearly enough or else it would have already attached.'

'Just what is the other?' Harry demanded. The name caused a shiver to run down his spine. Whatever it was, his instincts were telling him to get as far away from here as possible.

'Something you don't want to mess with. If there's a breach here, there's bound to be more. I'm beginning to think know that our Grace ending up here wasn't a coincidence.'

Before Harry could demanded further explanation, Sirius interrupted. "Here we are!"

Harry glanced around him in disbelief. If he thought that the rest of the place was dark, this place took the cake. "Are those human skulls?!"

"Starting to understand why they call this family Black." Gabriel hissed. "This place is saturated in dark magic. What is wrong with this family?!"

"Probably," Sirius grimaced. "The last Black that lived here was a bit…mad."

"A bit? More like a lot." Harry snorted. Gabriel was right; this place was covered in foul looking magic. He'd never seen such nauseating magic in his life and it was just as volatile in nature as well. Wisps of black magic attempted to actually attached them, stopped only by the Lord ring on Sirius' finger. His wings shuddered at the close proximity of the magic, drawing in close to his back in order to protect him if need be. He had a strong suspicion that they were also trying to hide themselves from whatever it was that had his skin crawling and Gabriel on alert.

"Let's get out of here," he told Sirius as he shivered. "This place gives me the creeps."

Thankfully, Sirius obliged. Grabbing onto the man's hand, he felt the world compress around hi as they vanished from the room, leaving this place behind.

Sirius didn't take them to anymore Black properties after that. Harry figured that his reaction at the Manor was more extreme than he had first thought. He couldn't find it in himself to really care all that much. He didn't need anything else to add to his already numerous questions. Questions that Gabriel was refusing to answer until they were back in the safety of the Burrow. Whatever the Other was, it had the Archangel spooked.

It didn't help matters that Sirius definitely could tell that something was wrong. He could see the uncertain worry in his godfathers' eyes as they made their way to Gringotts.

The day only got that much more complicated as they approached the bank entrance and the goblin standing guard nearly fell over in shocked fear.

"What in the name of Merlin?" Sirius muttered, giving the goblin what could only be the most befuddled look that ever crossed the man's face. Harry, however, felt his entire body tense as he noticed that the gaze of the goblin was locked on him and his wings. 'Oh great,' Gabriel all but moaned. 'As if our say couldn't get any worse.'

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