Kreacher was going to do it. He’d gone over it in his head, again and again, and again. Master Regulus had ordered the locket destroyed and Kreacher now knew how to do so. He could not fail his Master and though he might punish himself later, the trinket needed to be destroyed. Kreacher was certain of this.
Now was the perfect time to approach the Master Celestial. He would not be upsetting any school work and the Filthy Lord was keeping the half-breed company tonight. Now as the ideal time to bring the locket to the Master Celestial.
Grabbing the golden trinket, tainted by the foul magic used on it, Kreacher nodded determinedly to himself and vanished with a pop.
Harry was enjoying a day of silence, the first in the entire semester. Everyone was outside, enjoying the snow, Sirius was out with Remus preparing for the Full Moon tonight and the professors were preparing for the end of break. That left Harry with the entire dorm and common room to himself and no one to pester him into doing anything. No need to work on the next task, no reason to run around the school, and no plot to foil since the Fake Moody had been caught.
‘I can’t remember the last time that we just took a break and relaxed.’ Gabriel sighed contentedly in their mind. Even during the summer holidays, they were always busy with training with their sword and building up muscle memory. Thinking about it, they always seemed to be doing something that required work. The side project of cleaning up the Chamber with Luna was the closest to a break they’d had in a very long time.
‘I can’t either,’ Harry agreed, sprawled across the couch in the common room without care. It seemed like some new, life-threatening, problem appeared every time they had a chance to relax.
The distinct popping sound of a house-elf had them both groaning, internally and externally. ‘You jinxed it,’ Gabriel whined. Harry ignored the Archangel and reluctantly sat up. His eyebrows raised when he realized that the elf before was Kreacher.
“Kreacher?” He blinked stupidly at the old elf. Kreacher wrung his hands nervously, glancing around hesitantly. Harry had never seen the elf so nerve-wracked before.
“Master Celestial sir,” Kreacher greeted after assuring himself that there was no one else around. The common room was just as deserted as it had been before the house-elf had made his appearance. Despite this, Kreacher seemed to still be hesitant to discuss whatever it was that he wanted to discuss here.
“Is there something I can help you with?” Harry made sure to keep his voice level and even. Kreacher was already hard enough to deal with without Harry accidently inciting, what he like to call a ‘Dobby Moment’. He’d only every incited one out of Kreacher once but he’d vowed never to do it again. Dobby did it enough for everyone house-elf he knew.
Kreacher was still hesitating, looking both certain and conflicted in a way that was actually rather confusing to the black haired teen. The house elf had always been certain before except for their discussion when Kreacher had first learned what Harry was. “Does this have anything to do with those items I asked you about?”
‘Huh,’ Gabriel mused. ‘I forgot about that.’
Harry didn’t really blame him. Harry had forgotten about the encounter as well and it had been months since then. However, it was the only time Kreacher had acted this way before.
“Yes, Master Celestial sir!” Kreacher looked more than relieved at not having to come out and say it himself. Immediately, the house-elf produced one of the bulkiest and rather ugly lockets that Harry had ever seen. That wasn’t what really caught his attention.
Gabriel snarled and Harry felt his wings arch in threat. Kreacher flinched, eyes wide at his display bringing his attention away from the locket. “Drop the locket and get as far away from it as you can.” Harry could see the magic leeching from Kreacher and into the locket. It was a miracle that the house-elf wasn’t collapsed on the floor seizing.
The house-elf immediately obeyed, dropping the locket and popping behind Harry. Harry extended his wings, blocking the leeching magic from leaving the house-elf. The horcrux had evidently imprinted enough on the house-elf’s magic that it no longer needed direct contact to leech from him. Not even Ginny had been that far along in the process when she’d had the diary. Riddle had still needed direct contact with her for any sort of magic, which was why the attacks had stopped when she had lost the diary.
Kreacher had been in contact with this horcrux for years. Maybe even almost two decades if Harry’s fledgling theory was right. If Regulus had been given the horcrux, Kreacher had possibly had it since the first war, maybe a few years before Harry had been born and Voldemort had been stopped. That was more than enough time to form a strong link with the elf. ‘I have a bad feeling that I know what happened to the other house-elves now,’ Gabriel snarled darkly.
Harry had the same bad feeling. ‘Guess we’re going to see if our sword works on a horcrux sooner rather than later,’ he replied angrily. There was no way that Harry was going to let the black monstrosity keep leeching off the house-elf any longer than he had to. It was a miracle that Kreacher was as sane as he was if this is what he’d been living with alone for so long.
The sword immediately appeared in his hand the moment he thought of it. Harry wasted no time in walking towards the horcrux with the blade ready to strike.
The locket wasn’t about to sit there and wait to be destroyed, however. As soon as Harry made his way towards the twisted soul container, black magic lashed out. The fire in the fireplace blacked and flared as magic ripped up the floor and sent chunks of magic flying at the surprised teen. Cursing, Harry threw his wings open and materialized them blocking the worst of it from hitting the surprised elf behind him. He winced as the chunks of carpet hit his wings. The impact hurt more than he thought it would though he really shouldn’t have been surprised.
A surprised shriek came from the portrait. Harry resisted the urge to look and see who it was. Taking his attention off a pissed horcrux attempting to kill him would likely end badly. ‘At least there is no Basilisk.’
Well, there was that going for them. However, he wasn’t going to get anywhere just standing there. The black magic was thick in the room, so much so that Harry wouldn’t be surprised if even the least magic sensitive muggle could see it. Walking towards the thing was not going to be a possibility like this and they needed to kill the damn thing before anyone else walked into this. It was already going to be trying enough explaining why he’d suddenly grown wings to whoever it was that had already entered.
They didn’t have enough access to Grace to use that as a defense ye,t however, there was a spell that Harry could try. In all his memories of living on this particular Earth, he’d only ever been able to use this spell as a matured adult with a fully grown magical core. At the same time, he’d also found himself a lot more powerful than an average fourth year in this life, probably because he’d found his tree at a young age. Or maybe he would have been just as powerful in this life without having found his tree, though Harry doubted he’d ever really know.
The difficulty of this spell is that it had no incantation nor could it be performed with a wand. Like the animagus transformation, the spell required wandless manipulation of magic, though instead of turning into an animal, you were forming a shield of magic around yourself. It was a much more powerful version of the standard Protego spell with a lot more difficulty added to it. Wandless magic was always harder to do and wordless as well pushed it far into advanced light magic. Harry had never encountered it the Hogwarts library as it was far too advanced to keep even in the restricted section.
The teen grit his teeth and pulled on his magic. This was harder to do than it should have been, most likely because of the carpet still pelting him, the ache in his wings, and the shaken presence of Kreacher behind him. ‘We can do this,’ Gabriel whispered in the back of his mind, the voice of his other self quieter than he’d ever heard him. Focus on the magic, let me do the rest.
For a moment, the line between them was gone. Their wings extended, a protective barrier made of Grace shielding everything behind them from destruction. Their magic rolled off their skin and circled in front of them forming a familiar shield of gleaming white mixed with shades of green that gave it a marbling affect they could not recall having been there in their memories. They walked forward, no long feeling the slap of black magic against their senses or feeling pain as carpet debris flew towards them. They especially didn’t notice the rising smoke from the out of control fire in the fireplace.
Reaching the locket, they lifted their sword and brought it down, piercing through the layers of magic and metal hiding the twisted soul inside of it. The soul withered and screeched in pain, filling the room with the sounds of death as it slowly fizzled away into nothing. The black magic filling the room shattered, the whirlwind of carpet suddenly stopping altogether. They smiled.
Just like that they snapped apart and Harry whirled around to see none other than Hermione hiding behind the couch of the common room.
“Hermione?” Harry asked as he focused on the room. “What are you doing here?”
‘I don’t think that’s what we should be worried about,’ Gabriel informed him. ‘We also should probably put the wings away.’
Harry jerked and swung his head to see two perfectly visible wings, a slight shimmer giving away that they were visible to everyone who cared to see. Turning to where his friend was standing, he saw that she was giving them a wide eyed look of wonder. ‘Shit.’
‘I guess we’re going to have to hope that her occlumency is up to par sooner rather than later,’ Gabriel mused. He didn’t sound nearly as panicked about this whole thing as Harry felt, though that could just be because he was better at hiding his feelings than Harry was. Probably because he was only memories given sentience, now that Harry really considered it.
“What happened in here?!” Sirius’ voice came from the portrait. Harry winced at his godfather’s tone and took a moment to look around the room.
The Gryffindor common room had never really been all that tidy, to begin with but now it was absolutely wrecked. The carpet was shredded and pieces of it were everywhere, even impaling a few of the walls with the force that they had been shot. The fire had spread from the fireplace and half of the wall was currently engulfed in flames as well as a good portion of the floor. It was also quickly spreading to other parts of the common room. “Aguamenti!”
The fire sputtered under the flow of water, dowsing it completely everywhere the stream touched. Sirius soon added his own spell into the mix. They continued until the fire was out and the areas where it had burned were soaked as well as charred. The room was silent as they all turned to look at each other again. Hermione was still stunned, her eyes still glued to Harry’s visible wings while Sirius was looking around the room trying to figure out what had happened. Harry wondered why his godfather was even here considering he was supposed to be with Remus.
Kreacher kept silent, no doubt stunned at how fast everything had escalated. Harry almost felt bad for the poor elf and was just glad that Sirius had yet to notice Kreacher’s presence and, for once, rightly assume the elf was responsible. ‘Not that he was really intending any of this to happen,’ Gabriel interceded.
‘Yeah, but try explaining that to Sirius. He’ll be pissed just because Kreacher kept the locket hidden for so long.’ Not that Harry thought the house-elf had much of a choice. He was surprised that Kreacher had even been able to bring the locket to him at all. Considering the amount of charms on the diary to prevent such a thing from occurring, Harry was a bit alarmed about the lack of charm on the locket. Voldemort didn’t seem like someone to get less paranoid, after all.
‘Probably more to this story than we know,’ Gabriel grumbled.
Voice jerked everyone out of their stupor. They were rather urgent and some even sounded panicked. “Harry, wings and sword!” Sirius snapped. Harry immediately stashed his sword away and allowed his wings to fade from sight. He’d forgotten that they were still visible, to be honest. That made twice in a row that he’d been able to keep them out without having to at least partially concentrate on them.
“Oh my word!” The voice of Professor McGonagall cut through the room as the portrait was thrown up to reveal herself and the entirety of the staff. Even Filch and Trelawney were both among the group. “What in Merlin’s name!”
She didn’t finish the sentence, cutting herself off as she studied the chaos. Her eyes finally focused on Harry. Horror flashed across her face. “Mr. Potter are you alright? Poppy!”
Confused, Harry looked down at himself to see that the carpet had been doing more damage to him than he’d thought. He was covered in cuts that had stained his rather casual attire with blood. He probably was going to have to get rid of these, then. ‘We lose more clothing to battle with dark magic than we probably should.’
Harry wondered if that said anything about their lives. He didn’t think it was a good thing.
Explaining what had happened was a lot harder than Harry had predicted to be and he hadn’t exactly expected it to be easy. Thankfully, Kreacher had managed to escape before anyone had noticed him though Harry made a note to talk to Sirius about the house-elf later. There were bound to be side effects after being around a horcrux for that long and they really should get the poor thing checked out.
The locket, thankfully, was destroyed beyond recognition. There was nothing left of the thing to identify what it was so Harry had a bit of room to improvise without having to answer the question of where he had found a priceless relic. Honestly, he couldn’t believe that Voldemort had made Slytherin’s Locket, of all things, into a horcrux. Wasn’t that a kick in the teeth to your ancestor? Harry was really glad that Riddle had never bothered to explore and clean the Chamber like he and Luna had. Who knows what the bastard would have done to those artifacts?
Either way, he managed to spin it to look like an owl had delivered him the locket (which made more sense than a house-elf if you weren’t in the know like Sirius was) and that upon touching it the thing went crazy. He’d used a Protego Maxima to keep most of the dangerous elements from reaching him. Or at least, that was the story that he was sticking with. Somehow, Harry doubted that they would believe he’d managed to use a spell that most adults would have trouble with.
As to what actually destroyed the ‘cursed’ necklace, Harry was feigning ignorance. There was no way to explain how he’d managed to stab it or even what he’d managed to stab it with. At least, not in a way that didn’t involve admitting he could materialize a sword out of nowhere.
Thankfully, the conversation soon moved over to Sirius and his sudden appearance. The dog animagus didn’t even bother lying, admitting that one of the functions of Harry’s Christmas present was to alert Sirius and Remus if he had ever got hurt. As soon as the first of the carpet pieces had hit him, Sirius had been alerted and had booked it over to the Gryffindor common room as fast as he possibly could.
The best part was that he didn’t even have to explain why he’d given Harry a protection charm with that function. Fake Moody was still fresh in everyone’s minds, after all. Which left them with only Hermione left to question.
The bushy haired girl surprised Harry and even Sirius by telling them that she’d taken cover as soon as she’d completely entered the common room and had not seen anything else until the necklace had been mysteriously destroyed. Her face was devoid of any deviousness, not a single indication that she was lying through her teeth. Harry knew that Occlumency gave the practitioner more control over their emotions as well as their body language however he hadn’t really considered what that would mean for his friends.
After a couple more questions (or interrogations techniques when it came to Snape) they were all released to wander around the castle until the house-elves finished fixing the common room.
Sirius sighed in relief once they were far enough away from the Headmaster’s office. Then he glanced between Harry and Hermione. “Are you two going to be alright?”
There was absolutely nothing in his expression to giveaway anything other than concern. Harry knew what he was really asking, however.
“Yeah, Hermione and I are going to be good.” He was going to have a lot to explain since she’d seen his wings but somehow, he got the feeling that this was probably going to be one of the easier conversation when I came to explaining what he was.
“You two stay out of trouble. I need to go check on Remus and fill him in. If anything else happens, I’ll be here within minutes.” Sirius glanced at them both, pausing to look at Harry. The black haired teen nodded in understanding, giving the man a slight smile. If he needed help explaining everything to Hermione, Sirius was willing to floo over and lend him some backup.
‘Nice thought but out of everyone we’ve told, Sirius was the one who originally had the hardest time grasping it.’
This was very true though Harry kept that thought to himself. Now wasn’t the time to tease his godfather. There would be plenty of time for that after he brought Hermione into the loop.
‘We’re probably going to have to bring in Ron a lot earlier than we thought as well.’ Gabriel sighed. ‘We should probably wait until over the summer holidays so that Sirius can test his barriers for us but Hermione isn’t going to want to wait much longer that to include him.’
Knowing his friend like he did? Harry could only agree. Speaking of Hermione... “There’s an empty classroom not far from here. We can talk there.”
Hermione looked at him, brown eyes considering, before she nodded.
Today was turning out to be the weirdest day of her life. Which was really saying something considering she was a witch attending a magical school and had once been petrified by a Basilisk controlled by a memory of the darkest wizard in centuries from when he was a teenager. And her parent’s wondered what she meant when she said that the wizarding world had skewed views of what was ‘normal’.
Although she somehow didn’t think that her best friend growing slightly transparent wings was on the list of ‘normal’ occurrences. The only thing that had her holding her tongue when the professors were questioning them was the fact that Sirius had obviously known about the wings. Hermione and even Ron had been aware that Harry had been hiding something for years now. She even knew that Remus and Sirius were aware of what he was hiding. The fourteen year old teenager strongly suspected that the wings were only one part of the secret.
She also knew that she was about to learn just what Harry had been hiding from them. So she sat patiently in the abandoned classroom has Harry put up privacy ward after privacy ward. She hadn’t even known that you could put up more than one of those in the way he was. She also hadn’t even known that he knew any privacy wards in the first place!
Finally, Harry seemed content with his rather paranoid application of the wards. He also started to look rather nervous when he seemed to remember what they had come in here to do. “So, you’re probably wondering what exactly happened today.”
Hermione couldn’t help it anymore. She snorted. Harry gave her his most wounded face. “You don’t have to ‘gently ease’ me into whatever explanation you have for what happened. I’ve been perfectly aware that you’ve been hiding something for years now, Harry.”
The nervous look disappeared slight, replaced by a more comfortable smile. Hermione returned it. “You can just come out and tell me. After today, I don’t think there’s anything that you can do to scare me away.”
And that was really the root of the problem. Her mind was protected now that she knew Occlumency, she was no longer a liability like they’d been when they first confronted him. Yet he was still hesitating to tell her. Sirius and Remus knew and had obviously taken it well. She even suspected that Luna Lovegood was even in on it (though whether or not Harry had told her or she had discovered on her own, Hermione still wasn’t all that sure about). The fact that Harry was still nervous about telling her, when considering those facts, wasn’t because he thought that they were a liability. Not anymore at least. He was probably worried about their reactions.
She knew that Harry had been abused when he was growing up. That was obvious to anyone that even stopped to look. His muggle relatives were horrid people and if she ever managed to come face to face with them, she would probably be given a one-way ticket to Azkaban. She had no doubt that Harry’s hesitance was born out of his treatment from his relative combining with the delicate nature his secret likely held.
“It started in first year, during one of my trips in the forest with Hope,” Harry began.