Grazhir :: Crossover :: Kalpa :: 10



Edward was even more insufferable in the days following the first task, and it seemed not to bother him one iota that most of his fellow Hogwarts students openly displayed contempt for him. The only ones who stuck by his side were his two cronies, Weasley and Longbottom. Harry could only assume, without having actually asked—and he never would—that those two had been warned that James Potter was going to pull a prank in order to get his son into the tournament.

From what little he had witnessed it seemed as though Weasley was the sort to veer into jealousy and envy at the slightest provocation, so Edward had to have done something to head that off. Longbottom, however, was self-contained enough that Harry had trouble reading his character. Still, he did not seem to be the general sort of hanger-on, so he wondered why the boy was friends with his brother. Perhaps his mother could scare up an explanation should he ask her?

Viktor began joining him in the evenings, three times a week, for an hour before bed. He had asked again about the earring, and Harry had been moved to ask if his mentor wanted training in Occlumency. Viktor had been pleased to say yes so Harry started walking him through the process and how it could differ from individual to individual. So few people know Legilimency—that anyone is aware of—that I am not surprised our instructors don’t cover this, Viktor commented, and it’s not like people regularly stumble over someone who’d try to use the imperius on them.

I think it goes back to what you said to me way back. Durmstrang doesn’t make an effort to teach much more that isn’t in the mainstream. I mean yes, they teach what they do very differently from places like Hogwarts, but. . . . Maybe they teach this at mastery level?

Viktor looked thoughtful at that, and nodded slowly. Perhaps they do. And if so, I’ll be ahead of the game. Harry— Dudley came in, causing Viktor to bite back whatever it was he wanted to say. Dudley, how are the mentoring sessions going?

Oh, they’re fine. Any time I start wondering I just think back to how you’ve acted, he said, smiling. Don’t worry! I’ll come to you if I need to. I want to be as good a mentor to them as you are to us, so if there’s anything I can’t handle I’ll ask.

‘So much for that conversation,’ Harry thought. He loved his cousin, really, but there were times when he wanted to strangle him. And that right there made him sit back in confusion. Why? Why was he being so touchy over his quiet time with Viktor? Their mentor.

Two regular evenings later Viktor was back, and this time he launched into whatever it was Dudley had interrupted previously. Harry, there’s going to be an announcement tomorrow about the tournament.

About the second task? he asked, thinking if so it would be weird to do so.

Viktor shook his head. There will be a ball on the twenty-fifth, that evening. As a champion I am required to have a date. He paused, his eyes intent.

Harry frowned, his upper lip twitching at the idea of Viktor having to escort someone and dance with that someone in front of hundreds of people. ‘It should be me,’ his mind whispered; and then he promptly blushed. ‘Oh wow. So that’s what’s wrong with me. I like him.’ His gaze slid up to meet Viktor’s and the heat in his cheeks increased.

Viktor smiled slowly. Will you be my date, Harry?

He nodded, not trusting himself to speak, but a smile began to creep in.

Your mother already knows I meant to ask, Viktor said. I asked her some time ago, even before she told me the Secret. The age difference between us might have been cause for concern in her eyes so I wanted her permission first.

His eyes went wide at the knowledge and his smile became a lot broader in consequence. I like that you did. And that you were interested even before then.

Viktor nodded. I thought you would appreciate knowing. And now we know why we were asked to bring dress robes this year.

Harry nodded, too. Oh. So that’s why. . . .」 ‘That’s why he keeps putting his arm around me like that,’ he thought. He blushed again and swallowed.

Viktor arched a brow, his expression conveying amusement.

He reached out and playfully smacked Viktor on the arm. Stop teasing me.

But I like teasing you, Viktor protested. You blush so cutely. He shifted on the bed, putting his back to the wall, and extended his arm invitingly. Harry slid into place and leaned into Viktor’s side. I have not yet seen what robes you have, Viktor continued.

Oh, er, mum got me dark green ones. You know, to go with my eyes. I think it’s a girly thing, this matching business, but don’t tell mum I said that.

Viktor huffed a laugh. Well, my parents got me robes in black, so it will be fine. Perhaps we can add some green to them. Perhaps silver as well, and some to yours. That ought to be a pleasing combination. I am certainly not going to be wearing the blood red of Durmstrang.

Harry grimaced. No. I don’t mind the colour, but it does rather clash with my eyes, and it’s too similar to Gryffindor scarlet. Viktor, can I kiss you?

Viktor twitched in surprise, then said, Here, where Dudley could walk in at any moment?

He hesitated, shrugged, and replied, Kiss, Viktor, not make out. He angled his head to better see, then smiled as Viktor shifted a bit and leaned in to place a lingering yet chaste kiss on his lips. Does that mean this is more than just a date to the ball? he asked softly, a bit of uncertainty creeping into his voice.

Yes, Viktor replied firmly.

He smiled almost shyly in response. Are we going to be open about it? He would be fine either way, though he admitted to himself it would make him cranky if people kept flirting with his, well, boyfriend.

I wish to be, Viktor said simply. You?

He nodded straight away. Of course. I’ve always liked you, Viktor. It’s just been recently that it’s been a different kind of like and me actually understanding what had changed.

Viktor leaned in and gave him a quick kiss, then said, Okay. We should get to work.


When Dudley had come back, and after Viktor left, he said, Viktor told me there’s going to be a ball on the twenty-fifth. I don’t know yet if it’s everyone or what year up. You might want to consider finding a date.

Dudley blinked at him.

He said the champions have to have a date, so I’m thinking that it’s fourth year and up—because of our letters.

His cousin narrowed his eyes. And you? You’re not exactly a social butterfly, Harry. You’d take Valdis if you could get away with it.

Harry laughed. No! Viktor asked me; I said yes. It’s a good thing our mothers insisted we learn how to dance. I wouldn’t want to embarrass him or myself in front of so many people.

Oh, wow! Congratulations, Harry. So you’re dating now? Dudley came over and gave him a companionable slap on the back.

Yes, he replied, feeling his cheeks heat up again a little.

Dudley grinned, then asked, Does he know? About the extra training, I mean.

Harry shook his head. Just that I’m not much of a wizard and I work twice as hard, that’s all. I expect that’ll change in time, assuming nothing goes wrong. I’d like for him to know, but it’s not entirely my decision. Us dating complicates things.

Yeah, I can see that. Well, now that you’ve warned me, I think I’ll ask Luna tomorrow as soon as I see her. If it is fourth year and up she wouldn’t be able to go otherwise.

And you like her, he said, grinning.

Yeah, well. . . . Right, time for bed. Dudley turned away, blushing a bit himself, and started to get ready for sleep.

The next regular morning Viktor sat with him at breakfast, giving his hand a squeeze before loading up his plate. Dudley showed up several minutes later and nodded at Harry. She said yes.

He grinned. Excellent. I bet it’ll be a big scramble when it’s announced. He leaned closer to Viktor and whispered, He asked Luna Lovegood of Ravenclaw.

Dudley looked shifty for a moment and said quietly, I warned Draco, but he already knew.

Harry glanced down the table at Ilsa. Is he. . . ?

I think so, Dudley answered, then began loading his plate.

By the time the weekend was upon them Draco had asked Ilsa and she had accepted. They, Harry, Viktor, Dudley, and Luna were preparing to leave the Great Hall after breakfast when a girl also heading for the doors stopped when she got close enough. She saw that Harry and Viktor were holding hands and frowned.

“That’s—that’s not right,” she said. “You shouldn’t do that.”

Harry and Viktor exchanged a look. «Don’t tell me, she’s one of those.»

«Seems so,» Luna commented.

«Let’s go,» Draco said. «We don’t have to listen to rubbish like this.»

«Hey!» the girl said sharply. «Don’t you just walk away. I’m telling you, it’s not right.»

Harry squeezed Viktor’s hand and said, «Let me ask you something. What is your opinion of Headmaster Dumbledore?»

«What has that got to do with anything?» she said dismissively.

«Humor me,» he insisted.

«He’s a great man,» she answered. «Very powerful, intelligent, and a hero.»

Harry grinned knowingly. «I see. That pretty much says it all, then.» He shot an apologetic look at Draco and said, She has no idea the old man is homosexual, or bisexual at least.

Draco blinked. He is?

When did you—?

Dudley’s been teaching me. I’ve been pushing my parents pretty hard about maybe transferring to Durmstrang next year.

Oh. Cool. And yes, I have it on very good authority he is.

«Hey!» the girl repeated. «Don’t just ignore me!»

«You don’t have a damn clue, do you, Granger,» Draco said, and it finally twigged in Harry’s memory that this was the same girl who pitched a fit during the opening feast over house-elves. «All this time in our culture and you still can’t be bothered to research or learn anything. Oh, no, you just assume you have to be right and all of us are misguided, ignorant, or just plain stupid. You are so disrespectful it’s sickening. And you wonder why muggle-borns are so often disliked.»

Viktor scowled and shook his head. «Come on, let’s go. There’s no point in staying here to be harangued by a girl who can’t take the time to get her facts straight. What a waste of magical talent.»

The Beauxbatons champion swept by with her entourage, casting a look of cool contempt at Granger, and continued on out; she had obviously overheard the exchange.

They left Granger’s sputtering self behind, aiming for the carriages which would take them all to Hogsmeade. Viktor and Harry got into a carriage with Poliakoff and Bergfalk and they both endured some good-natured teasing along the way. Once in Hogsmeade they joined back up again, though Draco and Ilsa took off on their own. They strolled along with no particular haste, talking about which shops they planned to visit, when Harry noticed his mother approaching.

He smiled as she came up and hugged him. She was in the process of hugging Viktor after Dudley when a nasty voice came from behind him. “That’s pathetic.” Harry turned and saw Edward, his brother’s cronies not far away. “I can’t believe you changed his looks after you adopted him,” Edward said. “Missing me so much, mother, after your abandonment?”

Lily actually sneered. Harry watched with some wonder as his mother discreetly produced her wand and cast something at Edward, then tucked it back away. His brother got a confused look on his face and slowly turned, walking a bit unsteadily toward his friends. It was then, as he was witnessing that event, that he became aware that another person was approaching them: Professor Snape of Hogwarts. His hand tightened on Viktor’s and he exchanged an uneasy look with Dudley.

“Lily?” the man breathed.

Harry shifted so he could better observe; his mother had wiped the sneer from her face and adopted an almost annoyingly blank expression.

“Lily?” Snape repeated, almost pleadingly.

His mother turned to look at Dudley, then Harry, and said, I suppose I’ll have to deal with this. Why don’t you all continue on? I’ll see you back at the cottage.

Are you sure you don’t want us to stay?he said a bit anxiously.

It’s all right,she replied softly, gesturing with a tilt of her head. Go on.

Harry heaved a sigh, stole another look at Snape, and nodded. He let Viktor lead him away toward Honeydukes, his boyfriend saying quietly, She’ll be all right.

Well if she’s not I know who’ll fix it,Dudley threatened.

Luna shook her head. She’ll be fine. Tom won’t need to intervene. Professor Snape is going to grovel and apologize, something he never thought he’d have the chance to do.

Harry eyed her anxiously. And?

She smiled at him vaguely. I think you may end up with a stepfather, Harry.

Harry stopped dead, almost pulling Viktor off balance, who said, Hey. She said ‘may’, not ‘will be’.

A stepfather?he mouthed in surprise.

Viktor chuckled and tugged on his hand. Come on.

Wait a minute,he said, staring at Luna again. He knew she was, as Dudley termed it, a little loopy, but the idea that she might be a seer of some sort was pinging away in his head right then. How else could she make such statements, and with such certainty?

She eyed Viktor for a moment and shook her head. No, I don’t think he’d appreciate if I said any more.

Harry waved his free hand around impotently. Chocolate. I need chocolate.

Some time later, after Harry had managed several bars of Honeydukes best, and after they had stopped in to pick up some things to perhaps add to their dress robes, the four of them headed to the cottage. Professor Snape was there in the sitting room with his mother, but his aunt was nowhere to be seen.


She smiled and said, Dudley, your mother is in the library if you’d like to take Luna to meet her.

Dudley nodded and led his date and possible girlfriend away while Harry and Viktor slid onto a loveseat.

Harry, Viktor, I’m not sure if either of you have been properly introduced.She switched to English at that point. “This is Professor Severus Snape, Potions Master for Hogwarts. Severus, my son Harry and his boyfriend Viktor Krum, both of Durmstrang. Dudley is my sister’s son.”

“A pleasure to meet you, professor,” he said in deliberately heavily-accented English. Viktor simply nodded.

Snape eyed him strangely, obviously never having particularly noticed him before. His gaze went to Lily’s face, back to Harry, then to Lily. “His eyes. . . .”

His mother rolled hers. You always were too smart for your own good,she muttered. “They’re green, yes. Should I alert the media?”

Snape looked confused for a split second, then conflicted, then his expression cleared. Harry assumed the man decided there was no point arguing the matter at present. He glanced at Viktor, smiled, then asked his mother, Would you like us to remain?

She shook her head. It’s not necessary, no. Be sure to say hello to your aunt.

He nodded and stood, then crossed over to kiss her cheek before exiting into the hallway with Viktor. Wow,he said quietly. Forgive me if I’m still a little rattled at the idea of a possible stepfather.

The front door opened and Tom stepped inside, then paused on seeing Viktor. One brow quirked up. Harry was at a bit of a loss as to how to react, so he smiled.

“Harry,” Tom said, then eyed Viktor speculatively. “What do you think?” he finally asked, shifting his gaze back to Harry.

He smiled again. “At some point, I’d like it, yes.”

Tom nodded, eyed Viktor again, then gestured toward the door into the kitchen. Harry shrugged and headed through, taking a seat at the table there. Viktor sat beside him and Tom took a seat across from them after throwing up warding. “I’m willing to allow the dissemination of the story if, and only if, your friend here is willing to make an unbreakable vow. He is not, after all, a member of the family and I have no particular reason to trust him.”

He felt a stubborn spark of hope bloom in his chest and looked at Viktor hopefully.

“This has to do with the things you will not say, following on from what little you have said of your difficulties,” Viktor said slowly.

Harry nodded, then swiftly looked back at Tom. “Er, Snape is in the sitting room right now. Thought you should know.”

Tom’s brow arched again. “He must have seen Lily outside.”

“Yes. Luna said he was going to grovel and apologize, then she told me I might end up with a stepfather,” he replied with a shrug.

Tom exhaled in a gust. “Merlin. I wasn’t expecting that,” he muttered, then nodded and tilted his head at Viktor.

“Oh, right. Viktor, I would so very much like to be able to tell you everything. You have that earring to protect you and we’ve been working on your Occlumency, but. . . . This is just too important. Even my cousin doesn’t know all the details; he’s just not mature enough. You are, and I’d like to think we’d stay friends even if this dating thing doesn’t work out. You don’t have to, really. I’ll still be your friend and all, I’ll just have to continue to refrain from ever mentioning certain things, that’s all.”

Viktor sat there for several minutes, his gaze falling somewhere in the vicinity of Harry’s face, and eventually nodded. “I will make the vow. It is not good to have a relationship with so much concealed. It will cause problems in the end.”

Tom nodded and rose, gesturing for the two of them to take their places. A minute later the vow was complete and they were seated again. “First. Harry, can you go ‘borrow’ your mother? Tell her it will only be a minute.”

“Okay.” He jumped up and returned to the sitting room, smiling apologetically. “Mother, I am sorry to interrupt. Someone needs you in the kitchen for just a moment.” He gave her a meaningful look.

“Oh,” she said in surprise. “I didn’t realize he was here. Severus, excuse me for just a minute. I’ll be right back.”

Snape could do little but nod agreeably; his gaze followed Harry’s mother as she left, then shifted to look at him instead. “Harry, was it?”

“Yes, sir. My mother has told me you and she were great friends during much of her time at Hogwarts, and even before,” he said rather coolly.

“I see. Are—”

His mother breezed back in, cutting Snape off. “Thank you, sweetheart. I’m sure Viktor would like you back now.”

He nodded and left, returning to the kitchen and to his seat next to his boyfriend.

“Now,” Tom said, “how are your studies progressing?”

“Same as before,” he replied. “I am limiting my Alteration-Restoration trick just as you asked. Sometimes I wish I could just put Valdis in my trunk. At least then I wouldn’t have to keep portkeying to Norway, and if I neglected to mention it to mum she wouldn’t find reason to object. That and I have to wonder if we could get some kind of nasty beast in an unbreakable cage or something to put in there so I could at least practice some Destruction and Conjuration.”

Tom looked thoughtful, but shook his head slowly. “No, we will work on those two over the summer. And unless I re-ward the trunk there is no point in moving Valdis. The Greybeards will ‘hear’ you, remember?”

He grimaced, shaking his head. “Morons,” he muttered.

“However, speaking of Valdis, I believe I have located Serana.”

“What?” he breathed. “Seriously? I—it never occurred to me that—oh my.”

“Neither to me,” Tom said. “I have been canvassing various vampire clans and happened to overhear a mention of the name, so naturally I inquired. I did not meet this Serana, but I did prepare a message for her. If it is the same person what I wrote should be more than enough evidence for her peace of mind, and I expect I will be contacted.”

Harry swallowed heavily. “Should I tell her? Or wait until you know for sure?”

“Wait,” he advised. “In other news, I still have no idea who tried to destroy Durmstrang, and believe me, I’ve been looking under every rock and chasing down every whisper of a lead.” Tom frowned unhappily. Then he looked at Viktor again. “How much do you know yet of the second task?”

Viktor seemed surprised to be included back into the conversation so suddenly. “I know that it will involve the lake and a hostage. Once I figured out how to decipher the message it was more than obvious.”

“Hostage?” Harry whispered, feeling a bit ill, having forgotten that earlier assumption.

“Yes. At this point I should ask if you wish to back out of being my date. I suspect they will use you as my hostage because of it.”

He shook his head. “No. I want to go with you. And I have enchantments for waterbreathing in case whatever they do fails. I expect I and whoever else will be submerged.” He narrowed his eyes and shifted his gaze to Tom for a split second. “That’s a hint if you want it to be, by the way. I can supply you with another little something so you can breathe underwater, but you’d have to figure out how to fake that you aren’t actually using it, if that makes sense.”

“Perhaps. Let me think on it.”

“All right,” Tom said. “So you know that much. Third task?”

“Based on the book I read I expect it to be some kind of maze,” Viktor replied.

“Good enough. Harry, your device is powerful enough for two. I suggest you take Viktor with you for at least one repeat so you can explain things to him. I expect you will not disappoint me and use the ability for . . . other activities.”

He adopted an offended look. “Of course not.”

“Good. Now, in case your mother has not yet had the chance to tell you, you can return home for the twenty-fifth, for the first part of the day, and you can bring Viktor with you. I would say do it on repeat, but the device isn’t strong enough for three people. Viktor can share your portkey. You’ll just have to get outside the main wards and then sneak back in from here after you return. Your mother and aunt would like to have you home for at least the morning. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything about Serana.”

He blinked, taking all that in, and nodded. “Understood.”

“Good,” Tom repeated. He looked at Viktor and said coolly, “Don’t disappoint me,” then stood up and apparated out.

Viktor immediately arched a brow at him; Harry was forced to shake his head. “Not yet. At six every morning I—well, just be there shortly before six, okay? It’ll all make sense then.”

“You have a time turner, obviously, a powerful one.”

He nodded. “Let’s go see my aunt, then, while we’re here,” he said to change the subject, and stood. Petunia was in the little library as promised and Mary brought them tea and nibbles.

His mother joined them a short while later and sat down with a sigh. “Well, that was uncomfortable and awkward. Severus is very curious about you, Harry, but I think that’s to be expected. He’s very intelligent, after all, and I can tell his mind keeps trying to work around the Secret. Stubborn, too. I finally shooed him away by reminding him he’s in Hogsmeade to keep an eye on his students, not to sit with me having tea and a chat.”

“I was tempted to read his mind,” Harry said.

Lily shrugged. “He’s a master of Occlumency, Harry, and Legilimency. I could tell he was going a bit nuts because I’m protected and he couldn’t even tell if I was being truthful.”

“Good to know,” he commented, then said, “We’ve been discussing some alterations to my and Viktor’s robes for the ball,” showing her the things they had picked up.

His mother looked thoughtful for a moment before saying, “Well, we can’t very well put lions on them because for both Norway and Bulgaria they’re golden. Perhaps some vines or. . . .” She trailed off, still thoughtful. “If you like, send them to me with Pelk. Petunia and I will take care of it.”

Viktor said, “Thank you,” so Harry nodded.