Grazhir :: Crossover :: Kalpa :: 20

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20

When Viktor did arrive his mother eyed him again like she had after Harry’s birthday, but refrained from asking what was on her mind, possibly diverted by Viktor saying to Harry, after the greetings, “My parents have expressed their curiosity as to why I have not invited you to visit them with me.”

He blinked, his mouth dropping open a bit in surprise. His situation was so bizarre that it had honestly never once crossed his mind to go to Bulgaria and let Viktor and his family return the hospitality. It made him feel more than a little insensitive. He could still bring his trunk and do repeats if he wanted, though, so was there really any particular issue barring a visit? Well, aside from Tom’s promise to take him tomb raiding after he turned seventeen, and he could go visit prior to that.

He bit his lip, sort of but not really glancing toward his mother, and said, “Maybe at the start of the summer? Before you come here? I could go with you at the conclusion of school. . . ?”

“I’m okay with that,” his mother said, nodding in his peripheral vision. “And since the subject has come up—sort of—Viktor, Severus and I are getting married this summer and you will of course be invited. You’ll be here anyway, I expect. But what I was curious about is whether or not you thought your parents might like to come. I’d say your sister, too, but I’ve never actually met her and there won’t be anyone here around her age at the time.”

“Congratulations,” Viktor said, smiling. “And I would love to attend. As to my parents—hm. They both seem to like you, so there is no problem there I can think of. My concern, however, would be other guests.”

Harry quirked a brow at his boyfriend. Nobody really knew who Tom Riddle was, so he couldn’t mean him—and that was assuming Tom even bothered to attend. So who?

“I imagine that Dudley would invite Luna, but would Draco not also be invited? And through him, possibly his parents? The only reason I bring it up is that even I knew of the Malfoy family and—” Viktor looked away for a moment, exhaling in almost a snort. “My paternal grandfather was killed by Grindelwald himself, you see, before Dumbledore defeated him, and we’ve been a little touchy about certain things.”

His jaw dropped and he wondered just exactly how it was that Viktor took learning about Tom so calmly.

“Er. . . .” His mother seemed to be at a loss for words. “Well, unless Severus wanted the Malfoys here. . . .”

“I guess Draco might be a bit put out if he wasn’t invited given his visits here and his closeness to Severus,” Harry mused. “Though, now that I think about it, I’m not actually sure how close that is.”

“I, well, I don’t know,” his mother said. “I’ll check. I’ll still issue an invitation, Viktor. We don’t really have room for everyone to stay here overnight so at best it’d be an afternoon and evening.”

Viktor nodded. “I can always warn them after the invitation arrives that there may be some questionable guests. Even so, the Malfoy family was not connected to Grindelwald that I am aware of.”

“All right. I’ll get back to you with more information later,” she said, wandering off with a thoughtful expression.

Harry stood there for a second, still a little surprised, then looked up when Viktor pulled him close for a kiss. He smiled happily when Viktor drew back, then frowned. “I had no idea.”

“The Grindelwald thing?”

“Yeah,” he replied as Viktor bent to pick up his trunk, then walked with him upstairs to the guest room to drop it off. When Viktor did not remove his cloak he fetched his from his room and the two of them went for a walk. It was not until after they were into the woods that he asked, “How the hell did you not flip out when you realized who Tom was?”

Viktor sighed and let go of his hand, slinging his arm around Harry’s shoulders instead. “I’ve known you since you were eleven. I may not have known about Tom specifically, but you and Dudley have always struck me as being fine. And then when you were finally able to tell me your story—no, I can’t say that I was happy finding out, knowing the things he must have done, the lives he must have been responsible for ending. I rather doubt that the people directly affected would forgive him.

“But he woke up one day, I guess. Realized that he was fighting the wrong fight. Made sure you and your family were safe. As intimidating as he can be, which is a lot, he’s—he obviously cares about you, takes his perceived role seriously, and treats you and your mother well. And bizarrely, you have so many of his memories and some of his mannerisms; and you’re ridiculously well-adjusted. Maybe part of what he went through was in preparation for what will come. I don’t know. It was a lot of information to take in at the time and I ended up focusing on you and dragons and magicka first.”

“Okay,” he replied, not pressing that any further. “I remember hearing some rumors at Durmstrang about a symbol, but the places it supposedly was were all damaged.”

“Yes. I defaced them. Some of the students thought it looked cool, the symbol, and were putting it on their things. They didn’t know it was the symbol Grindelwald used. I convinced them to stop and tried to remove any I found in the school.”

He nodded. “Somehow I find that easy to believe.” He reached up to briefly clasp Viktor’s hand. “What’s it like where your parents live?”

*

He gave his cousin a hug and stepped back. “We’ll see you soon,” he said.

“Yeah. Bring me back a souvenir,” Dudley said with a grin.

He nodded. “If I see something perfect for you, sure.”

Dudley departed as Viktor took out their portkey, so Harry pulled his trunk up close and waited for Viktor to make sure his own was secure before reaching out to touch the silver tag. A second later Viktor activated it.

Harry looked around curiously on landing and let go of the trunk’s immobile handle. He kicked the base to release the wheels and extended the transport handle. Viktor hefted his own up onto one shoulder and placed his free hand at the small of Harry’s back, urging him toward what appeared to be a back door. Much like with his permanent home portkey they had landed out back, it seemed, in a very spacious yard surrounded by a high fence. The house itself was a large, three storey affair, grander than Harry’s home, but not overtly ostentatious and screaming of wealth like the Potter home or, he suspected, the Malfoy home.

Viktor opened the door and gestured him inside, so he entered to see a long, wide hallway paneled halfway up with dark-stained wood and painted a cream colour above. ‘Fancy,’ he thought, eyeing the paintings on the walls. Down at the far end was what he presumed was the front door, a double, with stained glass panels. Was his boyfriend’s family rich?

The door behind him closed with a quiet sound and Viktor set his trunk down against the wall. “You can just leave yours here for the moment. We’ll get it in a couple of minutes.”

He looked back and nodded, nudging his trunk over by Viktor’s. He honestly felt a little uncertain and out of place, and he had only seen a hallway so far. Viktor must have noticed because the next thing he knew his face was being cradled and a kiss pressed to his lips. “You think I wasn’t a bit anxious coming to your house the first time?”

He tried to smile, but wasn’t sure he managed it very well, and nodded.

Viktor let go and took his hand. “Come on.”

He was led down the hall and off to the right, through a set of French doors, into a parlor or sitting room. Viktor’s parents were ensconced in a set of chairs near the fireplace that dominated the far wall and set down their books on seeing them.

“Viktor,” Iskra said happily, rising from her chair gracefully and coming over to hug her son. “Harry, welcome to our home. I hope you enjoy your stay with us.”

He felt unaccountably like blushing. “Thank you for having me,” he said softly, still feeling a bit intimidated by his surroundings. “It’s nice to see you both again. You have a lovely home.”

She smiled warmly at him. “Well, I’ll let Viktor get you settled. We’ll catch up in a little while.”

He nodded, and then at Viktor’s father, and let Viktor lead him away. They reclaimed their trunks and went upstairs to the second floor.

“My parents have rooms on the first floor,” Viktor said, pausing briefly at the first door on the left at the top of the stairs to set his trunk down. He pointed at the door across the hall and said, “My sister’s room.” They continued on to the next door down on the left and Viktor opened it for him.

Harry went inside and relaxed a little at the soothing blue of the walls. An open door to the right revealed a bathroom and a large bed dominated the center of the far wall, flanked by matching side tables. He rolled his trunk over to it and parked it, then reached up to rub the back of his neck. There were pastoral paintings on the walls, but no portraits. ‘Just as well,’ he thought, ‘because that would be kind of creepy.’

Viktor came up behind him and pulled him back into a hug. “Do you want to settle in first or come down now?”

He took a deep breath and released it a bit jerkily. “We can go down now.”

Viktor held him like that for another minute, then turned him and planted another kiss on his lips. “Okay.”

Downstairs Viktor’s parents had moved to one of the sofas. Facing it was a matching loveseat with a coffee table between them. They took a seat and Harry slowly relaxed as Iskra skillfully drew him into conversation, managing to forget about his surroundings.

That evening after dinner he and Viktor were in his room relaxing in the angled reading chairs to either side of a bookcase straddling the corner. “You seem to be all right now,” Viktor observed.

He nodded. “I’m not sure what came over me.”

Viktor arched a brow at him and said, “Perhaps associations to the house of your father and your . . . life there?”

Harry frowned and looked down. Perhaps that was it. Aside from his mother’s efforts he had always felt like he lived in that house on sufferance and he knew his father had tried to get rid of him on more than one occasion. “Probably,” he said, fiddling with the hem of his shirt. “I guess some wounds run deeper than I realized.”

For the next two weeks Viktor took him around to see various sights, and not just those in Sofia. Churches, caves, interesting rock formations, and even a zoo were visited, Bisera sometimes coming with them. Travel to magical areas was done a bit more circumspectly due to Viktor’s fame.

Evenings were usually spent talking with Iskra and Pavel (who had become much more talkative as time went by), and Viktor’s living grandparents had stopped by twice for dinner, so he got to meet all three of them. They seemed to like him well enough and he was amused to note that Pavel’s mother had a tendency to fuss over the man somewhat, even at his age. Eventually, however, it was time to head to Norway.

“We’ll see you soon enough,” Pavel said, a faint smile showing.

Viktor nodded and Harry said, “Thank you again for having me. It’s been a lot of fun for me.”

“Us, too,” Iskra said. “Now, off you go.”

Harry pulled his trunk to him and poised his hand over his bracelet. After Viktor nodded he activated it, landing in his own back yard. His boyfriend appeared a few seconds later and together they headed inside.

His mother popped up before they had taken two steps and said, “You’ve already eaten?” When he nodded she gave him a hug and kissed his cheek, then did the same to Viktor. “Okay. You have fun?”

He smiled. “Naaah, it was awful. Viktor kept dragging me all over Bulgaria and forcing me to see amazing sights and learn stuff. I’ve never been so traumatized.”

Lily rolled her eyes. “Okay, wise ass. Once you two are settled I want to check your clothes for the wedding, see what adjustments need to be made. I left them on the beds.”

Upstairs he parked his trunk and expanded it, then glanced over at the bed. Laying there was an outfit that wouldn’t look all that out of place on a muggle. A set of robes lay next to it, obviously intended to be worn open, of a very dark green colour with a slightly lighter lining. His mother had already pulled out one of his pairs of dress shoes—he normally left them at home because he wore his boots almost exclusively.

A few minutes later he was changed and downstairs. His mother eyed him intently. “Well, maybe a little more length on the sleeves and legs, but aside from that it looks fine.” She muttered to herself for a minute and jotted down some notes, then nodded, and by then Viktor had shown up and his mother started eyeing him instead. “Okay,” she said finally. “Petunia and I will get these fixed.”

Tom showed up a short time later with the latest News of the Weird. “Another four plants in Japan melted down and eight hydroelectric plants were blown. It’s a mad house over there, with riots amongst the muggles in powerless areas.”

“It almost sounds like whoever is doing this,” Viktor said, “is increasing the severity of the test. But I can’t see if it’s a test against wizards or muggles.”

“Have any terrorist groups taken credit?” his mother asked, head tilted in confusion.

Tom shook his head. “No, which is strange.”

“Wizards, then?” Viktor mused. “Seeing how the muggles would react to the loss of their technology? Because no power means a lot of other things fall by the wayside.”

“But why Japan?” Harry asked. “Is it because it’s an island nation?”

“To limit the scope of the experiment?” Tom said. “Perhaps. That would make a certain kind of sense. Limit the scope, make a move, sit back and watch the reaction, then do it again after things have settled, only worse. And this time the reaction is much worse. It’s showing that the muggles will fall apart—civilians, certainly.”

“Is this our dark lord coming out to play?” Harry asked. “And if so, what do we do?”

The answer to that turned out to be nothing, at least for most of them. Heaven only knew what Tom was doing out there in the wider world, but he did have a much wider pool of assets to tap for information. Harry rather wondered if Lucius was one of those being tapped. Unfortunately, between the wedding and the craziness going on, tomb raiding was not on the menu for that summer. His mother was getting married the week after his birthday and shortly after that Viktor would be returning to Durmstrang for his mastery work, for his final year. That it happened to coincide with Harry finishing normal schooling was a bonus.

They were on a walk after breakfast on the day he turned seventeen, idly strolling beneath the canopy of greenery, when Viktor backed him into a tree. “Am I your prisoner again?”

Viktor reached up to brush the hair away from Harry’s eyes, then push some of the longer locks back over his shoulder. “I have a gift for you, and a question.”

Was his heart suddenly hammering away for a reason? Over that look again in Viktor’s eyes? He nodded, because the words just weren’t coming.

Viktor reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box. “I’m mixing traditions here,” he said softly, bringing the box up and pushing the lid open. Inside was a ring of some whitish metal, inset around the center circumference with black and green stones. “I love you, Harry. Will you bond with me, after we’re done with school? Will you be mine?”

He looked up from the ring to Viktor’s eyes; his gaze was so intense. He nodded slowly, a smile creeping onto his lips. “Yes.”

“Will you wear this ring?”

“Yes,” he repeated, fighting the urge to giggle nervously or otherwise make a fool of himself.

Viktor nodded, a slow smile finally appearing. He reached into the box and removed the ring, the box going back to his pocket. Harry offered his left hand and watched as Viktor slid the ring into place. How his boyfriend had figured out the right size he was unsure; perhaps while he’d been sleeping? “It’s enchanted with anti-summoning,” Viktor said, the smile morphing into a brief grin, then he leaned in to capture Harry’s mouth and kiss him breathless, pulling him close.

When Viktor finally drew back Harry asked, “Were you nervous?”

His boyfr—no, fiancé—laughed. “Yes. Of course I was.”

“Did your parents know you were going to do this?” he asked, almost teasingly.

“They did,” Viktor replied, taking his hand and pulling him back into a walk. “My mother helped me to pick the ring.”

He nodded, tempted to inspect it more closely, then his brow furrowed. “What? When? We were barely apart the whole time.”

“Well,” Viktor said slowly, squeezing his hand, “I may have asked Tom for the loan of a time turner.”

Harry stopped walking for a moment, but let himself be pulled into motion again. “Did everyone but me know ahead of time?”

Viktor looked over with a brow arched skeptically. “I would like to think you had some idea, but no. I didn’t tell Tom why I wanted it, just that I wanted it for a few weeks and would promptly return it. And that I would not do repeats during that time. I would make plans with my mother and turn back to do some browsing before returning to you.”

‘Probably during bathroom breaks,’ he thought, ‘or something like that.’ “So I guess this means I don’t need to worry about the in-laws hating me,” he said, half teasingly and half anxiously.

Viktor stopped and pulled him into another kiss, then resumed their walk. “My mother adores you, Harry, and my father thinks you’re a good match for me.”

His mind quickly enough twigged to the next issue to raise questions. Sometimes it was a royal pain to notice certain kinds of things and not just be happy and accepting. “Did you enchant it yourself?”

Viktor chuckled and shook his head. “No, I asked Tom, and he’s more than smart enough to figure it out. I haven’t progressed far enough for the enchantment to be as strong as I’d like. He didn’t comment, just gave me a knowing look.”

“Well, I love the ring, but not as much as I love you,” he said, feeling entirely too sappy. The stupid grin on his face was also annoying, but he was too happy to try to wipe it away. He also had the strange urge to go dancing.

His mother’s eagle eye spotted the ring within seconds and she had his hand up near her face, examining it. “Onyx and emeralds—for your eyes?” she asked Viktor.

He nodded.

“Where’s yours?” she all but demanded, allowing Harry to reclaim his hand.

Viktor smiled that slow smile again and pulled a matching ring from one of his pockets and handed it to Harry. Harry laughed quietly and waited for Viktor to offer his hand, then slid the ring into place.

“Much better,” Lily proclaimed, then pulled Harry into a tight hug, followed by one for Viktor. “Congratulations,” she said a bit throatily. “I’m so happy for you two. Be angels and try not to upstage my wedding, though, okay?”

Harry snickered and nodded. Neither of them went out of their way to bring attention to the rings, but they were noticed quickly enough anyway. They simply accepted the congratulations and kept the fuss to a minimum. Even so he felt ridiculously emotional for someone who practiced daily to keep his emotions and memories under control, that same stupid smile gracing his face randomly.

When dinner rolled around Viktor led him away to Harry’s bedroom instead of the dining room and came to a stop at the trunk. Harry eyed him curiously for a moment, then decided they were obviously going to dine privately; he made a mental note to skip the repeat. He also came to another decision, one which saw him keying Viktor into the trunk’s exterior protections, and then to the mirror inside the dressing room.

The table was already set in the kitchen, meaning Viktor had managed to get with Pelk for a little strategy. Once they were seated the plates filled with a Shopska salad.

As Viktor picked up his fork he said, “Tom released me from that vow.”

He paused in the act of picking up his own, then forked up some of the salad. “I guess he’s finally decided you’re trustworthy? To be honest I’d forgotten about the vow. It didn’t actually cover all that much, anyway.”

“True. And I was never much in a position to violate it,” Viktor said after swallowing. “It’s really too early for me to be asking this, but will you consider having our bonding at my parents’ house?”

He blinked and chewed a bit mechanically, following that with a sip of water. “Yes. The world doesn’t revolve around this tiny spot in Norway, after all.”

Viktor huffed a laugh. “It may, for all we know.”

“I wondered once, back when we first found out, if I’m supposed to deal with Alduin at some point. But we’ve not seen any dragon activity in all this time.”

“Perhaps it only counted for the last kalpa?”

He shrugged. “Maybe he’s still sleeping off the change?”

Dinner itself was chicken yahniya, something he had come to be quite fond of during their time at Durmstrang, so he happily enough dug in. Baklava rounded things off, with tiny glasses of rakia.

He eyed Viktor as he sipped. It was just enough rakia to enjoy the taste without being close to the possibility of drunkenness. After setting the glass down he got up and disappeared into the bedroom long enough to retrieve his wireless and set it on a table in the work room. Viktor wandered out to see why he had left so abruptly and stopped on seeing the radio.

Harry turned it on and stepped up to his fiancé. “I’ve been wanting to dance with you ever since you proposed and I don’t really want to wait until my mother’s wedding,” he said hopefully.

Viktor immediately took hold of him, pausing only long enough for a kiss before guiding them into a dance. The wireless was playing a waltz, coincidentally the same one the Weird Sisters had played at the Yule Ball for their second dance. Viktor obviously made the same connection because he laughed. Fifteen minutes and several dances later Harry wrinkled his nose when the music segued into a show on gardening. He turned the wireless off and said, “Well, at least I got my dance.”

“I can think of another dance we can do,” Viktor said straight-faced.

He groaned softly. “That was corny.”

“But?”

“But I love the idea,” he said, allowing himself to be ‘captured’ by his fiancé and literally picked up. Viktor carried him into the bedroom and tossed him on the bed, then began stripping down. Shortly thereafter he started undressing Harry, boots first, and paused frequently to kiss random patches of exposed skin. When Viktor did join him on the bed he welcomed him with an anticipatory smile. “I would love for the man I love to make love to me, love,” he purred, trying not to laugh.

Viktor paused and gave him a pained look. “This is payback for my earlier line?”

“Absolutely,” he said with a nod.

Viktor rolled his eyes and kissed Harry to occupy his mouth for better things. Better things turned out to be gasping in pleasure, trying to suck more air into his lungs with inadequate equipment. Viktor was taking great pleasure in driving him straight up the wall and down the other side. His fiancé must be really, really happy about Harry agreeing to marry him to judge by the two orgasms he had already been coaxed into.

He had only just started feeling a little less dazed when he heard the snap of the bottle he kept lubricant in, and then felt the usual spell doing odd things to his insides. He opened his eyes only to close them again as Viktor started to prepare him, adoring the feeling and wanting something else a whole lot more. His desire was answered quickly enough when Viktor flipped him over and pulled him up onto all fours, then pushed into him with a long, shuddering sigh. He moaned when Viktor jerked him into a better position, hands like steel at his hips. “I love it when you do that,” he said raggedly, then threw his head back when Viktor started pistoning inside him, one hand going up to grip the top edge of the bed’s headboard.

His fiancé managed to find the right angle quickly and Harry used his grip on the headboard to help him push back into the steady thrusts, which allowed Viktor the opportunity to loosen his grip and slide his hands up Harry’s body, stroking his chest and the back of his neck. That, too, drove him crazy. In no time at all his cock was being palmed and then stroked and he was coming so hard he saw stars.

A few minutes later, after a quick spell to clean up, Harry was snuggled against Viktor and lazily kissing his collarbone. “You know,” he said sleepily, “I don’t actually have a clue about how people get married or bonded in the wizarding world.”

“As I understand it it’s not that much different from the muggle world,” Viktor replied. “The wording might be a bit different, I suppose. It’s not like some mystical bond between souls.”

“Well, I’d assume not. After all, my parents got a divorce. But I guess I could imagine two people convinced of the everlasting immortality of their love doing something like making unbreakable vows to each other.”

“I guess,” Viktor said doubtfully. “A lot of pure-blood bonds are hedged in with contracts, though, making it a lot more complicated in terms of separating.”

“Maybe I’ve read too much Shakespeare for that to have even come to mind,” he remarked. “And ours?”

Viktor carefully maneuvered so that they were both lying on their sides, facing each other. Those wonderful liquid black eyes were soft as they gazed at him. “I’d rather not use a contract of that style, because in the very unhappy event that something changed I would not want you to be forced to stay and be miserable.”

Harry smiled. “I like that you said that. I’d much rather be tied to you in mutual desire and friendship and love.”

Viktor smiled back, nodding faintly. “I was sort of hoping that your family could stay with mine for a week or two at that time. They certainly have room for it.”

“Mm.” He blinked then, furrowing his brow.

“What is it?”

“Just wondering where we’ll live.”

“Here,” Viktor said easily, “unless you can think of a problem with that.”

A sense of relief swept over him. “I just suddenly thought of—”

“I understand,” Viktor interrupted. “We don’t know what will happen and it would be better for you to be here with your power base, with these protections. I know Tom went to a lot of trouble with them. And I like this house. It’s very homey. At some point we can buy a house of our own, but for now? Here.”

Harry shifted forward a bit, sliding his knee between Viktor’s legs, and kissed him. “Okay. Though I think our room is going to need some extra wards.”

Viktor snickered. “You think so, huh? Well, I agree. I love the way you sound when I’m having my wicked way with you and would hate for you to be quiet. The same can be done for what will be our room at my parents’ house.”

He snorted at the idea of Bisera overhearing them. “I’m thinking, other considerations aside, of seeing if Severus will apprentice me.”

Viktor nodded again. “I was wondering if you were going to lean that way. I was also wondering just how much it could be combined with your alchemy.”

“Hn. That’s an interesting idea.” He kissed Viktor, a bit lingeringly. “I’ll have to give it some serious thought.”

Viktor blinked sleepily at him and nodded. When Harry smiled in response Viktor maneuvered them again to their usual position. He fell asleep, far earlier than usual, feeling imminently satisfied, for more reasons than one.