The Rise of the Drackens

Harry comes into a very unexpected inheritance. He is a creature both rare and very dangerous, a creature that is black listed by the British Ministry. So now he must avoid detection at all costs, whilst choosing his life partners and dealing with impending pregnancy at just sixteen. With danger coming not just from the Ministry but even other creatures, what was he supposed to do?


91. Chapter Eighty-Six – Preservation Part 2

That got him a laugh from everyone and he smiled, glad that the tension was gone. He had more than enough tension to deal with without anyone adding to it.

"So all of this…everything that's happened, is because you're selfish?" Nasta asked seriously.

Remus nodded. "I didn't understand why anyone would be upset that I'd kept it to myself…I know now, Dora has very much made me see the error of my ways, she was disgusted that I hadn't told you about anything, Harry. She wanted to come today, probably to make sure that I actually came, but she's in work all week, she told me to send her best to you for the baby in the hospital. The Daily Prophet still doesn't know the names or genders of your children, so we didn't know which two were admitted or why, the Prophet is just speculating, there was a different reason in every article, though they have stopped all mentions of you or the children."

"It's going to stay that way too." Harry sniffed. "Lucius and Myron are suing them."

"I had heard that too. I very much enjoy the Quibbler." He said with a sly smile.

Harry smiled too. He remembered the article about Sirius, he'd enjoyed the Quibbler since then too and that one of his good friends was the editor, or co-editor rather, just made him enjoy it all the more and it gave Hedwig something to do now that they'd cancelled their Daily Prophet subscription in protest of their treatment by the media, maybe now, after the lawsuit had been successful, he'd pick it back up, he knew that Draco liked being kept in the loop, but their house was so filled with magazines it was a wonder that they could move.

Nasta got subscriptions from all over the place, monthly subscriptions to Magical Menageries, Creatures Criteria, Flying Beauties: A Monthly Journal for Dragon Handlers, Linguistics for the Logical Wizard and Flames, Claws and Scales as well as The World News newspaper which came every morning. Max had a monthly subscription to The Practical Potioneer that Esmeralda dealt with along with several medical journals and a subscription to The Daily Dose, a magazine for Healers and pharmacists and Blaise had his own subscription for an Arithmancy magazine; Theory of Numerology, which Harry used to swat at the occasional fly and he stole some of Nasta's linguistic magazines on occasion too. Draco only had two subscriptions, one for Finical Finances and the second for Magical Business Growth. They had so many magazines that Harry wondered where the hell they found the time to read any of them, as he never actually saw his lovers reading them, but they then turned around and quoted from them. More than once he'd wondered if his mates shared a time tuner behind his back.

"I thought you liked me, I thought that you cared for me." Harry said softly as the silence stretched awkwardly. "Why wouldn't you want to tell me?"

"I didn't want to tell anyone." Remus said uncomfortably. "It was selfish of me, I know. I am sorry, Harry, I didn't…it wasn't my intention to hurt anyone with my actions, but I always seem to be doing just that, intentional or not."

"Max, I think we need tea." Harry said with a sigh. "Lots of tea. Does Teddy need anything?"

Remus shook his head. "I fed him just before we left the house."

"Is he okay to move around?"

"He's crawling." Remus said with a nod.

Harry placed Teddy carefully on the floor and watched as he moved around slowly, exploring and touching everything in this new environment, a bit wary of the five babies playing with a pile of toys, but unlike Remus, Teddy took the plunge and crawled over to them and sat down, just on the edge of the pile of toys and the circle the five babies made.

Harry watched with pride and love as Braiden looked up and saw him, he tilted his head curiously and looked to Harry.

"Mama?" He questioned and pointed to Teddy.

"That is Teddy, Braiden love, be nice to him he's only little."

Braiden grinned as if he understood and he picked up a plastic, musical ball and handed it over to Teddy, who screeched happily and grabbed it between both hands, the ball jingling merrily as its buttons were pressed by Teddy's clenching hands.

Max came back in with the tray of tea and he served Harry first and the smell of lemon was so powerful that Harry's mouth was watering before he'd brought the cup up to his lips for the first sip.

"This is perfect; you have to make it like this all the time." Harry said.

"Tomorrow you'll want more or less." Max teased him with a wry smile.

"I know, but today, this is perfect."

Harry settled down and watched as Max played the host, serving Remus his tea, though he was a bit stiff on the conversation. He sighed, this was by no means the end of things, he knew that, but he hoped, that at least in his case, it was a step in the right direction.

Remus had told him before that he was a selfish man; Harry hadn't blamed him for that. He hadn't blamed Remus for leaving him with the Dursley's as a baby because of his resemblance to his Father, but this, this was one in the same…Remus hadn't told him, or anyone it seemed, that he'd gotten Tonks pregnant because he wanted to keep it to himself. It actually made him wonder if it was a werewolf trait, a bit like the submissive Dracken's need to keep the species of newborn babies to themselves, just for a little while, even though everyone around them, including their mates, were dying to know if the baby was a Dracken or not.

He sighed, it was going to be a long road for everyone involved to walk, but if they kept together and kept going, then they could make that walk together and he hoped that at the end of it, they didn't head off in separate directions.

Wednesday the eighteenth of November marked his seventeenth week of pregnancy, he and Remus were exchanging owls and he brought Teddy over every Saturday for a playdate, but it was slow going and they were still a little stilted and awkward around one another. Harry couldn't just forget that Remus hadn't wanted to tell him about his marriage and baby just because he hadn't wanted to, but he sucked it up, Remus hadn't told him about it, he had self admittedly been selfish and now Harry had to get over it. What was done was done and couldn't be changed, so they had to put it behind them and move on. If only his mates were as easy to convince, but none of that mattered to him at that moment, as the eighteenth held such a huge surprise that Harry almost cried.

"Are you sure?" He warbled out as he clutched Leolin to his chest, free of wires as of three days ago and off the ventilator for the last two weeks.

"Yes, we feel that he's strong enough now that he's finally managed to fight off the virus with the aid of certain spells and some mild potions. He's doing well, his vitals have picked up over the last few weeks, he's eating more and he's got some colour back to his cheeks, we're happy to let him go home with you."

Harry was so happy and so relieved that he started crying as he cradled Leolin to his heart.

"Ma." His baby said softly, making Harry cry all the more.

"Yes love, you get to come back home with us." Harry sobbed out through his happy tears.

Draco wrapped his arms around Harry's waist tight and rested his chin on Harry's shoulder.

"I'm so happy." Harry cried out. "Thank you so much for everything you've done for him, thank you for saving his life, you're both miracle workers!"

"If there is anything that we can do." Max said sincerely.

"I just can't wait to sleep in a proper bed." Healer Cole said with a smile and a hand to his back. "Those transfigured beds aren't good for my eighty-six year old back."

"I'm spending a week in bed with my Wife." Healer Almus said with a naughty grin that made him look ten years younger and infinitely less tired. "We've both accumulated three weeks holiday with all the hours we've pulled."

"We'd be incredibly happy to send you both and your families to the Maldives." Harry said seriously. "After everything that you've done for us, I'd send you both for the year."

"We were doing our jobs, Harry; we've come to love this little guy, grumpy scowls and all." Healer Almus told him as he took Leolin's hand and waved it gently.

"We still want to do this for you." Nasta said just as seriously. "You deserve the break."

"They aren't going to accept, just buy them non-refundable tickets and shove it in their hands." Max said. "But before that, let's get Leolin home. I've kept his bedding freshly laundered for the last several weeks ready for when he came home."

"You can't do…!" Healer Almus started in shock, but Nasta cut him off.

"Our son means the world to us and you have inarguably saved his life and made him healthy and strong enough to be able to come home with us today, we owe you more than a holiday, but as I cannot give you my beating heart, our submissive has decided to give you a break away from this hospital, I will allow this as we take our son home for the first time in almost eleven weeks, we owe you more than we could ever give you, let us do this for you to show how very grateful we are."

"We do this for every patient." Healer Cole said sternly. "We were doing our jobs."

"How often do you spend every single moment of your time, for eleven straight weeks, monitoring a patient in quarantine for twenty-four hours a day just to keep him alive?" Draco asked them seriously.

"I admit that this has been a rather unusual situation and Leolin has needed a continuous level of upmost care, but it is still our jobs to look after him and we get paid to do so."

"You have lived in this hospital, in this room and the office next door, for eleven weeks while you've been caring and nursing our vulnerable son back to health and strength, if anyone deserves a holiday it's you both." Harry said firmly. "So we will send you and your families on holiday, we'll send your tickets to your partners if we must, but it's our gift to you both for the dedication that you've shown our son."

Healer Cole shook his head. "Get him home, I'm sure you have family waiting patiently to see him again."

Harry nodded and he was escorted out of the hospital room. They didn't have anything to help them get Leolin home, no blankets, no carrycot to keep him safe, Harry contented himself with Nasta's strong, solidly muscled arms wrapped around him and Leolin tight, their son between them as Nasta protected them both through the floo network until they reached their home.

Harry peered tearily at Myron, Richard, Alexander and Aneirin who were sat talking softly.

"You were gone for barely an hour; Leolin hasn't taken another turn has he?" Richard asked with a sad look.

"Why are you crying, Harry?" Aneirin asked with a sort of soft horror.

"I'm so happy." Harry said with a sniff and Nasta broke away from him and Harry showed Leolin to the four men, his golden eyes back to their previous vibrancy and he let out a soft burbling giggle as he recognised where he was.

"You were allowed to bring him home?" Myron said stunned, even as he leapt up and came to hover over Leolin.

"Yes, the Healers said that the virus has passed through him and he's back to good health, he's eating again, he's got the colour back into his face, now we just have to keep him this way." Harry said determinedly.

"I'll go and grab his bassinet, he must have missed it after so long in that hospital issued bassinet." Max said, more for something to do as they all knew that there was no way that Harry was letting Leolin go.

Harry sat down in the middle of the settee so that he could have people sat on both sides to see his little baby.

"I must go and tell Kimberly." Alexander said excitedly. "It's wonderful to see him home."

Harry couldn't let Leolin go, even when he was urged to by his mates so that they could have a cuddle. He apologised and told them that he couldn't let him go and they understood, they sighed and grumbled, but they understood.

"You need sleep yourself, so you will put him down for bed, he needs his sleep." Nasta said sternly.

Harry nodded. "I just…I need to hold him for a bit."

"Ma." Leolin said sleepily.

"I'm so happy that he recognises me again." Harry said softly as he pressed his cheek to Leolin's.

"Let him sleep, Harry." Max said as he shook Leolin's tiny duvet into its cover. "He should be napping right about now."

"Leolin cat naps through the day, you know that he doesn't keep to the same schedule as the others." Harry said.

"I thought we were trying to keep him on a regular schedule so that he felt less anxious about changes."

"After being in that hospital room for eleven weeks, I think he needs a bit of doing what he wants to do for a little bit. He's happy to be back here, can't you see that?"

"Don't push him too hard, Harry, he needs rest and recuperation now."

Harry nodded. "I know, of course I know that. I just want to hold him."

Leolin raised a hand to Harry's face and pressed a tiny hand against his chin and he babbled softly. Harry grinned at him.

"I'm so happy you're home."

"Ma." He agreed softly before he pulled his hand back and the first knuckle went into his little mouth as he sucked on it.

Harry held him as he fell asleep and only then did he let everyone have a hold of him before Nasta tucked him up in his bassinet, obsessively smoothing out his duvet and making sure that it was tucked in around Leolin's body.

"Cysga'n dawel." He said to Leolin softly and laid a soft kiss on his cheek. "Rwy'n dy garu di."

"What did you say to him?" Harry asked when Nasta came to sit next to him.

"I told him to sleep tight and that I loved him." Nasta replied, a bit gruffly.

Harry twisted his body to rest up against Nasta and he cuddled in tight.

"I love you." Harry said softly.

Nasta smiled down at him and kissed his forehead. "I love you too, Cariad."

"I think today is the best day I've had all year." He said in a whisper.

Nasta nodded. "I know what you mean, we've had a lot of trials and obstacles to get over this year and more to come in the next year, but we will get over them together, I will always be here for you, Harry, for all of us. I love you all too much."

Harry smiled to himself and he rested his head over Nasta's heartbeat. The strong, even thud under his ear helped relax him and sooth him and before he knew what was happening, he'd been lulled into sleep, his first, deep and peaceful sleep for many months.

They had a stream of visitors over the next two days and Harry was happy to welcome Amelle back into his home as he let her cuddle his son as he cradled Beatrice.

"How are you little Bea?" He asked softly as those baby blue eyes traced every inch of his face.

"Is little bumblebee a Dracken?" Max asked Amelle curiously. "Or are you doing a Harry and keeping it to yourself for several months first?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "Of course she's keeping it to herself; Beatrice is not even four weeks old yet."

Amelle smiled a bit uncertainly, as if she didn't know how long she was supposed to be keeping the secret for.

Harry went and laid his hand on her forearm.

"You keep it a secret for as long as you feel you need to." He said seriously. "It's something personal to you, let Caesar beg and wind himself up, but only tell others when you want to."

Amelle grinned at him and nudged him with her shoulder.

"When have you got to go back to the hospital?" She asked.

Harry grimaced. "Soon. I've had more than enough of that hospital." Harry laid a hand over his pregnant belly. "I'll be glad when these two are born, but not any when soon, I don't want another panic like I did with the quintuplets."

Amelle smiled in sympathy and nodded. "I understand why you don't want any more premature babies; you must have been so frightened."

"It was terrifying." Harry admitted with a nod. "My second ever pregnancy, it was with five babies and I had no clue what was happening to me."

"Sanex said he heard the rip from across the room."

Harry nodded. "Yeah, it took a few moments for me to take in the pain of that and several more before I realised what had happened."

"Was it very painful?"

"The worst." Harry said with a grimace. "I don't remember much, I went feral very quickly afterward and the memories come in random bursts, but I do remember the first incision…all the amniotic fluid just came gushing out and because my sac was already ripped, Farren just fell through very soon after, tearing the edges of the incision I'd made because I didn't have time to make it any bigger before he fell out of me. I made myself almost sick with worry during the first few days after I'd given birth when I thought back to what might have happened if I'd caught his head or back with a claw, he was so close to my abdomen, if he'd been in any other position…" Harry shook his head, dislodging those thoughts quickly. "No, I pushed away those thoughts quickly afterward, but I wouldn't wish that sort of labour on anyone."

"I hope I never have a pregnancy like that, I'm paranoid as it is with just singletons."

"Hopefully these two will be happy to stay where they are for a few months more." Harry said happily, patting his belly.

"Have you found of if they're girls or boys?" Amelle asked. "I kept up my end of the deal; you need to boost the female numbers as well."

Harry laughed. "That's very true, but no, we still have no idea, the one is spooning the other, who has their legs pulled in tight to their chest. Still no gender, but I have another scan soon, so maybe we'll find out on this next scan."

"My hope is that you have two girls." Amelle said with a sly smile. "If only to boost our numbers over the boys of the family."

"You've gone and said it now, watch; I'll turn around and have identical twin boys." Harry teased. "It won't be so bad to have boys I suppose, as long as they're healthy, I don't care." He said sombrely as he looked over his shoulder to Leolin.

Amelle pulled him into a hug and took Beatrice from his arms. "Leolin is strong, he has too much of you in him, take the advice you gave to me…he got through it, he's fine, let him enjoy his life without smothering his every move. It's difficult, Merlin I know that, but you have coached me through my urges, now let others help you, don't smother him for this, enjoy him, but let him run free and enjoy himself."

Harry let out all the breath in his body and pulled a fresh one into his lungs. He nodded sharply.

"I know, the urge to just clamp him into my arms and never let him go is insane, though."

"As you taught me, breathe through the urge, let it come and then let it pass, ignore it."

Harry nodded again and breathed harshly. He kept doing it until the urge to crush Leolin to his heart abated.

"Thank you, I just…I don't want to leave him; it's his first night home."

"I understand." Amelle said with a knowing smile.

Harry said goodbye to the stream of guests as five in the afternoon approached and he settled himself by the head of the bassinet, which was beside the settee, he refrained from touching a sleeping Leolin as he kept his hands busy by playing his hands over his pregnant belly and contenting himself with the small shifts of movement from within. His twins were strong and were growing well, he was very happy with them and he couldn't wait until they were born and he could hold them in his arms. He knew that his mates were excited about it too, but then to a dominant Dracken, babies were a sign of fertility and prowess, so they happily gloated to one another over it. He was sure that part of the Dracken meetings in May was so the dominants could gloat about how many more babies they had and the submissives could rub other submissives faces in their perfect newborns, it made him snort in incredulity when he saw it happening at the meetings.

"I'm not like that." He assured his belly and the babies within. "You two can run around and cause terror all you like and I'll look on proudly and tell everyone within hearing distance that you're mine, my little twins. Just stay put for a little longer, okay? I don't want another sudden labour and you have to wait to at least January before you come. I'm busy in December."

Harry smiled as he dropped his head back against the arm of the settee and rested; his hands still stroking and rubbing circles on his belly.

Things levelled out for all of them as the days went by, everything slipped into an easy routine to encompass everything, they settled and they carried on, worried and fearful though they were, they took everything one day at a time and there was no lack of hugs and kisses.

As November slipped by them, they had news from Ashleigh at the hospital that she was settled in and Myron and Richard visited her often and relayed information to the family. She was doing well, she was seeing mind Healers daily and she had unlimited support at all hours of the day and night.

She had sent him a personal, heartfelt letter as part of her recovery programme outlining what she had done wrong, how she had felt and how she had gone about showing those feelings in the wrong way, but most of all, she had finally apologised to him in a way that Harry believed was actually real and sincere and not a bluff just so that she could come to see the babies. He had sent her back his own letter, a letter that he had poured over for hours over several days to express his own emotions and thoughts and how she had made him feel with her actions, but he wished her well at the end of it and told her that he hoped that she found what she needed from the Healers and he assured her that when she got a clean bill of health and came home, there were grandbabies waiting for their Grandma Ashleigh.

Richard's fiftieth birthday on the twenty-seventh of November was much more lively than the three birthdays that had come before it, Max and Blaise had had their birthdays ruined and Ashleigh's fiftieth birthday on the fourth of November was not only ruined by Leolin in the hospital, but by her being in the hospital herself. Myron and Richard had gotten to visit her, but she hadn't come out of the hospital for the day, which she insisted was for the best.

At four months pregnant, Harry was taking things a bit easier than he normally would have and he was finding it difficult to pick up his children, especially Braiden and Farren, as his back was in agony every time he bent down to pick them up. But he grimaced through it regardless, though Nasta complained about it and the effects on his pregnancy, but Harry tuned him out, he steadfastly refused to stop holding and hugging his children just because his pregnant belly was in the way or his back was twinging uncomfortably.

"I wish that you would just take it easy." Max sighed as Braiden clamoured at Harry's feet for attention, going up on his knees and reaching up for him and naturally Harry bent right over and picked him up, a brief flash of pain marring his expression from the pressure on his spine.

"I am taking it easy." Harry said as he straightened up and cuddled Braiden to his chest.

"I don't like seeing or knowing that you're in pain." Max replied with a worried look.

"It's honestly not as bad as you think."

"Don't lie to me, Harry; we can see the pain on your face as you bend to pick them up."

Harry groaned in aggravation. "Seriously, Max, I'm fine; one of the twins is lying back to back with me, that's all."

"How do you know?"

"Because I can damn well feel it!" Harry replied, placing his hand over his belly. "One is head down, back to my belly; the other is head up, back to my back."

"So…you're saying that our twins are in the sixty-nine position?" Max said with a grin.

Harry blinked at the sudden turn of the conversation and then he huffed and turned away, hiding his smile from Max.

"I can't deal with you in this mood."

"Just because you're gagging for it but find it too uncomfortable to have sex." Max teased him. "We could do the sixty-nine you know…a bit of mutual release for both of us, I reckon I could get you off first."

Harry looked over just in time to see Max waggle his eyebrows and he couldn't help laughing.

"Later." Harry said with a smile. "We'll go to bed an hour or so earlier and we can have some fun, but for now, it's almost dinner time and these little guys are getting hungry."

Max groaned. "There's my cue to leave you and your luscious, edible body and go into the kitchen to make food."

Harry laughed and shook his head. "I'll come with you; just let me get the rest of these hungry babies."

"Just herd them towards the kitchen." Max waved away.

"They're not sheep!" Harry said sternly.

"No, but you can't carry them all and you already have Braiden." Max said, even as he stooped to pick up Calix and Tegan. "Come on you two, into the kitchen."

Harry was shocked to see Max nudge Regan and Farren with his foot.

"Don't do that!" He said aghast.

"It's just to get them moving!" Max defended as Farren and Regan started crawling, being directed by Max's soft nudges towards the kitchen, Regan infinitely faster than Farren, who was unhappy to be forced to move.

They reached the kitchen and Harry set Braiden down in his highchair and secured him in.

"Don't get them!" Max burst out as Harry went to bend down to pick up Regan. "Take Calix and let me get those two."

Harry sighed and took Calix from Max, kissing him softly and setting him in another highchair as Max bent and scooped up Farren easily, setting him in his chair and clipping him in before bending back over to pick up Regan.

Harry sat down in a chair and entertained the five babies as Max heated up the food that he'd made for them yesterday afternoon.

"Did you remember to send your letter off to Remus after your nap?" Max asked as he dished up the babies dinner onto little plastic plates.

Harry nodded. "Yeah, he's still being careful around me with what he says and he's keeping me updated of every move that Teddy makes to try and make it up to me for not telling me about him in the first place, but Tonks has been sending me letters too, I just want her to stop apologising, it wasn't her fault and married or not, she shouldn't have to apologise for him and besides the point, Remus already apologised, I'm getting sick of hearing 'sorry'." He complained as he took a plate from Max and started feeding Calix.

Blaise walked into the kitchen, his best robes already being yanked off and Harry knew immediately that his job search hadn't gone well. He hadn't had a good interview since the one that he had ran out of when Calix and Leolin had first been admitted to the hospital.

"Are you…?" He started but Blaise cut him off harshly.


"Hey!" Max said angrily. "You do not get to take your bad mood out on us! I don't care how bad a day you've had or how bad you feel, we're your partners, your mates, you do not treat us like shit because we do not deserve it."

Blaise flumped into a chair and slumped over the table.

"It's just all the same!" He complained. "No one want's a newly graduated student and they all want someone with more experience! How am I supposed to get more experience if no one will give me a chance in the first place?!"

Harry had no idea what to say and he felt terrible for his partner.

"It took me getting an apprenticeship before I could get a job." Max said casually. "From eighteen to twenty, when I actually got my apprenticeship, I could not find a single job. I even applied to clean out the owl shit in a postal office and I was declined. You need to keep at it, Blaise, or you need to find an apprenticeship."

"Do you think I could?" Blaise asked a little uncertainly. "Get an apprenticeship that is."

"Of course you can." Harry said. "You're incredibly intelligent and you know what you're doing, Blaise. Find what you want to do and then get yourself into an apprenticeship."

"I know what I want to do." Blaise said tentatively. "I just don't know how to go about doing it."

"Then do it yourself." Max encouraged. "If you know what you want to do, take the plunge and open your own business."

"No one will want to do business with a nineteen year old with no training or experience!" Blaise cried out in distress.

"Not with that attitude they won't." Harry said with a frown. "Max is right, if you want to do it and you know you want to do it, us four will support you, Blaise, of course we will. Set up your own business, we'll find you a place to operate from, we'll have it advertised…if you want to do it, love, we'll make it happen."

Blaise actually looked teary and Harry forced himself to stand up to go to him and hug him.

"We love you, Blaise." Harry said softly. "If this is something that you want to do, do it and we'll be right behind you all the way."

"Damn right, what Harry said. Sort out what you need, get everything in order before you set up, talk to my Dad if you need help, he has a business from my Granddad, they can both help you if you need it. My Grandfather set that business up on his own, from absolutely nothing. My great-great-great Grandfather set his business up from his garden shed. It can be done if you have the right attitude and a lot of determination, you can do it, Blaise."

"Thank you." Blaise said softly.

"Do you feel better?" Harry asked gently.

Blaise nodded. "I'll see what I can do, I'll talk to Myron and Alexander, maybe Aneirin too and see what they think and I'll look at my finances to see if it's doable."

"I said before that we will support you, that includes financially." Harry said firmly.

Blaise shook his head. "No, the last thing I want to do is to haemorrhage money from our family when we have babies and more on the way, I won't do that, if I can't afford to do it myself, then I'll put it on the backburner and I'll wait until I can afford to do it."

"Go talk to my Dad then, he doesn't work weekends and my Dad Richard is probably driving him ballistic since it was his birthday two days ago. He still gets as excited as a kid at Christmas."

"You don't mind?" Blaise asked as he looked at the babies who were finishing off their dessert of peeled, stewed plums.

"Of course not, we'll finish these off now; we'll bathe them and then tuck them up into their cots with a story."

"Where's Leolin?"

Harry looked across to the baby monitor that he was carrying around.

"He had his dinner early, he ate two full ounces of milk before he fell asleep, I think he'll be asleep now until at least ten or eleven."

Blaise nodded. "Then I'll be back as soon as I can. Thank you, both of you!"

Blaise rushed back out as quickly as he'd come home, shrugging his robes back on as he went and Harry shared a look with Max. They both started laughing before taking muslin cloths to the babies' hands and faces and getting them out of their highchairs and ready to have their baths.

Two hours later Harry and Max were cuddled up together and were watching the end of a TV programme when Draco flooed home and joined them. He'd gone to visit his parents and he looked happy and content with himself, Harry was so happy that Draco was finally coming to terms with himself and coming to enjoy his life. It made him happy and he snuggled into Draco and Max and continued watching the TV programme until it finally went off and two minutes after that Nasta flooed home covered in dirt and dragon dung, but he was grinning tiredly.

"How can you be so happy when you smell so rancid?" Draco demanded with a wrinkled nose.

"He's a Dragonologist, it's what they do." Max said with a grin, mentioning proudly Nasta's very recent promotion from senior dragon handler to Dragonologist.

"What, roll around in dragon shit and then compare with one another?" Harry teased.

"Exactly!" Max said with a laugh.

Nasta rolled his eyes, but he was too happy to take their teasing to heart.

"I'm going for a quick shower, I'll be back soon." He told them instead.

"The babies are all asleep, use the downstairs bathroom." Harry all but ordered and Nasta smiled at him and nodded.

True to his word, Nasta was back not twenty minutes later, clean and pink, still a little damp, but still happy, though he was much more tired than he'd been before. He squeezed onto the settee with the four of them and it was only then that he seemed to realise that someone was missing and the tension poured into his muscles as he sat upright again.

"Where is Blaise? He should have been home by now."

"I was thinking that too." Draco added. "Has he gone to wallow upstairs?"

"No, he came home at five and then he went to see my Dad." Max said, pushing Nasta back against the settee.

"His job hunting was unsuccessful?" Draco asked.

Harry nodded. "Yes, the same story, they want someone with more experience, but the only way he can get that experience is by working, so he's stuck really, so we suggested that he set up his own business. He's gone to talk to Myron about the idea."

Nasta pondered on that and he nodded. "I'm sure that we could support him through that."

"We already offered, but he refused and said that if he couldn't afford it himself, he would wait for a few years."

"The whole point of being in a mateship is to support one another." Draco said with a sneer. "I have more than enough money to support a business venture and I'm sure that Father would be interested in it as well."

"Together all of us can support Blaise and have enough for everything that we need." Nasta said. "I can't believe that he would be worried about money when we love him so much. It's like he's shutting himself off, shutting off his finances for just himself when he should take into account all of our finances, we can support him opening his own business."

"He said he didn't want to take our money when we have babies." Harry said as he rested a hand over his growing belly.

"Ridiculous." Nasta scoffed. "We have more than enough." He said.

Draco nodded. "We do. I check all of our finances regularly, as my Father taught me to do when I was very young, and we have more than enough for anything and everything that we want to do. I'm not saying we go on lavish holidays every month or go on shopping sprees for things that we don't even need, because then we'll eat away at all of our savings, but if Blaise wishes to start his own business, we can do that easily. It's an investment; he will start paying back into our funds as soon as he's set up."

"I'll speak to him later, or even tomorrow." Nasta said as he sat back with a groan. "Until then, I want to cwtch up with my mates and I want to enjoy my evening. Today was hard work; those juveniles are getting a handful."

Harry readily got onto that idea and with a heart heavy with worry and concern over Blaise, over Leolin, over his pregnancy, over everything…he snuggled into Draco's muscular bulk and he settled down to watch a film with three of his four mates, even if Draco did complain over the Muggle entertainment and insisted that everything would have been so much easier if they used magic, which Max pointed out wasn't the point of the film and that Muggles didn't know that magic was real.

Draco just huffed and Harry pressed his head over that strong heartbeat and smiled. He loved that Draco still didn't understand some of the Muggle terminology and nuances, he loved all of Draco's little quirks and as one large hand came to rest over his pregnant belly, rubbing against it softly, Harry fell into a light doze surrounded by his mates, lying on Draco with the blond's hands on his baby bump and the sounds of the TV playing in the background. He couldn't wait for nineteen-ninety-nine to start and he hoped that the New Year brought him some good news, because this year had been nothing but bad news after bad news and though things were slowly improving, they were by no means fixed just yet.

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