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?

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8022667/1/The-Rise-of-the-Drackens

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86. Chapter Eighty-Three – Poison Part 1

Alexander's birthday came and went on the twentieth of August and with it the end of the summer approached fast and Harry felt relaxed and calm as September came upon them. A far cry from this time last year when he was only just pregnant and had a two week old Braiden when they were due back in Hogwarts. Though the holiday to Guadeloupe was extraordinary and Harry didn't think that he'd forget that holiday for as long as he lived.

The first of September had brought some bad news, but it was the morning of the fifth of September that they received the harrowing, tear stained letter from Kimberly. Alexander's very unwell Mother, Evelyn, had passed away. Alexander was inconsolable and couldn't stop sobbing.

Harry floo called Mrs Weasley immediately and he asked her through his own tears if she could babysit for a couple of hours. The kindly woman who he saw as close to a Mother as he'd ever get readily agreed without question and bless her she came right over, still in her house apron and she took charge as Harry tried to rally around a bone white Max, who was devastated that he'd lost his great-grandmother so suddenly and out of the blue.

Harry remembered Evelyn from Alexander's birthday party last year, he hadn't realised that he'd met her, but when he'd been introduced to her properly at Alexander's birthday party this year, he recognised her as one of the elderly ladies who had fussed over a newborn Braiden as they sat under a parasol eating cakes and drinking iced tea. The same group of ladies that Harry had snatched Braiden from when Draco had made a comment about them smothering Braiden and he'd flown off the handle like a fool. But Evelyn had been so lovely, so kind and generous and loving that Harry had fallen in love with her easily. It was no wonder that Alexander himself was so loving and kind and so laid back with a Mother like Evelyn and now, just as he'd been properly introduced to her, she was gone.

They flooed over to Alexander's home, to find it full and buzzing with activity and noise. It seemed that the entire Maddison brood had turned out…there were no children in sight.

Max forced his way through his family members to find Alexander sobbing hysterically on the settee and Max sat down heavily next to him and dragged his Grandfather into a hug, sobbing himself.

Harry didn't know what to do, they already had one funeral to attend this month, Severus Snape's, now they'd have yet another one, a more personal funeral and Harry swallowed hard. He hated seeing any of his mates upset, he hated it more if they started crying, but seeing Max's devastated face as he received the news of Evelyn's death was the worst thing in the world.

Harry was at a loss for what to do, he'd never really had to deal with someone else's loss, only his own and he knew that what he found helpful, might be the worst thing possible for someone else. The closest that he'd come in this sort of situation was helping to comfort Nasta and Blaise when the subject of parents came up, Nasta having lost his Mother and sister and Blaise losing his Father, but he hadn't been there for the initial loss. He'd never had to see anything like this, but he remembered feeling this way when he'd lost Sirius. He remembered the shock and devastation that that had made him feel and he went light headed with the mere thought that that was how Max was feeling right now.

He breathed in deeply and he turned away from the room of grief and huddled into Draco, it broke his heart to see so many people whom he loved and cared about hurting so much.

He could see Cassander and Julius, Keanu and Enrique just behind them and Lydia and a pregnant Shae. All of them were crying and Shae was openly sobbing. Xerxes, the oldest of them, was dealing with his grief differently. He was standing tall and strong, his mouth a severe line and his fists were clenched tightly. He was angry and Harry recognised that type of grief as his own. He'd gotten angry in public at any and every one and he'd sobbed on his own in private where no one could see or hear him.

Harry slipped away from Draco and made his way over to Xerxes and he touched him lightly, flinching back automatically as Xerxes turned sharply to him, one fist raised. He had reacted the same when Dudley had interrupted his grieving once, and he had recognised the tight tension in Xerxes' shoulders, thrumming all the way down his straining arms to his tightly clenched fists.

"I'm sorry, Harry." Xerxes grumbled. "I'm not the best company right now. I didn't mean to frighten you."

Harry smiled wanly. "I know. You didn't frighten me though; I knew you'd react like you did. I was the same when my Godfather died. I felt like I could take on the world in a bare knuckled blood bath and that was before I knew that I was a Dracken and that I'd have claws to help me."

Xerxes looked down at him and gave him a grimace that was mostly a pained smirk and he pulled him into a hug. He was almost Myron's twin, despite the age difference. Xerxes definitely looked older, but he was also a few inches shorter than his youngest sibling.

"Only you have been able to get a smile from me today." Xerxes said with a shake of his head. "Even my own mate, Holly, has avoided me since I got the news. She doesn't know how to handle me when I'm like this."

"Lucky for you both that I do." Harry said. "We grieve in the same way it seems."

"Have you…are you better? I can't seem to shake it off, my sisters, my brother, my own children and now my grandmother. It's all just piling on top."

Harry laughed humourlessly. "No. I'm not better by a long shot. It never goes away."

"How long…?"

"Over three years now and if I think about it too much or if I allow myself to wallow, then it feels like I'm drowning in the grief." Harry admitted. "But that said, the pain of it does get better. It may never go away, but it…lessens. It becomes less sharp. You just have to get over the initial loss, but then I wasn't allowed to grieve naturally, so maybe it's just the two of us stuck in this angry stage of grief."

"You weren't?" Xerxes said with a frown.

Harry shook his head. "I had lost my Godfather, I'd killed someone, actually killed someone and I was just fifteen. Instead of grieving for Sirius and getting therapy for killing Voldemort, I was thrust into the limelight. I had interviews left and right, I had people looking to me for strength and guidance that I couldn't possibly give them when all I wanted to do was curl up and cry. The strain of it was immense, the pressure was incredible and I had to stand under that on my own, while inwardly grieving my loss, putting a face on for the public and crying myself to sleep while in private. I was always angry, I wanted to punch everyone who came near me, I wanted to cry and rage at everyone who congratulated me, I still feel like that when random strangers approach me, but you learn to deal with it."

"I had no idea." Xerxes muttered. "I knew you were always thrust into the papers and in front of reporters until you went home for the summer, but you looked so…so…"

"Happy? Normal? I made myself look like that for the pictures, but inside I was stabbing out all of their eyes so that they couldn't look at me, so they couldn't see me when all I wanted was to rage and scream and cry at them to leave me well enough alone. I destroyed half of my possessions and some of Dumbledore's too. I was just so angry."

"Did you ever harm yourself?" Xerxes asked curiously.

Harry shook his head. "Not purposefully, there were a few incidences of cutting my hands and fingers when I was picking up all my broken stuff after my rage and I punched a few walls and doors and I almost broke my foot kicking my trunk, but no, nothing where I consciously thought 'oh this is sharp, I want to hurt myself with it.' I've never thought of suicide either, in case that was your next question. My mates already asked me that before. Have you ever hurt yourself?"

Xerxes sighed. "When I was much younger. I was twenty-one when I mated to Holly. I'm her only dominant and I tried my very best for her and our children. We had our first son, John, with no problems, then Hannah and Joel came along and everything was perfect, then the problems started. I don't know what changed or what happened, but Holly started miscarrying. Seven now, but the first baby after Joel was…was stillborn and I…" Xerxes sighed heavily and looked off into space. "I was so strong for Holly, comforting her, protecting her like a good dominant should, but I needed a release myself, I needed comfort and relief from the pain in my heart. I found that release with cutting spells. It was always my upper arms, never my wrists; it wasn't about killing myself, I would never have left my submissive and our children alone, it was just about the release of the sorrow and anger that I felt that I couldn't show in my need to be strong for Holly. Needless to say I sought out professional help when I realised that what I was doing wasn't healthy, then my Father found out and he all but wiped the floor with me, but by then I had already stopped and had gotten onto the road to recovery. It was all over and sorted quickly when I had his help and I was better able to then deal with the miscarriages after that. Holly hasn't had a heat period in ten years now. I think her Dracken realises that one more miscarriage or stillbirth will destroy her."

"That's so sad." Harry said sympathetically, looking up at Xerxes with his mouth puckered, trying to keep from crying.

Xerxes smirked anyway, knowing exactly what that face meant, and threw a huge arm around him and pulled him into a tight hug. It was hard to believe that he was a seventy year old man with the strength that Harry felt running through his muscles, but he was steadily coming to understand Dracken physiology and the difference between what he had grown up thinking an old man was, to what an old man meant in Dracken terms.

Alexander was ninety-three now, he was so strong, his back was unbent and his knees didn't shake. He could run and jump, laugh until he had to hunch over and he was as energetic as Harry himself was at eighteen, perhaps more so at the moment because he was always so tired what with being pregnant and looking after six young babies.

"Holly and I have both made our peace with it, Harry and we love the three children that we have got, even though our oldest is now forty-eight and doesn't need us as much. John is actually only four years younger than my youngest brother Myron."

Harry chuckled at that. Myron must feel so strange, having a nephew who was only four years his junior, but then how did he feel knowing that Xerxes was fifteen years older?

"You remind me a lot of Myron. You're both calm and strong."

"It doesn't help that we look like mirror images of one another." Xerxes chuckled. "But naturally as the elder, I'm also the better looking."

Harry grinned and had a little chuckle with Xerxes. He was glad that he could make the older man laugh and feel less rage and overwhelming anger. He knew from his own experience with grief that if he laughed, even just a little, then he felt a lot better afterwards and he couldn't even begin to understand the type of pain that Xerxes must have been in to lose so many babies, to lose a brother and two sisters and now to lose his Grandmother, a beloved Grandmother it seemed, apparently very suddenly, despite her being unwell for some time, it was just too much to bear thinking about. Evelyn had seemed so strong at Alexander's birthday party, if a bit pale and tired, but certainly not so close to death as to just die out of the blue only two weeks later.

She had delighted in the babies that he'd not only allowed her to see, but had encouraged her to hold and cuddle, introducing them properly as half of the submissives had clutched their babies to their breasts, though another exception, like him, had been Shae, who was a born Maddison, not to mention that she had fourteen children and was pregnant yet again, she couldn't hold them all, but she didn't even try as she set them free on the garden and the other guests, only several of them were young, a few were still babies, but Shae's oldest children were well into their teenaged years and were very well behaved…well, mostly well behaved.

Evelyn had thoroughly enjoyed herself however, being allowed to hold and play with babies and children, even if it was only Harry and Shae allowing it, though Amelle did let Evelyn hold Eleonora, but being pregnant, just a month and a half from carrying to term, it was hard for her to not hover over her baby girl. Evelyn had seemed so strong and so full of life and lustre at the party, laughing and joking and giving him, Shae and Amelle tips on how to handle their dominant mates which had had all four of them laughing hysterically with actual tears running down their faces, it was hard to believe that just two weeks later she was dead; it was a surprise and not a good one.

Draco and Nasta had gone back home, they couldn't leave Mrs Weasley with all six of their babies all day and expect her to look after them fully, but Harry and Blaise stayed with Max, among the grieving adults. Blaise tried to do what he could, helping Harry make tea and coffee and then all but forcing the Maddisons to drink them, but he was still uncomfortable in this situation. He had lost his Father, but like Harry it had been before he'd even known him.

Harry had tried to comfort Max, but his mate had shrugged him off viciously, which had hurt, but Harry understood. He had shrugged his friends off sometimes when he was upset too, when he hadn't wanted any fuss or anyone to talk or comfort him, when he'd just wanted to think and remember. He understood, he really did, but it still hurt.

He was seven weeks pregnant now, just five days from being a full two months pregnant. He would be going for his first scan soon. He was already booked in with the Healer at St Mungos, but before then he had five Dragon Pox vaccinations to oversee.

His quintuplets were eight and a bit months old and Braiden was twelve and a bit months old. They would need their Dragon Pox vaccines and then a few days later he would be going for his first scan of this pregnancy. He rubbed his belly gently, foolishly he was trying to feel the babies within, despite knowing that he wouldn't be able to feel anything for months ahead yet, he just couldn't stop himself from doing it, he couldn't have another set of quintuplets, hell he couldn't have quadruplets, he just couldn't handle so many young babies. He prayed for just the one.

"Are you well, Harry?" Myron asked him.

Myron had turned up to the grieving party shortly after they themselves had arrived. His eyes were red rimmed, not like he had been crying but more like he was preventing himself from crying and holding his tears back with as much force as he could muster, which was then irritating his eyes.

"Fine." Harry said quietly, but his throat was constricted with tears that he wouldn't let fall.

Myron sighed and pulled him into a hug.

"Max doesn't deal well with grief." Myron told him softly. "He doesn't like being upset; he's too much of an insufferable happy person. He doesn't like anyone making a fuss over him and I know, as his mate, that that will be the first thing that you'll want to do, but just let him get it all out on his own first and then when he's calmed down and he feels empty, then he'll need some comfort to make him feel more like himself again."

Harry nodded, brushing his tears away. This wasn't about him. It was about Max. Myron was right, the only thing that he wanted to do was comfort Max, but that wasn't what his mate wanted or needed, it was what he himself needed and this couldn't be about him, it had to be about Max.

"I understand." Harry said, sniffling to get himself back under control.

"You can take comfort yourself, Harry, you knew her too and it just so happens that when I grieve I need someone to take care of before I have a complete breakdown. I usually use Richard and Ashleigh, but Richard is in work and Ashleigh is trying to talk Julinda out of taking her from her birth certificate, I need to feel needed and useful in order to process and deal with my own loss, will you let me help you and in turn help myself?"

Harry nodded and Myron pulled him back into rest on his chest and Harry couldn't prevent the tears that started falling again as he cried. He cried for Evelyn, he cried for Alexander and Max and Myron and Xerxes and all of the Maddisons who were so devastated by the loss of Evelyn. He cried away his fear of the coming trial, the uncertainty over his pregnancy, the nerves he felt at dealing with having more children. He cried out the stress of Ashleigh's stubbornness, for the confusion with Remus and the baby godson that he'd never met and he let Myron comfort him all through it, let him hold him and touch him, the older man taking comfort from helping him through his tears. He fell asleep on Myron feeling drained, worn and raw, but so much better and lighter for drawing out all of the poison that had been weighing him down for the last several months.

When Harry woke up he didn't know where he was or what had happened or how he'd gotten to where he was.

He was on a bed, he could see that much, but he didn't recognise the bedroom he was in or any of the scents around him.

Confused and on high alert, he inhaled deeply and then deeper again when he couldn't decipher anything. He slipped from the bed and pulled on his Dracken to break the surface of his body and he shifted himself to his Dracken form. He didn't like this.

A hand fell to his pregnant belly, still flat and not showing just yet and he growled softly. They had to protect their unborn clutch by any means necessary.

He inhaled as deeply as he could and held the air inside his lungs as he tried to pick up on any scents on the lingering air, but his head felt like it was stuffed with cotton wool and the skin on his face was tight and itchy. He couldn't remember what had happened to him, his memories were blank. He didn't like this at all.

He moved carefully to the door and tried the handle. It was unlocked and there was no magic on it or the surrounding area. He pulled open the door onto an unfamiliar landing with an unfamiliar colour scheme. He didn't recognise anything. There were no windows.

The corridor seemed to go on forever and there were open doors on either side that showed rooms identical to the one that he had woken up in, there were no windows.

The corridor carried on and on, it twisted and turned, on and on until he rounded a final corner and came out onto a balcony landing that overlooked a spiralling, square staircase that wrapped like a block around the wall, going down and down into the depths of an unknown manor house.

He listened hard and inhaled deeply, but he couldn't hear anything and he couldn't smell anything. He carefully made his way down the stairs, picking his way down each step, keeping his back to the wall as he wound his way down each carefully measured stair. He couldn't hear anything, he couldn't see anything and he couldn't smell anything. Where were his mates? His children? What had he been doing before he'd gone to sleep? Why had he been left in an unfamiliar place, surely his mates wouldn't have left him, especially not when he was pregnant, where were they?

He wanted to call out to them, but he didn't even know if they were here, he couldn't smell them, what if they weren't here and whoever was here heard him and got to him first while he was unprotected? He swallowed around a dry mouth and tried to figure out a plan. If he could find a window then he could fly away, but everywhere was dark, there didn't seem to be any windows at all in this place and he felt panic claw at him, the walls closing in before he shook it off and calmed himself down. He was good at dealing with this sort of pressure, he could deal with this sort of situation, he'd done it a thousand times…only when he reached up his sleeve for his wand he found it missing.

He searched his whole body, but his wand had definitely been removed. Then he panicked. He was no good at wandless spells, he couldn't do it consciously! He'd only managed it a handful of times and none of them had been intentional or controlled.

Moving faster down the stairs, he hoped to find a door, anything that led to the outside, but the staircase kept going on and on, down and down and with every flight of stairs, his panic grew, his footsteps quickening until he was all but running down the stairs. He stopped to catch his ragged breath, hand on his pregnant belly, a stitch in his side and his lungs burning from lack of oxygen.

He didn't know what to do, he was torn. He wanted his mates, he needed them, but he couldn't call out for fear that someone was here. He had a feeling that someone was here and that that someone meant to cause him harm, but he couldn't get out, there didn't seem to be any sort of exit here.

He inhaled deeply and tried to find any scents, anything at all, but nothing he recognised came to him, the winding staircase made him blind at every corner as he couldn't see far before a wall cut off his sight. He was trapped in an unfamiliar place, with no wand, no protection, with no windows and no exit, pregnant and on his own without anyone around him, where were his mates? What had happened? Had he been drugged? He thought as he rubbed at his itchy eyes and tried to think past his cotton wool stuffed head. He looked down the stairs as far as he could, but he couldn't see an end, what sort of magic was this?

A noise behind him on the stairs had his eyes widening as he realised his mistake too late and he spun around to see what had snuck up behind him only for him to scream as he caught sight of what had been following him, stalking him through the house and down the stairs, and he leapt backwards in horror and fright, only to tumble down the endless flights of stairs, the vile creature behind him following with a manic grin, just waiting for his battered body to come to rest to claim him, and quite possibly his unborn baby, as his prize.

Harry was ripped from sleep in a cold sweat, panicked and finding it difficult to breathe, his face and eyes were tight and itchy and his head felt like it was stuffed with cotton wool, his memory was blank and softly fuzzy and when he calmed enough to look around himself, he found that he was on the very same bed that he'd been on in his dream, in the very same windowless room and he screamed in distress. He screamed until he thought that his throat might tear and his eardrums would burst.

In his panic he saw the door and refused to even go near it, instead he turned and ripped the tapestries and fabrics from the walls, one of them had to be hiding a window, it had to! He heard pounding feet and his fear leapt up another level. The monster on the stairs was running to come and get him instead of stalking him through the house. It was coming for him and his unborn clutch!

He screamed in severe distress, his voice breaking as he held the call for as long as he possibly could before his shrivelled lungs demanded air as he pulled down another floor length piece of heavy fabric and his heart almost burst as he found the window at last. He flung it open, thankful that it wasn't locked, and as the footfalls came louder down the corridor, getting nearer and nearer to him, he flung himself out of the window and into the open air. Into freedom.

Flying wasn't so bad, he decided as his powerful wings beat the air in fast, rapid strokes. He'd stopped calling as soon as he hit the air and his wings had unfurled, twisting around and flying off over the roof so that the monster couldn't see him through the window he'd uncovered.

It was peaceful out here, there was nothing to worry about, nothing to do but fly, he had nothing to do and no one to look after. It was just him, the white, fluffy wisps of cloud below him, the endless blue sky ahead and the burning sun that felt amazing on his scales and wings.

He had outsmarted his captor, the monster from his nightmares, and he was free. He was following the ingrained scents that his children had left on his mind at their birth and he was following the almost minute directions that he could pick up on. He was going back to his mates and his children. His captor would not be able to fight off his mates, they were too strong and too powerful, they would protect him, he knew it.

The only problem was that he was getting tired. He'd been flying for an hour or more now and he ached fiercely, the strain on his wing joints especially was almost excruciating by now and he was hungry and in need of a good, long drink of cool water, but he still had a way to go yet and he couldn't stop. What if the monster caught up to him when he was resting and still so far away from his protectors?

Just the thought of the monster on the stairs had him beating his wings yet faster, despite how very tired he was and how much his muscles protested. He wanted his home nest, he wanted his mates and he wanted to hug his children, especially his Faerie baby. He rested a hand on his pregnant belly as his whole body rose and fell rhythmically with every beat of his wings. It was almost soothing, a balm to the panic and fear that he'd felt an hour or so ago. He never wanted to feel like that again, he never wanted to see such a sight again. He wished now that he had killed the monster, so that he might sleep easily, but he had been too panicked, too distressed, his first thought to his unborn clutch and the fall he'd had down the stairs in his dream. He couldn't risk his clutch, better to draw the monster out and have his mates kill it rather than take the risk upon himself and lose his unborn clutch and maybe his own life too. It was too great a risk and he trusted his mates to deal with the monster, he trusted them to protect him and their children with their very lives.

He was covered in a sheen of dewy sweat when he finally reached the place that his inner navigation system was telling him was his home nest, the place where his mates and children were…only he could smell his children, but not his mates.

Panic gripped him yet again at the thought that maybe the monster had beaten him here, that the monster had taken his children hostage and he landed quickly with that thought, panic tearing through him as he ripped the door from its hinges and rushed into a more familiar setting, he recognised this place, the smells, the sights, he knew where he was.

He rushed to his children to find them with four humans. He hissed dangerously and he could smell the fear pouring off of them. It was so potent that he could almost taste it on the back of his tongue.

"Mama!"

He advanced and chased the humans away from his babies, one step at a time. He flared his wings in warning; he snapped his jaws at them and bared his teeth as they tried to slip out of his home nest. Were they working for the monster? Were they here for his children? Where the fuck were his mates and why had they left their children alone and unprotected like they'd done to him?!

He picked up the baby who had called out to him and he nuzzled his child, inhaling his scent deeply to make sure that these humans hadn't hurt him. His little child clutched at him as if terrified and it made him growl deeply, he felt his venom secrete then, with just the thought that his child had been hurt or scared and he twittered to him comfortingly, placing him down and turning his attention to the humans, baring his coated teeth at them. Their fear racked up another level as a glob of venom welled up over his bottom lip and dripped off of his chin. They knew what he was and what his venom could do to them.

The male human had bravely stepped in front of the three female humans; he had a stick in his hand like a weapon. He cocked his head slightly, more venom leaking from his mouth at the action, he remembered this human male from his last birthing, he remembered the stick that shot hot sparks at him too, almost blinding him. He growled dangerously. This was twice now that this human male had threatened him and his children and he wasn't going to stand for it. He wouldn't live to do it a third time.

One of the human females squawked loudly in distress and he snarled. She was calling for backup; he couldn't protect all six of his children by himself, he was pregnant too, he couldn't handle this himself. He let out his own distress call, louder and longer than the human female and he felt his mates rumble back to him, they weren't too far away from him now and he trilled at them to hurry them along. They knew he was pregnant; they would be here to protect him soon.

He gathered all of his children up, they had gone still and silent from his first snarl, he had very clever children; they knew not to move and not to make a sound, that this was a dangerous time and he needed them to be as still and as quiet as possible.

He got them all behind him and put them down, letting out a soft rumble for them to stay where they were before he straightened up and glared at the humans, who had slipped further towards the door while he had been gathering up his children to better protect them.

He stalked forward; if they worked for the monster then they had to die.

"Harry, please. Let's not do this again." The male human jabbered at him nervously.

He growled and he smelt salt water, one of the human females was crying. He bared his teeth again and hissed; darting forward only to be stopped by sparks. He swiped at the human male warningly as he rubbed his face free of the sting from the sparks, watching the human male as he backed the three women up to the back of the room, still using himself as a fronted shield.

A whooshing noise had him swinging around, but it was too late. He was tackled to the floor and he screamed in distress, thinking that the monster had grabbed him, only for him to smell an unmated dominant Dracken. His thoughts flew immediately to his unborn baby and the fall he'd just taken…was this Dracken trying to kill his cutch to impregnate him with his own? He screamed louder in distress and fought back harder, it was not going to happen, not while he still lived.

He dug his claws in and clenched his jaws tight around the nearest body part that he could find, he would have liked the neck or throat, but he got a wrist instead and he bit down, clenching his jaws together rapidly and repeatedly until he felt his teeth grate on bone and then he worked his jaw back and forth, over and over, depositing his venom into the blood stream and into his attacker's very wrist bone causing the Dracken above him to yell out in absolute agony. His attacker tried to yank his arm back, used his fingers to try and pry his mouth from his wrist, but he refused to unclamp his teeth as he sunk his claws deep into whatever flesh he could to keep his prey where he wanted it, pushing more venom into his body from his claws, secreting more and more venom as he wrestled with the Dracken above him, feeling the excess liquid numbing his lips as it dribbled out of his mouth and rested on his face.

One of his babies cried out and that was all it took to get him to let go of his prey as he scrambled out of the tangle of limbs that he and his attacker had become and he rushed to where he had left his children and he rammed a balled up fist into the face of the new threat, another unmated dominant Dracken, that had been holding his little boy. He caught his baby around the waist and snarled as ferociously as he could manage to get the threat to back away from his babies as he stood protectively in front of them, his fifth born child nuzzling into his shirt, calling for him.

A familiar scent entered his home nest then and he called out, a soft cooing roar and then comforting arms were around him, large wings wrapped around him, shielding him, comforting him and out of sight, he turned and buried himself into his mate's chest and clung to him, rumbling and growling, telling his mate how afraid he had been and how glad that he was now that he was finally here.

He smelt all of his mates around him, heard their reassuring rumbles and then he was released to be held and nuzzled by his three other mates as his top dominant turned to get rid of the Dracken and human threats in their home nest.

Only when they were alone did he start calming down and as he calmed down, the tears came. He cried and cried until his human form washed over him and then he bawled his eyes out, safe in the arms of his mates in their home nest with all six of his babies around him and completely safe.

He didn't think about anything, he just got rid of his pain and his fear and the anguish he still felt over the events of the last few hours with his cleansing tears and when he had no more tears left to cry, he stood resting, tired and bonelessly on who he thought might have been his second mate and he felt and thought nothing. He just stood there against his mate, the three others around him.

"Harry?" Someone called out. "Harry?!"

He blinked and turned to look at the noise, staring blankly at his top dominant who was stood with such concern and worry on his face, but the threat was gone now, there was nothing to be worried over yet, unless they already knew about the monster.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

Harry blinked.

"Do you remember how to talk?" His top dominant asked him gently.

"He's been in Dracken form for hours, Nasta; it's his first distress shift where he hasn't calmed down immediately or shortly afterward. It's going to take a while for him to get recalibrated."

Nasta nodded. "I suspected as much. Harry, do you want to go to sleep?"

He understood that and he felt his eyes widen at that very suggestion and his hands balled up tight into the shirt under his hands.

"Alright, love, no sleeping." Nasta soothed him, petting his hair gently to calm him down.

His mates got him sitting down on a soft seat and they helped him to drink a liquid from something they called a cup, he recognised it, though he didn't remember how to drink from a cup, so he instead used the tip of his tongue like a cat to drink the warm liquid, but he was calming down more, relaxing more as his mates touched and soothed him, though their worry was like a sharp blade underneath their care and love.

He fell asleep without meaning to and his mates covered him over and tucked him in, never straying far from him just in case he woke up again as they fixed up the house and checked on their napping children and had a hell of a lot of floo calls to receive and take care of.

Nasta rubbed his face with his hands as he made sure that his older brother, Sanex was alright. This was the second time that Sanex had come up against a feral Harry in Dracken form and twice he had come perilously close to dying, only this time Max's three younger sisters had been in the house with him.

Max's Uncle, Cepheus, was being cared for after the surprising amount of damage that Harry had done to him after he'd heard and reacted to the distress calls from Alayla. The bite to his wrist was very bad and very, very deep, it had gone down to the bone apparently, which had been chipped and fractured by the force of Harry's bite and his four fangs, which had gone into the bone and infected it with his venom and it was taking some expert medical treatment from an actual Dracken Healer to fix it, yet Cepheus was still fevered, hallucinating and talking gibberish. The expert Dracken Healer from the Counsel was unsure whether he would live or not, Harry's venom had not only gotten into his blood circulation, but had been deposited into his bone too, which was spreading to other bones like a poison. Even if he lived he might never have the full use of his hand again.

Nasta had never felt so much fear for anyone in his life than when he'd heard the highest pitch of Harry's distress call and then when they'd reached the bedroom he'd been in only to find him missing. He'd honestly thought that someone had taken him, his pregnant submissive mate.

The fear and the panic he'd felt as he tried to follow Harry's scent, the destruction of the bedroom he had been placed in to rest. None of them had given up for a moment as they called in the back up, as they called in all of their family members to help search for Harry. They had left Sanex, Julinda, Talia and Alayla at their home to look after their children as they searched for an, assumed, abducted Harry.

He had gone half crazed in his need to find him; he couldn't get the echoes of Harry's distress call out of his mind. Harry had never called out in such a state of distress and fear before, it made him ache to tear into something, knowing that someone had put Harry into such a state of distress as to give a call such as he had.

Nasta looked to Harry now, sleeping peacefully, Blaise sat right by him just in case and everything seemed fine, but he knew what was lurking beneath all of their minds, in their hearts. They needed to know what had happened to Harry, what had made him scream in so much panic, fear and distress and where he had gone, what had happened to the bedroom and who had hurt him so badly.

Nasta's fists clenched and he took another gulp of green tea. It was laced with calming draught that Max had snuck into all of their cups of tea, to keep them all from shifting and going out to claw up any and everyone their Drackens even suspected of hurting Harry, they needed both the tea and the calming draught and he knew it, Max knew it too which is why he had laced all of their tea with calming draught, courtesy of his potions stash; Draco had gulped his tea down in just four large swallows, somehow just knowing that it contained a calming draught and knowing that he needed it, but then, after Max, he was the expert on potions, so Nasta wasn't all that surprised that Draco knew that the tea contained a calming draught.

"How are you feeling?"

Nasta turned to look at Max and gave him a small, wry smile. "That should be my line." He said gruffly.

Max had been in a state before Harry had gone missing. He'd just lost his beloved great-grandmother and then hours later he lost his submissive mate…his pregnant submissive mate, from his own Grandfather's house no less, when he'd been right there, just down a couple flights of stairs.

"I'm fine. Calming draughts work a treat." Max said, pulling a face.

Nasta sighed and pulled Max into a long, lingering hug. "We'll sort this and we'll find out what happened, we just need Harry to remember how to talk and to come back into his human self before he talks to us."

"What if he doesn't want to talk about it?" Blaise wondered aloud.

"I'm sure he will." Nasta answered. "Something happened and whatever it was, it was bad. I've never heard him call in such distress before and from the way he was sobbing earlier, something happened to absolutely terrify him."

"I just want to know how anyone knew that Harry would be at my Grandfather's house." Max said. "He's distraught thinking that Harry was kidnapped because of him."

"I'm more concerned with who knew that the Maddisons are Drackens." Nasta said darkly. "Was it a coincidence? Was it just Harry they were after because of who he is and what he's done in his past? Or were they poachers who somehow knew that the Maddison family are Drackens and lay in wait for the first opportunity they could get to snatch a suspected Dracken?"

Max bit his lip. "My Dad had the same thought, but Oliver was on his own in the library, Kyra was alone in the attic and Philip was actually out in the garden, if they wanted a Maddison Dracken, why not snatch one of them? Why Harry?"

"Oliver and Philip are large men." Draco answered gruffly. "Kyra is visibly a dominant. From what I know of these poachers, they prefer submissive Drackens. Easier to work with and easier to overpower and manhandle and Harry is obviously a submissive and he was sleeping at the time, it would have been easier to snatch him groggy and half asleep than to try and overpower an awake and alert dominant."

Nasta's hands clenched at the logic in that and he snarled before he could stop himself. Harry let out a soft rumble and turned in his sleep towards Blaise.

"How did he get away though?" Blaise asked softly.

"We need to ask him when he's awake." Max answered. "It's very rarely that a Dracken can get away from poachers unscathed and virtually never without any sort of outside help. They know they can't take a Dracken one on one, so they make sure they have the numbers to overcome us before they even consider approaching a Dracken."

"How did they get off the Maddison property, with Harry, without any of us noticing them?" Nasta asked. "If Harry was calling for us, then he was awake enough to know what was happening and he was scared. We know that from his call. He would have fought them, he would have shifted and fought them, how did they fight him, overpower him and get him out of that room before the Maddison family, who were just down a few flights of stairs, reached it?"

Max groaned in frustration, but when the floo flared and a voice called out from the fireplace, he got onto his knees to talk softly, keeping the family updated on what had happened, but no one knew anything, there were more questions than answers and those questions wouldn't start to be answered until Harry woke up.

Harry woke up slowly and he frowned as he blinked open his eyes and he was surprised to see the ceiling of his living room. It wasn't often that he fell asleep downstairs and not in the middle of the day either, which the sun through the front window seemed to indicate. He sat up and stretched and opened his eyes to see Blaise staring at him.

"What's the matter?" Harry asked, frowning harder as his throat was dry and sore.

"Are you alright?" Blaise asked, leaning in to nuzzle at him.

"I feel a bit fuzzy and a little sore, but otherwise I'm okay. I need a drink though."

"Max! Harry needs tea."

"Is Max here? I thought he'd be at Alexander's."

Nasta rushed in, Draco not far behind him and they held Harry tightly, Blaise squashed to him by Nasta's unyielding arm. Max came in only moments later with tray of tea. He'd already been making the tea when Blaise had shouted to him.

"How are you feeling?" Nasta pulled back to ask.

"Fine. A bit fuzzy and sore, like I told Blaise, but otherwise I'm fine."

"Here, this has a bit of calming draught in it." Max said as he handed Harry a cup of his favourite honey tea. Max was an expert at making it perfectly now.

Harry looked at him a little strangely, but he drank it anyway and felt the calming effects hit him almost immediately and the built up tension in his shoulders melted away and he couldn't hold back the pleasurable sigh as his whole body relaxed.

"What happened, Harry?" Nasta asked him.

"With what?" Harry frowned as he lowered his tea cup.

Nasta sighed. "What's the last thing that you remember?"

Harry pursed his lips as he thought back, the action harder than it should have been, which confused him, but he eventually found the memory he wanted. "We were at Alexander's house, I fell asleep on Myron and then I woke up here. What's going on?"

"You don't remember anything that happened after you fell asleep?"

"No, I was asleep, how do you expect me to remember?" Harry deadpanned sarcastically.

"You woke up before you did just now, Harry." Max told him gently. "You woke up at my Granddad's. You fell asleep here after you almost killed my sisters and Sanex again."

"Don't tell him that!" Blaise hissed angrily as he wrapped his arms around Harry's shoulders protectively, as if he could shield Harry from what he'd just heard, but Max had jogged something in his memory and he frowned as he explored these memories that were, as far as he could tell, from when he was in his Dracken form.

"I went feral." He said softly. "I…I don't…I didn't mean it. I didn't recognise any of them, I just…I was scared and I was so happy to be home and I thought that you'd all be here, but I only scented our children and I panicked when there were humans around them. I thought…I thought the humans were trying to hurt my babies or trying to take them from me. I couldn't allow it."

"We understand, Harry, everyone understands."

"Someone attacked me. A Dracken. I bit him."

"Cepheus. He's going to be…fine." Max said more than a bit strained.

Harry shook his head. "He's not. I wanted him dead. I bit right down to the bone and still I didn't stop, I was trying to bite his hand off and I didn't want to let go. Oh god, what have I done?"

"It's not your fault, Harry and Ceph might be fine. He's got one of the Counsel's Healer's with him." Max assured him.

"Do you remember what happened before you arrived at the house?" Nasta prompted.

"I was flying." Harry nodded as he took comfort from Blaise who was still holding him. "I…I think I flew all the way here. I remember thinking that I needed to land to have a rest, but…but I was scared in case…in case I was caught up and captured when I was still away from you all."

"Caught by whom?" Draco asked him desperately.

"The monster." Harry replied with a swallow.

"The monster?" Draco prompted.

Harry nodded before he stopped, his stomach dropped and he felt completely empty. He flushed heavily when he realised exactly what had happened and why. He buried his face in his hands.

"I think I need a mind Healer." He told his mates softly. "Or at the very least I need to talk to someone."

"Talk to us." Nasta encouraged.

"I need a professional." Harry insisted.

"Whatever you think happened…whatever those people did to you, we'll get through it." Max soothed him.

"That's just the point, no one did anything to me." Harry whispered. "It was all me. This is my fault and I need help or it's going to happen again."

"What…what do you mean, Harry?"

"I had a nightmare." Harry admitted bitterly. "Everything that's happened…it stemmed from one nightmare."

"A nightmare?" Max asked incredulously, his anger flaring up. "My Uncle Cepheus is going to die over a goddamned nightmare?!"

Harry flinched and clenched his hands together. "I said that I didn't mean to do it."

"Do you think that's going to matter at all to Cepheus?!"

"Max, stop it." Nasta ordered harshly.

Max's jaw clamped shut with the full order from his top dominant, but he growled instead, turned on his heel and then stormed over to the fireplace. He threw a handful of floo powder into the flames and then left them.

"He's just upset over Evelyn dying." Blaise insisted, holding him tighter, his fingers digging almost painfully into his shoulders.

Harry shook his head. "I need help. These nightmares are getting worse and if I did all of this from one nightmare, then what happens the next time I have one? Will I hurt you the next time? Myself? What if I hurt our children?! I can't live like this. I need help…immediately."

"Can you talk to us first?" Nasta asked him. "I just want what's best for you, I want to help you; I want to understand what happened. What monster were you talking about?"

"The monster from my nightmare." Harry told him ashamedly. "I thought it was actually real and I panicked. I actually believed that it was real even after I had woken up, Nasta!"

"What did it look like?"

"Like all of my fears rolled into one." Harry explained. "It had strange legs, in a dress that I think I saw at the last Dracken meeting; it had my Uncle's upper body and Voldemort's head. But it…Leolin's face was in its chest, like he'd been sucked into the body of the monster. It's getting worse, Nasta, I need help. I thought it was real, I actually, honestly thought that that thing was real and I completely lost my mind and the ability to think rationally. I destroyed the room that I was in because I actually believed that there were no windows in the house, I believed that I was trapped there like I was in my nightmare and I went bat shit crazy because of it."

"You were scared, Harry, people believe all sorts of things when they're scared. You aren't going crazy."

"I've lost Max! He's gone! What else am I supposed to think?"

"You haven't lost him. He's grieving."

"They're all going to hate me for attacking Cepheus, I know it, I do, I hate myself for it."

"Harry, Cepheus is a fifty-seven year old man, he knew you would attack him as soon as he touched you, but still he did it."

"Because I was going to kill his three nieces and Sanex!" Harry shouted.

"He still knew how you would react! The both of them did!"

"Both of them?" Harry demanded, his voice lilting in panic.

Nasta sighed. "Nicodemus came over with him. They stayed at their Father's house just in case you went back there and they were the closest when Alayla let out a distress call."

"What…what did I do to him?"

Nasta looked uncomfortable for a moment but he sighed in defeat. "You punched him in the face, but that's all. He's got a broken nose, but he's completely fine."

"I killed his twin brother!"

"Cepheus is still alive and he's with one of the best Dracken Healers that we have, he's going to be fine."

"You hope." Harry said glumly.

Nasta seized his shoulders and shook him a little. "No, Harry. This wasn't your fault! You were in Dracken form. We all know what happens when we're in Dracken form. You weren't in your right mind, you didn't know who you were attacking, if they were friend, family or foe, if Cepheus had been an enemy and you'd hesitated then he could have killed you! You did the right thing listening to your instincts and no one can hold that against you. No one!"

"I should have had more control…"

"No. No, Harry, I will not have you pinning the blame of this on yourself! Your control is amazing for your age. You were scared, we heard it in your distress call, everyone heard that you were frightened. They knew, Harry and they knew how you would react to them before they even flooed over here."

"Max hates me." Harry said rubbing his eyes, trying not to let his tears fall.

"He doesn't hate you, he's grie…"

"If you say that once more!" Harry growled at Blaise. "He was fine with me until I told him that it was a nightmare that set me off and then he left!"

"He'll calm down." Nasta assured him.

Harry blinked then as realised that his hand had been absently playing with the hem of his jumper. He pressed a hand to his belly panicked as he remembered something else that had him infinitely more worried than anything else.

"Cepheus tackled me to the floor. The baby!" He cried out.

"He did what?!" Blaise demanded furiously before turning to Nasta. "We have to get him to the hospital!"

Nasta picked him up in his arms and before Harry could get his bearings back, Nasta had taken him through the floo and they had arrived at Saint Mungos.

"They'll stay there won't they?" Harry asked Nasta. "The other children…"

"They'll stay." Nasta nodded as he demanded to be seen by Healer Almus. The witch behind the desk looked through a book in front of her that was magically updating and tried to tell Nasta that Healer Almus was booked up, but his mate would hear nothing of it.

"I can get you an immediate appointment with Healer Morrisey…"

"I don't want an appointment with Healer Morrisey, I want Healer Almus. Now!" Nasta hissed, releasing the pheromones that induced fear in others and Harry saw when it hit the welcome witch as she gulped hard and shifted her chair back a little.

"I…I'll see what I can do."

"I want it within ten minutes." Nasta told her irrationally before he turned and sat down in the seat, right in front of the witch's desk.

"That was horrible, Nas." Harry told him with no real heat behind his words. He was too worried to be angry or disapproving and he trusted Nasta as his top dominant to do his all to make sure that he and the baby were safe.

"I'm not messing around with this. You are pregnant and you've been injured. I will have that appointment with Healer Almus no matter what it takes me to get it."

Harry could have laughed if he wasn't feeling so upset and miserable when a harried Healer Almus followed the nervous welcome witch into the waiting room and he almost deflated at seeing them.

"How did I know it would be you?" He shook his head. "Come on then, let's see what you've gotten up to in just four weeks."

Nasta carried him into Healer Almus' private office, very few patients ever got an examination in the Healer's private office, but Harry qualified for the honour.

"What's happened then, I assume it's the pregnancy?"

"I got tackled by a well-meaning relative because I was trying to kill four other relatives." Harry nodded.

Healer Maximilian Almus blinked and then blinked again, before he nodded as if everything was normal and he heard such statements daily as he started moving, using a series of spells to check on him and the progressing pregnancy. Harry held himself as still as he could, letting the Healer work. He wasn't worried about the spells, they had been created for pregnant witches and wizards and Healer Almus knew exactly what he was doing. He was a senior Healer after all and Harry trusted that he knew what he was doing and he trusted that Nasta would protect him if anything happened or threatened him and the baby.

"Well you seem to be fine and there are no adverse reactions to the pregnancy. I can do a scan if you wish."

Harry nodded. "I think I would feel better if you looked at what little you'll be able to see."

Healer Almus set up the equipment and Harry grimaced as the cold gel was rubbed all over his belly. Harry squinted at the black, white and grey grainy picture on the monitor, but if he thought it had been hard to see the quintuplets, this was near enough impossible, even Healer Almus was pulling a face trying to force himself to see what was on the monitor.

"I hate doing early scans." He grumbled good naturedly. "You have no idea how many parents I meet that come in demanding a scan when they're three or four weeks pregnant because they want to see their babies. Do you know how difficult it is to see an embryo that small?"

Harry shook his head. "Is that what's wrong here? I can't see anything, but then I have a lot of problems seeing anything in scan photos."

"I can just make out the sac surrounding the baby and I can just about see a heart beating, if I'm seeing things right though, then this is a second heart right here."

"That means two babies, doesn't it?" Harry asked curiously.

"That means twins, yes. I can't see any evidence of any more hearts, so it looks like it might be just the two…but if you could wiggle onto your side for me…that's it."

Harry twisted onto his left side and Healer Almus dug the transducer as deep into his body as he could. He did the same to his other side before digging it back into his abdomen.

"No, I'd say definitely two, but we'll have a better idea of if that is accurate or not in another couple of weeks and from what I can see, these two are fine. Oh, there's the one heart, beating strong." He said as he pointed out a throbbing white blob that was no bigger than the nib of a quill.

"Where's the second heart?" Harry asked, leaning up on his arms to see the screen better.

"It could be that we just can't find it, Harry, I assure you that my spells told me that nothing is wrong inside of you and it would have picked up a dead embryo."

Harry nodded and calmed himself. "So nothing is wrong and the tackle to the floor didn't hurt the babies?"

"No, you and your maybe twins are fine."

Harry smiled and let out a sigh of relief.

"Five months to go and then these two will be out, but first I need to survive two funerals, Christmas and three birthdays, one of those for quintuplets."

"I would advise you to go slow for a week or two, just in case. Dracken pregnancies are delicate from what I've learnt, I've been reading so much and learning from other Dracken Healers and from what I've been told, you're lucky that you aren't just a few more weeks along or you could have had a miscarriage. So take it easy for a bit and rest when you can."

Harry nodded his understanding and then Nasta helped him wipe off his stomach and pull his shirt back down and then they were thanking the Healer for his time and making their way back home, at least Harry could tell them now that he wasn't having another set of quintuplets, even if his pregnancy didn't stay with twins.

Max stayed away from all of them for the next two days and nights, this would be the third day and he was sleeping over at Alexander's with most of his Aunts and Uncles and a hoard of his cousins and Harry was feeling more and more unhappy about it the longer it went on.

Cepheus was going to live according to Nasta, who had heard it from Aneirin who had heard it from Myron as apparently none of the Maddisons wanted to come near him, even Aneirin was keeping his distance, yet he understood. He'd tried to kill Sanex again, Myron and Richard's three human daughters had been separated from him by Sanex, another human, and he'd almost killed Cepheus and he had broken Nicodemus' nose. He was surprised the Maddison family hadn't launched a lynch mob after him for what he'd done to their family, no, he could very well understand their behaviour towards him, but Max was his mate, one of his dominant mates and regardless of what he'd done he should have been here, he didn't have to speak to him or even look at him, Harry would even stay in a separate room if it helped, but he should have been here for the sake of their children if nothing else. They knew that something was wrong and they missed their Daddy Max and it broke his heart having to tell them that Daddy Max wasn't here every time they looked around and asked for him.

Harry held Calix on his lap and tried to get him to swallow a small syringe of medicine, but his fever red face was screwed up with his crying and he pushed away anything that went near his mouth. Harry felt ready to cry himself, but he swallowed it back down and carried on trying to comfort a fevered Calix. The last thing that his son needed was to see his Mother crying right now, even if it was the only thing that he felt like doing in that moment.

It didn't help that he was on his own either. Nasta had been called into work urgently just before lunch as one of the female dragons had just suddenly turned and started killing and maiming her juvenile offspring, the keepers were trying to save as many of them as possible and they needed as many hands as they could get as the juvenile dragons were attacking the well-meaning keepers as their mother attacked them and the keepers. Draco was on a planned visit to Malfoy Manor with Farren and Regan and Blaise had gone job hunting again. Calix had been fine that morning and none of the kids were playing up, everything had been calm and quiet and going fine, until Calix had woken from his after lunch nap with cherry red cheeks and a burning fever. He felt useless, utterly useless.

He'd put a sleeping Leolin upstairs and he hoped that was enough to spare his little son from the virus that had caught Calix, but Braiden and Tegan were crawling around the floor and without Regan to distract her, Tegan was throwing things at Braiden and trying to get close enough to hit him.

"Tegan, stop it!" He snapped, sharper than he had intended, which made him close his eyes as Calix's cries picked up another pitch.

He'd contemplated sending out a weak, non-urgent distress call, but the only mate who was free was Max and at the moment, Harry wasn't sure that Max would come and he didn't want to feel the pain that he knew he would when Max didn't come at his call. He didn't want to give anyone any more ammunition to use against him either when they found out that he'd given a distress call because he couldn't cope with his own children. He felt useless enough without that.

He swallowed the lump in his throat and blinked away the tears. He redoubled his efforts to get the medicine into Calix and he actually managed to do it when Calix threw his head back to cry, his arms flinging out to the sides, which gave Harry the opening he'd been waiting for to get the syringe into Calix's mouth and depress the plunger, finally getting the potion into Calix's little tummy. Calix cried harder.

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