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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52. Chapter Fifty-One – Autumn Misery

November was bleak and wet. Harry was three months pregnant and he looked about eight. Everything was a strain, he was snapping at everyone, including the teachers and his misshapen bulge was an agony he had never experienced before in his life. It ached all on its own; his unborn babies kicked and punched him and likely each other as their already limited space constricted even further around them as they all grew.

Max gave him his potions every morning, except for the one which was given to him just before he went to sleep at night. Harry had taken so many bone strengthening potions that he was sure that if he was hit by the Hogwarts Express it would crumple around him rather than the other way around, but it was doing its job as his body moved around the five babies struggling for space inside of him. He was sure he'd at least have a broken rib or two by now if he hadn't been taking the potions.

School was a torture and looking after an increasingly bouncy Braiden was taking its toll on him, even with the free periods he had, Harry was finding it difficult to stay awake during lessons and he found it even harder to concentrate and focus on the lesson. He was more of a distraction really as the second year Ravenclaws had taken to calling him the famous whale and now everyone in all houses and all years was calling him it and then, because he burst into tears every time it happened, it made Draco and Blaise incredibly angry and they were now serving detentions with Professor Flitwick for attacking said second year Ravenclaws who had started the nickname.

Though it had made Harry laugh so much he had pissed himself, something he was getting used to as a single kick to his bladder and it released, no matter where he was or what he was doing at the time. Max had joked that they should put him in one of Braiden's nappies. Harry had been sleeping on the settee ever since in protest.

Harry woke up there once more and stretched, cracking his back. The best thing about this pregnancy was that the morning sickness had not come back and his mornings were vomit free as he stuffed himself so full of grotesque foods it was no wonder that he had put on two stone of weight.

Ashleigh had not apologised and she had not come back, though Richard came by nearly every other day, saying Myron and Ashleigh were at each other's throats and that he wanted to keep his throat away so it didn't become a target.

Harry had refused the selective reduction, thanking Healer Almus for his time and advice, even as his mates screamed bloody murder, but Harry had remained firm and he said that his five had been conceived together and they would live or die together. Blaise, who had been in favour of the selective reduction from the start, had not spoken to him for three days afterwards.

Healer Almus had accepted his decision with a wry smile and told him plainly that he would help as much as he could, wherever he could to get him and the babies through the pregnancy safely.

Harry rolled himself to his feet and he stood still as his central balance adjusted to make him steady as the massive bulge threatened to take him over as he wobbled about like the floor was made of jelly. It wasn't fair!

Harry went digging through the cupboards and the cold storage to find something to fill his growling belly with. He found a bag of frozen peas and he wanted them straight away. He boiled them, tipped them into a bowl and then slathered them with vinegar, butter and honey and sat at the table eating them with a spoon. He knew logically that it was supposed to taste vile, but he moaned after every spoonful.

It was how Max found him and his biggest mate turned right back around and told Harry to call him when he was done eating. Harry chuckled, too use to this behaviour now to be hurt by it.

Nasta came out and sat by him though, rubbing his belly and murmuring softly to it as he had taken to doing, it made Harry smile as he placed one hand in Nasta's hair, stroking and combing through it as his oldest mate talked to the five babies inside of him.

Blaise brought Braiden out and fed him the bottle that Harry had already made up in preparation. Braiden had started sleeping for longer and all of them couldn't wait until he started sleeping through the night, because though only one of them got up to feed him at two o'clock in the morning, all of them were woken up and disturbed by his crying.

"How are you feeling, Prezioso?" Blaise asked as he burped Braiden and handed him to Harry, taking away the empty bowl in front of him.

"Hungry." Harry sighed. No matter how much he ate, he just could not feel full.

"I'll make crepes for breakfast." Max announced as he came back into the room, his hair and bare chest still damp from his shower.

"Put something on!" Harry demanded. "It's November, you're going to freeze!"

Max chuckled amusedly, but dried his hair and body with a spell before pulling on the jumper that he had tied around his waist.

Max made the crepes quickly and easily, filling them with sliced peaches and blueberries. Harry spooned half a jar of honey onto his three crepes and happily devoured them.

"How you don't have several cavities I don't know." Draco said as he bit into his fourth crepe.

"I'm special." Harry said with a grin, bouncing Braiden, who was now getting strong enough to hold his own head up, but not for long periods of time.

Harry finished his breakfast and savoured the feeling of not being hungry for a moment, even if he wasn't completely full, he made sure he had his snack pots, which he had been given permission by Dumbledore to carry and eat in class because of how much food he was getting through, and he handed Braiden to Nasta and allowed himself to be led down to Hermione, who he had Defence Against the Dark Arts with first. He thanked Merlin that it was a Friday and that the weekend was soon upon them, but he really couldn't wait for Christmas to come. Three weeks off from school was going to do him the world of good. His four mates too.

"How much bigger can I get?!" Harry screamed as he stood off the scales after realising that he had gained another eight pounds almost overnight. He had gained nearly three stone in weight and his body was aching and sore and his joints were agony.

Blaise rubbed him gently and kissed his cheek. "You look stunning." He whispered. "You make me hot and hard for you."

Blaise proved it by pressing the hard length of himself into Harry's back. Harry giggled and turned to cuddle Blaise. Even though it was only superficial proof, it was still proof that Blaise loved him and still found him desirable, which made him feel infinitely better and more secure.

Harry sunk heavily to his knees and rubbed his cheek against the front of Blaise's boxer shorts.

"I'm going to make you feed me." He growled, his Dracken coming out. He really wanted his mates' seed. Any mate would do, but he wanted it badly.

Missing Scene

"That...what was that?" Blaise exclaimed weakly as Harry nuzzled him softly.

"I think the Dracken cravings are coming out. With Braiden I craved blood, this time I'm craving something a bit different."

Harry giggled and then the hunger came back and his Dracken took over and he knew just by scenting him that Blaise would not be able to feed him again. He took two mouthfuls of blood, fed Blaise a lick of his own blood from his bitten lip, before he crawled out of the bathroom, out of the bedroom and into the living room where his other three mates were. They looked up at the smell of the blood that was dripping down his chin from his lip, where a fang had bitten deeply.

"Harry?" Draco questioned softly, putting his textbook aside.

"I'm hungry." He complained with a soft growl.

"You're always hungry, what do you feel like?" Max asked happily as he stood up to go to the kitchen.

"I don't want food." Harry hissed.

"You want blood, for the babies." Nasta said with understanding, suddenly realising why his Dracken was out and why his lip was bleeding. "How much did you take from Blaise? Is he alright?"

"I only took a mouthful or two. He's fine." Harry assured as he crawled to Nasta, who was the closest to him and he rubbed his cheek up and down his leg.

"You want blood from my leg?" Nasta questioned confusedly as Harry undid his belt and yanked his trousers and boxers off together. "Harry!"

"I never said I wanted blood." Harry countered as he pulled Nasta straight into his mouth and sucked.

Missing Scene

"Thank you." Harry said softly as he rubbed his full belly with a happy sigh.

Max chuckled so deeply that it was more of a grumble. He sat himself up and pulled Harry into a hug.

"I love you." He declared strongly. "No matter what we face, no matter what we go through. I'll always love you."

Harry yawned and Nasta pulled him from Max's arms, kissed him deeply and settled him on the settee, covering him with a blanket and kissing his head gently.

"You have a nap now, you've exerted a lot of energy and now that you've been fed, you need some sleep."

"Potion?" Harry asked hopefully.

Max shook his head. "No. You're becoming dependant on them for sleep, we need to break that habit before it fully forms, try and sleep without it."

Harry pouted, but he dutifully curled up as much as his belly allowed and he tried to calm himself enough to sleep. He managed it with ease and he was soon breathing softly and lightly in his nest on the settee.

Draco smiled at him softly and brushed a lock of hair out of Harry's sleeping face. When he was asleep all the lines vanished, all the worry lifted and the black bags under his eyes seemed less apparent.

He felt so bad for Harry and he was sorry that he had been making things worse by shouting and yelling. It wasn't Harry's fault that he was pregnant with five babies, it wasn't anyone's fault, it had happened and now that Harry had refused the selective reduction, they were committed to having five babies.

He sighed; everything was getting on top of him. His Father's continued silence, school work, the exams that would be upon them after Christmas, Harry, the babies, the pregnancy. He swiped a hand through his hair, before realising that he had ruined his hair and he smoothed it back down. He was picking up bad habits from Harry. He smiled and kissed Harry gently. They could do this, they could get through it. He didn't have to get a job straight out of school; he could stay at home for a while to help Harry cope with the six children, they had enough money and with Max and Nasta working, they had a steady income. Everything would be fine as long as they could survive school, which would be a huge challenge, but it was doable. They could do this, they could.

Harry disgusted his mates further the next week by mixing a large bowl of cold mashed potatoes with a large pot of coconut yoghurt. He sat next to them and ate it with a table spoon.

"No honey, Harry?" Draco questioned, looking faintly green, but that could have been from the Slytherin green jumper that he was wearing.

Harry shook his head.

"What are those black things?" Max asked, trying to get a closer look, but he didn't really want to get any closer.

"Raisins." Harry answered as he took another spoonful.

"Raisins?" Max questioned.

"Raisins." Harry confirmed with a nod as he shoved another spoon into his mouth.

"Can you please hurry up and come out." Draco demanded to his massive belly.

Harry giggled and flicked Draco's forehead. "Leave the babies alone, I think three or four of them are sleeping; only the one is active and its bliss."

Harry finished the mixing bowl of potatoes and reclined on the settee. He still felt hungry, but he didn't want to disgust his mates any further, so he left it. No. He wanted chocolate.

"Blaise?"

His mate hummed from the floor.

"Can you go and get me my chocolate stash please?"

"You can't be hungry still." Max told him as he bounced Braiden on his knee, still supporting his head and neck, but Braiden was getting stronger by the day and Harry was sure that by the time that Christmas came around then Braiden would be supporting himself upright, his four month old baby.

"I am." Harry pouted. "I'm always hungry."

"That's no lie." Draco teased.

Harry blushed as he was reminded that he sucked all of them dry every morning and sometimes once again in the afternoon or evening too.

Blaise came back from the bedroom with three bars of fudge chocolate and Harry moaned at the first bite, sucking on the chocolate and enjoying the flavour. He drank his tea, made Max get him another one and ate another bar of chocolate before Nasta came home and took the third one from him with a frown at the two empty packets on the coffee table.

Harry pouted, but he didn't mind too much as he popped the last bite into his mouth and curled up to sleep some more. It seemed all he did these days was eat, sleep, school work and look after Braiden, there was no time for anything else.

Things got more stressful with Nasta and Max in work and the Professors were heaping the homework onto them in preparation for the Christmas holidays.

Harry hadn't slept in what felt like weeks, but it was only maybe a few days at most. He tossed and turned and he had taken to sleeping on the rug in front of the fire. He told his mates that it was more comfortable, but really it was because he didn't want to keep them awake with him as he tossed and wriggled about all night. He, of course, took Braiden with him so he was doing both the two in the morning feed and the six in the morning feed so his mates could sleep through the night and feel a bit more rested in the morning and he was so stressed and frazzled because of this added stress that he burst into tears at the slightest provocation.

Despite his night and morning care of Braiden, his mates were still very tired and so stressed themselves that they seemed not to notice him, his mood or his health, either that or they were purposefully ignoring him and his declining health.

Harry sagged as he heard Braiden sniffle as he woke up for his bottle. He hadn't had any sleep, but thankfully it was Saturday and he had no lessons to go to. He forced himself up, even though he really wanted to curl up and sleep for the next month.

He fed Braiden and burped him, his son was now unrecognisable from the tiny baby that he had once been and Harry smiled tiredly as Braiden gum grinned at him. He was fourteen weeks old and he was developing so quickly. He had even tried launching himself across the floor with his feet when Harry had put him on a quilt on the living room floor. He had laughed at that and wondered if they'd have to baby proof their rooms, it seemed like Braiden would be crawling in next to no time, it was like he was raring to be on the move. Harry just knew that Braiden would be crawling around soon.

Nasta came out of the bedroom at half six and gave him a tired kiss, taking Braiden off of him to give him a break from the baby. He was in work today, so was Max. Draco, Blaise and he all had homework to get through and they usually passed Braiden between each other as they completed their work.

Today was different though as apparently both of his younger mates had reached the end of their tether, it was mid-afternoon and Draco had gone to the library to help him with his essay as his tired brain couldn't come up with the answer by itself and Braiden needed a bottle and a nappy change, Harry had been awake for hours and hours, days even, and his energy was draining quickly. He wanted nothing more than a nice long nap.

But as he stood up to go to bed for an hour or two, Blaise handed Braiden to him with an irritated huff as he tried to focus on his Ancient Runes essay and his Arithmancy equations simultaneously.

"I'm tired." Harry whined, even as Braiden was passed to him, wailing as his soiled nappy became uncomfortable.

"All of us are tired, Harry." Blaise snapped.

"We'll I'm the only one whose pregnant!" Harry spat back as a baby kicked him harshly.

"With the way you're always reminding us, waking us up in the night and whinging over everything we might as well be pregnant too!"

"Well you're not! You wouldn't even last a day in my shoes!"

"You think I'm having a cake walk of this?"

"What do you have to worry about?" Harry shouted. "Homework and school? I'm the one who could die from this pregnancy!"

"I was all for you having the selective reduction, you're the one who chose not to go through with it, fuck what the rest of us think!"

Blaise packed up his homework and stomped to the fireplace.

"Where are you going?!" Harry demanded.

"Away from you!" Blaise hissed as he threw a handful of floo powder into the fireplace and vanished.

Harry felt as if a piece of him had been ripped out as Blaise left. He didn't even have it in him to send out a distress call. He didn't know what to do, so he did what he always did these days. He cried. He cried silent tears as he changed and redressed Braiden, cried as he fed and burped him and as he rocked him back to sleep. He huddled in the corner of the living room as the pain inside of him became unbearable.

A knock sounded on the portrait door, but Harry barely heard it. The door pushed open five minutes later and Myron poked his head around it curiously, dark eyebrows lowered over deep black eyes. He saw Harry huddled in the corner and he rushed to him as Richard came in behind him.

"What's the matter? Are you alright?" Myron demanded, giving into his dominant instincts and trying to sniff out an injury.

"Are you here alone?" Richard demanded as he listened for any other sounds or movements from the rooms.

"Gone. He left." Harry sobbed. "He said he wanted to get away from me."

"Who?" Myron demanded with a growl as he eased himself onto the settee and wrapped Harry in the blanket from the back of the settee.

"Blaise."

"You look terrible, Harry. Have you been sleeping?" Richard asked concerned.

Harry shook his head. "I can't sleep. It's too hard, they're all kicking at all hours and I'm just too uncomfortable to sleep."

"I thought that's why you had sleeping potions."

"Max thinks that I'm getting addicted to them and too dependent on them for sleep, so he won't give me anymore."

"You sleep now." Myron demanded as he slipped Harry onto the settee and passed Braiden to Richard. "We'll look after you. I can't believe they can't see how exhausted you are."

Richard found Max's potions case and he opened it one handed to find the one potion marked 'Sleeping potion – mild (For Harry)' and he handed it to Myron, who uncorked it and held it to Harry's lips.

"Max said that I shouldn't."

"A few sips aren't going to kill you or the babies." Myron rumbled soothingly and Harry took a few sips. His eyes dropped closed immediately.

Harry slipped into sleep quickly and as he did, Myron ordered Richard to watch over him as he flooed to his son's work place. He was known by sight and the expression on his face stopped anyone from speaking or stopping him as they pointed him in the direction of Max's lab, as if he didn't already know where it was.

Max looked up as he barged through the door and he looked shocked.

"Dad, what…?"

Myron grabbed Max and dragged him from his lab, back through the building and he snapped at Max's supervisor that his son was not going to be in work for a while due to family obligations.

"Of course, Mister Maddison!" The man agreed, almost wetting himself in fear as Myron was releasing angry, fear inducing pheromones.

"Dad, what's going on?"

"You're a fool!" Myron hissed as he flooed them back to his own home, ignoring Ashleigh who was sitting in a chair sulking as she had been doing for the last couple of weeks.

"What did I do?"

Myron hit him. He had never wanted to beat one of his own children as badly as he did now. When he had seen how terrible Harry had looked, how exhausted and drawn he was as his pregnancy drained everything from him. He wanted to break Blaise's neck for leaving him on his own, he wanted to cuddle Harry into his side and never let him go. Harry was as good as his own son now and his youngest son was suffering terribly.

"Don't you hit him!" Ashleigh screamed at him.

"Sit down and shut up!" Myron roared at her. She had hurt Harry as well; he had seen it on his face immediately.

"Don't you speak to Mum…" Max started furiously but Myron cuffed him again.

Ashleigh jumped on him, but he caught her easily and twisted her ear so hard she fell to her knees and clutched at his leg, apologising profusely.

"Have you looked at your mate lately?" He demanded of Max, who was standing so straight and stubborn before him, two inches shorter than he was.

"Of course I have." Max scoffed. "I saw him this morning."

"Then by any chance have you gone blind?" Myron snarled.

"Look, I'm sure Harry's fine." Max tried to assure him. "He's a bit tired, we all are, but he's fine."

"Then I've raised a complete ignorant fool. Harry is exhausted. He has not slept in days."

Max blinked and Myron shook his head. Max had absolutely no idea of the condition of his own mate. Myron grabbed Max and tugged him to the floo and he went straight into the boys' rooms, instead of detouring to the Headmaster's office as he usually did for privacy's sake.

Myron threw Max to the floor, on his knees and he held his head looking at Harry.

"Look at him!" Myron demanded quietly. "Look how ill and pale he is. You're killing him! You are watching him die slowly before you and you are doing nothing!"

Max swallowed as he took in the black bags under Harry's eyes that seemed worse than he had last seen them. His unwashed, scruffy hair, the pale, thin, gaunt face even though his belly was still growing. Harry looked incredibly sick and it made bile rise in his throat as tears burnt at his eyes. Why hadn't he noticed? He was medically trained, he knew what to look for, so why hadn't he noticed? Harry meant the world to him, how could he not have noticed? Was he so wrapped up with his own life and his own lack of sleep that he was ignorant to Harry's health and lack of sleep?

"I…I…"

"Do you see it now?" Richard asked him calmly. "Do you see what you and the others have done? He is pregnant, Max. You know that the pregnancy will drain every last ounce of energy, every last resource it can from him, he has five babies inside of him, all sucking him of his energy, his vitamins and minerals, his blood, his oxygen, his nutrients, they are all being sucked out of him by those five babies. You think you're tired? From what, waking up a few times a night? Harry has not slept in days and he has been Braiden's primary carer too. He cannot keep this up or he'll die and he'll take the five babies with him."

"Blaise was…"

"Blaise fucked off back home to get away from Harry, leaving the both of them here, alone and unprotected. Harry was using his last energy to cry and rock himself in the corner of the room. He didn't even have enough left inside of him to send out a distress call." Myron growled.

Max felt like he had been shot. He mouthed a bit, but he couldn't think what he wanted to say, what his Dads' wanted to hear, so he closed his mouth again, forcing himself to look at Harry, at how ill and sickly he looked, how frail. Why hadn't he seen it before? Why had it taken someone pointing it out to him to show him that he was not taking care of Harry properly?

He inched forward on his knees and rested his head gently on that thin chest. How could Harry still be so thin when he ate so much, when his stomach was bulging so much, when he had gained three stone in weight?

He listened to the steady heartbeat, just to convince himself that there was still time to help Harry, that he could fix this. It was going to be hard, but then it was always going to be hard, they had known that from the moment they had heard about Harry's pregnancy.

"What happened?" Draco demanded from the doorway, spilling an armful of books onto the floor, striding forward and reaching for Harry.

Max caught him and shook his head.

"Let Harry sleep." He said in a voice thick with unshed tears.

"What…"

"Harry's near the point of complete exhaustion; I can't bear to think on what would have happened had he collapsed." Max rested a hand on the bulge to emphasis his point.

"He was fine this morning."

"He wasn't fine this morning. He hasn't been fine for weeks. Harry hasn't slept for days."

Draco's silver eyes widened and he looked at Harry in a new light, his gaze tracking over every feature of the little face. He swallowed at what he saw.

"Blaise is gone."

"Gone where?" Draco asked confused.

"Home, wherever, but he left Harry and Braiden unprotected and that cannot go unpunished. Nasta will have to be told."

"He doesn't get off work until eight."

"Draco, don't you see. Harry should always be our top priority, Harry and the kids. Hell, to think I was worried over my damned job, I'm one of the few Potions Masters in Britain, I like my job but I can always get another one if I am actually fired. I'd have people begging for me to come work for them. When will I ever get the chance to have another Harry? To have another family like ours? I love my job but I love the family I have more. I love you and Harry, Nasta and even Blaise, though I'm not too happy with him at the moment. I love Braiden and I'll love these five when they come too, I love my family more than anything and to think that I was even neglecting my family in such a way that Harry and the babies could have died, it makes me sick. Nothing should ever be more important than Harry and the children."

Myron petted Max's head. "You have finally understood, Max. Everything, absolutely everything is second to your mates and children, nothing comes before them, nothing is even on the same level as them. Your Mother and I are fighting because she's a stubborn mare, but I still love her and I will still stand in front of her if the need arises. No matter how angry I am or how upset or insanely angry she makes me, I will still stand in front of her, because she is my submissive mate, because she is my Wife and the Mother to my children. I love her and I do my best, even at risk to my own health, to protect her, love her and keep her happy. It should be the same for you and Harry."

"It will be." Max swore. "I'll make it so."

Nasta had been livid when he got home and had been informed of everything that had transpired. He sat on the floor of the bedroom and stroked Harry's shrunken cheek with bile in his throat. Why had none of them noticed quite how bad Harry had gotten? He felt a fool and if he could have someone beat him, he'd beg for them to do it.

He had called his colleagues and explained what had happened and he had put himself back on paperwork duties. He hated paperwork, he hated not being with the dragons that he loved and had raised over the last twenty odd years, but he'd do it gladly for the rest of his life if it helped ease the stress and pressure off of Harry, even just a little bit.

Nasta climbed onto the bed, where he had placed Harry as soon as he had come home, after he had been informed of what had happened, and he settled Harry on his stomach, his body supported around the huge bump with body pillows and he lightly and gently massaged his back, smiling as he remembered the first time he had ever given Harry a back rub.

It had been the very first night that he had been mated to him; Harry had been such a little tease, all lithe and comely with his wide, imploring eyes and upturned, pouted mouth. He hadn't known what he was doing as he brushed that bare back with his fingertips, he had never given a backrub before in his life, he had fucked and learned how to please his lovers to the fullest of his capabilities, but he had never given or received a backrub until he had mated to Harry and then that little tease had rolled him onto his stomach, striped off his shirt and straddled him naked and proceeded to show him exactly how to give a proper backrub. Nasta had fallen a little more in love with Harry that night and even more so after what came next. He grinned a naughty grin that no one could see as he stroked lightly along Harry's skin and sides.

Harry moaned lightly and smiled to himself as he felt rough hands glide up his spine and fan down his sides.

"Do you feel better?" Nasta bent down to whisper in his ear.

Harry nodded and lay still as he relaxed into the mattress and let Nasta's fingers calm and sooth him. He couldn't really remember much of what had happened before he had gone to sleep, he remembered arguing with Blaise, then he had been crying, then Myron had been there with Richard and then he had woken up to Nasta. He felt confused and wondered why he felt so unhappy and distressed. He wanted to send out a call, but he didn't know why. Then it came to him. Blaise had gone.

"Blaise!" Harry said, shooting up.

"Blaise is fine, he's cooling down at Marianna's, he was fast asleep when I went to get him. I left him there after being assured that Marianna had had several stern words with him and had made him realise exactly what he had done." What Nasta didn't tell Harry was that Marianna had also told him that she expected him to take Blaise firmly to hand once she sent him back. He planned to.

Nasta eased him back down and stroked his belly for him, helping him when he wanted to move onto his side.

"Do you need anything?"

"Where's Braiden?" Harry asked.

"Having some much needed quality time with Draco and Max, who are both teasing him rotten by tickling and nibbling on him like a sweet treat."

Harry chuckled deeply. "Can I see?"

Nasta scooped Harry up gently and carried him into the living room, where Max had spread a quilted blanket onto the floor and had lain Braiden on it. Max sat on one side of the squalling baby and Draco on the other. They were tickling him, nibbling him, poking fingers into his sides and armpits, kissing him, blowing raspberries on him, wiggling his toes and arms and Braiden was giggling in his huffy way so much that it brought a wide smile to his face.

"Look who's awake." Nasta declared as he approached them with Harry.

Nasta settled him between Max and Draco, sitting by Braiden's feet and he sat himself behind Harry. Draco kissed him first and stroked his cheek; Max kissed him and then licked across his cheek to his ear. Harry pushed him away and wiped his face but he was laughing.

Harry bent down to kiss Braiden, but his belly got in the way, so he pulled Braiden up by his arms, his son having enough strength to hold his head up as Harry pulled him from the floor, but unwilling to take any chances, Harry kissed and nuzzled him quickly, before lowering him back onto the blanket.

"Harry, we're sorry. All of us…"

"You don't need to say it." Harry said with a soft smile. "We've all had a horrible time of this and this past week has been awful."

"But not as bad a time as you, Harry, you're pregnant, we should be taking care of you, not passing you the most responsibility." Max explained. "I'm taking a leave of absence from work. They've assured me that they'll take me back with open arms whenever I decide to go back to work."

"I'm back on paperwork duties, the dragons have all laid their eggs now, the breeding season is over and all the bucks we had on loan have been safely sent back to their respective Reserves. The Mother dragons will now incubate the eggs for three, four months and then it's just keeping an eye on the nestlings and making sure the male dragons who are at our reserve don't eat the hatchlings and fledglings." Nasta explained.

Harry smiled and lent back against Nasta's chest, loving the arms that wrapped around his huge stomach, stroking and caressing. A baby kicked Nasta's hand and his lover chuckled and kissed the side of his neck.

"I love you."

"I love you more." Harry teased.

Nasta chuckled. "You must do if you're willing to put up with us after what we've done and look after our six kids too."

"Oh imagine the night feeds." Max groaned. "I hope they all wake up at the same time, half an hour feeding them all and then back to bed. Knowing my luck though they'll all wake up an hour apart from each other."

Harry chuckled. "It won't be long, as soon as I'm out of school everything will be fine, it will be easier, we just have to survive until June."

"Just seven months." Max sighed. "Seven more months and then our biggest hurdle to date will be behind us."

Harry kissed him and told him with his eyes how much he loved him and appreciated that he was willing to give up his job, even temporarily, to help ease his stress and work load.

"Have you finished your homework?" Nasta asked.

"It's Saturday." Harry complained.

"And if you finish it all today, you'll have the entire of Sunday to relax and do absolutely nothing."

"Ooo." Harry perked up at that and he made his mates chuckle as he slipped over to Draco and they did their last few pieces of homework together on the coffee table.

Nasta was waiting when Blaise came home late that night. He looked miserable and his eyes were red rimmed from tears.

It had to be said though that Blaise just lowered his head as he stood in front of him, willing to accept his punishment like a man.

"Do you know what you did?" He asked softly, unwilling to raise his voice and risk waking Harry, Draco and Max, who had gone to bed an hour or so ago.

"I left when I shouldn't have." Blaise answered in almost a whisper. "I should never have left them unprotected. My submissive mate and my own son. I'm not fit to be a partner or a parent."

Nasta's heart clenched. Blaise was so young. He had been expecting something like this for a while, from either of the younger dominants, but he had been expecting it to be Draco over Blaise, so he supposed he owed the blond an apology.

Nasta steeled himself for the punishment, he didn't want to do it, but as the top dominant it was his role to keep his submissive and all his subordinates in line. He had to, to get it through to Blaise that he could not just leave Harry and Braiden unprotected. Anything could have happened to Harry, he could have tried to console himself in his pillow and fallen down the stairs to their bed, he could have fallen, tripped over, been attacked, if he had left their rooms he could have been kidnapped along with their son and five unborn children and they wouldn't have been able to get to him in time to help him. Blaise needed to understand that.

"They could have been killed, Blaise. All seven of them could have died or been kidnapped. Do you understand that?"

"Yes." Blaise whispered. "At the time I was so tired, so frustrated with my homework and so angry at everything that I didn't think properly and I'm sorry. I don't expect anyone to forgive me or what I did. I'm a terrible person."

Blaise started crying then and it was all Nasta could do to hold himself firm and not wrap him up in a hug, kiss him and tell him that everything would be alright.

"Understand that if anything, anything at all had happened to them, I would have killed you, Blaise. I would have killed you."

Blaise hunched down just a bit, the tears still falling from his eyes and his shoulders shaking.

"If anything had happened to them I would have killed myself." He admitted thickly through his tears.

Nasta shook his head and decided to get the punishment over with quickly. He pulled Blaise to lean against him, unsheathed his four fangs and he sunk them slowly and painfully into Blaise's neck juncture, just where it met the shoulder. He bit down and he clenched his jaw, holding, holding, holding as Blaise's body seized up in pain around him, clenching, trying to twist away, but Nasta held him tight.

He carefully pulled his teeth and his fangs out and left Blaise to bleed, not offering him his blood to heal the mark.

"You will wear that mark, you will look at them when they scab over and you will remember to never do anything like this ever again." Nasta ordered.

Blaise nodded and then the punishment was over and Nasta pulled Blaise into his arms and held him as he cried, shushed him, kissed him and held him until he fell asleep in his arms, his face soaking wet from his tears, his neck plastered in dried blood and still murmuring soft, sleepy 'sorries' under his breath.

Nasta had tears in his eyes himself and he hoped that he never, never had to punish a subordinate mate in this way ever again.

Blaise wore his healing scabs on show to everyone, wearing one of Max's jumpers for the first time, which was so large that it fell off the one shoulder, the shoulder that Nasta had bitten. Nasta hated seeing it, but he knew that Blaise looked at it often and remembered what he had done and that it helped to steel himself to never do it again. Soon the scabs would heal and there would be no mark left to remind him, so the message had to sink in before they healed. Nasta was sure that it would have sunk in so deep by then that none of them would ever forget the time that they had almost watched Harry die slowly in front of them from pure exhaustion while doing absolutely nothing to help him.

Life went on as normal, only things were easier now that Max had given up work and Nasta was on paperwork duties again. Harry, Draco and Blaise were getting through all their homework, Braiden was fine, the only real challenge now was the pregnancy, which was moving into its fourth month and making Harry so miserable that all of them were feeling down and miserable.

Harry was facing the very real possibility of failing his general education and the thought made him cry, he didn't want to stop his education, he had to remain in the school anyway for Blaise and Draco, why should he have to give up his education when he had to remain in the school regardless?

He strove to prove everyone wrong, that he could do it, that he could finish his education, but he only served to prove them right when he had collapsed in Defence Against the Dark Arts. He had woken up in the hospital wing, surrounded by worried mates and an unhappy Braiden.

Harry had still refused to give up his education after that incident and had also refused to drop a subject pointing out that he had already dropped Potions so he was struggling through, just waiting for the Christmas holidays to start so that he could have a few weeks' break. It wasn't long now, it was the fifteenth of December, just one more school week and then the holidays would start and they'd be back at Max's home, he could survive until then.

Braiden had surprised them all by rolling around the floor. Harry had laughed so hard he had almost wet himself as Blaise scooped Braiden up before he rolled into leg of the coffee table. Braiden grinned at them cheekily and Blaise had put him down again, only for Braiden to roll continuously to his right until he had to be picked up before he hit something. They tried getting him to roll to his left, but he favoured his right side and he would only roll right. They moved him out of his bassinet and into his cot the very same day. Harry was taking absolutely no chances with Braiden rolling now, just in case his son made the bassinet tip over while Braiden was inside.

"He looks like such a big boy now." Harry said tearfully as he put Braiden into the cot and tucked him in.

Draco chuckled and kissed his cheek. "He is a big boy now, look at the size of him."

Harry looked at his son now and pictured him when he was just born, that tiny little baby in his arms, and he couldn't. He only really got a true understanding of how small Braiden had been when he looked at his tiny newborn clothes and held them to Braiden's body. It was hard to imagine that he had ever once fit in them, but Braiden had been wearing them only four months ago.

Harry went to bed himself not too long after Braiden had been put down. It might only be half ten at night, but he was aching, tired, sore and he wanted some sleep. He took a few sips of sleeping potion as Max looked on and he fell asleep almost immediately as Max tucked him up and kissed him goodnight.

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