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?


45. Chapter Forty-Five – Alexander's Birthday

Harry woke up with a groan and rolled over minimally to hear the squawking of an angry, unhappy baby. He sighed heavily and fought his way out from between his lovers' bodies to reach the baby.

Braiden was five days old, almost a week and Harry was already bone tired and weary. Not that he didn't love his son, he did, very much. He just wished that Braiden would sleep a bit later, until perhaps ten in the morning like he wanted to, so that he didn't have to take so many naps during the day to stop himself from collapsing.

Harry scooped up Braiden and glared at the four other men in the bed, there was no way any of them were still asleep, yet none of them so much as opened their eyes.

Sighing Harry made his way down the stairs to feed Braiden and to get him into a clean nappy because he was wet. Harry could feel the heaviness of the nappy in his hand; Braiden had to have been so uncomfortable.

"Alright, love, let's get you out of this nappy and into a nice warm bath, hmm?"

Harry walked into the downstairs bathroom and stripped Braiden and left him lying on the foam changing mat. This one was white with little blue elephants depicted on it.

Harry filled the little plastic bath and again checked the temperature manually and magically before washing his son's face and hair, before lowing the screaming baby into the water to wash his body.

"Seriously Braiden, you need to take a bath, I don't know why you don't like it, I love baths and I'm pretty sure Blaise does too. Although he's never had one, he prefers showers, but you're too young to have a shower, so you'll have to make do with the bath."

Harry quickly finished bathing Braiden and got him out of the bath as soon as he could, exhaling in relief as he emptied the water down the plughole and dressed Braiden, who was soothing himself by sucking his fingers.

Harry grinned at the cute picture that Braiden made and he carried him quickly out into the kitchen and snapped a picture of him before making his son his breakfast. It was half past seven when he finished and there wasn't a sign of his mates anywhere.

His stomach growled loudly, so placing Braiden into the bassinet in the kitchen, he made himself something to eat and washed up after himself, it was now eight o'clock and his mates were still in bed.

"Just me and you Braiden love, some quality time between Mummy and baby." Harry chuckled and carried Braiden out into the back garden with an armful of blankets and three chairs floating behind him.

Harry placed the chairs in a triangle with their seats facing outwards and he draped three of the blankets over the chairs and placed two others on the ground between the chairs, before crawling into his little fort with Braiden and a book.

"You're a little young for this, love, but I'll read it to you anyway, it's something for us to do until your lazy Fathers' get out of bed."

Harry settled Braiden on his lap, supporting him upright as his son peered around him with big blue eyes as Harry opened the book and started reading from the beginning. It was a children's book, but as Braiden was only five days old, Harry rather thought that even picture books were beyond his son at the moment.

An amused head popped into his fort at half eight and Harry smiled sweetly back at Nasta.

"Hey Max, I found the missing chairs." Nasta called out. "They seem to have a few stowaways between them."

Max came out into the back garden and peered over Nasta's shoulder and into the fort.

"Seriously? This is what you do in the mornings when left to your own devices for a few hours?" Max asked him with a long suffering sigh.

"I could take an extra-long bath, oil up my body and walk around in a little skirt all day if you'd prefer it."

"I burnt that offending piece of cloth." Max growled.

Harry just grinned at them and winked saucily.

"You have more. Dear Merlin, he has more!" Max breathed in horror, first to Harry and then to Nasta, who looked a little shell shocked.

"Well then, let's leave Harry's little house up and…"

"It's not a house it's a fort." Harry interrupted.

"Alright, let's leave Harry's fort up and use the remaining chairs for breakfast, we need to go shopping today."

"Why?" Harry asked curiously as he was helped out from inside the fort and led inside for breakfast.

"It's my grandfather's birthday tomorrow, love; I need to get him a present." Max answered.

Harry remembered then a conversation that seemed a long time ago, when he was at the Dracken meeting. He remembered Alexander inviting him to his birthday on the twentieth of August and Harry swearing to go, even if he had to be wheeled there in a wheelchair if he was heavily pregnant. He grinned, Braiden had come early, Braiden was born and Harry could go to Alexander's birthday without worry of collapse due to pregnancy.

"I forgot, I can't wait!" Harry exclaimed in excitement before his face fell. "Oh, will Caesar and Amelle be there?"

Max looked a little worried, but attempted a brave grin. "Caesar will definitely be there, but I'm not sure about Amelle, she might be there. Please behave; the entire family will be there."

"I'll behave if she does."

Far from reassuring Max, Harry's statement seemed to make his face fall more.

"Harry, my entire family will be there. My Dad isn't the only child my grandparents had; he's only one of thirty children. Though he is the youngest, which is why my grandparents are around him almost all day every day."

Harry was sure his mouth was on the floor as he looked at Max.

"Your Dad is the youngest of thirty?" He repeated. "And all thirty are going to be at the party tomorrow?"

"Yes, they're all scattered around the world with their own families, so this get together is a huge thing."

"You have twenty-nine aunts and uncles?" Harry asked for confirmation.

Max grinned and pulled Harry into a chair, giving him a loving kiss.

"Yes Harry, I have twenty-nine aunts and uncles and I lost count of how many cousins."

"I don't have to meet them all do I?"

"Of course, but so do the others." Max grinned.

"You're enjoying this." Nasta groused as he sat down next to Harry and cupped the back of Braiden's head with a large hand.

"Yeah, but I like teasing all of you." Max said fondly, looking at the three of them lovingly. Harry smiled back at him and blew Max a kiss.

Max mimicked catching the kiss and instead of leaving it at that, Max mimed pushing the 'kiss' down his throat. Harry laughed and Nasta rolled his eyes good naturedly.

"You're impossible; do you want help with breakfast?" Nasta offered.

"I don't know why you keep asking, I always say no." Max teased as he opened up his cold storage cupboard and started pulling out ingredients. "What do you fancy, Harry?"

"Oh I already had breakfast." Harry answered distractedly as Braiden had stuffed two of his fingers into his mouth again and was happily sucking on them.

Unbeknownst to Harry, Max and Nasta shared a look over his head.

"Are you sure?" Max asked, looking like he was expecting to be hit.

"Am I sure what?" Harry asked, picking his head up to look at Max.

"That you've eaten today?"

Harry frowned at Max. "Of course I'm sure I ate today. I'm not stupid."

"Max wasn't implying that you were stupid, Harry." Nasta cut in smoothly and soothingly. "Do you want something else to eat? Just a small portion."

Harry sighed and nodded. "Sure, but make sure it really is a small portion. I'm not hungry and I don't like wasting food."

"You bleeding heart you, thinking of all those starving kids in the world."

Harry looked at Max like he had grown an extra leg out of his forehead.

"No, I don't like wasting food because I was starved as a child." He responded dryly as he tended to Braiden.

Max and Nasta both stiffened as they were reminded of this little fact and a slow growl trickled from Max's throat.

Nasta shot him a look and with a snort he turned and started making breakfast, muttering inaudibly to himself as Nasta turned to face Harry.

"How often were you starved, Harry?" He asked gently.

"I didn't mean for you to turn that comment into therapy time. I was being truthful; I don't like wasting food because I never had much when I was younger." Harry shrugged.

"Please answer the question." Nasta pleaded.

Harry sighed and resigned himself to digging through painful memories so early in the morning.

"Often." Harry answered with a sigh after he had thought about it. "They used food and isolation as a punishment; if I did something they perceived as wrong then I was locked in the cupboard without food. It was just another way they could control me."

Harry startled as Nasta pulled him into his arms.

"You didn't deserve to be treated that way." He told him thickly.

"I know, Nas. I knew then that what they were doing wasn't right, I just never realised how bad it actually was. I think I was still clinging to the lost hope that they loved me."

Nasta's arms clenched and held him tighter, laying kisses against his neck.

"You know you are so very loved by us don't you?"

"Of course. I love you just as much." Harry replied.

"Good, because we do love you and we don't want those people messing this up for us, we love you, Harry. We love all that you are, all that you were and all that you will be."

"And any sprogs you give us are just as loved." Max cut in, chucking Braiden under the chin lightly, his dark green apron covering his body, whisk in hand.

Harry chuckled and gave a kiss to Braiden.

"What the hell is a sprog?" Blaise demanded as he walked into the kitchen and kissed Braiden's little mouth and then Harry's.

"A kid, a baby, a child, a little monster from hell, a brat…"

"We get the picture." Nasta replied dryly from the other side of Harry. "Blaise, was Draco up when you came down?"

"He's in the bathroom." Blaise replied with an eye roll. "We'll be waiting another half an hour for him to make an appearance."

"I heard that, Zabini!" Draco scowled as he strode into the kitchen and after the morning kisses he sat down and started a glaring contest with Blaise.

"Ease off you two. Here." Max said as he put two plates of pancakes in front of them along with an assortment of sliced and diced fruit.

"Oh you didn't say you were making pancakes!" Harry burst out as he snatched Draco's plate from him and cuddled with the plate to stop an angry Draco from snatching it back, wrapping an arm around it protectively.

Max chuckled and passed his own plate to Draco before making up some more batter to make even more pancakes, watching unobtrusively as Harry ate a sized portion meant for Draco and if Harry was to be believed, which they had no reason not to, then this was his second breakfast as well.

"Harry, please make sure you chew your food before attempting to swallow it." Nasta chastised as he firmly, but gently thumped Harry's back when he started choking.

His airways cleared Harry grinned sheepishly and thanked Nasta before actually picking up his unused knife to cut his pancakes, which he had covered with honey and a mix of blueberries, raspberries and sliced kiwi fruits.

Max served Harry with two fresh pancakes, gave Draco another one, Blaise another two and Nasta another three before he settled down to eat himself.

Harry polished off his plate and sat back to rub his belly. Which felt very full and uncomfortably bloated.

"When did you become pregnant again?" Draco teased, poking his belly making Harry moan in discomfort and half-heartedly swat at the blond.

"None of your business!" Harry replied sluggishly.

"What if it's mine?" Draco asked affronted.

"It's mine." Harry managed a small grin. "I've only had sex with myself and those wonderful toys. Can a toy get you pregnant?"

Max stifled a chuckle. "No, Harry. It's nice seeing you this way though. I loved your pregnant body and now, knowing that your belly is caused by my cooking makes it very sexy."

"As long as I don't stay like this then I don't mind being fat with a food baby for an hour."

"Fat he says." Nasta stated shaking his head. "I've seen more fat on a chicken bone."

"Must have been one hell of a chicken." Harry answered cheekily.

They all shared a laugh and Harry stayed where he was as he watched Max clear off the dishes and watched as Nasta got up to help him wash up. Draco left to finish the last few chapters of his current novel and Blaise took a fussy Braiden to spend some quality time with his son.

Harry flumped onto the table and groaned.

"I ate too much." Harry complained. "This is your fault." He directed towards Max's back. "You and your cooking, making me feel all heavy and bloated."

"I didn't force you to eat." Max answered, peering over one broad shoulder.

"You would have if I had said no because you didn't believe I had already had breakfast." Harry corrected.

Max looked slightly embarrassed, but he took it all in his stride.

"You need to eat as much as possible." He defended.

"I'm not pregnant anymore." Harry pointed out sullenly.

"It doesn't matter; you look damn good when you're full of food." Max answered.

Harry sat up and growled.

"Knock it off the both of you." Nasta cut in sharply, giving them both a steely glare.

Harry pouted and looked down at the table top. He heard Nasta sigh before he was pulled into a hug.

"I didn't mean to snap." Nasta apologised softly as he held Harry against his chest. "I just wish that one day would go by without a single argument, debate or fight."

"We weren't really arguing." Harry sniffled.

"A disagreement is the same as an argument." Nasta said softly. "I'm sorry for upsetting you, CaruDw I'n dy garu di."

Harry jumped a bit on his feet and Nasta chuckled softly as he wrapped his arms around Harry and pulled him up into a hug, loving that Harry wrapped his arms and legs around him tightly.

"Harry and I will be in his fort." Nasta informed Max, who was watching them with a huge grin on his face as he wiped his wet hands on a tea towel.

Nasta carried him out the back and crawled, with Harry still in his arms, into the small space between the three chairs.

"Hell, it's a tight fit in here!" Nasta complained.

"It was made for me and Braiden; of course it's a tight fit." Harry grinned.

"Maybe we could steal some more chairs and put in an extension."

Harry chuckled and looked around his little fort. "If you get another chair that wall can extend outwards, but we'd need another blanket for the roof."

Nasta smiled. "Or we could just cuddle up close to make more space."

"I like that idea." Harry answered as he held Nasta tightly and let himself be squeezed tightly so that neither of them were touching the chair legs.

Nasta smiled as he closed his eyes and listened to Harry's soft breathing as they lay there quietly with only the sound of the birds singing in the trees of the orchard off to his left.

It was the first time that Harry had been to Diagon Alley since he had been mated, impregnated and had given birth.

People stared, they pointed, they whispered as Harry pushed Braiden, snuggled in his knitted cosy toes, in a pram that he hadn't even known that Draco had bought. Draco and Blaise were on either side of the pram, Nasta in front and Max was behind him. Harry knew they were subconsciously protecting him and the baby, but they did it so casually it looked natural as they searched the street for a gift for Alexander.

An elderly woman approached Harry and he shoved Blaise aside when it looked like his mate might actually go to attack her. He smiled at her instead as she peeked over the side of the pram to the sleeping baby within.

"Oh he's a cute one." She cooed. "Such a tiny little boy."

She reached into her pocket and pulled out a bright silver Sickle, Harry saw Max wave his wand quickly and he nodded to Nasta with a relieved sigh and they watched and did nothing as the elderly woman tucked the coin into Braiden's hand.

"For luck and wealth." She said with a smile as Harry looked confused.

Harry watched the woman go and he looked at Braiden's coin, held in his little hand. His fingers gripped it just over the half-way point of the coin. It was bigger than his closed fist.

"Aren't you going to take the coin from him?" Draco asked. "You don't know where it's been or how many people have touched it, what if he puts it in his mouth, he could get sick."

Harry eased the coin from Braiden's grasp and looked at it consideringly before looking to the huge, white building that was Gringotts.

"I think we should open a bank vault for Braiden. This is his coin, he should keep it."

Max chucked and shook his head fondly but he started moving towards Gringotts bank all the same and Harry followed. Several other elderly and not so elderly people pressed silver Sickles into Braiden's hand until Braiden had two Galleons and eight Sickles to his name all in silver coins.

"This kid is going to be richer than we are if this carries on."

"My arm is going to ache if this carries on." Max mumbled as he waved his wand every time someone showed them a coin, just before anything was pressed to Braiden's hand.

"Why are you doing that?" Blaise asked curiously.

"More than likely to check for jinxes or Portkeys." Harry answered with an approving nod. Max nodded back.

"It's an old trick that poachers use, they'd disguise themselves as well wishers and press a coin into the baby's hand that was actually a Portkey that dumped the baby into a cage. My Dad used to scare us all with the stories when we were little to make sure that we didn't accept anything off of strangers." Max answered.

"My Dad told me the same." Nasta nodded.

"My Mother never told me that." Blaise said.

"She was so over protective of you, you didn't go near any strangers to have them pass you any Portkeys." Draco replied.

Blaise growled at the blond but Nasta clipped the both of them around the ear.

"Not in public!" Nasta hissed at them, scolding his two younger subordinates as they entered the bank and went up to a teller.

"Hello, we'd like to open a vault for my son." Harry said to the free goblin, who stood up to peer at the little baby in the pram.

"Yes, we had heard you had had a child. Name."

"Braiden Blaise Enzo Zabini."

The goblin wrote the name down and had Harry check the spelling of the names before he moved to the next question.

"Age of the vault owner."

"Five days."


"Fourteenth of August, nineteen-ninety-seven."

"Father's name."

"Blaise Mariano Zabini."

"Mother's name."

Harry blushed a bit but answered promptly. "Harry James Potter."

"Fill in this section." The goblin told him, sliding the parchment form over.

Harry read the question and carefully counted the coins again before he filled in forty-two Sickles, he handed the form back after signing it, the goblin signed it and then held his hand out for the coins. Harry handed them over and watched as the goblin weighed them, before thanking him.

The five of them headed back out into the street and they met a wall of people with cameras and notepads. Harry had been expecting it, but he scowled all the same, even as Max moved to hold him around the shoulders. He had hoped to have gotten some shopping done today.

"Why do you need so many lovers?!" Was shouted out. Harry ignored it.

"Do you even know who the Father of your baby is?"

"What are your lovers' names?"

"Is it true that two of your lovers are forty years old?"

"Is it true you are dropping out of Hogwarts to become a catamite?"

"Are the rumours that you are already pregnant again true?"

"Are you planning another baby?"

"How are you going to look after a baby when you go back to school?"

"Is the baby a boy or a girl?"

"What have you named the baby?"

On and on and on it went until their voices drowned out one another and became a mass of screaming noise that woke Braiden from his sleep. Harry picked him up, still snuggled in his cosy toes and cuddled him fiercely as he turned his back to the cameras to shield his baby son.

"We'll get you out of this, love." Max promised, anger and loathing in his voice.

"Take Braiden and go, Max, I'm going to go collect me some tongues."

Max chuckled. "You can't rip out their tongues, Harry, we need to remain hidden remember? Though I'd like a head or two to mount on the wall, do you think they'd look better in the hallway or in the living room above the fire?"

Nasta came around the pram and passed Harry a slip of paper.

"It's a Portkey; I suspected something like this so I had one made up ready. It'll take you back to Max's; it's safe for Braiden as well."

"What about Alexander's present?" Harry asked.

"I'll find him something." Max answered.

"I wanted to enjoy some shopping."

"I know. Let us sort this out and the next time we come, you will have endless hours to spend at pleasure shopping. We should have done this before we came, but with the birth…"

"Maybe not hours shopping." Harry said with a grimace as Nasta trailed off. "But I did want to buy some outfits for Braiden now that I can actually see my own feet. I've got so many clothes for him, but I haven't gotten him a single outfit from me. That doesn't seem right to me."

"We'll bring you back next week, Myron is sorting it all out, I promise." Nasta told him as he pushed the parchment into his hand more firmly and whispered something in a language he didn't know.

He felt the jerk to his navel that signalled the activation of a Portkey and he cradled Braiden tightly against him as he spun around in tight circles until he landed hard on his knees in a pitch black room.

Harry groaned as his knees throbbed in pain and he clumsily got to his feet as Braiden squirmed against him. He took his wand from his shirt pocket and waved it to open the heavy curtains that Max hadn't had time to open that morning before they had left for Diagon Alley. He was in the living room that Max called a parlour, the room that had a huge fireplace but it wasn't connected to the floo.

"Stupid newspaper leeches." Harry grumbled as he opened the door to the hallway and almost blinded himself with the light pouring through the glass front door and the large windowed kitchen at the other end of the hallway.

Harry went into the kitchen and placed Braiden down into the bassinet as he boiled the kettle. He needed a cup of honey tea to sooth his nerves and calm his adrenaline, Braiden was due a feed and he had left the nappy bag with the premade bottles of milk in the basket of the pram.

No sooner had Harry finished shaking the bottle of milk did Braiden start fussing for it. Harry cooled the milk down before smiling as he carefully eased his baby into his arms and pressed the bottle teat to his son's cheek, watching as Braiden rooted for it, catching the teat between his lips and sucking and swallowing strongly. Suck and swallow, suck and swallow. Harry understood why Blaise loved watching Braiden feed, there was something mesmerising about watching Braiden suck and swallow continuously, his blue eyes flitting from shape to shape, but mostly remaining on Harry's face, particularly his mouth.

All too soon Braiden was finished and Harry burped him over his shoulder, wiped away the spit up and he rocked the baby back to sleep as he picked up his cup of tea and took a large gulp one handed. The strong tea calmed him and the honey soothed him and he let out a relieved breath.

He looked around with Braiden snuggled into the crook of his arm as he thought of something he could do whilst he was stuck at home for an hour or two. He had a few more essays to complete, Blaise and Draco were helping him through it all seeing as he had spent half of August on the roof and had missed valuable essay time, but he didn't really feel like doing an essay at the moment.

The kitchen was spotless, every room he went into was spotless, even the bedroom and bathroom after the mad rush to get ready to go out. He groaned, there was nothing to do, except…

Harry looked to the changing table that was in the corner of the bedroom and he moved to the hamper beside it filled with Braiden's dirty clothing. He pulled them out and carried them down the stairs with Braiden carefully tucked into the crook of his arm as he measured each step of the stairs.

He boiled the kettle again and put the plug in the sink, searching through the cupboard under the sink until he found a box of non-biological powder and a bottle of Comfort Pure fabric softener. He knew exactly what to do as he scooped the right amount of powder into the sink, poured over the boiling water and dunked the clothes in it to soak. Mrs Weasley had told him that only boiling baby clothes would remove the spit up stains and sometimes not even then, some stains were so hard to remove that it was easier to just throw them away.

Harry waited until the water had cooled down enough to put his hand in and he placed Braiden into his bassinet before going to vigorously scrub the baby clothes. He rung them all out and placed them on the draining board, emptied the water and boiled the kettle again for more water. He filled the sink, poured in a capful of the pure fabric softener and washed the clothes again. He repeated his actions again, only this time he used just pure water to wash any lingering traces of softener off of the clothes before he rung them out and carried them outside to hang on Max's small washing line. Max didn't use it except for hand wash only clothes as they couldn't be spelled dry or clean, the fabric started unravelling when introduced to certain spells.

Harry cleaned up the kitchen and washed his hands thoroughly before he made himself another cup of honey tea and got a chair to stand on to get down a bar of fudge chocolate from the top shelf of the top cupboard where Max had put them to stop him from gorging himself on them. Max would kill him if he saw him eating the chocolate for lunch, but Harry didn't want to cook anything at the minute and he wanted some chocolate.

Harry heard the floo going and he smiled, thinking his mates had come back, but it wasn't Max or Nasta, Draco or Blaise who poked their twin heads into the kitchen.

"Fred! George!" Harry cried out happily as he hugged the both of them.

"We decided to come and visit."

"Your lovers came into our shop and told us what happened outside Gringotts."

"Terrible happenings. Every reporter from the Daily Prophet was there by the sounds of it and the Witch Weekly Magazine."

"How do you know the different reporters?" Harry asked as he made them both a cup of tea and another one for himself.

"From the questions they asked. The Daily Prophet was more interested in you and the baby. Witch Weekly were more concerned about how large your men were down there."

"What?" Harry asked, a hint of anger and disbelief in his voice as a spike of possessiveness went through him. He was so angry that he crushed a tea cup in his hand and he cursed vehemently as he started bleeding.

Harry run his hand under the tap as Fred waved his wand to repair the tea cup and George finished making the tea. Harry wrapped his hand in a tea towel and he was ushered to sit at the table before he was served his cup of tea.

"They never answered did they?" Harry asked as he glared into the depths of his tea.

"Of course they never answered you dolt." George answered.

"Anyway, onto more happier topics. Are you using the baby book that George and I got you?" Fred asked.

"Of course I am. I love it." Harry stood up and got the ivory and gold book from the bookshelf in the living room, making sure not to touch it with his bloodied hand.

He carried it back into the kitchen to see Fred and George cooing over the sleeping baby. He chuckled and puffed himself up in pride just a little bit.

He put the book on the table and turned it to face the twins and let them flip through the pictures and paragraphs of information, like how long Braiden was at birth, how much he weighed, when exactly he was born.

"This one's cute." Fred exclaimed as he showed a picture of Braiden sucking his fingers. It was the most recent picture.

"He only did that the other day. Draco developed them for me earlier when we were waiting for Max and Nasta to get out of the showers."

"Mum wants to spoil him rotten, she even baked him biscuits the other day before Ginny pointed out he didn't have any teeth yet."

"He won't get any teeth if Mum carries on." Fred grumbled. "Start feeding him sweets and cakes and he's going to get a sweet tooth and his teeth will rot out of his head before he's four. We can replace them with Skele-Gro easily enough, but have you ever had to try and pull a child's teeth and then feed them Skele-Gro? I'd rather take on a Death Eater armed with a broken hair brush."

"Remember Bill when he was fourteen and he had that cavity from Honeydukes? Mum body-binded him, ripped out his tooth and forced the Skele-Gro down his throat and he didn't stop screaming until his tooth had grown back in six hours later."

"I think I handled taking Skele-Gro so well because it wasn't just a tooth, it was my whole arm. It hurt so badly to grow back all the bones, but it was my arm! I wouldn't miss a tooth, but I'd damn well miss my arm if it was gone."

The twins chuckled and finished the last of their tea.

"I think we've been away for long enough, we took an extended lunch break to come and see you. Your lovers should be back soon."

"It was nice catching up with you, Harry, don't let the papers turn you mental. We can't lose our baby brother."

Fred winked and Harry chuckled. "Get lost the both of you, my son will be wanting another bottle soon. I can't believe those men of mine have been gone for five hours, what are they doing?"

"Shopping." George answered. "Draco took the point of the group and he's insisting on going into every shop and looking at every item. The others looked so happy."

Harry snorted. "I'll just bet they are. I'll make dinner today then; I don't think Max will be up to doing anything when he gets home."

"We'll leave you to it then, come on, Forge."

Harry kept dinner simple. Just a spaghetti carbonara, but he had only just plated the food and placed it on the table when his mates finally returned home. He heard the whoosh of the floo and he smiled at their perfect timing. He heard them talking, arguing and the rustle of carrier bags before everything went still and silent. There was a sudden growl.

Nasta was the first to smash into him, frightening him, pulling him up and searching every inch of him as his claws shredded his clothing to see underneath them.

"What are you doing?!" Harry demanded as he found his voice at last.

They didn't answer, though Harry shouted the question several times as he found himself stripped naked and pulled about like a doll. He practically screamed for them, but they ignored him still as his hand was seized and the bloody tea towel that he had dropped to the floor when he had started cooking was picked up and growled over. The cut had long since stopped bleeding, but as Nasta licked and sucked it, it started bleeding anew.

Harry tried explaining what had happened several times, but his mates shushed him and didn't let him explain that he had broken a teacup, even when he raised his voice, they just growled louder.

Fed up and hungry, Harry kicked Nasta right between the legs and the bigger man's immediate reaction was to drop Harry and go to his knees cupping himself as he almost retched from the pain.

Max stooped down to see to Nasta and the look he gave Harry made him equal parts upset and more angry.

"This has got to stop!" He screamed. "I don't do this when you get injured! I don't do this when Nasta comes home with a new burn, or Max comes home with a cauldron blister! I dropped a fucking tea cup! I cut myself on the shards, I dealt with it, it's going to be fine. I have suffered through much worse than a damned cut to my hand. It's not even deep! I know you're concerned, but why can't you just ask me what happened first like a normal person?! Why do I have to always be treated like a child with their first scraped knee?"

"Go upstairs." Max ordered him. They hadn't listened to a damn word he had just said.

"But I…"

"UPSTAIRS!" Max roared.

Harry fled and took refuge in the spare bedroom. He staved off his tears viciously. He wouldn't cry over this incident. He wouldn't. They were feral because of the blood that had been spilt. His blood. He knew that now, he had seen it in the way that Max had looked at him and he knew absolutely when he had yelled at him without listening to him.

He shouldn't have kicked Nasta, he shouldn't have argued, but he was damned sick of it! He was sorry he had hurt Nasta so much, he certainly hadn't been aiming for between his legs, he had wanted a thigh or a knee, but he couldn't undo what he had done and he curled up on the bed and ignored his bleeding hand and his growling stomach. How many times in his life had he had to do that before? Going to sleep hungry, in pain, in tears and covered in blood? It was nothing new to him and he slipped into sleep easily enough, his hand still bleeding and his belly still roaring.

Harry woke up groggy and hungry. It was morning by the looks of the low light coming through the un-curtained windows. That or it was dusk.

His stomach clenched horribly and Harry clutched it as it cramped. He had forgotten what it felt like to go hungry, he wasn't as used to it as he had thought he was, not anymore, and he wondered how he had ever coped with it when he had been less than half his age now.

He climbed out of the cold and lonely bed, noticing as he did so that he'd ruined the sheets and pillow with blood from is hand. He hoped that the stain came out or he'd owe Max a new bed set.

Stretching gingerly as his stomach cramped furiously, Harry quietly made his way to the door and he opened it gently…to find all four of his mates asleep on the hallway floor. Harry looked back into the room and he frowned. The bedroom door looked like it had been hammered on and it had even splintered in places, but he hadn't heard a thing. Had he done accidental magic and warded the room in his anger and upset? Probably, his magic was known for reacting to his emotions without him even knowing about it.

He gingerly stepped over them and went in search of Braiden and some clothes, though his six day old son was the higher priority. He was in the bedroom bassinet, happy and content, sleeping away with a patch of dried milk stained on his little chin. Harry smiled at him adoringly as he slept.

He made his way over to the dresser and took out clean boxers and socks before going to the walk-in wardrobe and picking out comfortable jeans and a tee-shirt before turning back to his son and picking him up gently to carry him downstairs.

The food he had made yesterday was still on the kitchen table, untouched and now inedible, and he sighed heavily. He hadn't been the only one who had gone to sleep hungry then.

Harry made a bottle of milk for Braiden and a cup of tea for himself as he left them both to cool down; he cleared the table and washed the dirty plates. He made himself some toast but it gave him a bad taste in his mouth and he couldn't handle more than a few bites before he started to feel queasy. He hadn't missed this sensation. How many welcoming feasts at Hogwarts had been ruined because of his summer of starvation at the Dursleys? How many odd looks had he been given when he had pushed his plate away after eating only a few mouthfuls? He hoped that because he had only gone one day without food then it wouldn't take the usual two weeks to get used to eating full portions again, but it seemed that his terrible luck had other plans and he'd have to be careful for the next few days lest he make himself sick.

He gulped down the last of his tea and he scooped up Braiden as he started wailing. He boiled the kettle again for another cup of tea before offering the bottle teat to Braiden.

Once he was done, Braiden actually stayed awake and Harry smiled as he bounced the baby in his arms, but the baby was not going back to sleep as his blue eyes flitted here, there and everywhere, taking in everything around him. Blue eyes that had gone darker. Harry was shocked to see the darkening of Braiden's eyes as the last he had seen, those eyes were still a beautiful cornflower blue. Harry studied the eyes that were studying his mouth. Harry noticed the hint of purple at the edges of those blue eyes and he grinned widely. He was going to get his wish, it seemed. Braiden was going to completely have his Daddy's eyes. Blaise's eye shape and Blaise's colour.

Harry was seized around the middle and cuddled from behind. He was so startled that he lost his grip on the bottle he was holding and it clattered to the floor, but Braiden he held tighter, clutched him desperately to his chest.

"Mi dispiaceamoreMi dispiace." Blaise whispered against his neck. "Perdonami per favorePerdonami per favore."

"I can't understand Italian, love." Harry said with a smile. "Look! Braiden's eyes have changed colour!"

Harry turned around and shoved the baby he was holding into Blaise's startled face. He pointed out the darker blue and the hint of purple and Blaise smiled and kissed him and then Braiden.

"Do you forgive me for yesterday? I should have stuck up for you, but all I could smell when we arrived home was blood. Your blood."

"Of course I do." Harry said flicking Blaise's nose. "I was always going to forgive you. Did you get Alexander's present? When are we due to see him anyway?"

"At midday and yes we found him a present. Apparently Alexander collects animal statuettes. We found him a lovely manticore statuette made of coloured crystal, it costed a bit, but with all five of us cutting in and giving it then it's acceptable."

Harry smiled and sat on the floor, pulling the changing mat towards him to get rid of the smell that threatened to choke him.

Max, Nasta and Draco rushed into the room and went to clamour him, only they stopped short when Harry brandished a soiled nappy at them.

"Don't come any closer!" He threatened, shaking the full nappy. "I understand what happened last night; I know I was the one at fault…dah dah dah!" He said as they went to interrupt him. "I kicked Nasta first; I understand the reaction to the smell of the blood and the need to protect all mates, even from other mates. I was the one who lashed out first and I'm sorry for that."

"I didn't mean for you to go hungry." Max said softly looking crushed.

"One night hasn't harmed me." Harry said, though it wasn't strictly true and he gave himself away by avoiding eye contact.

"You're hungry now?" Max asked, almost desperately, as if he were trying to make up for yesterday, but it didn't work like that.

"No. I've already had breakfast."

"You mean this?" Blaise asked as he tilted the plate with the less than half eaten toast. Harry cursed himself for leaving the evidence on show.

"It's all I could stomach." He admitted sourly. "I always have problems with eating right after a missed meal. I can't handle too much food or I just throw it back up."

"Those monsters will pay for how they treated you." Draco hissed.

"Richard's working on the case." Harry said. "He told me he's filed the accusations and that the Dursleys will be arrested soon and put into holding cells until it goes to court."

"Do you want something else to eat?" Max fretted. "I can make pancakes again, or croissants, you love croissants."

Harry sighed, but he smiled as Blaise took the dirty nappy from him so he could get a fresh one on Braiden.

"I'll try to eat one, but only one, Max; I mean it when I say I can't stomach much."

Max was happier then as he started scouring his counters before preparing his ingredients to make breakfast.

Harry finished up Braiden and put everything away and sat next to Nasta. He turned to face his oldest mate and thrust Braiden into his face.

"Look at his eyes." He said happily. "He's going to have Blaise's eyes. They're going purple."

"So they are." Nasta smiled happily, giving Braiden's little mouth a kiss.

"I want to see." Draco demanded and he took the baby from Harry.

Nasta took Harry and placed him on his lap, cuddling him and nuzzling his neck and cheek.

"I'm sorry I fuss so much. How is your hand?" He whispered.

"You don't fuss too much, well you do, but I don't mind, it's that you don't listen to me when you are fussing. You smelt the blood, saw my hand and immediately thought someone had hurt me."

"There was a smell of other people here too."

"Fred and George came around to see if I was alright when you told them what had happened."

"So your hand is alright?" Nasta asked unrelentingly.

"Fine, it was just a little cut. How are your hands? I saw the bedroom door."

Nasta had the grace to look embarrassed as he scratched his ear. "When we calmed down and realised exactly what had happened we went to look for you, we went a bit crazy when you weren't in the bedroom or bathroom. We couldn't get into the spare bedroom and we knew then that you had taken refuge in there, we tried calling to you, knocking on the door, we thought you were ignoring us and with good reason, but we couldn't open the door and we were worried. So Max tried to unlock the door with his wand and it was then that we found the wards."

"Those were incredibly impressive, where did you learn them? None of us could break them." Max said from the counter, looking back over his shoulder as he worked.

"I didn't realise I had put any up." Harry answered with a shrug, a little pink cheeked. What sort of wizard couldn't control accidental outbursts at seventeen? He was supposed to be a man now!

"You…you still do accidental magic?" Blaise asked as Max and Nasta shared a look.

"I…sometimes I guess."

"Is this a recent thing, like when you had your inheritance?" Max asked.

"No. I inflated my 'Aunt' Marge when I was thirteen because she was calling my Dad a useless drunk and my Mum a teenaged whore. My Uncle grabbed me around the throat when I was fifteen and I sort of heated up until he let go."

The four of them growled, but Nasta shushed them.

"Anything else?" Nasta encouraged.

"Umm, I was attacked by Dementors between my fourth and fifth year, I was desperate for light and my wand had been knocked out of my hand, my wand tip flared up without me touching it when I was searching for it. I can't remember anything else off the top of my head, why the interest?"

"Only very powerful wizards can do accidental magic after they've been given a wand." Max answered casually. "Certainly after they've turned twelve. It is usually an impressive feat to manage any sort of accidental magic after starting formal magical education."

"I stopped when I was nine." Draco answered. "But that was only because I had a training wand."

"I was eleven." Blaise answered.

"Eleven." Nasta said.

"I was eight." Max said.

"You must be really powerful, Harry, have you ever done wandless magic?"

"I don't know, isn't wandless magic and accidental magic the same?"

"No. Wandless magic is doing magic without a wand on or near you with the intent to use it, accidental magic is, as it says, accidental. You don't mean to use it."

"Oh. I unlocked the cupboard under the stairs after I inflated Marge. I inflated her without meaning to, but afterwards I wanted to get out of the house, away from all of them. I wanted my trunk which was locked under the stairs and the door just burst open as I approached it."

"Most adults never learn how to use wandless magic, Harry."

Harry shrugged and accepted the single croissant he was handed by Max. He ate it dry without any of the sweet and sugary jams and conserves on the table, but he forced himself to eat most of it, he left two inches at the end of the croissant and he couldn't make himself eat another bite, he cuddled with Braiden and kissed and tickled him as the others finished their breakfast and then it was left to Max to clean up as everyone else was ushered to the bathroom to shower and get ready to go and wish Alexander a happy birthday.

Harry scraped all his knees when he landed on the rug in front of the fireplace. He let out a strangled groan and before he knew what was happening he was up into someone's arms before he could stand up himself. From the height it could only be Myron, but when he opened his eyes, the eyes that looked back were cerulean blue and not Myron's black.

"You must be Harry." The voice was not as deep as Myron's and it held a very slight Irish accent.

"Yes, who are you?"

"I'm Julius. Myron's older brother and one of Max's Uncles."

"Oh. Max said there were thirty of you."

"Max exaggerates; I have twenty-three brothers and sisters."

"So there are twenty-four of you?"

The man smirked and nodded before looking down to the baby in his arms.

"This must be Max's son. The Grandson that Myron doesn't stop gushing over."

"Myron gushes?" Harry asked as he was carried away and out into the back garden.

Harry stared at the amount of people milling around the huge garden. There were tables filled with finger food, another with drinks and a third held the biggest cake that Harry had ever seen.

"Of course Myron gushes, he's like a little boy at Christmas when it comes to his kids and his grandkids."

"This is Braiden. Braiden Blaise Enzo Zabini." Harry introduced.

"I know." Julius grinned.

"Ohh, is this Myron's son-in-law?" A woman cooed.

"Yes, love. Adorable little thing isn't he?"

"I'm not!" Harry insisted.

They just grinned at him and Harry rolled his eyes, squirming to be put down. He was let down and Julius' laughter followed him as he hunted for a familiar face.

He found Myron first, talking to a group of men who could only be his brothers; Harry noticed that Myron, who was the youngest, was also the tallest. He burrowed under the man's arm and grinned up at him when those black eyes looked down at him in amusement.

"How are you, Harry?"

"Fine, I was accosted by a man named Julius, but I ditched him over there."

"Did he hurt you?" A man older than Julius had been asked, his eyes were black but his hair was brown.

"No. But no offence, he's tapped in the head."

The group started roaring with laughter and Myron squeezed his shoulders.

"Harry, these are my brothers, Alaric, Enrique, Xerxes, Cassander, Philip, Edward and Oliver."

"Hello, I'm sorry but I'm probably going to forget every one of you and call you something else."

They laughed again and Myron bopped him on his nose with a finger.

"So this must be Braiden." The one introduced as Xerxes asked. He was almost Myron's twin, but he was older, much older.

Harry handed him over trustingly and the man held him with a long practised ease that settled Harry down and it was a good thing too because Max tackled the back of him, tripped over his Father's foot in his rush and crushed Harry into the ground.

As soon as he was landed on the weight was gone again and he was peeled from the floor. He groaned and massaged his aching ribs.

"We weren't leering at him that badly, Max." Cassander laughed, he had brown hair and blue, blue eyes.

Max blushed as he took Harry from his Uncle Alaric and kissed him.

"Thank god you have the baby." Harry said to Xerxes.

"Alright, alright, I get it. I had a clumsy moment." Max said as his Uncles laughed at him.

"Your poor submissive." Oliver shook his mop of light brown hair, his black eyes glinting in the sun.

"I'm fine. I just feel a bit squashed."

"What did you do?" Nasta sighed in a long suffering way as he took Harry from Max and sniffed him over.

"I fell on him." Max said quietly.

Nasta just shook his head in exasperation.

"Is this the top dominant? Nasta?"

"Yes sir." Nasta answered politely.

Draco and Blaise sidled up and sort of huddled around Nasta and each other.

"What happened?" Nasta asked incredulously. "We've been here less than five minutes and all of you have had run-ins with someone."

"We ran into a woman called Kyra." Draco said with a shiver.

"Oh holy hell. Aunt Kyra is here?" Max asked as he darted a look around to see if he could spot her, but seeing as the entire of Max's family seemed to be abnormally tall, it wasn't as easy as it could have been if he had been around average sized people.

Myron smacked Max's head. "That is your Aunt you are speaking ill of."

"I'm not speaking ill of her!" Max defended. "She's really a demon." He said to Harry, Nasta, Blaise and Draco in a whisper that carried to everyone around. "Avoid her at all costs!"

"What did I just tell you?"

"I heard you, Dad! I had to warn them what a vulture she is." Myron hit Max again. "It's not my fault she's a she-devil!" Max insisted.

"I'm warning you!" Myron growled. "I will punish you right here, right now if you don't close your mouth."

"Why not just ask him to stop breathing?" Harry muttered dryly. "You'll get the same results."

"Whose side are you on?" Max asked.

"You fell on me and squashed me into the floor!" Harry reminded him.

"He has a point. Now what were you saying about my darling sister Kyra, Maximilius?" Edward asked.

"She's evil!"

Myron lurched at Max and he ran off laughing with Myron running after him. It was the most childish that Harry had ever seen the calm, mature and sophisticated man act. It made him smile.

"Where is Alexander? I want to wish him happy birthday."

Strong arms wrapped around him and Harry looked up into the strong, aged face of Alexander Maddison who was smiling brightly at him.

"Thank you, Harry, it is wonderful to see you today. I'm glad you came."

"Oh don't mind your own sons, Dad, play with the little submissives." Edward teased, his black eyes had a soft sheen to them that made them seem less harsh than most people with black eyes, his hair was a medium shade of brown that reminded Harry of chocolate mousse.

"Thank you for giving me leave to do as I please with the little submissives running around, Edward, where is yours?"

Edward laughed and looked around before beckoning a lovely woman swollen with child to him.

"Hello Charlotte, dear, how are you?"

"I'm fine, Mister Maddison. Thank you."

"Charlotte, for heaven's sake call me Alex." Alexander pleaded. "Harry does as I tell him."

"Of course I do, Alex. I'm a good boy." Harry cooed sickeningly.

"That you are my sweet, love that you are."

Harry was carried around the garden and Alexander looked after him with such care. Harry noticed that Alexander spoke kindly and happily to everyone, but Harry was the only one who wasn't blood related to him whom he carried, the only one he spoke to at length with, the only one who Alexander seemed to actually enjoy being around for any long length of time.

"You are the best of them all, Harry my love, these other submissives, they're all stuck up women from Pureblooded families, they all think they are the very best, the most beautiful, the most wonderful and the most important, you're not at all like that and I admire that about you, I love that about you and I could not have asked for a better submissive mate for my grandson Max." Was how Alexander answered when Harry asked after he greeted a woman politely and carried on before a conversation could be started.

Harry snuggled up tight and smiled, Alexander chuckled and cuddled him tighter, bouncing him like Harry did to Braiden. It made him flush a bit, but as he yawned he found he didn't really care. Braiden really did wear him out and after the night he'd had yesterday and his distinct lack of energy from not eating enough, a nice nap didn't sound too bad right about now, though he did wish he was in one of his mate's arms, perhaps Draco's, Draco's neck always smelt amazing and it was a comforting smell that eased him into sleep easily.

Harry woke up with a startled gasp and he looked around him. He was still in Alexander's arms, surrounded by a group of men that Harry vaguely recognised as Myron's brothers.

"Did you have a good nap, Harry?"

Harry hummed and looked about. There were women dotted all around the garden with shawl wrapped bundles and unhappy toddlers, young children as old as seven clutched to their breasts as if they would be snatched away by a passing hawk if they let them go.

Harry spied Braiden been fawned and cooed over by a group of elderly women, none of his mates were near him, but Harry saw Braiden was being held safely and supported sufficiently and he settled down again.

"What are you looking at?" One of the brothers asked, looking around the garden, but unable to see anything that could pose a threat to the submissives or the children.

"Those poor kids that are trapped by their Mother's sides. Look at the size of this garden! Look at all the trees they could climb, rocks they can jump from, hell I can even see a little stream over there, I'd be all over them if I was their age, poor things must be bored to hell and back."

"It's only natural that they're protective of their children." One man said, but his words rang hollow, as if he had been saying them for a while and had gotten bored of them quickly.

"There is nothing natural about that." Harry indicated a woman wrestling a five year old boy on toddler reins as she tried to keep hold of the equally squirming twin girls, also on toddler reins.

"That's my mate and children." One of the brothers sighed heavily. He might have been called Alaric, or Oliver. "Tisha has been protective of them ever since Logan was learning to walk; he tripped over and caught his head on the coffee table. Not only did we have to burn the table, but she's refused to let him out of her sight since, he hates it, sometimes I think he truly does hate her too, Mother or not."

A woman walked over with Braiden and Alexander put him on the ground as she presented Harry with a wailing baby with a small grin. Harry smiled and nuzzled Braiden lovingly as he took out the bottle from the nappy bag that was styled like a satchel which was slung over his shoulder. He fed the baby, being mesmerised, as always, by the repeated suck and swallow of Braiden feeding.

Harry put the empty bottle back into the bag and burped Braiden, loving the little noise that Braiden emitted. Harry checked his nappy, checked that his clothes were all still in place, checked that both socks were on little feet and that little scratch mitts covered each hand and the visor on his little hat was still protecting him from the sun before he allowed the elderly woman who had approached with him to take the baby straight back off of him, to take Braiden over to a group of elderly ladies who were sitting around a table under a sun parasol drinking tea and eating fresh cream cakes.

"They won't try feeding Braiden any cakes will they?" He asked a bit panicked as he recalled the conversation with Fred and George the day before about Mrs Weasley baking biscuits for Braiden and kids losing their teeth.

"Of course not." Alexander assured.

Harry chuckled as a determined little girl ran past him, her squalling Mother chasing her to no end.

"Help me with your daughter, Oliver!" The woman yelled at the man who was hiding a smile behind his glass.

"Leave the poor girl alone, Kelly." He shouted back as his daughter looped around his legs and then ran for the trees as Oliver caught Kelly and held her. "Heidi is fine, Kelly. Leave her alone, love. She just wants some fun, this estate is quite safe."

Kelly lashed out at Oliver and squawked. Oliver pinched the skin of her neck, right up behind her ear. By the way she shied away and raised a shoulder to knock away Oliver's arm it hurt a lot.

She hit him, lashed out at him, but in the end she went still and silent, sullen at the embarrassment of being punished in public. Harry would have hated it too, but he felt no sympathy for her, he was the only submissive at this party who was allowing the family members to coo and cuddle with his child. He wouldn't dare try and attack one of Max's relatives just because they wanted to pinch one of Braiden's cheeks.

Caesar came over and hugged his Grandfather, Harry and all, wishing him happy birthday.

"How are you, Caesar?" Alaric asked pulling the smaller man into a hug. "How was America? I haven't seen you in a year or more."

"America is slowly becoming home now. I've settled down with Amelle and the remodelling of the house is coming on great. A few more pay checks and I'll have everything I need to finish paying the contractors and within a month, maybe two, the house will be completely done."

"How is Gem Bear?" Xerxes teased. Caesar blushed.

"I managed to get Amelle off of that name; we named the baby Eleonora Dahlia."

"A much better, more fitting name."

"I still can't believe she wanted to call the baby Gem Bear." Harry put in. "I thought Max was winding me up when he told me his niece was going to be named Gem Bear. Where did she get that name anyway, Caesar?"

Caesar shrugged. "I haven't got a clue."

Harry stretched in Alexander's arms, the elder man chuckling as he tried to keep hold of a squirming Harry as he stretched. He was placed on the floor and he cracked his back before sighing in happiness.

"I'm going to hunt down my errant mates, I need a kiss."

"No hanky-panky in my home!" Alexander warned him.

"Would I ever do that?" Harry asked, his cheeks filling with blood at the very thought of having sex in someone else's home when said home was bursting with people.

"You might not, but some others would."

"It was once, Dad!" A man Harry couldn't put a name to burst out, his cheeks redder than Harry's.

"Your Mother almost had a heart attack!"

Harry left giggling as he wove through people, stopped to speak to some, before finding Blaise. Harry locked arms around his neck and sucked at an ear. Blaise chuckled.

"Hello, Harry."

"How did you know it was me?" Harry asked.

"You are the only one at this party who has to stretch up to reach my ears."

Harry huffed, but forgave Blaise as his mate turned around and started sucking on his neck, nibbling it between his teeth. Harry giggled as it tickled him.

"Stop that."

"You don't really want me to stop, Bello." Blaise purred.

Harry giggled again.

"Not getting it on over here without me are you?"

Harry looked at Max with lusty, wide eyes and a parted mouth.

"Oh hell, you are! You look so gorgeous like that." Max groaned, striding forward and shoving his tongue down Harry's throat, massaging his tongue and tasting the inside of his cheeks, drinking him down.

Nasta broke them all up a few minutes later as he spotted them and strode right over. "Save it for the privacy of our home." He told them seriously. "I can't stand to see everyone looking at Harry like a piece of meat, if you start pawing at him then he's going to start emitting pheromones and they're going to try something."

"They're all mated though." Harry said confusedly, his eyes a tad unfocused.

"No they're not." Max answered. "Not all of my Aunts and Uncles are Drackens and only a few of them are mated. Uncle Enrique is known for hitting on every submissive that crosses his path and Uncle Cassander tried it on with Uncle Oliver's mate Kelly when she was pregnant with Heidi, she almost severed his neck."

"But…but…they're his brother's mates!"

Max chuckled. "And some of those brothers have gorgeous airheads for mates and my Uncles are men after all, stupid, foolish men, but men none the less."

"That's not an excuse!" Harry raged. "You had better not…"

"I wouldn't dream of cheating on you, least of all with my Uncles' bimbo wives." Max cut in.

"Sometimes, if a Dracken has been without a mate for so long, they start to develop…strange characteristics." Nasta told him softly. "They don't care if it's their brother's wife, their sister's best friend, a submissive old enough to be their grandmother or a submissive young enough to be their grandchild, they just see a submissive and they'll try to woo them, bed them or sometimes kill them."

"Thankfully none of my Uncles are quite at the point of killing a submissive just because they haven't mated yet, unfortunately Uncle Sandor is at the point where he would try and force himself on a submissive." Max admitted. "And a few others will try and flirt and grope, but nothing like Uncle Benedict."

"What did he do?" Harry asked softly.

Max looked pained and a tad heartbroken. "Before he went almost completely mad with his need for a mate, he was one of my favourite Uncle's. He wasn't afraid to rough house with me, he taught me how to pick a lock and how to play football. But when I was fourteen he just snapped. He had been rejected yet again at a meeting and he just completely lost it. He killed twenty-seven dominants, the Elder who was the chaperone for the meeting and then he raped and killed the submissive for rejecting him. The Counsel sentenced him to death. Grandfather pleaded to be the one to kill him; he didn't want his son to be taunted, tortured and then butchered, no matter what he had done. He gave him a kiss to the head and a hug. A quick, sharp twist to the neck and it was done. Uncle Benedict never knew how or when it was going to happen, it was better that way."

"I'm so sorry, Max."

"Don't be. He did deserve it. He had killed twenty-nine people that day. Twenty-nine innocent people including a sixteen year old girl. Regardless of what his mental state of mind was, it didn't matter that he had snapped or that he didn't mean to do it. He deserved death for what he did, he knew it himself which is why he accepted the Counsel's verdict of death with dignity and his head held high. The night before we were allowed to visit him, he said as much to us then, he wanted to die for what he had done, he told us that he couldn't live with what he had done and that if by some stupid twist of fate the Counsel didn't sentence him to death then he'd kill himself anyway. That was the hardest to hear."

"Why do you all look like you've been smacked in the face?" Draco asked as he wandered over to them.

"We'll tell you later, love." Nasta said as he kissed Draco's forehead. "Where is Braiden?"

"Being smothered by some old biddies eating lemon cakes and drinking iced tea."

"Smothered?" Harry shrieked rushing off to where his Dracken told him the scent of his son was located.

"You just had to use the word smothered." Nasta said with a shake of his head. "You couldn't have said being cuddled or cooed over could you?"

"I didn't realise he'd act like that!" Draco defended.

Harry snatched his son off of the poor, startled woman who was holding him and he sunk to the floor, creating a cover over his son and he meticulously sniffed and licked every inch of Braiden's skin, scenting for injuries. When that failed to turn up anything Harry checked Braiden with his eyes and his hands, searching for a single hair out of place.

"Harry?" Myron questioned as he tried to approach him, getting down on his haunches to be as close to eye level as he could without lying down flat on the floor.

Harry hissed deeply and started growling and Myron backed away.

"We weren't hurting him, sweet one, I swear." One elderly woman told him, her hands pressed to her breast, beseeching him.

"Harry, Draco meant the word figuratively, not literally." Nasta told him as he knelt down next to him. Harry gave a feeble growl, but couldn't muster up enough of his human side to do anything else and a warning growl back was all it took for Harry to slip back to lay against Nasta's knees as the truth of his mate's words sunk in. Nothing was amiss, Braiden was fine, sleeping in fact, not a mark on him, breathing deeply and quietly, snuffling now and then, but nothing more, he felt like a fool.

"I'm sorry." He told the group of women.

"That's quite alright, dear." One told him kindly.

"What brought this on?" Alexander asked.

"Draco made a harmless, but thoughtless comment and Harry reacted to the thought that Braiden was in danger."

"No harm done." Alexander commented as he helped Harry to his feet and gave him a kiss to the cheek.

Harry smiled weakly, but he couldn't bring himself to unclamp his arms from around his baby and instead rested Braiden against his front, cupping that soft black hair and nappy clad bottom tightly to his heart. He had never felt so much fear before, the fear that his son might be in danger. That something could snuff out his life as quickly as blowing out a candle.

His son was so small and vulnerable, so delicate and defenceless. How could he have just left his precious baby in the care of strangers? People he didn't know, people he had never even seen before, let alone met. Any one of them could have harmed his precious baby, anyone of them could have killed Braiden, how could he have gambled with Braiden's life like that? Risked his sweet baby like that? What sort of Mother was he to give his son away to anyone and everyone?

His arms slid around Braiden more tightly, covering more of his little body as he clutched Braiden to his chest looking suspiciously at everyone and hissing at anyone who approached too close. No one was ever going to hurt his son; no one was ever going to get close enough to hurt his son. He'd kill them first, he swore it.

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