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?


105. Chapter Ninety-Eight – Virulence

Harry's much needed sleep had been completely disturbed by an unsettled Eva. She had been rudely woken up by her twin sister and she had not gone back to sleep, so at five in the morning Harry found himself downstairs, lounging on the settee in a half doze with his four month old daughter crawling all over him. She was grabbing and tugging on everything, particularly the drawstrings of his pyjama bottoms, which she found very interesting and had her utterly captivated.

She really hadn't settled at all after her three in the morning feed and an hour and a half later, Harry had had enough and he'd gotten up, picked up a grizzling Eva and carried her down to lay with her on the settee, hoping that perhaps she'd settle down if she was in the living room. He'd been wrong, she wasn't even settling down here as she was playing with everything that she could find, crawling over him and screeching when it got too quiet.

He sighed and kept his arm around her at all times so she didn't fall or tumble from the settee and he closed his eyes for a minute. He didn't get more than five minutes rest, he was just drifting off into another light doze, and then Eva started crawling all over him again and a dribbly mouth was lowered to his chin and started sucking.

Harry groaned and unlatched Eva and tucked her back into his side and tried to keep her still. She was moving before he'd even settled his body back down to try and get some more sleep.

"Alright, I'm up." He sighed as he sat up to Eva's excited screeches and giggles. "I suppose it doesn't matter to you that I'm in court today, does it, missy?"

He got up and went into the kitchen to make himself a coffee. He needed the extra boost to wake himself up. He was nervous enough as it was about the coming court proceedings without piling on lack of sleep as well, but unfortunately he was a Mother to eight very young babies, sometimes it couldn't be helped.

"What time were you up?" Blaise asked as he came in with a whining Ave flung over his shoulder.

"Don't ask." Harry grumbled as he gulped down the coffee.

When Blaise realised what he was drinking he sighed and took Eva from him.

"What have you done to your Mummy?" He asked her and she giggled and reached out for a lock of hair that had been twisted and flattened where Blaise had been sleeping on it. "Have you had any sleep?"

"A bit." Harry answered around a yawn.

"Go back up now, I'll stay down here with these two." Blaise said as he put them both down into their bassinets to make up two bottles of milk for them.

"Thanks for the offer, Blaise. But I don't think I could sleep now anyway. I tried to get my head down on the settee, but Eva wasn't having any of it. So I'm just wide awake."

Blaise sighed as he shook up the first bottle for Ave before he pulled their youngest child back into his arms from her bassinet and offered her the cooled milk.

"You can't go to court when you're exhausted, Prezioso."

"I'm going to have to, Blaise. I said all along that my children will always come first, even before this court case. It's bad enough that Farren misses me so much when I'm gone without ignoring them all when I'm at home too."

"You should have given Max a kick. He was on baby duty last night."

Harry smiled. "He did grumble a bit and it seemed like he was getting up, but after getting up twice to check on her and finding out that she didn't actually want or need anything he just stayed asleep afterwards. After about an hour and a half of her continuous grizzling and gurgling, I'd had enough and I brought her down here because she was starting to disturb Nasta and he has work today. The last thing I need is to spend the day worrying in court because Nasta went to work with those damn dragons while half asleep."

"So you'd rather go to court half asleep yourself?"

Harry smiled and nodded. "At least I can't be bitten in half or burnt to a cinder while in court."

Blaise rolled those indigo eyes at him, but said no more as Harry swallowed the last few gulps of hot coffee and shook up the bottle for Eva, who was still whinging and fussing in her bassinet.

He picked her up and snuggled her into his chest, before laying her into the crook of his arm and he fed her as Blaise burped Ave and settled her down before making two new cups of coffee.

"Nasta will kill me if I drink that." Harry said with a wide grin.

Blaise winked. "Do you care?"

Harry laughed. "No, I could do with a spanking, it might wake me up."

Blaise smothered a loud laugh. "You'd be better off going to Draco then."

"He'd just complain through the whole thing this early in the morning." Harry said. "It wouldn't be as fun."

Blaise just shook his head and drank his unsweetened, black cup of coffee in several gulps. He'd try to drink as many as possible before Nasta woke up and then try (and fail) to convince him that he'd only had the one.

He had drained his first cup in just five large swallows before he made up his second cup.

Harry picked up his own second cup of coffee and sipped at it, slumping down in his chair and he tried determinedly to convince his brain that it was a good idea to wake up and stay awake.

"Let's go into the living room, Bello." Blaise said as he picked up Eva and carried her and his new cup of coffee into the living room. Harry picked up Ave and followed him, settling the girls onto the floor and collapsing onto the settee to snuggle with Blaise and his coffee.

They watched in contented silence as the girls crawled slowly around the floor, playing with some of the soft, stuffed toys that Blaise had scattered about for them. They babbled to one another and screeched and giggled and Harry smiled softly as he watched them. They were much more active now that the floor space wasn't taken over by their five older, more mobile, siblings.

"I love mornings like this." He admitted.

"Even with the lack of sleep?" Blaise asked with a smirk.

Harry nodded. "Yes, even with the lack of sleep."

"Let's make it even better then. I'll go see if any of the others are up."

"Didn't you bring down the baby monitors?" Harry asked curiously.

"I wasn't planning on staying up. Then I smelt coffee and I had to have one." Blaise winked. "Besides, Calix and Leolin never cry when they wake up. They just lie there in their cots until someone comes to get them."

Harry stayed on the settee as Blaise went to collect any awake babies and to get the baby monitors from their bedside table.

He came down with his arms full to bursting. Harry laughed and he stood to pluck an unhappy, wriggling Calix from Blaise's arms and his mate happily put Regan and Farren on the floor.

"Damn kids will be the death of me." Blaise groaned as he massaged his back before collapsing back onto the settee. He pulled Harry back to perch on his lap.

Harry kissed him and settled in with Calix, who may have been awake, but he wasn't fully awake just yet as Harry cradled him in his arms between his and Blaise's chests. He was curled into a sleepy ball and was very happy to be cuddled between them.

They stayed cuddled together for over twenty minutes as Calix rested his ear against Harry's chest and he yawned with his tiny, pouted mouth, rubbing at his jet black eyes with tiny fists and just resting as he woke up very slowly between them.

"This one is definitely one of the cuter ones." Blaise said with a laugh as he watched Calix as his eyes and nose crinkled up with another adorable yawn.

Harry hummed sleepily.

"He looks just like you, like this." Blaise carried on. "All sleepy and curled up like this. It's obvious that he's copied you with that behaviour."

Harry smiled and lifted a hand to pull Blaise's head down to his lips for a passionate kiss.

"Hey, hey, hey! Where's mine?"

Harry broke apart from Blaise and grinned at Max, who was far, far too awake and alert for Harry's liking.

"Come here." Harry answered.

Max bent to kiss him, but Blaise grabbed his head and snogged Max first. Harry burst out laughing and was even more amused when he heard little babies joining in.

Max broke apart slowly from Blaise before he turned to him and Harry closed his eyes as Max's lips touched his in a slow, very passionate kiss.

Harry was breathing heavily when they finally broke apart.

"What was that rule we made? Don't start something if you aren't going to finish it!" Harry panted.

"Oh, love. I'd take you upstairs right now, kick Nasta and Draco out of the bed and utterly ruin you, but unfortunately these little kids need their breakfasts."

Harry groaned and let his head loll back over Blaise's arm. Calix giggled and clapped his little hands together.

"Are both of my boys awake?" Max exclaimed in false shock as he took hold of Calix's tiny hands and wiggled him, making his whole body shake. He made a noise and Max wiggled him harder and Calix stopped his noise to take a breath and he burst out laughing and just like that, he was wide awake as he lifted his arms up to Max and clenched his little hands.

"Dada ma, up."

Max picked Calix up and kissed him before he slung his son over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and tickled him.

"What are you two doing up anyway? I was on the night shift."

"I got up with Eva." Harry said.

"She was a damn pain all night. She didn't want to sleep at all after her bottle, she kept pulling on my hair and screeching." Max complained. "I finally got her to sleep at three and then Ave woke her back up again! I think she fell asleep again after that because I didn't hear her again."

"No." Blaise answered. "Harry brought her down here and he's been down here since."

Max sighed. "Harry, you're in court today. She would have fallen asleep eventually."

"It was an hour and half after you'd fed her. I couldn't take it anymore, so I brought her down. I thought that maybe she'd settle down here, but she never."

"I'll get you a Pepper-up potion. It'll help keep you more alert at least. Better than that coffee." Max nodded to the cups on the coffee table and winked. "I won't tell Nasta, but each of you owes me a favour."

"Why do I get the feeling that those favours are sexual in nature?" Blaise asked.

"Because we know him too well." Harry said with a laugh. "Max's favours are always, always, sexual in nature."

"I'd rather tell Nasta myself." Blaise laughed.

"Tell me what?" Nasta's gruff voice came from just beyond the door. Nasta walked into the living room, gloriously bare chested, with Leolin in his arms.

"Harry's been awake since three in the morning." Blaise said quickly.

Max burst out laughing and Nasta looked from one to the other in sleepy confusion. His gaze landed on Harry.

"Why have you been awake since three? I thought you were better now with the anxiety of court."

"I am. Eva wouldn't settle, so I brought her down to see if she'd settle down here."

"Did she?" Nasta asked.

Harry shook his head. "No."

"You were on the night feeds." Nasta turned to Max.

"I fed her at three, she fell asleep, but when I fed Ave she didn't fall asleep right away, so she woke Eva back up, fell asleep herself, but then Eva was awake and wouldn't settle and she wouldn't sleep. My plan was to just leave her to fall asleep on her own."

"I left her for an hour and a half before I brought her down. She wasn't settling and she was starting to get louder. She was starting to disturb you and I didn't want you to wake up when you're in work today." Harry insisted.

"How is she now?"

"She's still not settling." Harry answered as he looked to Eva wriggling around on her belly. "She's been awake all night and she's still wriggling around."

"She'll be Draco's problem today." Max said with a grin.

"You watch, I'll go off to court and leave her with Draco and she'll sleep all bloody day." Harry said with a smile as he watched Eva crawl over to Farren and flump onto his legs.

Farren laughed and touched her hair gently. He'd been getting much better lately with 'gentle hands' as they practiced with teddies, getting him to stroke them instead of just slapping at them or hitting. Harry watched him with a soft smile and he felt so proud of him as Farren petted Eva like one of the teddies and Eva burbled as she lounged in his lap.

"She isn't tired at all." Max said with a shake of his head.

Calix wriggled in his arms and his little legs kicked out, trying to get down so Max dropped him to his feet and then down onto his bum. Calix set off immediately to the pile of toys and he started 'talking' to Regan.

"You've got a few hours, why don't you go and sleep now?" Nasta said as he came to sit next to him. Leolin was scowling sleepily in his arms.

"I don't think I'd be able to sleep at the moment, Nas and if I did, having a few hours' sleep will likely make me feel worse in the long run. It's only for a few hours and then I'll be back home."

Nasta sighed and bent forward to kiss Harry's forehead. This tilted Leolin and he caught sight of Harry and his scowl immediately morphed into a grin.

"Ma!" He called out demandingly, a tiny little hand raising to reach out to him.

Harry, who had opened his mouth to ask Max to put the kettle on, let the breath out with a sigh and he grinned.

"Good morning, Leolin." Harry said.

"Bore da, Leolin." Nasta repeated, as he did every morning.

"Bo da." Regan copied from the floor and the four of them just looked at him.

"Did he just…?" Blaise asked softly.

"Yeah. Your language lessons really work, Nasta." Harry said with a proud grin.

"Of course, babies learn through repetition." Nasta told him as he handed Leolin over to Harry and went to kiss and cuddle with his firstborn son.

Harry watched as Nasta started murmuring to Regan in Welsh and he turned his attention back to Leolin in his arms.

"Hello, Leolin." He said with a wide smile, watching as Leolin's mouth stretched wide to copy him.

"Ma! Ma!"

"Oh, I know, you're excited to see me." Harry cooed to him as he nuzzled that little face.

Leolin burbled softly and gripped tight at Harry's hair, but he didn't mind as he allowed his Faerie baby to tug and pull on his hair.

"Do you need a hand?" Blaise asked.

"No, just leave him." Harry said as he kissed at Leolin's face, making him giggle.

A cry came through the baby monitor and Blaise groaned, standing up to go and collect Tegan from her wooden prison.

Harry sat back up when Leolin yawned and his tiny hands slipped through Harry's hair. He tucked his boy against his chest and watched his family, well…most of it, squirm around the floor. He couldn't believe that Eva was still awake and active, he felt like he could sleep for a week.

Blaise came back into the room with their two missing babies, Tegan and Braiden, both of whom were snuggled into Blaise's neck.

"Draco is dead to the world. He is not moving." Blaise said with a grin.

"Is he sick?" Harry asked immediately, sitting up in worry.

"No." Blaise shook his head. "I made sure to check thoroughly. He's just being lazy and there's nothing up there to disturb him now."

"I'll wake him up when I go into work, you and Nas will be gone before me." Max said as he came back into the living room and hefted up Farren. "Their breakfasts are ready and Leolin's bottle is cooling."

Harry nodded as he stood up and went into the kitchen. He took control of Leolin's feed, sitting down at the table and watching the chaos as two grown men tried to wrangle five babies into eating smooth porridge with banana pieces. Blaise had stayed in the living room to watch over Eva and Ave.

Harry shook his head slowly before he gave his attention back to Leolin, who was staring at him as he suckled on his bottle.

"Hello, love. How are you this morning?" He asked quietly as his Faerie baby suckled his milk. "I'm alright today, a little tired because your little sister, Eva, kept me awake for half the night. She didn't understand that it was sleep time and not play time, but I've got to go to court today, so I won't see much of you or your brothers and sisters, but I will be back later on and I'll give you some more cuddles then."

Leolin suckled steadily and Harry smiled at him as he watched, looking up now and then just to watch his mates as they fed his older children their porridge.

"Pracorn." Braiden told them, looking at the three of them. "Mama, want pracorn."

"The hell is a pracorn?" Max asked with furrowed eyebrows.

Harry shook his head. He hated this language barrier between him and his children. Sometimes he could pick out words, other times he could work out what they meant, but every so often they would say something that completely stumped him.

"Let me ask Blaise." Harry said as he took a happily fed Leolin back into the living room.

He winded his Faerie baby, a practiced hand avoiding the tiny, fragile wings before he sat him down on his special beanbag chair.

"Blaise, Braiden's asking for pracorns, does that make any sense to you?"

Blaise scrunched up his face. He shook his head and Harry sighed.

"That means absolutely nothing to me." He admitted. "Pracorns?"

Harry nodded and watched as Eva and Ave shuffled around the living room floor.

"Could he mean popcorn?" Blaise suggested. "But then, who would have given him popcorn?"

"He might have just heard us talking about it. Hold on, let me check."

Harry went back out into the kitchen and he saw that Braiden was still asking for pracorns.

"Braiden, sweetie, do you want popcorn?" He asked clearly.

Braiden pouted at him. He shook his head, sending his black hair flying. "No, Mummy, pracorns."

Harry sighed. "Blaise suggested that he might have heard us mentioning popcorn, he's out of ideas."

"I can't even think what pracorns are." Max sighed. "I've been running through everything that I've given them and nothing is similar."

"Maybe it's not something that you've given to them." Nasta suggested. "Get his book out."

Max blinked and then he went to his counter and pulled open one of the drawers, getting out one of the five books that they kept to track what they'd tried the babies on. He already had two blank books ready for Eva and Ave when they tried something other than formula milk.

Max groaned and thunked his head against the cupboard door.

"The last entry, Draco took Braiden to his parents' house and tried him on prawns. He loved them so much that Narcissa gave him a small bowl to himself and he scoffed them. He want's prawns!"

"Is that what you want?" Harry cooed to Braiden. "You want prawns?"

Braiden clapped his hands and grinned. "Want pracorns!"

"Well, I guess I know what I'm doing for lunch." Max said with a grin.

"Do we even have prawns here?" Harry asked.

"No, I'll go out and get some before I have to go to work." Max told him.

"You're only in as an overseer today, aren't you?" Harry asked him.

"Yeah, two in the afternoon until six." Max grimaced. "Damn newbies. They're never as good as they think they are and they always, always, mess something up. I need to be sharp and catch their mistakes before they make them."

"Be careful." Harry told him seriously and Max smiled, coming to pull him into a hug.

"You know that I will be. I've been doing this job for far too long. I can almost predict what mistakes they'll make just from looking at them."

"Pracorns!" Braiden demanded from his booster seat, hitting the table with his hands, and the three of them looked at him.

"Surely he can't still be hungry." Harry fretted.

"Hold on."

Max went to the counter and ripped a small bunch of grapes off of the larger bunch. He washed them, dried them and then pulled out all of the stalks and cut them in half, digging out any seeds in the supposedly seedless grapes as he did so.

He gave a handful to each baby and Farren immediately dug in and after staring at the grape halves for a moment, so did Braiden. Calix was the only one who didn't touch his grapes as he tried to escape the confines of his highchair, tugging on the straps over his shoulders and around his waist.

"Alright, alright. Come here." Max sighed as he unclipped Calix and picked him up. "You want to go off on your travels again, don't you?"

Max had to put Calix down when he all but wriggled out of his shirt to reach the floor. As soon as he was down, Calix was off, racing on his hands and knees towards the passageway.

"He has so much energy. I was thinking of taking them to a farm or a zoo, one of the little local ones, just so they can run around for a few hours." Nasta said as he watched Calix bang against the front door with his hand.

"The next time that we're all off, then." Harry nodded his agreement.

Draco came down the stairs and Calix screeched in happiness at seeing him. Draco swung him up and kissed his mouth before murmuring to him.

"Is he trying to make his escape again?"

Harry grinned. "Yeah. He didn't want his after breakfast grapes."

Draco chuckled sleepily and sat down at the table and held Calix on his lap, nuzzling his brown hair and resting his sharp chin on the top of his little head.

"Daddy, pracorns." Braiden insisted as he looked at Draco.

"It's prawns, Braiden." Draco corrected. "You can't have prawns for breakfast."

"He's having them for lunch." Max said as he put a cup of tea in front of Draco and kissed his forehead.

"My Mother gave me prawn sandwiches and Braiden kept picking them out and eating them."

"It's about time that we tried them on seafood." Harry said as he cleaned up Regan's hands.

"You need to start getting ready." Nasta told him.

Harry groaned. "I know."

Checking on his babies one last time, he went upstairs for a shower and he got dressed in his smart suit. He checked on himself in the mirror as he tried to comb his hair into some semblance of order. Once he deemed himself as presentable as he could get, he went back down the stairs, where Max had a cup of tea, a plate of toast and a pepper up potion waiting for him.

"Just remember that it's only for a few hours." Max told him as he pulled him forward to kiss his forehead softly.

Harry nodded as he nibbled on his toast, just watching as his mates got themselves ready for their own day. Nasta had already changed into his dragonhide work clothes that offered more protection against burns, though not by much, and he was eating his own toast standing up as he looked over their schedule.

"What time are you looking to be back, Blaise?" He asked.

"Early afternoon." Blaise answered. "I want to be home before Harry is and to give Draco a little break."

"So you'll be back around the same time that Max leaves for work?"

Blaise nodded. "I'm aiming to be, but I could run over a little."

"I don't know when I'll be back." Harry said. "It seems to differ every day."

"You don't worry." Nasta told him. "We know that your court days are going to be a little unpredictable and we're prepared for it."

Harry smiled as he drank his tea before he downed the Pepper-up potion. He trailed his hand over Blaise's back as he walked past him, leaving the kitchen for the living room, where Draco was watching seven babies at play, Leolin was just watching, a teddy tucked into his arms and he was frowning at all of his siblings as they screeched, giggled and played.

At a year and a half old, he was still so very tiny. It was no lie when they observed that Eva and Ave, their four month old girls, were almost bigger and heavier than he was. It seemed preposterous, inconceivable, that Leolin, who was the size of a four month old baby, was still solely on milk and slept for most of the time, was actually seventeen months old and rapidly closing in on his second birthday.

His little Faerie baby still didn't have any teeth, wasn't speaking outside of his two word vocabulary, which was apparently an unheard of achievement according to Dain and Kailen, and he was not at all mobile past gripping objects that were handed to him or occasionally reaching up a hand to touch someone's face.

His severe illness last September, which had lasted until the end of November, had not helped his development at all. Those eleven weeks in the hospital, on the brink of death, had set Leolin back months in his development, but arguably, Harry was just glad that he was alive.

Of course Draco was sat on the floor, brushing hair as he clamped a very unhappy Ave onto his lap to try and tug a comb through the gorgeous, chestnut curls that she and her twin shared.

"Having trouble?" He inquired with a grin.

Draco huffed and let Ave go, their daughter made a very quick escape, which only made Harry laugh more.

"Those two are impossible." Draco complained. "I've never known any baby to fight against having their hair combed as much as those two."

"Take it as a sign that they'll be tomboys and leave them be." Harry suggested. The glare he got for that remark made his grin widen further.

He kissed all of his babies and got a cuddle from Regan before he called out his goodbyes and he flooed over to Myron and Richard's home by himself. He was confident enough to walk from the receiving room to the kitchen, where he found Myron and Richard locked in a passionate embrace, snogging. Myron's large hand was slipping dangerously low on Richard's back while the other one was cradling the entire of the back of Richard's skull.

He wolf whistled and then laughed when they broke apart to look at him.

"You're early." Myron said with a hint of resignation that Harry had caught him in such a compromising position.

"I annoyed Draco by implying that Eva and Ave were tomboys, so I made a hasty getaway." Harry grinned.

Richard matched his grin and came to hug him tight, kissing the top of his head.

"You're not angry that I came over, are you?" He asked, knowing that the answer was no and would always be no.

"Of course not." Myron said as he took Harry from Richard and held him tightly, pressing his own lips to Harry's forehead. "You're always welcome here, always."

"Alayla slept over her Granddad's last night. So we've just been having a bit of fun with the house to ourselves." Richard said with an exaggerated wink.

"And suddenly I'm afraid to sit down or touch anything." Harry joked with a suspicious look to the kitchen table.

Richard's laugh filled the kitchen as Myron scowled.

"I have no idea what you do in your own kitchen, but in this house no such thing has occurred!" Myron told him.

"That he knows about." Richard added in a stage whisper and another wink.

That made Harry laugh again as Myron just looked at his Husband, trying to figure out if he was joking or not.

"You had better be joking." He added when he couldn't determine if Richard was or wasn't.

Richard just smiled innocently. If such a devilish look could be considered innocent.

"I mean it!" Myron insisted sternly.

"You sound so much like Max." Harry said with a smile. "Or would that be he sounds just like you?" He added thoughtfully. "The idea of anyone doing anything like that in his kitchen fills him with horror and dread."

"So it should. It isn't sanitary." Myron insisted.

"He's no fun at all." Richard sighed wistfully. "It seems like my baby boy isn't as much fun either."

"Oh no, Max is very fun…just not in the kitchen." Harry said with a grin.

"Enough of this topic." Myron demanded. "How are my grandchildren?"

"Good…really good in fact. Braiden's crying for prawns for breakfast, Calix wouldn't eat his grapes and Eva had me up at three in the morning because she wouldn't sleep and I stayed with her downstairs all night."

"And that's considered really good?" Richard asked with raised eyebrows.

"Yes, because I'm not the one at home for the next several hours." Harry said with a wide grin.

Myron just sighed heavily, as if put upon and he didn't know what to do with either of them, but Richard laughed happily.

"You've started taking after me!" He said proudly as he pulled Harry back into his arms for a hug.

"Merlin help us all." Myron complained as he picked up his coffee mug and took a swig.

"You love him and you know it!" Richard challenged him.

Myron smiled softly then, those black eyes glittering with love and affection.

"Of course I do, however that doesn't mean that I have to put up with any behavioural issues from any of you."

"What are we, dogs?" Richard demanded.

The look on Myron's face then was utterly sinful, and Harry, and too late Richard, realised that Myron had baited Richard into saying just that, leading him expertly into his word trap.

"I don't wish to know about our children's sex lives, but you were definitely on your hands and knees last night, dear."

Harry had to clutch at his ribs and crouch down on his knees because he was laughing so hard at Richard's stunned look.

"Be good now while I'm in work or I'll have to collar you out in the garden." Was Myron's parting shot as he sent Richard a smirk over his shoulder as he left for work.

That got Richard moving. "No! You come back here right now!" Richard shouted through the house, storming after his Husband.

Harry had to crawl to a chair and sit in it before he started rolling on the floor in a bid to release all of his laughter.

"I can't believe him!" Richard said as he came back into the kitchen as Harry was wiping his damp eyes, obviously having failed in his attempt to catch up to Myron before he flooed out of the house.

"That was hilarious." Harry said as he finished wiping his face of tear tracks and calmed his breathing, letting out a soft, almost girlish giggle that he couldn't entirely suppress.

Richard shook his head and smiled himself. He drained his own cup of coffee and then put his and Myron's mugs into the sink.

"Come on, son." Richard pulled him up and into a hug and then, with the tight squeezing sensation of Apparation, they found themselves behind their usual café and a short walk from the court.

As to their usual routine, they went into the café and ordered coffees to go and then they made their way to the court.

"You said that you'd been up at three?" Richard prompted.

"Yeah, with Eva. She had her three O'clock feed and went to sleep, but Ave woke her back up again and after that she just didn't settle again. Max got up twice to check on her, but after that he just left her and stayed asleep. I was lying awake just listening to her wriggling around, I couldn't sleep and after a while it just got frustrating, it was more annoying to lie in bed listening to her grizzling and burbling, so I took her downstairs hoping that she'd settle down there, only she never. So really I have been awake since three."

"I'll try and keep today as brief as possible then." Richard told him gently.

"Max gave me a pepper-up before I left and the coffee is helping a little. I want to do this. I will do this." He said determinedly.

Richard smiled at him proudly and he placed a hand on his shoulder as they made it to the courtroom and Harry sat back down in the seat that was his and he drank some more of his coffee. He refused to look to his right, to the Dursleys who were talking in hushed voices with their lawyer.

"Right, are you feeling okay?" Richard asked him.

Harry nodded with a smile. "I'm okay. A little anxious to just get it all over and done with, but other than that, I just wish it would start."

"It won't be long." Richard said with a glance to his watch. "A couple more minutes. Just remember that I'm here for you and you alone, and I won't let anything happen to you. Not ever."

Harry smiled at him. "I know. Thank you for being here and for taking my case."

"Of course I did, love. You're my son and after hearing and seeing everything that you've been through...there's no way that I would have let those beasts get away with what they've done to you. One way or another they'll be punished."

Harry understood the meaning behind that as his mind floated back to what Myron had once told him. If the Dursleys, by some miracle, were found not guilty, then he'd go after them himself and he'd kill them so that they wouldn't get away with what they'd done to him.

The Dursleys had better pray that they got sent to prison and that they went down for long enough to appease Richard and Myron, because if they didn't, then they would be meeting a very angry, adult Dracken and Myron was not a small Dracken at that. He was the tallest person that Harry knew outside of Hagrid, who was actually a half giant, and he had the shoulders to go with it. Anyone would choose prison over going up against a murderously angry Myron, even the Dursleys, as dull and self-serving as they were.

The next couple of hours of his life were painful and frustrating as he had to sit through another session of Vernon Dursley's complete and utter lies about him. His hands were clenched under the table and he was sure that he was glaring holes into the table top as he was forced to sit silently and listen to the filth that was being spewed about him.

He didn't know why he'd thought that he'd be tired in the court room, the anger that he felt ate away all of his previous feelings of exhaustion and kept him breathing hard and clenching his fists and jaw tight.

"So, let me test my understanding here, Mister Dursley." Richard said in such a sceptical tone that Harry's lips twitched. "You believe that your nephew, Harry, was being made even more dangerous than you already perceived him, by his boarding school?"

"He was a danger to everyone near him." Vernon raged, going decidedly red in the face and panting like a wounded rhinoceros.

"So you put bars on his window and locks on his door so that he was essentially a prisoner in his tiny room?"

"I had to take measures to protect my family!" Vernon blustered, trying to argue a valid reason for why he'd put bars and locks on an eleven, twelve year old's bedroom.

"From a short, skinny twelve year old boy?" Richard asked in such a way as to imply that Vernon was deranged. "This picture, Mister Dursley, clearly shows the room that you kept Harry in."

Harry looked to the screen that was showing his neat and orderly bedroom for the court. The tiny, bare bed, the battered wardrobe and dresser, the scrubbed clean carpet and all of Dudley's old, broken toys littered around.

"It looks pretty normal, besides the bed that is obviously too small for a boy of Harry's age and height at the time."

Harry hid his smile. He knew what was going to happen next as Vernon puffed himself up and declared about the price of taking in a boy that wasn't his own and providing as much as he could for him.

"Oh yes, I can readily see your sacrifice when I compare this bare, little room to the rest of your house. Though, after seeing the cupboard that you locked him in, we decided that we needed a closer look at things in his bedroom, so we asked the investigating police to rip up the carpet when we smelt cleaning fluid in Harry's little room."

Harry watched with vicious satisfaction as Vernon went pale.

"You see, the thing about cleaning fluid is, it cleans up the surface stain a real treat so nothing can be seen at first glance, but blood and other things leak through carpets to stain the floorboards underneath and cleaning fluid doesn't get down that far as it's always absorbed by the carpet fibres."

The next picture that came onto the large TV made several people in the room gasp. The picture showed the rust brown spots on the bare wooden floorboards with the yellow numbered plaques beside them. There were twenty-two of the rust brown stains and seeing the picture blown up on a big screen made it seem all the worse to Harry as he stared at the blooded floor, particularly the very large stain in the one corner.

"These blood stains have all been dated by independent forensic specialists, you should all have had a copy of their report. These patches range from nineteen-ninety to nineteen-ninety-six. When Harry was between the ages of ten and sixteen, which is the age that he left the Dursley residence for good."

"He was clumsy." Vernon growled. "Always hurting himself! Tell them, boy!"

Richard's face went ice cold while Harry's heart missed a beat as everyone turned to look at him. Richard moved to stand in front of him.

"You will not intimidate my client in this court!" Richard hissed angrily. "My client is a man in therapy for what you have done to him. He is the little child that you hurt and abused throughout his life and I will not allow you to intimidate him or pressure him to lie in this court by shouting at him and frightening him."

There was silence for a moment afterwards and Richard broke it by moving back to his briefcase and his papers and he smartened them up by snapping the edge of the pages against the table.

"Did you know, Mister Dursley, that threatening or intimidating someone in court carries a maximum five year prison sentence?" Richard asked calmly. "My client is not on the stand, you are. Now, answer the question without frightening my client. Where did all this blood come from?"

"He was clumsy." Vernon answered, looking everywhere but at Harry or Richard.

"He was clumsy. So your nephew, Harry, would…what? Give me an example." Richard insisted.

Vernon blustered for a minute or two before he stumbled out a very unconvincing lie about him tripping over and landing on things, like a garden rake. Harry clenched his hand into a tight fist, Vernon remembered the rake incident then and the man damn well knew that he hadn't tripped over and fallen on it.

He had obviously not covered this with his lawyer, having not expected the photos of the bare floorboards covered in blood stains, this had rattled him and that was good for them if Richard could take advantage of this situation.

"He'd fall down the stairs or he'd jam his fingers in the doors!" Vernon added.

"And you think that we believe that a fall down the stairs or jamming his finger in a door or a drawer would make all of those bloodstains? We even found urine stains on those floorboards, where you'd locked him up for so long that Harry had wet himself."

"He was a freak!" Vernon exploded. "He was dangerous and abnormal! He was likely wetting himself and cutting himself in his room of his own volition!"

"Oh, so Harry wetting himself had nothing to do with the several locks on his door preventing him from leaving his room to get to the bathroom?" Richard demanded.

Harry couldn't look up as he was sure that his face was burning with embarrassment. He wanted the floor to open up and swallow him whole. He knew that it was going to be brought up, everything that had ever been said or had happened to him was going to be brought up in this court case, but that didn't mean that he liked hearing about it or that he wanted a room full of people to know about it.

He didn't relish being called a freak again either. He hadn't even heard that word in a year or more and having it suddenly flung at him again, like a barbed weapon, had made him automatically flinch. It was as if he'd never been away from them, as if the last three years hadn't even happened and he'd never been away from them as his shoulders tried to hunch in to protect himself.

He forced his back straight and jutted his chin up. He would not be afraid. He would not cower away from them any longer. They couldn't hit or hurt him at all here, not only would it destroy their own court case, but Richard would never let them. He fully trusted that Richard would protect him, because he trusted Richard implicitly.

When Vernon devolved into screaming and blustering until he was purple in the face and Richard couldn't even get a word in edge ways, let alone ask a question, the court was suspended for an hour long lunch.

Harry stood up and allowed Richard to escort him out and back to the café and he was smiling grimly in satisfaction. Harry guessed that to mean that despite the fact that he hadn't been able to ask many questions, things were going really well.

Harry ordered chicken and vegetable wraps for his lunch, along with a glass of cloudy apple juice and he sat quietly as Richard tore into his own lunch while making marks and notations on his court papers.

"Things are looking much better." Richard finally said, leaning back from his notes with satisfaction. "I knew that once I wound that man up then he'd explode and show the court that volatile nature that you told me about and now that the court has seen it, they can't unsee it."

Harry smiled then as he realised that it had all been a game play by Richard to prove that Vernon was a bad tempered man who didn't take criticism well. Harry replayed the last three hours and he realised that Vernon had shown his true colours. Or rather just the one, purple. He'd shouted and raged and at the end, just before the lunch break, he'd been shouting so loudly that Richard hadn't even been able to talk. It looked bad for the Dursleys.

"We've proven today that Dursley is an irrational man and one that's easily driven to anger." Richard said happily as he made a last notation with a flourish. "This case is in the bag."

Harry was happy to hear that and he ate the cake that Richard had ordered for him along with another cup of coffee.

"How much is Nasta going to kill me if I get you another coffee to go?" Richard asked thoughtfully, as if considering his options.

Harry grinned. "While I'm in court? He won't even scowl at you. I get anything I want at the moment, he even let me stuff myself full of chocolate the other day and he said that it's going to become a new monthly ritual and he won't say anything. He even joined in!"

"Nasta? Eating chocolate and treats? Never!" Richard teased and Harry laughed.

"Yeah, he was only eating dark chocolate, but still, he didn't say a word about me or Max, Draco and Blaise eating anything that we wanted. We spent the whole evening sharing treats and watching two films."

"I'm glad that you're having a little fun to balance this stressful time. Are you due a week long holiday anytime soon?"

It took Harry longer than he cared to admit to understand that Richard was talking about his heat period and he finally made an 'O' of understanding.

"Yeah, I think a holiday is on its way. Maybe a month to go."

Richard's eyes widened. "Really?" He asked.

Harry nodded. "I'm three or so weeks in." He replied quietly.

"So, some when in late June or early July?"

"Early July." Harry nodded.

Richard nodded. "I don't think this case will last that long, but if it does, I'll ask for a two week break which will usually be granted because you are the victim in all of this, Harry. You can have your holiday and be back without missing court. Do your lovers know?"

Harry shook his head. "They haven't noticed yet. I don't think they expect it to have been so soon."

"Have you dismantled your nest from the twins, then?"

"I didn't need to. As soon as my magic left the hole, it collapsed. I went out there to see it several weeks ago now to see what I could salvage when Max told me that it had caved in."

Richard chuckled. "Let's hope it's not another set of quintuplets."

Harry groaned. "It better not be." He complained. "I want a nice, easy singleton, like Braiden."

"That's right, he's your only singleton, isn't he?" Richard grinned.

Harry huffed. "It's because of those quintuplets! If I'd only had a singleton, I'd only have four babies right now, not eight, but I couldn't ever wish them away now that I have them."

"It seems like you've had more than three pregnancies because Farren's so big, Calix is so tiny and Leolin is our special boy. It's because they're all so different and in different stages of development that makes it seem like you've had more than you actually have."

Harry nodded. "It is strange when you think that Farren and Leolin are exactly the same age, that they were conceived and born at the same time. Farren is more than four times the size and weight of Leolin."

"He's a big bruiser like our Max was." Richard said with a chuckle. "Absolutely gorgeous mind you, you're going to have some trouble keeping girls and guys away from him, like Myron and I did keeping them away from our Maxie. Like hell were we going to let some harpy dig her claws into our baby."

Harry scowled as he remembered Rebecca Silvermoss, who had tried her hardest to get Max to agree to mate to her. She'd even gone so far as to try to snatch Braiden from him, declaring that Braiden should be her baby. He still didn't know what Myron had said to her, but whatever it had been, he'd frightened her enough to keep her away from him and his babies, though she had tried to go after Max again. He was more than capable of looking after himself though and he'd done just that.

"Right, come on you. We'll get another coffee to go and we'll make our way back."

"Cappuccino?" Harry asked with a smile.

Richard grinned and ruffled his hair. "You're too cute. Yes, you can have a cappuccino, extra chocolate sprinkles."

They made their way back to the court, Harry happily sipping on his cappuccino. He sat down in his seat and once again he ignored the Dursleys sat at the table beside him. At least Vernon seemed to have calmed down, his face was red and not purple any more.

At dead on one O'clock the court reconvened and Richard became serious again, taking a moment to set out his papers once more.

"Are you suitably calm now, Mister Dursley?" He asked first and foremost. Reminding the court that they had stopped because Vernon had lost his temper during questioning.

"I believe that we got as far as you using the cat flap, seen in the pictures of the bedroom door leading into Harry's room, to feed him small amounts of food." Richard reminded.

"He put that in himself for his damn owl!" Vernon replied, his moustache bristling with the effort it took him to control himself.

"The owl that you locked up the moment that he came home from school?" Richard queried immediately after Vernon had stopped speaking. "The same owl that you viciously threatened to kill in front of Harry, a mere boy of twelve?"

"That is a lie!" Vernon raged.

"Which part?" Richard asked curiously. "That you locked the owl up or that you threatened to kill her in front of your nephew?"


"Oh? But her cage had a large padlock on it."

"That was not my doing!"

"Then you're actually trying to suggest that Harry padlocked his own owl into her cage?" Richard asked sceptically.

"I wouldn't be at all surprised." Vernon all but snarled.

"Harry is an animal lover, he still has his owl and she is in optimum health. Harry welcomes the decision of the court if they wish to have her looked over by an independent veterinarian." Richard said confidently. "Harry has never mistreated his owl and he resents the insinuation that he was the one to lock her up during the summer months."

Richard let that sink in for a moment before he walked the length of the table and then back again. He picked up another stack of papers and flipped to the page that he wanted.

"Tell me about your hatred of all animals, Mister Dursley."

"I do not hate animals!" Vernon growled, his face going a brighter red. "My sister breeds bulldogs! She always brought her favourite dog with her when she visited!"

"Oh? So it was just Harry's owl that you hated?"

"I didn't hate or hurt his blasted owl!"

"How did your Wife feel about Harry's owl?" Richard asked out of the blue.

Vernon blustered and mumbled before he finally answered, which in on itself was very telling. Vernon had never been a good liar, he was much more used to saying whatever vile thought or opinion came to his mind.

"She never had a problem with the owl!"

"She didn't? Then perhaps your son? One of you had a problem with Harry having an owl because that padlock was placed on the owl's cage and Harry was not allowed the key. In fact, I know it was your Wife who hated animals, because Harry has told me so. She didn't even like your sister's dog, did she? Harry has informed me that she would flinch if the dog so much as barked. But you, Mister Dursley, you really had a problem with Harry's owl, didn't you? Was it because an owl is not a nice, normal, pet for a young boy to have?" Richard asked, hitting the nail on the head in Harry's opinion.

"I never had a problem with that damn owl!"

"We have a quote from your neighbour, who heard you yelling late at night in the summer of nineteen-ninety-five. 'No more effing owls!' is what he heard you screaming, Mister Dursley, would you care to explain this yelled comment? Especially when your neighbour was under the impression that you and your Wife did not permit animals into your house and that you had no pets, not even an owl."

Harry could see Vernon grinding his teeth and he wondered how he was going to answer without making himself seem like an irrational, insane fool by mentioning magic.

"Are we going back to not answering questions, Mister Dursley?" Richard asked curiously. "Can I assume that you resented Harry having such a unique pet as an owl and thus you locked her up to stop the neighbours from seeing her?"

Vernon's whole head bypassed purple this time and went puce and he was clenching his teeth so tightly that Harry reckoned that he could hear his jaw cracking.

Richard refused to allow the subject to be changed and he stayed on the mistreatment of Hedwig for the next hour and a half, threatening Vernon and Petunia with the added charge of animal cruelty on top of child negligence, cruelty and abuse.

It was gone three O'clock when the Judge, Mister Justice Brais, called an end to the proceedings and Richard packed up his papers and snapped his briefcase closed. He stayed and spoke to several people, laughing and looking completely at ease, but Harry could see the tension around his mouth. He was playing at being this calm, confident, happy man because it showed the people around him that he was at ease and confident with how things were progressing.

Richard took five minutes to do this before he came and placed a hand on his shoulder and escorted him out of the room just before the Dursleys were taken back to their cells.

"You've done so well." Richard praised him.

Harry nodded. "I just want to get home now."

"I can imagine." Richard nodded. "At least you don't have to go back for the rest of the week now. Next Monday and Tuesday though we'll finish off your evidence and then we're off again on the Wednesday. Then the Thursday and Friday will see Mrs Dursley on the stand. Of course that's only if everything progresses smoothly and no one digs their heels in, otherwise this could take longer."

Harry nodded and he breathed a little easier. He was glad that Draco's birthday, coming up next week, was on a Saturday, so that his court appearances wouldn't interfere with his birthday.

"Will…will the Monday and Tuesday sessions focus on the pictures of my body?" Harry asked quietly.

Richard's hand touched his shoulder and squeezed. "Yes, love. I'm sorry, but the court needs to see them, the Judge and Jury need to see what those beasts did to you."

"I know." Harry nodded. "I just want to be prepared for when they come up. I'm glad that my mates won't be there to see them. I'm not sure if I could trust them to control themselves."

"Once those monsters are safely behind bars, then if you're up to it, you can share the photos with them. I know what you mean about the worry about them controlling themselves. I couldn't show them to Myron, even though he asked. I didn't trust him not to go and hunt down the Dursleys."

Harry smiled thinly as they made it behind the café and Richard held him tightly before Apparating back to the driveway of Max's house.

"Well, here we are again. I've got to get back, Myron's home early today because we're going to visit Ashleigh."

"Is she alright?"

"She's alright. She's doing so much better and she's making so much progress. She's more like the woman who we both mated to again. We're all much happier."

Harry smiled then. "I'm glad. Thank you for helping me so much in court."

"Don't mention it, you're our baby boy now. We'd do anything for you, love."

Harry hugged him and Richard saw him into the house and stayed just long enough to see the front door close before he Apparated away to his home, the home that Myron had bought just a year before he had mated to him and Ashleigh. It was so much like home now that he barely thought about it being Myron's. It was their home, where they'd raised their five children. He loved it here.

"Is Harry alright?" Myron asked as Richard walked into the kitchen, already taking off his tie.

"He's alright." Richard said with a smile. "I saw him home safe. I could kill that lying Dursley though. I want to ram my claws through his fucking belly and slice up his rancid insides. The gutless prick."

"More lies today about our Harry, then?" Myron growled.

Richard snorted. "Yeah, saying that Hogwarts had made Harry more dangerous and tried to justify locking Harry up and barring his windows as protecting himself and his vile family. He even said that Harry had abused Hedwig himself! That boy treats that owl like one of his fucking kids!"

"There is no justification for locking him up so often that has to urinate in a corner!" Myron growled. "Those beasts treated him like a wild animal and I won't have it, Richard! I won't."

"No one will." Richard reminded him sternly. "I'm going to nail the lids to their coffins myself, legally, Myron! Trust in me. I can do this, I am doing this. With the way that things are progressing in that court room, they're going down for a long time, Myron."

"They had better be." Myron grumbled. "I won't have my Harry hurting because of them."

Richard smiled and slipped his arms around Myron's neck. He kissed his chin.

"I love you, you know. You're sexy when you're being all protective and fatherly to our babies."

Myron bent his head and kissed him properly, one hand dipping low down his back.

"I love you too. I feel so protective over Harry at the moment, he's going through such a horrible time. I want to wrap him up and smother him."

"I don't think our Maxie would be too happy with you if you did." Richard teased.

Myron snorted and slapped Richard's arse. "Go and get changed. Ashleigh will fret if we're late. She wants to hear about the case and she wants more information on Alayla's new boyfriend. She doesn't like him either."

"Only because everything she knows about him has come from you and you don't like him either."

Myron scoffed and crossed his large arms over his thick middle. "He's not good enough for our baby girl."

"Admit it, you don't like him because he drives a motorbike and works as a photographer."

"It's not a real job!" Myron hissed. "He takes deplorable photos and then sells them on the internet! It's an unreliable source of income and our Laya deserves much better!"

"Let her make up her own mind." Richard encouraged.

"No." Myron groused. "I will not let that filth linger around, threatening her life with that contraption that he drives far too fast!"

Richard chuckled and he went to drop off his briefcase and court papers and get himself changed. He couldn't wait to see Ashleigh again and tell her how everyone was. He hadn't lied to Harry, she really was getting much better lately. He was hopeful that soon she'd be able to leave the centre for a couple of hours, just so that she could come home for a bit, but he wouldn't push her if she didn't feel ready. He just wanted her to get better. He wanted his mate, his Wife, back to how she used to be, back when she laughed fully, flinging her gorgeous sheet of blonde hair over her shoulders. Back when her blue eyes sparkled with joy and she would dance to the Wizarding Wireless Network with a baby cocked on her hip.

He hoped that she could become that woman again, smiling, laughing, joking, dancing with her grandchildren, but most of all, he hoped that she could be happy again. He just wanted her to be happy again.

Harry closed the front door and kicked off his shoes, almost breaking his neck when he stood on a hard plastic ball as he pitched forward, clinging desperately to the banister to keep his feet.

"Fuck!" He cursed loudly.


"Who else would it be?" He huffed. "Who left this plastic ball out here? I almost smashed my face into the banister."

"Did one escape?" Max asked as he crawled into the passageway on his hands and knees, a screeching Braiden on his back.

Harry just stared at him for a moment before he laughed loudly.

"Come on, climb on, I'll take you to the settee." Max said as he shuffle crawled on his hands and knees to him and head butted his hip to get Harry to sit on him.

Harry laughed deep in his belly as he sat on Max's back behind Braiden, wrapped his son up and squeezing his knees to keep his seat on Max as he turned full circle and crawled back into the living room.

"What are you doing home anyway?" Harry asked him. "I thought you finished at six today?"

"I was supposed to. One of the newbies almost killed themselves and blew up half the clinic, so I got to come home early."

"Are you okay?"

"I'm absolutely fine, my sweet, gentle submissive. Containment wards are wonderful. I saved myself and most of the other newbies, but a few of them got singed and the idiot who made the mistake had to be shopped to St Mungos. It means that I got to come home three hours early and I've been playing all afternoon."

"I can see that. Where's Draco?"

Max remained quiet and Harry slipped off his back, pulling Braiden with him.

"Max, where is Draco?"

"At the hospital with Blaise." Max sighed, sitting back and looking up at him.

"He didn't have another fever did he? Max, those potions were supposed to make him better! They were supposed to stop the damage from getting worse." Harry said frantically.

"The potions are working and he's fine for the most part. He got scalded."

Harry deflated a little. "Scalded?"

"Yeah, a hot teapot on the coffee table."

Harry's gorge rose as he realised what was being alluded to. He looked around, his eyes taking in all the babies and automatically counting them. There were two missing.

"Where are Eva and Ave?" He asked in a whisper. "Where are my baby girls?"

Max sighed. "At the hospital, love. I came home to find Narcissa here, she told me what had happened. I went to the hospital to catch up to Blaise and Draco and got the story from them. I didn't call you or Nasta because both the girls are fine and will be back in an hour or so."

"What happened?" Harry hissed.

"It happened when all the kids were down for their afternoon nap. Eva and Ave didn't want to nap, so they were playing on the floor. Ave stood up with the help of the table. Draco wasn't expecting it as she is only four months old. He rushed to grab the teapot, but Ave knocked it off onto Eva. Draco got scalded the worst, they took Ave just to be sure, but she was unhurt."

"And my Eva?" Harry demanded.

"She's wrapped up with burn salve, but the doctors are keeping an eye on her for the moment, just in case she goes into shock or has any complications. But at least she's sleeping now."

Harry felt like he couldn't breathe and he clutched Braiden to his chest.

"Please tell me that she's going to be okay." Harry choked out.

"She's going to be fine, like I said, Draco was hurt the worst. We're going to have to start calling Eva and Ave, A and E though." Max laughed. "For Accident and Emergency."

"That's not funny." Harry told him.

"It is a little funny."

Harry nibbled on his lip when he felt it quivering.

"Oh, love. I didn't mean to upset you, I swear. Come here."

Max pulled him down into his lap and wrapped those solid, warm arms around him tight and Harry burrowed in.

"Eva is going to be just fine, she's my daughter too and I was seriously worried when Narcissa told me. I ran right off to the hospital, but I promise you that she's fine. It doesn't seemed to have bothered her at all and Ave is fine, she's just fussing to come home."

"Should we…should we call Nasta?" Harry asked from the cocoon of Max's arms. "He's our top dominant and I sort of want him here."

"If you need him here then I'll floo call the reserve and see where he is."

Max put him on the settee and then did as he said he would and floo called the dragon reserve.

"Mama, baby took milk!" Braiden told him and Harry smiled and nodded to him.

"He helped Blaise feed Leolin his bottle. He loved doing it apparently." Max told him. "They've sent a junior handler out to look for Nasta."

"Baby 'eoin was on leg, Mummy!" Braiden continued, pointing to his own leg.

"You are talking so well, you are so cute I could eat you." Max cooed at him as he went out of the living room and into the kitchen.

"Did you have your baby brother on your leg and feed him his bottle, Braiden?"

"Yes, Mummy. Baby drinked his milk!"

"Did you have your prawns too?"

Braiden screeched excitedly and clapped his hands. "Pracorns! Pracorns!"

"Damn that boy likes his seafood!" Max laughed as he passed him a cup of honey tea.

"What did the reserve say?" Harry asked after taking a deep drink.

"I told you, they've sent someone out to find Nas, but it might take a while, he's with his girl, Caronwyn."

"Is she okay?"

"Yeah, she gouged one of the males who tried mounting her, so Nasta is calming her down so that she doesn't go on a rampage while the other handlers contain the injured male, who's thrashing around and incinerating everything that goes near him. So pretty much a normal day's work for Nas."

Harry smiled and he couldn't help but feel grateful that Nasta was with Caronwyn, his most favourite dragon, rather than with the male that she'd injured. He would have worried much more if he'd been with the rampaging injured male.

"Mummy, baby is awake."

Harry looked over to see Leolin rubbing at sleepy golden eyes.

"Good boy, Braiden, you go and play now."

Braiden grinned and ran over to a beach ball, clutching his arms as far around it as he could before throwing it. It barely moved several inches, but Braiden screeched as if he'd thrown it a mile as he ran to the ball, picked it up and threw it again.

Harry plucked Leolin up from his beanbag, just as the floo flared and Blaise came through with Ave.

"Is she okay?" He asked before Blaise had even gotten his bearings back.

"She's alright, Bello. Ave didn't even get a single blister, despite being the one to knock the teapot all over Draco and Eva."

Harry took her into his free arm and kissed her curly head.

"Ma na." Ave cooed at him.

"Ma!" Leolin demanded from the other side, striking a hand out to hit at his face.

"No, Leolin! You don't hit." Max told him sternly as he took Leolin from Harry and cuddled him on his own lap while Blaise cradled Harry's cheek in his hand.

"It's okay." Harry told him. "He barely hit me. I guess he wanted my full attention. I didn't mean to pay more attention to Ave, sweetie." He told Leolin, who reached out both hands and pressed them to both of Harry's cheeks.

"Ma." He sniffled.

Harry swapped Ave for Leolin and he snuggled his Faerie baby in his arms as Draco flooed in with Eva.

"Are you both okay?" Max asked before Harry could.

"Eva's going to be fine. Healer Almus said that the one dose of burn salve will be enough to completely heal her."

"Really?" Max asked. "Damn that tea must have barely touched her for her to only need one dose."

"It barely touched her skin." Draco sighed. "Her clothes and bodysuit absorbed most of the tea and she only had a little red patch of skin on her back. Healer Almus said it's more a reaction to the heat than a blister. She's going to be fine before tomorrow."

"What about you?" Harry asked.

Draco grimaced and moved Eva to show a heavily bandaged arm.

"I saw Ave standing up and I went to move the teapot, but she knocked it before I could get there and when it tipped, I caught most of it on my arm."

"Do you have a prescription or did they send you home with a salve?" Max asked.

Draco sighed and pulled a jar of orange paste out of his pocket. Max took it and read the instructions and the dosage.

"It needs to stay in the fridge. I'll put it in my potion's storage cold cupboard, this isn't going in my fridge." He said. "You come to me when you need another dose."

Draco rolled his eyes and nodded before he collapsed onto the settee and cradled a sleeping Eva on his chest.

"You should take some blood from Nasta too."

"Oh, he doesn't know does he? The last thing I need is to be tucked up on the settee and unable to move under his hawk like watch again." Draco complained.

"We sent a message to the reserve, he'll be back as soon as they find him." Max told him.

"That reserve is massive, hopefully they won't find him." Draco groaned.

"I'm sorry, I needed him. He's our top dominant, I wanted him here." Harry said and he bit his lip.

"That's normal after the day that you've had." Blaise told him, sitting next to him and kissing him.

"Ma." Leolin interrupted.

Harry smiled at him and sat him on his lap more securely, getting his Faerie baby upright and looking at him. Harry had sat him facing him and he held tightly onto Leolin's arms.

Leolin giggled and Harry wiggled him slightly, which made Leolin giggle more.

"Ma! Ma!" He chanted with a gummy grin.

"Who's my big boy?!" Harry praised with a wide grin. "This boy is adorable."

"He sure is, just don't let him hit you." Max said as he went to put Draco's salve into his storage.

"Leolin, do you want to try banana mush?" Harry asked. "Are you ready for something more than milk?!"

"Do you think he is? It's so strange to see all of the others eating near enough normal food and he's still just on milk." Blaise said thoughtfully.

"I'm not sure. We're really winging it with Leolin." Harry sighed. "He still doesn't even have a peek of a tooth and I'm afraid of giving him solid foods and making him sick or something."

Max came back into the room with more tea, he set the tray down on the coffee table and he sat down on the floor with a groan and pulled Calix onto his lap.

"Dada Ma!" Calix giggled.

Max kissed Calix loudly and blew a raspberry on him, much to the enjoyment of their son, before he rolled Calix over his leg and their son screeched in sheer joy before he crawled back around and lifted his arms up. Max rolled Calix over his leg again and Calix screeched and laughed so happily that Harry couldn't help but smile as he watched them.

Calix rushed around to Max's lap again and Max rolled him over his leg, again and again and again, over and over and over and Calix never got tired of it and Harry couldn't stop watching as he snuggled with Leolin and sipped his tea.

The floo flared and a frantic Nasta landed on the rug and he looked at them all with wide eyes. Max whistled at him, bare chested, muddy and sweaty with a trickle of blood running down his one arm.

"You had better not have called me home from that disaster for no reason." He growled. "Caronwyn is very agitated. I got your message that I was needed at home as soon as possible."

"I'm sorry, Nas. I…I wanted you here." Harry said quietly.

"Was it the case, are you okay?" Nasta asked, his frown clearing as he came to sit next to him, holding him tight.

Harry shook his head. "Draco and Eva were injured this afternoon."

Nasta's head swung to the two of them, Eva sleeping on Draco's chest and Draco's bandaged arm wrapped around her little back.

"What happened?" Nasta demanded as he went to sniff at Draco and Eva.

"I got scalded and so did Eva." Draco told him.

"Scalded by what?" Nasta asked as he declared Draco suitably cared for and picked up the sleeping Eva to lick at her flushed cheek to check for fever or something that someone might have missed.

"Tea." Draco said. "Ave stood up for the first time today, but she was really wobbly and unstable and she knocked the teapot flying. I had already started moving to catch it, but my arm got scalded and so did Eva's back, seeing as she was underneath Ave when it happened." Draco explained.

"Has she been given anything?" Nasta asked.

"Burn salve, but the affected area is so small and barely there, so Healer Almus said she only really needed the one dose."

"And you?" Nasta asked seriously.

Draco sighed. "Max has the salve that I need to apply and I should be fine in a few days if I take blood."

Nasta nodded and then suddenly his fangs were just there and he bit into his own arm before offering it to Draco, who held Nasta's arm still and sucked gently at the offered wound while the rest of them just watched.

"Do you feel better?" Nasta asked when Draco pulled back.

Their blond mate nodded with a sigh. "Yeah, that feels much better. Thank you."

"Don't thank me for taking care of you." Nasta told him as he pulled Draco forward to kiss his pale pink lips. "Harry, how was your day in court?"

"Frustrating, upsetting, anger inducing, take your pick." Harry sighed. "He tried to say that I had been abusing Hedwig!"

"What?" Max demanded. "How did Hedwig even come into it?"

"He used to lock her up so that I couldn't let her out to hunt and fly so that the neighbours wouldn't see her and think that I was even more abnormal than they already believed I was. Richard's trying to add animal abuse to their sentence too."

"And he tried to say that you locked her up yourself? Like he said that you locked yourself in a cupboard of your own volition?" Max demanded.

Harry nodded miserably.

"No one is going to believe him." Draco said angrily. "You love Hedwig!"

Harry nodded. "That's what Richard said." He told them. "But I don't like hearing it, I don't like the thought of anyone thinking that I could hurt Hedwig, or anyone else. I was just a kid."

"Exactly." Nasta told him as he sat back next to him and pulled him to rest against his bare shoulder, brushing a thumb over Leolin's scowling face. "You were a child, Harry and they hurt and abused you. The court will be able to see that, they are people trained in finding the truth and they'll be good at it. Half cobbled together lies are not going to fool them. You're going to be fine and no one is going to believe that you hurt them, or Hedwig."

Harry smiled thinly and turned his head into Nasta's neck, ignoring that he was covered in soot, sweat, blood, mud and what smelt like dragon dung. He had wanted Nasta here and now that he did have him here, he wanted to cuddle with him.

"What are you doing home anyway, Max? Weren't you in until six today?" Nasta asked, looking at the clock which read a quarter past five. "Did you get called in when Draco and Eva went to the hospital?"

"No, Draco and Blaise went right to the hospital with the twins after a quick call to Narcissa to babysit. I came home and got the story from her, went to check on them at the hospital before I came back to take over the childcare once I was assured that they were alright and in competent hands."

"Why did you come back early?" Nasta asked. "Are you alright?"

Max sighed. "I'm fine. I told you that I hated those newbies though. One of them wasn't paying attention and decided to blow up half the clinic. I threw up a heavy containment ward, but still several of them needed medical help and the one who blew up his cauldron needed the hospital. So I got to come home after only an hour and a half of work."

"But you're unhurt?"

"Completely fine." Max smiled. "I've been playing with our wonderful children all afternoon."

Nasta sighed. "When are you back in court, Harry?"

Harry smiled happily then. "I'm off for the next four days. I go back on Monday."

Max cheered and lurched from his place sat on the floor to hug him, nuzzling his face into Harry's body, moving up to bury his nose in his neck before leaning back to maul his mouth.

"That looks frankly indecent." Draco sneered.

"No one asked you!" Max pulled back to tell him. Harry was breathing hard and almost panting from his kiss and he laughed happily, copied by several babies.

Leolin, however, did not like Max being so close to his Mum and he smacked Max while he was distracted.

"Leolin!" Harry said shocked, moving his son away from Max.

Max shook his head. "That's twice today that he's lashed out."

"Really?" Nasta asked as he took Leolin from Harry's lap and settled him on his own.

"Yeah, he hit Harry earlier when he was paying more attention to Ave. She'd just come home from the hospital so Harry was checking her over and Leolin didn't like that Harry wasn't paying any attention to him. So he lashed out."

Nasta frowned. "I'll go for a shower and take him with me and I'll spend five minutes with him in the bedroom. He might need some undisrupted contact to settle himself."

Harry nodded and Nasta went upstairs with Leolin to grab a quick shower and a five minute cuddle.

Taking in a deep breath, Harry finished off his tea and slipped down onto the floor and he grabbed the nearest body to him, Regan, and dragged him onto his lap and tickled him.

"Tickle tickle." Regan screeched with a wiggle. "Mummy, tickle!"

"Are you being tickled?" Harry asked him. "Are you?

Regan screeched again and giggled, rolling to his knees and standing up, wrapping his arms around Harry's neck and hugging him.

"Aw, do you love your Mummy, Regan?" Max asked.

"Yes." Regan answered as he hugged Harry tightly.

"Why don't you give Mummy a kiss?" Blaise asked him.

Regan pulled back and kissed Harry's mouth and Harry hugged his little boy tightly.

"I love you, Regan." He said.

"Love, Mummy." Regan said back before he was gone, toddling off to Braiden and joining in his game of playing with their, rather large, collection of chunky cars.

Harry smiled as he watched him. His wonderful children, they were getting so big now at seventeen months old, they were so smart and joyful. He could see them as the children that they would grow to be. Especially his twenty-one month old Braiden. He was just two months away from being a whole two years old and Harry really couldn't believe that his little boy, his first ever child, was almost two years old already.

"Were my Dads' alright?" Max asked him as he stretched his legs out in front of him with a groan as he accepted Tegan onto his lap with one of her books and she started reading to him, her favourite penguin not far behind.

"They were fine, they've gone to see Ashleigh and according to Richard, she's doing much better lately. I won't tell you the horrors they told me about enjoying a free house together this morning."

Max made a face. "Ah, no, please don't. Keep that to yourself."

"Myron said something about collaring Richard on his hands and knees…"

"STOP!" Max demanded as his face screwed up. "No, just no, Harry. I'm sorry I asked."

Harry laughed happily and went to see what Farren was up to as Calix played with his Dad Blaise by peeking his head out from under the coffee table and then 'hiding' by ducking his head back under it, laughing at Blaise's, very fake and exaggerated, surprise every time he stuck his head out.

He was going to enjoy the next four days, where he didn't have to go to court and as Farren included him in his game of block building, Harry hoped that being at home all day for the next four days reassured his children, especially Farren, that though he might leave them for a few hours, he would always come home for them, because nothing, nothing in this world, would ever keep him away from his children. Nothing. Not ever.

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