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?


101. Chapter Ninety-Five – Expertise Part 1

Things got infinitely worse for them all when four days before the start of the court case Draco came down with a third fever in just a handful of months.

It was Max who had found him this time, when he came back from feeding Eva and Ave their bottles at three in the morning. He had tucked the freshly changed and soundly sleeping little girls back into their cots and he'd slid into the bed carefully, so that he didn't wake any of his mates up, but he'd just so happened to brush against something that felt like a red hot poker in the bed and he'd immediately turned on the bedside lamp and seen Draco, flushed and sweating, delirious with his fever as he convulsed around in the bed, but he was firmly unconscious again.

He had scooped him up and smacked Nasta on his way past, which had jolted him awake, becoming immediately alert, just in time to see Max leaving the bedroom with Draco in his arms.

He sighed heavily and with a sinking heart, he woke up Blaise and Harry.

"What's 'appening?" Harry slurred sleepily.

"Max has taken Draco to the hospital." Nasta informed them.

He watched sadly as Harry and Blaise shot up and started moving around. It was only just gone three in the morning.

"Not again." Blaise sighed. "How can they keep saying that nothing is wrong with him? Something is damn well wrong with him!"

"Do you think it's a Dracken thing?" Harry asked softly. "Maybe that's why the Healers can't find anything, maybe we'd be better off getting him to a Dracken Healer."

Nasta started at that and he pulled Harry into a kiss.

"You're a genius! That has to be what it is. I'll contact the Counsel Halls immediately and I need you to call Lucius and Narcissa, get Lucius to discharge Draco from the hospital and get him back here so that the Dracken Healer can examine him. Why didn't I think of this before?"

"Because Drackens hardly ever get ill." Blaise soothed him. "This is no one's fault and we'll sort it now."

Nasta nodded, but he still felt the heavy weight of guilt. Draco had been ill for all this time; this was his third, dangerously high fever in just a few months. He felt the guilt like a white hot brand pushed between his shoulder blades.

"I…I'll stay here then. Blaise, you get to the hospital and take clothes for Max." Harry said softly, shakily. "Nas, you get that Healer here now, I'll call Lucius afterwards and get him to discharge Draco, we need the Healer here first though, ready and waiting for Draco to arrive. I want this sorted, now."

Nasta nodded at the logic of that and he helped Blaise get some of Max's clothes together before he flooed through the network to the hospital to tell Max of their thoughts and what they were planning on doing.

Nasta immediately called the Counsel Halls as soon as Blaise was gone as Harry boiled the kettle to make some calming tea. He needed his head on his shoulders; he couldn't help Draco at all if he was panicking worse than a headless chicken.

"The guards are calling one of the night Healers, she'll be here soon." Nasta said as he came out into kitchen.

Harry was rubbing the tears from his face. Nasta sighed and pulled Harry into his arms.

"It'll be alright, everything will be fine. We'll set up a clear space for the Healer to work in, we'll find out what's wrong with him. Do you want me to call Lucius and Narcissa?"

Harry shook his head. "No, I'll do it now."

Harry took a deep breath, took a gulp of tea and went into the living room just as a small, willowy woman flooed into the living room with a large leather case.

"I am Healer Anika Chapman. Where is the patient?" She asked briskly, all professionalism.

"He isn't here just yet." Harry told her.

Her eyebrows drew together in confusion.

"He's at Saint Mungos hospital, we only just realised that his illness could be Dracken related after he'd been admitted. We'll get him discharged here as soon as possible." Harry elaborated.

"You told the guards that this isn't the first fever like this that he's had?"

"No." Nasta replied smoothly as he came through the doorway. "This is the third and the Healers at Saint Mungos can't find anything wrong with him."

Harry left Nasta to explain what was happening with Draco to the Healer as he flooed over to Malfoy Manor, he thought that this would be better said in person rather than in a floo call.

A house elf in a crisp pillow case appeared a second after Harry arrived.

"Go and call Lucius and Narcissa, now." Harry said, not giving the poor creature a chance to greet him or tell him to go away.

"Master and Mistress were not wanting to be disturbed."

"I'm telling you to get them here now or I'll go and get them myself." Harry said dangerously, his patience running thin as his voice rose uncontrollably. His beloved mate was back in the hospital for a third time and every minute that he was there, the worse he would get until that damn fever broke. This Dracken Healer could be the difference that Draco needed to finally find out what was wrong with him.

"What is going on here?" Lucius Malfoy's sharp, silky voice cut right through Harry's loud and angry argument with the house elf.

He was dressed in a pristine set of pyjamas which he was in the process of tying a floor length dressing gown over the top of.

"It's Draco." Harry said with a face that was crumpling with worry and sadness.

"He is fevered again?" Lucius bit out, his body immediately tautening with anger and worry.

Harry nodded. "We need you to discharge him from the hospital, we…"

"Why would I even consider such a thing?" Lucius demanded. "My son is sick; he is in the hospital, the best place he can be…"

"We think that the problem is Dracken related, so we called the Counsel Halls and the Dracken specialist Healer is at our house waiting for Draco. We just need him released from the hospital." Harry cut in. He was so not in the mood for Lucius' superior bullshit today.

"Why didn't you think of this before?" Lucius demanded in a hiss.

"Do you not realise exactly how hard it is for a Dracken to get seriously sick?" Harry hissed back. "We can get colds, infections, little debilitating illnesses that make us need a bit of extra rest for a few days, but nothing like what Draco has. We're hoping that the specialist knows what's wrong with him, because if she doesn't, then that's it…the Healers at Saint Mungos can't even find anything wrong with him at all, this Healer is our last chance of helping Draco, so get to that damn hospital and get him discharged and get him to our house and to that damn Healer before he gets worse or before he actually dies!"

Harry turned on his heel and threw a handful of floo powder into the ornate fireplace and he called out his destination, ignoring the inevitable pain in his knees as he landed, actually pitching forward until he needed to use his hands to keep from face planting the floor, before he stood up and angrily strode across the living to his mate and he all but threw himself into Nasta's arms, ignoring the Healer who was meticulously setting up her work space.

"Do I need to go and convince Lucius to do as we've asked?" Nasta asked, a dangerous growl working its way out of his throat.

Harry shook his head. "He'll do it. He cares too much for Draco not to; I still don't see why we can't discharge him ourselves. Draco's a grown man, he's almost nineteen, we're obviously his lovers, everyone knows it."

Nasta sighed. "Unfortunately wizarding law is strange, unless he's married, then he'll still default to his parents when he's unable to express his wishes himself. Unless his parents are dead, then he could default to us if he's been living with us for more than ten years."

"Stupid law." Harry muttered.

Nasta nodded. "I know, love, but it is what it is. At this moment in time we need Lucius to discharge Draco for us."

It took a further half an hour before Blaise flooed home and just behind them was Max all but cradling an unconscious Draco in his huge arms. Lucius and Narcissa flooed in after Max, but the Healer had already started, indicating that Max should put Draco down on the transfigured bed that they'd put in a cleared space in the living room for the Healer to work in.

It was tense, really, really tense as they sat on the settees, just watching and waiting, trying not to get in the way or interrupt the Healer, and Narcissa broke that hideous silence by politely asking for a cup of sweet tea. Max leapt up as if he'd been severely burnt and he rushed into the kitchen to get tea, Blaise on his heels to 'help' him.

Harry didn't move, he didn't think he could as his gaze was glued to Draco, who was being checked over by an experienced, knowledgeable hand. He just wanted to know what was wrong with his mate once and for all and if the Dracken Healer couldn't find anything wrong with Draco, then that meant it was over, there was nothing else that they could do and they were then dealing with something unknown, which meant that the longer it carried on without them finding a cause, the more all of them were being exposed to whatever it was that Draco had, the more their children were being exposed to whatever it was that Draco had.

Of course just because they were in the midst of a crisis, didn't mean that they could stop or put everything on hold. Their little girls still woke up at six in the morning for their bottles, Leolin woke up at twenty past six for a nappy change and Braiden woke up, and woke up all of his brothers and his sister as well, at ten past seven.

They were forced to feed and dress their children as normal while the Healer conducted her tests and examinations on Draco and then they penned them all up in the playpen in the kitchen with their toys while taking it in turns to sit and watch them.

Harry was the one in the kitchen when his children dropped off to sleep for their midmorning nap and he sighed in relief as he set up the baby monitor, picked up Farren who refused to go to sleep, as per usual, and carried him into the living room to sit with his mates, who had Eva and Ave with them. Leolin was sleeping in a bassinet in the kitchen, the further away he was from sickness, the more chance he had of not picking anything up. Though they all knew that if Draco was seriously ill, then there was no place in this house that they could put Leolin to keep him safe.

"They all down?" Nasta asked, more for something to break the silence than anything else and Harry nodded as he put down the baby monitor on a side table.

"May I hold Farren, Harry?" Narcissa asked quietly.

Harry handed the big, heavy boy over to her and he sat himself down and pressed himself into Blaise and cuddled in.

"He'll be fine." Blaise whispered to him. "The Healer will find out what's wrong and then we can help him get better, this will all be in the past soon enough."

Harry gave him a small smile, Blaise was trying and Harry appreciated his effort, even though they were just pretty words as none of them knew what would happen in the future, none of them knew if Draco was going to be alright and they didn't know that the Healer could help, if she even found anything wrong with Draco at all in the first place.

"May I ask a…personal question?" The Healer asked them, breaking the terrible silence that had fallen.

"Of course, Healer." Nasta replied promptly. "Anything that could help Draco, just ask it."

"Has Draco fathered any children?"

They all looked at one another.

"I…no." Harry said with a frown. "Not yet."

She nodded. "Did he by any chance take one of the suppressant potions for any reason?"

Harry felt his body blanch as he remembered what Draco had done to him under the effects of that evil potion, the potion that had almost ruined their mateship before it had even really begun.

"He…he took the most powerful one for several months." Blaise said quietly. "He didn't realise the damage that it could cause, but he went through a complete detox, it should all be out of his system!"

"It is." The Healer said comfortingly. "But it's left behind some lingering damage. Draco's antibodies are attacking the damaged areas, which is causing him to break out into these seemingly random fevers."

"Can you fix it?" Harry asked desperately.

Healer Anika Chapman nodded and then sighed. "I can stop his body from attacking the lingering damage and thus stop the fevers, but…I'm not going to be able to reverse the damage that has already been done by the suppressant potions. He was taking them for a very prolonged period of time, the damage is irreversible."

"Where is this damage?" Nasta demanded.

The Healer looked at them with pitying, doleful eyes. "His reproductive organs." She answered them respectfully, with a hushed voice, and the bottom dropped out from under Harry as he realised what he was being told and why the Healer had asked if Draco had fathered any children.

The damage had been done to his testicles and the damage couldn't be reversed, his mate was sterile and likely had been since before they'd even mated. It was no wonder that his Dracken had readily rejected Draco in favour of Max. It made a lot more sense to him now, his Dracken had been able to sense that Draco wouldn't be able to give him babies and thus it had rejected him and it had just so happened to coincide with the overly harsh punishment, which had acted as a cover to the real reason that his Dracken hadn't wanted Draco as a mate and his Dracken had readily moved onto Max, the first Dracken that he'd seen after the rejection of Draco. His second mate was infertile and wouldn't be able to ever give him children.

The Healer had administered several potions that Max had immediately set to researching and dissecting, talking shop with Healer Chapman and then he'd done the same with the pharmaceutical witch behind the desk at the clinic where they had gone to pick up Draco's potions.

Lucius and Narcissa had demanded to know what was going on, so they'd sat down and they'd explained everything that had happened over two years ago now, from the potion that Draco had been taking and its effects, how Draco had actually found the potion and then brewed it himself in his bedroom, exactly why he was taking it, which had been his fear of himself and the fear of his parents reactions when they found out that he was not actually a Pureblooded wizard but an illegal, outlawed dragon creature and how they (Harry and Blaise) had helped him by putting him into Severus Snape's care for a full body detox and training on how to control himself and his urges and instincts. The elder Malfoys had left their house with a lot to think about and a lot more understanding as to why Draco was currently sick, they hadn't been back yet. Harry didn't blame them; it had been a hell of a lot of information to take it and to find out that your son was this seriously ill because he'd been afraid to tell them that he'd had a creature inheritance must have hurt, but to also find out that their son was never going to make them official grandparents, that had to have hurt as well. Narcissa had looked devastated at the news.

It took a further three days of tests and Healer visits and they found out a lot of information in that short amount of time, some very welcomed, some less so, before Draco's fever finally broke under the effects of the new potions that he was taking, which were preventing his body from attacking the damage done to the soft tissues of his testicles and thus making everything several times worse.

He was awake and sat up, looking a little groggy, but no worse than he usually did when he came out of a fever when Harry checked on him at six O'clock the next morning.

"Draco, you're awake! Are you okay? How are you feeling?" Harry asked as he saw that Draco was actually sat up and awake.

"This is our living room, why aren't I in the hospital?" He asked in a soft croak.

Harry hugged him and kissed him and he was just so glad that Draco was awake again.

"We got your Dad to discharge you. We realised that the problem might be Dracken related, which is why the Healers at Saint Mungos couldn't find anything wrong with you when we all knew that there was something wrong."

"What's wrong with me?" Draco asked hoarsely.

"Sip some water first; it'll help with your throat."

Draco did as Harry had asked, sipping on the glass of water through a straw that Harry had picked up from the coffee table.

"Right, I've had some water, what's wrong? Stop stalling now because you're making me more anxious."

"It…I'm sorry, Draco, it was the suppressant potions that you were taking."

"But I stopped taking it, I went through the detox with Professor Snape, it shouldn't still be in my system."

"It's not in your system, but love, remember what we found out? About it causing deposits in the soft tissues of your body?"

Draco nodded his understanding, but he looked slightly green and like he was going to pass out at any minute.

"Your body started attacking the damaged areas, trying to get rid of them but the damage is irreversible, the more your body tried to attack the damage, the more antibodies you created and it was this that was causing your fevers, but we've been giving you potions to help with that, to stop the fevers, so you shouldn't have any more of them now."

"Is the damage really permanent?" Draco asked quietly.

Harry licked his lips and swallowed. "It…it is, yes. It's impossible to reverse the damage already done, but it isn't going to get any worse now either." Harry was forced to tell him.

"Where is the damage? Snape told me that my kidneys were heavily damaged by me taking that potion, is it my kidneys that are permanently damaged?"

"No, it's not your kidneys, it's…I'm so sorry, Draco; please know that I love you dearly."

"You're frightening me now, Harry. Where is the damage?"

"It started laying down deposits in your soft tissues, Draco, it…it affected your testicles first."

Harry watched as Draco stilled, his face leeching of all colour, before he threw himself back onto his pillows as he finally worked out what was being said to him, too weakened by the shocking news to remaining sitting upright.

"That's why I haven't given you any children, isn't it? I'm…I'm not able to, am I?"

"I love you, Draco, that's not going to change because of this, but we don't know yet if you're able to or not. Your Father tried to get in all sorts of fertility specialists, but we said no, we wanted you to be awake first. The Dracken Healer thinks that with fertility potions you might be able to conceive children, but that wasn't important to us, we just wanted to make sure that you knew that you were safe and loved."

"And what the fuck is that going to do when I'm the last of my family name?" Draco roared at him.

Harry took a step back in fright from the sudden noise and a few moments later Nasta was there, his strong, bare chest against his back, holding him and wrapping him up tight, looking for intruders.

"What's going on?" Blaise asked from further back, his voice strained with adrenaline.

"I think Harry has told Draco what's been going on." Max said with a sigh. "I'll get us tea."

"Tea is not going to help the situation!" Draco snapped. "I'm fucking sterile!"

"The Healer has done tests, Caru. You're not completely sterile." Nasta told him. "You're on potions to keep the damage from getting any worse and it wasn't extensive enough to completely render you sterile. One of your testicles is measuring much lower than your other though, the Healers don't think that there's anything they can do about that, but the potions should help boost the sperm count of your remaining testicle enough for you to get a child. So you'll still be able to have children; you just need the help of fertility potions to boost your sperm count from your damaged testicles in order to do so."

"So, I can have children?" Draco asked unsurely.

The four of them all nodded.

"Yes, I can start you on the fertility potions immediately if you want. I've got a full week's worth ready, I wasn't going to start tipping potions that you didn't need down your throat though, despite your parents' insistence." Max said. "Harry could have a heat period at any moment though, it's best to be prepared."

"I better bloody not have a heat period soon." Harry grumbled as Draco nodded.

"So, I'm going to be fine? The damage won't get any worse, I can father children with the help of potions and these fevers will stop?"

"Yes." Nasta replied as he went to Draco and hugged him. "If you keep taking your potions, everything will be fine, Draco."

"If I'd taken any more of that potion…" Draco said.

"Don't." Max said firmly. "Don't think about it, Draco. Fuck being sterile if you'd taken any more of that potion, you could have damn well died from it! I read the reports that Professor Snape had on your toxicology, that potion almost destroyed your kidneys before he forced you into detoxification, Draco. Be thankful that you're actually still alive and that the damage you did to yourself was fairly minor compared to how long you were taking that potion, even after Harry's pheromones rendered it completely useless you were still taking it. The damage you did to your kidneys was thankfully fully reversed with your detox and the damage to your testicles is again minor compared to what it could have been…you might need the help of potions to conceive a child, but at least you still have both testicles, even though the one doesn't work well enough for it to produce sperm, and you're still alive. That potion can eat away at organs and soft tissues, once it started on your kidneys and laid down deposits in your testicles you could have died from the effects of what that potion can do."

Draco was very pale, but he swallowed heavily and nodded.

"Just focus on the positive things." Blaise encouraged. "You're alive, these fevers are going to stop, we know now what was wrong and how to help you with it and to top it off, with these fertility potions you're going to have an influx of children."

"Don't say that!" Harry moaned as he pressed a hand to his stomach which still ached on occasion when he was on his feet all day, bending and lifting. "You can all have one baby, just the one at any one time. I can't take another multiple birth. It's been four months and this is still hurting when I push myself."

"I only want the one, just one." Draco sighed. "I love our children, but I do want a child of my own, to pass my name to, even if that one is the only child I ever get to have given recent revelations, I don't care."

Harry sighed. "You will have a baby, Draco, of course you will. With these potions your sperm count is going to be so high, the others aren't going to get a look in."

"It's not how many you have, but how fast they swim!" Max declared.

Harry snorted in laughter and turned to grin at his biggest mate. "You're terrible." He told him. "Where's that tea you promised?"

Max pulled him into a hug and picked him up for a big kiss before going to sort out tea.

"Since we're all awake we might as well get ready for today."

"What's today?" Draco asked.

Harry went green at the reminder and he stumbled to Nasta and clutched at him.

"You've been out of it for four days." Blaise said. "Harry's trial starts today."

"That's why you were up so early." Draco accused.

Harry nodded, still clutching at Nasta's waist, nuzzling his nose into that bare chest and inhaling the scent of clean skin. His hands played over Nasta's back muscles and he smiled, laying soft kisses to that glorious chest.

"It'll be alright." Nasta told him. "You'll be with Richard and he's been working so hard on this case, he'll get you through this and you'll never be apart from him for any reason. We'll be right here waiting for you when you get back."

"I'm so sorry that you've had to worry about me when this case is so close." Draco said.

"Don't, Draco. Please don't apologise for being sick, you couldn't help it and really it stopped my mind from lingering too long on the court date as I looked after you. You're more important to me than the Dursleys. Looking after you was more important to me than them."

"You've been agonising over this court date since it was first announced that Richard had enough evidence to take them to court, nothing now is more important than this." Draco told him.

"It'll be over soon." Harry said, trying to convince himself that it wouldn't be that bad and that next week it could all be over for good.

"It will, just keep yourself calm, let Richard handle everything, answer politely and factually and you'll be just fine. They're guilty after all, no matter how hard they try to fight or lie, the truth will come out." Nasta told him, kissing his head and clenching him tighter to his chest, those large hands wrapped around his back and stroking gently, in a way that comforted him instead of arousing him.

Harry nodded, feeling sick. He didn't want to do this, but he knew that he had to; his therapist had said that it could help him with his recovery, which meant that the hideous nightmares would finally start to ease off his tortured mind. He still said that the best option was to have left it all alone and have it remain forgotten in the past. He wouldn't be feeling this awful then if he had done things that way.

"Just calm down. The first day isn't going to be anything to worry about." Max promised him as he brought in a tray of tea for them all. "Today will be the initial accusations, that's all. My Dad will be the one speaking, you might have to confirm your name, but that's all. I keep telling you, love, that this case will mostly be the lawyers and barristers fighting one another. You in contrast will have to do very little; you don't even have to be there for most of it, just when you have to take the stand."

Harry shook his head. "No. I want to be there for all of it, I feel like I need to do this for it all to be finally resolved. I'm just…I'm petrified of the whole thing for some reason."

"Because it's new, you've never had to do anything like this before."

"I have. I told you I had that trial in my fifth year."

Max snorted. "Yeah, that should never have happened either. A full fucking Wizengamot court for underaged magic of all things, those idiots are lucky that you never knew enough to counter sue them. This court case will be done professionally; it will be done right, which means it'll be very different to the supposed court case when you were fifteen, love."

Harry nodded his understanding, but he didn't think he could talk and as Nasta escorted Draco to the kitchen, who insisted that he was perfectly fine to walk on his damn own, Harry followed them, subdued and quiet, taking his honey tea with him. This week was going to be torturous, but he prayed that it didn't last any longer than a week, please, please don't let it last any longer than that, he begged mentally as he took a seat at the kitchen table and sipped at his tea while Max, who had dashed off to get dressed at some point when Harry was preoccupied with his own thoughts, started making them breakfast.

Harry hadn't been able to eat anything and his hand shook so much as he drank cup after cup of tea that he'd sloshed half of his last cup over his shirt and had had to run and change it quickly.

He was so nervous that he was even biting his tongue when he tried to talk, so he gave up and remained quiet, hoping against hope that he didn't do that in the court room when he was required to speak.

"Please calm down, love." Max all but begged, looking visibly upset at Harry's obvious distress. "Do you need a drop of calming draught, just to help you relax and stay calm?"

Harry nodded, almost latching onto Max's front at the offer of a potion to help him deal with his current level of stress. Max carried him to the kitchen and sat him on the counter as he got his potions case down.

"Because it's not going to be in a liquid, it's not going to be diluted, so you'll only need a drop on your tongue." Max explained as he uncorked the vial and gently held Harry's chin. "Head back and poke that sexy tongue out at me, lover."

Harry couldn't help but smile at that, giggling a little as his tongue was stuck out at Max, who smiled softly at him before he tilted the vial with a steady hand and carefully let one controlled drop of potion fall onto Harry's exposed tongue.

The effect was immediate as Harry screwed up his face and made disgusted noises, using a hand to scrape over his tongue, looking at Max with a sort of betrayal.

"Hey, don't give me that look, all potions are disgusting, that's why we dilute them in our favourite drinks, you'll never find a potion that has to be drunk neat that tastes nice. They all taste like poison, here."

Max handed him a glass of pumpkin juice and Harry gulped it all down happily to try and get the taste of the calming draught off of his tongue.

Max swiped him off of the counter and carried him back into the living room where their babies were slowly dropping off one by one for their midmorning nap; it was almost nine in the morning, the time when Richard was coming to get him so that they could be in the court for half past. His court case started at ten sharp. He felt sick.

"You're going to be just fine." Nasta assured him as he came to kiss him gently. Harry was sad that his top dominant had gotten dressed, but he still slipped his hands under the tee-shirt that Nasta was wearing to touch bare skin.

"I know, I don't know why I'm so nervous." Harry said weakly, even as his fingers roved over dips, curves and muscle contours.

"It's normal to be afraid of the unknown."

The floo flared suddenly and Richard stepped gracefully into their living room dressed to perfection in a designer suit. Harry was also wearing a smart, brand new designer suit with a soft grey tie that had been bought just for this occasion weeks ago. Draco insisted that it was important to look respectable in this sort of situation, but Harry felt so uncomfortable and out of place. He actually whimpered when Richard stepped over the fireguard.

"It'll all be over soon." Richard comforted him gently. "Just a few hours and then you'll be back here with your mates."

"Remember that we love you and that nothing is going to happen to you." Max told him.

"Stay with Richard." Nasta told him seriously. "We'll be ready to pamper you when you come home."

"Please, just relax and try not to worry so much." Blaise said as he gave him a last hug, pulling him away from where he was playing with Nasta's skin.

"You're going to be fine." Draco told him from where Nasta had confined him back to the transfigured bed that was still in the living room after he'd forced him to eat some bland, unsweetened porridge for breakfast.

Harry sucked in a deep breath and squared his shoulders. He smiled to his mates, even though he didn't want to be smiling at this moment, in fact he felt so far away from wanting to smile that he had to bite his lip to keep from frowning unhappily. But he didn't want his mates to be so worried about him when they were going to be stuck here, not knowing what was going on, so he smiled and kissed them all goodbye. His children were all down for naps now, so he didn't kiss them goodbye, he didn't want to disturb them, even if he could really do with a baby cuddle right about now.

He allowed himself to be held by Richard as they went into the fireplace and then he was swept away, back to Richard's home, and then he was ushered into the huge kitchen where Myron was stood by the kitchen table, in his smart work robes, draining a mug of black coffee in large, quick gulps.

"Harry." He greeted gruffly as he pulled him roughly into a tight hug, his mug still in his hand. "You're going to be fine, I trust Richard with you and this nightmare will all be over soon."

Harry nodded slowly, his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. Myron chuckled and bent to kiss his forehead.

"Take care of him today, Richard."

"What a thing to say!" Richard replied, outraged. "Of course I will, you know I will. This is Harry we're talking about! Our baby son, Myron! You're despicable, hurry up and go to work already."

Myron gave a smirk and he chuckled before he went back to his coffee, tipping his head back, his strong throat working as he gulped it down quickly.

"I'm going." He assured Richard as he deposited the empty mug into the sink. "Work hard and keep our boy safe and calm."

Richard nodded as they shared a hug and a quick peck on the lips. Myron hugged Harry again and neatened his hair for him, running both, huge hands over his head to try and flatten his hair somewhat.

"It's not going to work. Draco and Nasta have already tried." Harry said with a weak smile.

"You're going to be fine." Myron told him. "I'll smuggle you some of that sickly chocolate that you like when you get home. I'll visit Honeydukes on my way home from work."

That made Harry smile for the first time, a real smile and not a forced sort of grimace.

"There we go, I knew that would get a smile from you. I'll come over later with it; it's been a while since I've seen those new girls of ours. They're four months old now, aren't they? The time is passing by far too quickly for my liking."

Harry's soft smile widened at that. It had been a while since Myron and Richard had come over to see Eva and Ave, with Ashleigh in the hospital it was hard for them to get the time to come and see them because they were allowed to visit her as much as they pleased now, apparently she had made vast improvements and thus she could have visitors every other day. A luxury that Myron and Richard were taking advantage of, they missed her greatly, it was plain to see and Harry was so, so glad that she was improving, that she was taking in the advice and the help that was being given to her. He hoped that she was home by Christmas; he would love to share that with her and to, of course, thrust Eva and Ave onto the only Grandmother that they had yet to meet. They'd be nearly a year old by Christmas.

There was a lump in his throat when he was side along Apparated to a small alleyway behind a café by Richard. He stumbled and almost went to his knees after the landing, Richard sweeping him up and setting him back onto his feet once his knees felt solid enough to support his weight. He hated magical forms of travelling.

The two of them walked out onto the busy street and Richard looked at his watch before he led Harry into the café that they were stood outside of.

"Do you think Nasta would skin my arse if I offered you coffee?" He asked with a cheeky grin.

"Cappuccino?" Harry looked at Richard pleadingly. "Please?"

Richard grinned wider and he went to the counter, Harry a silent shadow under his arm, and he ordered two coffees to go, including Harry's frothy cappuccino with extra sprinkled cocoa powder over the top.

They walked for five minutes until Harry saw the High Court building and all of his nerves flooded back.

'Should have gotten a second drop of that foul calming draught' He thought with a shaky sigh.

"Just stay with me, today will go smoothly. I always get what I want." Richard told him in a calm, soothing voice.

Harry smiled weakly, but it was more of a grimace as he huddled closer to Richard than maybe he otherwise might have.

Harry licked his lips as he looked around the building, it was busy, bustling with lots of people and the building was made up of lots and lots of glass, everywhere he looked he could see the outside and he wondered if that was done purposefully as he relaxed a little bit. He didn't feel closed in and he didn't feel trapped in the building and he liked that, it helped him relax, it helped him feel better. He wondered if that was a Dracken thing or just a people thing.

"Keep your calm and reign in your temper, no matter what is said in this room and remember that no matter what happens, nothing is going to happen to you."

Harry swallowed and he nodded understandingly as he followed Richard to a posh, luxurious corridor with gleaming marble floors and tasteful artwork on the walls. It felt more like a museum than a court. Richard sat him on a highly polished, wooden bench and they waited.

Lots of people came up and greeted Richard, laughing and joking like old friends as they spoke and congratulated one another on things that Harry didn't understand. Some people just glared at him from afar…Harry assumed that the latter group of people were always on the opposite side to Richard when in the court room.

He knew from Max and Richard that there were always two sides…the prosecution and the defence. Harry was the plaintiff, or the accuser in layman's terms, so Richard was the prosecution and the Dursleys were the party being accused, so they were the defendants and their lawyer would be the defence, as Harry had made the original claim of child abuse and neglect it was up to the Dursleys now to defend the claim and to try and prove it false and for Richard to make sure that the defence didn't have the manoeuvrability to do so.

It was all complicated and foreign to him, he still didn't fully understand what was going to happen, despite having all of it explained to him and despite all of the preparation work that Richard had done with him to explain how everything was going to work, it hadn't calmed him down or made him understand any better.

Harry worked on automatic when he was led into the actual courtroom when an announcer read out Potter versus Dursley. The Dursleys were already inside the court room and Harry swallowed. He hadn't seen them in two years. It seemed that prison life had not been good to them.

Harry stood on the far side of Richard, almost cowering as the severe, evil looking Judge came into the room and when he sat down, the rest of the court did. Harry almost missed his chair he was that nervous.

Everything was formal and there were a lot of people, it was a closed court, so there were no members of the public or members of the press present, but there were still a lot of people and as the court attendant carried on, lining out the charges against the defendants in precise, clinical tones, Harry felt like he was suffering from a nervous, mental breakdown.

How on Earth could anyone stand this sort of high pressure situation? How did Richard do this day in day out and still be the fun loving, slightly childish man that he was at the end of the day? He felt like he was losing his mind already and it hadn't even been ten minutes yet.

Richard eased him to his feet and he was asked to confirm his name, age and current address. He did so with a thick tongue and a dry throat, but he got out all the relevant information without stumbling over his words or biting his tongue or his cheek. He sat back down feeling sheer relief that he hadn't made a complete and utter fool out of himself not even fifteen minutes into the first day of the proceedings.

He found his gaze wandering to the people who he had once called family. Petunia looked like she'd aged ten years and as she had never appeared very youthful to begin with, that was saying something as he looked over her frail frame in the conservative, designer dress with a matching cardigan. She was thin, wrinkled and gaunt.

Vernon didn't look any better either. He was half the man he'd been when Harry had last seen him and he had virtually no hair left and what he did have was grey and wispy around a large bald spot at the crown of his head.

He was wearing a designer suit that was wrapped around a much leaner body that was oddly misshapen, he had obviously lost the bulk of his body weight rapidly and his skin hadn't caught up with the rapid change in body shape. He too was gaunt and wrinkled and he had saggy, black bags under his small and beady, piggy, blue eyes.

Dudley wasn't there. Harry didn't know why, but he'd ask Richard when the business was over for the day as his Father-in-law was busy with whatever he was doing with the Dursley's lawyer. He tried to follow the thread of the conversation, but he didn't really understand and he got lost with the onslaught of 'court speak' that was just giving him a major headache.

Richard was laying out every single charge they were making against the Dursleys in excruciatingly minute detail and the Dursleys lawyer was firing back counter claims, stupid little things like property damage, scare tactics, mental distress, intimidation and criminal behaviour.

Harry's hands clenched into fists as he heard what they were claiming that he'd done. He couldn't believe that they'd even try something like that in a court of law, that they could lie to a court of law when they knew damn well that he'd done nothing of the sort!

Richard's hand brushed his shoulder and Harry relaxed his tensed stance, letting go of the breath he was holding and unclenching his hands. He'd been warned numerous times that any sort of outburst from him could ruin the entire case and he wasn't about to do that to Richard after the amount of time and work he'd given to put this case together for him.

He swallowed down the rage he felt at the injustice of them trying to claim that he was a delinquent criminal, he'd hoped that they wouldn't, but he couldn't say that he was overly surprised that they had, they were going to be out to look after their own skins, where he was here for justice.

Any and all sympathy he'd had for them or gained from seeing them in that court room, shells of their former, horrible, selves vanished in that instant and he hardened himself. They'd abused him, they had, and they'd neglected him and they had treated him like a slave, like a punching bag and if they couldn't be bothered with him, they had locked him away and ignored him, and he deserved the justice owed to him for the things that they'd subjected him to when he was just a child.

It was all over in a couple of hours or so, much quicker than Harry would have thought and now it would take a few days to a week before they had to come back to court, the Dursleys were to spend that time in prison; apparently they'd been denied bail countless times before because they were flight risks.

Harry wanted to actually cheer when he got out into the open air, he felt relaxed and his nerves were just gone, like a click of the fingers, he felt freed and he happily let Richard take him back into the little café to get him a treat for being 'such a brilliant boy in court' Harry didn't even care that Richard was teasing him with that shit eating grin of his, he was just glad that it was all over…at least for the moment.

Richard bought him a large cappuccino and a giant blueberry muffin; he said that Nasta couldn't complain about it because it contained fruit. Harry was willing to bet that Nasta could tear the choice of his treat to pieces and the ingredients inside it would not be redeemed just because it had a few blueberries studded through it. But he also knew that anything that he wanted today, be it coffee, a muffin or a binge on his favourite fudge chocolate, Nasta would allow him to have it, because he wanted him happy and after the stress of today, of the last several days actually with Draco's mysterious illness being solved and the pressure of caring for a sick loved one, Nasta was going to indulge his every whim.

Richard took him behind the alleyway again and they Apparated straight to the front garden of his home, or rather Max's home, but technicalities didn't really matter anymore, as they'd all made it their home now and they all saw it as theirs, for now at least. Max's little blue car was in the driveway, just off to the side of the house and Harry smiled as he saw it, remembering the time that Max had pinned him to the bonnet after their shopping trip and they'd been caught in the act by the whole family.

He opened the front door and immediately he was assaulted by the giggling cackles of his babies. It made him smile and the lingering tension in his neck and shoulders just melted away and he felt lighter than he had in months.

He went straight into the living room to take in his beautiful babies and his mates, who were a little on edge, he could tell, from their tensed muscles and clenched jaws. He just knew that it was because of his court date and that they were anxious to get news about him. As his dominants it went against all of their instincts to let him go off on his own, even if he was with Richard, to a place where they knew that he was going to be distressed and upset, when they couldn't immediately comfort and protect him. They had to let him do it on his own and Harry just knew that they hated that.

But he was home now and very happy to be home and he just wanted those baby cuddles that he couldn't have that morning. It was a laid back, lounging Farren who saw him first.


"Mummy isn't home yet, Farren." Draco told their son automatically, with the air of someone who'd had to say the same thing several times today already.

"Actually, I am." Harry said with a grin as he stepped forward and scooped Farren up with a grunt. His second born son was really quite heavy now.

"You lot need to be more observant! Harry and I could have been anyone coming into your house which has your children in it!" Richard scolded them.

Harry rolled his eyes and held his muffin away from Farren's grabby hands.

"This is not for you; you'll ruin your dinner!" Harry chastised gently.

"He needed a pick me up; I thought the poor boy was going to pass out in the courtroom." Richard defended himself from accusations that never came.

"I wasn't that bad." Harry pouted.

"No, you did brilliantly. Now I'll deal with the back and forthy bit, they'll have us back in court to actually start the trial now. You won't be doing much again, you don't even have to be there, but you will be called up to the stand at least once, I'll question you on what happened in your opinion and then the defence will cross examine you. They'll try to confuse you and muddle you up to get you to say things that you don't mean or to 'admit' to things that are of no relevance that they can twist to their purpose. So keep a cool, calm head and think about what you want to say before you say it. It doesn't look bad if you take a moment to think about what you want to say, even if the defence try and claim that it does, don't worry about that and don't listen to them, remember, they want you to slip up so that they can exploit you for the Dursley's benefit and thus their own benefit."

Harry nodded. He'd been through this before, about how the defence would try to turn things on him, how they'd try to twist everything that he said and get him to rush his answers without thinking about what he was actually saying. He wasn't looking forward to it, but they weren't going to confuse him, because he knew the truth of what had happened and he had the memories of what had happened, so he wasn't confused over what had happened. But Draco had been teaching him to recognise the signs of a word trap, as he'd called it, and with the help of Richard and Myron, his mates and Aneirin and even Lucius, he knew how to reasonably avoid falling head first into these sorts of traps that would allow the defence to twist his words or meaning and turn the tables on him. He wouldn't let them.

"Are you okay?" Blaise asked him softly.

Harry nodded as he snuggled with Farren, rocking him from side to side, still keeping the half-eaten muffin out of his reach.

"It wasn't too bad. It was absolutely terrifying, but I had very little to do, so I didn't have a lot of opportunity to make a complete fool out of myself."

"You were alright seeing them?" Max asked him softly.

Harry grimaced. "Yes and no. I was alright, I felt nothing really, but seeing what these last two years in prison have done to them, I thought Siri…Sirius was how he was because he was in Azkaban, but now I'm not too sure, I think it might be all prisons. They were husks of their former selves, like Sirius was. It just makes me certain that I never, ever want to be imprisoned for any reason. I'd rather die."

"Don't say things like that." Nasta growled as he launched himself up and took the few, huge strides he needed to reach Harry so that he could pull him into a tight hug.

"I would. To be turned into such a shell of myself, I wouldn't want to live. So we're just going to have to keep an eye on one another and make sure that there are no opportunities for any of us to end up like that, right?"

"Exactly right." Draco nodded. He was still cuddled up, but the transfigured bed was gone and he was back on the one settee with a blanket around him. Nasta was still being very overprotective of him it seemed, despite them now knowing what was wrong with him and the fact that Draco was now on potions to make him better. He did have Leolin napping on his chest though, one large hand stroking rhythmically over his tiny back, fingertips going between the two miniscule wings that they had gotten so used to over the last year that they just knew exactly where they were in order to avoid them.

"Right, you're in good hands. I'll keep in contact. Myron wants to come over later, so I'll likely come back over with him too."

"Why does he want to come over?" Max asked a little suspiciously.

"What's this? Your poor old Dads' can't come to visit their oldest son anymore? We miss you; you used to always be over at our place before these monsters came along and stole you away from our loving breasts!"

Harry laughed hard at Richard's theatrics. He felt better already after that morning and he was glad that the mood had been lifted from the anxious tension that had been lingering in the room.

"Stop being a diva, why are you really coming over?"

"To see our new granddaughters of course, we had enough of seeing you over the years, those two new cuties are all the rage at the minute, of course it's for them. They're four months old and Myron and I have barely seen them. It's been a busy couple of months and with your Moth…Ashleigh being allowed more visits, it has been a little difficult, but that's no excuse and we'll be over to see those babies when your Dad gets out of work later this afternoon."

With that Richard was gone. He'd stumbled over saying 'your Mother' to Max because he, along with Caesar and his sisters had all 'removed' Ashleigh from their birth certificates, thus disowning her as their Mother. It had been the kick up the arse that Ashleigh had needed, losing not only access to her grandchildren, but also losing the children who she had birthed and raised, to get her to seek the help that she really, truly she needed.

What she, or Myron and Richard, didn't know, was that the birth certificates that Max and his siblings had erased her name from were very intricate, very well made forgeries and weren't the real thing, thus their official certificates were untouched and remained the same.

They hadn't wanted to tell Myron or Richard just in case they told Ashleigh and they still hadn't mentioned that the certificates had been fake just in case Ashleigh discharged herself from the hospital too early and thus went back to her old ways. They would tell her, and their Fathers, when Ashleigh was willingly released from the hospital and was declared mentally stable after her ordeal where she'd lost her unborn baby son, Theodric.

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