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?


109. Chapter One Hundred – Adaption Part 2

Nasta shut the bedroom door and he warded it strongly to keep out anyone and everyone.

"Go away, Mother. I don't want to eat." Draco croaked without looking at him.

"I'm not your Mother." Nasta said, making his voice deeper and more authoritative.

Draco picked himself up on his arms and turned his upper body to look at him as if he didn't quite believe that he was there. His face was puffy and swollen and the skin around his eyes was almost purple from crying. His top and bottom lip were swollen and scabbed over, the bottom one worse than the top.

Nasta clenched his jaw and he firmed himself as Draco stumbled to his feet and rushed at him, throwing his arms around his chest and hugging him bone crushingly tight. He forced himself not to react, ignoring Draco's babbled questions of how everyone was. Nasta had given him no news at all in the last few days and he knew that Max hadn't come here. Max hadn't even wanted to see Draco.

"You know why I'm here." He said, cutting across Draco's questions, gripping his forearms and pushing him backwards a step, separating himself from Draco.

Draco looked devastated at the separation more than the coming punishment and Nasta had to harden his heart. This needed to be done. Draco needed a formal punishment, he needed to understand why he was being punished and then Nasta would sit down with him and lay out the terms. If Draco couldn't accept those terms, then he was done. He would leave the Malfoy house and he would never come back to it, he would never tell Draco where their new house was, he would remove him from the wards and he'd put up an owl block. If Draco couldn't accept his terms, then he would not be allowed to even try to come back. It was that simple.

"Get on your knees." Nasta ordered, not using the full weight of his top dominancy bond, but putting enough inflection on it so that Draco knew that he was not playing around and that this was not open for discussion. He didn't use the full weight of the order because he fully believed that Draco needed to do this willingly…that he had to do it willingly or he would never get the message, so he controlled himself and the urge to just order Draco to do what he wanted.

Draco didn't argue, he just got on his knees and tipped his head back and to the one side, perfectly displaying his throat and the carotid artery and jugular vein. Nasta hunched down on his haunches, he didn't go onto his knees, the act would be too submissive for what he wanted to achieve here. He purposefully dug his claws into Draco's head, being rough through his hair and ripping at the knots his fingers found without caring. He'd never seen Draco so dishevelled or unkempt. He didn't like it.

He tipped Draco's head further back and he sunk his teeth into the side of his neck slowly, making everything more painful. He bit down deep and hard, keeping his jaw clenched and holding his teeth in Draco's flesh causing as much pain as he possibly could. He was incredibly angry and every inch of him wanted to tear the lump of flesh between his teeth out of Draco's neck, tear out both the carotid artery and the jugular vein, letting Draco bleed to death at his feet, but he controlled the urge.

He stayed there for long minutes, listening to Draco trying to stifle small noises of pain, holding him still as he wriggled from knee to knee with the agony that he was in, and still he kept his teeth in Draco's neck. He couldn't bring himself to let go, to unlatch his jaw. He wanted Draco to feel just a modicum of the horrendous pain that he and Max had been feeling over the last few days, through Braiden's sullenness and silence, through Calix's restless tantrums, through Harry's delusions and hallucinations, through Blaise's death…his jaw clenched a fraction tighter and Draco whimpered, his hands coming up to clutch at Nasta's upper arms for more support.

Nasta realised then that if he didn't let go right now then he ran the real risk of killing Draco here and now, in his own bedroom. It took considerable effort on his part as he forced his jaw to release Draco's neck, holding the blond's head incredibly still as he slipped all four of his fangs out so that Draco didn't cause himself additional harm by trying to pull away too soon.

Draco collapsed to the carpet and he sobbed like a small child. Nasta watched him, forcing himself not to react when all he wanted to do was sweep Draco into his arms and comfort him. It didn't take much to knock those thoughts out of his head, all he needed to do was pull up the memories of Harry at his worst, of the moment that he'd seen Blaise's lifeless, dead body for the first time as the Healers tried desperately to revive him and all thoughts of comforting Draco vanished.

"On your knees." Nasta growled commandingly, enunciating every single word with a hard edge.

Draco was very unsteady, his neck a red ruin, his blood soaked into the dirty pyjama top that he was wearing, but he still climbed shakily to his knees, huddling down so as not to attract his ire. It was far too late for that…two days too late. Draco already had his sole focus and the full weight of his anger.

"You know why I'm here." He stated.

"I started the fight." Draco said quietly.

"Yes, you did. There was fault on all sides from my understanding. Max took exception to you insinuating that he was acting like a paedophile with his own son, so he lashed out verbally. Harry was angry and fearful for his children, so he lashed out angrily and ordered you both into the garden, an order that you should have followed! Anyone would have expected him to act in such a way in order to protect his children, but you…you are the one who turned things hostile and physical. You attacked Harry, our submissive mate! What were you THINKING?!" Nasta shouted the last word into Draco's face.

"I wasn't thinking, I was just angry."

"Did I ask you to make excuses?" Nasta demanded in a growl. "I don't care if you were so fucking angry that you couldn't see straight, he is our submissive! You are mated to him, you are only alive to PROTECT him! At any and all costs, even if it means your own life." Nasta hissed furiously. "Like the rest of us would in a heartbeat. He shouldn't need protecting from his own dominants!"

"He launched at me first!" Draco said and Nasta's fist flashed out less than a second later to punch Draco in the face, bursting his scabbed over bottom lip.

"He was trying to get Leolin out of his bassinet!" Nasta yelled at the top of his voice. "He was trying to protect our son from you!"

The room was silent. Nasta was panting, his chest heaving with his intense anger as he let those words sink in. Sinking in they were too, he could see Draco's shocked face, he could see him replaying the start of that fight over and over in his mind and he saw it when he finally, finally, realised that Harry had been diving forwards, and slightly to the right side, to where they always placed the bassinet. He saw the exact moment that Draco realised that Harry had been launching forward to try and shield their son and not to attack him.

He had to root himself to the spot to prevent himself from hitting Draco again as the blond fell forward and started crying as he finally realised that the fight had been his fault.

"How…how is Harry?"

Nasta considered not answering just to be cruel, but that wasn't what he was here for, he reminded himself, calming down and taking several deep breaths.

"You're not going to ask about Leolin?" He demanded viciously.

Draco's face showed his confusion and Nasta had to seriously work not to smack it off.

"Harry failed in his attempt to get to Leolin because you attacked him. Leolin was knocked flying from his bassinet and he landed in a heap on the floor under yours and Max's feet."

Draco's pale face went grey and Nasta took satisfaction in letting that sink in for a long moment.

"Leolin was admitted to the hospital and I've been going to see him every two hours, Max too. He's very fortunately completely fine, otherwise you would already be dead for harming my son. He was in shock as his brain couldn't process what had happened to him as it all happened too quickly for him to understand. He was hurt, but thankfully only a few minor bruises and bumps. He had no broken bones, no serious knocks, his head, neck and spine are undamaged and he is back home as of yesterday morning."

Draco huddled over, putting his face to the carpet and he sobbed in relief. Nasta didn't let him relish that relief for longer than a heartbeat.

"You completely gutted Harry." He said. "Part of his intestines and part of his stomach were hanging out of the rip that you put in his belly."

Draco snapped upright and stared at him, as if hoping that he'd say that he was joking.

"I'm not lying. Harry is at the Dracken Healing Halls still, with several senior, specialist Dracken Healers working to heal him, to recover from the damage that you did to him. Max and I are giving him doses of our blood daily to try and help."

"Is he going to be okay?" Draco croaked.

"Harry is very fortunately going to make a full recovery given enough time to fully recuperate. He and Blaise are both coming home tomorrow."

"What happened to Blaise?"

Nasta set his jaw and clenched his hands, trying to remember that Draco had been fully feral when he'd hit Blaise, that it was usual for feral Drackens to not remember exactly what they'd done. It didn't really help his anger, but it helped enough that he was able to prevent himself from beating Draco to a pulp as he remembered the pain and the loss in his heart when Blaise had died.

"You hit him in the head, twice. His brain started to swell and he had a slow bleed, both of which were carefully attended to and healed by a senior neurological Healer at Saint Mungos."

Draco looked relieved. "So he's okay too?"

"Not exactly. He died the day before yesterday, on the twenty-seventh." Nasta told him, enunciating each word so that Draco couldn't miss a single one of them. "He died for an excruciatingly long six and a half minutes and he had to be resuscitated by Healers. I have never felt such pain before, I have never been so devastated nor so scared as I was in that hospital corridor, knowing that one of my mates was dead on the other side of the wall, watching through a window as Healers tried to revive him. You did that to him. You killed him."

"I didn't. I didn't know…I didn't mean to."

"I accept that you didn't mean to kill him, but you still did!" Nasta said in a hard tone. "It doesn't matter if you didn't mean to do it or if you didn't expect him to die from what you did, he still died, Draco!"

"I'm sorr…"

"What good is an apology?!" Nasta demanded furiously, exploding with his overwhelming anger. "What good are mere words when you gutted our submissive, killed another subordinate and injured two babies?!"

"T…two babies?" Draco asked in a wavering voice.

"Braiden was also injured in the fight. Imagine that, you could have killed Father and son and ended the Zabini line in the space of one afternoon. Thankfully Braiden's injury was relatively minor and he was healed without needing to go to the hospital."

Draco swallowed and he was still crying, sagging on his knees by his feet.

"Can I see…?"

"Absolutely not." Nasta cut off immediately. "How could you even think that I'd allow you near any of them after what you did to them? Why do you think I ordered you not to go near them? I'm not taking that sort of risk with their lives. Leolin screams every time that he's awake. Braiden isn't eating and has yet to say anything since he was injured and if you think that the others were unscathed just because they weren't physically hurt, allow me to alleviate you of your delusions." He said bitingly. "Calix is acting up and lashing out at anyone who comes near him, Farren is having nightmares, Eva and Ave wake up several times a night for reassurance and comfort, Tegan wanders around every room looking for Harry and Regan has separation anxiety, we can't even put him on his booster seat so that he can eat, he has to be on someone's lap and he has to be spoon fed. You have mentally scarred every single child that we have! Harry is delusional and hallucinating because the pain potions that he needs, because of what you did to him, are so strong they alter his sense of reality and Blaise has amnesia. Why would I even consider allowing you to go anywhere near them ever again?"

"Please." Draco sobbed. "Please don't cut me off."

"Why?" Nasta demanded furiously. "Why shouldn't I? You killed Blaise for however long, almost killed Harry and could have killed our children! Why would I bring you back into my family, my home, and give you the opportunity to do this again?"

"I won't! I swear that I won't!" Draco sobbed, crying openly and wrapping his arms around his chest as if to hold himself together.

"I can't take your word for it and I can't take the risk." Nasta said simply, dispassionately.

"Please! I'll do anything. I love them! I love you all, please!" Draco cried.

He made a strange keening noise in his throat before he heaved and like Max and like Harry before him, he brought up bile and stomach acid and as it went over Nasta's one shin and both shoes, he couldn't help thinking that, thanks to Max and Harry, this was the third time in less than twenty-four hours that he'd been vomited on by a mate. The things he put up with for all of them.

He hunched back down onto his haunches and seized Draco's shoulders when he flinched away, obviously expecting a reprimand for vomiting on him, or maybe another punch. Nasta did neither.

"You will go to anger management classes. This is non-negotiable, it is not up for debate. You will go to these classes or I will never let you back into our lives again. If that means that I have to kill you to prevent it, then so be it. You will have no contact with anyone other than myself while you go through these classes and if you don't complete them, that's it. There is no second chance here, Draco. You get yourself help to control your temper, you complete these classes no matter what. I don't care if you hate the classes, hate the people there or the instructors. If you do not go and you do not take in what they're teaching you, then that's it, you'll lose all of us for good."

"I will, I'll do it!" Draco said, latching onto the lifeline that he was being presented with, with both hands. "Just please don't keep me away from my family."

"When the time comes that you complete these courses, then we can start negotiating terms for you to come back into our lives, but be warned, if Harry does not want you back, then there is nothing that anyone can do. If Blaise can't accept you back, Harry will not take your side over his, do you understand me? The severity of what you have done has far reaching consequences, Draco and you have no one to blame but yourself."

Nasta stood up again and he left Draco where he was, dirty, unkempt, purple eyed, bleeding, crying and now dribbling bile too. He stopped at the door and he turned back to Draco.

"Remember, you need to complete your anger management course before you have any hope in hell of coming back to us. Get yourself sorted." He snarled before taking down the wards and leaving Draco's bedroom, shoving himself past the elder Malfoys as he did so.

Narcissa went straight into her son's bedroom, but Lucius caught his arm and swung him around, ice cold grey eyes boring into him.

"What did you do to my son?"

Nasta snatched his arm away and glared back.

"What has he told you?" Nasta growled.

"Nothing, he won't even speak to us. Your Father all but threw him at us, his face a blooded pulp, bruises and bleeding cuts all over his body and all Aneirin told us was that there had been a fight and then he left again. Draco won't eat, he hasn't been sleeping, he won't bathe or even change his clothes from the pyjamas that his Mother charmed onto him."

"Am I right in thinking that you assume that the fight was against Draco and that he was an innocent victim in all of this?" Nasta hissed.

"His face and body was a blooded mess, what else am I supposed to think?!" Lucius demanded.

"Your son started everything. He attacked Harry in our small living room that held five of our children. Max attacked Draco for attacking Harry." Nasta summarised bitingly. "Draco injured Braiden and Leolin, gutted Harry and he then killed Blaise. Forgive me for feeling angry about it!" He snapped sarcastically before turning to leave again.

"Blaise is dead?" Lucius demanded in shock.

"Not any more, thankfully the Healers were able to revive him or Draco would be dead in that room. The massive blow to the head, however, which caused an internal bleed and swelling to the brain, not to mention the lack of oxygen when he officially died, has had its consequences. Blaise is amnesic, at the moment he can't remember the last few days, I am hoping that this is as far as his memory loss goes, but the Healers are still testing him and they may uncover more damage."

Lucius actually heaved a sigh of relief. "And Harry?" He asked. "The children?"

"Harry is delusional and hallucinating, but this is due to the incredibly strong pain potions that he's on. His insides are back where they belong, but his muscles are traumatised by the damage done to him and Harry can't move by himself. He won't even be able to hold our children when he comes home tomorrow." Nasta said, calming down as it seemed that Lucius Malfoy was actually listening to him. "Braiden was healed at the house after his leg was split open by flying debris, but he hasn't spoken a word since and he's not eating. Leolin came home from the hospital yesterday morning and he's physically alright, but he's only woken up fully a handful of times and every time that he does he screams himself back to sleep. Calix is lashing out, Farren has nightmares, the twins are not sleeping through the night anymore, Regan is regressing back to babyhood and Tegan is completely lost."

Lucius swallowed and looked back to the open door that led into his son's bedroom. "Is this it?" He asked. "Has Draco been banished?"

Nasta clenched his jaw. "For now he has been, perhaps indefinitely if Harry or Blaise don't want him back after what he did to them and the children, but I've told him that he has to go to through anger management courses before I'll even consider letting him back. Even if Harry and Blaise could get over what he did and they want him to come back, I won't allow it, I won't even consider allowing him back, if he hasn't completed these courses. This can never happen again. I will not take the risk with my family."

"And you're sure that he started the fight?" Lucius asked.

"There is partial blame on Max for verbally reacting to Draco's anger. He took exception to being likened to a paedophile for filming his own son, but Harry was just trying to protect the children. It was Draco who brought the hostility up and it was Draco who started the physical fight that led to the children being injured and traumatised, he was the one who delivered the massive blow to Blaise's head and he is the one who gutted Harry. The blame of this rests on Draco and he knows it."

Lucius was still and quiet for several moments before he nodded his head curtly. "Narcissa and I will be around to come and see the children tomorrow, as well as Harry if you'll allow us to, you said that he was home tomorrow?"

Nasta nodded curtly. "If you wait until the afternoon, Blaise is also coming home tomorrow."

"I will speak to you more on this tomorrow. Rest assured that I will make sure that Draco goes for these courses. I would never have imagined that he'd hurt the children, nor harm his own lovers so grievously."

Nasta nodded and his shoulders dropped. He had been expecting a fight or an uphill struggle to get the very overprotective elder Malfoys to accept that Draco had been the one to blame for the fight, but it seemed that they'd come on a lot more than he'd previously believed.

"That would be a big help, thank you." He said sincerely.

"Then I shall see you tomorrow." Lucius told him, turning to go to see Draco.

"We've moved house." Nasta told him. "The old house is in ruins and I'm not entirely sure that it's still structurally safe, so I refused to allow my children to remain there. The house was going to be a gift to the mateship once Harry had finished the stress of the court case. We've had to move in early."

Lucius reached into the pocket of his robes and he brought out a small pad of paper and he summoned a self-inking quill from his office.

Nasta wrote down the new address and he tore off the piece of paper.

"Draco is not to know of this address until I say that he can." He said sternly. "Am I understood?"

Lucius nodded once, curtly and Nasta let go of the piece of paper and he handed over the pad and the quill.

"Thank you for your cooperation. I'll see you tomorrow afternoon."

Nasta left, feeling even more drained and tired. He wanted a shower, he really needed a shave and he wanted some sleep, but he knew that he'd probably not get either with the way the kids were at the moment. Every time they tried to put Calix down into his cot, he screamed and kicked out at them. Farren was having nightmares and he woke up crying throughout the night, the twins woke up crying several times a night and that was without adding in Leolin, who was about to spend his second night at home since he'd been hospitalised. Nasta hoped that it went better than last night, Leolin had cried himself into an exhausted sleep after screaming half the night away for Harry.

Nasta made a few stops before he flooed back to the house and when he arrived home, he walked straight into a war zone. As soon as he stood over the fire guard, Tegan threw a chunky, plastic aeroplane at him, glaring and red cheeked. Leolin was screaming, Regan was hanging around his brother's neck as Sanex bent down to pick up a crying Farren. Calix was kicking Myron's stomach and yanking on his hair as the older man tried to stop him. Braiden was nowhere to be seen and the twin girls were all over each other.

"What in the hell happened?" He demanded as he picked Tegan up and put her in the playpen for a time out for throwing things at him before he extracted Ave from Eva and carried her over to the other end of the room where he took Farren from his brother.

"It's been like a one sided battle since we tried to get them down for their afternoon naps. None of them went down and since he woke up, Leolin hasn't stopped screaming." Max said as he came back into the room pulling a clean shirt over his head. "Ave spit up over me." He said as if he felt the need to explain himself.

"Where is Braiden?" He asked as he cradled Farren, stopping his crying and listening to him sniffling and snuffling as he calmed down.

"In that cupboard." Max told him, pointing to the currently empty sideboard. "He pitches a fit every time we try to pull him out."

Nasta sighed and he started swaying with Farren, turning him down into his arms and rubbing in circles on his back. Farren fought every moment of sleep, but eventually Nasta got him sleeping and he walked up the stairs to the first floor, where the master bedroom and the nurseries were located.

The five brand new matching cots, all with different bedding, were set up around all four walls with a changing table taking the sixth spot. He dropped Farren into the cot with the yellow blankets depicted with cute, fluffy sheep.

He went back down to dig Braiden out of the cupboard. It wasn't healthy for him to hide himself away in a cupboard and that was without thinking about the repercussions it was going to have on Harry mentally if he saw his own son sleeping in a cupboard.

He slipped Braiden out carefully without waking him up and he carried him up to his own cot, slipping him in and tucking him in gently.

Max had taken the two younger girls to bed, they were still sleeping in their bedroom at night, and he'd taken Regan from Sanex to try and get him to bed. It wasn't getting Regan to sleep that was the problem, he slipped off to sleep easily and without fuss, it was putting him down in his cot. He would wake up as soon as he was taken from the chest of the person that he was resting against and he would clutch at their hair, their shirt, their fingers, anything that he could grab and keep a hold of, and if they somehow managed to extract themselves from him, he'd start crying and they'd have to pick him up again and then they'd be right back to where they'd started from.

Nasta picked Tegan up this time and he sighed in utter exhaustion. He just wanted a shower and some decent sleep. This was the third day that he'd gone without sleep now.

Calix was still fighting and lashing out, Leolin was still screaming and was refusing the bottle that Richard was trying to feed him and as Tegan smacked him in the face, Nasta realised that getting these three to sleep was going to be much, much harder than the previous five.

An hour later and he'd gotten Tegan and Calix to sleep and he was trying to calm Leolin down by stripping him down to his nappy and giving him skin to skin contact, stroking his tiny back with his fingertips. At least he'd stopped screaming.

"Ma?" He called out tiredly.

Nasta shushed him gently and kept rubbing. At least he'd managed to get his bloodstained shirt off, even if he'd never gotten his shower or the shave that he desperately needed. He really was starting to look like a tramp now.

"Ma!" Leolin called out demandingly. "Ma! Ma! Ma!"

"Hush, Leolin." Nasta said as softly as he could, which was still quite gruff as he was bone tired now. It had been three days and he hadn't slept once and if this continued on with Leolin then he'd have no sleep tonight either.

It was just a shame that giving him a picture of Harry didn't work as it had when Harry had nested with their twin girls, it seemed that he had developed just enough in four months to realise that the moving picture of Harry was not actually his Mother and that Harry still wasn't there. It had silenced him for a few minutes though, as his little brain worked furiously to work out what he was seeing and he had come to the right conclusion that the picture waving at him was not actually his Mother and now if he was handed a photo of Harry he dropped it immediately and he started screaming all over again.

"Ma!" Leolin screeched, all four little limbs flailing.

Nasta grimaced when tiny little toenails dug into his belly and scored downwards, but he ignored it and shushed Leolin again, stroking his back as the tiny little boy squalled like a newborn.

"Pass him here." Max took his own shirt off and took Leolin from him, sitting down and cradling him to his own chest.

Leolin settled down long enough for them to sigh in relief, then his tiny hands touched Max's chest and he craned his head back to look up. Gold eyes met bright, sapphire blue, a heartbeat passed and then Leolin started all over again.

"Ma! Ma!" He cried hysterically.

Nasta dropped his head into his hands and he scrubbed vigorously. He stood up and he went light-headed immediately. A moment later he collapsed to his knees and then he fell sideways, into a heap on the floor.

"Nasta!" Max gasped out, shocked and panicked.

Myron got to him first and he rolled him over and checked him over. He shook his head.

"He's passed out. He didn't sleep at all last night or the night before and I haven't seen him eating. He's exhausted."

"Will he be okay?"

"He'll be fine, he just needs some rest. I'll go put him up in your bedroom." Myron said, hefting Nasta into his arms and carrying him out of the living room.

Max sunk back down with the screaming Leolin and he felt the burning in his eyes start again. It was all he'd been doing over the last few days and he was feeling gritty, tired and grumpy.

"You need to go to the hospital in half an hour to relieve Ollie from guarding Blaise. Are you still alright to do that?" Richard asked him.

Max nodded. "Yeah. I got some sleep earlier. I'll be okay. Just keep Nasta asleep. He needs it."

"We can't keep him asleep, but we can keep it quiet and hope that he stays asleep." Alexander sighed.

"I feel awful that I was the one who kept him awake the night before last, he could have gotten some sleep then." Max said quietly, trying his hardest to ignore Leolin screaming in his ear, even as he stroked and drew patterns on his back.

"You were having nightmares, he chose to stay awake with you as your mate. It isn't your fault. He could have left you to deal with it on your own, but he chose not to because he loves you. He's sleeping now and you shouldn't feel guilty." Myron told him coming back into the living room. "Now give me that baby and go and take a shower. You smell worse than you did when we took you to that petting zoo and you slipped into the urine soaked straw."

Max sniffed himself and then looked back to his Father. "I don't smell that bad!" He insisted.

"You're offensive to everyone's sense of smell. You stink, now go and bathe or poor Blaise will be sending you back home so that he can breathe properly."

Max scoffed as his Father took Leolin from him and then sat back between Richard and Alexander. Max pulled himself to his feet and grumbled.

"What was that? What have I told you about mumbling? If you have something to say, say it!" Myron chastised him.

"I said I'd rather sleep than shower."

"I can see that! Now go and wash your armpits at least! No wonder Leolin is crying so hard being so close to yours and Nasta's pits."

"We raised you to be cleaner than this." Richard added with a teasing grin.

"Fine, I'll wash them with a flannel. I haven't got time for a full shower, I want to see Blaise." Max grumbled.

"Make sure you throw the flannel you use into the bin afterwards." His Grandfather joined in. "Otherwise it'll walk itself into a dark corner and start growing toxic mould."

Max crossed his arms over his chest and he stomped to the downstairs bathroom to wash himself down in the sink. He didn't care how badly he stank, he just wanted Harry and Blaise home. He wanted all of this anger and strife to go away. He wanted the peace and the love to come back into their family.

First things first though, he needed to go and sit with Blaise, even if he was sleeping. He needed to be close to his mate, his mate who had actually died. He couldn't even bear the thought of it. He couldn't wait for this time tomorrow, when Harry and Blaise would both be back home and he could watch them both together without having to pick between one or the other. If it was one thing that he absolutely hated about having Blaise in the hospital and Harry at the Healing Halls, without stating the obvious, it was that he had to pick between them. He really couldn't wait until tomorrow.

Harry came into consciousness suddenly and with his heart beating in his throat and he peeled his eyelids apart. Grunting, he wriggled around and blinked into the bright whiteness of the light.

"Harry, are you okay? You're not going to be sick again, are you?"

"Uh?" Harry grunted, turning towards the noise, but not seeing anything. He might have been on his belly, his entire body felt like it had been steamrollered when he tried to get onto his side.

Something loomed into his line of vision and he startled, flailing his arms and kicking out with his legs, which caused him excruciating, agonising pain.

"Hey, hey. Calm down. It's Cassander, Harry."

"Uh?" He grunted again.

"Cassander." The indeterminate shadow answered.


"You're at the Dracken Healing Halls, remember?"

Harry thought he was frowning, but when he ducked his head, his hand got wet. He was dribbling. Someone wiped his mouth for him and he tried to roll away, only for his stomach to lurch painfully as the sensation of falling encompassed his mind.

"I see what you mean, Cass!" Someone grunted as they caught him just before he hit the floor. The person groaned and stood up, placing him gently back into the bed.

"Thank fuck you're here too, Al."

"At least he hasn't been sick, yet."

"The Healers said the new potion would make him drowsy and sick, but I'm just glad that he's no longer talking about eating legs. Though I do wish that I'd been here for the talk about the graphic sex with centaurs and Acromantula. Apparently Max almost splintered the spine of one of the apprentices for getting hard from what Harry was babbling yesterday."

"You damn well would have wanted to listen to that! But no, this potion is weaker than the other one, he's no longer hallucinating to that extent anymore."

Harry was confused. "Where the two?" He babbled.

"We're right here."


"Yes, there are two of us. Cassander and Alaric."

"Want 'Asta."

"It's the middle of the night, Harry. Nasta is sleeping for the first time in three days…he all but collapsed."


"Max is sleeping at the hospital with Blaise."

Harry started crying and, scared, Cassander and Alaric shared a panicked look, right before Harry gave out a distress call.

"No, hush, Harry. It's okay! Everything's fine and you're safe."

Harry just cried harder and the two men had no idea what was going on. They were still trying to calm Harry down when Nasta burst into the room looking half crazed, his wings spread and his fangs bared.

He rushed to Harry and scooped him up, sitting on the side of the bed and cradling Harry in his arms, curling over him in an effort to protect all of him.

"What happened?" He demanded in a bass, gruff growl.

"We honestly don't know. He was a little confused when he woke up, as he was the last time, but he wasn't sick this time, so we thought that he was going to be fine. But he just seemed really, really confused and he just started crying."

"I didn't want the Skrewts to eat me." Harry sobbed into the bare skin of Nasta's neck.

Nasta deflated all at once and he shushed Harry and started rocking him.

"I thought he was over the hallucinations?" Alaric questioned.

"A side effect of the new potion he's on is vivid nightmares." Nasta said gruffly.

"He only started crying after we told him that you and Max were sleeping."

"He was looking around a lot though, Cass." Alaric said worriedly. "And he would have wanted his mates here to protect him."

"He jumped when he first woke up too, when I came into his line of vision." Cassander said in realisation.

"Why are you the only one to arrive?" Alaric asked.

"Draco is on lockdown, I ordered him not to come near Harry or Blaise when I went to punish him yesterday afternoon. I was visiting Max and Blaise when Harry's call came, I told Max to stay with Blaise."

"You were supposed to be sleeping."

Nasta just shook his head, still rocking Harry.

"Are you not sleeping?"

"Not at the moment."

"You collapsed though, Richard told me."

"I barely slept for an hour and a half." Nasta told the older men. "I just want my family back home, where I can keep an eye on them both at the same time without having to floo from one place to another. I want them both together where I can look after them both."

"Harry's being released in the morning, how about Blaise?"

"He's being released in the afternoon. They're both being released within hours of one another. I'm just going to be grateful to get them both home. I'm going to make up a bed for them using two settees and a lot of blankets and pillows."

"You know we're all going to be on hand to help you too." Alaric promised. "We're not going to leave you boys alone to deal with all of this by yourselves."

Nasta nodded. "Thank you for all your help. I don't know how I would have coped if I didn't have you all to help. I wouldn't have been able to leave the kids on their own and I wouldn't have been able to leave either Harry or Blaise unguarded for a moment either."

"We're always going to help you boys, we do love you all, not just our Max." Alaric insisted.

"Where are my centaur babies?" Harry asked seriously, interrupting them and looking up at Nasta curiously. "They were here yesterday, but today they're gone."

Nasta held back his tears as his eyes prickled uncomfortably and he pushed Harry's head back into his neck.

"You were hallucinating, Caru." He explained gently. "You have Dracken babies, not centaur babies."

Nasta felt Harry's mouth working against the skin on his neck and he smiled tiredly, caressing the soft, fluffy hair and inhaling Harry's scent deeply. He smelt like the lime body wash that he was currently using. Nasta buried his nose in deeper and he inhaled deeper, thankful that Harry didn't smell like disinfectant or hospitals in general. He still smelt like his beautiful Harry. It was comforting.

"I'm sure I had centaur babies, I remember giving birth to centaur babies. I remember being mated by centaurs."

Nasta chuckled. "Max isn't that big, Harry and he's not that much of a stallion either."

Harry frowned. He looked around and then he looked again. "Where is my Max?"

"He's with Blaise, remember?"

Harry frowned harder, his forehead wrinkling. "Are they okay?"

"They're both fine." Nasta told him, holding Harry tighter. "Everyone is fine."

"Can I come home?" Harry asked, looking up at him with wide, hopeful green eyes.

Nasta's heart broke a little as he cradled Harry, who found it difficult, and painful, to move his own body, and would for some time to come too.

"Not just yet, Cariad. Tomorrow, at around mid-morning. You and Blaise are both coming home."

"With my centaur babies? Are they coming too?" Harry asked and Nasta felt his heart breaking further. Like Max, he couldn't stand seeing Harry or Blaise this way.

"You don't have centaur babies, Harry."

"I do!" Harry insisted, his eyes welling up with tears and Nasta hugged him tight.

"Okay…okay, they can come too." He relented. Harry wouldn't be on these strong potions for much longer. He would stop talking about having sex with others and having babies by them then.

Harry's entire face lit up and he latched onto him. "I love you, dragon."

Cassander aborted a snort of laughter when Nasta swung around to glare furiously at him.

"I love you too, Harry." He said as he cuddled his mate.

"Is he calm now?"

Nasta looked up to the massive hulk of the trainee Healer on duty tonight. His name was Georgio Alessandri and he was easily as big as Max and Myron in both height and broadness, but he was younger than them both. He was mated to the older sister of Harry's friend, Henley.

"Grawp! You've come to visit me again!"

Nasta had no idea why Harry called Georgio, Grawp, and Harry wouldn't elaborate, he just pointed confusedly at Georgio and insisted firmly that his name was Grawp.

"Hello again, Harry." Georgio greeted as he moved from where he'd been standing just inside the room and he came to check Harry over, taking the change of name completely in his stride, not letting Harry or the things that he was saying faze him. Nasta liked that about him.

"What are you doing outside of the forest, Grawp? You'll be caught!" Harry insisted.

Georgio prodded around Harry's stomach and he didn't answer as he concentrated on carefully playing his fingers over the place on his belly where Harry was injured.

"Ow. Grawpy, no!" Harry frowned.

"I think you need another potion."

"Can't he go on the lower dosage ones?" Nasta asked desperately.

Georgio shook his head as he held Harry's one leg in his huge, spade like hand and lightly squeezed his calf muscles with the other. Harry gasped in pain and kicked out in reflex and turned more into Nasta's body "No. The belly wound was very serious and it'll be hideously painful for him if he isn't kept on regular potions. The leg muscle is still tight and tender too. It'll have him screaming in agony if we lower the dosage too soon and I assure you, that'll be much worse to bear than seeing him like this."

Nasta nodded as he realised that it definitely would be worse and he held Harry impossibly closer to his chest, kissing his cheek.

"Harry, can you drink this for me?" Georgio asked him. "I made it strawberry flavoured for you."

Once again, for the eighth or ninth time, Harry fell for the trick and he turned around interestedly, opening his mouth for Healer Alessandri to tip the potion into his mouth. He swallowed it automatically and then gagged and spluttered.

"That wasn't strawberry, Grawp!" Harry cried out.

"I know. I'm sorry. I just needed you to take the potion." Healer Alessandri said sadly.

"Bad, Grawp." Harry chastised him before turning to cuddle back into Nasta.

"This should send him back to sleep." Georgio insisted. "He was due a potion when he woke up. He is healing though, at least he can wriggle a little and roll around now. He couldn't do that not even a handful of hours ago. I'm still sure that he'll be released tomorrow. Healer Grant is going to sign him off in the morning and we'll do some final checks, get him a week's supply of potions to send home with him and we can finally release him at around ten or eleven tomorrow morning."

"Thank you." Nasta said heartfeltly. "I just want him home now."

"Once he falls asleep, you can put him back down." Georgio said before leaving the room.

"Bye, Grawp." Harry called out softly.

Harry nuzzled into his neck and his hands slipped under his shirt and played with his skin.

"You need to take your shirt off." Harry told him.

"Why?" Nasta asked him. "Do you want skin to skin contact? Would it make you feel better?"

"I like you better with no clothes." Harry told him and this time Cassander couldn't abort the laugh that burst free.

"You can leave now." Nasta told them in a growl. "I can watch him from here."

"Aw, but I want to see you with no clothes on. I bet your body's all tight and muscled from working on that reserve for ten hours a day." Cassander eyed him up and down and Nasta snarled at him outright.

"Come on, Cass. Let's leave them be, preferably before you get your head torn off." Alaric said quickly, all but dragging his older brother out of the hospital room.

Nasta settled on the bed and he pulled his shirt off, letting Harry snuggle into his skin.

"I like your skin. I want to peel it off and make it into a pillow so I can always have it to touch."

Nasta would have been less scared of that comment if Harry didn't have razor sharp claws that he could bring out at will.

"You don't have to peel it off to make it into a pillow, you can just use me as a pillow instead."

"Oh." Harry said before nodding against his chest. "I like that idea more. Your heartbeat's nice and that's under your skin."

Thankfully Nasta didn't need to hold himself strong for much longer as the potion finally made Harry drowsy enough to put him to sleep. Nasta couldn't wait until Harry was on the lower dosage potions. He'd thought that this potion would be better than the one that Harry had been on just yesterday, and it was really, at least with this potion Harry only talked nightmarish bollocks directly after he'd taken the potion instead of every moment that he was awake, but he was now suffering with nightmares that were terrifying him and if Nasta had to choose between being scared of the things that Harry was saying or Harry being petrified of the things that he was seeing in his dreams, he'd take the former every single time. Unfortunately it wasn't him who made that sort of decision, it was the Healers and all he could do was hold Harry and try to assure him that the nightmares that he was having were not real.

"I love you, Harry." He said before kissing his head.

He settled himself back against the pillows and as he held Harry close, he couldn't entirely prevent himself from closing his eyes…just for a moment or two. It wouldn't hurt to catch a small nap with Harry and he was truly exhausted and drained. A small nap wouldn't end the world, all he needed was a small rest just to recover a small amount of energy because he knew that he couldn't carry on as he'd been doing. He'd collapsed earlier and he couldn't afford for that to happen when he had babies to care for and two mates in separate places to stand guard over. He just needed to close his eyes for a small while, that's all.

Nasta had slept for three hours with Harry before his submissive had screamed in his ear as he woke up, terrified, from another nightmare. He'd calmed Harry down, with the help of the Healers, and Harry had gone back off to sleep easily enough.

Enrique had been there when he'd woken up, but he had decided against waking him up as he believed that Nasta needed his sleep. Once Harry was fast asleep again, Nasta had let Enrique take over and he'd made the decision to go home. He'd had a bit of sleep now, so he wasn't feeling as bad as he'd been earlier, but he had a lot he needed to get ready for later in the day, when Harry and Blaise would be coming home.

Only when he arrived back home it was to the hysterical screaming of his baby, Leolin. Myron looked to be at the end of his tether and Richard was sat beside him like a lost sheep, a bottle in one hand, a dummy in the other and a lap full of toys.

"Pass him here." Nasta demanded as he stepped over the fireguard and held his arms out for Leolin. "Has he slept at all?" He asked.

"He cried himself to sleep and he stayed asleep for two hours. He woke up, suckled three quarters of an ounce of milk before he realised that we weren't Harry and then he started screaming anew." Myron told him.

"Get yourselves to bed." Nasta told them. "I've had a couple of hours, I'm alright."

"Are you sure?" Richard asked, completely exhausted.

Nasta nodded. "Go on. I'll calm him down and I've got several things to do and then I want to go and check on Blaise and Max if I can manage it."

"Are they okay?"

"I expect that they're both sleeping. I left them in bed together." Nasta said as he hefted his Faerie son over his shoulder and cradled the back of his skull gently, rubbing his fingers through Leolin's jet black hair.

Myron stood up and stretched and Richard put the bottle and the specially shaped dummy on the coffee table and he shifted the pile of toys away and he accepted Myron's hands to help him up.

"Night." Nasta called out as he paced around the living room with Leolin screaming in his ear.

"If you need us, call us." Myron said sternly and he waited until Nasta had nodded his understanding before he took Richard's hand and they left for the guest room that they'd been staying in for the last few days…what little they'd actually seen of it that was.

Nasta slowed his pace and he started humming softly. It took over ten minutes before Leolin's cries started tapering off and he stopped flailing. He grizzled and he whined, but eventually, he had to give in and Nasta was so relieved as he bent to put Leolin into his bassinet…for all of a minute at least. As soon as Leolin's back hit the bassinet mattress, he was awake and he screamed.

Nasta had him back up against his shoulder and was shushing him again, even as his shoulders sagged in exhaustion and he started up his humming again.

Half an hour later saw him collapsed on the settee with a sleeping Leolin and he rolled his son onto a cushion next to him and he held his hands over him, his face screwed up as he fervently hoped that Leolin stayed asleep. He did. He eased himself up slowly, oh so slowly. He breathed a massive sigh of relief as Leolin, on his belly spread over the cushion, stayed asleep.

He moved quickly to the kitchen and made himself a cup of tea, and if he splashed some Firewhiskey into it, who the hell could blame him? He drank the cup of tea down in several large swallows before he looked at the empty cup and then the bottle of Firewhiskey before he decided that a small swig from the bottle wouldn't hurt. He just didn't care anymore, he wanted this awful ordeal to be over. He wanted to drink himself into oblivion and wake up and find that none of this had happened and that everything was back to how it was supposed to be.

He didn't do anything of the sort when he reminded himself harshly that he had eight babies to guard over, one of whom was in the other room, and he needed to be ready to run to Harry or Blaise if they called for him. He took a long, deep drink from the bottle, the alcohol burning his tongue and his throat, all the way down into his belly before he made himself another cup of tea and he went into the living room to set everything up ready for later that day, when he'd finally have his Harry and his Blaise back home.

Something relaxed in his chest as he repeated that again in his head. He would have them both home later today. He took a deep breath and he started to move all of the toys and baby things into the bigger family room next door. The kids would be in this room tomorrow, leaving the smaller room for Harry and Blaise to rest in, while still having access to the floo, just in case either of them needed a Healer quickly.

He pushed the one settee against the wall, moving it out of the way, before he pushed the second one to face the third settee, the one that Leolin was still sleeping on, and after making obsessively sure that none of Leolin's limbs or appendages were going to be caught between the two settees' he pushed them flush together.

He left the room, going up the stairs to the master bedroom and he stripped the bed of the duvet and its pillows. He peeked in on Eva and Ave in their bassinets by the side of the bed, but they were still sleeping for now. He had the baby monitors downstairs so he'd hear them if they woke. It was Farren who was going to be the problem now, because if he had another nightmare, then he'd wake up all three of his brothers and his sister and it would be hell to get them all back to sleep. He prayed that Farren slept through the night, he was too exhausted to get all five of them back to sleep when he already had to feed Eva and Ave and get them back to sleep and he had to deal with Leolin, who would wake up for a feed at about four in the morning and then he'd start up his screaming for Harry again and that wouldn't stop until the tiny boy was so exhausted that he drifted off to sleep which bordered on passing out.

He put the pillows on the settee opposite Leolin and he folded the huge, king sized duvet up as much as he could and put that on the settee too, far away from Leolin.

He moved the bassinet into the other room and he made sure that the family room was safe and that nothing was left lying around. He made sure to lock all the cupboard doors so that Braiden couldn't hide in them. If he tried to get in them tomorrow or pitched a fit because they were locked, he'd have to see what he could possibly do to help him, even if he had to ask Healer Almus about it.

The last thing he did was shut the two double doors and lock them. He warded them with a heavy silencer. He did not want Harry and Blaise to be disturbed tomorrow and he didn't want them getting up. He wouldn't dream of keeping the babies from them, but they'd only see them one at a time so he could monitor how much they were doing.

Harry could seriously injury his recently healed muscles if he tried to pick up one of the children. He couldn't allow that to happen and it would be easier if he took away the temptation for Harry to reach down for a crying, clamouring child. If he only allowed one child in at a time and he had that baby in his own arms at all times, there would be no chance for Harry to injure himself further. Maybe knowing that Harry was back in the house would be enough to help sooth his children. If it wasn't then he'd just have to carry on dealing with their tears and tantrums as best as he could. He wouldn't allow anything or anyone to impact on Harry or Blaise's recovery, even if it meant separating his babies into a different room altogether.

He went back into the kitchen and he boiled the kettle, eyeing the bottle of Firewhiskey consideringly. He ignored the urge to drink while he made up two bottles, but once he was done, he gave in to his desire and he took another deep drink, relishing the burn that went all the way down his throat and into his belly. He sighed out contently and he shook both of the baby bottles vigorously and left them to rest, ready for when Eva and Ave woke up.

He rubbed his head and he got down a bowl and he poured out some cereal. He needed something to eat, even though he really didn't feel like eating anything, or the Firewhiskey would go right to his head and he'd put his babies at risk via his negligence.

He forced spoonful after spoonful of his favourite muesli down, not even tasting it as he just chewed and swallowed repeatedly until it was gone. It was one of the most unpleasant of experiences that he'd ever forced himself through, but several minutes later, he felt better. More awake, less woolly headed, more energetic and more alert. When was the last time that he'd actually eaten anything? He couldn't remember.

He was able to sort out Eva and Ave when they woke for their feed and he didn't feel quite as exhausted, and he felt much more able to deal with their crying as they fought sleep for as long as they could. He eventually got them down and sleeping again but he only got to relax for several moments before he heard a shrill cry from the next room. Farren had had another nightmare.

Nasta hurried into the next room, only to close his eyes and curse as he saw Calix's head pop up through the bars of his cot and he heard Braiden grunt before he rolled over onto his belly and pushed himself up to look around as Farren continued to cry. Braiden stood up in his cot and he started crying too.

"Come on." Nasta sighed as he picked Farren up and held him close, even as Farren wrapped his arms tight around his neck and curled his legs up. "It was just a bad dream, Baban." He said soothingly. "It's alright, nothing's going to harm you here. Not with me here with you."

Nasta had to close his eyes and sigh when he saw Braiden climbing over the bars of his cot. He oldest son came toddling to him, arms outstretched and in floods of tears.

Of course all the noise woke Regan and then after another minute or two of all of them crying, Tegan popped her head up too.

"Of course all of you are awake." Nasta sighed.

"Daddy! Daddy, pick up!" Calix cried from his cot and, realising that he couldn't get one of them down to sleep while all four of the others were screaming, he let Calix out of his cot too as he continued to sooth Farren, who was refusing to be moved from where he'd buried his face into his neck.

"Daddy, we go down?" Braiden asked, clutching onto his leg and pointing a little finger at the door.

"No, we're not going downstairs, Braiden." Nasta told him as he tried to cling onto Farren as he rescued Regan from where he was trying, and failing, to get out of his cot. He'd been a minute or two away from falling flat on his back on the floor.

"Want go down!" Braiden stomped a foot and Nasta breathed in deeply, trying to mentally prepare himself for this coming battle. He was not prepared for this, at all. Not physically or mentally or emotionally.

"No." He said sternly.

Braiden screamed and dropped to the floor, kicking his legs and flailing his arms and Nasta closed his eyes and counted to three. Tegan, who had been self-soothing and had lain back down to go back to sleep, popped her head back up, frowning and fisting at her sleepy eyes as she was woken up yet again.

Nasta picked her up, left the nursery and he took her into the nursery that he and Max had set up for Eva and Ave, ready for them to use in a few months' time.

He popped Tegan into the one cot and shushed her, easing her down whilst stroking her gorgeously thick, black hair, Farren still clutched to his front, but at least he was quiet now, even if he was still snuffling.

The quiet was just what Tegan needed and not more than five minutes later she was asleep again with her favourite penguin tucked up by her face. Hindsight was hitting him with a hard, cruel lesson. He should have put Tegan and Braiden in this nursery to begin with. They were the two most likely to stay asleep all night.

He couldn't put Farren down without him whining, but he couldn't take him back into that nursery because it would only wind him up again. He did the only thing that he believed that he could do. He went down the hallway, opened a door and he walked into a guest room that had been set up and chosen by Richard and Myron because it was the closest to the nurseries.

Myron was already moving to sit up before he'd even gotten halfway across the room. He let out a warning growl, still mostly asleep, before sitting fully upright, one arm moving to shield the still sleeping Richard, who was stirring.

"It's Nasta." He identified himself, waiting for Myron's human mind to take over from the Dracken.

"What's happened?" Myron asked, moving to get up.

"Nothing, everything's alright, I just need…all five of the kids are awake, I got Tegan sleeping in a separate room, Farren's calming down, but if I take him back into the other room, he's going to be wound up again."

"You want him to sleep with us?"

"If that's alright." Nasta nodded.

Myron settled himself back down and held his arms out. Nasta passed over the snuffling Farren and he said his goodnights again, going back to tackle Braiden, Calix and Regan. As he turned to close the door, he smiled tiredly as he saw Farren settling down between his two Grandfathers', a little hand holding onto Myron's fingers as if worried that he would vanish if he let go. That was two kids sorted, now all he needed was to sort out the other three and hope that Leolin was still sleeping.

He opened the nursery door to find the three babies sat where he'd left them, looking at one another as if wondering why their crying wasn't bringing their Daddy running.

When Braiden saw him, he threw himself backwards and started screaming again. Nasta picked him up and placed him back into his cot, ignoring his tantrum as best as he could while he cradled the clingy Regan to his neck.

Calix was circling around his feet, tugging on the jeans that Nasta was still wearing four days later and he had to close his eyes and think, think of something, anything, that could help him to settle these three down.

It took him an hour just to stop them from screaming and in that time, Braiden had cried himself sick, Regan had fallen asleep twice in his arms and had either been woken back up by Calix or Braiden, or he'd woken up when Nasta had tried to put him into his cot.

"Just go to sleep." He muttered under his breath and he looked at his watch to find that it was just past four in the morning. Leolin would be waking up now, any when in the next half an hour for his feed, if he wasn't already awake that was.

He started humming and pacing with Regan, before starting to sing. He was probably the world's worst singer and he was hopelessly tone deaf, but if it would get these kids to sleep, he'd warble his way through every lullaby that he knew thrice over.

After yet another shaky, pitch breaking rendition of Hushabye Mountain, he had Regan sleeping and Calix drifting, but Braiden was all but glaring at him from where he was back in his cot. Every time he climbed out, Nasta had picked him up and put him back in, sometimes even before his little feet had touched the carpet.

He carefully eased Regan back down into the cot and breathed out a massive sigh of relief when he stayed asleep, either because he had been very gentle and Regan hadn't realised that he'd been put down or because he was so tired now that he just needed to stay asleep.

Nasta turned and picked up the sagging Calix and turned him down into his arms, rubbing at his back as he started a third recital of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and another, countless, circuit of the room. Braiden tried his luck once more while his back was turned, but Nasta had swept him up before he'd even made it over the top bar of the cot and had plonked him back down on his bum.

Calix gave in at half four and Nasta was able to put him down and tuck him back in before turning his sole attention onto Braiden, who at least was laying down having given up trying to get out of his cot after his many failed attempts.

Nasta stood over him and stroked his hair and back until those indigo eyes, the eyes that completely tore at his heart because of their likeness to Blaise's, closed and they stayed closed. He tucked Braiden in, checked on Regan and Calix before he left their nursery, went to peek in on Tegan, who was still fast asleep, before checking on Eva and Ave, who were also still asleep. He didn't bother checking in on Farren, he knew that if there was any hint of a problem then Myron would deal with it. He trusted Myron to deal with it.

Instead he went down the stairs to the raucous wailing of Leolin and he knew then that Leolin had been awake and crying for a while. He really couldn't handle this on his own anymore. He wanted to tag out and just go to bed and sleep.

Leolin was exactly where he'd been left, in exactly the same position, not that Nasta had expected any differently seeing as Leolin couldn't even roll himself onto his side yet.

"Come here, Baban." He said softly and Leolin stopped crying so furiously to listen. "It's alright, I've got you."

"Ma!" Leolin cried in something that Nasta almost wanted to call delight.

He felt terrible when he picked Leolin up and those bright gold eyes caught sight of him and the smile turned into the most ferocious scowl that Nasta had ever seen Leolin make before. He did feel completely unappreciated as a Father when his own son looked at him in such a way. He felt even worse when Leolin sagged in his arms and started crying anew. Nasta, now with a splitting headache, a combination of the Firewhiskey that he'd knocked back and half the night with babies screaming in his ear, didn't even try to stop Leolin from crying, he just carried him through the corridors to the kitchen to boil the kettle to make him up a bottle. He resisted the urge to take a swig of Firewhiskey from the bottle. He had his son in his arms and he knew that he'd already had more than enough for one night.

He cooled the milk before plugging up Leolin's mouth with the teat. The blessed silence was like heaven to his ears and to his pounding head. He fed Leolin and held his tiny hand between his fingers and he rubbed and stroked, reassuring Leolin that he wasn't alone, even if he wasn't the parent that Leolin wanted right now.

He walked back into the living room and he shifted himself into the little nest made by the two settees being pushed flush together and he stretched out on them, glad that they were both five seaters as he would be able to lie down without being too uncomfortable, which meant that Blaise would be able to lie on it comfortably and Harry definitely would be able to.

He burped Leolin and savoured the few sleepy moments after he'd just finished a bottle where he was completely full and drowsy. Then inevitably Leolin called out for Harry.

"Ma." Leolin called out sleepily. "Ma."

"Shhh, Leolin." Nasta said softly.

"Ma!" Leolin cried out more demandingly.

Nasta lay down and he rested Leolin on his chest. He pulled a pillow under his head and yanked the duvet over his legs and hips, stopping at Leolin's waist. He rubbed and petted gently at Leolin's back, thankful that Leolin was calming down quicker on a full belly and with an ear against his heartbeat.

"It's alright, Caru." He said gently. "I love you, your Mum will be back in just a few hours and he's going to want to cuddle you all day. You just need to sleep for a little longer." He said under his breath, in an almost whisper. "It won't be long now."

"Ma." Leolin said defiantly, but with a definite waver of sleepiness thrown in now.

"I know, it's hard on you. You don't really know what's going on or how to handle all these sudden changes. How can anyone expect you, or your brothers and sisters, to deal with these changes when we, the adults, are struggling with it all too?"

"Da." Leolin said quietly, little hands clenching and releasing, clenching and releasing, into the skin of Nasta's neck.

"I'm here for you, Baban." Nasta assured him softly, nosing into his hair and kissing Leolin's head. "I love you so much. This will never happen to you again. None of us ever wanted to see you hurt or sick and in the last several months you've been both."

Leolin remained quiet as he listened to Nasta speaking and his fingers stopped clenching and just rested against him as Nasta breathed deeply and slowly, which seemed to be working miracles for Leolin. It was only then that he remembered that if Leolin was being overly fussy that Harry would lie down with him, place him on his chest with his ear over his heart and talk him to sleep, letting Leolin feel and hear him breathing deeply. He could have screamed at himself for not remembering that before now.

He relaxed and kept his breathing slow and steady, taking in deep breaths that lifted Leolin on his chest, held it for a moment, before releasing, lowering Leolin back down. The soothing motion, his voice, soft and light as he spoke to Leolin, the regulation of his breathing and his steady heartbeat seemed to be too much for Leolin, who gave into sleep without too much of a struggle this time. Nasta could have cheered, but he settled for throwing his head back and breathing out in utter relief.

He readjusted himself and he closed his eyes, turning his head on the pillow, but not his body, before he finally slipped off to sleep himself. The baby monitors, three of them, were on the settee next to his head, Farren was well cared for, Leolin was in his arms, Harry was being guarded by Enrique and Max was sleeping soundly for once. Nasta would keep an ear out for his distress call, just in case he had another nightmare, but he wasn't expecting it tonight.

Everything was fine for the moment, he could sleep in peace without worrying. He had a lot to do later today, he needed this sleep in order to help him to be prepared for what was to come. In just a few hours' time, Harry would be home and it was going to be hard enough to control the kids, even harder to keep Harry lying down and away from all of them or reacting to their cries and demands for his attention. He needed to get at least another few hours' sleep or he wasn't going to have the strength or the mental capacity to deal with what was to come, and with Leolin now sleeping on his chest, he finally allowed himself to drift off. It had been a rough three days, they would never be the same again thanks to what had happened, during the fight and during the aftermath of it, but maybe, given some time and a lot of work, they could eventually heal from it.

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