The Rise of the Drackens

Harry comes into a very unexpected inheritance. He is a creature both rare and very dangerous, a creature that is black listed by the British Ministry. So now he must avoid detection at all costs, whilst choosing his life partners and dealing with impending pregnancy at just sixteen. With danger coming not just from the Ministry but even other creatures, what was he supposed to do?

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8022667/1/The-Rise-of-the-Drackens

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126. Chapter One Hundred-Eleven – Poolside Relaxation

The summer was cooling off, finally. It had been raining for the last few days and Harry was able to sleep easier, which was a blessing really, as he was getting as cranky as the kids with the continuous lack of decent sleep each night. Not even cooling charms kept him completely comfortable and he was grateful for the small reprieve that the rain brought, even if it did confine them, and the kids, to the house for the most part, though Max had taken Braiden and Farren with him to the supermarket over an hour and a half ago, just to get them out of the house for a bit.

"You look a little pale, Harry. Are you alright?" Blaise asked him.

Harry nodded, though he was a little uncertain. He wasn't feeling his best, and though he put it down to the lack of sleep the previous week, he was leaning more towards it being the start of a late burst of morning sickness.

"You're going to be sick, aren't you?" Blaise persisted.

"Maybe." Harry admitted.

"We were expecting this, come on." Blaise said, helping him to his feet.

"Where are you two going?" Draco asked suspiciously from the other side of the room, which got Nasta's attention from where he was playing a game with Tegan on the floor.

"Bathroom, Harry's going to be sick." Blaise answered. "Get some tea on, Draco. Harry will need something sweet to drink afterwards."

Blaise supported him to the bathroom and Harry was settled onto the tile floor in front of the toilet, he had a strange feeling in his stomach, his mouth was full of saliva and his throat was burning unpleasantly with bile, but still nothing actually came up.

A knock on the door and Nasta entered. "Are you okay?" He asked gently.

"It doesn't want to come up, it's so strange." Harry moaned, even as Blaise stroked his hair.

"Do you want to move to get some tea and then see what happens? Or do you think it'll be safer to stay where you are?"

Harry thought about that seriously, but ultimately his body made up his mind for him when he shifted to stand up on his dead feeling knees and his stomach cramped.

Harry dived for the toilet as everything he'd eaten that day came rushing back up…it felt like everything he'd eaten for the entire month came rushing back up, and he sobbed between cramps, barely able to get a breath, feeling like he was suffocating and he let out a distressed whine. Immediately four rumbles came back, even Max, far off in the supermarket. Two mates on either side of him soothed him and supported him through the sickness, though perhaps purging would have been a better, more accurate phrase to describe it.

After a while he started going longer between cramping and vomiting and he was able to catch his breath and calm down, the panic easing away now that he could breathe properly.

"There we go." Nasta soothed gently. "Keep breathing, Caru."

"I'm better." He croaked out. "I think it's all gone."

"Let's get your mouth swilled out." Blaise said, helping him to stand. Harry cupped his hands under the running cold water and he took some into his mouth, swilling and then rinsing until the bitter, acrid taste had gone as Nasta flushed the toilet for him.

He was shivering, trembling almost, with cold and shock. He was escorted on either side to the kitchen where there was a cup of tea waiting for him and some bland, sweet biscuits. He needed the sugar now to combat the shock.

"Thank you, Draco." He shouted out in a croak, into the other room, as he was helped into a chair and he sipped delicately at the tea, not drinking too much, lest his sore stomach start cramping again.

He nibbled on a biscuit and he just relished being able to breathe again. It had probably been far too much to hope for that the morning sickness would have been completely absent, but he still hoped that he didn't have much in the way of sickness.

Harry wiggled himself out of his tee-shirt and he took several moments to just breathe. He was feeling too hot and stifled. He laid his head on the cool table top and he closed his eyes, breathing slowly and deeply to regain control of himself.

"Can someone pull my socks off, please?" He asked, feeling enclosed and not a little bit trapped.

Blaise immediately bent down to peel off his socks for him. Harry flexed his toes and he giggled a little as Blaise gave both feet a quick squeeze and then a little rub down.

"Better?" Blaise asked him.

Harry nodded minimally and then chose to hum his agreement instead. He rested against the table top for long minutes and then he eased himself back up.

"How are you feeling now?" Nasta asked him.

"Better." He said, sipping on more tea. "I think it's over, now it's just recovering a little more."

Nasta nodded and rubbed his back for him. "Do you want to go lay down upstairs or in the other room?"

Harry shook his head. "There shouldn't be any need. Though this little one really did stir up a thunder storm in my belly! I hope that doesn't happen again."

"If it does, leave my balls out of it, please." Blaise begged him with a grin.

It took Harry a moment to realise what was being alluded to, then the memory of waking up and accidentally kneeing Blaise in the balls came back to him and he laughed.

"Okay, I'll try!" He insisted. "No promises though. That goes for all of you too."

"Harry?!" A forced calm voice called out, though they could all detect the hint of panic underneath as the front door was kicked closed. "Nasta?!"

"Everything's alright, Max. It was a bout of morning sickness." Nasta said, just as Max walked through the door, Braiden in one arm, Farren in the other.

"Oh, thank god. You have no idea how worried I was. I was just paying for the shopping when your call came through. You have no idea how much I wanted to drop everything and leave."

"Well I'm glad you didn't." Harry said pointedly, looking at the two boys.

"I wasn't panicked enough to leave them." Max shook his head. "I would have picked them up and come back, leaving the shopping."

"How dare you, I'm almost out of coffee!" Blaise faux complained.

Harry giggled. "I wanted grapefruit too. Did you get me grapefruit?"

"I got you grapefruits." Max nodded with a smile.

"Good." Harry smiled. "I wanted grapefruit for breakfast."

"You have a couple now to try." Max said, coming to give him a kiss on the cheek. He then went to dump Braiden and Farren in the family room before going back out to the car to grab the shopping, much happier, and calmer, than when he'd arrived now that he was assured that nothing untoward had happened and his family were all still safe.

"Are you still okay to go to the scan later?" Draco asked him gently from the doorway into the family room.

Harry nodded. "I should be fine. Remind me to drink that water though."

"That's the worst part, isn't it?"

"The water and not being able to piss it out? Yeah." Harry laughed.

"I'm so excited." Max said, much happier now that he knew the little whimper of a distress call had been nothing serious, even as he carried in a million shopping bags in both hands and settled them all on the floor.

"You knew what we were talking about." Harry chuckled.

"Of course. There's only one thing where you need to drink a lot of water and hold your bladder for at least an hour."

"Over an hour. My appointment time always runs over." Harry groused.

"We know. But just think, love. We'll know by the afternoon exactly how many babies we're getting."

Harry smiled at that. "I am excited for that, and worried. It's just so uncomfortable."

"We know, we'll be there for you."

"Max, is Talia sure that she wants them all?" Harry fretted.

"She's sure, she's excited, Harry." Max said. "Leolin's going to Ezrah and Lathen, and you just know that Alayla will be here too, to be all over them."

Harry nodded and he looked at the list that he'd made. He didn't want to sound like a distrustful dick, but Talia and Alayla had never had the babies before, especially not seven of them, so he'd written out the schedule and a list of things that the kids weren't allowed to do and how to act if they did do things they weren't allowed to do. Max had said that it was okay, that anything that helped him to feel more relaxed was going to be fine. Harry hoped so, he was just worried about being away with all four of his mates and leaving seven babies with Talia and Alayla. He sighed and sucked it up, they were good enough to agree to look after the kids when they really needed a babysitter on rather short notice. It would be fine, they'd be an hour, maybe an hour and a half tops.

"Of all days for your morning sickness to come through, though." Draco told him.

Harry snorted a laugh. "You should know how much trouble I get in by now, love. We should have actually expected this."

"Are you feeling better?" Nasta asked him.

Harry nodded. "Yes. I think it's over now."

Nasta kissed the side of his head and stroked his hair. It made Harry smile.

"Do you want something to eat now? Or is your belly still delicate?" Nasta asked.

Harry frowned. "I want grapefruit."

"Give me a minute." Max said from where he was packing things away, crossing them off the list he had in his hands. He would tick it in the supermarket, then cross it off when he got home and put it away. It was a habit he had picked up from his Mother, Ashleigh, when she had gotten him and his siblings to help with the shopping as young kids. "I haven't come across them yet."

Harry nodded, just watching Max pack everything away. All of them would always offer to help him, but he would wave them away and insist that he'd rather do it himself to make sure everything was there and so he knew where it had all been put away. They still always asked if he wanted help, mostly out of courtesy now as they knew he would always refuse, but Harry felt that that was only polite. He'd hate for Max to feel like he was being taken for granted after all.

"There they are." Max cried out triumphantly, digging in a new bag and plucking out an armful of grapefruits. "Catch, Nas."

Harry laughed as Max threw one of the grapefruits to Nasta, who caught it easily and rolled his eyes at Max's antics. Nasta took the fruit to the counter and started preparing it like an orange for Harry to eat, slicing it into segments.

Harry took the bright red pieces that were offered to him on a plate and he ate the sour segments happily.

"Do you like them?" Nasta asked, watching him with a smile.

"Yes and no." Harry said. "I want them, this was definitely what I wanted, but it's so sour. Like eating a lemon. Do we have lemons?" He asked a moment later.

"Yes, why?" Max asked.

"I want a lemon."

"To eat? I was going to make lemonade for us all, I should have enough for that, but you actually want to eat one?" Max asked.

"Don't judge my food cravings." Harry pouted.

Max grinned and came to kiss him. "Never, my love. Just make sure you brush your teeth really well with all this citrus fruit. The last thing you need now when your morning sickness has started is a dose of Skele-gro because you have a cavity."

Harry grumbled but he nodded. He hated Skele-gro so much and he was adamant that he would never have to take another dose of it ever again in his life. Though the dose for a tooth had nothing on the one he'd needed to take to regrow all the bones in his arm.

"You wanted lemons when you were pregnant with the girls." Max pointed out.

"I did." He said, grimacing as he remembered some of his more powerful mood swings when he'd wanted lemon in his tea.

"Do you want it in your tea again?" Max asked him, as he went to the fruit bowl and picked up the plumpest, brightest lemon that he could find.

"No. I want to eat it." Harry said softly.

"Oh, baby, your face will be a picture." Max laughed, even as he tossed the lemon to Nasta, who dutifully stood and started preparing it, cutting it into wedges for Harry to eat. Harry started salivating just watching him, even as he ate the grapefruit already on his plate.

"Draco, Blaise? Are you two in need of refreshment?" Max called into the room where the younger two had gone when Harry had declared that he was fine and unlikely to be sick again. They were now watching the boisterous babies. Braiden had found his trampoline in the storage cupboard down by their home gym, and he was refusing to share with his siblings, and he was refusing to come off of it.

"We would like some tasty beverages." Blaise called back. Harry almost choked on his laughter and he needed Nasta to thump his back to ease his airway.

"Stop trying to kill Harry with laughter." Max called back. "Can I get your tasty beverage order though?"

Harry laughed again and Nasta chuckled, even as he sat beside him to help him if it was needed.

"I want coffee, if Nasta is agreeable. Draco wants water. Oh and Tegan wants juice." Blaise called out. "And now apparently all of them want juice. It's going to be a large order, Max!"

Max was laughing to himself, even as he pulled down half a dozen plastic beakers and started pouring in juice from the jug they kept on the counter. It was easier and quicker this way, to just fill the jug instead of making up five individual beakers of fruit squash.

"Can Blaise have coffee?" Max asked as the kettle boiled and he made tea for himself and for Harry.

"Yes." Nasta said as he watched Harry eating lemon wedges without even a grimace.

"You want a smoothie?" Max asked.

"Please."

"That kale, broccoli and apple shit you're drinking, or the orange, bell pepper and carrot gunk you made up this morning?"

Nasta smirked and looked at Max. "The kale and apple one." He said, purely because he knew the greyish-green drink made Max queasy.

"How you can drink that sludge is beyond me, Nas." Max said, going to the fridge and taking out the covered jug of said sludge.

Nasta watched as Max poured the thick smoothie into a glass and handed it over quickly. He was more worried about it making Harry sick, but he was too involved with his citrus fruit at the moment. At least the smell of his citrus fruit should be overpowering enough to cover the smell of the drink. It unfortunately wasn't and mid-chew Harry looked up at him, his nostrils flaring a little as he sniffed. Nasta prepared to move away, when Harry took his glass from him and drained it. Nasta couldn't have been more surprised in that moment as he sat still in shock. He would have been prepared for any number of reactions, he would have been less surprised if Max had declared that he was going to grow his hair out to his lower back. If Blaise had declared he was going to give up drinking coffee or Draco declared his love of greased pig herding.

"Are you okay?" Max asked Harry in a sort of soft, disgusted horror, almost as if he were expecting Harry to keel over from the drink.

"I'm fine." Harry declared. "Sorry I took your drink, Nas. It smelt good. Max, I want one too, please."

A little green in the face, Max nodded and he poured a second glass of the smoothie for Harry and then topped up Nasta's glass. Nasta could almost see him praying for this new craving to be a short one, but if Harry's past cravings were anything to go by, then this new phase was here until the baby was born in another five months.

Nasta watched happily as Harry finished the rest of his citrus fruit and sipped on his smoothie as Max made a quick getaway with a tray to take the drinks into the family room. Nasta wouldn't be surprised if he didn't come back out for a while.

Nasta, on the other hand, couldn't leave Harry alone as he nuzzled up to him and threw an arm about his waist to snuggle him into a tight cwtch. Harry just gave him a smile before going back to the fruit, accepting his affections and coddling without a word. Nasta loved moments like this, of course it was made all the more special by the fact that Harry had drank one of his fruit and vegetable smoothies. They weren't as healthy as eating the actual whole fruits and vegetables, but it was progress and Harry seemed to be enjoying the new healthy diet that the baby had put him on. Nasta couldn't wait to see him, her, or them later that afternoon. Their first glimpse at their newest clutch who were due in February of the new millennium.

Harry was still worried about his children, even as he sat in an uncomfortable plastic seat at St Mungos, his bladder fit to burst from the bottle of water he'd been forced to drink before this scan. It was air conditioned in the hospital at least, the icy breeze of a cooling charm coming from the very walls would wash over him every few seconds and it was utterly blissful.

Draco had dropped Leolin off with Ezrah and Lathen, purely because Dain and Kailen had serious business with the court with Sindri being so unwell. The state of things in the Faerie city were declining rapidly if Harry was reading the situation correctly, which didn't bode well for Leolin's future there. He was glad that Ezrah and Lathen had gotten out when they had, because there was now no guarantee that Ezrah wouldn't have been publically executed, unofficially or otherwise, with the state of the place currently if he'd still be in the city. Leolin was at their new, modest home with them, as Harry (and his mates) absolutely refused to have Leolin taken to the city with it in such turmoil. As again, with the state that it was currently in, there were no guarantees that they'd ever see him again or the actual risk that someone would just try to take him. Not that Dain or Kailen would have allowed it, but they were just two Valkyries, and they would be exiled or even executed for going against the will of the court, and with the both of them gone and two new Faeries on the court, then the chances of Leolin remaining in the care of a family of Drackens, their biological son or not, was very slim. Slimmer if Eitri was removed from the court along with Narilla, both for being opposition Faes, especially with Donella as the acting head of the court in Sindri's place. Harry knew that if Donella was given the chance, then she would absolutely see Dain, Kailen, Eitri and Narilla off of the court as soon as possible and she would try her all to get Leolin from them. It was all very unsettled and unsettling. Harry wanted to keep Leolin closer than ever because of it.

"You look like you're going to your death, love." Max told him. "Breathe deeper and calm down. I know you want to take a leak, I know that you're worried, but it'll all be over soon."

"Why do they even have appointment times?" Harry hissed as he crossed his legs together more firmly.

All four of his mates soothed him and touched him, but ultimately Harry was called by an orderly twenty minutes over his appointment time and he was finally able to get into a bed, with just his tee-shirt removed. Thankfully his appointment was with Healer Almus, or he might have actually kicked off about how uncomfortable he was and how long he'd had to wait in this state.

"Good afternoon, how are we all today?" Healer Almus asked happily as he came into the room.

"I need a leak!" Harry complained.

The Healer chuckled and nodded. "Okay, a quick scan. I understand that you're pregnant again, how is that holding up with your injury?"

"Alright so far." Harry said. "The Dracken Healers said it might be a problem if I'm carrying higher multiples, so this scan is very important." Harry said nervously.

"Okay, well I'm going to do a magical scan today, I don't want to dig a transducer into your stomach, so I'm going to monitor you through a scan with a wand."

"I've had one before, with Braiden." Harry said.

Healer Almus nodded. "It's in your notes. It's normal procedure to perform a magical scan on a first pregnancy, but we find normal ultrasound works just as well most of the time and it doesn't drain our magic when we might need it for an emergency. You'd have needed an internal ultrasound if you were a Muggle."

"If I were a Muggle I wouldn't be pregnant." Harry pointed out.

Healer Almus laughed. "Touché, Harry. Right, let's get started, you lot stand this side so I have room to move around you all." He said to his mates. "First things first, let's give you a general check up and see how you're doing."

It was easier to ignore his bladder under his excitement of seeing his new clutch, and the lingering worry that he might need to have a selective reduction surgery if he was having anything over twins. He would press to keep all three if he was having triplets, but if he was having quadruplets, or another set of quintuplets, then there would be no fighting the selective reduction. Anything more than triplets would be a serious threat to his own life, and if he got too big too soon, then his babies might not even be viable before his guts ripped open and killed them all.

Draco's hand on his calmed him down as his blond mate recognised his mental torture and took his hand and held it as small washes of magic flitted over him.

"Your recovery is going really well, Harry. You're eight weeks pregnant and baby seems to be doing well. Let's see how many we're dealing with this time, shall we?" Healer Almus asked softly as he laid his wand horizontally over Harry's belly. As it was still flat, it was much more secure and didn't try to roll off as it had when he'd had his first scan of Braiden.

Healer Almus said a short phrase in Latin and suddenly the 3D picture of his insides were visible to them all, though only Healer Almus was moving as he looked at the 3D image from all angles. The wand felt like a thin, heated rod on his belly, making him itch to knock it off, but it wasn't the slightest bit painful, just uncomfortable and strange.

Harry could barely see anything, or make anything out, but there was one thing that he could make out and his heart jumped in elation.

"That's just the one baby, isn't it?" He asked excitedly, unable to stop himself from getting his hopes up.

"Yes, I can see that clearly enough." Healer Almus said happily, taking down notations. "You're having a single baby, Harry. No surgery or extra precautions for you."

Harry could have cried in relief as he sent a blinding smile to his mates. "Just the one baby!" He said, as if they couldn't hear Healer Almus themselves.

Max kissed him, Draco squeezed his hand, Nasta stroked his hair and Blaise, the furthest away from his head, touched his belly, just above the wand.

"You still need to be careful, Harry. This isn't an excuse to start getting complacent or reckless. You still need to take care of yourself, but just the one baby is the best news we could have expected. Both you and baby have a high chance of survival of this pregnancy and the subsequent birth, barring any unforeseen complications, of course. Baby seems to be doing very well."

Harry couldn't tear his eyes away from the image of just the one baby. His first singleton since Braiden. It was a relief, a huge weight from his shoulders, to know that he was having just the one baby. He wouldn't be put at additional risk, he wouldn't need any sort of surgery to reduce the number of embryos he was carrying. This was the best case scenario. He wasn't completely cursed after all, it seemed.

"Let me get a Doppler on you, Harry, so we can check baby's heartbeat." Healer Almus said, more for courtesy as no one was paying him the slightest bit of attention as the baby shifted within the 3D image. Harry felt nothing, even as he watched the baby move.

The rushing sound of blood passing through the umbilical cord sounded in the room and Healer Almus made more notes. He moved the Doppler around and then the whooshing sound that Harry had come to associate with his unborn babies' heartbeat came through clear.

"One hundred and sixty-eight beats per minute. That's a little fast for this early gestation, but it's nothing to be concerned about. Try and rest a little more, Harry." Healer Almus said, making another notation. "I'll put a note in your file to check up on that at your next scan and we'll keep an eye on you, but it's nothing to worry about just yet."

"But everything is fine, right?" Harry asked, after a worried look to his mates.

"Yes, baby is perfectly fine for the moment, Harry. Don't worry and try to destress a little more."

"Will strenuous exercise affect the baby?" Draco asked.

"No, whatever sexual activities you want to do, you can happily do them." Healer Almus said matter-of-factly. "That won't affect the baby, but stress will. I assume it was the stress of finding out how many babies you were carrying and the loom of the maybe procedure of the selective reduction?"

Harry nodded. "I have been worrying about that a lot, especially as the scan date came closer. There's the court case too, that's really stressful for me as well."

"That could be why baby's heart rate is slightly above average. We'll monitor it now, but you have just one baby, Harry. You're going to be fine and the threat to you and your baby has decreased significantly, especially with how well you've recovered from your injury. You can let go of all that stress now and then it should stop affecting baby."

Harry nodded seriously and he blew out a breath. He knew that stress could affect the baby, but to actually encounter it was very worrying. He clutched at Draco's hand more tightly and he felt an answering squeeze.

"Is that all he needs? Some rest and less stress?" Nasta asked seriously.

"Yes, those are my orders as a Healer. A bit more calm from now on and less stress."

"This doesn't mean bed rest, though, does it?" Harry added quickly, for clarification.

"No. There's absolutely no need for you to stop being active. In fact I encourage it as much as you can manage. I want you to go for nice, short walks, maybe some playtime with the kids, and with your mates." Healer Almus chuckled. "But nothing too vigorous, so you'll have to wait to start wrestling and bungee jumping again."

Harry laughed at that and he nodded, sitting up and placing his hands on his belly. It felt even more real to him now and he smiled.

"Here are some photos for you all." Healer Almus said. "I'll book you in now for another scan in a few weeks, so we can check baby's heartbeat again and maybe for a gender too, if you want to know it, of course, but for now everything is looking good."

"Just take it easy and have some more fun." Harry reiterated.

"Exactly. I'll see you in a few weeks."

Harry was much happier as Blaise helped him to get dressed again as Max flicked through all the scan photos, a wide smile on his face. Of course he was 'winning' on the baby front, with four of the babies being biologically his, only just beating Nasta, who had three biological babies. Not that they made it into a competition, they were all just very proud and it likely had a dash of male pride in there too, or something. Harry didn't care, he was beating all of them, as he had eight babies…no. No, he had nine babies now. That made him grin happily as he placed his hand back over his belly, nine babies. He would always beat the rest of his mates, as he was the only one of them to carry all their babies. Nine of them.

Harry was escorted out, almost with an honour guard around him as his mates walked on all sides of him. He was so excited that he forgot to be worried about Talia and Alayla left at home with seven of his children, or at least he had until they reached the line for the floo banks of the hospital.

"I hope they're all okay." He said softly.

"No stressing, Harry." Max said. "They'll be fine, the kids will be running the girls ragged and keeping them on their toes. This will be good for them and they are the kids' Aunties, they need some time with them too."

Harry nodded. "I know. You can invite them to dinner if you want. In fact, let's have a dinner party. Invite everyone who can come on such short notice and we'll announce our new single baby officially." Harry said happily. "If I need to destress then a nice, easy late summer party could be good. Nas, see if Idris and Nerys can come too!"

Nasta laughed at his enthusiasm. "Alright, Caru. Everyone should be okay for a few hours of family time. It'll be nice to tell everyone together."

"The only exception will be Caesar and Amelle, they might be able to come for a little while, but they've only just gone home, the time differences really hit the girls hard." Max said.

"That's okay, there's no pressure, it's just a dinner party." Harry said, getting excited. "Blaise, are you okay with this? I know you don't like too much company. Do you need to destress?"

Blaise wrapped his arms around him and kissed the back of his head. "I'll be fine, Bello. It's just family and I can always snatch a baby and declare they need a nappy change if I need a moment."

Harry smiled and kissed Blaise. They reached the collection of floo banks and Max went through first, then Harry went and he was caught on the other side by Max, who swung him around gently and pulled him up into a kiss.

Harry laughed and he nibbled at Max's lips before diving in for a proper kiss.

"Stop molesting my brother." Alayla teased as she came to see who had come through the floo.

"Laya! Don't tell him to stop. You're cock blocking me, sis."

"Good." Alayla laughed.

"Has everything been alright?" Harry asked as Blaise came through the floo.

"Everything's been fine, as you said Calix didn't stay down for his nap and shortly after you'd left he was back up and Farren didn't drop off for his at all, so he had both me and Talia all over him, but the others were as good as gold. The twins are too cute, they kept pointing out pictures in the books and me and Talia would tell them what it was and they'd stare at us as we repeated the word and then they'd point to something else, it was so cute!"

"Right, I need to take a bathroom break a minute." Harry said with a sense of urgency. "I'll come catch up with everything then."

Harry scurried off and he heard his mates laughing at him, but he no longer cared. His bladder situation had gone over an emergency and was now in the classification of utterly dire.

Once he was empty and he had washed up, he felt so much better and it was almost a relief now to be able to stand without the fear of every step forcing his bladder to empty without conscious control. He made his way into the kitchen and then into the family room, where his babies were happily greeting their Daddies. It made him smile as he went and greeted them all one by one before sitting down happily.

"So, what's this about a dinner party?" Talia asked, her jet black eyes glittering happily at the thought.

"We thought it would be nice to have the family around for a get together. Only an hour or two, so we can share the news we got today."

"I'll go tell the family." Alayla said. "I'm so excited."

Harry smiled and watched her rush off, Talia following more sedately.

"I'll go and see what my family are doing." Nasta said. "Max, are you staying?"

"Yes, I'm going to get our gorgeous mate a cup of tea and then start a feast."

"Nothing too much, it's too hot for that." Harry complained.

"As you wish, Master."

"Don't call me that, it sounds awful." Harry frowned.

Max laughed. "Whatever you want."

Nasta, Blaise and Draco all left to go and invite their family members to the little dinner party and Harry sighed happily as he sunk down to the floor to play with his happy babies. He felt silly now for ever having worried in the first place, but he couldn't really help it. Since his scan he felt so much more relaxed and calmer. Knowing that he didn't have to have a selective reduction, or even think of such a procedure, was a massive, crushing weight from his shoulders.

"Here you go, love." Max said, bending and passing him a cup of tea.

"Thank you, Max. I love you."

"I love you too, beautiful. Rest up and drink up. I think a simple chicken salad with pasta and cheese for dinner will do, you okay with that?"

Harry nodded. "Sounds fantastic, Max."

"Of course it does, I'm cooking it." Max winked and Harry laughed him out of the door and back into the kitchen.

Harry played with his children, making sure that they were well and that they kept hydrated in the heat. It was cooler today with the rain, as it had been for the last few days, but it was still hot.

Blaise was the first person back, with Marianna and Josiah. Harry wanted to abandon ship then and there. Josiah wasn't a bad man, he was just so boring that Harry had no desire to get to know the man and as a result, two and a half years on and they were still virtual strangers.

Thankfully Draco arrived less than a minute later with both Narcissa and Lucius, when Harry was just about finishing his own greetings. The two women greeted one another happily enough and Lucius, ever the diplomat and stickler for formalities, struck up a conversation with Josiah, taking the heat right from Harry, who was able to sidle away.

Very shortly after that the house was filling up and Harry laughed as Aneirin showed up with Nasta, Idris at his shoulder.

"There's the little cutie, hello again, Harry." Idris greeted as he hugged him tight.

"Hi, Idris. How are you? Thank you for coming."

"Think nothing of it, baban." Idris said easily. "I promised I'd come and spend some more time with family and that's what I intend to do. How are the munchkins?"

"Fine, they're all fine. They're all here except Leolin. He's taking some Faerie time with Ezrah and Lathen."

"Oh, you let Ezrah and Lathen look after him?" Aneirin asked interestedly.

Harry nodded. "I trust them both and poor Ezrah really needs the confidence boost with little babies, he'll never be able to get his own if he carries on stressing so much."

"At least Lathen is more level headed." Aneirin chuckled. "I did like young Ezrah when I saw him, mind."

"Yeah, only young Ezrah is twenty years older than you are." Harry pointed out with a laugh.

Aneirin snorted. "He doesn't look like it."

"Well you don't look sixty either. You're really good for your age."

"Nasta! Your mate is hitting on your Father!" Idris called out, loudly.

"He knows." Harry played off with a grin. "I do it all the time."

"He really does." Nasta chuckled as he came up behind Harry and bent to kiss his cheek.

"I really missed you." Idris told Nasta as they hugged tight. "Being in Korea isn't the same when I haven't got you jabbering away at my waist as a little translator."

"I miss you too, Uncle. You and Nerys should take more breaks from work and come home more often. You know where I'll be now." Nasta said, indicating the house.

"I never thought you'd be a homebody."

Nasta snorted. "I'm a Dracken, Idris. Of course I was always going to be a homebody. I got all my travelling and adventures out of the way early. I love my family too much to even explain adequately. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

"Except perhaps in bed." Harry whispered to Nasta, after first pulling him down into a kiss by the sleeve of his tee-shirt.

Nasta laughed and then kissed him again. "There is always that."

"Mummy."

Harry looked down automatically to Calix and he smiled without thinking about it as he hunched down on his haunches to pick up Calix when his son raised his arms to him.

"This is Granddad Aneirin and Idris." Harry pointed them out as he straightened back up.

"Ganda." Calix said, reaching out immediately for Aneirin.

Aneirin gave him a big hug and Harry shook his head. There had been no point in picking up Calix in the first place. Well, almost none, of course he would always try to pick up his children if he could, even if it was for less than ten seconds.

"Harry, are you alright?" Richard came to ask him, worming his way between Aneirin and Idris. "Only Laya said that you wanted us all here."

Harry nodded. "Yes. I had my first scan today." He said.

"Is it good news?" Richard asked immediately.

Harry nodded again. "The best."

"You're going to be okay and the new clutch is okay?"

Harry grinned. "Yes."

Richard let out a soft cheer and hugged him tight.

"That's wonderful, Harry." Aneirin said. "Definitely worth a dinner party."

"We just though it better to announce it to all of you at the same time, instead of chasing up who had been officially told or not." Nasta said. "This was Harry's idea of doing things."

"Though the official announcement won't come until dinner, but I just wanted you to know its good news, not bad, and I'm going to be just fine."

"Good." Richard declared, pulling him forward and bending to press a kiss to his head. "I saw that you put Max to good use. He's better off in the kitchen."

"Nah, he makes a wonderful hostess too." Harry snickered. "Especially when he can use his finest china tea set."

"Behave." Nasta chastised him.

"I always behave." Harry grinned. Nasta flicked his nose and wandered away, over to his Aunt who had gone to see the twin girls.

Richard threw an arm around him and tugged him over to Myron, who had been attacked by Tegan and Regan as soon as they saw him.

"Harry. Are you well?" He asked, bouncing Tegan into the same arm as Regan and pulling him into a tight, loving hug. Alexander popped up a moment later and pulled Harry into his own arms.

"I'm fine. It's good news. All good news." Harry said. "We just wanted to share it officially without anyone being left out."

"Oh, thank Merlin." Alexander cursed. "When Talia came to ask if I was free for an hour or two for dinner here I got a bad feeling in my gut."

"No, it's good news." Harry smiled.

"So the new clutch isn't anything over twins?"

"Ah, you have to wait for dinner!" Harry said stubbornly. "Max should be done soon, he's only doing a chicken salad."

"I'm just glad I don't have to cook, or subject myself to Myron's cooking." Richard laughed. "We were both too hot and feeling too lazy to make anything. This way, I get a good meal and there are no dishes!"

Myron scoffed and gave his husband a look. "We're here to share in their good news, Richard."

"Of course we are. It's just a bonus that we're getting fed too." Richard laughed.

"Nice to know that you still appreciate my cooking." Max said as he wandered over. "It's only a simple pasta salad, but it's too hot for anything else."

"Plus you might have had plans and we didn't want to ruin anything just for our news." Harry said with a smile.

"Your news is important to us." Alexander insisted. "I can't wait to hear the good news."

"Two minutes. I can't wait until after dinner, so I'm going to tell before we start eating." Harry said excitedly.

"Get going then, it's all ready and on the table waiting." Max said with a grin.

"You shit." Harry complained. "You didn't tell on purpose!"

Max laughed and darted away.

"Farren, Braiden, in the kitchen, loves, dinner's ready." Max called out clearly. "The rest of you feel free to follow on." He laughed as he escorted his two sons into the kitchen to help them onto their booster seats. Though Braiden was very capable of climbing into the chair himself.

It took several minutes to get everyone sat at the table, around the kids, who were all in their own seats for their dinners, an adult in between them all.

"Now, I wanted to have this sort of dinner party to share our news." Harry said once the huge kitchen table, that they only ever really used the tip of, was filled to bursting with family members. "I don't think I can even wait to tell you, so feel free to take a leaf out of the kids' book and start eating…" He said with a giggle as he indicated the mess that the babies were already in with their half pasta, half salad dinner. "…but I just wanted to let you all know that I had my first scan today and it's all good news."

Everyone cheered. Idris, Sanex and Richard were the loudest and Harry couldn't help the grin that spread over his face.

"I know. We haven't had a lot of good news, or good luck, lately, but with the stress of a pregnancy after everything that happened recently, particularly high multiples like these little angels…" He said ruffling Calix's hair. "…and the very real risk of the death of myself and all the babies I was carrying without a selective reduction, we haven't really had enough reasons to celebrate this pregnancy, but today we found out that we're having just the one baby…"

There were more raucous cheers for that and it made Harry giggle.

"…which means! Which means, that there's no threat to me, no risk to the baby and no need for any selective reduction surgery!" Harry called out to more cheers. "The baby is fine and healthy. We don't know the gender yet, it was too soon, but there was a slightly increased heartrate, Healer Almus thinks that it's because I was stressed over the pregnancy, but that's all gone now. That one scan has taken everything away now and we can just be happy to know that we're having just one more baby."

"Nine is enough!" Sanex called out.

"At least for now." Harry chuckled. "But this is why we called you here, to share in our good news…our brilliant news, and we have scan pictures too."

At that, Max passed out the scan photos he'd placed by the side of his plate and Harry sat back down, between Calix and the end of the table, where Eva and Ave were sat in highchairs chewing on some scattered sweetcorn and tiny pieces of diced cucumber.

He started eating his own chicken, pasta salad and he watched happily as pictures of his new baby, their ninth child, was passed around everyone. It was a wonderful feeling, to know that this baby was the only one, and that all the scary risks that had been spoken of were now nothing but words and wisps of an idea that would never need to be thought of again. He was having just the one baby. It was the best news he'd ever heard.

Things settled down as September approached, though Harry's small, cooler reprieve ended with the rain. It got hotter again very quickly, overnight in fact, and Harry had had enough. He snapped at his mates that he'd be back in an hour and he'd taken Tegan with him as he stormed his way to the supermarket that was a twenty minute walk away. He'd bought an inflatable swimming pool. Two of them.

"It is hot out, isn't it?" The cashier laughed as she scanned both pools.

Harry nodded as he counted out the notes from his wallet ready to pay. "Way too hot and the kids are restless too. I was worried you would have sold out of pools by now. I just wasn't expecting this second heatwave, I thought it was all over now that it's almost autumn."

"No, we got a delivery last night. Those ones are new though" The cashier said, pointing at the one he'd gotten for the kids as she put the several large bags of ice cubes through. "We're well stocked on ice cubes too." She laughed.

Harry nodded. "I'm just so hot, I can't even function properly. I just need something to cool me down. All these ice cubes are going in the pool."

The cashier was surprised into laughing loudly. Harry had picked up a few more things and he packed them all into the carrier bags, thankful that he'd had the forethought to charm them before he'd come to the supermarket as he hefted them all onto the trolley with no problem.

"Tegan, come back here, sweetheart." He called out as his daughter's curiosity got the better of her and she wandered away on quick little feet. She ignored him. "Tegan! Sorry, I'll be right back." He insisted as he hurried after her and snatched her up. He carried her back to the trolley and he shook his head. "She's so curious about everything."

"How old is she?" The cashier asked.

"She's twenty months old now, she'll be two in December."

"A Christmas baby?"

"Almost, the thirty-first."

"Your wife must have been so uncomfortable during Christmas."

"You have no idea." Harry said with a secret huff of laughter as he handed over the several notes. "Have a nice day." He said to the poor girl being forced to work on such a hot day as he accepted the change and his receipt. He took Tegan's hand in one of his own and he pushed the trolley with the other.

He got them outside with no problems, other than Tegan trying to wander off or head towards other people. Harry wrapped the huge, bulky bags around his wrist and he lifted them out of the trolley and he started walking back towards home.

He spoke all the way home to Tegan, who trotted beside him happily, a sun hat covering her head and little pink sunglasses over her eyes as she looked at the new environment. Overall though he was glad to reach home and the coolness of the shaded inside that was charmed cool.

"There you are, are you alright?" Max asked him.

Harry nodded. "I will be in half an hour or so, are the kids still out back?"

"Daddy, juice." Tegan interrupted.

"Yep, they're all still outside." Max answered him as he hefted up Tegan and went to get her a drink.

Harry went right out the back and he set down his shopping bags.

"Ooo, what goodies did you get?" Blaise asked.

"Two bloody swimming pools!" Harry said with a grin, swiping his hand over his sweaty forehead.

"You did? Really?" Max asked, the look of pure joy on his face making Harry laugh as he wandered out back with Tegan drinking from a beaker.

"You can buy a swimming pool in a box?" Draco asked.

Harry was shocked to realise that this would be a Muggle thing that Draco, and maybe Blaise, didn't know about.

"Oh yes, watch this." Harry said as he tugged the massive, adventure pool from its box and a quick spell later had it inflated, including the little bouncy castle area, the reason he'd bought this one as he knew that Braiden would love it.

Max had run to get the garden hose and he started filling the pool happily. The look on Draco's face was of pure amazement and Harry was even more excited now.

"This adventure one is for the kids, obviously. This big, deep one is for us! It even has seats."

"Seats?" Draco asked as he and Blaise took the huge pool from its box and another simple spell had that pool inflated too, showing off the corner seats.

"It only has four of them, but I figured I'm small enough to occupy a lap." He giggled and winked.

Max laughed and everyone seemed so much happier and more energetic as Max moved the hose from the baby pool to the adult pool. He left it in the latter and checked the former.

"Uh, Harry, I don't want to burst your bubble, but we're only potty training Braiden. The nappies." Blaise said, looking so apologetic that Harry laughed.

He went back to the shopping bags and he pulled out the packages of swimmer nappies. He tossed one to Blaise.

"Get these babies into the swimming nappies and then unleash them on the pool." Harry said as he took the other pack and wrestled Calix into one before Nasta wrestled him to get more sun cream onto him, as all he was wearing now was a nappy.

Braiden was the first one into the large pool and Harry smiled as he clambered in over the side and went right to the wet bouncy area. Calix was second on and he went right to the small slide, Draco helping him to climb the little hand and foot holds.

Harry sighed happily as he watched them. This was a good idea.

"Why did you buy a dozen bags of ice cubes?" Max asked as he went looking through the other shopping bags.

"For the pool, Max. I want to be cold." Harry said as he took one bag, tore it open and dumped the cubes into the adult pool.

Harry pulled off all his clothes and left just his boxers on before he clambered into the pool and sunk into the icy water. Max dumped another bag of ice in with him and Harry groaned happily.

"This is the best." He declared as he rolled in the water just filling up the bottom of the pool, rolling in ice.

"These kids are going mental." Blaise chuckled as he watched them sliding, paddling and bouncing.

"Good, let them get soaking wet and tired out. Then we can soak in our pool all night." Harry laughed. "It might be good for a bit of…bouncing of our own and Healer Almus did say he encouraged it."

Max's smile lit up the garden and Blaise's laugh was infectious and soon all of them were laughing.

"Alright, that's our night made. Let's tire these little monsters out first though." Nasta chuckled from where he was kneeling on the grass beside the end of the slide, catching babies, mostly Calix, as they slid down it and into the pool, splashing Nasta every time. At least that was his way of staying cool in the awful heat.

Of course Leolin was safely tucked in his baby gym in the shade, but even Eva and Ave paddled about in the few inches of water in the paddling pool area.

"Let me go grab the camera." Blaise said as he hurried back into the house to find a camera, any camera. They had several of them inside.

Harry didn't even notice Blaise come back out as he swam from one seat to the other in the ridiculously large pool. He'd bought the biggest, deepest pool that he could find for him and his mates. The cold hose water and the hundreds of ice cubes made him feel utterly relieved as he turned onto his back and just floated on the surface like he was in the bath.

"You look so pleased with yourself." Blaise said, right before he snapped a photo.

"I am pleased with myself. This was a great idea!"

"I wish you'd told us where you were going, I could have run you in the car." Max insisted.

"It's a million degrees, there was no way I was getting in a car in this heat!" Harry denied. "Do you want me part boiled and then roasted?"

That made Max laugh uproariously. "You're not a potato." He said with a wink.

"I feel like one floating in all this water." Harry giggled.

"You're so daft, I love it." Max told him, taking a leaf from his book and stripping down to his boxers and sliding in with him. "Oh, Merlin that's cold." He sighed in relief as the icy water cooled him down.

"Told ya." Harry grinned.

Max pulled him into a kiss as Harry paddled past before he rested in the one seat of the pool, throwing his head and shoulders over the inflatable side.

They naturally switched around every now and then so that he and Max were on baby watching duty and Nasta and Draco could have a dip in the pool, Blaise was doing his own thing, with the camera, snapping photos, then coming to help with the kids and then going to dip in the pool himself, but Harry was very happy with his idea of getting these pools. He'd even bought little freeze pops. Of course they weren't ready straight off of the supermarket shelf, but a simple freezing charm and they were and the kids enjoyed those as the icy treats turned their tongues orange, blue, red and yellow.

It was a good afternoon, a really good afternoon and their kids were really tired as they were carefully dried off and then fed a late dinner. They'd already had what amounted to a bath already, so Harry was content to just separate them off into pairs and read them a story in their pyjamas. He got Regan and Calix, Max took Farren and Tegan, Draco had Leolin, Blaise had their twin girls and Nasta had Braiden. They were all in separate bedrooms, reading and calming the kids down and as both the boys dropped off to sleep on him, Harry moved them to their cots one by one.

He smiled and waited for his mates to do the same, tucking himself into the soft, padded rocking chair in the corner of the room. He didn't mean to fall asleep, but he stirred when someone picked him up. He groaned and clutched tight at the body holding him. Draco chuckled just above him.

"Come on sleepy, let's get you to bed."

"No. It's too soon. Take me downstairs." Harry whined. "I need a drink."

Draco sighed, but did as he was told and changed direction from the master suite to the stairs.

"Did he wake up?" Nasta asked.

"Yes." Harry mumbled. "I wanna drink."

Nasta chuckled softly. "Take him into the living room, I'll get us all a drink and we can relax a little. Max is already asleep though."

"You'll never get him upstairs." Harry said, eyes still closed and head tucked into Draco's neck.

"He's already upstairs. He fell asleep reading to Tegan and Farren and I went looking for him when he was the only one missing. All three of them were asleep together."

"Did you get a picture?" Harry asked more seriously, managing to gather the energy to lift his head.

Nasta nodded. "Of course I did. I wasn't passing that opportunity up. But I got Blaise to get the kids into their cots and then I carried Max to bed myself. Thankfully he was only across the hall. I'm strong, I wrestle with juvenile dragons for a career, but he is heavy and bulky too. A couple of feet more and I might not have made it."

Harry chuckled and he was carried into the smaller living room, where Blaise was already resting with a drink of his own.

"You woke him up." Blaise accused Draco.

"He needed a drink." Draco defended as he sat with Harry curled in his lap.

"Is Max still out of it?" Blaise asked.

"He's down for the night." Nasta answered.

"At least breakfast should be early tomorrow." Harry joked.

There were snorts and chuckles and Harry smiled before he sat up a bit more and stretched. He took the glass from Nasta and took a few sips of the cold pumpkin juice, which woke him up a little more.

"Why is it still so hot?" He complained as he rested the cold glass against his bare chest.

"The heat that has been trapped on all the surfaces during the day is rising now that the air is cooler. It makes it feel hotter and more humid." Professor Nasta told them as he slouched back on the settee.

Harry groaned and rolled the glass to the other side of his chest to cool it down.

"I feel like I can't breathe." He complained. "Like there's no air."

A moment later a gust of icy air washed over him and Draco and they both moaned happily. Nasta chuckled at them both, his wand out as he cast a cooling charm on the room.

"I love magic." Harry declared, basking in the chill air that now surrounded him.

"I just don't even want to do anything. It's too hot and too draining to do anything." Blaise complained.

Harry hummed his agreement. "I know. I just want to lay about and do nothing. It's not productive, but who gives a fuck in this heat?"

"It's not like we have anything else to do. Max vanished the water from the pools ready to fill them up fresh tomorrow. The dishes are being washed by themselves with another spell, everything is clean and tidy, what more do we need to do? The kids are all in bed and as long as none of them wake up, we can just sit here and do nothing if we please." Nasta said.

"Good, I don't want to move." Draco groaned.

"Me either." Harry agreed. "Let's just stay in this wonderfully cold room for a few hours and then get to bed ourselves. It's going to be difficult enough to sleep tonight with cooling charms, we could use the early night."

"You and baby especially. You were very active today." Blaise told him.

Harry laughed as he remembered splashing his mates, playing with his children, and climbing the inflatable slide and going down it with Ave. Today had been a good day, or at least the afternoon had been a good one. They needed more days like this and more reminders of the love and happiness of their large family. Harry was already scheming with the three other mates in this room for Max's thirty-third birthday in a few weeks. They'd already ordered the biggest inflatable obstacle course that they could find. It was going to be Max versus everyone else, particularly Caesar. It was going to be hilarious and fun. Harry couldn't wait.

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