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?


81. Chapter Seventy-Nine – Audience

Harry controlled himself as he walked with Nasta through the wooden door and approached the slim and slender table with nine Faeries sat behind it, five males and four females. He tried to breathe deeply and calmly, but his mind automatically flashed to the summer before his fifth year, just after his fifteenth birthday, when he was forced before the whole Wizengamot to defend himself against a witch hunt set against him before he'd even walked into the courtroom, just so they could discredit his name for daring to tell the truth about Voldemort and Cedric.

Nasta's hand pressed against his lower back and Harry breathed easier, at least he had support this time, he had Nasta to walk with him, to stand with him and to protect him if these Faeries should foolishly attempt to hurt Leolin, not that he'd let them, he'd be the first to tear out eyeballs if they so much as said a bad word against his little son.

Harry let Nasta greet the court in the strange pattern they had, Harry would think it easier to just go along the table and greet everyone in order, but no, the Faeries did everything differently, just so the head of the court, who was sat in the centre of the table, was greeted last, so Nasta started with the Faerie on the left end of the table, then greeted the Faerie on the right end and then swung back to the left of the table and carried on going left to right.

"Alston. Dain. Siusan. Zuzana. Eitri. Kailen. Narilla. Donella. Sindri. Thank you for seeing us and our son."

One Faerie, a female, stood and approached them carefully, showing her hands, but her eyes were all for the bundle in Harry's arms, a soft waver in her laughter lined mouth.

"Narilla." Nasta greeted calmly with a small, polite bow.

Harry relaxed only slightly then, Aneirin had told them who would be friendly and who might be hostile, who had been hostile towards him and the idea of Leolin being born to Drackens and those who had wanted to take Leolin away. Narilla had been the one who seemed more concerned about Leolin's health rather than taking him from the unfit 'dragons.'

He pulled the blanket from Leolin's face; his golden eyes peered up into Harry's before flitting across to rest on Narilla, who was approaching him. He was frowning deeply.

"Oh such a face from one so little." She laughed as she drank him in. "He is six moons old now?"

Harry nodded silently as he pulled the blanket from Leolin's body and handed it to Nasta, who folded it up and slotted it into the nappy bag that he was carrying unashamedly.

Leolin was wearing a nappy and soft linen trousers, but he wasn't wearing a shirt or a vest, which is why he had been wrapped in a blanket in July.

"Oh he's such a little sweetheart." Narilla sighed, thin fingers ghosting over a sharp cheek that had yet to gain baby fat.

"Check the baby for glamours." One man sniffed his nose crinkling like he had smelled something foul and rotten. "I don't believe these dragons could create one of our kind."

"Oh hush, Alston!" Narilla chided sternly, her gold eyes hot with anger. "If the blood is in the lines it can come up anywhere, even somewhere unexpected, if the gods will it so."

"The Delericeys were nulled and voided!"

"Not anymore." One man said with a glare.

"One Faerie does not change their status, Dain!" Alston spat.

"Yes it does." The ancient looking Faerie in the centre of the table said softly and slowly. "I have given this a lot of thought and if the gods had cursed the Delericey line as null, this little one wouldn't have been born to it, so the gods have seen fit to lift the curse and bless the Delericeys with the life blood of the Faeries once more."

"They're dragons!"

"We heard you the first time, Alston." A very young, good looking Faerie answered. His hair was a shock of soft looking golden curls that almost completely matched the bright gold of his eyes. Harry smiled a naughty smile and tried to ignore the blush rising on his cheeks as he thought of Draco with gold eyes, if the Faerie's hair had been straight and his eyes silver instead of gold, Harry might have easily imagined Draco behind that table. They had the same angular face.

"Then why is no one listening?!" Alston hissed.

"Because you don't have a valid point." The Faerie, Dain, pointed out with a snarl.

"You and Kailen should not be a part of this court meeting; you are too close to the situation." A woman with dark, unfriendly eyes glared at him.

"I am a member of this court regardless of the situation, Siusan!" Dain bit out harshly.

"You will obviously vote to accept this babe of dragons due to the past, not the present situation!" Another woman burst out angrily.

"That babe of dragons is a Faerie." The curly gold haired Faerie said boredly. "Regardless of past situations, that is the present, he is a Faerie and I will not vote to outcast one of our own based merely on parentage."

"No one asked for your opinion, Eitri!" Alston snarled.

"Oh? I thought that was the reason that we were all here?" The previously silent male closest to Dain put in softly.

"They fight like children with an ice cream." Harry whispered to Nasta, who shot an amused look down to him before turning back to the table of fighting Faeries. It was rather amusing.

"Enough!" One woman shouted. "They should not be allowed to keep such a vulnerable babe, I would accept him, Sindri, I gladly would and I'd raise him as my own!"

Harry hissed and covered Leolin's body with his arms and Nasta slipped in front of him, his stance loose and ready to attack.

"You touch him and I'll kill you." He swore deeply.

"You see!" Alston stood up to point furiously at Nasta. "No culture! They're mindless beasts! They're an outlawed creature for a reason!"

"I agree with, Alston, we cannot leave a defenceless Faerie babe with such beasts. They could get him killed, or even kill him themselves."

Harry's hands clenched, his instincts battling with his rational mind, he wanted to kill her for daring to say that he was a threat to his own baby, but his logical half knew that they were riling them up on purpose, to show their very worst qualities to the court and Harry touched Nasta's back, rubbing a thumb into the tense muscles of his lower back, easing out the tension.

"They're doing this purposefully." Harry stood on his toes to whisper as close to Nasta's ear as he could while the court fought once more over the outburst. "They're riling us up to show only our bad side, we need to stay calm."

Nasta breathed in deeply and let it out slowly, he slipped an arm around Harry's back and stepped back to stand beside him, placing a hand on Leolin's head and running a thumb over those sharp features. Leolin was still awake, but he was getting tired as he yawned with a minute mouth.

"Narilla, come away from them, they're dangerous and unpredictable!" Alston said angrily.

Narilla, who was standing off to the side a little away from them, puffed up with fury and Harry could almost see her beautifully muted dress ruffling with her indignation.

"You dare presume to order me around?" She demanded her face a hard mask of perpetual anger. "I am three hundred years your senior! I was presiding over this court before you had full function of your wings and was still suckling at your Mother's milk in swaddling clothes!"

"I…I meant no offence." Alston replied, completely cowed and contrite from the vision of the enraged woman before him.

"You meant every offence and I will not stand for it!" Narilla answered, turning her back on Alston and coming back to touch Leolin again. "Your Father said that you had named him Leolin?"

Harry nodded silently. He felt as thick as a crate of bricks just nodding all the time like a toy dog, but he was so nervous and he was more afraid that he'd actually stutter and make even more of a fool out of himself that he just couldn't speak. It seemed safer to just stay silent and let Nasta talk, not that Nasta was much of a talker either and he was nearly as silent as he was. He didn't know if that was a good thing or not, but the Faeries seemed to like talking.

"Dragon name." Alston muttered under his breath, just loud enough for them to hear, but he was coming across as petulant now and Harry shook his head sadly. He'd never understand how some people were so pathetic as to make fun of someone's name, particularly one of a six month old infant.

"I know there were some problems with him being born too early, have his wings covered over yet?" Narilla took his attention once more, not even paying the slightest bit of notice to Alston any longer.

Harry carefully, and a bit nervously, pulled Leolin to rest carefully and securely over his shoulder, a move he had done a thousand times, but never with nine critically staring Faeries watching him, just waiting for him to slip up and make a mistake so that they could jump all over it like a dog with a bone.

Leolin's tiny little wings were just starting to get a faint blush of pale colour to them, which made them seem healthier and more substantial than when they had been raw and weeping, Harry gladly welcomed the change, even if the wings had yet to so much as twitch.

"I assume he's had no sicknesses or infections from having the open sores on his back? Not many premature Faeries survive. It's less than one percent, maybe one premature baby in every one hundred, and I'm sure that one only survives now and then through pure luck."

"He's been fine." Harry answered softly, thinking about what he wanted to say before opening his mouth. Draco would have been so proud. "No infections, no sickness, nothing but a bit of discomfort from having the sores, he used to wriggle on his back a little, like the newly growing skin was itchy, but he never cried over it and he never lost any sleep or missed any feeds."

"Oh he's a strong one." Narilla complimented. "May I hold him?"

Harry pulled away from her immediately and raised an arm to curl around Leolin's back, his hand protecting his head.

"Harry, I think it would be best if you let Narilla hold our son." Nasta coaxed gently and carefully, aware that if he sounded too demanding that Harry would likely take a swipe at him.

Harry breathed deeply and he had to force himself to lower his arms and they shook as he handed Leolin over to the female Faerie.

He snatched himself back before he could lunge forward and take Leolin right back off of her. It didn't feel right to be handing his son over to anyone, but he was soothed by Nasta, who held him and touched him, murmuring softly, encouragingly, in his ear, and by Narilla, who held Leolin expertly and gently, not putting pressure on his little wings, but still holding him securely and that she praised him, Leolin and Nasta over how well he'd come on and it all helped settle his Dracken side back away from the edge where the smallest little thing would push him to attack.

"Bring him over, quickly, Narilla." Alston encouraged.

Narilla glared at Alston as Harry lunged forward, only to be held back by Nasta, who moved to block Narilla from the table.

"You will learn very soon, Alston, that I can cause you a lot of pain and embarrassment, now you will stop ordering me around like a witless animal. I am not your Mother, your lover, your sister or thankfully any other relation of yours, so you have absolutely no right to order your Elder's around like you own them and if your Mother allows you to speak to her this way then I would be very surprised and disappointed in Sulana! I wonder how she'd react if I told her how you were conducting yourself today, at court too, no less."

"Please do carry on." The curly, golden haired Eitri said to Alston with a devastatingly handsome smile. "I believe we'd all enjoy watching the lovely Narilla rip you to pieces, after she's handed little Leolin back to his rightful parents that is."

"There will be no fighting in this meeting hall with a babe present." The Faerie in the centre of the table, the one Harry was realising was the head of the court, Sindri, said harshly in his slow, tired voice.

Nasta gently petted Harry and loosened his arm around his waist now that they knew that Narilla wasn't going anywhere with Leolin, but Harry was so very anxious to get his son back into his arms.

"We are here to meet Leolin for the first time." The Faerie, Dain said into the echoing hall. "We are here to accept him into our city, not to decide if he should be ripped from his natural parents or if he deserves to be here or not. He is a Faerie, he has as much right to be here as any of us and we have no right to take him from his parents."

"I would be a better Mother to him…"

"You have lost every babe you have ever tried to raise!" The nearly silent Faerie, Kailen, burst out angrily. "If there was a reason to take Leolin from his natural parents you would be the very last person given charge of him, Donella! Leolin is healthy, he is happy and he is still alive despite being born early, so Harry, Nasta and their other lovers are obviously raising him right and we have no need to intervene, Leolin is in no danger where he is and taking him from his natural parents for no reason is diabolical."

"I agree with, Kailen." Eitri spoke up immediately. "I won't vote to have a babe be taken from his natural parents just because Alston is a prick and Donella wants him for herself."

"You're a babe yourself!" Alston snarled at him.

Eitri raised a golden eyebrow and gave a small dry chuckle. "Hardly, Alston. We all know why you hate the Dracken species, how is your daughter these days and your two grandchildren? Or is it three now, do you even know?"

Alston snarled and his hands clenched tightly.

"That is enough in front of the little babe!" Narilla demanded. "The little one is already getting uncomfortable with all of this overt aggression floating around. Here, Harry sweet one, I think he needs his Mother back."

Harry happily accepted Leolin back and he couldn't help but clutch at him tightly, bending his head to sniff at him deeply. Nasta reached under his elbow and touched the top of Leolin's head, rubbing his black hair through two fingers and a thumb.

"It would be criminal to remove him from your care." Narilla said softly as she watched them with their little Faerie baby. "I won't have it, Sindri."

Sindri nodded slowly. "This meeting is not for the removal of Leolin from the care of anyone." He said clearly. "We are here to greet him, a lost Faerie babe, back into our city. We will give him and his parents everything they need to raise him safely."

"Thank you." Harry said softly.

Sindri nodded. "May I hold him?"

Harry licked his lips and took a deep breath, stepping forward without Nasta prompting him; he knew how important this moment was.

Harry bent easily over the very slim table and he laid Leolin in those aged arms and he watched as Sindri seemed to absorb the presence of Leolin, smiling softly as Leolin almost glared up at him.

"It is always nice to see a new Unseelie." Sindri said softly.

"Leolin's an Unseelie? How do you know?" Harry asked curiously as he tried to see some sort of mark or something that Sindri could see that he hadn't noticed before.

"It's his look, sweet one." Narilla told him. "Unseelie babies are always scowling so much. Seelie babies are usually more docile, like Eitri."

"He smiled at me." Harry frowned.

Eitri laughed softly. "Unseelie can still smile and laugh and joke and they can be as kind as much as the next person, but they are more likely to be scowling and frowning if they're left to think too much, it is their default expression if you will."

Eitri stood then and came to stand at Sindri's shoulder and Harry watched as Leolin's little pout deepened to a full out scowl. Eitri laughed and bumped two slim fingers under Leolin's chin very gently.

"Oh he is most definitely an Unseelie."

"Can you tell is he's a Fae or a Valkyrie?" Harry asked curiously.

Eitri looked at him with those gold eyes, long curls of the same golden hair falling down his face which allowed Harry to compare them critically and he found that it was very much the same shade of gold as his eyes.

"No. It's impossible to tell yet, but most Unseelie are Valkyries too. It's been a very long time since we've had an Unseelie Fae born."

"Is it a problem for you if he's a Fae or a Valkyrie?" An evil eyed female asked him. She had been silent up until now, sat stiffly between Dain and Kailen, like her chair had a spike on the seat but she saw it as too improper to stand to remove it, and Harry didn't believe she was one of the ones on their side, not with the look in her eyes, so he answered her loaded question carefully, thinking hard about every word that he said, he couldn't mess this meeting up, for Leolin's sake if no one else's.

"Of course not, I just wanted to know." Harry answered carefully. "He's my son, if there is anything I need to know then I want to know about it, I wouldn't care either way if he turned out as a Fae or a Valkyrie and I don't mind that he's an Unseelie, I still love him. Nothing is going to change that."

"Zuzana was asking because most parents of a Fae sell them." Eitri told him blandly, his handsome smiles gone to be replaced by a blank stare that couldn't entirely hide the pain in his big, wide eyes.

Harry reared back like he'd been hit and Nasta pressed a supporting hand to his back.

"It is not as clear cut as that." Kailen told them. "They do sell them, but under the guise of a marriage bond, usually for a large dowry and the chance to make powerful new friends."

"That's hideous." Nasta answered and Harry didn't need to turn around to know that he was pulling that pinched face that he did when something truly disgusted him.

"Eitri got himself out of a marriage selling, didn't you, Eitri?" Alston hissed dangerously and Harry realised that that was what the blank, almost pained look was about…someone had tried to sell Eitri, likely before he was even an adult. "He was going to go for a record price I hear, what with his odd colouring and pale beauty. His Uncle sat on this table before him, but he died suddenly half way through drawing up the marriage contract."

"A very strange and sudden passing." Eitri replied, lowering his head in what was clearly false grief. "Though I was very pleased to have been chosen to sit at this table after his death, I was expecting Lanika or Hirum to take the empty seat, though we all know that Alston wanted his son Eldon in my place. What other reason would he have for bringing this up?"

"Eldon is older and wiser than you!" Alston insisted. "A mere babe like you should not have been given such a prestigious position in the first place and in light of your obvious involvement with your Uncle's passing…"

"Be very careful now, Alston." Siusan told him, placing a calming hand on his arm. "The perpetrators for Culan's death have already been charged and sentenced, they wanted Eitri for themselves and Culan refused them and their price so they killed him to try and bargain for Eitri once more with his new guardian, how could any of us have known that Eitri would petition to be his own guardian upon his Uncle's death? So I am sure young Eitri had nothing to do with such a travesty, such involvement would mean his curly, golden head."

"Of course I wasn't a part of that horrendous scheme, I was just a young babe, wasn't I, Alston?" Eitri said mildly, a sweet smile on his pouty lips. "I couldn't possibly have been involved."

"Suisan is correct." Sindri said slowly as he cuddled with Leolin. "The perpetrators for Culan's death were found and tried and executed justly, bringing up such a matter is very embarrassing for this court in front of visitors."

"I think it's very informative." Nasta denied. "To know that most Faeries sell Fae babes to the highest bidder for gold and power is very interesting. If Leolin were to take a Faerie as a lover much later in his life, can we expect that his chosen partner might try to sell any Fae grandchildren that we might receive? I believe these are things that we need to know so that we might prepare accordingly and know to look for it in order to put a stop to it."

"You arrogant beast!" Donella burst out suddenly and harshly. "To think that you actually believe that your babe would even be given a second glance by true Faeries. That you dare to think that he would actually manage to get a Faerie lover for this hypothetical situation to even arise! Imagine if they had a dragon babe! No Faerie would risk such embarrassment. It's laughable, inconceivable…Faerie or not, he will never have a true place here!" She ranted dramatically, pointing a long finger at Leolin, who was slowly drifting off to sleep in Sindri's arms.

"You say another bad word against my son and I promise you will regret it." Harry said angrily, his fists clenching tightly.

"Are you threatening me beast?!"

"Yes." Harry confirmed. "If you say anything about my son, if you so much as breathe on him, I'll break your neck faster than it takes you to fart in the morning."

"You vile, uncouth beast! They should never have been allowed into this city!" Donella complained to Sindri.

"You would have him thrown from the city for laying claim to his own son and threatening violence if he's harmed?" Eitri asked with a laugh. "Donella, forgive me for saying, but you are clearly missing the point. Far from being an uncouth beast, he is saying, very clearly, that if anyone here harms Leolin that he'll react in kind, such a thing should be praised, not admonished."

"I agree with Eitri." Narilla said proudly.

"I also agree with Eitri." Sindri said, cutting off the ranting and raving that was brewing up. "Here, Harry, take your Leolin back. Thank you for letting me hold him. It has been too long since I have last held a Faerie babe, too few are being born and less are surviving." He said sadly.

Harry accepted Leolin back and held him tightly, smiling as Leolin cracked open his eyes as he was shifted so much and his little son gave him a small twitch of his lips that could have been a smile before he closed his eyes and settled himself down again.

Nasta's arms wrapped around his waist and supported his arms holding Leolin. Harry felt Nasta breathe on the back of his head, making his hair flutter and he took a deep breath, feeling more relaxed about this whole meeting. A certain few were making it tense and were making him angry, but others, like Narilla and Eitri were making it all better, Sindri seemed nice enough and though he knew Nasta didn't want to be near them, Dain and Kailen were being nice too.

"Thank you for bringing him in to see us." Sindri told them. "I would be happy to see him again in less…inimical conditions. Perhaps when he is a little older."

Harry nodded his head and smiled. "Of course."

"If there is ever anything you need, I insist that you come to us for it." Narilla told him softly.

Harry felt Nasta nod above him. "We will likely take you up on that offer often. We were very surprised to have had a Faerie babe too, but we have had him and all we want is to do what's best for him."

"Then you would be best handing him over now." Suisan told them. "I would raise him better…"

"The gods took all four of your babes from you while they were still in the womb." Dain spat at her. "You were not meant to have babes in arms."

"That is despicable of you to say, Dain!" Donella hissed.

"It is nothing that is not true. If anyone here would have that little boy it would be Narilla. No one else! Not that Leolin needs to be taken from Harry and Nasta, that would be truly despicable."

"We are not here to remove Leolin from his natural parents." Sindri reminded them firmly, sounding even more tired and exasperated. "We were here to meet and greet him, now we have do so. Nasta, Harry, if there was nothing else, you may leave."

"Thank you again." Harry said softly as Nasta gently moved and coaxed Harry to walk in front of him, so that if anyone attacked their back, they'd hit Nasta first.

They made it back out into the corridor safely and Harry let out a breath that he hadn't realised he'd been holding when the door shut behind them to the shouting and yelling of the Faeries from within.

"That went well." He said to Nasta with a grin. Nasta snorted and gave him a kiss.

"I love you so much."

"I love you more." Harry said with a smile. "Come on, let's get home."

Blaise pulled Tegan back between his legs more securely and kept one arm around her as he tugged Calix back by his waistband, the little boy giggling uproariously.

"They're getting more of a handful every day!" Blaise complained.

"They're growing every day." Max informed him as he hunched down behind him to wrap him in a hug, kissing the back of his neck.

"I know that, but seriously, Harry has a heat period in a few days, we could have even more babies."

"We could." Max agreed easily.

"Doesn't it all seem a little…much?" Draco asked carefully.

"It does at times." Max said mildly, sitting back more comfortably and pulling Blaise into his lap. "But we don't have any way to control how many children we have, it's going to be tough, but this is what we're made for, the whole point of Drackens is to procreate, it's so finely in tuned to our instincts that the thought of not mating and not having children drives most Drackens insane and they have to be executed."

"I just hope we don't get another five." Blaise smiled. "I love the quintuplets, all five of them and that I love Braiden goes without saying, but another five? I think I really would go for a vasectomy."

"I think triplets next would be the limit." Max nodded.

"One would be the limit!" Draco put in, marking the page in his book and putting it down so that he could take a sip of tea and carry on the conversation without seeming rude.

"We need to allow for more than one I think." Blaise answered. "There are four of us. I think Max has it right, I'd be happy with triplets as a maximum for this next heat."

"It seems too soon." Draco sighed.

"You weren't born to this life; you weren't raised with this as the normal." Blaise pointed out. "Nasta, Max and I were told from very young ages what we were and we have spent the rest of our lives making decisions according to our futures. We knew that we'd have a submissive mate, we knew there was a possibility of other dominants, but we all knew for certain that we'd have a lot of children and we've been mentally preparing for that for years, in my case it's been ten years, my Mother told me when I was eight what I was and what my future was going to be and yes, I admit I was a bit resentful at first, having my life dictated in such a way, but it is what it is. I did my absolute best in school when some others goofed off or put off homework and revision because I wanted a high paying job, I knew that I'd need it to support my future family and the high number of children that I'd likely have, so I spent my teenaged years preparing for it when others were focused on inconsequential things."

"I've had twenty-five years to get used to the idea." Max shrugged. "I was told very young because I was like Farren, a big, boisterous boy. I was very strong and I was rough with my sisters and with Caesar too, so I was told what I was young to help me understand that I had to be careful, Nasta was told young too, in light of his Mother's death, Aneirin sat him down and told Nasta, as his only Dracken child, what he was to help him understand. But you and Harry…you were thrust into this life with no warning, which rarely happens, but still, you should have both had breakdowns by now, but you're both so strong and stubborn and determined. You had no time to prepare for this, no time to get used to the idea of so many children where Nasta, Blaise and I have grown up knowing that this was normal and we've prepared accordingly, you and Harry never, so it will be more difficult for you, naturally, just remember though, that you're not alone. You will never be alone and we'll always be here for you and yes, sometimes you all drive me up the wall and I say things because I need to vent out a few frustrations, but I still love the lot of you and if you need help with anything then I'll do my damned best to help you, but the number of children we have, it's just something that we can't control. Dracken numbers are falling, Dracken pairings are having less and less Dracken babies and more human babies, it is unfortunately creating something of a baby boom, if we don't start picking up numbers somewhere, we're going to die out."

"I believe it's because I'm so far out of my comfort zone." Draco admitted after taking another sip of his tea to consider his words. "I am an only child. My Father was an only child; my Mother was one of only three girls. We have six children under a year old already and more to come. I suppose all I want is for everything to slow down, so that we can enjoy the children that we already have for a little longer before more come along."

"A wish shared by nearly every Dracken family in the world I suppose." Max nodded understandingly. "We all want to enjoy them more, adding another dozen while our first ones are still so young seems almost criminal, but we aren't humans, Draco. We are going to live for a very long time and Harry will be fertile for less than half of that time, we will get to enjoy our children, but unfortunately this is how it is and nothing can change it, there isn't a potion, spell or any sort of birth control that can be used while Harry is in heat, trust me when I say that it's all be tried and tested before, there are even some Drackens who are working on trying to create a Dracken specific birth control, but until the unlikely event that they succeed, you need to realise that this is our lives. We were chosen to be Drackens, if we couldn't handle it, we wouldn't have been chosen, so pull up some of your inner strength, we can do this and we are going to damn well enjoy it too."

Draco shook his head with a long suffering sigh before he rushed to put his teacup down and pick Braiden up, who had crawled to the settee that he was sat on and lifted his arms to be picked up. Draco sat him on his lap and used his fingers to comb through the silky black strands of hair that Braiden was growing as their first born son snuggled in and his eyes started dropping.

"I think someone needs a long nap." Blaise chuckled.

"He woke up too early this morning. I told you that he'd be knackered by the afternoon." Max grinned. "This will teach you, Braiden, stay asleep longer in the mornings and you won't have to have a nap!"

"I wonder how Harry and Nasta are getting on at court with Leolin."

"I bet they fucking hate it." Max said happily. "Nasta's been in a right foul mood for the last week or two."

"I heard him snap at you this morning, are you alright?" Blaise asked.

Max scoffed. "Nas can snap at me all he likes, he knows I'll just snap back, which is probably why he chose me to snap at in the first place. I won't take it to heart like the rest of you."

"He still shouldn't say such things to you." Draco said with a frown.

"He was worried and nervous about going to the court, he needed a safe outlet for it, I more than understand. You heard Aneirin, some of the court wanted to take Leolin away from us, now Nasta has had to take Harry and Leolin into such a hostile place to meet the very people who want Leolin away from us. He's scared and he doesn't want to admit it out loud, but if anything at all happens to Harry or Leolin at those courts then he's never going to forgive himself."

"Is that why he was lecturing Harry about letting him be a human shield at breakfast?" Blaise asked.

"He's been doing that for the last week too." Draco pointed out.

"How would you feel in his shoes?" Max challenged. "It's not easy being the top dominant, it's not easy holding us all together and making sure that there is minimal stress and no tension between any of us. The position of top dominant is hard and it's a heavy weight to bear, one that can never be put down for even a moment's rest, yet Nasta has not once complained or whined about it. He loves us and he would endure anything and everything if it meant keeping us all safe. His instincts are screaming at him for walking Harry and Leolin into a hostile situation that he may not be able to adequately control, he's been a quivering wreck inside these past few weeks, so if a bit of snapping here or there helps him keep control, then I'll paint the damn target sign on my forehead for him, because trust me, I know Nasta, I've known him for years and if he loses his temper, he fucking loses it big. At the moment, all he's doing is venting some of his fear and frustration, he's not angry with any of us, he's angry at the situation he's been forced into, but you need to understand that he has to get rid of his tension safely and in a way that isn't detrimental to us as a family, so he snaps and he vents and that's okay, because I never want to see Nasta truly lose his control, never."

"I've never seen him lose his temper before." Blaise said consideringly.

"No you haven't, because he hasn't lost control once since you've known him. He has little wobbles and temper tantrums, but he has never fully lost his temper, not truly and if you saw him in a fit of rage, you'd be as scared and as respectful as I am towards him. He has a hell of a lot of control and he uses that control every day to make us a better family together. Honestly, I don't think we would have made it this far without one of us being killed if he wasn't here with us."

"You think so?" Draco asked quietly.

"Draco, my love, I'm almost certain of it." Max replied with a grimace.

Harry took the time to enjoy the Faerie city now that the court meeting was over; at least it was for now. It truly was beautiful, picturesque, a bit like Hogsmeade, only this was a city and not a small village.

The city centre was a collection of buildings, mostly food shops and other small buildings, Harry saw a jewellers, a butchers and a leather shop from where he stood just outside the courts, but Nasta wanted to just leave and get away from the Faeries, but there was only one entrance and one exit to the city and it was on the other side of the city, so they had a lot of walking to do and a lot of hostile and some not so hostile Faeries to pass through. One Fae was so happy to see Leolin that he practically gushed as his Valkyrie stood behind him, arms folded and a serious frown on his face, but Harry remembered what Eitri had told them, it was their default expression, so Harry didn't take it to heart as he showed Leolin off to the Fae. He was so excited to see a Faerie baby that he just didn't care that he and Nasta were Drackens.

"We need to leave, Ezrah, your Mother is waiting." The Valkyrie said quietly, carefully.

"Just a moment more, please." The Fae, Ezrah, begged.

His mate nodded his head and Ezrah smiled so wonderfully that Harry knew that his mate would do anything to see it, that the stern and frowning Valkyrie would do absolutely anything to see Ezrah smile and to make him happy.

"I've been told that he's a little Unseelie." Harry told Ezrah carefully; aware that Leolin's face was blank and slack now that he was sleeping.

Ezrah laughed. "I bet he's all scowly, isn't he?"

Harry nodded. "He smiled earlier today, but that was the first time he's ever done it. Every other moment that he's awake he's always scowling at everyone and everything around him, especially at his brothers and sister."

"You have more Faerie babes?" The Valkyrie asked shocked.

"Lathen! That's so rude." Ezrah chastised. "I'm so sorry about him, I can't take him anywhere."

"It's alright." Harry smiled. "Leolin is our only Faerie babe so far, we have two Dracken sons, two wizards and a witch."

Harry watched them closely to see their reaction to him raising Leolin with Dracken siblings, wondering if that would be an issue too, but Ezrah just got a strange look on his face.

"You're so lucky to have so many babes. I…Lathen and I have been trying for the last half century and we beg the gods every morn and eve to bless us with babes, but it seems that I was never meant to carry." He said sadly. "Leolin is the first Faerie babe I've seen in this last decade, I know Eudel had a daughter fourteen moon turns ago, but no one has so much as seen a peek of her. He won't speak of her and his mate hasn't been seen since either. They're so secretive that it's taken all the joy out of being parents and the rest of us can't even celebrate her birth properly."

"That's not fair to say." Lathen told Ezrah sternly. "They've lost three boys and a girl already. Niobe is their longest surviving babe, they just want to protect her."

"That doesn't mean that they can't bring her out into the fresh air!" Ezrah said back. "Locking her away is just going to do more damage! This little boy seems just fine to me and he is an even younger babe than Niobe!"

"Leolin likes being outside." Harry said as the two men glared at one another in silence. "He always seems more aware of everything when we sit him outside than if he's stuck inside."

"You see!" Ezrah pointed at Harry. "He understands and he isn't even a Faerie."

"We are late for our visit with your Mother." Lathen said quietly, recognising that he had lost the fight, but in typical male fashion, he wouldn't admit it out loud.

Ezrah huffed but turned to coo some more at Leolin.

"Thank you for letting me see him, I'd almost forgotten what babes look like in this city. I do hope we'll see each other again and then when we do, that you have Leolin with you still. I shall give messages of health to the gods for him."

"Thank you." Nasta said a bit gruffly. Harry looked at him and saw that he was not holding things together as well as he had thought, it was time that they left this city and the stress of it behind. Nasta had endured enough and every added minute here was adding to his stress and very soon he would crack. They needed to get back home and away from here so that Nasta would relax and unwind.

"Thank you, Ezrah." Harry nodded. "I'm sure that Leolin and I will be seeing you again soon, the court wishes to see Leolin again when he's a little older, I'll keep an eye out for you."

The smile that Ezrah gave him made Harry smile back, feeling happier as Nasta led him away, towards the exit to the city and Lathen herded Ezrah in the opposite direction, presumably towards his Mother who was waiting for them.

Harry cuddled Leolin back into the crook of his arm and covered him over before he slipped his arm through Nasta's and rested against him, letting Nasta's arm slip around his back and hold him tightly as they hurried to the exit of the city, passing more horses pulling carriages, past Valkyries standing on guard, actual swords on their hips, past a pair of matching stables that were adjacent to one another, before they went past another guard house and then through the absolutely huge double gates that led into and out of the city.

Nasta only breathed easy when they passed these gates with no issue and he took out the Portkey, holding on tight to Harry, making sure that he and Leolin both had a hand touching the Portkey before activating it and Nasta's knees buckled when they arrived in the back garden of Max's home to better take Harry's weight onto his own body as he knew that Harry couldn't land properly.

They got their bearings back before Nasta led him into the house through the back door, into the kitchen, where Max waved at them happily and put the kettle on before coming to hug them both tightly, giving them each a big kiss.

"Everything go alright?" He murmured as he held them both in his large, strong arms. "We weren't expecting you to be gone for so long."

"It was better than I thought it would be. None of my nightmares came true." Harry said with a smile.

"They didn't want Leolin away from us then?" Blaise asked as he wandered in from the living room, Calix thrown over a shoulder.

"Some of them did." Nasta grumbled as he took Leolin from Harry as Harry took Calix from Blaise and peppered his face with kisses.

"He's been a pain all day." Blaise told him. "He's been trying to get into everything and now he's refusing to go to bed."

That made Harry smile and he cuddled Calix tightly as his little boy babbled sweetly at him, happy to see him again.

"Have you been exploring, Calix? Who's a growing boy?!" Harry cooed.

"You two have been gone nearly all day, I bet you're starving, I was just getting dinner prepped for when you got back." Max said happily. "Did you have any Faerie food?"

"They had the same food as us." Harry said with a roll of his eyes. "There was a butchers, a bakers, I even saw a Delicatessen's. But no, we were at the court for most of the day, we haven't eaten since breakfast."

Max's grin grew wider. "I've got a feast prepared for you both, I even made dessert, it's probably not as good as your desserts, Harry, but I'm still good at them."

"I know you are." Harry said as he pulled Max's head down for another kiss, they broke apart when Harry's stomach growled loudly. "I did say I was hungry." He defended with a grin.

"That's exactly what I like to hear from my men." Max grinned right back.

"You're a dope sometimes, you know that right?" Harry asked.

Max nodded. "I've been hearing that all my life, love. I think it finally sunk in about five years ago."

"I thought I heard you back." Draco said as he came into the kitchen with a teacup in hand.

Harry gasped. "Draco! Where is your saucer? Is the world ending?" He turned to ask Nasta, who tried to suppress his smile.

Draco put his teacup down and dragged Harry into a hug.

"Harry, where is your lack of fashion sense? You're wearing an outfit that actually matches! Oh wait, I dressed you this morning." Draco replied and Harry laughed and pulled Draco into a deep kiss.

"I love you." Harry said with a smile. "Saucer fetish and all."

Draco rolled his eyes. "I can deal with your lack of fashion sense unless you're going out, then I insist that you let me dress you."

"I prefer you to undress me, but whatever makes you happy, love."

That made Max laugh loudly as he made them all tea, slipping Blaise a coffee as Nasta was distracted by Calix, who was crawling around his feet, babbling.

The look Nasta gave them both let them know that they hadn't got away with it, but he didn't say anything and he accepted his own cup of green tea from Max, reminding Harry of his thought the other day that Nasta had eyes in the back and sides of his head. He always seemed to know what was going on, who was where, what everyone was feeling and when they were doing something that they shouldn't be, he was the perfect top dominant.

"Tell us all about it, are they going to try for Leolin?" Draco asked as he took the tiny baby from Nasta and cradled him gently. "They'll have to pry him from my dead hands if they want him." He swore as he sat at the table.

"Where are the others?" Harry asked as he picked Calix up and sat him on his lap.

"All in bed sleeping." Blaise told him.

"Even Farren?" Harry asked surprised. Farren didn't nap and he didn't go to bed easily.

Max nodded. "We tired him out; we found out that he really, really likes doing roly polys. We've been doing it for the last four hours, over and over again; I could do with a nap myself after that!"

Harry smiled and he made a mental note to play with Farren tomorrow.

"So what happened?" Draco prompted.

"It was horrible, I could feel myself losing control the more they demanded Leolin be away from us." Harry told them.

"So they did want Leolin away from us?" Blaise asked as Draco's arms tightened around Leolin.

"Four of them did, one because he hated Drackens, one because she didn't want any baby to survive where hers hadn't and two because they wanted Leolin for themselves."

"So it was a minority?"

"It wouldn't matter if the majority of them wanted Leolin from us, Sindri is the head of the court, he could have stopped it with an immediate appeal where several independent Faeries would then decide along with him what would have happened, but he was adamant that Leolin be left with us." Nasta said.

"I liked Sindri." Harry smiled.

"Did you see Dain and Kailen?" Max asked them carefully.

Nasta snarled under his breath but Harry sighed.

"Yes, we did. They were on the court, but we didn't get to speak to them properly. We saw Warren though."

"What's he like?"

Harry frowned consideringly. "He seemed very interested in Aneirin and why he wasn't with us."

"It was none of his business!" Nasta hissed.

Harry patted his shoulder and gave his stubbly cheek a kiss. "I know, love, but he was very interested in where your Dad was, shouldn't he have known that it would have made us look weak if we'd taken him with us?"

Nasta grunted and Harry gave it up, Nasta seriously didn't want to be talking about this and mentioning Warren and his interest in Aneirin was not making things any better and neither was talking about Dain and Kailen.

"So that's it now?" Blaise asked hopefully.

Harry shook his head. "They want us to take him back in a few months, I think they're surprised that he's still alive, they said that most premature Faerie babies don't survive, in fact, didn't Narilla say that only one survived once in a blue moon and only then due to luck?"

Nasta nodded as he looked to Leolin over the rim of his cup. "Yeah, we've done a brilliant job with him; I'm not sure if he has latent Dracken blood helping him or if it truly is just luck, but I'm hoping it's something a little more substantial than mere luck."

Harry nodded as he drained the last of his honey tea. "Luck can run out, if it's in his blood from us, then he'll have that for life."

"Then let's hope it's his blood, you are both Dracken's after all, even if Nasta did give him Faerie blood, there has to be some hint of Dracken in him." Max nodded as he bustled happily around his kitchen.

"I'm going to put these two to bed, then maybe a bit later on we can forget all about this hideous day." Harry said with a wink.

"Does that mean what I think it does?" Max asked happily.

"It means that I think we need to re-christen your wonderfully big bed." Harry grinned.

Max whooped with joy and Harry shook his head as he picked Leolin up from Draco and carried him and a drowsy Calix up to the second floor. He tucked Leolin into his bassinet in their bedroom before taking Calix next door and tucking him into his cot.

He made sure the others were still sleeping, tucking them in, giving them soft kisses before he made sure the baby monitor was switched on still before he left the bedroom, shutting the door quietly behind him.

He took in a deep breath and smiled. It had been a serious rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts today, he'd spent several hours with Nasta and Leolin in the Faerie city, he was emotionally drained and he wasn't feeling much better physically, but hopefully he'd feel better after he ate some of Max's amazing cooking and then he'd snuggle up with his mates for an hour or two while they just relaxed together, before they came up to bed for the night, then the real fun could start, he needed a bit of practice before his heat period hit them, he had a feeling that very soon he'd have a couple more newborn babies to look after.

He didn't much care, he wanted more children, though perhaps not another set of quintuplets anytime soon, or ever for that matter, but he was worried about what his mates felt about adding to their number of children. He warred between bringing it up or keeping quiet and as he rejoined them in the kitchen. Max was just serving up dinner for them all and he decided to keep quiet, Nasta wasn't in the best of moods and he had already had his control tested beyond his limitations today, it could easily wait for another day or two, or even until after his heat period, he'd hate to hear that they didn't want any more children only for him to have a heat period and end up pregnant, it would hurt him deeply, but could he trust that they'd tell him the truth if they knew that he was already pregnant? He sighed loudly.

"Something on your mind?" Draco asked him with a frown.

He smiled a bit wanly. "Just thinking about the meeting with the Faeries, they want to see Leolin again in a few months, but I don't think travelling with him every couple of months is going to help him get any stronger. If we keep travelling with him, the bigger the risk of him coming into contact with germs and getting a bug or a fever. I just don't think it's in his best interests, despite the court wanting to see him."

"I was just thinking the same thing but I didn't know how to voice it." Nasta said quietly. "They'll want to see him often to make sure that we're caring for him properly, but on the other hand taking him out that often around other people, as Harry said, it puts him more at risk."

"Can't the court come to us?" Harry asked.

Nasta looked like he'd smacked him.

"You can't demand that the court comes to us when we're the outsiders." Nasta told him.

"Why not? If they want to see my baby so damned often then they can come here to see him! I will not put Leolin at risk when he's already so delicate and vulnerable, he's up against the odds already, taking him out amongst other people who could be carrying absolutely anything is not going to help!"

"You really do want to demand that the court members come here." Nasta said breathlessly, like Harry's words had been a physical force that had knocked the breath from his lungs.

"Well…maybe not demand, but can't we negotiate this? I understand the importance of getting back into the Faerie community, of how important it'll be for Leolin, but damn it what's the fucking point of going through all this if he gets sick from all the travelling and dies anyway?" Harry forced himself to say. "He's too delicate! So you tell those fucking Faeries that they can come here to see him, or send whoever they want to come and see him, well except for Donella, Alston, Siusan or Zuzana, those fuckers can stay away, but Leolin has to be our only priority in this."

Draco nodded. "I agree with Harry, regardless of how rude it is, Leolin is ours and we need to protect our baby more than we need him to be in the Faerie community. As painful as it is to think about, it'll all be for naught if the travelling makes him sick and we lose him before he even understands what being a Faerie means."

"Surely they can't expect us to travel with Leolin so much?" Blaise put in. "They know exactly how dangerous it is, why would they want us to do it more often?"

"It's up to you though, Nasta, you're our top dominant, it's your call." Harry said. "I know how important it is, but I won't have Leolin affected in such a way. I won't see him sick."

Nasta chewed and swallowed on his mouthful of food, thinking hard and considering, everyone was quiet for a while as they all ate, letting Nasta have the time and space that he needed to think.

They were just finishing up dessert when a little wail came over one of the monitors. Harry stuffed a spoonful of trifle into his mouth, but Nasta waved him back down and walked past, having already finished his dinner and his dessert.

Nasta went up to Leolin and cradled him, moving over to the bed and throwing a mat onto it before changing his wet nappy, kissing his soft little belly gently.

He sighed and dressed Leolin in a cotton sleepsuit, watching his soft gold eyes blinking slowly, until they stayed closed and Leolin's breathing eased out in sleep.

Nasta sat on the bed and cradled Leolin some more, thinking hard about his mates concerns, weighing everything up; they couldn't afford to make enemies of the Faeries, not when Leolin was one. The Faeries had the power to destroy them, they could sell him and his family out to the Ministry and get them executed and take Leolin as their prize. Braiden and Farren would be kept in custody and then executed when they were older and Calix, Regan and Tegan would be extradited from their birth country as blood carriers. It would drag all of their families into it too, his Father would be killed, leaving Sanex alone. Marianna would be executed and over half of Max's family would be executed, leaving just a few of the Maddisons from such a huge, powerful and influential family. The Faeries could destroy them, but his mates concerns were very real and very valid, all this travelling would expose Leolin to germs and bacteria that could make him very sick and with his nearly non-existent immune system, it would likely kill him.

Nasta breathed deeply and he gave Leolin a lingering kiss and put him back into his bassinet, covering him over with a light, summer blanket. There were times when he absolutely hated being the top dominant, there were times when he didn't want to be the one to make all of these hard, life altering decisions, he didn't like being in this position, but he knew what he had to do, even if he didn't like it. He knew, for Leolin and his family, that he had to do it. It was the only real choice that they had.

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