Author's note: All right, time for a new Drarry story. A couple of things you need to know before you proceed:
This will contain some sensitive subjects like surrogacy. I am not an expert regarding this subject, so my apologies if it looks wrong. It will also contain cheating. It will start out as Draco/Astoria and slowly evolve into Draco/Harry.
This story will be updated every two weeks on Saturday, as university starts for me next week and I still need to edit the chapters and finish the last couple of chapters. The chapters will also be around 5K-8K each.
Warnings: infertility; arranged marriage; Draco's pov; angst; follows the books somewhat but not the epilogue; slash; surrogacy; mentioned MPreg (for now)
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling owns it.
I hope you'll like this first chapter!
"I'm sorry, but there isn't anything we can do for you," the Healer, a woman named Melinda Rowland, delivered the final verdict in an apologetic tone.
The blond man absently noted that this Healer was the first one who didn't gloat while delivering the devastating news. They had visited five top Healers, including this one, and two of them had merely stated they refused to help them – despite their oath of impartiality – and two lawsuits were up for the other two because of their uncouth behaviour. He and his wife had won the first one already and it had resulted in a public apology from the Healer and the suspension of his license for two years.
The other case would appear before the judge in two months.
"Are you certain there are no spells or potions that can fix this?" his wife, Astoria Malfoy nee Greengrass, asked and he was impressed by her controlled voice.
No matter the situation, a Pureblood kept calm and wasn't led by emotions. Astoria, who had grown up in a strict family, knew this unspoken rule very well. It was one of the reasons why Lucius had suggested her as a possible spouse.
Rowland shook her head. "No, the damage inflicted on your body due to this curse is unfortunately irreversible." She grabbed a file and opened it. The page showed a diagram and several spells with notes written between each one. "I have searched through all the books that could provide a possible answer – even the ones you lent me - but each book gives the same answer. The curse is irreversible. I'm sorry."
Astoria closed her eyes in resignation, but her gaze was cool and collected when she opened her eyes again.
Draco's face didn't betray anything either, but behind his carefully constructed mask, there was only numbness. The realization that there would never be a Malfoy child to carry on the line finally hit him and he wanted to laugh bitterly. It seemed that even with the end of the war, he was still being punished.
The curse that was the cause of his grief had been fired by a witch belonging to the Light side. It hadn't been fired during the war itself – it was fired by the witch on a celebration party four years later. The curse wasn't even meant for Astoria in the first place. She had simply been at the wrong place, at the wrong moment. Originally Pansy Parkinson had been the target for her minimal involvement in the war, but she had moved sideways when the curse was fired, leaving Astoria – who she had been talking to – to take the curse instead.
The party had ended immediately and the witch had been arrested and was now serving an imprisonment sentence of six years in the less guarded section of Azkaban.
But the damage was already done.
The effect of the curse was only discovered four months later, when they had begun trying to conceive a child. They had been trying for four months when Astoria had decided they should let themselves be checked. The Malfoy family had always managed to conceive a child in less than three months after trying to conceive and therefore Astoria had become suspicious. When they had finally managed to find a Healer willing to help them, they got to hear after a week that nothing was wrong with Draco – he was perfectly capable of producing an heir.
So Astoria had been subjected to more examinations. They had to deliver a list of all the spells she had been hit with and all potions she had ingested in the course of the last six years.
Eventually, the Healer had discovered the effects of the curse. It had been created in the late sixteen hundreds, by a woman of the Rainford family, whose line had ceased to exist in the middle of the nineteenth century. The woman had been enraged after she was dumped by her lover, who had preferred a woman of a higher class. As revenge, she had created a curse which would make the victim completely barren, with no hope of recovery and subsequently no hope for children.
Rowland had tried casting several spells, in hopes of reversing the curse against expectations, but had to give up when it became clear that some spells caused even more harm.
"There are still options such as adoption and surrogacy," Rowland started, but quietened when Astoria raised her hand.
"Thank you for your time and effort. We appreciate it," she replied stiffly and rose up from the leather chair.
"Contact me if you have questions," Rowland murmured, realising the pair needed some time to come to terms with the news. This was one of those days when she wished she had chosen another profession, if only to avoid the duty of telling someone bad news. Even after all those years, she still wasn't used to it.
Draco nodded to the Healer and then left together with his wife the office, making their way downstairs in order to Floo home.
The jade green flames spat them out in a clean foyer in which the only furniture were a small round table next to the door, on which a vase filled with seven white roses stood; a large blue with silver rug placed in front of the pristine white fireplace and a single, comfortable, light blue armchair, fit to sit in during Floo calls.
A house elf popped in briefly to accept their coats and to clear the fireplace from black soot before disappearing to perform his other duties.
"Let us speak in the living room," Astoria suggested, breaking the silence at last and strode out of the foyer, her simple gown swishing softly over the carpet.
Releasing a soft sigh, Draco followed the woman he had been married to for almost two years. They took a seat on two comfortable, dark blue armchairs, which had been placed next to each other.
Outside the wind was picking up and rain started to hit the windows. Autumn had arrived in England.
"Now, after receiving this news, I would completely understand it if you wished to part and seek someone else," Astoria said and the only sign of her distress was the slight tightening of her hands in her lap.
"Astoria," Draco began slowly and hold her gaze when she looked at him. "Our marriage is practical, but that doesn't mean you aren't dear to me. I see no need for a divorce, unless you refuse to stay with me."
"No need?" she questioned incredulously. "Draco, I have failed in one of my duties as your wife. I can't bear your children. The Malfoy name will suffer if word gets out that there will be no children." To her credit, her voice only faltered a bit nearing the end.
"We will find a solution, I promise you that," Draco assured her, even though at this moment he couldn't think of anything bar adopting or surrogacy. "It's not like there is a deadline for a Malfoy to produce an heir."
Indeed there wasn't. His great-great-great-grandfather for example had produced his first heir when he was already fifty-two years old. Draco was barely twenty-two – nobody would find it strange if there wasn't an heir born immediately.
"What kind of solution?" Astoria sounded bitter. "We only have two options: either we adopt and you perform a Family blood ritual or we use a surrogate. I don't know which one of the options is worse. Either we are going to have to find a child of which the guardians don't mind that he or she will be raised by a Malfoy or we need to find a person willing to carry your child. Do I need to remind you that even after these years the Malfoy name still calls revulsion instead of respect?"
"No, you don't need to remind me," Draco replied coolly. "After all I've been trying to bring back the Malfoy name into positive light these past few years."
She bowed her head in apology. "My apologies – I didn't mean to offend you," she murmured.
"Astoria," Draco sighed.
At once she rose up from her seat and crossed the room. "Please excuse me, Draco, but for this moment I find myself not in the mood to discuss this further. If you do not mind, I'll be taking a bath."
He inclined his head. "I'm going to visit Pansy," he said calmly and stood up as well. "She seemed rather eager to talk to me when I received her latest letter."
They departed and while Astoria made her way up the stairs to the luxurious bathroom that only she was permitted to enter, Draco made his way to the foyer, needing to get out of the manor before his mother could try to talk to him. His mother had always had the uncanny ability to appear when he was feeling distressed and while he appreciated her concern, now he found he wouldn't be able to deal well with her questions.
"Nott's cottage," he stated and after throwing the pale green powder in the fireplace and stepping into it, the fire whisked him away and one minute later, he stepped out into another fireplace, being watchful not to trip over the small step.
"In the kitchen!"
Pansy and Theodore had got married three years ago and had decided that a cottage at the unruly, windy coast of Scotland was good enough for them. Surprising everyone who knew Pansy, the cottage had really a warm feeling to it, not at all what you would expect from an ex Slytherin. Then again, people tended to judge others based on their misconceptions of specific Houses.
When he entered the kitchen (large despite the fact it belonged in a cottage), he saw Pansy busying herself with brewing tea (presumably her two house elves were elsewhere cleaning up) and Harry Potter sitting at the kitchen table.
"What are you doing here?" he asked surprised and chose a seat next to the dark haired wizard.
Emerald green eyes shifted to look at him. "It's been a while since I last visited Pansy." He shrugged. "That and Ron and Hermione are driving me crazy with their constant bickering."
"What are they bickering about now?"
"When the wedding will take place," Harry rolled his eyes. "Hermione wants the wedding in the summer, but Ron thinks it's too warm then and would prefer to have it in the spring. They've been fighting about it for a week now and I got fed up with it."
If someone had told him when he was sixteen that he would one day be best friends with Harry Potter after working together as allies during the war and even be able to hold a decent conversation about and with Weasley and Granger, he would have let them be committed into Saint Mungos. Alas, here they were, Harry and Pansy having become friends a year and a half ago when they finally made a truce.
"Did they ask for your opinion?" Pansy asked and directed the cups and teapot to the middle of the table before taking a seat herself.
"Of course they did." Harry snorted. "But I'm not that stupid that I would throw myself between those two. They are getting married; they need to learn to solve their own conflicts."
"Well, look at that, Pansy. Seems our cold Slytherin nature is finally rubbing off on him," Draco smirked and accepted the cup filled with orange blossom tea.
"Finally he learns." She smirked as well and Harry just shook his head.
Draco had just taken a sip of his tea and had placed the cup back on the saucer when Harry surprised him by asking, "What happened? You seem to be … brooding about something," he ended his question awkwardly.
This made Pansy take a good look at his face and she narrowed her dark eyes. "Yes, you don't look so happy. Did something happen today?"
Draco hesitated. He didn't know if he was allowed to tell his friends about the problems he and his wife were having. Both Harry and Pansy knew he and Astoria had been trying for months now to conceive a baby and that they had gone to visit some Healers to help them, but they didn't know the extent of the problem.
Astoria hadn't explicitly forbidden him to talk about it, but then again, she hadn't wanted to discuss it further either, so he didn't know if he would do more harm than good if he talked about the events in the Healer's office.
"Draco?" Harry questioned and cocked his head to the right.
Sighing, Draco glanced at the table and started to talk. "You know how we went to those Healers to find out why we are having trouble conceiving?" He got two affirmative nods. "Well, today we got to hear what exactly keeps Astoria from getting pregnant."
"What did the Healer say?" Pansy asked softly, her normally harsh eyes looking at him concerned.
"Apparently the curse she was struck with, did more harm than we assumed." He cleared his throat and after licking his lips, he continued, "It's a very old curse and it has no counter curse. The curse made her … made her completely barren," he whispered the last sentence, feeling the weight of reality finally crashing down on him. "She can't carry any child." His hands clenched around the cup.
"Oh Draco, I'm so sorry to hear that," Pansy whispered and she gripped his wrist. "I didn't know it was that severe."
"And the Healer is certain there aren't any counter curses?" Harry asked softly.
"Tried every possible spell she could think off. Some didn't have any effect and some made Astoria sick," Draco replied. "She even consulted with Healers in the rest of Europe, Asia and America, but they didn't come up with anything she hadn't already tried out."
"Did she give you other options?" Pansy asked, biting her lower lip. She knew how much Draco had longed to have a child – aside from the whole needing a heir business, Draco wanted to have a child and raise it better than his own father had done with him.
"The usual options of course," Draco laughed dryly, "Adoption and surrogacy."
"How did Astoria react?" Harry asked and then winced, fearing his question was insensitive.
Draco didn't seem to deem it as insensitive or he was feeling more lost than he led on. "Not well of course. She thinks she failed me, but it's not her fault. She didn't want to talk about it for the moment. I assume she wants to deal with the news on her own for a while and then will talk to me about possible future actions we will take."
Harry seemed to contemplate something. "Would it be easy for you to adopt a child or to even find a surrogate?" he asked, his green eyes flickering up with something.
Draco stared at him with a frown. "I don't think I have to tell you how bad the Malfoy image still is in the public's eye," he answered, failing to hide the bitter tone in his voice and for once he didn't care. After the news he had received today, he thought he had earned the right to be bitter for a while.
Harry winced. "So nearly impossible, huh," he murmured, his eyes misting over while he thought about something.
"What are you thinking about, Potter?" Pansy asked with narrowed eyes. The last time Harry had looked like that, he had gone off to search for Ginevra Weasley, when the bint had been stupid enough not to heed the warnings of her family and had struck up a relationship with a man suspected of Death Eater activities. They had been a happy couple for three months until Ginevra had started to turn up with vague signs of bruising and scratches and three weeks after her youngest brother had confronted her about his suspicions of her boyfriend, she had stormed off in a huff to the man's place. They hadn't thought anything of it, until there hadn't been a sign of the youngest Weasley for more than two weeks – until Harry had received her hastily scrawled message for help.
Somehow he had figured out where she had been kept captive and had gone off to rescue her, never having been able to bury his hero tendencies completely. He had managed to rescue her, but he had ended up in the hospital with several severe wounds after battling with the man, who had wanted the honour of killing Harry Potter. The man was still locked up in Azkaban with two Dementors to guard him.
So Pansy had dubbed this particular look as the 'I'm going to do something incredibly heroic and verging on the line of stupidity' look, which was never a comfort to either of Harry's friends.
"Nothing in particular," he answered, clearly distracted with whatever he was thinking about. Suddenly he stood up and shoved his chair behind, leaving two pair of eyes to stare at him in surprise. "I need to do some research," he announced.
"Research?" Draco repeated suspiciously. "What kind of research?"
Harry gave him a quick, reassuring smile and squeezed his shoulder comfortingly in passing, "Just some research. Sorry to hear about the Healer's news. I'm sure you'll come up with something." And then he was gone, the sound of Flooing announcing his departure a few seconds later.
Draco and Pansy stared at each other in bewilderment.
"Whatever he's up to now, something tells me it's not some simple research," she muttered darkly and her lips were pressed against each other tightly.
He nodded slowly in agreement. As long as Harry didn't go on a wild, possibly life-threatening adventure, he supposed it was all right.
The fire flared up a week later and Draco turned around to face the person doing the Floo call. Considering he was in his study now the choices of whom the person could be, were limited to Blaise, Harry and Pansy. It turned out to be Harry, who looked at him with bright green eyes.
"Can I come through?"
"I suppose." Draco nodded though he felt a bit wary. A glance at the clock showed him it was half past ten already. What did Harry want at this late hour?
The fire flared up momentarily and the green flames spat out Harry, who stumbled on the carpet and managed to stay upright.
"Take a seat," Draco offered and nodded to the armchair standing next to his oak desk. "Can I get you something to drink?"
"Eh, tea is fine," Harry replied and sounded a bit distracted. He sat down in the armchair and crossed his one leg over the other, the foot bobbing up and down in a quick tempo.
Grey eyes narrowed when he noticed the bouncing – a clear sign Harry was nervous about something.
"Topsy," Draco called out and one second later, one of the house elves popped up.
"What cans Topsy do for Master Draco?" the house elf squeaked in a high voice.
"Bring some bergamot tea up."
"Topsy bring tea." The house elf disappeared again and one minute later a tray with two cups, already filled with steaming tea, a teapot, a small bowl with sugar cubes and a small milk can appeared on the desk.
"All right, what do you want to talk about?"
Harry took a deep breath and his foot stopped bouncing – which was a good thing; otherwise Draco would have hexed him out of annoyance. "I did some research," he began hesitantly.
"Was Granger not available?" Draco sneered.
Green eyes rolled in annoyance. "Don't be a git, Draco. I can do research as well, you know. That's practically a requirement for my job."
"What kind of research did you do?"
The other man shifted uncomfortably in his chair and vague alarm bells began to ring in Draco's head.
"I want to ask you something." Harry took a deep breath. "If someone was willing to carry your baby, would you be willing to go through with it?"
Grey eyes narrowed in distrust. "A surrogate?"
Harry nodded, taking a sip from his tea.
"Well, it depends."
"Whether or not Astoria would agree with surrogacy and whether or not I can trust this person to hand over the baby when the time comes and not run off with it."
"Oh." Harry blinked. "But if Astoria agreed and you could trust the surrogate, you would go through with it?"
"You know damn well how much I want a child, Potter," Draco replied coolly, not particularly in the mood to discuss the whole baby issue. Astoria hadn't mentioned it at all since they had received the news and she had spent most of the week at her sister's home, only coming home late in the evening to sleep. He assumed she was trying to avoid situations in which he could ask her to discuss the issue.
"Why are you asking this? Did you find a surrogate?" Draco asked and tried to squish down the slim sliver of hope. Harry had only asked him in the hypothetical sense.
"I – well yeah, sort of."
"What do you mean 'sort of'?" Draco asked suspiciously and he lowered the cup again.
Harry looked down at his lap, avoiding the suspicious eyes. "Well, I said I did some research, right? And you never specified whether you wanted a woman to carry the baby or … a man," he trailed off, clearly uncomfortable.
The blond haired wizard blinked and calmly placed his cup back on the saucer, contemplating quietly what he just had heard. He supposed it was his dumbfounded shock that kept him from hexing the other man. He couldn't be serious, right? There was no possible way that Harry meant what he thought he meant, because that was just not feasible.
"Draco?" Harry sounded nervous.
"Are you completely out of your mind?" Draco congratulated himself when he managed to sound calm instead of snapping it like he wanted to.
"No, of course not," Harry frowned. "Just hear me out, all right? You want someone you can trust, who you know will hand over the baby when it's born and who's willing to carry the baby, despite the fact that you're a Malfoy."
Draco winced and scowled.
"The research I did, told me it is possible for a man to carry a baby, as long as the necessary potions are taken. You never specified whether you wanted a woman to carry your baby or a man, so you know, I'm willing to carry your baby if you want," he mumbled, his cheeks red with embarrassment.
Draco pursed his lips and tapped with his fingers on his desk, trying to remain as calm as possible. All right, so apparently Harry did mean what he thought he meant and he was serious about it. Had the Saviour finally lost his mind?
"Do you even realize what you would have to go through?" he began slowly, ordering his thoughts.
Harry furrowed his eyebrows. "Of course I know – I read every useful book that I could find."
"No, you don't know," Draco said through clenched teeth, glaring. "Why would you even think about such a ridiculous idea as this?"
"It's not ridiculous, it's …"
The blond cut him off. "So you're willing to give up your own baby when it's born?"
"Wha - …"
"Because the potions mentioned in those books work only properly if sex occurs. It's not like with women where the fertilized egg can be transferred into the womb through magic. If you take those potions, we would need to have sex in order for a pregnancy to happen, which means that that child would be biologically yours as well. So tell me, Harry, are you seriously willing to give up your own child, relinquishing all your rights to it? You would never be able to treat it like your own child, you would only see it at the times you visit us and the child would only know you as an uncle. Still think it's a good idea?" Draco snapped.
He knew Harry only wanted to do well – it was actually a flaw of him, instead of a virtue like the public saw it. Harry saw someone in need and seemed to think he had to do something to help that person, not giving a hoot whether or not he ended up hurt in the process.
While most people would find it marvellous and incredibly generous of Harry to offer to be their surrogate, Draco could only think of the downsides. Like he had stated, the potions, created to make male pregnancy possible, only worked well when the two men had sex. It had something to do with the way the magic of the two men would blend together and make it possible for one of them to get pregnant. Biologically the child would be a mix between Draco and Harry. Harry would even be appointed as the 'mother' or the more commonly used term for this particular case 'Carrier', even if he let Astoria adopt the baby.
Basically he would be giving up his own baby. Surrogacy was already sensitive, because even with the surrogate mother not being the biological partner of the baby, in essential just being the vessel for the child to grow, the surrogate could still develop parental feelings for the child and the surrogate could decide to keep the baby. The laws regarding the rights of the adoptive parents were almost non-existent and so, the couple would have a hard time trying to convince the judge that the child was really theirs and belonged to them and not to the person carrying it.
How would Harry feel to carry his own baby, knowing it would carry a part of his DNA and then to just give it up after it was born? Would he be able to go through with it, go through with the knowledge that the child he was carrying would never regard him as a parent once the papers were signed?
Harry would probably give the baby up with no fuss – after all, when he made a promise he stuck with it and he was above all loyal to his friends and would never hurt them intentionally – but would he be able to go on after the whole affair was over? To look the child in the eye later on, but never being able to care for it like a parent was supposed to do?
Draco didn't think Harry could go through the whole pregnancy, birth and giving it up without attaching himself to the baby. The blond aristocrat didn't want to see one of his best friends hurting just so he could gain something.
"I really thought about it, Draco," Harry murmured, breaking the awkward silence. "I want to help you. I assure you, you can trust me to give the baby to you after it's born. I won't keep it or run away with it."
"Harry, you don't seem to comprehend the severity of the situation." Draco frowned. "While I know you wouldn't keep the baby or run away with it, I can't stand the knowledge that I would separate you from your own child. No matter what you say, you would become attached to it and that's natural because it will be partly yours. If you want to carry a child, go find a guy who you love and have children with him. It's madness to assume that you would come out of the pregnancy and birth with no attachment to the baby at all. I can't put you through that, no matter how much I want a child."
"Draco, please listen. I know what I'm doing and I know what I'm proposing." Harry looked at him calmly. "I know the risks that can occur and I wouldn't have proposed this to you if I hadn't thought about it thoroughly. I want to help you to get a child. I'm the best choice you have. Who else are you going to ask as a surrogate? Pansy? You know Theodore wouldn't agree with it. Millicent? Her work as a Curse breaker wouldn't allow it. Astoria's sister? Aside from the fact that it would be just plain awkward and would probably cause a rift between you and Astoria, Daphne's fiancé wouldn't agree with it either."
"There is still the option of adoption," Draco pointed out.
Harry snorted. "Sorry, I don't want to insult you, but honestly, Draco, how high are the chances that an adoption agency will give you their time of the day? You've been trying very hard the past few years and there is improvement in the way people think of your family, but I doubt someone would be willing to hand over a child to you." He looked at him sympathetically.
"All right, so adoption is probably ruled out." Draco scowled, hating the fact that Harry was right. "So, let's assume that for some crazy, screwed manner of thinking I agree to this idea and let you carry my child. What are you going to do about your job then? What are you going to tell other people when they notice you gaining weight?"
Harry waved his hand and smiled. "I got that all figured out. The moment the tests confirm I'm carrying the baby, I would ask my supervisor to put me on desk duty and teaching a few classes. I'm certain she won't object too much, because we are short on teachers at the moment. As for the other people – I would try to hide it as much as possible. There are spells and magical belts created to hide the stomach without harming the child, so I could use one of those when large clothing won't hide my stomach anymore."
"You have an answer to everything now, don't you?" Draco glared and pursed his lips.
"I knew you would come up with objections." The other wizard shrugged. "Plus if I didn't have any solutions, you would just use that as another excuse to not go through with it."
"Those are not excuses I make, but facts," Draco retorted annoyed. "Really, Harry, you seem to consider this akin to a walk in the park, while it most certainly isn't. I'm trying to protect you from making a huge mistake."
Harry leant forwards and his emerald green gaze acquired a glint. "I'm not making a mistake. I weighed all the pros and contra's before I came here. I know what I'll be going through and I know I would never hurt you by keeping the child. Honestly, Draco, where is your selfish Slytherin nature?" He smiled faintly. "I'm offering you a good deal, but you don't seem to understand the benefits."
"Excuse me if I don't want to be a selfish prick and hurt one of my best friends just so I could gain something," Draco snapped and his fingers clenched around the fabric of his pants.
Harry seemed to understand that Draco was now too riled up to discuss it properly and leant back again in his chair. "Look, I'm obviously not forcing you to accept the offer. I just want you to think about it before you give me a final answer. Discuss it with Astoria and you can tell me afterwards what the two of you have decided. There is no need to be hasty with decisions," he spoke calmly and placed the cup back on the plate. "I'll leave you to think about it. Good night, Draco."
Fourteen seconds later, the Floo whisked him away to his own house, leaving Draco to sit alone in his office, contemplating the whole conversation with mixed feelings.
Astoria had regarded him with an expressionless face when he told her about the conversation he had had with Harry two nights ago.
He had finally managed to find her, right before she wanted to use the Floo to go to her sister again. He had taken her to the living room and had informed her about Harry's proposition, assuring her immediately after that he hadn't made any decision and wouldn't make any without her consent.
She had sat there quietly for several minutes, a contemplative gleam in her eyes – the only sign she was thinking about it. He waited patiently for her opinion on the matter.
Truth be told, a part of him – a part he wanted desperately to supress – wanted nothing more than to agree to Harry's suggestion and ask him when he would be ready to carry a baby. Having an option to still have a child, a biological child, a child he didn't think he would have after the visit to the Healer, was mindboggling. The chance of parenthood that had been abruptly snatched away from him after one spell and one conversation with a Healer was given back to him by his best friend. The only thing he would need to do was make sure Harry got the needed potions in his system, have sex with him and then wait until the baby was ready to be born, after which he would have a child to raise. Nothing too difficult. He could gather the potions either by making them himself or asking his godfather to prepare them as some sort of favour. Having sex wouldn't be too difficult either, because Harry was aesthetically pleasing and Draco had known for several years now that he swung both ways – not that many knew of that particular fact. He doubted even Pansy knew it.
If they started now, he would be a father already by the beginning of next year, provided everything went well.
But there was still the fact of the child being partly Harry's as well and even he wasn't cold hearted enough to separate a child from its mother. Yet, that would happen if they went through with the idea. Astoria would hardly stand for it that Harry would be living in with them and the child was supposed to regard her as its mother.
He had been brought out of his inner musings when Astoria told him coolly that if he really wanted, he could go through with the plan. She didn't mind. She knew the chances of finding another surrogate were slim to none and thought it better to grasp this chance than to let it slip away and live the rest of their lives childless – something she didn't want to let Draco endure. She may not completely love him like a wife was supposed to do, but she still cared deeply for him and wanted to see him happy. Besides, without an heir the Malfoy line was in danger of going extinct and something like that wasn't supposed to happen to such an old pureblood line. If having a Halfblood carry her husband's child meant the prevention of the line going extinct, she was willing to put up with it, no matter her feelings towards Harry Potter.
Draco had regarded her warily, and upon feeling that gaze, she had assured him she was really fine with it. She only wanted him to promise that he would only share a bed with Potter for as long as it was needed and that after the affirmative test came through, he would limit his interactions with Potter whenever possible.
Draco had protested that Harry was still one of his best friends and that he couldn't drop him just like that, especially not if he was carrying his child, to which Astoria had responded that she meant she didn't want him to have an affair with the man.
Draco had to supress an urge to laugh then – there was no way that he would begin an affair with Harry. Even though he was certainly pleasing to the eye, he couldn't see himself having an affair with the man. Besides, Harry's loyal nature wouldn't allow him cheating on his wife.
So after the talk with his wife, Draco had spent another week thinking about it, musing about the consequences.
He still didn't like the thought of potentially hurting his best friend by taking away the baby from him, but Harry was the one persisting that he would be fine. And although there was still a voice in the back of his mind warning him against taking this particular course of action before everything could end up in shambles, he finally made his decision.
Saturday evening in the middle of October, Draco arrived in a small room functioning as a foyer of Harry's house. He could hear the wind beating against the windows, making the glass rattle and rain drops were obscuring the view. He walked out of the room slowly, taking one final breath to calm himself. This was it then. After this conversation there would be no going back.
Heart racing and feeling inexplicably warm, the blond aristocrat entered the warm kitchen, where something was sizzling in the hot pan and two pots were cooking something. The smell of beef, potatoes and Brussels sprouts curled up in his nose and he felt himself becoming a bit hungry. Harry had always been a great cook.
The dark haired man turned around in surprise from his spot at the cooking plate. "Draco? I didn't know you were coming tonight," he said surprised.
"Sorry, I should have sent you a message," Draco murmured, secretly taking in Harry's body – the body he would have underneath him soon if Harry still was up to it. He could have done worse he supposed.
"Nah, it's all right." Harry waved away his apology. "Take a seat; you can eat with me if you want."
"Thanks." Draco nodded and took a seat at the small kitchen table. A few snaps of a wand and a plate, cutlery and a glass filled with some kind of Muggle lemonade was placed in front of him.
Ten minutes later, both of them were enjoying the meal Harry had prepared, with the sound of the rain the only thing disturbing the silence between them.
"So, any reason why you decided to visit today?" Harry asked curiously, finally breaking the silence.
Draco pushed a bit of his cooked potatoes to the side and cleared his throat. "I talked with Astoria about your proposition."
The fork that had been raised in the air was placed back on the plate again and green eyes blinked in surprise. "Oh," was all Harry mentioned, as if he wasn't certain how to reply to that. He shifted a bit in his chair. "So, eh, what was her answer?"
"She said that if I wanted to, you could be the surrogate," Draco replied calmly, putting his own fork down when his hand shook a bit.
Harry stared at him intently. "And, what do you want to do, Draco?"
Draco's mouth tightened and he leant back in his chair, feeling he had eaten enough for now. "I … If you still want to and you're absolutely sure you won't regret anything, then I'm willing to do it," he finally replied after a heavy moment of silence.
Harry cocked his head and smiled faintly. "You look like you are about to faint," he murmured. "Are you sure you want this? Certain you won't regret this? Because once it's done, there's no going back."
"Of course I'm certain!" Draco suddenly snapped, irritation shooting right through him. "If I wasn't, I wouldn't have come here to tell you this, now would I?"
Harry chuckled, not at all deterred or startled by Draco's sudden snappish tone. He was already used to be subjected to that. You couldn't be one of Draco's best friends without being subjected to his harsh treatment at least once. "I just wanted to be sure," he responded soothingly. He bit his lip, a flash of uncertainty crossing his face. "So, when do you want, you know, to do it?"
Right. He hadn't thought of that yet. Somehow that had slipped through his mind. Then again, he thought he was entitled to be a bit forgetful now, considering what he would soon be doing.
"Well," he started slowly, "if I can convince Severus to give me the needed potions, we could start in just over a week. If not, then over a month, providing everything goes as planned."
"If everything goes as planned?" Harry repeated questioningly.
"Brewing the potions takes a month – from gathering the ingredients to completing it, but one mistake can extend the waiting period."
"Oh." Green eyes blinked. "How high are the chances that Snape will give you the potions?"
Draco sighed. "Honestly? I don't know. It will depend on his mood when I ask it, I suppose."
"So, when are you going to ask him?" Harry asked lightly, pushing his plate away.
"This Monday I suppose. I don't dare to disturb him on a Sunday." Draco smiled sheepishly.
Harry snorted. "You're afraid of your own godfather?"
"Hey, he values his Sundays – the last person who dared to disturb him on a Sunday was turned into an ugly, blue spotted toad."
Harry chuckled and shook his head. "All right, you ask him Monday then." He stood up and began to collect the dishes, putting them in the sink to be cleaned. "So, if Snape gives you the potions, when do you want to do it then?" Only his slightly flushed cheeks and neck gave away his embarrassment.
"Depends on when you want to. The potions need to be taken in a day before sex takes place, so that they can develop a womb and an egg on time," Draco replied, resisting the urge to blush. It was just sex – nothing to be embarrassed about.
"Oh." Harry turned around and looked contemplatively. "Well, I just have to make arrangements with my boss, so let me know when you have the potions and I can talk to her the day after."
"And it's certain she won't give you any trouble about it?" Draco asked warily. Harry was a very good Healer, so his boss would probably be reluctant to have him out of the field, so to speak, and behind a desk.
Harry waved his hand. "She won't give me any trouble. Sure, she probably will be a bit disappointed, but this way other people will have a chance to prove themselves," he replied lightly.
"That's decided then. I'll let you know if Severus gives me the potions and otherwise, we will get started over a month."
"And if Snape gives the potions? Do we start next week?"
"In that case, yes. Does next weekend suit you?"
"Sure, no problem," Harry smiled and then turned his attention to the dishes, leaving Draco to contemplate the conversation that had just happened.
He was still coming to terms with the fact that he really would be getting a child in the near future when he left for his house again.
People rarely managed to stun Severus into speechlessness, but Draco thought he had managed to do that just now. It was Monday afternoon and Severus had finished his lessons for that day. He was still teaching at Hogwarts, after having had his reputation restored by none other than Harry Potter – for which Severus was still feeling sour about – and Draco had managed to catch him on time. On time meaning that Severus hadn't had the chance to lock himself up in his private lab to work on orders.
They were seated in the small living room, drinking black tea that one of the house elves had placed next to them.
Draco had just explained what exactly he wanted from Severus and for whom it was intended and was now enjoying the rare sight of having rendered the older man speechless. A great feat in the blond man's opinion.
Finally Severus reacted. He placed his cup back on the saucer and placed the top of his fingers together, his face blank, not betraying any thought of him. "If I understood you correctly, you'd like to receive the male fertility potions needed to give a man the ability to carry children and you want Harry Potter of all people to ingest them and carry your child because your wife isn't capable of bringing forth a child anymore," he spoke calmly.
Draco nodded, "Exactly. Are you willing to give those potions? I can pay you if you'd like," he offered.
"Draco, may I ask where on earth you lost your common sense?" Black eyes narrowed. "I have no problems with you seeking a surrogate, but why Potter of all people? The man most prone to accidents and danger and you want him to carry your child?"
"To be correct, he offered to act as surrogate," Draco reminded his godfather of the situation. "And while he is indeed prone to land in danger, he already ensured me he would take the steps necessary to keep the baby safe. As soon as he receives confirmation he is pregnant, he will get a desk job and the most strenuous thing he'll be doing then during the whole pregnancy is teaching a few classes." He sighed and clucked his tongue softly. "Look, I tried talking him out of it, and maybe that would have worked if he was an Auror. But a desk job isn't dangerous. And unfortunately he was right when stating that the chances of finding another surrogate or even someone willing to let me adopt a child are slim to none." He scowled.
"But you didn't put any effort in trying to find another person willing to play surrogate. You could still try to find someone else." Severus frowned, not liking the thought of the Potter boy carrying the Malfoy heir. While he and Potter had managed to form some sort of truce, he still remembered all the accidents Potter was in while attending school. Pregnancy would make him incredibly vulnerable and one wrong move or action could result in the termination of the pregnancy.
"Severus, let's be honest now. How high are the chances I find someone willing to be a surrogate? People still distrust me and some still attempt to find something to land me in Azkaban," Draco murmured and the frustration was clear in his voice. "It's not like I decided this in the course of one night. I thought of the consequences and I'm willing to accept them. I talked with Astoria about it and she has agreed to let Harry act as a surrogate for us. I can refuse, but that will most likely lead me to a life without children. If I want to have children, then Harry is my best chance." He raked a hand through his hair. "Look, you don't have to provide me with the potions. I can make those potions on my own, but that would take at least a month. I want to begin this as soon as possible, in case something does go wrong."
Severus sighed and leant back in his chair, his eyes gaining a troubled shine.
Silence hung heavily between the two of them for a long time. Draco had practice with waiting patiently for his partner to reply – practice gained from years with his father and some of the Purebloods he had to associate with.
That didn't mean that inwardly he wasn't nervous. Severus wasn't obligated to help him – indeed, with his history with Harry, he could easily refuse and Draco would have no other choice than to brew the potions himself.
Finally, Severus broke the silence. "Do your parents know what you're planning?"
Draco grimaced. He had told them about his decision a few days after his conversation with Astoria. His father had turned pale and a hint of horror had passed through his mask – whether it was from the fact that Harry would be carrying the child, because Harry was a Half-blood, or simply because Harry being the surrogate meant Draco would be having sexual intercourse with him, Draco didn't know. His mother had taken a deep breath and had closed her bright eyes for a brief moment and then had declared that he must do whatever he must to keep the Malfoy name from going extinct.
His father had looked conflicted and his wife had casted him a particular look that seemed to convey a message (even after all this time, Draco hadn't managed to decipher their looks), because he had finally nodded his consent, stating that continuing the Malfoy line was more important than some of his prejudices against Half-bloods. Aside from Narcissa's mysterious look, it probably had helped that not only Harry was in possession of a lot of magical power – something that the Malfoy family had always appreciated – but Lucius knew that Harry was his only chance of ever gaining a grandchild.
"They know about it, yes. And they don't object to it," Draco replied calmly.
"You're going to regret this," Severus muttered darkly and before Draco could retort, the older man had stood up, throwing him a piercing look. "Come with me."
Taking a deep breath, Draco stood still and composed himself. He then threw a pinch of the Floo powder in the fireplace and called out his destination clearly. It was rather late for a visit – it was nearly ten p.m. – but he wanted to deliver the news as soon as possible.
He landed in the same room he had landed last time in and immediately started his search. He was standing in the hallway, in front of the closed kitchen door when the creaking stairs alerted him to the arrival of the one he was searching for.
When he turned around, he came face to face with a half-naked Harry, who only had a towel wrapped around his waist. The droplets in his wet hair caught the weak candle light and made them glitter like small diamonds while other drops of water made their way slowly over his chiselled chest and back, being absorbed by the towel once they reached his lower stomach.
"Draco?" Harry cocked his head to the right, looking confused.
Draco smiled tentatively and held up a small basket filled with three vials. "Can you meet your superior tomorrow?"
AN2: So what do you think of it? Was it interesting? Please leave your thoughts behind in a review! Should you spot any mistakes, please point them out to me.
See you all in the next chapter!
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