Chapter 17: Preparing
The phone began to ring, piercing the stark silence of the house. Draco cursed under his breath, and manoeuvred his son gently into one arm, praying that he wouldn't wake up. He'd only been asleep 20 minutes, and it had taken a good half an hour for him to fall. They had not been getting enough food from their milk recently, and Harry wanted to try them on baby food, to see if that was the reason. He glanced at Sephy who was lying on the floor, batting at a toy mobile that he'd positioned above her. As he watched, she grasped a toy, and let it go, shoving her fist in her mouth. The phone continued to ring, and he walked through to the hallway, picked it up, and said, "Hello?" Using his free hand he balanced it between his ear and shoulder, and moved Sebastian into a safer position in his arms.
"Hi. This is Fiona," came the woman's voice crackling through the phone line. The connection wasn't very good; Draco frowned.
"Oh, right, this is Draco, Harry's at the shops. He should be back in a while. Do you want to leave a message?" Draco asked politely. He hated answering the telephone. He'd only found out what one was three months and a half months ago, when he'd moved in with Harry. Harry had told him that he had to be polite on the phone. Draco had just reasoned he wouldn't ever answer the phone, but Harry had insisted that he would have to sometime, if Harry was out, or had his hands full. Seen as Harry had nipped out to the shops, and the only other people in the house were only four months old; he had to answer it. He didn't like doing it, as it involved being polite to people he didn't know, or people that may be rude to him, and he hadn't begun the fight.
"Well," she said, "I was wondering if he… you wanted a bit of company for an hour tomorrow morning? I can… phone back in a little while if you wanted," she offered, obviously not wanting to talk to him very much.
Draco restrained a snort of laughter – very un-Malfoy-like. He had nothing against Harry's pair of Muggle friends. Once he'd realised (or been told by Harry, rolling his eyes) that Sean was 100 heterosexual, he'd become a lot friendlier around the pair – well, friendly for him anyway. Their child was quite sweet, Jack, Draco recalled his name as being, with dark hair, and dark eyes.
"It's OK," Draco said, "We'll be in tomorrow morning, if you did want to come around. I know Harry would appreciate it." Harry wanted the chance to tell the pair that they were moving away, nearer to the remaining family they had left.
"OK, well, I'll be around with Jack at around… ten o'clock, if that's OK." Fiona said.
"Sure… I…we'll see you then. Bye." Draco said hurriedly as there was a quiet crying noise from the living room.
He hurried back through, putting Sebastian quickly on the floor, making sure he didn't wake up. Persephone was lying on the floor, her tiny yellow baby grow was slightly stained, and Draco made a mental note to change her next time she needed a fresh nappy. She was lying several feet away from where he left her. "Hey," he said curiously, "How did you get there? Did you move yourself… such a big girl now, aren't you?" He said to her, picking her up and cradling her, soothing her cries and wiping away her tears.
She sniffed, and thrust her arms in the air. Draco sighed and placed her back on the floor, sitting her up, keeping his hands under her armpits.
"Are you hungry darling? Daddy's going to get you some real, people food. Baby mush, actually. See if we can get you on solid foods, hey?" Draco said to her. She made a small snuffling noise back.
Draco smiled at her faintly and yawned. He closed his eyes for a second, and blinked them open at a sound in the hallway.
"Hi honey, I'm home," Harry said quietly, poking his head in the doorway, then walking through.
"Hey," Draco said quirking the corner of his mouth into half a smile. Harry placed the two bags on the couch and slid down to kiss Draco on the cheek.
"Everything been OK?" he asked.
Draco nodded, then remembered, "Your friend, Fiona phoned. She's coming around tomorrow morning at ten o'clock."
"Yeah?" Harry said rhetorically, reaching up and rummaging through one of the bags, and produced a glass jar, full of… something brown, "Well, I spoke to the girl in the shop, and asked her if they were ready to be started on baby food, as they weren't getting full with only milk, and she said yes. This is some kind of mush, apparently banana flavoured. Lovely, eh? It'll get them started on people food."
"People food? Harry…" Draco said, rolling his eyes.
"You know what I mean." He leant over Draco to coo at Sebastian, who had woken up, and was rubbing his eyes and starting to cry.
"OK, we can try it on them later then. Did you get the nappies and something for dinner?" Draco asked.
Seamus and Dean were coming around for dinner later. They hadn't told them the news that they were moving back yet, and were planning on surprising them later. Harry had worked out all the details with Remus and Sirius. The four of them were going to temporarily move back into Sirius' house, for two weeks at least, maybe longer if they decided to stay and look for somewhere to buy or rent in Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, or one of the lesser know wizarding districts.
Sirius had been thrilled that Harry and Draco were returning. He had never voiced his opinions – not to Harry at least, but he didn't like Harry living in the Muggle world. It had been obvious that he wasn't comfortable or approving to Draco, but Harry hadn't been able to see it. He suspected that if he had the decision would have come a lot faster that it had. Having the three of them – and Draco back meant that he could spend more time with them and have more of an outlook on their development, and witness any milestones. Harry was looking forward to being with his Godfather more as well; but he approached the whole situation with a great deal of anxiety and caution. He knew that once they moved back, Sirius wasn't going to let them go again. Harry was just going to have to make sure that Sirius knew it was only temporary, whether they decided to stay in the magical world or move back to where they lived now, in the Muggle world. For some reason Harry didn't see that happening any time soon.
"Yes, I have nappies, and I got pasta for dinner, and sauce. Why they assume I can cook, I don't know. Boiling things is about the magnitude of my capabilities," Harry sighed.
Draco smiled, "Never mind. I think of we fed them baked beans on toast they'd be happy. You're a good cook."
"Thank you," Harry said dryly, "What time did you say Fiona was coming around again?"
"Ten o'clock," Draco said, "I answered the phone."
"All on your own?" Harry asked in mock astonishment, "Well done!"
Draco narrowed his eyes. Harry laughed.
"I'm sorry," Harry leant over and kissed him clumsily, smashing his lips against Draco's, and pulled away, "Forgive me?"
Draco rolled his eyes and nodded reluctantly, "I suppose." Harry grinned.
"You're moving back!?" Seamus squeaked, then coughed, slightly horrified and faked a deep voice, "Really?"
Harry laughed, "Really. We… don't feel at home here, do we?" He looked at Draco.
"No, we... Harry thinks we'll feel more at home there. I don't object, I don't mind where I live, although I do prefer to be near magic." Draco said, lying slightly. He didn't like the Muggle world, he was here because Harry was. If he could choose, they'd be there already, but circumstances hadn't dictated well, and he was just happy to be with them at all.
Dean nodded happily, "That's great, really. Are you getting a house, or a flat, or something?"
Harry shook his head, "We… I don't know if I can do it. Be around magic and everything. It's complicated," he sighed, "But we're going to try. We'll be staying at Sirius', and if everything works out we'll get somewhere to live, and if not… then we'll move back here, yeah?"
Draco took a breath, hoping with all his heart that that wouldn't be the case, "Yeah," he corrected himself, rolling his eyes at himself for the increasing sloppiness of his speech that reminded him of Harry, "Yes, we will."
"So, when are you moving in then?" Dean asked curiously.
"Erm…" Harry said, thinking about it, "We agreed on Friday, didn't we, the day before the twins are five months old." He verified that dates in his head by connecting them to some kind of event.
The two men nodded, and smiled, and they continued to chat and eat happily. They left a few hours later, planning to meet up in a few days later, when they'd were moved in to Sirius and Remus's. Harry and Draco then spent the rest of the night up with the twins, Sebastian waking up as Persephone fell asleep, and Sebastian falling asleep as Persephone woke up, and then to give them a perfect night, both of then being awake from 3a.m til 7. They finally got a couple of hours sleep at 7, but were woken up again by Sebastian crying, and waking Persephone up as well.
There was a knock at the door. Harry sighed, and got up from the comfy couch, where he had been dozing as Draco fed Persephone. He opened the door, and smiled at Fiona, who smiled back. She too looked very tired, with slight bags under her eyes, a harassed look on her face, and her hair slightly in disarray.
"Morning," Harry said, and he held out his arms for Jack, who she handed over gratefully. Harry found that there was something about other people's babies he couldn't resist. Even if he had just spent the entire night up with his own, he still loved to see other infants. He remembered being like this from young, and visiting a shop with his Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley. There was a baby in a pram, maybe a few months old, and he'd peaked over the side. The mother had smiled at him and told him the babies name, which had been Rebecca. But his Aunt had seen him, and dragged him off, the mother looking at him in pity and worry. It hadn't put him off wanting his own one day, or admiring other peoples children either, although he hadn't had much chance to be around young children at all.
"Hi, you look tired, are you OK?" Fiona asked. She put her bag down, and put her coat on the stairs.
"Yeah, I'm fine, we're just tired, they were up all night. When she fell asleep, he woke up, then they were both awake, it wasn't a good night," He smiled tightly.
Fiona nodded in an understanding way, "Yes, it gets too much sometimes doesn't it. How is Draco?"
Harry smiled, "He's fine, tired and grumpy, but he's OK. It's been better lately." Harry had told Fiona his concerns over their relationship, not going into detail, but telling her how hard it was.
"Oh that's good," she said, smiling warmly, "Any chance of a cup of tea?"
Harry blushed, "Oh, yeah, of course sorry. Erm… I'll make one, you can sit in the front room, Draco's there. Could you…" He handed Fiona back the babies' carrycot, which she had carried in from the car.
Fiona nodded, "Sorry for being cheeky, but I'm dying for a cuppa," she smiled mischievously, "I drink too much," she rolled her eyes, "I blame Sean, he drinks gallons of it."
Harry laughed, and they walked into the front room, Draco looked around from his seat on the floor, where the twins were now lying on the floor, Sebastian looking as if he was waking up.
"Morning," she said shyly.
Draco nodded, "Good morning. How are you?"
"I'm fine thank you." She replied. Harry smiled, happy that Draco was going to be nice – earlier that morning it was debatable, Draco wasn't the most hospitable person on normal hours of sleep, and Harry was sure that on only two hours he would be worse. He appeared to have put himself in a better mood now, and Harry wasn't going to question it.
"Good," he said.
"And… how are you? Harry said the twins had a bad night." Fiona said, trying to make conversation.
Draco yawned, and put his hand over his mouth, "Sorry, excuse me. And, yes they did. I don't know why, it could have just been a bad night."
"Yes," she agreed, "Jack has days like that, good days, bad days, there's no reason for it, they just do. Temperamental little things, babies. They get upset at any kind of change in the atmosphere. I'm sure they'll settle down soon."
But that got Draco thinking, "Yes," he muttered distractedly to Fiona, and began to think about the effect the move already could be having on the twins. Had they really picked up on different vibes coming from Harry and Draco, and were they not good? Would it be like this when they had moved too? He shook himself, and decided to give it a better think over later, when they didn't have company.
"Are you OK?" she asked, when he hadn't spoken for a minute and hadn't answered her question, which she'd now forgotten.
"Yes, sorry, just thinking. How's Jack?" Draco asked, hoping very much he got the name right.
"Oh he's fine," she gushed, "He's started moving himself around and everything, it's incredible, they're growing up so fast."
Draco nodded, "Yes, I agree. It's quite disturbing and scary, isn't it?"
She nodded, and answered simply, "Yes."
"I have tea!" Harry announced, walking in, and managing to balance three cups of tea in his hands and a packet of biscuits in his mouth.
"Has mine got sugar in?" Draco asked.
"Since when do you have sugar in tea?" Harry asked.
"Since now," Draco said.
Harry sighed, and stood up, "Fiona?"
She shook her head and patted her stomach, "Still got some post-baby weight to get rid of," she sighed. Harry smiled, and left the room, putting a spoonful of sugar in Draco's tea and walked back through.
The three of them sat for a few minutes, watching the three young children that were on the floor, Jack lying in his tartan coat, which hadn't been removed in fear of waking him, Persephone, who was lying slightly on her side, with her thumb in her mouth and looked to be having a dream, and Sebastian who looked in between sleep and consciousness.
"Fiona," Harry said, "We've got some news."
She smiled, "Oh, really? What is it?"
Harry looked at Draco uncomfortably, who smiled tightly and nodded. Harry hadn't realised that it would be this hard. It hadn't been this hard to leave all the people from Hogwarts, but it was a thousand times harder to leave this woman, who had helped him, befriended him and accepted him – as much as she'd been told anyway.
"We're… we've decided to move back to London," Harry said painfully, deciding to leave it at that, and answer whatever she wanted to know.
"Oh," she said, "Oh."
"We…" Harry looked at his socks, and poked his finger through a hole on the middle toe. He didn't know what to say.
Draco took pity on him, and began to talk, "We don't think we fit in around here," he saw she was opening her mouth, and held up his index finger to stop her, "It's not you, you… we wouldn't have stayed here this long if you hadn't made friends with Harry. You have helped, and you have been amazing. But we think our time here is up, don't we?"
Harry nodded at his feet, and looked up from beneath his fringe. Fiona looked at him, and was struck by how young and naïve he looked at that moment in time, and again, he looked like the 16-year-old boy she had first mistaken him for, not the 18-year-old that he was.
"OK," she said, knowing there was nothing else she could say. She stood up, and held out her arms. Harry stood up, as if under the Imperious, and hugged her tightly, and she whispered, "You better visit." She'd never told Harry about her post-natal depression, or that his friendship, delight in his children, and the love he showed Draco, had helped to stave it off. She just hoped it wouldn't return with his departure.
"I will," he promised, squeezing her tighter, "I will."
Draco looked away, leaving the two to have what he later referred to as a "moment". He hoped Harry wouldn't take this too hard later.
They pulled apart, and Fiona wiped her eyes, "I should go," she said.
Harry shook his head, and told her she shouldn't, and she should stay for lunch. She agreed, and the three of them spent the next few hours talking, and looking after each others children.
"Have we got everything packed?" Harry asked.
Draco nodded, holding two bags that Sirius had leant them that had a Bottom-Less Bag charm on, as well as a Weightlessness charm.
Harry picked up the twins, who were both dressed in outdoors clothes, and strapped them into the double pushchair. They were taking the Muggle way down to London, there was no fully safe Magical way to travel with babies, and Harry didn't want to take any chances.
"Are all the doors and windows locked? And the heating and electricity turned off?" Harry asked, not entirely sure why, as he had done these tasks himself.
"Harry, love, you did those," Draco said gently, patting his arm.
"Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit," Harry said, raising his nose and sniffing.
"Love you too… shall we go?"
"Yes. Before I cry. Oh, wait that's you…"
"Oh shut up."
The pushchair was carried over the step, the door clicked closed, the key jingled in the lock and with that Harry Potter and Draco left the Muggle world, and returned home.