A/N: Thank you Mamacita-san for the beta. And thanks to everyone who reviewed!


27.

As Harry had expected, the media had a field day with the debut of a re-formed les Éstoilles Noire at the Transcendence New Year's eve party, and as a result the Triariius condition, les Éstoilles Noire, Draco's "scandalous" dance performance, and the supposed jealous rage that had overcome Harry afterwards were fodder for every call-in show and op-ed column in Britain. Harry didn't pay it much mind; there were at least two encouraging and thoughtful comments made for every attention-seeking git who wanted to make a name for himself by running others down. And honestly, Harry was glad the focus on the party took some of the spectacle away from Judas Iscariot's upcoming trial, or at least served as a temporary distraction.

Draco was handling hir anxiety over the trial by shopping and attending to the agendas of les Éstoilles Noire who debuted at the party. The group of six were continuing their training with an aged witch whose great, great-grandvamar had, at twelve, been the youngest adept in the final years of the original court. The wrinkled woman was keen to pass on the knowledge kept by her family and was a demanding taskmistress, but so excited to be part of the rebirth of her forebear's legacy.

Draco selectively dropped the occasional bon-mot to the eager media hounds expecting salacious details and grand statements of the purpose in the establishment of a court at this time. Sie said very little but confided to Harry that as the Polaris, sie was mostly committed to setting schedules, making contacts and basically attending to the logistics of spreading knowledge, information, and inspiration. While les Éstoilles Noire would no doubt evolve into an entity that engaged heavily in politics, Draco had no interest in that part and would definitely chose a new Polaris before the adepts embarked on a political course. As sie'd told Harry before, sie had no aspirations along the lines of hir father's machinations. For now, Draco was content to bring visibility to their training as living Muses, and recognition to triarii everywhere. It was hard to spew hatred against that which was considered beautiful and inspiring, or be shamed by difference when others recognised that uniqueness as admirable or valuable, sie'd said.

And as for the intrigues for which les Éstoilles Noire were infamous? The knowledge gained by the nascent Court gave them greater means to protect themselves against legislated prejudice. Draco was under no illusion that there were not those who would view hir position as the Polaris as the Machiavellian action of Lucius Malfoy's protégée and speak out vehemently against the adepts. There were those, however, who would also seek out their company and counsel, as well as those who would present themselves to the Court to train. Though Harry had said if Anna ever decided she wanted to enter the training he was going to lock her in her room 'til she was thirty. Laughing, Draco agreed and reminded him that not every triarii was admitted to les Éstoilles Noire, just as not every student with a talent for Defence Against the Dark Arts entered into the Auror Academy.

Draco had slipped out every afternoon for a couple of hours to meet with the adepts and Madame Bellefleur at the small Welsh country estate purchased for the use of les Éstoilles Noire. Harry wondered if sie'd spread hirself too thin with all hir commitments, but Draco assured him it was all in order, and that hir seemingly frenzied pace would settle down once the holiday rush was over and all the senior staff at hir holdings had returned so sie could delegate some of the workload sie'd taken on to others. But even with his concern Harry couldn't help but be a little glad that Draco's mind was so occupied, for in the meanwhile sie had little time to fret about Iscariot or fall into nightmares or speculate about the trial's outcome and impact.

The hearing was set to begin in three days, on the eighth of January. Anna would return to Hogwarts for the new term tomorrow morning just as they were completing the move to Grimmauld Place. Harry was truly happy about the move, and it turned out that while he'd been sceptical of Pansy's hand in the numerous shopping sprees, since his guestroom at the cottage in all its opulent glory bore her distinctive stylistic signature (Harry couldn't imagine being comfortable in a home that relied on the sort of pristine luxury that characterised his temporary room with its initial air of museum-like sanctity), he really needn't have worried, as Draco had squashed any of Pansy's more pretentious notions. Now Harry could now look forward to a home shaped under Draco's direction, and Grimmauld Place would be restored, not to the ostentatious excess of its heyday, but as a comfortably elegant and stylishly inviting home that welcomed its guests and made its occupants happy to stay within its confines—Anna especially, because Harry and Draco decided that the rooms on the first landing would be hers to do with as she chose. The room Harry and Ron had shared the first time they'd stayed at Grimmauld Place was being converted into Anna's bedroom.

To Harry's everlasting horror she'd picked the wall coverings and linens from Moon Frog patterns, and now the pink tartan of her favourite nightdress adorned the walls. Thankfully the coordinating linens were a more subdued style, though Harry was a still little frightened about seeing the room once it was installed. He was sure he'd go cross-eyed, even if Draco had reassured him that the limited time he'd be spending in Anna's room was mostly at night tucking her in for bed, so it wouldn't be too bad. Harry just hoped (again) there'd never be cause for McGonagall to see it. It was bad enough that he was going to have to live with it.

Anna had claimed a newly discovered storage space beside her bedroom as her own miniature library, and she'd decided to make the two bedrooms on the other side of the stairwell into guest rooms so she could invite the entire quintet over for a long visit during the summer holidays. She'd never been able to have more than one friend stay at a time, and she was ecstatic at the prospect of all four of her best friends guesting at her house, no doubt imagining all the mischief they'd get into. And of course those rooms, too, were given the Moon Frog treatment in bright pastels and eyelet lace.

Harry was already counting down the days 'til Anna put aside fluffy fairies and all things pink for Quidditch pads and the colours of her favourite team. At this point he would even have been glad for a room reminiscent of Ron's childhood den in shades of Chudley orange. Padfoot, I'm sure you think this some major cosmic joke, and wherever you are you're laughing that I've been saddled with a child who's consigned me to a pink and purple hell, aren't you? Dad, spear our grinning Grim with those antlers for me, yeah?

He sighed and placed the remains of his brandy-laced coffee beside the plate of cake crumbs on the table beside what had become his favourite armchair, drawing his thoughts back from tomorrow's move and all that had been going on in the last week. Helene and Lars had taken Anna to Heritage House tonight, while he and Draco were to visit the Weasleys. He'd wanted to bring Anna along to the Burrow, but Draco had argued that Twelfth Night at the orphanage was the perfect culmination of the holidays—Anna had not missed it since she'd first lived at Heritage House and should be allowed to go this year, too. Since Harry was insistent that they attend the celebrations at the Burrow and formally announce their engagement to his surrogate family, Draco reasoned that Anna should be allowed to stay with Helene and Lars and enjoy the traditions she'd grown used to. "There won't be other children for her to enjoy the night with at the Burrow, Harry. You said yourself that Bill and Fleur's son and daughter are at the Delacours' chalet, so it will just be the Weasley adults in attendance tonight. She'll have a better time here," sie'd wheedled, and Harry had caved.

"Mmm, so tense." Draco perched on the chair's arm and massaged Harry's neck. "If you're so worried about tonight we don't have to go, you know." Sie leaned down and kissed his brow. "We could stay home..." sie purred suggestively, hir words curling over his ear. "It is our last night in the cottage; Anna won't be home with Helene and Lars for hours yet."

Harry leaned into the warmth of hir slender hand and chuckled. "Oh no, you're not getting out of going, you insatiable minx. Mum Weasley is expecting us and I haven't seen them since before Christmas. We're going." He levered himself out of the chair and grabbed Draco by the waist to gather hir into his arms for a kiss. "Nice try, though," he murmured against hir mouth.

"Worth an effort," sie pouted slightly, and opened hir lips beneath his. Draco obliged him, giving up hir mouth freely and playfully mating hir tongue with Harry's in the warm cavern of his mouth, sweet with traces of icing, slightly bitter from after-dinner coffee, with hints of sharp from the spicy brandy.

"Mmm, Harry," Draco whimpered, arching up against hir lover.

Harry, breathing heavily, pulled his head back. Lust deepened the colour of his eyes; the flames dancing in the grate warmed their bodies and lit their desire. "Draco...want you," he purred into the delicate shell of the blond's ear.

"Well, if you're going to have me you'd best take me now if we're going to be on time to the Weasleys'," sie rasped with a saucy smirk, and stepped back toward the couch with hir hands open to Harry in invitation.

Ravenous from just the taste he'd had of his lover, Harry took Draco's hands and tumbled them onto the couch, crushing the plump smirk beneath his lips. His hands roamed over the thick velvet robes as they trailed down the triarii's thighs and then up, tugging the lush fabric up to reach skin sooner than he'd thought to. With a feral snarl he broke their kiss and nipped at Draco's ear. "You're not wearing anything under your robes." The mage mirrored Harry's smile and guided his fabric-filled hands higher, revealing that sie was sans pants as well as trousers. Enflamed and impatient for more, Harry fumbled for his wand and pushed aside his own robes. He muttered a hasty lubrication charm and opened his trousers just far enough to expose his leaking, reddened cock.

"Want you. Love you so much," he murmured against Draco's neck as he spread the blond's legs, propping one over the couch-back.

Draco moaned, hir breasts straining against the robe as Harry fisted hir length. "Har-Harry, now. Need you, gods!"

Sie panted as Harry positioned himself in line with the glistening rosette of hir entrance, the portal shiny with lube and pulsing as Draco clenched and relaxed the guardian muscles in anticipation of being speared. "Want it. Harry. Now. Want your cock. HARRY!"

In one swift motion Harry entered hir and set a punishing rhythm, battering Draco's hole with fast, powerful strokes. It wasn't about finesse, just raw lust and the need to claim, to fill this beautiful, wanton body with his seed, to know that his scent, his essence was everywhere in and on his lover. Harry tugged Draco's cock faster as he felt that tell-tale tightening at the base of his spine radiate through his balls. And then he was there, his throbbing cock spitting ribbons of hot, sticky come into the silken warmth surrounding him.

Harry swirled his hand over the purpled head of Draco's cock and pressed just under the glans, then tore his mouth away from Draco's sweaty, marked neck and bit roughly through the velvet, taking an engorged nipple between his teeth. With a loud cry the triarii reached orgasm, come dribbling through Harry's fingers and down hir shaft. "Harry," Draco moaned. Harry lifted his head and saw the pleading in his lover's lustrous grey eyes. He smiled wickedly and ran his sticky hand over Draco's labia, flicking his fingers over hir clit.

"Mm-mm-mm," Draco whimpered and Harry kissed hir thoroughly, rubbing faster against the little button.

"Come again for me Draco. That's it…that's it," he murmured against hir lips as sie writhed beneath him. With hir clit between his forefinger and thumb it was just moments before Draco moaned again and he felt hir mound quiver against his palm, new wetness leaking around the heel of his hand as hir cock spurted sluggishly.

As their bodies and ardour cooled, Harry brushed aside the wet strands against Draco's face with his lips. "So good, Draco. I love how hot you are for me. That I make you fly apart like that. Love you, sweetheart."

Draco lifted hir sweaty head slightly, then flopped back down on the couch. "The same. That—was—" sie panted— "yes." With an entirely self-satisfied grin, sie closed hir eyes. "However, while I sympathise that you lack the triarii ability for simultaneous orgasms, I refuse to let you take out your frustration at that lack on my wardrobe, Potter. You've just used a 60-Galleon robe as a spooge sponge."

Harry chortled at the dry delivery. "Spooge sponge?" he asked, cocking his brow.

Draco smirked. "A very expensive spooge sponge."

Harry couldn't help it. He laughed. "All right," he snickered, staggering to his feet. "Let's get you into something more appropriate for visiting, then, shall we?"

Chuckling, the two made their way to their bedroom, cleaned up and changed, and with a quick stop by Heritage House to say goodbye to Anna they just managed to get to the gates in time to arrive fashionably late to the Burrow.

Harry Apparated Draco Side-Along to the edge of the Weasleys' walkway. Since the Weasleys' reversal in fortunes the Burrow had undergone major renovations, so rather than the former ramshackle hodgepodge of materials it now bore a homey brick façade and extended porch painted a crisp white, currently decorated with evergreen boughs that were festooned with bright red and gold ribbons. "Very…Gryffindor," Draco said dryly of the many oversized bows. Harry jabbed hir with his elbow. "Be nic—er...well...be civil," he grinned, and Draco nodded.

"This is actually rather understated by Molly's tastes." Both jumped a little, having been taken by surprise by one of their dearest friends.

"Remus, Tonks! Didn't hear you Apparate in," Harry greeted them, with a smile and hug for his friends.

"Remus," Draco nodded with a smile and then squawked as sie was lifted off the ground into a powerful hug. "Really, man, there's no reason to maul me. You just saw us days ago!"

The older man chuckled at the playfully put-upon aristocrat. "True, but you can never have too many hugs, Draco."

The blond sniffed and brushed at a non-existent wrinkle in hir cloak. "That remains to be seen." Sie nodded at Tonks. "Cousin."

Tonks nodded back with a look of distaste. "Uh, yeah," she muttered in a not-quite-reply, and made for the door.

Remus rolled his eyes. "You could try to get along with her, you know."

Draco shrugged a shoulder. "I could, but it's so much more entertaining this way."

Harry rubbed his eyes and the older wizard laughed. "You are such a brat."

"Yes, quite. Now, let's go in before I'm frozen. I'll need to be partially thawed, at least, if I'm to make a decent impression on your family, Harry love." Sie winked at hir fiancé.

Harry groaned. "I'll be happy if you just manage not to incite anyone to murder or mayhem, Draco."

Remus stepped in front of them with his and Tonks' gifts. "Good luck with that, lad," he said with a wink as Tonks knocked on the door.

Despite the teasing, though, Harry knew his lover was nervous. The longstanding feud between the Weasleys and Malfoys, plus the childhood rivalry between several Weasley children and Draco, and Draco's own actions in admitting Death Eaters to Hogwarts were heavy strikes against his foster family accepting hir as Harry's chosen. But Harry was determined to put Draco at ease. Allowances would have to be made because he'd never give hir up. With a reassuring squeeze around Draco's trim waist, Harry stepped up to the door with a broad smile for their hostess. "Mum Weasley!"

It was, however, as Draco had feared—worse actually, because while she might not have taught any of her children the old etiquette, Molly Weasley had certainly learned the lessons given by Old Mother Prewett. She stood beside the door smiling and waved in Tonks, Remus, and Harry, greeting them each by name, but as Draco stepped forward Mrs. Weasley pivoted on her heel and gave Draco her back, whispering under her breath as she turned. Harry, directly in front of Draco, missed the action, but from the foyer Remus did not and his brows rose in surprise and disapproval.

With Harry and Tonks occupied by removing cloaks and a chattering Mrs. Weasley, Remus returned to the door and extended his hands. "I acknowledge you as Friend in the house of my hosts. I bid you enter and welcome in my presence," the man intoned with sad eyes and pulled Draco forward.

"Well, it should be an interesting night, then," Draco said, pursing hir lips.

Remus shook his head. "I'll do what I can, Draco. I wasn't expecting that."

"Neither was I, frankly." Sie ran hir chilled fingers through hir long fringe. "It's her house, Remus, she's within her rights, but the Shunning invocation? I can't think of a time in recent memory I've ever heard anyone actually use it."

The older wizard smirked. "Renaissance Foundation is advocating the return of the older customs, Draco."

The blond grinned a little. "I've been hoist with my own petard, is that what you're telling me, Moony?"

The older man sighed. "Just stay close." He rolled his eyes.

Draco nodded seriously. "Of course. But I don't want Harry to know, so..."

"Stay close. I'll handle it," Remus promised just as Tonks called out for him. He extended his arm. "Shall we go?"

"We shall." Draco cast him a pointed look. "She won't be happy with this, you know?"

Remus nodded again sadly. "Molly and I are old friends. She may not see it now, but I'm in the right."

Draco snickered as they headed for the expanded living room. "I should say so! It'd be rather awkward for my betrothed to make his announcement to his family with me freezing to death on the doorstep because his foster mother saw fit to Shun me from her house."

The evening passed pleasantly enough with mince pies and carols and cheerful conversation. Remus made sure to touch Harry casually whenever he sought Draco's input or when the blond was the subject of his tale, as the only way Draco could be seen or heard was if Remus acted as a conduit. Otherwise the Shunning invocation Molly had used when she turned her back on Draco at the door acted as a kind of powerful localised Notice-Me-Not spell.

The Weasleys had obviously been prepared by their mother for what to expect and how to act, since no one made mention of the silences that followed Harry's "Right, Draco?" and Remus did a good enough job as conduit that Harry was always able to see and hear his affianced when he spoke to hir.

The most difficult part of the evening for Draco was when Harry was telling his family about the snow-fort war fought at Heritage House on Christmas Eve and how much fun he'd had with Anna and the other children. Draco would have loved to have been a part of the retelling and felt somehow excluded from hir own memories of that day, almost as if the joy of them were being leeched away by the smiling, animated, yet hostile faces around hir. Remus seemed to understand and squeezed hir hand in a silent show of support, but the hurt didn't melt away until Harry turned his adoring gaze on hir.

"The best was Christmas Day, though." Harry smiled softly. "Especially after Christmas dinner."

"Oi, Harry!" Ron interrupted, slurping noisily from his fourth or fifth tankard of spiced ale. "You shoulda been 'ere for Christmas. 'specially after runnin' 'round in the snow all mornin'. You musta been 'ungry, an' nothin' those hoi-hoity-toity Malfoy elves coulda made can compare to Mum's ham!"

Harry chuckled at his more than slightly inebriated friend. "Actually, Ron, it's a Malfoy tradition that the meal be prepared by the family's own hands, so Draco and Helene did most of the cooking, though Anna helped with the Bûche de Noël! And I don't know about ham, but the goose was delicious. You're a mage of many talents, love." Harry winked at Draco, who smiled at the praise.

Molly huffed. "So you had a good dinner, did you, dear? That's...that's lovely," she bit out through her forced smile. "Though it would have been nice if you could have joined us. Been with your family," she added pointedly.

Harry ducked his head, blushing. "Well...well, you see, that's part of why Draco and Anna really wanted me there with them. That—well that's the gift they had for me after dinner."

Hermione frowned. "What do you mean, Harry?"

Harry looked up at his friend with a grin, his green eyes sparkling brighter than she'd ever seen them. There was such happiness, such excitement there, her breath caught in her throat. "After dinner, well, it was the most amazing thing." Harry took up Draco's hand and kissed it. "Anna and Draco stood up and came to my seat, then Draco got down on one knee and Anna sat on hir raised one." He smiled at the memory.

"Oh, now that must've been something to see, that git Malfoy on his knees!" Fred laughed, egging the entire family into laughter and chuckles, but they all quieted quickly as Harry scowled at them. "They asked me to be part of their family," he said with quiet dignity in the face of his family's dismissal. "Draco and Anna asked me to marry them and I said yes," Harry snapped out, then he grabbed Draco's hand and bolted angrily from the table. Amidst the shocked gaps and denials Remus quickly followed them, leaving his stunned wife with a quick word of apology.

He caught up to them in the kitchen, where Harry was pacing and ranting up a storm.

"...can't believe they'd act like that! And with you sitting right there! I never expected them to be so disrespectful. So—so—argh! It was the best, the most beautiful moment of my life, and they just—I don't know...and FRED! That fucking—and why the hell aren't you saying anything?" Harry spun and hollered at the triarii just as Remus slipped his arm around the shaken mage's waist. "Oh. Remus. Um..."

"Come here, Harry," the lycanthrope directed, holding out his other arm. Harry came and the older man enveloped them both. Only then did Harry hear the tiny hitches in Draco's breath, see hir face pink with embarrassment and dismay, feel the warm trail of salt on hir porcelain-fine cheek.

"I am so sorry, Harry. So sorry you had to hear that. That they've hurt you." Draco reached up and stroked Harry's cheek. "It'll be all right. Really. They're shocked now, but give them a little time. They love you, Harry. You've just..." Sie chuckled wetly. "Well, you've just gone and done what you always do, which is defy everyone's expectations."

Despite himself, Harry smiled a little. "The only family I've ever known just basically turned their backs on me. You're not supposed to make me want to smile now."

A blond brow rose in response. "And when have I ever done what you've expected of me?"

Harry sniffled. "True." He tenderly wiped away Draco's tears. "Are these for me?" he asked gently.

"Well, they're certainly not for me, you dolt. Malfoys don't have feelings to be hurt."

This time Remus chuckled, reminding them both they were still held in the older man's arms. "Such a brat."

"You love me anyway," Draco said confidently.

"That I do. And Harry," he met the younger man's wet eyes, "I'm sorry, too. But don't you forget that you've more family that loves and supports you than is in that room." He nodded toward the door. "I love you, lad, and I'm proud of you both for wanting to share your happiness and for standing by your choice."

"Harry?" Hermione's tentative voice came from the doorway. The wizards and triarii turned. "We're sorry, Harry. It's just such a surprise to us and...well, Molly's a sobbing wreck and Ginny's having a fit of histrionics. You have to understand..." She trailed off as Harry's eyes blazed with building fury. She swallowed and tried again. "You should come back and—"

"And what?" he snapped "Listen to you lot belittle my future veru? Have you forgotten I was here when you and Ron announced your engagement, Mione? I remember how it was then. How it should have been for me. Instead I get to watch people I love, people who are supposed to love me, support and accept me and my choices, demean the most precious moments of my life and treat me, the mage I love, and the girl who's going to be my child like rubbish." Harry turned his head away. "Tell them whatever the hell you want, Mione. I'm not going anywhere except home to be with my family."

Without another word Harry Disapparated to the gates of the Malfoy estate. Draco rolled hir eyes, "Let it never be said you don't know how to make an exit, Potter." Sie tapped hir ear cuff and called for a carriage, then turned to Remus. "I don't suppose this is what you meant when you told my cousin you were stepping out for a moment?"

Remus snorted and gently cuffed the back of Draco's head. He tapped his own golden ear cuff. "I'm not sure she'll want to join us. She may decide to stay at the Burrow for a while."

"Her loss. Marie's king's cake is a treat not to be missed. Actually, if we hurry there may be some left for us." Draco shrugged, making light of the evening's disappointments. Sie gasped Remus' arm and headed for the carriage that had arrived, but he shook his head to indicate that his wife was staying at the Burrow. "Don't mope, old man, you'll get wrinkles." Sie paused for effect and examined Remus' face. "You'll get even more wrinkles."

And with the pain hir friend and hir fiancé had experienced dampened by laughter and love, sie mounted the carriage, determined to make the most of the night with the family that mattered most.