A/N: This is a one-shot in answer to the loud demands for more that briefly shows scenes over the next five years after the end of Flying with Tattered Wings. I hope you enjoy it! I know I loved writing it.
What The Future Holds
The sky hung above them a blue so deep Shadow that hardly thought was real. Colors splayed around him as if he'd stepped into a spectacularly clear and enhanced photograph: the white-gold sand, green-blue of the gently rolling waves, the beach-goers' swimsuits in every bright hue. Salt, laughter, and coconut sunscreen flavored his tongue. Slick oils, sticky sweat, and gritty sand textured his warm skin. Summer heat pervaded every inch until he lay limp and purring. Screams of playing children, roaring waves, and pleasant chatter turned musical by foreign words serenaded his ears. He was in heaven.
Rolling onto his side, Shadow gazed up at Draco, the one who'd made this possible. His husband dozed peacefully, his pale hair shimmering in the sun. Pink tinted his cheeks and nose, the delicate lashes of his eyes standing out against the red color. His lips were smooth and loose, parted gently as he breathed slow and deep.
"Swim with me," Shadow requested softly.
Shadow trailed his fingers across a mostly hairless chest, the sand on his fingers dragging across sensitive pink nipples. The sleepy hum transformed into a lazy murmur of pleasure. Grey eyes opened a fraction. "Let's swim," he repeated with a smile.
"I'm quite comfortable, thanks." A tongue darted out and lashed at the stiffening pink bud. Draco growled, eyes opening further. Twinkling two-colored eyes, matching the waves at their feet, gazed at him hungrily.
"Swim with me," Shadow demanded. He stood, stretching sensually, knowing he had his husband's full attention as he moved toward the cool water.
They were well into the fifth month of their honeymoon, and Shadow had finally embraced his sensual nature fully. With the removal of the last of his fear, his sexual appetite had returned with a vengeance, as if to make up for lost time. Draco wasn't complaining. Sure enough, the blond lifted onto his elbows to watch as Shadow slowly walked into the water, letting it wrap around him, caressing and cooling his heated skin. While Draco burned, he tanned into a warm butterscotch color that the blond found particularly delicious.
Shadow turned to face his love, running his dripping hands through his hair, the sun sparkling off the beads of moisture that clung to his curves and angles. It was the final straw. Draco rose smoothly, thighs flexing, as he strode across the sand. Shadow grinned, eyes heavy as he tilted his head and exposed his slender neck.
"Tease," Draco growled and pounced.
Shadow laughed, heart light, as they crashed into an oncoming wave and went under. He clung to the broad shoulders of his husband and wrapped his legs around the lean hips. "Only if I don't follow through," he argued when they broke through the surface. He let the next wave push his body into Draco's.
The movement sent a thrill of pleasure along his nerves. He bit his lips as he rolled gently, rhythmically forward with each gentle thrust of the water. Draco had already cast a wandless spell to remove the salt in the water around them, so the friction was absolutely heavenly instead of painful.
"I love you," Shadow breathed, his lips gently descending to drink in Draco's mouth.
Draco's hand lifted to cup his husband's rear to help him rock and thrust, the other tangling possessively in the messy, wet curls.
"Order an appetizer. I need to use the loo."
Shadow smiled easily, eyes already on the menu.
Draco let his eyes linger a moment longer. The sun had long ago set, the sound of the ocean now a distant backdrop. The night was warm with a cool summer breeze that made the white lights strung along the ceiling sway and dip. The smell of rich food, the low murmurs of conversation, and the clinks of silverware and glasses gave the scene an almost surreal feeling. Shadow stood out sharply real amongst it all.
He wore loose cotton pants that hung low on his hips, brown sandals, and a dark blue, silk shirt. His curls lay in disarray, still damp from their shower. The lines of his face smooth and soft, free of any tension, and suffused with simple joy. It had taken many weeks for the happiness to sink bone-deep. Weeks for Shadow to trust it and not feel like at any second it could end. It had taken constant reassurance and reinforcement, which Draco had actually enjoyed giving. He took great pleasure in taking care of his love. And here was the result.
Shadow was out in public, among strangers. His flashbacks were few and far between, as were his nightmares. He no longer flinched from unexpected touches. Best yet, he actually enjoyed their love making and instigated it. There were still a few things out of bounds in the bedroom, and probably always would be, but Draco wasn't complaining. This was better than anything he ever expected.
So it was understandable that he felt a bit angry with anything that threatened their hard-earned peace. The wizard with his magical camera didn't have time to scream, let alone Apparate. Draco's fist came out of the darkness behind him and yanked him back, slamming him into the alley wall hard enough for stars to explode behind his eyes. Gasping, choking, wide brown eyes stared up in terror at Draco's fang-filled snarl. Hands clawed desperately at the tightening fist.
"I'm only letting you live so you can spread the word. We're off limits. Should you come back or prove an ineffective messenger, I will hunt you down and correct my mistake. Understand?" The wizard's feet kicked feebly, the distorted features turning red then blue. With a soft his of disgust, Draco released him. "Get lost and never come back."
With a whimper, the man disappeared.
Draco rolled his shoulders and moved silently through the night back toward the restaurant where Shadow waited. As he approached the little table, Shadow caught sight of him and grinned.
"I ordered the sautéed mushrooms. It sounds delicious."
"I agree," Draco said as he lifted his husband's ringed fingers and kissed the knuckles.
"Are you talking about me or the mushrooms?"
He lifted an eyebrow. "Nothing can compare to you, but I suppose the mushrooms will do."
Ginny unlocked the door to her London flat in a daze. Twice the key missed the hole. Eventually, she came inside and almost immediately went sprawling. "Mione," she yelled furiously. "I told you not to leave your books by the door!"
"They're not! They're by the desk!"
Ginny scowled. They were also in front of the door. What did they need so many books for, anyway? Sighing, she followed the voice toward the kitchen and leaned in the doorway, her arms crossed. "You're not trying to cook again, are you?"
Hermione flipped her long hair over her shoulder with a haughty sniff. "I bet you'll love it."
Ginny doubted it. Her roommate was great with potions but for some reason the skill didn't transfer, which resulted in a lot of take-out because the bushy-haired woman always pouted when Ginny was able to cook something edible. Unable to maintain her glare, she began to grin. "I passed. My apprenticeship is over. I'm officially an Auror."
Hermione spun around, sending some type of sauce flying to splatter the wall. Then she was across the room and flung her arms around Ginny's neck. "Oh! I knew you could do it! And in only a year and a half, too! That's incredible!"
Ginny laughed and stroked the frizzy curls once. She'd secretly developed feelings for the brilliant woman in her arms. After she'd graduated Hogwarts and Hermione had saved her from having to live at home by offering to be her roommate, they'd become best friends. Ginny coaxed the bookwork to be more social, and Hermione gave her a sense of permanence and reliability that Ginny needed. She'd been afraid to say anything and ruin their friendship, but she couldn't hold it in any longer.
"I want to tell you something." She pulled back and smiled into warm brown eyes. "I love you."
"I love you, too, Gin," Hermione answered with a hot blush.
Ginny knew she meant as a sister or friend, but the blush hinted that maybe the other witch wouldn't be as against starting something as she'd first assumed. Ginny wasn't very good with words, never had been, so she leaned forward and kissed her instead. Hermione tensed, but then uttered a soft sigh, her breath tasting like mint, and opened her mouth to the kiss.
Their breasts pressed softly against each other as Ginny pulled her closer. Tongues gently swiped and twirled, Ginny quickly finding her temperature rising, her heart thudding faster, harder. Quickly, she pulled the blouse from Hermione's skirt and slid her hands up the soft, smooth skin of the other woman's back. Her hand unhooked the bra and glided around to cup a breast so much fuller than her own.
"Leave dinner. I'm taking you to bed," she decided.
Dilated eyes stared back at her, mouth wet, lips swollen. "Are you sure about this?"
"Are you sure?"
Hermione stared for a moment then she turned and switched off the stove. With her back to Ginny, she pulled her shirt and bra of before turning around. Ginny felt heat curl in her belly. She reached out, caught the delicate scholar's hand and tugged her forward as she bent to place a kiss on the top curve of the gorgeous chest.
"I'll take that as a yes," Ginny murmured. She kissed Hermione hungrily, a year of pent up lust making her forceful and demanding.
Hermione gasped and groaned as calloused hands slid and grabbed and stroked her breasts, neck, belly, and thighs. By the time they were both naked and in bed, the sheets were damp with sweat and she felt as if she were on fire. Wet fingers stroked her clit, while others pressed at the inside of her passage. A mouth bit and sucked at her nipple, and she arched with a strained cry. The orgasm rocked through her, causing bone-deep tremors as she let go of everything, surrendering completely to the other woman.
Dazed, she blinked to see Ginny smirking, self-satisfied, as she licked her fingers clean. Hermione rolled them and slid down the muscular yet completely feminine body. Languid and thorough, she made her way to the nest of short red curls, then it was Ginny's turn to scream and moan. Hermione laughed.
Luna twirled and ducked around and under the branches of the forest. Only when she heard the stamping did she slow and grow quiet. Hippogriffs grazed in the clearing ahead. She watched with wide eyes. Later she'd go into a Pensieve to take notes, now she just took in a much detail as she could.
The females slowly moved around the outskirts of the group, which proved they were the protectors. It was clearly a patrolling movement. A dozen other theories were tested as two hours passed. As the sun reached noon, the heard turned and ran quickly back toward their nests. She sighed in pleasure.
"Why do you only ask me to bring you close to the creatures you want to study?" Neville asked as he stepped up to her side.
"What fun would it be if you just told me all the answers? Besides, I love watching them." She spun and hugged him. "Thank you."
"You're as bad as Hagrid," he said with a laugh, gently tucking her hair behind her ear.
"No, silly!" She grinned and danced out of reach. "I'm almost as good as Hagrid."
"My mistake." He reached out a hand. "You ready to see the redcaps?"
"Oh, yes!" Luna took a running leap and landed in his strong arms. Her slight weight made little difference and they disappeared without a sound.
"Sorry we're late." Neville hugged his heart-brother, delighted by how happy Shadow looked.
"It's fine. What were you two up to?"
Neville looked down at a freshly scrubbed and formally dressed Luna. "Exploreing."
The girl giggled, kissed Shadow's cheek, and disappeared into the crowd.
Neville looked around at the large white tent, set up on a grassy field on a cliff near an ocean. It was the same place as Shadow's wedding. He noticed several friends in the crowd. Draco was over by a table with the Zabinies and Severus. The Blacks were talking to Ginny and Hermione. The women had come out a few weeks ago, and Sirius was obviously harassing them. They were both blushing, but Neville knew they could handle themselves. Luna had made her way to Healer Harper and his two spouses. George was dancing with Angelina Johnson, while Katie Bell waited for them at one of the tables, talking with Headmistress McGonagall and her new husband.
He returned his attention to his best friend. "Happy two year anniversary."
"Thanks." Shadow grinned and ran a hand through his curls. He wore dress robes, but he wasn't as done up as most of the guests at the party. "It doesn't feel like that much time has passed, but at the same time it feels much longer."
"I know what you mean." He smiled. "Looks like everyone's here. Why are you hovering by the entrance?"
"I was waiting for you."
Neville shot him a suspicious look.
"Okay. I just needed a break." Shadow shrugged. He'd come to accept his limits. He did better with strangers, but so many people focusing on him still made him break out in a cold sweat, friends or not.
Neville nodded. "I've missed talking to you. Any new gossip?"
"Hermione's studying how magic interacts with blood to figure out what creates Muggleborns. She's already made really brilliant discoveries, maybe even a cure for Squibs," Shadow told him with a happy smile. "And Luna, of course, is becoming more popular. Her books on magical wildlife are really astounding."
"What about George?"
"George and Fred finally told the girls the truth. I hear Katie laughed in Fred's face. She'd already guessed months ago. Angelina patted George on the hand and said, 'Oh, that.'"
"That's wonderful," Neville said with a large grin. "They deserve to be happy."
"And what about you?" Shadow looked up at him, eyes bright. "Are you happy?"
Neville blushed. "Yes."
A roar of rage drew their attention. Draco stood dripping wet, eyes blazing as he took off after a laughing redhead. George bolted for their corner and hid behind Shadow and Neville. Laughing, Shadow stepped forward to meet his enraged husband. Draco tried to go around him, but Shadow caught his arm and pressed himself against Draco's wet chest.
"Mmmm… I love water."
Draco blushed, his arms coming around Shadow. "Hello, Neville. George, I'll kill you later." Then he tugged Shadow toward the dance floor, dried both their clothes wandlessly, and stepped into the flow of dancers.
"Feeling suicidal?" Neville asked.
Before George could reply, Luna skipped up to them. "Nev, I asked Draco if he'd be Master of the Ceremony for the wedding. He said yes!"
George lifted both eyebrows. "You're getting married?"
Neville blushed again and grabbed for his fiancé. "I thought we agreed we'd keep this private?"
"Why should I?" Luna laughed. "After all, I proposed that you should propose, and you did."
George laughed loudly and ran off to spread the news, while Neville groaned and allowed Luna to pull him toward the dance floor.
"Have you heard the newest gossip?"
Shadow smiled tiredly at Miles. "No, but I'm about to."
Miles chuckled and handed his friend a cup of coffee.
They were in a warded surgery at St. Mungo's. After the wedding anniversary party eight months ago, Shadow and Draco had returned to England to stay more permanently. To keep busy, Draco did research with Severus and worked hard on making Neville and Luna's wedding perfect, while Shadow had decided to help Miles once a month at the hospital, turning into Seraphim and using his White magic to heal a single patient. Otherwise he spent time visiting friends and family. Miles had quickly become known as a miracle worker, taking credit for Seraphim's healings, as was the deal. Shadow definitely didn't want to renew the Wizarding world's attention on him.
"The second Triad of the century will be formed next spring."
Shadow grinned. He did know that gossip. "The Weasley Triad, right?" Except it wasn't really a triad since George would marry Angelina and Fred was marrying Katie. "George proposed? Love is in the air."
Miles laughed. "I bet you're relieved the Longbottom wedding is over."
"Maybe Draco will talk of something else now. I love Nev and Luna, but I will be happy to leave the wedding behind. My husband can be a bit obsessive."
"No. Really?" Miles teased.
Shadow blushed. "Shut up."
"Go home." Miles helped him to his feet. "You're beat, and Draco will worry if you're much later."
Shadow waved and swung his Invisibility Cloak around him. No one saw as he left the surgery. They were too busy converging on Miles and demanding to know if he'd preformed another miracle.
"Did it go well?"
Shadow sighed, muscles relaxing for the first time since he left home, as Draco's arms wrapped around him. He was much better, but the abuse he'd suffered would always mark him. He still hadn't taken off the cloak, and he wondered idly how Draco always knew when he was around. Was it his heightened senses or something else?
"It went fine. Miles is doing well."
Draco pulled the cloak away and kissed him deeply. Shadow gasped, surprised by the heat and urgency in Draco's careful movements. Curious, he tried to ask what had gotten into his love, but was quickly distracted as his clothes disappeared one article at a time. By the time Draco maneuvered him into the sitting room and laid him out on the chaise longue all questions had fled.
Shadow cried out as teeth grazed his nipple. Skin humming with electricity, he moaned as hands groped and stoked, dragging down his sensitive sides, the hot mouth leaving a moist trail down his twitching stomach. His breath hitched as a slick finger penetrated his body, a mouth ghosting over his cock. Draco swallowed him whole, and he cried out, waves of heat searing him from head to toes for a long second before panic could build. Draco pulled his mouth away, knowing that was his limit. Then all coherent thought fled as Draco moved up his body and entered him with a slow, torturous thrust.
Hours later, they lay sated and limp, Draco on the chaise longue, legs dangling off, with Shadow resting on his chest between them. Shadow murmured something into his skin, and Draco laughed at the tickling sensation, voice thick and hoarse. "Can't hear you."
"Said what's that about?"
"Do I need a reason to ravage my husband?"
"Usually make it to bed," Shadow answered sleepily. "You know how Dad feels."
"I may have wanted you in a good mood," Draco admitted.
Two bright, cat-like eyes cracked open to peer at him. "What'd you do?"
Draco put on his best puppy-eyed look. "I may have told George I'd be Master of the Ceremony for their wedding."
Shadow sighed and lay his head back down.
"Love you," Draco whispered fondly, petting the gorgeous curls.
"Love you, too."
Severus was quite enjoying his retirement. He studied and developed new potions or improved old formulas. He had more people in his life than he ever expected, which included a son and a son-in-law who lived with him and kept him from loneliness. But there were some things he could do without.
"Uncle Sev!" A small body crashed into his legs.
Severus sighed and stroked the girl's copper curls once. "What is it this time?"
"Charlotte is going to Peru for two weeks with her family and she invited me along and Papa won't let me go!"
The incredibly long sentence grew increasingly shrill until it was practically a wail at the end. Severus winced. "Why not?" he asked, leading her to the sitting room.
"He says lots of stupid stuff. Like he needs me here and I have lessons as Black Heir to do, but he's gone all the time with his new girlfriend! Then he said I was too young! I'm eleven! Then he said Teddy missed me while I was away at Hogwarts and should spend all summer with him and it's just not FAIR!"
The girl is definitely a Gryffindor, Severus mused. "Marissa, do stop shouting. You already have my attention."
Marissa blushed. "Sorry, Uncle Sev."
"I did miss you, but I don't mind if you go, Mari."
Severus turned his attention to the quiet six-year-old standing in the doorway. He'd grown into Remus' temperament – calm, quiet, and mischievous – but also had an obsession with strange colors like his mother. The child could change the color of any part of his body, but fortunately it would be many years yet before he could actually change his features or shape like Tonks.
At the moment, Teddy had dark green hair that fell to his shoulders and violet eyes with skin the color of caramel. It was rather striking and Severus frowned. Maybe he should have a talk with Remus. The boy would do better to learn to look less gorgeous. He would draw unwelcome attention otherwise.
"Thanks, Teddy." Marissa ran over to hug him tight.
"Where are your parents?" Severus asked darkly, surprised none of the adults of Grimmauld Place had come to meet him yet.
Teddy smiled. "Mum and Dad are out to dinner. Uncle Siri was supposed to watch us, but Rosalie firecalled. She was upset, and he went to make her feel better. Mari's old enough to watch me."
Severus scowled. Marissa was indeed old enough to watch Teddy for a short period, but these two together were trouble and they should always have supervision. "It's a good thing I decided to visit in that case."
"Will you talk to him, Uncle Sev?" Marissa demanded.
"Have no fear of that," he answered darkly, much to her delight. "Now how about I help you brew some potions."
Teddy clapped, excited, but Marissa was more subdued. Fortunately, she was smart enough to realize that if she wanted Severus to stay on her side, she'd have to keep him happy. So she didn't complain as he led the children to the potions lab.
Sirius arrived home content and thoroughly shagged only to meet two very unhappy parents and a smirking Severus Snape. He bore the lecture with sullen grace and scowled as Remus and Tonks went up to bed, leaving him to Snape's not so tender mercies. "What are you doing here? Draco and Shadow having another sex marathon?" he asked, hoping to distract the man.
A look of resignation flickered over Severus' features. "They are celebrating the end of the Weasley wedding and the return of Draco's free time."
Sirius laughed, even knowing it was the worst thing he could do.
Severus' face darkened and he leapt into an attack. "What's this about denying Marissa a life-learning experience?"
"Stay out of it, Snape," Sirius warned, all humor gone.
"Jealous, Black? Or maybe you're lazy and want to use your daughter to do your work for you?"
Sirius flung a nasty hex, but it was deflected with ease. "I'm a good father! Don't you dare say otherwise!"
"Who are you trying to convince?"
They dueled viciously for several long minutes. A couch exploded into thousands of splitters while a painting went up in flames. Sirius panted from his position behind a sofa chair, his shoe filling with blood from a semi-deep gash on his calf. Severus was behind another chair, his left hand floppy and boneless.
"I don't want her so far away from me," Sirius admitted. "What if she gets into trouble?"
"You can't guard her forever. She needs to be able to stand on her own. A good father would see this opportunity for what it is. Two weeks for her to test the waters of independence before being returned to your care."
"I hate you."
Severus smiled, knowing he'd won.
"Shadow? What's wrong?" Neville crouched down next to his brother. They were in the clearing in the woods outside Snape House.
Shadow sat on the ground, his back supported by a tree. He sighed, eyes hidden by his long bangs. "I don't know what to do."
"What happened?" It'd been years since Neville had seen him look so glum.
A tired laugh escaped his lips. "I never thought I'd get to be this happy. Even if the world left me alone the inside of my head was such a mess I didn't think peace would ever be possible. I never thought I'd get the chance to live day-to-day. To see the world with nothing more important to worry about than what's for dinner. It's been great, and it's all because of Draco." Shadow pulled at the grass. "I love him so much."
"Did you have a fight?" Neville couldn't imagine it. Sure they bickered sometimes, but they were still so sensitive to how close they'd come to never being together, of never having this future, that fights never lasted more than a day.
Shadow shook his head. "He hasn't said anything, but I know he needs more. I have my ability to heal, but all Draco has is me. He cleared his name of vampirism at the Ministry, so they won't try to lock him up anymore, but it's still on record that he's not fully human. No one would hire him, even if he wanted to get a job. And now that the weddings are over…"
"He's not unhappy," Neville offered. "At least, I never thought so."
"He could be happier," Shadow countered with a scowl. He lifted his head to meet Neville's worried gaze. "He wants a baby."
With a sigh, Neville sat next to his friend. "How do you know?"
"The way he watches families, the guarded expressions when we're told someone's having a baby. Did you know Katie and Angie are pregnant? And it's only been a year since their wedding!"
"What do you think about it?"
"It would make Draco happy."
Neville tried to decipher his brother's expression, but it was hard in the low lighting. He was fiercely glad he'd set up a ward to tell him when Shadow came to the clearing and needed him. "What do you not like about the idea?"
"I don't know what to do with a child. I was awkward around Marissa when I wasn't Seraphim. I don't even have fond memories of being a kid. I'm afraid that I'll always feel uncomfortable around him or her, and I don't want to do that to a child."
"Draco won't make you have a baby if you're not ready," Neville said, testing the waters.
"What if I'm never ready?"
"Then you're not."
"But it means so much to Draco, and he was great with Marissa and Teddy. Still is." Shadow scowled and tore up more grass. "I want him to be happy. He'd be a great father. The way he handled me when I was Boy proved that."
Neville captured one of Shadow's hands. "You shouldn't have a child just for Draco. That won't work out, and in the end, Draco would be very unhappy."
Shadow peeked shyly up at him. "It might be nice. To be involved in another person's life. To have them belong with you, the way I belong with Severus now. It's not the same with Marissa or Teddy. That's the point. It's so different when it's your own kid. So it's not like I'm totally against the idea, but it's still true that I'm not perfectly healed. I still have problems with strangers touching me or even someone I know but I'm not that close to. The flashbacks are better, but they aren't gone. What if I hurt the kid? Mess them up?"
"Oh, Shadow, you wouldn't mess anyone up. All families have their problems. You know that. You'd provide all the most important things – love, support, protection – and if something happened Draco would be there to be the great father you know he'd be. You'd take care of each other. And you have Severus, me, Luna, and everyone else. You wouldn't be alone."
"You're awfully supportive all of the sudden," Shadow muttered quietly, scowling down at his lap.
Laughing, Neville pulled him into a one-armed hug. "If I couldn't read you by now, then I'd be hopeless. You want this. You're just afraid."
They sat in silence for several minutes. Neville relaxed and just leant his support as his brother thought hard. Eventually, Shadow smiled. "Thanks, Nev."
"Anytime," he answered honestly. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
"What's wrong? What happened?" Draco asked as Shadow burst through the front door. He'd been reading the newspaper quite peacefully, but now he was on his feet ready to attack whatever had upset his love.
"Nothing's wrong. I have something to tell you." Shadow grabbed his hand and made him sit down again. He sat next to him, eyes bright and intense as he searched Draco's still worried face. "Love, I know what you've been longing for lately, and I agree. Maybe it's time we take the next step. Let's have a baby."
Draco could only blink in surprise, utterly speechless.
Shadow laughed, heart beating fast with fear and nerves but also determination. "I can do this. We can do this. Really, Draco. I want this, too."
"Are you sure?" he asked tightly, color blooming across his cheeks.
"You know I wouldn't say anything otherwise. I've been thinking about it for about a month. I'm afraid, but I know we have a lot to give. Besides, it's not like we're alone in this. We have help if we need it."
Draco pounced. He kissed Shadow thoroughly, tears burning his eyes. Shadow had no idea how happy this made him.
Draco, Shadow, Neville, and Luna sat in a loose circle before the fireplace. They were all comfortable and pleasantly full from the delicious dinner Omi had cooked. Severus had agreed to give the boys the night to themselves and was either at Grimmauld Place or Hogwarts, although he didn't know why they had requested privacy. Draco and Shadow had decided to keep their plans secret until everything was more settled.
"Of course I'll do it. I'd love to be the surrogate mother!" Luna actually clapped her hands she was so happy.
"Are you sure?" Shadow asked carefully. "The procedure is still pretty new, and you have to really be sure you'll be okay relinquishing the baby to us after you carry it for nine months."
"I heard about it last year. The results are pretty good so far," Neville offered.
"Except when they aren't," Shadow muttered nervously.
The procedure would take a sperm from Draco and turn it into an egg, and then they would use Shadow's sperm to fertilize it. The egg would then be placed in Luna to be carried to term. Another spell would insure that Draco's blood would be the one cycling through the baby, as if he were the one really carrying it. That way there would be no chance of the baby rejecting Luna's blood or vice versa, causing an abortion. Female partners could do this as well, but it was less risky since they would be able to carry the baby themselves and wouldn't need the extra blood-transfusion spell. It was all pretty amazing.
"I said yes so that's already settled." Luna leapt to her feat and ran to the floo. "Let's go!"
"Um, tomorrow will be fine," Draco assured her, although he was just as excited. "Miles will meet us at the hospital. He promised he'd help keep this all private, so no one will bother us." He looked over at the Longbottoms as Luna settled against her husband's side once more. "You do know that you'll have to live here until the baby's born. I don't want to miss a minute."
She shrugged with a smile. "That's okay as long as I still get to do my research."
"Only if you agree that the last two months are for resting only," Draco bargained. He didn't like the idea of the woman pregnant with his and Shadow's baby running around forests and dangerous places.
"Deal! This will be so interesting!"
Shadow lovingly stroked Draco's hair as he slept fitfully. Luna was eight months pregnant and the baby demanded a lot from Draco's body. He'd suffered severe hunger pains, high-blood pressure, and malnutrition throughout the pregnancy. They went to the hospital almost every week now to be sure everything was as well as could be and to make sure Draco's body had what both he and the baby needed. Luna smirked whenever Draco complained. She'd been saved the more emotionally and physically draining affects of pregnancy and walked around chipper as ever, the added weight only causing her mild aches.
Draco opened eyes still puffy from his crying jag earlier. "Hey," he whispered sleepily.
"Hey," Shadow answered just as softly. "How are you feeling?"
"Mmmm," Shadow hummed, enjoying said sleepy warmth.
When they parted, Draco sighed. "I'm hungry. Again."
Shadow smiled, knowing better than to laugh. He helped Draco dress, secretly enjoying being the one to take care of Draco for a change. These last few months had changed their relationship, made it deeper and stronger, more balanced. Hand-in-hand, they moved to the dining room, meeting Luna and Neville on the way. Draco immediately went to touch her large stomach, already chatting about all things baby. Shadow and Neville exchanged amused smiles as they followed the two blondes.
Severus joined them moments later. He nodded to Luna, his eyes on her stomach as if expecting her to pop. Shadow smiled at his father. Severus had been more nervous during this whole thing than Shadow, and that was saying something. Obviously, the whole thing brought back uncomfortable memories for him, but he was also happy and excited to have a grandchild.
"What do you think, Shadow?" Luna asked as dinner was served. "Roberta would be a good name!"
"I suppose it is better than Peanut, but it's still hideous," Severus drawled, a sneer on his lips.
Draco snickered. "Besides, it's a boy."
"I think it's a girl," Neville added his opinion, smiling when Luna kissed him with approval.
"Course it is!" Luna nodded firmly.
"No, it's a boy," Draco argued, lifting his chin superiorly.
"The mother knows," Shadow said slyly.
Draco slapped his shoulder. "Shut up, you."
"And I said Peanut as a nickname!" Luna butted in.
"Why don't you stick to naming the hundreds of stuffed animals you two have insisted the baby needs," Severus suggested. "After all, they're safe from the ridicule of their peers."
Luna stuck her tongue out at her one-time Professor.
Shadow clasped Draco's limp hand in both of his. The evening had started so peacefully. Dinner had been amusing and light-hearted. How had things gone so wrong so quickly? Luna's water had broken and she'd gone into labor a little after they'd eaten. They all rushed to the hospital where Miles quickly secreted them into a warded surgery and out of sight. Then things had gone from bad to worse.
The baby was breach and resisting all magic, partly because of the complicated charms and spells that had allowed this to be possible in the first place. Draco had fainted, blood pressure sky-rocketing. Luna wasn't faring much better, weak and pale and exhausted. Neville stood beside her, murmuring in her ear. Shadow sat in a chair between her hospital bed and Draco's. He encouraged her as best he could, but he couldn't bring himself to release his hold on his love. He needed Draco. He wouldn't be able to survive without him.
Miles stood between Luna's knees, chanting spells and using the dozen or so potions on a rollie cart beside him. He was sweating and also reaching his limits. This had been going on for over twelve hours. Shadow itched to transform and use his White magic and heal Draco and Luna, but if he did that then the progress Miles had made with shifting the baby could be undone, and Shadow had no confidence he'd know not to heal Luna if he transformed. So he had to wait to heal them until after the baby was born.
Luna had gone quiet, Draco's harsh pants and quiet moans loud in his ears. Then suddenly a sharp, high cry split the air. Shadow instantly transformed. Seraphim came bursting into life. He shook his head, snorting to clear it of all the strong smells: potions, sweat, fear, exertion, blood. His mate's need instantly grabbed his attention, and with a fierce growl he washed power down into the body of his mate.
In moments, the male settled more peacefully, his breathing deep and regular, color back in his cheeks. Turning, Seraphim tended to the woman. He sealed the torn tissues in her abdomen and stabilized her chemical systems. He ignored the large male who smelled strongly of earth, instead his attention caught on the weak cry of a cubling.
He took a step closer and the scent of his mate filled his nose. His mate's blood was all over the cub. He instantly understood that it was theirs. He growled dangerously, Black shadow's turning into spikes around him. The male was intelligent. He instantly held out the child, and Seraphim carefully approached and gently snatched the small creature away. His wings snapped out as he turned around, hiding the cub and his mate from view as he slowly approached he bed.
Large grey eyes stared at the tiny cub in his arms. He smiled at his mate, feeling proud and protective. They had a cub of their own! He allowed one wing to curl forward, cleaning the little one of the blood and also putting his own scent on it. The combined smell of he and his mate made his mouth water. This was perfect; this was right.
Shadow came back from the transformation, Seraphim's thoughts and instincts still filling his mind, and handed the now sleeping baby to his eager husband. It was a boy. Draco had been right. "He's beautiful," he whispered.
Draco nodded, too overwhelmed to speak. He stared into the wrinkled face of his son and felt triumph, adoration, and peace wash through him in alternating waves. The baby wiggled, a cooing cry escaping his small toothless mouth, his red face scrunching further. Draco stared, enthralled.
"You did so good," Neville's voice drifted across the room as he spoke gently to Luna.
"I'm glad," she tiredly answered, eyes still closed. "And now we can go exploring again. I've missed it."
Neville laughed. "Whatever you want."
"Thank you, Luna." Shadow left Draco's side to clasp her hand tightly. "It means so much to us."
"It was fun. Well, most of the time," she answered happily, the last word a yawn.
"Rest," Neville coaxed.
Shadow kissed her cheek and moved back to Draco's side. The baby was fussing, and his love watched every move with a wide smile. Laughing softly, Shadow stroked his hair. Draco finally looked up at him, powerful emotion in his eyes. Shadow felt his throat tighten in response.
"Here," Miles interrupted the moment to hand over a warm bottle of milk. Draco immediately focused on the baby again. Miles looked to Shadow. "What are you naming him?"
"Scorpius Draconis Snape," Shadow answered. "It starts with S, so it follows the Snape tradition, but it's also a constellation, satisfying Black tradition." He smiled at the picture Draco made with the precious baby. "I should go tell the others. I'm sure they're worried sick." He glanced at Miles seriously. "Watch them?"
"Of course," the man promised. He owed so much to Shadow and they were good friends. He wouldn't let anything happen.
Shadow nodded but still felt reluctant to leave. He forced his feet to move and slipped out of the room. The waiting room was full of people and everyone froze as they caught sight of him. Shadow felt a spike of anxiety as all those eyes settled on him, but he caught and held Severus' tight-eyed gaze and it calmed him down.
"They're all okay. We have a son."
A loud cheer went up and Shadow laughed, allowing Severus to embrace him. Sirius and Tonks were screaming cheers. George wasn't much better. Teddy and Marissa were clapping and dancing, while Hermione and Katie burst into grateful tears. Angie and Ginny soothed them as much as possible, large grins on their faces.
~ The End ~