Hermione wrapped her hair up in a towel and was reaching for a second towel to wrap around herself when the door opened, and Remus walked in. The poor werewolf stopped short when he realized someone else was already in the bath, eyes widening in shock when he saw Hermione's state of undress. He immediately blushed and backed away, stammering his apologies. Hermione was too mortified to do anything but clutch the towel to her chest, blushing fiercely.
As soon as the flustered werewolf closed the bathroom, Hermione almost leapt out of the bath and hurriedly pulled on her clothes. She could have sworn she'd locked the door before starting her bath. The she remembered the same thing happening with Harry. With an angry scowl, Hermione jerked the door open and inspected the doorknob closely. As expected, she saw a tiny Key Rune etched into the metal. Oh, those twins were going to die slowly and painfully.
Stalking to her room, Hermione pulled out the books Harry had given her to study over the summer. Surely there would be something in there she could use- something those annoying twins would never see coming. She was sick and tired of being on the receiving end of their pranks. It was time to do a little pranking of her own.
An hour later, Hermione knew exactly what she was going to do to get back at the twins. She rubbed her hands in gleeful anticipation. This time, Fred and George Weasley were going down.
Hermione found the opportunity to put her plan into action during supper. As soon as the twins sat down to eat, Hermione cast a sticking charm on them to keep them seated and then hit them both with an obscure truth spell. This spell was different from most truth spells and potions, though, because the person under the spell was compelled to admit any wrong doing they'd committed over the last six months. Hermione couldn't wait to see just how deep a hole they dug for themselves.
"Good morning, everyone. Has anyone heard from Harry yet?" asked Hermione cheerfully, watching the twins closely and smiling smugly when she saw the spell take hold.
"I haven't. I wonder how he's doing," replied Molly, glancing at the empty chairs.
"I placed a Key Rune on Harry's bedroom door," Fred blurted out abruptly, eyes widening in shock at what he'd just said. And that was only the beginning.
"I placed a Key Rune on the bathroom door while Hermione was bathing," said George, looking just as horrified as his twin.
"I took pictures of Hermione half-naked," said Fred with growing dread. His mother looked like she was ready to murder them.
"I showed them to Harry and his mates," added George, almost whimpering at the blistering glare his mother aimed toward him. What was going on here?
Hermione growled in outrage and hit them both with a Bat Bogey curse. "You little cretins! I can't believe you showed those pictures to Harry!"
"He barely glanced at them before shoving them back into the envelope. I think he was actually more embarrassed than you were, Hermione," said George, desperately trying to appease the brunette's anger.
"Yep, you should have seen the adorable blush on his face," said Fred.
Molly finally snapped and shrieked at the twins in fury. "Fredrick Gideon Weasley! George Fabian Weasley! I raised you better than that! How dare you violate Harry and Hermione's privacy like that!" She stomped over to the twins and snatched their wands away from them. "Since you cannot act like the adults you proclaim to be, I will be keeping these until further notice."
"But Mum!" the twins whinged in unison, outraged that they were being treated like children.
"But nothing! Perhaps now you'll learn to think before acting so foolishly again!" snapped Molly angrily. Obviously, she'd been far too lenient with those two over the years if they thought it was acceptable to invade someone's privacy like that. "Apparently, I should have done this years ago. I can only imagine the number of people who have been victim to this type of prank."
"It was just Hermione and Harry," said George quickly.
"Yeah, usually it's just harmless stuff like what we sell in the shop. We only mess with Harry and Hermione like that because they can give as good as they get," said Fred, now knowing exactly who to blame for his current predicament.
"Exactly! Impressive spell, by the way, Hermione," said George with grudging admiration.
Molly looked unimpressed. "That is no excuse. I will still be keeping your wands for the time being."
"We probably should have listened to Harry when he warned us about pranking Hermione," muttered Fred with a resigned sigh.
"Yeah, she's wicked scary when she's out for revenge," George agreed.
"But then again, that's what makes it so fun," the twins said together.
Hermione silently groaned. She really wished Harry would hurry up and come back home. She wasn't looking forward to dealing with the twins and their incessant pranks alone this summer.
Tristan called his Aunt Marissa, smiling when the blonde appeared in the orb. "Hey, Aunt Marissa. We were thinking about coming by for a few days. Do you mind?"
Marissa sighed regretfully. "I wish you could, but your parents decided to drop by unannounced and uninvited in an attempt to interfere with my request for your guardianship. Unfortunately, they have been successful in delaying matters, but they'll soon find that their efforts have been wasted. Since you completed your bond with Harry, you are now considered a legal adult and have no need for a guardian."
"How long are they staying?" asked Tristan, trying to hide his hurt and disappointment away. He still couldn't believe the lengths his parents were willing to go just to hurt him as much as possible.
"All bloody summer long," whinged Marissa irritably. "I would just toss them out the door, but I know if I do that, they'll just try to cause even more problems for us. And though I won't be able to see you this summer, I will definitely see you during the winter holidays even if I have to impose on young Mr. Weasley's hospitality to do so."
Tristan smiled at the determined look on his aunt's face. She really would bully her way into staying at the cottage if that's what it took to visit him. That was just one of the many reason he loved her so much. "I'll hold you to that, Aunt Marissa."
"Good." She started to say something else, but she was interrupted by an impatient knock on the door. She sighed in resignation. "Sorry, Tristan, but it seems that I have guests to attend. I love you, and congratulations on your mating."
The orb darkened before Tristan could respond. He placed the orb back in his trunk and shut the lid, frowning in disappointment. He'd really been looking forward to formally introducing Harry as his mate, but once again, his parents just had to go out of their way to make him as miserable as possible.
"Is something wrong, Tristan?"
Tristan startled at the question, turning to see Harry hovering hesitantly in the doorway. He waved the brunet inside, pulling him into his arms as soon as he was within reach. Tristan promptly buried his face in Harry's neck, breathing in his mate's soothing scent.
Harry immediately leaned into the embrace, giving Tristan the comfort he obviously needed. After several long minutes of silence, though, Harry voiced his concern. "Tristan, what's wrong?"
Tristan sighed and hugged Harry tighter. "We can't visit Aunt Marissa this summer because my parents decided to visit first."
"We could always stay at a hotel or something and ask her out to lunch or supper instead. We don't have to stay in the same house just to spend with her," said Harry.
"That's tempting, but I think it would be better to stay away for now. My parents are already trying to cause problems for Aunt Marissa because she offered me a home after my disownment. My presence there will only make things worse for her," said Tristan wearily. "Besides, Aunt Marissa promised to see me over the winter holidays even if she had to invade Bill's cottage to do so."
Harry smiled at that. He could easily see Tristan's aunt doing exactly that, forcing Bill to let her in so that she could see her beloved nephew. "I'm glad." A sudden wave of fatigue caught Harry by surprise. He rubbed his eyes sleepily and yawned. This had been happening a lot lately. One minute he'd be fully awake and energetic, and the next he'd be so tired he could barely keep his eyes open.
Tristan frowned in concern. For the last three days, Harry had been sleeping a lot more than usual, and Tristan was beginning to fear that his mate was getting ill. Harry didn't seem sick, though, just unexpectedly tired. One thing was for sure. He fully intended to badger someone back at the cottage to run a full diagnostic spell on Harry as soon as they returned.
Harry slumped even further against him, and Tristan realized the brunet had literally fallen asleep on his feet. Lifting Harry into his arms, he settled the brunet on the bed and crawled in beside him. Holding Harry close, Tristan decided to discuss his concerns about Harry's condition with Zenith and Octavius when he woke from his nap. For now, however, he was going to enjoy the rare alone time he had with his mate.
A whispered argument pulled Harry from the depths of sleep. He reluctantly opened his eyes and saw Tristan and Zenith in the midst of a heated argument. He vaguely heard the words 'fertility spell' and 'pregnant,' making him frown in confusion. Why were they arguing about that? Well, there was only one way to find out.
Harry silently sat up and bluntly asked, "Who's pregnant?"
Zenith and Tristan froze in place before turning slowly to face Harry. Tristan smiled nervously. "Good, you're awake. Do you feel a little better now?"
Harry raised a brow at redhead. "I'm fine, Tristan, now answer my bloody question. Who is pregnant?" He watched as Zenith and Tristan seemed to have a silent conversation, feeling a sense of growing dread. "Just tell me already!"
"You are," said Zenith bluntly.
Harry shook his head in denial. "That's impossible. I took a contraceptive potion, and those things last for three months. We haven't been mated that long. It hasn't even been a full month."
"True, but there are some extenuating circumstances in your case," said Zenith diplomatically.
"What kind of extenuating circumstances?" asked Harry warily.
Zenith rubbed his head with a sheepish expression. "We made love in the cavern while the Dracken females were performing the Dance of Renewal. It acted as a fertility spell, nullifying the contraceptive potion you took."
Harry could only stare at Zenith in disbelief. "What?" No, this couldn't be true. It was far too soon to be thinking about children right now. "What am I going to do about school? I still have a year left before I graduate," said Harry, beginning to panic.
Zenith quickly sat beside Harry and pulled the brunet into his arms. "Calm down, Harry. Dracken pregnancies are very different to human pregnancies. For the first six months, the baby's dragon form will develop. The baby's humanoid form takes an additional six months to develop."
"You mean to tell me I am going to be pregnant for an entire year?" asked Harry incredulously. He didn't know whether to laugh or cry right now. He loved the idea of having a family with his mates, but he'd expected to wait a few years before having any children. This was a huge shock for him.
"This is going to be a nightmare," muttered Tristan. "Harry's in enough danger as it is without adding a pregnancy into the mix."
Harry flinched slightly, and Zenith glared harshly at the redhead. "Shut up, Tristan. Harry has us to make sure he stays perfectly safe from now on."
"Yeah, that worked so well when he got stabbed by Silas," sneered Tristan. "He almost died from that if you'll remember."
"We weren't bonded then, either," snapped Zenith.
Harry resolutely ignored their arguing and silently cast a diagnostic spell on himself. As the results appeared, he sighed softly when he saw confirmation that he was indeed pregnant with a Dracken child. A small image formed over his stomach, showing a week old fetus, incubating safely in an actual egg the size of a button.
"What the hell is that?" asked Tristan, staring at the grainy image in stunned disbelief.
Zenith smiled proudly. "Like I said, the first six months is to allow the baby's dragon form to develop, and dragons are hatched from eggs. Once the baby's dragon form is fully developed, the egg will dissolve, and the dragon will slowly begin the transformation to its humanoid state."
"Remus is going to kill me," said Harry seriously.
"He's not going to kill you," said Tristan sharply. "While he may be disappointed that we are starting a family far sooner than expected, Remus loves you too much to do anything to hurt you."
A loud crash in the next room halted anymore conversation. Harry swiftly got off the bed and hurried to the door, freezing in shock when he saw Octavius fighting an unfamiliar man. His sudden appearance distracted Octavius just enough for the other man to rake sharp claws across Octavius' chest. Harry snarled in fury and threw a fireball at the stranger. His attack wasn't the only one to hit, though. Tristan froze the man's feet to the floor, and Zenith's tail wrapped tightly around the stranger's neck.
"What the bloody hell is going on here?" Harry demanded. He hurried to Octavius and healed the gashes on his chest. "Who is he, Octavius?"
"It's Seth's older brother, Caleb," said Octavius, glaring at the other demon.
"Why is he here?" asked Harry. "How did he even know where to find you?"
Caleb's body suddenly turned into mist, escaping Zenith's hold. His form solidified on the far side of the room, and he leaned nonchalantly against the wall. "I'm here to kill Winters, of course, and if you get in my way, I'll have no qualms about killing you as well."
"I know he's annoying, but why are you here to kill Octavius?" asked Tristan bluntly.
"He's the Ravynstaff heir. If he dies before begetting an heir, the estate will go to my family," said Caleb smugly.
"You're related to them?" asked Tristan incredulously.
"Distantly on his mother's side," muttered Octavius with a grimace of disgust. "However, he's mistaken about one thing. As it stands now, my cousin Giotto will inherit everything should I die."
Caleb smirked at that. "I'm afraid Giotto met an untimely accident three days ago, resulting in his death."
"You little coward," hissed Harry.
Caleb scowled at Harry. "Keep taunting me, and you'll die right along with your lover."
"Just try it. You'll find that we aren't so easily killed, coward," growled Harry.
Caleb growled and turned to mist. The thick cloud of mist shot toward Harry, but Harry was ready for him. Taking a deep breath, he blew icy air into the mist, instantly freezing a sizable chunk of the cloud. Tristan followed Harry's example and began freezing even more of the mist. Unfortunately, the ice began to melt as soon as it hit the floor, so Harry decided to switch tactics.
Ripping off a strip of cloth from his shirt, he quickly transfigured it into an unbreakable jar and lid. He heard Tristan shout in warning and looked up to see a cloud of mist heading toward him again. Raising the jar in front of him at the last moment, Harry trapped the mist in the jar, closing the jar with the airtight lid.
The rest of the mist gathered together and solidified. This time, however, Caleb was missing his left arm and leg. Before he could retaliate in any way, Octavius pulled the jar into the shadows, smirking in satisfaction at Caleb's scream of rage.
"Looking a little… uneven there, Caleb," mocked Octavius.
"You bastard," hissed Caleb.
"That's rich coming from you," sneered Octavius. "Trying to kill me was your first mistake. Going after Harry was your last." With that said, Octavius split the mist demon down the middle with a shadow, engulfing each half with shadows and sending them both to two separate locations. "Well, that takes care of him. I doubt we'll be seeing him for a very long time."
Tristan glared at him. "Why didn't you just do that to start with? If you had, he wouldn't have been able to attack Harry in the first place."
Octavius smiled sheepishly. "I didn't realize I could do that until Harry trapped part of him in that jar."
"Harry shouldn't have been involved at all in his condition," muttered Tristan.
Octavius stared at him in confusion. "His condition? What's wrong with Harry?"
Harry huffed indignantly. "There's nothing wrong with me."
Zenith just smiled and hugged Harry from behind, resting his hands gently on Harry's stomach. "He's pregnant."
Octavius stared at them both in surprise. "Really? But how? I thought the contraceptive potions were almost a hundred percent effective."
"Apparently, they don't stand a chance against horny Drackens combined with fertility dances," said Tristan dryly. "Harry is one week pregnant with Zenith's heir."
"Well, Zenith is obviously happy about the pregnancy, but how do you feel about it Harry?" asked Octavius seriously.
"I would have preferred to wait a few more years before starting a family, especially since we're all still in school, but I'm happy about the baby," said Harry honestly.
"How long does a Dracken pregnancy last anyway?" asked Octavius curiously.
"A year," said Harry morosely. That part, he wasn't particularly happy about.
"Wow," said Octavius incredulously. "Well, for future reference, a Shadow Demon's pregnancy is only six months long."
"A faerie pregnancy is nine months," Tristan added helpfully. "How long does a Kitiara pregnancy last?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't know. I don't exactly have anyone I can ask, either."
"I'm sure we'll find out eventually," said Octavius with a lecherous grin.
As soon as Harry sat down for breakfast the next morning, Skylar grinned broadly at him. "I hear congratulations are in order, Harry."
"So it seems," said Harry, covering a yawn with one hand.
"So how far along are you?" asked Skylar curiously.
Octavius smirked. "That fertility dance during the festival played a huge part in conceiving this baby."
"You still have quite a ways to go then," said Skylar. "The tiredness should only last another week, but expect a reoccurrence of it around the sixth month. Drackens don't usually experience a lot of morning sickness, and when they do, it's usually around the third and ninth months. Of course, there will also be the usual mood swings and cravings you would see in a human pregnancy."
Harry just nodded wearily, trying to keep his eyes open long enough to eat breakfast.
A moment later, Rhys walked into the room with a wide smile on his face. "Charlie agreed to let me court him."
Harry's ears perked up at that. "Charlie Weasley?"
"Yes," said Rhys happily. "We're getting the spells done this afternoon."
"But we're leaving this afternoon," mumbled Harry sleepily.
"Charlie's staying another week. After that, we'll both be going to the dragon reserve in Romania," said Rhys.
"Congratulations, Rhys. I hope you find as much happiness with your courtship as I did," said Zenith sincerely.
Rhys grinned slyly at Zenith. "I think we'll wait a few years before experiencing that particular happiness."
Harry groaned softly and scowled at Zenith. "Did you tell everyone about the baby?"
"Not everyone," said Zenith sheepishly.
"He didn't have to. He told old Medea, and she told everyone else," said Rhys with a smirk.
"Harry?" said Tristan, poking his head into the room. "Did you call Remus last night?"
Harry shook his head. "No. Why do you ask?"
"He wants to talk to you," said Tristan nervously.
Harry paled slightly and hurried into the bedroom. He warily took the orb from Tristan, finding a stern-faced Remus staring back at him. "Hi, Remus. How are you doing this morning?"
"I heard some interesting news this morning, Harry. Care to share?"
Harry frowned. "What news?"
"When were you going to tell me you were pregnant?" Remus demanded.
"How did you find out?" asked Harry, staring at his guardian in shock.
"Malfoy!" growled Remus.
"I just found out last night. When did Malfoy have time to tell you?" asked Harry, totally confused.
"That Dracken girl, Bianca, dropped him off this morning, and that was the first thing that came out of his mouth," said Remus with a scowl.
"That bloody prat!" hissed Harry. "We're coming home this afternoon, and I was planning to tell you then. Tell that wanker I'm going to kill him when we get back because that was my news to share, and he had no bloody right to open his big mouth and ruin the news."
"But it is true," said Remus softly, sighing when Harry nodded. "I thought you were being more careful than that. You still have a year left of school, and You-Know-Who and his Death Eaters are still trying to kill you. This isn't really the best time to be starting a family, Harry."
"I know that, Remus," said Harry. "This is not the time to talk about it, though. We'll talk when we get back."
"Fine, but you better be prepared for a serious discussion, young man," said Remus reluctantly.
"Yes, Remus," sighed Harry. "We still have a little packing to do, so we should be home in a couple of hours." With that said, Harry ended the call with an irritable scowl. "It looks like we're leaving a little early."
"Go finish your breakfast, and I'll finish the packing," said Tristan, gently pushing Harry back toward the kitchen.
"I'm not hungry anymore," muttered Harry.
"You still need to eat, Harry. You can't afford to skip any meals now," Tristan chided the brunet.
Harry sighed again and reluctantly left to finish his breakfast.
Tristan quickly packed the rest of their belongings and carried the bags to the kitchen. Zenith smiled wryly when he saw them. "I take it we're going back early?"
"Yep, that annoying blond brat spilled the news to Remus bright and early this morning," said Tristan dryly.
Octavius scowled at Zenith. "I blame you for this. If you had just kept your mouth shut a little longer, that brat wouldn't have gotten the chance to ruin Harry's news like this."
"I'm sorry, Harry," Zenith apologized.
"It's not your fault, Zenith. Malfoy's always been a nosey, annoying prat. He's a jealous sod that never misses the chance to get back at me for refusing his friendship when we were eleven," said Harry.
"I'm sorry you have to cut your visit short," said Skylar abruptly. "I fully expect you to visit again next summer with my great-grandchild, though."
"Don't worry, grandpa. We'll definitely come visit next summer," Zenith cheerfully promised.
As soon as Harry finished the rest of his breakfast, Octavius pulled him to his feet and wrapped his arms around the brunet. "Come one, you two. I'll shadow us back to the cottage." Once Zenith and Tristan had grabbed on, Octavius pulled the shadows around them, stepping back out of them a few moments later directly in their bedroom at the cottage. Unfortunately, they had a visitor waiting for them already.
"Welcome back, Harry. Now start explaining," said Remus calmly.
Harry groaned softly. He was so not looking forward to this conversation. "Well, Remus, the short of it is that the fertility dance performed at the festival nullified the contraceptive potion I had taken. As for school, you needn't worry about that because apparently Dracken pregnancies take a bloody year, so I won't actually be having this baby until next summer. So congratulations, Remus. You're going to be a grandfather soon."
"I'm still learning to be a father. I'm not ready to be a grandfather yet," sighed Remus. He turned to glare at Harry's three mates. "I knew I should have hit you three with a chastity spell over Christmas. You just couldn't keep your hands to yourself, could you?"
Octavius just grinned unapologetically.
Remus scowled at the shadow demon before dismissing him completely, turning back to face Harry. "I'm not happy about the situation, but it is your life. If you're happy, then there's nothing left for me to say." He looked sternly at Harry. "You are happy, right?"
Harry smiled and nodded. "Don't worry, Remus. I'm very happy."
"Good," said Remus, hugging Harry tightly before heading toward the door. "You get to tell Molly the news, though."
"I don't think she'll be too upset," said Harry thoughtfully. "It's another grandchild for her."
Remus sighed in resignation. "You're probably right." He opened the door and had to step back quickly to avoid the fall of bodies that dropped to the floor. "And it seems we have a few eavesdroppers here."
Hermione blushed and scrambled to her feet. "I'm sorry. I was just trying to see if Harry had returned."
"Yeah, what she said," muttered Ron sheepishly.
"Don't lie. We wanted to know if little Malfoy was telling the truth," said Fred bluntly.
Hermione sighed, shoulders slumping in defeat. "That too."
"Malfoy needs to learn to keep his bloody mouth shut and his nose out of my business," muttered Harry.
"Well, mum will be happy. Now that Bill has a kid, she's started in on the rest of us more grandbabies," said Ron. "With you up the duff, maybe she'll back off of us for a while."
"Thanks, Ron," said Harry dryly.
"Don't mention it," said Ron unapologetically.
"We knew it was just a matter of time," said George cheerfully.
"Before you ended up pregnant," said Fred.
"With those three as your mates," said George.
"There was never any doubt of it happening," finished Fred.
"You two are in enough trouble. Do you really think it's wise to rile up Remus, as well?" asked Hermione wryly.
"She may have a point," said George thoughtfully.
"Yep, she certainly may. Mum just took our wands, but Moony could go all werewolf on us and rip us to shreds," said Fred.
Both twins turned to look at Remus, swallowing hard when they saw the glowing amber eyes. "I think a quick retreat is the best solution for now," said George.
Fred didn't bother to reply. He was too busy running out of the room. George gaped at his brother's retreating back for a moment before chasing after him. Remus smiled evilly and sauntered out of the room after them.
"Mrs. Weasley took their wands?" asked Harry curiously.
Hermione smiled smugly. "She found out about the twins penchant for invading other people's privacy and decided they needed to learn a lesson."
"It was wicked, mate. Hermione cast a spell on them that had them confessing all the pranks they had played on the two of you," said Ron eagerly.
"Serves them right," said Tristan. "It's about time she did something about them."
Hermione nodded in agreement. She didn't care about the twins right now, though. She looked at Harry and mentally squealed. Harry was going to have a baby! She couldn't wait to see who the baby looked like. Either way, the baby was bound to be gorgeous.
Hermione threw her arms around Harry and hugged him tight. "Congratulations, Harry. I'm happy for you."
Harry raised a brow at that. "Not that I'm complaining or anything, but I thought you would be more upset that I got pregnant while I was still in school."
"I would be if you were still at Hogwarts," Hermione admitted. "You aren't, though. And you have three mates who will do anything to keep you safe and happy, so I'm not really worried about it."
"If they start slacking on the job, tell me, and I'll sic Remus and Bill on them," Ron added.
"I'll keep that in mind," said Harry warmly.
"Well, now that both the congratulations and threats are out of the way, leave so we can unpack," said Tristan bluntly.
Lunch was a strenuous affair for Harry. Molly simultaneously squealed with joy with the prospect of having another grandchild so soon and fussed at Harry for getting pregnant while still in school. Draco smirked smugly, happy to see Potter suffering in his presence. Well, he was happy until Harry hit him with a stinging hex right in the groin.
Draco gave a shrill yelp at the sudden pain, cupping his groin protectively. He grabbed his wand to return the favour, but an angry Dracken grabbing him by the throat stopped that train of thought in a hurry. He should have known better than to try to attack the pregnant brunet. Drackens were fiercely protective of their mates, especially during a pregnancy.
Draco quickly dropped his wand, sighing in relief when the Dracken finally released him. Once Zenith had backed away, returning to Harry's side, Draco scowled at his rival. "What the bloody hell was that for, Potter?"
"That was for opening your big mouth and telling everyone about the baby before I could get a chance to. It wasn't your news to share," said Harry calmly.
Draco sniffed disdainfully. "Then maybe you should tell your mate the same thing. I only heard about it in the first place because he was telling anyone who would listen."
"I only told one person," muttered Zenith.
"Yeah, but that one person has an even bigger mouth than the Malfoy brat," said Octavius dryly.
"I'm sorry. I'm going to be a father soon, and I'm excited about it," said Zenith.
"Of course you are, sweetheart," said Molly, patting Zenith on the back. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with that." She turned to stare sternly at Harry. "You are going to have to start eating more, young man. You have to make sure that baby gets all the nutrients it needs while you're pregnant."
"Yes, ma'am," said Harry, barely resisting the urge to roll his eyes at the admonishment.
Molly nodded in satisfaction, placing a plate piled high with two sandwiches and an assortment of slicked fruits in front of Harry. "Eat up then, dear."
Harry stared at the plate in dismay. There was no possible way he was going to be able to eat all that. He took one look at Mrs. Weasley's expectant face, however, and started to eat.
Hermione snickered softly at Harry's predicament. The poor boy just couldn't help but cave in the face of Molly's obvious concern. "So, Harry, when are you going to show us the memory of the dragon race? I'm really looking forward to seeing it."
"We can do it right after lunch if you like," said Harry with a shrug.
Ron grinned and hurriedly wolfed down the rest of his food. Pushing his plate away, he stood from the table. "I'm done, so I'll get everything ready for you." He rushed out of the room to get the pensieve Bill had let him borrow just for this.
Harry managed to finish a little half of his lunch before he pushed his plate away. "I'm done. Thank you for the meal, Mrs. Weasley."
"But you barely ate anything, Harry," said Molly fretfully.
"I'll grab a snack later if I get hungry before supper," said Harry quickly. He then hurried out of the kitchen before Molly could protest any further. He saw Ron waiting outside the library, waving him along impatiently. Walking into the room, Harry noticed the pensieve on the table but no sign of Hermione. "Where's Hermione?"
"She stopped by her room to get something. She should be here by the time the pensieve's ready for viewing," said Ron, staring at Harry pointedly.
Harry smiled ruefully and began to remove his memories of the race, placing them in the pensieve. As the silver strand fell into the bowl, Hermione hurried into the room with several books in her arms. She hurriedly set the books on the table and turned toward Harry with an expectant look on her face.
"Is it ready?"
Harry merely gestured toward the pensieve.
Hermione and Ron looked into the pensieve. As soon as they were immersed in the memory, Harry grabbed the Blood Rites book Hermione had brought to the library and started reading. He couldn't afford to forget anything over the summer break, or he'd get too far behind. An hour later, the pair came out of the room, staggering slightly from standing in place for so long. Ron recovered first, grinning with excitement.
"That was totally brilliant, mate."
Hermione nodded in agreement. "How did you manage to watch the part where Zenith was under water?"
"I made him wear a charmed mirror around his neck so I could see what was happening," said Harry a bit smugly.
"Maybe you can take us to next year's festival," said Ron hopefully.
"I don't even know if I'll make it to next year's festival, Ron. That's kind of when the baby is due," said Harry sheepishly.
"Oh, yeah. That sucks, mate. I can't even imagine being pregnant, much less being pregnant for an entire year," said Ron sympathetically.
"It's worth it in the end," said Hermione primly.
A loud yip suddenly interrupted their conversation, and Yuki ran into the room. The little kit immediately ran to Harry, waiting expectantly for the brunet to pick her up. Harry smiled fondly and obediently lifted her into his arms.
"Did you miss me, Yuki?" murmured Harry, nuzzling his cheek against the kit's warm fur.
Yuki yipped in response. The kit's head suddenly turned toward the door. A moment later, a small red and gold blur sped into the room, homing in on Harry. Pyralis trilled happily as she landed on Harry's head.
"I'm happy to see you, too, Pyralis," said Harry fondly. "Now if only Hedwig was here."
"Sorry, mate. In the rush to get here, I complete forgot about Hedwig," said Ron apologetically. "If you want, I can send her to you when I get back."
Harry shook his head regretfully. "You'd best not, Ron. Dumbledore wasn't the only one who would track her to find me. Until he's gone, it's not safe for her to return to me."
"Don't worry, Harry. Hermione and I will take care of Hedwig for you," said Ron earnestly.
"Thanks, Ron," said Harry sincerely. He dearly missed Hedwig, but he knew she was safer with Ron for now. They still had some horcruxes to find, not to mention defeating Voldemort himself before things could go back to normal. Hopefully, that day would come soon.