Author: enchanted nightingale
Beta Reader: pussycatadamah
Disclaimer: The characters from Harry Potter books do not belong to me. I merely use them in my plot for fun.
Chapter 28– Acts of Emotion
It was the warmth that made the difference, Harry realised as he slowly woke up. He was comfortable and warm in a way he had not been in months. He stirred further and noticed he was being held. The armchair had been transformed to something more comfortable and at some point of Rabastan holding him while he tried to calm down from the emotional strain; they had ended up tangled up together in, the older wizard embracing the teen.
"It's late," Rabastan informed him.
The stroking over the slowly growing baby bump continued.
"Dumbledore came in not twenty minutes ago," the Death Eater commented. "He was worried about you. When he saw you were sleeping, how exhausted you were..." Rabastan cleared his throat needlessly. "He gave me until five in the morning to leave school grounds, sooner if you say so."
"What time is it?" Harry asked. He was jostled a bit when the older man cast the 'Tempus' spell.
"Ten past two."
The stroking continued.
"We need to talk Harry."
"I know," the teen sighed.
They moved a bit, no longer embracing now that Harry was awake, and Rabastan reluctantly stopped touching the green eyed wizard. They were face to face, both looking tired.
"About the baby..."
"I'm keeping him."
Rabastan felt his heart flutter a bit. "A boy then?" A strange smile crossed his face. "I would never... I could never ask you to give the baby up, ever," he told Harry. "But..."
"But I'm a teen and I have a madman after me," Harry finished. "I know. Believe me, I know that very well. It's why most people have no clue about me being, you know, pregnant."
"And when you can no longer hide it?" Rabastan asked.
Harry shrugged a shoulder. "I'll cross that bridge when I have to. As it is, I can be a pretty convincing liar."
"What would you lie about?"
"For one thing, I won't tell people that the father is a Death Eater," Harry stated bluntly.
"Not a loyal one, not since summer anyway," Rabastan commented, making the teen stare at the admission.
Rabastan brushed the hair away from Harry's forehead and revealed the thin scar that marked him as the Boy-Who-Lived. "Ever since I saw that scar on your forehead," he told Harry, "The choice was made for me. I could have done anything to you then but the mere thought turned my stomach. As time went on... I know I hurt you, a lot, but I'd never raise my wand against you Harry."
"I believe you," the teen muttered.
The Death Eater let his hand drop away from Harry's forehead. "You're keeping the baby. Raising it too."
"I won't be alone."
"I know that," Rabastan said. "Your godfather, the werewolf, the Longbottom heir and the Lovegood girl are at your side." He threw a glance around the room. "Dumbledore too. Even Draco to an extent."
"And now my older brother. And me," he added himself last.
"Will you really be there?" Harry asked. "How can you?"
Rabastan stood and started pacing. As he paced he started outlining the emergency plan Rodolphus had explained to him in Gringotts not too long ago and the teen listened fascinated.
"Your brother can plan," Harry muttered, impressed by all the little escape plans the older of the Lestrange siblings had concocted.
"Yes, he's terrifyingly brilliant," Rabastan mused. "And he's on our side."
"Our?" Harry cocked his head to the side.
"I'm a dark wizard, born and raised and by choice," the Azkaban convict stated bluntly.
He approached Harry again and sat next to him. He did not reach for him and a part of the green eyed Gryffindor missed the contact, not just sexual, but those casual touches between them. Then again, if Rabastan had made a move, Harry feared what his reaction could have been. Because while he longed for Rabastan's touch, at the same time guilt bubbled inside.
hurt you Harry," Rabastan told the green eyed wizard. "The very least I can do for you..." He trailed off, eyes straying lower, "For the both of you, is protect you with everything I have." He knelt down, close to Harry, faces touching cheek to cheek. "I promise," he said and rubbed his skin along Harry's. The contact made his skin tingle. He could not really help himself or reign in the impulse after that. He turned his head, peered into Harry's deep green eyes and then closed his own and pressed their lips together.
The hesitation from the younger wizard was brief and almost non-existent. The kiss deepened and grew longer as Rabastan could taste Harry again after such a long time apart. He really could not get enough of this, Rabastan thought as he broke the kiss only to start teasing Harry's lower lip with his teeth, then sucked gently, teasing the teen. He felt the smaller wizard shuddering and he ploughed on, kissing Harry again, deeply and almost desperately before Harry gently but firmly pushed at his chest, breaking the kiss.
Rabastan did not press on and leaned back, just like Harry wanted.
"I'm sorry," he told the younger wizard.
Harry worried his kiss swollen lips with his teeth. "It's... fine," he finally said, refusing briefly to let their eyes meet. "Rabastan..."
"I better go."
Harry looked up even as the older wizard stood, hands on his hood, ready to put it on and slip away.
"Harry?" he said when he was at the door.
"I'd don't regret us. I don't regret that summer, I don't regret getting you pregnant even though it makes things all the more dangerous and difficult for you. And I don't regret kissing you now," he said and slipped away, not getting to see Harry's expression at his words.
Luna and Neville were having breakfast at the Ravenclaw table. The Longbottom heir had been jittery and the blond witch, by now tuned to his moods had started chattering about her father's newest article in the 'Quibbler' concerning the Takeshi greenhouses in Japan and their new revolutionary way of growing Moon Poppies (whose seeds were used in potions that treated the effects of the 'Cruciatus'). Neville appreciated the sentiment and let her, relieved that she was willing to distract him. She knew that he was worried about Harry when the witch asked about their green eyed friend and why he was not by Neville's side when the latter arrived at the Great Hall that morning.
"You can stop worrying you know, I'm sure he's fine," the witch told Neville.
"Am I that obvious?" the other teen asked.
"Yes," Luna replied.
"I have reasons to be," Neville defensively told her. "He just doesn't understand that I worry, that we all worry because we care about him."
"Maybe he was just busy," Luna suggested.
"Still, he would have come back to the dorm," Neville said. His eyes scanned the Hall from the tables with the chattering students to the professors up on the Head table.
"He'll show up," Luna soothingly told him, "Crepes? You can keep worrying with a full stomach just as easily."
Neville sighed, knowing the witch had a point, and nodded. "I know, just..."
"We all worry for him," the blonde said, pointing her head subtly at the Slytherin table, making Neville look that way. True enough; a certain blond pureblood heir was shooting them subtly inquiring looks. "Should we tell him not to worry?"
"Kind of impossible with me freaking out," Neville muttered and started eating, ignoring how the approving smile she sent him made his stomach do flip-flops in a rather pleasant way.
"We can give our rabbit until noon. He has lessons with the Headmaster today. If he does not show up for lunch we will hunt him down."
"He's back to being a rabbit again?" Neville smiled, amused.
"He is cute and cuddly," Luna stated.
"More than me?" the Longbottom heir teased.
She pecked his cheek. "Only once every two weeks," she replied seriously.
Neville shook his head and did not comment, still dazed from the kiss.
Number Twelve Grimmauld Place was quiet save for the sounds of a quill on paper. Remus was working furiously on the latest idea he had for a novel while patiently waiting for Sirius to wake up. He knew the dog Animagus had a late night. The werewolf had been aware of what his friend had been up to. He had his objections to the plan Albus and Sirius, in collaboration with Rodolphus Lestrange, had concocted but he had not acted out because he too thought that Harry should tell Rabastan, it would be disastrous if the man found out about the child from someone else. As it was, no one knew just how Harry's former lover would respond. Albus had been hopeful but then again when was the Headmaster not hopeful and willing to trust that there was good in people? The morning edition of the 'Daily Prophet' was not titled 'Death Eaters sighted in Hogwarts Castle!' so at least that disastrous bit did not happen.
Remus was just finishing up his tea when the dog Animagus stumbled into the kitchen, looking tired but perky and walking as his back was tender. That alone answered more questions than the werewolf cared to ask, even before his sensitive nose picked up the change in Sirius' scent.
"Busy night?" Remus asked.
Sirius met his gaze with a guilty look. "You know?"
Remus nodded. "I'm not judging you here, Siri. Just stating a fact."
"That I'm a slut for Rodolphus Lestrange."
"No, I was thinking more along the lines that you love him and because of that you just can't resist him," Remus corrected him. "But you were a slut as a teen though you became practically a monk for the past decade..."
"Are you making fun of me?" Sirius demanded.
"Just eat your breakfast, Kreacher tried to poison the eggs but then he started banging his head against the wall..."
"The usual then," the dog Animagus muttered as he gingerly took a seat and started eating.
The amber eyed wizard waited for the plate to be half way eaten before picking up the conversation again. "What happened with them? Has anyone spoken to Harry or is he mad at us?"
Sirius paused mid bite, chewed and swallowed. "Albus said he would keep an eye on things. I know that Lestrange, the younger one did not leave the castle while I was there and we were there till five in the morning."
Remus frowned. "Rabastan spent the night in the castle?"
The dog Animagus scowled. "Seems like that, yes," he muttered.
"Should we contact the castle?" Remus asked.
"Isn't it too soon?"
"Are you not curious about what happened between them last night?"
"I am," the last male Black agreed, "But I'm also scared to contact Harry yet; you know his temper."
Remus stifled a smile at the memory of Harry's temper. "Do you want to talk about yesterday?"
"Not really," Sirius admitted. "Let me wallow a bit longer and then ask away, just not yet," he asked of Remus. He really did not want to think about his on again/off again affair with Rodolphus when he was worried about Harry.
"How about a different topic then?" the werewolf asked. "Because I've been thinking..."
"Here we go..."
"Siri! I'm being serious here!" Remus stressed. "You have been pardoned, so that is one less headache for you, but you were in Azkaban and Harry was with the Dursley's and even though he's not going back to them there are all sorts of things to consider. For one, he's pregnant. We need to get started with building the nursery for the baby and a proper room for Harry. Regulus' room was supposed to be a temporary solution. And while we're at it," he gazed around him. Grimmauld Place was gloomy and dark and unwelcoming. "Are we even going to stay here? Do you honestly plan to renovate this house properly or just keep doing as we have? You hate this place and Harry's not all that fond of it. And its Headquarters for the Order. With a baby coming... is that even safe? And not to mention a job."
"Job?" Sirius asked.
Remus groaned. "Sirius, you might have the Black Vaults but can you honestly say that you can just sit and goof around? For a few months till you recuperate, a year tops, sure I bet you can. But what about after that? Have you thought what you would like to do?"
"Former Azkaban inmate here."
"You were wrongfully accused!"
Sirius chortled. "Yes well, most people still can't stomach that bit. A job won't be easy. Getting my old job back..." Now the dog Animagus snorted. "That one is not happening and frankly, I could not stand being an Auror now after all that, surrounded by people who were dead set on hunting me down and did not care enough in the first place whether I was guilty or not. Kingsley and Nymphadora are the exceptions to the rule and not enough to make me like Aurors again." He sighed. "I get what you want to say, really, I do."
"And then we have Harry to consider as well," Remus went on to say.
"What about Harry?" Sirius asked.
"He is going to be a father soon."
"And have us to support him and the Lestrange's too, Rodolphus promised that much."
"Yes but there is more than monetary support," Remus stated. "What are his plans, do you know?"
"Well, he's going to finish Hogwarts," Sirius said.
"Is he?" the werewolf countered. "How do you know?" he asked his friend. "Does he know what he wants to do? Will he stay with the baby? Will he drop out? Take a break? Will he let us raise the baby here or take him along at Hogwarts? Is Harry even staying here in Britain? It's going to be even more dangerous with a baby here."
"Are you talking about moving?" Sirius asked, bewildered.
"Well, it is an option," Remus shrugged.
"Yes but moving countries?"
"Harry seems attached to the Delacour's," the werewolf pointed out.
"They are good people," the former Azkaban convict agreed. He gave Remus a considering look. "You really have thought this through, haven't you?"
Remus shrugged modestly. "I had time to think," he replied.
Sirius stared at his plate; breakfast had nearly been forgotten with all the discussion. "That is all... A right mess. I had not even thought of all this! And I wanted to support Harry!" he scoffed.
"Siri, that's why I'm here as well," the werewolf reminded his friend. "There's strength in numbers you know."
"You're thinking strategy?" Sirius smiled.
"Well, we are expecting a Potter offspring," Remus said.
Sirius laughed. "That we are," he agreed. "Let me finish this," he pointed at his half full plate," and then we'll sit down and discuss everything, from the house to job hunting... everything."
"Good," Remus told him.
Worrying about Harry took up most of Neville's day, up until the lunch break. He had not seen the green eyed teen in any of the classes yet none of the professors were looking worried or angry. That told the teen one thing, that Harry had notified someone, most probably the Headmaster, that he would not be attending classes. It took a trip to the infirmary to learn that Harry was not under Poppy's tender care and the worry was back with a vengeance. He was considering skipping lunch in order to look for his missing friend when he came face to face with the Headmaster himself just as he was climbing the stairs.
"Sir..." Neville nearly stumbled when it seemed that the blue eyed wizard was not passing him by.
"Neville, just the young man I was looking for. I believe you've been worried about Harry?" the aged Headmaster asked and just like that Neville's nervousness vanished.
"You know were he is?" the Longbottom heir asked, adding a 'Professor' as an added thought to that sentence.
Yet Dumbledore did not take offence, just smiled. "Harry's had a difficult night," he commented.
"Is he and... are they fine?" Neville asked, his mind jumping to the worst scenario possible, that there had been complications with the pregnancy.
"They are both safe and sound," Dumbledore quickly assured the teen. "But I believe young Harry would need the comfort of his friends."
"Something did happen," Neville insisted.
Dumbledore hesitated a bit under the teen's gaze. "Yes, something took place last night... It had to happen to ensure Harry and his family are well protected," the Headmaster stated. Then he gave Neville the directions to the study Harry was holed up in and advised that he and Luna be patient with Harry.
"You seem guilty, professor," Neville remarked, almost as an afterthought.
"I did meddle," the older wizard admitted. "But this time, I don't regret it as it had to happen at some point. You'll see." And with those words he left Neville alone.
The teen entered the Great Hall after the Headmaster and headed straight towards Ravenclaw table where Luna was already serving food on her plate. Neville slid to the spot next to her.
"I know where Harry is," he told the witch.
She turned to him. "Are we going now?" already she was making the move to stand.
Neville eyed the lunch table. "We can get the house elves to bring us something to eat later," he agreed and the two walked away.
They reached the area Dumbledore had told Neville and a spoken password later they were inside the study. It was warmer, much warmer than the rest of the rooms in the castle, there was the smell of leather bound books and parchment and tea. The two teens found their friend curled up on a sofa, staring absently at the flames in the fireplace. Luna moved first, perching herself right next to Harry, pulling some of the blanket onto her lap and leaning close to the green eyed teen. Neville dropped his and Luna's bag to the floor by the door and walked over at a slower pace. He opted to sit on the floor next to them.
"Harry, we were worried about you," the Longbottom heir said to his friend.
"Do you want to tell us?" Luna asked next.
A soft sigh was their response.
"We're just as happy to stay quiet and keep you company," Luna commented. "But if you share with us you might feel better."
"I know, but then you won't," Harry said listlessly.
"Let me judge that," Neville replied.
Green eyes now focused on him and not the fire. "Last night he was here," the pregnant teen stated.
"I'm not that good in divination, Harry," Neville commented.
Luna cocked her head to the side. "I think he means Rabastan Lestrange," she mused, ignoring how rigid her friend was next to her and how Neville looked shocked at this. When Harry did not deny this she knew she had been spot on. "Did you know he was going to be here?"
"No, he didn't," Neville answered instead. "It was Dumbledore, right?" he asked Harry.
"And my godfather," the green eyed teen confirmed. "And who knows who else," he added sullenly. He burrowed deeper into the blankets.
"He was here? In this castle?" Neville asked.
"This room," Harry agreed. "Albus escorted him here."
"Oh, Harry," Luna muttered and cuddled close to him.
The Herbology enthusiast let the first shock pass him. A Death Eater in Hogwarts with the Headmaster knowing... But it was not any random monster. It was the man Harry had feelings for, the man who was having...
"You told him about the baby," Neville realised, his eyes going wide.
"You did?" the blond witch asked. "How did it go?" she inquired with worry.
Two sets of worried eyes were on Harry, waiting for his response. The shrug he gave was not answer enough but the small, timid smile on his face spoke volumes.
"He was shocked," the former Gryffindor Seeker said wryly. "Shocked speechless actually." He hugged his hands around his middle. "But he also seemed glad."
"Glad?" Neville parroted.
"I can see why he would be glad," Luna commented.
Neville nodded slowly. "Family comes first," he agreed in an odd tone of voice. He relaxed slowly. "So he knows he's going to be a father," he mused. "And he wants this." That did not strike him as strange, if anything, it was a relief to know that the man would not hold a grudge over this. Yet, from what little Harry had said over the course of their relationship and the few bits that slipped after it had all ended, Rabastan Lestrange would not dare harm his friend. It stood to reason that protection and yes, Neville was willing to think love as well, would extend to his child.
Harry nodded. "He... We talked. There was no yelling."
Here Luna and Neville quirked their lips. Lately, Harry had been a bit quicker to anger and his temper was a subject of teasing and smiles among his closest friends. Even Draco had made a few well placed comments, though not in Harry's hearing range; the Slytherin was surprisingly sensitive about Harry's condition. Thinking about the Malfoy heir made Neville snort.
"What is it?" Harry asked.
"Draco," Neville offered. "Imagine his face when he learns that his uncle is you're... lover," he stumbled over the word. "He did suspect that the other parent is a Death Eater or at the very least dark wizard," the Longbottom heir admitted to Harry and Luna. "But he kept his mouth shut about it, even though he was curious."
"He is surprisingly smart this year," Luna mused, earning an amused chortle from Harry.
"Will you tell him?" Neville asked curious to know.
"I have no idea," Harry admitted. "I might have to if it comes down to needing his help."
"He'll give it to you," Luna said with certainty.
Neville was nodding in agreement.
"Perhaps," Harry agreed.
"So, what else did you and Rabastan talk about?" Luna asked.
"And would you mind if you talked while we all had a bite to eat?" Neville asked. "We have classes soon. I think you're entitled to taking a day off; Professor Dumbledore seems to have alerted the other professors that you needed rest. And I don't want to ask whether you had breakfast or not."
Harry chuckled, some of the gloominess leaving him now that his friends were around. "Can you imagine if the house elves left me hungry?"
"At least they know to keep track of you," Neville said.
"Next time I'll alert you," Harry promised.
"We really were worried," Luna told the green eyed teen.
"Forgive me?" Harry asked.
"Always," Neville and Luna said in sync.
The doorbell rang and Remus and Sirius shared a wondering look. Each of them had a parchment before them and a list of things. Right after breakfast the dog Animagus had agreed to his friend's opinion that they should plan for the future, both his own and Harry's. There were lots of ideas and opinions exchanged until Remus made Sirius think of one thing first, his future job. And it was harder than what Sirius expected because with a few well placed questions from the amber eyed wizard, the former convict realised that he had no idea what to do with himself anymore. He was still trying to figure out a profession or at least a pastime that could develop into a job when the chime broke his concentration.
"Are we expecting anyone?" Sirius asked, trying to remember if there was an Order meeting scheduled.
Remus shook his head. He stood and went to open the door, returning with Albus Dumbledore in tow. Sirius forgot all about papers and lists and plans.
"How's Harry?" he asked urgently.
"I'll have Kreacher bring tea," Remus offered as the Headmaster of Hogwarts took a seat around the table.
"No need, I'm not going to stay long," Albus told the werewolf who then joined them. "I just came to bring news about Harry. Rabastan stayed for hours and I think they talked. Harry was exhausted by morning and I alerted the professors that he would not be attending. A good thing too since Harry never left the study."
"Is he okay?" Sirius repeated.
"How upset was he?" Remus asked with dread.
Albus sighed. "I have not seen him myself but I did talk to Mister Longbottom, he and Miss Lovegood are no doubt by his side now."
"Those two are good kids," Sirius muttered fondly.
"They are," Albus agreed.
"Do you think things between Harry and Rabastan are better?" Remus asked.
"They're not getting back together," Sirius said, knowing that this was the direction which his friend's mind was taking.
"Even if they are," Albus cut in, "It is not our place to judge," he eyed Sirius.
"But they're fugitives," Remus said.
"Oh, believe me;" Sirius muttered darkly,"They have resources and the planning to get away with everything."
He received wondering looks from the other two wizards but he did not elaborate further.
"I better go then," Albus said. "I thought you should hear from me the news and not via letter." He stood and noticed the lists on the table. "You've been busy," he remarked with approval.
"Remus keeps telling me to live in the present," the dog Animagus admitted.
"He's always been the smarter of you Marauders," Albus commented. "Keep it up boys," he said and left them.
They waited to hear the front door closing before Sirius turned to Remus. "I hate when he calls us 'boys'."
Remus shook his head. "He views all of us as children Siri, he's taught McGonagall for Merlin's shake."
Sirius rolled his eyes. "I don't have to like it you know," he muttered and brought the list on front of him again. "Help me?" he asked and with a roll of his eyes Remus did just that.
Order meetings rarely had much information to analyze as Snape was still under suspicion from the Dark Lord, so the wizards and witches attending received an unexpected announcement during a meeting, a week from Dumbledore's last visit to Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. Sirius and Remus sat near Kingsley, asking him about the progress with arresting Death Eaters when the wizard assured them that he had more to share during the meeting.
"Four days ago I arrived at the office and found an envelope waiting for me," Kingsley announced to the room. "Inside was a detailed report about You-Know-Who's plans to start recruiting from outside of Britain. Locations in Bulgaria and Romania. Vampire clans they were approaching, envoys to the Giants, name, locations, dates, everything and much, much more. Yesterday there was an operation taking place," the dark skinned wizard admitted. "I was not part of it but I did help coordinate. I can't tell you details but I can reveal that we apprehended five of the Death Eaters that escaped Azkaban, like one of the Carrow siblings, a Yaxley and Dolohov."
Shocked murmurs started spreading among the members of the Order. Sirius, Remus and Albus were those that hardly looked surprised at the anonymous tipster, the Auror noted, but there was an air of pleasant surprise about them. He pushed that observation out of his mind and carried on.
"Apparently, the British Magical Law Enforcement were not the only ones that received intel," Kingsley announced. "As of yesterday, Fenrir Greyback and his savage pack are dead due to the actions of the French Aurors."
More shock and this time Remus looked stricken, not in a bad way either. Some of the lines on his face were more relaxed now.
"Someone's slipping information?" Snape asked, shocked.
"Was it you, Severus?" Kingsley asked. "I have to ask."
The Potions Master shook his head.
Moody scowled. "If it's not you..." he trailed off and the Aurors present turned to Dumbledore, who looked rather cheerful.
"I think that change is coming," the eccentric blue eyed wizard, looking cheerful.
"You know something," Moody scowled.
"Albus, you have an informant?" Kingsley asked.
Tonks considered Snape at first and then glanced at her former Headmaster. "Who is it?"
"Apparently whoever he or she is, kept their word," the old wizard said and pointedly changed the subject.
End of chapter.