Done! I hope you all enjoyed the trip.
I have a couple of uncompleted fics on my yahoogroup, that I don't actually plan on releasing here until they're finished, and I've got no clue when that will be. I love my new job, but when I get home, the last thing I want to do is write, so they haven't been updated in a while.
Thank you to everyone who read and enjoyed this, and even more to those of you so thoughtful as to respond. I really love reading all of the comments I've received.
Tata for now!
Harry awakened with a gasp. His hands flew to his stomach as he automatically drew magic from the body next to him and placed a barrier around the child he carried. It was a necessity he'd grown used to. It should have been impossible for a child to do magic in the womb. But, since when had he ever been normal? It wasn't fair to expect his child would be any different.
He looked over at the blonde head next to him, the hair too short to be that of his husband. As his pregnancy progressed, he'd found that something protective inside him would no longer allow him to pull magic even from places he felt were safe, only his closest family. Therefore, Severus, Draco, and Lucius made sure he was never alone. He'd found he could pull from Hermione and Ron as well, though he preferred not to, since it could be dangerous for the non-mages to have magic drawn from them with any frequency.
He ran his hands soothingly over his swollen stomach as he remembered a conversation he'd had with Neville.
"I thought you trusted me?" Neville asked sorrowfully.
"I do!" Harry answered vehemently.
"Not enough to draw from me," Neville disagreed.
"It's not like that," Harry argued. "Look, this is the way I think of it. We're a family."
Neville smiled shyly. "I've thought that occasionally, too."
"Then answer me this, honestly now. Are we brothers?"
Neville considered for a long moment, before shaking his head slightly with downcast eyes.
Harry just grinned. "Now, ignoring all forms of incest, this is how I think of it. Severus is my father; Lucius is my husband. Sirius and Remus are my uncles, on my mother's side of course. Hermione is my sister; Ron and Draco are my brothers. You're a first cousin on my mother's side; Blaise is the same on my father's. Thyme is a second cousin, while Ehlana and Roan are in-laws. I think the twins are first cousins, too. When I am in this state, to draw on a person's magic, they need to be immediate family. There is some strange protective magic going on, that I don't control. I can't even draw from Sirius. That's just the way it works, don't ask me why."
Neville looked a bit happier, but not much.
"What else is the matter?"
"If I'm a cousin, does that mean he won't call me Uncle Neville?"
Harry laughed. "If you want to be Uncle Neville, that's what you'll be. This little one can use all the Gryffindor family he can get."
Harry was brought out of his reminiscing by another sharp pain. He gasped sharply. Merlin, but the boy was kicking hard tonight. He was glad Flick was still at Malfoy Manor. As much as he might miss her some days, she needed to be taking care of her own new family, not being snappish because of his pain. Who knew what would happen if she were around once he went into labor?
He opened his eyes once more to look at the clock on his side of the bed. His eyes blinked in incomprehension at the ball glowing a bright blue next to his clock. That didn't make any sense. It wasn't supposed to do that for another two weeks!
He sat up and cast "Lumos", lighting up the room. His bedmate stirred and sat up tiredly.
"Is something the matter?" Draco asked, yawning.
Harry ignored him, his eyes caught by the clock hanging on the wall. Like the Weasley family clock, this one didn't tell time. Instead it was a wellness clock focused on Harry. And right now, the hand was pointing straight to 'In labor'.
Harry shook his head in denial. "It's too early," he muttered.
"What's too early?" Draco asked, still half-asleep. All sleepiness fled as Harry hissed and clutched his stomach.
"What's wrong? Draco's eyes flew from the glowing ball to the clock on the wall and he lay stunned for a long moment. It wasn't time yet! His father was supposed to be here, or Severus, or someone! Once his panic subsided a bit, he realized that just because they weren't here yet, didn't mean they wouldn't be soon; they both had the exact same warning balls and clocks. Meanwhile... "Come on Harry, let's go to the birthing room."
"Without Madam Faire? Or Lucius? Or dad?" Harry was officially freaked.
"Madam Faire has a ward on the door, remember? As soon as we enter the room, she'll know. And Dad and Sev have their clocks. If they haven't joined us by the time we get you settled, I'll go wake them up, okay?"
Draco was very happy to see Severus striding up to them as they walked. The man appeared competent and unflustered. He took Harry's other arm and together they helped him into the birthing room.
Madam Faire entered almost immediately and checked Harry over. "Well, it seems your little boy is very eager to greet the world," she informed them with a smile.
"I thought you said it wouldn't be for another two weeks?" Draco challenged.
"Babies come in their own time; the birth date is an estimate, any time within a two week span from that date is not unusual," she informed him frostily. "And this one's time is here. Now, all we need to do is get him out."
"No!" Harry shouted.
"What's the matter?" Severus asked worriedly. "I thought you were ready."
"Not without Lucius," Harry said adamantly.
"I'll go find him," Draco offered, eager to escape. He couldn't wait to be an older brother, but that didn't mean he necessarily wanted to see the birth. Since he carried his portkey with him everywhere, he decided waking his father personally *right now* would be faster and more effective than finding a contact mirror and then having a house elf wake him up.
He used the Malfoy portkey to appear in the study, not worried in the least that he was still wearing his nightclothes.
"How may Moppy help young Master Draco?" a high-pitched voice asked.
"Is my father still in bed?" Draco asked.
Moppy shook her head violently. "Master Lucius was called to an emergency meeting at the Ministry."
"When did he leave?" Draco asked as he headed to the mirror.
"Two hours ago," Moppy answered.
Draco pressed a certain part of the mirror. "Voco Lucius." There was no answer.
Glowering he pressed another spot. "Voco Minister's Office."
A witch he didn't know answered. "Ministry of Magic, Minister's office. How may I help you?"
"I need to talk to the Minister immediately," Draco answered.
"I'm sorry, he's in a meeting," the witch began.
"Interrupt him, it's an emergency."
"I'm afraid I can't do that, the meeting is very important."
"So is this. Look, I'm his son, his husband's in labor. I need to speak to my father, now!"
The witch laughed mockingly. "Good try, but the Minister's son wouldn't be calling while dressed in a nightshirt, and I believe Mr. Potter's not due for several weeks. My instructions were not to interrupt the meeting. No exceptions were given. Call back during normal operating hours." With that, she hung up and would not pick up again.
Draco swore a litany of expletives as he ran up the stairs to his bedroom and got changed into formal black robes that were cut for easy movement. He was slicking back his hair when the house elf informed him there was a call on the mirror. He quickly ran downstairs to answer.
"Why are you wasting time primping?" Severus snarled. "Harry is refusing to allow Madam Faire to do anything until Lucius is here."
"Unfortunately, he was called in to a meeting and the b... witch who answered refused to interrupt him."
"Did you explain to her..."
"Of course I did," Draco interrupted. "And now I plan on *explaining* in person." His grin was shark-like.
"Do it quickly," Severus ordered. Both he and Draco winced at the scream that came through clearly. Any thoughts of revenge Draco might have entertained were put on hold by the sound.
"I'm on my way," he responded. He quickly ran to the floo fireplace and threw the powder in. "The Ministry, Minister's Office." Luckily, the Manor's floo was one of the only floos directly connected to the office.
The receptionist witch jumped to her feet. "What are you doing here? I'm going to call Security!"
Draco took great delight in stunning her and watching as she fell to the floor with a solid thud. When his attempt to open the door normally met with no success, he simply pulled in all the power he could reach and blew it in, hinges, wards and all.
He walked in as if he owned the place.
"Is there a reason you interrupted us in such a manner?" Lucius asked dryly. He was the only one without his wand drawn, as he had recognized his son's magic even as it was used.
"You know this hooligan?" One of the wizards asked in a heavily accented voice, his wand still out.
"This is my son," Lucius informed them absently.
"Then send him away, we are in the middle of a meeting," the man said dismissively.
"This meeting is canceled," Draco replied authoritatively. "My father is needed elsewhere."
Lucius surged to his feet. "Harry?"
"Went into labor an hour ago, but is refusing to allow Madam Faire to do anything until you get there. You weren't answering your mirror, and your secretary refused to interrupt you."
"As she should have," one of the other wizards replied. "This meeting is important to the future peace of the wizarding world. It can not be simply put on hold."
"Unfortunately, it will be," Lucius remarked. "My husband needs me now, and that's more important. This meeting can wait. What he is doing cannot."
Several of the wizards started to complain, and even threaten the blonde, but the eldest wizard's voice rose above them all. "As it should be. Do give young Harry Potter my regards and wish for a healthy child."
"I will, Monsieur Rossini." With that, Lucius activated his portkey to the Chamber. Draco arrived right behind him. As Lucius headed toward the birthing room, Draco left to gather together the rest of Harry's friends and family.
Meanwhile, Lucius was wincing at the sounds he was hearing. Oh, Harry wasn't screaming, which was something to be thankful for, but the cursing coming out of his mouth was enough to make the strongest man pale, especially when they knew that if Harry wanted something badly enough, it might actually happen. Lucius was very attached to those parts of his anatomy. Of course, so was Harry, so Lucius would hope that maybe he didn't have *quite* that much to worry about.
He entered the room and immediately ducked, barely getting out of the way of the thrown bottle. "Where have you been?" Harry shrieked.
"I got here as soon as I could," Lucius said soothingly.
"It wasn't soon enough!" Harry yelled.
"But he's here now, so do you think we can let my grandson out?" Severus asked, deflecting Harry's attention.
Once started, the spell took almost no time at all.
Madam Faire did some quick checks on the baby before placing him in the impatiently waiting father's arms.
Harry stared down, entranced. Their son was so little, and so perfect. He had a little tuft of blonde hair, so fine it was almost indistinguishable from his pink skin. His eyes were blue, but so dark that all the watching men were sure they would quickly turn green.
"He's so beautiful," Lucius whispered.
"He's so little," Severus murmured, in an awed tone. He stroked his finger against the little palm and smiled broadly as tiny fingers wrapped around his own finger. "He's strong, too."
Harry and Lucius were looking over the rest of the child, checking over every inch, counting fingers and toes and marveling over the miracle they had made.
The doors slowly opened and people crowded in. Lucius gently gathered his new son into his arms and carried him over to his elder son, presenting him. "This is your brother, Kieran Aiden Alexander Potter-Malfoy."
Draco accepted him, holding Kieran as if he were made of glass. He gently kissed the boy's forehead, careful of the soft spot. "Welcome to the world, brother."
Everyone gathered around to coo at the baby.
"How big is he?" Hermione asked, stroking his cheek lightly.
"Seven pounds, 1 ounce, and 19 inches," Madam Faire answered promptly.
"That's awfully small," Hermione said worriedly.
"It's slightly small, a bit below average for a Potter or a Malfoy, but still perfectly acceptable," she was told. "Kieran is completely healthy, and is probably small because of Harry's own size. He will lose several ounces in the next day or two, but that's also normal after birth, so long as after that, he puts it back on."
Draco carefully walked over to the bed and settled him back into Harry's waiting arms. The others followed and found spots around the bed.
"He's beautiful, Harry," Sirius told him, his eyes glistening. "I'm just sorry James and Lily weren't here to meet him. They'd be so proud."
"Thanks," Harry said softly. "That means a lot."
"But did you have to let Lucius name him? What kind of name is Kieran, anyway?"
Harry, Hermione, and several others started to laugh. "It means 'black"," Remus finally told the confused Animagus.
Eventually, Draco left, chasing out the others ahead of him, so the new little family could be together for their first night in a brand new world.
Harry James Malfoy smiled down at the blonde bundle he was gently rocking and laughed lightly at the blown bubble.
"Dad!" A shout from the doorway disturbed them both, and the formerly content baby began to cry.
Harry leveled a mild glare at the contrite pre-teen as he hovered in the doorway. "Sorry," the boy muttered.
"It's okay," Harry replied, hushing the baby in his arms at the same time. "But what was so important that you came racing in here like a raging hippogryph?"
The boy's green eyes lit up. "I got my Hogwarts' letter!"
Harry grinned happily. "That's wonderful Kieran! Have you told your father yet?" He pulled the blonde eleven year old into a big hug, being careful not to squish the four-month old little girl who seemed to be smiling happy congratulations as well.
Kieran shook his head. "Not yet. I thought I'd tell him at breakfast."
"Well, go get the others up and you can tell everyone at once. Do you want the whole family to go with us to Diagon, or just the two of us and maybe your father if he can get away?"
"Could we go without the little monsters?" Kieran asked happily.
"Here, take Lily down with you, and I'll see if your Uncle Ron has room," Harry handed over the blue eyed baby, and headed for the study mirror He stopped and looked at himself in the mirror. Many things had changed over the past ten years. Including himself. After the birth of Kieran, he'd actually gotten a growth spurt and was happy with his increased height of five foot seven. His black hair was still every bit as long and lustrous, and Lucius still delighted in brushing it. He looked more mature, but his features were still soft enough that even ten years older, he still spent almost as much time dressed as a female as he did a male, and looked good, either way. Finally, he shook himself free of the introspection and called his friend. After all of that, he still reached the dining room first, and it gave him a few minutes to think of other things.
It was so hard to believe that his little Kieran was old enough for Hogwarts. It couldn't have been *that* long ago that the blonde-haired baby in his arms had been him and not his baby sister. And now, he'd be leaving Harry for ten months out of the year!
He wondered what House his eldest would be sorted into. Kieran had exhibited the traits of all of the Houses. He was powerful and thanks to his power had had to be trained much earlier than usual, so he would be going into school knowing more than even most fourth year Ravenclaws. He was cunning and witty enough for Slytherin, and brave and foolish enough for Gryffindor, especially if a broom were involved. His loyalty to his extended family was beyond compare, and would do any Hufflepuff proud. He was the eldest child of a large and very extended family, and took that responsibility seriously.
Harry automatically smiled in response to his elder daughter's greeting.
There was little doubt where the eight year old would eventually go. The red-haired, green-eyed Aurora Jade was a Slytherin to the core. Although she got on well with her siblings, she had a tongue that could easily rival her grandfather's. She was also showing an early interest in Potions, unlike her brothers. In looks, she was much like the pictures of a young Lily Evans. Harry and Lucius often joked that she was the destined child of Severus and Lily. Severus, needless to say, absolutely adored the girl.
"Hello, Aurora," he greeted her with a hug and a kiss.
"What has Kieran so excited?" Aurora asked. "No, let me guess, he got his..." Aurora was abruptly silenced as Harry placed his hand over her mouth.
"Let him tell it," he requested softly.
"Yes, sir," she answered easily. "And I'll even try to be properly excited."
"I appreciate that."
Kieran entered the room next, and handed Lily over to his sister. "Father has the twins, he'll be down in a minute."
The twins, Damien Evander and Tristan James, unlike the Weasley twins, were very different people. Damien was probably going to end up in Ravenclaw. At four, he'd already been reading for a year and was interested in learning everything he possibly could. He could often be found curled up in a corner with a book far too big for his lap. Tristan, on the other hand, was a Gryffindor through and through, as evidenced by the fact that in the past four years he'd been to the mediwitch more than all of his siblings combined. He was already rivaling Harry's number of visits, despite the fact that every place in the manor that could possibly be climbed had been warded extensively so he couldn't fall off. Somehow he always managed, though.
Lucius walked into the room with one of the black-haired twins walking sedately by his side and the other tossed negligently over his shoulder.
"Good morning," he greeted, putting the twins in their seats before going over to greet his husband and daughters.
There was a chorus of greetings in return as they all settled down. Kieran could wait no longer. "I got my letter!" he blurted.
"Congratulations!" Lucius and Aurora said immediately. They started a conversation on the school and what it would be like. Tristan joined in happily, even if he wasn't sure what was going on. Damien's face, however, scrunched up, and he looked as if he was about to cry.
"What's the matter?" Harry asked carefully. "Aren't you happy for your brother?"
"I don't want Kee to go away!" Damien wailed.
Tristan's eyes went wide. "Kee's going away?"
"Not right now," Harry promised. He knew they were going to have to have quite a few talks with the twins before they would be able to accept their brother's going away, but they were mollified for now. Of course, regardless of her comments, Aurora was probably going to take it worst of all. She adored her older brother, even if it wasn't something often spoken of.
"Are you going to be able to come with us to Diagon today?" Harry asked Lucius.
"We're going to Diagon?" Aurora asked with delight.
Harry shook his head with an understanding smile. "It's Kieran's special day," he reminded her. "You're all going to your Uncle Ron's."
There was pouting, but not as much as there would have been if they were being left with the house elves. Uncle Ron's was fun.
Lucius considered his schedule. Being Minister for Magic was a more than full-time job, but he made sure to make as much time for his family as he could. "I have an early meeting I can't get out of," he admitted, "but I should be able to get out at noon. Perhaps we can meet at the Golden Lyre for lunch and then continue shopping afterwards?" Lucius suggested. "Just be sure not to buy his wand until I get there."
Harry glanced at Kieran for his approval before agreeing. The eleven year old boy had no hesitation on giving it. It was very rare he got to spend time with the two of them by themselves. Not that he ever felt slighted; he knew they loved him, but they were both busy people, and being alone with them was a bigger treat than going to Diagon Alley.
Harry had shocked many people by seemingly dropping out of sight after school and becoming a househusband. In truth, he had started writing. Not wanting to sell books just because of his name, Jade Jamison published her first book a year after Harry graduated. His Founders series topped the best sellers list in both the wizarding and muggle worlds. Ironically, Jade was now more famous than Harry had ever been.
After breakfast, everyone hurried around to gather their favorite things to take along. There was never any way to tell who would be at Ron's.
Once everyone was gathered once more, Lucius pulled down the pot of Floo powder and let everyone take a pinch. Then he gathered up Lily and her things and Apparated away. It was not a good idea to take a child that young through the Floo, the soot could mess up her lungs. Harry and Kieran both took hold of one of the twins. Starting with Aurora, they threw the powder into the fire and stepped through in turn, confidently stating "The Creche."
They arrived to a scene of organized chaos. It took only seconds for the younger set to see someone they knew and take off running. Harry looked around, bemused. Sometimes he still found it hard to believe. Not only that his best friend, who he'd been sure would become an Auror or manager of the Chudley Cannons, had started a daycare, but also the fact that most of the well over a dozen children currently gathered here were the progeny of his friends.
Aurora had headed towards a group containing her niece, Raine Malfoy, only daughter of Draco and Ehlana, Marcy Weasley, Ron and Hermione's eldest, and Coral Blankenship, only child of Roan and Blaise, the only couple that had broken up since school. They were still good friends and were dedicated to their daughter, even though they both had new relationships.
Tristan had headed straight for the Mob. How FrednGeorge had met and married the blonde twins MarynKate was a mystery, but not nearly as much a one as how the twin girls managed to get pregnant at the same time, give birth at the same time, and have absolutely identical children three times in a row. First there were two boys, then two girls and lastly a set of identical twin boys each, all redheads. No one was even sure if the married twins were two couples or a foursome. Of course, to the kids, all that mattered was that the Mob always had the best jokes around.
Damien headed for a smaller, more diversified group that everyone called the Mini-Ravens. They were the ones that preferred finding a good book to read or a quiet corner where they could daydream or draw. Ages ranged from four year old Damien to ten year old Elizabeth Weasley, Percy's eldest.
Harry smiled broadly as he watched Ron work the group of kids. It had surprised no one when Hermione and Ron joined the Ministry upon finishing school. They had married soon after, and by Christmas, Hermione was pregnant. The surprise came when Ron quit so he could take care of the baby. He told his friends that Hermione's position as the Minister in Charge of Race Relations was more important than his own job had been. Then of course, there was the reason why he had been Kieran's favorite babysitter. When it got to the point that he preferred playing with the baby to playing Quidditch, everyone knew he was pretty much hooked on kids.
Once the rest of the group started procreating, they found a willing babysitter in the stay-at-home dad. And with the Weasley children: his own four, plus his numerous nieces and especially nephews, two generations of Malfoys, the Longbottoms, Zabinis, Blankenships, Lupin-Blacks and Snapes, it was quite a collection. When there were too many kids for him to look after at home, Lucius offered him his own daycare facility. No one minded having to pay for the service, though Ron hated it at first. Now, he made good money and seemed to have an almost never-ending supply of patience, for the little ones – as well as an amazing ability to keep track. Molly's influence was clear on her son.
Draco had become Severus' apprentice legally after graduation and seven years ago they had finally perfected a potion that allowed a werewolf to totally control his change, making it more like an Animagus ability and much easier on the body. With the repeal of the werewolf laws, thanks in large part to Hermione, Remus had managed to get Sirius pregnant... with triplets. It had seemed to give Severus a lot of pleasure to see his old enemy waddling around with a protruding stomach. Very vocal pleasure. Which might have explained how the Potion Master *just happened* to get in the way of a certain spell.
Harry was very displeased that his father hadn't told him he was involved with a certain half-Sidhe DADA teacher, but forgave him after being presented with his new little brother. Although still not bonded, Severus and Connor also had a two year old daughter.
Yes, Harry decided, life was good. He and his friends seemed to be trying to repopulate the wizarding world by themselves, and doing a good job at it. Hogwarts had no idea what Kieran would be the start of; neither, really, did he, but he couldn't wait to find out. Already five of these children had been definitely identified as mages, and only two of those were his. As a sudden weight on his shoulder turned out to be an annoyed familiar who hissed her displeasure at being left behind, and he could hear those conversations being repeated as brightly colored flying snakes landed on other shoulders, he decided again, Yes, life was good, and the world was clueless of what fate was soon to spring upon it... And that was just the way he liked it.