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Chapter Fifty—Enfolded, Entwined
"I think three children is quite sufficient."
In the end, they'd had to meet with Laura while they were all in the same room so that she could sign the documents Draco wanted her to sign. Harry held himself still with main force, entwining his hands under the table and clenching his teeth, and so far it had worked. Laura examined the parchments in front of her, smiled at some and questioned others, and now was finally in a position to sign the ones that mattered most, confirming the number of children they would have and what would happen to them.
"And if one of the pregnancies bears twins," she murmured as she traced her signature and added a drop of blood to it on the last parchment, "you will of course count that as two children, and not require me to bear more."
Draco was handling this better than he was, Harry could admit, probably because he liked Laura more. He didn't look as if he wanted to strangle her; he sat by, calmly and tranquilly, and he had led most of the negotiations for the children they would have. Now and then, a drop of sweat crept down his forehead beneath his hair, but that was rare. Someone would have had to look under the table to see the real results of his tension, the hand of Harry's that he was almost mashing to pulp as he squeezed it.
"And the children will spend the majority of their time with you, of course." Laura leaned back in her chair and beamed smugly at them. "I am in business. I will require to see the children at reasonable hours, so that I might know them and understand their personalities, and make sure that no horrid name is chosen for them. But their raising will be up to you."
Harry let out an explosive breath that made Laura eye him in amusement. Of all the conditions they had built into the surrogacy contract, he had been most afraid that she wouldn't agree to that one. He had wanted desperately to be a part of the lives of his children, or child, but if Laura insisted on keeping them in her home, he thought Draco would have gone along with it. They were unlikely to meet another woman who would agree to bear them a family on such good and liberal terms, as Draco had pointed out.
But she had accepted it, and that made all the difference. He mustered up the strength to give her a smile, although it was difficult and painful and made Laura laugh.
"Thank you," he said, and that sounded even worse, like he was grinding his teeth to pieces. He paused, a little abashed.
"Think nothing of it." Laura's eyes sparkled as she watched him. "What to you is wonderful and your dearest wish would be hard and confining for me. And confinement during the pregnancy is enough."
Harry frowned down at the parchments again. Draco shook his head. "Confinement is an old term for pregnancy, Harry," he murmured, holding his hand out to Laura again. "It doesn't mean that we included a provision that she had to stay inside the house while she was preparing to have the children."
"God, yes," Laura said briskly, and clasped Draco's hand. Harry had to look away and squeeze Draco's hand beneath the table, the way that Draco was doing to him. "Only way to run a business is from the office, really."
"I don't find it so," Draco said, and draped an arm around Harry's shoulders while he smiled at Laura. Harry found it difficult to breathe beneath the tightness of that hold, but since that was part of the point, it was incredibly easy to put up with. He leaned back into Draco and silently dared Laura to do something about it.
Laura laughed at them again, stood, and shook her head. "I would say that I wish I could find something like the bond that you have," she said, "but it would be misleading and awful to say. I would go absolutely mad bound to someone the way you're bound to each other."
"That's what I thought at first, too," Harry said, and met her eyes with a smug smile.
"You sound exactly like my mother talking about a traditional pure-blood marriage," Laura said tranquilly, and turned and departed by the fireplace before either of them could say anything else. The contract said that she needed to contact them sometime in the next year, when she felt ready to go to St. Mungo's and begin the process. Draco would pay her a large infusion of money from the Malfoy vaults at the same time.
"Now that that's done," Draco murmured, and straightened his shoulders, "I should go and talk to my father."
Harry eyed him sideways. He thought it a hopeful sign that Draco was calling Lucius "father" again, but he wasn't sure what he was going to say. They had ultimately chosen a simple binding ceremony for their wedding, and there were few ways that Lucius could disrupt it—although Harry thought he would still try, if he thought he could get away with it and gain something by it. "Do you want me to come with you?"
"No." Draco softly kissed him on the lips, and Harry had to fight not to sway into that and moan aloud. God, he was such a girl sometimes. "I won't be gone long. You know the bond won't permit that."
Harry nodded. The bond seemed to be growing worse lately, which was one reason he was glad they weren't putting the wedding off. "All right. I'll go and speak with your mother again about formal robes."
Draco sighed. "It would save time if you just agreed with her. You know that we'll end up doing that in the end, anyway."
"Not entirely." Harry still clung to hope that he could talk Narcissa out of the lace on his robes. They reminded him strongly of the robes that he'd had to wear to several Auror functions in the past, and he didn't want to think about that. He wanted the ceremony he married Draco in to be new to him, even if it was old in the pure-blood sense, because he wanted to show the Malfoys how seriously he took the idea that they were his future.
And I don't need to wear cream robes, anyway. It's not like I'm a bloody virgin.
So far, though, he hadn't managed to persuade Narcissa that that rule applied.
"You have one chance, Father."
Draco had taken Lucius by surprise, the way he had planned to. Lucius had been sitting in a tall-backed chair with his back to the door when Draco spoke. He scrambled to his feet now, trying, too late, to keep himself from appearing startled. When he realized that he couldn't, he lifted his head and responded with a quiet dignity that Draco had to admit was more appropriate for him than some of the tricks he had been trying to pull lately.
"Do I? And will you exile me from the family again if I fail?"
"Yes," Draco said, remorseless. He wasn't going to offer Lucius false hope, or false happiness. He stepped into the study and shut the door behind him. The bond didn't like that at all, but he managed to ignore the sensation that was like a belt cinching across his throat. It would be fine in a few days' time.
"You told me that you had changed your mind, that you're eager to be a Malfoy again," he told Lucius. "How sincere was that desire?"
"More sincere than you think it was." Lucius's voice was flat, his eyes on Draco so careful that the hiding was a sort of revealing.
Draco nodded, unsurprised. "Well. Now you have your chance to prove to me that you should be let back into the family. Attend the wedding ceremony. Make a gift to us. Congratulate Harry and me on having achieved the relationship and the bond and the marriage we were seeking."
Lucius waited a moment, and then shook his head. "That seems a simple test. Is that all you require of me?"
Draco showed his teeth. His father was being stupid for objecting, but Draco had some sympathy for that position. It was the one he would have taken when he still followed Lucius's teaching more closely.
"If you've changed your mind," he said, "then you can do that much, and gladly. If you haven't, then I know that something so simple will be beyond you. You've shown that before. So we'll have you there, and take a chance that you'll explode in curses and attempt to bind me forcibly to someone else." He paused, then added, "And of course if that happens, the curses you've attempted on me will be as nothing compared to what Harry will do to you."
Lucius glared at him. "You don't trust me."
"Of course not," Draco said, and he didn't plan to let his surprise show as clearly through his expression and tone as he knew it did. Lucius saw that and looked away. Draco heard the sound of his teeth grinding a minute later.
"This is the test," Draco said. "If you pass it, then you're part of the family again and welcomed and referred to as such until you do something else stupid. I would advise not doing it." He let his tone on those last words bite, and Lucius jumped and flinched.
Then he nodded. And when he looked back at Draco, there was something in his face that Draco had been missing for a long time.
"Thank you for welcoming me back into the family, Draco," he murmured in measured, magisterial tones. "I will do my best to be worthy of your trust and to ensure that you do not regret offering me this chance."
Draco inclined his head and turned away without response. He had deliberately refrained from telling Lucius that he would still have grandchildren. If he needed such an inducement to behave politely at his son's wedding, then Draco knew he could never know whether his politeness after that was real, or a mere hope of remaining in the family so that he could influence Draco's sons.
He would see how it was.
It was beautiful.
The ceremony called for them to marry outside, and Harry was grateful that the weather cooperated with a burst of weak sunshine and flowers in the morning, although he thought Narcissa would probably have placed an enchantment on at least the Manor gardens to ensure good weather if it didn't. The grass shone with rain from the night before. Narcissa had arranged a small bower for them on the grounds, vines and roses growing together, so that they could march down to it and get married in comfort.
And she'd had her way, after all, about the lace on the formal robes. Harry picked at his and made an embarrassed face. At least there wasn't a huge crowd to watch him get married and murmur about them.
The Weasleys were there, even Ginny, who had a brave face, and Mrs. Weasley, who had, Ron admitted, seemed upset that she was attending a wedding that wasn't Harry's wedding to her daughter. But she was over it now, and beaming. They stood on one side, with Ron and Hermione, to watch Harry walk down the aisle of crushed grass that led to the bower.
On the other side were Narcissa and Lucius, and Narcissa's face glowed like a flame when she looked at them. Harry smiled back at her, clasped his friends' hands as he passed along, and then looked up and ahead, to where Draco waited for him.
He was magnificent.
He wore robes of an odd color, somewhere between golden and cream, that emphasized his bright, pale complexion. On his hand shone his wedding ring, around his wrists shone the lace—so at least Harry wasn't completely alone with the lace on his own pale robes—and on his forehead was a coronet of twisted cloth that Narcissa had braided. He held another one ready and waiting for Harry. They needed six symbols of joining, one to begin the wedding and five for each band in the rings.
Harry knelt at Draco's feet to receive the coronet as he came up to him. Draco looked down at him with eyes that were almost twilight in color, and Harry knew that he was thinking of the other things they could be doing, with Harry's head down there at groin-height.
They got through it without mishap, though, and the light weight of the coronet settled on Harry's hair. Draco cleared his throat as he rose to his feet and nodded. "You come here to bind your life to mine?" he asked.
Harry nodded back and grinned in challenge. "You come here to bind your life to mine?" The bond sang around him in approval as he spoke the possessive words.
Draco smiled at him, a deep smile that seemed to pass through his face and illuminate something on the other side. He reached out and took Harry's hands between his, rubbing gently at the fingers. A spark leaped up, a literal one and one that irradiated Harry's blood, when he touched the rings.
"I have," Draco said. "This is my first gift to you." He reached back behind him, and Harry became aware that he was holding his breath.
The bronze statuette that Draco handed over to him glowed with magic. Harry hefted it in one hand and eyed Draco, who nodded again. "This is a ward," he said. "One that can protect you when you're out from beyond the Manor wards, with the same force that you would have if you were in your rooms at home."
Harry leaned forwards and kissed him, hearing half the Weasleys choke. There's a lot more where that came from, he thought in their direction, a little pityingly, while he took out his own first gift, a platinum coronet that Draco studied with a questioning eye.
"For your hair," Harry said. His heart was beating fast, and his mouth was dry with it. "To ornament you. Because one of the things that you taught me, and that I preserved when I saved your life, is beauty."
Draco's smile was slower this time, but still deeper. He put the coronet on his head, over the cloth one there, and stooped down to reach into the trunk sitting at his feet, which Harry noticed now for the first time. He coughed, and decided that he was glad there hadn't been anything in the way to trip him while he was walking up to Draco. He would have gone down, because the only thing he was thinking about and focusing on was Draco.
Draco brought out a wonderful mass of wrought iron, so flourished and flourishing that Harry couldn't make out what it was at first. Then he saw the bells hanging down on the ends and the straps, and his mind managed to refigure it into a harness.
"And this is to ride…?" He let the question trail off, his eyes focusing on Draco's.
"A dragon," Draco said, and reached out so that he could hand the harness to Harry. Harry juggled it and managed not to drop it, with effort. It was huge. "There are a few people in England who give private dragon-riding lessons. I know you like to ride things that fly. A dragon is supposed to be the ultimate experience, as far as that goes. And, of course, the proper gear to do it with is hideously expensive." He looked pleased with himself.
Harry smiled at him over the top of the harness. "You're thinking in terms of me riding more than one dragon, I hope?" he murmured.
Draco's blush was a more marvelous thing to look at than the harness, running across his forehead and down to his neck in a second. Harry smirked and put the harness aside so that he could pick up his second gift, in a leather sheath.
Draco's eyebrows rose in approval as he pulled the steel dagger inside out and saw it shine. "I assume this has some enchantments on it?" he asked.
Harry nodded. "Protective and offensive, both. It'll make you an expert knife fighter when you're using it. The idea is that you can still use it even if someone takes your wand away, and it'll let you escape. And maybe find the idiot who took your wand and stab him through the heart." Hermione made a little protesting noise, but Harry serenely ignored her. It wasn't like he was hoping that Draco would have to kill people, but they had led dangerous lives so far. It was only sensible to make sure that he was defended as well as possible, and Harry couldn't always be with him when the bond was settled.
"Mmmm." Draco hung the dagger's sheath on his belt and leaned forwards to kiss Harry. This kiss went on long enough that Narcissa cleared her throat, which was unprecedented in Harry's experience. She seemed to think that her son knew when to end his displays of affection, for the most part. Harry pulled back, but kept Draco's hands on his shoulders. Now, they both reached behind them at the same time.
What they came out with were lovers' cups, glazed and shining in cobalt, the handles large enough for two people to grip. They exchanged them ceremoniously, and Harry felt Draco's fingers slide up and down his wrist in a possessive, tender gesture when there was no one looking. Narcissa, as the one who was taking the place of the wizard who would bond them in a more traditional ritual, moved forwards and flicked her wand, and clean, cool water filled both cups.
"Drink," she said, and Bill, Charlie, and George promptly made it into a chant that didn't sound nearly as solemn and dignified as Narcissa probably wanted it to. Harry saw her roll her eyes, but she was going to put up with it, clearly.
He and Draco drank from the cup Draco had given to Harry first, then from the cup Harry had given to Draco. The rush of the water was overwhelming; the cups were huge, and Harry hadn't known that he could swallow that much, even with someone helping. He came out gasping and blinking, feeling refreshed and reborn, which was probably part of the point.
"Now," Narcissa said. "The vows you made each other."
Harry swallowed and looked up at Draco. This was the part he was most nervous about saying in front of someone else. The contracts that made Laura the mother of their children, the way they had agreed their vaults would remain joined, the fact that Harry would live in the Manor…all those were silent agreements, ones that other people couldn't intrude on. But this was public.
Draco didn't look nervous at all, damn him, though that was probably only because he hid it better. He leaned forwards and said in a clear, piercing voice, "I ask for the privilege of loving you, living with you, defending you, sharing your troubles and sorrows, your wonders and your joys." He paused. "I love you."
And Harry's nervousness burned away like a cloud obscuring the sun, so that he could say in the same kind of voice, "Accepted. I ask, as well, for the privilege of sharing your joys and your wonders, your sorrows and troubles, defending you, living with you, loving with you." He licked his lips. "I do love you."
"Accepted," Draco said, and this time his voice rang like a bell.
A spark leaped from one ring to another, and then rose above them, a replica of the ring in fire, a constantly moving and shifting cacophony of bands in the colors of steel, platinum, iron, bronze, with a final cobalt in the deep blue burst of fire to hold them in and tame them. Draco's hands tightened on Harry's as he leaned in for the kiss.
And this time, it was real beyond all the others.
It took a terribly long and rude time, in Draco's perceptions, for the guests to let them go. The Weasleys wanted to congratulate Harry and vaguely threaten Draco, Lucius wanted to catch his son's eye so he could silently say, "See, I behaved myself," and his mother presided over everything with a kind of quiet glow that, Draco had to admit, he was reluctant to disrupt.
But finally, something he said or some look Harry gave them reminded Harry's friends that they all had business elsewhere, and they began to depart. The youngest Weasley lingered by Harry and gave him a hug, whispering something into his ear that made his face long. Draco put on a pleasant smile and began to glide in that direction. The marriage ceremony did indeed seem to have settled the bond—at least, he could let other people dance with and touch and talk to Harry without wanting to kill them—but he still didn't particularly enjoy his husband's former fiancée touching him.
In this case, she saw him coming and moved out of the way with a faint smile over her shoulder. Draco didn't particularly like that, either. But when he put a hand on Harry's arm, Harry leaned against him and whispered into his ear, "I reckon that we can go upstairs and have our wedding night, now?"
Draco forgot about his anger.
That might have been Harry's intention, but he didn't care. Harry's eyes were bright, his breathing fast, and when he seized Draco's hand and guided it down to his groin, shielded from sight by their bodies, Draco could feel him hardening.
A few last words, one last kiss from his mother and wary nod with his father, and then they were up the stairs and in his room. Harry's mouth was hot, his hands demanding, and Draco was naked before he knew what had happened.
"God, I want you."
Just those words were enough to make Draco hard and painfully short of breath. He leaned back on the bed and nodded regally to Harry. "Well, perhaps you should take your clothes off, then."
Harry did, his eyes almost painfully wide, his fingers laboring on the hooks and buttons of his clothes. Now and then, he bowed his head and looked away. Draco always made a clucking sound, and Harry would look back up.
The formal robes went, and Draco knew he didn't imagine Harry's sigh of relief as they dropped to the floor. Then his shirt and boots, and Draco licked his lips and made sure that Harry could see him stroking his cock.
The rest of the clothes went very quickly, after that.
Then Harry was crawling towards him across the sheets, and although Draco had seen him naked more than once by that point, he still caught his breath at the smoothness of his muscles, the length of his limbs, even the half-visible grey scars on his back. This was Harry as he should be: healed, full of confidence, beautiful.
With oil on his fingers, arching his back as he reached behind himself to slide his hand in.
Draco rolled upwards so that he could see it. They'd practiced this more than once, but he'd never seen Harry with such an expression of bliss on his face, without even a trace of the expression of nervousness, coyly smiling and panting at Draco.
His fingers worked in and out, steady rhythm, while his eyelids fluttered shut and his lips parted around a hiss. Draco watched him flush all over his body, and when Harry was more red than pink, he reached around and grasped his hand, stopping him. Harry turned his head and blinked at him in response.
"I want inside you now," Draco whispered.
Harry's eyes widened deliciously, and there were shades of green in them that Draco knew he had never seen before. "Yes," he whispered, and leaned back so that he could spread his legs and take Draco into his body.
They ended up with Harry on all fours, his back exposed to Draco's touch and gaze as it could never have been only a few weeks ago, his head hanging sometimes with the force of his panting but also turning so that he could look back at Draco with a sweet smile and devotion in his eyes. Draco gave him a bright smile in return and then closed his eyes, arching his back as he slid in.
Oh, it was wonderful. Wonderful because of the heat and the squeeze, as it would have been in anyone male, but also because he could look up to see Harry's eyes whenever he wanted, and because Harry was writhing with pleasure that made him nearly fall more than once, and because Draco's hands were smoothing up and down, up and down, unable to stop, over Harry's sides and over the scars.
When he was fully inside, Draco had to stop for a moment and lean his hands against Harry's hips and buttocks to support himself. Harry clenched down his arse in return, and Draco hissed at him, "Do you want this to be over as soon as possible?"
"I want to be fucked," Harry said, the sound of the word making Draco feel as if his cock was in Harry's mouth instead of his arse. "And if you won't do it, then perhaps I should go and find someone who would."
That threat made Draco move, shooting forwards and thrusting. Harry shut up with a yelp and then an approving moan, shoving himself down.
"I'll show you what it means," Draco whispered, and put all his frustration, all his fury, all his force, all his love, all his affection, into the effort.
There would be times when they did nothing but hold each other and slowly come to completion, Draco was sure. With a romantic Gryffindor lover, how could there not be times like that?
But this wasn't one of them. This was heat, and the sound of skin on skin, and the push of Harry's back, insistently, in Draco's direction, as he fucked himself and was fucked, and the scent of sensuality in the air, and the taste of skin when Draco bent down and took it from the middle of Harry's back.
Where there were only scars now, no beast.
"Draco," Harry said, the only articulate word he had managed through several bouts of intense fucking, and then he began to come.
He did it in bursts, his head bowed and his shoulders shaking in pleasure, his head hanging down between his arms as he gave in, gave it up, gave himself up completely to Draco's taking. Draco remembered the moments when Harry had declared that he would never do that, that their marriage meant nothing to him, when he had saved Draco's life but obviously never considered anything deeper than that, and felt triumph so savage it was almost painful.
It was a combination of things. The heat. The pleasure. The way Harry clawed at the blankets, keeping his head bowed, as if it was a shameful thing to look up and meet Draco's eyes during his orgasm. The way it went on and on and on, his body tensing up continually around Draco. The way he had won, and the way Harry had come after him and for him, and the love and the pride of possession that twined themselves all around each other and made some complex emotion that was deeper than either on its own.
Draco raked Harry's back with his nails, opening new wounds that would scab, and fade, and heal. He came with a sound that would have embarrassed him, except that the only man there to hear it was his husband, the man he loved, the man who had shared far more embarrassing things with Draco by then.
When he was finished, he rolled over and out of Harry, and bent down, and kissed him and kissed him until his mouth was numb.
I'm married now.
That was Harry's thought as he lay in Draco's arms and stared up at the ceiling, while Draco lay in his arms and snored. He had stayed awake long enough to babble all sorts of beautiful and reassuring things, and then gone. His mouth was slightly open, a slow line of drool working its way down his chin.
Harry stroked his shoulders, and thought.
This wasn't the kind of marriage he had once pictured. He was part of the Weasleys' family, but through ties of friendship, not blood. He would have children, but not Ginny's children. She had said to him after the ritual that she wished it could have worked out between them, and that she still missed him. That was worth mourning. Mourning it didn't diminish the importance of his marriage to Draco.
But if he had been able, at the moment when the ring first sealed itself to his finger and he realized what was happening, to look down the path that spiraled away in front of him and see all the dangers, all the choices, all the destinies…
He would have chosen this. He knew that the same way that he knew Draco was there beside him, thick snore and hot breath on the side of his neck and all.
Harry rolled over. Draco lay there, and it was an easy process to trace a finger down the side of his nose, over his cheekbone, down to his mouth. Even in sleep, Draco opened his lips and stuck out a lazy tongue to lap against Harry's nail.
He was imperfect. Flawed. Determined. Strong. Prissy. Implicated in pure-blood traditions that Harry might learn about but would never wish to practice.
Harry laid his head down and closed his eyes. This was his life now, his marriage.
On the whole, he thought it would be a happy one.