And we loves, are ever in your debt.

We can not apologize enough for the severely violent, no-excuses-to-give, long arse wait we have had with this chapter.

Syl's internet is an arse, and I'm busy from 6 am to 10 P.M.

But here it is, chapter 21!

We can only hope that we haven't lost all of you in this two month wait.

May the odds be ever in- our favor.


"You stupid brat!" Astoria spat, a violent crack echoing around the room as Hugo's cheek stung, a hand imprinting itself in blushing red across his cheek. "You will tell me where my stupid, pathetic excuse for a son is, now!" She was at the end of her line, the ginger brat refused to speak, and she was running out of time before the Potter-Malfoy broad found her and her nuts-for-brains assistants. She had to find her son, and she had to find him now!

Hugo closed his eyes for a moment, waiting for the sting to pass before opening them again. "Scorpius isn't stupid or pathetic. The only one who's any of that is you for abandoning him when he needed it and then extorting funds from him when he was a child."

"Those funds are rightfully mine!" Astoria's pale, veined hands clutched around her stomach. "I bore the brat, took care of him, fed his grubby little mouth, and changed his disgusting, putrid diapers! Those fucking funds are as much his as they are mine." And she was going to get them, all of them. She was close- She already had gathered nearly half from her son's years at Hogwarts, courtesy of a goblin liaison, and she was nearly one transaction away from acquiring the rest.

Hugo angled his head disdainfully and spat at her feet. "You're not getting another cent, and if you think taking me will change anything, you're wrong."

Astoria froze, her pale green eyes narrowing cynically. "You- You-"

"If ya' say stupid little brat again, I'mma have to wash yer mouth out with soap," Nott chuckled darkly from his stool in the corner of the room, juggling the pretty little stone he'd found in his hand.

It took so much control for Hugo not to mention the stone or even stare at it for too long. He recognized it as easily as he would've recognized Scorpius's. His mother had helped create them, for godric's sake. But he kept dark, fearless eyes on Astoria. "The only thing you're going to get is an Azkaban sentence."

"Ha!" Astoria chuckled, rolling her eyes. "Petulant little filth." Flicking her wand, Astoria smirked, her lips curling cruelly as a sound of skin tearing from skin sliced through the room just as an enormous gash sliced its way through the skin and bone of Hugo's cheek. "You're not worth my time." Turning, heels clacking almost painfully loud in the silent, dark room, Astoria left through a door that appeared in the wall with a groan and vanished just the same, the sound of her shoes and morose laughter following her down the non-visible hallway.

Hugo squeezed his eyes shut, biting back the pained outcry. The tears, though, he couldn't quite control. Several slipped passed his defenses and his knees wobbled, so he sank to the ground while Nott's amused chuckles pierced his ears. Scorpius!

-8-8-

With a shuddered breath, Scorpius's eyes fell closed, his hand tightening around the pulsing violet stone clenched painfully in his palm. Hugo.

Harry reached into his pocket, fingertips brushing his own stone, and waited.

The room was silent, Draco standing behind Harry's left shoulder, hand weighted firmly against his husband's arm.

Scorpius hummed silently, eyes clenched closed, lips pursed in concentration and hands clutched tightly to the jagged stone that slowly, ever so slowly, began to glow a pale purple in his palm. Hugo. Hugo.

Albus leaned against Fin, clinging his hand tightly and watching his brother with wide, hopeful eyes. It had to work.

Draco glanced down at Harry. tightened his grip and sighed a shuddering breath.

Hugo, James... Hugo, James... Scorpius's brain called out, images whirling around in his skull and behind his eyes as the stone warmed in his hand, sending pulses of magic through his finger tips, shocking his nerves and causing his breath to stutter.

Moments passed in silence, Scorpius "inner eye" (Trelawney would be proud) searching out, seeking for something he couldn't see in the blackness of his mind.

Then, a light flickered behind his lids, and Scorpius's world zeroed in.

"I got it!"
James wasted no time in latching onto his brother's arm, wand at the ready. "Then let's go!"

Scorpius was muttering words to himself, "dark, empty," as he grabbed his wand, and just as quickly as he had yelled "I got it!" him and James vanished. And so had Draco.

Rushing forward the moment Scorpius's eyes had shot open, Draco reached out and grabbed his son's arm, just as his sons had disappeared with a crack of apparation.

Harry choked on the "wait!" because it wouldn't have done any good. They were already gone. He took his stone from his pocket and gripped it tightly. "Fuck," he breathed.

Albus had his as well, clutched in the hand that wasn't clinging to Fin. "They'll be okay, papa..." They had to be.

Fin's arm tightened around Albus's waist as Dean and Seamus, back from the Ministry, turned to whisper towards each other. What was Draco doing?

Harry stared at his stone, waiting for it to shine, to flicker, to... to anything! If Draco didn't signal him... If Scorpius didn't... Mind racing with all of the devastating possibilities, Harry didn't even notice when he began to tremble.

Standing silently, ever the Gryffindor, Seamus walked over silently and laid a hand against Harry's arm. "Mate, it'll be ok. Malfo-" He paused, clearing his throat and glancing around the room with a nod of approval from his husband. "Draco knows what he's doin'. He's married to you, int'he?"

"Which is why he should've known better than to..." Harry dragged a hand through his hair and silently admitted that he would've done the same thing had he been close enough to Scorpius. The difference was, of course, that he was a bloody Auror and his husband wasn't. Brilliant, but... "He'd better be alright... They'd all better be alright."

"They will be, Harry. They will be."

-8-8-

"Hugo! Oh Merlin!" Scorpius's shocked whispers echoed around the room as Draco gripped his son's arm tightly and jerked him behind his body, wand held out, tip glowing lightly.

Where had Scorpius apparated them?

James didn't stay behind his father, but also didn't bother telling him to get back. His own wand was out and the spell he didn't need to say sought out magical signatures. Were he with other Aurors, they would know. But he wasn't, so spoke quietly. "Five in the building. Hugo and Vic are..." He bristled, spun on his heel and snapped a spell that sent Nott back several feet.

Turning sharply on his heel, Draco cast a Lumos Maxima towards the ceiling and froze as the room illuminated itself in all its cruel, ancient glory.

Walls, deformed and peeling from decades of water damage, wallpaper blackened with mold and soot, wooden floors bent and splintered with jagged nails, portraits of what Draco assumed to be an old, ancient Wizarding family were covered with dust and black with what looked to be soot from some sort of fire. And in the corner of the room, huddled together sat, albeit shaking and quiet, Hugo and Victoire. Draco turned towards Nott and growled. "You fucking bastard."

Nott smirked cruelly in response. "Yes, darling?" Sitting hunched over in his stool in the corner of the vast room, Nott swung his wand between two of his fingers, one hand gripping the seat of the stool, back arched, eyes hollowed with bags of purple, sagging skin, flesh grim and pale, lips curled in a smile of sick content. "It's wonderful to see you again, Draco, darlin'."

Draco's stomach rolled violently.

James sneered. "You shut the fuck up!" he snapped, more than ready to blow the wizard away.

"Jamie!" Victoire gasped and it took all of James's concentration to stay still and focused on Nott. Victoire.

"Hugo!" Scorpius's heart jumped out of his chest and his hands clenched violently, a Seeker's reflex to move. Hugo. Hugo! Across the room, Hugh had loosened his hold on his cousin and was ready to move towards his lover at a moment's notice.

"Nott, you sick fucking bastard, how could you do this?" Draco's world narrowed in to the sallow face a few feet in front of him.

Theo's chuckles were edgy, crazed. He was cracking at the edges. "Oh Dray, Draco, Draco." His wand crept up, shaking slightly with a withered hand, to point at the huddled figures in the corner of the room. Water dropped loudly like a bowling pin in a silent room somewhere behind Draco.

And why, James wondered, did he look so haggard? He hadn't been nearly this bad when he'd taken them and that had hardly been two days. He was missing something. "Scorp, go. Dad and I can take care of this."

Nott cackled lightly, tilting his head and grinning, teeth the only white gleaming from his sick and haggard face. "Like what ya' see, gorgeous?"

"Bugger off, you disgusting blighter." Sneering, James held his wand steady and quietly scanned the man, looking for some reason for his appearance. A reverse glamour? Illness?

"Like what Azkaban did, darlin'? Comes on nice and slow, like... Well, like a sick little boy with shitty magic, eh?" Nott's eyes found Scorpius's over Draco's shoulder, his voice raspy and grave.

"Scorpius, be careful!" Draco whispered, rushed, as he took a step towards Nott, James following one step behind.

Hugo got to his feet, dragging Victoire with him. "Our wands," he mouthed to Scorpius and pressed his sleeve against the wound on his cheek.

Scorpius's heart pounded viciously in his chest, his eyes glancing over Hugo's body, looking for any injuries. Just his cheek, Merlin, please just be his cheek. Glancing around, Scorpius tried to locate their wands. Where would they- They were sticking out of Nott's trouser band.

"How did you get here, Dray, darling? Was your stupid little brat that powerful?" Now Nott sounded like Astoria, and the thought caused a shudder to rip through his system.

"Oi! He isn't your darling and we aren't stupid brats." Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Scorpius shifting a little closer, wand aimed for Nott. He held his breath. Don't do anything stupid.

Draco's eyes shot to meet James's, the gaze telling his son to be careful, before he turned to evaluate the scene. Nott was playing with them.

Something was going on and James didn't like it. His instincts were humming. Something was going to happen and it was going to happen soon. There were two other people in this building and he was willing to bet that one of them was Astoria. He hedged back a bit, wanting to get closer to Victoire. He needed to be close enough to protect her.

Scorpius's eyes never left Hugo's, shaky relief washing through his system like a cold shower. Hugo, Hugo! Glancing back at Nott, Scorpius clenched his shaking hands. This had to end. This was his battle, his war.

Nott leaned forward, a foot coming off the stool to rest against the ground, creaking and groaning under his weight. He smirked. "Oh Jamie, Jamie, Jamie, Draco has always been mine, don't you understand?" His backside flashed to Scorpius whose eyes locked onto the wand sticking out of his trousers.

James quivered, anxious for the attack or the defense. He was toying with them. Why hadn't he attacked? He changed his stance, didn't risk glancing back at Victoire or over at his father or brother. "He'll never be yours."

Nott smirked cruelly as he stood, his back firm, ram-rod straight, and he lunged, making the first move almost instantly.

Draco's spell was a wandless retaliation to the fire hex Nott sent towards his son, and Scorpius was right on the dot, wand out, spell screaming from his lips that had Hugo and Victoire's wands zooming into his hand.

James saw the wands move, throwing up a shield even as he dove away from it to retaliate himself. Blighter.

Hugo, eyes on Nott, half-carried, half-dragged Victoire towards Scorpius. There was something wrong with her, but there wasn't time to explain at that point. Hugo had enough time to snag his wand from Scorpius's grip and breath an apology into his ear before throwing up an Auror-grade shield his father had taught him.

Nott took a heaving breath. Fuck, Azkaban loved to come back when he didn't need it.

Scorpius jerked an arm around Hugo and Victoire, dragging them to the ground and under his body. They had to find a way to get out before Nott did something, anything, and Scorpius knew for a fact that Astoria wasn't far away. Not when she had something to play with, something to dangle over Scorpius's head.

Sauntering forward, Nott's eyes gleamed with joy. Finally, he had Draco where he wanted him, and soon, he would have him even closer.

James slammed a shield in front of his father, moving quickly to get behind Nott and potentially stun him. He could feel anti-Apparition wards closing around him, swallowed hard. This could prove problematic. "Get off the floor, Scorp! You have to be ready to move!"

Nott's gaze didn't waver, nor did Draco's. This battle, this war, was long since brewing the moment Nott, the slimy bastard he was, laid a hand on Pansy.

"Vic's injured, James!" Scorpius called out, head jerking around as magic began to lick its way up from the floor, dance around shoes and feet, and climb around Nott's legs like a spiraling serpent. What was happening?

James tensed, heart seeming to stop in his chest. Vic was hurt.

Victoire. Was. Hurt.

That bastard! He darted over to his brother and the Weasleys, gaze never leaving his father and Nott. "I've got her. You still need to get the hell up."

Draco's scream had all the heads in the room jerking up with painful jerks of their necks. He was summoned forth by Nott, the magic dancing around his legs acting as ropes to jerk Draco forward. And now, forced into Nott's grasped with more than a few binding spells that surely bordered on illegal, Draco's scalp was bleeding, Nott's hand tugging away with a large chunk of blonde hair.

"W-We have to get out of here, we have to get papa!" Scorpius whispered furiously, reaching almost desperately for Hugo as the situation barrelled down around them.

"Shite, shite, shite, shite," James muttered, trying to think. "We can't get dad out of here just yet and there are anti-apparition wards here. It'd take me too long to get rid of 'em." Fuck, they needed papa. "Your stone. Use it. Get home. I'll try and grab mine somehow."

"What?" Hugo and Scorpius whispered vehemently.

"You can't be serious, James?" Scorpius's arms wrapped tightly around Hugo who had finally moved the few feet over to join him, his wand grasped tightly in his hand. Muttered words, harsh pants and shockingly loud curses in the otherwise quiet room were all they heard from their father and Nott.

Hugo clung to Scorpius tightly, resting his good cheek on his chest and trying not to look Draco's way. "We can't just leave, James."

"You need to. All of us here will just-" He broke off, distracted when Victoire wound her arms around his neck. "Um... We... No, no." He shook his head, holding her as tightly as he dared. He didn't know how badly she was hurt or where. "Listen to me, Scorp. Go home. Hugh's hurt, Vic's hurt, and now dad. I might be able to grab my stone while Nott's distracted."

Scorpius's hand shook as he dug into his pocket and jerked out the stone, clenching it in his grasp. His eyes pleaded with James to reconsider. They could work together.

"You insolent stupid slut!" Nott's foot sunk in against Draco's stomach, sending him toppling to the floor.

James looked over sharply, features settling into something that bordered on a snarl. "Scorpius, go. I don't want Victoire or Hugo in anymore danger," he snapped.

"We will be alright, Jamie." Victoire's voice was soft, quieter than normal and it only worried him that much more.

"You'll be better if you're safe at the Manor. Scorp, please. Come back if you can manage it, but go."

Hugo's whispered words in his ear and James shakily handing over Victoire into his grasp had Scorpius's resolve reaffirming itself. He would come back.

"Be careful James, you hear me?"

Another swift kick to Draco's stomach and a grunt of pain had the Potter-Malfoy children's faces setting into determination.

"I will be. Just take her home and make sure she's safe." I love her. He hesitated a moment before letting her go and retrieved his wand again.

A burst of magic sent Nott spiraling towards the floor as Draco broke through the magical binding around his body, spitting blood against the floor.

"Get the wards open, James!" Scorpius tightened his hold on Hugo and Victoire. "Dad can handle himself."

Hugo clutched his wand with one hand, Scorpius with the other. His cheek stung, but he was ready to fight if need be. Victoire held hers in shaking hands, leaning her weight onto one side. James looked at them both and just shook his head. "Use your stone, Scorp. There are two other people in this building and I don't want to take the time to down the wards. They could show up here at any time."

"James, you're going to have to, even for a second, I can't get through the wards with two people on just my mere stone, it would take too long for me to find a gap! Now unless you want our guts splattered across the floor from the ricochet, then take down the wards, weaken them, something." The only downfall to the stones, to add insult to injury, was literally just that; injury. The stone was only meant for that of one person, the person of literally connected to the stone, and for Scorpius to have to bring along two people whose magic was fluctuating and who were bleeding all over the place- He needed something to give, particularly the wards.

"Fucking fuck," he muttered and began murmuring spells, trying to find, or create, a break in the wards. He kept himself largely turned away from Victoire; her clear pain a distraction. He wanted to heal her immediately; he needed to get her to safety. It didn't help that he had to break concentration to throw up a strong shield against an errant curse. Goddamn Nott.

Scorpius held Hugo close, whispering soft things against his ear and caressing his non-injured cheek, and Hugo clung a little tighter. Apologies were on his mind and would have to be said once they were free.

Draco's yelling shook Scorpius to the bone. Their father was furious, and Nott was just... From what Scorpius could hear, mocking their father. Did he warrant a death wish?

"Scorp, throw up a shield if you can. I need to be able to focus on the bloody wards!"

A shield flew up around James as Scorpius dived over Hugo and threw up a shield around them as another wayward spell fell from Nott's wand as light, a vast array of colours exploded around the room.

James bit his lip, muttering spells to try and get through the wards. Hugo turned, pressing his back against Scorpius's and held Victoire up while his own shield joined his fiance's, encasing them entirely from the errant spells.

Scorpius clenched his eyes, concentrating, concentrating, as spells exploded around them. "I-I got it!" He gasped, drawing Hugo and Victoire into his arms, clenching the stone. "I got it, James! I got it!" With an almost violent growl, and a stinging pain in his hand, and they vanished with a snapping crack.

The shields vanished with them, James having to quickly snap up his own before getting blown back. Still, the violence of the spell reverberated off his shield, sending him back several steps. "Bloody fucking hell," he breathed. "Dad!" he called. "Scorp's got them safe!"

"Wonderful, James!" Draco called out, grunting in an airy sort of pain as a wayward spell sliced against his arm. Nott was growing despera-

Draco cried out in pain as Nott's fist found his right eye. W-When had he gotten so close?

Draco was a tactical fighter, he loved fighting at a distance, and used it to his advantage. And bloody fucking Nott knew it, they had dueled more than once back in Hogwarts.

"Oh, my poor little Dracy-kins," Nott snide comment was sharp, shallow as he panted with a lack of oxygen. Blood dripped from his cheek, his shirt hung in shreds around his chest, as his knuckles were bloody, his wand slipping from between his grasp.

James let his shield drop, slashing one down in-between the two men that would propel Nott backwards. "We should get out of here, dad!"

Draco wiped blood from his lip with the hand clasped firmly around his wand. "No James, go!"

Nott smirked cruelly from under the dripping lips of blood.

"I can't! Anti-apparition wards are up and I can't get through them now." He shuffled closer to his dad so he could lower his voice, snapped a muffliato for extra protection. "There're other people here and I feel them. One's getting closer. You're hurt. Scorp's gone and I don't have my stone. We could leave without it, but I can't leave on my own. Papa'd disown me if I left you here anyway."

Draco's face, now closer for James to see, was beginning to swell, his lip split, his eye blackening as he glanced at James carefully. Nott watched on curiously, vainly. "Your father is probably trying to get through these wards right now, anyway. And if he," Draco wheezed lightly, clutching at his side as Nott advanced a step towards them. "Doesn't disown you, he'll divorce me." Dropping his hand from his side, Draco jabbed it into his pocket, pulling it out and chucking the object at James. "Get out of here, now. Or I'll disown you! I'll get your stone and get back to you as soon as possible."

"But dad-" James felt the stone pulsate in his hand. Papa. Shite! "Alright. I... Don't make me regret this," he ordered, voice heavy with meaning. He waved his wand, casting a shield sans verbalization. "It'll last about a minute after I'm gone. Try and heal yourself some or gear up a good bloody spell to blow him to pieces." With a last look, he followed the pulsations of the stone and vanished.

Nott's smirk gleamed as spell after spell berated against the shield around Draco, the blonde falling to his knees.

-8-8-

"James!"

He let his father's stone fall to the table, looking up at Harry with a soft sigh. Harry grabbed his son's shoulders, staring at him with wide and worried eyes. "Where's Draco? He should've come back with you!"

"He... He wants to finish off Nott and get my stone back."

"Get your- Scorpius said he was hurt!" he shouted and James winced.

"I... He... Yeah. But he wouldn't leave, papa."

"Fuck."

"Mate, we felt the wards- 'arry? What's wrong?" Seamus flew into the room, Dean on his heels as he glanced around the room quickly.

Harry dragged a hand through his hair, trying to keep himself together. Draco...

"It's dad," James said quietly. "Nott's hurt him, but he wouldn't come back with me."

Uproars sprang loudly from the mouths of the occupants in the room.

"Shut it!" Scorpius hollered, the room falling silent as his arms tightened around Hugo's waist, the two pressed securely against the couch after Hugo was thoroughly checked over for injuries, his cheek bandaged and slightly swollen. Victoire was in a warded room a few halls away. "There is no point in yelling. dad will," he swallowed harshly. "Father..." He met Harry's eyes determinedly. "Dad will make it back."

Harry nodded, but he'd begun to tremble and couldn't stop it. If Draco died... If Nott had really hurt him... He didn't like that the boys hadn't said exactly what the injuries were, that they didn't seem to intend on saying. He gripped his stone tightly, feeling helpless and hating it.

Seamus stepped forward and placed a reassuring hand against Harry's shoulder, tilting his head towards the door. "Let's go have a talk, yeah, 'arry?" He whispered quietly.

He looked up, still clutching the stone. "Yeah. I... Sure."

Seamus nodded, quietly leading Harry out of the room passed the heavy, albeit sorrowfully worried, gazes of their family and friends.

"Harry?" Seamus glanced at the other when they finally reached an empty room with a large window view, what looked to be a library of some sorts, and he turned to fully face the other and just waited, calmly, quietly, for the other to speak.

"I'm going to kill him. Nott. If Draco doesn't make it home, I'm going to kill him just on sight. And I'll happily go to Azkaban for it."

"Harry, mate," Seamus sighed, shaking his head. "This doesn't seem like something about Nott. You on edge 'bout Draco being out there, aren't you?"

"What if it was Dean? Wouldn't you be on edge? He's hurt and the stubborn idiot stayed with him! And there's nothing I can do about it right now but hope that he can fight the bloody bastard off and come home."

The Irishman waited patiently for Harry to calm his breathing before he spoke, leaning up against the large windows, arms crossing over his chest. "Harry, if it was Dean, I would be on edge, yes, but I trust him." His voice was low, calm. "I trust that if he's hurt, he'll know what to do, that despite his stubborness, I know," Seamus's hand lifted to be placed over his heart, his wedding ring glinting in the lighting from the flames of the flickering candles floating around. "He'll come back to me. I trust him to survive."

Harry looked at his own ring, then squeezed his eyes shut. "Seamus, I have literally been dealing with death my entire life. There's always the chance, always. It doesn't matter how much I trust Draco - and I do. I know what he's capable of, but he's already hurt. I don't know how badly, either, so..." He opened his eyes. "I need him. And I can't get to him to help."

Seamus smiled warmly, clasping Harry on the shoulder with a firm grip. "Trust that he'll come back to you. Trust that he needs you too, eh? He's a Malfoy, and a Potter. Blimey, mate. If that's not enough-!"

"I know, Seamus... It doesn't mean I can't be worried."

Seamus nodded, "Doesn't mean you can't, mate, doesn't mean you can't. Just not to the point of an aneurysm-", his head jerked painfully as he felt the thick layers of wards wane and snap back together. Meeting Harry's eyes before the other darted out of the room, they both thought the same thing. Draco.

Harry slid into the parlor, eyes wide and terrified, and stopped dead. "Draco!"

The blonde's body heaved onto the floor as the wards snapped closed around him, his body bruised and bloody, blood dripping from the fabric of his shirt, half his face swollen and discoloured around his eye. His arms shook and gave out, the blonde falling to his face on the floor before he rolled over with a guttural, clotted groan. Damn fucking bugger got me in the jaw, Draco's body ached violently, blood pooling in his throat as he attempted to swallow and failed, the red liquid dripping from in-between his lips and teeth.

"Bloody fucking hell! You fucking idiot!" Harry dropped down beside him, swearing under his breath. "Someone get Hermione!" he snapped; no one bothered to tell him that Albus already had, the lithe Potter-Malfoy bolting from the couch the moment his dad had appeared. "Fucking idiot," he whispered and slid an arm beneath Draco's head. "Anapneo," he snapped to clear his throat of blood and allowing him to breathe properly. "Fucking idiot."

Draco grinned, blood splattered across his lips as he tried to gaze at Harry with fuzzy vision, his right eye swelling closed. "Hello to you too," he mumbled gravely, voice husky and crackly. Not weak. Never weak.

"Fucking idiot," he repeated, touching the tips of their noses together very, very gently. "Scared me half to death, you bloody jackarse. You're so fucking lucky you didn't die; I would've killed you." It was so hard not to grab and squeeze and cling.

Draco's hand lifted to gently stroke against Harry's cheek, a smirk curling almost painfully at the edge of his lips. "I w-wasn't gone that long, Potter. Or have you finally realized you can't live without me?"

Harry lifted his own hand, keeping Draco's where it was. "I've known that for years."

"Bloody fucking Merlin, Draco Potter-Malfoy, I'm going to kill you if Harry doesn't!" Hermione stormed into the room, shattering the eerie silence as she huffed and stomped her way over to Draco, all intent to hit him upside then head, fix his bruises, and then hit him again.

Draco groaned and pushed his head against Harry's shoulder. "Merlin, save me."

"There's no Merlin here. You'll just have to take your medicine like a good boy." He gave Draco's hand a gentle squeeze, well-aware that the healing process often hurt as much - if not more - than receiving the injuries. "Fucking idiot."

Draco winced as Hermione brandished her wand like a weapon.

Moving Harry out of the way with a nudge of her shoulder, she set about fixing the bruising around Draco's eye, the various cuts and scraps, and huffed as her wand continually danced over his cheek. "Just like Hugo, damn."

Harry didn't care overmuch if Draco had earned himself a scar, just so long as he was bloody well alive to be shouted at later. He dragged a shaking hand through his hair, the relief at having everyone back and alive as palpable and as exhausting as the feeling of helplessness he'd been dealing with before. "It could've been a lot worse, Hermione. Just focus on what you can fix..."

"That is all I can fix," she stated matter-a-factly. "The scar's going to be there for a while unless Draco can brew something up inside that overly large," she glared at him sharply, "brain of his to get rid of it." She leaned back on her knees.

"T-Thank you, Hermione." Draco coughed, throat dry as he pushed his arms behind himself to lift himself up.

Harry yanked him up, crushing their lips together for a bruising kiss. "I could've lost you, you fucking idiot."

"Harry," Hermione cautioned, "jerking him about won't exactly help him."

Harry only ignored her for the moment, keeping his husband close enough that the trembling he'd been fighting to mask was unmissable for the blonde.

Draco paused for a moment, allowing his rattled brain to gather thoughts before his lips pushed back hesitantly against Harry's, a hand finding its way into his lover's hair, his body pressing perfectly against Harry's. "It's s'ok, love. It's ok."

"Godric, Draco, if you hadn't... If you hadn't come home..." He couldn't think, couldn't breathe. All the stress of waiting, worrying, guilt over letting Hugo and Victoire get taken in the first place - it conjoined in him and was nearly enough to overwhelm.

Draco's hands caressed Harry's cheeks as he leaned up with a shaky smile. "Shhh, Gryffindor. No need to break something in your head. I'm here now." The warmth of skin on skin assured him of that.

"Git," Harry breathed and pulled Draco into his lap to hold him carefully, just to make sure that he really was there and that everything was alright again. He began to tremble in earnest now, uncontrollable and needy. "I love you. Fucking idiot."

Hermione glanced at the two before silently stepping away to give them a moment and to go check on her son, again.

"I love you too, so much." Draco mumbled against Harry's neck, arms tight around his husband's waist, clinging tight to the fabric on his back. "I'm here. I'm not going anywhere, never again. I'm sorry."

"You'd better not. You'd better not, Draco. He's not worth losing you." Nott wasn't worth losing any of them. And, for someone James had said looked so weak, he was clearly extremely strong if he'd been able to wrought such damage to Draco. "Come on. We need to get everyone together. We'll go to the room we've settled Victoire in since she can't properly walk." And they could floo her parents if James hadn't already, tell them she was alright.

Draco nodded solemnly. They had to move quickly, no matter how much Draco wished to curl up against Harry and just hide away from the world. "Ok," he braced himself to stand, unsure of any more aches and pains in his bones. "Ok," he pushed himself off of Harry and onto his knees, checking all his limbs for any pain.

Frowning, Harry rose and held out both hands to help his husband to his own feet. "Come on, darling."

Draco rolled his eyes. "Now we start with the pet names." But despite the snark reply, Draco's hands met Harry's and held on tight as he was pulled into his husband's waiting arms.

"You're still a fucking idiot." Harry just held on for a moment, keeping his husband close, and waited for his system to settle. When it didn't, he steeled himself against the quivering and stepped back. "Come on."

Draco glanced around for a moment, wanting to pull Harry aside and just hold him, ease his worries. But they couldn't- He couldn't give in- Everyone was slowly leaving the room to go towards what had been dubbed the "sick people room." Or the Manor Infirmary where Scorpius, Hugo and Victoire were kept.

"I know," Harry said quietly, the same urge running through him. He offered a hand. "Later, when this is over." There was something running through his veins - anticipation - and his free hand grasped his wand.

Draco grasped Harry's hand tightly and nodded towards the door. "Let's go find our sons. You can yell at me later."

"There's going to be a lot of yelling," Harry assured him, leading him towards the door and out. "I can guarantee that."

Draco's arm found its way around Harry's waist and clung tight to the fabric there. "Can't wait." As long as he was with Harry. Healed. Healthy. He couldn't wait. He blinked as he found himself in a new wing. How did he...? Suddenly, Draco's heartbeat sped up rapidly, nervousness tingling at the tips of his fingers. "H-Harry..." Draco Malfoy had fucked up, plain and simple. And dragged his family into it.

He could feel something in the air, something tugging at the wards. Had the back and forth of his children and husband weakened them in some fashion...? Harry wrapped an arm tightly around Draco. "Get your wand out," he said quietly.


Cliff hangers suck, don't they?

We're trying to get back into our writing! But currently we can only write through notes on deviantart due to Syl's shitty internet. So...

Review? WE MISSED YOU ALL.

-Abraxas and Syl.