Someone PM'd me recently, upset that HPATSF wasn't going to be finished. I just wanted to take the time to post the next chapter. I've not wanted to post any more until I caught up with SS, but I decided I would.
I want to let you guys know - I've got 4 more chapters of this. Chapter 25 (we're on chapter 21) is nearing the end. I may finish it, just to say I did.
Disclaimer:: I don't own anything you recognize.
HARRY POTTER AND THE SARKANY FLAME
Chapter Twenty-One: Family Findings
Hermione was staring, amused, at the pictures an obsessive Harry had forced onto her. She snorted as she flipped through them, shaking her head.
"You know that you don't look any different at 'one week' than you did before you were pregnant, right?" she asked, setting the pictures down and sipping her tea. This was her free period, something that used to be used either studying or getting into trouble with Ron and Harry. Now, it seemed, even though they were only sixteen (or seventeen, in Hermione's case), that they were all grown up. They'd not caused any trouble or gotten points taken away or had silly arguments or glared at the Slytherins... it was amazing how far they'd come from the biased Firsties they'd been only six years ago.
"I know," Harry admitted, and then a slow smile spread across his face. "But there's just something that seems different in that photo, don't you think?"
Hermione glanced down at it and wanted to tell him, yes, he seemed happier. That was the difference. Instead, she didn't say anything at all, just gave him a little grin and steered the conversation in a different direction.
"Have you thought anymore about the you-know-whats?" she whispered. All four of Harry's boys were out of the rooms – Theo to class and the other three working – but it was still best to be discrete.
"Dumbledore says he might have found one, but he doesn't want me going with him," Harry murmured. "He says there are signs of Inferi."
A spasm of disgust rolled over Hermione's face, and then pity. "How could anybody disrespect the dead like that? To use them.."
"I know," Harry muttered, shaking his head. "It's terrible."
The duo fell silent, Hermione and Harry both thinking their own thoughts. With the war progressing, it was dangerous for anybody to go out, really. Hogsmeade visits were few and far between, pressed into the short hours between ten in the morning and three in the afternoon, and there were always teachers around now. The Minister had been put under the Imperius and then died trying to shake it off and a new Minister was rushed in. This one seemed a lot more capable than the others, but also seemed to see Aurors as replaceable. The Aurors were being sent out more, trained or (more often than not) not, fewer coming home to their families than being deployed. It was exactly two weeks ago that James and Sirius had decided to take up their old spots in the Auror department, and because the department was short, they didn't even bother re-training the two men.
Hermione had personally held Harry as he cried and fretted.
Not only that, but now it looked like the Ministry was beginning to train Hit Wizards to be Aurors. There wasn't that much of a difference between the two and Hit Wizards were easy to come by. Hit Wizards were used to bringing in the 'bad guys' by any means necessary, which meant they usually lasted longer than Aurors anyways. Aurors were forced to be the image of honor and nobility and usually died trying to live up to the Ministry's expectations. Harry had absolutely point-blank refused for Ian to go into Auror training, but that hadn't stopped the man and it was a tense three or four nights before Harry's gotten over himself and forgave Ian.
That was three people in the Auror force that Harry worried about – Tonks had been taken out for the duration of her pregnancy, of course – and it was beginning to wear on him, really. That was why Ian arranged for his friends to be there to distract him.
"So have you thought of any names?" Hermione wondered. Harry looked around and smiled coyly.
"A little," he mumbled. "But they're silly – I mean, not really, but..."
"Harry," Hermione chastised.
"I was thinking – if it's a boy, we could name him Michael. For Ian's dad. But then I thought – wouldn't it be weird if the baby was Bill's biological baby, and we named him after Ian's dad?" Harry asked, chewing his lip.
"It might be," Hermione admitted. "Or the other boys could get jealous."
"No, that wouldn't happen," Harry muttered while his mind screamed, yes it would!
His boys were getting along well with each other, but all of them still ended up a little jealous at times. Such as, at night, when the first two in bed got to claim either of Harry's sides. The bedtime routine became rushed and there was a lot of snarling and snapping until Harry threatened that he'd just go sleep on the couch, then. (Not that he would, of course.) They also were beginning to treat Harry like a little doll that would break if you breathed on him...and were weary of each other touching him. It was kind of sickening, really. If this is what it was like at one and a half months, what would it be like at six and a half?
"So what do you think it is?" Hermione hummed, pouring herself some more tea. Her time with Harry was just about up and she wanted his opinion before she had to leave again.
"I hope it's a girl," Harry admitted. "But I just honestly think it's a boy."
Hermione hid a smile and nodded along with him until she glanced at the clock. "I have to go or I'll be late for Potions! Goodbye!"
– – –
"Our babies are going to be best friends," Lexi said happily from where she sat with Harry and Seamus on the floor in front of the coffee table. There was an owl-order magazine in front of them and every once in a while they'd dart forward with their chosen marker and circle something they'd want or need for their baby.
"How can you tell?" Harry wondered, absentmindedly circling a bottle set with his green marker. Lexi checked a mark next to it with her purple marker and Seamus followed suit with a blue mark. They all needed bottles.
"Babies Potter, Malfoy, and Finnigan. It just sounds right," Lexi responded. "Besides, we're all friends, right? We'll schedule play-dates and they'll learn to like each other."
Seamus snorted. "'Potter' and 'Malfoy' being best friends is far-fetched, Lex."
Lexi shrugged. "Boys will be boys, of course, but I think we're all going to have girls. Wouldn't that be fun?"
"Fun," Seamus' eyebrows rose. "I'd probably die of shock. We saw a muggle fortune-teller last week who said we'd be having a son."
"You know they're not always right, right?" Harry laughed, and then frowned. "But..."
He remembered when they'd gone to Madame Zhu's and read their fortunes to each other, the ones that came out of the little cookies. Harry's had been you'll find love in a familiar face. That was Bill, right? And Ian's had been something about misfortune – the man had nearly died the same day. And then Theo's, Theo's was someone you value dearly will be injured today. That would be Ian, of course. He wondered idly if those fortunes were coincidences or if Madame Zhu had a Seer working for her.
"What?" Lexi asked gently.
"Nothing, just got lost in thought," Harry smiled, playing it off, as he leaned back against the couch.
Seamus had been very happy to show Harry his baby bump. Harry was surprised at the size of it already – Seamus had always been flat-bellied, and Harry should know..he'd spent the previous five years in a dorm with him. But now there was a strange little bulge around Seamus' middle. Harry and Lexi were both jealous about not having a bump and worried about the time when they would have one. Lexi would give birth around the time Harry did, as Veela pregnancies lasted ten, sometimes ten and a half months. Neither of them were showing yet, which was an unseen blessing in Harry's book (he already got enough attention as is!).
"Ah," Seamus nodded. "Anyways. I heard your parents were going to try for another baby! How do you feel about that?"
"Yeah, isn't it odd?" Lexi gaped, and now both of their full attentions were on Harry.
"I feel a little weird about it still," Harry admitted, shifting awkwardly. Lexi and Seamus were some of his closest friends now – he still loved Ron and Hermione, but he could relate to Lexi and Seamus much better than his longtime friends now. It was almost sad. But Harry felt he could tell anything to the duo, which was a far cry from what he felt about his mates, his still-pretty-close previous best mates, Remus, or even Sirius. Somehow that lot would make him try to see reason, but Lexi and Seamus wouldn't judge him.
(He wondered if this was what it was like for females with female friends.)
"I mean," Harry murmured quickly. "I think it's wonderful they want more kids, and I bet they'll be wonderful parents, but I just...get a little jealous, I guess. They weren't there to raise me and now I'm all grown up and with a baby on the way and I don't need to be raised anymore. Or at least, the kind of raising I need is done by my mates – they help me grow up the rest of the way. And... I get this funny feeling inside when I realize my baby will be older than whatever aunts or uncles it might have in the future."
Lexi tutted softly. "I understand, that would be so odd," she sympathized. "And having siblings who are sixteen or more years younger than you! That has to be weird, too."
"I guess," Harry shrugged, a bit stiffly. "I wonder when my life got so weird?"
"What do you mean?" Seamus asked idly, circling a spindly high-chair darkly.
"Think about it. I'm sixteen and my parents died fifteen years ago. I came into an Inheritance that turns me into some sort of...dragon-thing. Around the same time I found my first mate, my parents were brought back to life. I then found three other mates and now we have a baby on the way. My parents are now attempting to have more children of their own. Not exactly a cliché, now is it?" Harry babbled, a bit unsure of his own words. After he'd finished saying them, there was utter silence.
"Well..." Seamus mumbled after a moment. Lexi shifted, kicking her feet up onto the coffee table and leaning back against the couch. "It could be weirder."
"How could it-" Harry started.
"-you could be half-Acromantula with six eyes and eight legs and lay an egg sack that produces hundreds of children at one time and want to eat your not-dead-anymore parents," Lexi chirped happily, not even noticing the incredulous stares that both Harry and Seamus were shooting her. The blond girl snatched the catalog, flipping the page and beginning to chatter about something she thought she'd seen, until realizing that they were both still shocked at her previous description.
"Are you right in the head?" Seamus wondered finally, once Lexi had glanced up.
"Of course. It's a book," Lexi told them, shrugging a tiny one-shouldered shrug. "Soup, Salad, and Spider-Legs: The Complete Diaries of Amaria Long, 'The Spiderwoman'," she added, when her explanation only caused further eyebrow raises.
As she said this, the door jumped open and Draco and Theo came in, talking to each other and lugging their bags. Draco glanced up with a wrinkled nose.
"You read that?"
"Of course. It was entertaining," Lexi replied, holding the catalog up. "Shay, Harry and I have been busy!"
"Uh-oh," Theo responded, tugging the magazine gently out of her grasp. "How about we have some tea before we go into shopping?"
"I hate shopping," Harry grinned happily, pushing himself into a standing position (Theo's hands found Harry's elbows the moment he'd stood up, steadying and fretting over nothing). "I can stand on my own, Theo. If I can still see my toes, I don't need you to help me walk," Harry snorted, shuffling off to the kitchen.
"Right," Theo said quickly, traipsing after his silly mate. "Anyways. What kind of tea?"
"Raspberry," Lexi said at once, while Harry chimed in with a "Spearmint" and Shay just wanted black. Immediately this sparked a conversation between the trio around Harry's terrible "morning" sickness.
"Is it still very bad?" Lexi questioned sympathetically.
"Yeah. Supposedly though, spearmint is supposed to help," Harry smiled tightly. "So I'll try it."
"Really? Interesting. Red raspberry leaf is supposed to strengthen the uterus – though lots of people say it causes miscarriages. My mum swore by it, though," she grinned, winking. They both turned to Seamus curiously.
"Uh...I like black tea?" he said, and the trio burst into fits of giggles.
– – –
"Pffft," Wyatt laughed, mouth on Harry's belly. Harry wriggled around, trying to get Wyatt to knock it off so he could study.
"Ehehehe- Wyatt!" Harry shrieked, book falling off his lap as he scrunched up to protect his belly. "Be good!"
"Pay atteeeenntion to me, Harry," Wyatt whined, pouting a little as he pulled back. "I need a nickname for you," he decided, leaning back and pulling one leg up against his chest. Wyatt could sit in a great many different positions: sometimes he would sit on his knees with his ankles crossed, butt on his ankles. Harry often wondered how the man could stand it, being as Wyatt was bonier than bony.
"What? No you don't," Harry said, rolling over to retrieve his book from the floor.
"Yes, I do," Wyatt had his hands behind his head now, looking at the ceiling. "I mean, Theo always calls you 'baby', which I guess is more of a pet-name, and you used to look a tad annoyed but you've stopped scowling now," he hmmed gently, eyes rolling to glance at the boy he was infatuated with. "And Ian calls you 'kid', which can be a bit creepy, but it's better than nothing. So I need one."
"No, you don't," Harry mumbled, rolling his eyes. "Bill doesn't call me anything," he added quickly.
Wyatt's hair flopped into his eyes and he brushed it away with little annoyance. "Rightio, but I'm not Bill. Hey, can I ask you a question?" he said, abruptly changing the subject. Harry noticed this a lot with Wyatt – he was rather short-fused in more than one way. With his temper, his concentration, and his libido. It was rather like Wyatt was always in heat while they were having sex – which wasn't all bad, really, except when he forgot that Harry didn't usually like rough sex.
Harry shook his head quickly, wondering where that line of thought came from, and answered quickly: "Shoot," Harry muttered, distracted.
"Will you meet my sister?"
"Will I – what?"
"Will you meet my sister?"
"What- of course I will," Harry grinned, turning to glance at Wyatt with the brightest smile ever. Wyatt released a breath he didn't know he was holding, pulling out a sheet of parchment that was tightly folded in his pocket, holding it out to Harry.
"She wants to meet you. And the boys, of course," he added mockingly, referring to the other mates. "But mostly you."
Harry's eyes scanned the paper hungrily.
Congratulations times five! Can't believe you went from a loner to four mates and a baby in such a short period of time.
Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, things have been crazy – what with Stan still going through the Ministry's silly debriefing sessions. I should warn you that I told mum, thought you'd rather like to know, because I'd assumed you'd already told her. Apparently not. She'll no-doubt already be planning a trip to Scotland with the kids for this summer.
I'd love to meet you guys! It's a bit quiet around here without any other Creatures, I'm used to living in the village, so chatting with another Submissive will be a great change of pace. And of course your other mates. How are you taking it? Four mates, jeez. Kid must be really powerful. Are you extremely jealous?
The boys are fine, Asher is getting so big. Maybe I'll bring them with to the Three Broomsticks. Say, Saturday? At noon. Stan is on board, he's reading over my shoulder. We'll have to see.
Well I best be going. See you soon, little brother!
Lots of Love
Harry beamed. "She sounds nice. She has three boys, you said?"
That conversation seemed like so long ago, though it had been – at most – only a month.
"Yeah, Asher is almost three, Ellis is eleven months and Baron is just a couple of months old."
"Wow, three kids under three. That must be tough.." Harry squinted, thinking.
Ian said that he'd had siblings, too – and Wyatt had more than just Wynter, from Wynter's letter. "With the kids." Bill, quite obviously, had six siblings – just how many brothers- and sisters-in-law did he have now?
This question was asked out loud just a moment later.
"Um, well –," Wyatt paused, frowning. "I've got Wynter, plus three little siblings. Xenia, Quinn and Vinny. Er, they're all school-aged. Attending Beauxbatons," he added. Though Wyatt's mother was American, they'd moved to France early on in his childhood and he'd been brought up around his English father's family. Which made absolutely no sense, but it gave Wyatt an interesting almost-French English accent that Harry thought was quite adorable. And Wyatt spoke French, which Harry also thought was quite adorable. "And Bill has his six, and I think Ian has – I think Ian has two little brothers, but I'm not positive."
Harry smiled lightly, thinking of Ian. Ian was silly. He never talked about his family – Harry only knew that his parents had both been Sarkany, and his father had died ten or eleven years ago. Harry decided that he'd ask about them when Ian came home tonight.
"Tell me about your family," he pleaded to Wyatt. Wyatt's dark eyes turned on him again, and the man grinned a bit.
"What do you want to know?"
"Anything," replied Harry with a little voice.
Wyatt stretched out, snagging Harry around the waist and tugging him closer, before humming in thought. "Weeeeell. My mum's a right crazy old thing, by rights she could have had more children but after Vinny nobody would want another kid. He's a good kid, I mean, don't get me wrong. But he's... well, he's – a risk taker, you could say. When he was two he managed to crawl out the window of our condo and fell two stories to land on the trampoline below. Nearly gave my mum a heart-attack," Wyatt had a wry grin on his face at that. "And that was when he was two. Now he's eleven and I think he's finally broken every bone in his body."
"Really?" Harry asked, eyes huge as he patted his belly, as if silently thinking: you'd better not be anything like that, baby.
"Oh yeah. And Quinn's not much better, though at least she recognizes things that are just too dangerous. I mean, last year Vinny climbed into the tiger exhibit at a muggle zoo. Where we couldn't magic him out," Wyatt snorted, tightening his arms around Harry protectively. "Xenia's our little studious thing though, well on her way to graduating even though she's only fifteen."
Wyatt continued weaving tales about his family: his father, who – though absent most of the time, with a human wife he'd had long before he'd even thought of mating – seemed extremely easy-going, a much older half-brother and half-sister who didn't really like any of their father's "other" family, and thus weren't around much (in fact, Wyatt even had trouble recalling what the girl's name was. "Rosa" he finally decided, and even then didn't look like he believed this was what her name was), Xenia and Quinn – who were born eight months apart and were in the same Year at Beauxbatons – and Vinny, who had just gone into his First Year this year. He sung Harry the French lullaby his Aunts would sing him when he was little, chittering about how they'd all had terrible French accents as both of them were born and raised in Scotland and, indeed, had been Hogwarts alumni.
Sometimes Harry bantered back, but he had little to say about his family. He'd told Wyatt about Sirius and Remus, how they both called him 'cub' or sometimes 'pup', but this only made his newest mate tease him: "You let everyone but me have a pet-name for you!"
This was how the others found them three hours later, when Bill and Ian tumbled out of the Floo one after the other, nearly at the same time that Theo was popping in the door. Both of them, curled up together on the couch, Harry's Potions book opened in a half-hearted study attempt, looking extremely light and peaceful.
I dunno when the next chapter will be uploaded. :) a few weeks probably. The next chapter has a "big" spoiler in it and I'm not sure if I want to post it soon, for you guys, or wait until I've caught up with SS so I can post the spoiler at the same time in both stories.
Thanks for being loyal readers, loves.