A/N: This chapter contains a missing scene. The uncut version can be found on AO3 or AFF
He heard Max groan louder, this time in aggravation, and he giggled happily. This truly felt like they were back to normal…teasing his mates had always been a part of their relationship, a part that he loved very much. They were getting there, they just had a few more hurdles to clear first, but he couldn't wait until they reached their end goal. It was going to feel amazing when this was all over and done with at last.
Chapter One Hundred-Seven – Exploration
Harry's assessment had started like near torture. A break had had to be called as the therapist hadn't been able to get a word from him since he'd accused Harry of trying to cover for his abusive dominants. He'd gotten so aggravated and frustrated with his lack of cooperation that he had needed to walk away, so he had called a break.
Harry had been told to stay sat on a bench just outside the door until the Healer got back, but he'd gone off to the Healing Halls to find Georgio instead.
"Harry!" Jo stood up so fast that her seat went clattering to the floor. "Are you okay?"
She hurried around the desk and pulled him into her arms, sniffing him over.
"I'm okay. Who's here?"
"It's Healer Grant and Healer Alessandri on duty this afternoon, neither are currently busy. We have no patients."
"I need to see Georgio."
"Alright, he's just through in the break room, you know where that is by now."
Harry nodded and he left Joanne's arms to go down the sterilised corridor and he knocked gently on the break room door.
"Come in." The strong, ancient voice of Healer Alfred Grant made Harry smile as he was asked to enter.
Healer Alfred Grant and Georgio leapt to their feet when they saw him come in and Georgio hurried to him.
"They've harmed you again?!" Georgio demanded as his huge hands touched him gently, already searching for injuries.
"What? Oh…no! No!" Harry said. "I'm here for that therapy thing. Healer shit stick threw me out, so I decided to come and see you."
"Healer Kinnick?" Georgio asked questioningly.
Harry nodded. "Yeah, what's his fucking problem?"
"Whatever will make you happy, he wants the opposite." Georgio said furiously. "Why did Elder Kirrian pair you with him?"
"He didn't. I came in today and was supposed to be seeing Healer Camberly, who I thought was bad enough, only to be told that Healer Camberly wasn't well and wasn't here. So instead Elder Messana had paired me up with Healer Kinnick. I never want to see that man again."
Harry burrowed into Georgio and the huge Healer held him tightly, making him feel like no one would ever hurt him ever again.
"Get Elder Vipond here." Georgio growled. "I want Healer Vasey put on the Counsel payroll and brought here for Harry's own good. He already knows that you're a Dracken?"
Harry nodded. "He's a specialist for magical creatures or family members of magical creatures, he has Dracken blood in his family. We were going to use Nasta's Faerie blood, and Leolin's traumatic birth, if the public ever found out I was going there to see him, but they never have."
"I will ensure that he is the one dealing with these matters, Harry." Georgio promised him, petting his hair and holding him close. "There is no need for anyone to harm you in such a way, its needless! I've always hated that little fucker and the way he treats the submissives in his care, all because he lost his own submissive a year ago."
"What has happened?" An angry Anthanaric Vipond asked, still brushing soot from his robes, at seeing Harry clutched in Georgio's arms.
"Surely you haven't been harmed again, dear one." Elder Trintus gasped.
Harry shook his head. "No. I never want to see that psychiatrist again!"
"Healer Camberly is perfectly adequate." Elder Kirrian said confusedly. "What seems to be the problem, Harry?"
"He wasn't being seen by Healer Camberly." Georgio explained. "Elder Messana put him with Healer Kinnick."
"Oh, fucking no." Elder Kirrian cursed and it made Harry chuckle. "Has he not been fired yet?"
"He has lost his mate, it would be a huge disservice for us to fire him too. His job is all he has left."
"He is abusing the submissives under his care! He doesn't do it to the dominants, so only give him dominant patients!" Elder Kirrian hissed. "Harry is the twenty-third submissive patient he has driven from the room, he is causing them more pain, Anthanaric! It is unacceptable!"
"I agree with Elder Kirrian. Harry has been distressed and he has come running to me for protection." Georgio growled, which Harry thought was taking things a bit far, but if it meant he never had to see Healer Kinnick ever again, he'd roll with it. "This is adversely affecting Harry's mental health and with his past events, I am going to have to insist that we pull in Healer Sebastian Vasey, Harry's already established mind Healer."
"He is known to us, but he is not on the Counsel payroll."
"So put him on the payroll! Even if it's just part time or even temporary! Harry needs his established, trusted mind Healer and I am going to have to insist upon it." Georgio said firmly.
Anthanaric looked at the upturned face of the tiny submissive being dwarfed by Georgio's bulk and he sighed. Those green eyes had a look of stone in them that promised trouble and a severe lack of cooperation if he did anything other than agree completely. He found himself nodding.
"Yes, we're going to have to bring him in." He said. "Henry, perhaps you could contact him for me. Harry, sweetness, I think you'd best go home. We'll set up another appointment for you and then we'll call you back, okay?"
"Okay. Thank you, Georgio."
Georgio sighed and kissed his head. "Get back to your mates, kiddo. I'll see you again soon."
Harry nodded and he gave a last squeeze to Georgio's trim waist and he hurried to the waiting room, where Jo was once again sat.
"Everything sorted?" She asked.
"Oh yeah, Georgio is totally badass." Harry chuckled. "I knew I could count on him for anything."
"Helps that he's gorgeous too. It's a shame that we're both mated and so is he."
Harry laughed and winked at her. "I have more than enough mates, all of them are gorgeous too. I don't need any more. Though it would be handy having my own personal Healer at home."
Jo laughed but shook her head at him. "Go on, get." She chided him.
Harry picked up a pinch of floo powder and threw it into the flames.
"Bye, Jo!" He said, giving her a last wave before calling out his address carefully, remembering to take a big breath before he stepped into the emerald flames.
He was getting better with his landings, so he didn't smash his face against the fireguard when he landed, but he did still go to his knees.
He was just clambering over the guard when Nasta poked his head in. His frown morphed into a scowl.
"Are you okay? You've barely been gone half an hour."
"Yep, I'm peachy." Harry said. "The Elders have agreed to bring in Healer Vasey for me after I was abused by the psychiatrist and I had to run to Georgio for protection."
"What?!" Nasta growled, his hands clenching tight, even as he picked Harry up and held him, sniffing him all over.
"I'm not hurt, just upset. Apparently he abuses every submissive given to him."
"Why were you given to him then?!" Nasta growled.
"I was supposed to be with Healer Camberly."
"Yes, as we all are." Nasta agreed.
"Mysteriously, he wasn't in today. I got given to Healer Kinnick instead, who apparently lost his own submissive mate, so he wants every other submissive to suffer as punishment or something. He didn't even try to help me, Nas! I went to find Georgio, who made the Elders see that I need Healer Vasey, they're going to make me another appointment when they hire Healer Vasey for me."
Nasta sighed and held him tight. "Let's get you some tea." He said, even as he carried him through the right angle corridor and into the kitchen.
"Who was it, Nassa?" Sanex's voice came from the larger family room.
"Me!" Harry called out happily. "It's good to see you again, Sanex."
"It's been way too long, but I've been spending a lot of time with Crista."
"How is she? Have you brought her with you?"
"No, not today. I wasn't sure how you'd react to…well, you know."
"No, I'm fine with women, as long as they don't try and get into my pants, of course." Harry said.
Nasta snorted and he couldn't contain a small chuckle.
"What?" Harry asked loudly. "What's so funny, Nasta? Are you saying that I'm undesirable to women you complete and utter arse?"
Harry heard several more people laugh and he grinned, knowing that more people had come to visit.
"No! I'm not saying that. You're stunning." Nasta assured him as he made Harry's tea and then carried him and the cup into the family room.
"Crista's a werewolf, Harry." Sanex said.
"I told you he wouldn't care." Nasta snorted.
"She's in work today anyway, but I wasn't sure about the invite to Harry's and Braiden's birthdays."
"Of course she can come! I'm sure werewolves like cake as much as everyone else." Harry said, before pulling a thoughtful face. "Or maybe that's just Remus. Anyway, Remus is coming to both parties, of course Crista can come too."
"You don't mind her being around the kids?"
"Are you worried about her being around the kids?" Harry asked back.
"No." Sanex shook his head.
"Then I'm not bothered either. Richard, how are you?" Harry asked, moving over to him when Nasta set him down.
"I'm very unhappy with you."
Harry's face fell dramatically. "Why?" He asked worriedly.
Myron pulled him onto his lap and cuddled him.
"He's had a rough day, Richard. Don't say such things!" Myron chastised.
"How can you give Myron cake and not me?!" Richard whined.
Harry's body relaxed and the tension drained out of him with a relieved sigh. He cuddled into Myron's bulk and happily accepted the arm around him.
"Myron was here with me at the time." Harry said.
"He doesn't need cake, I do!" Richard pouted.
"You're home earlier than expected." Myron noticed, changing the subject with ease.
"Yeah, I was just telling Nasta about the abusive psychiatrist I got lumbered with."
"I beg your pardon." Richard said, his voice like ice, going from childish to deadly serious, and furious on his behalf, in a single moment.
"Who was it?" Myron demanded.
"Healer Kinnick. He was a real piece of work and when he wasn't insinuating that I was a lying brat, he was trying to force me to confess that my dominants weren't up to the task of looking after me."
"How did you handle him?" Richard asked with narrowed eyes.
"I refused to answer anything he asked, not even when he tried to tell me that my silence was incriminating my dominants, and he got so wound up and frustrated that he called a break. I was supposed to stay just outside the room, I went to find Georgio instead. He called Vipond and a long story cut short, I now get Healer Vasey."
"Good." Myron grunted. "I'm already in the mood to break a few necks after work, his would have been added to the list if you'd been forced to carry on seeing him."
"Well luckily for him that Georgio was in my corner then." Harry chuckled. "How have the kids been?" He asked.
"They're all up in their cots." Nasta assured him. "They had their lunch easily enough and they went down nice and calmly."
"Even Farren?" Harry asked surprised.
Nasta nodded with a grin. "Even Farren. So it's been nice and calm and I actually managed to get a bit more of that paperwork done."
"Do you have much left?"
"No, just the new bunch that arrived the other day is left now."
"When are you going to pop back into the Reserve?"
"Once all the therapy is done and out of the way." Nasta nodded.
"You can pop in for an hour or so. Maverick said that Caronwyn was missing you like mad."
"I might tomorrow. When Max is here." Nasta said. "If you don't mind."
"No, I don't." Harry told him. "I'm fine on my own though, I can manage my own children for an hour or two while you're all out."
Nasta pulled a face.
"You don't think so?" Harry demanded, turning on Myron's lap to face him, an icy quality to his voice.
"Of course I know that you can look after our own children, Harry. You just shouldn't have to while you're still not one hundred percent and there are four of us to help you." Nasta insisted.
Harry narrowed his eyes and he stared at Nasta, trying to discern if he was lying to cover his tracks or if he meant it.
"I'm telling you the truth. I know that you can look after them, I just fully believe that none of us, not just you, should have to be left alone with them when there are four of us. It's only Max and I who have jobs. As soon as we're all done with these therapy sessions, we can start getting ourselves back into a routine too."
Harry nodded and he rested back against Myron, who shifted him more comfortably on his lap and wrapped him back up.
"Is Caesar still having your oldest five on Wednesday?" Sanex asked.
Harry grinned and nodded. "Yeah, they're going for a play date with Nora and Bea."
Richard laughed. "I can't wait to see that boy's face afterwards. He thinks he's hard done by with those two girls of his."
"Nora and Bea are as good as gold too." Harry laughed. "Wait until he gets a hold of Calix who climbs everything, Braiden who looks in every cupboard and drawer, Farren who puts everything within reach into his mouth and Tegan who will try to monopolise everyone's attention. They want to call in the reinforcements now."
"Is only Regan good then?" Sanex asked.
Harry bobbed his head from side to side in consideration. "When he wants to be, he is usually better behaved when there are strangers around him. He tends to be quieter in strange places and around strange people. So I don't expect him to give Caesar and Amelle too much trouble…the others though, they're going to give them the run around."
"So you'll be here with the girls and Leolin?"
Harry looked to Nasta, who nodded.
"No, Nasta and I have been talking with the others and we think that we've come to a point where we can trust Dain and Kailen to have Leolin for an afternoon, on a trial basis. We're going to ask if they want to have him for a few hours on Wednesday."
"Who are you giving the girls to?" Sanex laughed.
"No one, they're staying with us." Harry grinned.
"Let me know how the Faeries get on with Leolin." Richard said.
"They should be alright. I'm going to start sleeping with a blanket now, so that Leolin can have my scent with him. We're hoping that it'll keep him a little calmer."
"That's a good idea." Myron nodded as he bumped his knee up and shifted Harry again.
"Am I too heavy for you?" Harry asked concernedly.
Richard actually laughed and Myron looked offended.
"No, you're a wisp of nothing." Myron said.
"He…he bench presses five times your weight at home." Richard giggled, wiping his eyes. "I can't believe it…too heavy." He laughed again.
"Oh, fuck you all, I'm going for a bath." Harry huffed. Myron still managed to swat his bum as he stood up for his language.
He went into the bathroom and he smiled at his reflection in the mirror. He chuckled and run the water in the massive bath that could fit three grown men and he added a glob of lime scented bubble bath. It was running low.
He stripped off and climbed in while the water was still running and he sighed happily. He would only have a small while before the kids woke up from their naps and he wanted to have a small moment to himself, to get clean from the scent of the Dracken Halls and to relax and unwind from the torment of his disastrous therapy session. At least he knew now that the next time he was called in he was going to be dealing with his very well trusted mind Healer, Sebastian Vasey. That was something at least and he already knew the man, he already knew that he could trust him and talk to him about anything. He could trust Healer Vasey to look after him and make everything better and that was what he really needed right now, not some fraud trying to ruin his mateship on purpose because his own submissive had died.
On Wednesday, Harry was in their big house all on his own and he hated it. He had tried to prove a point, that he was well enough, that he was recovered enough, to be alone on his own with his children, even if he did only have Eva and Ave with him at the moment. But he hadn't expected how very much he would hate being on his own in this big, huge house. His two girls were quiet, or at least things were much quieter than he was used to, as they played together on the floor with unlimited access to whatever toy they wanted without competition from their bigger, older siblings, and he had nothing to do, he was missing his mates and he was missing his older children.
Wandering from room to room, exploring everything that he hadn't already done so, took him less than half an hour on his own with no distractions. He'd done all the washing, he'd stripped the cots down to wash the babies bedding, he'd changed out all the bins, polished and vacuumed the main living areas and now he was just sitting around, waiting for something to do.
He'd had more than enough and pulling on his trainers, he got the pram from under the stairs, set it up, made sure the locks were in place before he laid his two beautiful daughters inside and covered them with a light blanket…not that that lasted long as they kicked it off not five minutes later.
He packed a nappy bag, shoved that in the basket underneath the pram, made sure that he had his wallet and his house keys, presented to him by a very proud Nasta when he'd been well enough to actually understand what he was being given and why, and he stepped foot outside his front door for the first time. He pushed the pram down the rather large front pathway and he turned to look at the front of his house, smiling at it.
He turned right at their large gateway and he walked down the pavement, exploring the neighbourhood. He was so insanely curious as he looked each way and picked out landmarks for himself so that he would know his way back.
He was stopped not ten minutes later by their nearest neighbour, who was still rather a way away from them, who turned out to be a man, who indicated the big house in the distance.
"So you're one of the people living in that house. We had wondered if it had been built just to sell it on, though it's wonderful to see that scrubland finally cleared away and put to good use. It was such an eyesore in this beautiful neighbourhood."
Harry smiled at the man and nodded. "Yes, I live there with my family."
Harry tried not to let that comment affect him, but he shook his head. "No, my lovers and I and our children."
"These babies are yours?!" The man asked in shock. "You don't look old enough!"
"I'm almost nineteen." Harry said seriously.
"Never!" The man said. "You don't look old enough to be out of school yet!"
"I graduated a year ago." Harry told him.
"Well, either I'm just getting old or you kids are looking younger and younger!" The man laughed. "Are you taking a walk around the neighbourhood? There's a park just down the road. This place is a very quiet, relaxed area, but you head straight down the road, about twenty-five minutes, half an hour away is a supermarket if ever you need anything."
"Thank you very much." Harry smiled.
"No problem, if ever you need anything, just come knocking on the door. People these days think asking for a cup of sugar or a pint of milk from the neighbours is rude or overrated, I still hold the belief that neighbours are there to help if you need anything. I can't imagine that cutting all that grass and forestry is going to be an easy job, so if you need a hand, I'm always happy to help."
Harry was genuinely touched. "Thank you." He said sincerely. "Likewise, if ever you need anything, anything at all, just knock."
Harry and his new neighbour shared a knowing look, that they were kindred spirits of a dying breed, and Harry carried on his way down the road with the pram. Perhaps this wasn't going to be such a bad place to live after all. Perhaps he wouldn't have to be afraid of coming out on his own and just taking a walk.
"Oh hi!" A bubbly woman in her twenties bounded over to greet him five minutes later. "You must be the new neighbours! Though I say new, you've been moved in for a while now, haven't you?"
Harry smiled. "That's right."
"You look far too young to have your own home, such a massive house too, and to be a Daddy!" She carried on. "But those two little girls are so gorgeous, you must be so proud. I'm Louise."
Harry laughed. "I am proud, I'm Harry. These are my youngest, Eva and Ave. We have eight children. Five boys and three girls."
The woman's face fell. "Eight?!" She cried. "How old are you?"
"I'm nineteen in a week." He answered.
"I…but, how old were you when you had your first?"
"You had eight babies in two years? How many women did you knock up?!"
Harry's eyes narrowed and Louise seemed to realise that she had stepped over a boundary.
"Oh, I didn't mean that to come out as rude as it did, I'm sorry."
"I didn't knock up anyone." Harry told her. "My partners and I used surrogates. We got the one boy, then the one surrogate went and had quintuplets and then we had our two girls here."
"Partners?" Louise said with a questioning lilt.
"Yes, me and my four male partners live together with our eight children."
Louise's eyes went so round and Harry knew then that he'd given her enough gossip to chew on and to share around for the next month.
"It was nice to meet you." Harry said, dismissing himself as he pushed the pram on. He really would never get over how rude or nosy some people could be. It reminded him of the Dursleys, and that reminded him of the court case. So much for a nice walk around his new neighbourhood. It had started off well enough, then one person had spoilt it.
He came to a small children's park and he smiled, thinking of bringing his older children here soon, maybe once they were a little older. Braiden was going to be just two in three weeks after all.
He walked on and found the supermarket that was a twenty minute walk from their house. He popped in and picked up another box of rusks and some treats for himself and his mates. After scouring the selection of chocolate he realised that no, Muggles did not do his favourite chocolate fudge, or at least they didn't here, and he sighed. He'd have to beg his mates to get some for him from Honeydukes.
He paid for his things, let several people coo over his girls, including the cashier, before he started back on his travels. He could still see the supermarket when he first spotted Draco. He stood out like a sore thumb because his platinum white hair caught the sun making his whole head look like a silver homing beacon and he just looked so lost out here with all the Muggle things around him.
"Draco!" He yelled out and waved when his mate turned towards his, very unusual name being shouted out in this Muggle neighbourhood.
Draco came pelting towards him and held him tightly, kissing him and exclaiming his relief.
"I take it you're all back from your therapy." Harry smiled.
"Thank Merlin you're safe."
"Of course I am. I'm fine."
"We tried not to panic when we found you missing, but when no one had seen you, then we panicked. Max noticed that your trainers were missing and Blaise went right to the stairs and found the pram missing, so we guessed that you'd come outside, but we didn't know which direction you'd gone in."
Harry chuckled, but he turned back and started pushing the pram, going the full circuit around the neighbourhood. He started talking to his girls again, who were both sat up after getting bored of being lying down, their little bubble of privacy having been disturbed by all the people talking over them, making it impossible for them to take their afternoon nap. So now they were sat up and they were looking around themselves at everything.
"And here we have a silver car." He said, pointing it out to them, waiting until their blue eyes locked onto the silver car. "We have to go past it to get back home, but it's okay, because Daddy Draco is here with us now."
The two identical girls, with their chestnut curls, got a lot of attention, especially now that they were sat up and people could see them easier. He heard people gushing and cooing as he and Draco made their way slowly home and it made him grin and puff up a bit in pride.
"There's Max." Draco cut into his commentary to his two girls and Harry looked up to see Max pounding the pavement as he run full tilt down a side street.
"Maxie!" Harry called out and his mate almost fell over his own feet to change direction back towards him.
Harry found himself clutched tight to that broad, sweaty chest as kisses were rained down on his face.
"Are you okay?"
"Perfectly fine." Harry smiled. "Shall we carry on our walk or do you want to run off to hunt down Nasta and Blaise, as I assume they're out trawling the streets for me too." He said with a giggle.
"We were worried. We tried waiting for you, but we only lasted out half an hour." Max explained as he caught back his breath.
"At least you managed half an hour, that's progress!" Harry said happily. "Especially when you all think that I'm pregnant."
"You might be and as you won't have the test…"
"I told you, I'll take it when I'm ready." He cut in.
"I know! But I'm so excited. I want to know if I'm going to be a Daddy again." Max answered and Harry smiled, patted his cheek and then took back the pram and started walking.
It took a further ten minutes to get back home after that, Harry keeping to his mundane commentary for his two girls who looked at him questioningly if he stopped speaking for too long, and as soon as he was in his own home, Harry let out a small, calm little trill to Nasta and Blaise, letting them know where he was and that he was completely fine and safe.
Draco took a yawning Eva and a sleepy Ave from the pram and he went to put them on the living room floor so that they could play with the toys around them without the distraction of their older siblings. They would be taking their nap soon, Harry would put money on it as they had missed their nap earlier when they'd been disturbed by all the people cooing over them.
Harry picked up the nappy bag and his shopping bag and he let Max fold down the pram.
"Oh, what have you been buying, naughty?" Max asked with a wink.
Harry chuckled. "More rusks for the kids and a couple of treats." Harry winked back and just like that, he had Max's curious attention.
"What sort of treats?" He asked.
"Harry!" He whined. "Tell me."
Harry laughed. "Just a few sweets and things, seeing as none of us have been to Honeydukes in a while and I haven't had my favourite treat for ages…hint hint, Max."
Max laughed loudly and picked him up, kissing his mouth.
"I'll get you your chocolate, love. I'm in work tomorrow, I'll pick some up afterwards."
Harry grinned and hugged Max tightly. "Thank you, I love you."
"Love you too, gorgeous."
Harry was placed down on his feet and he went to make tea and put away his goodies. He'd just finished putting away the rusks when the front door opened and Nasta came into the house. Harry grinned at him from the kitchen, down the corridor to the front door.
"Are you okay?" Nasta asked him.
"Perfectly fine, dear. How are you?"
"A lot better now that I know that you're safe."
"I went for a walk around the neighbourhood, I did pop into the supermarket though to pick up a few things. The kids needed more rusks. I'm sure Farren has found a way to get the box from the cupboard, either that or someone is feeding him and not noting it down in his book."
Nasta came to hug him, squeezing him tight and giving him a big kiss. Blaise opened the front door and he hurried in and he came right to him and Nasta, squeezing himself into their hug.
"Are you okay, Prezioso?"
"Yes, love. Me and our girls are perfectly fine. We had a lovely walk."
"Thank Merlin." Blaise sighed and he bent forward to kiss him again. "I need a coffee. Not a word about it, Nas."
"Not saying a word." Nasta smiled. "But…"
Harry was shocked into laughing as Nasta spanked Blaise once before going into the family room.
"Did he just…?" Blaise said in amazement, before he turned and went following Nasta. "You are not getting away with that."
Harry heard Nasta laughing and it brought the biggest smile to his face.
"Hey hey! What happened?" Max asked.
"He spanked me!" Blaise complained.
"Oh, like this?" Harry heard a loud slap and he laughed harder as he went into the living room to see Blaise's scandalised face.
"Stop hitting me!" Blaise complained.
Max grabbed him and tugged him down into his lap and snuggled him, making eating noises as he gnawed on Blaise's neck, making the other man laugh and squirm.
"What are you doing?" Blaise giggled. "Stop it, Nas…" Blaise stopped and he stared at Max. They could all see him forcing himself to say the word that was in his mind.
"I love you, Draco." Max said, rubbing noses with Blaise.
"Max. Your name is Max." Blaise said very deliberately a moment later.
Max looked exaggeratedly surprised as he brushed his hand over Blaise's bristly head, which was starting to grow back his hair, though still nowhere near his normal length.
"This hair is black! You're not Draco! You're my gorgeous Blaise! Come here, gorgeous!"
Max started his nibbling and licking and sucking again, moving to Blaise's lips to snog him hard. Harry giggled and he shook his head before going back into the kitchen and finally getting around to getting them all tea, and a coffee for Blaise…well, Nasta had agreed that it was alright after all and Blaise had already been spanked in punishment, he had to have his coffee now.
He handed out the mugs and it was nice to be able to put the plate of biscuits down without any opportunistic kids snatching one, namely Farren or Braiden. Max and Blaise were still kissing and petting.
"Blaise, coffee!" Harry said, waving the mug under his nose with a grin.
Blaise broke away from Max and reached out for the coffee happily.
"Am…is the coffee more beloved than I am?" Max demanded.
"Can you stand coffee flavour kisses?" Blaise asked.
"Of course. I've kissed Harry when he tastes of vomit. Nothing stops me from kissing those I love."
"Then you are both equally loved."
"I don't know whether to be offended that I'm on the same level as coffee or just grateful that it doesn't rank higher than I do." Max laughed.
"Don't poke a sleeping dragon." Draco said as he sipped at his white tea.
"You're right." Max declared before swooping in to snog Blaise again, coffee flavoured or not.
Harry watched them happily for a little while, drinking his own honeyed tea before he slid a little closer to Draco, who didn't notice as he was engrossed with Max and Blaise's little show. Draco didn't notice him until Harry slipped himself into the blond's lap, wrapping his arms around that pale neck and kissing his chin.
Draco grinned at him and lowered his head to snog him too.
"The hell am I being the only one left out." Harry heard Nasta declare and a moment later his top dominant was on his knees by the side of him, touching him and Draco, nudging his way into their kiss and Harry moaned happily, squirming in Draco's lap.
"Bedroom." Harry declared.
"I like the way you think." Max said as he stood, Blaise in his arms, the younger's jeans mysteriously open.
"The girls." Draco said, looking to where he'd put them down…they were both napping.
"I'll bring the baby monitor with us." Nasta insisted. "Get Harry upstairs while I put them in the travel cot."
Draco didn't need to be told twice as he stood and followed Max up the stairs to their Master suite, where Blaise had already been put down and was half divested of his clothes. His bottom half.
Draco put Harry down next to Blaise and they turned to one another, kissing and rolling up into the other to get closer. Max chuckled deeply and darkly as he watched them.
The bed bounced and Harry turned to see that Max had picked up Draco and had placed him on the bed too. Those dark blue eyes looked down at all three of them with what could only be love and a gleam of possessive lust.
"Do you like all three of us lying on a bed before you?" Harry purred.
Those blue eyes closed. "Yes." Max moaned lingeringly, closing his eyes.
"It would be better if we weren't wearing anything, Max." Harry said teasingly, knowing exactly what to say to rile up his lovers.
Those eyes opened, looking darker than when they had closed a moment before, and Max reached out to tug the clothes from their bodies, lovingly and lingeringly caressing their bodies as he did so. His gaze staring at them all as their differently toned skins were revealed to him, Blaise the darkest of them, Draco the palest and Harry somewhere in the middle, flushed a delicate shade of pink in the heat of his arousal.
"You're all stunning like this." Max told them, looking at them all in turn, his voice had dropped deeper still, a hint of a growl turning it gravelly. "So beautiful."
Nasta chuckled from behind Max and he approached the bed. "You are too." Their top dominant insisted, reaching around to unzip Max and push his jeans to the floor, making sure to take his boxers with them.
Harry watched Nasta's hands slowly caress Max's strongly muscled legs, stroking the tanned skin, playing with hairs and running his fingers along the crease of his groin, but purposefully avoiding everything else.
"I think you should get onto the bed too, so that I can see all of my mates at once." Nasta said in a whisper that they all heard regardless.
Harry expected Max to argue, but he didn't. He tugged off his shirt, threw it away and he laid himself down next to Draco and he joined the three of them, staring up at Nasta, who was breathing heavily as he looked at the four of them.
"All four of my subordinate mates." He purred, doing as Max had done and he touched them all in turn.
Harry wriggled between Blaise and Draco and Nasta's gaze was drawn back to him.
"Shh, my little submissive." Nasta said, using both hands to caress both sides of his body. "You'll be taken care of."
"Please." Harry begged, wriggling harder under Nasta's delicate touch.
Nasta smirked then, knowing that it had been his touch that had caused the increase in arousal and he was very proud of being the cause of it.
Nasta picked him up then, holding him close and kissing him. He turned Harry around and laid him on top of Blaise.
"Blaise, our submissive needs some attention, see to that for me."
"I'm sleepy." Harry said before yawning widely.
"Take a nap, Caru." Nasta told him.
"But the girls."
"We've got the girls. You stay here and nap with Draco."
Harry looked over at the lack of complaint to see that Max had actually stroked Draco to sleep. Blaise's laughing purple eyes caught his and his first mate winked.
"I'm going for a shower." He said, sitting up. With a lingering caress to Harry's thigh, Blaise left the bed for the en suite bathroom.
Harry wriggled up to the pillows and he yawned again, letting his eyes drop. Max carefully moved Draco up beside him and Nasta snatched his wand and cleaned them both up.
"That'll do for now." He said as he covered them both over with the duvet. "Get a bit of rest. If you're not up we'll call you when Caesar and Amelle come back with the kids or when Dain and Kailen bring back Leolin, whoever gets here first."
"You mean when Caesar crawls back, begging us to never let him agree to having the play date at his house every again?" Max chuckled.
Nasta chuckled too. "Yeah. Come on, let's go downstairs and leave these two in peace."
Max scoffed. "Are you kidding? There's a gorgeous, willing body in that fucking shower. I'm joining him."
Nasta laughed then, before muffling himself. "Go on then. I'll check on the girls and get some tea brewing. Black or white?"
"Black." Max answered over his shoulder as he opened the door to the en suite and walked in, closing it behind him.
Harry chuckled sleepily and Nasta turned back to him. He pushed the hair from his forehead and kissed it. "Get a bit of rest, Cariad. You need to recover your strength."
Harry giggled. "Might be I wear a skirt to dinner." He said.
"You've had enough sex for one day, don't you think?" Nasta asked him.
Harry hummed in agreement. "Maybe tomorrow then." He said, closing his eyes and curling into Draco.
He heard Nasta chuckle. "Tomorrow is a new day." He heard Nasta say before the bed shifted as his oldest mate stood up.
Harry smiled into Draco's skin and he shifted again, getting comfortable. Tomorrow was a new day, anything could happen tomorrow…especially if he wore a skirt.
Dain Talarin was so insanely protective of the tiny babe in his arms as he looked down into beautiful gold eyes while they walked through the City. Leolin was only quiet, he was sure, because of the silencing device that Harry had popped into his mouth before they had left. Kailen didn't like it at all, insisting that it could choke their precious little grandson, but Dain reminded him that Harry was Leolin's Mother. In this situation, Harry always knew best.
Harry had given them a blanket also, that Leolin was holding to his nose. Harry had slept with this little blanket for two days preceding their trip with Leolin. It had his scent all over it and it was keeping Leolin very calm and docile.
They were stopped by everyone they came across, whether they be guards, shopkeepers, Faes, Valkyries, Seelies or Unseelies. Everyone was curious about Leolin, the Faerie born of two male Drackens who was not cloistered away like a dirty secret. The little Faerie who was growing, learning, thriving…all with his Dracken family, outside of the safety of the City.
"He's so adorable." One Fae gushed.
"Very strong too." A guard who had wandered over to them added.
"That's because he took some Dracken blood from his parents." Dain insisted.
He was not ashamed of what Trefor's line had become and he would not act as if it were some sort of dirty secret that was distasteful or sordid. He had loved his little Nesta as his own babe, he was happy that he had found love, even if it was with the human son of Dracken blood.
Only two of Nesta's five children had been Drackens, and only one of those, Dai, had gone on to have children, just the two children, which was very unusual for Drackens, but Dai's mate, Poppy, had died during childbirth to their daughter, Drysi and Dai had never sought out another mate. The babe had not lived either, leaving Dai with just his son, Hywel. The other Dracken, a submissive girl named Saffir, had been killed by a dominant Dracken at her own mate meeting, before she could get her own dominant, or her own child.
Hywel had been a Dracken also, he had mated to Eirian, who had given him three children, two boys and a girl, Aneirin, Idris and Nerys. Only Aneirin, his firstborn son, had been a Dracken. As he understood Eirian had fallen sick shortly after Nerys had been born, when the girl was just ten years old. Eirian had never recovered from this sickness and she had passed away thirty years after contracting her illness having never given Hywel another child.
Then Aneirin had grown and gotten himself a mate, and again tragedy had struck the Delericey family. It truly was as if their entire line was cursed by the gods as their Aneirin had lost his mate, Lowri, to childbirth. She had given their Aneirin three babes also, Angharad, Sanex and Nasta. Angharad had been killed young while doing her job, yet another endless tragedy to strike their family, and their Nasta was the only Dracken born, Nasta who had mated to Harry.
Dain, as awful as it was to admit, kept expecting to hear that Harry had died, either in childbirth or by some other means. It seemed to be the way for their family line…the lovers of Delericeys had all died, ever since their innocent, gentle Trefor had been murdered in cold blood with all of their children. Of course when he'd been informed of the fight and that Harry and Blaise had been fatally injured, he had expected then that they would both die, so as to carry on the Delericey curse, but they had both miraculously pulled through.
Harry had had eight children already, but only three of them were Nasta's, which stuck to the past Delericeys, but where in the past one had always been a Dracken, this time, with Nasta and Harry, one of their babes was a Faerie.
Dain smiled down at Leolin, his gold eyes wide and inquisitive, which was again unusual for a babe of his young age, and he remained silent as half of his tiny, beautiful face was taken up with the silencing device in his tiny mouth.
"How can you be sure?" The Fae asked, pulling a face before quickly aborting the movement.
"Leolin is the son of two Drackens, are you so foolish as to believe that he has not taken some of their blood when he is of their blood?" Kailen sniped.
Dain smirked. Kailen was usually a lot more agreeable, as per his Seelie nature, but when he was angered, he always took it out on those who insulted his family, even in subtle ways as the Fae had done.
"Leolin is much stronger and more resilient than any Faerie babe we've yet seen." Dain said. "He has already survived being born at four moon turns gestations, he has survived having to grow in the skin on his wings and he has survived a ravaging sickness of the lungs when he was just nine moon turns old. He is an incredibly strong babe and it is not so farfetched to believe that it is because his parents gave him some extra protection with their blood. Anything that keeps this little babe safer and more protected is to be wholeheartedly welcomed."
"Absolutely." The young guard nodded, looking down into those wide gold eyes, getting a scowl around the silencing device for his trouble. "A true little Unseelie."
"He is. The blanket is keeping him docile, usually when he is taken from his Mother the fight he puts up would put half the guards to shame." Kailen said proudly.
"Are you taking him to Sindri?"
"Yes, Harry gave us permission to bring him to the City for a visit and he said that while we were here, we were to let Sindri have a hold of him."
"I won't keep you then, I am supposed to be relieving Diomedes. He's going to kill me for being so late."
Dain cradled Leolin gently to his chest as they wound their way through the City, Kailen hovering protectively at his side, as they made their way to the centre of the City, to the Courts, to show their little grandson off to Sindri, who hadn't seen a babe since the funeral of Niobe. The last time he'd seen a live babe was when he'd been handed the infant Leolin by Harry when he was just six moon turns old, over thirteen moon turns ago now.
They were stopped several more times, the only person who did not insult Leolin, them or their family in anyway was when an excited Ezrah elbowed his way to the front of a crowd to see Leolin. He truly was peeking out of his shell now, ever since he'd met Harry, he would never have behaved in such a way just a few moon turns ago, but since he'd been spending quite a bit of time with Harry recently, he was most certainly becoming more outgoing and less scared of those around him. Even as he watched, a Valkyrie went to spit on Ezrah, only for the young Fae to duck behind another Fae to prevent as such. Lathen came storming up behind his lover and he glared at the Valkyrie responsible for trying to disrespect his beloved in such a vile, public way.
"Oh, Leolin." Ezrah cooed gently. "It seems like forever since I last saw him."
"Here, Ezrah." Dain smiled.
Ezrah almost squealed as Dain handed Leolin over to be fussed over, but immediately there was an outcry from those others present.
"Don't give the poor babe to that creature!" One Valkyrie hissed furiously.
"He's going to harm the babe like Ezile did!"
"He'll sell the babe!"
"He'll infect the babe with his evil taint!"
Dain saw Ezrah pulling back into himself, after so recent an improvement and boost to his confidence, because of all the vile things being said about him. Because of the accusations that he would harm Leolin like his Father Ezile had hurt other Faerie babes, which did actually include Ezrah too.
Ezrah clutched Leolin tight to himself, as if he would never handle another babe again, before handing him back and curling into a furious Lathen.
"Ezrah would no sooner harm Leolin that I would." Dain cut across all those shouting and spitting at Ezrah. Dain even saw someone kick him and that was it for Lathen, who heard Ezrah's involuntary cry of pain and pulled him up into the protection of his arms, putting his lover over his shoulder, and he shielded him with his own body.
"Anyone touches him again and I'll hack your fucking head off." He insisted so seriously that Dain knew that he would do it, as his hand hovered near the short sword that he was wearing at his hip.
Dain shared a look with Kailen and they knew then that they had to get these two out of the Faerie City and living elsewhere much sooner than they had been expecting. Dain made a mental note to prod Warren into finding them somewhere suitable as quickly as he could manage.
"You would threaten decent citizens over that monster?" One Valkyrie said, challenging Lathen, his hand near his own short sword. "I always thought that you were decent, Buren, until you lost your mind and bonded to that vile creature! He's got bad blood and I for one am not surprised that the gods have not blessed such a monster with his own babes lest he sell them too!"
"You will not speak of him in such a manner!" Lathen growled.
"I'll speak of that creature how I please! He is not even fit to wipe my muddy boots on!" The other Valkyrie roared and, as Dain had known would happen, Leolin became frightened and he started crying.
It stopped everyone in their tracks as they all turned to the devastating picture of such a young babe crying in fright, his gold eyes spilling tears.
"Perhaps now you are happy with yourself, Tallis?" Dain demanded from the Valkyrie as he held the crying Leolin tight to his chest, his other hand had caught the silencing device quickly as Leolin's mouth relinquished its hold on it, lest it hit the ground and become unusable. They had been given a spare one, just in case, but they had been warned that the one Leolin currently had was his favourite. "Leolin is my grandson, he has been given into my care by his Mother and Father for the afternoon and I will decide who goes near him or who sees him or holds him. Harry and Nasta trust their babe with Ezrah, they are good friends and it is not for you to decide otherwise. Leolin is not your babe, he is no relation of yours and you do not get to decide who sees him or holds him."
"He is a Seneca, he…"
"He is a Buren!" Lathen cut in strongly. "He is my lover, my bonded and he has my name! I will not stand to see him so mistreated when he is innocent!"
"He is not innocent!" One Fae screeched.
"He is!" Lathen snapped. "He was nine years old when his depraved Father was tried and executed, younger when that vile man committed his crimes! Do none of you remember that Ezile tried to sell his own son too, when he was just a few moon turns old and had no inkling as to what was going on?! Ezrah is an innocent in all of this and he had no control over that man's actions!"
"Guilty by association!" One called out.
"It's the bad blood!" Another cried.
"He should have been killed with his vile Father to end that cursed line!"
"Put an end to the cursed Seneca blood! Kill him!"
Dain heard the small, petrified noise that Ezrah emitted and he saw Lathen react to that noise immediately.
"You dare touch him and you'll be missing your head!" Lathen threatened seriously.
"All of you, disperse, get away from here now." Kailen ordered. "How dare you threaten murder! How dare you call for the blood of the innocent like a pack of wild, savage animals! Get away, now."
"Lathen, come with us. We'll hand you and Ezrah to Warren." Dain whispered.
"I told you to get away!" Kailen said again as people lingered. "I am a member of the Court, you'll do as I tell you or you'll spend the time until the next moon in the cells!"
That moved everyone off a little quicker, but some just slipped into shops, watching them, glaring through the windows and gossiping to others about what had just happened.
"Is Leolin okay?" Ezrah asked softly. He was in tears.
"He's fine." Dain insisted as he prodded the silencing device back into Leolin's mouth and rubbed the blanket gently over his nose so that he could smell his Mother. Dain laid him down in his arms and tucked the blanket around him, so that he was surrounded by Harry's scent. The tears dried up almost instantly, leaving his lashes to clump together as he drifted off into an exhausted sleep because of his crying fit.
Dain started walking and he noticed that Lathen was carrying Ezrah, his hand on the spot that had been kicked. He sighed. A week was not complete unless Ezrah had been harmed or blooded in some way. Dain heard the reports, read out by a Court attendant, that Lathen filled out diligently, without fail, reporting every instance of injury or disruption, and by whom it had been conducted by, for his bonded Ezrah, who brushed off his own injuries and refused to fill in the reports himself.
Since Ezrah had been befriended by Lathen, they had been receiving these reports weekly and despite all the punishments, the time in the cells and even large fines, they had not once stopped and it seemed now that they had even progressed to talk of cold blooded murder of an innocent young Fae. Ezrah and Lathen needed to get out of the Faerie City for their own good because very soon this tension was going to culminate in Ezrah's murder or Lathen was going to snap and he was going to make good on his promise to behead someone who harmed Ezrah and then he would be the murderer and then he would be executed for that murder, leaving Ezrah alone once again. Something needed to be done, and quickly.
"Ah, and there is our little Faerie of the hour." Warren greeted with a grin as he stepped forward, looking at Leolin adoringly. He chuckled. "Sleeping, of course."
"Ezrah was attacked right in front of us, Warren." Dain said immediately. "The citizens are no longer cowed by the presence of members of the Court and they threatened his murder in front of us. I want you to find them somewhere suitable to live as soon as you possibly can."
Warren's handsome face went stern and cold. He turned to face Lathen and Ezrah, his body tensed with unreleased energy. "I was going to come and visit you both after my shift was over today. I've found a few residences that I believe are suitable for your needs and I wanted to come and see if you liked any of them."
"You found somewhere for us to live?" Ezrah asked excitedly, brushing the wetness from his gold eyes. "Truly?"
Warren nodded. "Yes. All that remains now is to see if you like the area and then to get you moved in."
"I have the funds ready for the purchase." Lathen insisted. "That will not be a problem as long as they are within the budget we set up."
"They are, of course." Warren nodded.
"I shall leave you to it." Dain nodded. "Sindri expects us, he doesn't yet know that we have Leolin."
"Alston is in a foul mood." Warren warned.
"That is nothing new." Kailen scoffed.
Dain smiled at Kailen's cattiness, as Trefor would have described it. He could still hear the light, sweet voice, lilted in shocked surprise at such words spoken in his presence as he berated Kailen for his cattiness towards others. By the gods and all the deities, he missed Trefor more and more as the centuries passed.
Walking into the Courtroom, Dain approached Sindri, who looked up at them and then smiled in utter delight as he spotted the babe in his arms.
"This is such a surprise! How is sweet Leolin?" He asked, forcing his ancient frame to stand.
"He is doing so well." Dain complimented.
"The dragons just handed you the babe?" Alston asked, peering at the sleeping Leolin. "By all the laws, you could keep him. They have willingly given him over to your care, the laws are…"
"Outdated and ridiculous." Kailen jumped in. "We have been given some time to spend with our grandson and we are trusted well enough by Harry and by Nasta to look after him. They have trusted us to take him out for the afternoon, do you not appreciate the significance of that? No, we will look after him for the afternoon and then take him back home, to his rightful parents, Alston. He is just here to visit for a few hours."
"He looks so big compared to when I last saw him, may I?" Sindri asked, extending his arms out.
Dain laid the sleeping Leolin into those ancient, age spotted arms and he made sure that the blanket was still tucked under his nose, so that he could scent Harry in his sleep.
"What is that in his mouth?" Narilla asked curiously.
"It is a silencing device that calms babes when they suck on it." Dain explained. "All of Harry's babes have them in various different colours. They call them dummies."
"What a ridiculous concept!" Donella screeched. "Those dragons will do that poor babe irreparable harm."
"Yet Leolin is nineteen moon turns old and he's thriving." Dain sneered. "Leolin has had this device since he was born and he's fine. He will cry if you take it out of his mouth."
"How does he eat?" Donella demanded.
"Are you truly so out of touch with the world outside of the City?" Eitri sighed. "It is a small object and it is used to soothe babies. He won't keep it in all the time, just when he's discomforted or distressed. When it is time for him to feed, it is pulled out and replaced with the bottle teat."
"How does he breathe?" Alston asked.
"He does have a nose." Eitri pointed out.
Alston went red and Eitri smiled so sweetly, as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, but they all knew the hard, cold steel that lay underneath that smiling exterior. Eitri looked dainty and soft, but underneath his beautiful, delicate appearance, he was not someone to cross, he was not someone that you would want to trifle with. People who messed with Eitri Cassair were often found dead on the side of a road the next morn with not a single clue to link them back to Eitri or an excuse good enough to absolve him from blame.
"You little…" Alston started furiously, but Sindri cut in authoritatively.
"Not in front of the babe." Sindri chastised them as he cradled Leolin gently. "He is sleeping peacefully and I wish to keep it that way."
"I am surprised that he is taking being away from his Mother so well." Narilla smiled.
"Harry slept with the blanket for two nights, it is covered with his natural scent so Leolin believes that Harry is here and thus he is calmer."
"What a wonderful idea." Narilla complimented as she stroked Leolin's black hair.
"What was the injury he suffered?" Suisan asked.
"He didn't suffer one." Kailen insisted. "He was taken to the hospital as a precaution only, because Harry and Nasta were worried, not because he was actually injured. He was released without question, with not a mark upon him."
"That is wonderful news." Narilla sighed happily.
"I did say that Leolin was brilliant." Eitri said. "He was sat up and he was colouring in paper when I went to visit."
"Oh, Eitri, while I remember. Harry says that he wishes for your company again. He says that you can go now whenever you wish to. He has also invited you to celebrate the day of his birth on the thirty-first and to Braiden's day of birth on the fourteenth of August."
"He has?" Eitri asked excitedly.
Kailen nodded. "He has invited you personally, the owl should still be on the way to you, but he asked us to invite you ourselves too, while we had the chance to see you ourselves."
"Tell him that I would love to come and visit him again." Eitri said eagerly. "Is next week going to be acceptable, before his day of birth?"
"I will ask when I take Leolin back." Dain said and Eitri smiled then, a true smile, and it lit up his bright gold eyes. He looked so lovely when he was smiling, it was amazing and he looked less lonely, less stressed when he smiled so genuinely.
"I shouldn't imagine that he'd say no." Kailen insisted, wanting to keep that smile on Eitri's beautiful face. "He did ask us to invite you after all."
Eitri was so happy that it was visible as he sat at the Court table, between Suisan and Narilla. Dain was so happy to see him like this, he was almost a different person, now he just needed to help poor, young Ezrah as well. Hopefully, as soon as they were out of the Faerie City, then he would become a different person too, a more confident, happy person who need never fear being hurt, abused or spat on ever again, or threatened to be killed or fear being murdered on the street or in his own home. It wasn't right for anyone to live in such a way and he would do his all to see him to safety and to happiness, especially now that his life had been very publically threatened. To do any differently was to condemn the young Fae to his death and such a thing was utterly unacceptable. Ezrah needed to be housed outside of the City as soon as possible, not just for his happiness now, but for his very life.
Caesar and Amelle weren't quite begging to never have their kids ever again, but Harry could sense that they were glad to be giving them back.
"How do you even juggle eight of them?" Caesar demanded.
"You just get used to it." Max shrugged as he threw Regan into the air before catching him, kissing him, then throwing him back into the air.
"Watch the ceiling!" Harry fussed.
"I'm not going to throw him into the ceiling, Harry." Max assured him calmly.
"I know, just…watch the ceiling." Harry reiterated.
"When they're your own you have to learn to juggle all of them." Nasta told the couple. "It helps that there's twice as many of us as there is you."
"So how was your completely baby free day?"
"It wasn't baby free." Max said. "Draco was still here."
"I will have you know that I am the least childish one in our mateship!" Draco said in that wonderfully scathing tone that he did really well.
Harry chuckled. "We still had Eva and Ave, only Leolin went to Dain and Kailen, we didn't want to overwhelm them when it's been centuries since they last looked after a baby."
"You didn't take the opportunity to hand the girls over to someone else?" Caesar said in shock. "Well, I find myself disappointed."
"They slept for most of the afternoon." Max told his brother with a salacious wink.
Caesar stopped and then he laughed. "Oh, Merlin. I knew you would never have given up an opportunity for sex. Who started it?"
"I'm pretty sure Nasta started it." Harry smiled.
"I did?" Nasta rose one black eyebrow in question.
"I'm sure you did, love. Was it not you who started spanking Blaise first?"
"Okay okay, we don't need to hear the nitty, gritty details." Caesar laughed.
"Speak for yourself." Amelle giggled.
Harry, who was cuddled up on the settee with baby Beatrice, chuckled and looked around himself at the swarm of babies on the floor. The recently turned two year old Eleonora was running the show and Harry smiled to see her up on her feet, babbling to her cousins.
"Are you getting excited now that your heat periods are back?" Amelle asked him, sitting next to him and speaking quietly as the guys argued over who had started what. Nasta was blaming Max for first tugging Blaise into his lap.
"Between me and you, Amelle, not even Caesar?" Harry asked.
"I swear." Amelle said, holding up her right hand, her little finger stuck out, hooked.
Harry did the same, hooked his finger around hers, and they squeezed each other's little fingers.
"I'm already pregnant." He told her with a wink. "I found out a week ago and now I'm enjoying my last little taste of freedom. I'm going to tell them after Braiden's birthday."
"You've told me first!" She squealed and giggled.
"Well, Myron knows too. He was here watching over us when the Healer came, but yeah, you're the first person I've told." He laughed. "No one else is to know." He said seriously. "I want a bit of freedom to myself."
"Absolutely, I more than understand." Amelle said with a smile. "Ooo, I can't wait now. You'll be due in February."
Harry nodded. "I know. I tend to always go early though, especially as I've been carrying multiples. When you think about it, only Braiden was a singleton and that's only because a Dracken's first ever child is always a singleton, except, of course, in the case of identicals. Thank fuck that Braiden wasn't an identical twin." Harry laughed.
"What are you two giggling about?" Blaise asked.
"Sending up prayers that Braiden was a singleton and not an identical multiple." Harry laughed. "Do you know he's our only singleton baby and you gave him to me?"
Blaise grinned. "I love you and I love him." Blaise said, bending forward to kiss him. "I'm glad I've given you our only singleton…at least for now."
"I hope that if I am pregnant then it's with only the one baby." Harry smiled.
"For you, I hope so too, Bello. I love you and I don't want you to be harmed or put under any undue stress. It might be best if the next few heat periods did not lead to pregnancy, but if they do, then we'll deal with it. But for your recovery, it would be best that you're not pregnant for another couple of months, but if you are, I hope for just the one baby."
Harry smiled and kissed Blaise. "I hope so too."
"Amelle. It's time we got back, honey. Nora's getting tired." Caesar said as he held the yawning girl. "Her nap was disturbed this morning by Amelle's brother, Silas." He said for their benefit. "He wanted to see Harry Potter's children." He rolled his eyes to show what he thought of that.
"Thank you again for taking them for a couple of hours, we really appreciate it." Harry said happily as he handed baby Bea back to her Mother.
"We did enjoy it." Amelle said with a smile.
"Yeah, it was like having our own little crèche." Caesar laughed. "You can have Nora and Bea next time."
"Absolutely." Harry said. "We'd love to have them. We can start our own baby share. Henley's bringing Claudia and baby Harry around for my nineteenth now, and again for Braiden's second. We're ordering a bouncy castle for them, only a little one, but we thought the kids might like them. Shae's bringing her kids around too and they're a little older, so they'll definitely enjoy it."
"Did you decide on that inflatable slide too?" Max asked.
"I've told you Max, it has a weight limit on it. You're too big." Harry grinned.
"Aww." Max frowned and he made a show of looking incredibly upset.
"I'm sure we can reinforce it with magic." Nasta said with a chuckle.
"Really?" Max grinned before he fist pumped. "Yes!"
"You overgrown child." Draco teased.
"You're going down it at least once!" Max said. "Even if I have to throw you down it."
Draco smirked. "I'm going to take that out of your hands. I'll go down with one of the kids."
Max scowled then and turned to Harry.
"You're not throwing me anywhere." He said sternly.
"Ah, you can't hide behind your injury anymore, the Healers have cleared you."
"I don't think they had throwing me down an inflatable slide in mind when they cleared me." Harry giggled.
"No one is throwing anyone anywhere." Nasta said firmly.
"Killjoy." Max pouted.
Harry chuckled and he picked up his own little girl, Tegan, and sat her on his lap. She made a soft noise and turned to look at him. Harry kissed her and she laughed.
"Right, we're making our escape. We'll see you soon, okay?" Caesar said.
"Bye." Harry said as he waved from the settee. Tegan copied him. "Bye-bye." She echoed.
Harry cooed to her, fussing over his little girl as first Caesar, and then Amelle, took a pinch of floo powder and left. He always loved it when they did something so cute, even if it wasn't new.
"Right, I better get these kids into the bath before it gets too late." Blaise said after Caesar and Amelle had flooed out of their home.
"I'll help you with the bathing." Draco told Blaise as he picked up Farren and Braiden.
"I'll get our dinner on when they're having their quiet time." Max said.
"Here you go." Harry handed Tegan over to Blaise and he made himself comfortable on the settee.
"Are you going to wait for Leolin?"
"Yes, they should be bringing him through at any moment. He needs his bath too."
He had tried to play it cool, but he was so anxious and so worried. He needed to see his little Faerie baby. He needed to know that he was alright. He'd taken a massive leap of faith, letting Dain and Kailen have him by themselves, even just for five hours.
When the floo flared not ten minutes later he was almost bouncing with anticipation. When Kailen stepped through with Leolin in his arms, Harry took his baby straight from him and he cooed over him, kissing his face and holding him tightly even as Kailen stepped over the fireguard.
"Oh Leolin, baby, I missed you so much!" He declared. "How was he? Was he okay? Did he get very upset?"
Kailen smiled at him, bent and kissed his head. A first that shocked Harry into stillness for a moment. "He was wonderful all day." Kailen said as Dain flooed through behind him.
"Really?" Harry asked in surprise.
"Yes, his blanket and dummy worked wonders. Sindri was very happy to see him again."
"I thought I heard voices." Max said as he came to hug Harry, giving Leolin a kiss. "How was he?"
"He was wonderful." Dain insisted. "He was the heart of the City today."
"I'm so happy he's okay." Harry said as he sat down and cradled his baby to his chest, just looking at him.
"Eitri wishes to know if next week is an acceptable time for him to come to visit." Dain said politely.
Harry looked up. "Yeah, Tuesday is a good day, none of us have any therapy sessions on Tuesday and if it's good for him, he can come midmorning again. Will it interrupt Court business?"
"No, barring an emergency or a pandemic, Tuesday will be a free day for the Court."
Harry smiled. "Tuesday it is then. Did you ask about my birthday too?"
"He would be delighted to come and celebrate your day of birth. Braiden's too."
Harry grinned. "Ezrah and Lathen have already agreed to come, you've agreed to come. You'll all be okay with so many Drackens around?"
"We are perfectly able to mix company." Dain nodded.
Harry grinned. "It's going to be great. The kids will steal the limelight of course, but I don't mind."
"You'll still have lots of cake and sweets and presents." Max consoled him with a smile.
"That's almost the best part." Harry grinned.
"Almost the best part?" Max questioned.
Harry gave him a look and a wink. "Almost."
Max laughed. "Oh, I love you so much."
"I believe that is our cue to leave."
"Won't you stay for tea?" Harry asked.
"No, we need to go and see Warren."
Harry nodded his understanding. "Thank you very much for looking after Leolin for the afternoon."
"No, Harry. Thank you for allowing us to look after him. We cannot express how much this level of trust has meant to us."
Harry smiled. "I'll see you on Thursday?"
"For your day of birth celebrations, yes."
"Say hello to Warren for us." Harry said and he sighed as the two Faeries flooed out of the living room.
Harry sat quiet for a moment and then he stood and he carried the sleeping Leolin into the kitchen to set him up a bottle just in case he wanted some milk.
He pulled the blanket gently from Leolin's body and he handed it to Max, who had followed him, for him to put in the washing machine.
Leolin wriggled once the blanket was gone and Harry was ready, smiling down at him, when Leolin whined and started building up to crying, his dummy falling from his slackened lips.
"Welcome home, Leolin." Harry said calmly.
Those gold eyes opened and peered up at him. "Ma." He said sleepily, rubbing his eyes and then reaching up to Harry's chin.
"I love you." Harry told him. "Do you want some milk?"
"Ma. Ma." Leolin said softly, waking up slowly.
"Have you missed me?" Harry cooed as Max made up the bottle for him.
Max bent over Harry's shoulder and he smiled down at Leolin too. "Hey baby."
"Da." Leolin declared, stretching his hand as far as he could to touch Max's chin.
"I think he's missed us." Harry told Max with a sniff. "It's the longest he's been away from us since he was in the hospital."
"I know, love. I don't think he'll remember that though." Max said, kissing the side of Harry's head and handing the bottle to him.
Harry prodded the bottle into Leolin's mouth and he waited for Leolin to realise what it was, to see if he was hungry or not. Leolin started suckling and Harry relaxed. He smiled and he stood happily, holding Leolin to his chest as his son ate his evening meal.
"I was wondering if he was back yet. Is everything alright?" Nasta asked.
"He's wonderful. The blanket worked a treat. Dain and Kailen said that he was calm all afternoon because of it."
"That's good. Now we know that that trick works, maybe we can take him off on our own for a small while at a time."
Harry nodded as he watched the milk level critically. It was going down very slowly, but Leolin was still eating.
"Is his bath ready?" Harry asked.
"Yes. All the others are in their pyjamas and they're with Draco and Blaise having their quiet time." Nasta told him with a smile.
"Already in bed. I just finished narrating their story. Eva tried to take the book from me and I allowed her to hold it, before I realised that she only wanted it to smack Ave with it. I wouldn't let her have it again after that and she got angry."
"We're going to have to move them into those cots soon, they're getting a bit big for the bassinets now, even with the ward to prevent them from wobbling or toppling, they're going to be sitting up and climbing…a fall from those bassinet stands could really hurt them."
"So, I'll set the new cots up in our bedroom tomorrow." Max smiled, pulling Harry into a hug and kissing Nasta before moving to the fridge and starting the preparation for their dinner.
"How did they get so big as to be moved into their own cots?" Harry frowned.
Nasta chuckled. "We'll have another newborn soon." He insisted, laying his hand on his belly gently and for a moment, Harry thought that Nasta knew. "There could be a baby in here already, but if not, another month and a half and you'll have another heat period and that'll be another opportunity for a new baby."
Harry looked up from Leolin's face and he smiled. "I'll take the test soon." He insisted. "Just let me get these birthdays out of the way first."
"Braiden's birthday isn't for another three weeks." Max complained. "You could be five or six weeks pregnant by then."
"If I am pregnant, then I'm between two and three weeks." Harry said. "You can wait another couple to know for sure. I certainly can."
"I know it seems like we're pushing, we don't want to make it seem like that's all we care about." Nasta insisted. "We would like to know if we're getting a new baby, but the sooner we know, Harry, the sooner we can prepare for your pregnancy. It's going to be a very delicate pregnancy, you know that, we just want to be as prepared as possible."
Harry nodded. "I know. I understand that this pregnancy will need more care, but again, I will get the test done, just give me until after Braiden's birthday."
Nasta sighed and he nodded, bending to give him a kiss. "Okay, but the day after Braiden's birthday we're going to the hospital for the test, deal?"
"Deal." Harry nodded. "I'll make the appointment myself."
"Don't forget." Nasta warned him.
"I'm not going to forget my own appointment." Harry smiled.
Leolin let go of the bulb of the bottle and turned his head, removing the teat from his mouth. Harry handed the bottle to Nasta and he placed Leolin on his shoulder and he gently rubbed his back, avoiding the miniscule white and gold wings out of habit.
Leolin brought up his wind and Harry smiled at him, kissing him gently before handing him over to Nasta to bathe him. He sighed and sat at the kitchen table so that he could stay with Max while he cooked.
"Are you feeling okay?" His biggest mate asked him.
Harry hummed. "Yes. I just…it's insane that we've been together for two and a half years now. In just three months it'll be three years for me and Blaise. It seems…it's incredible that it's been so long, that we've shared three years of our life together. I just can't imagine anything different now. I can't imagine a life where I wasn't a Dracken, where I'd never met and mated to the four of you, where I had no children. Yet, this time three years ago, I had no clue that in just a week I'd be waking up to find scales all over my body and a huge pair of mucus and blood covered wings hanging from my back."
"I ask you all the time, but are you happy? Do you regret it?" Max asked softly.
Harry laughed. "Never." He said strongly. "I'm still happy and still in love. We've had our ups and downs…these last two months have probably been the worst in three years, but we're getting better and I'm more certain now that we can actually overcome what happened to us."
Max came to hold him close to that massive, muscled chest and Harry snuggled in happily.
"I'm glad that out of everything, that our love wasn't ruined." Max said softly.
Harry pulled back from the embrace and he reached up to tug Max down so that he could kiss him.
"It was seriously tested, but I think we've pulled through, with a lot of help from family and professionals." Harry said. "Let's not test ourselves or our love in such a drastic way ever again, okay?"
"Done deal, gorgeous."
Harry smiled and he let Max go back to cooking and he slipped back into his own thoughts. He was truly happy still. He would never condone Draco's actions, as he'd never condoned Blaise's decision to leave him with a near newborn Braiden while he was pregnant, he'd forgiven them all for their neglect during that time too. He hadn't condoned Max's behaviour during his grief at the death of his great-grandmother Evelyn, but he had still forgiven him. He could forgive this too.
Blaise was recovering well and the instances where he was losing his memory or mixing up names was decreasing. His own scars were fading and the anger was lessening its hold on his heart. They might have needed professional help this time around, but they had sought help and it was working.
Every partnership needed work, whether it was just roommates, a business partnership, marriage or a mateship, they needed commitment and compromise to make them work and true, he would admit that most partnerships didn't lead to the almost death of two members, but it was still the same principle. It took work and he was not just going to give up and let his mateship fall apart if there was something, anything, that he could do to prevent it. Not while he did still love all four of his mates and not while he felt that they still had something to fight for. He loved them all still, so very much, and love was always worth fighting for. Always.
A/N: A bit later than usual this week, I forgot what day it was and started the final read through late! But I managed to get it done with a few minutes to spare. Fingers are still crossed for an update next week too, but at the moment it's touch and go with the, as yet, unfinished chapter 108.
Thank you to love-orthelack-thereof for being the 13,400th reviewer for this fic!
Nina: Dain and Kailen are not frail or weak, they can well protect Leolin. They don't exactly have the bodies of 50 year old humans, but neither are they nearing death. It is hard to pin down a Faerie's looks in human years, they can act in a way that would make you think of 40/50 year olds, but they can look as old as 80 up close. They don't get grey/white hair, which makes them appear as younger, but they do get wrinkles, lost elasticity in skin, age spots and weakened/stiffened muscles and joints. Sindri's advanced years have now caught up with him. He is nearing 700 years old, which is the top limit of the Faerie lifespan, yet it is only within the last decade or two that he has started slowing down and where he has been affected by the effects of age.
Members of the Court don't have a guard in their home and they can request that their guard leaves them to walk through the City, but it is generally argued against going anywhere outside of the City without one, Dain and Kailen can go to Harry and Nasta's without a guard because they are related by blood, Eitri is not allowed to go there without a guard, as he is not family, which is why Warren escorted him when he visited. They don't love Leolin the most, no, they love them all, but they understand Leolin the best, thus they are more confident with him. They are a bit lost with the others are they just don't know what is normal or not, thus they hold back from them.
AcroDancer13: They are having several different therapies. They all have solo therapy, but the dominants are having group therapy to help them to 'bond' as it was two dominants who started the fight. They also have group therapy with all of them, including Harry, to see how they all interact with one another.
Leolin is only bonded to Harry because he was attached to Harry via the umbilical cord…he wasn't linked to his siblings in the same way, thus he doesn't have a bond with them. Only Harry.
That's it for this week, I'll hopefully be seeing you next week, but our roll has finally trickled out I believe, in favour of Spartacus crossovers. I've finally got around to starting that series, on the first one at the moment, though I haven't seen the prequel yet either…so yeah, Spartacus/HP crossovers to come!
Thank you all for reading, lovelies and I hope that you all enjoyed this chapter and the visit to the Faeries! Plus some bonding with Eva and Ave, who do tend to get lost in the wash of older siblings, so I thought they needed a bit of screen time to themselves. I'll hopefully be seeing you all next week with chapter 108, but if not, that will be coming soon, it's not that far off being completed, but a single week might be a bit too much of an ask.
StarLight Massacre. X