Harry held his own tears back by the skin of his teeth as he climbed the stairs to put Tegan into her bassinet before coming back down to get a warm, wet cloth to wash Braiden's cheeks gently, passing over his little chin and his mouth to wipe away the drool. He went oh so gently over his eyes to remove the last of the tears from his face. He had cried all he was going to over the Dursleys. He had had it with them, he would see them in court, he would see them sentenced and then he was going to forget all about them, they would not rule his life, they would not ruin his life. Not anymore, they had done too much to him already and he had come through it and moved on. He had his own life now, he had four lovers to keep up with and six babies who depended on him entirely, he had no room left to think about the Dursleys anymore. The court case was coming up, it wouldn't be long now and he would be free of them forever.
Chapter Sixty-Seven – Break Up
Harry couldn't help himself as he carefully took Braiden out of his cot and he carried him up to the bed. He lay down and laid Braiden on his chest, shifting his son's arms and legs and his head, making sure that his little ear wasn't crushed in the process and he just lay there stroking the thick, black hair that Braiden had grown in just seven months.
He tried not to let everything get on top of him. The upcoming Dursley case, the exams, his anger at Max and Nasta, his impending heat and the possibility of falling pregnant once again. It was all becoming too much, he couldn't handle the strain, he had been so good, accepting his inheritance with nary a whimper. Sure he had panicked a bit in the beginning, he had been terrified of Blaise when he had first encountered him in the forest, he had been horrified by the mate meetings, which had seemed a lot like an auction house to him at the time, but he had gotten over all of that. He had thought that now that he was mated that everything would be fine, but it wasn't. He had hoped that everything would be smooth once he had all of his mates, but it was so hard. All of the children, being constantly pregnant. It was a constant uphill struggle, it was hard work and he couldn't stand it for much longer. He could potentially be pregnant again in two weeks' time; he had only just started uncovering his body again after the quintuplets had ruined any and all body shape that he had once had.
The scar he had been left with was getting fainter with the copious amount of salves and lotions that he applied, but the stretch marks stubbornly refused to leave, even with the pelvic floor exercises he was doing and the daily massages that he gave himself with vitamin E oil. It all seemed so hopeless.
Breathing in deeply to calm himself, Harry inhaled Braiden's light, clean scent and reminded himself that there was next to nothing that he could do about his situation. Shy of leaving his mates and his children, there was nothing that he could do and he refused point blank, no matter what his mates did or could ever do to him, he would never leave his children, present, future or otherwise.
That made Harry wonder about his heat, he screamed, begged and pleaded for his mates to give him children, if he were to run away, would they find him when he called to them on a heat period? That would be some plan, run away with all his worldly possessions, leave them a note explaining everything and then two months later he leads them right to himself regardless. Not to mention that they woke up after the heats before him too, so he'd likely either wake up back where he had run from in the first place, or to his angry, accusing mates.
Braiden rolled on him and Harry startled and he had to dash to save him from rolling right off of his body, unfortunately it jarred the little boy awake and he blinked his beautiful indigo eyes, looking around himself groggily, until he spotted his Mummy and then he grinned and fisted his eyes to help wake himself up.
"Hello, Braiden love. How are you feeling?"
"Yes, I think you would be a bit uncomfortable, it smells like you need a nappy change."
Harry sat up with a groan and he carried Braiden down to the changing table. He smiled as Braiden wriggled and giggled as Harry wiped his bum and thighs clean, before putting him in a fresh nappy and redressing him.
"Oh I love you so much. You are such a gorgeous little boy, simply the best baby in the world."
Braiden giggled and Harry grinned back.
"That's a new word, Braiden, you're so clever."
Braiden looked at him, a finger in his mouth as he looked around, he used his drool covered finger to point at a toy that was partially hidden under the purple settee, Harry would never have seen it if Braiden hadn't have pointed at it.
"Huh, what do we have here?" Harry crouched down and pulled out the brightly coloured plastic keys on a thick plastic ring.
Harry used a simple, wandless cleaning charm on the teething ring before he jingled them at Braiden who screeched and grabbed them, putting them straight into his mouth.
"You know, I haven't seen these in months. They must have been under that settee for two or more months."
Braiden selected the light green key and put it right into his mouth and gummed on it. Harry chuckled and settled Braiden down on the floor and he went to check on his quintuplets, the ones that were in the bedroom with him anyway.
Regan was fast asleep, so was Calix, but Tegan was awake and blinking languidly around herself.
"Hello baby girl." Harry cooed, picking her up, checking her nappy to find her dry and he smiled as he realised that she was awake purely because she wanted to be, not because she needed something. He checked on Calix once more to make sure that he wasn't wet and after happily realising that he wasn't, he sat down with Tegan sat on his lap, slightly reclined as though she was getting better at holding her head up, she wasn't as strong as Farren, who could support the weight of his own head comfortably, or Regan, who could support his own head for increasing amounts of time.
Braiden stopped his mouth inspection of the keys and looked at Tegan suspiciously as she was brought near him. He shook the ring of keys at her and Harry felt her startle. Harry chuckled and gripped Braiden's wrist gently and maneuvered his hand to put the keys back into his mouth before Tegan could start crying. Harry scooted over to the little toy box that they had to keep everything reasonably clean and he got out a soft, foam ball for Tegan, who clenched her hands into the ball tightly and huffed to herself as it squished in her hands.
"This is a ball, Tegan love. A ball." Harry encouraged.
"Ba!" Braiden replied enthusiastically and Harry grinned.
"Well done, Braiden, a ball."
Harry chuckled at Braiden's happy look as he went back to his keys and Harry wondered where the shape sorter toy was, Braiden had loved it, but as he looked around the lower part of the bedroom, it seemed obvious that it must still be out in the living room.
He sighed; he didn't want to go back out there. He had possibly overreacted to Ashleigh forgetting about his previous abuse, after all he encouraged everyone around him to forget that it had ever happened often enough, but truthfully, deep down, he hadn't actually expected any of them to forget that he had come from such an unstable and detrimental household. Especially not the woman who claimed to love him, who was for all intents and purposes, his Mother-in-law. Well, one of them anyway, he had three to choose from, but Marianna Lychorinda was nearly always so very busy with whatever she did, Blaise was close lipped about what she was always so busy with, and Narcissa Malfoy had been very silent over the last few months as she took care of a heavily grieving Snape, his only Mother-in-law around was Ashleigh, who apparently saw him as a way to get babies, and nothing else.
Someone knocked gently on the door and opened it. Blaise came into the room and inched his way closer.
"You can come over, Blaise, I'm not angry with you." Harry said softly.
"Myron sent Ashleigh home; he couldn't believe what she said to you."
Harry shrugged and tickled Braiden's tummy, making the little boy scream in delight and made Harry smile.
"It doesn't matter anymore, she made her views incredibly clear. I won't make the mistake of letting myself become emotionally attached the next time."
"I was afraid you'd say something like that."
Blaise came and sat behind him, wrapping arms around him and Tegan and resting his chin on Harry's shoulder, his mouth turned into Harry's neck so he could breathe across the pale skin.
"Does she see me as a real person, Blaise? Honestly?" Harry asked insecurely.
"Honestly, mio amore? I don't know." Blaise whispered. "I don't know her well enough to gauge her or her actions and you can't ask Max, he's biased, she is his Mother after all. Caesar and the girls will be the same, you need to find someone who's known her for a long time, who isn't biased in their opinion against her, only then can you understand who she really is."
"And where do I find someone like that? I can't exactly ask her for her address book and owl any friends she might have!"
Blaise sighed. "I don't know what to tell you, Harry, you'll just have to trust your heart."
Harry looked down at Braiden and Tegan and his eyes blurred.
"My heart says that she sees me as a way to get babies back into her life, and nothing else." Harry confided softly, tears falling down his cheeks. "I'm not a real person to her, Blaise. I'm not real."
Blaise could say nothing to that, so he held Harry tightly and let him cry, cursing the hormones that were filling Harry's body and making his moods unpredictable. He'd be sending a very angry message to Ashleigh when he had a spare minute; he hated it when Harry cried. He looked at Harry's tear streaked face, the anguish and pain written across it and his heart almost stopped and his fists clenched as he cradled Harry. He wondered if Draco had any howler parchment handy.
Harry refused to come out of the bedroom when there were 'outsiders' in the living room so Draco stubbornly and coolly said goodbye to Myron, Richard and Aneirin. Only once they were gone did Harry tentatively step into the living room, one arm wrapped around Braiden, the other supporting Tegan.
He sat on the plush carpet and placed Braiden near him, holding Tegan still and placed the baby monitor next to him in case Regan or Calix woke up. Leolin was in his carrycot. Draco was rocking Farren slowly.
"Max and Nasta should be done with their school wide search soon." Draco told him hesitantly.
Harry nodded. He didn't even care about them anymore, or about what they had done. His talk with Dumbledore had helped hammer home that no one had been hurt and it had reassured him of what he had already known. Max and Nasta would never have fought with the babies in the same room, they just wouldn't have. He now had something new to agonise over, Ashleigh and exactly how she saw him.
Why did his life have to go from one bad thing to another? Every time something good happened, it was ruined sometime later by something terrible happening. It felt endless.
"I…I think I need a cuddle." Harry admitted, staring at the carpet.
Blaise took Tegan from him and Draco smoothly, elegantly hunched down and pulled Harry between his legs and into a tight, comforting hug, he kissed the jet black hair before resting his cheek on the top of Harry's head.
Blaise mirrored Draco and held him from behind; resting his head on Harry's back this time, right between his shoulder blades, his slender fingers stroking soft patterns onto the parts of Harry that he could reach.
They didn't speak; they just held one another, listening to Braiden jingle his plastic keys as background noise. However hearing him babbling aloud, talking to himself, brought a smile to Harry's face.
That was how Max and Nasta found them as they walked through the door.
"We couldn't find him anywhere; I don't know where else he'd…be." Max seemingly told Draco and Blaise, but he finished after a pause when the three of them broke apart, showing Harry in the middle of the group hug.
Nasta let out a relieved sigh that moved his entire chest; he came to hunch down beside him and cupped his face between both hands. He rested their foreheads together and closed his eyes.
"You're alright?" He asked softly.
"No cuts, no bruises, no injuries?"
"Why don't you sniff and find out?" Harry asked just as softly.
"I didn't think you'd want me anywhere near you."
"I'm over that now; I've got something else to worry about."
Nasta pulled him into a strong hug after hearing that and held him as if he was going to disappear. Large hands pressing into his body, a stubbled face rubbing against his own smooth cheek as Nasta tried to crush him, but simultaneously tried not to crush him in his arms.
"I've missed you." Nasta whispered into his ear.
Harry smiled into Nasta's shoulder.
"Come on! You've had your turn!" Max whined, pulling them both apart before picking Harry up and crushing him into his own hug. "I've missed only cooking for four. It's not the same without you, love."
Harry chuckled and wrapped arms and legs around Max. The big man pulled back just enough to see his face and Harry enjoyed seeing the look of love in those eyes, those gorgeous blue eyes that were glistening with unshed tears.
"So we're good now, yes?" He asked uncertainly, he needed the verbal clarification.
Harry smiled at that and pulled Max back into a hug. "Yeah Max, we're good."
Harry never told Max or Nasta about what had happened while they were scouring the school for him, neither did Draco or Blaise, but it all came out anyway after Blaise and Draco sent a particularly vicious howler, with Draco's very stroppy eagle owl Saracen, to Ashleigh two days later after carefully selecting just the right words to use in their howler.
Apparently it had been a shock to the three to receive a howler at the breakfast table and they hadn't opened it in time. Richard thought that it was hilarious. Myron did not.
After igniting the newspaper, it had scorched Ashleigh, but not only that, it had frightened Saracen, who had landed on the chair behind Ashleigh to deliver the howler to her and the obstreperous owl had beaten her head with his strong wings and clipped her shoulder with a talon as he took flight in terror.
Nasta had punished both Draco and Blaise. Harry, who hadn't known anything about the howler, was left to laugh and giggle at what his lovers had done for him and he made sure to undermine Nasta's punishment, in secret, by kissing and groping them in thanks.
The two had had to explain why they had sent a howler in the first place and once told, Max did not believe them. He stormed home to confront his parents and left Nasta to deal with two very opinionated subordinates, who refused to believe that what they did was the wrong way to go about defending their submissive's honour, and said submissive, who had a smile on his face for the first time in days after being quietly withdrawn and was laughing again after days of them not hearing that strong, happy laugh.
Nasta took Harry aside after he sent Draco and Blaise to do all of the baby washing, not brooking any arguments from the two, not even when they 'explained' that they had never done the washing before and would ruin all of the clothes, he coolly told them that now was the time to learn and that any ruined clothing would have to be replaced, by them, before the end of the day.
"Harry, is this why you've been so quiet lately?" Nasta asked as he settled Harry on the purple settee under the platform bed and sat next to him, positioning himself so that he was open and welcoming, but not overbearing, intimidating or demanding.
Harry sighed and tugged a hand carelessly through his hair. He nodded.
"I just…I can't get what she said out of my head. How could she forget that I…that those people…I don't understand how she could have forgotten!"
"Max will sort it out, Cariad."
"Will he? She's his Mother, Nasta; he's not going to choose us over her."
"I think that you are forgetting yourself that we are Drackens. Family is everything to a Dracken, Harry."
"She is his family." Harry pointed out confusedly.
"She's his 'old' family if you will. As a Dracken matures, we separate from our parents, all species do it, humans do it, animals, everyone, it's a part of growing up and becoming an adult and moving on with our own lives, but where humans will still crave and interact with their birth family, a Dracken feels no obligation to do so. It's our more human emotions that tell us that we should still be in contact with them. The first sixteen years of life where we've lived as near enough humans, that colour our emotions. A Dracken will not recognise a parent like it does their mates and children. As we mature, the scents and focus shifts, when we find a submissive and have children, that's it. If you and the kids stood at one end of a field and Myron, Richard and Ashleigh stood at the other and you put Max blindfolded in the middle in his Dracken form and told him to sniff out his family. It would be you and the kids that he'd go to. His sensory receptors would not register his own parents as being family, Harry. It's only his more human emotions and the part of his brain that hold human thoughts and memories that allow us to still have that attachment to our birth families. In fact if Max was feral in the proverbial field then he would likely attack his parents for being so close to you and the kids, he'd see them as a threat to you."
"Why?" Harry asked curiously.
"Because when Drackens were still more animal than anything else, they left their parents once they had matured and they never thought about them again. In reality if Father and son had met once again in life, they would likely try to kill one another for territory, or food, they wouldn't recognise themselves as family. That trait has been watered down over the thousands of years, but it is a trait that has been passed down regardless. Do not ever think that Max would put his parents before you, or even his brother and sisters. They're important to him, of course, it would kill him if he broke ties with them, but if it came down to a one or the other decision, it would be you every single time and he would feel not an ounce of regret for choosing you over them. His family would already know this, so they're not about to alienate him or give him any ultimatums."
"It's sad to think that two of our children will do that when they're sixteen." Harry said quietly.
Harry chuckled at the eager face and he shoved Nasta's shoulder. "You're fishing!" He accused with a grin.
Nasta grinned back and pulled Harry close to his body and he fell sideways on the settee, pulling Harry with him.
"Can I help it that I'm dying to know which baby out of four is a Dracken? I've been insanely curious these past three months, we all have. You with your secrets, not telling us just to torture our poor minds!"
Harry chuckled and squeezed Nasta tightly.
"Can't you guess?" Harry grinned, teasing just a little more.
Nasta snorted. "It's impossible to guess correctly, it could be any one of them, as soon as the scent dissipates after birth, there's no way to tell."
"Just guess." Harry pleaded, stressing and elongating the last word until he was almost hissing.
Nasta smiled and kissed him. "Max, of course, believes it's Farren. The biggest baby, the strongest, the most developed. He has a point about that, as Dracken babies are more developed than most, you only have to look at Braiden to see that, but with all of them being so very premature, it's difficult, not only have they had to catch up to where they should have been, some of them have had set backs, like Calix with his rashes and Tegan with her fever. There are too many factors to guess adequately, but if I had to put money on one, I would have to agree with Max and bet on Farren."
"Who do Blaise and Draco think?" Harry asked curiously.
"Blaise believes it's Regan, he thinks that he could be a dark horse in the running, he's developing nicely, if not as fast as Farren, and he's putting on weight and coming into himself. Draco however is undecided; he believes either Regan or Calix. He didn't give his reasons why, he just said with that strange hint of certainty that comes from his Pureblood snobbery that it would be between them both."
"No one think's our little girl could be a Dracken? How very sexist." Harry teased.
Nasta grinned and nibbled at him. "I would love it if either of my children were Drackens, but I have already had a Faerie baby, I'm not greedy, let Max have his thunder this time around, I will give you a Dracken child eventually."
"Oh? Is that so Mister Delericey. How very presumptuous of you." Harry said as he sat up on Nasta's body.
Nasta tickled him and Harry shrieked at the unexpected action, which naturally meant that Draco and Blaise were just there beside them and Harry grinned at them widely from his perch straddling Nasta's hips.
"Finished the baby washing have you?" He asked them curiously.
Nasta let his head fall back and he laughed.
"We heard you scream." Blaise told him.
"Yes, Nasta and I are getting reacquainted with one another after our lengthy separation."
"Lengthy separation? It was two days!" Draco replied incredulously.
"Tell me about it. Longest two days of my life." Harry said.
Nasta sat up and held Harry tightly as he stood up.
"You two had better be done with the baby washing, Max will want the kitchenette to himself when he gets back."
"I don't think he'll want to cook once he gets back." Harry said softly. "Maybe I should cook dinner today, cooking will be the last thing on his mind when he comes home."
"I doubt it. It'll be the only thing on his mind when he gets back; you know cooking helps ground him and relax him."
"What if he's upset? I don't want him to feel obligated to cook for all of us when he's feeling miserable. Sometimes I feel like he thinks we use him as a personal chef and nothing else."
"Don't be stupid." Draco told him with a scoff. "Max loves cooking almost as much as he loves sex. If you deprived him of cooking he'd feel like you'd cut off both of his hands. He'd feel useless."
"In a roundabout way I think that Draco's right." Nasta put in slowly, obviously trying not to upset him. "Has Max ever given any indication that he feels like we treat him as a personal chef and not a lover?"
"Then you're projecting your thoughts onto him, Prezioso." Blaise told him.
"I just don't want to take him for granted; I don't want to take any of you for granted. Not ever."
"You don't, love." Draco assured him strongly. "Max is very happy to cook every meal, every single day for the rest of his life. Why deprive him of something that makes him so happy?"
"I think that I should cook, just for today, he's not going to be happy when he comes home and I don't want him stressing."
"Go on then." Nasta relented. "Just don't come to me when Max is upset that you've cooked."
"He won't be." Harry said with a grin. "He's being very good and acting like he's on thin ice, it's like he expects me to explode or something."
A soft wail over the monitor stopped all of them short and Harry wriggled until Nasta put him down. He went up the stairs and checked on Calix, who was red faced with his hands balled into fists.
"Oh Calix, why do you have to do this now? Can't you wait until your Daddy is home?" Harry asked, sighing in defeat as he took the baby out of his bassinet, carefully carried him down the stairs and took him over to the changing table.
"I can change him if you'd like." Nasta put in mildly.
Harry gave him a look as he unfastened Calix's nappy. "Is this part of your 'don't upset Harry any more plan?' none of you offer yourselves up to change them unless you're certain it was a wee."
Harry wiped Calix down thoroughly, applied the Sudocrem and left off his nappy while the cream absorbed. He pulled down the little nightdress and handed the sniffling baby to Nasta, who cradled him without touching his bottom.
"I just thought that you'd like some help." Nasta shrugged as they headed out into the living room.
Harry shook his head and couldn't help smiling. "You can be on babysitting duties then."
Harry went into the kitchenette and sighed at the pile of washing there was still to do. "Did you two do anything?" He asked as he took over and quickly and viciously scrubbed the bodysuits, bibs, sleepsuits, socks, hats, scratch mitts and nightdresses. He wrung them out before rinsing them in plain warm water before wringing them out for the last time.
He hung them all over the safety grate in front of the fire and left them to dry as he cleaned up the kitchen, washed his hands to get the soap powder from them, before starting his preparations for a chicken dinner. It wasn't Sunday, but he didn't think any of them would complain. Besides the fact that Max was planning roast beef for the Sunday coming, not chicken, so both dinners would be different anyway.
Harry was almost finished when Max stormed into the room. He didn't even acknowledge any of them before going right into the bedroom and viciously slamming the door closed behind him. Harry closed his eyes as several startled screams started, two from the other side of the shut bedroom door.
Harry swallowed and tried not to think what Max's behaviour meant and he could only pray that right now he wasn't packing all of his stuff into suitcases as he tried to calm a hysterical Leolin.
"What do we do?" Blaise asked hesitantly.
He looked unsure and Harry's feelings mirrored his, what did they do in this sort of situation? Max was always so happy, so carefree, and seeing him upset and angry enough to slam doors when he knew that there were several babies in these rooms was something they had never had to deal with before, they were out of their element and it only affirmed that though they all got on most of the time, that they had children and a life together, they had only been together for a year, a very short amount of time really, Nasta hadn't even been with them for a full year yet, not until April and it this little incident only went to show that they didn't know absolutely everything about one another yet.
"I think from his actions that he wants to be alone." Draco informed them.
"But Tegan and Farren are in there crying." Harry bit his lip.
"He won't leave them cry." Nasta said surely.
"But he's angry."
"We don't know that for sure." Draco answered. "He might just be upset or he might just need some space or alone time. He wouldn't have come back if he was angry with us."
"How can you be so sure?" Harry insisted.
"Because it's what I'd do if I was in his position." Draco confided. "He'll be fine, just leave him be. He won't let the kids cry themselves sick, he just wouldn't."
Harry nodded and he took in a deep breath, ignoring his Dracken restlessly moving inside of him, demanding that he go and get his crying babies. Nasta was calming Braiden, Blaise had Regan and Draco had Calix and had taken Leolin from him before dinner could burn.
"I knew it was the right thing to do to make dinner." Harry said softly. "I just had a feeling that I should."
"Your instincts are very fine tuned." Nasta complimented as he pulled faces at Braiden, who was calming down and giggling every other sniffle.
Harry dished up the food and put Max's under a stasis charm to preserve it for whenever he wanted it, if he wanted it at all.
Harry was happy to realise that Farren and Tegan had stopped crying and he prayed that Max hadn't just put a silencing spell on them, though he couldn't believe that any of his mates would ever do such a thing.
Dinner was quiet; the atmosphere strained and uncomfortable as Max remained a no show. They couldn't hear anything from the room next door and Harry hoped that Max was alright, but he was happy that he hadn't come back out with a suitcase in hand.
They were just finishing when the bedroom door opened and Max came out, his face was red and blotchy and his eyes looked rubbed raw. There was no suitcase in his hand.
Harry let Max decide how they were to proceed, if he would accept them asking him about what was wrong and comforting him, or if he wanted to pretend that nothing was wrong and that nothing had happened.
"I've made you something to eat if you're hungry." Harry told him softly, neutrally, letting Max know that the ball was in his court, no matter what he wanted to do.
Max nodded and rubbed his eyes once again as he came and sat down, letting Harry serve him the preserved food.
"Thank you." He croaked roughly.
Harry smiled and cleaned up the used dishes, kicking Blaise pointedly, who winced but he took the hint and he stopped staring, dragging the other two into light conversation.
Harry happily washed up, checking on his pudding in the oven and he waited until Max was done eating to serve them all dessert. It was only a Syrup sponge pudding, but it was freshly made and warm and Max, though quiet, was looking much better than he had when he had come home.
Harry washed up the bowls and spoons they had used for dessert as well as Max's dinner plate, allowing the other four to relax and unwind. No one was talking to Max though, who was lost, very deeply in his own thoughts.
Shaking his head and making up his mind, Harry went and wormed his way onto Max's lap and cuddled in tightly. He didn't want to push Max into saying anything that he didn't want to, but he also wanted Max to know that if he wanted to talk then they were all here to listen, no matter what was on his mind.
Max hesitated for a moment, as if startled by his sudden appearance on his lap, but after a moment he wrapped his arms around his waist and held him tightly. Harry had half been expecting to be shoved off, so being cuddled back was fine, even if Max wasn't talking. Nasta suddenly spoke to him and Harry peered out from Max's chest to look at him.
"Did you do your catch up homework, Harry?"
Harry scowled. "Most of it."
"Don't you think you'd best get on with it?"
"No." Harry wriggled on Max's lap and snuggled in tighter. "I'm warm and sleepy. I'll do it tomorrow."
Nasta sighed. "Alright, but don't forget."
Harry knew why Nasta had dropped the subject and he grinned into Max's chest. "I won't forget, promise."
"Ah ma!" Braiden called sleepily from the floor and he held his arms out to Harry pouting.
"Oh Braiden, really, right now?" Harry sighed, even as he already moved from Max's warm lap to pick him up.
Harry cradled Braiden as his son yawned adorably. Harry slipped back onto Max's lap and the larger man held the both of them, seemingly better now than he was before because he was smiling at Braiden, who was fisting his little eyes and yawning again. He was tired and ready for bed.
Harry didn't realise that he had fallen asleep himself until his back was pressed to something cold and his eyes cracked open. Max was above him with one eye closed in prayer that he didn't wake up. He let out a sigh when he realised that Harry was awake.
"I didn't mean to wake you. I'm sorry."
Harry made an indiscernible grunting noise and yawned, trying to remember what had happened and where he was.
"'S okay." He murmured as he yawned again.
"Go back to sleep, you're too tired to be awake." Max insisted.
"Hmm. Stay with me?" Harry asked, his brain still half asleep.
"Of course I will, just let me get out of my jeans."
Harry looked down at himself and realised that he was already in his pyjamas, they were very warm, so either they had had a heating charm aimed at them, or one of his mates had put them on the grate by the fire for a while. It was the cold sheets that had woken him.
Max shimmied out of his jeans and Harry couldn't help the lazy smile of appreciation that stretched his mouth as he saw Max in just his boxer shorts. It was a wonderful sight; one Harry really did appreciate very much.
"I love that look on your face. That possessive, lusty expression when you look at me."
"You're all mine." Harry reminded. "I have a right to be possessive of such a gorgeous body. I get so very jealous when women try to take you from me."
"They'll never succeed, Harry. I am gay and I have been since I was a teenager, no matter how much I tried to get myself to like the female body in preparation for my meetings. Plus I love you, very, very much. I'd never leave you, least of all for some woman." Max said sincerely. "And if for some reason I do ever leave you for a woman, please check me for spells and potions before getting upset and shredding all of my clothes."
"They have no right to look at you like that, only I can." Harry frowned, not being swayed into laughter by Max's declaration.
Max chuckled then and slipped into the bed to spoon against him. It was quiet for a while in the bed and Harry was very content and just as he was drifting back to sleep, Max spoke.
"I'm so sorry about what my Mother said, she had no right."
Harry stiffened right up before letting out a breath. "It's alright."
"It's not though, is it? I can't believe that not only did she forget, but she told you that she had forgotten. I'm so angry with her right now I don't think I could even look at her."
"Does…does she see me as a person, Max?" Harry couldn't help asking. "Does she see me, or does she just see a way to get babies?"
Harry felt Max swallow behind him and heard the hard, nearly painful, noise. "I don't know." Was the quiet, almost sobbed answer. "I just don't know."
A/N: It's my birthday! I'm 23 today and as a present to me you can all leave a nice review, you know, seeing as I updated on my birthday for you and all. Ha!
I'm not sure when the next update will be, I'm going to be busy now for the rest of the day and likely recovering tomorrow, so I'll start chapter 68 around Monday then it depends on how much I can get done and how easy the chapter comes.
Thanks to spinkavampire for being the 8,700th reviewer!
NoirXAnge: It would be up to the submissive in question and how many dominants she actually needed. If she only needs the one, then she won't be able to take all four of them and finding any submissive who needs four dominants is like finding a ruby buried in the snow while out walking. So if they did decide they wanted another submissive after Harry, they would have to find one individually while they each had however number of kids, most sixteen year olds do not want anyone over the age of twenty, let alone if they have toddlers as well.
Lissy: All bloodstains found in Harry's bedroom and elsewhere will be thoroughly documented in the up and coming trial, I'm not planning on leaving anything out, which is why it's taking a long time to come around.
Lady Vaughan: It is entirely possible that Harry could have more Faerie babies. He's already had one, nothing to say he can't have more at some point.
IceNecromancer: No. The Drackens fall into a very deep feral state when they fight for dominance and they forget all about magic and rely entirely on their physical strength and fighting skills. They don't even remember they have magic. Plus I think it would be considered cheating as some dominants aren't witches or wizards so the magical Drackens would have an unfair advantage.
Millie: Still planning on finishing Life and Trials, but not for a while. I want to re-write it first, go over it and fix all the mistakes I made and I need to find the plot line again, it's been so long that I've forgotten where I was going with it.
Thistlene: Two points to make here, Ron does NOT know that Harry is a Dracken so he can't sell them out to poachers and also he and Harry made up and have agreed to remain civil, even though they will never be friends again.
emerald-flame-66: Ah! Why didn't you say? It seems like he goes more feral than the others, but he is the one that's tested the most. Harry likes challenging him, Draco likes riling him up just to see him angry, Nasta is top dominant and that doesn't help because he always feels the need to challenge Nasta, Blaise is really the only one who doesn't do something that makes his Dracken peek up and snarl. It's not because he has less control, it's just because he did expect to be top dominant, like Myron said, he's a big, powerful man who isn't used to losing in physical fights, so when he suddenly turned up not top dominant, it was a shock that unsettled him, already childish and playful by nature, it's obvious that some play fights will turn to real ones, sex, which brings out strong emotions and brings the Dracken closer to the front, can also lead to real fighting. It's all circumstance and coincidence that it always seems to be Max, but it's not because he has less control. Also yes, he is childish and he was coddled, he had three very loving parents, you only need to look at what Ashleigh was like as a Mother to know that Max, and all of his siblings, had near enough everything they wanted and Richard is still very childish and with Myron always away working in those crucial first years to earn enough to provide for his young family, it was Richard that many of them saw as Daddy and they took and learned a lot from him.
EasyReader: No, Harry's anger, bad moods etc will not affect his breeding cycle once he has started it and even when he hasn't started it he has to be feeling very, very angry and I mean almost blind with killing rage for it to have an effect on his breeding cycle, after all the main 'job' of a submissive is reproducing, it would have to be something very, very serious to stop the breeding cycle.
AngelikRebel: Not currently no, though I am in the plot development and planning stages of my very first novel that I am hoping to get published, but it's going to take years of work and preparation until it's anywhere near ready.
Anon: Ah! This is the very first time since school I've had someone say happy birthday to me in Welsh! Thank you, it's made my day.
Lilly n.g.k: You haven't offended me, of course not. The little rant I gave about the demanding updates meant the readers who were demanding updates, I had someone tell me they were 'irritated' that I hadn't updated yet and it was only two weeks after my previous update, someone told me that I should 'hurry the hell up and write the next goddamned chapter already because they were fed up of waiting for it' it was about three weeks after my previous update, it's reviews like that that make my heart sink when I read them, but I'm trying to ignore them for now, so don't worry yourself, it takes a hell of a lot to offend me, unfortunately telling me I'm too slow on updates, that's one of the ones that gets to me.
That's it! I'm off to go and enjoy my birthday, have fun, because I'm most certainly going to!
StarLight Massacre. X