Harry nodded understandingly. He knew why they wanted him to say goodbye. They all thought that Leolin wasn't going to make it, they thought that he was going to die and that he'd regret not saying goodbye to him while he had the chance, but even though he'd gone through the motions, even though he'd said goodbye to his little baby, he was never going to give up on him while he still drew breath. Never. They could get him to say goodbye every single hour of every day and he would do it, but he wouldn't believe it, not until his sweet little Leolin drew his very last breath for the very last time. He wouldn't believe his goodbye until then.
Chapter Eighty-Four – Goodbye
Nasta couldn't stop thinking. He cut himself twice trying to hack through the beard growth on his cheeks and chin and he gave up soon after, throwing the disposable razor as hard as he could, watching dissatisfied as the light, plastic rubbish hit the wall with a quiet sound and bounced only once on the floor.
He took out his wand and used the spell that he had become so very familiar with over the years to get rid of the hair on his face. It took twice as long as using a razor and left his skin feeling mucky, but the shaving burn that he got when using a razor wasn't there when he had finished, so he didn't need to use the aftershave moisturising cream.
He climbed into the shower and washed himself on automatic, his mind on the image of his youngest son in the hospital. He swallowed hard and clenched his fists tightly. He could not lose his son; he would not lose his son! He couldn't believe that this had happened, they'd all been so careful, but in the end it hadn't been enough.
Getting out of the shower, not even feeling the pain of the burns on his back, he dried himself off and dressed himself on automatic. He went down the stairs and into the living room, slightly annoyed that it was full of people that he just didn't want there, but he ignored them and went to his mate.
Harry looked as bad as he felt, completely and utterly destroyed and Nasta didn't know if it was a good sign or a bad one that Harry had stopped crying, but as he was sat listlessly on the settee and staring off into space, Nasta was more inclined to think that it was the latter. He needed a release for his emotions, a release that crying would give him, trying to bottle himself up wasn't going to work and it wasn't healthy.
Now more in control of himself and his overwhelming emotions than he had been when he had arrived back home, Nasta sat down and pulled Harry gently onto his lap. Harry didn't react, it was like Nasta wasn't even there and Harry hadn't registered being moved at all.
Nasta nuzzled around his neck, kissing and brushing his skin with his nose, holding him and caressing him where he touched. It took four minutes before Harry's resolve broke into pieces and he started crying harshly and Nasta held him and rocked him on his lap as Harry screamed into his shirt, curling up and burying his face into Nasta's chest.
"Are you alright, Nasta?" Aneirin asked his youngest son.
Nasta looked at his Father, a sneer wanting to form, but he controlled himself, barely. "Do you honestly think that I'd be at all fine after hearing that my son has to rely on luck and miracles to survive?" He demanded harshly. "No, I'm not alright."
"I lost my daughter, Nasta. Your sister." Aneirin reminded him. "Don't shut me out because you think I don't know what you're going through. I do."
"Angharad didn't have Faerie blood. She didn't get sick and waste away in front of your very eyes!" Nasta hissed, forcing his Dracken side down deeper when it flashed up.
His Father sighed sadly and Nasta felt like apologising, he knew how much it had hurt his Dad to lose Angharad, he and Sanex had witnessed it first hand, but he sighed instead and turned away. He didn't mean to take his anger out on his Father; it was the last thing he wanted to do, alienate his remaining family members when he actually needed them close by, his Father had lost a daughter and now he might lose a grandson too.
"How…how's Calix?" Harry asked, hiccupping as he swallowed air in rapid huffs.
"He's sleeping." Myron told him, moving his arm, which had a blanket draped over it, showing Calix's little face, his mouth obscured by his green dummy.
Harry nodded. "I feel empty." He confessed, rubbing at his eyes, irritating them more, the red outline clashing with the pale skin and the green iris.
"It's alright to feel this way." Nasta assured his mate firmly. "We've all had a terrible shock; this is our body's way of dealing with it."
"I…I…I can't….can't handle any of my babies pass…passing. I can't!"
Harry started crying again and Nasta felt a stab of annoyance, but he crushed it viciously and held Harry tighter to his chest. He understood what was happening, he was isolating himself from everyone, including his own lovers, he'd done it before when his sister had died, he wouldn't let it happen here and now. They needed him now more than ever, they needed him as their top dominant to hold them all together and he would give his all to make them feel better, to keep them together because they were a family and he wouldn't let this break them, even if Leolin didn't make it.
He had known all along that the odds against Leolin were high. He had never in his life expected to have a Faerie baby himself, a hundred and fifty years the last one had been born into his family and she had died too. Perhaps the Delericey line was cursed, not to not have any Faerie babies, but to have them sparsely and then watch them die as infants.
He closed his eyes and clenched his hands, forcing those thoughts away. Harry was right, Leolin wasn't dead yet and he would not give up on his son by acting like he already was. That Leolin had survived thus far was nothing short of miraculous, but Harry had gotten him to the hospital very quickly and that had helped immensely. Harry had done everything that he could have possibly done to ensure Leolin's survival and Calix's health and he was proud that his young submissive mate, just eighteen years old and two years into being a fully-fledged Dracken that he hadn't even known he was, hadn't completely gone to pieces and just sat on the floor crying and calling for his dominants to deal with it.
He'd heard of several horror stories where that had happened and one story where the submissive had attacked her own baby because she couldn't get him to stop crying and then instead of getting him help as he haemorrhaged, she had sat on the floor, rocking her dying child in her arms and calling for her dominant, who was half a world away for work, instead of dealing with it herself, which could have given her child what he needed to survive.
Harry cried for several more minutes, before he stopped and calmed himself. It took six additional minutes of calm and quiet before Harry sat up on his lap and brushed at his face, sniffing hard. He pushed himself to his feet, stood up and just got on with everything. Nasta admired him and his strength so much in that moment; he didn't think he could deal with anything even remotely normal at the moment. He felt like he would have a breakdown if he tried, but not Harry, who seemed to need the pointless, menial tasks to centre himself as he cleaned up the toys and odd bits lying around.
He took Calix from Myron and cradled him, listening to him wheeze slightly as he breathed through his congested, inflamed lungs. Harry snuggled him into the crook of his arm securely, keeping him slightly elevated as he set about sorting this and that, finding things to do. Nasta didn't tell him what to do and he didn't even think of suggesting that he stop and just sit down to rest, if this helped Harry cope in whatever small way then he wouldn't stop him from doing it. Harry needed this as much as Nasta needed to just sit here and not do anything.
"Mama." Braiden called out from where he had just stood up in his travel cot, his face still creased in sleep from his nap, rubbing wide indigo eyes with little, chubby hands.
Harry smiled sadly and picked him up, being careful of Calix.
"Hello, love, I'm sorry it's been so long since I last saw and held you. I love you so much, but your baby brother is…he's unwell and I needed to stay with him for a little bit."
Nasta's heart broke for Harry and for his children and he swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. He felt so out of control, he felt so angry and he didn't like this, he needed to gather himself up, pull himself together. He couldn't lose his family.
Max had silenced the room he had holed himself up in. The spare bedroom that Harry had once demolished to make his nest was out of the way and quiet, everything had been cleaned and put back, even his carpet, but he didn't care as he rammed his fist into the wall yet again, leaving yet another orange sized crater in the wall.
He'd fix the wall later, but for now, all he cared about was the anger inside him, the pain, the uncertainty, the uselessness and the never ending cycle of why the fuck was this happening to his baby boy.
He knew he should be down in the living room with Harry, but he also knew that as top dominant that Nasta would be there with him and he knew that Nasta was so much better for Harry at the moment than he, or even Blaise and Draco were going to be.
He had lost his great-grandmother, he had almost lost an Uncle who was still sick and in pain and now he might lose a son, all in a few days. He rammed a fist into the wall yet again, harder this time. He couldn't give up on Leolin, he had to believe that his son could bounce back from this, he'd never taken much thought to Faerie children, he'd learnt about them vaguely in school, nothing in depth, but then he'd never known what it would mean to have a Faerie child, not even after Harry had mated to Nasta, who was well known to have Faerie blood in him. Even after Leolin had been born, after everything he'd been told and warned about, he'd never expected this, none of them had.
His knuckles ached and he thought that he might have broken a few bones as his hand was already swelling, but just the thought of what he'd seen at that hospital had him angry enough to hit the wall over and over, the thought of Harry downstairs, crying and in pain had him hitting the wall again and again and the guilt he felt at staying away for three days because he hadn't wanted his mates to see him breakdown had him screaming in rage.
Three days he had missed out on, he'd missed too much and that it might have been the last three healthy days of Leolin's life had him collapsing to the floor and burying his face in his knees, sobbing. This couldn't be happening, he couldn't lose Leolin, he loved the tiny little boy so much and that he might now die crushed his heart. He couldn't bear the pain of it.
He stayed upstairs in the spare bedroom all day, he just sat there crying and trying to block out the emotional pain by creating physical pain, but it never lasted long enough and his hands were red raw, swollen and bleeding after just a few hours. They were shaking uncontrollably and he knew then that he'd done some serious damage, but he still didn't care.
He must have fallen asleep at some point because the next he knew he was pushing himself up off of the floor groggily and it was early morning. Very early morning. His hands were throbbing with his heartbeat, an ache so fierce that he had to grit his teeth against the pain of it. At least they had stopped bleeding, but they were so swollen they looked and felt like they were made of fluid filled rubber. They were nearly useless he found out as he tried several times to open the bedroom door.
He went down into the kitchen and grit his teeth as he used his hands to get the potions that he needed from the case of his potions collection, he'd never hated the fact that the case had a zip lock top before that moment as his swollen, balloon like fingers fumbled to grip the metal tab.
"If you're looking for dreamless sleep you won't find any." A voice in the darkness whispered, making him jump and curse as he let go of the tab he'd only just managed to grip.
Nasta moved over to him then, he looked like he hadn't slept in a month and his beard was back. He frowned at Max's hands when he noticed them and he picked them up carefully to see them better in the dark and he hissed deeply.
"I hope this made you feel better." Nasta said harshly as he unzipped the potions case in harsh, jerky motions, getting out a pain reliever and something to reduce the swelling.
"Might need Skele-Gro as well." Max muttered, shamefaced in the shadow of Nasta's anger. "I think there are broken bones."
"Looking at this I'd say there are definitely broken bones." Nasta quipped as he took Max's hands in his again and applied a topical paste that Max knew by the scent alone without even having to look at it. It would be a pale, bluish grey colour and it would help heal the cuts and scrapes on his knuckles while cooling the skin so that the potion to help aid the swelling would have a better chance of working.
Nasta helped him swallow the three potions as he couldn't pick up the delicate vials in his clumsy, swollen and paste coated hands. He took the swelling reducer first, then the pain reliever and finally a small measure of Skele-Gro. Max grimaced as it burnt all the way down his throat and into his belly, reacting unpleasantly with his stomach acid, the taste alone making him regret hitting the wall so often and after his hands had already been injured as well.
Nasta got him sat at the table and used his wand to conjure up a soft cushion out of thin air which he made Max rest his hands on as he set about making tea.
"You said something about not having any dreamless sleep left; I had at least two doses left if I remember right." Max said more for something to say as he really didn't want to sleep anymore right now.
"Blaise drank himself into a coma, he didn't even recognise me when I carried him up to bed when I found him in a pool of his own sick, he almost suffocated himself because he'd drank that much. Harry really needed the potion as he refused to sleep. I tricked him into drinking it just to get him to sleep and Draco had nightmares so I forced him to drink some before taking him back to bed."
"Which explains why you're still awake at least." Max sighed. "I didn't expect anything like this to ever happen, if I had I would have made more to keep at hand."
"None of us knew this was going to happen, Max." Nasta said harshly as he all but dropped a cup of tea by Max's elbow before throwing himself into the chair next to him and cradling his own cup. "I mean, I knew the odds were against us and against Leolin, but this…" Nasta trailed off and shook his head.
"It was very sudden, I know I have a cheek saying it, as I was gone for three days, but I never would have gone if I knew this would happen or if I had any idea that it was building up to this. I just…didn't want to breakdown in front of you all and take your attention away from what was truly important."
"You are important." Nasta hissed at him. "You are important to us! Yes the kids come first, and yes Harry comes first as our submissive, but that doesn't mean that we don't care what happens to you or what you go through, Max, we love you, but this can't keep happening."
"It's just…she died so suddenly and none of us were expecting it. It blindsided us all, I was just starting to feel like myself again when Blaise came with the news that Leolin and Calix were in the hospital. I was…I was honestly going to floo call you that evening to talk out everything and why I'd left and why I felt like I couldn't be here. I needed to be with family, not that you aren't family! I don't mean that, I just needed to be with people who knew her like I did, remembered her like I did and it was easier for me to deal with everything knowing that I could slip upstairs to cry alone but still have those family members to talk to just downstairs, it helped me."
"I understand that, Max, but you should have at least made an hour or two during the day to come to us, to see the kids and to talk to us and the way you left…can't you see that Harry thought that you were still angry with him? Can't you see how that looked to him and to us? You might have come to realise that you weren't angry with Harry after you left, but you never came back to tell us that, we still thought that you were staying away because of Cepheus."
"I didn't want any of this to happen." Max said quietly.
"None of us did. I carried Blaise up to bed and found Harry sobbing over the empty bassinet by the bedside. I tried to remove it and he almost gutted me. He actually tried to sneak back to the hospital you know, at one in the morning no less, I tried to tell him that we can't do any more for him, but he wouldn't hear of it and kept insisting that Leolin needed him. I don't deny that, Leolin has always been more attached to Harry, but Leolin's life is in the hands of two experienced Healers who know what they're doing and we have to trust in that, but we all need to understand that he is still alive and that's more than I could have hoped for. If he survives this, then it will give him a serious boost in childhood as his immune system will be just that much stronger."
"I've never really understood praying before. I've never really had to do it, but I haven't stopped praying to Merlin, Morgana and any other fucker who wants to listen. I've prayed before, but I've never done so with such fervour or honesty before."
"I know exactly what you mean." Nasta said with a sigh. "Part of travelling all over the world and diving into all sorts of different cultures, is that you learn so many different religions and hear about different gods and goddesses that people believe in and I learnt about them all, but I never really had faith in any of it, I'm too much of a logical thinker to believe in such things, but when we were in the hospital, waiting for any sort of news, I prayed to every god and goddess I knew or had even heard about to give him just a bit more strength. I've never done that before either."
Max snuggled into Nasta and dropped his head to Nasta's shoulder, he felt a hand tug through his short hair and he sighed softly.
"You know I still have to punish you. I still have that urge." Nasta said almost conversationally.
"I know. I was expecting it yesterday to be honest, we couldn't have done it in the hospital, too public, but once we got home…"
"I left you alone to think about what had happened, that and I had to make sure that Harry was alright, his need for me to support him outweighed my urge to punish you. The kids knew something was wrong though, they could sense something was wrong almost as soon as they woke up. They were happy to see us home though."
"How was Calix?"
"Very chesty. He's got a very bad cough which probably sounds worse than it is just because he's so young. He's refusing feeds as well, Harry had to practically plead with him to get him to eat last night, which led to Calix crying and coughing more, this entire situation is distressing."
Max was upset enough that he clenched his hands and then he did it again when no pain was forthcoming, the pain reliever had worked. He picked up his cup and all but drained his cooling tea in a few large swallows.
"You can punish me now if you want, I don't think either of us are going to be getting to bed and I want to be able to look after Harry and the kids today without thinking of anything else. I'll have to brew more dreamless sleep and a hangover cure for Blaise too and maybe I should restock the calming draughts and headache relievers while I'm at it."
Nasta nodded at that idea and he stood up; he pulled the collar of Max's jumper down away from the apex of his neck and pressed a thumb deep into the muscles where Max's neck met his shoulders. His fangs came out smoothly when he thought about them and he licked them to coat them with his saliva.
He let Max sit and squirm, worrying about when the strike would come. He wouldn't let this be easy on him, not after what he'd done, but he was too tired to be angry at the moment, which was probably a good thing as he knew he should never punish someone while angry, and he had more pressing matters on his mind than punishing an errant subordinate mate.
He bit deep and sudden with all four fangs and Max tensed under his hands and mouth, his body automatically twisting away from what had caused the injury, which made him grunt in pain as the pressure of Nasta's fangs increased.
Nasta held on for a long time, biting down hard, clenching his jaws before releasing without removing his fangs and then biting down hard again, causing as much pain as he could with minimal damage.
He finally felt that Max had had enough and he released him, leaving the collection of puncture wounds in his neck to bleed freely. They were already going a deep reddish-purple, they would bruise horribly.
"Thank you." Max said raggedly.
"Did you feel enough pain?" Nasta asked him seriously.
Max nodded. "More than enough. I wanted to scream out several times, but I didn't want to wake anyone."
Nasta nodded and sat back down, running his tongue along the inside of his mouth to clean away the lingering traces of blood. He made more tea, even though he really wanted to take a leaf out of Blaise's book and just drown himself in alcohol, he couldn't afford that luxury. He was the top dominant of this family and it fell to him to be the strong one. It fell on his shoulders to look after everyone and make sure they didn't hurt or kill themselves. He spared a glance for Max's hands; he had already failed one of his subordinate males, two if Blaise counted for drinking himself unconscious and almost drowning in a pool of his own sick before he'd been found. He had to pull himself together. It fell to him to look after them all.
The both of them were quiet for long minutes, they both kept half an ear on the baby monitor and half an ear for any incoming floo calls.
Max rolled his shoulder yet again. It hurt terribly, but it would serve as a reminder to never take his family for granted. He'd started to rely on them to always be there for him, even if he wasn't there for them, he had fully expected to come back and everything would be how he had left it, but he had been dragged back in amidst a crisis and everything was changed now forever. Calix was sick, Leolin might die, Harry was having twins and seeing a mind healer to boot, his babies had grown and learnt and developed while he'd been gone…it wasn't worth the price he'd paid, just for a bit of privacy to cry on his own.
He knew now that he should have trusted his mates, trusted himself to them and their love and care, but hindsight was always so much clearer than in the moment. He'd failed his family and now they might never be a family again, but he swore right then and there that he would do his all to keep them together. He wouldn't let this ruin them. He wouldn't let what he'd selfishly done be their breaking point.
Harry woke up at nine in the morning and it took just mere seconds for him to remember everything that had happened and where he was. He sat bolt upright and looked around him. Draco was fast asleep in bed beside him, in a way that Harry just knew was potion induced. Blaise, Max and Nasta were not in the bedroom and hadn't been for a while, if at all, if the cold sheets were any indication.
Harry got out of the bed and made his way down the stairs and into the kitchen, where his three mates were sat, four babies in the corner of the room in a playpen and Calix was swaddled up tighter than tight in the bassinet. He hadn't moved as his blankets were still wrapped around his little body.
"Stop being so loud." Blaise moaned pathetically.
"I'm not being loud; I'm making you a potion so your head won't feel like it's falling off your shoulders." Max answered as he stirred a potion on the countertop.
"It's your own fault." Nasta told him.
"I don't need the speech right now." Blaise growled.
"What's going on?" Harry asked softly, his voice muzzy from crying nearly all of yesterday afternoon and being forced to sleep through potions.
"Blaise drank himself into unconsciousness last night and now he's miserable because he has one hell of a hangover." Nasta told him as he came to hug him and guide him into a chair.
Harry sat by Calix's head and brushed his hair back gently. Chestnut brown and thick, it was taken straight from his Father and Grandfather, but those eyes, those jet black eyes were straight from his Granddad Myron. He looked like a clone of Myron and by extension Xerxes and he had physical traits of nearly every Maddison family member in some way, whether it was his eyes or hair, he looked like a Maddison, more so than Farren despite his very dainty size.
"Did he feed this morning?" Harry asked worriedly.
"Max got him to eat a bit of cereal, but he didn't finish it and he coughed a lot, which put him off eating anymore, but he ate enough to last him until lunch at least."
Harry swallowed and nodded, snatching his hand back from Calix. It was so unusual to see Calix sleeping during the day that he just wanted to wake him up, but he quelled that urge and stopped touching his baby so that he wouldn't be tempted.
Instead he turned his attention to what had happened last night, he stared at Nasta hard until his mate took notice and turned to look at him. He watched as Nasta's shoulders squared and he puffed up in preparation for the fight he knew was coming.
"Why did you stop me from going to see Leolin last night?" Harry asked, the bite of a growl in his throat.
Nasta sighed. "It was one in the morning, Harry, you needed to sleep, you can't go for two days without sleep, you still haven't eaten anything and you haven't even tried to shower."
"Who the hell cares if I haven't had a shower when our son is in the hospital!" Harry shouted. He stopped and calmed himself down when four babies stopped playing in the corner and turned to look at him.
He swallowed hard and bit the inside of his cheek when he felt tears well up in his eyes. He swallowed again and breathed calmly.
"You need to shower, Harry and you need to eat, don't make me order you to do it because I will if I have to." Nasta said softly. "You need to shower before I'll even think of letting you go back, those are the clothes that you wore when you were tending to Calix, they have the virus on them, I don't have to tell you that reinfecting Leolin at this point could undo all of the hard work that his body and the Healers have done for him."
Harry looked at the table top and swallowed. "Did you have to force a sleeping potion on me? I could be at the hospital right now."
"You needed the sleep and I knew you wouldn't sleep without help." Nasta told him unrepentantly.
"Will you tell me if there have been any floo calls at least?" Harry asked desperately.
"Two." Nasta nodded. "One at six in the morning, the other at twenty past eight. There's no change in him, he's still breathing, he slept straight through the night and he fed once this morning. He hasn't opened his eyes since last night. Healer Almus thinks that Leolin believes that you're still there with him, which is why he slept through the night and why he fed with no fuss."
"All the more reason for me to get there as quickly as possible so that when he does actually open his eyes he doesn't realise that I wasn't there all night!"
"You will shower and eat before we go back, even if it's a five minute scrub down and a piece of toast, understand me?" Nasta growled. "Don't test me on this or I'll order you to do it and I don't want to."
Harry snarled but he stood and stormed out of the kitchen and went and took his 'five minute scrub down' which actually took him eight minutes as he got lost in thought under the fall of the water.
He dressed at record speed and as he was leaving the bedroom, a groggy Draco was just waking up.
"Get a shower, Draco." Harry told him. "Get dressed; we're going to the hospital soon."
Draco just nodded and did as Harry had told him. When he reached the kitchen a plate of buttered toast was waiting for him. He felt queasy just looking at it.
"Try and eat something, Harry."
"Have you lot eaten."
Nasta nodded. "Getting Blaise to eat was a struggle as he is suffering with nausea from his hangover. But even he ate a few pieces of toast, so please try, Harry. For our unborn twins if not for yourself."
Harry nodded and slumped down into his chair and nibbled at his toast, trying not to taste the damp cardboard texture or the sandy flavour. He didn't want to do this.
Draco came down showered and dressed, but his eyes were bruised with too much crying and not enough sleep. He looked rough, they all did.
Draco tore at a piece of toast with the intent of just getting it in and over with and once done, he gulped at his tea as if he'd just eaten a plate of sand.
Harry took a leaf out of Draco's book and scoffed a piece of toast, smearing butter over his face as he just wasn't as well-mannered and graceful as Draco, but he wiped his face with the tea towel that Max threw at him and gulped down his tea.
"Can we go now?" Harry asked, practically glaring at Nasta.
"Our other children?" Nasta asked him simply.
Harry looked at them and felt something slice through his heart. He wanted so much to be with Leolin, to hold him and make sure that he was okay. He'd locked his Dracken side up tight because otherwise he would have already slashed up Nasta's face and made a break for the hospital. No matter how much he wanted to see Leolin, he wouldn't injure anyone he loved to do it.
He dropped his head and the anger was just there, brewing just under the surface. He stood up and knocked his chair back, slamming his hands on the table top.
"You said that we could go when I'd showered and eaten! I've done both! What more do you want from me?! I can't just sit here and wait like nothing's wrong when my baby is in the hospital and I haven't seen him in hours! I want to see him NOW!"
Of course he paid for his loss of control when Calix screwed up his face and started crying and then coughing as he cried, which made Harry feel like a monster. An inch tall monster as Nasta glared at him for waking Calix up with his outburst.
"Did that make you feel better?" Blaise hissed at him, his face tight with the pain he must have experienced from Harry shouting and was prolonged by Calix's crying.
Harry shook his head silently as he watched Draco sooth Calix gently. He felt wretched.
"Calix is still sick." Nasta told him coldly, which made Harry swallow hard and caused his eyes to fill up with tears that he wouldn't let fall. "He was released from the hospital yes, he's getting better, but he is still sick and he needs his rest. Get control of yourself! We'll go to the hospital soon, you're not the only one who wants to see him, but we have five other children to think about, one of whom is sick himself!"
Harry curled up on his chair and he sat quiet after that. Max finished the potion for Blaise and his first mate drained it gratefully. He listened as they moved around and murmured quietly together. He sat and thought about his outburst, but it made him feel worse. He hadn't meant to wake Calix, of course not, but he was out of control, his emotions were destroying him and locking up his Dracken with no outlet was splitting his mind, his emotions and his instincts into two separate halves which was confusing him and winding him up until he felt that he could bounce he was that high strung.
A soft touch to his back had his claws coming out and poised to kill as he swung around ready to gouge his claws into whatever had touched him, but his wrist was caught and after a few moments of fighting and struggling, his sight cleared and he saw Nasta looking at him. He stopped all movement and he collapsed back into his chair, or he tried to, Nasta caught him and held him up to his chest and pressed him in tight.
"We're all angry." Nasta whispered into his hair. "None of us want to be in this situation, but we are, but we can't forget that we have five other babies to look after and shouting in the vicinity of our sick son is going to cause the anger to rise in all of us."
"I need to see Leolin. I need to!" Harry sniffled.
"I understand that this is hard for you as a submissive, but override your instincts, Harry. You're pregnant, you can't risk our two unborn babies in such a way, you need sleep, you need food and rest. You need to keep yourself healthy and we're no good to Leolin if we're too tired to keep our eyes open when we go to see him. The showers are self-explanatory, if we take any germs or bacteria into Leolin's quarantined room while he's so sick and weak, it could kill him. We can coat our hands in the cleansing potion, we can wear any number of overcoats and sterilised aprons, but if our skin is dirty and covered in bacteria…can you see where I'm going with this, Harry?"
Harry nodded. "It's like none of that matters, like it doesn't get through to my brain, all that matters is that I'm with Leolin and that he knows that I'm there for him."
"I know it's difficult, we're all struggling, Draco had nightmares, I couldn't sleep because I was half waiting for a floo call all night, Blaise drank himself half to death and Max broke his hands. We're all struggling to come to terms with this, but we need more control, we can't keep doing this."
"Max broke his hands?" Harry queried and he looked around. Max wasn't in the kitchen anymore.
Harry kicked out gently and Nasta put him down and Harry went hunting. He found Max just climbing out of the shower, towelling his body awkwardly with bruised, swollen hands. He hissed deeply and he cradled those hands that were hot to the touch.
"What did you do?!" He hissed as he brought those hands up carefully and nuzzled them softly. Max didn't make a sound, not a murmur of pain and Harry knew then that he had taken a pain reliever for them.
"You're stupid." Harry told him. "Look at the state of your hands! This will take days to heal."
"I'm alright." Max said thickly.
Harry looked up and saw his eyes shimmery with tears. Harry pulled Max down and cupped his cheek, brushing a thumb under his bright blue eye and causing the built up tears to slip down a strong cheek. Harry kissed it away.
"Why are you crying? It's okay, I just don't like seeing you hurt, especially knowing that you did it to yourself. Why would you do this?"
"I was just angry. So angry. I knew that I was hurting myself, but it wasn't enough to block out the emotional pain, so I kept doing it."
Harry kissed both hands softly. "Your family will be here soon, Max, you need to get dressed."
Max nodded and sucked in a deep breath, his huge chest filling up before he exhaled harshly. "Let's go and see our baby."
Harry nodded and he slipped back down the stairs, letting Max dress himself clumsily with his hands. Myron was already going to give him hell for it, Harry knew. He was surprised to see that Myron was already in the living room though, Farren cocked on his hip happily.
"Harry." Myron nodded in greeting.
Harry bit his lip and nodded back, rushing around and sorting what he needed to, to visit Leolin in the hospital, packing up any and all toys that he thought Leolin might like and as he rushed around the room yet again, Myron grabbed his upper arm and pulled him into a tight, almost crushing hug.
"It'll be alright, Harry. Leolin's got two strong people as parents and three others to act as role models, he'll fight, but while you visit I'll look after these five."
Harry nodded and held on tight to Myron's thick waist. Relieved almost to the point of tears that Myron was treating him normally again, he had a suspicion that Myron knew that that had been what was wrong with him, but he was too tactful to say it and humiliate him, so this was his way of letting him know that everything was fine and that he didn't hold a grudge because of what he had done to his brother Cepheus.
"What did you do to your hands?!" Myron demanded harshly.
"I thought Aneirin was coming over this morning?" Max hissed at Nasta.
"He is, but your Dad wanted to come over too." Nasta said unrepentantly.
"Watch your language and tell me what you did!" Myron chastised and demanded at the same time.
"I was angry."
"So you battered your hands against a wall until they looked like that? Tell me, are you a caveman? Did I raise a caveman for a son?" Myron snapped.
"No." Max sighed exasperatedly.
"No, you're more foolish! How could you think that injuring yourself could make you feel better? Have you had blood?"
"I can't." Max answered, pulling the neck of his shirt aside to show his punishment marks.
Myron shook his head. "Have you at least treated them?"
Max nodded. "Of course. I'll continue to treat them as well, but right now I just want to go and see Leolin."
Myron huffed and sat himself down on the settee, pulling Farren fully onto his lap.
"I'll look after these five; does Calix have any potions to take?"
"Just the one. He had it this morning, his next dose is just after he's had his lunch, the instructions are on the bottle. He needs to eat something, anything, before he can take it though, even if it's just a spoonful of something or a mouthful of milk if he doesn't want to eat solids with his sore throat."
"I'll sort it, get yourselves off and tell me how my little boy is when you get back and don't forget to give him a kiss from me."
Harry nodded and then he was jittery with nerves, almost sick with anticipation as he entered the hospital just seconds later through the floo. He managed to force himself to wait for all of his mates to arrive, which could have been helped along by Nasta's hand holding his like an errant toddler who would wander off and get lost.
They exited Healer Cole's office just as Healer Almus poked his head out of the quarantined room that Leolin was in.
"The wards went off on the floo connection, I knew you were here. Come on in."
The entered the anteroom and they did the whole dipping their hands into the bowl of cleansing solution that Harry could barely remember Nasta doing for him yesterday, Healer Almus muttered a few spells over them and Harry felt like bursting through the wall to get to his baby, who he could just barely see through the window and Healer Cole who was standing vigil over him.
"He's been wonderful all night and all morning. We've limited his human contact and…I'm not sure if you saw the paper this morning?"
"No, we haven't had a chance." Nasta answered, a note of anger in his tone. "What happened?"
"The media knows that one of your children is here and that another one was released yesterday. A reporter tried to trick the orderlies into letting them in to see Leolin, only the human restriction rules kept them out of the room."
Harry snarled furiously and he wasn't the only one. Sometimes he seriously hated being Harry fucking Potter. He couldn't deal with the media on top of this already stressful and painful situation.
"No one asking to see Leolin at the front desk is being allowed in; in fact we're evicting them from the hospital. We know that you come through the private floo and that no one knows the baby's name…well that sorts out the real from the fake right away."
"They're putting him at risk!" Harry said furiously. "Just by asking to be near him, in the same room as him they're putting him at risk! How dare they!"
"They can't get in. Jasper and I haven't left the hospital; we've been keeping vigil day and night. If by some fluke these people got past the Healer desks, they couldn't get into that room as only Jasper and I can open this door." Healer Almus explained, pointing to the flimsy looking clear door that was the only thing separating them from Leolin.
"Thank you." Nasta said gratefully.
They were let into Leolin's room and Healer Jasper Cole greeted them softly, but Harry rushed to Leolin and raked his eyes all over his little body, still wired up to all sorts, but he was breathing still, even if he looked worse than when they'd left last night. He'd never been a pudgy baby, having been premature and with Faerie blood to boot, he'd never really gained any weight like his siblings, he'd looked thin and like a newborn for so long, but now he looked starved and skeletal, Harry could see his whole rib cage and he shivered as his hands itched to pick him up and cradle him.
"Can I…can I…?"
"You can pick him up, but remember to watch the wires." Healer Cole said gently and understandingly.
Harry did just that, wrapping the blanket that Leolin had been lying on around his little body and he cradled him to his chest, staving off his tears and the urge to bawl and beg and plead. Why his son? Why his little boy? Why was this happening to him and to his little Leolin? It wasn't fair!
"Hey, love." He said softly. "Did you have a good night?"
His mates came and sat around him, Healer Almus pulling chairs from a far corner of the room. They all touched or held a part of Leolin, being mindful of the wires and his delicate body.
It took ten minutes for their soft voices to filter through Leolin's sleeping mind and he woke with a small sound in his throat and a weak little wiggle.
"Good morning, love, are you going to open your gorgeous eyes for us?" Harry coaxed.
Leolin did as he was asked after a few minutes where he wiggled slightly some more, but those gold eyes cracked open, dull and dark and Harry clenched his jaw to prevent the urge to just start sobbing, instead he forced a smile and Leolin did the same, which made Harry laugh as he brushed at his eyes so that Leolin wouldn't see his tears.
"You're going to get better. I know you are." Harry said firmly. "You don't give up, you hear me. You never give up, because we aren't giving up on you. We love you, sweetheart, you will get better. I made a promise that I'd never let anything happen to you and I swear I won't. I won't be made a liar, so you fight and with the wonderful Healers we've got for you helping you, you will get better."
Leolin burbled tiredly, not making any sense as he made noised that sounded like 'blak', 'mern' and 'olp'. His lungs sounded wet, like Calix's were and Harry only realised then that Leolin had the same virus as what Calix did, it was the same virus, but it affected Leolin more dangerously and it could easily kill him.
"Are his lungs alright?" Harry asked the Healers, breaking eye contact with Leolin, who whined sadly.
Harry immediately shot his gaze back to Leolin, who smiled weakly at him. Harry smiled back widely.
"They're very constricted and inflamed. He's having a lot of trouble breathing, which is why we're keeping him elevated and not flat on his back. We're always watching him and so far, his lungs haven't failed once, we're very surprised and deliriously pleased with this, but we're aware of it happening at any moment all the same."
Harry nodded to show that he'd heard, but he didn't take his eyes from Leolin, who was getting tired again.
"Does he need to feed?" Nasta asked the Healers.
"It would be advisable to feed him as often as possible. He drank less than half an ounce earlier." Healer Cole nodded.
Harry took a bottle from the bag he'd packed, checked it and the coaxed Leolin into eating it. Far from being as gutsy as he had yesterday, Leolin didn't even want the teat in his mouth this morning.
"Hey, you will eat." Harry told him sternly. "Drink your milk, Leolin."
Leolin's eyes opened and he gave Harry a glare, but he parted his lips to accept the bulb of the teat into his mouth and he suckled softly, a few mouthfuls before he stopped again and peered up at Harry through those purple-black bruised eyes.
"Keep going." Harry encouraged softly but firmly.
Leolin closed his eyes again and suckled a few more mouthfuls before he looked back at Harry.
"Drink as much as you can, love, we're not going anywhere, your Daddies and I will be here for you."
Leolin suckled for a few minutes, slow, small sucks. He drank a bit more, but he soon weakly swatted at the bottle, refusing to take any more.
"Ma." He murmured softly.
Harry smiled and cradled him close. "I love you, Leolin, never forget that."
Leolin fell asleep quickly and easily with a reasonably full belly, Harry handed him carefully over to Nasta and he stepped out of the room to take a moment. He didn't want to wake Leolin up by crying all over him. He wiped his eyes and his nose before he dipped his hands back into the cleansing potion before Healer Almus let him back in.
"We're going to take him for some more X-rays later, we'd like for you to go home in this time and then you can come back in the afternoon." Healer Cole said in a tone that he must have used a hundred times, but Harry still snapped his head to him and glared.
"I won't leave him to go through that alone!"
"He'll be asleep through it." Healer Almus soothed. "We can't let you into the X-ray room anyway. Have you forgotten that you've already had one knock in your current pregnancy, don't push your luck with this, Harry, you could lose them and as your personal Healer, I can and will bar you from the hospital."
"You can't do that!" Harry said aghast.
"Then follow our instructions and leave Leolin to us. Overexposure to people will only harm him further."
"I can't just leave him! I don't want to leave him!"
"Under normal circumstances we'd allow you to remain, as we allowed you to do for Calix, but Leolin isn't a normal baby, these aren't normal circumstances and we can't allow you to see him for more than a few hours a day. I'm sorry, this must be excruciating for you all, but we're Healers for a reason; don't make us throw you out for Leolin's own good."
Harry was shaking he was so shocked and angry.
"This isn't right! You can't do this! We're his parents!"
"They're Healers, Harry, they can do this." Draco said with a bite of anger in his voice as he glared at the Healers.
"We're doing this for Leolin; we've been living in this hospital, in this room and the office since he came in. My Wife hasn't seen me in days and I'm missing my own children." Healer Almus said with a hard bite to his own voice. "All we want is for Leolin to live, if that means we chuck all of you out, we'll do it!"
"Why can't we wait in the corridor?" Blaise demanded.
"We understand the want to be close to him, but with Harry pregnant it isn't practical to have him not eating or sleeping properly and loitering about in corridors. It'll do none of you any good to hang around here when you have five babies at home and two more on the way. Leolin is doing amazingly well in our care; you are just a floo call away, it'll take us moments to get you over to him if anything goes wrong or if anything changes, but so far he's been stable and very well, we'll allow you visitation, but we can't have you here all the time, it makes our job harder and strictly speaking, Leolin needs a lot of rest, as much of it as we can give him, which means no disturbances."
"We're not happy with this." Nasta growled.
"You don't have to be." Healer Cole piped up. "As long as Leolin survives this then we don't care what you think of us or the situation."
"I don't understand how you can do this! He's our son!" Harry cried desperately.
"They can legally kick us out and keep us out if they think we're disrupting the health and healing of a patient." Max rumbled deeply, his eyes dark with his anger. "The Wizengamot brought the law in just eight years ago after a Mother refused to leave her baby and even slept in the same room and would continuously pester and question the Healers to the point where they couldn't do their job and that baby died as a result, my Dad studied the case, but the Wizengamot will now take the Healer's side in ninety percent of cases to keep the number of magical babies up."
"Please!" Harry begged. "Please, I can't stay away from him, he's my baby! I need to look after him, can't you understand that I need to be here with him, that I have to look after him and assure myself that he's alright!"
"Our instincts would demand that we see him." Nasta explained with a nod. "If too long passed we'd force our way in and we'd take him, which would ultimately kill him. We need to sort out a balance, you need to understand that we have to see him, our Drackens demand no less, but I at least understand the logic behind not camping out in the hospital for days at a time, especially with Harry's pregnancy."
"We would like your cooperation in this. You won't be allowed in this room overnight as we restrict the air flow and up the oxygen levels to help Leolin sleep better, so it would be best if you left at night and came back in the morning, this would ensure you get sleep. At lunchtimes we'll be checking the spread or the receding of the virus through his lungs with X-rays, so I would again advise you all to go home, get something to eat, or some more rest or even just play a game with your other children to see them for a few hours, but it'll be better for you than hanging around the hospital, waiting for news that we don't have ourselves to give to you. We should know more in the afternoons, after the X-rays, but in the mornings we'll just be informing you of how he was in the night, we won't have much more to tell you than that, but he's stable, he's calm and he's been better than we expected."
"Will he…will he recover?" Harry asked, looking up hopefully.
The two Healers exchanged a glance and Harry's heart sank.
"You either don't want to say anything or you don't think he has much hope." Harry said softly.
"The former, Harry." Healer Almus said. "We really don't want to say or get any of your hopes up just yet. It's too early to tell, but we are happy with the strength and determination that he's shown so far."
Harry nodded as he brushed Leolin's hair back, he was being passed around, he was in Draco's arms at the moment, having gone from Nasta to Blaise and to Draco, who wasn't allowing Max to hold him.
"Draco." Harry said firmly, giving him a look. "Pass Leolin to Max, I want a hold afterwards before we're forced to leave."
"Forced to leave for your own good." Healer Almus cut in.
Draco very reluctantly passed Leolin over and it looked like he was going to say something, but Nasta's hand cupped the back of his head warningly.
"I hate this." Max murmured as he cradled Leolin in just one arm, his other, swollen, hand free to brush gentle fingers and a lone thumb over Leolin's even sharper features. He looked gaunt and sickly.
"I can't leave him." Harry whispered. "Not like this."
"Have some faith in him, love." Nasta encouraged. "None of us like it, but try to think what's best for Leolin."
Harry swallowed hard and bitterly. He wanted to scream and rage and demand that he be able to stay here with Leolin, but he wouldn't risk being barred and not being allowed to come back, even if the Healers were bluffing, he wouldn't risk it, he couldn't.
Nasta pulled him forward and gently put his head in the crook of his neck, letting Harry inhale the calming pheromones that he was emitting.
"This won't last forever, Harry and the Healers are right, we need to focus on the twins as well and to do that you need rest and food."
"I just don't want to leave him." Harry warbled. "I feel so lost, so out of control, I don't know what to do!"
"Then listen to me and let me tell you what to do." Nasta said gently. "I'll look after you."
"Who'll look after you?" Harry asked concernedly.
Nasta chuckled darkly. "I'm almost forty, love, I'm the top dominant of our family, I'll look after myself or I wouldn't be fit to be your top dominant, though I wouldn't say no to cwtching every now and then."
Harry smiled then, albeit weakly, but he tried. He sat back and nodded as he brushed the tears from his face.
"We can try it your way, but I can't promise that I won't give you hell over it because I probably will. I don't want to leave him here."
"It's to make him better." Nasta assured him.
"I know that…logically, but part of me doesn't want to listen to the logical part of my brain."
"I think that's why you always ended up in trouble, it's because you didn't listen to the logical part of your brain that you ended up running after a death omen that turned out to be a mass murderer." Draco commented flippantly.
"Wait, what?!" Nasta hissed. "When was this?!"
Harry glared at Draco. "My third year."
"You took on a mass murderer when you were THIRTEEN!" Nasta hissed, his face reddening.
"It was better than the sixty foot basilisk when I was twelve." Harry answered distractedly as he was handed Leolin carefully and he elatedly got to cuddle his sick son back into his arms.
"What did you just say?" Blaise asked.
Harry looked up and then he seemed to realise exactly what he had said. He pulled a face.
"Well at least I can still surprise you after two years." He said. "I told you all that my school years were adventurous."
"Your first year." Nasta nodded. "I remember, but I thought that was it."
Harry actually laughed. "Yet you knew about the Tri-wizard tournament when I was fourteen and my journey to the Ministry at fifteen where I fought and killed Voldemort and you thought hunting for the Philosophers stone was the worst?"
"It seems we need to have a talk about all this."
"There's nothing to talk about, it happened, it's in the past. My school boy adventures are the last thing on my mind right now." Harry answered as he cradled Leolin more firmly into his chest, Leolin who was sleeping deeply, deeper than Harry had ever seen him.
He picked up a tiny hand, the skin dry and paper thin, and held it gently, staring at Leolin. He couldn't stop staring.
"I love you sweet boy. I will never, never give up on you, so you don't get to give up either, do you hear me? You fight, Leolin; you fight for me, for your Daddies, for your brothers and your sister and most of all for yourself. You fight and you keep fighting, I will never say goodbye to you for real, so please don't say it to me."
Three hands pressed against his back and shoulders and one hand slipped over his side to his stomach, Harry smiled softly at the silent support offered to him.
"We're all here for you, love, even if we are forced to go home, it's only goodbye for now, not forever. I know you're going to get better because I know that my strong little fighter won't give up and neither will we, no matter what happens. We will always love you, don't you give up, don't you say goodbye."
Harry was aware that he was going around in circles, but he didn't care as he widened his eyes to stop the tears from falling as he cradled Leolin to him. He swallowed; he couldn't believe the papers had found out about Leolin and Calix being in the hospital and the only possible reason for Myron not telling them that morning would have been because he didn't know either. He had come over very earlier, so he might not have seen the paper yet.
The media was going to pay for this breach of privacy, it had grated on his nerves when they'd published naked photos of him arriving at the hospital with his newborn children, publishing a story about his dying, hospitalised baby was a huge leap over the boundary line and he wouldn't stand for it, if Richard couldn't handle it himself along with his trial, he'd ask if his business partner could sue the media for him.
This ended, he wasn't the little boy who didn't have anyone to protect him or look out for him anymore, he was an adult now, he had family completely surrounding him, but more importantly he was a Mother, the naked photos of him he could take, the article about his ruined anniversary dinner he could take, but he would not stand idly by and do nothing as they theorised and speculated on why his baby was in the hospital, what had happened, if it was his fault, his lovers fault or if his baby would live or not. He wouldn't stand for it and if he could he'd rip them all to pieces, the Daily Prophet, Witch Weekly, World News, any and all of them who'd published the article or some semblance of it about his baby would get the full force of his rage and Merlin help them if Leolin didn't make it.
Harry was all but dragged out the hospital an hour later and he couldn't stop the tears as he was pulled away from Leolin so that he could go down to have his X-rays done.
Nasta picked him up and bumped him over his shoulder so that he could carry him easier and Harry wrapped himself around Nasta tightly, holding on as he cried. It helped to know that this hurt his mates as much as it hurt him, he hated it, he didn't want to leave, but he couldn't risk being barred from the hospital.
He hated those fucking Healers, he hated them for making him leave, but he respected the hell out of them for sleeping in the hospital just to keep an all-night vigil on Leolin to make sure that he was alright and if his little boy survived this…he'd apologise to them for his behaviour, his words, his thoughts and he'd send them and their families on fucking holiday to the tropics if he could, but he hated them in that moment as he was taken through the floo in tears, his heart ripped in two between the sick baby he was going home to and the sick baby he was being forced to leave in the hospital.
A/N: My break was ruined as I don't think I got more than a few days off before I was back to writing, so you get this chapter up earlier than I planned.
Huge thanks to mizzrazz72 who was the 10,700th reviewer for this story.
Huge thanks to smileyjarvis who was the 10,800th reviewer for this story.
GarionRiva: No I didn't, but I want a big family myself, so I think my passion comes from that desire more than life experience about large families.
Silver Winged One: Yes in the case of dominant Drackens. Nothing ties them to the family except their love and their conscience. Dominant Drackens can just up and leave if they want to, though submissives can't as they are tied to the dominant through their children. But if the other dominants wanted to remove another dominant who didn't want to leave, they'd just kill them, but then that might negatively affect Harry as the submissive and it would incite a riot between the Maddison family.
ReclusiveLynn: If Leolin could be moved and it would be a severe risk to his heath if they did move him, how would they explain their baby having wings on his back? He's a Faerie, not a normal baby; he needs specialist care specifically for a Faerie, which Muggle doctors couldn't give him because they wouldn't have the faintest clue how to help or deal with him, did I mention that he's a different species and has wings?
Cosmicwanderer: This came up before a while ago and the answer is simple, I created my version of Blaise before Halfblood Prince was released as I've been writing Draco/Harry/Blaise fics for a while and before then Blaise Zabini was just a name sorted into Slytherin. I Googled both names, Blaise of which is French and Zabini which is Italian, so I created a half French, half Italian boy as I definitely enjoy slash more than het, so Blaise was definitely a boy to me and I made him look half Italian and half French to fit his name. I tried to change his appearance after a more detailed description was given in Halfblood Prince, but I found as I was writing, my original version kept slipping in for a few paragraphs or I'd use the wrong eye colour or skin colour and I decided then to just stick to my original as it was just easier for me.
I hope you've all enjoyed this chapter and I'll hopefully have the next one out soon. I'm sorry if I've missed any questions, but there were a hell of a lot of reviews and I may have missed one or two I'm sorry, until the next time lovelies,
StarLight Massacre. X