A/N: Wishing a happy birthday to Heidi, one of the Facebookers. Happy Birthday lovelie, I hope you have a wonderful day and that you enjoy the chapter.
The birth scene has been clearly marked, but has not been removed. You can skip over it if you wish.
He dug the freshly fallen snow from the entrance to his nest and he pushed the backpack into the hole first and then climbed in after it, his belly only just fitting. He took off his clothes and shivered in the cool air, but he used his clothes as a barrier over the opening to his nest and he snuggled himself down in the many fur blankets that he'd found and lined his nest with.
He had everything that he needed for the moment, so he pulled out all of his Dracken attributes, keeping his wings folded into his back as he didn't actually have the room to stretch them out in his little burrow and he settled himself down for his nesting period. He'd have his baby girls in his arms soon, until then, he needed to preen and prepare himself for his coming labour.
Chapter Eighty-Eight – Savage Parturition
Draco was woken up by the faint, hysterical crying of a baby and he blinked several times before the noise filtered through his brain and he actually registered what it meant.
He snapped upright and flung the duvet from his body, the cold air immediately making his almost hot skin break out in goosebumps. He rushed into the nursery next door and scooped up Regan, who was crying his heart out with a livid red mark on his brow, just above his right eye. Draco surmised that he'd been bouncing in his cot and he'd slipped or fallen and hit his head against the side of the cot. Harry was going to go ballistic.
"Is he okay?" Nasta's groggy voice asked from the door.
Draco nodded. "He's okay, he's got a bad bump just above his eye, but he's okay." He answered as he bounced Regan in his arms as his boy calmed down slowly.
Nasta picked up Tegan and Calix as Blaise came to pick up Braiden and Farren.
"Why do I have the two biggest and heaviest?" He complained.
Nasta immediately took Farren into his arms as well. "Better?" He asked.
Blaise nodded. "Hand me Calix, I won't fall with him."
"I got them." Nasta insisted.
"Where's Max?" Draco asked.
"He's getting Leolin. He was awake in his bassinet, but he was just staring at his mobile, he was transfixed with it."
"Where's Harry?" Max asked as he peeked his head around the nursery doorframe, Leolin looking like a doll in his huge arms.
"I thought he was in the bathroom." Nasta said with a small frown.
Max shook his head. "No, the bathroom's empty, I thought he was in here with you lot."
Nasta looked worried then and he let Blaise take Calix, handed Draco Farren and then passed Tegan to Max on his way out of the nursery as he went looking for Harry.
The three remaining mates took the babies down into the kitchen for their breakfasts, though they kept an ear on Nasta's movements as he checked everywhere for their missing submissive.
"I can't stand this." Draco growled. "Where is he?!"
"He's not in the house and his scent is faint at best on the air, he hasn't been here for some hours."
"He wouldn't have flooed to family, would he?" Max asked. "Not again, not after what happened the last time he did so."
"He didn't take any babies this time, maybe he thought that it would be okay." Blaise said.
"He's pregnant!" Draco hissed.
"I know that!" Blaise hissed back. "But maybe Harry thought it would be okay as long as he didn't take any kids, though that doesn't sound like him, he's been so much more careful with the twins since he had those two knocks."
"I'll go and check first, you sort these six out." Nasta said sharing a look with Max before he left.
"What was that look?" Blaise asked.
"He was warning me to hold down the fort in his absence. He's worried, he thinks something has happened."
"Harry's most likely with the Weasleys and he's lost track of time." Draco waved away.
"And if he isn't?" Max demanded. "What then?"
"No one could have gotten into the house without us hearing! They couldn't have snatched Harry from our bed; we would have scented the danger before they'd even reached the second floor."
"And if Harry was downstairs at the time? He went to bed very early, he would have been up early too."
"What do we do?" Blaise asked.
"What Nasta told us to do, we sort the kids out."
"But if Harry's in danger…"
"And if he isn't?" Max asked. "It's a dangerous line to walk. He could very well have lost track of time with family, or something else might have happened to him, we don't know yet. We need to wait for Nasta to come home."
"But if Harry is in danger then anything could be happening to him! He could be hurting; he could be moving further away from us with our unborn girls!"
"You're forgetting one thing. Harry hasn't given a distress call. No one could have snatched him from our bed, so he would have had to be downstairs, up and awake, if he was in any trouble, he would have called us, which stands to reason that wherever he went, he went on his own." Max pointed out as he handed out bowls of orange flavoured baby cereal.
Braiden's bowl went onto his tray with his spoon and he happily fed himself clumsily, Farren's also went onto his tray, but Farren ate with his hands, not a spoon and Tegan's went onto the tray with a spoon, she wasn't as neat as Braiden, but she could at least get most of her cereal into her mouth, even if some ended up all down her front and onto the floor.
Blaise fed Leolin a bottle of milk as Max started feeding Regan, whose brow was going red and puffy from his bump and Draco fed Calix, who had the tendency to throw his food more than eat it if his bowl and spoon was left on his tray within his reach.
Max was washing up the bowls, spoons and the lone bottle as Blaise wiped up the highchair trays and the odd speck on the floor while Draco settled the babies in the living room with their toys, securing Leolin onto his beanbag chair and snuggling a stuffed rabbit into his little arm for him when Nasta finally came home.
"He's not at any of the family houses and they haven't seen him at all today." He announced, a thread of panic in his voice.
Aneirin flooed in directly behind his son and placed his hands on Nasta's shoulders.
"When did you last see him?" He asked seriously.
"He went to bed really early, at about six, he didn't take his hour or two nap in the afternoon because of the quintuplets birthday, so he was exhausted. He must have woken up early."
"Has he started nesting?" Aneirin asked.
The three of them looked at one another and Max came in to the room with a frown, drying his hands on a dishcloth.
"I haven't noticed anything going missing." He said with a frown. "He took curtains, tea towels, carpet, rugs, the bathroom mat, all the duvets and even my oven gloves for Braiden's nest, nothing has gone missing."
"But you can't be certain?" Aneirin asked. "Have you tried calling to him to see if he'll answer?"
"Would he answer?" Nasta asked with a frown.
"If he's just nesting, then yes, he'll answer you."
"There is almost a foot of snow outside!" Max said aghast.
The floo flared to life and Myron stepped out, he was wearing very smart robes over a smart suit, he'd been in work.
"Richard called me, he said that Harry was missing." He said by way of explanation. "He couldn't leave; he has a preliminary hearing with the judge and defendants for Harry's case to attend in five minutes. He said he'll be here as soon as it's over."
"We're just going to check to make sure that he's not nesting." Aneirin nodded to Myron. "Nothing could be amiss."
Nasta took a deep breath and let out a guttural noise that stopped all of their babies short; they huddled up together and stilled completely, just watching, their eyes wide, not making a single sound.
Tense minutes passed, hearts were pounding and blood was rushing through their ears and Nasta called twice more, before finally, a small call echoed back to them. Harry's call.
He could hear his top dominant calling for him and it annoyed him. He just wanted to rest in the cocoon that he'd made for himself. His top dominant should know that he was nesting and that he needed peace and calm to birth their new children, not this aggravating disturbance. His dominants didn't need to do anything now, this was his time, he knew what to do, he just needed to be left alone in order to do it, they should know that.
After the third call he realised that his top dominant was likely worried and wasn't going to leave him alone. He called back, a soft, happy sound to let his mates know that he wasn't distressed or in any trouble. He didn't care if they knew where he was now, as long as they left him alone and didn't try to get into his nest, he didn't want to hurt his mates, but he would if they tried to enter his nest, they'd give away his position to other predators, he wouldn't have it.
He scented them from the outside and they made noises that he couldn't understand. He trilled at them angrily, letting them know that they weren't making any sense and that he didn't appreciate them being there.
His top dominant growled to him and he hissed back, warning him to stay away and out of his nest. He shifted his body and rolled around in his cocoon before he settled in another comfortable position and he stroked his belly, being very careful of his claws around his twin babies.
One of his dominants stayed outside his nest, the others left and Harry chattered angrily, they would give away his nest site if they sat at the entrance! They'd give away his nesting site to predators!
He squawked and hissed trying to get them to understand, but the mate outside his nest didn't leave. Huffing and fluffing himself up like an angry bird; he settled himself down and closed his eyes. If his dominant gave away his position, he needed to be ready to defend himself, but one thing was for certain, the moment that he went into labour, his mates had better be prepared to surround his nest, he'd be so very vulnerable at that time and he wouldn't be able to protect himself or his newborns. He'd need them then, but it was stupid of them to give away his position before he had even gone into labour.
"He built his nest in the fucking ground!" Draco hissed angrily back at the house. "In the damn ground!"
"It's not unheard of." Myron insisted logically. "Drackens naturally prefer to be on higher ground and they like being in open nests so they can fly away if they need to, but in such cold weather, it is normal for a Dracken to build a nest in a cave, a mine, a hollow tree or an abandoned burrow, it protects them from the elements. Harry wouldn't survive if he had to spend a month or longer in the rain, snow, winds and ice of winter, he has some protection in Dracken form, but if his core temperature drops below thirty-five degrees…well you should know what will happen."
Draco paled at the reminder of how sick Harry had been when his core temperature had dropped to just thirty-three degrees. None of them wanted to feel that level of worry again, Harry had been very sick.
"The biggest concern would be if the blood that he has taken with him freezes, but his instincts would tell him to protect it at all costs. He's likely keeping it close to his body to share his body heat with it."
Max paled and rushed into the kitchen. He ripped open drawers, rifling through them to look for something. He found a sterile bag of little plastic clamps, he counted them. He let out a sigh of relief.
"He's taken four cord clamps." He informed Nasta, who nodded.
"Why four of them when he only needs two?" Draco questioned.
"Just in case one is defective and doesn't work or in case there is an extra baby that the scans didn't pick up on, it can happen, it's doubtful, but possible." Nasta informed. "It's better for him to overcompensate than to end up with an extra baby when he has nothing to clamp the cord with."
"He took the bottle of blood from yesterday too. Not that I expected anything different." Max said with a small amount of relief. "I hope he remembered everything that he needed."
"I'm very sure that he picked up everything he would have needed. He would have learnt from Braiden's nesting what he needs more of and what he needs less of." Aneirin told them.
"It doesn't look like he took any food with him." Max said worriedly as he checked his cupboards.
"Take that as very high praise." Myron said deeply. "It means that you fed him sufficiently when he was nesting with Braiden and he trusts you to do the same this time. Ashleigh didn't trust Richard and I to feed her until she was nesting with Talia."
"Lowri didn't trust me until Nasta." Aneirin said fondly. "She kept insisting it was because I wouldn't give her, her favourite biscuits. Or at least not enough of them."
"What were her favourite biscuits?" Nasta asked softly.
Aneirin looked at Nasta with a soft smile and pulled him into a hug with an arm wound around his neck. The others left the kitchen to give them some privacy, going into the living room to check on the children.
"The same as yours." Aneirin whispered gently back to Nasta. "Bourbons."
Nasta swallowed heavily and breathed out raggedly. "I wish I'd had the chance to know her."
"Know that she loved you, Nasta. She loved you with everything that she had and she would be proud to the point of tears at the man you have become."
"Would…would she like Harry?"
"She'd love Harry from the top of his hair to his tiny toes, she'd love your subordinates and to say that she'd love the kids would be a severe understatement. She was a good woman, a loving mate and an amazing Mother and I loved her fiercely. I miss her more and more each day, but you and Sanex, you remind me so much of her that I always know that pieces of her survived and live on in you both. It makes me happy to know that even though she isn't here to see you both, that she is still here within both of you."
Nasta crushed his Dad in a hug and subtly wiped his eyes on his Dad's shirt, though the hand cradling the back of his head let him know that his Dad at least knew that he was crying.
"It's alright, Nasta. Calm yourself down."
"It's just, I lost her before I even knew her, she didn't even get a chance to hold me before she died and then…then losing Anga…"
"I know. It makes me more determined to keep you and Sanex healthy and well, I worry for you working with those dragons."
Nasta laughed and stood up, brushing away his tears. "The dragons aren't the dangerous part of my job; it's facing Harry when I come home with a new burn. You'd think I was a toddler running with a kitchen knife."
"I don't blame him." Aneirin said darkly.
"Are you okay?" Blaise asked, he was stood by the backdoor awkwardly.
Nasta grinned at him. "I'm fine. Who's watching Harry?"
"Draco, he seemed very eager for the job."
"He really needs to learn to deal with emotions." Nasta muttered.
Blaise came and hugged Nasta tightly, squeezing him around the shoulders and pressing a kiss to his temple.
"I love you, if you need to talk about anything then you can come to me."
"I'm alright. I just had a wobble."
Blaise nodded. "I understand perfectly."
Nasta knew that he did too. Blaise had lost his Father shortly after his birth as well and Harry had lost both his Mother and Father at a little over a year old, yet he seemed to be able to hold everything together so much better than he or even Blaise could and they both still had a parent left to them. It made him make a mental reminder to talk to Harry to gauge how he was feeling once he had recovered from giving birth.
He shifted again and whined in the back of his throat. He wanted meat and he had none. Someone approached his nest and he growled as he smelt Dracken, he didn't want anyone near his nest, but then a huge lump of meat rolled into his nest and the Dracken backed off again.
He sniffed the meat excessively, checked it and dug into it with his claws, prodding at it, but he could see or scent nothing wrong with it and he happily tore into it, blood coating his claws, fingers and chin as he ate messily with his fangs and little teeth, chewing minimally as he almost gulped the meat down to fill his grumbling belly.
He cooed happily and threw the remains back out of his nest before he covered himself over in his many blankets and snuggled down.
He had been nesting for a while now and he felt safe and secure in his nest, especially as he'd seen off those Drackens that had been sitting outside his nest several days before. They only came back every now and then, he was surprised that they were giving him food, he didn't know why they would, but he didn't care as he rolled and made himself comfortable.
He stroked his belly and cooed to his growing children within. It wouldn't be long now and he'd have them in his arms.
He shivered in the icy gust of wind that carved through his warm, cosy nest. He had found that he really did not like nesting in winter. It was so cold that he had to stay wrapped up and covered and he kept losing the feeling in his fingers and toes. He was just so cold, he hated it.
He rolled around again, trying to get himself warm, but on every exhale his breath misted in front of him in a white torrent and his lungs burnt with every inhale of icy air. He really, really hated nesting in winter.
The whole family were waiting patiently as the weeks passed. Harry had been nesting for over two weeks so far, longer than he had with Braiden, but not by much. It was the seventeenth of January and it was hell trying to handle the babies, who all cried out for their Mother, especially Leolin, who had stopped sleeping properly and cried most of the time that he was awake, repeating the word 'Ma' over and over, at least until Draco had had the incredible idea to give Leolin a picture of Harry, which Leolin gripped in his little fists tightly. It wasn't the same and he still cried and called out for Harry, but he became transfixed with the moving picture of Harry long enough to at least drink a bit of milk, but it was safe to say that they really just wanted Harry to give birth already, but he wasn't due until February, so they had some weeks to go before Harry went into labour, or so they'd thought.
They had a steady stream of visitors to come and help them out or to just keep them company. They'd given up guarding Harry in his nest after he'd tried to attack them numerous times, hissing like an enraged snake and snatching at them with his claws. He'd gone into such a feral state that he didn't recognise them from any other Dracken and he was treating them as threats, so they'd backed off a little, just to ease down Harry's obvious stress at them being so close to him and his nest.
They made sure that Harry was very well fed, and by the partially eaten remnants that he was throwing out of his nest, they were feeding him exceptionally well, but still Nasta didn't let up on delegating himself and the others to hunt, they hadn't had such an influx of meat in a year or more and the more animal side of themselves were very happy with their new, high prey diets, but Harry trusted them to feed him while he was nesting and Nasta would be damned before he failed his submissive mate in any way.
Nasta looked over to Calix who was cruising around the furniture, a frown on his face as he called for Harry.
"Calix, your Mother isn't here at the moment, he's outside nesting, he's going to give you two new baby sisters."
"No!" Calix screamed, slapping his hand down. "No baba!"
"You don't want two new baby sisters?" Nasta asked him as he hefted Calix up and onto his lap.
"Mama." Calix said sadly.
"You just want your Mum, huh? Well don't worry, I'm sure he'll be out soon; he knows his little babies love him and he'll want to get back to you as soon as he can. But until then, we'll be here for you."
Calix looked up at him and Nasta got the impression that his little son had understood him as he latched onto the front of his shirt and snuggled in tight, hiding his face against his chest. Wrapping an arm around Calix's tiny body, Nasta held him in place as he tried to do some paperwork while Calix was snuggled into him, while keeping an ear out for any danger with Harry outside and watching the other little babies on the floor. It was just his luck that he'd been given a shit load of paper work yesterday morning, just when he didn't need any more work to do.
"Are you okay?" Draco asked as he came into the room with Leolin in his arms.
"Yeah, Calix and I are having some Father and son time. He misses Harry."
"They all do." Draco sighed. "The first thing Leolin does when he's in a new room is check it for Harry; I barely managed to get him to sleep."
"Why don't you put him in his bassinet and catch up with your book? We don't need to do anything until Harry goes into labour."
"I never thought I'd say this, but I hope Harry goes into labour soon."
"I know exactly what you mean. I didn't realise they were this attached to Harry."
Draco nodded as he slipped Leolin into his bassinet with an ease of having done the same action a hundred thousand times before. He covered the tiny boy over with a cellular blanket and tucked him in, gave his thin cheek a kiss before he came to sit next to Nasta and he picked up his book from a side table, let it open on his bookmark and he settled down to read, placing his right ankle on his left knee and leaning slightly on Nasta's shoulder.
Calix turned his head and shifted his body so that he was still clutching at Nasta's shirt, but he was facing Draco and peering out at him with those curious jet black eyes.
Draco run one long, slim finger down his little pert nose and gave him a smile before settling down and sinking into his book, picking up immediately where he'd left off in terms of how tense he was as he read a suspenseful, penultimate moment that he had been forced to leave right in the middle just the day before.
He was disturbed only five or six minutes later, when Braiden pulled himself up onto the chair next to him and butted his way under Draco's arm and onto his lap.
"Your Mother isn't here right now, Braiden." Draco explained patiently as he slipped an arm around Braiden and tugged him down.
"Yes, your brother Calix is here." Draco said with a smile. "Your brother Leolin is over there in his bassinet."
"Baba in." Braiden nodded.
"Your brother Farren is down here by Daddy Nasta's feet."
"Your sister Tegan."
"And your brother Regan."
Braiden frowned as he stared hard at Regan who was giggling and playing happily, babbling to himself.
"Regan." Draco said slowly and carefully.
"Baba Ee…we." Braiden shook his head sending his mop of hair in all directions, it fell right back into place only slightly mussed.
"Regan." Draco said again, louder and clearer.
Regan stopped playing and looked over as he heard his name. He crawled over, chunky aeroplane in his hand as he climbed up with him and Braiden. He sat on his own, but right next to Draco as he started playing with his toy up on the settee.
"Baba Ee…Ewee…Baba Ee. Nah!" Braiden exclaimed in frustration. "Baba gan!" He nodded and leant over Draco to pat Regan on the head. Hard.
Regan scowled at his brother and smack his hand away. "No!" He snapped back.
"Play nice." Nasta cut in authoritatively.
Braiden and Regan both frowned, but they turned away from one another and after a few minutes, Braiden climbed back down to the floor and pulled himself up with the coffee table, he then took several steps around with its help before he tried stepping out on his own. He toddled from the coffee table to the armchair, then from the armchair to the toy box, where he sat down and dug out some toys to play with.
"He's getting much better at toddling now." Draco pointed out to Nasta.
"We're going to have to make sure that the house is completely safe now that he's on his feet." Nasta nodded even as he continued writing on a long piece of parchment, Calix tucked into his chest, legs splayed over his lap and still clutching at him tightly.
"Dada Day, mama!" Tegan demanded as she tugged on the leg of his trousers.
"Your Mother isn't here right now, Tegan." Draco said with a sigh, he was beginning to sound like a broken radio.
"Mama!" Tegan shouted.
Calix jumped and turned to look over his shoulder down at his sister.
"Nah, baba Tee!" Braiden admonished. "Ne gah abba ta!"
Tegan turned on him as quick as a flash and before anyone could do anything, she'd flung her arm over her head and thrown the cardboard book in her hands at Braiden's head.
Nasta was up a second later, Calix placed to the side of where he'd been sat and Tegan went straight into the travel cot behind the settee, Nasta didn't say a word to her as he came around the settee and picked up a crying Braiden. The book had smacked him on the top of his head, but thankfully it had been the flat of the book and not a corner.
"That's the first time she's acted out since…"
"Since Harry shouted at her when Leolin was in the hospital." Nasta finished gruffly. "It seems to me like she understood that Harry wasn't here and wouldn't be for a while, so she's started with her bad behaviour again."
"Please hurry up, Harry." Draco sighed.
He was so cold that he felt like he'd never be warm again. He snarled angrily as he wriggled tighter into his cocoon of fur blankets, the next time he went into labour in the winter, he was finding somewhere warmer!
Trilling softly to the dominant Dracken outside his nest, he tried to get them to leave him alone without moving from his warm position, if he did then he knew he'd be cold again and he didn't want to be cold anymore.
The tender midsection of an animal rolled into his nest and he hissed angrily. He didn't want to move, not even to eat, he was too cold.
He reached one arm out and snagged the meat, sniffing it over before he started eating, keeping as much of his body under the warm blankets as he possibly could while he did so. At least it was a fresh kill so his meat was warm in the middle and that made him feel warmer inside as his food settled in his belly.
His two babies were moving about restlessly and he knew that the time to take them out would be soon, his spine hadn't stopped aching since he'd woken up that morning and he was developing a pain in his abdomen, just under his tight, solid bump.
He mewled softly and wriggled in his cocoon. He sat up and checked on everything, making sure he had everything he needed, laying it out within easy reach. It was almost time.
He ate a little bit more before he threw the remains out of his nest to make space, he lined the wicker basket thickly with soft, clean blankets ready to receive his newborns and he washed his claws with water to make sure there was no more meat or blood on them from his meal.
The pain got progressively worse as time passed and it got so bad that he started warbling with every exhale, only quietly, but he was getting louder and louder with each minute that passed until just an hour later he was screaming loudly.
He heard the reassuring growls from his dominant mates, they were close by, but he couldn't scent them, he wanted them where he could scent them, but just knowing that they were there when he knew that there were also other dominants hanging around reassured him and he let them know that as he let out a harsh call which ended in a scream. It was time.
He checked his claws again, making sure they were still as clean as he could make them before he got onto his knees, he spread them out so that his baby bulge was between his thighs and he felt underneath it gently, pressing his finger knuckle into the flesh there to check where his babies were lying and for the perfect incision site. He let out his loudest scream yet and took a few deep breaths while letting the growls of his dominants steady him and calm him. He'd done this twice before, he could do it again.
- X Birth scene X-
His index claw sunk into his stomach, through flesh, fat and muscle, his middle claw slipping in behind it to make the incision wide enough for a baby to get through and clean enough to ensure a quick recovery.
He screamed through the agony of it, his eyes blurring with tears of pain as he felt around inside himself for the membrane of his sac, he pressed on it, feeling for the position of the precious babies within. This was such a delicate part of the process, he would not catch either of them with his claws, he refused to put them in any danger and especially not from himself, never from himself.
His hand and wrist now covered in blood, he found an area of his sac that had a little space between it and the baby on the other side, so with the very tip of his index claw, he slit open the sac with a smooth, swift movement, his other arm up, his hand poised to guide a head through his sac and out into the open.
He pressed gently, slipping his hand against his sac and tentatively fingered around inside himself for a head, he found one and cupping the back of it with his hand; he guided the bloodied baby out of his sac and onto the blanketed ground, freeing his first baby girl and welcoming her into the world.
He checked her over, just enough to ascertain that she had no injuries or obvious deformities that needed to be immediately addressed before he reached back into himself and eased his second girl out into the world, his wrist got entangled with the umbilical cords, because they were both attached to the same placenta, the one was now crossed over the other, so it took some manoeuvring on his part and a lot of pushing them out of the way, but he finally cupped the back of his baby's head and eased her body from his, laying her next to her sister before reaching out and grabbing two cord clamps. He checked them over and made sure they were physically alright before he snapped them low down onto the cords and severed them, only then did the two wet wails of newborns fill his nest.
Grunting with exertion, he let out a hoarse scream that hurt even his ears as he pulled out the single placenta and dumped it down into a waiting towel. He made sure his insides were clean and he'd left nothing amiss inside himself before he snatched up the bottle of his mates' blood and gulped it down. It was cold, icy and thick, but he didn't care as the damage he'd done to himself to get out his baby girls slowly knitted itself back together, leaving behind a livid red line that would scar badly.
- X End Birth Scene X -
Only after he'd done that did he check on his newborns, wiping them free from blood and hoisting them onto his shoulder in turn to pat their backs to free any fluid from their lungs. He checked them over more critically, counting fingers and toes, making sure their noses and throats weren't blocked; he checked their eyes, which were both a stunning shade of cornflower blue, but were a little wet and gluey from being surrounded by fluid for so long. He checked on their cords and made sure the clamps were tight before he checked their more intimate parts. They were both definitely little girls.
Once assured that they were perfectly fine, he put them in clean nappies and dressed them in sleepsuits that were a little big and baggy on them, but would keep them warm, before he tucked them into the wicker basket and covered them over with three blankets, placing little hats and scratch mitts on them while he was at it and then he took a moment to breathe.
He threw the placenta and bloodied blankets out of his nest and croaked tiredly to his mates, letting them know that they had to remove them before it attracted predators, before he curled up and fell into a deep, deep sleep.
They were all anxious, they had removed the blood soaked blankets and the placenta from outside Harry's nest and disposed of them yesterday afternoon, covering the bloodstains over with fresh snow merely to appease Harry as they knew that no predator would dare go near his nest site.
Max was brewing a scar reducer, more to keep busy than anything as they waited and waited anxiously for any noise or sound from Harry, but there was nothing and though they were tempted to just go into his nest and bring him and the babies into the house and out of the cold snow, they knew that after birthing Harry needed time to come back into himself. He would still be feral for a while afterwards and he'd come to them in his own time, but the waiting was agony, but at least Harry had stopped screaming, that had brought them a small amount of relief. Hearing the one that they loved so very, very much screaming in such heart wrenching agony hurt them deeply and the need to go to Harry, to protect him and comfort him was incredibly strong, but they had been unable to do so and that had made them all angry, grouchy and anguished in equal measures. Of course it didn't help that their babies had all started to scream along with Harry once they'd heard him, even little Leolin, who had cried himself to sleep and cried his lungs raw in the process.
Blaise almost thought that Harry had the best part of this situation, then he thought about digging his own claws into his own stomach to take out two live newborns and he felt queasy, there was no way that he could do what Harry did to birth their children into the world. He'd have to have those babies pulled from him forcibly as he was under the body bind curse after he'd been caught and dragged back kicking and screaming and likely with a trail of bodies littering the way.
Regan cruised around to meet him and patted his knee.
"Hello to you too, Regan." He sighed as he held those slim shoulders with both of his hands.
"He's not here Regan, sweetheart." Blaise said sadly. "He's with your new baby sisters."
"Dada Blay, mama."
Blaise sighed and picked Regan up, sitting him on his hip as he moved to the kitchen. Max was still brewing a scar reducer on the counter, they'd put two bassinets in the kitchen at the opposite end of the table to Leolin's, ready for the newborn twins. Draco was feeding Leolin far enough away so that if by some freak, clumsy accident Max knocked over the cauldron then he'd have ample time to turn his back to protect their little baby from any splashes.
"Regan really want's Harry."
"They all do." Draco groused. "You'd think that we were convenient moving statues that fed and changed them."
"All babies have a deep connection with their Mother; Dracken babies are no different, Draco." Max said from the counter.
"But it's like we're nothing to them."
"Of course you're not, they call you Daddy Day don't they? They know who you are, they're just closer to Harry and I'd like to think that they'd act like this if any of us went missing for two and a half weeks. I mean, no offense to you Max, but they were a wreck when you left, they called for you constantly too." Blaise answered. "So I don't think it's a reflection on us that they're calling for Harry so much, they obviously have a strong bond with him and two and a half weeks is too long for him to be gone, but they acted the same when Max left us, so though they have a strong bond with Harry, they have a bond with us as well."
"I still want Harry to come home." Draco grumbled.
"I'm clock watching at the moment." Max sighed proving his point by looking at the wall mounted clock. "He went the whole night without making a sound, this morning Nasta heard movement, but Harry didn't call out and he didn't make any move to come out, so Nasta fed him and left."
"I want to meet our girls so badly." Draco sighed. "They're a day old already and I don't even know what they look like."
"Sometimes it takes a submissive a while to settle down after labour, especially if it was a normal, uneventful birth. Take the quintuplets for instance; Harry's worry for Leolin overruled his instincts. He wanted to get Leolin to the hospital so badly that it took just hours for him to come around and invite us into his nest, but with Braiden it took about a day before he came out of his nest, so I think that we should just be relieved at the fact that it means there isn't anything immediately wrong with our twin girls."
"I know, but the wait is killing me." Blaise said anxiously, looking as the clock ticked over to four in the afternoon.
"Mama." Regan sat patting Blaise's cheek.
"He has to come out soon or these kids are going to drive me mad." Blaise said as he walked away with Regan again, taking him back to his brothers and lone sister who were being watched over by Richard and Aneirin.
"Nothing. Harry's incredibly quiet; we have no idea what he's doing."
"You likely never will." Aneirin said. "What little he'll remember of his labour and birthing he may not feel like sharing, at least not immediately, but if I had to hazard a guess then I'd say that he was forming a bond with the two girls, settling them down and himself and just resting. Opening up your own stomach and removing two babies and the placenta…he's not going to recover overnight, Blaise, he's likely hurting, at the very least he's very sore and aching."
Blaise nodded as he put Regan down on the floor and watched as he stared hard at everyone in the room.
"Mama?" He asked curiously.
Blaise wanted to hit himself in the head.
"Go and play, Regan." He encouraged instead as he sat back down and threw his head over the back of the settee. "This waiting is agony."
"I remember this waiting." Richard said with a fond smile. "Always waiting on eggshells for Ashleigh to come out of her nest holding my new son or daughter. It was bittersweet really, it was agony, but I always forgot it the moment that my baby was placed in my arms."
Nasta walked into the room with a grizzling Braiden, who'd had a hell of a tantrum and had vomited from his crying, all because Harry wasn't there.
"How is he?" Blaise asked, holding his arms out for his son.
"Better, but he's still whinging." Nasta replied, placing Braiden into Blaise's arms.
"There's no news from outside." Blaise reported. "Harry's still quiet."
Nasta nodded. "I expected as much, he has double the amount of newborns as he had the last time he had an uneventful birth, he's likely run ragged from the night feeds, but remember, he only has a limited supply of nappies and formula. He'll have to come out and soon."
Blaise nodded and held Braiden to him, his shirt soaking through with his son's tears. This had gone on long enough now.
Max finished up his potions, bottled them and then cleaned up before he started dinner, Blaise envied him for having something to do, something to take his mind away from the long wait.
They fed their babies and bathed them, getting them ready for bed as they took away their stimulating toys and left them with soft, quiet toys that would calm them down. Aneirin had Leolin tucked into one arm as he read a picture book to him quietly, making up a story to go with the pictures.
They all heard Max's happy exclamation and Harry's tired voice from the kitchen and as one, six babies turned towards the kitchen and Calix was just gone, crawling as fast as his little hands and knees could take him, burbling happily with a soaking wet chin from his dribble.
Nasta scooped him up and carried him into the kitchen to see Max ushering a very pale, tired looking Harry into a chair. He had two heavily wrapped bundles in his arms. He could just see a pale tuft of hair sticking out of one blanket; he would bet that hair had been darker yesterday from the fluid.
"How are you feeling?" Nasta asked and he tried to hold onto a squirming, fighting Calix.
"Tired, achy and sore." Harry croaked, but he smiled at his babies as everyone in the kitchen tried to keep a hold on them. "I missed you all."
"How are those two?" Draco asked as he stared at as much of them as he could see.
"Loud." Harry chuckled as he looked down at them. "And hairy as hell, they were born with their hair stuck straight up, there's at least two inches of the stuff. It was darker when they were born too, but the more it dries the lighter it's going."
"They're adorable." Richard said with a grin. "I told Myron that he'd miss their homecoming, but he's in work until six."
"Pass them here, you must be exhausted." Max insisted.
Harry handed the twins over and then grinned tiredly as he got a hold of the babies that he'd missed while in his nest, holding Leolin and Regan while the others knelt on the table where he could hold them and kiss them.
"I missed you all too." Harry said hoarsely as the babies all babbled over one another.
"What colour are their eyes?" Blaise asked.
"Cornflower blue at the moment, but that could change easily in the coming months." Harry nodded. "But their eyes are a gorgeous colour."
"Have you thought of names?" Draco asked as he was cradling a little girl with a misty eyed look on his face as he looked down at his daughter.
"Of course he hasn't!" Nasta cut in. "He's just come out of his nest, give him a minute to eat and get some proper sleep first."
Harry nodded happily at that idea. "I feel like I haven't slept in a month. I have a few ideas for names from before their birth, but I don't like any of them now, but one thing is certain, I want one of them to be named after your grandmother, Max. I decided on that the day of the scan when we found out that they were girls. I knew the first girl born would have the middle name Evelyn, you don't mind do you?"
Max passed the baby he was holding to Blaise and pulled Harry into a tight hug, babies and all.
"That means so much to me, Harry. That you would name one of our newborn daughters after a woman who I loved so much, thank you. I love you."
"Love you too." Harry said right before he let out a jaw shattering yawn.
"Max has dinner on; as soon as you've eaten you can climb into bed." Nasta said with a smile and a soft caress to Harry's cheek.
"That sounds like heaven." Harry declared, even as he bent to kiss Braiden's mouth and raised a hand to stroke a finger back and forth over Farren's cheek.
"Can you hold on for a bath too, or do you want to wait for tomorrow to deal with that?" Draco asked, even as he continued to gaze at his daughter.
"Tomorrow." Harry said firmly. "They're half an hour apart."
"What do you mean?" Blaise asked as he rubbed noses with the little girl in his arms.
"One will wake up for a feed so I sort her out, burp her, check her over and then put her back to bed, then half an hour later the other one will wake up and it's the same all over again, they're not synchronised, they're on their own schedules, I've had barely any sleep, though thankfully they only woke up every three hours, not every two or I'd have had no sleep at all."
"Which one is which?" Max asked.
"That one is the youngest. Four pounds and eight ounces." Harry said looking critically over the one baby in Draco's arms. "She wakes up first for her feeds, and that one is the older twin. Four pounds and six ounces." Harry said as he nodded to the baby that Nasta was currently cradling. "She wakes up half an hour after her sister drops back off to sleep for her feeds. They were born seven minutes apart as far as I remember; I think I caught my wrist between the umbilical cords, because they were attached to the same placenta it was awkward to manoeuvre around them, so I had to sort those out before I could take her out and it took me a while to do it."
"Your dinner's burning." Richard said happily.
Max turned around and cursed, diving for the food that he was cooking and taking the saucepan from the hob.
"I think that's our cue to leave. It's wonderful to see you again, Harry, congratulations on your two new baby girls, they're beautiful." Aneirin praised.
Harry grinned tiredly, but proudly from under his pile of children, some of whom were getting drowsy.
Nasta saw their guests out as Max dished up dinner onto waiting plates.
"It's going to be impossible to get these monsters into bed now." Blaise sighed as he cradled the baby that Nasta had handed back to him.
"I'm sorry for not coming home later." Harry teased in a croak.
Blaise chuckled and pulled him into a kiss. "I love you and I'm glad that you're home, it hasn't been the same without you around, plus the kids really missed you."
"I was worried about that before I nested, but I just didn't think about it when I went feral."
"Next time you go and nest, let us know about it! We almost had heart attacks when we woke up and found you missing."
"Sorry, the urge came suddenly and I didn't think of anything other than gathering up what I needed and getting to my nest."
"We found you alright." Nasta said as he helped move the babies off the table and into the two travel cots that he'd brought back with him from the living room.
"Did I miss anything?" He asked, gathering up the courage. He'd be devastated if he missed anything.
"Regan cut a back tooth, Braiden's getting stronger at walking and Tegan has decided to read aloud, it doesn't seem to matter that the book was upside down and it's just nonsensical babbling, but she's very happy to read her books to us." Blaise said with a grin.
Harry laughed. "Did you get it on tape for me?"
"Of course, it was too adorable not to tape." Max answered as he put a heaped plate in front of Harry and gave his cheek a solid kiss.
"On the subject of Tegan, she started playing up when she realised that you were gone and weren't coming back. She threw one of her books at Braiden and it hit his head."
"Those books are chunky and have sharp edges!" Harry said as he turned to Braiden and checked his head.
"The flat of the book caught him, but while we're on the subject of injuries Regan had a black eye for a few days too." Nasta informed him.
"How the hell did he get a black eye?!" Harry demanded aghast.
"He fell in his cot and he must have caught his brow on the side bar, it wasn't a bad black eye, just a slight bruising around his eye socket. It looked worse than it was, I promise." Max assured.
Harry nodded, but he still stood up and went to the travel cots, staring hard at Regan, turning his head every which way before placing a kiss to his forehead. He couldn't detect even a hint of bruising which helped settle him back down.
"Come back here and eat something." Nasta chastised. "Don't overwork yourself either, you need rest."
Harry sighed, but he smiled too. He'd missed his mates while he'd spent two weeks in isolation. He couldn't remember the full weeks that he'd been in his nest, but he remembered bits and pieces and this caring and fussing comfort from his mates was making him feel very settled and happy.
He ate his first cooked meal in weeks and he relished it happily and when his youngest newborn girl started wailing at the top of her lungs, it was absolutely lovely when Draco dived from his chair to see to her and Max all but run to the kettle to get her a bottle made up. He could just relax and sit back on his arse and do nothing but stuff his face and it felt absolutely fucking amazing.
"I know you said they had hair, but damn that's a mop and a half." Max laughed happily as he handed the bottle over to Draco and uncovered the little girl's head from her blanket covering, running his thick fingers through the little girl's thick mass of pale hair.
Harry grinned. He couldn't wait to tell his mates that both of his newborn girls were Drackens, but not yet, he wanted to keep that to himself for a while longer, but they were going to be insanely happy and proud of him and their girls, he loved them dearly already, but he would adore them if they'd just let him get a couple more hours of sleep a night. He'd grown so used to it over the last few months with all of their babies sleeping through the night, as it was rare now that Leolin woke in the night for a bottle, that these next few weeks where their girls would wake them every three hours for a feed was going to be a torturous hell. He was already exhausted and they were only a day old.
"Come on you, let's get this potion on your scar and tuck you up into bed with the kids. You look like you need a good fourteen hour sleep." Max said as he waved a jar of familiar scar salve at him.
"I can't do stairs." Harry said as he held up his arms to be carried. "Trying to get out of my nest with two newborns and all the uneven ground to get over was severely painful, even just getting over the step to the back door almost killed me."
"All you have to do is ask." Max almost sung as he picked Harry up carefully, being mindful of the now empty baby bump as he carried Harry from the kitchen and up to their bedroom.
Max laid Harry gently on the bed and Harry groaned happily as he wriggled around in ecstasy. "Oh you have no idea how good it feels to be in a BED!"
Max laughed and pinned him down and took the dirty pair of maternity jeans from Harry, the only article of clothing that he was wearing and if Max had to guess, he'd say they were the same pair that Harry had likely worn into his nest two and a half weeks ago.
The scar was long, thick and livid and Max winced to see it. He couldn't even imagine cutting himself open with his own claws and looking at the scar, it had been a wide cut, but he manned up and applied the scar reducer thickly and copiously. Harry fell deeply asleep before he was even halfway finished.
Placing a strip of gauze over the paste, Max plastered it down so that it wouldn't move or rub off on the sheets and then he slipped Harry gently and carefully into his arms and pulled back the duvet before he placed Harry in the centre of the bed. He kissed Harry's slack lips and tucked him back over.
He could hear Blaise and Nasta in the nursery next door and then Draco came in with Leolin to place him in the bassinet. Two more had been added to the bedside on the opposite side of Leolin's, like a mirror image from the kitchen only a bed separated them in this room and not a long table.
"Who's watching the girls?" He asked.
"They're alright for the moment." Draco whispered. "The younger twin was fed and burped; now we're waiting for the older girl to wake for her feed. They're absolutely gorgeous, Max."
Max nodded with a grin. "I know. I'm so damn proud of him, after the horror that was the quintuplets birth I expected him to go overboard or to panic and cock something up, but he didn't, he pushed aside the past birth and focused on what he needed to do and what he knew he had to do and he birthed them without issue. Well almost no issue, he did mention that tangling with the umbilical cords, but other than that, he said that nothing went wrong. That takes bravery, guts and a dash of maturity too. I can't wait until he's more rested and less exhausted so that he can hopefully remember a bit more, but for now, he really needs his sleep."
Draco nodded as he bedded Leolin down and tucked him in before they both left the bedroom together. They went back down the stairs and into the living room, where Draco had moved the girls after dinner and they sat down and just looked at them sleeping peacefully, their little faces angelic in sleep and their little hands drowned in too big scratch mitts. They were almost mirror images of one another, the only difference in them and their position was that one girl had her head to the left, the other to the right so that though they were in separate bassinets, they were both facing one another.
"I wonder who's they are." Draco sighed wistfully.
"I have an idea, but I want to wait for Harry to wake up to confirm it." Nasta said as he came into the living room and joined them on the settee and sat with them, all three of them gazing at the sleeping girls in front of them.
"You didn't leave a space for me." Blaise complained as he came in.
Max grabbed him quick as a flash and dragged him down onto his lap, holding him around the hips and nuzzling the back of his neck with his lips.
"There we go, now we can all baby gaze together." Max said happily.
"They're amazing." Blaise sighed. "Our newborn girls. A day old. Merlin, how much I want to thank Harry for everything that he does, puts up with and goes through just to give us these adorable children."
"They look like Braiden." Max said with a grin, squeezing Blaise's middle. "They've got the same chin."
Blaise laughed. "Yeah, they do have Braiden's chin, but Braiden has Harry's chin."
"They look like they have Harry's eyes." Max said consideringly.
"The one I fed opened her eyes for a few moments, they're more rounded than Harry's eyes, but they do have an almost almond shape to them. They're just more rounded almond." Draco told them.
"I don't think we'll really know until Harry wakes up." Nasta said. "But one thing's for certain, whatever the outcome, I have two new baby daughters and I'm currently the happiest man in the world."
"I can agree to that." Max said and twisted so that he rested against Nasta, Blaise reclining against him. "I love those girls already and I don't care which one of us is the Father, I will be teaching them how to cause mayhem."
"You certainly will not!" Draco hissed. "My daughters will not be forced to cause trouble when they may be as good as gold."
"Stop the fighting." Nasta said, swatting at them both lazily. "It's too late in the day and I'm just glad to have Harry and my newborn girls back under this roof and out of that snow."
"I can agree to that." Blaise said with a sigh. "After all the waiting, the worrying and the anxiety and tension, I'm just happy that all three of them are home and safe. I feel exhausted myself."
"An early night then. I have a feeling that these two are going to keep us sleep deprived for the next several weeks; we need all the sleep that we can get." Nasta nodded.
"What about Leolin?" Draco asked. "He's going to have his sleep disturbed every single night."
"We'll have to put up a one way ward to help keep him sleeping as much as possible, Harry won't allow him to leave our bedroom just yet, he's the equivalent of a four month old, it's too soon."
Nasta smiled as one of their daughters shifted in her sleep, but that didn't last when she opened her tiny pink mouth and started wailing. Loudly, very loudly. He looked at the clock and sighed with a smile as he saw that Harry was dead on, she was exactly half an hour behind the schedule of her younger sister. These next few weeks were going to be a huge strain and challenge on them all if their two newborn girls continued with their different schedules.
A/N: Okay, I'm going to say this once more. This is not an action/angst fic; it is a family/romance fic. If you want more angst, then why don't you, oh I don't know, try looking for a fic in the angst genre? If you want less family stuff, try reading a fic that is not in the family genre as this fic focuses heavily on family/romance, which means excessive amounts of babies and lovey-dovey fluff.
This is also a slow paced fic, which means it'll take a while before certain plot issues come up…it won't go straight from murder, to rape and then directly onto kidnap attempt/hostage situation, shit like that annoys me and comes across as so unrealistic it's laughable, so things like the Dursley trial will take a while to come about, I mean how many court trials do you know of that have been filed and then held only a few days after the initial arrest? There's evidence gathering, hearings to have, the police need to comb through the Dursley's house and records, there will be back and forth accusations, it all takes time and money, most court cases take years before anyone is actually tried and convicted. Things don't happen immediately and promptly in real life, so just be patient, it'll all happen in time and it'll all be resolved, just let me do what I do and let me write at my own pace and remember that if you don't like what you're reading, no one is holding a knife to your throat, just stop bloody reading if you don't like the babies or the family focus or the 'lack of angst' because I am fully committed to my writing and it will go the way I want it to regardless of your thoughts on the matter, this is a family fic, it is a romance fic, it will have a heavy focus on the babies and it will be slow paced, if you can't handle that, go and find something else to read.
Huge thank you to Annabeth Volturi who was the 11,200th reviewer for this fic!
Ireadtomuch: It's not really anything to do with Harry or his mates, the Dracken genes choose the child regardless of parentage, fertility or magical power, if the baby has the qualities needed and sought after in a Dracken, and if they naturally have Dracken blood in their family tree, then the genes will snatch them up and manifest on their sixteenth birthday, but it is…unusual to have two out of six babies be Drackens in just one year…some Dracken parents never have a Dracken child, some have quite a few, but it's not rare.
Esaria: I have no clue when I'll be done, I write each chapter as it comes to me, nothing is prewritten, so I can't even say how many chapters it'll be though I do know that I plan to end it in summer of 2002, so a while to go yet, but I just do not know how many chapters it'll be.
Caraline Fisher: Babies, even Dracken babies, can't do it all. Dracken babies do develop faster than human born babies, but they tend to focus on one thing at a time and for Braiden it's his vocabulary. He's focusing more on learning to talk than he is learning to walk and as you pointed out, younger siblings tend to develop slower because the older ones do everything for them, the quintuplets are only four months younger and between Regan always playing with Braiden, Tegan attacking him and pulling on him when he stands up he's a bit overwhelmed with walking, so he's focusing on talking more.
Walking On Midnight: Harry's wings are white and leathery and he has an eleven foot wingspan. The scales on those wings are a multitude of colours based on his mates wing and scale colour. He has silver scales from Draco, yellow-gold from Nasta, bright blue from Max, amethyst from Blaise and black from Max, Blaise and Nasta.
Guest DJ: No. A submissive cannot have a mate that is not a Dracken; this has been mentioned numerous times throughout the story. A dominant can have a non-Dracken as a partner or even a spouse, but they will never be mates and the dominant will always want a submissive Dracken, even if they're happily married and have a family, that want will never go away.
Guest: I have no idea who Ed Sheeran is, but Max and Nasta have no real life equivalents because they are made purely from my imagination, no one in real life will ever come close to looking like them and yes, Nasta is pronounced how it is spelt. Nas-Tah.
Marianna is taller than Blaise is, so she's really tall. She's about six foot, three and a half inches tall, but she has the same slender build of Blaise, but she's muscled as well, she has to be as a dominant Dracken.
Guest 2: I have no idea what you mean. Where at any point would Dumbledore have died in this fic? It deviates from canon at the end of Harry's fifth year, Dumbledore died in the books a year later, so he's not dead and there's no reason for him to die in this fic.
Drackens can get colds; again this is answered in the fic when Nasta got a cold in chapter sixty and it has been explained before that though they can't get any of the big diseases, they can get infections and small viruses.
If in the event that twin submissives were born, anything could happen with their meetings, one could not feel ready so she holds her meeting back, the oldest twin could have her meeting first and the younger twin second or they could both have their meetings together, it's entirely up to them.
Hello Sailor: Drackens are magical creatures, they need the magic within them to be able to complete the Dracken inheritance when they're sixteen, if they didn't have magic, they would be unable to go through the transformation into their Dracken inheritances. All Drackens are magical and no child born without magic, even if their parents are Drackens, can ever be a Dracken, the genes just wouldn't choose them.
What I meant when I said that some of the babies are Drackens and some are wizards/witches is that the human babies aren't squibs, that though they are human and not Drackens, they still have magic.
Well I hope you've enjoyed reading this chapter, the next one will be around soon, but I want to try and get something for Lycanthrope Factory and Damaged Bodies out too, maybe the second chapter of Pride of the Lions too, until then enjoy,
StarLight Massacre. X