A/N: Happy belated birthday to Louise, one of the Facebookers. I'm so sorry I couldn't get this out for your birthday or manage to get you that Scaled Bits chapter, I hope this helps make up for it.
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.
Chapter Eighty-Nine – Saints Patience
Nasta felt like he'd been beaten to within an inch of his life and then served up cold the next morning. He had known that the girls being on different schedules would be hard to manage, but he'd had absolutely no idea exactly just how hard it would have been to deal with. Every three hours, first one baby would wake them up for a bottle and then just as they were all drifting back to sleep after sorting her out and getting her back to sleep, the other one would wake up. So even though the twins woke every three hours, the four of them only got an hour and a half, maybe two hours' worth of sleep if they were lucky in that time and through it all Harry slept like a rock. He never stirred; he didn't so much as twitch, not even once, at the ear piercing wails just beside the bed.
Not that Nasta held it against him, of course not, Harry had done his part amazingly well and he was happy to take over for a couple of days while Harry recovered and rested after his ordeal. It was more that he was surprised that Harry could sleep though all the feedings, he had been correct after all, the girls were loud, incredibly loud, in their demands for their milk.
He'd been worried that he might have to ward the nursery next door so that none of their other babies were woken up with the noise, but amazingly no matter how loudly one baby cried, she never woke up her twin, the other baby slept peacefully through it all just next to her screaming sister, just like their Mother. He wanted to know their secret to blocking out the noise.
Nasta was the only one awake at the moment and he had both twins with him and six babies crawling around his feet after he'd done the breakfast feedings all on his own…well, Leolin wasn't crawling about anywhere, but he was on the floor for once, flat on his back in a padded baby gym. He hadn't moved an inch, his arms still straight by his sides, but the shiny shaped mirror floating over his head was holding his avid attention. He'd managed to feed and supervise all eight of them and the worst that had happened was Braiden getting the yolk of his soft boiled egg in his hair along with a smear of butter from his little toast soldiers. Nasta considered that a success.
Now he had one twin in his left arm, he'd long since forgotten if she was the older or the younger twin, they were completely and utterly identical to his eyes, though he was sure that as he got used to them and they aged he'd get better at telling them apart, but for now, it was impossible until one of them opened their mouth to scream for a feed.
"Dada Nah?" Braiden asked as he toddled unsteadily over to him.
"Are you alright, Braiden?" He asked softly.
"Your Mother is upstairs sleeping, Braiden."
Braiden nodded his head, but his indigo eyes looked to the baby in his arms curiously.
"Oo at?" He asked and Nasta wished fervently that he had a video camera to hand, Braiden was growing by the day and his vocabulary in particular was picking up after suffering a lapse when Braiden had first found his feet. It was stunning to see the advanced effect that the Dracken genes had on his development.
"This is your new baby sister." He told him softly. "You need to be very quiet and gentle with her."
Braiden, who had been reaching out a hand to touch the baby, pulled it back sharply and looked up at him unsurely. Nasta smiled and took his still tiny hand in his own and held it as he helped Braiden pet his new sister, his little finger tips barely brushing her skin and soft hair.
The girls' hair had gone paler still this morning and Nasta grinned to see it, curling a lock of it around his finger; they really did have a lot of hair for newborns. It was a soft, pale brown at the moment and it was starting to curl as it dried. He'd known it would go curly ever since Harry had said that they'd been born with their hair stuck straight up.
Max shuffled into the room and he looked at him blearily.
"Good morning." Nasta greeted with a smirk.
"How are you even awake?" He groaned as he flumped next to him and immediately robbed one of the little girl's from his arms. "They're so loud! My ears are still ringing."
"I'm up out of necessity, our children needed their breakfasts, one of us had to get up to sort them all out and it wasn't going to be anyone else but me, Harry hasn't moved all night."
"I need to reapply the scar reducer salve to him soon. Merlin it was bad this time, Nas."
Nasta nodded. "It's been a while since he was last pregnant and with the quintuplets birth, what with his sac ripping, that was a bad birth and even with the scar reducer he still had a faint scar left behind, he's just ripped through it yet again, it's bound to make it a look a little worse."
Max nodded thoughtfully, but his eyes were all for the little girl in his arms. He was completely smitten, just like the rest of them.
"She's gorgeous." Max whispered reverently.
Nasta nodded his agreement, but his attention was diverted by Blaise coming into the room.
"I feel like death warmed over." He said miserably.
"You look worse." Max relied with a grin and Blaise gave him a solid thwack, which made him laugh all the more.
"Behave yourselves." Nasta said with a long suffering sigh.
"You're asking the impossible there." Draco said just as he walked into the room.
"Dada Day!" Calix called out and immediately went up onto his knees and lifted his arms high above his head.
Draco chuckled but bent down and hefted Calix up under his arms and held him against his chest, settling him into his arms, giving him a morning kiss when Calix demanded it.
"Have you been alright this morning, Calix?" He asked, his voice still a little gruff around the edges from sleep.
Calix went into a stream of babbling and burbling, an odd word thrown in here or there for good measure, but Draco just nodded seriously and hummed at intermittent points.
"Was Harry still asleep when you woke up?" Nasta asked.
Draco nodded to him. "Like a rock, I think he's going to sleep for another several hours at least. He didn't even stir when I unwrapped myself from him."
Nasta nodded. "That's alright, let him rest and recover. He ate before he went to sleep, so I'm not too concerned about him missing a few meals. He ate well in his nest too, we fed him well."
"How are the girls?"
"Sleeping at the moment, we need to get some new sleepsuits and bodysuits for them, the ones we have are either too small or too baggy, it's not too much of a problem as they are going to grow, but the oldest girl, or at least I think that one is the oldest, she pulls her legs to curl up to her chest, but because the sleepsuit is so baggy, her legs come out of the leg parts and then when she stretches out again, both legs go into the same leg hole and then she gets stuck."
Max laughed at that. "That's just begging for an accident to happen, I'll pick some up today after work, I have to go in, just for an hour to oversee a shipment. I just have to check on the quality of the potions we're shipping out."
"Remember that Harry will not have any sort of slogan on them." Blaise warned.
Max nodded. "I don't like it either, so no problems there."
"Do you think we will be able to send the birth certificates off today? Hedwig is back to attacking Esmeralda over Saracen; one of them needs a flight."
"It depends on whether Harry is up to naming our girls later." Nasta said. "But if he's not then just let him rest."
It took a further three hours for Harry to wake up at half past one in the afternoon. All of their babies were down for their naps after their lunches and Max had left for work after fending off his insistent, excited family members who wanted to visit the newborn twins.
Harry shuffled slowly into the kitchen, being careful of his very sore stomach, to where Nasta was doing paperwork and Blaise was cooing over one girl as Draco fed the other, his shirt sleeves rolled to his elbows and his solid forearm muscles were bulging as he cradled a tiny four pound baby to his chest, leaning his lower back against the counter like some eye candy model for a Mother and Baby magazine.
"How are you feeling?" Nasta asked, shoving his paperwork aside as he stood up to come to Harry and hug him.
"Like I slept for a week." Harry chuckled.
"Not quite a week, but a good analogy all the same." Blaise nodded.
Nasta got him to sit down and made him a cup of honey tea and a plate of lightly buttered toast.
Harry ate like a starved man so Nasta tossed him a pear as well and Harry saluted him with it, before tearing into it like it was a prime steak.
"Max left instructions for you to have a bath or a shower, though a bath would put less pressure on your muscles and then you are to let me apply that scar salve."
"Where is Max?" Harry asked. "Work?"
"He had to go in for an hour or so, just to oversee a quality assessment before a large shipment of potions is sent out to various clinics and apothecaries all over Britain. He's going to pick up some sleepsuits on his way home too."
"I hope you told him no stupid slogans, I don't want any slogans on any of them."
"He remembered." Draco said with a smirk as he burped the little girl in his arms.
"Let me hold her." Harry demanded.
"You need to go and have a bath first." Draco argued. "You're filthy and my little queens have already been bathed today."
Harry cocked an eyebrow. "Queens?"
Draco nodded. "They'll be treated better than royalty!" He declared seriously.
"He's been doing this all morning." Blaise chuckled. "I think he's in love."
Harry laughed, but it made his stomach muscles throb so he stopped abruptly and pressed a hand to it.
"Bath, now." Nasta ordered. "Then we can get that salve on you and maybe you would benefit from taking a mild pain reliever too. Do you want some help?"
But Nasta was already packing his paperwork up and away before Harry could even answer. Harry went to the downstairs bathroom and started running a hot, deep bath. He was looking forward to this, he hadn't bathed or even washed in nearly three weeks, he felt dirty and grubby. He was dirty and grubby. Smelly too.
Nasta came in with a collection of potions in his hands and Harry stared at them.
"Let me guess, Max's orders?" Harry said with an indulgent smile.
Nasta nodded as he tipped two of the potions into the water. "Yes, a muscle relaxant to help with any aches and pains that you have and an antibacterial potion to help kill any viruses or bugs that are on your skin, it was Max's idea to use the latter, just in case, so we don't spread anything to Leolin."
Harry nodded seriously, sobered up with that thought and he pulled off the plasters stuck to him with a grimace as they were glued to the tiny hairs of his belly, all but ripping out the soft black hairs that went from his belly button to his groin, even catching the tops of his pubic hair which were also ripped out when h tore off the plasters and made his eyes stream with tears. He peeled back the gauze with an even bigger grimace at the state of the scar on his body and the mess that the salve had made before he stepped into the hot, soothing water with Nasta's help to wash it off along with the almost three weeks' worth of filth and grime.
Nasta stayed with him, on his knees, his shirt sleeves rolled up, like how they bathed the babies, only Harry wasn't going to soak him from head to toes.
"I'm so proud of you, our girls are absolutely perfect."
Harry smiled as he lay back and just let Nasta wash the two and a half weeks' worth of dirt, dried sweat and even odd patches of dried blood from his skin as he happily relaxed in the medicated water.
"They're adorable, what do they look like now that they're two days old? I barely got a glimpse of Draco's queens before I was arm wrestled into a bath before I could even hold them!"
"Their hair is a pale brown and it's going curly now that it's mostly dry. They've gone a pale pink too; they've lost their red flush and the swollen cheeks from their birth."
Harry grinned. "I can't wait to hold them again, my arms ache for them."
"Once you've had your bath and I've sorted out the salve." Nasta said with no room for any argument.
Harry laughed. "How did the night go? Please tell me that you didn't sort them both out every single time. You look run down and exhausted. You'll make yourself sick."
"Not every time, Max sorted them out a few times and I kicked Blaise out of bed once, but I did the morning feed and the kids' breakfasts, I've been awake since then."
"Go and have a nap then." Harry encouraged seriously. "Max will be back soon, I've got Blaise and Draco, go and get an hour or two while it's going to be quiet. It's only going to get worse come tonight; you may as well sleep while you have the chance to."
Nasta pulled a face, like he was going to fight or argue about it.
"Nas, please love. You need to get some sleep, just a small nap. The kids will be asleep for the next hour and a half, the twins are well in hand, the nights are going to be the worst, we already know that from past experience and they're on a different schedule, which only makes it harder, we might as well take advantage of the time that we do have and you're tired. Go and get some sleep."
Nasta sighed and Harry knew that he'd won and he fought to keep the grin from his face as Nasta gave in with a nod.
"If I can't sleep though, I'm getting up." He swore.
"Something tells me that as soon as your head hits the pillow and you're in a quiet, dark room, you'll be out like a light." Harry replied, grimacing as he looked at the filthy water that he was swimming in. "Fuck I was dirty. Who would have thought I'd get so dirty from spending two and a half weeks in a hole in the ground?"
Nasta chuckled as he washed Harry's greasy, filth matted hair with gentle fingers.
"It's a wonder that Draco didn't have a heart attacking seeing this." Harry grumbled as he reached up to tug at a knotted twist of hair.
"He was enamoured with his two new daughters." Nasta said. "I don't think he noticed."
"I can't believe I have to pry my own daughters from him and Blaise. All I wanted was a cuddle!"
Nasta chuckled and kissed his soapy neck with soft lips.
"They're Max's girls aren't they?"
"You couldn't tell?! If I'd thought that you couldn't scent it on them then I would have said yesterday." Harry insisted, eyes wide and beginning to get upset. "You knew immediately with Braiden, so I just assumed that you knew with the twins."
"No, your nest was enclosed this time, love, they smell like you and blood and meat and dirt and that was before all of us touched and cuddled them, we couldn't tell anything from scenting them, only that they'd been held against your stale sweaty chest for too long. Draco was almost frantic to bathe them this morning."
"Well damn. I would have said yesterday if I thought that you didn't know, I really would have!" Harry said with a sharp nod.
"I know, love, so they are Max's?"
Harry nodded. "I suppose you guessed from the curly brown hair if you couldn't scent it on them?"
Nasta grinned. "He's going to freak, he hates his curly hair."
"It might look better on a girl than a boy. Alayla carries it well when she's not straightening it down with potions and spells. I was surprised to see it so pale though."
"You have to remember, love that half of Max's family are blonde, half of his Uncles have blond hair, his Mother and Grandmother are both blonde and one of his sisters too. Then there is Talia, who has blondish-brown hair, just like our girls."
"I think their hair will get darker as they get older though, you told me before that sometimes people with dark brown hair are born white-blonde and it gets darker as they get older. That could happen here."
"It could very easily and Max's family has such a variety of hair and eyes colours that those girls could come out with a selection of any of them."
"Like Calix looking like a carbon copy of Myron." Harry nodded. "I love his eyes; they're so intense and different."
Nasta chuckled. "I think Calix took your body build more than Max and Myron's though."
Harry pulled a face. "Here's hoping he doesn't hold that against me when he's older."
"Of course he won't!" Nasta said quickly, but truth be told he'd never actually thought of that. Would their children dislike taking Harry's slender shape and small stature when they had four tall, muscled Fathers? He'd have to keep an eye on that and nip it in the bud before it even started, if indeed it did ever happen and become an issue, but he hoped that it never did.
Harry sat down carefully on the settee as he had both of his girls in his arms as his other children ran riot around his feet, just happy and excited to see him there and know that he was in the room with them. He smiled at them as they babbled and talked to him, showing him things and handing him toys before rushing away to get something else to hand to him. He had a seat full of toys and teddies next to him. It was adorable.
Harry had told Blaise and Draco that the girls were Max's, but it was just bad luck that the one who had Fathered them was the last to know as he was still in work, it seemed his quality checks were taking longer than he'd estimated they would.
Harry was settling into home life again happily after almost three weeks away as he checked everything over with his children, checking their little teeth, of which there were many now, Braiden had fifteen teeth, Farren had ten, Tegan had eight, Regan had five and Calix had ten. Leolin of course still didn't have any, but Harry was very happy to see him reaching up and stretching to try and grip at the shiny mirror floating just out of his reach on the baby gym. He was getting stronger and more active and after his recent set back with his hospitalisation, it was amazing to see him doing something other than eating, sleeping or just lying awake and not moving.
Though of course he'd only been awake for a mere few hours before Draco brought up the inevitable Dragon Pox vaccinations that the four older quintuplets needed this month, he'd actually booked them while he had been in his nest for the following week.
"They need those vaccinations." Draco said stubbornly.
"You know they always cry for me afterwards." Harry said in exasperation. "I'm glad that you want them vaccinated, but at least try to make it a bit more comfortable for them, Draco. They like me being there with them and holding the vaccinations back by a couple of weeks is not going to ruin the other vaccines they've already had or endanger them in any way."
"I just don't want them to…"
"I know and after the scare with Leolin and hearing about what happened to those poor children at the Faerie City…it has terrified me too, but it still could have waited a few weeks until after I'd given birth and come out of my nest to go with them."
"You're out of your nest now." Draco pointed out.
"I am, which has saved you from four tantrums and possibly from being thrown up on too." Harry deadpanned.
Draco kissed him and tried to take one of the baby girls, but Harry lifted the corner of his upper lip back and growled, holding the baby tighter.
"Just five minutes, please." He begged.
Harry frowned consideringly. "I'm trying to fit names to them, so you had better make it just five minutes."
"Anything you can give us a hint on?" Blaise asked from where he was lying on the floor, Calix crawling all over his back and Regan building a tower with Blaise's help in front of him.
Harry grinned and shook his head. "Not yet, but I have some good ideas, none that I want to share yet though."
Harry looked at the baby in his arms, the smallest baby, or rather the lightest baby as both girls had been sixteen inches long, his oldest girl, who was already named for Max's great-grandmother, the great-great grandmother that this little girl was now never going to meet, was lighter than her sister by a mere two ounces.
He sighed and wondered if he could get away with naming the baby with the letter E to match her middle name of Evelyn, but he wasn't sure naming the baby something like Emily Evelyn was going to do his daughter any good when she was in school.
He huffed out a sigh again and it was only ten minutes later that he snapped at Nasta to go and get him his baby name book. All credit to Nasta he just lifted one black eyebrow and put aside his paperwork and did as Harry had asked. He'd only been up for less than half an hour too, he'd gone for his nap after sorting out Harry's scar and the new plasters after his bath and he'd grabbed a refreshing and rejuvenating two hour nap. He looked less like he would drop down unconscious at any moment and more like the alert, watchful gorgeous man that they knew and loved so very much.
Harry grabbed his arm and pulled him into a kiss when he came back with the huge book that looked more like an encyclopaedia.
"I'm sorry, I just don't want to name them something stupid and have them stuck with it for life, or at least until they're seventeen and can legally change it, I want their names to be perfect and it's doing my head in. I didn't mean to snap at you."
Nasta cupped his chin and kissed him back, pecking at his lips until Harry couldn't help but smile into the kisses.
"It took you days to name all of the quintuplets, don't push yourself so hard so soon, after all they've only just been born, the perfect name will come to you, it always does."
"It helps me to stay still and sitting down." Harry pointed out with a cheeky grin.
"Then by all means sit right here and pore over this book until you've found a name, just be careful, I don't want you upset either."
"I know what sort of name I want, at least I have an idea, a tentative idea, but it's just not coming to me! I need some inspiration."
"You need the patience of a saint." Blaise laughed from the floor.
"Especially with those two, they cry like a bloody siren." Max said as he came into the living room.
"Where the hell did you come from?" Draco demanded.
"The front door." Max said with an eyebrow up near his hairline. "I went shopping remember, I Apparated home."
"Hi, Max." Harry greeted softly.
Max came and kissed him hard and deep and when they broke apart Harry was panting and laughing.
"I missed you too, how was work?"
"Boring stuff today, just quality controlling, it didn't take me more than an hour and a half."
"You've been gone for nearly five hours!" Blaise said incredulously.
"I had to make sure that what I was getting for my girls' was perfect!"
"Looks like you bought out half the baby shops in London." Harry laughed with a nod to the several bags wrapped around Max's left wrist.
"Nothing's too much for those little girls." Max grinned as he dropped the bags to the floor.
"Let's see what you bought then." Draco said as he stood up and went to go digging through the bags. Max stole the baby girl from Draco's arms and gave her a big kiss as he sat down next to Harry and cradled her, ignoring the evil glare that Draco was giving him for taking the baby from him.
"They are your girls too, you know." Harry said softly, watching Max closely.
"Of course they are, I love them so much." Max replied with a sappy, lovey-dovey look at the baby in his arms, not really listening to what Harry was saying.
Harry laughed. "No, they are yours, as in biologically."
Max blinked at him. "They are?" He questioned as he looked from the baby in his arms to the baby in Harry's.
"Yes." Harry nodded happily. "Really, who else's could they be with all this blondish-brown, curly hair."
"Their hair isn't curly!" Max denied, even as he pulled the hat gently from the head of the girl in his arms to spy, just as Harry had said, blondish-brown curly locks. "They…they really are mine."
"Like I told you, they're yours, two more little Maxie Maddisons running around. Just what we, and the world, need."
"I can't believe they have curly hair! Of all the traits my grandmother passed on into the genes it had to be curly hair!"
"I think they look sweet." Harry said with a smitten smile at his newborn babies.
"Can I tell the family the good news? Do we have names yet?"
"You can tell them, but no visitors until tomorrow. Harry needs his rest and he doesn't need the fuss." Nasta said firmly.
"And no names just yet, I'm working on it." Harry said as he patted the huge, thick book which was opened on the letter E's.
Max grinned. "I'll be back when my Dads stop trying to strangle me and let my head go!" He said excitedly as he handed Nasta the little girl that he was holding and flooed to his family home.
Harry shook his head. "He needs something to calm him down."
"He's got a good eye for fashion though." Draco said happily as he pulled out the mountain of clothes that Max had bought from their respective shopping bags.
Harry looked at the tiny dresses, the little skirts and tops complete with miniature tights and leggings and the more practical bodysuits and sleepsuits in pale pink, white and a soft pastel purple that Harry really, really loved.
"That colour, what is it?" He asked Draco curiously; who as their most fashion orientated lover was more likely to know the answer.
Draco looked at it. "Purple." He said as if Harry was being ridiculous.
Harry gave him back an unimpressed glower. "What kind of purple, I can already see that it's purple, what shade is it?!"
Draco pulled a face as if he couldn't believe that he hadn't understood what Harry had meant with his question. "It's one of the pastel purples; I think it might be pastel violet."
"I really, really like it. I think I want their bedroom in that colour, at least until they're old enough to decide for themselves."
"Is this another hint for us to get a new house?" Nasta asked him from over his paperwork.
Harry sniffed. "I'm not hinting any more, I'm telling you that we need a bigger house. Braiden will need his own room soon, the twins will need their own room and the quintuplets might need two or even three rooms, that's five extra bedrooms, Nasta. We only have two spare, though we could always shove the quintuplets in a room together or make them share with Braiden and demolish the upstairs bathroom and convert that into a bedroom, we'll still have our en suite and the downstairs bathroom, but by the time that's finished I could have had even more babies and then we'll be back to square one, we need a bigger house!"
Harry stubbornly refused to hear anything else about it, he didn't particularly want to move, he loved this house and it held some amazing memories for him, but it was becoming a necessity. They needed more space and more bedrooms.
"At least settle with those two first." Blaise encouraged. "We can start looking at houses in the spring."
"I agree with Blaise." Nasta said and Harry gave him a look.
"Fine, but we will find a new house as soon as possible, Braiden's getting older and with the twins now we're lacking space."
Harry indicated how cramped it looked in their living room with the four of them sitting in it with five children roving the floor, one lying in the baby gym on the floor and the two newborns and that was without Max there, Max who was huge, broad and dominated any room that he was in by his sheer size alone without factoring in his larger than life personality.
"This is no way to live! We can't even have guests around anymore, the quintuplets birthday was a squashed up hell with everyone in this house, a tin of sardines doesn't even cover how cramped it was in this house. I had enough of being crammed into small spaces when I was forced to sleep in a cupboard as a chi…!" Harry cut himself off and he shut his mouth, looking at his lap. "Sorry." He said softly.
The settee dipped after a moment and Nasta threw his arm around him, a soft, but scratchy kiss was pressed to the side of his head.
"I'm sorry this room reminds you of your childhood, Harry." Nasta said softly.
"It's not…it's not the same as the cupboard." Harry said. "I'm not lonely for a start, but the lack of space, it is getting to me a bit. I don't want it to and I do try not to think about it and not to let it get to me, but sometimes it still does."
"We'll sort it, I promise, just a little longer." Nasta swore.
Harry nodded and looked at the girls, both sleeping, both silent and still.
"Eva." He said softly.
"Sorry?" Blaise asked as he perked his head up.
"Eva." Harry said louder and with a smile. "Eva Evelyn Potter-Maddison. Named for Saint Eva of Liege."
Harry showed Nasta the page that he was looking at and pointing out the little tidbit underneath.
"That should appease Max's family tradition and I like the name." Harry said with a smile.
"Welcome to the family, Eva." Nasta said, kissing the baby in his arms.
Harry laughed. "This one is Eva, not that one." He said, indicating the baby in his own arms.
"I thought this one was the older twin." Nasta said with a frown.
Harry checked them over critically. "Nope, this one is the older twin, that one's the younger."
"I'm going to buy them bracelets or necklaces or something to tell them apart." Draco complained.
"And then when they get older and start swapping them over just to confuse us because we've become reliant on looking at the bracelets to tell them apart, what then?" Harry asked. "No, you learn to tell them apart from the subtle differences in their appearance and their personalities."
"They're two days old! They haven't got any personalities." Draco grumbled.
"I just realised, Max isn't here again, he was the last to know they were actually his biologically and now he's the last to know the first born girl's name." Blaise pointed out.
Harry's eyes went wide. "Oh, I didn't realise! I just…it just came to me and it fit and it was perfect so I said it out loud, I didn't mean…"
"We know." Nasta said soothingly. "He'll just be excited to welcome Eva into the family. He won't care, just like he never when he found out they were his."
"Now our youngest needs a name." Harry said as he placed his hand over the head of the baby in Nasta's arms.
"Don't push yourself; do you want to break for a snack?"
"I could use some tea to help me think." Harry said with a grin.
Nasta laughed as he stood up, placing the baby in his arms into the bassinet beside Harry, he went into the kitchen, taking orders from Blaise and Draco on the way past.
Max came home exuberant and joyful as he pulled the baby immediately from the bassinet and into his arms. Harry shook his head as his biggest mate kissed the baby wetly and loudly and sat down to cradle her. These two were never going to get a moment of peace and the bassinets were a waste of space as it seemed that they were never going to get to use them.
"Do you like the clothes?" Max asked.
"They'll suffice." Draco said haughtily.
"I love them." Harry said with a smile. "We need to swap babies too."
"Why, has your twin wet a nappy?" Max asked, even as he moved to do as he was asked.
"No, at least I don't think so. Oh I hope they don't turn out to be two more Calix's." Harry fretted.
Max checked the baby in his arms. "No, she's fine. Why did we have to swap?"
"Because I wanted you to meet your oldest daughter, Eva after the saint of Liege. Eva Evelyn Potter-Maddison."
"You named her? We were just talking baby names and what you might call them, none of us guessed Eva though."
"Do you like it?" Harry asked a bit quietly.
"I love it. What's the other one's name?"
"I haven't decided yet.
"So we have Eva and unnamed."
"Unnamed for now." Harry grinned.
Nasta came in and he handed everyone a cup of tea, he'd obviously heard Max come home as there was a cup for him too.
"Did he tell you the news?"
"He did, I love it!" Max declared happily. "Little baby Eva." He all but whispered as he cradled her gently.
"Dada Ma? Baba ba."
"This is your new baby sister Braiden, this is Eva."
"Baba Va!" Braiden said with a grin, his mouth of teeth on show.
"You're so clever and you're the very bestest little boy in the world." Max declared to him softly, which made him shriek in laughter and clap his hands…right next to Eva's head.
The loud crying of the baby made all of his children stop and look over at the noise as Max shushed her and tried to comfort her after she'd been startled.
Harry's attention was taken from a crying Eva and was instead grabbed by Regan, who stood up against the table and toddled from the table to the settee that Max was sat on without help and unaided.
"Please tell me that I wasn't the only one to see that!" He burst out as he quickly got up, put the unnamed baby girl into her bassinet and rushed as fast as his sore, aching muscles allowed him, to Regan to praise him.
"What did he do?" Max asked.
"He just took his first steps!" Harry said excitedly before he rained kisses all over a giggling Regan.
"What, unaided?" Max asked.
Harry nodded. "He pulled himself up with the table and then toddled from the table to here on his own!"
"Well done, Regan." Blaise said happily as Nasta came and picked him up, kissing his little mouth.
"You're getting to be a big boy now, Regan; you'll be running around before we can catch up soon." He told his son with a proud grin.
"Put him down and see if he'll walk for the camera." Draco insisted as he set the Muggle contraption up how Harry and Nasta had shown him.
Nasta did as he asked, putting Regan down next to the table as he hunched down a little way away and held his arms out to encourage him.
"Come on, Regan, come to me."
Regan giggled at him like it was a game and Calix crawled right over to Nasta and demanded his attention, which made Max laugh.
"Mama?" Regan called out softly, looking around the room for Harry.
"I'm by here, love." Harry said from behind him and Regan turned around and gurgled at Harry, clapping his hands happily.
He once again used the table to pull himself to his feet and he rushed to Harry as fast as his unsteady, toddling steps could manage and he all but fell into Harry's arms.
"You're going to be a little terror on your feet, I can tell." Harry said as he cuddled Regan close and bent him over his knee to tickle him, which resulted in baby giggles.
Harry looked at him consideringly.
"Usk is a river in Wales isn't it?" Max asked Nasta.
"It is, but I don't think that's what he's saying."
"He wants a Rusk." Harry said simply and Regan clapped his hands together happily once again.
"Usk!" He cried with a grin.
Blaise went out into the kitchen and came back in with the box of Rusks. He threw one at Harry, who caught it and handed it to Regan as Blaise gave Farren one, which was grabbed off of him immediately by Tegan.
Blaise took it back from her and handed it back to Farren before he could start crying and handed Tegan her own biscuit before handing one to Calix who was continuously crawling around his feet, babbling non-stop, waiting for his turn to be handed a biscuit.
It was silent when all the babies had a biscuit and Harry took a moment to just breathe, cuddling Regan on his lap still. He loved moments like this, where his growing babies had done something new and accomplished and he happily looked around at them all as they nibbled and licked on their Rusks while they all just took a moment to absorb the short lived silence.
The next morning, the twenty-first of January, Harry slept late yet again and when he came down the stairs in a clean pair of pyjamas, because his muscles still ached too much to even contemplate stuffing himself into a pair of jeans, Max was in the fire, talking heatedly to someone.
"What's going on?" He asked softly.
"He's arguing with his family, we agreed that they could come over today, but Max refused while you were still in bed." Nasta explained.
"I'm not in bed now." Harry said.
"They can come over in an hour." Nasta said firmly and Max relayed the messaged. "After you've woken up a little and had something to eat and had a chance to hold the girls before they're passed around from pillar to post."
Harry nodded and he went into the kitchen to get some cereal and a cup of tea. Blaise came with him, Farren cocked out on his hip.
"Muma, wusk." Farren said as he looked around for the familiar red and orange box.
Harry shook his head. "Do you want a mid-morning snack?"
He found the Rusks in the cupboard and pulled one out for Farren and handed it to him, smiling happily as he watched Farren wiggle and squirm in utter enjoyment as he gnawed and sucked on the hard biscuit.
"If he gets any heavier I'll need back support to carry him." Blaise laughed.
"You leave him alone." Harry said without bite. "It's wonderful that he has an appetite and with genes like Max's then he was always going to be big."
"Calix takes more after me, or did you forget that my genes made him too?"
"Sorry." Blaise said softly, but his tone alone told Harry that he didn't really know what he was apologising for and was doing so just to appease him and keep him happy. It made him huffy instead.
Harry ate his cereal and drank his tea before he made another cup to take with him into the living room. He carried it carefully, but when he ran into Calix in the hallway, obviously on his way to the kitchen to see him, he couldn't help but grin.
He bent down and picked Calix up, but the resulting pain in his stomach made him drop his cup of tea to use that arm to support Calix before he dropped him instead. The cup shattered on the floor and had Nasta there in three seconds flat, if that, to sweep him off his feet and up into his arms, taking Calix with them.
"Are you alright? What happened?" He asked as he stepped carefully over the broken china and carried him into the living room.
"I dropped a cup." Harry told him. "I picked Calix up and I guess my stomach wasn't ready for the bend and lift and I thought it better to drop the cup than to drop Calix."
"I'll clean it up now, just be careful, Harry, don't push yourself, you're still recovering."
Harry nodded as he was placed onto the settee, lying down on his back and he sat Calix up on his chest, away from his empty bump and the sore caesarean scar.
Max came over and took Calix from him and bent to put him on the floor and Harry was about to get angry and demand his son be given back when Max sat down on the few inches of settee that wasn't taken up by Harry's body, facing away from him and he lifted his shirt to reveal the plaster covered gauze.
Max was checking on his scar and was likely going to change the salve and coverings. Harry huffed almost silently. It would have been nice if his biggest mate had told him so beforehand instead of just taking his son from him without any sort of explanation, he wasn't a mind reader and he never would be if how poorly he grasped at the mind arts was any indication.
He lay back and let Max do what he wished as he watched his babies at play, of course Calix hadn't been happy to be moved from Harry to the floor, so he hadn't gone far. He was kneeling up against the settee by Harry's head and he was babbling to him furiously as Harry groomed his hair with his fingers.
"I know sweetheart, Daddy Max moved you didn't he?" Harry cooed as Calix paused. "I can't decide if you're acting like a furious cat or an angry bee."
"Angry bee, definitely." Max said as he threw a huge grin over his shoulder. "With all that angry buzzing going on behind me I thought I'd have to bring out the fly swatter."
Harry laughed. "Oh, ow! Stop making me laugh!" He demanded. "You know I can't laugh just after birth, the pain is almost as bad as being punctured by a Basilisk fang!"
"That's the second time that you've alluded to that incident. What happened?" Nasta demanded as he came back into the living room with a fresh cup of tea for him.
Harry blinked. "What?" He asked confusedly.
"The Basilisk, you mentioned it when Leolin was in the hospital that you'd gone up against a sixty foot Basilisk when you were twelve, you've just said that you were punctured by a Basilisk fang, what happened?"
"Nothing really." Harry shrugged uncomfortably.
Nasta gave him an unimpressed scowl. Harry groaned. "Why do you have to make such a huge deal out of it? It happened six years ago!"
"If it's not a big deal then tell us about it." Nasta challenged with a smirk that Harry refused to admit made his belly tighten painfully in lusty desire.
He groaned theatrically which made his babies laugh at him.
"It was second year, something about the Chamber of Secrets being opened, Heir of Slytherin, students being petrified, follow the spiders, blah, blah, blah, almost got eaten by a nest of Acromantula, Hermione figured out about the pipes, something about a diary, Ginny got taken down into the Chamber so naturally I went to rescue her because I figured out that the entrance to the Chamber must have been in a bathroom because of Moaning Myrtle, went down, killed the Basilisk and rescued Ginny and got a special award for services to the school for it." Harry rattled off quickly before sitting up and drinking his tea.
"Would you like to tell us the full version now?" Nasta asked with the bite of a growl in his voice.
"That is the full version." Harry said.
"I think Nasta means for you to fill in the blanks and tell us what happened, when and how in detail." Max explained as Nasta flushed a horrible red. "We take your safety seriously and Nasta's top dominant instincts are likely ripping his brain to pieces at the moment over this."
"It happened six years ago!" He said firmly. "How can you keep me safe from mere memories?"
"Harry, we love you and we want to know everything about you, the good and the bad." Blaise put in. "Nasta could just order you to tell us and you'd have to, but he's trying to hold back to give you a choice, do you understand how painful that is for him? How difficult it is for him to hold back the instinct to order you to just do as he says? We love you so much; please just tell us what happened?"
"I don't want you to be angry with me." Harry tried to explain.
"We will be angry if you try to keep secrets from us, love, especially secrets to do with your safety, even past safety." Max explained. "As you said, it happened six years ago, so it's not like we can punish you for it, we just want to know what happened to you."
Harry sighed and made himself comfortable. "Wait until the kids have gone down for their nap at least, I don't want them overhearing this; they're at an age where they absorb everything."
"My family will be here then; do you want me to get rid of them at lunch?" Max asked, looking at the clock, it was only half ten in the morning, but his family would be here at eleven, that left just an hour for them to meet and greet the newborn girls.
"As long as Myron promises not to spank me, they can stay. They heard about my first year, why not the second too? Besides I've already told Richard."
"Wait, wait, wait. You told my Dad? When?! Why does he know before me?" Max asked, pouting at him.
Harry sighed. "The fang that went through my arm left a scar; I had to tell him about it to rule it out of the Muggle evidence for the court case."
"I can't believe he never told Dad about it!" Max grinned. "My Dad Richard has never kept anything from my Dad Myron. He's going to freak and go ballistic on his arse, not yours."
"Good." Harry grinned back. "Now hand me my girls, I want a cuddle before I have them stolen from me later."
Nasta handed first one girl to him and then the other. They were wearing their new, perfectly fitting, sleepsuits, one in powder blue and the other in the pastel violet that Harry had loved.
He stared at them hard and then one baby moved a hand to rub over her own ear and he knew immediately that she was the unnamed baby, so that meant that the baby in the powder blue sleepsuit was Eva.
"Good morning, Eva." He greeted her softly and pressing a kiss to her head, inhaling the soft, clean scent of newborn baby from her skin and hair. "Good morning, sweet girl, I know you don't have a name yet, but you will soon. I promise." He said to the other as he kissed her too.
"How in the name of Merlin did you tell them apart just by looking at them? We had to wait for their feed to put them in different colours to tell them apart." Draco said incredulously.
"The younger baby plays with her right ear to sooth herself, she first did it just a few hours after birth. Every forty minutes or so she'll lift a hand and play with her ear."
"And Eva doesn't do that?" Nasta asked, looking at the baby in the powder blue.
Harry shook his head. "She plays with the hair behind her ears. She'll tug on it lightly and carefully, more like running her hair over her fingertips. I'm not sure if she likes the feeling of her hair sliding over the tips of her fingers or if she likes the feeling of her actual hair."
"I'm going to be on the lookout for that now." Blaise said with a grin.
"How do you tell them apart when they're not awake and not self-soothing?"
"I just can." Harry shrugged. "They smell different to me, they act differently, they look exactly alike for now, but they're not the same. Does that make sense?"
"I understand it." Nasta nodded. "They have subtle differences in smell, but it changes depending on everything around them, so I can't tell them apart from it. Currently they smell like Draco to me because he refused to put them down all morning."
Harry laughed at that. "Just don't forget our older babies." He said seriously.
Draco snorted and indicated Tegan, who was perched in his lap with one of her favoured cardboard books, babbling under her breath as she flipped the pages over and then back again.
Harry grinned at the sight of it. Regan was sat close to them both too, but he had a crude knitted ballerina doll that Hermione had made for Tegan for Christmas, Regan didn't care as he bashed it about happily in play with a doll house.
"You need to tell Granger to stop with the knitting projects, it's not working." Draco said with a sniff, following where Harry was looking.
"She's getting better." Harry smiled. "She started making hats for the house-elves when she first started knitting and Ron came out with that they looked more like woolly bladders so they didn't count as clothes. I miss those days." He said sadly.
Max slipped an arm around him and cuddled him in close, pressing a kiss to the side of his head.
"He didn't deserve to know you and what he did to you was wrong and unforgivable." Max said.
"I'm glad that you made up and that you agreed to be civil, but I would have been too angry, too upset if you had become friends again. I wouldn't have been able to get over what I'd seen him do to you, how upset he'd made you, nor the damage that he'd done." Nasta added.
"We would never have been friends again. He almost killed Braiden, every time I'd see him he would have reminded me of that almost miscarriage and that foul concoction that I had to drink to save Braiden's life before it had even really begun. Civility I can stretch to, but friendship…no, never again. Too much happened between us, too many things were said that can never be unheard; there's simply too much water under the bridge to ignore it. No amount of time will ever fix the damage done."
Their distraction came with the floo warning sounding a minute before Richard flooed into their living room with a grin. He stepped over the low fire gate and came straight to him to peer at the two girls.
"I've heard so much about them, but this is the first time that I'm getting to actually see them." He said pulling Harry's head to his lips for a kiss. "They're gorgeous, I'm so proud of you!"
Myron came in just behind Richard and he too stood over the gate and he forcibly moved Richard out of the way so that he could greet Harry and get his first look at the newborn girls.
"Ah da!" Braiden exclaimed as he pulled himself up with the table and toddled on unsteady feet to Myron's leg, clutching it tightly, bouncing on his feet still gripping Myron's leg. "Ah da, ah da!" He repeated holding his arms up to Myron, who stooped all the way down, having to go to one knee to get low enough, and picked him up, holding him up on his shoulder so that they could have eye contact, cocked on the side of his ribcage where most would have sat Braiden on their hips, but Myron was not most men and he was not the size of most men either.
"Is he saying…?"
"Granddad, we've been working with him to get him to recognise his granddads' through pictures, it seems that you stuck in his mind." Draco said with a smirk.
"I can't believe he's walking! He's getting much better at it too." Richard said as he patted Braiden's back gently.
"Regan took his first steps yesterday afternoon too." Harry said proudly.
"Really?" Richard looked around and then he swooped down and pulled Regan up into his arms, the boy laughing happily as he was hefted up high quickly, dropping his knitted ballerina in favour of clutching at Richard.
"I hear that our new granddaughters are Max's or is he just pulling our legs again? He's been insufferable with his boasts about how virile he is." Myron said as Max refused to be embarrassed and grinned proudly, his chest puffed up and out.
"They're Max's; they have his curly hair to prove it." Harry said with a grin of his own as he pulled Eva's little hat off to show the brownish-blonde curls that she was sporting.
"I do not have curly hair!" Max denied with a pout.
"Only because you keep sheering it off so that it's too short to get curls in it." Harry said flippantly.
"That's adorable; Max had the most cherubic little curls as a child." Richard said teasingly, looking at Max while making it look like he was looking at the baby. "He got them from Ashleigh's Mother's genes. I was displeased when he got older and started cutting his curls off himself and so short too! Not a single wave was left to show that he'd ever had curly hair and he's still the same now."
Marianna came over next and she immediately took one little girl from him.
"Oh, sweetheart, she's lovely!" Marianna exclaimed as she held the tiny baby up and she kissed the baby softly.
"If I'd known that we could take the babies I would have done it sooner." Myron said, right before he took the other baby from Harry, Braiden still in his other arm.
Harry shook his head with a laugh just as Aneirin flooed into their living room, he was happy to pick up Tegan and stand beside Marianna and Myron to look at the new arrivals.
"You did an amazing job; I hope there were no problems or complications?" He asked with a soft, proud smile at Harry which automatically made him puff up with pride.
"No, nothing. It all went really smooth and quickly. The only trouble I had was getting around the umbilical cords, I got my wrist caught between them, but that's all, nothing serious."
"Do they have names yet?" Richard asked.
Harry smiled at the floor before shooting a look to Max, who was all but bouncing in excitement.
"One has so far." Harry strung out, teasing a little.
"Which one?" Myron asked.
"The baby in powder blue is the one who has a name." Harry said happily, looking at them as they looked at him, obviously waiting for him to continue.
"Don't tease them, Harry." Nasta's hand landed in his hair and stroked it lightly through strong fingers.
Harry laughed. "Her name is Eva. Eva Evelyn Potter-Maddison. Named of course after Saint Eva of Liege and after a wonderful woman who these two will now never meet."
"That's a lovely name." Marianna praised.
"Oh, did I miss the name?" Narcissa asked as she stepped gracefully and elegantly out of the fireplace, brushing the soot off of her cloak, just catching the end of the conversation.
"Eva." Harry said softly as Lucius flooed in behind her.
"Ga ma." Braiden called out and reached for her over Myron's shoulder.
"Did he just…?"
"He called you grandma. We've been teaching him with photos. So far he recognised Myron as his grandfather and you as his grandmother."
Harry blinked as he realised what he'd said and he looked at Marianna to see how she'd taken the news that her biological grandson was calling another woman grandma, but she was smiling still and she was rocking Eva gently. Dracken families truly were as fluid as water, it seemed.
Narcissa was beside herself in happiness as she plucked Braiden from Myron and kissed all over his face, leaving small smears of her pale lipstick on his cheeks and chin as she praised him and told him how smart he was.
"I better get their lunches on or they'll be eating late and then they definitely won't be happy, Farren especially." Max said with a grin.
"I'll come with you, goldilocks." Richard teased as he moved into the kitchen with Max to their shouting argument about Max's curly hair and all the names that Richard could think of to call him to tease him about it.
Harry shook his head. "I think they look sweet."
"They do." Narcissa assured him. "They look adorable, sweetheart. Now does this other little darling have a name?"
Harry shook his head again. "No, I haven't found any suitable names yet, I did think of Ava, but…well Eva, Ava, a bit too similar for my liking. There is the possibility of getting tongue tied when calling them and I never want to call one of my children by the name of a sibling, especially not an identical twin."
"Understandable." Aneirin nodded as he bounced Tegan on his forearm as she giggled and babbled happily. "Why not try a similar name but one that doesn't have a single letter difference and is pronounced differently?"
Harry cocked his head, thinking hard and deeply. Of course he was disturbed by the twin girls waking for their feed and he sighed. He didn't want his one girl to go so long without a name, but he just couldn't think of anything and he didn't know how to do everything he needed to and keep the Maddison tradition.
He blew out a deep breath and pulled Calix up onto his lap when his son hit at his knee. Calix laughed and bounced on him, Harry could only keep that up for a minute or so before his stomach muscles started searing in agonising pain.
"I can't bounce you anymore, Calix, sorry." He explained. "My muscles hurt too much, sweetheart."
Calix bounced on him some more, but when Harry didn't join in and stopped making him bounce harder and higher, he started crying and kicking out his feet in the beginnings of a tantrum.
"Pass him here." Nasta insisted as he hefted Calix up from Harry's lap, which stopped the temper tantrum in its tracks as Calix giggled happily at the fast, sudden movement and clapped his tiny hands together in joy.
They all moved to the kitchen for a little more space and better access to the kettle for tea and baby bottles and when Mrs Weasley flooed over, he called out to her and her husband to draw them to the kitchen from the empty living room, he was unsurprised to see Ginny with them, a little surprised to see the twins had come to visit, but downright shocked to see Charlie and Bill, who had a stunning blonde on his arm who Harry hadn't seen in years, it really had been too long since he'd taken the time to go and see and talk to Bill's Fiancée.
"I wasn't sure if you'd like this, but I wanted to introduce you…not that you don't know who she is, of course." Bill said a little nervously.
Harry looked closely at the woman, noting the changes from her eighteen year old self to her twenty-two years before he laughed happily and went to embrace her.
"Of course it's fine. Fleur, it's been far too long, how have you been?" Harry asked. "Why are you still with Bill?"
"Hey!" Bill exclaimed as he cuddled the woman close with a mock glare to Harry.
"Are you two still engaged? When's the wedding, can I come to this one? Do you have any babies on the way yet?"
"We were going to marry last year and the year before that, but we thought it would be best if we had a long engagement. The date has been set for this coming August though, but not near Braiden's second birthday, of course."
"I'm very happy for you both."
"You were always so sweet, 'Arry." Fleur said throatily as she hugged him and gave him a kiss to each cheek. "Pregnancy suits you well, you are glowing!"
Harry laughed. "I can't seem to stop having babies."
"Maybe you should try contraceptives?" Charlie said with a wink.
Harry huffed. "I don't want those drugs and potions, I want more babies. I'll be very happy if I have a hundred babies."
"Don't you think that's a little extreme?" Ginny said curiously with a wink. She knew that he was a Dracken and couldn't control it. Bill and Fleur, however, didn't know yet.
"No." Harry answered shaking his head. "I've been…I've been denied a family for so long. I just want to make my own now that I can. I want to make fifteen Quidditch teams out of my children and I want to do that with these four, amazing men of mine."
"Aww, we love you too." Max said as he pulled Harry into a deep, scorching kiss that made his toes curl in his socks. "As long as you give us about twenty-six babies each, you will have your wish, but if Nasta gives you fifty, I'm suggesting that we chain him up and make the numbers more even."
"You're the one with the most babies so far!" Harry pointed out laughingly.
"If I get those fifty babies then I retain the right to gloat and try to get you with more." Max said seriously.
Harry laughed and swatted at Max. "Get these babies their lunches before Farren eats through his highchair tray."
"The little girls are Max's?" Mrs Weasley asked, even as she cradled the unnamed baby close to her chest.
Harry nodded his head with a smile. "They are, which brings his total up to four babies."
"I'm going to have to start pulling away now." Max smiled. "I'm going to have to get in there quick next time again or my Grandfather will have at me."
Harry shook his head. "Where is Alexander?"
"He didn't want to overwhelm you or fill the house around the newborns. He'll leave you be for a few days, maybe a week before he comes to clamour you and meet the girls. His hand was mostly forced anyway, Ellien has gone onto her heat, he's babysitting her five children. "
"Aunt Ellien has gone onto a heat period?" Max asked in surprise.
"Yes, her first for eleven years." Myron said for Harry's benefit when he blinked in confusion. "Her youngest, Shane, is now twelve."
"Shouldn't they be in school?" Draco asked.
"Aunt Ellien is a bit of a snob." Max said with a face. "Only the best tutors will do for her little darlings. She won't let them out of her sight either despite Granddad's attempts. I think that's why it's so rare that she goes onto heats, she's fifty-six and we already have more children than her."
"How did that happen?" Blaise asked. "Her being a snob that is, hardly any of the Maddisons are like the typical submissives clogging up the meetings."
"She's the one that slipped through the net; she was always jealous and possessive, even as a child." Myron said as Max served the babies their lunches of teeny tiny cubes of chicken, creamed potatoes and peas. It was going to be a messy lunch and those peas were going to be everywhere by the end of the meal.
"She's a bitch." Richard said flatly. "If you don't think her babies are geniuses then she tries to curse you. The real kicker is that her babies aren't geniuses, they're smart, don't get me wrong, but they're not geniuses, Braiden is definitely more advanced than any of Ellien's babies were at his age."
Harry puffed up uncontrollably. He couldn't help it and he grinned right along with everyone else for his behaviour.
"You have a lot to be proud of." Aneirin told him, nudging his shoulder. "But bringing down the mood a little, Dain and Kailen want to come and see Leolin now that he's out of the hospital and the contagion in the Faerie City has been contained and has now run its course. They swear they won't bring any diseases or illnesses into the house or they wouldn't dare ask to come and visit."
"We've got to have time to settle in to a routine with the twins, Harry needs his rest to recover and the quintuplets have their third Dragon Pox vaccine next week." Nasta said stiffly.
Aneirin sighed exasperatedly. "I'm very sure that you could make a million excuses to hold it off for the next year and a half, Nasta, but they're cooperating with us, they're accommodating us and now they're even worse because of the tragedy that's hit them. We need to keep them sweet, Nasta and Leolin is the way to do it."
"Aneirin's right, we can't afford to make enemies of the Faeries." Harry said softly, touching Nasta and resting against him. "Think of Leolin, love. He might choose to live with them when he's older and we've all gone, we can't make that any more difficult for him than it is already going to be because he's not a full blooded Faerie."
Nasta gritted his teeth and ground them together. He nodded sharply. "In three and a half weeks then, after those injections, after my birthday and after Valentine's Day and not a day sooner."
Harry hugged him and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him down and into a kiss.
"I love you." Harry declared with a grin.
"You're insufferable." Nasta said, smirking to take the bite from his words and to show that he didn't really mean what he'd said.
"You love me and everyone knows it." Harry said airily, turning to go back to his babies, but two strong, solid arms wrapped around his waist tight and pulled him back against a matching solid chest. Plush lips mouthed around his neck, sucking gently and teeth lightly nipping. Harry's head automatically fell to the side to give Nasta more room to move and better access to his vulnerable neck.
"Alright, alright, break it up." Mrs Weasley clapped her hands. "Parental adults and young babies are present, gentlemen."
"Mum!" Ginny whined sadly as Nasta stood up and just held Harry to him and Harry groaned.
"I was enjoying that." He said with an exaggerated pout.
"Behave yourselves." Narcissa said with a smile before she sighed wistfully. "Oh to be young and in love." She rested against Lucius, who wrapped an arm around her back and held one of her hands in his own.
Harry was almost shocked. It was the most loving and intimate that he'd ever seen the Malfoys, Draco looked unsurprised and barely took notice of his parents' actions and behaviour, perhaps Lucius and Narcissa acted like this all the time out of the public eye. He pondered on that and he smiled as he realised that it likely meant that they were getting more comfortable with him and the others in order for them to show this side of their relationship, of themselves, in public and that made him insanely happy.
"So does my other little granddaughter not have a name?" Richard all but begged.
Harry smiled and shook his head. "I can't think of one, give me some time."
"Don't you push him." Max mock glared at his Dad. "He's doing amazingly well so far."
"It did take him a few days to name the quintuplets." Ginny pointed out, happily getting a cuddle from Eva. "She's gorgeous, Harry."
"That's Eva." He said with a nod.
"I love the name choice too." Ginny winked at him.
"They are just beautiful." Fleur said happily as she cuddled with the unnamed twin.
"Thanks, Fleur, when are you and Bill going to have some beautiful babies?" He teased.
"After thee wedding, of course." She laughed and Harry grinned.
"Your English is getting better." He praised her.
"Bill has been 'elping me, though thee French is still prevalent." She nodded with a beatific smile.
"I bet he has." Harry winked. "I remember how fun it was to try and teach Nasta Parseltongue."
"Is it difficult to learn?" Fred asked with a face.
"Very." Nasta answered. "Harry gave me a written booklet for Christmas that he'd made for me. I still haven't got a clue what it says and I can't pick out any patterns either. It's an impossible language to learn."
"I told you that it's probably because it's a snake language and snakes don't write. I don't think Parseltongue was ever meant to be written down on paper." Harry explained.
"You still have that ability?" Arthur asked, sharing a look with his Wife.
Harry nodded with a frown. "Yes. I got so used to knowing it was there and 'seeing' it with my mind's eye that I retained the ability even after Voldemort's soul fragment was destroyed from within my head."
"Wait, what?" Myron demanded sharply. "What soul fragment in your head?"
Harry sighed. "After the kids are down for their nap." He said defeatedly shying away from the furious glare that he was getting from his mates.
"I still remember how to speak it." Ginny said softly. "He possessed me for a couple of months and I still know how to say the words that he taught me perfectly. I think that once you hear it and know what it means, you just don't forget it. Ron only heard Harry say open once and he knows how to say that one word too."
"He does?" Harry said confusedly.
Ginny nodded. "I was explaining to him why I could speak the words I'd learnt, even if I could never understand a snake like you could or hold a conversation with one, but he realised then that he knew how to say open after listening to you speak it."
"Have you tried to have a conversation with a snake since you lost the soul fragment in your head?" Aneirin asked.
Harry nodded. "Yes, I can still understand them and hold conversations with them."
"Are you sure it's actually gone?" Aneirin asked again.
Harry nodded vehemently. "Definitely."
Max made the tea after he had washed up the plates from the kids lunches as Nasta, Draco and Blaise put the babies down for their nap, Harry was forced onto the settee and he had one of his girls pressed on to him to keep him sat down. He could stand up by himself with his arms free, but with something in his arms, especially one of his fragile babies; they knew that he'd be unable to get up.
"Sneaky, nasty people." He huffed.
"What's the matter?" Richard asked.
"I can't stand up properly yet, I need both arms to do so and even then it'll be painful. With my arms full, there's no way I can get up."
"They just want to keep you safe and well." Mrs Weasley said with an approving nod. "You shouldn't be moving just yet."
Harry rolled his eyes and made Charlie laugh.
"I'm fine." He said. "Coddling me isn't going to help anything."
"Did you, or did you not almost drop Calix because you pushed yourself too hard?" Blaise asked as he walked into the room and sat beside him.
"No, I dropped a cup; I kept my hold on Calix." Harry corrected. "He's getting heavier too. I need to start weight lifting to keep up with them."
Max snorted as he came into the room with a tray of filled tea cups.
"They aren't that heavy." He brushed off.
"Not to you!" Harry pointed out with a laugh. "You're three times bigger than I am."
"I know." Max said smugly with a grin.
Harry rolled his eyes just as Nasta and Draco came back into the room. They settled down and looked at him patiently.
"What first?" He asked sullenly.
"What was that about soul fragments in your head?" Myron repeated.
"Horcruxes. Voldemort had six of them that he knew about and a seventh that he didn't know about. He used his old diary, the Gaunt family ring, Slytherin's locket, Hufflepuff's cup, Ravenclaw's diadem, his snake Nagini and me. I was unknowingly keeping him alive and that is why we always repelled one another. It was why he was so drawn to me and so obsessed with me, I was a part of him. His soul fragment wanted to go back to him, it didn't want to be inside me, so it tried to get back to him and though he didn't know it, Voldemort was drawn to me because I had a piece of him inside me."
"Horcruxes are powerful and dark soul magic." Aneirin explained. "Not much is known about them, but I learnt about them from four different wizards, one in Croatia, one in Serbia and the other two in Greece. Just the unspeakable evil needed to split the soul in the first place would have most people baulking in disgust. To make six knowingly is completely despicable and would leave the remaining soul unstable. They're nearly impossible to destroy as well. Basilisk venom and Fiendfyre are about the only ways to completely destroy one, how did you do it?"
Harry sighed. "Back to the Basilisk."
Aneirin gave him a look. "What Basilisk?"
"His second year, my first." Ginny said softly. "The Diary, which we know now was a Horcrux, was in my belongings from a second hand book store." Here she paused and looked at Lucius, but she said nothing to or about him. "I started writing in it and it wrote back. I thought it was so cool and I was really lonely and homesick, so I continued pouring my heart out to the diary."
"As she put her soul into the diary, the Horcrux within it got stronger. There were messages left all over the school 'The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, enemies of the Heir beware.' And other such things." Harry took over as Ginny went pale and silent. "Students were being petrified by Slytherin's rumoured monster that he kept in the Chamber of Secrets. It was a pure stroke of luck that no one died that year."
Here Harry gave his own look to Draco, who had the grace to flush an embarrassed pink.
"I was young, I didn't actually want anyone to die, it was all bravado in front of my friends." He said quietly. "It was all twelve year old bluster. I would have been horrified if anyone had actually died in the school that I was attending."
"Anyway, things started happening, the school governors got involved as student safety was questioned and Hagrid, who had been blamed fifty years ago for opening the Chamber of Secrets the first time around and was subsequently expelled for it, was blamed again without any proof and he was taken to Azkaban."
"That's why he was expelled?" George asked wide eyed.
Harry nodded. "Only it was Voldemort both times, once when he was a student at the school, the second time he managed it through Ginny. But Hagrid told us to follow the spiders before he was taken away; Ron and I did this as Hermione had already been petrified by Slytherin's monster this time."
"Please tell me that you weren't so stupid as to follow them, how can you be so reckless with your own life?!" Myron snapped at him.
Harry sighed. "We were young, Hermione had been petrified and she could have died. I got hold of the diary after Ginny had tried to get rid of it in the abandoned girls bathroom and I worked out how to use it and once we got talking, it took me into a memory of the day that Hagrid had been blamed for the opening of the Chamber and the death of a student, so we went to talk to Hagrid about the Chamber, just as he was arrested."
"I was there that night." Lucius cut in. "I surely would have seen you."
Harry scratched his nose and grinned as he held his newborn daughter tighter. "I have an invisibility cloak. Ron and I were in the corner, watching you and Fudge, but Hagrid told us that we'd get the answers we needed if we followed the spiders, so we did."
"Spiders are naturally afraid of Basilisks." Aneirin cut in smoothly, displaying his intelligence and learned knowledge from all over the world. "For a creature with eight eyes to come up against a Basilisk who has a killing stare if caught with a direct gaze…it's very reasonably their worst nightmare."
"Add in that spiders don't have eyelids and can't close their eyes, it makes sense that they'd flee from a Basilisk." Nasta nodded and Harry grinned, they were like two peas in a pod. Two very handsome, muscular peas.
"Ron and I followed the spiders as we'd been told to do, right into the forbidden forest and straight into a nest of Acromantula."
"You did what?" Mrs Weasley demanded in a soft, horrified whisper, her face pale and her hand gripping Arthur's arm tightly.
Harry rubbed the back of his neck. "Well at least they could speak English. We were able to talk to Aragog, Hagrid's pet from when he was a child."
"How many were there?" Max asked.
"Oh hundreds, from tiny little ones the size of my finger tip, slightly bigger ones the size of dogs, some that were the size of horses and then there was Aragog, who was just huge. We spoke with him as the others were his children and they deferred to him as their patriarch."
"What happened?" Charlie asked interestedly, sitting forward with his curiosity. Harry remembered that that it wasn't just dragons that Charlie loved, but all magical creatures. No one could get near an Acromantula, let alone actually speak to one, and that had spiked his latent curiosity.
"Aragog told us what he knew, how Hagrid wasn't the perpetrator and that he wasn't the monster in the Chamber and that a student had been killed in a bathroom."
"What then?" Richard asked.
"He told his children to eat us. If it hadn't been for the car that we'd stolen at the start of term and crashed into the Whomping Willow then we'd likely be dead."
"You stole a car?" Nasta demanded. "At the age of twelve!"
"It was Mister Weasley's car and technically Ron was the one who opened it and drove it, I didn't know how."
Fred and George sniggered and Harry smiled at his lap.
"So you got away from the killer spiders, what then?" Blaise asked.
Harry sighed. "We knew the spiders feared whatever the monster was, we knew that it had killed in a bathroom the last time the monster was released from what Aragog told us, I worked out that the student killed was Moaning Myrtle, who never leaves the first floor girls' bathroom. So naturally we tried to sneak away into the girls bathroom to talk to her, we were caught by McGonagall and told her some sob story about wanting to see Hermione, so she led us to the Hospital Wing to see her, that's when we noticed that Hermione had a piece of paper scrunched up in her hand as we sat with her petrified body."
Harry shook away the shiver that travelled down his spine at the memories of seeing Hermione lying so still, stiff as a board in the hospital bed.
"Of course, clever little miss that she was, she already knew what it was. The piece of paper was a page from a book called Most Macabre Monstrosities, the page was on Basilisks. Everything fit; we knew then that Slytherin's monster was a Basilisk and Hermione had written pipes underneath it all. It was using the plumbing of the school to move around unseen, which helped the bathroom theory."
"What did you do then?" Myron asked, his face etched into false calm, obviously expecting the worst.
"We went to the staff room to wait for a teacher; we hid in a wardrobe of spare robes when we heard the call for all teachers to report to the staff room. That's when we found out about Ginny." Harry said nodding to her. "Ron was devastated. I don't think I've ever seen him so pale, not even when we walked into the Acromantula nest and he absolutely hates spiders."
"So you went down into this Chamber alone?" Myron demanded.
Harry shook his head. "No. We went to Professor Lockhart, he was the Defence teacher that year and he was apparently this legendary wizard who'd defeated all of these fantastic beasts and ghouls, we went to him with what we knew."
"So you got a Professor to go with you this time?" Lucius asked interestedly.
Harry sighed. "Well, not exactly. He was packing to leave the school as we found him. We confronted him and he admitted to being a complete fraud. He'd get the full story and all the details of what these other amazing witches and wizards had done and then he used the Obliviate charm on them and then he passed their heroic deeds off as his own, of course he then turned around and he tried to attack us and wipe our memories to stop us from ratting him out. In his words 'he'd never be able to sell another book' if we told anyone."
"That's totally illegal!" Nasta burst out, utterly appalled. "To use the Obliviate curse upon two twelve year old boys for such a selfish reason! What happened to him?" Nasta asked, looking very much like he wanted to rip him to pieces.
"Oh he more than got his just desserts. I disarmed him and then forced him to come with us at wand point." Harry sighed. "I found the entrance to the Chamber in the first floor girls' bathroom, it could only be opened by a Parselmouth, so either me or Voldemort, who had possessed Ginny so that she could go back and forth through the Chamber, could even open the entrance. I pushed Lockhart down first…just in case."
Max snorted in amusement and Harry smiled as he looked at him from under his lashes.
"I went down next and then Ron. It was just a carpet of small animal bones in an underground cavern that was so deep under the school that it was even underneath the lake. That's when we found the skin."
Harry bobbed his head.
"The shed skin of the Basilisk. It was sixty feet long and a horrid, dark poisonous green. That's when Lockhart attacked us again after he'd pretended to faint after seeing the skin. He grabbed Ron's broken wand because we'd thrown his out of a window after the first time he'd attacked us. The wand backfired when he tried to perform the memory charm on us again and knocked him back into a wall which caused a rock fall. He wiped out his own memories and I believe he's still in Saint Mungos recovering."
"Good." Draco muttered. "I hated him, he was a terrible teacher and I learnt nothing, absolutely nothing in that year."
"Yeah, I think the only thing that I learned was to never open a full cage of Cornish Pixies in a classroom full of students." Harry laughed. "But the rock fall now separated me from Ron and Lockhart, I carried on alone, he stayed to clear a path through the rocks."
"Oh here we go!" Myron snarled. "I was wondering when you'd get to the part where you went into a dangerous situation on your own."
"I was not going to let Ginny die!"
"For all you knew she was already dead!" Myron answered back.
Harry had no answer for that, they hadn't known and the message had read 'her skeleton' which had pointed to her already being dead, but neither of them had wanted to think about that at the time.
"I wasn't going to leave her down there." He said in the silence. "Dead or not, I was not going to leave her there."
Ginny stood and came over and sat next to him and Harry held her hand with his free one and he smiled at her.
"She was still alive when I reached the Chamber." Harry said softly. "But she was being drained by Tom Riddle, he set the Basilisk on me to give him more time to drain Ginny and get stronger."
"How are you still alive?"
"Luck really." Harry shrugged. "Fawkes, Dumbledore's phoenix came and blinded the Basilisk so it couldn't kill me with its gaze and it brought the sorting hat with it too. I put it on and begged for help and I almost got knocked out by the sword of Gryffindor."
Harry shifted the baby in his arm and Ginny read him like a book, reaching forward to snag the only cup of untouched tea left on the coffee table, holding it out to him. The taste of the honeyed tea soothed and settled him, even if it was a little cool.
"The next thing that I happened to do was pure stupidity, I know that, but with the adrenaline and the fear, you just have to act. Stopping and thinking things through would have meant my death and likely Ginny's too. The Basilisk was angered, it was in pain, it was thrashing around and lunging unpredictably, so naturally, the little idiot that I was, I climbed up the giant statue of Salazar Slytherin to face it."
The looks of shock and horror he got almost amused him if he hadn't realised in hindsight how dangerous and suicidal he had actually been. All it would have taken was one slip or misstep on the age smoothened, wet stone and he would have plummeted to his death.
"The Basilisk could smell me, even blinded and half mad with pain, it lunged for me and I thrust up with Gryffindor's sword and it went through the roof of her mouth, into her brain and out the top of her head. She went into death throes and died half in a pool of water and half on the walkway of the Chamber."
"Where does the 'being punctured by the Basilisk fang' come into it if you'd killed it?" Nasta asked.
"That was on your notes." Richard nodded. "One of the photos had to be discarded because the scar at your elbow was magically created."
"You knew he'd been bitten by a Basilisk?" Myron demanded.
"He's obviously fine!" Richard insisted stubbornly.
"I am fine. When I stabbed the Basilisk through the top of her head, her fang went into my arm. Naturally I knew that I was dying, but…"
"Knew you were dying!"
Harry nodded. "Well yeah, it was a little hard to ignore the fuck off huge snake fang in my elbow! Plus my vision was going blurry and the edges were going black, my very blood was burning and I was dizzy and confused. Not to mention the sizzling of the puncture site."
"What did you do, how did you save yourself?" Bill asked.
"As I sat there listening to Riddle lay out what was going to happen, how I had mere minutes left at the most, how he was going to drain Ginny to death so he could become solid and corporeal, Fawkes came to lay his head on me and he shed tears over my wound…"
"The healing properties of phoenix tears." Nasta said with a smirk.
Harry nodded. "Fawkes saved my life and I picked up the fang that had gone through my arm and I stabbed it through the diary, one of the only things to destroy a Horcrux…"
"Basilisk venom. Genius really." Aneirin said, though his face was still pale and tight from anger and a touch of fear.
"Not that I knew it was a Horcrux at the time, but like I said, I survived from luck. With the Horcrux destroyed, the shade of Riddle that lived within it was destroyed and with the drain gone, Ginny woke back up. I took the sword, the diary, the sorting hat and the fang to Dumbledore along with Ron, Ginny and Lockhart. Ron and I were given awards for special services to the school and I still have the Basilisk fang upstairs with Gryffindor's sword and that was my second year at school."
"Did you ever have a normal year?" Lucius asked him with a concerned look.
Harry nearly glowed at that look directed at him, things were slowly improving between them and their relationship, despite its downright frosty start and rocky, patchy middle, was getting better all the time and Harry was so glad. He didn't want Draco to be caught between his parents and his lovers, it wasn't a fair position to put him in and with the improving relationship came a relaxed air and trust was beginning to form, not a lot just yet, but Harry was sure that if he and Lucius continued to work at it, with the help of Draco and the tight handed guidance of Narcissa, then things would end up being better in the near future.
Lucius was already quite content to sit Tegan on his lap or hold Braiden's hand as he toddled around his knees and he'd even had a cuddle with the newborn twins without anyone having to dump them on him. It made him smile and it made him insanely happy and his life was all but perfect at the moment.
He shook his head to Lucius question though before he answered him. "No, not before I got with these guys, if you can call getting into a relationship with four men and falling immediately pregnant normal and then of course I fell pregnant with the quintuplets and now only a mere year later I have identical twins as well."
"You really are going well with the babies." Mrs Weasley said happily.
Harry relaxed as the women took over and started talking babies and the air just relaxed and everyone started talking and cooing over the babies again. Harry sighed happily and rested back against the settee, baby still in his arms. He still needed a name for this one and it was driving him insane. He just knew that he was going to get more grumpy and irritable the longer it took for him to find her a name.
The kids woke up soon after their naps and they had water and weak juice in little sippy cups as the adults had their tea cups refreshed and they got to have a light snack of poached pears as they hadn't had their desserts and then there was no time for anything else, no time to talk as the kids started playing and shouting and laughing and moving everywhere and climbing on everyone. It was adorable really and Harry watched it all with an indulgent smile from where he sat cuddling with his newborn daughter, at least until Marianna stole her from his arms that was.
He didn't mind as he stretched himself out and rotated his shoulder. He assisted Braiden up onto the settee when he climbed up to sit with him, cuddling into his one side, Harry was curled against the arm of the chair and Braiden was curled against him. He hadn't meant to fall asleep, but he did, he never noticed the photos being taken of him by his adoring mates.
A/N: Took me a while to get this one out, I've had problems focusing this last week and the plagiarism report for The Tribulation of the Blue Moon had to be dealt with, which has ended happily with the offending story being pulled down, but I lost a day there dealing with that, but I finally got this up and out and I'm now going to try and get a chapter out each for Lycanthrope Factory and Damaged Bodies, which will be a treat for those reading them, but I have no idea or any guesses as to how long that may take.
Huge thanks to Cody The Pikachu who was the 11,300th reviewer for this story.
EL: No, Harry wouldn't take them while pregnant, it was mentioned in that chapter that all of them had taken the kids to school at one point, if Harry was pregnant then he'd stay home and really it's easy to brush a child off. If you were a teacher and a little boy came up to you and said his 'Daddy was a Dragon' what would you think? You'd just think they had overactive imaginations, you wouldn't actually think anything of it or actually be concerned over it and older children would know not to repeat anything like that.
Guest: Harry is the only one who knows because he can smell it on them the moment they're born along with if they're Drackens or not. As the baby is exposed to the air, the elements, the environment, they gain new scents that cover up the scent they were born with, so by the time Harry came out of his next the next day, they had a hundred different scents and the mates couldn't pick the paternity out from all the other smells.
Blue-Eyed Chica: Nasta's last name is Delericey and its pronounced Dell-er-Ree-see. The babies do not always smell like their parents, as they are exposed to outside factors, they start getting different scents on them and they lose the scent of their parents and the Dracken smell they were born with as Harry was in an enclosed nest this time, the scent was covered up more quickly and more thickly than if he'd been in an open nest.
RoseGlass: It is not unusual for a submissive to go into their nest without informing their mates, when the urge to nest hits them, they turn feral and then nothing else matters. It would be more unusual if he actually went and told them, that would be an indication that something was wrong with his nesting instincts. Remember that Harry only approached his mates when he was nesting with Braiden because he didn't have the bottle of blood that he knew he'd need. If he'd had that then they wouldn't have known he'd gone into his nest until they realised he was missing and went to find him.
I have no clue how to even go about making a Rise of the Drackens FAQ or if anyone would actually take the time to look at it.
bahaqueen: Yes, it is entirely possible that one of the girls is dominant and the other is submissive. It's also possible for identical twins to be different species, for example with Max's identical Aunts. Kyra is a dominant female and her identical sister Kyrie is a human, but on the same page, his identical Uncles Cepheus and Nicodemus are both dominant Drackens.
virginie: Hmm…I could see about making her go to the Dracken meeting in May if you want Harry to meet the utter cow that is Miette Solange, Max, Nasta and Blaise certainly would never want to meet her again.
Guest: The wonderful thing about babies is that they chance often. Braiden was born with Harry's chin, then it got a little sharper so they thought it was Blaise's and then it went softer again, like Harry's, plus it's all in the eye of the person looking at him. My cousin's in-law keeps saying her baby is a spitting image of her Father, but everyone else see's my Uncle in the baby, so it's hardly surprising it changes, but I had forgotten about that mention in chapter 78.
Bamarose: I've got thirty-five babies so far, Leolin is one Faerie baby and joining him are two others. So there are three of them altogether, so more to come, but they'll be in the Scaled Bits.
I hope you have all enjoyed this chapter, I'll see you all…not soon I don't think, maybe in a month, perhaps a little longer due to the work I want to do on my other fics, but definitely not too long away, but until then,
StarLight Massacre. X