A/N: This chapter contains a removed scene, if you would like to read it in full, please visit the story at Archive of Our Own, under the same title and author. Links are on my profile page.
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.
Chapter Ninety – The Romance of Valentine's
Harry was able to bend and lift easily three weeks later. It was the twelfth of February and they'd barely been left alone by members of the family since the twins' birth.
Nasta's thirty-ninth birthday on the third of February had been quiet and spent together as the growing family that they were. Nasta had gone out in the night with his friends from the Dragon Reserve when they had begged him to come celebrate with them however, but only after asking several times if it was alright if he did and only if they were absolutely sure that they didn't mind him going out for a few hours, especially with the newborn twins. Draco had all but shoved him out of the front door in the end and told him to go and enjoy himself for once.
He'd come back four hours later, without touching a drop of alcohol, in such good spirits and in such a brilliant mood that Harry, Blaise and Draco were walking funny the next day and Max was happily nursing a sore lower back with a smug grin on his face. Nasta had broken the headboard of their bed with how enthusiastic he had been with the four of them.
It was now just two days from Valentine's Day and they were getting offers on all sides to babysit for them, but Harry already knew exactly what he wanted to do and working his mates over to his way of thinking had been very easy and required nothing more than a soft plea and wide eyes.
Nasta and Draco were already in 'negotiations' about what they were doing to 'surprise' him, but Draco was so adamant about getting his own way that he often started shouting, which Harry could hear perfectly throughout the house.
Draco wanted to go to the world famous magical ballet again, like they had two years ago, but Nasta wanted a quiet, romantic meal so that Harry wasn't excited too much while he was still recovering.
Harry looked down at his bump; it was smaller, much smaller now than right after he'd given birth, but he still had it, not that it bothered him and any lingering doubts about his mates not finding him attractive still with the belly had been thoroughly abolished in the last few weeks as they lavished loving attention and sex on him in equal measures.
"Hello Calix sweetheart, how are you feeling?" Harry asked smiling.
"Ba nah, appa gee tah nub uh."
Harry blinked at him, but he nodded and tried to look interested, but he was just stunned. Usually he could decipher a little bit about what his babies were saying, but he hadn't understood anything he'd just heard.
Calix giggled and Harry stood up and hefted him up and onto his hip.
"Come on big boy, let's go find Daddy Max, I don't know about you, but I think dinner is taking too long."
"Almost done!" Max insisted as Harry carried Calix into the kitchen before he could say a word. Farren was sat at Max's feet, tugging insistently on his trousers and making sad, upset noises. "Why did I choose today of all days to try them on something new and go adventurous? I should have started this an hour before I did!"
"Don't worry, are you almost done?"
"Yes, five minutes, can you move Farren though? I hate him around my feet when I'm cooking. I've moved him five times; he just keeps coming back, even when I put him in the playpen, he just climbed over the top. He's getting more and more used to being on his feet."
Harry nodded and slipped Calix into his highchair before grabbing the other four from the space they were kept when not in use between the fridge and the wall and setting them up in a line. He grabbed Farren from the floor and hefted him up and into his highchair.
"You are getting far too big, baby." He complained as he secured Farren to the chair. "I think you'll be in a booster seat soon, these highchairs are getting entirely too small for you."
"Do you think that it's a little soon for that?" Max asked as he looked over his shoulder at him.
Harry shook his head. "No, he can sit up fine on his own and most booster seats now have five point straps and the seats strap to the chairs as well and it's not like we leave them alone when they're being fed. He's just not going to fit in these chairs for much longer, look, his thighs already touch both sides of it. He'll get stuck one of these days."
Harry went off in search of more babies and only when he had Tegan tucked up under one arm and Braiden by the back of his dungaree straps did he go back into the kitchen with assurances from Blaise that he had Regan and Leolin and that Draco had their two girls.
Harry got Braiden and Tegan into their highchairs just as Max was serving Farren and Calix. Blaise got Regan into his highchair just as Max put a little plastic plate onto the tray and he wiped his forehead with an exhausted sigh.
"There we go, five meals on their trays, only forty-eight minutes late." He groaned as he collapsed back into a chair.
Harry watched as Blaise set up the bottles and cooled them down with a mild spell before he started feeding Leolin as Draco fed Eva.
Harry picked up his youngest baby from the bassinet where she had been left and he kissed her softly.
"Pass her bottle to me." He asked, holding a hand out for it.
Blaise passed the bottle over and Harry tested the temperature out of habit, before he stroked his daughter's cheek with the nipple and watched her root happily for it. He smiled as she latched on and started suckling strongly.
"She's going to pull the teat right out of the bottle one of these days." Harry laughed. "She's so much like Farren with their eating habits."
Harry went back to watching his beautiful daughter, now almost a month old, suckle down her milk. Both of their hair had gone even curlier now that they were older, but it was darker now too, going a more solid brown than the blondish-brown damp wisps they'd had at birth, but those curls were already touching their ears and the middle of their necks at the back.
Alexander absolutely loved their curly hair and Amelle had spent the day with him and the girls just after they'd been born talking quietly as they both cuddled with a baby each, the swarm of older children all over the floor as they patted and poked at Eleonora, who truthfully was enjoying the attention from the other babies as Braiden toddled all over the room collecting his favourite toys and dumped them into Nora's lap. It had been then that he had named his youngest daughter, as he and Amelle had been talking, cooing over Braiden's actions and Nora's preening.
He'd named his youngest daughter Ave. Ave Amelle Potter-Maddison. Amelle had cried, Caesar had teared up when Harry had explained to him why his mate was crying so hard that she couldn't even speak through her sobs, after he'd come running from the kitchen that is, and Max had kissed him breathless and stupid. She had been named Ave after the Saint Aventine to match her sister, the both of them named after Saints and the both of them named for a family member who had touched Harry's life in some way, Evelyn and Amelle.
"Pass Ave to me, Leolin wants you." Blaise sighed as he held onto a squirming Leolin who was chanting 'Ma' over and over, close to tears.
Harry sighed and passed Ave to Max first to securely pick up Leolin and then Max passed Ave onto Blaise with her bottle before he went back to supervising dinner.
"When does Nasta get home?" Draco asked as he burped Eva gently on his broad shoulder, spit up cloth flung over the same shoulder, just in case. If it was one thing Draco hated, it was vomit in any form, even just spit up milk.
"I don't think hounding him as soon as he comes in from work is going to get you your own way." Blaise warned him.
Draco looked affronted at the very idea. "I merely wish to ask him something, don't jump to conclusions Blaise, it makes you look stupid."
"Stop it." Max warned them in a growl before anything started, but Harry watched as they started sizing one another up and he knew they would continue the argument later.
Shaking his head, Harry bounced Leolin against his shoulder, one hand cupping the back of his head as his tiny, fourteen month old son clenched his hands in his shirt, nuzzling his collarbone with his small, sharp nose and wet lips, sucking on Harry's skin with a toothless, drooling mouth.
"I'll tell you something, if Dain and Kailen don't lay off, then Nasta's going to blow like Mount Vesuvius." Max said with a headshake as he watched Harry with Leolin.
"They just want to see Leolin; they want to see him alive and well." Harry said patiently. "He is their several times great-grandson."
"And so is Nasta and Sanex." Max said with narrowed eyes. "Hell, so is Aneirin and his brother Idris and his sister Nerys, yet they didn't give two fucks about any of them. Not even when their several times great-granddaughter died, they didn't fucking care then either."
Harry glared dangerously at him as Braiden picked his head up from his plate. "Fu…foo…fuff."
"If he says that word Max, you're a dead man." Harry said calmly, but his eyes were spitting fire at his biggest mate, who was a little pale at the thought of teaching his oldest son a swear word. Not only would Harry kill him, but Nasta, Blaise and Draco would kill him and after that, his Dad would kill him.
Max dived to distract their eighteen month old son with his dinner, which thankfully, and luckily for Max, worked.
"I know that what Dain and Kailen did to Nasta and his family was wrong, no one needs to tell me that, I will always stand by Nasta even if he decides he wants to hate them forever, but I will not let that impact badly on Leolin. Like it or not he is a Faerie and he is going to need to socialise and maybe even live with the Faeries and if that means putting up with Dain and Kailen then I damn well will, for Leolin's sake. He is potentially going to outlive everyone in this room; I don't even want to think on how much pain that will cause him later in life, if he has friends, a lover, maybe even children of his own who are going to live just as long as he is, then maybe that will help support him when we all inevitably die. Don't ever think that I'll forgive them for hurting Nasta, because I won't, but if it helps Leolin in whatever small way, then you can bet your last goddamned Knut that I'll do it regardless!"
The kitchen was silent after that but for the sounds coming from their children as they were fed dinner, fed their desserts and then taken away to be bathed. Harry was cuddled up with Eva and Ave on the soft settee in the living room, so he was the first to greet Nasta when he flooed home, covered in muck and filth and soot. He had a new burn on his left side, which Harry could easily see because his gorgeous, hunky mate wasn't wearing a shirt and his bare muscled chest was displayed to his perusal, even if it was dripping in sweat and caked with soot it was a beautiful sight, but the burn, covered in a bright orange burn paste, worried him, as ever, despite knowing that as a Dracken that Nasta would be healed in a few days at the very most. It was a very large area that was covered with the orange paste.
"It's nothing Cariad." Nasta insisted as he caught sight of where Harry's worried look was directed. "One of the juveniles trying to show everyone who's boss. He couldn't even generate enough flame for a complete fireball; it was more like a quick spurt of heat that caught me and another Dragonologist, the keepers couldn't calm him, so they called us and a few handlers over to his pen. He was seriously agitated. How was everything here?"
Harry smiled. "Except for Max almost teaching Braiden to say fuck, everything was fine."
Nasta raised an eyebrow. "Why was Max trying to teach Braiden how to say fuck?"
"He wasn't trying to teach him, he almost taught him. He said the word in front of Braiden and he tried copying it, thankfully Max distracted him with his dinner, but this has to hammer home exactly how careful we have to be now, he's picking up new words so fast."
Nasta nodded and sighed. "I'm going for a shower and I'll be back out soon. I could use a cwtch."
"Take a bath instead, love." Harry insisted. "Draco wants to ambush you about my supposed Valentine's surprise again."
Nasta groaned. "I think it would be less hassle to just ask you what you want for your surprise."
"A quiet meal with my lovers sounds perfect to me, keeping up with all those gorgeous waiters offering me food was more effort than I think I could expend at the moment."
Nasta gave him a look, then he smiled and kissed his head, he knew that Harry was only teasing.
"I'll fight your corner then, there will be no giving in and not an inch over to Draco on this matter. Now I'm going for that nice, long soak in the bath, then I want to cuddle my little girls and then later, after dinner, I want you on my lap."
Harry grinned. "Oh really? What position would you like me on your lap?"
Nasta's cheeks pinked a little. "Not like that!" He insisted, kissing Harry's mouth this time before going to run his bath.
Harry laughed and snuggled his daughters. "He's a wonderful man is your Dad Nasta, easy to rile up sometimes, but oh so very wonderful."
He lay back and smiled to himself, closing his eyes for a moment. He hadn't had to do a single night feed since the girls had been born and he counted himself lucky for that, but that didn't mean he wasn't woken up three times a night, every night. He still had ears after all and the girls were just so loud and he was always tired lately.
"Is Nasta home yet?" Draco demanded suddenly.
Harry snapped upright and peered around owlishly, his face pulled into a confused frown.
"I'm sorry love, I didn't realise you were sleeping." Draco said as he sat beside him and pulled him to rest on one broad shoulder.
"It's okay." Harry said with a yawn, checking on his daughters. "Nasta is home, he was filthy though, so he's taking a bath. He has a new burn on his side, so I definitely want Max to take a look at it."
"I need to look at what?" Said man asked as he came into the living room, just catching the tail end of the conversation.
"Nasta, he's got a new burn on his side." Harry said.
Max huffed out a sigh. "That man needs his goddamned head checked, putting up with such injuries, working with dragons of all things, coming home with bites and burns and claw marks. Idiot mate of mine! One of these days he'll come back missing an arm or his bloody head, then what would he do?"
Max was still muttering as he left to the kitchen to get the burn salve he'd made himself, boasting that it worked better than the weak, mass produced gunk people dived for when they received a burn. He came back in with his potion's case and started setting everything up with a scowl on his handsome face.
Nasta rolled his eyes and groaned when he came into the living room almost forty minutes later, squeaky clean, pink skinned and in a pair of clean pyjamas to see Max sitting stiffly, frown on his mouth, waiting for him with a glower on his face.
"You had better not have covered that damn injury again!" Max growled. "Sit here, now."
Nasta blew out a breath and stared at Harry with betrayed hazel eyes.
Harry shrugged. "I had to tell him, you know I hate any of you being injured and Max is the first aider of the family."
Nasta subjected himself to Max's attentions, reclining down on his back, head resting on the arm of the settee, his legs over Max's lap as Max prodded around the burn on his side.
"Twist onto your side for me, Nas." Max instructed, helping Nasta turn on the settee so that his burned side was more exposed. It looked vaguely sexual from where Harry was sat watching them as Max twisted himself as well to look more closely at the burned skin, his groin pressed to Nasta's arse and Nasta's legs curled around his waist.
"It's not too bad, it was only a juvenile." Nasta insisted, breaking Harry from his fantasy.
Max didn't even bother answering that as he prodded around the edges of the burn wound, inspecting it closely and carefully.
"This will last for at least two days." Max told him unhappily.
He sat back and unscrewed the lid off of the burn paste he made special for Nasta and after scooping a generous amount out, he applied it with gentle fingertips, but still Nasta hissed in pain through clenched, gritted teeth.
"Well it's your own fault." Max growled, but he eased the pressure off of his fingertips until he was merely skimming Nasta's skin, just touching enough to get the salve to cover the burn.
When he was finished Max cleaned his fingertips on a wet wipe and moved Nasta's legs so he could stand up, before placing them back down on the settee.
"Stay exactly where you are." Max told him. "You don't want to know what will happen to you if I find out that you've moved or touched that salve."
Max left the room with his potions things and the soiled wet wipe and Harry smiled as he left. He loved watching his dominants care for one another, he didn't know why it made his stomach feel all fluttery, but it did.
"I guess this means I'm not having my cwtch after all." Nasta sighed. "I swear he's a bigger mother hen than my Dad ever was."
Harry laughed and eased himself up, he took his girls over to Nasta and eased one of them into his arms and Nasta grinned, cuddling Ave tightly to his chest, laying a bristly kiss to her head.
"Which one is this? I still can't tell them apart, though she smells like Blaise."
"That one's Ave, she smells like Blaise because he's had her for most of the day. He kept stealing her from everyone."
"To be fair I thought I was stealing time with both of them." Blaise said with a bashful shrug. "I can't tell one from the other yet and you insisted on keeping them in their nighties today."
Harry sat back down and cuddled into Draco again, the both of them cuddling Eva and sharing her weight between them.
"They didn't need to be dressed and yesterday all they did was spit up on their clothes, keeping them in their nighties is easier." Harry defended with a sniff.
Max came back into the room and he scowled at Nasta.
"I didn't move." Nasta insisted.
"You had better not have." Max grumbled, but he still fussed around Nasta and made sure he was comfortable and settled, moving the cushions, settling his legs more comfortably.
"Alright Max, I'm fine." Nasta said sleepily as he snuggled with Ave.
"Do you want to go up to bed, love?" Max asked. "You must be tired, or are you hungry? I could start dinner early."
"I'll help you." Harry said as he shifted Eva fully to Draco and went to stand up.
"Don't you dare move. You stay right there, I'll do dinner." Max said.
Harry rolled his eyes and stood up regardless and he stretched happily. "After how long the kids waited for their dinner, I think it might help for me to come and give you a hand."
Harry smiled to show he was teasing, but Max sighed and nodded. "Come on then, but if you start feeling any pain, you sit down immediately."
"Fine, but I doubt I will. I'm getting better at being able to stay up on my feet for longer."
Harry helped Max in the kitchen and he enjoyed himself. He loved cooking with Max and they danced around one another easily, unless they were snatching passionate kisses, which was quite often, but they got dinner done and Blaise set the table as Max helped Nasta, who didn't even need help or support, but acquiesced to it regardless while Draco took Eva and Ave to their bedroom to put them down in their bedside bassinets.
Dinner was mostly quiet, but Nasta did tell them what he'd done in work and likewise they told him what had happened at home and with the kids while he'd been away.
Blaise did the washing up while Max was busy getting Nasta to bed. It was eight o'clock in the night, but an early night sounded like heaven to Harry, who followed them up and got under the duvet with Nasta and cuddled into him.
"I got my cwtch after all." Nasta said with a grin.
"You did, just wait for the others to join us; we can have a group cwtch then."
"I love you, so much." Nasta told him in the ensuing silence as Max went down to help lock up the house.
"I love you more." Harry teased as he rolled over and buried his head under Nasta's armpit, his mouth and nose resting against his mate's ribs, laying soft, nuzzling kisses to the skin under his lips.
"I'm not even tired." Nasta said with a slight chuckle.
"I am, but then even a small amount of exercise tires me out, the string of pregnancies close together has left me unfit."
Nasta did laugh at that, softly though so he didn't wake up the sleeping twins.
"You're just recovering from being pregnant and having the girls cut out of you, you'll be fine in a month or so and if you are unfit, I'm sure I could help you with a nightly fitness regime." He said into Harry's ear, flicking his tongue out to lick the outer shell.
Harry shivered and he let out a shaky laugh. "I am unfit. Very, very unfit. You'll need to help me at least twice a night for the next ten years to help get me back into shape. Maybe even more than that."
"If that's what it takes." Nasta breathed huskily.
Harry had to close his eyes and he had a full body shiver that had goosebumps rising on his arms. Then Nasta rolled on top of him and Harry couldn't stop the reaction that had him arching into Nasta's body eagerly.
"You're hurt." Harry said sadly, raising his legs to cradle Nasta's body only to drop his right leg away from Nasta's left side.
"If you think a little burn from a juvenile of all things is going to stop me from loving on you, you have another thing coming! If it had been an adult female, then I might not be able to ravish you as I'd perhaps like to as I'd probably be knocked out on pain potions, but not from a juvenile." Nasta told him and as Harry opened his mouth to reply, Nasta slanted his over Harry's and pushed his tongue in, stopping Harry's reply at the source before Nasta wrapped his arms around him, one supporting the back of his neck and he rested some of his weight onto Harry, aware that they were both recovering and that dropping his full weight onto his mate would likely result in them both howling in agony and if there was any howling going to happen tonight, then it was going to be from pleasure.
"We should get cleaned up." He said once he had his breathing back under his own control.
"Can't move." Harry grunted through a sore throat.
"I can't either." Nasta said with a smug grin.
Harry laughed and moved, with a lot of grumbling, protesting and jerky muscles, to turn and cuddle into Nasta's body. He grunted when something moved and caused an ache in his spine, but other than that, he was content to just lie where he was, very pleasantly sated and now very sleepy.
Nasta managed to grab a few baby wipes from the bedside table and he cleaned himself and Harry off as best as he could with Harry being boneless and unhelpful before he dragged the duvet over them both and he yawned. He was definitely tired now.
They were both fast asleep when Max came back up with Blaise and Draco once everything had been cleaned and put away and locked up.
"Did they…? They actually had sex!" Blaise hissed. "You kept me downstairs cleaning when I could have been up here getting in on an orgasm!"
Max blinked stupidly before he covered his face with a hand. "I knew I shouldn't have left them alone! Nasta is injured for fucks sake!"
"Apparently he wasn't that injured." Draco told him before he went into the bathroom to wash himself up for bed.
Max sighed. "I'll kill them both in the morning, or at least chew their ears for an hour or so."
Blaise chuckled and he followed Draco into the bathroom, leaving Max holding two bottles ready for when the twins woke for their feed. They were still on a different schedule, though they were apart by only twenty minutes instead of half an hour, they were getting more in tune to one another, it was just taking a long time.
Harry was spoiled rotten for Valentine's Day, he'd gotten four rounds of sex, breakfast in bed with his mates, a baby cuddle pile when he'd ordered Blaise to go and get their awake, older babies into the bed with them, chocolate, a pendant for his platinum bracelet that Blaise had given to him for their very first Christmas together, back when it was just the both of them. He got a new pair of jeans and four sappy, clichéd cards filled with declarations of love and protection and desire. He felt very, very spoilt, but then he'd bought cards and gifts for his mates too and they'd all bought gifts and cards for one another as well, so they were all spoilt today and they had a lot of fucking cards up on display.
Harry cooked lunch, kicking Max out of the kitchen, much to his whining displeasure, but Blaise kept him happy by crawling onto his lap and straddling him. They had kissed passionately for several minutes, slowly, teasingly, their lips lingering together, their tongues playing and their hands stroking and gripping.
They had disappeared up the stairs and Harry grinned every time he thought of it, he had looked at them all through lunch, sated, happy, Blaise with a livid love bite on his neck that he didn't even bother hiding and Max with a scored line of nail marks that went from his back over his shoulder that had just visible under the edge of his jumper.
Harry looked at himself in the mirror, he looked good and he grinned as he turned and critically looked at himself, noting the tight trousers made his bum look more pert and the flared shirt was tight around his shoulders and chest, which made him look nice and slim, but was flared over his belly so the stubborn pouch of remaining baby weight from his last pregnancy wasn't visible. He wasn't vain by any definition of the word, but he did want to look nice for his mates tonight, no matter what they'd say about him always looking nice and not caring that he still had some baby weight around his waist.
It was only four in the afternoon, but they were going early because of the obligations they had with their children. Harry grinned as he made sure nothing was out of place and he went to show his mates how he was dressed. He absolutely loved teasing them.
He got his answer when he walked into the living room and his mates turned to him and their eyes widened or their pupils dilated. He felt like the most gorgeous person on Earth with those four handsome, stunning men looking at him like they wanted to undress him and eat him while doing terribly wonderful things to his body and he grinned widely at them.
"Are the kids all ready?" He asked casually as he caught Braiden, who toddled to him with his arms out, giggling and babbling and Harry picked him up and kissed his little mouth. "Apparently not." He chuckled as he answered his own question.
"You look gorgeous, Harry." Draco said huskily.
Harry smiled. "You always do." He answered, exaggeratedly roving his eyes over Draco, who was dressed in tight, pale grey trousers and a slightly darker grey shirt with a tie that matched his trousers. It brought out his silver eyes into stark contrast and made them seem more grey than blue or silver, but Harry had seen those eyes up close every single day for the last two years, he knew they were silver, edging the line perfectly between grey and blue.
"Come on love birds, let's get these little monsters over to Malfoy Manor and then you can eat one another with your eyes at the dinner table." Max teased, but his eyes kept flitting from Draco to Harry and then over to Blaise, who looked stunning in all black, to Nasta, who looked casually gorgeous in black trousers with an untucked pale blue shirt with no tie. Max looked like he couldn't decide who looked better or which one of them he wanted to strip naked and fuck first. Harry loved that, it made him smile.
Harry snuggled Braiden, his eighteen month old baby boy, in his arms and covered his face in his shoulder as he flooed over first to Malfoy Manor. He had been adamant that Lucius and Narcissa would be babysitting for them today and he greeted Narcissa happily and smiled as she waved her wand over him and Braiden to remove the soot from the floo from their clothes and with one last kiss to Braiden's soft cheek, he handed his baby over.
"Are you sure you don't mind doing this?" He asked concernedly.
"It's no trouble at all." Narcissa said. "You gentlemen need a night to yourselves and if no one else is available for the evening, then of course Lucius and I are happy to look after the children."
Did he mention that he'd lied a little to get the elder Malfoys to babysit for him tonight? He grinned internally as his mates turned up one by one with the children in carry cots, except for Farren, who was too big and was cocked out on Max's hip.
"What time are your dinner reservations, darlings?" Narcissa asked. "Do you have time for tea before you leave?"
Harry nodded. "That would be lovely; we wanted to come a little early, just to make sure the kids settle, where is Lucius?"
"He's in his study finishing off some last minute reforms. Draco, be a dear and go and get your Father, he's been burying himself in his work since finding out that we were having the children tonight."
Draco put down the two carrycots that held Leolin and Ave and he kissed his Mother as he passed her and then went to find his Father in the labyrinth that was Malfoy Manor.
Harry and his three other mates settled the children down and those who were awake were let out of their carrycots and Narcissa told them that she'd had a house elf completely baby proof the one front room so the babies would be very safe as they played.
Max and Nasta set up the eight travel cots as Harry explained that Eva and Ave would wake up only for a feed or a change and that Leolin would sleep when he wanted, but was usually asleep by sixish and the other five were to be put to bed at six thirty.
Lucius came in with Draco and he looked a little too pale to Harry's eyes.
"We should be back by ten or eleven." Harry said with a soft smile.
"You take your time." Narcissa said with a smile. "We haven't had a chance to babysit for you yet and Braiden is almost two years old! We're excited to have this chance to spend some time with all of them, you boys don't take nearly as much time as you deserve for yourselves."
Harry couldn't help but think that Lucius was not sharing his Wife's enthusiasm and he looked terrified as Braiden giggled and toddled around one of his many living rooms, despite it being baby proofed.
"He seems very happy to be up on his feet." Narcissa said with a loving look to Braiden.
"He's gotten much better at it in the last few days; he's almost completely stopped crawling now." Draco said proudly as he touched the top of Braiden's head as he toddled past where Draco was sat, sipping at his tea.
"Have any of the others been up on their feet?" Narcissa asked.
"Regan is up on his feet and Farren knows how to stand and how to climb, Tegan is still cruising, but Calix is very happy crawling still."
"Has Leolin made any attempts at moving?" Lucius asked at an attempt to show interest.
Harry shook his head. "No, but that's normal, he won't be even attempting to move himself until he's at least three years old."
Lucius nodded, but he looked a little awkward and terrified of being left alone with these eight little people.
"We'd better get going." Draco said as he checked his pocket watch. "Eva and Ave have been fed and will need to be fed again in three hours, this rabble won't need feeding, but they may want snacks, we've packed them some rusks and Nasta insisted on putting in some fruit slices too. They have their sippy cups, they've got their names on them so you know which one is which and Leolin has a bottle, his are bigger than Eva and Ave's, I think that's everything."
Narcissa was smiling at him.
"Go and have fun, I have had a child before." She told him as she patted his cheek lovingly. "We'll be completely fine, I'm sure they'll be absolute angels."
Lucius tried to hide how worried he was about this whole evening as he said goodbye to his son and his son's lovers. His mates. He was getting more and more used to that the longer he had to think about it and making up with Draco had helped everything immensely.
As the oldest boy, Braiden, crawled up into his lap and sat down facing the table, his one arm wrapped around his tiny waist automatically as long past memories of Draco doing something similar at this age plagued his mind. He did what he'd done then too and held the boy securely and shifted his chair further under the table so that Braiden could reach the table top. The little boy bashed little hands against the surface until Narcissa handed him a toy, which was then happily played with. Perhaps this wasn't going to be so difficult after all and he was worried for nothing.
He looked around at the eight children that were for all intents and purposes, his own grandchildren, five grandsons and three granddaughters. He…cared for them, he couldn't say that he loved them, not yet, but he did care and he wouldn't want any of them to ever be hurt. When he'd found out that the little ones, Calix and Leolin, were in the hospital, he remembered how his heart had jumped, how his guts had clenched tight at the thought of those two little boys dying, how crushed his son, Draco would be and that had upset him too.
He looked to Calix now, happy, healthy, pink cheeked in his excitement as he rushed around the hardwood flooring on his hands and knees, little socked feet working to push himself faster as he chased after a soft, foam ball that Narcissa had enchanted to slowly roll around the floor.
He was in fine health, but he did remember seeing him unnaturally pale, with fever red spots of colour on his cheeks. He hadn't been allowed to visit him or Leolin in the hospital, none of the grandparents had been allowed to visit, which he believed had made things harder, but when Calix had been released, he remembered thinking then that the boy still didn't look well, that maybe the Healers had released him too early and he had been right and he'd never been more angry or more afraid than getting the news that Calix had been readmitted to the hospital. It was then that he realised that these little children had inched their way into his heart. It wasn't love, not yet, though he was sure that would come given time and evenings like this, where he and Cissa were alone to bond with them, but he most definitely cared about them and just the threat of them being sick, hurt or hospitalised made him very angry and admittedly a little fearful too. He didn't want to lose a single one of them.
"Are you alright, darling?" Narcissa asked him.
He looked up at his Wife and he smiled softly at her, his heart swelling with love for the woman he cared for, the woman that had given him their beloved son. He nodded.
"Perfectly fine, dear." He answered as he shifted Braiden into his lap more fully.
"Would you like a cup of tea?"
He nodded his assent and it was a minute or so before he realised that Narcissa had left the room and left him on his own with all eight of the children. He looked around him, at Calix who was all over the floor, crawling faster than he could ever remember Draco being, to Tegan who was dragging the cushions off of his settee and throwing them at whichever brother was closest, Farren who was lifting himself up with the side of Eva's, or was that Ave's?, carrycot, as it rocked and tipped ominously.
He stood up quickly and dropped Braiden to the floor as hurriedly as he dared before he caught the carrycot with one hand and eased Farren to his feet with the other, he picked up the cushions and stacked them on the floor, away from Tegan and he caught Calix around the waist before he bumped his head on a chair. He sighed; he couldn't wait for them all to go to sleep. This was not going to be as easy as he'd hoped just minutes before.
Harry was very happy with just dinner and then a stroll through a park, arm in arm with Nasta and Draco as Max had Blaise thrown over one shoulder. His first ever mate had drunk too much. Far, far too much and, helpless sleepy drunk that he was, he was fast asleep.
It had been hilarious really, one minute he'd been fine, then he'd found a bench and sat down, a minute later he was fast asleep and only grunted and groused when they'd tried to wake him.
"This is the last time I promise that he can drink whatever he wants." Nasta shook his head. "We'd best get him home and then pick up the kids; it's getting to the tail end of when we said we'd be home."
Harry smiled. "I've had a lovely night, thank you."
"I wanted to take you to the Ballet again, you enjoyed it the last time and we missed out last year."
Harry squeezed Nasta's hand and hid a grin.
"Thank you Draco, I did enjoy it, perhaps next year?"
Draco nodded and he smiled and bent to kiss Harry. "I just want you to be happy, Harry."
"With you four with me, how can I not be happy? Especially when Blaise is so entertaining." He chuckled.
Max laughed. "He's out of it, seriously out of it. Poor bastard is drooling down the side of my neck."
"If he's drooling down your neck, then why is he the poor bastard and not you?" Draco asked curiously.
"Because he looks ridiculous doing it and I look like a strong, handsome, kind and caring man by putting up with it." Max said with a wide grin.
Harry laughed and they reached the end of the park and they slipped down an alleyway. They Apparated home first and Max took Blaise up to bed while he, Nasta and Draco went over to Malfoy Manor to get their kids back and likely rescue Lucius from hell on Earth.
Everything was quiet as Draco led them through the labyrinth and to the room they had left the kids in, Narcissa was reading quietly and Lucius was in the process of dipping his elegant quill into a pot of ink open on his right side, Calix was sleeping in his lap facing him, little mouth open as he snuggled lightly into Lucius' robe.
"Oh darlings, did you have a good night, are you all happy? Where are Blaise and Maximilius?" Narcissa asked, marking her page and sliding her book to the side table. Eva was in the crook of her arm sleeping peacefully.
"Blaise drank too much Mother; he fell asleep on a park bench of all things! Max has put him to bed." Draco told her as he took Eva from his Mother and kissed her full on her tiny little mouth.
"Is he alright?"
"Yes, Mother, he'll sleep it off and if Max is in a favourable mood then he'll give him a headache reliever and a stomach settler tomorrow morning when he wakes up after a night of having the twins screaming in his ear."
"Max put him in the spare room." Harry said with a shake of his head. "So he wouldn't be disturbed."
"He'll want to get out of that habit; we won't always have a spare room to put him in, unless he'd rather sleep on the settee." Nasta said with a shake of his head.
"The kids were alright, weren't they?" Harry asked as he looked around, trying to find anything out of place, but everything was perfect; all the babies were in the travel cots, except for Eva now in Draco's arms and Calix still on Lucius lap.
"They were little angels." Narcissa gushed happily.
"Curious little angels." Lucius added with a smirk. "They wanted into everything, particularly Calix, who even refused to go to sleep because he wanted to know what was behind every cupboard door and in every draw before he would rest."
Harry shook his head. "That boy is definitely going to become an explorer. He didn't break anything did he? He broke one of Draco's knick-knacks last week."
"They are not 'knick-knacks'" Draco said pompously. "They're collectable figurines."
"Whatever they are, Calix broke one of them. I told you not to leave them on the bottom shelves of the bookcase!"
"How was I to know that he'd climb three shelves to reach it?! I thought they would be safe on the fourth shelf."
"Well they weren't." Harry said simply. "So other than a bit of snooping around, they were okay?"
"Braiden missed you a lot." Narcissa said, looking a little worried about that fact. "Leolin too. He…he cried himself to sleep, darling. I'm sorry, I couldn't calm him."
Harry sighed. "It's okay, we knew there was a chance of that happening, he's very…"
"He's very attached to Harry." Nasta answered as Harry waffled a bit for the word he wanted.
Harry nodded. "I don't know why but we share a very strong bond, he calls for me, the only word he says still is 'Ma', he has to see me before he'll go to sleep, if he wakes up and I'm not there he cries. I'm not sure if it's normal or what to do with him as he's a Faerie."
"I'm sure it's normal." Nasta said thoughtfully. "I'm sure I read that most Faerie babies do become more attached to their primary carer because they feel safe with them as they're around them more."
"We're going to have to start putting him around the rest of you." Harry said softly. "I don't want him thinking that only I'm safe when all of you are as well."
"We'll sort it love, for now, let's just get them home and settled and then we can talk more about it later." Nasta insisted.
It took three trips for them to get all of the babies home and all the stuff they'd taken for their children too with only three of them and Harry's abdomen muscles ached when he was on the second trip back to their home, he was carrying both Farren and Regan on his shoulders to get them home and into bed as quickly as possible and he had to put them on the settee, get onto his knees, spread them and then massage his stomach to try and ease the pain that was even threatening to have him vomit.
"Are you alright?" Draco demanded as he flooed home, he dropped the three packed up travel cots he had been carrying and rushed to Harry.
Nasta flooed in behind Draco with the remaining travel cots and two backpacks and he dropped them too and rushed to Harry where Draco was crouched in front of him.
"What happened?" He asked as he sat behind Harry and added his hands to the massage. The bigger, harder, firmer hands had Harry's less effective hands slipping away and he went onto his hands and knees, lowering his chest and pushing his arse up and he sighed happily as those expert hands took away his pain.
"I think carrying both Farren and Regan was too much for my stomach muscles, I'm sorry."
"You have nothing to be sorry for." Draco told him firmly. "You're still recovering and today has been busy and exciting, you need to rest now."
"Draco, can you carry him up the stairs for me? I'll leave the cots and bags where they are for now and sort it tomorrow. I'll get Farren and Regan to bed."
"I'm sorry." Harry repeated.
"Stop apologising, love." Draco told him as he got Harry into his arms and then stood up. "Your body is recovering from pregnancy and birth, that's fine, you're going to have a few wobbles, give yourself some credit, Harry."
Harry just snuggled up into Draco's arms and wrapped his own arms around Draco's broad shoulders. He kissed a pale, baby smooth cheek and settled himself as he was carried up the stairs.
"I love you." He said sincerely.
"I love you too; now let's get you into bed."
Harry laughed at that and they met Max, who was, surprisingly, changing the bed sheets.
"Did you have a little solo accident?" Harry teased.
Max blushed. "No!" He stressed. "Ave spit up on me when I was burping her on the bed, some got on the covers, so I thought it best to change them."
"Good, Draco would have given you the cold shoulder for a month for chancing leaving them on." Harry giggled.
Draco went to dump him on the bed, then he seemed to remember that Harry had been hurt and that was why he was carrying him, so he gripped Harry's body again, but the aborted movement had him overbalancing and they both tumbled onto the bed.
"Are you alright? Did I hurt you?" Draco asked.
"I feel like I'm missing something, what happened?" Max asked concernedly as he watched them.
"I had a moment that's all. My incision site hurt for a few minutes when I tried carrying Regan and Farren together. Nasta is being over protective and had Draco carry me up to bed, which I like, but I don't think it's going to end in the way I like the most."
"Of course not." Max said as he pulled Harry's shirt off for him and examined the residual scarring. "Sex right now will crunch up your belly and your stomach muscles, which is exactly what you don't want."
"Max is right." Nasta said as he came into the bedroom sans Regan and Farren. "No sex tonight, love."
Harry sighed. "Okay, fine, but only because I've already had lots of sex this morning on top of an amazing day and I really am in quite a bit of pain."
"Do you need a pain reliever?" Max asked even more concernedly as he undid Harry's belt and pulled off his trousers, and not in a way that usually ignited Harry's blood either as he fought off a grimace of pain.
"No, I just need some rest." Harry said as he snuggled under the covers in just his boxer shorts and one by one Max, Draco and Nasta joined him. "How's Blaise?" He asked sleepily.
"He's fine; he's fast asleep in the spare bedroom." Max answered through a yawn. "Now get to sleep, when I wake up for the bottle feeds I'll check on him too, but he should be fine until the morning."
Valentine's had been a wonderful day, even though it hadn't ended all steamy and sweaty under the sheets, but Harry didn't mind. He couldn't help that he had given birth recently or that his body was still healing. He had enjoyed his day though and despite the lack of sex during the night, he'd had more than enough that morning, and the lack of sex at the end of the romantic day didn't bother him in the slightest as he had never felt more loved, nor more in love than he was in that moment as he lay snuggled into Draco's bulk, Max pressed right up against his back and Nasta's hand over Max's waist and between him and Draco, cupping the remaining bulge of his belly, his fingers drawing sleepy, soft patterns over the scar tissue. It sent him right to sleep in a warm bubble of love and contentedness. The only thing missing was of course Blaise, but that couldn't be helped tonight, Blaise would sleep better on his own and being so far away from Eva and Ave, he was less likely to wake up with his head feeling like it was being torn in two. Harry smiled as he stilled himself and let his body relax. He lived for days like today, where he felt loved by the men that he had chosen as his mates, where he truly felt like he had his own family to love and to cherish for the rest of his life. He lived for his family and anything that threatened his family was going to meet a very messy end.
A/N: Today we celebrate three years! Yep, The Rise of the Drackens is exactly three years old today and was first posted up, exactly three years ago today, where the hell did the time go?
Now to clear some things up, this fic is not abandoned, I do not have writer's block, I'm not purposefully denying you chapters to ruin your day or any other of the ridiculous things that have been thrown around since the last update. Straight up, pure and simple, I just did not want to write for it, it's as simple as that. I didn't want to write for this fic, so I didn't and while I've been away, my stress levels have plummeted and some of my back burner fics have been getting some much needed attention, which has overall made me very happy.
Just because I don't update for a few weeks or even a few months, does not mean I'm abandoning the fic or that I have writers block, it means I'm doing other things, focusing on other stories and I would like for you to respect that as readers, though I know that a handful of readers either won't respect me as a person and will carry on their selfish behaviour, or they just won't read this message. I'm very happy to know that more than half of you will and do respect me and see me as a person and I thank you all for that, this update is for all of you who have waited patiently while I updated Damaged Bodies before I came back to this story, love you all, lovelies.
Updated A/N: Thankfully I wrote this chapter a few weeks ago in preparation for the anniversary, my Grancha is very ill in the hospital at the moment and he was taken in on the 11th of May, we were told on the 14th that the fluid on his lungs contained Asbestos. We found out on the 15th that he had lung cancer and that he was looking at weeks, not months, we've been told not to expect him to live long past August at the most, so once again lung cancer is going to claim another of my family members and my Grancha is the closest family member I've had to see suffer in this way. Between comforting family members and visiting him in hospital, I've been drained, completely wrung out and trying to deal with my own fluctuating emotions.
I'm not going to be around much for the foreseeable future, which will only worsen when my Grancha dies. It's unfair perhaps on you readers, but when I took the break from The Rise of the Drackens to write for Damaged Bodies, I had no idea that in just a few weeks my Grancha would be critically ill in hospital and told that he has terminal lung cancer. That's just the way it is though, so make this chapter last, I doubt you'll be getting another one off of me for a while and that goes for all of my stories, not just this one.
Thanks to Ancantsia for being the 11,500th reviewer.
Thanks to AnastasiaChambers for being the 11,600th reviewer.
Guest: Draco isn't working and he isn't looking, he's keeping his promise to himself of supporting Harry and looking after the babies at home, he's in no rush to find a job, but he will have one. Blaise however is looking for work now that they're out of Hogwarts. They will not be having a wedding or a ceremony, they decided against it and believe that it is pointless to get married when they're bonded through their Dracken sides.
ozftw: A Metamorphmagus can change every single part of themselves, so I would imagine that yes, they could change their scale colour and such, but that said, their original colours would still be the only ones they could inherently pass on to a child, thus they're still important.
Anyway, I think that's it. I've decided that the Myron/Harry will be a side story, I've got the first part of that written, so that'll be out soon as it's pre-written and I don't think there's anything else that needs to be said now, I hope you enjoyed the chapter,
StarLight Massacre. X