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This is the last chapter of The Name I'll Give to Thee. Thank you for reading along.
Chapter Forty-Five—To Take an Heir
"Well, I still hate Potions."
Ron snickered across the table from Harry, craning his neck as though he could see the list of activities Harry was making from there. "And Herbology and Astronomy probably wouldn't be any good for you either, mate."
"Why does everything you're thinking of need to be based on Hogwarts subjects?" Hermione demanded, pulling back her hair to glare at them. She was crouching over her own books, although Harry didn't know exactly what legal case she was researching, just that it had to do with house-elves. "Choose something different, for God's sake."
"Right," Harry said, and scribbled down a few more words with a flourish. "Driver of a Muggle lorry, here I come!"
"It would be a good thing if they did teach Muggle driving at Hogwarts," Hermione said, and turned back to her books, making notes while she rambled on. Harry doubted that she had to listen to what she said at this point, she was so able to focus on two things at once. "Think of the ways that wizards could become comfortable with technology then. And maybe it would mean less of those calls that start up every few years to stop using the Hogwarts Express because some hidebound pure-bloods think it's too Muggle."
"Yes, yes," Ron said, and gestured at Harry with the apple core he held. "But we all know that you aren't going to listen to Hermione's nonsense, so what are you going to choose?"
Harry hesitated and looked at the list again. Quite apart from the Hogwarts subjects bias that Hermione had mentioned, he wanted to do something that would involve lots of magic, the way being an Auror had.
But he also wanted to do something that wasn't as dangerous. It wasn't just to content Draco, he'd reassured Hermione when he brought that up and she glared at him. For the first time, he was thinking about the future in detail, thinking there was more to the future than just chasing Dark wizards. Which meant he had to think about Teddy and the growth of the Malfoy family, all those things that he had promised Draco and Narcissa he would do.
And he wanted to be alive to see Teddy grow up, whether or not he became the Malfoy heir. He wanted to spend time with Draco and see if Narcissa came anywhere close to accepting him. He wanted to be a part of the family.
He shook his head a little, smiling. Draco had told him, somewhere back near the beginning of their marriage, that he was giving Harry a family to care about, something Harry had never had before. Harry had reacted indignantly at the time, because he remembered the Weasleys and how they had been willing to become his family not for the hope of gain or because they wanted him as an heir, just because they liked him.
But yes, the Malfoys were family, and in a way that Ron wasn't, as close as he was. The difference between a cousin and a husband, Harry thought.
"Harry? You look like you've made a choice, but you just keep sitting there and staring at the bloody parchment instead of saying anything," Ron complained as he took the last usable bite from his apple and tossed it away. Hermione tried to enchant it to float back and hit him in the forehead, probably as punishment for his language, but Ron batted it away with a charm, not taking his eyes from Harry. "Well?"
"I want to use defensive magic," Harry said. "That's what I'm really good at." He wondered if Draco would say that he was really good at those powerful bursts of magic and will that came about when he was saving someone else in his family, but he couldn't control those, and he couldn't imagine Draco or Teddy in danger every time he had to use magic. "So I was thinking about maybe apprenticing to a ward-maker."
That announcement actually got Hermione to throw her hands up and turn around, clasping them together as she beamed at him. "Harry, that would be perfect!" she exclaimed. "That way, you wouldn't have to depend on anyone else for entertainment, and you would have something creative to do that got you out of the Manor, and you could use defensive magic, but it wouldn't be dangerous!"
"Yes, that's essentially what I was thinking," Harry said dryly, rolling his eyes at Ron. Ron didn't notice, he was so busy gazing in a besotted way at Hermione. Harry rolled his eyes again, both for Ron and for himself, because that was probably the way he looked at Draco, and leaned back. "Now I only need to start studying up on the magical theory I need. I understand it's pretty extensive."
"You'll do fine," Hermione said, flipping a hand at him. "It's the same theory behind Defense Against the Dark Arts."
"Says someone who hasn't studied it," Harry said flippantly, while his heart hammered just a little. He had to wonder what would happen when he started to study, whether it would make sense to him or not. He wasn't the best or the brightest of the Aurors to come out of the current training crop, no matter what Hermione thought. He was just really determined and had some instinctive talent.
What do you think being good at something is? asked a voice in the back of his mind that sounded suspiciously like Draco.
Harry began to smile. Draco might not like or admire his decision at first, since it would mean they were spending less time together, but Harry thought that was all to the good. It meant they would appreciate the time more when they did have it.
"My aunt lives in a house like this?"
Harry shot Draco a quelling look, but Draco refused to be quelled. Oh, he supposed the house was nice enough, on one level. It wasn't the Shrieking Shack, or the hovel that his Aunt Bellatrix had once shown him a picture of, explaining that it was where she and the Lestranges had lived when on the run from Aurors during the first war.
But it was so small. And Draco could see rosebushes in the front garden, but no sign that house-elves had tended them. And there was a scattering of child's toys in a path up to the door. Draco wondered whether the boy was neat enough to learn new habits this late in life.
"Teddy is seven," Harry said, apparently having guessed Draco's thoughts from the dismayed way he was looking at the toys. "Now shut up and follow me." He walked up to the door and knocked.
Draco muttered under his breath as he followed, but Harry reached back and pinched his elbow as the door swung open, hissing over his shoulder, "This is the house your heir lives in, too, so maybe you could remember that?"
Draco had no time to answer, which Harry had surely planned out, damn him. Instead, Draco had to smile pleasantly at the woman in front of him, although she looked so much like Bellatrix it was difficult.
"Aunt Andromeda?" he asked, offering her his hand. "I'm Draco Malfoy. Narcissa's son." It was a time-honored way to try and soothe tensions between distant kin who were meeting for the first time, to name the nearest relatives they shared in common.
Closer to her now, Draco could see that this woman was no Bellatrix. Insanity hadn't kept her face smooth, and neither had potions or creams. She had wrinkles leading up to her eyes and around her mouth. There were long streaks of grey in her heavy black hair. Only her eyes were the same, as deep and dark and brilliant as Draco's memories.
"I know that you're Cissy's son," Andromeda said, after a few moments of studying him. Only then did she take his hand, but she flinched back from it and dropped it as soon as she could. She turned to walk into the house. "Come in, if you must."
Draco stared at her back. He had thought he would be the one showing disdain or getting to be gracious and charming. It had never occurred to him that Andromeda might despise him for something his mother had done.
A sideways glance at Harry showed Harry struggling to control his laughter. He caught Draco's eye and spread his hands.
"I told you that she didn't care about pure-blood bollocks," Harry muttered out of the corner of his mouth, and followed Andromeda.
Draco had barely stepped into the dim house or had a chance to look around at the portraits on the walls and the way the wood had a fine sheen despite the lack of house-elves when a whirlwind blew around the corner and slammed into Harry. Draco nearly drew his wand before he remembered Harry's warnings, and settled back with a wince and a grumble.
The boy. It was the boy. Draco felt his breath catching in a way it hadn't even when he had gone through the demi-marriage ritual with Harry. Of course, he had known Harry and thought of him as a husband, while he didn't know this boy at all, and it was on him that the far future of the family might hang.
He was a handsome boy, Draco had to admit, with Andromeda's dark hair and eyes—and then, as Draco watched, his hair changed, becoming shaggier, and his eyes turned a vivid, beaming green.
Draco blinked. A Metamorphmagus. Did I know that he was a Metamorphmagus?
From the silent look Harry sent him, that and the laughter in his eyes, Draco suspected Harry had explained at least once, and he hadn't listened. He nodded to Harry and bent down to look at Teddy more closely. Teddy turned and stared at him, sticking one finger in his mouth.
"This is your cousin Draco Malfoy, Teddy," Andromeda said. Her voice could have come off a glacier, but luckily, so could the drink she handed Draco. Draco swallowed some, feeling the cubes butt against his teeth, and tried to moderate his stare a little. "And what did I tell you about chewing your nails?"
Draco smiled despite himself. Harry could say that Andromeda didn't care about pure-blood manners all he liked, but if she was trying to instill some sense of basic cleanliness into Teddy, she cared enough for Draco.
Teddy sniffed and took the finger out of his mouth to answer. "Not to do it," he said, and turned to Harry. "But Uncle Harry thinks that's stupid, don't you, Harry?"
Harry cleared his throat with a cough. Draco thought he probably still wasn't used to being appealed to in front of Andromeda, who after all was the boy's guardian. "Well, I didn't care much when I was your age, Teddy," he said. "But I was growing up with Muggles who didn't care about me, either."
"You were going to tell me about them!" Teddy said, and bounced up and down. "The fat one and the thin one and the fatter one!"
Draco arched his eyebrows. That was more than he had ever heard out of Harry about the Dursleys. Thinking back on it, he wasn't even sure that Harry had told him there were only three people in the family.
Harry glanced back and forth between Andromeda and Draco as though hoping one of them would step in to rescue him, but Andromeda only shook her head. "I have some reading that I need to get through before tomorrow," she said, reminding Draco that he had no idea what his aunt did every day, other than spend time with Teddy. "Why don't you tell him the story, Harry? If you promised, then you should keep your word."
"Yeah, you should!" Teddy had changed his hair back to black again, to resemble Andromeda's, and he was smiling up at Harry the way Draco had seen children smile who knew that they had an adult trapped and there was no getting out of it. "Grandmother always tries to raise me with decorum. You should have it, too!"
Harry rolled his eyes, but took Teddy's hand. "You haven't said hello to your cousin, yet," he said.
Teddy glanced at Draco. Draco didn't see any fear in those eyes. At least Andromeda hadn't prejudiced him against Malfoys, whatever else she may have said. Well, she wouldn't have wanted to after Harry became a Malfoy, too.
"Hi," said Teddy, with a slight shrug, and then turned back to Harry. "We're going outside, right?"
"Even though we'll need Warming Charms and Impervious Charms, right," Harry said, and turned to Draco with an unfamiliar expression. It took Draco a minute to realize that Harry was asking for help to get himself out of this situation.
Draco smirked at him. "Warming Charms and Impervious Charms coming right up," he said, and drew his wand.
He heard Andromeda's sharp intake of breath a moment before he realized what must have caused it. He looked down at his wand, the basilisk wand, and back up at her, and shook his head. Andromeda flicked her eyes back and forth between him and the wand, and her own fingers grew a little tighter on her robe.
"This is my wand, now," Draco told her, voice as gentle as he could make it. "Maybe it's Dark in a way, but it obeys me. And it doesn't really matter what kind of wood it's made of, or what the core is."
"It's Dark?" Teddy shot away from Harry's side as if propelled, landing in front of Draco and dancing up and down on the tiled floor, reaching out a hand. "That's great! What is it? Can you do spells that send people flying away? That's what I want to see."
"Teddy." Andromeda's voice was low, her eyes darting back and forth between her grandson and Draco. "I'm sure that Mr. Malfoy won't want to demonstrate a spell like that for you. It's too violent."
"I can show you," Draco said, smiling at Teddy and hoping that didn't count as open defiance of Andromeda's will, which Harry had told Draco not even Harry could get away with. "But with fake people, not real ones. And we'll have to go outside. I would destroy walls and chairs in here, and then where would you sit?"
From Teddy's expression, Draco was sure that he would willingly pay the price of a few chairs for the privilege of watching the basilisk wand at work, but he nodded and ran out the front door. His hair was already changing to pale blond when he popped his head back in and demanded, "Aren't you coming?"
"He's not a bad boy," Andromeda murmured, drawing her fingers across her face as though to wipe away tears. "Just—at that stage where everything forbidden is fun, and of course Dark magic is forbidden."
"I wouldn't think any less of him," Draco told her quietly. "I was the same way at that age myself."
"And I would have been if I knew about magic," Harry added, because Andromeda had opened her mouth, and Draco doubted she was about to say anything complimentary about Draco being obsessed with Dark magic when he was seven. "I thought it was brilliant when Hagrid put a pig's tail on my cousin."
Andromeda turned towards Harry, and put a hand out. Harry took it, and stood gazing back at her.
"It would be all right?" Andromeda asked softly. "Even if he ends up as a Malfoy? Are you sure, Harry?"
"I'm sure," Harry said, and let her hand go with a little squeeze of her fingers. Draco had to smile. Harry being protective and reassuring to someone else was attractive, but Draco still didn't like him touching anyone else for too long. "I did, and I'm all right."
"Are you coming?" Teddy sounded as if he would leave them all behind for being boring adults if they didn't join him soon.
"Yes, that's true," Andromeda said, and squared her shoulders. She eyed Draco. "You're different than what I expected from Cissy's son. If my grandson became the Malfoy heir, it would be…not horrible, I suppose."
There's a ringing endorsement. But Draco kept his face smooth as he inclined his head. He understood how hard this was for someone who had thought she would never have contact with her relatives again, because he had felt a little like that when he first really realized there were relatives he'd never had contact with. "Thank you," he said. "But we have a few years to think about that. He wouldn't even be able to undertake some of the rituals he would have to perform until he's ten."
"Because they're Dark?" Andromeda looked at Draco as though she was reconsidering her reconsidered opinion.
"Because they're powerful," Harry said. He'd apparently been doing some reading of his own in the books that Draco had left out on the table. "He'd have to have a mature magical core and be ready to use a wand. So probably closer to eleven."
Draco could see the way Andromeda relaxed. He smiled. That gave her four whole years to think about whether she wanted this for Teddy, and to get used to Draco. And perhaps to visit his mother. Who knew? Draco thought the visits might be good for his mother, giving her someone to associate with other than him and Harry.
"Good," Andromeda said, and chuckled when an impatient shout ripped back through the door. "Then go and show him the spells that make people fly." She flicked Draco one more stare, silently warning him that he shouldn't go too Dark, and stepped back into what Draco assumed must be the library.
Harry tucked his hand under Draco's arm. "Thank you," he said under his breath. "You handled that well."
"She made it easier than I thought she would," Draco said, taking his arm. "So did Teddy. And I think that you need to tell us both that story about your Muggles as soon as I finish showing off my spell to my little cousin's satisfaction."
"Then we could be here all day," Harry said, shaking his head. "He doesn't get tired of things easily."
Good. Then he'll draw all the details out of you. Draco was sure Harry couldn't make out all the plans behind his smile, but Harry gave him a suspicious look anyway as they stepped into the sunlight.
Teddy, with blond hair and green eyes now, danced up and down under the small covering that Andromeda had reaching out from the side of the house. "Are you going to cast those charms or not?"
And Harry did, and they sat under the covering while Draco cast the spells that would create human-shaped dummies and then the ones that would make them fly. Teddy watched with a gaping mouth, clapped his hands, and laughed when the dummies landed and shattered on the far grass. Draco felt his own remaining nervousness, his doubts about taking Teddy into his family as his heir, melt and run away from him. A child with a slight affinity for the Dark Arts would do the family proud.
A child like Harry.
Draco glanced at Harry, and saw him leaning forwards in his chair, his eyes fixed on Teddy, but his body bent towards Draco, as if he never lost awareness of either of them as he sat there and absorbed the scene.
Yes. This is what I want.
"You've changed your mind about apprenticing to a ward-maker?" Hermione let her cup fall onto the table as she stared at Harry. "Is it because the theory takes too long to learn? But I thought you were saying the other day that you had all the time in the world and you were going to spend a lot of time searching out the best books."
Harry rolled his eyes as he leaned back enough that he could put his feet on the table. Ron glanced at him, daring him to do it, if his little eye-twitch was anything to go by. Harry grinned at him, and didn't. He had enough problems with Hermione as it was. "I was talking about Teddy when I talked about years, Hermione. It would be years before we adopted him officially, because we would have to wait that long before he could stand the spells to bring him into the family. So Andromeda and Teddy and Draco should all be used to the idea by then, and maybe Narcissa will be speaking to me."
"You don't sound as though you need any time to get used to it, mate." Ron looked at him with a considering gaze as he picked up his own Firewhisky.
Harry shook his head. "That's because I don't. Draco and Teddy remind me of each other. I love them both. Of course I'll be happy if they can live under the same roof and I don't have to worry about Draco or me having children with someone else."
"But the job!" Hermione tapped her fingers on the table. "What about the job? What did you decide on, if you're not going to be a ward-maker?"
Harry smiled into his mug. He was thinking about the spells that he had watched Draco cast the other day, technically Dark in that they could be used to hurt. But so could the Blasting Curse, and the Levitation Charm, and even Alohomora if you did something like unlock a door that would fly open and slam into someone's chest.
"I think that it's time someone besides the Ministry looked into spells and decided what separates Dark Arts from all the others," he said. "In Britain, it's just what the Ministry decides is illegal. But I know they have different definitions in Bulgaria, or they couldn't teach them at Durmstrang. So I want to know. Is there any common thread between what all those different wizarding countries say? Or is it just illegality? Or something else?"
"Then you want to be a sort of independent investigator?" Hermione stared at him. "What makes you think anyone would welcome that?"
Harry laughed. "Well, I'm sure the Ministry won't, but I've made my feelings about what they'll say abundantly clear. What really matters to me is what will make me happy, and I think this will. And being the Chosen One has got to be good for something. It might as well be doing things that someone else would get arrested for."
Hermione still looked as though she'd like to ask him all sorts of questions about how it would work, but Ron reached out and patted her hand. "Leave it up to Harry, right?" he told her. "And then you can advise him when it all goes pear-shaped, the way it will."
Harry grinned at both his friends, and stood up. "I promised Draco I'd be back home soon," he said.
"Why?" Hermione gave him a searching look, and then flushed as Harry gave her a pointed one. "Right. Um, it was nice of you to come over, Harry." She smiled and stood up, reaching up to kiss his cheek. "I'm glad that things are working out with Malfoy and Teddy."
"And Andromeda," Ron said, looping an arm around Harry's shoulders from the other side. "I thought she would be the biggest problem."
Harry grinned at him, and enjoyed himself for just a second, standing between his two best friends, who hadn't abandoned him because he'd had to get married and become a Malfoy, who never would abandon him. "Well, she still might be, but I think the title of biggest problem in my life is Narcissa right now. She's not horrible, but she hasn't come around completely." He shrugged. "At least she's a bit younger now."
It took a few more reassurances and good-byes before his friends were ready to let him go, but finally, Harry could take a handful of Floo powder, cast it into the fire, and call, "Malfoy Manor!"
Those were the words he had to use to get there, but inside his mind and heart, there was another. Home.
Draco threw aside the book he'd been half-reading when Harry came stumbling out of the fireplace. He saw Harry glance up at him, eyes shining. "How did you know I would come out here?" Harry asked, wringing soot out of his shirt.
"I had the elves shut the other Floos," Draco replied, and then Harry was laughing, and Draco had caught him in his arms and was kissing him. Harry responded just as eagerly, curling a foot around Draco's ankles to tug him closer.
Draco took a deep breath in the middle of the kiss, pulling back to look at Harry, and Harry smiled at him, eyes deeper than ever, more beautiful.
This man, the living, breathing man in Draco's arms…
He was what Draco had wanted. He had become someone Draco hadn't envisioned when he first married him, but that didn't matter. And he had made the Malfoys into something other than they had been, as well.
And that was fine. In all the old meanings of the word, delicate and shining.
Draco took a deep breath and reached into his pocket. He saw Harry staring at him. Draco had asked him to come home so they could shag, or so he'd implied earlier. Harry stepped back, still staring as Draco took out what he'd been hiding.
Draco had thought of lots of ways he could do this, but in the end, there was no right way but to hold out the box, the way he'd held out his wand and his hand and his life and his heart to Harry, and say, "Open it."
Harry opened the small lacquered box, and stared in equal silence at the ring inside it. A thick silver ring, Draco had chosen, with an emerald, because he had to, and a snake as the stone's setting, also because he had to. The emerald bore the Malfoy crest.
And Harry looked up, and his smile broke the silence to pieces, and Draco kissed him hard enough, he thought, to drive the imprint of his lips into Harry's and the imprint of the ring into Harry's palm as he picked it up, as Harry had already imprinted himself on Draco's heart and life.
They didn't need to say yes. It was already there.