Harry rolled his eyes as he raised his hand again to knock on the large wooden door. It wasn't like they didn‘t know he was coming. Not since they invited him, had an elf open the iron gate for him, and lead him to where he was finally able to see the Manor. Unless they believe him so incompetent as to get lost in a bloody house? Granted it was a big bloody house but still, he saw no reason why he had to announce his presence again. And why couldn’t the bloody elf have taken him all the way? Harry kicked the air in frustration. He really just wanted to get this over with, no matter what this was.
The ‘invitation’, if one was to call the request of Mrs Malfoy for his attendance at tea today at her home, had been cryptic, polite to a fault, and with an undertone not to be refused. Apparently polite coercion is part of the manners people like Mrs Malfoy were taught. However it refused to tell him anything more.
“Mr Potter sir, is being to follow Niffy, please. Niffy is being to take Mr Potter to the Masters.” A small elf, different to the one that had greeted him at the gate, opened the large door and let him in.
Due to the long walk up the driveway, which Harry definitely hadn't made time for, Niffy was rushing up the huge staircase, through the grand house as fast as she could. And Harry had to run, to catch up to her. There was no time to look around as he followed the elf along the way, getting completely lost after the third turn and the second staircase. How did the Malfoys ever find themselves in this humongous home? In his worry over losing Niffy and getting lost for real, he followed her so closely that when she abruptly halted, he of course stumbled over her.
“Niffy, is being very sorry sir. Niffy is forgetting to warn sir, Niffy is being very clumsy. Please, sir excuse Niffy’s bad behaviour.”
“It’s alright, I wasn’t paying attention, no harm done, right? You are okay?” Harry brushed her off, and tried to calm her down, as he saw the tears forming in her eyes.
“Niffy is being fine, sir,” Niffy whimpered and stared up at him, her eyes going wider with obvious awe.
“Ehh, right... sorry anyway. Now maybe we shall go and see your Masters,” Harry offered, with little enthusiasm. He attempted to straighten his clothes and his hair, although he was certain none of the Malfoys would approve of his attire, even if he overdressed for today’s encounter. He was wearing his best trousers, a freaking button down and robes. Granted, modern robes, which were open at the front - and were the explanation for the button down - but still he was wearing robes! Harry was certain that he would never be up to standard in the eyes of the Malfoys, given his blood status. At least he could say that he tried to make nice later on, when this strange meeting had gone to hell.
Niffy’s head bobbed in enthusiasm, before she opened the door to let Harry enter the room. With a last gulp, while trying to dry his hands in his robe, he entered the room, not sure what awaited him.
“Mister Potter, I’m very pleased that you could make it,” Narcissa stood and greeted him, before he got a chance to look around.
Harry took the outstretched hand and shook it once. “Mrs. Malfoy, eh... thank you for the invitation, though ahm I have to confess, it was, you know... unexpected,” he stammered, his voice a little too high.
The sharp greeting made Harry’s back snap straight and he looked to the right. Lucius Malfoy stood in the corner, with one hand leaning heavily on the crane, while the other had a glass that had to be Firewhisky.
It was unreal for Harry to see the man standing there. It was his testimony that had led to Lucius having fifty years of house arrest, instead of a life in Azkaban; still the mere sight of the bastard had him gritting his teeth. It was lucky for the both of them, that Lucius had not been present at his own hearing, as Harry highly doubted his speech would have been anywhere as effective faced with him.
“Lucius,” Harry replied a moment too late, and without any courtesy. While Mrs Malfoy would always be Mrs Malfoy because he held her in high esteem, Lucius would never get an ounce of respect from him. But on the other hand, he doubted that Lucius had any sort of respect for him either.
Lucius scowled at him, however that was all he did, which threw Harry again. Why was Lucius even here, or better yet, why was Harry here?
“Please Mr. Potter, take a seat. Would you like some tea? And you have to taste this pastry. Essi has outdone herself today, as she heard, that it would be you, who was joining us for tea today,” Mrs Malfoy said, sitting down again.
“Ehh, yes thank you, however, ohmm...” Harry tried ineffectively to loosen his too tight collar. “I mean, what I really want to say is, you know, why exactly am I here?” Harry felt as out of place as he must look, and it did nothing for his confidence. Somehow Malfoys had this effect on him.
Harry saw the long look Mrs Malfoy exchanged with her husband, and bet all that he owned that there was a whole conversation happening between the married couple. However the topic of the conversation, most likely connected to him but not really about him, was unknown.
“When is the last time you spoke to my son, Potter?” Lucius suddenly asked.
“Well... that would be the day before we took our last NEWT, as he left school after all exams were done,” Harry answered, frowning at the unexpected question.
“So you did not spent any time with him in the last five months?” Lucius inquired further, tone doubtful.
“No, I did not,” Harry snaps back, sending a heated glare in Lucius' direction. “What is this about? Is Draco missing? Has something happened to him? Is that why I’m here? You need Auror assistance?”
“Mr Potter, please calm down. Draco is we... as safe as he can be.” Mrs Malfoy interrupted calmly, not allowing any argument to go on.
Harry shut up, but his eyes stayed focused on Lucius, until the other man looked away, his nose moving in disgust.
“Mr Potter, forgive me but I have to pry. Did anything happen between you and Draco in the last year?” Mrs Malfoy asked her voice never changing.
Harry 's breath caught painfully in his chest at her question. Had Draco told them? Was this why he was here? What should he say? For a moment he considered lying, but then Mrs Malfoy's look hit him. This woman had lied to Voldemort in order to protect her son. She would not take kindly to him lying to her face.
“We spent Beltane night together,” Harry whispered, looking at the floor.
There was a sharp intake of breath but Harry couldn't be certain if it was Mrs Malfoy or Lucius.
“Mr Potter, my son is with child,” Mrs Malfoy stated her voice still calm but the tone sharp.
“Ehh... well... I mean... good for him and the mother of his child, but, and please don’t get me wrong, but what has that go to do with me?” Harry asked, scratching the back of his head again. Harry simply couldn't see any reason why Draco’s future happiness should have something to do with him.
Okay, there had been Beltane night, and maybe Harry did value the memory of that night more than it was healthy, and it helped him get on with his life, but why would this one night be a reason for the Malfoys to want to speak to him about Draco’s future family? Surely even they wouldn’t taunt him with their happiness, while his life seemed to crumble on all corners.
“I think you misunderstood, Mr Potter”
“He does not know anything, what where we expecting.”
Mrs Malfoy and Lucius spoke over one another, Mrs Malfoy in a much softer tone than the loud and angry tone of her husband.
“There really is not much to misunderstand, and I can assure you that I understand that Draco will not want me to approach him, and- I have not, I mean we haven’t seen each other...” Harry rolled his eyes at himself. “I can promise you I have no desi-”
“Mr Potter, my son is with child in the sense that he is the one who is carrying it, and apparently that makes you the other parent.”
The universe must have come to a halt, because Harry needed more time to process this information.
He was sure he was moving his lips too, but somehow no words come out.
“But Draco is a BOY” he suddenly shrieked.
“We are well aware of our son’s sex,” Lucius barked.
“It is not uncommon for wizards to get pregnant. Though it does not happen as often as it did in the late 18th century,” Narcissa explained, reaching for her husband's hand who, to Harry’s wonder, obediently stepped closer and took it. “It also is not without its own risks. As a man, it is not Draco’s natural body’s function to bear children, this means a lot of magic is involved.”
For the first time, since his arrival, there was a slight waver in Narcissa’s voice. It scared Harry more than the icy tone before did.
“My son is drained. Very soon he and the child will be beyond any help,” Lucius proclaimed, his posture shrinking.
This was the man Harry had seen wander into the Wizengamot, to hear the verdict they have reached, with his head held high and not accepting help from the Aurors as his limp slowed him down. To see him now so utterly defeated- there are no words, but something moved inside of Harry with the picture of the worried father before him.
“I- I- Am I here for you to blame me? Or to tell me that I lost my child before it was born? What is it you want from me?” Harry’s voice grows in volume, fists balled on his knees.
“I called you here to ask for your help regarding my son. And if I need, I will not allow you to refuse” Mrs Malfoy said, a grave look in her eyes.
Neither of them have ever spoken about it but Harry owns Mrs Malfoy a life debt, and she would use it to save her son, no doubt.
“Wait what? But- but if I ... what?”
Again his world shifted. First, and how could that have slipped past him - why does no one ever mention such things? - he learnt that Draco was dying because he is with child. Then apparently he could help?
“Ok, I know you Slytherins love to have all the information to scheme with and to be as cryptic as you can, but apparently we are talking about a life and death situation here. As I already have shown that I have absolutely no clue, and have given you enough chance to mock me about it, for the life of your son and my composure, it would benefit if I were to be given an explanation fast,” Harry growled, while shedding his robes. He had enough of playing proper little wizard, especially as it only backfired at him again and again.
He watched as another long glance was exchanged before, finally, Lucius started to speak: “As a male pregnancy is not what the male body is built for, it makes it to a point where lots of magic is used, to help the body along, but also to protect the child and the man. For a male pregnancy circumstances have to be optimal. It is not enough to have another male partner, or to be a strong wizard, but... other factors play a role as well. However the conception is only the start. Male pregnancies are usually helped along with an array of potions and... help.”
Harry listened intently. He groaned when Lucius stopped.
“What kind of help?” he asked, getting up to start pacing.
“Male pregnancies do not go long unnoticed. When the strain is starting to wear the carrying wizard out, a small ritual is performed, linking the cores of the two men together, so that the strain is shared,” Mrs Malfoy clarified.
“You want me to link my core with Draco’s?”
Of all the things he had thought of before coming here, the reality turned out to be messier with each passing moment. Harry was not sure if he could really handle more.
“The link would be reversible,” Lucius grit out, “after a time,” he added, his face distorted as if he was the one who had to go through with it.
“And I can presume by the nature of it all, that it would be a one-sided link? Draco has access to my magic, but I would not get access to his.” Harry resumed the pacing.
“As I said before, I will not let you refuse!” Mrs Malfoy demanded.
“I rather wonder why you kept it quiet so long? Draco at least must be aware of what it means for me to have a child. He must have been aware, that I would have done everything for that reason alone...”
“He did not tell us before,” Lucius growled letting go of his wife’s hand and moving back into the corner again. “We did not know anything was amiss until about a month ago. And two days ago he finally told us,” Lucius continued. He poured himself another drink and emptied the glass in one go.
Harry thought it was rather rude of him, to not offer any to his guest, but then most likely Lucius tried to ignore the fact that Harry Potter is his guest, as much as Harry tried to ignore that he is there too.
“I think I better talk this over with Draco, as we are the ones who have to make it work- and believe me we have a lot to talk about!” Harry said after a few deep breaths, which kept him from exploding.
“That will be difficult,” Mrs Malfoy spoke slowly, her fingers smoothing down the beautiful lengths of her long deep blue dress. “Draco fell into a coma yesterday morning. He is drained, and his core might never fully recover,” she stated, the corners of her mouth pointed downwards, her lips thin.
No, Harry admitted to himself, no matter how much he thought he had prepared himself, he had not been prepared at all.
Harry sat next to Draco, aware of his magic draining out of him to the still body on the bed.
In the end it had not really taken that much: one healer, one ministry official, as apparently such things need to be noted down, and one witness, a role he left to Mrs Malfoy.
It had been so anticlimactic that somehow Harry was not sure, how the effect of it could be so huge. The moment the link had sealed, he had nearly lost his consciousness, and if not for Lucius, he would have hit the floor, hard.
Harry never spent much thought on his magical core. Sure, everyone else liked to make the off-handed comment of how strong and powerful a wizard he is, but those comments meant nothing to him. He sometimes had wondered how they could judge something he couldn't even feel but that was all the concern he ever spared for the matter. This experience might have changed that. The first hour after the link had been established was a nightmare.
The healer had explained that at the moment Draco had no control, and that he just reacted to save himself, and that the baby most-likely did the same.
How the baby was supposed to know that it’s life was on the line too, was also beyond Harry’s knowledge or capabilities of imagination.
However for the first time, he had really felt his magic, felt how it was leaving him, but how he did not feel like really getting empty. The shock from the bonding had mostly worn of, and okay, he was certain that even a simple Lumos spell would have been beyond him. Not that he did not have the magic to do it, but somehow his magic had been so focused on Draco that he couldn’t have shifted it. It had been an odd sensation, and even odder to gain the knowledge that his magic would not listen to him. It also made a lot of sense. Draco’s life was in danger: the bond gave him control of Harry’s magic, so he saved himself.
Harry couldn't resent Draco for it. Draco looked horrible: his hair was grey and looked rough while it also must have thinned, his cheekbones, while always being present, now made a sharp cut, leaving the face looking hollow, and the eyes were deep purple rings, while the balls seemed to have sunk deep into the sockets. It was horrible just to look at him, especially as the symptoms did not stop with the face.
While Draco had himself brewed and taken the most important potions, with the constant glamour, he had cast to hide the truth from his parents, the drain had been magnified. And didn't that speak volumes about Draco's magical powers? To be able to sustain such a feat of magic on his own, for months.
What Harry couldn't understand was why Draco had done something like that? Why not just go to his parents? Why not write an owl explaining the situation? Why the secrecy? Especially given the fact that sooner or later the secret would have come out?
“Niffy is to tell Master Potter, that Master Potter can go home as long as he is coming back, but that if Master Potter wishes, Niffy is to prepare a room for Master Potter,” the elf, who Harry had not even heard coming in, said next to him.
“Thank you, Niffy. I think it might be best, if I go home,” he responded.
The drain had nearly stopped and according to the healer Draco would only be able to replenish his own magic so much a day, and that it will be an on-going process.
It was Harry’s forth visit that week, and it was nearly a month since he first heard the truth, but still it felt unreal.
Draco was carrying his child, and had nearly died in order to not tell anyone Harry was the father. He had waited until it was nearly too late, until his very stern father begged his son to tell him a name, to get him help. That too is an image Harry thought he could never picture, but now that he had seen an utterly defeated Lucius, and he had looked more horrible than after his stay in Azkaban, it seemed possible.
“Why, why didn’t you say something, anything,” Harry whispered, leaning over, dragging his fingers through the brittle hair, which still didn't produce any sort of reaction.
“I believe he did it for your welfare, Potter,” Lucius stated suddenly from behind him, stepping closer to the bed. It was only then that Harry noticed the darkness in the room.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to stay so long,” he said, getting up.
“I can hardly reprimand you for helping my son,” Lucius said. “In fact, I believe,” a displeased frown settled on Lucius’ face, “thanks are in order. Thank you, Potter, for helping my son, and my grandchild.”
“It’s my child, and... and I care about Draco. In a way I always have.”
Harry found it ridiculous that he could so easily admit that to Lucius Malfoy of all people, which he would deny to everyone else in a heartbeat, and had hidden from himself for so long.
“I believe that Draco also kept quiet, as to not disappoint me, at what he must think as being, any further. I’m not a kind man, you know that yourself. I love my wife, and my son beyond words known to man... I never wanted for Draco to fear me, or anyone else...”
Harry watched as Lucius sat down on the bed, tracing the sharp lines of Draco’s face.
“He believed in you, when all hope was lost, when staying alive was nearly impossible... It was the second time in my life I saw him lie, and I only knew it because your eyes and the company gave you away, if one followed your progress, or listened to one’s son all summer long going on about you.”
“I heard Draco lie plenty before, he is quite good at it,” Harry muttered, unable to hold back the bitter comment.
“Surprisingly he is very good in twisting the truth, bending it so far that I sometimes even I wonder how he manages not to break it, like the one time he drove a tutor to insanity....”
Lucius smiled at something Harry didn't understand. This encounter made the reality seem even more wrong. Had he fallen? Hit his head? Was he asleep?
“Outright lie is not a talent my son possesses. A simple question like: ‘Is this Harry Potter?’ Is something that would normally cause Draco to state the truth. But he had lied for you, because it would have been your end, if we caught you, and that would have been the end of us all,” Lucius stated with such conviction that Harry had nothing to offer.
“Potter, I am aware that you dislike me, and you have every right to do so, but I beg you for my son to not deprive him of his child, of your child.”
Lucius' gaze locked with Harry’s and it was everything that wasn’t said that made Harry finally step away from the bed, closer to the window. The further he went, the more he felt the drain ease up.
The silence that followed covered the room for the entire time that the last rays of sunlight lightening the sky needed to vanish.
“I quit the Aurors yesterday, I haven’t told anyone yet,” Harry whispered, leaning his head against the cold glass.
“I think I wanted it because my father did it, and then because Ron said we should, and then everyone else thought it was what was best for me. But the last months... I like the spell-work, especially the protective ones, or to nullify, but hunting, hiding... I’m sick of it. It makes my skin crawl and it really... it’s not a life I can picture for myself,” Harry confessed.
Somewhere during this last month seeing Lucius worry about Draco and spending time in his house, the man had actually become tolerable. He would never be a really nice man, but Lucius at least had intact manners. And what the man lacked in kindness his wife made up for it. Harry couldn't deny that he enjoyed his regular tea with Mrs Malfoy. Draco’s mother was a nice, witty woman, and sometimes her smile was so reminiscent of her son, Harry wondered why he had never noticed that before? But then he never really spent much time around the elder Malfoys.
A low gruff noise made Harry turn around, looking at Draco. Draco still did not move, so he let his eyes wander to Lucius, and raised an eyebrow at the man.
“I would say that we just experienced what is generally called a ‘bonding moment’,” Lucius started, rolling his eyes. Before Harry could ask the man continued, voice still gruff: “I had a wager with Narcissa. Obviously, I lost, and losing is not something I enjoy,” Lucius drawled.
“Isn’t that a waste of time? Betting money with your wife?” Harry asked the safe question, because the other ones would all be too confusing: a bonding moment with Lucius Malfoy?
No, he would not survive the day!
Although, apparently he just might...
“Who said anything about money, Potter? We are adults and married for more than twenty years now. Wagers are our way to keep things... interesting.” Lucius arched a brow.
The moment was so out of his experience that Harry just laughed, happily letting go of all the tension his own confession had caused.
“You know, just because we had a bonding moment, you are better off not sharing more about that particular topic, because I’m pretty sure Draco would lynch me if I retaliate, and I would like for my child to have both parents,“ Harry said as he sat down again, and reached for Draco’s hand. The tugging at his magic had become familiar the last weeks, and a proof that Draco and their child are alive.
Slowly, Harry sank down on the bed next to Draco, his head up on one hand, his other caressing Draco’s showing stomach over the blanket, in slow movements.
After his unexpected bonding moment with Lucius nearly a week ago, it didn't feel so odd any more to stay at the Manor; to be in Draco's private quarters. It still was rather unbelievable that the moment had happened at all.
Yet he was still serious about his child having the support of both parents, though in dark moments, such as this, he feared that he had nothing to offer. Draco at least knew about living in a family, and not just watching one, and with all his wealth and this amazing home, nothing Harry possessed could really matter. But still he didn't want to leave his child behind. Never to mention that Harry had no intention of leaving Draco alone in all this. He might not know how to deal with a child, but he can be there for Draco, help him in any way.
What really puzzled Harry is that apparently Lucius Malfoy had been the easy part, Mrs Malfoy still was a complete mystery to Harry, and he had no clue how Draco really felt about him. The thing with Draco is, that he could be very stubborn when the moods struck him, and for whatever reason, Draco hadn’t even considered telling him about the child before he had collapsed. What if Draco didn't want him here? What if Draco was against Harry’s involvement? What if all the memories Harry had kept locked away, only to remember when he was defenceless, had been just pretence for Draco? And in the end Harry knew better than most people how hard-headed Draco could be, in the way, that he would hurt himself, if it would get him the result he wanted.
“I miss you.”
The words were out before Harry could stop them. But it was the truth nonetheless. It had been odd, going through the day without Draco there, not able to see him, or interact with him. Six years they'd spent at each other's throats. Now he could even confess to himself that the year on the run, he had often wondered if he would be able to see Draco again, as the truth of the matter was that he more often had watched out for Draco’s name on the map.
And finally last year had changed so much. However, Harry had been unable to hold on to the one thing he truly desired. How often he had laid awake at night, wondering why he was there and Draco wasn’t with him. It hadn’t been just his decision, as soon as the NEWTs had been done, Draco had all but disappeared.
And now there he was, next to Draco, who refused to wake up. The healers were certain that Draco and the baby were healthy; that Draco should be able to wake up on his own, except he wasn't. Adding to Harry’s agony was the fact that he no longer could feel the tug on his magic, though he had no desire to leave Draco just to feel it again.
However, at least when the tug had been there, he hand been certain that he was needed, and that Draco wanted something from him. Now there was only silence, and Harry’s ever growing doubts.
“It’s so odd seeing you here so lifeless, so unmoving... well, you always were better at keeping still. Until I was looking at you, at least, then you showed me one of your most impressive scowls. I counted them, you know. Made a list and all. Number 15 for example is your: ‘Potter is breathing and therefore I am annoyed’ scowl, number 18 is ‘I wish he would just be somewhere else’ scowl, but I much more prefer number 25, the ‘why is Potter talking and not moving’ scowl, though I admit, this one is a late discovery,” Harry rambled on, rolling his eyes at himself. “You really have to wake up and save me from myself soon,” he laughed softly, tracing his fingers over Draco’s cheekbone and back into his hair. At least Draco was still warm, and soft to the touch.
“Good morning, Mr Potter,” Harry was greeted, as he stepped into the sun-parlour, where breakfast was served.
“Mrs Malfoy, good morning to you too,” he replied with a smile, as he took what was by now his seat. It had been more than three months since the first meeting, and the last month he had spent the vast majority of his time at Malfoy Manor, so of course he had his seat at the table, his chair in the lounge; he even now had a spot in Lucius' study. Certainly it was awkward, but he had a spot.
“As you have now taken up residence in my home, and are to have a relationship with my son, I believe it prudent, that you may call me Narcissa,” she stated, her voice as crisp as ever.
“I-I didn’t take up residence,” Harry denied, aghast. So yes, maybe next to his seating arrangements he might also have his favourite clothes here, but that was just because he spent so much time here, helping Draco, of course.
“I am to understand you just spent the fortnight here on accident?” she asked, raising an elegant eyebrow in a movement so familiar to Harry, that it made his chest ache.
Harry always thought that Draco looked and behaved like his father, but the more time he spent with the family, the more he realized that while Draco couldn't really deny his father, especially in certain speech pattern, his posture and his mimicry is all Narcissa, as is the dry humour. Both mother and son lived for the moment to catch Harry wrong-footed.
But, where as in the past it had been hurtful and Harry had loathed the moment, he now took pleasure in seeing the small smile that Mrs Malfoy usually is polite enough to cover with either a cup, a book or what is at hand. It wasn't a mean smile, as he thought in the past: it was a smile that showed that Mrs Malfoy was enjoying herself and her company. And after all the agony she and her family had come through, Harry found it rather good to see a little bit of happiness.
“I just fear for the sanity of Draco, with all these changes going on, while he is out,” Harry said, while pouring himself some coffee.
“My son is a Black. Blacks adapt to changes, and as a Malfoy I am sure he will find a way to make the most of the moment,” she replied with a confidence that mothers always seem to have about their children.
“Well Narcissa, I wonder if he will be more shocked by me calling you by your first name, or seeing me and Lucius sort the points of our imaginary Quidditch League.” Harry grinned.
“Oh, I’m certain he will still deal better with the fact that you and Lucius are spending time amicably together than my husband did,” Narcissa said.
“I don't get it. At the moment he is not even doing so bad, so yes he will lose to me, but Blaise really managed some bad choices and Bill might catch him up but that depends. Pansy is beyond help, apparently putting only good looking players in a team does nothing for the overall counts.” Harry grinned. “Especially with Pansy’s taste in men.” He wrinkled his nose.
Narcissa smiled indulgently, through Harry is very certain she had heard all that from Lucius in different words.
“Thank you, Harry. Not only for what you are doing for my son and grandchild, but also for what you have done for my husband. While I’m certain that he is not overall pleased with the company he now entertains, that he even has company and something to do is all thanks to you,” Narcissa stated sincerely.
Harry only nodded.
There wasn't much he could say. While it was only Quidditch and the occasional chess-game or bridge game if they managed to talk either of the others into it, it was still most likely more company than the Malfoys entertained the last half year.
This wasn't only a change of pace for Lucius; Harry himself felt more and more relaxed. Here he only had to help Draco, something he honestly wanted to do.
No one expected him to do something special, he didn't have to be excited for things he couldn't relate to and, somehow, while the Sunday lunches at the Burrow always have been entertaining and funny, he never noticed how exhausting it also could be to focus on so many people. He had also never noticed just how much he enjoyed the quiet conversations with Narcissa and the heated discussions between husband and wife. Although he hadn't a lot to add to those discussions, and wasn't always sure if he really knew what they were talking about.
Sure, compared to the Weasleys the tone was sharper, the jibes were more cutting and having a tough skin was a requirement for the humour, especially for Lucius’, but the sentiment, and the people behind it were very much the same: a mother and a father worried for their son and grandchild and helping Harry to adapt to the strange situation he found himself in.
Yes, the beginning was wonky, but it had only taken so long until the he had adapted to his Slytherin surroundings.
“But just so you are prepared for when he comes to cry on your shoulder, my team will still butcher your husbands and I will have him pay me every Knut,” Harry stated belatedly, but with a wicked grin.
“I would never do something so plebeian as to cry on my wife’s shoulder,” Lucius disputed as he stepped closer.
“No, darling you wouldn’t, you prefer my lap much more,” Narcissa added smoothly, causing Harry to have to fight the urge to crack and spit the sip of coffee he just took.
“Well you might be right, my love, I might pay your lap too much attention. I shall endeavourer to better myself in the future,” Lucius drawled and took a bite from his croissant.
“I venture that this might be a rather difficult task, or do you really want to have a moody wife at home?” Narcissa replied coolly.
Harry couldn't hide his laugh in his cough very well. “This is my cue to go to check on Draco, as I am sure children should not be present for this-” here he made a vague hand gesture waving to the couple “-sort of discussion, especially between their future in-laws,” he added with a grin at Lucius before he took his plate to leave the room.
No one would ever believe him, even if he knew who to talk about the Malfoys, that their code of manners must have some good techniques in it, for hiding all this wickedness behind manners.
Late Christmas eve found Harry sitting once more next to Draco’s bed. Draco was now 35 weeks pregnant, with his stomach the nicest shape Harry had ever seen. Harry found it fascinating to just lie next to Draco, watch him breathe and touch the body that hid his child. But for tonight he had different plans. He thought about doing something nice for Draco. And while he spoke to Draco a lot, maybe even more than was strictly healthy, tonight he read to him.
“Baldric was standing proud before the majestic dragon, already aware that there was no way he could survive this encounter. He had always wondered what it would take for him to meet his end. He had dreamed of speaking with the gods, taunting them with their idiocy and their shortcomings and then be punished for his hubris, so that he - like Sisyphus and Promethium before him - could go down in the legends, be spoken of and remembered for all of eternity.
“Then the dragon moved, spreading his wings and raising his head, so that he stood even prouder than before. Baldric swallowed reluctantly. He had misjudged the dragon, it was the most massive shape he had ever seen, and we know he has seen a lot...”
“But then the dragon opened its eyes, which were as bright as the stars themselves and spoke in a voice as thundering as the earth itself: ‘Wizard, why are you disturbing me during the day? Don’t you know that at night it is me that keeps you safe from all the misfortune hiding in this vast and endless sky?’”
“Draco -” Harry dropped the book he was reading from, nearly jumping the bed.
“It’s my favourite story,” Draco whispered, “some days I managed to first have mother read it to me-”
“-and later in the night to have Lucius read it too you again. I have been told, and I thought you would like to hear it again.” Harry clutched Draco’s hand in his own. “You are finally awake! I was so worried- we all were,” he spoke softly, kissing the hand he was holding.
“I- Harry you are here? How? Who told you?” Draco looked confusedly at him. “You’ve been here for months now,” he suddenly stated before he hastily tried to sit up: "You- you, oh Merlin....”
“Draco, it’s okay, at least for me,” he tried to reassure Draco first. “I- Why did you not say something sooner?” Harry whispered, never stopping stroking through Draco’s hair. It had grown thicker again, but it still had a greyish tint; might have for the rest of his life. He helped to ease Draco back into a lying position, before calling for Niffy to tell Narcissa and Lucius that Draco had woken up.
“I was trying to do the right thing... I simply... I really tried to not burden you more,” Draco whispered after a long moment of silence and closed his eyes again.
“You are no burden to me. I know that I messed up after Beltane, it was... well me being me and letting everyone tell me, trying to do it their way before I do my own thing, you know?” Harry spoke quickly. “If you want me to, I would like to stay, to- to be with you and our child, but I think your parents are coming, so this discussion will have to wait,” Harry added and looked to door, where Narcissa and Lucius flew into the room, storming to their son's side.
Harry stepped away from the bed, letting the family have its moment. While Draco tried to answer his parents rapid questions , he also let his eyes drift to Harry more than once.
It was late when Harry finally returned to Draco’s rooms. While Narcissa had eaten her dinner with her son, Harry had opted to eat with Lucius at the table. Their conversations had been halted, but with more people joining their imaginary Quidditch league, it wasn't like they had no topic at all.
Though even Harry had to admit that he found it amazing that Bill had been able to talk George and Ron into joining the league, because no matter what he would never have been able to do that. And with Fleur, her sister and the Delacours joining, they had to reset the pool. Somehow he had not picked Fleur as a huge Quidditch fan, but apparently all the Delacours knew their Quidditch, and they had widened the team to the European league. With the addition of the Delacours Lucius social circle had considerably broadened. Harry knew that at the moment Lucius wasn't really thinking about that. If Harry’s assessment was correct Lucius relished the organizing of the meetings, and to be in charge of something again, as he was no longer allowed to manage the Malfoy Estate. He also seemed to enjoy being able to speak in French, a fact that had Harry more often bite back a harsh comment about an English man who speaks French that well and what it may or may not say about him. But then the Malfoy’s, while living in Britain for centuries now, were a French family. It was cute in Harry’s eyes. Trying to remember where you come from, while being so important. It spoke of a good character, even if the affinity to the Dark Arts was a little bit worrisome. Every family had one or two skeletons in the closet.
“I see old habits die hard, or why else are you brooding there over by the window and not here in bed with me?” Draco spoke softly in the silence of Harry’s thoughts.
“I’m not brooding,” Harry denied with very little success. “And I wasn't not sure if you would want me in your bed, now that you are awake,” he added more softly, turning around.
“I can feel you; I could feel you since the link was established. Though I do not really know how long it took me to realise that it was you,” Draco whispered, sitting up to lean against the headboard, this time with greater ease than the gone wrong attempt in the afternoon.
“I worried about that, but everyone told me it would be alright in the end,” Harry responded, stepping closer. “You really looked horrible.”
“Yes, well, apparently I am still not the beauty I once was,” Draco muttered and pushed his fingers through his hair.
“So your mum has shown you a mirror,” Harry chuckled, leaning in to kiss Draco’s cheek. “I must say, it has something very dignified in it though, and unconventional. If that does not make it perfect for you, I’m at a loss,” he joked softly.
“I’m not sure if you are consoling or mocking me.” Draco wrinkled his nose.
“Complimenting you?” It was a question more than a statement, which earned him a highly doubtful raise of an eyebrow.
“I guess I cannot have both: a powerful and a charming wizard, so I have to content myself with a powerful one. And really my charms and good looks will have to suffice for the both of us.”
These dramatics Draco for sure inherited from both his parents. Most of the time Harry might think of them as over the top but, right now, and after the long silence he couldn't help himself. He grinned.
“I'll take that, if it means you take me,” Harry nodded, a hint of worry in his tone, but he hoped Draco wouldn't notice how afraid he really was of that answer.
“Prat! I have wanted you for the longest time, I am not going to give you up now, when things finally start to go my way,” Draco muttered, before he drew Harry close, “but if this child is leaving any marks behind on my perfect body, we honestly have to talk about if and how there might be any others, because I think I can content myself with raising an only child.”
Harry grinned widely, before he softly caught Draco’s lips with his.
A start sounded great to him, and they were still young, they could figure out the fine details later. And Harry had high hopes that he might be able to persuade Draco when it came to the numbers of their children. Half a Quidditch team didn't sound bad in Harry’s mind at least. And who knew, in the future his kids might earn him a fortune from his father in law.