I have been absent for several months now, mainly due to the fact that I've been planning and then writing a new story in collaboration with someone else, who has been a great source of innovative ideas. Anyway, since working all the time on the same thing just make me want to bang my head against the wall, I took a small break and decided to write this small story. It was from an old idea I had stored away and while not particularly exciting it was fun to write. Hope you all like! Reviews are appreciated.
Professor Hermione Granger-Weasley exclaimed loudly upon reading the parchment that had flown on her desk from a smaller one nearby where an enchanted quill was busy writing the addresses of all the new first year students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Finally! Finally she would be able to find him thanks to that address! It had been eleven years since the battle of Hogwarts and nearly ten since she last saw her friend Harry Potter, the defeater of Voldemort. She wasn't sure of what happened. One day Harry was having dinner with them at the Burrow and the next he vanished without a trace. No matter what she tried she just couldn't find out what happened to make him leave. For once it was not Ron's fault, since the two had not argued in weeks and the last argument was something stupid she didn't even remember about. Hardly enough to make him pack and leave.
The three of them hadn't been as close after the battle and they had some disagreements in the following months, mostly because they all had strong personalities, but she didn't think those would drive him away like that. George was in the dark too, the only thing that stopped him, and Hermione, from completely freaking out and organize a rescue party was the fact that Gringotts bank was still sending Harry the statements from his investments in WWW and every once in a while they would pass along some advice from the wayward wizard or there would be an extra investment for a certain chain of products to experiment more.
Unfortunately the goblins refused to disclose their wealthiest client's location or even to pass along a private letter from them saying that they were not paid to act as owls and that they would not bother their client with personal missives unless he explicitly requested it. Needless to say Hermione felt more than once the need to strangle the ugly creatures until they spit out an address.
Mrs. Weasley had been inconsolable, not only because Harry was missing, but because now her plans for his marriage with Ginny were blocked. Hermione had been a little skeptic about that last part, last she knew Harry had not gone back to dating Ginny, she wasn't even sure if he liked her anymore. Since he left like that, she doubted there was anything between the two at the time, no matter what Ginny said. The younger girl had been crying and brooding for months after Harry left breaking her heart and their engagement. She would never say it out loud for respect towards her husband, but Hermione was very much certain that the girl was acting and lying, pretty badly too. If one has her heart truly broken she would not whine over the loss of money, or how lavish her wedding would have been and the parties they could have attended. Most of all she would not have been acting like a whore only two months later. But whatever.
The only person who knew where Harry had been living all this time was Andromeda Tonks, if only because her grandson had left to live with his godfather, but she adamantly refused to answer any question and convincing her otherwise was harder than teach a troll how to dance bellett. The formidable Black lady was scary to deal with and not even the fearless gryffindor princess had the courage required to argue with her, especially since she looked too much like Bellatrix and each encounter with the woman left her having nightmares during the night. By the time Hermione had felt strong enough to face her fears and confront the witch with anything she got, it was too late. Andromeda had left Britain too, presumably to join Harry and Teddy whenever they were.
That had left Hermione without any leads. She had tried time and time again over the years to reach him by owl, hoping against hope that he had removed whatever wards blocked his mail, but her letters all came back unopened with greatly confused owls. Any tracking charms she could find and try had no results either, the confounding effects of Harry's wards affected the spells too and Hermione had been bounced all around the world following wrong directions. Each failure and passing year made the frustration grow and hope lessen. But this time, oh, this time she finally won and managed to locate Harry Bloody Potter. She swore that she would give him the mother of all lectures and she would rant and rave until she lost her voice when she finally met him again.
Letting out another girlish scream she jumped from her chair and run to her quarters where she could use the floo network. An handful of powder later and she was at the Burrow screaming
"I have it! I have it!"
Ron, who had been pouring himself a cup of tea when she suddenly flooed in, dropped the pot and burned his foot with the scalding liquid.
"Oh Ronald, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. Here let me heal you" she said ignoring the curses that were leaving his mouth.
"What's all that noise? And Ronald, the children are outside and I will not tolerate that kind of language from you!" Molly warned him bursting into the kitchen from the yard where she had been keeping an eye on her numerous grandchildren.
"It's my fault, Molly. I kind of arrived screaming and scared him" Hermione said a little embarrassed of having acted like a teenager.
"Speaking of.. Why the hell were you screaming, Mione?" Ron asked his wife, now that his foot didn't feel like it was struck in boiling water.
"Oh.. Oh, Ron. I have it! We can finally find him! Isn't it great?! I can't wait… I'm sure that he missed us too and we have so much to catch up on…"
"MIONE!" he screamed when his wife went off babbling without making herself understood "What the hell are you talking about woman?"
"There was no need to scream…" she huffed "I have Teddy's address from his Hogwarts letter" She said waving the parchment in front of his face "Enche, we can finally find Harry"
"Oh dear, that's such good news!" Molly cooed and dabbed at her eyes when a stray tear threatened to fall.
"Yeah, that's good. About bloody time too.." Ron grumbled, still put out that his best mate left without a single word to him "So, where is the git hiding?"
"He's not a git Ron. I'm sure he had a perfectly good reason to do what he did." she reasoned "If not, I'm going to curse him silly. Anyway. He's in the USA, in Magical Salem."
"Ugh, That's pretty far" Ron mused.
"What are you going to do now children?" Molly asked "Are you going to wait for him to come back with Teddy?"
"No way. I want to see him as soon as possible." for once in her life Hermione forgot to act rational and decided to be selfish.
"Me and Mione could go there alone to look for him"
"I'm not sure Ron, I don't want to leave Rose and Hugo…" Hermione said biting her lip.
"Tell you what?" Molly said with an air of finality, smoothing out her skirts "We'll make it a big family vacation and go there all together"
"Wouldn't that overwhelm Harry?" inquired Ron, who maturing also became more in tune with other people emotions. At least a little.
"Of course it will, but I doubt anyone is willing to sit here and wait for news to come back" Molly explained.
It had been difficult but in the end it was decided that Ron and Hermione would go to Harry's address to check it out before a meeting, while the rest of the huge family stayed behind at the hotel.
"So, where is it?"
"Well, Ron it says there 'number7, Moonflower Street, Magical Salem'. It must be one of those.. ehm.. manors up ahead"
"Guess he's finally using all his gold. This place looks bloody rich"
"There it is, number 7"
In front of them lay a small manor house. It was surrounded by a big garden that seemed to extend more in the back, a tree swing was swaying lazily by the side and a few toys were scattered around on the grass.
The house itself was a soft cream colour, with big windows and ivy growing all over its walls. The porch in the front was made of wood and housed a table, a few chairs and numerous flower vases. It was pretty pittoresque and she could easily imagine Harry living in a place like this. It was beautiful, relaxing and quiet.
"Now what?" Asked Ron
"Really Mione.. it's not like we can go and spy from the windows. Do we go and ring the bell?"
"I.. I don't know"
"Excuse me?" they turned around and were met with a small old lady smiling at them.
"If you're looking for Mr. Black, I'm afraid no one is in the house at the moment"
"Mr. Black?" Ron asked quietly, apparently too low for the nice granny to hear.
"Oh, really? We're old friends and wanted to surprise him, you see" Hermione quickly said, driving a sharp elbow in his gut.
"You don't sound americans, I assume you're friends from Britain then. They always had the most charming accent those two, I always told them.." she chuckled a bit "Anyway, may I ask which one are you here for?"
"Yes.. Are you here for Harry dear or his husband?"
"Husband?" Ron whispered wide eyed.
"For Harry, Madam"
"Such a nice young man he is… His husband too of course, that man could charm the pants off a nun's if he wanted!"
Hermione and Ron looked at each other, feeling confused and disoriented
"Do you know when or where could we find them?"
"Of course, young lady. Harry dear, works at the ministry.. such a workaholic that one, but he's always home by five thirty sharp. not a minute later. He's a devoted father, even with his work obligations making it difficult for him. Being the Head of the Auror Department and all.." granny said ignoring how Ron frowned at the news "His husband would be at the hospital instead. I'm not sure which shift he's taking this week, I've been out of town, you see.."
"Thank you for your help, we appreciate it" Ron said and hurried away before the logorroic lady could start talking about her cats or something.
For how much he loved his work, there were at least ten times a day that he was tempted to slam his head on his desk in frustration.
The most recurring reason was paperwork. Evil, endless, headache inducing paperwork from hell that seemed to multiplicate each time he looked away or left the office for the night. It was the part that he hated most about his work and unfortunately these days it was also what he had to do a lot of the time.
'Being the boss sometimes sucked' he thought sighing 'Teddy should be receiving his letter soon'
He never thought while at Hogwarts that his life could take such drastic turns, if someone told him he wouldn't have believed it either. The days when he assumed that he would never stop fighting for his life against Voldemort and be scared of losing people he loved were all too fresh in his mind even now that the madman was long gone. But he did it. He had killed Voldemort during the battle of Hogwarts and thanks to everyone they had won the war. It was then that everything went spiraling out of control in his life.
For the first time in his life he left free. Free to live, to have fun, fall in love, to be normal and finally decide what he wanted for himself without anyone trying to dictate what he had to do with his life. A world of possibilities had suddenly opened up for him, ready to be explored.
He also felt so very conflicted.
He didn't know what to do with this freedom. He had never been so unrestricted before, there had been always someone telling him what he could or couldn't do, or more often than not ordering him did he go about taking a choice on his own? How did he know which one was right or wrong? Did he even know what it was that he wanted? No, he didn't. All his teenage years were spent fighting for his life and trying to wade in the middle of a world no one ever bothered to explain to him, doing his best not to drown in it all. He had always been too busy with staying alive and trying to please the people around him, so that they wouldn't hate him or leave him behind, to bother thinking about things that were normal and taken for granted like what he may like to wear, what kind of music he liked or if he preferred blonds or brunettes. Did he even like girls?
He laughed lowly at that thought.
It didn't take him too long after that to figure out that he had a thing for blonds yes, but the discovery that he was more interested in men than women was absolutely shocking and unexpected. It took him months to accept that part of himself and countless talks with Neville and Luna to assure him that same sex relationships were normal in the wizarding world and not looked down upon at all. He still didn't know how they found out about his epiphany, he was still convinced that Luna was a seer or something but every time he asked she would just smile and change the subject.
When he had finally found the courage to come out to his friends things came crashing down horrifically.
After the battle Harry had taken a couple of months to himself. He wanted some space and quiet to grieve, rest and find some peace of mind. It wasn't much to ask about. So he had holed himself up in Grimmauld Place and denied access to everyone, it wasn't like the order needed it anymore and it was now his house, Sirius had left it to him. He had been quite angered when he found that out. After visiting the goblins to apologize for his actions and offer to pay for part of the damages, they had presented to him not only Sirius' will but his parents' too once they understood that he was under the assumption that his trust vault was his only possession. He was quite disgusted when he thought about how naïve and stupid he had been in his younger years.
Back to his friends though. They had not taken it well when he decided to cut contact for a little while and demanded to know everything he did and to have unrestricted access to his home. It was only after Bill and George stepped in that they relented and granted him some time.
The two older men were the only ones he allowed in after that. George needed a place to get away from the madness of his family and get some peace to grieve the loss of his beloved twin. The fact that Harry would be able to keep an eye on him while he stayed over was also a bonus. There were two very long weeks after the battle that he was seriously afraid the ginger man was entertaining thoughts of suicide and he would watch him like an hawk. Thankfully he was able to snap him out of it even though he had to blow up at him and have a total mental and emotional breakdown in the middle of it. But it was to be expected, he had been bottling up things since Sirius died and it just kept growing during the war until he finally exploded. Literally. He had been so out of control and lost in his emotions that his magic reacted and lashed out, wreaking chaos in the house and scaring poor Kreaker half to death.. Thankfully he didn't hurt anyone with his outburst.
It was only the combined effort of George and Bill that made him calm down and after that they had been helping him with processing his losses and everything that happened to him, not only war related but also the abuse he suffered with his muggle relatives and the repetitive lack of support that the wizarding world showed him when it suited them better. Easier said than done. Bill was a strong support for both of them. His calm and reflective demeanor made it easy to confide in him and he strongly supported and encouraged Harry's decision to find himself, often offering advices and opinions but never pushing his ideals on him like many others did. He also didn't see or believe him to be perfect. Having all the wizarding world look up at you like you're a hero or expect you to be flawless can put a lot of pressure on a person and luckily Bill caught up on his thoughts soon and beat out of his head the belief that he had to please anyone but himself.
It was a slow and difficult process, to get rid of that kind of mentality but after a lot of tears and angry rants he was finally growing into himself and leaving behind the self-sacrificing persona was liberating. He was grateful to Bill for all he did for him and for being there to guide him during all his good or bad days. He was there when he had his first breakdown after the war, to hold him and comfort him. He was the one who had no qualms about wrestling him into eating some food and live a little. After he got better, at least a little, George joined in coming up with any idea imaginable to let him experience new things. Slowly he was coming back to life too, determined to live for his twin too and he was happy to be of help at least a little in that.
The next fight that put a dent in their friendship was with Hermione soon after the two months of 'no contact' finished when he informed her that he would not be going back to Hogwarts for the offered eight year. He had listened to her and let her boss him around plenty enough in the past years but now that he was finally learning to stand up for himself he was not going to accept that kind of behavior from a supposed friend. Her indignant and offended attitude was kind of amusing but not worth the explosive fight and the consequent drama that ensued when Ginny lamented the fact that she wouldn't have her boyfriend close to her in the last year of school.
The boyfriend being him.
If there was something he would never, ever do in his life again if he could go back it would be starting a relationship with Ginny Weasley. Not only she had stalkerish and obsessive tendencies about him, but she was clingy, pushy and all around unpleasant. And that was before realizing he was gay too. She had not been happy when he informed her that they would not be getting back together because he didn't feel the same way towards her. She screamed, raved and fake cried for a whole afternoon and having her mother join her had all but deafened him. Worst of all they thought it was only a phase and he would go back with Ginny after some time.
Ron, who was already angry at him for supposedly leading his sister on and breaking her innocent heart, blew up on him when he found out that along with not going back to school he was also refusing Kingsley's offer to join the aurors by his side. He couldn't understand that he had had enough of fighting dark wizards and being everyone's hero or sacrificial lamb or whatever they thought of him that day. He especially didn't want to work for such a corrupted Ministry.
After that his relationship with his friends became strained at best, almost nonexistent. Every once in a while they would write him and tell him what they were doing, a subtle attempt at making him reconsider his choices, before asking bluntly or even demanding it, not that it worked any time. He would see them the few times he would accept dinner invitation at the Burrow, mostly because Bill and George managed to convince him not to leave them alone with them, but the air was heavy and uncomfortable every time so he much preferred the dinners he had with the two brothers and Fleur alone at either of their places.
Coming out to the Weasley family about his sexual preferences was something he knew he had to do sometimes, especially since Mrs Weasley was still fixated on the idea that he would marry her little girl. He knew that it would be bad when he finally found the courage but he didn't expect what happened.
Drama with a capital D.
Since she just wouldn't understand and kept pestering him, he had decided to talk with Ginny first. Also because, with their relationship already strained he was afraid of losing his friends for good. He had been short of temper with them and he was not willing to do everything they wanted anymore, but even if they were annoying for his newfound independence, it didn't mean he wanted to lose them.
Telling Ginny was the worst idea ever. She kept switching between angry rants and trying to push her breasts to his face to make him change idea.. quite uncomfortable for him. When she finally got that he was not interested she blew up at him. Let's just say that she made it clear that he wouldn't be welcomed by the Burrow anymore.
By the time Christmas was approaching he was sick and tired of Britain's wizarding world and wanted to leave. Not only his 'friends' kept being stubborn and annoying, for what little he heard of them anymore that is, especially after dealing with Ginny, but the papers had somehow found out his address and he was being harassed by reporters every minute he was in and out of the house. His galleons were on Ginny telling them. She was such a vengeful minister and many ministry heads kept mailing him for meetings or with job offers that he always refused and the general population wouldn't give him any personal space or privacy. The choices were leaving or going crazy.
So he left.
That happened ages ago and it was now nearly ten years that he was living in the USA. Never once he regretted his choice.
He growled in frustration. With all the work piled up on his desk he should be doing at the moment the last thing he needed was losing himself to memories best forgotten. A knock sounded at his office door interrupting his conflicting thoughts.
"Enter" he called straightening from his slouch and leaning back on his comfortable chair. Being the boss had his perks too.
A balding man in uniform entered and bowed his head before addressing him "Excuse me sir. Auror Jones just sent an urgent message via badge concerning his mission."
"What happened?" he commanded. He may have been only 28 but Harry was the youngest Head of the Auror Department ever.
While the news of his many deeds had traveled all the way to America, especially after Hermione published a book of their adventures, something that he had heavily edited without her knowledge after the publishing company contacted him for his permission to go on with the work, though he had been tempted to stop it; he had asked his boss to judge him only based on what he did and how he behaved from the point forward. Everything he had now was hard earned.
Counting his luck, or lack of thereof, he had been involved in many interesting and dangerous missions in his days as field auror. His hard working attitude and easy going disposition granted him the favor and respect of his colleagues quickly making him rise in ranks until he became the Head of the Department.
"We received a call at 06.24 am this morning about the possibility of domestic violence from a concerned neighborhood. Auror Jones took the assignment and left at 06.50 after the colleagues gathered all necessary information.." seeing that Harry was frowning about how much time it took to dispatch an auror the man was quick to add "the caller said that it wasn't 'urgent' just that it was a recurrent thing and proceed to give all necessary data, that's why it took a little longer, sir."
"I see. Please go on" Harry nodded. He knew that probably something went wrong otherwise the man wouldn't be reporting to him about an urgent badge message.
His aurors used their badges to contact the department only to call reinforcements or medical help. Sometimes both.
"Auror Jones called from the hospital. I'm not aware of the happenings, sir, but both him and his partner were injured."
"Do we know the extent of their injuries?"
"No sir. I could hear the healers working in the background of our conversation and Jones was quite abrupt. He sounded in pain."
"I will go to the hospital myself and inquire about their condition. Who was his partner this week?" he asked getting up from his chair and donning his long auror coat over the uniform.
"Senior Auror Moran, Sir."
"Very well. You can go, thank you for informing me Korel" he nodded gratefully to the man as he checked that his wand was in the right place.
Liam Jones had been one of the recruits he personally trained, the last one to be exact and he liked the young man, while Gareth Moran had been his senior partner back when he started with the aurors. He had been very good friends with them both for years now and he would hate if something really bad happened to them, unfortunately injuries were part of the work and not always easy to avoid.
He glared one last time at the paperwork before leaving and locking his office behind him. After giving a quick word to his assistant and his second in command he proceed out of the department and the ministry on foot.
He nodded and smiled at the people greeting and waving at him. While he had hated the attention back in England and being in the spotlight, here it was quite different. People looked up to him for something he actually did and he earned it all through hard work and honesty, it was the good kind of attention and no one ever intruded on his privacy like those damn reporters or used him as a scapegoat when things went bad.
Once he was out of the ministry building he went for the apparition spot. He could have apparated out of his office too but it was one of the privileges he didn't abuse unless it was an emergency or he was dead tired; it also gave him the chance to interact with his colleagues and visitors on a daily basis instead of being cooped up in his office all day. While his job was now many times less dangerous he missed the action of field work after hours of endless paperwork. His husband would give him a good whack on the head for that, he despised when he came home hurt and worried constantly when he was out on mission.
Shaking his head he concentrated back on his reason for leaving, he had to get to the hospital and see how his men were. His mind had been wandering all morning to his past for some reason and he couldn't afford it, a man with his responsibilities needed to be focused at all times.
With a sharp turn he apparated out of the spot and reappeared in front of the vast and modern hospital of Salem. Not the muggle Salem, but the wizarding Salem which was a different city made up of exclusively magical people. The USA could boast many of these magical cities and towns that granted wizards more freedom and security in their lives, with a more relaxed statue of secrecy, while still making sure that there were magical districts available in muggle cities too. The magical community was also more modern, easily adapting and taking advantage of the muggle technologies and inventions. He sure didn't miss writing with a bloody quill or having to wear uncomfortable robes.
With long strides he ventured to the ER, a place he knew all too well, too much for his liking sometimes.
"Good morning , sir. How may I help you?" a young girl at the reception smiled at him. 'She must be new if she doesn't know me' he thought.
"Hello, I'm looking for someone"
"Here for your husband Head Auror Black?" A nearby healer asked smirking while gathering a thick pile of folders.
"Morning Margaret. And it depends.. is he working on my aurors? I need to know their condition" he answered tucking his hands in the pockets of his coat, something he did when he was anxious to avoid fidgeting with his hands, it wasn't very professional and he hated it.
"I'll check immediately" she put the papers aside and tapped quickly on the computer behind the desk. She knew him well from his first ever trip to the ER, before he even started auror training, when he was moving in his newly rented flat and a wobbling shelf fell on his head cracking it open. Not a pleasant welcome home. She was his healer then and it was then that he met his husband too, who was apprenticing under Margaret at the time. The red haired woman often gloated that it was thanks to her that they were married today, even though he technically already knew his husband before then. She was funny, full of life and loved to embarrass him; thankfully she was also very professional and one of the best healers around.
"Jones and Moran right? Healers are still working on them so I don't have any updates yet. Your husband is on them now, I'll tell him you're waiting and he'll come out as soon as he's finished" she smiled reassuringly.
"Thank you Maggie."
"No need to thank me, sugar. But if you really feel the need to I'll accept a dinner invitation" she said mock seriously.
"Really?" he drawled
"I don't know how you do it, but you make the most awesome food I ever tasted and I'll be damned if I don't take advantage of it every time I can get away with it" she grumbled making him laugh.
"Sure thing. How about Friday? Dom is free right?" he proposed. Dominic, her husband, owned a vast pet shop slash animal clinic catering to both mundane and magical animals and his working hours had to accommodate the animals needs even though he had many assistants to count on.
"Perfect" she squealed clapping her hands. For a fifty year old woman she was incredibly childish at times.
He chuckled watching her skipping down the hall. He knew though that she was doing it only to take his mind off the worry about his colleagues, she was always professional at work unless there were no witnesses, in that case she loved to embarrass him to death and joke around with him.
Now all he had to do was wait.
"A husband?" Molly whispered "are you sure children? Maybe you got the wrong house after all"
"I don't think so mum. For some reason the house just screamed Harry.. and the old lady said he was british too"
"But Harry isn't gay.."
"Honestly Molly… it's not so unusual to discover later in life or suddenly to be attracted to the same sex… and if we're being honest, it's not like Harry had much chance to think about those things during Hogwarts" Luna piped up from her place sprawled across an armchair. Her bulging belly giving her problems being comfortable in any other position.
"But he was with Ginny… and left so suddenly" she trailed off
"Mmm.. was he?" drawled George looking up from his wife's golden locks "I don't remember seeing Harry with Ginny at all while I lived with him"
"Of course not, you were too bothered playing the grieving suicidal twin" sneered his sister.
He growled at her, how dare she try to say something like that? Like Fred's death hadn't affected everyone..
Luna's dainty hand on his forearm calmed him slightly and he resumed playing with her hair to ignore the bitch he shared his blood with.
"Well, there's nothing wrong with Harry being gay and as long as he's happy him going to fully support him" stated Bill, his wife nodding along.
"We'll just have to wait and see, I suppose. Just try and not overwhelm the boy more than he'll already be when he'll see us all… You especially Molly dear" Arthur advised his family. He hoped that coming here was the right things to do, even if he had a bad feeling it would have been impossible dissuading his wife and daughter in law when they got something in their head.
He didn't have to wait long. Only ten minutes after he sat down in one of chairs available in the waiting room of the ER he saw a group of healers and nurses exiting from one of the operating rooms and moving the two beds housing his aurors to the upper floors of the hospital now that they were stable and mostly healed.
Many of them nodded at him before going on with their duties.
The last to leave the room was his husband like usual.
His blond hair looked tousled, like he run his hand through them too many times, but his white healer's coat was pristine and flowed around him as he walked reminding him of Snape and his billowing cloaks. The difference was that while Severus looked like a dangerous dungeon bat doing it, his spouse looked ethereal and gave off strong vibes of security and comfort to his patients. The healers joked about the fact that many patients upon waking mistook him for an angel and he couldn't fault them. With his pale blond locks, quicksilver eyes, aristocratic perfect features and tall athletic built his husband was a sight to behold.
Harry could see him writing in his elegant and quick script the last notes on the patient's files, to make sure that they would be taken care of properly during their stay in the hospital.
Bright eyes looked up from the papers and locked with his, thin lips stretching into a slight smile.
"Harry" with two long strides each they were face to face and meeting in a chaste soft kiss.
"Hey love." He whispered "how are they?"
"Fine." His husband knew how he was prone to worrying so he always made sure to tell him the result of his healing before launching into details. "Come on, let's go to my office so I can fill you in"
They walked side by side through the ER, which extended to nearly the whole ground floor of the hospital, until they arrived to the offices housed in the very back.
"Let's see" the blond started pouring himself and his husband two cups of strong black coffee "Liam arrived with a broken arm and a concussion, along with various scrapes and little cuts, he was easy to fix but I want to keep him overnight for observation. You aurors somehow always get too many concussions and you can't never be too safe with those."
"That's good" he nodded sagging into the couch and taking a big gulp from the cup.
"Gareth was injured worse than Liam. He was unconscious when he arrived and he was lucky he got here so quickly. His ribcage was mostly broken and his lungs were collapsing, from some kind of bludgeoning curse I would assume or something heavy being blasted right at him.. He'll be out of commission for a couple of days, I had to vanish his whole ribcage and re growing it will hurt like a bitch. He'll have to take it easy for a couple of weeks and I would suggest avoiding field work for a month at the very least. But he'll live"
"Has anyone called their families?" Harry asked rubbing a hand over his face. Was it really only 9 in the morning? It sure seemed like this day had been going on for much longer.
"I have someone taking care of it at the moment. Stop worrying so much, Harry. It's not the first time I had to patch up your men and it won't be the last, I know what to do"
"Of course.. of course, I just.." he hesitated, sighing
"What's wrong?" the blond asked taking a seat on the low table in front of the couch and leaning forward to squeeze the other's knee "I know you, something's eating you up"
"You're right. I was thinking that Teddy's letter should be coming soon and from there I got thinking about them and everything that happened.." He growled "I don't know what to do Dray.." he admitted with a tired sigh "Should we even send him to Hogwarts?"
"Calm down and tell me everything. We'll work it out together." Draco assured him calmly, making eye contact with him and holding it until Harry nodded and relaxed a bit.
After the battle of Hogwarts he had offered to talk for the Malfoy family in front of the Wizengamot. He despised Lucius and believed that he deserved to rot in Azkaban for the rest of his miserable life, but not his wife and son.
Narcissa had lied to Voldemort for him, he knew of course that she did it only because she wanted to know about his son but he also knew that she wanted that war to be over and Voldemort's was not the right side to be on. She wasn't even a death eater, she was just following her husband in his stupid activities, doing her best to keep her family whole and safe. Draco was a different story. He was a marked death eater yes, but he had been forced. He was a child that had been bred to think and act exactly how Lucius wanted him, supporting the pureblood supremacy and trained to become a servant to the dark lord. By the time Draco started thinking for himself and understood how wrong his idolized father had been all that time, it was too late, it was either he take the mark and serve the madman or his family would have been killed.
But Draco, for all his childish nastiness and malice, didn't have a single really mean bone in his body. He couldn't bring himself to seriously injure someone let alone contemplate murder. That showed in his failed attempts to kill the headmaster. Not only they were sloppily thought but he had been convinced that Draco did it on purpose. He was plenty smart and knowledgeable in everything magic and dark, his father had made sure of it, had he really wanted to he could have easily found a way to murder Dumbledore and get away with it. Once you stripped Draco Malfoy of his childish behavior and made him think with his head only, you had the perfect Slytherin. There was also the fact that Draco helped him at the Manor refusing to recognize him and giving them some much needed time to escape. Of course he had already returned to favor saving his ass from the flaming room of requirement but he couldn't forget about it.
So he spoke in their favor, something that made his 'back then' best friends protest loudly. Hermione was initially torn between being proud that he was using his influence for something and warn him of the wrongness of his decision, they were death eaters after all and had killed. Ron was much more simple in demonstrating his opinion. In true Ron fashion he blew up and screamed that he was crazy and that they deserved to rot in Azkaban or given the kiss for being slimy snakes. When he pointed out that being Slytherin didn't make someone automatically evil or dark, the ginger was quick to label him as such too and turn his back on him. Nothing really new for him.
In the end Lucius had been fined heavily and would be greatly contributing to the rebuilding of the school and of the wizarding world. He had been saved from a second stay in Azkaban but they condemned him to ten years of house arrest, his wand was controlled thanks to a trace the ministry used for keeping track on criminals and his magic use was restricted to only certain kinds of spells.
Narcissa had never done anything against the law, the only thing she could be charged with was knowing about her husband's illegal activities, so she was let off with only 6 month of house arrest.
Draco had been seen for what he really was. A misguided child who had been dragged in the middle of the war by his father and that was trying to do his best to just survive with the threat of a dark lord living in his home. He had attempted to kill Dumbledore but always failed, he had fixed the vanishing cabinet to let the death eaters into Hogwarts but never killed or injured anyone personally, he had on the other had helped Harry in a moment of need and stayed out of the fighting during the last battle.
Several other people spoke at the trial, much to his surprise, telling the Wizengamot how Draco had been giving first aid to the injured and hiding the children in various parts of the castle upon meeting them, both during the battle and during the Carrow's reign of terror over the school. Harry hadn't known about that and he would have never imagined that Malfoy would have been not only risking his neck wandering around the battle but helping people too.
That knowledge swayed the judges' decision very much, he liked to think that Draco's actions in the final battle counted more than his own testimony in that endeavor. He sure looked at his school rival under a different light following those revelations.
Draco had been fined a hefty sum of galleons, his magic restricted and wand controlled for a time of 6 months along with partial house arrest combined with voluntary work either in the hospital or helping with the reconstruction of the school for two months.
Harry had never seen the blond slytherin after the trials, too busy running away from the reporters and dealing with his own problems, and he found out only after meeting Draco again that he choose the first and it was there that he decided that he wanted to study healing and become a healer himself instead of following his father's footsteps in politics.
After telling his few trusted friends of his decision to leave Britain in the months following the battle, Harry had immediately started planning the rest of his life and come January of the new year he was moving into his new flat in Magical Salem.
The close encounter with the falling shelf took him to the hospital and meeting Draco again. When he first got a glimpse of him he had been shocked. Not only because he had found someone of his past in a place where he thought he could have a completely fresh start, but also due to the fact that he could see the change in him. Malfoy had changed in the months after the battle as much as Harry himself did and for him, who had watched and interacted with the man for many years, the difference was obvious. The only question was, to what extent had be changed?
The two had a very tentative conversation while the blond inspected the bloody cut on top of his head and healed him, but nothing came out of it, it was only some very awkward small talk about his medical history needed for the file. Harry couldn't deny that he was intrigued at the prospect of discovering the extent of the changes the man went through and he was obviously attracted to him, but he wasn't sure of how he should approach the situation. They were school rivals, rivals who couldn't stand each other and fought on different sides of the war. The war was over though and they weren't children anymore.
There was also the fact that Malfoy had an ass to die for… Was he really attracted to Malfoy that much?! Yes, yes was, he remembered thinking after that meeting replaying in his head the image the blond cut in a white hospital coat. He was attracted to Draco Bloody Malfoy. Probably had always been to some degree, Margaret liked to believe that all the fights they told her about during their school years were due their high sexual tension and nothing else, maybe there was some truth in that after all.
It was only a month later that he visited the ER once again, this time after some grueling auror training revolved around hand to hand fighting. Draco had been the one tasked with visiting him once again and this time he decided to risk it and try to really get to know the man. He refused to keep thinking about the blond for another single minute without even trying to do anything about it. If he were to be rejected at least he could stop and start looking elsewhere. Draco had been understandably surprised by his approach but he seemed just as eager to try and get to know each other leaving aside their past and prejudices.
The fact that he had to often visit the ER during his first months of auror training, much to his combined dismay and joy, helped cement their friendship and he discovered a new Draco. He found out that he was a sucker for sweet things, loved muggle rock music and enjoyed reading. Draco told him how after the two months of social work at Saint Mungo's he had left Britain and moved to Salem. It took him a lot of galleons to have his restrictions on magic lifted early but it was worth it in his opinion, even though it was disappointing to see how they were still so corrupt inside the Ministry even after the war. Hopefully that had changed during the years.
Draco had decided to leave because people only looked at him and saw a death eater back in England, no one was willing to give him a chance or let him redeem himself. He had tried to live with it and pretend it didn't bother him, mostly for his mother, but he couldn't. All the constant hate and rejections were slowly killing him inside, he was still a prideful and independent creature, life like that wasn't worth living and so, as much as he loathed leaving his beloved mother behind, he decided to leave and make a life for himself away from everything he had ever known.
Coming to the USA had been a blessing to him. Initially he was afraid that they would send him back or worse lock him up after discovering his past and connection to the death eaters but he had been surprised to see otherwise. All it took was an interview under veritaserum for them to make sure that he had not been part of any illegal activities of his own free will, that he had been forced to join, and that he would not pose any danger to the American citizens. Two hour tops and when Malfoy left the USA Ministry of Magic in Salem he not only had been welcomed to start a life in this new country but they went as far as helping him gain citizenship and start the process of moving his account to the local branch of Gringotts, so that the British Ministry couldn't try anything else against him.
Harry and Draco tried this friendship thing for about three months before they admitted that it wasn't working that well, they didn't know how to be real friends mostly because that was too much of the aforementioned sexual tension between them and it kept building up until it took control of them. After an unforgettable night in between the sheets neither of them wanted to go back to 'kinda friends' or give up this new connection especially when it seemed so right, natural, so they started dating.
Now nearly ten years later they were still together and happily married.
"Harry.. you're daydreaming again. This isn't like you" Draco stated snapping him out of his thoughts.
"Sorry, love. I seem to keep doing that a lot today" Harry sighed, the coffee in his cup gone cold. With an annoyed wave of his hand he cast a heating charm on it and breathed in the addictive scent.
"You spoke about thinking of them… Was it bad memories again?" the blond tried to probe.
"I don't know. Partly that yes, my life wasn't all that great after the battle..I was a mess back then and said and did a lot of things I would change" he admitted. Seeing the frown marring the pale features of his husband he added "maybe Hermione was right"
"Granger?" Draco sneered "What the hell gives her the right to meddle in your life? Hadn't she done enough of it during school? You're entitled to make your own decisions without her butting in"
After they started dating Harry had opened up completely and revealed to Draco what happened to him in the months following the battle, having to face the problems that his unpleasant childhood created for him, his struggle to find his identity and dealing with the general population ever changing opinion about his persons and their absurd claims, the drowning guilt and grief he felt in the wake of the battle and funerals. On top of all that there were also the continuous problems with Ron, Hermione and Ginny . Draco had been understanding through it all, though shocked at many points, and tried his best to be supporting to him. What didn't surprise Harry was that the man had been enraged at the way his supposed best friends had behaved. Draco was many things but he was loyal to those he cared about and he would have never done something like that to a friend of his.
The raven still had moments where he doubted himself or tried to be a self-sacrificing martyr over the years and every time Draco would be there to bring him back to clarity and then proceed to curse them in every language he knew, and much to his amusement it was at least five that he could recognize.
"I don't know Dray and I have no intention of letting anyone order me around again, I promise. But I guess that I kind of regret leaving like that and not confronting them back them. I should have told them what I thought instead of running away and being left with doubts about their friendship" Harry assured him "This thing just has me completely unsettled and it seems I can't think clearly today"
"You know what I think about them and their so called friendship, so I won't say anything more on the matter for now. Why don't you take the rest of the day off? You can visit Liam and Gareth, make a quick stop to the office to tell them and go back home to relax a bit." Draco suggested running his long fingers through the unruly black hair of his lover "My shift ends at four, we can talk about Teddy's schooling more once I'm home?"
"I think that I'll follow your suggestion this once." He nodded.
"Good." Leaning forward he connected their lips in a kiss and made it last longer, trying to reassure his frazzled auror that everything would be alright.
"Now come on. You need to check on your men and I want to see them to make sure everything is alright" Draco encouraged him rising to his feet and straightening any wrinkles out of his white healer's coat.
"Don't patronize me, Potter"
"It's Black now.. and Maggie is coming for dinner this Friday" He said changing the subject quickly following the other man out of the door to reach the private rooms that the hospital reserved for the recovering aurors.
People would stop and watch them all around the hospital as they passed. They were a sight to behold when together. Harry was tall, with dark tousled hair that Draco insisted on calling sex hair, emerald green eyes and a modestly muscled built. Wearing his head of auror uniform he cut quite an handsome and imposing figure. When you added Draco and his own attractive self into the equation, men and women alike couldn't help but stare in their wake. They were like dark and light, night and day.
"She managed to weasel another invitation out of you?" he asked "Must be a new record, four times in a month"
"Don't be an ass. You enjoy those dinners as much as she does"
"Nope. I think she likes them more. After all I can taste your divine cooking every day of my life, she can't." he explained to him, his tone exaggerating the seriousness of the matter.
"Whatever. I'm not that good"
"Keep saying that Potter, it will keep you modest. I, however, plan to shamelessly enjoy every last bite" Draco drawled making him chuckle and shake his head.
"Good to know you married me for my cooking skills" Harry mock scowled
"Took you long enough to figure it out" Draco sighed "Well, that and your body isn't that bad either" he added with a sensual whisper to his ear making the dark haired man pleasantly shiver
"Fair enough. I married you for your healing skills after all"
"Not my breathtaking body?" he gasped
"That's an extra I thoroughly enjoy I assure you"
After a moment they were both laughing quietly and bumping each other's shoulder. They enjoyed bantering in their everyday life and the real arguments and fights were few and far in between. Not something that people who knew them in school would ever expect or believe, then again no one would ever guess they were married now.
Draco knocked on the door of the room they needed twice before entering. On the two beds there were auror Jones and Senior Auror Moran.
Liam Jones was a 23 years old young man with lively blue eyes and dirty blond hair. They were all good friends after four years of knowing each other, even though he was more of a little brother for Harry than a friend at times. He was the last recruit Harry had trained before becoming Head of the Auror Department two and half years ago. Nonetheless he continued mentoring the promising auror and cultivated their friendship uncaring of the leader-subordinate relationship they had to maintain at work.
Gareth Moran was instead 42, with salt and pepper hair and a heavily muscled built thanks to his days as a wrestler while at school. Harry had been paired with him as a young recruit after the year of training at the academy and the man taught him a lot of what he knew, not only work wise but in life lessons too.
Beside the two man's beds were their families consisting of Liam's mother and Gareth's wife.
"Good morning. I am Senior Healer Black and I was the one to treat your relatives in the ER. Am I safe to assume that my colleagues already informed you of their conditions?" Draco asked after introducing himself. Lora, Gareth's wife already knew him but that was the first time they met Liam's mother, it was usually his father who came when called, so he kept his professional persona up.
"Yes, One of the younger healers already came and told us everything." Lora smiled shakily "Thank you so much for saving my Gary's life, Draco dear" she said hugging him fiercely to her little frame.
"No need to thank me, Lora. I was just doing my job" he reassured her "He'll be as good as new and in a couple of days we'll wake him so you can tear him a new one for nearly getting himself killed. Again"
"Oh, you can bet your pretty hair on it" she grumbled, wiping away her tears.
"How do you feel Liam?" Harry asked while giving the woman a hug too.
"Good, boss. Can you get me out of here now?"
"Not a chance, buddy. How about you tell me what happened instead?"
"Um.." he faltered looking at his mother before sighing "it was a case of domestic violence, the bastard had been beating his wife for months. The poor woman was black and blue from all the bruises. It started calmly enough then all of a sudden the man kinda snapped. He started throwing curses around without any warning or care for what or whom he would hit. He missed accidentally killing his wife for an inch. We tried to subdue him but he kept using the woman as a shield and then.. we were distracted. No one mentioned a baby would be in the house. He hit Gareth with something strong and he went down. I was already pretty bruised up and when he went for the bedroom.. I assumed the kid was in there.. I took him down. I had only the time to send the message before losing consciousness. Thank Merlin the neighborhood called the healers and they came rushing in just as I hit the madman"
Harry frowned and looked back at Draco "Do you know anything about the woman and child? And the man too"
"Let me check" he said going for the nurses station and coming back with a set of folders. "they are in this ward too. I assume to make it easier for your man to interview them and keep an eye on him. They're all alive. The woman, Claire will need a lot of treatment for her injuries and a mental evaluation to see the damage done to her. The child is mostly fine, just a bit underweight.. his grandmother has been contacted and she will be there in a couple of hours from Houston. The man had a nasty cut on his tight that severed main artery, he'd been patched up and you can throw him in a cell as soon as you're ready for it. A colleague is giving him a psychiatric evaluation right now. "
Draco despised those who abused children or women in any way and he made no mystery of it either, you could hear it as clear as day in his voice that he already hated the man.
"I will send someone to take your report and interview them all." Harry said "Take care Liam and if you need anything, either of you, just give me a call"
"Does the offer include one of your decadent desserts, boss?" Liam grinned, only to be slapped over the head by his mother "Ow mom!"
" .. I would refrain to hit him on the head since he just suffered from a concussion. Everywhere else is fair game though" Draco smiled
"You're mean, man"
"Suck it up"
"Ok, break it up you two. I thought that you were 23 not 5 and weren't you supposed to act professionally?" he said to the two blonds. "Be good for the healers and I'll think about it, Liam. Now I've got to go. It was nice to meet you Mrs. Jones"
With that Harry and Draco left the room and after a few more words and a goodbye kiss they separated.
"What do you think about this whole thing?"
George Weasley was many things but stupid was not one of them. He knew that Harry had not gone back with Ginny after the battle, he had been living with the boy and during that time they had gotten really close, he was his little brother. So he knew that his sister had been faking it when she said that he had broken their engagement by running away and the way she acted all broken hearted was just too much to seem real. She was just a gold digger and a whore. He knew how she had been bed hopping from one boy to another while her so called love of her life was on the run from Voldemort.
While George honestly didn't know where Harry had decided to go when he left because the boy, while he trusted him, didn't want him to have to lie to his family for him; he knew though that he was fine and happy, he wouldn't have allowed him to leave before making him promise to keep him updated. So of course he knew that he was married, just not with whom.
This new discovery explained why Harry was so vague about his spouse in his letters.. Could he have been afraid that he would not accept his preferences? George knew that a lot of people in the muggle world didn't support homosexuality and unfortunately there were some in the wizarding world too even though it was widely accepted and practiced. The thought that Harry doubted him was a bit painful, but the boy also had deep trust issues and had been betrayed too many times, so it was kind of understandable even if he didn't like it.
"He's not going to like it. Not at all" George sighed "We're basically invading his home and life"
Bill grimaced "Thought so. I didn't even have the time to try and dissuade them. Mum just came and demanded we pack for a family holiday, next thing I know they're planning to barge in Harry's life"
"We'll need to do some damage control, won't we?"
"Afraid so, little brother" the eldest nodded. At times like this he envied Charlie. He could be with his dragons away from all the family madness and with no one bothering him.
"I just hope all the excitement and the arguments that will surely be there won't send Luna into labor…" he frowned
"They have hospitals there too, you know.." Bill tried to reassure him "And apparently Harry's hubby is a healer so you have it covered should the baby decide to come a little early"
"It was madness to leave so close to her due date but as soon as she heard the name Harry she had everything packed and was dragging me out" George smiled wirely shaking his head.
"Don't I know it?"Bill chuckled "Fleur was so excited to see Harry again that she almost forgot the children at home in her haste to leave"
Following his husband suggestion Harry had messaged the office that he would take the day off and headed home. He would be alone for another couple of hours at least so he planned to relax and enjoy the silence while it lasted. Which was very little when you had children in the house. He appareted home and the sight of it never failed to bring a smile to his face. It was the house he bought with his husband after all and seeing the toys scattered around the well lived garden only made it better.
At the door he was jumped on by Paddy, their two years old alaskan malamute. The big hairy oaf was still a puppy and behaved as such even though he could easily send them all sprawling on the floor with his 'flying hugs' as Draco has started to call them. Harry was a favorite victim of him, while Draco got a less violent welcome home. Fortunately Paddy was also extremely gentle and attentive to children and had never hurt them, not even accidentally.
"Down boy…" he tried to order while avoiding getting his face full of doggy drool. Sometimes he regretted naming him after Padfoot, the name alone ensued that his furry friend was mischievous with an aversion for rules, but then he would just laugh and think that it was all worth it because it gave him a reminder of his fun loving godfather.
Their cat, a six years old bengal female, TigerLilly which was later changed into Tilly when Teddy could not pronounce the name right as a toddler, gave him a lazy purr from her perch on the cushioned windowsill of the living room and went back to her nap. She was quite the specimen, being only a second generation bengal meant that she was a little bigger than a normal cat and more on the wild side. The shopkeeper who sold her to him was adamant that she was a bloodthirsty beast but she's never been more than a great cuddly tiger to his family. The only time she had behaved like a real tiger was when one of the neighbors screamed at Teddy for stomping on her flowerbeds when he was five, the poor child hadn't done on purpose he had just fallen. Well, the cat was so protective of the child that she hissed and jumped on the lady scratching her face. Needless to say, she hadn't dared to bother them again, she had been so scared of the demon cat that she had packed house and moved from the city. A little extreme but to each his own.
After a refreshing shower and a change into more comfortable clothes, he started cleaning up a bit. His time at the Dursleys left him a bit obsessed with order though he was getting slowly over it.
He gathered all the toys around the house and took them back where they should be, he set the washing machine and sweeped. It was not something that he did everyday. While he cleaned after himself, partly out of habit and partly because he found it relaxing, they had house eves doing the general chores and cooking when Harry could not. He had learned early that Draco was to be kept away from the kitchen lest they all be poisoned.
Usually the elves did the chores during the night, when everyone was asleep. While he didn't mind their presence he didn't want his children relying on them too much or think that they could get out of their small chores by ordering the creatures around. When he was done he decided to get started on lunch.
It was only moments before he finished that Teddy came barrelling through the door and slammed against him.
"Daddy, Daddy! What are you doing home? What are we going to eat?" He asked, the raven hair changing to bright blue in excitement. It was not often that his father could come earlier to eat lunch with him.
Harry chuckled ruffling the bright hair "Decided to take the day off and we're going to have your favorite, mac and cheese" he answered "Now go wash your hands"
"Did something happen Harry dear? It's not like you to take a day off without reason?" Andromeda asked entering the kitchen more graciously than her grandson.
"Just had problems concentrating and Draco suggested I stay home" Harry smiled sadly
The woman knew what he wasn't saying and nodded tersely. She had come to see Harry as the son she never had and she didn't like to see him hurt or rummaging over his past in Britain either. If it was up to her they could all burn in hell for what they put this lovable boy through during his teenage years.
"I see.. I'm sure than spending the afternoon with your family will put your mind to the right track again" she reassured him
"I sure hope so"
Lunch was quickly finished and Teddy went to his bedroom to do his homework with the promise of brownies for the afternoon snack, while Andromeda opted to go back home to rest some. After that hateful woman run away scared of Tilly, Andromeda moved in the house next door to still be close to her family while leaving them the privacy of their home. She knew that the boys were happy to have her living with them, especially with a little child in the house, but she felt like she was intruding on their marriage and that they needed to take advantage of the vacant house and enjoy having a babysitter living a fre feet away from them.
Alone once again, Harry decided to start on a batch of brownies before working a bit on his garden. Along with cooking, gardening was one of the chores imposed from the Dursleys that he genuinely enjoyed doing and it was no surprise then that their garden was the most beautiful of the whole neighborhood. Not even those that hired professionals could compare.
His garden was full of bright colored flowers and bushes and trees, both magical and mundane. He also had a vegetable garden in the back where he grew his own products and a small greenhouse where he kept potion ingredients for Draco.
He must have lost track of the time because a drawling voice interrupted him from his work
"Well.. You certainly look more relaxed now. Filthy but relaxed"
"Dray.. Is it four already?" he asked rising from his kneeling position next to the flowerbed and taking off his gloves.
Draco hummed in affirmative "Why don't you go take a shower? I'll go fetch the little brat and we can have some tea and a snack all together"
"That's a good idea. I'm sure Teddy is finished with his homework by now"
"Go on then. I'll be back in five" he said kissing his husband's lips while making sure not to dirty his clothing.
"What time is it again?"
"Ronald, honestly, stop asking every other minute!" Hermione huffed "We can't go there before six and it's barely four now."
"I can't wait anymore!"
"I know, I want to see Harry just as much and I'm sure that he missed us too… but you need to be patient a little more" Hermione lectured him
George snorted "Sure he will…"
He couldn't take it anymore. Between Ron's whining, Ginny sneering comments and Hermione's attitude, he was getting crazy. Whose brilliant idea was it to wait all together inside a small hotel bedroom instead of doing their own business until six? Probably his mother or Hermione… he was sure of it.
"What would that mean?" she demanded
"It means that you've been shitty friends to Harry after the battle.. Always badgering him on what he was doing, expecting him to do what you wanted him to and throwing hissy fits when he wouldn't just roll over and obey like a good little dog" He sneered
"I'm sorry to say, that iz true… 'Arry has been hurt more than once by your immature and zelfish behaviour" Fleur said, her french accent only barely noticeable after such a long time living in Britain.
"We didn't… We never meant to hurt him" Hermione tried to defend herself "we were just doing what was best for him.. He's known for taking reckless and dangerous decisions.."
"Bullshit" Luna exclaimed "Harry always had so much pressure on his shoulders to fight Voldemort and defend everyone. When he took such decision it was always because he didn't have any other choice or he was pushed into it!"
"He had matured and learned to be independent after the battle, me and Bill helped him with that along with getting rid of his trust issues and hero complex, or trying to as much as we could at least… He was perfectly capable of making his own decisions without the two of you replacing Dumbledore as his puppeteers".
"You learned, if only a bit, that not everyone has to think the same as you Hermione, but you're still entirely too bossy and believing that you're always right is not going to help you in life" Bill said. "as for you Ron, thank Merlin you worked on that awful temper of yours, because I can guarantee that if the auror department didn't order you to take some anger management, I would have taken care of it myself, and you wouldn't have liked my methods, I assure you"
The two members of the golden trio frowned and started to heavily think on the months after the battle, slowly realizing that their family was right. They had been awful with Harry and now they were truly afraid that he would refuse to see them, let alone talk with them.
When Harry went back down to the kitchen after a shower, he found his family already gorging themselves on the brownies he made.
He chuckled seeing the picture they made.
Draco had shed his coat and was moaning each bite of the chocolatry snack.
Sweets, especially chocolate never lasted long in their house. He honestly didn't know where the man put it all and stayed so fit, his love for chocolate would have earned him Remus' ready approval he was certain, the old marauder could have lived off the stuff alone if he could. Something that Teddy inherited from his father, much to his consternation. The boy was already hyperactive enough without sugars, adding chocolate made him literally bounce off the walls when he was younger. Thankfully he got better growing up, because Draco had not been happy when he had to cut off sweets too and hide his secret stash in his office at the hospital when Teddy had been four and eaten so much that he had been impossible to calm down until he gotten sick all over the living room. That had been dubbed 'The Great Incident' and was not to be remembered, was it not for magic they would have been scrubbing the walls, floors and yes, even the ceiling for days. The furniture had unanimously been thrown out and replaced. It was beyond help even with magic.
"Salazar, Harry, the things you bake as nearly as good as sex"
Harry laughed loudly at that "Better than sex? Aren't you exaggerating?" he whispered draping his arms around Draco's torso from behind. Thankfully chocolate made children deaf to anything or he would have hit his blond for talking about sex in front of them.
"I said nearly as good" he drawled "Nothing is better than sex"
"Thought so" he chuckled taking a seat next to him and helping himself to one of the dark squares. It was a good thing that he had put some aside for Liam earlier, or there wouldn't be even the crumbs on the plate left for him.
"It's going to be the ten years anniversary of the battle soon…Do you think the ministry will try and invite us?" Harry wondered
"You, they most certainly will. You're their Saviour after all and they're gone for too long without taking advantage of you and your fame. And what about the fact that it took them five years to give out awards for the war effort? ridiculous.."
"Yeah… they didn't even bother clearing Sirius' name. Thankfully the Minister here helped me appeal to the ICW and they took care of it right away. Britain didn't even recognize it though."
"Bloody morons, the lot of them" Draco grumbled "we should send them a care package marauder style" he suddenly grinned, making his quicksilver eyes sparkle with mischief and malice.
"How mean... " Harry drawled "Sirius would be strangely proud of you, he was the most vindictive of the group"
"I would have liked him too" He said "and you think I'm sexy then I'm being a bastard, don't try to deny it"
"I do" he calmly replied to the leer "and I still don't understand how it's possible"
"It's all thanks to my awesome genes and devilishly good looks" the blond replied smugly, licking away the chocolate from his lips in a way that sent Harry's blood rushing south.
"Whatever… bloody tease" he grumbled, making the other laugh.
"You know what would be really fun?" Draco asked "going back and scare the fuck out of them by acting all lovey dovey" he snickered, kissing his cheek.
"Don't tempt me" Harry chuckled.
"I can already imagine Granger...Harry! Malfoy cursed you! Let's go hole ourselves inside the library so I can find a counter curse and free you!"
Harry laughed again "Dray, you're imitation is soo good, it's kinda scary"
"Years of practice making fun of the know it all in the common room. Salazar.. Her voice alone could give you nightmares.. it's levioooosa, not leviosààà"
"Don't remind me. At least she didn't patronize you every minute of the day. Really it was like she believed we were all idiot trolls!"
"She wasn't so far off with Weasley but even when I hated you I could recognize that you weren't a complete idiot"
"Thanks for the vote of confidence" Harry replied drily.
"You're welcome dear" Draco replied happily digging into the mountain of brownies.
"Daddy, Papa.. shouldn't my letters come soon?" Teddy asked, finally removing his complete attention from the chocolate "Where I am going to go?"
"They should arrive around your birthday cub" Harry smiled at him "As for where, we still haven't decided where to send you. If you have some preference we'll be taking into consideration, ok?"
Teddy had been living with Harry nearly all his life. He had always been a very involved godfather, visiting the baby every day after the battle and keeping him every time that Andy needed a break. When he decided to move away the woman had been sad but understood his reasons. It was for the same concerns that she asked to take her grandchild with him.
She was afraid, deadly so, that her grandson would grow to have some wolf traits from his father. She wasn't afraid of the child, she would have loved him fiercely even if he had been a full werewolf, but she was concerned about how people would behave towards him. She didn't want Teddy to suffer the prejudice of the wizarding world or the possibility of more anti creature laws in the wake of the war. There was also the fact that she wasn't that young anymore. She wasn't old by any means but the war and the loss of her husband and daughter had weighed heavily on her. She couldn't keep up with a baby's need while fighting her depression and trying to get her life back on track. Seeing her daughter's face every time she looked at Teddy was also difficult for her. Harry could understand her dilemma all too well so he quickly agreed to take custody of the small child. While making plans for the move, he spent the two months leading to his departure at Andy's learning all he would need to care for a child and more.
One week after moving to Salem and making sure everything was in order in the flat and with the elves he took with him, he went back to take Teddy. He had assured Andromeda more than once that she would be keyed into their floo and could call or come visit anytime she wanted to. They had developed a unique relationship over the years to a point where Andromeda was more of a mother to him than anything else and she rejoiced in having a family once again, especially after she made up with Narcissa. The two sisters had been inseparable after that.
As for Teddy. Being a single father had been as difficult as he thought it would but it also gave him so much satisfaction. Having a child looking up to you, smiling at you when you came back home and loving you with so much innocence was a soothing balm for his tattered soul. That was what he always wanted and needed. A family.
When Draco and him had started dating, Harry had made it clear that he had a child to think about and that he would not be going anywhere. Teddy always came first. The blond had understood and accepted it easily, much to Harry's relief and joy. It was stupid but he was afraid that he would react like Ginny. Even though they were not together, she still facied herself his girlfriend and she had always been vocal about her dislike for children and how he shouldn't waste his time after the brat.
Teddy came to know Draco soon enough, but only as his cousin at first. Harry didn't want the toddler to look at the man like something more, only to have him broken hearted should things end between them. But after two years it was clear to all of them that Draco was not going anywhere. They loved each other and Draco loved Teddy like his own son. When they got married, after three years, they made things official and, with Andromeda's blessing, they both adopted Teddy who was now four and over the moon to have two daddies.
He was such a precious child too. Always smiling, an unlimited bundle of energy, curious, mischievous and chocoholic, like his biological father and adopted daddy both. He was also shy with strangers, didn't like crowds or loud noises and was scared of rabbits, after one bit him at the petting zoo when he was three. He wasn't a werewolf, much to everyone's relief, he only got a bit moody during the full moon. Something that he did inherit though was his mother's metamorphomagus abilities. He could change color of his hair easily and when he was a toddler, taking him out around muggles had been a nightmare. Thankfully they lived in a magical city, so apart from some giggling and curious stares there was no problem in Teddy having turquoise hair, purple or even flicking through the rainbow.
"Papa.. I sticky!" Gabriel announced with a pout on his rosy lips.
"Come here baby, let me clean you up" Draco smiled.
Gabriel Orion Black was the last addition to their family. The four year old child had Draco's blond hair, though there was a curl to it that made him look like a little cherubin, and his green eyes. He was a perfect combination of his fathers.
Two years after getting married they started to seriously talk about having more children and giving Teddy a couple of siblings. Of course they already knew and agreed that having children was important for both of them.
At the time, they had finally settled in the new house, Teddy was comfortable with his two daddies and Andromeda was living with them and willing to help. They were also full fledged auror and healer respectively and slowly rising through the ranks, money had never been an issue but it meant that their working hours were more flexible and there wasn't so much added work like during their training. They could have stopped working too but they both loved their jobs too much.
Harry had been a little afraid that Teddy would be jealous of the new baby or feel neglected, but Draco had assured him that the child was really looking forward to become a big brother and that they would never make him feel like with that, they had started the process.
Homosexuality had never been a problem in the wizarding world, not even for purebloods that believed that having a blood heir was a duty, simply because it was common to use surrogates. While in Britain it had to be done the traditional way, meaning that the gay wizard had to have sex with the surrogate witch and the child would have three parents technically. The biological father, the mother and the other father who could blood adopt him.
In the States things were done differently, much to the Blacks pleasure. And it was all to the great innovations and discoveries of the advanced continent. First of all the couple would need to a surrogate witch, be it a friend of the family or someone the hospital put them in contact with. The second phase was remove the woman's ovules. From there the healers would use a new procedure in the lab designed to cancel the woman's DNA from it without damaging the egg and replacing with one of the father's DNA. The ovules would then be inseminated with the second father's sperm and reinserted in the witch's womb.
Thanks to magic the success rate of the procedure was 90% against the 40% of the traditional way. This method also ensured that the surrogate witch would not have any claim to the child, something that still happened in Britain since the woman would still be blood related to the child and if she was a pureblood or simply rich enough, bribing the ministry would be easy and the parents would have to share custody at the very least.
The Black's surrogate was a nice witch their age, Amanda. She worked at the hospital with Draco as a nurse and had been so happy when she found out they were going to try for a baby that she offered to surrogate for them. She and the blond were very good friends and very close, especially after her parents had thrown her out when she refused to marry the rich idiot they chose for her. Draco had been quick to offer her the guest room in his apartment and since then they had been inseparable.
She reminded Harry strongly of Luna, with her eccentric personality and unique creativity, only she had dyed her long curly hair different shades of lavender instead of being blond and her eyes were blue. Otherwise the two witches could have been twins separated at birth. The children also loved their Aunty Mandy and she had become a niece for Andromeda too.
In the last few months Draco had also hinted that he would have liked another child, now that Gabe was old enough, something that Harry very much wanted to agree with. He hoped for a little girl to spoil actually. So after speaking with Amanda she had been overjoyed to carry for them once again. She didn't want to have children of her own, she was too much of a free spirit to settle down enough to give a child a stable life and she also thought that a child should have two parents. Being the strange creature that she was, she had no interest in love, sex or any of that crap.
She always said that all the family she needed were her two brothers, her Aunt Andy and an army of nephews. She didn't care if she had to carry all of them. Thankfully magical cesareans were painless and healed immediately, it was also safe to have as many times as needed. Now she was two months pregnant again and living with Andromeda for the duration of the pregnancy. While Draco had left her his old apartment, free of rent, they worried for her with her mind always up in the clouds if she was living alone. She wasn't all that comfortable being alone either with no one to help,but she refused to intrude on their domestic life. This living with Andromeda next door was a compromise that made them all happy.
"Alright everyone, gather 'round, children hold your parents hand, no wandering off alone and be on your best behaviour while we're guests at Harry's!" Arthur yelled to make himself heard above all the noise his children and grandchildren were doing. Fortunately it was not the whole family. Percy had refused to come, stating that it was downright rude to just show up unannounced and that he had a job that came with responsibilities unlike the others, so he stayed behind with his wife and daughters. Charlie didn't come either, but it wasn't so surprising, very little could take him away from his dragons.
"Dad, please we're not children. There's no need to treat us as such" George grumbled.
"Hush. Everyone ready to leave? Yes? Good, lead the way Hermione dear" Molly ordered them.
"So you decided to go in the end?" the hologram placed on top of his desk asked talking about the possible trip to Britain that Harry and Draco had been thinking of doing for months now. .
"We're still thinking about it" Harry answered massaging his temples "I figured that Teddy can get his dream holiday of seeing where we and his biological parents grew up and see if he wants to go to school here or there. While here I can also settle a few matters that are long due"
"With your ex friends?" Stephen asked. Stephen as in the American Minister of Magic Stephen Reed, someone that he could count among his close friends.
"Not really eager to see them again, but yes, I feel as I owe it to myself to confront them. I was thinking about finally renovating Grimmauld Place and do something useful with it too. I also have several business talks that I can't put off with anymore the goblins and a few others." he grimaced.
"Haven't you brought your accounts here ten years ago?"
"I did but a few vaults had special clauses that didn't allow the move so I had to keep them in Gringotts. They are also supervising my properties in the continent and dealing with my investments. Unfortunately there are a few bigoted assholes that refuse to speak with goblins recently and they warned me that either I go and take care of them or they would." He deadpanned "No need to start another goblin war on my account"
"Stupid British wizards. They can't get their heads out of their arses still, they're practically asking for another dark lord to rise like this"
"Not my problem this time, Steve"
"Most certainly not. If you need anything during your stay there don't hesitate to call me." The Minister reminded him "also, as Head of Auror Department you are entitled to this" he said handling him a badge that would grant him diplomatic immunity, it came thanks to a small compartment under the hologram platform that allowed instant transfer "it will cover you and your whole family. They touch you and they're politically and economically dead"
"Thank you, but isn't it a bit much?" Harry asked wide eyed.
"Not at all. You're my best auror. You're THE auror! Everyone loves you in the USA and not for that ridiculous moniker they gave you either. If something were to happen to you over there, people would be screaming for blood" Stephen explained him. It was endearing how modest and naïve Harry could be in regard to himself most of the time. "sometime I think that they like you better than me and one of these days I'll wake up and you'll be sitting in my chair"
"Uh.. no thank you. I would have to be really senile or undergo a personality change to want to be minister"
"Sure. We'll talk about it when you're the one behind this desk"
"I'm still too young to be senile and I don't think they are offering personality treatments at the hospital. Draco would have forced one on our neighbor ages ago if he could"
"The gossiper or the one that lusts after you?"
Harry thought about it blinking "Both, I think."
"Five galleons, Harry curses them" muttered George from behind the crowd of red heads.
"You're on, little brother. I say that he slams the door on their faces" Bill said shaking his hand
"Nope" hummed Luna stroking her belly "He will do neither. I say he will let us enter and then confronts everyone about their behaviour towards him"
"I'm not sure I want to bet against your wife, Georgie… She always wins"
"Too right I do"
"They are about to ring ze bell" Fleur told them pointing to the small mansion and the redheads in front of the door
Bill whistled "Nice place.."
"What should I make for tonight's dinner?" Harry asked exiting from his office and poking his head in Draco's one which was right next door.
"You know I love anything you cook.. well, anything that doesn't have bloody garlic in it" he amended wrinkling his nose in disgust
"I don't know what's your problem with it, you love my garlic bread"
"Well, yeah.. garlic bread, not garlic breath"
"And you love me anyway"
"Too right I do.." Harry sighed "How about steaks? It'll be full moon next week and Teddy usually likes his meat around that time"
"Sounds good, add some veggies for the kids too"
"Of course. I can make mashed potatoes with peas and baby carrots. Gabe likes them"
"Good…Do we have any more ice crea-" he was interrupted by the doorbell ringing
"Ugh, I'll go see who is it don't worry. You continue revise your cases"
"Thank you. I have an important surgery tomorrow with Healer Bole and you know how famous he is in the field.. working with him is a unique opportunity and the fact that he asked for me is … I can't even describe it!"
"I know how important it is for you, you don't have to tell me. I'm sure that it will be good learning experience and look good on your resumè of that pediatrics specialization you're working on"
"That it will…" the blond hummed, his head once again bent over the papers.
"What's taking him so long?" wondered Hermione
"Probably got lost inside his big expensive mansion" sneered Ron
"Godric, will you shut the fuck up!" Exclaimed George "one second you're regretful and miss him and the next you're fucking jealous of him. Pick one and stick to it!"
"Enough. Ron you will behave and you George calm down." Bill ordered and both brothers nodded complying to his demands. If only Artur ever had the same respect from his children..
Finally the door opened and the sight shocked them. Harry had surely changed.
He was now six feet tall and he had filled out with muscles. He had an air of command around him and of danger, even if he was dressed down to simple muggle jeans and a t-shirt. His now glassless eyes widened at the sight of the Weasley family and when he pressed his lips tightly they feared he would curse them or send them away.
When Harry opened the door he certainly didn't expect to see the people who stood on the other side of it.
He thought it could be the gossipy old granny next door or the bloke who kept flirting with him even after Draco threatened him with lasting physical damage. He most certainly didn't expect The Weasleys.
All of them and then some more..
He pressed his lips tightly thinking of what he should do now. Draco was surely going to curse them or hex them badly and as Head Auror he couldn't let such a thing happen not only under his nose but in his own home. But that could be the chance to confront them and either reaffirm his relationship with some of them or break it all the way and never think again about it.
He heard someone that he now recognized as George's voice shouting as he went to open the door and he was confused as to the meaning of his words, but seeing Ron and Hermione right in front of everyone, it was easily explained.
He could see the lot of them fidgeting, his ex best friends worse than all. Molly was trying to contain herself from hugging him to death, George and Bill were more calm but he could see in their eyes that they were unsure and a little hurt from the distance he had kept from them all these years he assumed. Fleur and Luna were smiling at him and .. woa.. Luna looked ready to pop!
He could see there were children huddled behind the adults so with that realization he sighed deeply.
"Come in" he said coldly opening the door wider for them and stepping aside so they could pile in, directing them to the living room.
Rubbing his forehead he prepared himself for what was to come, but first things first.
The Weasleys looked around taking in the elegant but comfortable and warm decor of the house. Once in the living room they each tried to find a place to sit or lean against. There was no way a normal living room would have enough seating for all of them, so they let the women sit first and the rest arranged themselves around them.
"Teddy!" Harry called from the bottom of the stairs "Ted! Come down we need to talk!"
"It wasn't me!" came the reply from the child's bedroom
"Definitely your son" deadpanned a passing Draco with a humorous shake of the head before wrinkling his nose in disgust at the sight that greeted him. "Lovely.. I see we have an infestation of weasels… Will have to call the deratization"
Harry saw from the corner of his eye Fleur elbowing Ron in the stomach none too delicately before he could start screaming and ranting, making him wheeze for breath and Luna giggle. George looked at them both and then shook his head "Fred always said there was too much sexual tension between those two.." Harry married to Malfoy.. people back home would roll over and die after such news.
"Oh, shut up you. Ted come down or no dessert tonight."
The child sized missile was in front of him in a second after that, already salivating at the thought of sweets.
"Mine uh? Reminds me of someone else" He muttered "come on, let's talk in the living room"
"I really didn't do it da! I swear" Teddy whined
"What is it that you didn't do, exactly Ted?" demanded Draco from the armchair he conjured with a raised eyebrow.
"Papa.. I.." gulping and twisting his hands he mumbled "I didn't push Tim and break his nose"
"Theodore! Why did you do something like that?" Harry asked appalled "How many times have I told you that violence is not accepted in this house?"
The Weasleys thankfully remained silent and watched how Harry and his husband dealt with the situation. They gaped when Harry conjured several seats wandlessly without effort, before seating himself on the loveseat beside his husband.
"Bu… But he was being mean!" The kid protested "He said that because you are gay you were sissies and that his father was better than you two put together. I told him that you could beat his ass with an arm behind your back and blindfolded AND without papa helping you either. He said I was a liar and then.. I punched him"
Harry and Draco looked at each other in silence for a moment.
"Ted. Remember when we told you that there are some people that would always judge us for some reason? Whether it be because we like men, or because we adopted a child or .. heaven help them if they try because I will kill them slowly and painfully.. because your father was a werewolf?" Draco started.
"And what did we tell you about them?"
"That I shouldn't listen to them because they're stupid and we're awesome"
"Erm.. yeah kinda" he coughed at Harry's sideway glance at the last remark "Sometimes children listen to what their parents speak about and repeat it without really knowing what it means. Tim probably heard his father speaking badly about me and your dad, because we like each other, and he told you those things thinking it was right."
"Like the time when I heard dad telling uncle Liam to suck it up and I repeated it at school even if I didn't know what it meant?" Teddy asked
"Exactly like that" Draco nodded "the difference was that that time you didn't offend anyone, while Tim made you angry"
"While we are very proud that you would stick up for us, we don't like you to be fighting. Can you promise not to do it anymore?" Harry asked
"I promise dad, papa. I'm sorry that I punched Tim"
"Apology accepted. And don't worry buddy me and your dad can defend ourselves pretty well" Harry smiled.
The adults in the room, mostly Bill,George,Luna and Fleur, smiled at how well they handled the situation and were appreciating how changed and fatherly the blond wizard was. The rest of the group was still gaping, unbelieving that Malfoy could act like a human being let alone him saying such things. The ferocity that could be heard in his voice at the prospect of someone hurting Teddy was clear to them all and it shocked them. A Malfoy would never associate himself with a halfblood, never mind a creature.
The children meanwhile were studying the man they had heard so much about while also pondering over his words to his son. Could that apply to the things some of their parents said too?
"Now, how about telling our son the original reason you called him down for? And since they're here now, I guess there's nothing stopping us from going there. Right?"
"You're right, Dray." He agreed turning to his son "We're going on holiday for a couple of weeks next month. Want to guess the destination?"
Smiling he watched as his son's eyes widened in realization and brightened sparkling like shining gold "England? You're taking us to England?"
"Sure I am, cub" he laughed only to wince as Teddy let out a high pitched squeal and launched himself all over their laps hugging him and Draco with all his strength.
"Ohff.. Teddy take your knee off my stomach, you're killing me here kid" Draco wheezed
"Sorry papa" he said bouncing off and squeezing himself in between them "When are we leaving? Do Grandma Andy and Grandma Cissy know? Is everyone coming? Even Missy, Biscuit, Gabe, Paddy and Tilly?"
"We're leaving sometime next month, Your dad and I will need to take some vacation time at work first. No, we're making Granny Cissy a surprise and yes, we're all going" Draco answered
"Now, onto other matters. We need to talk with the Weasleys so why don't you lead the kids outside and take Paddy to play wit you? I'm not sure about all their names, but I'm pretty sure you can introduce yourselves to one other" Draco suggested
"Oh wait, I'm sure I recognize my beautiful goddaughter Victoire there" Harry smiled brightly at the girl making her blush cutely "As lovely as your mother, you'll have your hands full with your daughters Bill".
"Don't tell me about it, I'm already dreading sending her to school" the man grumbled unhappily.
"Well, go on kids and have fun" Harry prodded them and after a few nods and encouraging words from their parents they followed Teddy out of the room.
As soon as the children left the athmosphere changed drastically. From warm and loving a moment before, Harry became tense and hostile.
"Now, I'm not senile yet and I would remember perfectly if I ever invited you lot in there or even gave you my address… neither of which I did. So pray tell me, how did you find me?" Harry asked coldly. His eyes were the same darkened emerald they got when he was in serious auror mode during a mission or an interrogation. Something that was sure to bring shivers to their backs.
"Harry… I know we were rather sudden… and possibly a little rude too but, we missed you and I'm sure that you.."
"Hermione, I asked a question and I demand an answer. Right now. So leave the babbling and get on with it" he said sharply interrupting her.
"I took the address from Teddy's Hogwarts letter" she said handing said letter to him.
Harry took it and looked at it, as if to inspect it.
"I trust you know Mrs. Weasley that what you did breached the privacy agreements held by Hogwarts school and is absolutely against the law. No matter the country." he informed her unfeeling. "Searching for or stealing a child's address from the records for personal reasons is highly frowned upon" Draco remained silent by his side, only showing his support by placing one hand on the auror's knee "I could report you to the Ministry, mine and yours both, and to the school. Do you realize what that would mean?"
"You wouldn't…" she gasped
"You would be fired on the spot and probably no one would ever hire you again in a school or place with restricted information on clients. Also, depending on the Ministry handling the situation and the strictness of the judges, you could be either heavily fined or be send to prison for three months"
"But we are friends…" she protested meekly
"Are we?" Harry asked arching a dark eyebrow at her.
Silence met his statement, the only sounds were those of Hermione and Ron fidgeting on their chairs with only the happy shrieks from the children outside lessening the tension.
"Not only you demanded that I do whatever you wanted after the battle, you expected me to actually report to you my every movement, to be granted unlimited access in my home going as far as to show up unannounced at all times of the day and night, ordering me to do something or another, regardless of the fact that I was emotionally and physically exhausted and the only thing I wanted… I needed.. was peace and quiet to mourn my losses and think about what I wanted to do with my life. But of course, that was something I couldn't do right? So not only you threw fits because I wouldn't allow you into Grimmauld anymore, but also because I didn't want to go back to a place where I had been in danger each and every year of my schooling, a place that had been the stage of bloodshed and where I lost people I loved dearly, a place where I had been forced more than once to kill a living being… A place where I died" he whispered.
"Hermione Granger knew best of course… schooling was more important that overcoming a deep emotional trauma that gave me night terrors and sent me into a severe depression." Harry said.
Hermione's eyes widened more and more as he kept talking, with tears threatening to fall. how could she have been so cruel and self centered to never realize the pain her friend was in? She was such a horrible human being …
"Oh, don't start with the waterworks now. We both know that as soon as you get out of here you'll go right back to acting as usual" he sneered
"Don't you dare talk to her like that!" Ron screamed "You've become dark, I know! Married to that… "
"Don't you dare finish that sentence, Ronald" Harry threatened rising to his feet in a flash, wand in hand and tip glowing with a spell "I will not have you insulting my husband in our home or in my presence. Is that clear?"
Ron, for all his years being an auror had never seen someone move so fast and was gaping like a fish out of water
"I honestly don't know what your problem is. But I'm done dealing with your petty jealousy and temper. You turned your back on me in fourth year and I forgave you. You did it again while we were on the run and I forgave you. But you had been seriously pushing it. I will not forgive how you screamed at me when I told you I never had any intention of dating your whore of a sister, nor how you reacted when I told you I didn't want to enter auror training right after surviving a war that had been going on since I was one. And now I will most certainly not tolerate you being rude when you are a guest, albeit an unwanted one, in my home."
"Yeah, you tell him Harry…" George cheered quietly from his own armchair.
Harry though ignored him "I can only imagine the size of the temper tantrum you would have thrown back then had I told you I was gay too…" Harry continued "Though from the contents of your letters regarding the matter really don't need to"
"What? what letters?" Hermione asked, trying to recover from the talk "We never knew you were gay before today!"
"You're not lying…" he mused studying her
"Seems that Weaselette had been a naughty girl then" Draco spoke sneering at the woman" Connecting the dots quickly-
"Harry? What does it mean?" Bill asked now that he found it safe enough to enter the conversation
"I told Ginny I was gay when I spoke to her last. She didn't take it well of course, but then she proceeded to tell me that her family would never accept me in their home again. That her family didn't support same sex relationship and were between the few who were against it." he told them "Of course I didn't fully believe her, though at the time I was still much too insecure and was afraid to confront you on the matter for fear of losing you too"
"That's why you've been so distant with your letters.." George muttered "stupid little brother thinking I would care if he likes blokes… utter bullshit"
Harry smiled wrily "Yeah well… when two days later I received letters from Ron and Hermione telling me they were disgusted with me and that they refused to associate themselves with me unless I went back to being normal and liking girls only.. well.. I thought the decision of coming out the family was better left aside. Beside I thought she would have told everyone, surprised she didn't mail the Prophet about it.. she did tell them my address after all.. main reason why I left"
"Ginevra Weasley!" Molly screamed "How could you tell Harry something like that! I'm ashamed of you!"
"Yeah whatever. I should have become Lady Potter but this fucking poof went and ruined it all! So I lied and faked their letters so he could be miserable and crawl back to me but he had to be a coward too and he run away!" she screamed back
A loud smack resonated inside the room. While everyone's attention had been on the screaming Ginny, Luna got up with some difficulty and then proceeded to smark her so hard that her head turned the side, her cheek already and angry red.
"ooh…violence.. It's getting good, Do we have popcorn love?" Draco asked smirking evilly
"Draco.. not now"
"And you already gorged yourself on brownies too, where the hell do you put it all?"
"I plan to work it off tonight"
"Too much information" George bellowed loudly from his seat, after gently tugging his wife back and making sure that his sister wouldn't even think of retaliating by giving her the evil eye; while Luna and Fleur were looking at them with sparkling eyes. What was with women and gay couples?
"Harry... " Molly started looking at the young man she considered a son "I'm deeply sorry for the way my children behaved towards you.. I guess that with being so many of them.. we tried to give them all the love they needed, but evidently we didn't focus as much on their manners and attitudes. I just want you to know that we would have never thought less of you because of your sexuality. My brothers.. Fabian and Gideon.. they were gay too and I thought the world of them"
"We are sorry that you didn't feel comfortable with confiding in us and maybe we hadn't done anything to deserve such trust, We have followed Dumbledore a little too blindly and refused to see things for what they were until it was all finished and entirely too late to remedy or help" Arthur said hugging his weeping wife close.
"I accept your apologies Mr. and Mrs. Weasley" Harry nodded graciously.
"Thank you Harry… Now I think it would be best if we took Ginny and left. Molly is a bit agitated and a nap will do her good. Ron, Hermione, you're coming with us too"
"No. Unless Harry explicitly asks you to remain you will come back to the hotel" Arthur said
Harry didn't utter a single word to that only saying "Their children can stay and go back with the others later. It sounds like they're all having fun"
"That's most generous of you dear. They don't really have friends their age outside of family" Molly smiled.
"It's not a problem" Harry bit his lip before getting to his feet again "I'd like to catch up with you some more.. Maybe you can come back for dinner one of these nights, Molly, Arthur?" he proposed hugging the woman who had been like a second mother to him once upon a time. Now that spot was reserved to Andromeda but he still cared for the Weasley matriarch.
"We would like that very much. We'll be in Salem for ten days"
"Very well. I will let you know the time" Harry promised letting of the woman and shaking hands with Arthur.
"Will you… Will you report me?" Hermione asked quietly, her eyes trained to the floor and her hands wringing the hem of her shirt.
Harry stared at her hard, making her flinch from the coldness of it "Not for now. I will need to seriously think about it. I would suggest you though to do nothing to tempt me further. Being the Head of the Auror Department will make it only too easy to report you.. Or arrest you" he finished giving a look to a seething Ronald who of course was jealous of his rank and power, while he had been a low auror for the last ten year, never getting a promotion.
"Well, now that the unwelcomed members of our family left.. Why don't you fill us in on your life little brother? It seems you've been keeping an awful lot from us? tut tut" George playfully scolded him.
"Unforgivable isn't it?" Draco backed him up much to his surprise "I told him we should have invited you lot to the wedding… you were his family after all and had any right to be present"
"Are you serious?" George asked wide eyed
"Not really, You two are the only of the lot I don't hate.. I was more looking forward to the freak out your sister and brother would have had upon receiving the invitation and seeing the groom" he admitted with a lazy shrug, not looking a bit remorseful even after Harry slapped his chest.
George chuckled, relieved that the world wasn't coming to an end and Draco was still a bastard "That would have been a sight to see"
"I already dealt with the preview of the freak out, so thanks but I think I'll live without seeing the rest of it" Harry grumbled
"I for one, expect you to make it up to me Mister. Not inviting little ole me to your wedding.." Luna pouted cutely
"I'm sorry Lu.. Whatever shall I do to earn your forgiveness?" he smiled
"You'll be my baby's godfather of course.. and a foot rub wouldn't be amiss... "
"I'll be delighted to Luna… you've been keeping things from me too, though. You look ready to pop"
"She is" George grumbled "she should be resting too"
"Oh posh… I'm perfectly fine. And I have a perfectly good and handsome healer right here, should something happen" she waved him off "Right?" she addressed Draco
"Of course." the blond nodded. Lovegood was one the very few of Harry's old friend he actually liked. That and she reminded him of Mandy, so he would behave nicely to her.
"I'm handsomer than him, though, aren't I?" George asked making googly eyes at his wife and pouting exaggeratedly.
"Of course you are, you big goof" she smiled beatifically at him before kissing his pout away and making him grin.
"Zo cute" Fleur cooed.
"So.. How many of the brood back there are yours?" Harry asked curiously "I could recognize little Vicky and the other blond girl I assume is your too, the shade of blond isn't right to be Luna's"
"You're right, Victiore and Dominique are ours" Bill smiled "They're ten and seven respectively. We also have a son, Luois. He was the one with strawberry blond hair, he's four"
"We can certainly say that you make cute babies" Draco drawled.
"Zank you" Fleur smiled
"What about you?" the blond wizard asked the other ginger man
"Oh, just this one for us" He said gently patting Luna's belly
"That's shocking" he deadpanned "I would have thought you would reproduce with the same proficiency of the rest of your family"
"How funny, Malfoy"
"It's Black, actually" Draco said "Lucius disowned me as soon as he heard I was dating boy wonder here, and was actually contemplating the thought of marrying him. I took Mother's maiden name after they divorced."
"Ugh, sorry about that. I didn't know" George said sadly
"Nah, It's alright" Draco waved him off "Didn't need his old prejudiced arse trying to belittle one of my sons and brainwashing the other. Plus since Harry took his godfather's name after moving here, meant that we already shared a surname and didn't have to argue about it"
Bill chuckled "If what I heard about your fights at school i true, I guess it was a good thing"
"Too true it is" Harry nodded sagely "and he doesn't play fair."
"I'm a slytherin, of course I don't play fair" He stated snottily pointing his nose in the air.
"You have another son?" Luna squealed loudly clapping her hands "Oh, I bet he's just gorgeous"
"Did adopt him or use a surrogate?" Bill asked curious
"A surrogate, but things here work a bit differently" Harry said explaining the process to them
"It sounds logical. If I was bent I wouldn't be too thrilled at having to fuck a woman.." George mused.
"And zhat way the baby is all theirs" Fleur nodded.
"Yes, yes, That's all very good and dandy. Now I want to see my nephew!" Luna pouted
Harry chuckled "Of course Luna.. I'm sure Teddy took him outside with him, he's a very attentive big brother" he said getting up and moving towards the glass door.
"Gabe!" he called for his son "Come here, please. You too Teddy!"
"Might as well call them all or join them outside" Draco suggested after his call went unanswered "You go on, there are comfortable chairs in the garden from where you can keep an eye on the brats. I'll be along in a moment with some tea."
Harry lead them to the wide back garden and invited them to sit. There was a nice low wooden table and scattered around it some wicked loveseats with big comfy cushions.
"Your garden iz beautiful 'Arry!" Fleur complimented looking around at the numerous flowers she could see.
"Thanks you. I find gardening relaxing and making my neighbors jealous is also fun" he grinned.
The children were playing together. Teddy was pushing Victoire and Dominique on the wide tree swing, while keeping an eye on his little brother and his new friend who were cuddling with Paddy after wearing themselves out playing mock wrestling with Teddy. The big alaskan malamute seemed to dwarf the small children but let himself be used as a pillow all too willingly. What he assumed were Ron and Hermione's children were standing off to the side. The girl who looked to be older, around eight years old, was sitting against a tree reading a book while her brother was playing alone with a few toy cars.
"Not really social butterflies, are they?" Draco asked nodding towards the two children as he passed glasses of iced tea around. While it was not good old English tea, it had grown on him during the years, and you just could not drink hot tea during the summer heat.
"You stole the words from my mouth Dray"
"No, they're not. Though fortunately while taking after their parents they aren't as insufferable." Bill commented drinking his tea. Working in Egypt during his youth meant that he was used to it and he actually missed it.
"He's right. While Rose can always be found with her head in a book, it's only because she likes reading and she's also terribly shy. So making friends is hard for her. We made sure though that she wouldn't become an unbearable know it all like her mother" George said
"As for Hugo, he doesn't have friends his age being seven and he's the only boy of the brood along with Louis. But our son is too young to play with him, so he's usually stuck alone unless one of us play with him."
"Bill is right. And Ron is too much of a prat to act childishly every once in a while to play with his son. Too afraid it will hurt his pride.. bah!" George commented disgusted. There was nothing wrong with acting like a big kid to make a child smile, he did it all the time!
"That's just sad. Even Draco has no problem playing with the kids or getting dirty with them, and he's as pureblood and proper as you can get"
"I should be offended"
"I'll make it up to you then"
"Papa… I sweepy.." came the small voice alone with a tug to his shirt
"Aw, come here baby" Draco cooed taking his son into his arms and settling him into his lap comfortably, seeing that Fleur was doing the same with hers.
"He's so beautiful.. I knew it!" Luna cooed at the adorable sight father and son made.
Harry chuckled, trying to refrain from puffing up like a proud peacock "Thank you. Gabe love, I want to introduce you to a few people"
The child blinked his large green eyes at the guests waiting to know who they were "Those are your Aunt Luna and Uncle George"
"The nargle lady and the one that makes pwanks?"
Luna laughed merrily "That would be us, little one. It's really nice to meet you" she said while George grinned devilishly
"Do we have a little marauder in the making here?"
"No, George. We have two.. which will give me grey hair by the time I'm thirty I'm sure"
"Don't be melodramatic Harry. If mum and dad survived the twins you can do it do"
"The twins weren't little slytherins in training" he deadpanned making the man look at him in sympathy.
Draco coughed "As for them, they are your Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur" he finished
"Fleur means flower in fwench. Gwanma Cissy told me"
"Oui, You're really smart to remember that" the woman smiled lovingly at him "maybe you and Luois could have some playdates, non? He would like someone to play with and speak french to"
"Gabriel is still learning small words only in french, but I'm sure he would love to play with your son more" Draco accepted gracefully.
The adults turned to see the children running towards them, Rose and Hugo too.
"What is it ma petite?"
"Teddy said that there are fairies in the garden at night!" Victoire exclaimed excited "He invited us to stay and see them can we?" she pleaded while at the same time Teddy was making the puppy eyes at his fathers.
"Can we have a sleepover Daddy, Papa? Pretty please with a cherry on top" he asked drawing out the words at the end.
Harry and Draco looked at each other. Teddy never asked for much, he wanted simple things and to have fun with his family and friends, so they had no reason to deny him anything. Apart from an endless amounts of chocolate to eat and that pygmy alligator he fell in love with when he was eight that is.
"I don't see why not. As long as their parents agree" Harry nodded.
"Well, I think it's it not a problem but are you sure? That's a lot of kids" Bill asked to make sure
"Of course. I'm great with children. You could even stay for dinner and spend the night too, we have enough guestrooms" Harry reassured him
"In that case we'll happily accept your invitation Harry" Luna answered for everyone, making the children cheer in delight.
"Since you're all here now children.. Those are your Uncle Harry and Uncle Draco. I'm sure your parents told you lots about them"
Rose bit her lip looking unsure, trying not to look at Draco
"Is something wrong?" Draco gently asked her knowing that her parents probably told her a lot of bad things about him
"Mummy and Daddy say that you're mean and evil.. You don't look like a bad man though" she whispered trying to hide her face behind her book
"Mmm… I admit I was a bit of a bully when I was a child, but I'm not a bad person.
Your parents, Uncle Harry and I were always fighting at school. I was mean to them and they were mean to me in return." Draco tried to explain "people grows up though and changes"
"So now you're nice?" she asked "You seem nice"
"I'm nice yes, as long as you don't steal my chocolate. Then I'm a really mean dragon" he told her mock seriously making her giggle
"Can I call you Uncle, even though mummy and daddy don't like you?"she asked going back to insecure
"Of course you can, little one"
"He's really good with kids.." Bill muttered lowly
"That he is.. for all his supposed bad and evil persona, he's not like that at all. Just put a child in front of him and he becomes a giant teddybear" Harry confessed looking fondly at the man he loved "If you excuse me,I'm going to take out some hamburgers . With the weather so good we can grill them and eat here in the garden"
"Can I help you in the kitchen 'Arry?"
"Thank you Fleur, but don't worry. I'll just have the elves set things up and come back out"
"I don't know why but these hamburgers are the best I've tasted" George stated "What did you put in it?"
"Thank you and that's my secret. I would tell you but then I'd need to kill you" Harry replied seriously
"Har,har… As long as you feed me again, I can live with not knowing" He stated spearing some salad with his fork followed by a handful of fries.
The children were enjoying the dinner too and Teddy was trying to be friendly to Rose and Hugo too, talking to the girl about books and promising to show the younger boy his quidditch figurines collection after they had eaten.
"He's so precious, being nice to all of them regardless of age, gender or interests" Luna commented
"He's Remus' son, being nice is in his DNA.. And Tonks was really friendly too, as long as you didn't call her Nymphadora" Harry pointed out
"That's true. She went to school with Charlie, I remember all the times he would come back to the tower begging me to undo whatever curse she put on him that time" Bill chuckled "It's probably thanks to her that I got so much into curse breaking"
"That may be.. but i think that a great part of the merit goes to you two" Luna said "You have raised him really well and it shows"
"Look it's a fairy!" "Where?" "Here see!"
"Mou.. I'm jealous… I never had so many fairies in my garden" Luna complained
"You and the whole neighborhood" Draco chuckled knowing that if Harry wasn't so much loved by everyone the people living nearby would have been sending curses at him.
Their garden was literally full of little fairies who fluttered from flower to flower glowing with bright sparkly colors.
"They're so pretty" Victorie stated awed
"Would you like to hold one?" Draco asked her
"Come, I'll show you" he said leading her towards a rose bush "You just need to hold your hand cupped just below a flower, like a step for them,and hold very still. Just like that yes" He said guiding her small hands into position.
Seconds later a pretty pink fairy landed on her palms with a pirouette and blew her a sparkly kiss, making the girl giggle.
"I want a fairy too" Rose and Dominique squealed clapping their hands at the sight. Luna had joined them too in the request making them laugh at her for acting like a little girl. Soon enough each of them had a fairy in hand, and many more started fluttering around them, playing with their hair and sitting on their shoulders. Teddy kept sneezing from all the fairy dust they were throwing around, but he couldn't fault them for being this excited. It wasn't often that they had the chance to play and show off to guests.
"Yup, really good with kids" Bill reaffirmed, smiling at how happy his girls were being. Fluer too was enjoying the attention of the small creatures who were attracted by her shiny hair.
"Today had been way too hectic" Draco announced entering their bedroom from the adjoining bathroom and dropping his towel once he was in front of the walk in closet to look for something to put on.
"Mmm…" Harry agreed sprawled on the bed enjoying the sight of his naked and still dripping husband
"First your aurors, then I had to spend the day running around the ER because apparently today was the 'let's do something stupid to try and killed' day… A kid nearly blowing his own arm off to set off fireworks in his kitchen, another idiot cursed himself thinking it could get him back with the girl he cheated on, an old lady poisoning herself with cough syrup… and I still don't understand HOW she did that… and lastly a group of drunk off their arses teenagers who set a flat on fire and nearly got roasted… Really fun day, I assure you" Draco complained finally settling on a pair of loose silk pajama pants. "Then Healer Bole, the most respected Child Healer of the whole Unites States, jumps out of nowhere and tells me that tomorrow I'm operating with him… with no freaking care that he gave me no time at all to prepare properly" he ranted slightly hysteric with nerves.
"When we finally get enjoy a nice dinner we're invaded by Weasels too…"
"You like the weasels that are here now"
"Those I can deal with.. the others… I much prefer a visit to a muggle dentist.. bloody maniacs the lot of them" he said shuddering. Thank Merlin for magic, the idea of someone drilling his teeth wasn't the least appealing.
"Why don't you join me here on this nice and very comfortable bed and rest a bit. I can even offer a massage to make it up for the invasion of weasels and make you all nice and relaxed for your big surgery tomorrow, eh?" Harry proposed wriggling his eyebrows. Draco could never resist his massages.
"Merlin… Yes, please!" he moaned flopping face down on the bed,had the situation not been so funny Harry would have jumped him from the erotic way he moaned his assent.
Harry hummed along with the radio as he flopped pancakes and chopped fruit in different bowls.
Today he would be really busy at work to make up for the time he lost yesterday. Unfortunately he couldn't skip paperwork, as much as he would like to. He also had an important meeting with the Head of the Sports Department and a few others to set up the security for the world cup of the following year. That kind of event needed way too much preparation and work for his tastes but in the end it was worth all the headaches.
Fortunately Andromeda would be there to watch the kids because he doubted he would be able to return home before dinner time. Draco's surgery too was supposed to last several hours due to the gravity of the child's cancer. Poor kid, he would never be able to work with ill children without completely breaking down. He admired his husband for being so strong and selfless.
"'Morning Dad" yawned a still half asleep Teddy followed by the "morning Uncle Harry" of the rest of the children. The only ones that looked awake were Rose and the youngest boys, Gabriel and Louis who had become best buddies in the last day.
"Good morning children. Go sit down at the table, breakfast will be ready soon"
"Good Morning 'Arry" greeted a beautiful Fleur, her husband trailing after her. Luna and George came soon after, the first chirping happily while the ginger almost walked into a wall making the children laugh.
"mmm.. food.." George mumbled sniffling the air, much like Paddy was doing beside him.
"Good Morning everyone!" Draco shouted, he was horribly grouchy in the morning usually before a cup of strong black coffee, another american habit he picked, but when he had surgeries planned during the day he was like another person. Harry liked to say that he was like Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
"Morning Jeckyll" just as he said. Jekyll was the nice morning personality, Hyde was his normal self.
"I smell pancakes" He deadpanned
"Are you sure you're not part dog?" Harry asked pointing to Paddy and George sniffing forms
"Absolutely. Now feed me"
"Sure, sure. Hold your hippogriffs!" With that Harry started to serve several stacks of pancakes, along with whipped cream, maple syrup, chocolate syrup and numerous bowls filled with chopped strawberries, apples, bananas and melon and others with yogurt. "Tuck in!"
"Merlin Harry, that's a feast!" Bill exclaimed
Draco polished his plate in record time before kissing his husband and children's heads "Sorry, gotta go.. Surgery at the hospital" he said hurriedly before running out the kitchen. Only then they noticed that he was wearing the light green hospital scrubs.
Not only a minute later he reappeared staring at Luna "It's going to be hot today so no stress, drink plenty of fluids, eat refreshing and sugary foods and stay away from the heat" he ordered before disappearing again.
"That's my husband, the dutiful and caring healer" Harry announced "it's no wonder every last one of his patients is at least a little in love with him" he sighed shaking his head
"That was really nice and thoughtful of him" smiled Luna "maybe I should just hope to go in labor in the next few days so he can deliver the baby. He feels like a positive and bright energy to have when bringing a new life into the world"
Harry blinked not sure of what she meant exactly "I'm sure that Draco would be happy to help you should you need it and he has plenty of experience. You wouldn't imagine the number of women entering from the ER because they're in labor and often they don't have the time to reach the maternity ward or there are no beds free and Draco has to deliver the babies. It was actually the reason that pushed him to study for a third specialization in pediatrics"
"Third?" Fleur asked shocked
"You, the first is emergency medicine, which here in magical States means you need to take exams in practically every other field and be able to do practically everything since you are the first aid and every case pass through the ER before being redirected to the wards, no matter the situation. The Healer in the ER are renown for being the best healers because they really can jump from a simple cursebreaking to a heart surgery without blinking. Draco had the best scores ever recorded in the last century and holds the record of the less patients lost in the hospital, reason why he works in the ER as the Head. Second he took magical creature healing, he took the general advanced course so he could work with anything that comes up, most healers just specialize in one species of creature and stick to it. Now he's trying for one in advanced pediatrics, that covers everything, because he says that needs a healing knowledge all of their own. He's actually nearly done with it"
"Where in the seven hells does he find the time and energy? I have a friend who's a healer at Mungo's and just one specialization almost killed her!" exclaimed Bill
Harry shrugged "He's a workaholic, doing his regular shifts, studying and spending time with the family is no problem for him with how much he's organized. Also he loves his job and healing and helping people. He saying that his patients' smiles of gratitude are the best reward for all his hard work"
Soon after that, the Weasleys departed while Harry went to work after dropping Gabe to Andy and Teddy at his advanced summer school.
"Where Have You Been?" the banshee shriek from Hermione greeted them upon apparition.
"Here we go.." muttered George "Draco's gonna deliver our baby… I can already see it"
"First of all, don't scream at me because I won't tolerate it" Bill growled at her "secondly you're scaring the children, yours included. If you need to ask or say something you will do it civilly"
She took a deep breath swallowing every scream she wanted to direct at them before speaking slowly "Where have you been?... You didn't come back for dinner, you didn't come back to sleep either.. I didn't know where my children where or if they were safe!"
"Oh stop being melodramatic" Luna huffed sitting in a too low armchair with difficulty "Rosie and Hugo were with us, they were perfectly safe. Or were you afraid we would starve them and forget them in a dark alley?"
"Harry invited us to dinner" Bill continued before the bushy haired witch could say more "And after that the children wanted to have a sleepover to see the fairies, of which I'm sure they're dying to tell you about. Since he had enough room we stayed too and had breakfast with him before coming back"
"Zo, the children were in very good hands. Rosie and Hugo actually made friends with Teddy and enjoyed themzelves greatly"
Ron snorted "I bet the slimy bastard was overjoyed about it" he sneered sarcastically
"Not that it's any of your business. But Draco was very polite and perfectly good company the whole time. And unlike you, who would kick a puppy only because its owner was a snake at school, he was also very nice to your children and never once spoke badly of you. Even though you deserved it" George concluded
"Uncle George is right" Rose said lowly "Uncle Draco was really nice. He showed us how to hold a fairy and then he read us a story before we got to sleep"
Seeing her father's face turning a nasty shade of red, she whimpered and hid behind her uncle.
"Ronald Weasley! You stop it this instant, you're scaring the poor child and she did nothing wrong." Molly yelled at him "Draco grew up and became a better person. Maybe it's high time you do the same and mature a bit! Otherwise I will be forced to keep your children from you!"
"What?!" Hermione shrieked
"Oh don't be so surprised. You're never home, always too busy at school or running after some poor elf you want to free against his will. When you are home you spend your time lecturing the children and making them feel like stupid trolls. As for your husband, it's clear that he still has anger problems, when you're at school he just leaves the kids with one of us and forgets about them until it's time for you to visit for a couple of nights. You're both poor excuses of parents and very bad role models for your children" Molly ranted breathing heavily "so yes, if I have to I will demand custody of the children and raise them myself"
"You can't do that!" Ron bellowed
"Don't scream at mum" Bill and George yelled at him, positioning themselves in front of the woman
"I can and I will" she continued "No one in the child services would leave you the children"
"Enough!" Arthur roared. He was getting too old for all this shit "No one will do anything right now. Ron, Hermione go back to your room and think about your actions. Rosie and Hugo will stay with your mum and me."
In all that Ginny sat sneering at everyone. This was not the life she deserved. She would make the bastard pay for everything he did and for how he humiliated her.
Both Harry and Draco had been exhausted when they came back home after a long day at work. Harry's meeting at been entirely too long and the assistant to the Head of the Magical Event's departments was an annoying swot who delighted in flirting with him and creating imaginary problems for anything he proposed. By the time half of the meeting had went through he was ready to turn her into a chicken and wring her neck with sadistic pleasure.
As for Draco, the surgery had been magically and emotionally draining. Thankfully the child would recover and in a few months he would be able to live and enjoy life like a normal child
The following day was Friday and the Blacks had dinner scheduled with Andromeda,Mandy, Maggie and her husband Dom.
Draco suggested inviting the Weasleys too, only the bearable ones and the parents, of course. So he could kill two birds with one stone. He also wanted to check on Luna to see if she was fine. Traveling while so close to the due date was concerning enough but the summer heat posed a problem for a heavily pregnant witch. He supposed that Mother Weasel knew enough on the subject to recognize the symptoms of a problem, but often it was too late to do anything much by then and as a healer he just couldn't bring himself to trust a simple mother's knowledge.
Harry had readily agreed but he didn't want to make Molly and Arthur feel bad or set a bad example for the children by not inviting Rose and Hugo's parents. So in the end he convinced Draco to invite everyone, as much as he didn't want to deal with his ex friends and Ginny. So sent the Weasley family a letter with their hawk. It was more common to call someone with the hologram in the Magical USA, but families still kept post birds for tradition and formal correspondence.
Acting on a whim Harry invited Liam too, he had promised the lad to feed him some decadent dessert and the previous day he had been just too busy to do anything. That and Draco had demolished the hidden plate of brownies when he came back from the surgery before collapsing asleep on the couch.
Liam accepted enthusiastically,always ready to spend sometime in the company of the Black family. There was a time, back when he was still Harry's trainee, that he had a huge crush on Amanda but he understood quickly her character and lack of interest in love. He settled for being friends and pestering her to introduce him to some hot nurse.
Harry went all out on the dinner. He prepared some lasagna, spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs and some simpler mac and cheese for the children if they liked it better. He also made sure to bake plenty of his famous garlic bread along with several plates of various flavoured pizza squares. For seconds he cooked some fried chicken breasts for the kids with a side of baby carrots and peas, honey glazed roast beef with gravy and mashed potatoes and his special grilled pork chops with apple bourbon with a side of green beans. There were also fries and salad in abundance.
For dessert he had made treacle tart, cheesecake, his secret cake with chocolate sponge cake, coffee ice cream and hazelnut ice cream glazed in dark chocolate; vanilla cupcakes with colourful buttercream on top and Draco's favorite, chocolate and caramel toffee brownies.
All he had to do now, was set up the big table in the garden and prepare himself.
"Harry they're going to be here in thirty" Draco said entering the kitchen and feeling momentarily frozen from the different mouthwatering scents that invaded his nose "I believe you outdid yourself, love"
"Thank you" he smiled
"Go take a shower, the elves can set up outside and I'll help Gabriel dress"
"Oh, before I forget. Claire, the woman of the other day had been dismissed from the hospital. She's on the mend and I suggested she see a mind healer to deal with the trauma. She and the child are going back to Texas with her mother. The baby is fine too"
"Thank Merlin. That's a relief."
The Weasleys, surprising enough, arrived right on time. Andromeda greeted them a little stiffly at first, still peeved that they had hurt her 'son', but since he had explained the talk she warmed up to the majority of them quickly enough, reserving her crazy Black persona for the three undeserving idiots.
"Hellooo! The life of the party is here!" a red haired woman announced waving her arms enthusiastically.
"Hello Teddy and Gabe dears. Did you miss your crazy aunt?" She asked
"Nope, we saw you only last week" Teddy replied cheekily before running back to play with the children.
Harry chuckled "Weasleys, This is Margaret a senior healer at the hospital, Draco's former mentor in the ER, my personal healer for many trips in the hospital and dear family friend" he introduced her, before pointer each Weasley to her. She already knew which ones were okay and which ones to be a bitch to.
"Nice to meet the most of you" she smiled before taking a seat "This is my husband Dominic, man of few words. He prefers animals company to human one, not that he can be blamed. Humans can be really disgusting sometimes" she stated staring right at Ginny.
The following blow up from the ginger girl was thankfully interrupted by another arrival.
"Guys this is Liam, a fellow auror and one of my old trainees" Harry introduced him.
"It's nice to meet you all" Bill said
"Yeah, it's reassuring to see that Harrykins has good friends he can count on by this side of the pond too" George nodded
"Speaking of friends… Where is that scatter brained friend of mine Andy?" Draco asked frowning.
"When I left she was emptying the closet of clothes, trying to find something to wear" the woman sighed
"So, the norm?" Liam said "That woman has more clothes than a shop and can never find something to wear and in the end she ends up with ridiculous combinations" he sighed. For a moment when he arrived he had been certain that Amanda was already there. After all he could see the bright orange sundress with acid green polka dots from the driveway. Imagine his surprise when he found a petite and heavily pregnant witch with the same … curious sense of fashion as Amanda. Those two would be like two peas in a pod.
"I'm here, I'm here…." Amanda yelled coming from the small gate that connected the two properties and getting her hair tangled in the bush nearby "Oh.. bloody roses. Stupid flowers... Why the fuck people believe they're romantic when all they do is maim you with their thorns and try to rip out one's hair" she complained
"Mandy.. that happens only to you" Draco deadpanned moving to help per when she pouted sadly and held up a bleeding finger
"They're mean and should burn in hell for making me bleed" she stated
"Unfortunately for you, I happen to like that rose bush. But I'll trim it a bit so you'll be safe when passing" Harry said trying to mollify her.
"That will do" she sniffed "Now feed me, Mama's hungry!"
"Yes, now that you made a spectacle of yourself.." Draco drawled before addressing the guests "The girl wearing the green and orange monstrosity is Luna's lost long sister,Amanda"
"I think her dress is very pretty" Luna smiled.
"Why, thank you! I love yours too" Mandy replied plopping down on the other side of the blond witch.
"The combination of them together hurts my eyes" Draco said with resignation in his voice
"There, there" Harry patted him, before waving his wand and making the various platters of food appear on the table "Dig in, everyone!"
Ron, Hermione and Ginny stayed on the side and silent while the rest of them enjoyed the food and made small talk. They were not even acknowledging the three's presence and while they wanted to scream and protest Arthur had ordered them to behave. For once in his life he had used the Patriarch's Order and they could not do anything other than obeying. The consequences for failing to do so were dire and chosen by magic.
"Your child is so adorable, Harry dear" Molly cooed "He looks so much like Draco too, did you blood adopt him after?"
"Actually no." Harry smiled telling explaining her how the procedure worked in a few words.
Ginny seethed in anger. How dare that bastard have a nice family and fucking kids with that death eater and using a whore too! She was the one who should have given him children, only after a rich and lavish wedding and many years enjoying playing for the Harpies and going to parties and balls. He had to pay…
"Amanda here was our carrier for Gabe"
"That I was" she nodded "And the kid's lucky I love his adorable face so much, he gave me morning… well, all day sickness for six bloody months! That alone is worth a lifetime of pranking"
"I waz the same with Dominique" Fleur nodded sympathetically "It waz horrible"
"Yeah, Thankfully this time it seems easier. No throwing up yet" She smiled successfully
"Oh? Are you expecting again?" Luna asked
"Are you surrogating or it is your own?" Molly questioned too
"Yes, I'm two months along, And I'm surrogating for these two again"
One moment everyone was offering their congratulations to Harry and Draco and the next Amanda was screaming on the ground bleeding. They struggled to comprehend what was happening, shocked for the suddenness of it. Harry and Draco though had already jumped into action. Draco fell to the ground examining his friend and starting immediately to chant a long string of healing spells wandlessly, knowing that magic flowing through skin contact would be stronger and faster.
Harry jumped to the front to protect Draco and the fallen Mandy, as fast as lightning he disarmed a heavily breathing Ginny, who had cast the sectumsempra curse at the older woman and was ready to cast again, and stunned her. He would admit without remorse later to using more power than necessarily, sending the crazy girl flying against the wall of the house. The impact cracked several of her ribs while the sheer power of the spell caused a small cardiac arrest that would give her heart problems for the rest of her life.
"Boss, I have her. I'm going to take her in and throw in a cell" Liam said, laying a hand on his friend shoulder "I'll file a report and demand a mental evaluation too. You go see to Mandy"
"Yes.. I… Go" Harry said trying to remain calm in the face of the possibility of losing not only a friend but a child too.
Walking behind his husband, he didn't dare to look at the damage, but he silently put his hands on his shoulders lending him all the magic he could need to heal them.
By the side Andy, Molly and Fleur were taking care of the scared children, helped by Margaret and Dom. Luna was trying to calm down her heartbeat lest she go into labor drawing calm from her husband who was breathing slowly with her to help her and Bill was standing nearby the couple on the ground ready to call for help should it be needed.
Ron and Hermione were, of course, being completely useless. Still gaping like fishes at what happened.
"Dray..?" Harry whimpered after ten minutes and still not a word from his husband
"She's alive" the blond grunted "The baby too. Almost lost it for a second but it's strong. It'll live"
"Merlin, thank you" the raven haired wizard breathed out sagging on his knees.
"Our little girl is a fighter" Draco whispered
Harry smiled tearfully "Is she?"
Ginevra Weasley was given a full mental evaluation and declared to be obsessed with Harry Potter, The healers also found lasting and untreated damage from a forced possession during childhood. In the end she had been tried and charged with spending ten years in prison for attempted murder and attempted murder of a child, after that she would be sent to a metal clinic where she would spend the rest of her life.
Amanda was healed in a couple of hours thanks to Draco's expert care and would recover nicely with only a very faint scar remaining on her abdomen. Not that she cared about it, she could finally boast to have a battle scar too. Their child was also safe and with a few days of bed rest for Mandy, it would both be alright.
Unfortunately all the mess did send Luna into labour. She waited until the commotion was cleared and mother and child declared healed before calling 'Doctor tall and handsome' to move his perky butt and take that baby out of her because it was killing her and stating that the sensation of her waters breaking sucked royally. That night Julian Fred Weasley was born, Harry and Draco made godparents of the strawberry haired child.
A few days after that the ginger family left with the promise that the Blacks would visit during their trip in England the following month.
When they finally went for their vacation, Teddy was excited to see the places where his parents lived and went to school. He enjoyed the visit to Hogwarts and its secret rooms and passages, reviving all the adventures his dad told him about, but in the end he opted for attending Salem's Academy. Not only the curriculum was better but he also had the chance to keep living at home during the weekends and sbe near his little sister when she came. He didn't want to lose too much of her life.
Harry had to threaten the ministry with his full immunity and repercussion from his Ministry and the ICW when they tried to push him into remaining in Britain, but after that all went smoothly. Narcissa had been delighted to see her grandchildren and literally lit up when informed about the coming of a little girl in the family. Two days later she announced that she would travel back with them and live with her sister Andromeda from then on.
Molly and Arthur gave their son and daughter in law a couple of months more to put things to right but seeing that nothing had changed, they denounced them to the Child Services. Things had actually gotten worse. Hermione had been fired from the school as soon as she set foot back in Britain, when Minerva found out thanks to the portraits what she did. She tried appealing to the Board of Governorns, hoping that her status as war hero would help her and grant her her position back, but they never looked favourably on her, she was too smug in her knowledge. The fact that they had received several complaints about her teaching methods didn't leave her any ground to stand on. After that she threw herself in her elf campaign, earning herself even more complaints and enemies.
Ronald had lasted a few more months, but he tried to curse Draco Black during his vacation even though he knew he was covered by his husband immunity. The ministry fired him, going as far as admitting him forcibly into Mungo's for anger management treatment and restricting in magical usage. Taking custody of Rose and Hugo for them had been only to easy by then.
Luna and George got custody of the two children, they had only one to take care of and the older couple should only enjoy being grandparents after all their hard work, not start all over again. It took them a several months of shared vacations and long weekends visits to decide, but in the end the three Weasley families moved to Salem. Bill and Fleur liked the friendly attitude towards creatures and their son was best friends with Gabriel. Fleur was also sure that her Victoire was sweet on Teddy, but they would wait and see.
George and Luna were excited about the prospect of opening various WWW shops all over the States and studying the local fauna respectively. They also thought about their children. Rose was slowly becoming more outspoken thanks to their gentle support and Teddy's friendship. After the move he would also invite her to his advanced after school where she made several other friends that shared her love for books. Hugo too found some friends in his school mates and was finally happy. Molly and Arthur could finally relax and relish in their freedom while spoiling their grandchildren.
In the end Harry and Draco were finally able to welcome Diana Lily into their family. Teddy and Gabriel were smitten with the tiny black haired, silver eyed child and vowed to protect her always.
Finally Harry could live with no regrets, his life was perfect. He had a big family, many friends and the love of his life by his side.