by Draeconin

Beta: Brenna Starr
For story details and disclaimer, please see chapter one.

Chapter Thirteen


Harry was awakened the next morning by the sound of persistent knocking on their door. To his surprise he was still intimately attached to his husband, who was still sound asleep. Gently, he extricated himself. When he was finally out, the blond made a small sound of complaint, but didn't appear to wake. He carefully climbed out of bed, wrinkled his nose at the smell coming from the leavings of last night's love-making, and cast a quick 'scourgify' on both Draco and himself. He then threw on a dressing robe, and hurried to the door. "Who is it?" he hissed, annoyed with being woken this way.

"Open up, Potter! We haven't got all day!" the potion master's voice replied.

Harry opened the door. "Why didn't you just use the password?" Harry asked impatiently. "You could have woken Draco!"

Snape raised one eyebrow. "I don't... "

"We weren't quite sure what we'd find if we did so, dear boy," the headmaster broke in smoothly. "Didn't want to walk in to find the two of you in a... Ah... Well... In a delicate situation?" the old man hinted broadly, with reddened cheeks.

Harry blushed at the remembrance of the position he'd woken up in, but ignored that in favor of the current situation. "What do you mean? And what's so urgent? Has there been an attack?"

"No, no attack, but... Well, it's rather embarrassing," Dumbledore hedged.

"The two of you broadcast your - emotions - all over the school last night," Snape replied, sneering. "We need to set up some damping spells before it happens again. As it is, we'll be lucky if we don't get a lot more pregnancies now; especially in Hufflepuff! Fortunately for you, they don't know what hit them, or where it came from."

"I don't believe it," Draco said from the bedroom doorway. "pupils snog all over Hogwarts every night. Why would we 'broadcast', as you so delicately put it, when it's never happened before? I think you were snooping, and got embarrassed!" he said with a sneer. He sauntered over, covered in a dressing robe as Harry was, and put his arms around his husband's waist, from behind.

Harry had turned a bright red upon hearing Professor Snape's declaration, but Draco's objection was so reasonable, he turned a questioning gaze on the two older men. "He makes a good point," he said to the professors. "Well?"

Snape's face had become livid with anger at having his word questioned, as well as for the implication of his being a 'peeping tom' or similar, but before he could verbally blast 'the impertinent child', Professor Dumbledore put a hand on his arm in warning, then spoke.

"Firstly, I assure you that there was no 'snooping'. We do have watch-wards on the corridor outside your apartment to ensure you remain safe, but there are no such wards inside. Your privacy is intact. Secondly, there is no reason to fabricate such a story. It is fact, and there are a great many very embarrassed pupils that can attest to it. As to why it happened, I must admit ignorance. However I must insist upon an apology for your accusations, Draco Potter, and on the instant."

As the headmaster spoke, both young men's faces had become rather red, but Draco retained a look of stubborn pride that boded ill for the chances of an apology.

"Draco," Harry said gently, "it was rather rude to accuse them of snooping without proof. And if we are... broadcasting our... feelings, damping wards will have to be put up. That, or we'll have to stop..." He stopped speaking, embarrassed to say any more in front of the two men.

With an almost-hidden look of alarm at that threat, Draco looked at the two men, and with as much dignity as he could muster, said, "I do apologise, gentlemen. It was impolitic of me to accuse without proof. However, I do ask that we be kept abreast of any results of the research I'm sure this incident has moved you to implement."

Harry stared at the blond in amazement, then slowly grinned. Not wishing to embarrass Draco any more than he had to, he twisted his head about and whispered in his ear. "You do realize you just sounded as big of a pompous windbag as Fudge?"

Draco blushed violently, dropped his arms from Harry's waist, and glared at his grinning spouse.

Still grinning, the Gryffindor turned to the two men. "I think we can control ourselves until you've had a chance to damp the walls, Professor, Headmaster."

"I can guarantee it," Draco muttered murderously.

"But we need a chance to clean up," Harry continued, ignoring the threat. "Would you mind coming back in say, an hour?"

Snape opened his mouth to protest, but the headmaster beat him to it. "You go ahead with your morning ablutions, boys," he said. "We'll start on this room, then any other you're not occupying. We do have other duties," he gently reminded them.

Draco glared at them, but Harry nodded. "I understand," he said. Taking Draco's hand (and firmly keeping his grip despite the blond's petulant attempt to shake him off), he returned to the bedroom, tugging a reluctant blond behind him.

Once behind their closed bedroom door, Harry turned to his spouse and said, "You may fire when ready, Gridley."

"What?" replied a confused Draco.

"Old quote. What I mean is, you're angry with me, so let's hear it."

Draco wasted no more time. "How dare you embarrass me in front of guests?!"

Harry waited, then said. "Is that all?"

Draco was again off-balance. Harry had a bad habit of doing that to him. "All? It's bloody enough!" he shouted.

"No, I meant, 'Is that all you're going to say about it'? But if you recall, pet, I whispered in your ear. I didn't say it aloud where it would have humiliated you. And you were acting rather pompously."

"Yes, well... You could have waited until we were alone," Draco said, sulking.

"Would it have made a difference? You'd still have been upset with me, wouldn't you? And you know I'm a bit impulsive; I couldn't help it. It was funny!"

Draco was glaring again. "Embarrassing me?"

"No, love; when it occurred to me that you sounded a bit like Fudge," Harry said soothingly.

Draco was mollified, but only just. He still felt a bit insulted with the comparison.

Harry drew close and put his arms around the sulking blond, kissing his cheek. "Want to take a shower together?" he asked suggestively.

The Slytherin sighed. "Not after you embarrassed me," he said, "but the longer we take, the longer they'll be here. And it's not as if we can do anything until the damping is done, anyway. I've half a mind to make you sleep on the sofa tonight," he said, musing out loud.

"You wouldn't!" Harry exclaimed.

Draco nodded. "If it wouldn't be punishing me, too, I would," he asserted.

Harry grinned, and kissed his sulking husband until they were being returned.

A knock on the door interrupted them. "Are you going to be much longer?" Dumbledore asked through the door.

Harry looked over Draco's shoulder and loudly said, "Give us fifteen!"

"You have to be joking, Harry! I can't possibly be ready in fifteen minutes!" the blond protested.

Harry dragged his husband to the shower, where they quickly washed up, 'helping' each other occasionally, despite Draco's earlier threat. But they did make an effort to be quick, and within the promised fifteen minutes, although Draco was certain he still looked a fright, despite Harry's assurances otherwise, they were dressed and entering their common room.

"What? No hanky-panky?" Snape sneered.

"Just a bit, but you know newlyweds," Draco quipped cheekily.

Snape blushed, and glared at the blond.

"Those rooms are free, now," Harry quickly pointed out, "if you'd like to get at them."

"Why don't you and Draco go on to breakfast, Harry?" Dumbledore suggested. "And I'm afraid I'll have to ask some fairly personal questions later, to help us figure out what might have caused the - ah - incident."

Harry looked at Snape, then back at the headmaster. "Could it be just the three of us, sir? You, Draco, and me? I'm sure it will be rather embarrassing, and it might be better with fewer people present. I'm sure you'll relate whatever information you think important to those who might need to know, anyway."

Dumbledore nodded understandingly. "Of course, Mister Potter. And I believe the kippers are especially good this morning," he hinted.

"One more thing, sir," Harry said. "Draco and I will be living permanently at Grimmauld Place, during school breaks and after leaving school, so it's going to need some work done."

Draco gave Harry a look that said they'd be talking about that, later. He knew nothing of this place, and might wish to live elsewhere. But Harry wasn't finished, yet.

"We need to discuss just what changes yet, but I don't want to disturb the Order's business, so we'll need to schedule around each other."

Now Draco was almost positive they'd be living elsewhere. The house was already crawling with strangers? And ones that would probably rather hex him than look at him, at that.

"I just wanted to give you some warning, so you could think about it," Harry explained somewhat apologetically.

The old man's eyes were twinkling madly. "No need to be embarrassed, Harry. It is your property. I'm sure we can work it out. And I'd like to thank you for not just requesting we leave. The place is rather convenient."

Harry blushed slightly, said, "You're welcome," and left, blond in tow.

Hermione was just leaving the Great Hall as they arrived and seemed quite preoccupied, but not so much so that she didn't give them a speculative look before smiling, waving, and continuing on her way. That worried Harry a little. Knowing her as he did, he thought she was probably trying to track down a mystery. And the big mystery for her right now, was likely Draco's 'medical condition'. Well, it wouldn't be too long before everyone knew, and Hermione would likely confront them before talking to anyone else, so they could ask her to keep it to herself until it couldn't be hidden any longer. So, for now, he dismissed it from his mind.

Once they were seated, Draco asked Harry why he hadn't wanted to take care of placing the damping spells himself. After his display of power and skill at the Dursley's, he was sure Harry was more than capable of doing it. Harry agreed it was likely, but avowed ignorance of the spell involved. Later, the young couple were discussing, over a breakfast of eggs, kippers, bangers and scones, whether Draco would consent to living in a house that constantly had 'uninvited guests' popping in and out. Draco contended that he'd rather live in a two-room cottage. Harry eventually talked him around, and then they had to discuss what changes to Grimmauld Place might be beneficial, when a nondescript postal owl dropped a Howler on Harry's plate. The raven-haired young man stared in horror at the red envelope.

"Your first Howler, Harry?" Draco asked.

Harry shook his head. "No, but you never want to see one of those things!" he declared.

"Well, best get it over with. It'll only get worse if you wait," Draco said calmly.

The Gryffindor reluctantly picked up the Howler, and opened it.

"HARRY JAMES POTTER!" Molly Weasley's voice rang out. "HOW DARE YOU GET MARRIED AND NOT INVITE YOUR FAMILY?!" It went on in that vein, touching on their tender years as well, for what seemed forever to a badly blushing Harry and Draco, ending with firm orders for him to bring his spouse to visit The Burrow over the holidays. But finally it was over, and the missive went up in flames. There was silence for a while, and then most of the student body present burst out laughing and applauding.

"You're related to the Weasel?" Draco asked, horrified, and doing his best to ignore the noise.

"Unofficial adoption," Harry replied. "Molly's like a mother to me. And until he started acting like such a prat, Ron was like a brother. Same with the rest of them - except Percy."

"I hope I'm not like a brother to you," came a female voice from their right.

Looking up, Harry saw Ginny Weasley standing close by. "H'lo, Sis!" he greeted her saucily. "Would you like to join us? Looks like we may not be pariahs any longer!"

Ginny blushed, but took a seat. "I'm sorry about that," she said. "I really didn't want to avoid you, but I do have to live with my brother, and he's been very vocal about you - and Draco."

"I understand, but that really didn't make it any easier to take," Harry replied, with just a hint of a forgiving smile on his face. The news that Ron had been rabble-rousing against them didn't sit well, though.

"How did she find out?" Draco wanted to know of Mrs. Weasley.

"Ginny?" Harry said, questioningly.

The girl shrugged. "Could have been the letter I wrote, or maybe Ron's," she replied. "I know Ron got quite an earful about his attitude when Mum heard. That's why I'm ignoring him, now." For the first time, she turned and addressed Draco directly. "I know our families have a history, but I haven't had too much trouble from you, so I'm willing to try to get along, if you are."

"We can try," Draco said cautiously. "But your brother..." He left the sentence unfinished, shaking his head doubtfully.

"If we're going to The Burrow over the holidays, you'll need to try, love," Harry reminded his husband.

Draco pulled a sour face, but nodded. "If he apologises, and tries to be pleasant," he conceded. He wasn't in the least looking forward to being in a house full of redheads, but he rather liked Molly Weasley's spirit, despite the fact that the howler had made him want to sink into the floor. Okay, it hadn't been directed to him, but the subject had certainly involved him. But the caring shown by it was rather intriguing.

Curiously enough, the Howler Harry had received broke the barrier of unease that had existed between the couple and most of the rest of the school. They were met with friendly grins and greetings of compassion the rest of the day.

They had their meeting with Professor Dumbledore just before supper. It was just as humiliatingly embarrassing as Harry had surmised it might be, but the headmaster still claimed ignorance afterward. "But I do assure you both that we will keep working on the problem. It could rather restrict your, um, love life, to be restricted to spell-damped rooms," the headmaster had added understandingly, his eyes twinkling madly.

"I'd swear the old goat was twitting us, Harry," Draco had commented afterward.

That evening, Hermione paid them another visit; this time, alone.

"Hello, Hermione!" Harry said in feigned pleased surprise. Actually, he had all too good an idea why she was visiting again so soon, and was rather dreading it. "Come in! Can I get you something?"

Hermione looked surprised. "You have a kitchen?"

"Um... No," Harry replied, embarrassed by his gaffe. "Draco?" Harry yelled to the blond in the other room. "'Mione is here."

The girl allowed the subject to be dropped.

"We were just doing our lessons," Harry explained as Draco came into the common room.

"Ancient Runes," the Slytherin said, expanding on the subject. "Harry's terrible at it."

"I just started this year, pet!" Harry complained, defending himself; then blushed that he'd used the pet name in front of company.

"Harry," Draco growled quietly in his husband's ear, "you calling me that is only for when we're private! I might not like it, but another slip, and one of us will sleep on the sofa - for a week!" He then went back to his original subject in a normal tone of voice. "Weren't you going to ask Granger to help tutor you?" he asked pointedly.

"It's not as though I've had a chance to ask, yet. We've been rather busy!" the green-eyed young man protested, while he sent an apologetic look Draco's way for his slip.

"Yes," Hermione said, smirking, and taking advantage of the opening. "I'd rather think you have been, if last night was any indication."

"And just what is that supposed to mean, Granger?" Draco asked, a dangerous glint in his eye.

"Oh, please! You did tell Ron and me about the burst of magic during your bonding ritual. Did you think I wouldn't figure out that last night's rather sustained..." She stopped and swallowed, her face blazing, evidently moved by the memory, then continued, "Um... 'leakage', was similar, and where it had to have come from?"

"It won't happen again," Harry said before Draco could deny the charge. "Dumbledore put damping spells on the walls."

The blond rolled his eyes at his husband's lack of dissembling skills. But since the cat was now out of the proverbial bag, he put in his two knut's worth. "And the floors, and the ceilings..."

"You won't tell anyone?" Harry asked worriedly. "Only we just this morning got off the pariah list, and it would be nice to stay off for awhile."

Hermione blushed. "I won't tell, but you two gave me a rather difficult time, as well."

Harry's eyes went wide. "Did you and Ron... ?"

"Harry! I thought you knew that Ron and I are just friends?! Although with the energy you two were sending out, that might not have made much difference... But as it happens, no." Her blush deepened. "I was talking to Zabini when it started. Um... I wanted to know if he knew anything about Draco's 'condition'. Fortunately he was a gentleman; we only shared a few - " She paused for a quick in-and-out breath that revealed more than she probably thought it did. "Um... A few - kisses."

"I think I sense another Gryffindor-Slytherin romance in the making, Harry," Draco said, smirking.

"No! It's not anything like that," Hermione denied, blushing. "But we have agreed to go to Hogsmeade together, next free weekend," she admitted. "But while we're talking secrets... "

"We won't tell, 'Mione," Harry reassured her.

"Speak for yourself, Harry," Draco said gleefully, "this is too juicy!"

"I don't think you will - Draco," the girl replied threateningly. "There's your other little secret as well; the one that's going to be around for twelve years before it goes to school, then home during the summers for the next six years? Have you picked out a name, yet?"

Harry stared at Hermione, disconcerted, while Draco looked just a bit vexed.

"Always said you were too smart for your own good, Granger," Draco admitted. "Although I don't see how you figured it out purely from that."

"I didn't," Hermione admitted cheerfully, "although it put me on the track. Harry's reaction was rather strange too, if it were health-related." Draco gave his husband a disgruntled 'look' as Hermione continued her explanation. "I'm afraid I tricked Madam Pomfrey into thinking I knew more than I did. I was bluffing of course, but it worked, and she spilled."

Draco shook his head in reluctant admiration. "Very Slytherin of you, Granger," he said.

"From you, I'll take that as a compliment, Mal- Draco," she said, grinning. "But I'll keep your secrets; and no spilling my little secret, either. Agreed?"

"You rather have us over a barrel, Granger," Draco mourned. "Agreed."

"Wouldn't have anyway, 'Mione," Harry affirmed.

"Good!" Hermione exclaimed excitedly, pulling her legs up under her on the sofa. "Now, tell me all about it!"

Just as they were finishing filling her in on all the details (she wouldn't settle for anything less), another knock was heard at their door. After ascertaining the identity of their caller, Draco let Blaise Zabini enter, and closely watched Hermione for her reactions. It was worth it. Her blush vanished below the neckline of her robes as she turned a wonderful shade of red. She ducked her head and became inordinately interested in her hands, then peeked at Blaise - back to her hands - back to Blaise...

"Oh, for goodness' sake, Granger," Draco said in an exasperated voice, grinning broadly all the while, "kiss him, already!"

Harry wouldn't have thought it possible, but Hermione's blush deepened. However, she wasn't so far gone as to not be able to give Draco a death glare.

Blaise solved the problem by leaning over the back of the sofa, wrapping his arms around her, and, to her pleased surprise, kissing her soundly.

"Get a room!" Draco drawled, humour evident in his voice.

"Draco!" Harry protested.

"What brings you to our humble abode anyway, Blaise?" Draco asked, ignoring Harry's outburst.

"The little lady," Blaise admitted. "I finally got someone in Gryffindor Tower to admit she'd gone to visit Harry, here, so here I am!"

Draco put on a fake pout. "Oh. And here I stand, thinking you might still be concerned with the well-being of my wonderful self!" he said in exaggerated tones.

They all laughed.

"Take a seat, Cassanova," Draco invited, humor evident in his normal tone of voice. "I'm sure we can scrounge some refreshments; or conjure some."

Blaise looked doubtful. "You? Conjuring food and drinks? It might be easier to just drink the poison!"

"What calumny!" Draco protested, over the laughter. "But I might be able to get a house elf to bring us something."

As it happened, Harry had to talk the house elf they finally managed to find into bringing them crisps, sour cream with garlic and minced spring onions as a dip, and pumpkin juice. The house elf absolutely refused to break "Dumbly's" rule against alcoholic beverages; even butterbeer, which was only intoxicating to house elves. But they had an enjoyable evening, and at the end of it Blaise and Hermione left together. Harry and Draco still had lessons to finish though, so were up another couple of hours before they were able to retire, too tired to do anything more than cuddle.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Author's Note~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I've had some questions concerning Draco's pregnancy put to me, so I thought I'd let the rest of you in on my reasoning.

Muggles (us) have XX chromosomes (female) and XY chromosomes (male), as you probably know. The 'Y' chromosome, I recently read, only has 20 genes to it, as opposed to the 'X' chromosome, which has 23. So the chance of two males having a viable offspring would be more slender. Theoretically two females could only have female offspring. Two males, if it were possible, could have either male or female offspring, but, having two 'Y' chromosomes between them, have less chance for viable offspring - YY being non-viable. That isn't even beginning to take into account all the mutational variations the human species is capable of.

To make it more democratic, I propose that wizarding male/female couples have the same chance of having male or female offspring as Muggles. With a regular pregnancy potion, witch couples can have only female children, and wizard couples can have only male children - all with the same chance to be healthy, of course (questions of inbreeding aside). Otherwise, it seems to me, the wizarding world would have relatively few males, and that doesn't seem to be the case. Also, in this AU world, pregnancies with same-sex couples without a pregnancy potion or spell is extremely rare, unless the couple involved are, magically, quite powerful (and again, the child would be the same sex as the couple).

(A note of interest: Male pregnancy experiments are being done in China, but not with male/male source material.)

Thanks to Sak for helping me correct the scientific portion of this note.


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