by Draeconin

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

Chapter Eighteen


"Come in, boys! Come in!" Dumbledore invited jovially. "Sit down! May I offer you some coffee? Tea? Biscuits?"

"Um... No, thank you, Professor," Harry answered for them both. "May I ask why you called us here?" There were so many possibilities - not the least of which was their spree of retribution, which still weighed a bit on Harry's mind. He kept telling himself it was justified, but some part of him doubted that.

"I'd think the question would be why I haven't called you in before now," the old man said.

A feeling of dread settled in Harry's stomach. He reached for his husband's hand, and the blond's damp palm told him that, despite his calm and collected exterior, Draco was nervous as well. Still, he had learned a few tricks from being around the Slytherin, so Harry only showed curiosity to the headmaster.

Harry was happy that Dumbledore couldn't read his mind. The old man might be very experienced with Legilimency, but Harry had practiced long and hard with his Occlumency to be able to block out Voldemort. It was second nature to him, now. He doubted Professor Dumbledore could get through without a link when Voldemort couldn't, with one. He hoped Draco's bastard of a father had taught it to him.

Draco was hoping the professor wouldn't use Legilimency on his husband, and was thanking his gods that his sire had pounded - almost literally - Occlumency into him. By the gods, but that bastard had tortured him until he was good at it!

Albus' next words first intensified, and then relieved their fears.

"Professors McGonagall, Snape, and I have been discussing what we should do about you two. We all agree that you, Harry, will need some intensive training to handle the power your bond with Draco gives you. And you, Draco, need to be tested in controlled circumstances in order to find out what, if anything, this bond has done with your abilities and magical power. To that end, you are to spend Sundays and two hours every weeknight in training. A training room will be expanded off of your apartment, and one or more of us will be there at those times. Saturdays you will have to yourselves."

Harry's mouth was agape with shock. Then what had been said sank in, and he closed his mouth with a snap. He didn't need to look at his husband to know that he was angry as well. "It may have escaped your attention, Headmaster," Harry said, emphasizing the man's title, "but we are not experimental animals, little children, or slaves for you to order about. Yes, we are pupils, but that does not mean we have lost all our rights. If you wish cooperation, I suggest you ask for it - not order it. I expect you to treat us as thinking, feeling, and free adults. I expect us to be informed and included in any planning concerning ourselves, and we will have a say about any training in our free time!"

Draco was shocked, but in an admiring way. He'd been about to verbally blast the presumptuous old fool himself, but Harry was doing it handsomely. He decided to let his husband handle the situation, unless he was needed.

A look of shock could be seen briefly on the old man's face as well, as though a pet bunny had suddenly sprouted fangs and devoured the wolf stalking it. Then a look of determination replaced the shock. "If you can't control your power, Mister Potter, you are a danger to this school. I would hate to have you expelled."

Harry stood, coldly furious, Draco following his lead. "Threats, now? If you'll recall my words, Professor, I did not refuse training. But you wish to expel us? Do. We have the resources to go to any wizarding school on the planet. Should you manage to somehow blackball us from them, we can hire tutors, and take our N.E.W.T.s at the Ministry. If you reconsider, we'll be in our rooms, packing. We will not be indebted to you for anything, including our lodging."

The headmaster sat there, stunned, as they strode out of his office. For years he'd had the boy eating out of the palm of his hand, doing anything asked of him. Was this that Slytherin, Draco's, doing? A tempting solution, but perhaps not. He had noticed Harry changing since the two had bonded, but it was towards being at least somewhat more responsible. Surely a good thing? The boy had seemed to mature, but for him to have lost all control over the dark-haired Gryffindor? Somewhere over the past weeks Harry Potter had, if not entirely grown up, then certainly found a self-confidence, pride and decisiveness he'd never had before.

Outside in the corridors leading to their apartment, Draco had some questions: mainly about his husband's sanity.

"Have you gone totally bonkers, Harry?" Draco asked. "Packing? You had me cheering you, until you said that. Where are we supposed to go? Your still-sorry excuse for a mansion?"

"Our 'still-sorry excuse for a mansion', love," Harry said, correcting his husband. "But no. For now, an inn room in Hogsmeade. If we're allowed to continue going to school here, we'll buy or build a small cottage there. If not, we'll go to the Black mansion until we find another school. It'll probably mean studying every waking hour to catch up, but..." He shrugged, indicating there was little to be done about that.

"Training is a good idea," Harry continued, "but I won't have him dictating our lives to us. If we're expelled, we can give them one month to find another meeting place; but I don't think we will be." Harry smirked. "He's expecting me to save their arses from Voldemort."

Draco grabbed Harry's wrist, braced his feet and leant back, bringing his husband to a jolting halt. When the Gryffindor looked around at the blond with an angrily questioning look on his face, Draco grabbed his head, and firmly kissed him.

It was a very off-balance and confused Harry that emerged from that kiss. "What... ?"

"I love you, you git," Draco said, grinning. "Now, let's go get packed."

. . .

"Harry, what about Vol... 'He Who Must Not Be Named?' And Creevy?" the blond asked, as everything was packing itself.

"They can find their own lodgings," Harry joked.


The green-eyed young man sobered. "I think, between us, we can ward against Voldemort - especially if we do it while linked. Creevy is another matter."

Blaise' revelation that the gossip culprit was indeed Colin Creevy had come as no surprise, although Harry would have much preferred it to be Filch. With the news, 'Colin' had lost his given-name status with the scarred Gryffindor. His private life had been made public - grist for the gossip mill - one too many times; and this time, it had involved someone he cared for deeply as well. But they hadn't had time to so much as plan a suitable retribution for the boy, before Dumbledore's summons.

"Is everything packed?" the Gryffindor asked.

Looking around, Draco finally nodded. "Almost everything," he said.

"Then let's see if we can find Creevy."

Draco smirked. "I swear, Harry; you're beginning to think and act more like a Slytherin every day."

Harry raised an eyebrow at his husband. "Was that supposed to be a compliment?" he teased, then clutched his upper arm, laughing, after his husband backhanded him there.

At this hour of the evening Colin should be in the Gryffindor common room, so that's where they headed. As they walked they were thinking, suggesting various punishments for the gossip to each other, each of which the other found some fault with: for being too vicious, too forgiving, et cetera. "How about 'Pisceum Veridicus'?" Harry asked.

Draco started laughing. "Brilliant!" he opined.

Harry grinned.

Since Harry didn't live in Gryffindor Tower any longer he hadn't asked for the password, and nobody had thought to give it to him. But he was enthusiastically greeted when someone answered his knock. Draco was greeted civilly, but was only reluctantly granted entrance when 'The Boy Who Lived' made it plain they were a package deal. Being accepting of Harry Potter's spouse in the common areas of the school was one thing; allowing a Slytherin - even one married to a Gryffindor - into Gryffindor Tower, was another.

"Is Colin around?" Harry asked the second-year that had admitted them.

Although he'd tried to ask the question casually, saying Creevy's given name had stressed his ability to keep his temper, and the tension had shown in his voice, causing the girl to look askance at him. Still, she figured it was none of her business what upperclassmen got up to. "I think I saw him around; I'll see if I can find him for you, Harry," she said, taking liberties with his name.

Draco had noted Harry's slip as well, and took his lover's hand, giving it a squeeze. When Harry looked at him, the blond gave him a smile, hoping to calm him down enough to regain control. Moving into his husband's arms and ignoring the curious stares of the other people in the room, he whispered, "The Chinese have a saying, love: 'Revenge is a dish best served cold.' Keep calm. He won't know what hit him." Leaning back a bit to look into his husband's amazing green eyes, he smiled again. Upon Harry's return smile he gave him a small kiss, then again moved to his spouse' side.

When Colin showed up a minute later, he was almost bouncing with excitement. Harry Potter had come looking for him! Usually the raven-haired Gryffindor assiduously avoided him. But that was understandable, of course. Harry was brave, but he was very modest, as well. It was up to people like him, Colin Creevy, to make sure the world knew how great Harry truly was. "Hi, Harry!" he enthused with a grin. "What can I do for you?" He thought the contrast of the couple - the pale-skinned, white-blond, silver-eyed young man next to the black-haired, emerald-green eyed, lightly-tanned 'Boy Who Lived' - made a wonderful picture. His ever-present camera was hung around his neck, and he automatically reached for it.

"Touch that camera, Creevy, and know what pain is," Draco said coldly, wand suddenly in hand.

Colin's hands stopped in mid-reach. His eyes widened as he looked at Harry's co-husband, then looked to his hero for succour. When he saw those normally warm green eyes looking at him, as hard as the gem used to describe their colour, he sighed in defeat and dropped his hands to his side. "But you make such a beautiful couple," he complained.

Draco looked slightly pleased for a moment, before he blanked all expression.

Harry ignored the compliment. "Do you remember talking to 'The Daily Prophet' about a month ago, Creevy?" he asked.

Colin frowned; but not only because Harry had addressed him by his surname. "They put it in the gossip column!" he fumed, ignoring the frantic hand-waving some of his friends were doing. "Your marriage should have been on the front page!" Those same friends slumped back in defeat, some briefly covering their faces, others looking on in horror, wondering what was going to happen next.

Colin's innocent enthusiam and honest reactions made Harry decide to give the boy a chance. "You're the president of..." He paused, a look of distaste on his face. "... my fan club, correct?" He retained a pained expression at having to acknowledge its existence.

Colin brightened. "We've got over fifty members just here in Hogwarts!" he exclaimed excitedly.

The raven-haired boy, preparing to lay the next brick of logic to his argument, was arrested in mid-breath. "That implies there are more elsewhere?" Harry said hesitantly, dreading what he might hear next.

Creevy nodded happily. "Six hundred and ninety-seven throughout England, so far," he declared proudly.

The slightest trace of a snicker escaped Draco's control, caused by his husband's obvious discomfort - nay, horror - with this evidence of his fame.

Harry shot the blond a dark look, then turned back to the gossip. "Regardless. Do you believe that gives you some right to my life?"

A confused look came over the short boy's face. "What are you on about, Harry?"

"I would appreciate it if you would stop using my given name. Why do you think it's perfectly all right to tell the world what is going on in my life?" Harry asked irritatedly.

Colin was now very perplexed. "What have I done? You're the symbol of hope for the whole wizarding world. Everyone wants to know what's happening to you."

"And what of my right to privacy?"

"What? But they have the right to know!" a very confused Colin Creevy protested.

"He's not going to understand, Harry," Draco said.

The raven-haired young man nodded reluctantly. "Pisceum Veridicus!" he incanted, sharply.

Everyone was watching Colin, waiting to see what Harry's spell would do to the boy.

"Harry! Your wand!" Draco whispered to him urgently.

Harry froze for a split-second, then casually dropped his hand to his side. When his hand again came into sight, it had his wand in it.

"Wha-" Colin started to say, but suddenly something was exiting his mouth. A smallish fish. A carp, to be precise, but it was far from fresh. The smell of spoiled fish permeated the air.

"Colin sleeps starkers," it said gleefully as it finally slipped free.

"What have you done to me?" Colin asked, a betrayed look on his red face.

"That spell will last for six full hours," Harry informed him. "A fish every minute or so, each one telling something about your life. Let's see how you deal with everyone knowing your private business."

"Why?" Colin gasped.

"If I want something known, I will tell it. My business is my own!" As he spoke, another fish had started to emerge from the mousy-haired boy's mouth. As it slipped free, it spoke.

"Colin likes Parvati Patil!" it said.

With that, Harry turned and swept out of the common room, Draco close behind him, and leaving a lot of very shocked pupils, most holding their noses, behind him.

. . .

"It's a bit of a dump," Draco said, commenting on the room they'd rented in Hogsmeade.

"It was either this or the Shrieking Shack, pet. And it's only for tonight, I'm sure. We should know something by tomorrow, and then we'll know what to do about finding a nicer, more permanent residence."

Draco came up to him, nestling into his husband's chest and nuzzling into the crook of his neck. "I think you may have been just a bit impulsive, love," he murmured.

"You think?" Harry said with a slightly sarcastic lilt to the words.

Draco lifted his head and looked at his spouse. "If you realized that, then why...?" The blond let the question drift off, knowing his husband would know what he meant.

"Stubborn Gryffindor pride, of course," Harry admitted wryly. "I have learned some bad habits in that tower - or maybe it's just Ron that rubbed off on me, after all this time."

Draco's face twisted in distaste at mention of the red-head. 'The Weasel', as he still privately thought of him, had apologised, and very prettily, just a couple of days after their distasteful meal at the Gryffindor table, but the friendship with his Harry was still strained, even though he'd done his best not to interfere. "Then there's no need to stay here, is there?" he asked, wanting their own bed back at Hogwarts.

"Let's have supper out, tonight," the Gryffindor suggested. "If nobody comes to fetch us before morning, we'll go back and I'll kiss the old man's arse, all right?" It galled him to even think of apologising to the manipulative old man, but Hogwarts was far safer for Draco and his unborn child, if only because there were more people around to help protect them.

Draco kissed him. "Those lips better not kiss any other arse than mine, Mister Potter," he said. "No need to grovel, either. I can see I still have a lot to teach you about how to handle people."

"You don't like how I handle you?" Harry teased.

Draco blushed and hid his face against his husband's neck. "I love how you handle me, you git," he admitted shyly.

Harry caressed the blond head on his shoulder, his expression sobering. "Draco, pet... "

The Slytherin was luxuriating in his husband's touch. "Hm?"

"When were you going to tell me you've been throwing up, mornings?"

Draco stilled. "How did you find out?" he asked quietly.

"I'm not deaf, love," Harry replied gently. "Morning sickness?"

Draco nodded against his husband's shoulder. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to spoil things for you."

The Gryffindor took hold of his husband's shoulders and gently pushed him just far enough away that he could comfortably look into his silvery eyes. "It might not be pleasant, my own, but the only thing that could spoil this for me is if you shut me out," he said earnestly.

The Slytherin felt his heart rise into his throat, and his eyes brightened with unshed tears. He reached up and cradled Harry's dark head in his hands, then drew him close and kissed him fervently. "I'm not going to wake you up to watch me hurl, Harry," he whispered when he broke the kiss, "but I won't chase you out if you follow me."

"If we're allowed back, we need to go see Madam Pomfrey; if not, we'll go to St. Mungo's. We still need to make sure the baby is all right, and... Actually, love, why didn't you get an anti-nausea potion from Professor Snape?"

"If you haven't noticed, Harry, he's been treating me almost as coldly as he treats you."

Harry frowned. Actually, he hadn't noticed. Draco wasn't in the classroom with him, so he didn't see them interact except when he and his husband were together; and then he'd put Snape's attitude down to his usual reticence with him. "Then Madam Pomfrey?"

Draco's cheeks tinted. "She would have told you, and I thought you'd start worrying about me," he admitted, toying with Harry's collar.

The Gryffindor tilted his lover's chin up until their eyes met. "And if I did? You're strong, Draco, but you needn't be that strong. I want to help, and if I worry a little, it just means I love you, and I'm concerned about you. All right?"

Draco nodded, a tear slipping down one cheek as he hid his face on Harry's shoulder again, the Gryffindor's robe drying his face. He had thought he'd stopped struggling against their bond and his affections for the green-eyed boy long ago, but this conversation proved him wrong as he felt himself slipping further into his husband's spell - a spell woven only of love and caring. But he still didn't want Harry to see him crying - not even tears of happiness. The day might come when he wouldn't mind, but not yet.

"I'm feeling a bit peckish," Harry said to change the subject to something lighter. "Are you about ready for supper?"

Grateful for the diversion, Draco smiled at his husband and nodded.

"Where do you recommend?" the raven-haired boy asked.

"The 'Café de Paris,' on the Cote D'Azure," Draco suggested facetiously, "but I suppose we should probably order something sent here. We might be spotted by a Death Eater in the inn, or any other place we could go in Hogsmeade."

"Mm..." Harry hummed, in agreement. "But someday we'll all visit those places."

Draco was confused. "All?"

In answer, Harry gently put his hand on the blond's abdomen. "All three of us," he elaborated.

Draco blushed, embarrassed. He was the one pregnant, and he hadn't caught that?

. . .

They were relaxing after a specially ordered, delicious supper of char-broiled sirloin steak, cooked rare, buttered asparagus tips that were still slightly firm, potatoes au gratin, and a mixed leaf and fruit salad with a balsamic vinegar dressing, when there was a knock on the door.

Belatedly throwing up several protective wards, Harry went to the door.

"Death Eaters wouldn't have knocked, love," Draco said, grinning.

"Who's there?" Harry asked loudly, blushing. His husband was right, of course.

"It's me, Harry," said a much-beloved voice.

"Remus?" Harry exclaimed, throwing open the door.


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