Draco had originally been a tad anxious about spending the day alone with James, because as much as he liked the boy, they hadn’t really spent any time alone together.
It seemed, his fears were for naught.
For one, James laughed at nearly everything Draco did, and for another, the boy seemed rather adept at finding things to do. Draco wasn’t sure if that was testament to how often the boy was left alone to entertain himself, or if he was naturally so action-oriented.
After a couple hours of chasing the little troll around outside, uprooting the couch cushions and chairs to make a pseudo-ship to play pirates, and letting the boy play with his hair—and make an utter mess of it in an attempt to interweave the flowers they had picked from outside, but it was the thought that counted—Draco was ready for a break.
“How about we make some cookies?” Draco suggested. “Oh, wait, are you allergic to anything? Are there things you aren’t supposed to eat?”
When James merely grinned at him, Draco threw his hands into the hair and let out a dramatic sigh.
He dropped to all-fours and crawled to the living room, where he made his way towards the floo, James crawling behind him and giggling the whole way.
Scooping his half-braided, half-curled, half-flowered hair from his face, Draco flooed the Weasleys, as they were listed as the first contact should Draco have any questions.
Molly Weasley picked up, and she was visibly startled to see Draco peering back at her.
“I apologize for the abrupt call,” Draco quickly cut in before she could say anything, “but I was wondering whether James had any allergies, or things he can’t eat?”
Mrs Weasley blinked at him for a moment before stuttering, “I—Um—No, I don’t believe so.”
Draco nodded. “Thank you, Mrs Weasley, I was worried-”
“What about Day-co?” James cut in, sticking his unruly head of hair into the hearth beneath Draco’s arms.
“Draco,” the blond corrected.
“Dwayco,” James tried.
“Dray,” Draco tried.
“Do-ray-co,” James enunciated.
Draco grinned down at him. “Perfect, but what do you mean?”
“Are you al-er-jick?”
“I don’t eat animal products,” Draco said simply, “but the cookies are for you, kiddo, not me. I’ve to watch my figure, you know.”
When James looked ready to throw a tantrum, Draco sent the other women a harried look.
“Again, I apologize for the floo out of the blue, but thanks so much for your information. Say bye-bye, James.”
“Buh-bye,” the boy called sulkily before removing himself from the floo to stomp off. It seemed Draco’s theatrics were rubbing off on the little tyke.
“Do you know any other recipes?” Molly asked.
Draco blinked. “Excuse me?”
“Any recipes that don’t need animal products. Substitutes, I mean. Do you know the substitutes.”
Draco stared at her blankly. “The most I’ve made successfully is an omelet, back when I was thirteen, but I figured a cookbook is similar enough to a potions book?”
Molly shook her head, smiling a little. “Well I’ve been cooking since I was ten years old, dear, and I know just the recipe you’re looking for. Open up the floo, I’ll come over and help you.”
Draco gulped, but nodded quickly. “O-of course,” he stuttered, nervous and uncomfortable and wringing his hands, because this was Molly Weasley, and she’d lost one of her sons, and surely she was only coming over to ensure her grandson’s safety.
But she was cordial to him, and when he activated the mixer and was promptly assaulted by a plume of flour, she laughed, and it was a deep bellow, and James couldn’t have been having a better time if he’d tried.
And when it came to the dough, Molly was the one who suggested they cut the cookies into special shapes instead of mere circles, and cut they did. From butterflies, to fish, to stars, and to hearts. Molly cut a few kneazle-heads, and upon James’ command, Draco cut a little crup head for Thuban. With the remaining dough, Draco cut out a little dragon.
Molly looked at it, and with a soft smile, she helped him make it more intricate, with frills, and scale-indents, and a sharp little black eye.
“Oooh! Can I have it?” James asked, making grabby hands at the dragon.
Draco made a face, sneering, “No, it’s for me. How presumptuous of you. But, since you’ve been such a good boy today, I suppose you can have it.”
Into the oven the cookies went, and the mother volunteered to clean (undoubtedly to give the boys more time together). Draco felt ten years old again as they sneakily returned to nick some dough from the spatulas, and when Mrs Weasley shooed them off with an exasperated but fond smile, Draco couldn't have been having a better time if he’d tried.
They read for a bit, and after James’ nearly illiterate attempts, Draco gratefully took over when the boy asked, and finished the tale about the princess saving the dragon from the mean knight with seconds to spare before Molly called and told them the cookies were done.
They were eating and listening to James retell a story about his preschool classmates when Potter flooed home.
If he was shocked to see Molly, he didn’t so much as blink before walking over and kissing both her and James on the cheek.
“Afternoon,” he greeted, then turned to Draco with a smile. “The house hasn’t burned down,” he noted.
“Only because Mrs Weasley taught me not only how to properly use an oven, but how not to dismember myself with a knife.”
Molly laughed and swatted at the blond with a kitchen towel. “Oh shush, you. You would have been fine on your own.”
Draco eyed her dubiously, but didn’t dare argue in fear of another swatting.
Potter sniggered at this. “I see you got into the flowerbed as well.”
Draco frowned, confused, until James, ever the good friend, raised his eyebrows exaggeratedly and gestured towards his own head.
“James wanted to play with my hair,” Draco admitted with a shrug. “Simply to accentuate my dirt-like quality, I’m sure.”
Potter laughed again.
“Daddy!” James cut in, holding up the dragon cookie. “Look what Do-raco made!”
Potter looked at the treat, impressed. “Looks good. Is it for me?” he asked.
James made a face, holding the cookie to his chest. “S’for me! How p-re-sum-chous of you,” he sneered, and Draco couldn’t hold back his guffaw.
They looked at him, startled, but Draco couldn’t help the serious of laughter bubbling up his throat, because this was too much. After near minutes of his sniggering, Draco crumpled to the floor, eyes watering, because he couldn’t stop laughing. “P-p-presumptuous,” he wheezed, clutching at his stomach as he slid to his knees. “I-I-I can’t- ” Presumptuous. James had called Potter presumptuous. Struggling to breathe now, Draco managed to get himself under control, but the trembling remained as his stomach spasmodically convulsed in more, silent titters.
Potter was looking at him with wide eyes and disbelieving smile on his face.
James just had the startled, wide eyes, and Molly just had a smile.
“I’m sorry,” Draco managed eventually, breathless, pulling himself to his feet. “I’m just-” He wiped a tear from his eye, still smiling with mirth. “He’s learning so well, I’m just proud.”
James preened, and Potter smiled wider.
Things had been going well.
“What the fuck is he doing here?” Ginevra seethed. “In my home? With my child ?”
“Ginny,” Granger began, because this had been meant as welcoming party. People were staring. Potter was staring.
“I was told you knew,” Draco said nervously, softly.
“Of course I didn’t fucking know!” she screeched. “I would have never allowed someone like you -”
“Gin,” Potter said, and his voice was firm, and warning, and Draco’s pulse fluttered.
Ginevra turned to sneer at him. “And you ! You didn’t bloody tell me -”
“You know I never check my owls when I’m on the job!”
“I thought she was always on the job,” Draco whispered to Granger, a tad too loudly. But that had been deliberate, because as much as he respected Potter and enjoyed James, Ginevra didn’t scare him.
Judging by the glint in Granger’s eyes when she replied, “Sort of,” she was thankful for his fearlessness.
“Shut up!” the Weaslette yelled. “I’m am not ! Hermione, how could you!”
“Ginny, to be fair...” Granger trailed off.
“We’ve even tried flooing, Gin,” Weasley piped in awkwardly. “You’re always busy.”
“And I trust him,” Potter said, after Ginevra’s gaping. “That should be enough.”
“ You ,” the redhead seethed, hair lashing out as she whipped around to pin her husband with seething eyes. “Why are you doing this to me? Why are you trying to hurt me, Harry? What have I-”
Potter blanched. “I what ? I’m not trying to hurt you, Gin, I just-”
She threw her hands in the air before stalking back towards the floo. “I can’t deal with you right now. I can’t deal with any of this.”
And then she was gone.
Draco sipped awkwardly at his tea, and Granger pat his knee sympathetically.
“Hey,” Potter called tiredly from the floo.
Draco smiled at him softly. “Hey. How are you?”
Potter blinked at him. “Shouldn’t I be asking you that?”
Draco’s smile softened impossibly further. “Ginevra Weasley doesn’t scare me, Potter. You’re the one who just got told off by your wife. How are you holding up? I appreciate you standing up for me, by the way.”
Potter shook his head. “I’m fine. I...” He ran a hand down his face, and he looked exhausted. “Gin’s pissed, but it’s not your fault, and to be perfectly honest, it’s not mine. I did try to contact her, and yes, I acted without her explicit permission, but I wasn’t aware I needed it, and even if I did know she would be displeased, isn’t it my right to do what’s best for my kid? I trust you more than some stranger to watch James, and if she had calmly discussed it with us, she would, too. I apologize for how she handled the situation.”
Draco shrugged. “You don’t need to, really. Her opinion doesn’t matter to me, except in the case of me and James. He’s a good kid. I’d be upset if I couldn’t see him at all.”
Potter smiled wistfully. “Yeah. Yeah, I understand that feeling.”
Draco snorted. “You’re a sappy father, Potter. James will grow to detest that, if you keep it up.”
Potter smiled wider. “But he’s so cute when he’s upset!”
Draco rolled his eyes. “You’re hopeless, Potter. Hopeless.”
“Speaking of hopeless, Gin isn’t. See, Molly found out, and you seem to have charmed her, because she really went off on Ginny about how she treated you. She’s inviting you over to dinner on Sunday.”
Draco blanched. “She—what? And you want me to go ?”
“Of course,” Potter said seriously. “Why wouldn’t I want my wife and my friend to get along?”
“Over dinner ?” Draco whined. “That means at least an hour. At least an hour surrounded by weapon-esque cutlery, Potter.”
This time, it was Potter who rolled his eyes. “Don’t be a baby, you ponce. Everything will be fine.”
Except it wasn’t fine.
Dinner had been going surprisingly well, and Ginevra’s fury was kept to the occasional glare whenever he spoke, or drank, or lifted his fork—okay, the glare was constant, but she wasn’t voicing anything or calling him out, so he would take that as a win—but there was an uneasiness in his stomach. Said discomfiture wasn’t because Potter seemed to be keeping his distance as well (and if Ginny’s vice-like grip on his hand was anything to go by, it was her who didn’t want them near each other), but because of something else, despite what it looked like when Draco excused himself from the table not five minutes after Potter had done the same. Ginevra’s eyes were predatory as he left the dining room, but Draco had something much more imminent to deal with than Potter’s controlling wife.
“Shite,” Draco cursed, clutching at his midsection as his knees buckled and he slid down the wall. He’d been having stomach cramps all day, and though Draco had a growing suspicion what it was, he hadn’t expected it to impede him so much.
Draco had read as much as he could about Veela, using both the manor’s libraries and the Healer’s, but not much was known, considering veela were so secretive, and also because each one had characteristics of a different bird. Veela were diverse, and so were their needs, their diets, and their habitats.
But if he knew one thing, it was that this wouldn’t kill him. Veela laid eggs all the bloody time, dammit, and even if he felt like he was dying, he was relatively sure he was not, actually, in the throes of death.
With an irritated snarl, Draco forced himself up and onto his feet, only to hiss and fall back down. He felt a mixture of stabbing pain and constipation, both of which he had expected, but he didn’t quite know how to get rid of either. He wouldn’t be laying anytime soon, would he? He hadn’t made it through dinner yet, and this was one of the few events it was imperative of him to see through until the end.
And then he felt a sharp pulse, and he knew . This egg was coming now , whether he wanted it to or not.
“Shit, shit, shit,” Draco hissed, painfully hobbling his way out of the hall. He spotted two bathrooms, both in opposite directions, and both an equal distance from where he stood.
His instincts told him to go left—very strongly, in fact—and, assuming said instincts were choosing the safer option, he blindly followed.
When he pushed open the door and stumbled in, however, he felt his mouth drop open in horror.
Potter paused, wiping his hands, and looked over his shoulder at Draco in surprise.
Draco forced all expression from his face, and merely nodded.
Potter, awkwardly, smiled back. “Sorry about tonight. Gin needs my support right now-”
“Yes, yes, of course, it’s fine,” Draco cut him off.
Looking confused but nodding anyway, Potter began making his way towards the door Draco had just entered through.
Draco leaned against the wall, feigning indifference but really just needing the support as his knees threatened to buckle again.
Potter brushed passed him easily, and before he could stop himself, Draco’s inner veela forced him to do something , because Potter was leaving , and did he really want that?
Draco accidentally made a strangled noise.
Potter looked at him oddly, and Draco pretended he hadn’t made it, merely raising an eyebrow at Potter.
Potter, narrowing his eyes a bit, seemed to notice something was off.
“What are you doing, Malfoy?”
“Nothing,” Draco forced out, and the arms he had casually crossed over his chest fell down to cross over his stomach, which had a slight protrusion he felt the need to hide. Even if his new position made his shoulders hunched, he didn’t think Potter would notice his uncharacteristic posture. Imagine his surprise when it made Potter frown further.
“And you came in here to, what, lean against the wall?”
“I needed some time alone,” Draco said, and his voice sounded a bit too high even to himself. He grimaced the tiniest bit, and Potter, eyeing him like a hawk, took notice.
“Malfoy,” Potter warned, and Draco opened his mouth to reply something snide, something cutting that would send the nosy little bastard back where he came, but instead, all that came out was a surprised yelp as he felt another strong pulse, and he fell.
Potter, using the skill that made him the best seeker in Gryffindor, caught his arms before he tumbled, and slowly, slowly lowered Draco to the ground.
Potter looked concerned. “Malfoy?”
Draco’s breathing started coming in harsh pants, and his resolve wavered. Potter was Gryffindor, through and through. They weren’t enemies anymore, either, but friends, even Potter had said. Potter would keep his secret, wouldn’t he? Even with his wife breathing down his neck?
“Shite,” Draco hissed for the umpteenth time. “Okay, Potter, look,” he grunted, running a shaking hand through his glossy hair. “I need your word you won’t tell anyone.”
Potter’s eyebrows shot to his hairline. “What-”
“Not a word ,” Draco hissed.
Potter worried his lip between his teeth for a moment, and Draco watched the action with no little intensity until Potter, with even more of a frown, stopped to speak. “Fine. What’s going on?”
“I’m laying an egg,” Draco blurted.
Potter nearly tumbled backwards, but managed to catch himself at the last second, balancing precariously on his toes as he squatted next to the blond. Draco felt the slightest bit of pride that when he squatted, his heels could touch the ground, but it was quickly replaced by more pain and a stronger, more insistent pulsing than before.
“You’re not joking,” Potter murmured, face pale. “You’re laying an egg?” he asked again, anyway.
“I’m a Veela,” Draco explained quickly. “They’re part bird. I’m not under a curse or anything, if that’s what you're— shit, fuck, that hurts ,” he hissed, and then, “if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“More the fact that you’re laying an egg,” Potter admitted, voice high with anxiety. “Should I- Should I get someone?”
“No!” Draco yelled, grabbing Potter’s shoulder roughly. “No! No one can know, no one can-”
“Yeah, okay, fine, but how are you going to do this?” Potter pressed. “How are you going to get it out?”
Draco stared at him incredulously. “From my cloaca.”
“Your what ?”
“My arse,” Draco amended.
“Your what ?” Potter repeated, voice bordering on hysterical. “You are not having an arse egg right now. No bloody way-”
“It’s not my arse, really, but my cloaca. It’s a birth thing, don’t think about it too much— fuuuuck ,” Draco breathed, forcing himself into a squat as well, but he raised his thighs and spread his legs, giving them both ample space, and Potter began to panic.
“Holy shit, this is really happening, you’re about to lay an egg, holy shit-”
“Potter,” Draco snapped, grabbing Potter by the face and forcing the wide-eyed Gryffindor to look him in the eye. “ I’m the one laying an egg. You should not be be more scared than I am, alright? I’ve never done this before, and it bloody hurts already, but my body was designed for this. I won’t die, so you can kindly untwist your knickers.”
Potter nodded slowly, but Draco wasn’t sure how much of it was him forcing Potter to nod, and how much was Potter actually listening to him.
“But,” Draco conceded, “this is my first time. I can’t promise I won’t scream or bleed or possibly shit, because I can’t really tell if the pressure is partially constipation, or just the egg. But I need you to bear with me, okay? I,” Draco hesitated, but his veela instincts were drowning him, flooding his senses with Potter and the need to nest and security. “I don’t think I can do this alone,” he admitted.
“Why me?” Potter whispered. “I can go grab Hermione, at least.”
“I’d say it was random,” Draco muttered to himself, shutting one eye in a grimace as he felt his cloaca expanding as something began to push. “But I think my veela knew you would help me, because it told me to go here- FUCK ,” Draco yelped, his legs trembling as he began to push. “Okay, okay, um, I’m going to vanish my pants beneath my robes, but, um, you can’t just let the egg fall, okay?”
Potter’s hands were moving frantically, hovering without touching and he stammered helplessly. “Catch it?” he asked faintly.
“I know this is gross and bizarre,” Draco said, “and the egg isn’t living, but I don’t want it to splatter over the floor, alright? Levitate it, if you think you can manage that,” Draco suggested, though by Potter’s nervous shaking, he doubted the other could even consider using magic.
“I—I,” Potter tried again, but Draco ignored him, vanishing his pants before dropping his wand, screwing his eyes shut, and gritting his teeth as he pushed harder. If his hands gripped Potter’s shoulders instead, Potter didn’t mention it.
When Draco began to whimper, Potter stopped his nervous noises and leaned forward, silently reaching beneath Draco’s long robes to hold his hands where he expected the egg would fall. He stayed silent, his breathing steady, and Draco gratefully focused on that as he pushed harder, a strangled scream tearing its way from his throat as the large end of the egg began pushing at the tight ring of muscles around his anus.
“Fuck, almost there, I’m so close,” he whispered to himself, and Potter pressed closer reassuringly, and Draco hid his face in Potter’s shoulder, too scared to nuzzle into his neck like he so dearly wanted to, and screamed one last time as he forced the egg out.
Potter made a noise of surprise before slowly pulling his hands back.
Draco stayed where he was, panting, and when Potter nudged him a little, he pressed his face harder into his shoulder.
Potter allowed him, but after a few more moments, he nudged again.
“Malfoy,” Potter murmured, “look.”
Draco, hesitantly, leaned away from Potter. He stared at Potter’s neck, at his jaw, then met Potter’s eyes. Potter was smiling, eyes glowing. He looked positively delighted, and with that as sufficient encouragement, Draco looked at the egg in Potter’s hand.
There wasn’t any blood, but also;
“That little monster felt a hell of a lot bigger when it was up my arse,” Draco defended himself. The egg wasn’t small , but for all the theatrics, Draco felt a bit like he’d overreacted. Then again, he had no idea how small newborn human babies were.
Potter sniggered a bit. “I’m sure it did. Touch it, it’s warm.”
Draco, oddly enough, flushed at that.
“It was in my body not two minutes ago, of course it’s warm!”
Potter shrugged a bit, eyes fixated on the egg. “I’ve never seen anything lay an egg before, let alone any one . This is a first for me, too.”
“With james... Didn’t you-”
Potter shook his head, his fringe barely obstructing his awed eyes as he admired the blue-green egg, nearly five inches in length. “As I told you before, Gin’s pregnancy was a surprise. She’d been off with her team the whole time, I didn’t even know until I got the floo from St. Mungo’s saying I had a kid.”
Draco stared at him, shocked. She honestly hadn’t told him? At all? But why wouldn’t she-
Unless she wasn’t sure she’d wanted to keep it?
With a little huff, because he was too tired to think of this right now, Draco gingerly sat down, hissing at the cold floor beneath his bare arse—which, thankfully, was still easily hidden by his robes—and holding out his hands.
Potter handed it over gently, as if afraid the slightest wind would shatter the egg, and when the surprisingly heavy weight pressed into his palms, warm and tangible and his , he understood why.
Draco heard an odd sound, and realized it was coming from him, and he was trilling.
Potter stared at him.
“What will you do with it?” Potter asked, sliding to sit next to Draco instead of crouching across from him.
Draco eyed the egg contemplatively. “I might put it under a preserving charm. I don’t particularly care about it, but I feel like, in the future, I might want to have it. Just to see my first one.”
“But it’s dead,” Potter said, not insensitively, but curious.
“It was never alive,” Draco explained. “It wasn’t fertilized. I haven’t been-” he flushed again, wondering why he was acting so shy around Potter. “I haven’t done anything, it just happened because it was breeding season, I suppose. But, I’m not sure how often this will happen, because I’m not completely sure what kind of bird my veela is.”
Potter’s eyes suddenly widened. “Don’t some birds lay eggs every day?”
“Yes,” Draco said, “but I’m fairly certain I won’t lay that often.”
“When do you think you’ll lay another?”
Draco squinted at Potter, not glaring, but easily showing how odd he found that question. “You’re peculiarly interested in my egg-laying habits.”
“It can’t be a habit if it only happened once.”
“I expect it will happen again.”
“Yes, but when?”
“Well,” Potter said, “I figure, if you don’t want anyone to know, I can try and be available. I don’t know if your second, or third time will be any harder, but, I mean, I can be moral support, if nothing else.”
Draco couldn’t help laughing.
“What?” Potter asked, then hesitated. “Is that a weird thing to say? I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
“Yes, Potter,” Draco drawled. “You helped me through an egg-birth, and now I’m uncomfortable. It was your commitment to my comfort, your discretion, your support, and your assistance that fueled my discomfiture.” Draco waved a fist in the air. “This is me being angry about that, by the way.”
Potter snorted, pulling Draco’s hand down. “No, it’s not. I’ve seen you angry.”
“You’ve clearly been blessed to have seen so many of the more attractive sides to my character,” the blond scoffed, but part of him meant it. Potter had seen more sides of him than even some of his friends.
“You’re not all that bad,” Potter said. “What was that thing you were doing earlier?”
“Before or after the egg-laying?”
Potter smiled at that. “ After . You made a noise in your throat, kind of like purring? But, like, more musical.”
“Ah,” Draco said, cheeks pinkening a bit. “That was, um, my trill.”
“Your trill,” Potter echoed.
Draco nodded. “It’s what I would do to beckon, or to soothe. My veela wasn’t expecting, but obviously wanted children, so it trilled.”
“And what would the, erm, chick do back? If it was living, I mean.”
“I’m not sure,” Draco said. “Again, I don’t know everything about veela. I read somewhere that veela often sing to their young ones to help encourage them out of their shells, when they’re ready to hatch.”
“You can sing?” Potter asked.
“You ask a lot of questions, Potter.”
“I’m curious, and I figure, if you can’t find information about veela, and you are one, then neither can Hermione, so I can’t ask her. Also, I’m usually scolded after the fifth question or so for being annoying, but you haven’t snapped at me yet.” Potter grinned at him. “Imagine that.”
“You deserve a little patience, after what you’ve done for me today,” Draco said, but that hadn’t anything to do with it. As much as he liked to insult Potter’s intelligence, Draco knew better than most; if you never asked the questions you wanted to, you would never be told, and would never know. Ignorance was dangerous.
“So,” Potter said, peering at him curiously. “You can sing? Is it a veela thing, or could you always sing?”
“A veela thing,” Draco admitted, “but until the hatchling grows old enough to understand words, most of the music would be birdsong, anyway; melodies without lyrics.”
“Ah,” Potter said, and opened his mouth again before shutting it. Draco watched him, and Potter stared back at him.
Draco raised an eyebrow. “Yes?”
“Don’t get mad at me for asking this?”
Draco narrowed his eyes. “That depends.”
“Sing for me?” Potter asked, eyes large and genuine and open. Endearing. “Would it sound like an actual bird, or just your voice, but, uh, birdlike?”
Draco rolled his eyes, but he was smiling. “If you do continue to be my ‘moral support,’ you’ll probably find out, one day.”
But Draco was just saying that because he was nervous. He didn’t sing around people often because it wasn’t a skill his friends or family found particularly impressive, being talented musicians themselves.
That, and veela mostly only sang for their children, and their beloved.
“Do you think you’re feeling well enough to head back to dinner, or should I tell them you weren’t feeling well and went home?” Potter asked, and it was his sensitivity, his genuine care for Draco, that made the blond’s heart flutter like it did. Potter was dangerous. This was dangerous. Potter was married.
“I really want to head back,” Draco admitted. “If not to prove I can play nice with your wife, then at least to enjoy Mrs Weasley’s cooking, but I really don’t think I would be all that good company, being as sore and easily-irritable as I already am. I’ll send an apology to both women tomorrow.”
Potter nodded and he leaned forward, and for a second, Draco though he was going to kiss him, and he felt an odd camping in his shoulderblades.
But Potter just brushed Draco’s sweaty fringe aside and pressed their foreheads together.
“You’re amazing, you know that?”
Draco’s shoulder blades did the odd twinge again, and this time, it was in coordination with his heart.