Draco Malfoy walked swiftly out of the lift that had carried him down from Level 5, his long dark robes fluttering in his haste. He barely refrained from barrelling past the security stand by the golden gates, giving the watch-wizard on shift a small, tight smile.
"Good evening, Winchcombe," he said as soon as he recalled the name. The watch-wizard's sour expression lightened, just a little.
"Evenin', Minister-Counsellor," Winchcombe replied, face falling back to its frown as he stumbled over Draco's title. "Late night, tonight, sir?"
"Yes, it is." Draco gave him a final nod and then stifled a groan as he spotted the group of reporters standing in the Atrium. Damn it. He could have Floo'ed home from the fireplace in his office, if it hadn't been down for maintenance. He set his jaw, and headed towards the public Floos.
"There he is!" The reporters stampeded over to him and Draco came to a stop as they milled around.
"Minister Malfoy!" one cried, flashbulbs going off in his face, their Quote-Catchers right at his nose. Draco gave them a freezing glare and they all backed off a bit.
"Still just a Minister-Counsellor," Draco said smoothly, tucking his arms into the wide sleeves of his robes and lifting his chin. He raised his eyebrows and one belligerent-looking young wizard gathered his bravery.
"Yes, but there are rumours of the current Minister of Magic being made Wizarding Ambassador... and you, Minister-Counsellor, there are talks of you being in the running for next Minister."
"So I've heard," Draco said casually. "Although the other three 'rumoured candidates' are excellently suited to the position as well."
"Minister-Counsellor," another pushed in, a young witch this time, her eyes practically bulging behind small, square glasses. "There are a few people that feel that a Malfoy would be good for the administration of our world. And there are more that think that your... past is a serious deterrent."
"Do they?" Draco began to push past them towards the Floos. "That is a valid concern... one I hope to allay if and when I begin to campaign for the position."
"Sir! Some also state that your marriage to Harry Potter was merely a move to further your career as a Counsellor, making way for a possible position as Minister."
Draco paused in front of one ready fireplace and took four deep breaths. He didn't even want to know who said that. Turning around to face the group of vultures, he gave them his most dazzling smile. Some of the newer ones blinked back at him.
"Quite an interesting theory!" he said, very softly. He had learned from Lucius that a low voice could be more menacing than shouts. "Very interesting indeed, considering that I was appointed a Counsellor before I was married. It would be advisable to check your time-lines before casting aspersions, yes? Thank you for your time."
With that, he stepped into the Floo, speaking his address in a low voice. After a short spin, he stepped out of the fireplace in Wyvern House where the lamps were already quite low in the sitting room; he tugged at his robes, undoing buttons as he made his way towards the play-room, where he could hear Harry's gentle voice murmuring.
Harry was sitting on the thick blue carpet of the playroom, his back to the door. Toys were scattered all around; some of the cuddly ones were inching close, trying to peer into the large book, out of which Harry was reading with much animation. From his angle, Draco could see a small hand push a fluffy bear out of the way, as it leaned too close and apparently obscured the view.
Suddenly, Harry sat up straight and a tousled little head peeped over his shoulder, a tiny girl with soft blonde hair and twinkling grey eyes that brightened even more as Draco smiled at her. She scrambled out of Harry's lap and ran over to Draco, who picked her up and swung her to perch on his hip.
Her little hands were moving rapidly and Draco frowned, catching at one of them. There were strokes of colour all over the tiny palm and his daughter Lyra grinned, bringing her other hand close so that the two palms were cupped together. A design of a flower was painted in her hands, the bright yellow and red petals opening in the middle, surrounded by whimsical, curling leaves of the most vibrant green.
"She said she wanted to keep the dragon-lilies we picked in her room," Harry stated, getting up and coming close. "But you know her allergies. So I just painted one on her hands."
Draco chuckled and reached out with his free hand, curling it around Harry's neck and feeling the dark curls brush against his palm. He tugged and Harry came forward with a slight smile, tilting his head invitingly. Draco slanted his mouth quite hungrily over Harry's own, sucking on the plump lower lip. Harry's lips parted and Draco slipped his tongue inside; Harry tasted like cinnamon and coffee.
Lyra tugged on Draco's hair and her hands went into quick movements again when he reluctantly released Harry's mouth.
"What's this she's saying?" Draco asked, signing back at Lyra, his fingers tracing gracefully in the air. What boy?
The little boy! Lyra signed excitedly. A good little boy! Soon!
"She's been on that all day, I don't understand what she means either." Harry held out his arms and Lyra went back to him, giggling gleefully as Harry tickled her. Draco trailed after them as Harry exited with their daughter, walking with her up the stairs and talking as he signed.
Lyra had been born deaf, the result of a curse Harry had sustained while tracking a group of Dark Wizards before he had known he was pregnant. St. Mungo's had called Draco when he was in the middle of a meeting with some Romanian delegates about dragon populations; Draco had arrived in a towering rage, ready to berate Harry for not being more careful, trying to cover his worry. When Harry had taken his hand and told him that he had been cured, but that the baby they were going to have would be affected by the curse, Draco found it curious that he could hardly breathe.
Harry was pregnant; with their child. A child whose chances of ever being born normal were severely diminished.
Draco had worried about this for four nights exactly, and then got on with life. He spent many hours dealing with a Harry that was at turns distraught for having been cursed; to a Harry that was sullen and wanting to go back to being an Auror; to a Harry that clung to him at every turn, angry and weepy. All these Harrys were violently ill all through the day, and were wan and far too skinny for someone that was supposed to be pregnant. Draco would rub his back when he knelt weakly in front of the toilet, make him take the potions that strengthened him and stabilized the womb created by their magic to carry the baby, feed him pineapple chunks and tuna when he eagerly requested it.
It was awful, but Harry loved it, so he only made faces when Harry wasn't looking.
As Harry's belly became more swollen, and his moods smoothed out (more or less), Draco seemed to teeter between placid and frazzled. Harry's bad moods were ripples of doom for everyone who worked in the Office for International Magical Relations, and more than one aide went weeping to the Atrium as Draco glowered at his desk. A Harry that was cheerful and sensual, sending Draco off to his day with a hearty kiss, or even a round of careful sex, ensured that the office was treated with a Zen-like Minister-Councillor.
When Lyra was born, Draco held the little bundle of pink and blonde very carefully in his arms, and wondered what the blazes 'normal' meant, anyway.
"No. We won't wash off your lily," he heard Harry tell her now as he took her into the washroom. Draco could see that he was looking right into Lyra's face, so that she could watch his mouth. "We're just brushing your teeth and washing your face. Yes, Lyra, I said we wouldn't, so I'll help you."
Draco went into Lyra's room and began to turn her duvet back, motioning to the cuddly toys that had trooped up the stairs with them. They obediently made their way to the large toy-box in the corner next to Lyra's wardrobe and when most of them were in, Draco shut it carefully. Only the stuffed dragon remained, which Draco picked up and set at the foot of the bed that was bedecked in pink and gold.
He himself perched at the head of the bed and waited.
Soon enough, his two darlings entered; Lyra, dressed in a long, warm nightgown, raced to the bed and scrambled up to the pillows, grinning at her father. Draco summoned a book and lifted his arm, waiting until Lyra snuggled properly against his side so he could hug her even closer. She looked up at him, smiling.
"Le Petit Prince," Draco began, and Harry settled down on the other side of Lyra, stretched out on his side, one arm bent to prop up his head. His eyes were calm as they fixed on Draco, albeit a little tired; Draco made a mental note to ask him when they went to their room.
Draco read the story in French, and Lyra pressed her ear against his ribs. She couldn't hear him without the Enhancement Charm activated, but she could feel the vibrations as he spoke. They had hired a Muggle-born specialist to help her learn to read and write; some days, Harry took her to a little school where she could interact with other deaf children and he and Harry taught her basic spells with her little practice wand. Draco loved her to pieces, and simply could not stop himself from immediately giving her anything she asked for.
"It's not my fault that she's so easy to spoil," he had defended when Harry had pointed this out. "I'm her father, I'm supposed to spoil her rotten. I was spoiled myself, you know."
"Were you?" Harry had exclaimed, green eyes wide with mock amazement. "I could never tell in school, really."
Now, Lyra's hands were all over the page, touching illustrations, tracing the words with her little fingers and making enthusiastic motions at them. Lyra was a very expressive child; she was prone to showering her parents with numerous kisses, and using her whole face and body to communicate. Harry had admitted that sometimes he wasn't quite sure what to make of her, because he hadn't been raised like that. Before they had been married, Harry had told him how he had been raised by his Muggle family. "I'm not sure if I know what real love is," he had confided over one of their many intimate dinners. "I'm... afraid I won't know it when I find it."
"Well," Draco had said genially, sipping his wine. "It would be simply amazing if you fell in love with me."
He had only been half-joking, but the expression on Harry's face, one that was hopeful and slightly taken-aback at the same time, as if he had been caught at something he had been trying to keep to himself, gave Draco the push he really wanted to properly court Harry.
The rest of their world had been intrigued, and a few were outraged enough to send both Harry and Draco Howlers for ever even considering the other.
"People will always think what they like, based on what they assume they know," Narcissa had sniffed. "Granted, I am not pleased that you are going to bond with a Potter, for Morgana's sake, but once you've made up your heart, then it's final. You were always quite stubborn, Draco."
Lucius had been torn between feeling pleased at Draco's 'conquest' of the Chosen One, and a deep-seated disgust. "We were on opposite sides of the War, Draco. Good job on the image-upgrade, but my goodness."
"He testified for us at the Wizengamot," Draco reminded him.
"But still!" Lucius sputtered, the first time Draco had ever seen him completely discomfited. It was a bit of a laugh now, for while Lucius was still freezingly polite to Harry, he would descend into a pile of disgusting mush whenever Draco brought Lyra over for a visit.
"It's not my fault that she's so easy to spoil," he would grumble, and Draco would struggle not to laugh.
"She asleep?" Harry whispered and Draco looked down into her face. Her eyes were closed, her breathing deep and slow; he nodded and moved very gently out of her clutches, brushing her hair out of her face as he settled her properly against the pillows. He smiled down at her sleeping form. As much as she had the Malfoy hair and eyes, her face was all Harry, from the narrow shape of it to the slant of her eyes and the roundness of her nose and chin. That git Weasley had a habit of pointing out: "At least she's not all pointy, Harry," which would lead to a battle of Lip-curling and Glares.
"Let's go to bed." Draco tapped his wand on the stuffed dragon and it sat up properly, puffing out its chest as its tail curled around the rails at the foot of the bed. "Guard," he commanded in a low voice, and the cuddly dragon nodded once, looking quite serious.
"How was your day?" Harry asked as soon as they entered their bedroom. Harry laughed a little at Draco's disgruntled expression, helping him disrobe. "That bad?"
"It could have been worse." He sat on the bed and pulled off his boots, banishing them to the large cupboard, he started to unbutton his shirt. "The whole Minister thing again."
"Hmmm." Harry disappeared into the bathroom, and Draco heard water running. "The thing is, Draco," he spoke loudly over the sound of the water. "You have to ask yourself if this is something you want to do. Not can do, I know you can, but what do you want?"
Draco wrinkled his nose in thought, and then made his way over to the bathroom, watching Harry, who had removed his jeans and t-shirt and put on his old fluffy blue robe; he was peering down at the water filling the wide tub and tipping in some scented soap. Harry bent over to test the temperature and Draco gazed at his legs.
"Draco? The bath's ready," Harry called loudly, then turned to spot Draco. "Oh, there you are. Ready?"
"Why yes, I am," Draco said suggestively, the speed at which he was taking off the rest of his clothes spoiling the sultry effect he was going for. Finally down to silk boxers, he strode across the room and caught Harry's face in his hands, giving him another kiss, this even more hungrier than that which he had greeted him with in the play-room, hooking a finger over the frame of Harry's glasses and pulling them off; he placed them on the sink, still taking those greedy kisses.
Harry made a sound of muffled surprise in the back of his throat, but he responded by throwing his arms around Draco's neck and pressing as much of himself up into Draco's taller frame. Draco pulled open his robe, running fingers over his chest, neck and shoulders, sliding the robe off completely.
Draco didn't know how they managed to climb into the tub without either of them slipping and bashing their heads open. Draco reclined against the curved wall, parting his legs so that Harry could kneel between them, lounging right against him.
"Mmm," Harry hummed in contentment as Draco ran his hands down his back, long strokes from the back of his neck to the curve of his bottom. Harry broke the kiss and arched his body, breathing harshly as Draco murmured a spell and long fingers slid so slowly inside him. "Yes," Harry hissed, burying his face in the crook of Draco's neck, frotting helplessly against him, the slippery silken hardness of his cock sliding deliciously against Draco's.
Harry breathed harshly against damp skin, then bit gently at a tendon of Draco's neck, pulling skin in-between his teeth and sucking hard as Draco pressed another finger, rotating delicately. With Lyra, there wasn't much time for sex, but they took it when they could get it.
Harry pulled away from him suddenly and Draco reached after him with the helplessness of a man grasping after his greatest desire; Harry's smile was sultry and he turned around, sloshing water over the curved porcelain edge of the bath-tub as he placed his folded arms on it.
"Are you going to do something, Minister-Councillor?" Harry's voice was low, and despite the warmth of the water, Draco shivered. Harry looked back over his shoulder and his smile still had that knowing, sensual tinge. "Or do I have to be here with my arse in the air until you figure out what you want?"
"Oh, well," Draco said nonsensically, scrambling up and causing even more water to sluice over onto the floor. "Well, let's get on with this, shall we?" He grasped onto Harry's hips, sliding his hands down so that his thumbs could slip down towards Harry's entrance, pulling apart rounded flesh to press into that puckered skin as Harry drew laboured breaths.
"Let's," Harry agreed with a deep groan, as the blunt head of Draco's cock pressed against him, pushing so slowly inside. He held his breath a little, pushing back and relaxing at the same time, feeling the hot slide of Draco's cock make its own space deep inside, managing to brush against the spot that made Harry flinch out of sheer delight.
"Oh, yes," Harry whispered as Draco rocked, moving his hips further back with each outward stroke and making the return-slide as agonisingly slow as he could. Harry arched back as far as he could and Draco thrust faster, feeling and hearing the slap of wet skin, water streaming all over the place, Harry's hair barely tamed by the water. Harry kept making that breathless noise Draco loved, punctuating every thrust until Draco picked up speed and the noises opened out to desperate pleas.
"Draco!" He heard Harry cry out, watching his hands grip the edge of the tub tightly, his back pulled into a trembling bow as he tightened and convulsed around Draco. Draco gave low grunt of intense pleasure, feeling his body jerk and pump out of his control, releasing into Harry.
"Draco," Harry said again, this time a sigh of content as Draco leaned forward, his cock twitching inside Harry. He placed slow kisses on the back of Harry's neck, laughing lightly as Harry yawned.
"Was I that boring?" he asked in mock-hurt, sliding out slowly. Harry hissed and shook his head.
"Far from it. I've just been feeling a little tired all day, I could barely keep up with Lyra."
"I don't know how you do it," Draco said admiringly and Harry tossed him a wry grin. "She's so hyperactive, I don't know how you manage her from day to day."
He reclined against the back of the tub again, watching as Harry moved to the plug of the tub, draining all the water and re-filling it. Harry's body was long and lean; he didn't have the defined muscles of his stomach anymore, as he did when he had been an Auror with a Quidditch background, but Draco found that his former standards simply did not apply. Harry Potter, the person who had chosen him and who had given him a daughter, was the most perfect person Draco had ever seen... apart from Lyra, of course.
Draco made a wry face as he pinched his own side. He wasn't exactly a teenager anymore, either, yet now, as Harry turned to him with that sweet smile, he felt as if he was part of a Wizarding centrefold.
Harry sat carefully between his legs, back nestled comfortably against his chest. Draco took the flannel from him and began to rub his shoulders, slowly, kissing his neck and absorbing his happy sighs until the water got cold.
Draco woke up slowly, preparing to enjoy his lie-in; whoever invented week-ends was a genius. He could just lie here wrapped around Harry wrapped for hours, feeling Harry's back move against his chest with soft, steady breathing.
Harry had dragged on a large t-shirt before they had gone to bed last night and now Draco tugged at it, trying to pull it up so that he could rub the pads of his thumbs over deliciously responsive nipples.
Their door burst open; there was a smattering of footsteps, like a quick rain and then Lyra was bouncing in the bed, her smile joyous.
"Lyra," Draco signed as sternly as he could. Harry stirred and raised his head, blinking blearily at their daughter. The guard-dragon was standing in the open doorway; Draco thought it looked quite guilty for allowing Lyra to stampede in like this. "What have we told you about knocking?"
Sorry! Lyra signed. "Good morning, Papa," she said out loud, a little slowly, but with great triumph. She scrambled up to Draco and kissed him on the cheek. "Good morning, Daddy," she said, and leaned down to kiss Harry's proffered cheek.
Then, she moved down to press her ear against Harry's stomach. "Good morning, little boy!"
With that, she slid away and off the bed, Draco holding onto one of her arms to let her down so that she wouldn't pitch off willy-nilly; she raced out the room, grabbing her dragon along the way.
Draco stared at their door, then turned and stared at Harry, whose eyes were as wide as his with shock.
After a long silence, Harry sat up and ran a hand through his hair.
"I... I was feeling very tired recently, but I put that down to being with Lyra. I mean... I haven't been ill or anything."
Draco put an arm around his shoulders, hugging him close.
"I don't know, Draco," Harry finally sighed. "First of all, damn you and your potency. Also, damn me and my body's urge for more children."
"Before we jump to conclusions, we should see a Healer. Maybe Lyra is thinking wishfully, hmm?"
"Maybe," Harry said in a low voice and got up to use the washroom. Draco sighed, and summoned his house-robe. It was his morning to make breakfast, after all.
"Hello, Harry!" Hermione Granger-Weasley gave Harry a massive grin as they entered her office at the Ministry the next Monday, right before lunch; she reached out and pinched Lyra, who was in his arms, on her cheek. Lyra tucked her head into the curve of Harry's neck, smiling shyly. "Hello, Malfoy. How may I help you?"
"Harry's pregnant again," Draco said bluntly, and watched Granger's eyes grow as round as saucers. "We found out today."
"Wow," Hermione managed, blinking. "Wow, that's... astounding."
"Tell me about it," Harry said in a flat voice. Draco gave him a sharp look, but Harry was taking one of the seats in front of Granger's desk, making Lyra comfortable in his lap. Draco took the other chair and held his head straight. "But that's not why we're here."
"Well." Hermione sat down and steepled her fingers, brown eyes bright with interest. "What is, then?"
"Lyra," Harry said, looking down at their daughter, who was gazing back up at him. "She knew. Actually, she's the reason we found out so early. She's always done things like this, knowing where lost things are and so on, but we want to know how... strong she can be, for lack of a better word."
"Well, we can do some easy preliminary tests," Hermione said briskly. "One minute." She reached into her desk and pulled out a deck of oversized cards, placing four of them face-down on the surface. She tapped the one on the extreme left. "Ask her what this is."
Lyra, Draco signed, and then pointed at the card Hermione was touching. What card?
Lyra gave him an impressive frown, looking very much like Narcissa in that moment. She squinted at her father and then reached out, trying to pull the card and have a look.
"No, darling," Draco said, grabbing her chin and turning her face towards his. "Try to.. try to look without your eyes."
Immediately, Lyra's little hands moved through four signs.
"What did she say?" Hermione asked, hand poised to flip over the card.
"She said crown, lady, red and heart," Harry translated; Hermione turned the card over to reveal the Queen of Hearts waving her sceptre gaily at them. They tried the rest of the cards and then four more; ten times out of ten, Lyra was correct. She called the Joker the clown man, and laughed in delight as the Joker juggled colourful balls. There were a few more tests, such as the one where Hermione shook a dice in her hands, and had Lyra tell her what number would occur. Another one had to do with combinations of colours, which was a little harder, since Lyra confused her colours at times.
"A Seer," Hermione said with a gleam in her eyes as she waved her wand over Lyra's head; Lyra was going cross-eyed trying to look at it. "A short-range, we call her type. She doesn't see very far into the future and she's might be only good at present situations, but that might depend on her age. She's almost four, right? We could do more tests, if you want."
"That's alright, Hermione." Harry gave her a tiny smile. "We just wanted to be sure. I'll see you at home, Draco. Say bye to Father, Lyra."
Lyra waved enthusiastic farewells, and Harry picked her up and simply stepped out.
"Is everything alright?" Granger's voice was soft as Draco stood by the door, watching Harry walk briskly down the hall. Harry didn't look back and smile, as he would normally when he visited Draco at the Ministry. Only Lyra waved at him again over Harry's shoulder, her little hand moving even as they turned a corner and were out of sight.
"I'll find out later," Draco said, and nodded at her before leaving for his office.
"What problem!" Harry yelled at Draco, throwing the clothes he had been folding at Draco with all his might; Draco ducked. "You keep asking me and I don't know!"
It was a good thing they had established a policy of closing the door when one of their arguments came up. Lyra had just been put to bed, and Draco cast a hurried Silencing Charm. Harry stood near their bed, breathing hard, his face flushed.
"You've been unbearable these last few days," Draco snapped. "I can't say a word without you practically crawling up my arse."
"Oh?" Harry gave a nasty laugh, folding his arms. "When have you actually been here for me to do said crawling? You've been fairly busy at the Ministry, what with all the frenzy over nominations going on."
"Well." Draco took a moment to compose his thoughts. "I actually could be quite good at being a Minister of Magic. There is so much I can implement, certain programmes that are needed. So much I can change. I was actually groomed for this, you know. Malfoys are meant to be leaders."
"I don't doubt that." Harry made an impatient come-here movement with his hands and the clothes he had hurled at Draco floated back to him, folded neatly once more. Draco was used to Harry's displays of wandless magic, especially when he was upset and didn't think about what he was doing; but these absent displays of sheer magical power never failed to thrill him. He had told Harry how impressed he was when they first had an argument; Harry had just shrugged this off and gone back to yelling at him.
"You're hardly home as it is," Harry pointed out, walking over to the chest of drawers they shared, ever since they were first married. It was something they never changed, even though they had enough space for another dresser, if they wanted. "When do we see you? Nights and weekends. And... I'll be here, with another baby. Who's to say that something won't happen to him, like it did to Lyra? Anything could happen." He shoved the clothes viciously into the open drawer and slammed it shut. He placed his hands on the top of the chest of drawers, his fingers stretching out helplessly before curling back into tight fists.
"I love you," Draco finally tried and Harry raised one shoulder and dropped it, wearily.
"I know." Harry turned and gave him a crooked smile. "I'm sorry. I'm just... worried. The Healers said... you know what? Let's go to bed, I'm really tired."
"What did the Healers say?" Draco demanded but Harry simply gave him a kiss on the cheek as he passed him by, heading towards their bed.
"I don't know if this is some sort of twisted version of Gryffindor bravery," Draco said to Harry in the coldest voice he could. "But next time the Healers tell you that you might die, it would be a good idea to inform your husband of this."
Harry blinked at him through the Floo.
"Fuck, Harry," Draco ground out. "They told me that carrying this second child would be detrimental to your health. I believe they used the phrase 'magical-drain', if you don't rest."
"Oh, that," Harry said vaguely and Draco made an annoyed noise in the back of his throat, quite unlike a Malfoy should. He stood and stepped into his newly repaired Floo, emerging at home as Harry backed away from the fireplace. Lyra looked surprised at seeing him at home in the day-time. Harry appeared wan in the bright sunshine pouring through the tall arched windows. Draco felt a lump form in his throat at the shadows underneath Harry's eyes. They weren't noticeable at all when he came home at night.
"Harry. If it's between you or this baby, I choose you," Draco stated and Harry's eyes flashed at him.
"You can choose all you like. I'm having this baby, magical drain or not."
"This is not your choice alone." Draco's growl was more in desperation than anything else. Lyra looked from one of them to the other, her little face confused and sad. Draco tried to give her a reassuring smile, but it emerged more tremulous than anything; he had never felt this close to tears in his life. "Harry, please--"
"No." Harry's jaw was set. "This baby is ours, mine and yours. I just want him to have a chance. We didn't fight in a war just... just to get rid of him like that."
"But you're still not giving me a say," Draco argued. "You're not giving me a chance, and I don't want you to die."
Harry's mutinous expression relaxed almost completely, his eyes going soft. "Draco," he murmured, opening his arms and Draco stumbled over to him helplessly, feeling those strong arms wrap around him, Harry's still slender body pressed against his. Here he was, a Minister-Counsellor, a man with a considerable amount of political clout, holding onto his partner as if he was a drowning man.
Lyra was now hugging the both of them around their legs, pressing her face into the side of Draco's leg.
"It's alright," Harry was saying in his low, comforting voice, the one he used when Lyra fell and scraped her knees. "It will be alright."
"Will it?" Draco said, and Harry said nothing as he stroked Draco's hair.
"Did you hear the interview on the Wireless?" Draco asked, pushing papers haphazardly into the leather briefcase he had gotten from Harry a few years ago as a Yuletide gift. He shrunk the whole thing and placed it in his pocket. "Tell me you listened, I told you about it this morning." One manifestation of Harry's pregnancy was that he had gotten extremely absent-minded, forgetful about things from conversations to lunch.
"I listened. Draco, are you sure?" Harry sounded incredulous. "You're giving up everything. If you drop out now, you might never get the chance of being Minister again, not for a long time."
"Such a pity." Draco grinned at him. Lucius, however, had not been as cheerful upon hearing this. "But I can't be on paternity leave if I'm campaigning to be Minister. So I've dropped out of the running."
"I didn't even know the Ministry had paternity leave!" Harry sounded amused and Draco winked at him as his head floated serenely in the flames of the Floo.
"Well... I'm actually taking a half-leave. I'll be coming into the office less, so I will be home more. No, no more arguments. This is a done deal, Harry. Unfortunately, I have arranged to be around you more, so you will just have to live with it. This.. this is what I want."
Harry made an exaggerated mime of zipping his lips shut. "Done deal," he intoned half-seriously, half-hopefully, and then managed a laugh as Draco blew him a kiss through the Floo.
"Rigel soon," Lyra told Draco eight-and-some months later as she sat at the breakfast table, eating her porridge (or rather, tracing her spoon through it and generally playing around). "Baby soon."
"Yes, soon," Draco said absently as he sipped his coffee at the kitchen sink. Harry had not slept a wink the night before and had paced around their bedroom, hands pressed against his back as his belly rounded out in front. Harry was hot, Harry was cold, Harry wanted more pillows, Harry wanted none at all, Harry's legs hurt, Harry didn't want Draco to rub his legs. Draco had snapped at him, Harry had snapped back and Draco ended up sleeping in the guest room.
"Now!" Lyra insisted, making the sign for the word as well. "Rigel now!"
Rigel; Draco had chosen that name for their son after going through a list of stars and constellations as he had done for Lyra. Harry had liked it a lot, although he insisted on the middle name of James. Narcissa, Hermione and Molly had formed an unlikely alliance, arranging to have someone over when Draco absolutely had to be in the office for a meeting. Even Ron was drafted when he had available time from the shop, although he made extra-sure that he was there when Draco wasn't.
All in all, it was like having Lyra all over again, except Harry was (mostly) mellower, less prone to angry crying fits and morning sickness. He also ate less shocking combinations of foods, although Draco thought that if he never saw another pineapple again, he would be quite happy about it.
Harry had been very aghast at the amount of bed-rest that the Healers had ordered.
"I can't stay in bed all day! Lyra needs to go to her play-group and to the park, I need to get out of the house, and you know I hate being cooped up all the time. I need sunshine! Fresh air! Open spaces!" He had struggled with the sheets that Draco had covered him with tightly, pouting all the while. "Ugh! And.. and the dragon lilies, they need pruning!"
"Stop being so dramatic!" Draco had scolded. "You're acting... well, a lot like me, actually."
"Ugh!" Harry had cried in frustration and Lyra had raced in, giving Draco an accusing stare as she tried to clamber up beside Harry. Lyra had taken it upon herself to be Harry's personal little maid, after Harry had assured her that she would still be their one and only Lyra. After she had made her way up to Harry's pillows, giving Harry's belly a considerate pat, she began to sign anxiously.
"No, no thank you, Lyra, I'm not thirsty, not yet."
"Well, if you want me to read it to you, ok."
"Ooohhh, yes please," Harry had crooned and his eyes brightened as Draco Summoned a plate of pineapple slices, chilled in the refrigerator and deliciously sweet, handing the wide plate to Lyra with much ceremony. Lyra had pored over the round slices, before picking one out that met with her stringent standards. "Oh, what a lucky Daddy I am," Harry had said, smiling as Lyra popped a piece into his mouth. "Such a lucky Daddy," he mumbled through his mouthful of pineapple, smiling at Draco and Lyra.
Now, Lyra was beating her spoon on the table in a most alarming manner.
"Rigel baby soon! RIGEL BABY SOON!"
"Lyra, please!" Draco said in exasperation, and turned to give her a stern look, when a moan floated down the stairs from the rooms. "Harry? Harry!" Draco simply let go his coffee cup, barely hearing it clatter in the sink, and did something he rarely did when inside Wyvern House. He grabbed Lyra from her chair, stepped around and Disappparated them both from the kitchen to his bedroom.
"Daddy!" Lyra twisted in Draco's grip; Harry was kneeling on the floor, hands wrapped around his belly almost protectively, his hair damp and long in his face.
"Ow," Harry moaned, tensing and clutching at his belly even more. "Ohhh, ok, Draco? I need... You need to go get the mid-witches. Now. If not sooner."
"It's alright, Lyra, Daddy is going to be fine," Draco spoke breathlessly as he rushed to Harry, setting Lyra down and crouching so that Harry could sling his arms around his neck. "Ooof, you're heavy!"
"Some fellow put a baby in me," Harry said with weak humour as they stood and staggered to the bed. "These things happen."
Lyra had moved from where Draco had put her, dragging the duvet from off the bed and 'helping' to put Harry in: she grabbed onto one of Harry's slippered feet, hefting it and putting it on the soft surface before pulling off the red slipper and tossing it away. Draco drew his wand and called forth his Patronus.
"Go to St. Mungo's," he commanded the sleek hawk, his voice trembling a little. "Tell Healer Selwich and Mid-witches Paisley and Dusarann that Mister Potter-Malfoy is ready. And when you are finished, please go to Malfoy Manor and inform my parents. Then, go to the Weasley residence and give them the same message." The hawk nodded and soared off through the thick walls of Wyvern House.
"He's in a bit of a hurry," Harry groaned, closing his eyes and wiping his brow with the back of his hand. Lyra was literally hopping from leg to leg, muttering, "Baby, soon, baby," under her breath. Harry gave her a weak smile, then continued to inhale deeply through his nose and exhale forcefully through his mouth.
"Well!" Draco said and sat heavily on a nearby chair. "I feel faint..."
"You fainted the last time," Harry snarled. "Don't you dare."
"All Malfoy men have a history of fainting during the birth of their children," Draco informed him. "I need to uphold tradition."
"You faint, and I will kick you in the crotch."
"Counsellor Malfoy!" A reedy voice came up from the living room before Draco could give a scandalised retort. "If you'll let us in?"
Draco rushed down the stairs to open the Floo properly and staggered back as a veritable wave of people flowed in. Lucius was staring daggers at the Weasley family, who all were giving as good as they got; the poor Healer and mid-witches tried to fight their way through a battlefield of blond and red.
Draco reached into the fray, dragged the two ancient little mid-witches out and hauling them upstairs as the tall, plump Healer huffed in their wake. He had chosen them for their experience of magical pregnancies in wizards, and they had been the same witches who had delivered Lyra, right here in Wyvern House as well; the mid-witches' experience was apparent as they bustled about the room, casting protective and cleaning spells. Long white curtains leapt into existence at both sides of the bed, swinging around to meet at the foot of the bed with a competent swish. Through a small slice between the curtains, Draco saw the Healer pull out a dark, polished wand, passing it over Harry's belly and nodding in satisfaction at the bright blue light that emanated from the tip.
Blue light, that meant the circumstances were normal. Every time they had gone to the Healer, the blue light had been steady, which meant they would have a normal enough delivery. Good, good.
Draco still felt like fainting, though.
"Draco?" His mother and Mrs. Weasley were at the door, peeping in. Lyra ran over to them, doing her particular trick of scaling a person like a tree; this time, Narcissa was her victim and Draco would have found her bemused expression hilarious if he hadn't been focusing on not-fainting, not-fainting, not-fainting.
"Just breathe, Mr. Potter, " Healer Selwich called out. "One more cut, and we'll have him."
They were cutting Harry open, just like they had to do with Lyra. Draco wanted to tear the white curtains from the bright silver rod, and hurl the Healer out the window so that he could stop using that spell, no matter if they had taken all the precautions to keep Harry safe. There was an indignant cry and Draco sat down heavily, thanking Merlin that his mother had the presence of mind to send a chair over to him before he tumbled to the floor.
It seemed as if the whole world was tilting and sliding; obviously, someone had made a massive mistake, because they had placed a small, warm bundle of something in his arms, something that felt momentous and frail at the same time, something with a shock of black hair and a scrunched-up face and very tiny hands and feet.
Baby, Lyra was signing as she peered down into her brother's face. Rigel didn't appear pleased at this classification at all. He pursed his little mouth, wrinkled his face even more and let out a short, angry wail.
"Now, that is the sound of a Malfoy," Draco heard Lucius pronounce behind him, quite boastfully. Draco shifted around a little, so that Lucius could see Rigel's wild little head. "Oh, how disastrous. Potter hair."
"Harry," Draco muttered, getting up with the baby and walking towards the curtains that one of the mid-witches was now pulling aside. "Harry? Are you alright?"
"Mmm." Harry was sitting up in bed, dressed in pyjamas as the Healer took his pulse, that dark wand hovering and ticking steadily, keeping time. Healer Selwich grabbed his wand out of the air after a few moments and did another diagnostic spell over Harry's body. Harry looked diminished and tired, but his eyes were wide as Draco sat carefully beside him on the bed.
"Here's the trouble-maker," Harry grumbled quietly, putting one finger in Rigel's hand. Rigel continued to frown; he was all Harry's face too, and Draco thought it was all simply astounding.
"Good, he isn't pointy either," Draco heard Ron declare in relief. As he watched Lyra kiss her brother delicately on his forehead, moving her mouth and hands in secrets only she could hear, Draco decided that he would let Weasley live for today.
Or ... just leave him to Lucius.
ETA: A drabble for this is here: Forever Young.