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"Oh, fuck, Potter," moaned Draco Malfoy, one hand braced on the wall, the other pulling rapidly on his achingly hard dick.

What do you think we're doing? Harry thought fleetingly, but all that came out was "Nngh," ground out between his teeth as he struggled not to come on the spot. He gripped Draco's hips even tighter, desperate to hold onto something as his thrusts grew uneven, his breath even more ragged.

"Oh, fuck!" Draco groaned again, and then Harry felt the spasms, the tremors of Draco's release as his body clenched around Harry's cock. The pressure, the heat and warmth swallowed him and overcame his senses, and then he was coming too, a rocket of sensation flooding him. His breath caught in his throat and he thrust deep once, twice more before he finally collapsed against Draco's sweaty back.

Draco put up with that for a few seconds, before shoving an elbow backwards into Harry's ribcage. "Get off, before you crush me, you speccy git. How many treacle tarts have you been eating lately, anyway?"

Harry laughed, pulling free of Draco's body and wiping himself off on his t-shirt. Thank god for cleaning charms. "You're only feeling weak because of how hard I made you come," he retorted as he finished putting himself back together.

Draco, too, was wiping himself clean and tucking himself back in. They performed a Scourgify spell on each other for any remaining messes, checking backsides as well as fronts.

"Finish Slughorn's essay yet?" Draco asked as he smoothed his hair down with his hands. Harry never bothered attempting to tidy his hair after their assignations – it looked pretty much the same before, during and after sex, which was to say: messy. Heck, it had looked pretty much the same way long before he'd ever thought of having sex in the first place.

"Nearly. Well … more than halfway done, anyway," he amended. He still had another day to work on it, and it was a lot more progress than he would have accomplished in his younger days. He still wasn't anywhere near as keen on schoolwork as Hermione was, but seeing as he'd made the effort to voluntarily return to Hogwarts for the seventh year he'd skipped, he figured he might as well make his delayed final year worth his while.

"I finished mine over breakfast," Draco said. "Guess that means a few extra hours on the Quidditch pitch for me, while you're stuck inside."

Harry pulled a face at Draco, then stuck out his tongue for good measure.

"Manners, Potter, really," Draco admonished, waggling a finger at him. "People might wonder where that tongue's been."

"Aside from 'up Draco Malfoy's arse'?" Harry retorted.

"Precisely." Draco put one hand on the doorknob. "Ready?"

Harry nodded. He swirled the invisibility cloak around himself as Draco opened the storage cupboard, following his Slytherin fuck-buddy out into the deserted corridor, back to their real lives.

(*)(*)(*)

Real life – that's how Harry thought of the life that Draco Malfoy was not part of, or, at least, not any more than he ever had been. Truthfully, they'd been well-ingrained in each other's lives since their first-ever meeting back in Diagon Alley, each being hyperaware of the other's presence at all times. For the first six years, however, that energy only focused on animosity. Then Draco and his mother had saved Harry's life once each and Harry had saved Draco's, twice, and Draco's wand had allowed Harry to kill Voldemort; suddenly, they had found themselves uncomfortably on the same side. Not only that, but when the Malfoys had been assigned to help rebuild Hogwarts as penance for their role in the war, Draco and Harry had been thrown together by McGonagall, who had no more patience for House enmity. Everyone was assigned a partner from outside their own House, and so Harry and Draco together had helped restore classrooms, windows, even the first-floor dormitory for the school's House Elves.

Slowly, very slowly, they had begun to talk in tones of decreasing hostility, learning about mistaken assumptions they had held all their lives, appreciating some of each other's viewpoints even if they didn't necessarily agree with them, and … if not exactly becoming fast friends, at least no longer hating each other.

Which was all well and good, until Harry had his first wet dream about Draco.

It started off with him kissing dream-Ginny, which seemed innocent enough, except then Ginny started trailing her lips down his body, which was suddenly nude; when Harry threaded his hands in her hair, he discovered with a start that it had become short. And blond. And then the lips were on his cock, swirling and sucking, and it was so. damn. good. that he came in a rush, without warning, Draco's name on his lips.

He woke with a start, then thanked every deity he could think of that he hadn't appeared to actually shout out Draco's name; either that, or Ron, Dean and the traditional 7th-year boys who shared their dormitory were spectacularly good at maintaining deep, even breathing while feigning sleep. Either way, no one spoke to him about Draco or even looked askance at him the next morning, so his secret appeared to be safe. On the other hand, the erotic dreams did not abate, and Harry was forced to put Silencing or Muffliato charms around his four-poster every time he went to sleep, not wanting to count on his initial good fortune. He did, at least, manage to break up with Ginny without too much drama, awkwardly confessing that he appeared to be gay, but saying nothing about the focus of his desire.

It all came to a head, so to speak, after a pick-up game of Quidditch. Although House games were still in effect, Professor McGonagall continued to encourage inter-mingling as much as possible, including re-purposing a large classroom on the main floor to make a Common room. For those students who enjoyed playing Quidditch, whether or not they were on House teams, it was a good place to find a handful of ready and willing players at a moment's notice.

"I still can't believe you fell for that, Potter," Draco said after one such game, smirking as he unbuckled his greaves and tossed them in his locker. They had been the only two boys playing that evening – the others being all girls – and the sound echoed around the otherwise empty changing room.

Harry rolled his eyes. "What, like you've never fallen for a Wronski Feint before?"

The smirk widened. "Nope, can't say I have."

"Well, lucky for you." Harry tugged off the rest of his protective gear and, like Draco, tossed them unceremoniously into his locker. "On the other hand, I believe I've still managed to beat you once or twice."

The smirk turned into a scowl. "Yes, yes, the Boy Who Caught the Snitch Nearly Every Bloody Time. I believe I've heard that story." Draco pulled off his sweaty shirt and tossed it on the floor, then pulled his school bag out of his locker.

"Don't get all hacked off," Harry said as he banged his locker door shut, then pulled out his wand from his pocket to bespell said locker against thieves. "You were the one who started it."

Draco sighed as he dug in his bag. "It's rare I get to gloat anymore, Potter. Don't ruin the moment for me."

"Fine. Shall I bow down and lick your boots in honour of your triumph?"

Draco stood up, a clean but crumpled t-shirt in his hands. The corners of his mouth quirked up as he eyed Harry, a suggestive gleam in his eye. "What else do you plan to lick while you're down there?"

"You wish," Harry retorted – but the damage was done. The moment he heard Draco's innuendo, joking or not, he was unable to get the image out of his head. Having the real Draco – shirtless! – right in front of him wasn't helping either, with a sweaty-damp sheen to his skin and the dark blond line of hair trailing down from his navel to disappear beneath his waistband. Harry turned abruptly as if seeking privacy while he tucked in his shirt, but his hands slipped lower, furtively trying to adjust himself so his instant hard-on would be less noticeable.

"Don't think I don't know what you're doing." Dammit, but Harry could practically hear Draco smirking now.

He cursed, mentally, but didn't turn around. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Don't you?"

"No," Harry replied stubbornly. If anything, Draco's goading was only making things worse. He pressed the heel of his hand to his groin, trying to relieve some of the pressure.

"Don't deny it, Potter." Draco's voice was singsong in his taunting. "You know you–"

"Fucking hell!" Harry whirled around to glare in Draco's direction. "All right! I admit it!" he went on, gesturing to the front of his bulging jeans. "This is what you do to me. I, Harry Fucking Potter, am not only queer, but also seem to have a thing for blond Slytherin bastards. There! Are you happy?"

There was a ringing silence. Harry, breathing hard, clenched his hands into fists and prepared for Draco's next barb.

But it never came. The next thing he knew, Draco was on his knees in front of him, fumbling open Harry's jeans, and releasing his cock. A warm wetness engulfed him and he sucked in a sharp breath. "Jesus, Malfoy, what are you—"

Malfoy released him long enough to say, "Shut it, Potter," before wrapping his lips back around Harry's shaft and sucking, hard.

Harry's knees nearly buckled; he fell back against the lockers and tried to wrap his brain around what was happening. No use – there was no chance in hell he was going to be able to think with Draco sucking him off so thoroughly, and – holy fuck! – whatever the hell he was doing, it exceeded Harry's dreams by a factor of about a thousand.

Malfoy's hands had snaked up to cup around Harry's arse, pulling him even closer. Looking down, watching his cock slide in and out of Malfoy's wet mouth, was suddenly too much. Urgently, he tugged on Malfoy's silver-blond hair. "I'm going to–" was all the warning he could give before his climax was upon him; Malfoy released him just in time. Though his eyes had closed reflexively as he came, Harry felt his cock explode as he thrust his hips forward into space, back arched with the force of his orgasm.

He opened his eyes, his breath stuttering as he tried to calm himself. His come was spattered on the floor in front of Malfoy, who was now sitting back on his haunches, looking up at him with an unreadable expression on his face. He, too, was breathing hard, his lips reddened. Feeling suddenly awkward, Harry tucked himself back into his pants and jeans without bothering to clean himself up, first. He'd pay for that later, he knew, but right now his malfunctioning brain couldn't remember the cleaning spells he'd used so often after those erotic dreams.

Silently, Draco got to his feet; he was still shirtless, Harry noticed absently, and was now wiping his mouth off on one bared forearm.

"Er … okay, then," said Harry, who still had absolutely no idea what to say or do in response to what had just happened. He watched as Draco reached for his abandoned t-shirt and pulled it on.

"Potter?"

"Yeah?" Harry forced himself to look Draco Malfoy in the eye.

"Next time, just ask for a blow job if you want one."

"If I– wait, what?"

The ghost of a returning smirk turned up the corners of Draco's mouth. "You heard me. I wouldn't say no to payback, either, sometime," he said. Then he stuffed his Quidditch shirt back into his bag and sauntered out of the changing room.

(*)(*)(*)

And that had been the beginning of their relationship, what Harry came to think of as fuck-buddies, for lack of a better term – "recently-semi-friends with really frequent benefits" being too unwieldy. He would go about his "real life," spending time on homework or official Quidditch practices, hanging out with Ron and Hermione or relaxing in the Common room when he wanted to visit with Luna. And then there were the times he'd make some excuse and meet up with Draco to study. Or talk. Or fuck and suck each other senseless. Mostly the latter.

Harry could never bring himself to confess these trysts to anyone, even Ron, Maybe especially Ron. Although Draco, Ron, Hermione, et al, were no longer at each other's throats, Harry could see that it was difficult for them to completely let bygones be bygones. So, even though Ron eventually admitted that he and Hermione had been shagging – as Ron had so bluntly put it, his ears bright red – Harry had merely slapped his back in what he hoped was a manly and congratulatory way, mentally scrubbed his brain, and refrained from making any similar confessions.

The only thing his friends knew was what he had told Ginny – that he thought he might be gay. Harry wasn't entirely sure, to be honest. It wasn't like he'd started lusting after Dean or Ron, nor had he felt any interest in Neville, Seamus or any other boy for his first six years at Hogwarts. No, it was just Draco Malfoy, the object of seven years' obsession, who continued to usurp all his attention – just in a new and unbelievably erotic way. Maybe he was mostly straight, and only a little bit bisexual, just enough to make room for Draco Malfoy. But his excuse prevented Ron from throttling him over the break-up, and it meant he and Ginny could still be friendly, even if it was still a little awkward at times. He did genuinely like her as a friend and ally, and she'd been a fun girlfriend while it had lasted; hurting her was the last thing he'd wanted. It just wouldn't have been fair, though, to keep seeing her while simultaneously lusting after Malfoy, so, even before the locker room incident, he had broken it off with her.

But even before splitting up from the girl he hadn't thought he'd ever want to split from again, he'd gone back to the house he hadn't thought he'd ever want to walk into again. Despite his initial intention never to return, Harry had gone back to Privet Drive shortly before returning to the mostly-repaired Hogwarts in order to collect the items he had left behind the previous summer. The Dursleys had returned to their home after Voldemort's death, and had treated Harry much the same as ever when he'd shown up on their doorstep.

"Oh, it's you," grunted Uncle Vernon as he opened the door. "You're not coming back to live here, I hope."

"Of course not," Harry responded coolly. There was no need, now that he was of age and the protective charms on Number Four no longer worked. "I just came for my school things."

Grudgingly, Uncle Vernon let him in, complaining loudly that it was about time Harry cleared out his bedroom so Dudley could reclaim it. Dudley himself had shaken his head apologetically behind his father's back, which had made Harry smile unexpectedly. It wasn't often he'd smiled in this house.

He'd collected his trunk and all his remaining possessions – school robes which no longer fit, spellbooks, ink bottles, and – he'd almost forgotten about it – the DA coin Hermione had charmed. Not that there was any more need for the DA, but Harry kept it all the same, out of sentiment. And once he'd started shacking up with Malfoy, the coin had given him an idea.

"Hermione, did you keep any spare DA coins?"

She looked up from her Runic translation. "A few. Why?"

Harry had his excuse ready. "I thought it would be a good way to notify the Quidditch team of practices."

Hermione's brows furrowed. "I don't think I have that many spares. Maybe I could teach you how to make more? It's complicated, but after last year, you could probably manage it."

This was even better than Harry had anticipated. "Great!" he replied.

It took him multiple tries before he finally got the hang of the tricky charms, but in the end, he'd not only made a set for the Quidditch team, but a separate set of two – one for him, one for Malfoy. With them they could contact each other whenever one of them wanted a tryst without anyone knowing they were communicating at all. It had been entirely too difficult to explain away the school owls, which kept delivering notes that he was refusing to share, much less his own frequent trips to the Owlry to send his own private missives. This was much better.

Fourth floor broom closet, 11a.

Slytherin dormitory, midnight.

Quidditch stands, 9p.

Astronomy Tower, 11p.

 

It didn't take long for Harry to find himself getting hard the moment he felt the coin burn in his pocket, which made things tricky if he was in class or spending time with Ron and Hermione. Still – sex pretty much whenever he or Draco desired it. What more could an eighteen-year-old boy want?

(*)(*)(*)

"Mmmm," Draco murmured, as Harry leaned in to suck his earlobe. This had the bonus effect of pressing their bodies together further. He slid his hands down to Harry's hips and thrust against him.

Harry let go of Draco's ear to draw a ragged breath as a jolt of desire shot through him. His cock twitched uncomfortably under the press of his trousers and robes. "Tease," he muttered, once he caught his breath again. He darted his tongue out to give Draco's ear a final lick, then leaned back in order to unfasten Draco's robes and roughly push them off his shoulders. Draco's shirt went next as Harry reached down for the hem and pushed it up, up, sliding his hands over Draco's chest as he went. Draco gave a hiss of his own as Harry's hands grazed the light brown nipples, and Harry grinned in satisfaction. He tugged the shirt up further, up and over the blond head, to be tossed unceremoniously to the floor next to the puddled robe.

Harry felt his cock give another lurch; a shirtless Draco still had that effect on him. It wasn't like Draco had a washboard stomach or rippling pectorals, but he was still fit enough, and there was something about the lean pale torso, small rose-brown nipples, and the implied nakedness to come that seriously turned him on. Eagerly, he bent to take one of Draco's nipples in his mouth.

"Ow." Hands pushed at Harry's shoulders, urging him to back away.

"Sorry," Harry murmured, reluctantly releasing the tight, taut little bud. He straightened up a little. "Too much teeth?"

"I don't know." Draco had turned his head aside, as if ashamed. "It just hurt."

Harry's brow furrowed. "Does it usually hurt?"

Draco shook his head. "I like it when you do that. You know that."

Harry did know that, which made Draco's present reaction all the more puzzling. "What about the other one?" he asked, dipping down to swirl his tongue around the other nipple for some gentle attention. He made absolutely sure this time to curl his lips protectively over his teeth, but Draco only lasted about two seconds before pushing him away again.

"Sorry," he said, through gritted teeth. "I just can't take it today."

"All right," Harry said, trying not to feel hurt at the rejection. "Well, do you still want to do … other stuff?"

"There's nothing wrong with my dick, Potter," Draco said a hint of his old sneer in his voice. To prove his point, he swiftly unbuttoned his trousers and pulled down the zip. He thrust his hips up a little in invitation and Harry, recovering from the earlier disappointment, wasted no time in drawing Draco's cock out from his pants and leaning down to take it into his eager mouth.

(*)(*)(*)

The incident with Draco's inexplicably sensitive chest was forgotten – by Harry, at least – for a few days, until their next tryst. As he nibbled and sucked his way down Draco's neck to his collarbone, Draco, after several satisfying gasps, managed to choke out, "Just watch the nipples."

"What?" Harry momentarily pulled back in confusion. "Oh, right," he said, as memory caught up with his lust-hazed brain. Then he frowned. "That's still bothering you?"

Draco shrugged, looking uncomfortable. "Yeah, kind of."

Harry flicked his eyes down to Draco's chest. "Does 'kind of' mean it's getting better?"

"Well … no, not really," Draco confessed.

"Maybe you should have that looked at."

"Oh, sure. I'll just march right up to Madam Pomfrey and say, "Could you have a look at my man tits? They suddenly started hurting when Harry Potter tried to—" Draco paused momentarily as a yawn overtook him, "—suck them," he finished.

Harry gave a small snort as he trailed one hand down Draco's chest, carefully avoiding the nipples. They looked normal enough – maybe a little darker, but it was hard to tell in this light. "Yeah, all right, that does sound pretty odd. But it didn't always hurt, right? So something's different now."

"I suppose."

"Does anything else weird hurt?"

Draco thought a moment. "My lower back has been a little achy the past few days, I guess." He suddenly yawned again.

"Sorry." Harry ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. "You wanted sex and here I am boring the crap out of you by talking about all your aches and pains."

"Not tha-at," Draco said, stifling yet another yawn. "Just been tired, that's all."

"You hurt in several places and you're so tired you keep yawning, but you still want sex." Harry gave another snort. "Well, I'm glad you've got your priorities straight."

Draco drew him down, sliding a hand between them to cup Harry's crotch. "I want to forget that I'm tired and uncomfortable. Think you can help with that?"

Harry felt himself instantly harden and twitch at his touch. "Yeah, I think I can."

(*)(*)(*)

By the time another two weeks had passed, however, and Draco's complaints had not eased up in the slightest, Harry got more adamant.

"I don't care if it's the weirdest set of symptoms ever," he said as he and Draco sat on old desks in their favourite disused classroom on the fourth floor. "You're going to see Madam Pomfrey."

Draco crossed his arms. "And tell her what, exactly?"

"Just … I don't know. Tell her you've been more tired than usual and that you have odd aches and pains. You don't have to tell her where, exactly. Just … let her examine you and figure it out, herself. That's her job, after all."

There was a pause, wherein Harry thought Draco might be digging deep to find new levels of unexplored stubbornness. Then, unexpectedly, he sagged in defeat. "Fine," he muttered. "I'll go."

"Want me to come with you?"

Draco wrinkled his nose. "I think that would look even stranger, don't you? It's not like anyone knows we're more than … well …" he gestured between them helplessly. "More than … whatever we are normally."

Harry put up his hands in placation. "All right, it was just an offer. But let me know what she say, ok?"

"Fine," Draco repeated, sighing. "I will."

(*)(*)(*)

The following evening found Harry lifting up the tapestry of galloping centaurs to reveal the hidden passage behind it. He slipped inside, eagerly looking for Draco as one hand caressed the still-warm Galleon in his pocket. "I'm here," he said, softly, as his eyes adjusted to the dimmer light. Then he stopped in surprise. Draco was sitting on the floor of the passage, misery in every line as he leaned against the wall.

He hurried forward. "What's wrong?" he asked, kneeling down to be on Draco's level.

"I went to see Madam Pomfrey," Draco said, staring blankly ahead.

Harry felt his insides grow cold. Whatever the matron had said, it couldn't be good. A fatal disease? Something contagious? "And?" he prompted, unsure he really wanted to hear the answer.

Draco's grey eyes flicked over to his. "I'm pregnant."

Harry stared. Whatever he'd expected Draco to say, that wasn't it. "No, really. What did she say?"

"She said," Draco answered wearily, "that I'm pregnant."

"Okay, but you know that's impossible, right?" The whole conversation seemed impossible. Harry felt like he was missing something in translation.

"Not for wizards, it's not." Draco turned his head to look at him more steadily. "It's rare, but it does happen."

Harry's insides grew even colder, something he wouldn't have thought possible. "So, that means I'm the—" He couldn't finish.

Draco just nodded. "That's what it means."

He jumped to his feet. "How did you not mention this as a possibility?" he asked wildly. "We could have taken precautions, used condoms or … or … whatever it is wizards use to prevent this sort of thing!" He remembered Mrs. Weasley giving him The Talk awhile back, but in his current panic, he was completely blanking out on the details.

"I didn't think it would happen!" Draco's hands flew to his hair, clenching in frustration. "I told you – it's rare! And you and I were just having fun, it's not like we'd been doing it long."

"But we'd been doing it bloody often!" Harry realized that he was shouting and struggled to calm his voice so they wouldn't get caught. "How could you not think it?" he hissed furiously.

"I don't know." Draco leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes. "I guess I should just get rid of it." His voice cracked a little.

That brought Harry up short. He knew full well what it was like to be unwanted, but even he had been given the chance to grow up and live. "No," he whispered. He slid down the wall and sat next to Draco. "Don't," he added, sliding his hand into Draco's and squeezing. "We'll … we'll figure something out."

"Like what?"

"I don't know," Harry admitted. "How far along are you, anyway?"

"She said about seven weeks, based on when my symptoms started, although she said she would be able to give a better idea once I started getting bigger."

Harry thought a moment. "That means the baby won't get here until summer, right?"

"Something like that."

"So, we'll have left Hogwarts by then, and can find a flat or someplace to live together."

"Live together?" There was a sudden edge to Draco's voice.

"Well … yeah," Harry said, feeling confused. "I should be there to help you raise the baby, right?"

Draco sat up and pulled his hand out of Harry's grasp. "It doesn't mean we have to go all domestic like we're an old married couple!"

"Well, sorry for trying to be helpful. I thought you'd want me to be involved!"

"I do, but that doesn't mean we suddenly have to live together! It's not like you'd live with me if I wasn't pregnant."

"I don't know what I would otherwise do!" It was Harry's turn to pull on his hair. "I've just found out I'm going to be a father before I'm nineteen, and I'm trying to do the right thing." He remembered another shouting match over parental duty with another expectant father – was it only a year and a half ago? So much had changed since then – and now here he was, facing his own fatherly responsibilities.

"How do you think I feel?" Draco retorted. "I'm the one who's going to get big and fat and have everyone staring at me. And I have to be the one to give birth. At least you can pretend not to be involved at all."

Harry blinked. "Is that what you think of me?" he demanded. If Draco hadn't been pregnant, Harry would have been tempted to hit him. "I'm not going abandon you like that. This is my baby, too, and I'll take full responsibility."

Draco stared at him a moment, then all the fury seemed to drain out of him. He sagged back against the wall. "Gryffindors always have to be noble."

"You say that like it's a bad thing," Harry groused, trying to let go of his anger. They were both in this together, after all. Then he sighed and picked up Draco's hand again, where it was lying limply on his lap. "I care what happens to you, and to the baby. We … don't have to live together if you don't want. " He swallowed. "But I want to be involved. I never got to know my parents – I want my baby to have better."

"All right," Draco answered. He sounded tired again. "And … I'm sorry for getting hacked off. It's been a pretty rough day and I find I'm not ready to have my life all planned out quite yet."

"Fair enough." Harry leaned his head on Draco's shoulder. Then he changed his mind and torqued his neck to look up at him. "Could I, you know, feel him?"

"Who, the baby?"

Harry nodded against Draco's shoulder.

"There's nothing really to feel yet, and we don't know if it's a 'him' either, you know," Draco said, attempting to smile a little; he took Harry's free hand and guided it to his stomach, pushing his shirt and jumper out of the way.

To Harry's hand, Draco's abdomen felt essentially the same as it always had, still reasonably fit and flat. But knowing what he did now, Harry imagined that he could somehow sense the life that was growing beneath his curious fingers. It boggled the mind, truly. A baby. Our baby.

They sat together like that, on the dusty, empty corridor floor, for quite some time.

(*)(*)(*)

Despite Harry's determination to publicly stand by Draco, he struggled for days as to how to go about telling Ron and Hermione. He knew they would kill him if he didn't tell them and they found out later, as the rest of the school was bound to do. Finally, unable to think of any easy or clever means of breaking the news, he settled for just blurting it out.

"So, what's the big announcement?" Ron asked as he finished casting the Muffliato spell and he and Hermione settled on Harry's bed. All Harry had told them was that he had something important to talk about, and that it was private. Now they were staring at him avidly, eager to hear what he had to say, and he suddenly wondered if they would still want to be his friends once he told them.

"I, erm, am going to be a father," he said, without preamble, feeling as if he'd just jumped off a high platform into a lake. No going back now.

"Whoa!" said Ron, clearly taken aback. "I didn't even know you were shagging someone. And, wait – aren't you supposed to be gay? That's what you told Ginny." His eyes narrowed. "You are gay, right?"

"Really, Ron," Hermione said, rolling her eyes a little. "But he's right, you know. We had no idea you were seeing anybody, much less a girl. Why didn't you tell us?"

"Because … because we just wanted to keep it private, I guess," Harry said, not wanting to address the male pregnancy issue just yet. "It's not a … typical relationship."

"Why, are you hooking up with McGonagall?" Ron laughed.

"Ew! And no!" Harry was horrified to even think about that. "It's more like … we're not really dating, just sort of … friends. Only … more," he said, lamely.

"Ah, friends with benefits," Ron nodded sagely. "All the perks and none of the responsibilities."

"Well, except now Harry's got responsibilities, if the girl got pregnant," Hermione interjected, frowning at her boyfriend. Then she turned her attention back to Harry. "Didn't Ron's mum ever teach you about taking precautions? She cornered me and Ginny plenty of times two summers back."

"She did," Harry admitted, mentally squirming at the embarrassing memory. "But we, uh, didn't think it would be necessary."

Hermione's frown deepened. "Why on earth not? That's not like you, Harry – I would have expected you'd think of the girl, at least, if not yourself."

Harry signed, running a hand through his hair. Here it comes. "Because it's not a girl," he said, all in a rush.

"What, is it a House Elf or something?" Ron made a face.

"Why do you keep assuming I've got some secret bizarre kink?" Harry cried. "It's not anything like that! It's a boy – a regular, human student who happens to be a boy."

"But, then how is it possible you're going to be a father?" Hermione asked in puzzlement, but Ron cut her off.

"I know how. Wizards don't talk about it much because it's really weird and sort of gross – no offence, Harry – but, yeah, it's possible."

"What's possible?"

"Blokes can get pregnant. Wizard blokes can, anyway." He looked at Harry. "That's what happened, right?"

Harry nodded.

"That's completely absurd," Hermione said. "How have I never read about this before?"

Ron turned to her. "How many books have you read about wizarding pregnancies?"

"Er, none."

"Exactly."

Hermione stared at them both. "This is a thing, really?"

"Really."

"Well, I can see I'm going to have to do some serious reading in the next few days," she harrumphed.

Ron looked at Harry again. "Are you the pregnant one or is it the other bloke?"

"Er, he is."

Hermione took his hand. "And your 'friend' is…?"

Harry looked them both in the eye, then took a deep breath. "Malfoy."

"Excuse me?" Ron shook his head as if trying to dislodge something from it. "What did you say?"

"Malfoy," Harry repeated, taking another deep breath. "Draco Malfoy and I are going to have a baby this summer." It was starting to feel more real, but still felt strange to say aloud.

"Bloody hell, Harry. Are you serious?"

Harry closed his eyes. He knew it would be a lot for his friends to take in, but it didn't make it easier to see the disbelief and dislike on their faces. "Don't," he told Ron wearily. "This is hard enough as it is."

Hermione leaned in and gave him a quick hug. "I'm sorry, Harry. I should have guessed it was Malfoy. I know you two go flying together sometimes, and you've definitely been able to be friendlier with him than we are, but I didn't realise you'd become so close."

He shrugged. Hermione's solicitousness helped, but it was still incredibly awkward to talk about his sex life with her. "It just … happened," he mumbled.

"Just the once?" Ron looked hopeful.

Harry shook his head. "We've been– I mean, it's been going on about three months now."

"Damn." Ron looked momentarily like he forgot to be appalled. "You got there ahead of me. Why didn't you tell me? We're supposed to be mates, remember?"

"Really, Ron!" Hermione's cheeks turned pink.

"I don't know," Harry said, ignoring her embarrassed outburst. "I guess I knew that you two still didn't like him much, and, anyway, I thought you might be hacked off about my breaking up with Ginny again."

Ron shrugged. "I was, a little, but not anymore. You said you were into blokes so it didn't seem so personal, you know? Besides, it's not like you were flaunting someone else in front of her."

"Even more reason for me to have kept Malfoy a secret. Besides," Harry added, "if it makes you feel any better, I don't think he's ever said anything to anyone, either. It was sort of nice, having a private life, for once. We've both been scrutinized by other people far too much."

"That makes sense," said Hermione. "But I hope you both realise that your relationship won't be private for long."

"I know," Harry replied heavily. "I know."

(*)(*)(*)

Draco had already endured the disapproving looks of Madam Pomfrey when she'd given him her diagnosis; when Harry tagged along to Draco's next appointment, he got not only her glare, but a lecture as well, including a repeat lesson on magical contraceptives and other protections.

Professor McGonagall's lecture was worse. Harry could only assume Madam Pomfrey had told her what irresponsible shenanigans had been occurring under the Headmistress's roof, because she had them up in her office faster than either of them could say, "Quidditch." It wasn't just all the stern "What were you thinking?"s and "Much too young"s and "I expected more from both of you"s that she flung at them. What really tore Harry up was just knowing he'd disappointed her. Over the years he had really come to respect Professor McGonagall, and her reaction over his apparent death the previous year had shown him the heretofore hidden depth of her affection for him. It was like disappointing his grandmother, Harry imagined, if he'd still had one.

Despite being the Head of Draco's house, Professor Slughorn didn't lecture either of them; he merely tutted the next time he saw them in class, much to their classmates' mystification. And Harry noticed that he was no longer invited to any Slug Club events, although this bothered him much less.

Harry and Draco had argued over whether to make their relationship, such as it was, public immediately, after Draco's pregnancy made itself known, or not at all. Harry wanted to be sure Draco knew he didn't have to face down the world alone. Draco was not about to get all lovey-dovey in front of his classmates, especially as it wasn't what his relationship with Harry had really been about. "We were shagging, that's all. It's not like we're in love or anything," he insisted. Harry had to admit Draco was right – and yet, it hurt, somehow, to hear it stated like that. He'd been perfectly happy with the "benefits" side of things, telling himself he'd never wanted anything more complicated. He still had his space, and Draco had his. Just because a baby was involved now was no reason to suddenly feel like he was missing out on something.

He gave in to Draco's wishes, and kept to their usual routine of casual public interactions, and secret trysts. (Harry initially resisted at their first encounter, once he knew Draco was pregnant; he worried he might hurt the baby. Draco put a stop to that fear immediately by giving Harry an expert hand job until he was begging to fuck Draco just to get to his release. Smirking, Draco obliged him.) Whether Draco told any close friends about Harry and the baby, as Harry had told Ron and Hermione, Harry had no idea. He wasn't even sure Draco still had any close friends. Goyle, Pansy, and many other seventh-year Slytherins had left Hogwarts after Voldemort's demise, and Crabbe, of course, was dead. Draco was often seen chatting amiably enough with the true seventh-year Slytherins, with whom he shared all his classes, but there wasn't any one or two who seemed to receive a prime share of his attentions. Nobody but Harry, really, and he wasn't sure he counted as a "close friend" despite their recent activities.

(*)(*)(*)

They leaned back against the side of the Prefect's bathtub, relaxing in the warm scented water after their latest encounter; Draco had taken Harry from behind, bent over the side of the tub, the sounds of wet slapping skin filling the cavernous bathroom as they fucked. "What are you thinking of for names?" Harry asked, one wet hand lazily tracing over the small swell of Draco's belly.

"Well," Draco said, "I was thinking of Marsh for a girl and Mallow if it's a boy."

Harry raised one eyebrow. "You are joking, right?"

"What, you don't think 'Mallow Malfoy' sounds bold and manly?"

"I think it sounds like you have marshmallows for brains."

"Let me guess," Draco replied, stretching lazily as he spoke. "You're thinking of something boring, like naming the baby after one of your parents."

"Er, no, not at all!" Harry said hastily. "Didn't even think of it."

"Fine, tell me your suggestions, O Brilliant and Unsentimental One."

Harry thought quickly. "Well, how about … David for a boy, and Elizabeth for a girl? Those both go nicely with 'Potter' or 'Malfoy," he added.

Draco rolled his eyes. "Excuse me while I fall asleep over here."

"You fall asleep all the time anyway!"

"Only because I'm preggers, remember? Your boring name choices only hastened the process."

"Fine," Harry sighed. "We'll go with something else. Good thing we still have several months to figure this out."

"You figure it out. I'm sold on 'Mallow,' personally."

(*)(*)(*)

The loose Hogwarts robes would likely have hidden Draco's changing shape for awhile, but, unfortunately for him, students generally wore more casual, Muggle-style clothing on weekends. It wasn't long before Harry heard snickers and murmurs that Draco Malfoy was letting himself go, getting fat, probably out of shame and depression that his family had sunk so low. He knew that Draco was saying nothing to defend himself or correct their impressions.

"Why are you letting them kick you around like this? Just tell them the truth," Harry said as they walked back from the Quidditch locker rooms one evening.

"Because that will stop their nastiness, I'm sure," Draco said, sarcasm dripping from every word.

"Well, it might," Harry insisted.

Draco paused to turn and look at him, arms crossed. "So why didn't you speak up about the 'Potter stinks' badges, and assure everyone you were just as much of a champion as Diggory?"

"Because that wouldn't have…. " Harry threw up his arms in exasperation. "Okay, fine, I see your point. And, by the way, you were the one who was handing out those blasted badges."

Draco started walking again. "One of my more brilliant ideas, honestly," he said, as Harry trotted to catch up.

"And now you see how brilliant it is to be on the wrong end of that sort of thing," Harry said, glaring.

Draco glared back. "Are you going to tell me that jealous teasing is on the same level as being a pregnant teenage Death Eater's son who is still at school and was taken up the arse by 'The Chosen One'?"

"You say that last bit like it's a bad thing," Harry teased, but at Draco's renewed glare, he sobered. "Sorry. And you know I really hate being called that."

"Yeah, you told me last summer. I was just making a point."

"Well, if it makes you feel any better, I'm pretty sure people never thought of 'The Chosen One' being a teenage father." They'd reached the castle, but Harry wasn't ready to go in yet. With a sigh, he sat down at the foot of the entrance steps, patting the space next to him so Draco would join him.

"Yet another reason not to drag you publicly into this," Draco said, slumping down on the offered spot.

"And I've told you I don't care," Harry said, firmly. "Honestly, I think people could stand to find someone else to fawn over. It got old by my second day here at Hogwarts, and only got worse from there." Then, blinking, he turned to the boy next to him. "Wait – did you say you were jealous of me?"

"We all have our faults." Draco suddenly seemed very interested in the dirt under his fingernails.

"Well, trust me – whatever fun you thought I was having, I probably wasn't. Something about Voldemort wanting you dead can really put a damper on one's life."

Draco flinched a little at the sound of Voldemort's name. "Yes, I know," he said. "Discovered that out for myself the last couple of years. That's when I decided that, regardless of my feelings on purebloods, it was better not to be on his side. At least you lot don't threaten bodily harm as a means of trying to retain followers." He rubbed his stomach absently, frowning a little.

"Are you all right?" Harry asked, suddenly worried.

"Yeah," Draco said, his expression shifting to a look of wonder. He sat up a little straighter, moving his hand to another spot and prodding it gently. "It's just that … I think I just felt the baby move."

"Really?" Worries and personal histories were instantly forgotten. "Can I try?"

"Here." Draco took Harry's hand and placed it on the curve of his belly, below and a little to the left of his navel. "Feel it?"

"No," Harry said, frowning as he leaned in. "I can't – wait!" He held very still, hardly daring to breathe. "Yeah," he whispered, as something under his hand suddenly fluttered and beat against him. "That's … that's the baby?"

"I think so." Draco still had his hand over Harry's, warmth melting into his chilly fingers. Harry was bent close to Draco, breathing in his now-familiar scent, and feeling an urge quite different from the one he normally experienced when in close proximity to his former enemy. He wanted … to kiss Draco.

They didn't often kiss, actually. It always seemed too tender somehow, too personal. They would suck on earlobes or the warm pulse point at the throat, and certainly put their mouths to good use on parts much lower down, but it was rare they wasted much time on kissing, and when they did, it was always rough and demanding. But now Harry wanted to just kiss Draco gently, languidly, wrap an arm around him and just … be. Right here on the steps. But he didn't think Draco would appreciate the gesture, so, with a twinge of regret, he pulled his hand free and sat back up.

"I guess he'll be here before we know it," he said.

Draco's grey eyes studied Harry's a moment, his face unreadable. "True, that," he finally said. "But I'd like to focus on passing my NEWTs, first. AND beating you at our next match."

(*)(*)(*)

By mid-March the baby had grown large enough that it could be seen even through the voluminous robes, especially as Draco walked, the fabric being pulled against his belly by momentum. He had to magically expand his jeans and trousers to fit, but the round bump was clearly apparent no matter how snug or loose his jumpers were. He no longer looked slightly plump. He looked pregnant.

The whispers and snickers that had begun to quiet down fired back up again, but now Harry was hearing much crueler things. "Unnatural, that" seemed to be the kindest remark; "Let the Dark Lord have a go at him" – despite the fact that the timing was all wrong – and "Always knew he was a slut" were just a few among the much nastier gossip and comments Harry heard. Harry had argued repeatedly with Draco about setting the record straight, to no avail; Draco refused to out them.

But Harry had had enough. After dinner one evening in early April, he passed by the Slytherin table on his way out of the Great Hall just in time to hear fourth-year Malcolm Baddock sneering, "Look at him, trying to pretend he isn't hot for everyone. I bet that's how he got up the duff. Or maybe he just swallowed a Hippogriff. What loser do you think would have him, anyway?"

Abruptly veering away from Ron and Hermione, Harry marched along the Slytherin table to where Draco was stoically eating his shepherd's pie. "I would," he said loudly, putting a hand on Draco's shoulder. He half expected said hand would be quickly shoved off again, but Draco seemed to be determinedly staring at nothing, and didn't move.

"Oh, yes, Harry Potter," Baddock said, turning his sneer on him. "You do like saving poor pathetic cases, don't you?"

"I'm not planning to save you, if that's what you're hoping for," Harry snapped. "I'm just here to put an end to your speculation."

"Potter, shut it," Draco murmured.

"No." Harry shook his head vehemently. "Enough is enough, Malfoy. I'm not going to stand by and let you take this alone."

"Oh, Harry." This from Hermione, who was now biting her lip, watching him worriedly.

"Why?" interrupted a boy who was sitting nearby at the Ravenclaw table behind Harry. "Are you the one who got him pregnant?"

"Hah!" jeered Baddock, before Harry could say a word. "I get it now. It's not that you would shag him – you did shag him, and this is the result. I knew you liked hanging around loads of disgraced purebloods," – he nodded in Ron's direction – "but I didn't realize you'd sunk this low."

Harry opened his mouth to retort, but before he got a word out, Draco suddenly stood up.

"Piss off, Baddock," he bit out. Then he turned to Harry and added, "Sod it all," to no one in particular. And, without any further warning, he pulled Harry toward him by the robes and kissed him in full view of everyone in the Great Hall.

Harry didn't react immediately, too stunned at the rapid change of events. Draco didn't ease up, however, and, after a few moments, Harry found himself instinctively bringing one hand up to cup the back of Draco's neck while the other one wrapped around a hip, drawing him closer. He was vaguely aware of gasps and catcalls echoing around them, but he couldn't feel particularly bothered in that moment. His whole focus was on that kiss and the way Draco slanted his mouth just so, sensually caressing him with his lips. He felt warm hands slide down his spine to the small of his back, pressing them together even more snugly – or as snugly as Draco's burgeoning belly would allow.

"All right, all right, I get it," Baddock grunted in disgust, and Harry heard another voice complaining, "Oh, Merlin, get a room," but it wasn't until he heard Professor McGonagall's "Boys!" that they finally broke apart.

"Mr Potter and Mr Malfoy," she said, looking stern. "This is not the place to be engaging in such activities. And I would have thought you two, of all people, would be more mindful of the example you are setting to your fellow students."

"Sorry, Professor," Harry said, feeling his cheeks redden under the force of her powerful glare, but Draco lifted his chin and matched McGonagall, stare for stare.

"I don't think they – or you – can think much less of me already, Professor," he said to her.

"Nevertheless," she responded, "we expect all our students to observe appropriate displays of affection in our public spaces. I appreciate your desire to stand together during this difficult time, but not," she added, and Harry was astonished to see the hint of a twinkle in her eye, "with too much togetherness, if you get my drift. I think you've clearly already had plenty of that." And with that, she marched back to her seat at the head table.

Harry stared after her for a moment, before turning back to Draco. "Er…" he said, still struggling to process everything that had happened in the past few minutes. Thank goodness McGonagall's scolding had killed the hard-on he'd developed during the kiss, or he'd have had even less blood to share with his overworked brain cells. He wasn't sure if he should be apologizing to Draco for speaking out, or if Draco should be apologizing for him for instigating what was nearly a full-on make-out session in front of everyone.

But Draco just reached forward and twined his fingers through Harry's. "We need to talk," he said quietly, and Harry was surprised to see that he was smiling a little. "And I'm thinking we should continue this conversation with less of an audience."

And with that, he pulled Harry out of the Great Hall with him.

(*)(*)(*)

"I do wish Crabbe hadn't burned down the Room of Hidden Things last year," he murmured as he and Harry walked along the quiet seventh-floor corridor, having taken several hidden passageways and moving staircases to get as far away from the castle populace as possible. "Would be nice to have an Unplottable place to disappear in right about now."

"Would've been nice to have it a lot sooner than now," Harry said, a small laugh escaping despite the enormity of recent events. To his surprise, Draco hadn't yet let go of his hand, but he wasn't complaining; it felt … right. Stronger. "We wouldn't have needed so many spells for warmth, silence or cushioning if we'd been able to use the Room of Requirement to shag in."

"I'm not sure I would've fancied shagging on all that junk, however, and I don't recall anyone trying to hide a comfortable bed in there," Draco said, with a snort of his own.

"That's right," Harry remarked, suddenly realising. "You never saw it as anything other than the place people stashed all the stuff they didn't want found, did you? It actually could do a lot more than that – turn into any room you wanted or needed it to be."

"Really? Then why the hell didn't it turn into a repair shop when I needed one back in Sixth Year?"

Harry shrugged, trying not to dwell on what Draco had been working on at the time. Things are different now, he reminded himself. Aloud, he said, "Maybe the Room knew what you truly needed and what you could manage yourself."

"Maybe." Draco stopped to stare at the blank stretch of wall where the Room of Requirement had been. His thumb gently caressed Harry's where their hands were still joined as he stood, apparently lost in thought. "Maybe," he said again, taking a deep breath, "what I truly need right now is…." He turned to look Harry in the eye. "You."

Harry took a shaky breath of his own. "Me?"

Draco bit his lip, which Harry found strangely endearing. "I thought I could handle everything on my own. It wasn't anyone else's fucking business what I'd been up to, or who else was involved. And I didn't think I could really count on you, no matter what you said. Too much bad blood between us in the past and, yes," he added, holding up his free hand to forestall any objections, "I know I'm to blame for a lot of that." He looked down at their joined hands. "But then you spoke up for me, in front of everyone. I thought I wouldn't ever want that but …" he shrugged, looking back up. "…it meant a lot, to realize I really wasn't alone in this."

Harry grinned. "Yeah, I definitely got that impression when you decided to snog me right then and there."

A delicate flush stained Draco's pale cheeks. "I might have gone a bit overboard."

"I'll admit I was surprised at first, but I'm not complaining," Harry said, still smiling. "You can snog me like that anytime. And I meant what I've been saying, by the way. I don't run away from my obligations to other people. Besides," he went on, gently squeezing the hand still interlaced with his, "I don't think of you as an obligation."

"But you wouldn't have to be stuck with me if not for the baby," Draco protested. "If you got tired of the way things were, you could have moved on, free to do whatever you like."

"What I'd like," Harry said, drawing Draco closer, "is for you to kiss me again."

Draco's grey eyes sought green, as if seeking confirmation that Harry really meant what he said. His free hand came up to slowly cup the curve of Harry's jaw, and then he was leaning in to close the gap, his lips coming in to meet Harry's with surprising gentleness.

Harry felt the shock go through him like lightning, and marveled that something so seemingly innocent as a kiss could make him feel so much desire. He kissed Draco, slowly, leisurely, as he'd recently dreamed of doing, tipping his head just so, so their lips slanted perfectly together. Why hadn't they ever spent more time doing this? Harry wondered vaguely. Because it represented an intimacy that, despite their ongoing sexual activities, he wasn't sure either of them had been ready to acknowledge yet. Clearly, that time was over. He felt Draco's tongue seek entrance to his mouth, and parted his lips further, welcoming the invasion, and returning it in kind. Harry stroked Draco's tongue with his own, then curled his tongue around and sucked gently, eliciting a moan from deep in Draco's throat. It wasn't until Draco's hands wandered down to cup Harry's arse and thrust their hips together – although the baby partially interfered with that – that he remembered they were still standing, completely visible and audible, in the corridor.

Harry leaned his forehead against Draco's, trying to get his breathing under control. "So, anyway, in case you hadn't noticed," he said, once he could speak again, "I don't seem to be getting tired of you. I don't want to move on."

Draco tipped his head back a little so he could look at Harry without getting cross-eyed. "I don't want you to stay because you're a Gryffindor and that's what you people do."

"Aren't you listening?" Harry asked, mild exasperation in his tone. "It's not about just doing the right thing, just because there's now a baby involved. Draco, I … I think I really like you. It's not just about sex for me anymore. I want to be with you, and for everyone to know it."

"You heard everyone's reaction in the Great Hall, Harry," Draco said, and Harry warmed at the use of his first name. "How can you want to deal with that shite?"

Harry kissed Draco again, gentle and slow, before answering. "Because it's worth it," he said. "You've been in my head for seven years, and I only recently began to understand why. You challenge me, and sometimes I need that. You know what it's like to have people judging you for things that really have nothing to do with you. And, well," he grinned sheepishly. "You remember the locker room last fall."

"But–"

"Draco, I've dealt with far worse than this, for things I had no control over," Harry said, firmly. "I am choosing this, choosing to put up with whatever people think, even if they're stupid, because it's important, because I want to. I want to be there for you and the baby because I love you." The words were out before he could stop them.

Draco stared at him and Harry held his breath, wondering if he'd pushed the other boy too far. Even he was surprised by the depth of his own feelings; when had he fallen in love with his former nemesis? But there was no denying that was exactly what he felt. "That is," he said into the silence, his voice faltering a little, "I mean … I just want you to know that I want this – you, the baby and everything, no matter what everyone else thinks. Do … do you?"

"Yes," said Draco quietly. "I do." He swallowed. "I'm a Slytherin, mind – not one of you Gryffindors – so facing everyone down is going to be hard for me. But," he added, a little smile curving the ends of his mouth, "I want to be with you, really with you, and to try to raise this baby together."

Harry's face split into a huge grin. "You mean it?"

Draco nodded. "I don't know if we'll make it without reverting back to trying to kill each other – you are still irritatingly noble after all." But he smiled as he said it, and Harry laughed in response. "But," Draco said, sobering a little, "I want to try. You and me and," he rubbed a hand over the roundness of his belly, "whoever is in here."

Harry didn't care that Draco hadn't returned the declaration of love. He didn't really need the words; just hearing that Draco wanted to try to build something more significant with him meant more than anything else he could have said.

"Harry?" Draco's fingers squeezed his gently.

"Yeah?"

Draco hesitated a moment before saying, "Are you scared?"

"You mean ever, or right now?"

"Either. Both." He shrugged. "I guess I meant about having a baby."

"I get scared all the time," Harry said. "Just because you're a Gryffindor doesn't mean you aren't ever afraid."

"What about all that 'where dwell the brave at heart' crap, then?"

Harry thought for a moment. "I guess being brave isn't really about not being scared. I mean, anyone can do things if they're not scared, right? I've been terrified I might die more times than I can count, but I did those things anyway, because, well, it's what you do. And, yes," he said, in answer to Draco's other question, "Becoming a dad scares me witless. But at least this time, I won't actually die."

"I might," Draco interjected. "Don't even get me started on how freaked out I am about actually having this baby."

"It'll be fine," said Harry. "You don't have to face it all alone, remember? We'll figure things out – together."

Draco blew out a shaky breath. "Together," he said. And then he kissed Harry again, just because he could.

(*)(*)(*)

The following weeks and months weren't exactly what Harry would have called fun, but, as he'd told Draco, he'd endured worse. The Prophet had a field day once word got out that the two of them were expecting, their youth, relative statuses within the wizarding world, and the male pregnancy each compounding the level of sensationalism until Hermione got ahold of Rita Skeeter and told her in no uncertain terms that Rita and her colleagues were going to cease and desist or things would get ugly. To make her point, she sent her letter to Rita in a small glass jar with a lid. The media gossip disappeared almost overnight.

Gossip within the castle was harder to control, but Professor McGonagall made it clear that anyone caught harassing either Harry or Draco would get long, nasty detentions, and followed up on her threat.

Harry and Draco spent their Easter holidays traveling to see Draco's parents, as well as Andromeda and Molly in turn. Although each woman already knew about the pregnancy and was not necessarily pleased by it, at least at first – Harry had the feeling he had escaped a Howler from Molly by the narrowest of margins – they kept the tutting to themselves and gave the boys the benefit of their years of experience. Andromeda let them practice changing Teddy's nappies (Draco learned quickly why a spare 'tent' nappy was a good idea when changing boys); Molly gave them lists of the most useful baby supplies and equipment; and Narcissa arranged for them to borrow the Malfoy heirloom cradle. Lucius was stiff in Harry's presence, and Harry was sure he was unhappy not only about the young pregnancy and Draco's choice of romantic partner, but the fact that Draco was gay in the first place. Still, he refrained from making nasty comments, so Harry considered it a win.

In June, they sat their NEWTs with the true seventh-years, along with Ron, Hermione, Dean Thomas and a few other "eighth year" students who had missed the previous year out of safety concerns. Draco, who was getting quite big by then, had difficulty focusing on his Ancient Runes exam as the baby had chosen that time to practice hard kicks; Hermione, who was making an effort to get along with Draco for Harry's sake, offered to review the exam paper with Draco afterwards, to show that he probably hadn't done so badly after all. Harry doggedly did his best and hoped it would be good enough. He was no longer sure he wanted to be an Auror – as Hermione said, he did have a "saving people thing" – but he was also tired of being in danger all the time. He'd been rethinking other options, and had found himself drawn to being a Healer. He knew his Potions grade would have to be Outstanding in order to be accepted into Healer training, however, and had doubts he would make it, despite Hermione's and Draco's encouragement and tutelage the past few months. Mentally, Harry shrugged. Draco's due date was rapidly approaching, and he found he could not care too much about grades when fatherhood was the more immediate concern.

After leaving Hogwarts, Harry and Draco settled in a flat near Oxford so that Draco could eventually make use of the Bodleian Library's vast collection of ancient wizarding books. "Eventually" because Draco was too tired and uncomfortable to do much of anything by that point, except lie on the sofa and direct the arrangement of baby things with his wand.

It was on a warm but rainy day in late July, just a few days before Harry's birthday, when Draco went into labour. Although many wizarding children were born at home, male pregnancy required a Healer's surgical skills to deliver the baby. Harry, uncharacteristically panicking over Draco's pain and the imminent arrival, nearly ended up Flooing them to St. Mildred's church after blanking out on the proper name of the hospital. It was only Draco's shouted correction as they stepped into the green flames which allowed them to arrive at St Mungo's without further incident. Within the hour, during which Draco threatened to hex everyone and anyone who had ever thought having a baby was fun, preparations were finalized, Draco was given a numbing charm, and the surgical Healer and neonatal specialist came into the room.

Harry squeezed Draco's hand. "How are you doing?"

"Oh, just fantastic. I recommend everyone experience labour. Including you."

He rolled his eyes. "I just wanted to know if the numbing charm was working."

"Yes, I suppose. Either that, or they've removed the lower half of my body; I'll just be a head and torso from now on. I'm thinking of joining a Muggle circus."

Harry gave up trying to have a sensible conversation. He merely sat on a chair next to Draco's head and, despite his possible career ambitions, tried to ignore the procedure going on at the other end. Thinking of Draco being sliced open reminded him uncomfortably of his mistake with Sectumsempra.

A wail suddenly broke the silence.

Draco tried to crane his neck to see, to no avail. "Is it a boy or a girl?"

Harry turned to look, first only seeing the Healer who was mending Draco's incision. Then he spotted the baby, who was being vigorously wiped down on a table behind the surgical Healer. He squinted, then turned to Draco, beaming.

"It's a girl!"

"After we've been saying 'he' all this time? Are you sure it's a girl?"

"Pretty positive, yeah."

Draco flopped his head back on the bed, exhausted. "Does she look like you or is she beautiful like me?"

Harry walked cautiously over to where the Healers were examining the baby. His baby. His daughter. Now that she was here, a real, living, breathing person, Harry found himself mentally stumbling over the reality of it. But he was also unable to stop smiling as he watched his daughter get weighed (3.6 kilos!) and bundled into a blanket.

The Healer turned to him. "Would you like to hold her, Mr Potter?"

Harry just nodded, too overwhelmed to speak. He held out his arms, and the Healer placed the cocoon of blankets into them. Carefully, worried he might trip and drop her, he walked back to Draco's bed and sat back down on the chair he'd been occupying.

"She's got your hair," Draco said, one fingertip brushing the wild black tufts that stood up everywhere. "Poor thing."

"And she's got your pointy chin," Harry observed. "Honestly, not everything is my fault here."

"That pointy chin is a long and revered Malfoy trait, I'll have you know," Draco replied as the baby curled one tiny finger around one of his. "As long as she hides that hair under hats, she'll have boys beating down her door."

"She's five minutes old and you're worrying about dating?"

"Just planning for the future. You never know what might happen."

"Let's get through her first nappy change and first feeding before we worry about anything else, all right?" The Healers finished with Draco and left the room after propping him up a little more on the bed. Harry carefully moved to sit on an empty patch of mattress next to him, and transferred the baby into Draco's waiting arms. "Just for the record, I'm still terrified by this whole parenting thing," he said.

Draco brushed one slim finger against the baby's soft cheek; she turned her head in that direction, her mouth working silently. "Think there's such a thing as Slytherin bravery?" he asked, softly.

"Absolutely," Harry said, also thinking of both Snape and Regulus. "You carried the baby, despite everything, so that's a sign of bravery right there. The Sorting Hat really needs to update its song." He leaned his head on Draco's shoulder, careful not to jostle their daughter, who was soon sleeping.

"Maybe it will have by the time she goes to Hogwarts," said Draco. "Or maybe she'll be cunning, brave and smart as a whip, and the Hat won't know what to do with her.

Harry laughed gently. "What about loyal, like in Hufflepuff?"

"They're boring. I am determined that our daughter will not be boring."

"Somehow, I don't think there's the slightest chance of that, not with us for parents," said Harry.

"Still, best to take steps now so little Mallow will never have to know the shame of rooting for a badger. A badger. Honestly."

"You're not still on about 'Mallow,' are you?"

Draco turned innocent eyes on him. "What? Are you implying that just because we have a girl and not the boy we assumed was in there, that we can't use my fabulous name suggestion? It's gender-neutral!"

"Draco?"

"Yeah?"

Harry wrapped one hand around the back of Draco's neck and gently pulled him close. "Shut up and kiss me." Okay, so not everything between him and Draco was going to be smooth and easy, but, then, it never had been. All Harry knew right then was that he was ridiculously happy in this totally unplanned, weird little trio they'd created. More than he'd ever felt in all his years with the Dursleys, Harry now felt like he was part of a proper family at last.