|Author: Athea (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fandom: Harry Potter
Title: Forbidden Forest, part 33
Pairing: Hagrid/Snape mainly
Summary: The healing continues.
Date: 24 November 2002
I'd followed the battle through my link with Rubeus and I'd flinched at every blow while Mum held me tight, humming soothingly. When the battle was over, I sighed and sat up, blotting away the tears that I was no longer afraid to shed. Mum Hagrid was the most magical person I'd ever met. Not in a tutored way, her training had been spotty but she held more magic energy within her than any other I'd come into contact with.
"He's cumin' now." She said and went to the door while I made sure that I stayed out of sight.
A sudden explosion of dark power flared and the pain sent me to my knees, hugging the child within me. A gentle glow suffused me and the powerful ache went away. I thanked him with all my heart and felt the love our son sent me with awe. Nothing I'd ever done deserved such abundance but I was thankful it was there. Levering myself to my feet, I watched with my inner eye as my bonded drew near.
Then he was in the cottage, supported by his twin brothers and I helped him down onto the bed that sat in one corner of the crowded room. "I'm okay, Sev, really I am."
"Oh, I can see that, Ru. Nothing but a black eye, a slight concussion, enough bruises to cover half your body, a wrenched knee and a nasty looking knife wound." I said dryly and began cleaning the cut. "You're just the picture of health."
He pouted a little and I gently kissed him before soaking the wound in hydrogen peroxide, which began to bubble and fizz. Mum had an ice pack held to his eye and Hossic perched on the end of the bed to tell us exactly what had happened during the battle. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Gration sidling towards the door.
"And where would ya be goin', Gra'?" Mum stopped him dead.
"I thought I might go out and help with the cleanup." He said nonchalantly.
"Maybe answer a few more questions from the pretty Fiona?" Hossic said with a wink.
"Be careful, Gration. The press is nothing to mess with, no matter how beautiful she is." I put in my two pence worth and watched him grin.
"I'm always careful, Sev." And with that, he was gone.
"That boy is wild as an 'awk." Mum snorted. "What is she like?"
"Pretty as a picture and smart as they come, she called the warning when the animagus tried for Draco." Hossic said cheerfully but he very carefully placed another ice bag on Ru's knee.
My bonded hissed a bit then relaxed as the cold started taking effect. "Mum can check her out later. If Gra' is serious then we'll be expanding the family again. How about ya, Hoss? Ya feelin' the need ta bond, too?"
The dark haired twin stilled and looked sheepishly at us. "Well, I have been enjoying the cursing lessons from Bill. He's a good man and he's got a great sense of humor. We've been havin' a bit of slap and tickle on the side."
"Don't toy wit' a good man's affections, Hossic." Mum said with an admonishing look at her younger son.
Hossic smiled again. "We're just having a bit of fun until this whole Dark Lord business is over. Then we'll see if we're serious. You wouldn't be disappointed in me, Mum, if I took this path?"
"If ya love and are loved in return, we'll welcome whoever he or she may be." Mum smiled at us. "Rubeus did very well so we'll expect someone just as good."
I blushed and dropped my eyes to see what I was doing. The knife slash gaped a bit and I wondered if he would need stitches. Touching it, I wished that he'd never taken such hurt and that's when it happened. Under my gaze, it began to knit shut while golden sparks flew from my fingertips to settle on the wounded flesh and seal it close. The child moved within me and I knew what one of his gifts must be.
"A healer, our son is a healer." I said quietly and Rubeus looked down in shock.
"Still in the womb and already he's 'ealing his Daddy's 'urts." Mum whispered while I gingerly touched the now un-torn flesh.
"Will wonders never cease?" Hossic moved the ice pack from the swollen knee and I reached down to touch it.
The golden sparks were even stronger this time and right before our eyes the knee resumed its normal size. My other hand reached up to his black eye and it healed, too. I felt a little faint then and I must have gone pale because Mum plucked my hands from Rubeus' body.
"That's enough for now, Sev." She kissed my cheek. "Rubeus is a quick healer and now he'll be just fine. Lay ya down beside him while Hossic and me go find the kitchens and see what's for dinner."
With very little fuss, she got us arranged on the bed under the covers before she and Hossic took their leave. Ru's arms were around me and the baby and we fit into his side as if we'd been meant to always be there. I was as tired as if I'd been working hard instead of just sitting safe on the sidelines.
"Ya were with me every step of the way, Sev." Ru's rumbling voice sounded from the top of my head where he was resting his cheek. "I could feel ya willin' me ta win. None of 'is taunts could 'urt me, 'cause I knew that ya loved me and always would."
"Always, Rubeus Hagrid, I will always love you." I tilted my head up and he kissed me the way only he can, savoring me as if I were the sweetest of delights. We feasted on each other for a long moment until our son kicked us and we separated enough to breathe.
"And me thanks ta ya, little one. Ya're taking good care of yar mama and me." Ru said solemnly and stroked a big hand over the mound growing before me. That felt so good that the baby and I both stretched towards him.
"Now would be a good time to take a nap, little one. Your daddy is going to ravish your mama." I said while reaching for my wand and whisking our clothes away. "Or maybe it's the other way around?"
He chuckled and reached for my shaft, tickling the underside of my swelling belly until I had to laugh out loud. "It sounds so good ta hear ya laugh, Sev."
"You're the only one who can make me feel this joyful, Ru, only and ever you." I told him quite honestly.
But he shook his head while he slowly stroked me to steel. "Nah, Sev, I expect our son will make ya laugh, too. After all, he's got some 'agrid in 'im."
I sighed and arched into his warm fingers. "So he does, Rubeus, so he does. Oh, there, love, stroke right there."
And he stroked there with fingers, followed by his slippery tongue until I cried out and came into the haven of his wet mouth. I relaxed everywhere and he chuckled while sucking me dry. The baby gave a contented murmur between us and I wondered what he thought about such goings on. Did he feel the love and caring? He must, I decided, to send back such strong emotions himself.
"Sleep for a bit, my beautiful Sev. I'll wake ya when dinner is ready." His murmur sent me straight to sleep and all my dreams were bright.
After the news broke about the battle at Hogwarts, we all got owls telling our parents that school would reopen on Monday. I was relieved and more than ready to be back at school. Unlike most of the others, I enjoyed school because it meant that I was learning something new. And discovering new things was exciting for me, I sighed a little sorrowfully.
I was going to miss Potions with Professor Snape. I'd done more reading with that class than any other but I'd also learned more with him than from any other instructor. I'd begun to think that I'd like to go into potions after I graduated but who knew what teacher the Headmaster would get to replace him. I was probably one of the only people who mourned his death.
And I did not think that he'd turned rogue, I'd always had my suspicions about his position as a former Death Eater. Headmaster Dumbledore wasn't as idiotic as he led people to believe so I refused to believe that he'd been fooled all these years. I'd probably never know the full story behind that whole charade but maybe his replacement would be as intelligent as Snape had been.
I rode the Hogwarts Express with Ron and several of the other Gryffindors. Security was tighter than tight and Professor Lupin was there to take charge of us once we left the train. Hagrid met us at the gates with Harry, Draco and Charlie Weasley. The Slytherins were kind of standoffish with them and I suddenly wondered who was going to take over their House now that Professor Snape was dead.
Harry looked good but then so did Draco. He'd let his blond hair grow longer and all the slick stuff was gone so it flowed onto his shoulders. He and Harry were in school robes but Harry's were new from his birthday and they both looked comfortable together. The other Gryffindors were kind of like the Slytherins, they didn't know what to make of the easy friendship between the two former enemies.
Draco greeted me with a smile and an easy wave before chivying his House members over to their hall while Charlie tagged along. The rest of the students split up into Houses and headed for their dorms. I was glad to set my suitcase down and unpack in familiar surroundings. I really was going to miss this place when I graduated next Spring. Sliding my suitcase under my bed, I left to find Harry and Ron and walked right into a battle.
"What do you mean, you're staying with Draco in the dungeons?" Ron's voice could be heard outside of the tower.
Harry looked resigned. "The added security down there is to protect us from the death threats that we've started getting. I don't want to put any of the rest of you in danger and frankly," he cast a look around at the others. "Once the news gets out that I'm gay and I'm friends with Draco, I don't want to have to cope with all the aggravation."
Stunned silence greeted that announcement and I couldn't tell if it was the gay part or the friendship that they couldn't take. I'd been afraid of this and I knew that it was going to take some time to get over all the changes. I looked at Harry, really looked at him. He was leaner and harder with a grace that hadn't been there even on his birthday. He moved as if he owned the space he moved through.
He'd grown up. Whether the battles or the training, he'd grown beyond most of us in the room. I hoped that he and Gersey were happy together even if the tall red-head did still make my heart beat a little faster. It looked like I was going to have to wait a while longer for Ron to grow up. Sighing, I moved in and hugged Harry.
"It won't be that bad, Harry, unless Gersey comes to visit. Then both the boys and the girls are going to be jealous." I smiled up at him and he grinned back, kissing my cheek with a whispered 'thanks'.
The murmurs from my fellow Gryffindors were dismaying but also inevitable given the changing dynamics of our lives. Harry answered a few questions then excused himself, giving me a little look that told me he needed to talk to me alone. That made me a bit sad, since it heralded the break-up of our close trio. But Ron had his closed off look so I knew to leave him alone for now.
I gave Harry a five minute head start before looking at my watch and telling Ron that I was going to the library to check and see if our new reading lists had been posted. He nodded and went right back to talking to Dean. I smiled and eased my way out of the swelling crowd. Dinner was going to be interesting tonight.
Just outside, I saw Harry stretching gracefully against the warm red brick of the outside of the main hall. Joining him, I raised an eyebrow and he chuckled. "Hermione, I need you to come with me. No questions asked." His smile faded to a frown and he pinched the bridge of his nose. "And I must have your word that whatever you see or hear, you won't divulge to the others."
A shiver went up my spine and I nodded slowly. "I promise, Harry. This is about the battle against . . . Him?"
He pushed away from the wall, "Yes, it is, 'mione. Lives are at stake, more lives than I like to think about. Come on."
I followed him into the hall and down the stairs to the dungeons. He murmured something to the wall just beyond the potions lab and a door appeared. When we went inside, Draco was waiting for us. He grinned at me with a bright hello and I stammered back. I should have been prepared for him but somehow I wasn't.
"Hold onto my hand, Hermione. We're going somewhere so you can meet with someone who needs your help." Harry said and offered his right hand to me.
I took it while Draco took my other hand. "Close your eyes, Hermione. We're going to port to where we need to go."
Sandwiched between the two of them, I closed my eyes and winced at the feeling of being twisted. The soft murmur of voices greeted us when the world righted itself. Opening my eyes, I gazed around a living room with a curious gaze. Hagrid was taking something out of the oven and he called a cheery hello.
"Great, you made apple crumble, Rubeus." Draco dropped my hand and hurried over to take down some plates from the shelves of the wide-open kitchen. "Did Mum Hagrid help?"
"Oh, so ya like hers better than mine, Dra'?" The half-giant teased him and Draco grinned in a way that I wouldn't have believed he knew how. "Mum did a bit of stirrin' so we'll see what ya think. Welcome 'mione, ya're in my 'ouse by the lake in the Forbidden Forest."
"Hi, Hagrid, it's nice to see you again." I wasn't sure what to say because I still didn't know why I was here.
"Ah, Miss Granger, how good of you to visit." The silky smooth voice floated up from a staircase that I could now see at the end of the kitchen.
My mouth dropped open and I froze while the tall figure of my dead potion teacher walked up and into the room. He looked good, tanned and alert, not dead at all. But when he held out his hand, my gaze dropped to the bulky mound in front of him and I gasped. He looked pregnant, very, very pregnant.
When I dragged my eyes up to his, I surprised a blush on his face. "Yes, I am with child. Rubeus and I bonded in the spring after my . . . death."
I finally took his hand in both of mine and promptly burst into tears. Harry exclaimed and hugged me while I tried to stop crying. "It's not . . . I thought . . . you're alive."
His other hand came up to where I clasped his. "I am alive and in need of your exacting penchant for potion making."
I signaled to Bill and we cut Ron out of the Gryffindor herd for a little chat. He had that stubborn look that can be a Weasley specialty and I knew we were in for a long, very long talk. He shared a suspicious look between the two of us while we chivied him outside and over to Hagrid's old cottage. It was empty at the moment although Remus and Royan were eyeing it for when the babies were born.
"All right, Ron, spit it out." I said when we closed the door behind us and Bill lit the fire with a flick of his wand. "You're in a snit and you won't get out of it unless you tell us what's wrong."
I sat down in the comfortable but still slightly hairy green wingback chair. Bill took the club chair after brushing out feathers while Ron paced between us with a scowl on his normally good-natured face. "Harry's gone nuts. He's cozying up to that Malfoy bastard and he's gone public on being gay. He says it's that singer but I think it's really that stupid git."
My own temper started to steam but I kept control by counting to ten. "Harry is heart-bonded to Gersey Hagrid. It's been blessed by the Matriarchs with the proviso that the two of them wait to consummate their love until after Voldemort is taken care of."
Ron had blanched at my saying of the dreaded dark lord's name. "How can you say that so easily?"
"Because he's not a myth, which is what that idiot Fudge wants us to believe. He's a wizard, a spectacularly evil wizard and maybe not completely human anymore." I leaned forward and pulled him over to the footstool.
"Yech!" He grimaced but sat down. "Then Malfoy is probably in it with him."
I gritted my teeth while Bill detailed what had happened to Malfoy senior and his wife. Ron was white faced and swallowing hard by the time my brother stopped speaking. I spoke about the attack on Hogwarts, which had singled out Harry and Draco; the way Draco had saved Ss-serens from an attack by dark wizards; the fact that he'd accepted help from Harry and Gersey; the lessons that Bill and I were teaching the two of them along with the Aurors that Dad had talked to.
He looked bewildered by the time I stopped talking. "But he hates Gryffindors."
"Grow up, Ron." Bill said impatiently. "House rivalries are for kids, along with playing Quidditch like it's the be-all and end-all of existence. Harry is a touchstone for the Light and Draco is doing his best to make life hell on earth for the Death Eaters who are left."
Ron was thinking and I wondered what he would say if he knew that I was the one dating Draco. Bill shook his head a little when I looked his way so I kept my mouth shut. Finally, Ron sighed and looked up. "Okay, maybe he has changed . . . a little bit."
"He's not Harry's best friend, Ron. I've got to say that you aren't either, little brother." Bill patted his shoulder. "Harry's grown up and moved on even though he's got this last year of school to finish. His best friend is Gersey, on all levels. If you're falling in love with Hermione, you'd better be thinking of growing your friendship, too."
He blinked in shock and I couldn't help but chuckle. "Ron, Hermione is waiting for you to grow up into someone that she can love. It's not fair but it's true that girls mature faster than boys. Mom loves her like a daughter and Ginny thinks of her as a big sister. You're not ready yet for the kind of loving that comes later, which is another reason why Harry has to wait for Gersey to claim him."
"Hermione really likes me?" He almost whispered, sharing a miserable glance between us. "I think she thinks I'm stupid."
Bill chuckled. "That kind of goes along with being sixteen and filled with rampaging hormones, little brother. And I have to agree that compared to her steel-trap mind, all of us come up a bit short. Opposites do attract."
I smiled, thinking of my intelligent but calculating almost-lover. Draco could think rings around me and probably always would. "She's being offered a chance to become an apprentice right now. How you react to that is going to go a long way towards deciding if you've got a future as a couple."
"Apprenticeship, who is offering her that?" He sat up straight and looked at us.
Bill and I shared a look. I still wasn't sure that Ron was safe enough to share the knowledge about Severus. Bill hesitated then spoke. "Someone that everyone thinks is dead. Dad knows about it and he thinks it's all right, so do Harry and Draco."
Ron's eyes got round like an owl's. "Professor Snape is alive?"
Interesting, I thought before nodding slowly. "He's offering her a place in the coming battle by helping him with a special potion."
"She'll say yes in a heartbeat. For some reason, she likes him." Ron sighed resignedly.
I was quite surprised by her tears. It had never occurred to me that she might have felt anything but respect for my potion making abilities. Harry hugged her close while I sent a little calming energy through our clasped hands. The baby sent some also and her eyes widened while she flushed from head to toe.
"That was the baby, wasn't it?" She sniffed and I took my hands back to fish for a handkerchief. "It's okay, I've got a Kleenex." Taking something from her pocket, she blew her nose and looked at my swelling stomach. "It's a he, isn't he?"
"Yeah, we're pretty sure, 'mione." Rubeus said from the table where he was cutting into the apple crumble. "Come sit down and have some crumble. Sev, ya want chamomile tea?"
"Thank you, Ru'. That would be just right." I came over to the table and let myself down slowly. The simplest things were getting harder and harder to do. My energy was beginning to flag sooner in the day and that was worrisome. "Hermione, I asked the boys to bring you here because of an idea I had. It will involve asking you something rather personal and if you'd like to talk to Mum Hagrid about it rather than us, she'd be glad to come over."
Miss Granger's eyes widened and her sharp brain went to work on the puzzle. "Does it have something to do with potions?"
"Twenty points to Gryffindor, it does indeed." I sipped the soothing brew and pondered how next to ask the pertinent question. "I've had an idea to combat Voldemort with a potion that needs some very special ingredients and a person with a particular condition."
Draco and Harry were devouring crumble cake as if they hadn't eaten in days. Harry wiped his mouth and nudged Draco. "Dra', let's go see if Gersey is back."
Really, he had a very advanced sense of the nuances needed in this delicate situation. Draco nodded, swallowing and getting up in the same moment. They left at a run and Ru' got up to close the door after them.
"You need a feminine 'something', Professor Snape?" She took a sip of tea and eyed me uncertainly through the rising steam.
"Are you a virgin, Miss Granger? I'm sorry to have to be so blunt."
She blushed but nodded. I allowed her to finish her tea, hoping the soothing qualities of that golden herb would calm her further. "Excellent, has it ever occurred to you that Voldemort is surrounded by men but has no women followers?" I waited for her nod and it came much more quickly. "The question has been raised that perhaps he's suppressed his feminine side to the point of denying it altogether. I have been reminded lately that all men do have a bit of the female within them as all women have a bit of the male."
"Yin and yang," she said quietly. "I studied that over the summer when my father gave me a copy of the I Ching. What is it you need from a virgin female?"
"I've been preparing a base of wolfsbane and mugwort. Unfortunately, in my advanced state of pregnancy, I can no longer handle some of the other ingredients." I sighed and absentmindedly rubbed my stomach, feeling the warm glow that was our son and smiling at his contentment.
"I see," she nodded. "Not to mention, I'll bet that you'll be combining two different potions to create the end result."
"Exactly, Hermione," I smiled in approval, "I need another potion maker to prepare one while I prepare the other. You fit every category and I thought at the end of the last term that you were beginning to think of a career in potions."
She blushed again. "I was and still am. But you didn't answer my earlier question, Professor Snape."
Taking a deep breath, I nodded. "Menstrual blood, hair and some nail clippings will all be a part of your half of the potion. Harry will be contributing full moon blood and the rest in my half of the potion. Mum Hagrid and the Matriarchs will be combining them into the resulting potion which will coat all wands, swords, arrows and other weapons in the final battle."
Her pupils had dilated almost entirely black. "Against . . . Voldemort?"
I took her hand in mine and rubbed it warm again, the baby sending calming energy to the young woman. "We will bring him down and expunge him from the face of the earth with your help, Hermione. Will you help us?"
She straightened up and clasped my hand hard. "I certainly will, Professor Snape. Will I get to work with the Matriarchs?"
"You will, 'mione," Mum Hagrid stood in the doorway and smiled at the young girl. "Our Sev 'as been needin' an apprentice for a while now."
Hermione almost squealed and flung herself in my arms. "Yes, Professor, yes, yes, yes."
I returned her embrace gingerly but I thought I was getting the hang of this hugging business. "I shall work you hard, Hermione but I think you'll make a very good potions master once this other business is taken care of."
Draco split off to check on Ss-serens while I headed for the caravan. I found Gersey playing his guitar and humming to the haunting melody. I didn't recognize it but then he was always coming up with something new lately. He said that it was being in love that had freed his writing Muse. I liked that idea so I sat down beside him on the overstuffed couch, closed my eyes and listened with my heart.
A picture of the sparkling brook came into my mind, some green moss on a hillside with a pair of lovers entwined on that soft bed. I smiled and opened my eyes to look at him. His gaze was warm on me and I soaked in the wonderful vibes that he let off. His hands stilled on the strings and he looked at me with a question on his face.
"The brook, moss and us making love." I told him with a grin.
"Ah, you read my mind." He teased me and set the guitar aside.
That was all the invitation I needed and I leaned into him, raising my face to his for our first kiss of the day. He pulled me close, wrapping me in his arms and softly brushing kisses over my whole face. In between his nibbles, he asked about my day. "How did it go . . . when you told . . . them about not . . . staying in . . . Gryffindor Hall?"
I clasped my hands around his neck and pulled myself closer. "Not good . . . oh there . . . I told them about being gay, too. 'Mione was okay with it but Ron was really pissed off. Draco said it was like an icebox in Slytherin Hall. Some of them stopped him after his 'piss or get off the pot' speech and told him thank you. But I'm really glad that we'll be here instead of back there."
He stilled and ran one of his hands down my spine while I shivered and wished we could get naked so I could touch him everywhere. "I'm glad, too. I have a really bad feeling about the great hall and I don't know why."
"A vision, Ger?" I pulled back enough to see his eyes. "Of something happening to Draco or me?"
Ger's eyes went unfocused. "Something black touches Draco and he disappears. Then you go after him and we don't know where you are."
I shivered. "It sounds like a port key and I follow him using the Rolex."
"Then we're going to have to figure out a way so I can follow you because you're not putting yourself in danger without backup." Ger's voice was a growl and I almost came then and there.
"Maybe Dad knows of something that would work?" I suggested while wiggling around so I straddled him. That felt so good that I started rocking back and forth on his lumpy lap. Leaning in, I kissed him hard and he opened for me while his hands cupped my cheeks and pulled me in tighter.
We were getting really good at this and the more that we made love, the more I wanted to go all the way. My head knew why that wasn't an option. Severus had explained why I needed to stay a virgin until Voldemort got killed but it was getting harder and harder to hold back.
"Harry . . . little love . . ." he said in between kisses, "we've . . . got . . . to stop. This isn't going to help our thinking."
I nodded and clutched his shoulders while my body shuddered to a halt. We sat there for a few moments until it became marginally less painful to move. He sighed and rested his forehead against mine so our breaths mingled between us like I wanted our bodies to do. Mingling, I thought hazily.
"Mingling," he said with a rasp in his voice while he took a deep breath. "Maybe blood markers like they talk about with DNA."
I remembered an article that I'd read over the summer. "The guys who are mapping the human genomes?"
"Sev says that some of their research could be used for wizards, too. Dad thinks that there are markers that 'recognize' like markers. They speculate that true bonding comes from the attraction then mingling of their essence."
"But we can't mingle any more than we already have when we sucked each other off." I said in frustration.
"I know, little love." He stroked my back with both hands and I laid against his shoulder, breathing in his clean scent. "But there's an old bonding that was used centuries ago when blood-brothers were created."
Frowning, I searched my memory but couldn't come up with anything. A knock at the door made me scramble off Gersey. The last time that had happened, it had been Mum and she'd given us a stern lecture on not rushing. But this time it was Dad and Gersey mentioned blood-brothers. Dad knew immediately what he meant and I understood about every tenth word of his explanation.
We'd have to mingle our blood through cutting and binding. Sounded good to me.
We stood facing each other in front of the fireplace in Ru and Sev's living room. Dad tied our left wrists together with a cord of braided silver, saying the words of binding under his breath while my brother and his bonded stood witness by my side and Draco and Charlie stood by Harry. Flicking the silver switchblade open, he looked at both of us then smiled and cut our thumbs.
"Colligare!" He called out, our thumbs coming together.
I felt his blood like a fire within my veins and by the widening of his eyes, he could feel mine also. The heat built until we burned for each other, hands clasping and lips joining. I kept it brief although I wanted more than anything to claim him body and soul right then and there. His little whimper when I pulled away mirrored my own.
"Gersey," he sighed my name and I smiled at his longing look.
Bringing his hands up to my lips, I kissed each one gently. "Harry, can you feel it?"
He blushed and Dad chuckled. "Son, close your eyes and feel within yourself, deep in your heart."
My little love nodded hesitantly and closed those beautiful green eyes of his while I pulled my hands from his so he could concentrate. The cord had vanished, the way that all bonding cords did but when I felt something at my throat, I reached up to touch what felt like a silken collar. I'd have to find a mirror to take a look later.
"Oh wow, it's like there's someone else inside of me." Harry opened his eyes and beamed up at me. "I can feel you, Ger, like the echo of another heartbeat. I hope that's what it feels like when I get pregnant."
Pregnant? My jaw dropped and I would have sputtered if I hadn't been shocked silent.
"Indeed, Harry that is very much what it feels like." Sev's voice cut through my confusion and he moved forward to steer my little love towards the table. "We'll talk about having children much later, Harry. We have enough on our plate at the moment. Let's have our tea and plan our next move."
Darn it, I hadn't meant to let that out just yet. Gersey looked a little stunned but I was pretty sure that I'd be able to talk him around eventually. For the moment, I hit Draco who was laughing at me and glared at Charlie for not reining him in. When I turned my head, I felt something around my throat and I put up a hand to feel it. It was silky smooth but twisted on itself. I saw a glint of gold or silver at Ger's neck and when he sat down, I reached out to stroke it while he shivered at my touch.
Catching my hand in his, he kissed it again. "Yours is twisted silver and gold."
"Brill, yours is, too." I leaned in and kissed him again, just because I could. But then I sat down by him and accepted a piece of dark, gummy ginger bread smothered in whipped cream. Rubeus was such a good cook. There was nothing but little moans of enjoyment around the table until we mostly finished eating.
"Well, now that Harry is protected, we need to finish up the work on the potions." Sev looked tired and I wasn't the only one who noticed the circles under his eyes. Rubeus was gently rubbing his back and my potions master was beginning to lean towards him, although I don't think he realized it. "Hermione will be finished tomorrow on her half and Harry's half is done."
"How long will they last?" Dad Hagrid asked.
By now, Sev was totally supported against Rubeus' shoulder and his eyes were drooping. "Seven days uncombined but only four hours once the Matriarchs stir them together."
"Good, Draco, have you noticed anything different about the great hall?" Dad asked.
"No sir," the blond shook his head and I noticed that he was sitting much closer to Charlie than he had been just a few days before. "I get a feeling of cold near the front doors but the weather has changed so it may just be the north wind."
Charlie didn't look like he believed that. "I've been over the whole hall with a fine tooth comb and so did Remus before he sequestered himself for the full moon. He smelled something sour but it was so faint that he could never pinpoint the source."
"Damn," Gersey's hand was on my leg under the table, rubbing it slowly and warming me from head to toe. "It's there but I can't see anything but something black, no matter how hard I try."
"Draco, don't go into the hall unless one of us is with you." Dad is so easygoing that you could forget sometimes that he's a powerful wizard. "If something does happen, we need to know immediately."
I paid attention to the conversation but part of my attention was reserved for my hardworking mate. Sev was cuddled close and I finished putting him to sleep with a little mental nudge and some help from our son. He was working so hard that I was afraid that he was overdoing. The baby took a lot of energy from him and he was sleeping more and more.
It was October 30 and I just knew that the enemy was going to attack tomorrow. I could hardly bear to think of the lives that would be lost when that happened. But it needed to be now because I wanted our son born into a world without Voldemort. Harry and Draco were squabbling a little and I grinned at how normal they sounded. Gersey and Charlie were exchanging commiserating looks.
I wanted the shadows gone from all our lives. "Shadows . . . could it be someone with an invisibility cloak?"
Harry perked up but Gersey shook his head. "It's not that kind of dark, Rube. It's opaque like that black hole that MacNair escaped through."
Draco shivered and Charlie carefully stroked his hair, making sure that he didn't constrain the smaller boy. They were a good couple or would be once all this commotion was over with. I smiled at them both and Draco managed a real one right before he gingerly moved closer to Charlie's warmth, laying his head on the broad shoulder just waiting for him.
"Dad Hagrid, could . . ." Draco paused and shook his head, pulling away from Charlie and standing up. "I need to go check on Ss-serens."
He all but ran from the house and Charlie looked bewildered but stood anyway and started for the front door. Gersey called to him. "Would you be willing to blood-bond with Draco? Are you that committed to him?"
Charlie stopped and frowned. "Of course, I am, Ger."
Harry spoke up. "Tell him that, Charlie. He's still unsure of the place he holds in your heart. Dra' thinks that you're feeling sorry for him."
The dragon handler got a real determined look on his face. "Don't any of you go any where. We'll be right back."
I smiled and cuddled Sev closer, gently resting my head on his silky black hair. It looked like we had another son or very soon would.
I found Draco wrapped around Ss-serens' long neck while she purred the way only a dragon could. He didn't look up when I came in although he knew I was there. "I'm sorry, Charlie. I don't know what I was saying."
Standing behind him, I very gently laid a hand on his gleaming blond hair and took a gamble. "You started to say what I wanted to say. You still aren't sure of me, Draco, and I do understand that a penniless dragon handler isn't someone that a Malfoy would want a permanent connection with. But for a moment I let myself dream that you'd want to be a blood-brother to me or maybe even bond with me."
He stilled for so long that I was afraid I'd lost him. But Ss-serens winked at me and he slowly let go of her and turned into my arms. His beautiful blue eyes looked up and I saw him swallow hard. "If we bond like that, you'll be stuck with me for the rest of our lives. Are you sure that you want that, Charles Weasley?"
"I want you, Draco Malfoy, every way I can get you and for every day we've got." I told him, sliding my arms around him slowly, in case he didn't want to be that close.
But he moved towards me, sliding his arms around my waist and holding me tight. "Then I guess we're stuck with each other, Charlie. But just so you know, I'm not the one getting pregnant if we want children."
I squeezed him so tight he squeaked. "That's okay, Dra', we can always adopt." And then I kissed him the way I'd wanted to do from the moment that I knew he belonged to me. Within a heartbeat, he was kissing me back and for the first time I felt his groin react to mine, growing and hardening.
"Oh, Charlie," he sighed before burying his head in the crook of my neck. "You feel so good. I want to feel you inside of me but I'm still a little afraid."
"I love you and I never want to let go, Draco. But for the moment, why don't we start by sharing our blood?" I dropped another kiss on his hair, breathing in the clean, sharp scent of him. "That will make me feel better than almost anything. As to this," I wiggled my hips just a little and he gasped, "we'll take great care and share our bodies one bit at a time. All right?"
He raised his head and a grin slowly blossomed. Pressing back, he looked mischievous. "Harry said that Ger let him explore his body for his birthday. Can we do that?"
"Yes," I took a deep breath. "We can explore to your heart's content."
"Let's get started." I couldn't seem to stop smiling and taking his hand, I pulled him out of the green house and back into the house. Dad Hagrid was waiting with another silver cord and the silver knife. We repeated the ceremony in front of the warm fire. I could feel his blood move through my body along all the veins and arteries until I was flushed with warmth from head to toe.
Even when we were no longer touching, I could feel him. It was the most reckless thing I'd ever done but it felt so right that I told the thinking part of my brain to take a rest and let my heart have its way. Now, if we could just get through Samhain, Voldemort and the end of the world as we knew it, I'd get to explore Charlie from head to toe. My body had finally responded to his so I knew that I'd mostly healed from the rape.
I didn't want MacNair anywhere inside of me and Charlie's blood was cleansing him out with every beat of my heart. Soon I wanted him physically inside of me to wash away the last of the Death Eater's touch. It might hurt but I was used to pain. What I wasn't used to was this sense of happiness that bubbled up whenever I saw Charlie or heard his voice. But maybe I'd get used to that too, I thought and grinned up at him.
This kiss was even better than the one we'd just shared and suddenly I wanted to get naked and explore every inch of his skin. But Gersey was laughing at something Harry had said and I realized that we were still somewhat public. It was going to be a while before I could drag him into my room so we could do that exploring thing.
Severus was laughing too so I drew away reluctantly from my new blood-brother to see what had caught his fancy. His hands were splayed across the mound that was growing in front of him. He was still skinny everywhere but there and I knew I should tell him how brave I thought he was to carry such a burden. Although, I'd better remember not to call the baby that since he was going to be my little brother once he was born.
"Draco, your brother has a gift for you." Sev held out his hand and I reluctantly let go of Charlie to go to his side. Sev has the most elegant hands even with the small scars left by his potions and he took my hand in his then laid it on the spot where the baby liked to kick the hardest.
And the strangest feeling washed through me when I felt his touch. It was like a shot of pure love traveling instantly throughout my whole body and healing me inside and out of the trauma of the rape. There was a little giggle ringing in my ears and I couldn't help but smile at the laughing imp that was in truth my brother-of-the-heart.
"Thank you, little one. That helps a lot." I patted the spot gently and I got the impression that he was yawning and curling up for a nap. "Sev, you should probably lie down. He's going to sleep for a bit."
I nodded, my little nap on Ru's shoulder hadn't lasted long enough. "Draco, I know that I can depend on you and Charlie not to explore too far . . . at least for now. Take care of each other."
Ru grinned at Charlie when he stuck out his tongue. "Ya be good ta each other but not too good for now. Come on Sev, let's tuck ya up. Thanks, Dad."
Harry and Draco turned to Dad Hagrid and hugged him in unison while he chuckled. "You're very welcome, boys. You're just what Mum and I always wanted, four more sons to bring even more joy to the Hagrid family."
I felt a little teary at being included in his verbal hug. The further along I got with this pregnancy, the more emotional I grew. Ru cuddled me at every opportunity and I was beginning to expect such gentle handling. Had anyone told me a year ago that I would be bonded, pregnant and happy by this Samhain, I would have had them locked up in St. Mungo's.
But here I was being tucked into the bed that I shared with my Rubeus while my unborn son sent sleepy waves of love to me. With a yawn and a soft kiss, I was asleep.
//The stone hall was colder than a Scottish lake in January. Blood stained the floor, fresh blood. I could smell something rotting that wrinkled my nose in disgust. A body hung from chains in the middle of the room and I circled it until I could see the remains of Lucius. He was frozen in the moment of death, his face the picture of despair. I still had enough memories of our shared past to feel pity for the man I'd once known.
The feeling of power was unmistakable and I turned towards the throne that Voldemort had created out of the bones of his prey. He'd grown huge, twice the size of Ss-serens and I watched him speak to the men on their knees before him. But I couldn't hear his words only see his lips move. Not for the ring of Merlin himself would I go any closer to him, my hands going instinctively to my child.//
I awoke with a start, reaching for Rubeus only to find him gone. The baby was quiet and I prayed that he hadn't dreamt with me. Untangling myself from the covers, I sat up and unsteadily got to my feet. I needed the bathroom and my bonded in that exact order. Shaking my head, I walked to the door and opened it to find the room empty. That was rather disconcerting but I went to the bathroom to relieve myself with a sigh of relief.
I truly was looking forward to having my old body back. When I finished washing my hands, I cast a mental call for Rubeus. Excitement filled the bond and the unmistakable trill of a dragon hatching sent me out the front door to the greenhouse.
My master was not pleased with me and I shivered in my web. The Potter boy had only been through twice and both times I'd been at the opposite end of the ceiling. Malfoy junior had been through twice as well but the dark lord wanted Potter more so I'd let him pass.
But I had sent back the news that they had become friends and were living together in the dungeons. The rumor that they'd become lovers had sent him into a frenzy and I was doubly glad that I wasn't there to have to absorb his anger. This morning though He'd told me to bring Malfoy even if I couldn't get Potter.
I was almost glad although I'd been enjoying watching my little flowers come and go. They were so sweet and I'd wiled away the hours deciding who I'd take first. One in particular had caught my eye and I had crept down to just above eye level when she and an older girl had stopped to talk.
Her auburn hair rippled down her back and her pale white skin was like the finest porcelain. Her chest was still flat, her breasts barely begun to bud. Her voice was so delicate that I could have listened to her for hours. When she left, I retreated to the corner of the ceiling where I spun yet another part to my web.
Imaging her voice begging me not to hurt her; her little hands beating at me while I pinched those budding nipples until she screamed; tying her to the headboard while she writhed on the black silk sheets; tasting her pale flesh while she whimpered in fear; levering her legs apart so I could see that virgin opening then tasting those fresh young juices with my tongue; then I'd watch her eyes widen when they first saw my cock hardening.
I'd place it just at the outside and nudge her a little while she begged me not to rape her. I love hearing that while I smooth my hands over her little tits and down over her flat stomach. I'd pretend to reconsider then holding her hips still I'd thrust with all my strength into that tight sheath while she screamed and screamed and screamed.
What was my little flower's name? Ah yes, Ginny.
Something was going on and it wasn't this Halloween party. My eyes softened when they lit on Gration Hagrid. The more time I spent with him, the more time I wanted to give him. It had started at the attack on Hogwarts and it wasn't a day before I had an owl bringing me an invitation to visit the school again. My editor practically salivated when I asked permission to come back here.
My story had earned me a raise and I'd basked in that glow for half a day before starting to dig for the next part of the tale. The Minister of Magic was being an ass but we'd all gotten used to that. The red-headed Hagrid had sparked my attention after I'd drooled over his little brother. Luckily, it seemed that not all of them preferred men and I'd spent an hour choosing what I was going to wear when I met him again.
He'd met me at the gates and I'd felt that little lurch in the pit of my stomach when he'd kissed my hand. Charm was something the Hagrids had in spades. I'm an only child so it was fun meeting his sisters and his roguish twin. The students were coming back to Hogwarts and with Gration as my guide, I talked with them and attended some of their classes.
Security was tight and it was almost a week later before Gra' gave me an invitation from his mother to come for dinner. If I'd realized that it would entail walking through the Forbidden Forest, I might have thought twice but by then I was head over heels for the half-giant. He explained that they'd all come down to help out his oldest brother, Rubeus and his new bonded then stayed to continue the fight against Voldemort.
I'd met Rube but not his bonded. There seemed to be some kind of mystery about her but when I'd overheard something about morning sickness, I figured that she was having one of those hard pregnancies that sometimes happen to women necessitating complete bed rest. I'd have time to meet her later once the Dark Lord was taken care of. Somehow Gration had convinced me that the Forces of Light would triumph.
With a little shake of my head, I came back to the kids decorating the great hall with the help of the house elves and instructors. Gration was helping little Ginny Weasley hang some bunting by levitating her high enough to stick it to one of the great big ceiling beams. She was giggling at something he'd said and I had a sudden picture of how he'd be with a little girl of his own. And I wanted to be the one to give him that child. My mother would be so proud of me.
I swallowed hard and thought calm thoughts. The noise of the great hall was getting on my nerves for some reason. There were more than enough helpers so I slipped away to the back hall. Maybe if I laid down for a little nap, I'd feel less nervous. But first I'd stop by and see if Royan was feeling better. The triplets were growing so fast that she literally had no energy to do more than eat and sleep.
Smiling, I got to their door and raised my hand to knock when a thought hit me like a freight train. Pregnancy, could I be pregnant? Smoothing a shaking hand over my flat stomach, I thought with longing of the baby I wanted to create with my husband. And as if my thoughts had conjured him, he appeared at the end of the hall.
"Love, are you all right? I looked around and you weren't there." Sirius strode to my side and took my hand in his, looking up into my eyes. "Sweetheart?"
"Siri, I think we should go visit Poppy." I leaned down and kissed him gently. "I want her to do a wand-scan."
"Why? Are you feeling sick? Maybe I should have her come to you? You could lay down first and I'll go get her." He was urging me towards our rooms just beyond Remus and Royan's.
But I dug my heels in and stopped him. "No need for that, Siri. We'll go to Poppy, I don't feel that sick."
He nodded uncertainly but hurried me along to the open ward of the cheery infirmary. The medi-witch greeted us with a smile and a quip about co-opting me to help her nurse the students who ate too much tonight. But when I asked her to do a scan, she nodded and played her wand over my skin from my head down to my toes. Her face never changed once before she invited me to sit down on one of the beds.
I tugged Sirius down with me, having a premonition what she was going to say.
"Congratulations, Rhea and Sirius, you're pregnant." She said cheerfully.
Sirius' mouth dropped open and his eyes rolled up in his head right before he passed out. Poppy chuckled and told me that I was about four weeks along. We sat and chatted about vitamins and exercise until my bonded came to again.
He smiled, still in shock. "I love you, Rhea. We made a baby."
"We certainly did, love." And I kissed him. I could hardly wait to tell Mum.
When I awoke from my nap, I found Remus curled up beside me and back in his human form. He'd been so afraid that he might hurt me when he changed into the wolf that he had wanted to hide away for the three days of his monthly transformation. But I'd met the wolf and knew he'd never hurt me or his cubs. So when he changed, he did it in the comfort of his own rooms with me to rub his stomach and watch him play with his best friend, Padfoot.
Rhea and I drank tea and sewed little outfits for Rube and Sev's baby while our husbands played with one of those red rubber balls, spelled to move on its own, chasing it all over the room. Once the triplets were born, Remus was going to have his paws full with his new playmates. When it was time for bed, my beautiful wolf would join me under the duvet, snuggling close while I petted him until I fell asleep.
It was like having a furry bed pillow and I'd grown addicted to the feel of him. One of the triplets kicked me hard and I winced. Poppy and Rhea thought I'd be having them early and the bigger they got, the readier I was for that. Birthing them would be hard work but I wanted them out so I could hold them, nurse them and dress them up in those little outfits that I kept making.
We already had half a dresser full but with three babies, we were going to need every single one. Coming back to now, I watched my husband sleep and thought about how much I loved doing that, no matter what form he was in. Leaning in, I kissed him gently and his eyes flew open. He still has an amazed look in his eyes when he sees me. I have to admit to loving that although I was working on getting him to believe that I'd always be there for him.
"Royan, are you all right?" He rose up on one elbow and shook his head. "I had a horrible dream about Draco and Harry surrounded by Death Eaters."
I felt a cold chill under my skin. "We'd better tell the others. Today is Samhain and the boys are going to be here any moment."
He leaned over and kissed me softly. "They'll be okay, Royan. We're going to take care of Him this time so all our children will be safe."
I was praying that he was right. He helped me out of bed and steadied me while kissing my bulging stomach. "Hi, guys, take a break from kicking your mama. We're going to take a nice hot shower, you like it when we do that."
Laughing, I let him lead me to our bathroom. All five of us like showering together.
This had been an eye-opening visit in more ways than one. In the back of my mind, I'd always thought that I'd be collecting Gersey Hagrid sooner or later. But I'd arrived to find he was so taken that it wasn't funny and every single one of his brothers and sisters were, too. I frowned and thought about the power they were raising by combining all the admittedly odd members to their family.
A Death Eater, a werewolf, an illegal animagus, a reporter, the Boy-who-lived, and a red-headed curse breaker - the children already conceived were mind-boggling. I didn't have the heart to tell Gersey that his and Harry's children were going to be wizards of great power and they were going to be started within the year. We just had to destroy Voldemort tonight so those children would be born safely.
There was something about this hall that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I slowly moved from one end of the giant room to the other, my bright red sequined evening gown swishing around my ankles. Someone evil was near but I couldn't figure out where. It was a 'he', I could sense that and I had the same vision of something black stealing Draco from us that Gersey had had.
But where was he hiding and how was he going to get hold of Draco?
"Ah, my little beauty, dibs on the first dance tonight." Hossic whispered in my ear and I shivered all the way down to my glittery red heels. He was dressed all in green silk as an Elf of the Forest. "Bill and I are going to take turns driving you insane tonight."
"Hm-m-m, that has possibilities." I leaned back into his strong silk covered arms and looked for the Weasley who'd actually taught me a curse that I didn't know. He was moving gracefully through the throngs of kids to his lover's side dressed in a pirate costume with a black patch over one eye. His skin-tight black pants and knee-high black leather boots had quite a few of the older girls panting.
A threesome just might be what the Goddess had planned for me. I never had visions of myself so I didn't have a clue if this was my future. But even if this was only a diversion it should prove to be interesting.
Bill and Hossic were two strong men. I had no false doubts about the power I channeled and had since I was sixteen. But maybe it was time to allow someone else to be strong. Maybe it was time to give up control and see what grew. So I reached out for Bill and pulled him in close so I was the filling of this Hagrid-Weasley sandwich. When the music started, we'd have to see what kind of dancers we were.
This was going to be fun.
I'd finished my part of the complex potion that morning and I was tired but exhilarated at the same time. Severus was still the best teacher around and his tutoring kept me on my toes. I was in seventh heaven and what was even better, Ron had taken my absences in stride and given me his support. Charlie had told me that he and Bill had taken him aside and given him a stern talking to.
What ever they'd done, he'd grown up a lot and even listened now when I talked about potions. He knew that Severus was alive but not about the baby so I had to be careful when I talked about why he needed me to make part of it. Some of the herbs couldn't be handled by a pregnant person so I was dicing and slicing up all of those. It was such a rush to make something come together from bits and pieces.
And working with the four very different Matriarchs was a rush of a very different kind. They were so powerful in the four elements that I was learning so much more than I could ever learn in a classroom. Mum Hagrid made the earth sing and was teaching me how to hear the echoes. Aunt Illona could call the four winds to her and I was learning how to recognize the different directions.
Granny Hagrid could make water dance to her tune and I could see where Gersey got his music talent from. Arwen rather scared me with her sinuous femininity or perhaps that was just because she commanded the element of fire, the one that frightened me with its power. I was drawn to it, the red and gold dancing flames of a fire. But it was dangerous and controlling it was difficult.
Fire had a life of its own and I wanted to tame it or at least learn it from spark to flame. I wanted to know all of them but that would take years. And even though I was intimidated by Arwen, I had gathered my courage and asked her for help with my costume for tonight. She'd laughed but not unkindly and helped me chose the fabric of deep green velvet inset with golden lace that Mum Hagrid had whipped into a medieval gown that brushed the floor and hugged my small breasts with its high waist.
Granny had braided my hair with more gold chord and Ron had taken one look at me and lost his voice. That made me smile and take his arm so he could escort me into the great hall. Arwen gave me an approving look and I watched her flirt with both Hossic and Bill. Something told me that they were all three in for a wild ride tonight. But then I saw Harry and Draco come in together and lost my own voice.
Harry was in deep green from head to toe and the tight pants and billowing sleeves were making more than one girl hyperventilate. But Draco was a match for him in the same outfit but all in black, his fair hair gleaming in the flickering candle light. They were both worth drooling over and once they split up, the whole room seemed to flock around the two of them.
I watched everyone swirl around the room and wished I had one of those muggle video cameras so I could record it all. I felt like Cinderella at the ball just because I was here. My brothers were all here except for the twins and they'd all danced with me. Harry had too and I felt more feminine in his arms than I ever had in my life. He complimented me on my costume and I had to smile.
Hermione had helped me with it and the white feathers on my arms and all down my back when paired with my feather mask made me the perfect swan. Harry even kissed my cheek and I thought maybe I wouldn't wash that spot for a day or two. He was just so beautiful even with his glasses on.
Draco Malfoy was also beautiful but in a far off, kind of icy way. When he asked me to dance, I said yes but I was really nervous. Ron had almost choked but he didn't say anything against him so I moved out onto the floor with him. He told me that I looked like a little angel and that was sweet of him so I relaxed. He was a great dancer and I felt as light as one of my feathers.
We finished up near the punchbowl and he brought me a cup of the ruby red punch. We sipped it in silence but it was comfortable instead of uneasy and I felt so good that I wanted to dance until dawn. Harry was dancing with Hermione and they looked so good that I could tell that Ron was trying not to be jealous. But she'd already told me that my brother was growing up nicely and that she had plans for him.
I'd passed that on to Ron and he got this really goofy smile on his face. I was glad that I was too young to get all tangled up like that. Some day I'd fall in love but I kind of thought that I wanted to become the first Quidditch pro-player in the history of the game. Dressing up was fine but I was more at home on my broom than on the dance floor. When I found myself telling Draco that, he burst into laughter and kissed my hand.
Put his lips right on it and told me that he'd back me all the way. Maybe I wouldn't wash that hand for a while either. He asked me if I wanted more punch and went to the bowl while I chatted to him. Something caught my eye and I squinted a little to see what was moving through the air. Before I could say anything, it landed on Draco's shoulder and with a loud flash, he disappeared.
I screamed and Harry ran towards me, most of my brothers right behind him. "Ginny, what happened? Where's Draco?"
"Something took him." I stammered and burst into tears.