It had been four months since the death of the king. Draco had taken the reins of the kingdom, and he hoped that there hadn’t been any wobbles. He didn’t think so, at least. No one had told him that there had been, and he was going to have to trust that he would be informed if things changed. He was pretty sure that he was going to be feeling that way for a while.
He was also worried sick about Harry. His lover had started getting sick multiple times a day, was avoiding certain areas of the fort, and had taken to eating in their rooms. Draco was about at the point where he was going to be getting Guin to nail his lover to the floor and find out what in the hell was going on.
The feel of magic snapping through the fort rolled over his nerves, and Draco jerked his head up, trying to figure out where it was coming from. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a dangerous spell, but it was attention-getting.
The sound of his lover’s voice echoing through the fort pulled him out of his office. “You had better fucking run like the wind, Draco Malfoy! Your bollocks are going to be gone when I get ahold of you!”
Discretion was totally the better part of valor and he turned around and went to find Tristan and the other knights. Whatever had caused Harry to scream at him like that, it wasn’t a good thing. Maybe the men would have a clue?
Ducking into the Round Table room he looked over his shoulder, checking to see if Harry was coming up behind him. Since it didn’t seem that he was, he turned to the four men and waved a hand at the roof. “I think I did something and I have no idea what I did,” Draco told them.
Bors started laughing and the other three joined in. “Lad, you are so fucked. Actually, that’s what got you into this situation. I hope your bollocks can grow back.”
“What do you mean?” Draco asked as he slid into a seat beside where Arthur had always sat. While he was king, he wasn’t quite ready to take his place in that seat. Not while the memory was so fresh.
“Lad, he’s going after your bollocks. In a woman, that means that you got her up the duff. I don’t know what it means for wizards, but I would expect things are going to get interesting in your relationship,” Gawain told him as Bors sat back and laughed.
“Pregnant? Harry can’t be pregnant!”
Peeking around the edge of the door into his rooms felt like he was taking his life into his hands. Harry was fully trained, both as a wizard from Hogwarts and as the latest Merlin. He was deadly and dangerous and apparently really ready to do damage to delicate parts of him.
“Killing you would be too quick, Draco. Get your super-sperm producing arse in here so I can kill you,” Harry told him from the inner room.
“Love? That makes no sense,” Draco told him as he walked into the room. The stinging hex to his bollocks was totally expected. He didn’t even bother to try to protect himself. If Bors was right, he really couldn’t see any way to get around or away from Harry’s temper.
“It doesn’t have to make sense, you blond bastard. I’m pregnant. And you never told me that wizards can get pregnant. I had to find out from Guin,” Harry told him. He was curled up in his favorite chair, slowly sipping at a cup of something steaming. “You’re lucky you ran. Because I wouldn’t have used a stinging hex when I found that out.”
“Right. I can’t say that I’m sorry Harry. Having a child with you has been something I’ve wanted since we started seeing each other,” Draco tried to explain. If things had been a bit different, he would have carried their child. But to have a child when and where they were?
“If we get to see Lady Magic when we die, I’m going to cunt punch the bitch. Because I didn’t sign up for this shite when I accepted that letter,” Harry muttered as he pinched the bridge of his nose. “And no one told me this was a possibility when two wizards started to shag!”
Draco cleared his throat and carefully made his way over to his chair before sitting down, trying to make sure that his very sore balls weren’t crushed. Harry had one hell of a stinging hex. He was going to have to make sure that he still had use of them later. Where Harry couldn’t see him checking.
“Love? Can I run a diagnostic on you? Check to make sure that you and the babe are good?” he asked, hands empty and letting his lover make the decision.
Harry nodded. “Guin did, but I didn’t fully understand her version of it. It doesn’t match the one that I know.”
“Okay. Let’s see what’s going on in there,” Draco offered. The flick of his wrist and hand was smooth and unconscious and the arrival of his wand in his hand was totally expected. For a moment, the movements of the spell were just out of his reach as his mind went blank from nerves. He took a deep breath and raised his wand again and let the movements flow. As the gentle magic covered his lover, he turned his attention to the visual results.
The spell showed that Harry was exhausted, needed to eat, and was sixteen-weeks pregnant with a baby boy. Draco swallowed heavily and let the magic go. “So, you’re sixteen-weeks pregnant. And need to eat.”
“If I eat, I vomit. There is no way in hell, Malfoy,” Harry told him, voice brittle and strained. “Guin was very cheerful when she told me that I could expect this to be the status quo for the rest of the pregnancy.”
“I don’t know if it’s going to last that long, love, but we can see if there’s a spell or something else to help get you through it,” Draco offered. He mentally combed through the catalogue he had for his bracelet and paused on the gingersnaps he had tucked in it on an impulse buy. Withdrawing them took only seconds, and he offered the tin to his lover.
Harry gave the tin a dark look before setting his cup aside and taking the container. The cellophane wrapper got an amused snort and then it was tossed into the fire. Harry was still trying to protect the time line, in great and small ways. When he got the tin open, the smell of ginger filled the room, and his mouth watered.
The first cookie was slowly and cautiously nibbled at, and when that didn’t cause any problems, he quickly stuffed a second in his mouth. The third and the fourth went down just as quickly before he capped the tin off. “Think we can get the goblins to import us some ginger?” he asked as he sipped at his cup.
Draco made the note on the pad that was on the same table as his book. The first meeting with the goblins had been very tentative on both sides; with nothing being really decided other than an agreement to do business together. He had an appointment with them in three days, and the list of wants and needs was getting long.
“Tea, ginger, paper, silk, sugar, more tea, maybe some citrus.” Draco ran down the list and tapped the items as he passed each of them. “Spices would be nice.”
“They would,” Harry muttered. “The food is fine here, but I would adore a nice curry.”
He could feel his mouth water at the thought. He had grown up as the pureblooded wizard son of two pureblooded lines. And that meant that take away, regional ethnic foods, and non-English foods hadn’t been on the menu for him on a normal basis. At best, he had gotten French food, and he was very familiar with that cuisine. Dining out with Harry had been an eye-opener.
“So you think they can get some?” he asked.
“I don’t think we can get them to produce some for us like a takeaway place. But we may be able to get the spices. I think I would adore having them at hand. Even if my stomach is rebelling against the idea right now,” Harry told him.
“Right. I’ll add it to my list,” he said and looked at the cup. “What are you drinking?”
“Cider again. It seems to be what I can tolerate without a problem. I’m not happy with the habit of drinking weak beer, and the local water is a horror. See if the goblins can figure out a way to get a water filter together for us? Because I can’t see those little bastards drinking the water in London,” Harry directed.
Draco nodded and added the item to the list. So many things to discuss with the goblins and he could only hope that they didn’t give him too much trouble over any of it. Setting aside the list he sat and stared at his lover. The revelation of the pregnancy was… It was world shattering and rocked him down to his core.
He knew that he was powerful. It wasn’t a boast. His magic had always been something that he could count on and it had just grown more and more powerful as he had aged. His magical maturity had added to the depth of his powers.
His lover was another thing altogether. Harry, before his final maturation, had managed to defeat the Dark Lord of their age. With his final maturation, he had reached the level of archmagus. He hadn’t joined the aurors like he had originally planned, but had taken up his title and the training for his magic. That had led to the first break with the Weasleys, and when he had started dating Draco, it had apparently broken the relationship for good.
When they had bonded, it had forced Draco’s core to expand in relation, and over their time together, he had been adjusting to the changes. So having his archmagus partner carrying his child was unexpected but not… unlikely. Magic responded to need and wants and this was something that he had been aching for since he had fallen for Harry.
He slid out of his chair and knee-walked over to kneel between Harry’s legs. “I just wanted to tell you, this is the most amazing thing ever. No matter what may happen, the fact that you are capable of doing carrying a child, and are willing to do it, and that Magic gave us such a gift, blows my mind.”
Harry closed his eyes and leaned forward, touching his forehead to Draco’s and sighed. “I could no more harm our child than I could harm you. That hex is just the skin. This kid is going to be so damn spoiled. I love it already, even if it is making me sick as hell.”
“It’s a boy,” Draco shared. “May I touch?” he asked as he stared at his lover’s belly.
“Sure,” Harry agreed before leaning back.
Looking at him, Draco couldn’t figure out how he had missed it. Harry had never been chunky, but since the defeat of the Dark Lord, had never again been thin. So the bump of the baby was obvious as he stretched out. He carefully reached out and let his hand cover the small mound. There wasn’t any movement to feel yet, but the potential for it was there.
Leaning forward, he rested his head against the mound and tried to project all the love he felt for Harry and the baby. “You are the two most important people in my life. I will never, ever be able to tell you how happy I am to know that you are there. Thank you.”
Harry curled over Draco and wrapped him in a hug. “You’re welcome.”
The goblins of this new time and place weren’t quite like the ones they had left behind. For one, they weren’t dressed like the wizards surrounding them. No suits, no ties, no little shoes. Fur and leather seemed to be the normal attire.
Second, they were more overtly bloodthirsty. The banker was accompanied by human and goblin guards, and all of them had their swords well-sharpened and at the ready. Draco would have been offended, but he had spent too long riding the countryside dealing with the dregs of the Saxon army not to recognize prudence. That and the goblins routinely dealt with masses of gold or trade goods and being well armed was just good sense.
“Razoredge, thank you for coming,” Draco greeted the goblin in careful Gobbledegook. “May your enemies die screaming and their gold enter your vaults.”
The grin that crossed the little creature’s face was full of too many teeth for comfort. “May our business be profitable and our enemies bankrupt. It is good to know you can speak a civilized tongue, wizard.”
“I have many skills, Razoredge. Let us do business together.” Draco waved at the papers before them.
“Let us then.” The goblin grinned that terrible grin again and sat down to start to deal.
The discussion between them went on for several hours, and Draco made certain to serve some goblin-specific foods that got him several sharp looks, but Razoredge seemed to appreciate it. Draco himself was slowly working his way through what was basically an antipasti platter of foodstuffs that the kitchens had put together for him. Neither offered to share their delicacies.
They managed to get through both of their lists, and Draco sat back satisfied. He hadn’t been cheated and he hadn’t cheated the goblin, so he was sure that they would be satisfied as well. Harry was taking care of going over their gold and finding all the most ancient of coins and getting them ready for a deposit. Thankfully, the Horde rarely changed the designs of their money, so most of it would be useful.
Sitting back in his chair, he slowly sipped at his mead, watching as Razoredge packed up his mobile office. “How soon do you think your people will be able to get everything to us?”
Razoredge gazed back at him, settled into his own chair and picked up his glass of ick. Draco knew what it was, but there was no way that he could describe it as anything other than ick. The goblin seemed to like it though. He started sipping it and was quiet for several moments before he set it aside. “We have most of what you want accessible via relays. Getting it up here can be done in two ways. The physical way that will take time and effort, or by magic, and we can get it to you within days.”
Days? Magic was indeed a wonderful thing. “For the sake of most of my subjects, I want to at least try to hold close to what they know. I would like to contract for twenty percent of our goods to be delivered via magical means. Also, I have no idea, but do you have an office in India?”
“You know an awful lot about bank business for a human,” Razoredge mused as he slowly sipped on his drink. “It is good that business with you is profitable. What do you want from India?”
“Curry. Or at least the ingredients for it. And rice,” Draco requested. “My partner and I have traveled extensively and enjoyed the taste of the dish when we last had it.”
“Neither of those are well known in this country, sire. You are indeed well-traveled.” The goblin relaxed slightly. “That will cost you. While we have an office in India, we don’t import from there.”
“I have no problems paying for what I want. And I have every faith that your people will come through for us.”
The look of satisfaction that crossed the goblin’s face was expected. Even if it was disturbing.
The first delivery from the goblins came in two days after his meeting with Razoredge. The bundle smelled amazing, and Draco took most of the spices down to the kitchen and talked to the fort’s chatelaine, Maude. While Jols was in charge of the knights and all the armed men in the fort, the chatelaine was in charge of the actual household of what was now the king.
The dear lady had managed to keep everyone fed and healthy through the winter, and the influx of spices and foods made her day. He took the time to talk recipes with her and left her office with some supplies for a private meal. Harry was pushing six-months pregnant and was incredibly picky on what he was willing to eat.
The package from the goblins had been timely since his lover had eaten the last of the ginger cookies two days before. He wasn’t quite at the stage of being ready to vomit, but Harry had admitted that his stomach was very touchy. He was still avoiding the more fragrant areas of the fort, and Draco couldn’t blame him.
When he made it into their rooms, he found that the suite was empty. The fire was banked, and he smiled in anticipation. Harry had a full set of cauldrons nestled into each other in his private work area, and Draco grabbed one of the smaller ones to start his surprise.
The spices were carefully laid out, and he worked with his ingredients, determined to come up with an edible meal. The end result smelled lovely, and he made sure to seal up the spices in well-labeled containers. Especially the candied ginger. He had well over a kilo of that stuff and more on the way.
He grabbed the smallest usable cauldron left and poured some of the ever-present cider into it and dropped in a small piece of ginger, a clove, and a small piece of cinnamon, and set it beside the fire to warm. Spiced cider, heavy on the ginger to soothe Harry’s stomach would hopefully go over well. The soup was simmering, he had the table set, and all he was missing was his lover.
Draco took a tour around the room and sighed. He and Harry had schedules that barely met, and he still hadn’t managed to get in lessons with Guin. She was expecting her three partners to arrive in a month, planting was going full tilt, the castle had broken ground, and he was swamped. If Arthur showed up, alive, right then and there? He would hand the whole mess back to him.
Noises from the outer room pulled him away from his fussing, and he leaned into the jamb. Harry had his first apprentice and was busy passing on his knowledge. Bors’ oldest boy had proven to be magically talented and seemed to be enjoying himself. His slightly younger sister was also talented, and Guin had taken her on.
Renfry had proven to be a very valuable investment. He had taken over the role of front man to Harry like he had been born to it. No one got past him or his siblings, who he pressed into service. Harry constantly had a small tribe of kids following him around, and a number of them were redheads. He had his suspicions about them, too.
From the way Renfry was hovering, the day hadn’t been too good. Harry was moving slowly and had a heavy frown on his face. One hand was pressed against his belly and his magic was curling under his skin as it worked to support the baby growing within him. Draco was sure that Harry wouldn’t appreciate the sentiment, but he thought his partner was beautiful.
“Hello, love,” he called softly.
The magic under Harry’s skin flared out for a moment and then pulled back as he tried to turn around. Draco sighed at the sight. It was coming up on the time when Harry wouldn’t actively be able to use his magic offensively as it was used by the baby. But right then and there, his archmagus lover was still armed and dangerous and on a hair trigger. Thankfully, he was also able to restrain the urge to kill everything in his path.
“You are so lucky I don’t want to rebuild the building,” Harry told him.
“Thank you for that,” Draco said dryly.
“Eh. Maybe we could put a skylight in,” Harry muttered in English and Draco snorted softly in laughter. Yeah, their quarters were a bit dark. He was looking forward to the castle. Really. Maybe they could get a window or two?
“I’ll do my best to get us a window,” Draco promised.
“Eh. I’m good. I smell spices?” Harry asked as he peeked around Draco into their bedroom.
“Yeah, I have some stuff for you. Renfry, I think your father is in the tavern. Might want to get him home before your mum cracks him over the head with a jug,” Draco directed.
“Aye, sire. Thank you. Master Merlin, I’ll be in the same time tomorrow?” the boy offered.
“That’s good. Wear something that you can get very dirty in. We’re going to be doing some tramping through the woods,” Harry told him, eyes on the boy’s clothes.
“Uhm… Sir, these are all that I own,” Renfry told him, voice small. “Mum hasn’t gotten around to making me any more.”
Harry nodded and obviously tried not to sigh. “Right. Well, we will be fixing that. There will be times when you need to be dressed in different clothes or have the clothes you’re wearing washed. See Jols for a few new sets in the morning. If he doesn’t have any for you, check with the chatelaine. I’m sure that we have extras around here somewhere.”
“Thank you, milord!” Renfry chirped with a big grin before running off.
“That was sweet of you,” Draco told his lover as he walked over to him. He reached out carefully and gathered Harry to him. He had to be careful with Harry because his lover wasn’t too keen on being manhandled. As pregnant as he was, he was very body shy and determined that he wasn’t going to be handled against his will.
“Kid needs to be able to change clothes because we get filthy. And there is no way that I’m going to let my apprentice look like I don’t care about him.” Harry sniffed, offended and upset. “If I can fix it, I will. I know that his mother’s thrilled that I’m feeding the kid at least. He eats like a horse.”
“And you don’t want to let any kid in your reach not have things that are nice and theirs?” Draco asked as he rocked his lover from side to side.
The next sniff was quiet but he still heard it. Draco had to refrain from mentally cursing every person who had ever given his lover shite about his clothes and belongings. He was including himself in that because he had been a little monster when he was younger. Now, Harry dressed well, stood proud and wasn’t even trying to hide the pregnancy. All things he could live with.
“Yeah. If it’s going to be years yet before Hogwarts gets up and running, I’m going to have apprentices. And I figure Renfry will be able to reach what amounts to journeyman status in about three years. Especially if I get Guin and her gang to help. And see if they can take on a few apprentices as well.” Harry sighed into his chest. “This is nice. What smells good?”
Draco started them towards the bedroom and his treat. “I made some soup and some spiced cider. We got a package from the goblins today and I already took most of the spices to Maude and she has them under lock and key. I have enough here for some goodies for you and the potion supplies. Everything is stored, sealed and labeled.”
“Good. Because you’re a bitch when you can’t find the potions supplies,” Harry groused.
Snickering softly, Draco nodded. He was and there was no denying it.
The small table in their room was set, and Draco served Harry the meal he had prepared. The scents and tastes of the soup were reminiscent of what they had left behind in their England, and Harry got a smile on his face. The cider was cooed over and drunk down to the last drop. All the spices were designed to be soothing on the stomach, and, from the way it was being enjoyed, it seemed that he had succeeded.
Draco refilled the cauldron and set it on the hearth to get warm and steep again. Settling into his chair, he sat back to bask in his lover’s contentment.
“You can’t be in here, Majesty!”
Draco leaned forward and growled at the little woman barring his way. Helga Hufflepuff was a sweet round woman with a spine of steel and a temper that had to be seen to be believed. He just didn’t give a shite, and his inborn respect for her name and place in his history weren’t stopping him. He needed to be in there with his lover. “Harry is my lover, my partner and my bonded mate. There is no way in hell that you are going to keep me out.”
“But birthing isn’t for men!” Hufflepuff waved her hands at him and tried to keep him out of the room with her body. “This isn’t for you.”
Draco hissed and wandlessly picked the woman up and set her aside. He remembered, at the last moment, to be gentle when he put her down. That was the extent of his consideration to anyone. Slipping into the room, he cast a wordless scourgify to clean himself up. A second spell he had learned from a healer at St. Mungo’s helped sterilize his skin and clothes and he was as clean as he was getting.
Harry was laboring to bring their child into the world and Draco wasn’t going to be looking too hard at what was going on below his beltline to allow that to happen. His concentration was on the head of the bed and he knelt by it, brushing Harry’s hair off his forehead. “Hello, love.”
“You, Lady Magic and whatever fucked-up thing that let me get pregnant are all getting beaten when I can. This is worse than anything Voldemort or my uncle ever did to me,” Harry gritted out between clenched teeth.
“I’ll hold still, not a problem,” Draco promised. There was a rag in a bowl of water on a table and he used the wet thing to cool down Harry and clean up some of the sweat that was running down his temples. He kept his eyes and attention on his lover and not what was happening south of Harry’s beltline. He saw nothing, he heard nothing, and he sure as hell smelled nothing.
Every single direction that was barked at him, he followed. When his son finally slipped into the world, he was there to cut him free of Harry. Helga took him while Guin finished the nasty last business on the birth, and Draco stood and vibrated. He couldn’t help Harry and he couldn’t assist with his son and he had nothing to do. How had the Weasley patriarch done this shite six times?
When Helga came back, she had the baby all swaddled up in a clean blanket. Harry was being cleaned up as well, and Draco held out his arms for the son he and Harry had made. Helga carefully transferred the baby to him and he looked into the face of his legacy. The child was a perfect combination of Harry and himself, and he fell in love in an instant.
Walking back to the bed, he knelt by the head and settled the baby on Harry’s chest. “Look at what you’ve done Harry. Look at him. He’s beautiful.”
Harry stared at their son and reached out a hand to touch him. “Poor kid, it looks like he’s got my hair. Hello, baby Kerrick Brice Malfoy, from the family of Pendragon.”
Draco had managed to get an afternoon free from his responsibilities and headed out with Harry, Salazar and Gryffindor. The knights came as a matter of course. The goal was to take a look at the castle and check on how the work was going. He had the plans for the compound rolled in a tube attached to his saddle.
“Do you think you will be able to strengthen the walls?” Draco asked as they crested the low rise that hid the site.
“Depending on what’s been done, I can tailor the spell to grow with the construction,” Godric told him. “Keeping the spell up will be something that needs to be discussed for a long term solution. Do you have any ideas, sire?”
“There is a ley line that runs under the site. We’ve got the major ward stone already in place and it’s tied to the line.” Harry waved a hand, drawing pictures with the motions of his fingers. “If we tie the spells for strength into that, will that work?”
“I would think so. Is the stone keyed to anything or anyone?” Salazar asked as he shifted uneasily on his horse.
Of the four Founders of Hogwarts, he was the one who liked roughing it least. Salazar was definitely a man of the cities and had made no bones about that. He was also sharp, witty and embodied everything that his future house adored. Draco honestly wanted to smack him with the flat of his sword about twenty times a day, but the man made him laugh about as often. Harry kept muttering about wanting to tape his mouth shut. To top it all off, the man was making his way through the female population of the fort. If he left any bastards behind, Draco was hitting him with a contraception hex.
“It’s keyed to Harry and me,” Draco said as he scanned the countryside around them. No one supposed to be working that day as all their workers were also their farmers. Food was taking precedence over a building that wasn’t going to be finished for at least another two years. And, even then, that would be the shell of the outside. The rest of it, including all the outbuildings the castle would need, would be taken care of as they went along. “We haven’t locked it off, but we’ve made it about as difficult as we can to tamper with. The wards we have on it say that it’s been left alone.”
“Then it’s good that you came along, sire. Have you ever done perpetual warding on this scale?” Salazar asked.
“No,” Draco admitted. “I’ve used wards, but never set up more than temporary ones around a space that I’m using. I was never taught how to set wards that could outlive me.”
“The longest lasting wards I have set are the ones on our rooms,” Harry admitted. “And even then, most of those are copies of ones I’ve seen. Understanding the various layers and reasons for them was never a lesson I got. I can mimic, but I know I need to get a firm understanding before we move into the castle.”
“I find that I don’t think much of your magical education, sire, consort, if your masters left you this ignorant of basic magical matters,” Godric muttered as he controlled his horse with the absent skill of the true master. Gryffindor was the opposite of Slytherin in that he seemed to thrive in the fort, enjoying the rough and ready lifestyle that they were in. He was far bigger than his counterpart and was indeed, brave, slightly foolhardy and willing to laugh at just about everything. In other words, he seemed to be the perfect Gryff.
Draco should have loathed the man on sight. He didn’t. He could see the traits that had been used to found his house in his lover and thus was reluctantly charmed. But unlike Slytherin, he could hit this one at least. Gryffindor spent several hours a day on the practice grounds with the knights training. It was very liberating to know that he had put the founder of his rival house on his arse several times in training.
“Our training is long and far away from here, Master Gryffindor,” Draco told him without the slightest bit of irony. “And we’ve both spent a great deal of time filling the gaps of our educations. Warding, while very useful, wasn’t high on the list. We had access to warded properties and that let us pass it by.”
“Still, I’m not happy to know you missed getting trained in that discipline. Sal, make sure we put warding high on the list of things we’re going to be teaching,” Godric called as he spurred his horse forward. The construction site was in view and the mage was apparently impatient to inspect it.
“Galahad?” Draco called out. The knight just shook his head and took off after Gryffindor.
“The man would lose his head if it wasn’t attached,” Salazar muttered as he watched Godric ride off. “But I hate to say that he’s right. While we’re here, you two need to get a through education on warding. Among masses of other things. Merlin did what he could, but we’re from a vastly different tradition of magic, Godric and I. Rowena and Helga are more like Merlin was.”
“Add it to the list that I know you all have going,” Harry sighed. Draco couldn’t blame him. The things they had found about their education after they had ‘graduated’ Hogwarts had made them both see red. Over the years, the institution had pared down the careful curriculum the founders had put forth to make something that had… Well, it hadn’t been enough. Independent study after they left the school had barely prepared them for their lives as lords. It was only their hobbies that were getting them through their current lives.
“It’s a long list, consort,” Slytherin warned. “And only so many hours in a day.”
“And of the two of us, I have the most free time,” Harry retorted. “While I have Renfry as my apprentice, he’s also in need of the lessons, and looking like an arse isn’t something that I’m unfamiliar with. He can learn some of this beside me.”
Draco moved forward and let them argue. Harry would let him know the results of everything, and he wanted to know what Gryffindor was doing. A glance behind him showed Bors and Gawain staying with the two, and he had Tristian at his side. They were as safe as they were getting, then.
“So what’s this Gryffindor going to be doing to the castle?” Tristan asked as he almost glided with the gait of his horse. Draco ignored the stab of envy at the man’s skill with the ease of long habit. “You seemed awful interested in getting him out here.”
“One of the things that Guin told us about Gryffindor was that he was able to manipulate stone. He will be making sure that we don’t have any hidden weaknesses in the foundations, that the stone will be strong as it’s built and stay sturdy after we finish. Plus, he’ll hopefully be able to give a clue at the quarry about where the best and soundest stone is located so we can use that for the necessary stuff like the walls,” Draco explained as he watched the mage push his horse all over the huge site. “And if we can slip it in where it won’t be noticed, he might be able to draw stone up from far away to add to what we have. Or even take some of the scrap stone and construct new stone blocks. It isn’t like we don’t need it.”
He had, after all, been ambitious in how he had laid out the castle. There were almost three acres contained in the walls and it was all going to be used. If he had time, they would be building a further outer wall with more acreage, but that was an expense that he couldn’t see right then. So, the castle itself, an inner wall, and the outer wall as it was. All as well-built and warded as he could manage.
“Not a bad idea,” Tristan agreed. “Will we be able to trust him not to sell the information he gets on the castle to anyone?”
And thank you, paranoia, you showed up right on time, Draco thought with a wry mental chuckle. He could always count on one of the knights to let it out. “Yes. He swore a very specific type of oath to me when he got here. It covered this. All of them did, as a matter of fact. Betraying us would be rather fatal.”
“I like it,” the knight said with a bloodthirsty grin.
“Me, too. Let’s go see what he’s got for us, shall we?” Draco asked as he spurred his horse into a trot.
Gryffindor was looking at the piles of stone they were using for the walls and waving his hands around in a manner that spoke of spells being performed, and he wanted to watch. Maybe see if he could pick up some new skills. After all, he and his people were going to be the ones to live in the castle, not the four founders. It would be best if he had some idea what was going on with the bones of it.
“I want more children,” Harry told him as they lay in bed and watched as Kerrick played with the blocks that Tristan had carved for him. At three years old, he was a bright and cheerful child who was into everything and was as fearless as only a well-loved one could be. He had a nanny elf who had appeared within days of his birth and doted on him with all the loyalty of her kind.
“We have no idea how you got pregnant in the first place, love. And I’m not too sure I want you going through that again,” Draco admitted. “We aren’t in the 21st century, and medical care isn’t at a level that I feel comfortable trying again.”
“Agreed. We did the natural way once, but as interesting as the experience was, I don’t want to do it again. I’m certain that we can support a ritual child between the two of us. We certainly have the power levels,” Harry admitted.
Draco grunted in agreement. He was sinking as much of his personal power into the wards of the new castle as he could spare, and since he wasn’t actively using his abilities like Harry was, that was a fair amount of power. The construction was almost finished and the move from the fort to their new home was scheduled for midsummer.
He was happy they had finally gotten all the buildings ready and had started moving all the various supplies over. With the spring, they had eaten their way through most of the winter stores and that meant that there were very few perishable goods to move. For the most part, he had decreed that the supplies were to be left with the fort since he would still have men stationed there. The castle was going to have the greater majority of the men from the garrison, but not everyone.
Hadrian’s Wall was still useful, and, even if it divided his kingdom, it provided a great deal of protection to the fort and the lands surrounding it. He held sway above it because of Merlin, and Harry had spent the year of his apprenticeship with the old man traveling to all of the Woad villages, securing their fealty to him.
When Arthur had died, the village elders had all come round and pledged their fealty in person. Agreements had been hashed out on how much of each harvest they would get and how many men would be sent for military training. It had taken weeks.
With the fall harvests, they had sent out wagons and gathered what was promised. They had been rich in food and gotten through that first winter without a hitch. Draco spent the time looking at ways that his little kingdom could actually become financially solvent and started implementing the solutions.
His court, such as it was, was reassured that he had an heir, even if it wasn’t with Guin. Their arrangement was no real secret, and Draco found that he didn’t care. Guin had very few problems with the masses and most of the ones who had an issue with her, seemed to have it due to her inability to give a fuck on what they thought.
“We have two more years until the four of them head up to their castle. Godric says that they have the site picked out and he’s planning on taking an extended trip up there this summer to work on getting the ground ready for him to raise the structure. Salazar said he would go up with him,” Harry pushed on. “I want to have our next child before they are all out of reach.”
“I can understand that,’ Draco allowed. “So, I know how a child is created in ritual where we grew up, but do you have any idea how it’s done now?”
“Guin, Helga and Salazar all looked at me as if I was insane when I asked,” Harry admitted. “Godric was the only one who seemed to have a clue and he told me to ask the goblins. Something about them having access to everything and anything.”
“So a trip to Londinium then?” Draco asked as he started to mentally rearrange his schedule. It was early spring and the most important thing was the planting. Which, frankly, their steward could handle far better than he could ever dream of. And their chatelaine was able to coordinate all the various chores related to the running of their household without them.
“Yes. And if we’re going, we need to take Guin, her apprentice, Renfry, Kerrick, and at least Tristan.” Harry rolled out of bed and went to get his handy tablet to start writing down notes.
“Why the apprentices? And why Kerrick?” Draco asked as he smiled at their son. The boy had looked up at the sound of his name but gone right back to his play when he didn’t see one of his parents gesturing for him to come to them.
“Because both kids need wands, and I want to register Kerrick as our heir with our vaults,” Harry told him absently. “And Tristan said something about taking Lucan down to deal with Dagonet’s things. He’s almost to an age where he’s going to need to get a wand. I figure he’ll be heading to Hogwarts when it’s ready.”
“Okay, I can see that. I’ll take the kids to Ollivander’s and you deal with the bank and the goblins?” Draco asked.
“It needs both of us for the stuff with Kerrick,” Harry reminded him. “And I figure I’m going to have to talk to a goblin healer to get the globe I want. It won’t be fast, so you can take the kidlet with you when you head out.”
“Sounds like a plan. So, portkeying? Tristan will have to give us the location. Do you think he can?” Draco asked as he got off the bed to scoop their son up. “Hey, lad, time for you to be getting ready for bed.”
“No, Da! Wanna stay up!” Kerrick demanded as he twisted in his arms.
“Not happening, little man,” Draco told him cheerfully before placing a kiss on the boy’s brow. His son had gotten grey eyes and skin tone from him, and his hair from his other father. The combination was startling, and he figured that he was going to have to make very sure that his son didn’t make them grandfathers too soon. “Time for a story or maybe two before bed. Now let Nanny get you all ready.”
The grumbling from their son was deeply cute, and he shared an amused look with his love as he followed behind the boy. His nanny elf had his night clothes ready for him and a warm wet cloth to clean up the worst of the day’s mess. Kerrick was being raised like the boy he was in their new culture, but neither of them could stand the thought of him being as filthy as was the norm for the time period they were in.
Once the wipe down was done, with special attention paid to hands and feet, Draco settled in to tell his son stories about the knights, Arthur and even a bit about himself. By the end of the second story, his son was sleeping like the toddler he was. If nothing else ever came out of this adventure, he was thankful that he and Harry had managed to make the little human sleeping so soundly beside him.
Walking back to his bed, he hoped it was full of his lover. Draco had the urge to practice making their next child. Several times.
“Kerrick! You will not run off like that!” Draco barked out as he walked down what would be Diagon Alley someday, far in the future. “Get back here.”
“Yes, Da! Look!” his son shouted as he waved at the windows of a shop selling breads. The smell of hot sweet bread wafted out the open spaces and Draco silently congratulated the proprietor on their strategy. A quick stop got him a twist of pastry to share with his son, and he kept them moving.
He needed to get his wands looked at and Harry had demanded that he take Renfry with him to get him fitted for his first. Guin was with him to take care of her apprentice, and they were all making their way over to Ollivander’s. He knew that the wand shop had been in the Alley for a very, very long time, but he wasn’t too sure about who the proprietor would be at this point in time.
Opening the door to the shop, Draco smiled at the racks of small boxes that filled it from floor to ceiling. It seemed that the decorating scheme that he had seen when he had gotten his wand hadn’t been special to the Ollivander he had met.
“Hello! I’ll be out to see you in a moment!” a male voice called from the back. Draco frowned slightly and tried to smooth his expression out. Was he really sure? When they went back in time, it had been a few years since he had seen Garrick Ollivander, so he could be mistaken.
He wasn’t. Although, the Ollivander he was looking at seemed to be a great deal younger than the one he had met. Instead of crazy white hair that stood up worse than Harry’s, the wandmaker’s hair was black as pitch and just as messy as always. He was still dressed well, if comfortably, and his silver eyes were taking in every inch of them.
“Welcome to Ollivander’s! Are you here for wands?” he asked. Looking at Guin, he smiled in recognition. “Rosewood and powdered Han Fireball scale. Very powerful for hexes. Welcome back.”
Draco watched as Ollivander looked at the two teenagers with them and then waved Renfry to stand still as his tailor’s tape started measuring him. “It looks like you are here for a wand or two. Now, lad, which is your dominant or wand hand?”
Renfry glanced at Draco, and he nodded permission. The lad held out his right hand, palm up, and Ollivander leaned over to look at it for a moment before humming to himself and walking over to one of his shelves. Picking out several boxes, he set them on the counter that ran the length of the store and hovered his hand over them. Staring at the boy, he ran his hand over the boxes before nodding and holding one box out to him. “Try this one.”
When Renfry opened it, Draco smiled in appreciation. The wand looked to be willow, and whatever the core was, it apparently was compatible, because as soon as the boy waved it, a set of green and blue sparks shot out, bursting in the air like fireworks. “Ah, excellent. Willow, with a braided strand of unicorn hair. Very good for charms.”
Guin’s apprentice stepped up next and went through the same routine. Her wand was easily found and made out of rosewood and unicorn hair. It was obvious the teens were related, and it showed in the similarities of their cores. Draco paid for both wands without a wince and smiled softly as the kids chattered about their newest acquisitions. Lucan and Kerrick were peering in the boxes with avid curiosity on their faces.
“Milord Pendragon? If you could stay a moment?” Ollivander asked as Draco started to herd the kids out and onto their next stop. Draco had planned on coming back to the shop when the kids weren’t with him, so this was a surprise. Eyebrow raised, Draco looked at Guin, and she nodded. She would take the kids onto the next shop they had on their list.
“What can I do for you, Master Ollivander?” Draco asked as he leaned against the counter.
“I felt at least two of my wands enter the store when you came in. I knew Rowena’s wand, but yours… while they show as mine, they aren’t ones I know,” Ollivander told him, silver eyes shrewd as they gazed back at him.
And there was confirmation that Garrick Ollivander was far more than they had ever thought. And most definitely, far older. Harry was going to be pissed that he had missed this. “Can you swear an oath not to tell anyone what you learn today?” he asked.
Ollivander paused before nodding. The oath he swore was as through and binding as Draco could have wished and the whole shop lit up when it sealed. With two careful flicks of his wrist, he pulled out both of his wands. The elm and dragon heartstring wand that he had picked up from Ollivander after the war was serviceable at best. It fit his magic and did the job he needed, but it wasn’t his favorite of the two he had. The second was one that he had gotten from the family vault when he had lost the Elder Wand to Harry. It was made of Kingwood with a core made of the heartstring from a Ukrainian Ironbelly. His lover had laughed himself sick over the irony of it when they had realized the roles they had taken on.
While he might not use either wand as often as he used to, they were both well cared for and it showed. The wandmaker made no sound as he picked up each and examined them closely. “They are fine wands, well taken care of and don’t need anything on that vein from me. This one,” he said, pointing at the wand that had come out of his family vault, “is far older than the other. However you got them, I will not say, but they are mine of the making, even if I haven’t made them. Yet. I will keep your secrets, and when the time comes, I will make the wands. Thank you for showing them to me.”
Draco could only nod.
“You’ll be happy to know that the goblins have a means to allow us to get what we want,” Harry told him, leaning forward to speak directly into his ear. “And I got the book on it, the spell components, and one of their healers ran me through the spellwork needed to complete it. She did say that we’re going to be very, very tired the first few months, though.”
Draco leaned back in his chair and hooked one arm around his lover’s neck, pulling him close for a kiss. The sound of his son’s laughter was sweet to his ears, and he smiled against Harry’s lips. “I can live with tired. How tired is tired?”
Harry walked around and settled into his own chair beside the fire in their room. The inn had set up a meal for them, and he quickly poured a glass of small beer for himself and then started eating. After several bites, he sighed and took a drink. “Fillii Autem Cor et Anima or ‘Children of the Heart and Soul’ is the name of the spell and book. It’s in the range of grey arts because it takes blood, but the whole thing is doable. You remember how tired I was with Kerrick the first few months? That tired.”
“Sounds like masses of no fun at all. I’m guessing that having this out where anyone can find it would be bad?” Draco asked as he sipped at his own beer. Vanora, Bors’ woman, brewed a much better beer, one that had an actual flavor beyond alcohol, than the previous brewer for the fort had kept on hand. And mead, cider and frankly anything that needed to be fermented. Draco had contracted her services after the first winter because he wasn’t facing rotgut for a second. She worked with the steward every year to make sure that they had enough supplies of everything to last through the winter and into spring.
“Well, it’s going to look like something deeply weird. And having people touch it would be bad. We also need to figure out how we’re going to explain the babe. And arrange for a wet-nurse,” Harry reported between bites of food. “You know, we’re spoiled. Our cooks are much better than the ones here. And let’s not talk about their brewers.”
Snickering softly, Draco nodded. “Maybe we can look into exporting some of our beer and stuff? I know we have some very nice orchards for ciders. Isn’t Cecily expecting?”
“She is. I’m not sure if it’s Tristan’s though. Speaking of ciders, the oak forests can make some lovely casks,” Harry said with a head tilt. “And we need to make sure that we replant the oaks when our woodsmen take the trees.”
“Sounds good. And maybe we can put a few casks of that stuff the goblins like for future negotiations?” Draco suggested as he took a final sip if his beer. “I’m not too sure if the babe is his either, but she’s healthy, right?”
“I think they would like that,” Harry admitted. “She was as of the last check with me. No diseases and she carried Indus without a problem from what Agnes said.”
Kerrick came up as Harry was finishing his meal, and he offered his son a sliver of apple which he took with a smile. Draco watched his two favorite people snuggle together and settled in to enjoy his evening.
They were back from their trip to Londinium. Thanks to the portkey, the trip took only minutes, not the weeks that it would have taken them if they had traveled by horse. They had spent two days in the city and picked up a large number of goodies. The second day of their trip, he had made it a point to visit the shops he liked and arranged to have stuff delivered to the bank and then sent up to him. Some of the goods were likely going to be sold to some of the freeholds that dotted his kingdom.
Marius Honorius might have had the best known of the freeholds, but he hadn’t been the only one. When the Saxon general had fixated on Arthur, it had let the rest of the countryside ride out the invasion. Once the army was destroyed, the various communities had reached out to Arthur. The trip the see those places had been wholly separate from the one to check on the various villages. The negotiations with the freeholds had rested almost entirely on Arthur, with Draco backing him up. Arthur had managed to get most of them in on that first trip and when he had died, the rest had joined.
Now after four years under Draco’s rule, the various freeholds had been fully folded into his kingdom and were basically his nobles. It was very weird. However, those nobles all had coin, and he had stuff that could be sold in the various shops in the town that was springing up outside the castle. It would be one additional reason for his nobles to visit, one more hook he could use to tie them to him.
Galahad and Gawain had no bastards among the ladies of the fort, and neither seemed to be interested in courting anyone there. Draco was actually hoping that would change. Vanora had staked her claim to a central location for her tavern and had made sure that Bors knew that he was going to be helping her build it. The knight had given her a look like she was insane. Draco’s money was on Vanora. Bors liked his kids too much to piss of their mother.
Bors’ two eldest were apprentices, and the rest of Vanora’s kids were too young to be used as shopkeepers. Draco needed to find a few shopkeepers who were honest, willing to sell what he could give them, and look for new products to add to their stocks. And then make sure that he got his percentage of the profits.
Something to look into then.
Harry had taken to reading the book he had gotten from the goblins at every hour of the day and poking at the little ball of silver and glass they had presented him with. Their private potions lab saw constant use, and there was always a cauldron bubbling away. Draco wasn’t going to indulge his curiosity on the contents until Harry gave him access to the book and let him at the whole thing.
While all of this was going on, he was holding court, training, and working with Salazar to make sure that, in case of invasion, he knew and could set the many little traps that would fuck people up. He had a great deal of fun working on that. Draco had honestly figured that he finally knew why the Weasley twins had done what they did. It was incredibly freeing to think of ways to be an arsehole to people.
Salazar was using the practice of the castle to work out what he wanted for the school. Draco had declined the moving staircases, but had accepted the secret passageways. He had declined the animated armor, and taken the reinforced front gate. So, his castle was mostly mundane, at least in looks. Anyone with the least bit of mage sight though, could see the spells woven into the very fabric of the place.
Three months after their trip to Londinium, Harry handed him the book, and he had to work his reading into his own schedule. Then he started to brew the potions needed. It took him a few times, but he managed to get it right. Comparing his potion to Harry’s, they were identical. He slapped his in stasis and set it aside. Cleaning up his mess, he took the time to survey their rooms. They had a bedroom and an outer sitting room again, along with a further outer room where they could hold meetings. The room looked to be very private, but it really wasn’t.
His office and Harry’s was also on the same floor with their potions lab, which was tucked into an alcove off his lover’s office, and an extension charm was laid into the stones themselves. It let them lock the area and also take advantage of the quirk of the architecture to expand it to fit their needs. Upstairs, the nursery for the royal children were located off what would have been the Queen’s quarters.
Guin was not living up there. She was on the floor below them. So the Queen’s quarters were doubling as the playrooms and classrooms for his son and the other children of the knights. It meant that all the kids were going to be literate, with at least the basics of a general education. For the kids who had magic, there were additional lessons from the four. Helga had cornered him to thank him for the opportunity to practice what they were eventually planning on doing later.
Draco didn’t have the heart to tell her that he was the one who was honored to see them teaching his son his letters. Salazar was having fun with teaching the kids the skills they would need when they started learning potions, Godric was laying the basis for transfiguration and Guin, or Rowena as she was known in class, was showing the kids how to love learning for its own sake. Helga kept taking the kids outside to help her with the gardens she had laid out. They were functional and full of things that could either be eaten or used in medicines.
Every day, his son came home tired, happy and full of the things he had learned from each of his teachers, and he shared it all with them. Even with all the things that he had to do, with all the responsibilities that had piled onto his shoulders over the last few years, he took the time to spend every evening with his son. He was never going to let his son think that he wasn’t as important as the kingdom he was going to inherit one day.
Walking out of Harry’s office, he made his way to their bedroom. He wasn’t expecting to see Harry there, but his lover had the small bauble made of glass and goblin silver in his hands. His magic surged inside of him and he made his way over to his lover. “I think it’s time. What do you think?”
Harry set it aside to slide into his arms, and Draco could feel the magic that tied them together surge again. “Yeah, I think it’s time. The potions lab?”
“It’s the safest place in the whole castle,” Draco agreed. “And the potion we need for this is there.”
Harry nodded and brushed a kiss over his lips before picking up the physical embodiment of their hope for a larger family. The trip back to the potions lab was silent, but not awkward. The stone they were using for the base was solid and attached to the floor, unlikely to move even in the worst of events. It was out of sight of the window, and he grabbed the potion as Harry settled the womb in place.
The spell needed to start the child was actually pretty easy to do. The potion was added, the blood was produced and the whole thing was infused with their magic. Holding each other, they watched the little ball sit. It stayed dark and still for several moments before there was a bloom of dark rose colored light from within. The blessing they had asked for was coming alive before their eyes.
It took time for them to pull themselves away from their little miracle. It was too soon to see anything, but the pulse of the light in the glass was moving as fast as a hummingbird’s wings. He couldn’t feel the drain on his magic yet, but he knew it was coming based off the information the book had given them.
The walk back to their room was silent, but filled with a great deal of satisfaction. Draco pushed Harry against the wall next to the bed and kissed him. He wanted to celebrate the conception of their second in the best and most traditional manner possible.
He worked his hands under Harry’s shirts and slid his hands over his runes. He didn’t push his magic into them, but he pulled out of the kiss to brush his mouth against his lover’s ear. “May I?”
“You had better. But if I get up the duff from this, I will cut off parts of you and roast them,” Harry hissed.
Draco chuckled softly as he cast a series of contraception charms on them both. Nothing that would affect their pleasures, but they would make sure that his lover wouldn’t be getting pregnant. The hint of stiffness that had marred Harry’s frame melted away.
His hand moved over the runes as soon as Harry relaxed into him and pushed his magic into them. The rush of their activation brought a moan to his lover’s lips, and his cock surged with blood and he was hard so fast his head swam. Using his position, he pushed the shirts over Harry’s head, baring his chest for him to play with.
Moving Harry away from the wall, he placed him on their bed and stood between his legs. Rubbing his cock against the seam of his lover’s pants, he started worshiping at every stretch of skin that he had ever found that made him squirm. His nipples had become incredibly sensitive after the birth of their son and Harry could almost come from that alone.
He got his hands on the buckle of Harry’s belt and managed to get it undone without smacking anything important. Drawing his pants down his legs, Draco ran his mouth down his lover’s belly and nosed against his bellybutton, riding out the giggles that caused. Running his hands down Harry’s legs, he used his magic to get everything off.
As soon as the way was clear, he stepped forward and took the cock before him deep into his mouth and swallowed around it. The short sharp scream as Harry bucked his hips was worth the blocking of his air for a moment. When his lover’s hands fisted in his hair, he hummed in contentment. He adored doing this for Harry, and, from the moans, Harry was enjoying getting it.
It took several tugs before he pulled off his treat, and Draco panted into the crease of his lover’s hip. Running one finger behind Harry’s balls, he could feel that the lubrication charm had done its job and he whispered a second charm to add some lube to his own fingers as he pressed them against his lover’s ass. They sank in without pause and he shuddered at the feel. Harry shuddered as well and spread his legs as wide as he could.
When Draco grazed his prostate with the tips of his fingers and pressed, his hips snapped up. “Draco, please! Stop teasing,” Harry panted. He sounded beautifully wrecked.
He pulled his fingers free after one last press against Harry’s prostate. A quick spell cleaned his fingers and scrabbled at his own clothes. He managed to get his flies open and pushed everything down enough that he wasn’t likely to strangle his dick. A second spell got him more lube and he slathered it all over his cock, hissing at the sensation. The lube wasn’t cold, but it was cooler than the flesh he was getting slick.
A third spell cleaned his hand, and he ran his clean hands up the back of Harry’s legs and pushed them back, baring his tender pink hole for his view. Lining his cock up, he pressed against the furled bud that he was going to be sinking into. Teasing himself, he pressed and relaxed several times until Harry tensed up and tried to push back against Draco’s hands.
“No, love, let me,” he ground out.
Harry glared up at him, lips parted in what looked like a pained grimace. “I would, but you are being a teasing bastard.”
“Oh, you want this?” he asked as he slowly sank his cock into the hottest part of his lover. From the strangled scream that clawed its way out from behind Harry’s teeth, he was getting exactly what he wanted.
Draco sank in until his pubic bone pressed right against the bulge of his lover’s perineum. He rested there for a moment and then slid Harry’s legs around his waist, before leaning forward to rest his arms against his lover’s shoulders. Draco had Harry fully bracketed, and, as soon has he was comfortable, he started fucking into him, strokes long and hard.
The clenching of Harry’s muscles against him pulled a moan out of him. In retaliation, he thrust in harder and rode out the shudder that shook his lover’s frame. He could feel the burn of his orgasm starting to gather at the base of his spine, and he did his best to push it back. He wasn’t going to come until he had made Harry fall apart.
He could feel the head of Harry’s cock brushing against his stomach, and he changed his angle slightly to push everything together just a bit more. Each and every thrust made contact with Harry’s prostate and his cock glided up Draco’s stomach. Draco could feel from the clenching of Harry’s muscles that he was getting close. He drew in a deep breath and decided that the hot slick head of his lover’s cock moving against his abs was a delicious sensation.
Draco shifted, kissing his way up from his lover’s neck to his lips, and he tried to pour his feelings into what his body was doing. Pulling back, he looked down into Harry’s eyes and watched as the green eyes he adored go hazy and blank as his pleasure washed over him. Draco let his control go, and his orgasm roared forward and he came in hot pulses into his lover.
Whimpering slightly, he locked his elbows and tried not to collapse. He didn’t want to pull his cock out of where it was; the hot sheath was still rippling slightly from their shared pleasure. The feel of Harry’s nails scratching his scalp pulled him back to himself, and Draco slowly pulled his cock free before falling to the side and sliding onto the bed.
“Happy baby conception day,” Harry muttered before giggling and rolling into his side to throw one leg over Draco’s torso. All Draco could do was laugh in response. Happy day indeed.
Five years had flown by very fast, Draco thought. His marriage to Guin had been officially dissolved and Harry had been named his consort in truth. The polite fiction they had been living with was over. Kerrick and his sister Amaryllis were installed as his children and heirs and all was right in his world on that front. Any children that Guin had after the date of their dissolution weren’t his.
With the five years being up, they were planning on riding north to where they had started the preparation for Hogwarts. Each of the four had spent time on their site, making sure that the ley lines in the area all gathered under the location chosen for the castle. The soon to be founders had also bonded with a number of house elves, and they were all meeting them there. Draco was certain the little guys would be able to get the castle livable quickly. Once Godric got it built anyway.
The trip up had to be done in a traditional manner since everyone knew they were going. So, off they went on horses with a lot of pack horses trailing behind. The children were staying with their nanny elf, and Vanora had promised to keep an eye on them as well.
The weather was actually cooperating for the trip out, and they rode under clear skies with nary a hint of rain. Draco was actually happy with it since it meant his farmers could get their crops in without drama. A good bumper harvest was always nice to see. And would help pad their granaries for the future.
He was using the trip out to check on the various villages on the way. Peace was apparently doing great things for the population, too. He saw a large number of children running around, and he made a mental note to send some of the healers Hufflepuff had trained around to all the villages under his control. He wanted no diseases to run through his people if he could help it.
Draco had decided that he was going to basically say ‘fuck it’ and treat the time line they were in as a whole new universe. To do otherwise would lead to him going insane from trying not to change anything. It wouldn’t work and it would just damage him if he tried, to say nothing of what it would have done to the Gryff he had fallen in love with.
Besides, doing nothing would have meant they wouldn’t have their children and there was no way he was going to pass that up.
At any rate, the trip up to where Hogwarts was to be went smoothly. He was getting a good idea of what was happening to his kingdom at a ground level, and he was spending time with his lover. The food was good, they weren’t rushing to get anywhere, and he was actually comfortable on his horse. It was as close to a vacation as he had gotten in years.
When they reached the site for the castle, Draco stared. As a child he had never noticed, but now, as an adult looking at the empty landscape, he could see why the site had been chosen. The castle would be situated so to overlook the loch lapping at its feet. The forest spread out in dark waves, but currently without the more interesting wildlife. There was no village of Hogsmeade, but there was plenty of space for it to grow up.
It was a good site. He could even see where the Express would someday run. Sprout’s green houses had been inside the walls of the school, but if he squinted… Draco pulled himself out of his memories and started pitching in with the set up for camp.
Sitting around the campfire, he watched as the house elves attached to the four worked around them. Dinner was being prepared, the tents were being raised, a portable privy was going in, and enough wood had been gathered to last the night.
“Camping on our own. Isn’t this nice?” Gawain told the group as he leaned back against the carpet-covered log the elves had placed around the fire. “And I know my cooking isn’t as good as what they are doing.”
He grandly ignored the snorts of agreement from his fellow knights. Draco muttered his agreement as well. Gawain was not to be allowed to do more than stoke the fire. Any fire.
“If I didn’t think there would be some serious screaming, I would bond with more house elves, just so we can get them to cook for us. As it is I have Tans. Harry, of course, has Nanny and Pins.”
Tristan sat forward from his spot on the outer edge of the circle and looked at Harry. “Who is Pins?”
The rest of the knights nodded, and Harry sighed. Draco shrugged his shoulder against his lover and left the decision up to him. The four had proven to be utterly trustworthy, and there was no way in any universe he could see the knights betraying him or his family.
“Pins is Kerrick’s bodyguard. He’s there just to make sure nothing and no one hurts our son,” Harry finally told them. “We can’t be with our son every moment of every day. So for the times when he isn’t with us, Pins is.”
“Good idea,” Bors grunted. “The gods know, there are a large number of arseholes running around. And a child is always vulnerable.”
“And while we’ve vetted our people pretty well, not everyone who comes to the castle is going to pass our checks,” Draco admitted. “Causing an ‘accident’ for my heir isn’t outside the realm of possibility.”
Harry nodded in agreement and then chuffed out a laugh. “You can’t kill them long distance, Guin.”
Guinevere, now Rowena, flicked her hair over her shoulder before huffing in anger. “I can lay a hex on him that will only trip if someone approaches him in anger?”
Draco shook his head. “And what happens if I walk by him after a council meeting? You know I leave those meetings more pissed off than I entered 9 times out of 10.”
Her shouters slumped and she nodded. “Okay. I can see why that would be bad. I’ll research it. See if I can come up with something intent-based instead.”
Salazar nodded as well, and Draco could see the anticipation on his face. Something was going on in that sneaky mind, and he was certain it would be painful for someone. “Just make sure whatever you come up with ramps up from a deterrent to something bad, Salazar. Going right for the fatal response, while entertaining, isn’t good in the long run,” Draco suggested.
“Spoilsport,” Salazar muttered with his eyes alight with vindictive glee. “If I figure it out?”
“And it proves to be safe?” Draco finished the thought. “Then I can see placing it. Until then, no. Kerrick will have Pins, and we’re looking for an elf for Amaryllis. Nanny will likely have a new charge next year, so if your elves have someone that they can recommend, that would be good.”
“What about having one on you or Harry?” Galahad asked from his spot next to Gawain. It was typical of them to be within arm’s reach of each other every chance they got.
Draco was of the private opinion that the two of them needed to find a nice girl to put between them because they were as bonded as he and Harry were. Or, more likely, like Arthur and Lancelot had been. If they had a wife, it might help with the last bit of broodiness they both seemed to have.
“Stop matchmaking,” Harry hissed at him from where he was smuggled into his side.
“It’s been six years since we got here,” Draco muttered back. “How much longer do you think it will take them?”
“A lot less time than you think,” Harry informed him, voice even quieter as he used English. “They’re dating a girl in town.”
“Finally. Her family knows it’s the two of them, right?’ Draco asked.
“Yup. And they know that you approve of the union because they introduced me the last time I went down to check on Indus,” Harry told him.
“How’s the kid?” Draco asked, dropping back into the local language they had spent so long learning. English, while secure, was also fairly rude. He tried not to shove their origins to the fore any more than he had to. But getting the straight skinny on those two was too tempting to pass up.
“Enjoying being an older brother and looking forward to getting a wand of his own. He’s interested in going to the school when it opens,” Harry told him.
Godric looked up from his own spot and blinked a few times, obviously pulling his attention back from wherever it had been. “If I can get the basic building up tomorrow, our elves can finish the insides within weeks. Once that’s done, we can be ready for students with the fall.”
Bors and Tristan both grunted in satisfaction, and Draco hummed. That still fit the timeline in his head. The one person who had been quiet finally spoke up.
“Harry, I know you’ve got Renfry at the level of a journeyman, but have you figured out who he’s to go to for his mastery level classes?” Hufflepuff asked as she sat knitting something.
Of the four, she was the most baffling to Draco. She reminded him of Molly Weasley at times, but she seemed to have much more sense. Plus, a rather nice habit of not smothering everyone who came into her range with her presence. But she still tried to feed everyone in reach, made knitted things, and had the mothering touch the other woman had. It was creepy.
Harry stared over at Helga and then looked at Bors. “He’s your son, Bors. Do you want any say in this? Because I’m sure not going to make any arrangements that you and his mother don’t agree to.”
The knight looked up from his drink and shook his head. “Lad’s damn near grown. I just want him to be happy and remember to visit his mother every once in a while.”
“Then I would say that if he agrees, Helga, you can invite him to stay,” Harry agreed. “We’ll get together to talk about what his strengths and weaknesses are after we get the castle up.”
The pop of an elf arriving shut down talk for a moment, and the little creature looked at Rowena. “Cookie has dinner finished, milady. We serves it at table?”
“That sounds grand,” Rowena agreed with a clap of her hands.
Draco stood up and offered his hands to his lover and pulled him up firmly. Dinner was going to be one more thing to add to his list of good things about the trip. Someone else was cooking and definitely cleaning, because he was wretched at them and had never improved, no matter how many times the knights had tried. Camping was always more fun when he wasn’t expected to help with the mundane things.
The next morning dawned cool and clear. Breakfast was provided by the elves and everyone ate heartily. The sun had been up for an hour by the time they were ready to begin.
Godric settled on a spot on the rise and thrust both hands in the soil before him. Salazar stood behind him, hands on his shoulders, getting ready to feed him power as needed. Harry was behind him with Draco bringing up the rear. If it took the power of the four of them to do this, Draco was going to be horrified and impressed.
The site the mage had settled on directly overlooked the loch. The cliffs leading to the water were sheer, and before Godric started to work, there was no way down. The first flush of power from the mage pulled a seam of water up from the loch, through the rock, and carved a set of stairs down to it on the face of the cliff. The next pulse capped the water and formed a small fountain. A third pulse ran a series of pipes through the ground where the castle was to sit.
Draco had always wondered how the castle got water. Now he knew. They had talked about how to deal with waste, and he and Harry had made a case for a deep borehole to hit far enough down to incinerate it thanks to the heat of the Earth. Baffles and various other things made sure that the noxiousness that was endemic to things of the sanitary nature were filtered through many tens of feet of rock and soil. A second set of shafts were designed to pull heat up from the earth going straight down from the castle. Hogwarts had always been chilly, but not frozen, even in the depths of winter. Magic after all, could only do so much to overcome weather and a building made of stone. He wasn’t sure that they would be able to put enough fireplaces in to make the place warm if they didn’t use the heat of the Earth.
Once the basics were done, Godric moved onto the foundation. Draco could tell because the ground started to heave as the stones rearranged themselves. The shaking was intense, and he gestured Rowena over with a jerk of his head.
“Something tells me this is going to get worse before it gets better,” he called out to her. The noise was increasing and so was the movement of the ground. “Get the knights and our horses off the promontory.”
All she did was nod back before heading down to make sure the rest of their party stayed safe. As soon as they were out of range, she and Helga linked hands and raised a shield around the area. The small pebbles that had been rolling downhill stopped against it.
Godric was sweating, and Harry had his hands clamped to Salazar’s shoulders. The soil that had filled the space in with the foundations vanished and reappeared against the shield. The newly exposed basement and foundations looked an awful lot like the pictures he had seen of the muggle Colosseum. Just in better shape.
Draco kept an eye on the sun, and it was almost at its zenith when Godric pulled his hands free of the soil. The basement was fully done and the stone floors, or at that point ceilings, had started levering themselves into place to cover the arches. It was like watching a puzzle be put together by an invisible giant.
“Godric? How are you?” Draco asked as he signaled Rowena to cut the shield. The pile of dirt from the foundations shifted and he could hear the sound of it sliding. At least it was far enough away from anything important, he thought.
“I’m fucking tired,” Godric admitted. “I hope the elves have food ready. Because I’m going to make their day by eating everything.”
“Then you are napping, Godric,” Salazar muttered. “Because I’m tired, too, and I’ll be eating just as much as you will.”
Draco turned to look at Harry and relaxed slightly at the wave he got. “I’m good. Neither of them had started to draw from me, but Salazar was shaking pretty hard there towards the end. Help me make sure the two of them make it to camp without killing themselves?”
Snorting lightly Draco walked over and pulled Godric up. The walk over to where Rowena and Helga had been standing was complicated as he and Harry figured out how to carry their charges around the masses of dirt. The six of them then staggered down to the camp, and, true to their words, the men both ate everything they could get their hands on. The elves were thrilled that both wizards were finally eating what they thought of as proper meals. Snickering softly at the sight, Draco managed to eat until he was stuffed and then headed out for a walk.
Making his way back up the hill, he saw that the knights were all gathered around the pit that was housing the finished stonework. Walking up to them, he heard them muttering in the language of their childhood and he left them too it. Magic might let him translate anything, but common courtesy meant that he wasn’t going to stick his nose in.
Turning his back on them, he looked over the length of the loch. He had to wonder if the giant squid was in it? Were there merpeople in there? When had the forest changed from the typical Scottish forest to something that belonged in a muggle horror movie? He had so many questions, and he wasn’t too sure that he would ever get the answers.
Twisting around, he turned to stare at the men behind him. “What can I do for you?”
Bors waved his hand the evidence of destruction and construction. “Can my son do this? My daughter? The rest of my kids; who I know that you’ve marked as being like you?”
Oh, shite. Well. It had taken him six years to ask the question, and Draco owed it to the man to answer honestly. Taking a deep breath, he spread his hands and tried to look sincere. “No. Your children are magically talented, but Godric Gryffindor is… Well, to use a comparison that makes the most sense, he’s like a Knight of the Round Table in his skills. Your kids are more like one of the guardsmen. Talented, even very talented, but not at the extreme level that you and your cohorts are.”
All four of the surviving knights frowned. Tristan was the only one with active magic. The other three weren’t really Squibs, but they weren’t magical enough to attract the attention of a teacher. Their children, as evidenced by Bors, all had a very good chance of being more magical than their parents.
Of the twelve kids he had, eight of them were magical enough for schooling. The other four were at the same level Bors was, magical, but not magical enough for anything special. Well, if they didn’t have Harry around them. He was going to make sure that those four kids got at least the basics of hedge witchery. It would let them brew potions and do some simple magics that had always proven to be useful to their communities.
“So, they can’t do this?” Bors asked as he walked over to the edge of the pit to look in.
Draco walked up to the edge as well and saw that the foundation was level with the soil. The center of the space was filled with the flagstone flooring. He could see that what he had thought were arches were actually barrel vaults that had the pipes and the like running alongside. He had no idea what Godric was doing with the base of the castle, but he had to trust the man that he knew what he was doing.
“No, they can’t do this. At best they might be able to put small things together like furniture or something similar. The level of work that Godric is doing is beyond them, both in power and knowledge. He spent years learning how to do this and not burn himself out,” Draco tried to reassure him. “I’m sure he could teach the small skills, but this is just beyond them.”
“Good. This much power is very disturbing. Because no one should have that much power,” Bors mumbled as he poked the shaft of his axe at the joins of the stones.
“You understand, this isn’t just Gryffindor, right?” Draco asked as he looked at his men. “He’s the one providing the direction and skill for sure and certain. But much of the power behind this is coming from Slytherin, Harry and myself, plus Godric. It’s going to take all four of us to build the shell of the castle. The ladies are keeping you safe by having a shield up, but the rest of us are only concerned with getting the major parts of the buildings up. Once that’s up, the elves will start working on the innards of the place under the ladies eyes.”
Tristan nodded and reached into the pouch at his waist to pull out an apple and a knife. Slicing off a sliver he carefully ate a bite before offering some to Bors. “Will my sons be at this level?”
“We don’t know,” Draco admitted. “We’ve got a decent idea about the rest of Bors’ kids, but one of them might surprise us. The rest of the children who show the spark of magic haven’t gotten any in-depth training and so we can’t really say what’s going on with them. That’s one reason why Guin and her friends are putting together this school. So they can make sure that all the kids who have magic can be trained. So they can have an ethical foundation on how to use, or not use the power they have.”
“Good. I’d hate to have to hunt my kids,” Tristan told him. “My training stopped when I was fourteen, but I knew what I was and wasn’t supposed to do with it.”
“So are we good?” Draco asked as he looked at Galahad and Gawain.
“You’ll keep an eye on any children we have?” Galahad asked as he looked at his partner and then at him.
Draco nodded. “Oh, yeah. We’re going to be keeping an eye on every single kid in our reach.”
“Good. If you and Harry are helping provide the power for this, you need to at least try to rest,” Gawain spoke up.
Draco chuckled slightly and bowed his head in acceptance. “I’ll get some rest. You four try not to freak out.”
The looks the four men gave him were as insulted as a wet cat, and he giggled all the way down the hill.
Midafternoon brought the four wizards back up to the top of the promontory, and the two witches had the shield up before anything started.
Godric sat down again and thrust his hands back into the soil. Salazar, instead of standing, knelt behind his friend and put his hands back on his shoulders. Harry took the standing position behind Slytherin again, and Draco went back to supporting his lover.
“Ready gentlemen?” Godric asked as he took in a series of deep breaths. At the sounds of assent, he relaxed back into the ground and picked the magic up again.
The invisible giant picked up the next pieces of the floor and started fitting them into place. Once the floor was finished, the walls started to grow in fits and starts. The central core of the tower went up first and then the outer shell. For a long time, nothing seemed to change, but Draco could feel Harry stagger as Godric started drawing on him.
He could only guess at what was happening inside the castle. He was betting the various floors were being put into place, the staircases, and the classrooms. He could see the basics of the castle he had known in his childhood taking shape, but there was still so much to go.
The castle wasn’t the tower that he had thought it would be. It was a large rectangle with the round towers at the corners. He looked up and smiled at the familiar façade that was appearing through Godric’s magic. As he watched, he saw the stone that made up the roof slotting into place. He had no idea how long the whole thing was taking, but he finally felt the tug on his magic about the same time the last roof piece was locked into place.
Draco relaxed into the tug and let his magic flow into Godric. He didn’t try to direct it, just let the man have access to the power he needed to complete the castle. Closing his eyes, he watched as his power was moved through the earth and directed around the castle itself. The wall was high, thick, and strong enough to protect a school full of children who only wanted to learn magic.
When the draw on his core slowed to a trickle, he opened his eyes to see that the walls he had seen in his mind’s eye had been made fact. The only thing missing from the whole place was the glass for the windows and the metalwork. Godric had only worked with stone. They would need to figure out how to use their magic to get the metal and wood gates they would need.
The trickle died off, and he took a step back and tried to breathe. “Wow.”
Godric was leaning back against Salazar, and they were both staring up at what they had wrought. “Well, fuck me. Look what we did, Sal.”
Slytherin chuckled softly and hugged his friend. “It’s magnificent. And it will be more so once the rest of us get to put our stamps on it, too.”
“Just make sure that nothing that you do can hurt the kids,” Godric muttered as his head rolled back on the shoulder behind him.
“They won’t be hurt. But I want to make sure that if we need to, the castle can help us defend the children,” Salazar murmured as he worked his arms around the other man. “And I don’t care about invaders. They can all fucking die if they try to hurt anyone I like.”
“Works for me,” Gryffindor mumbled before passing out.
“Jackarse. Draining yourself down to dregs,” Salazar bitched quietly. “Can one of you two please send a burst of blue light up to let the ladies know that we’re done and could use some help?”
The look Harry gave him was exhausted, and Draco nodded. Pulling his kingwood wand out, he got the burst of light out. He could feel the strain of it pushing against his core. What would have been done without a thought that morning made him ache after the pulls on his core in the afternoon.
Looking over at the empty gatehouse, he sat down on the ground, waiting on the ladies to come and fetch them. Instead of the women though, three of his knights made their way over to them.
“So, I’m guessing you overdid it?” Galahad asked as he grabbed the hand that Draco held out and helped heave him back up on his feet.
Staggering slightly with exhaustion, he nodded. “Oh, yeah. We pushed it just a bit too far. But trying to complete it all tomorrow would have meant that we would have basically had a seam in the middle of the castle. It wouldn’t have been good.”
“If you say so,” Galahad told him as he moved over to Harry.
His partner was basically passed out on the ground, and he sighed. Yeah, they had overdone it.
Each of his knights snorted in amusement before heaving the three unconscious men over their shoulders. “Think you can walk, sire?” Gawain asked as he shrugged Salazar’s unconscious body into a better position.
“You are not funny,” Draco muttered as he started staggering toward the exit.
“We’re hilarious,” Bors grunted as he managed Godric’s larger frame.
“You’re all arseholes.”
The laughter that followed was warming, even if he felt like shite.
It took two days for them to feel recovered enough to stagger back up to the castle. The house elves had fallen all over themselves to take care of the exhausted magic users. Food, potions and pampering had been the word of the day, and Draco wasn’t too proud to admit that he had wallowed in it.
Walking back up the slope, he saw that the gatehouse was still empty. That would need to be fixed before the school started. Maybe see if he could get the goblins to craft them?
The courtyard was dominated by the castle itself. Large steps led up to the main door leading into the interior of the structure, and he could see the giant wooden slabs in his mind’s eye. Again, something that would have to be dealt with and soon. “Maybe you need to contract with the goblins to get the gates and the doors?”
Salazar waved a hand in dismissal. “I set that up when I went to Londinium. It’s why I made sure that you followed the plans for the size we agreed on and didn’t go any larger.”
“You are pushy, you know that Salazar?” Helga asked as she poked at the dirt of the courtyard. Most of the space was strictly dirt, but the area in front of the doors was set with flagstones to form a flat area. The rest of the area in the walls still showed the natural lay of the land.
“If I wasn’t pushy, we would be years away from this point, Helga. And who knows when we would have our first class? Milord Pendragon has been willing to sponsor us for the last five years and now he’s helped us construct the castle we will be doing that in.” Salazar threw his arms out and spun around to draw her attention to the place they were in. “Overstaying our welcome would not have been wise.”
“And I’m going to be sending you your first class of students. But you need to get the castle ready for it,” Draco observed. “Where’s the ward stone for this place?”
“In the lowest levels of the castle,” Godric told him. “We’ll be waking and marrying it to the ley lines tonight. But the worst of this is done. Welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
Something in Draco’s heart sang at the sound of the words. The best home he had ever known before he fell in love with Harry was back in the same world that he was in. One more piece of his reality had just slotted into place.
One hundred years was an extraordinary length of time to have lived, Draco Malfoy, known as Pendragon, thought. To have lived as long as he had, he had seen an amazing number of events.
Hogwarts was a shining example of hope for the future of the magical world. The four founders were still kicking and teaching class after class of children. He and Harry had even closer ties to the founders than they had had while sponsoring them. Their son Kerrick had married the oldest daughter of Godric and Rowena.
Salazar had already been married when Hogwarts had been raised. The entire time he had been with them, he had kept quiet about his spouse. When she had shown up, Draco had completely understood why. Daughters of Cesare, even if they came from the wrong side of the blanket were boons in status to whomever they were married to. If things had gone wrong for Salazar, having her be totally unknown would have protected her and their children. And they did have some. When she arrived, she had several with her, and in their years at the school, they had produced even more.
Draco had laughed like a loon when he had gotten the announcement that Godric’s oldest boy, Geoffrey had married Salazar’s only daughter. Verdiana was a viper and a vicious one at that. Geoffrey had been panting after the girl since he started noticing that girls existed. Draco and Tristan thought it was cute. Harry just thought they were twisted little bastards who liked to make everyone around them choke.
Helga had married far later than her friends and had one set of twins. Unlike the rest of them, her spouse hadn’t lasted long. But she hadn’t killed him. Neither, to the best of Draco’s knowledge, had anyone else. The man had gone home to his village and had caught a nasty case of dead when he had tripped over something and snapped his neck. Helga hadn’t been too broken up about it though. He firmly wasn’t thinking about that.
His knights had prospered and added to the population as well. After seventy years on the throne, they were all dead, but they had all lived full and wonderful lives.
Bors had managed to sweet talk Vanora into marriage after years of tap dancing around the issue. Draco and Harry had a private bet going that the family was the start for the Weasley’s. The red hair was hard to miss. They had never managed to confirm if their supposititious had been right, but it had still been fun to try to pick out the possible relationships to people they had known. Even if the Weasley matriarch had been an utter bitch at the end.
Gawain and Galahad had managed woo their lady, and Harry had found her sweet but surprisingly uncomplicated. Draco had taken her at face value and hadn’t tried to get anything more out of her. His knights had been happy enough with her and with each other. Their kids and grandkids were all mostly happy little things with wicked edges to their minds and tempers. And their forefathers’ skill in battle.
Tristan only had the two boys with Cecily and had never seemed to be interested in anything further. When Draco had asked Harry about him, he had been advised to let him be. He wasn’t going to try to remember everything Harry had hammered home about a person being asexual but still interested in having children.
“Contemplating our friends?” Harry asked as he leaned against the doorjamb.
“Contemplating how different things are from what I remember of English history when I was a kid,” Draco admitted. “I don’t remember hearing that Helga Hufflepuff had ever married or had children, for one. And I think the knights never had children in the history Binns tried to teach us.”
“I never heard anything about Slytherin’s wife,” Harry confided. “Hermione looked into the Gaunts and Salazar when we were running around sixth year and found the relationship to be tenuous at best. In that time line, Salazar never brought his wife here from Rome. Only one of his children came here and Salazar died a bitter, nasty old bastard who thought putting a basilisk in a school was a good idea.”
Draco held up one finger and tried not to smile at the huff it got him. “In his favor, he’s really good with the dangerous beasties. Reminds me of a more normal-sized Hagrid.”
“Uh-huh. I know he is. Which is why there is a village of merpeople in the loch,” Harry bitched as he waved the latest letter from the school at him.
“Is that James’ most recent letter?” Draco asked as he reached for their grandson’s missive.
“It is. Kerrick already read it and spent most of the morning laughing as I bitched about it,” Harry huffed out on a laugh. “He has far too much of your sense of humor, love.”
The glow of pride at the thought of their firstborn was warm and soft now. Kerrick was almost seventy and had taken over most of the day-to-day work of the kingdom. They had a plan in the works, but Draco was waiting on a reply from Godric before putting it into play. Time was starting to weigh on them both, and they wanted some time outside the pressure-cooker that was being king and consort.
Their son was a grandfather several times over and a very capable knight in his own right. Unlike his uncles, he didn’t enjoy battle for its own sake. He enjoyed the forms and the traditions, but not the blood. Tristan, in his last years, had complimented them on raising a child who didn’t have that broken bit inside. Galahad and Gawain had agreed before they had died.
Bors had been the first to go when he had died about ten years after his marriage to Vanora, but he had always had soft spots for the children of his friends. Dagonet’s son, Tristan’s kids, and the tribe that Galahad and Gawain had produced had always been indulged by the big man.
Draco had been absurdly happy when their children had been included in the rough affection Bors had doled out. Kerrick was his first child and he always seemed to have an extra bit of something for him. He had done his best not to treat him any different than he did their other kids, but he wasn’t sure how well he had done. “He’s a good blend of the both of us, Harry. It could be worse. He could have come out and been like my father.”
“We’ve had this discussion,” Harry reminded him as he carefully walked over to his chair. “If we had managed to produce your father, or even mine, we would have done our best to warp the kid back to something closer to normal. Snotty arrogance and insane mischief weren’t needed in their childhoods!”
The shudder that racked Draco’s frame wasn’t feigned. After the four had left to establish Hogwarts, the war that had been brewing with the Saxons had exploded again. The school had hidden itself behind a series of shields and baffles, trusting in them to keep the place safe. No one had gotten near them, and Draco had taken advantage of that several times to send the children there for refuge.
Because their castle hadn’t faired quite as well. The fortifications had been put to the test on several harrowing occasions. Plus the fields surrounding it had gotten watered with the blood of their enemies more far more often than he wanted to think about. Every time that happened, the next year’s crops had come up especially well though.
But no matter how hard the Saxons tried, they had never been able to break through. Draco and Harry had both earned the name Pendragon on that campaign. They had taken to the skies in their animagus forms and used them to harry, harass and frighten the army before their gates. It had worked, and the Saxons had run back to their boats, screaming of the dragons that Draco had under control in his kingdom.
When the kingdoms to the south had gotten restless, Harry had taken to flying over the skies of the castle to reinforce the rumors. Draco would often join him and they would play tag in the sky. On those afternoons, they would land and disappear to their rooms for a well-deserved romp. Peace had stayed the way of the land for a number of years due to that.
“Well, the kids are a bit arrogant,” Draco allowed. “And they have a fair amount of mischief going. I mean, who else would spike the knights’ cider with that applejack that you made? Just to see them act like arses.”
The snicker that broke out between Harry’s lips was still one of the cutest things that he had ever heard. Draco smiled at the memory, even if, at the time, he had wanted to tan the hide off the children responsible. The knights had all had hangovers that had lasted days. Because the kids had taken it one step further and hidden the cure. Evil little shites.
“I don’t think the knights ever forgave them for that. And I know that when I went to help Indus with Tristan at the end, he still had some of the hangover cure stashed away. Just in case.” Harry smiled in memory. “Did you manage to start the process to get Tristan’s family on their way to being Ancient and Noble?”
“Tristan had a great deal more wealth than anyone gave him credit for, and he banked it with Gringotts. Indus has managed that well and has started branching out into other things to make more money.” Draco shrugged. “He’s got a title, and I figure that if the family is even a tenth as clever as Tristan and Indus, they’ll make it soon.”
“The first incarnations of the Wizengamot seem to be forming in Londinium, and Renfry has been asking me to come down to sit one of the sessions. He wants to see if getting the greatest Merlin to grace them with his presence will give it a bit more legitimacy.” Harry leaned forward to take a cup off the tray that appeared in front of them. Nanny had graduated to their personal chef and was constantly trying to get them to eat.
They indulged her fussy nature a lot.
“Do you want to go?” Draco asked.
“No. They need to do this without me propping them up.” Harry sighed.
“Will you be okay with us retiring to Hogwarts?” Draco asked as he looked out the windows they had put in only twenty years before. They had both agreed that the danger was low enough to take the risk by then. The glass was mage-glass and was weather tight, but would let a mail owl through. Like the one making its way over the parapets to them.
Just like he had for the last seventy years, Harry followed his lead and stared out the glass as well. “Looks like we may have an answer to that. But yes, I would like to take a step or two back from Camelot.”
The owl glided through the window without a pause and took up a spot on the roost they had set up just for them. Tans was still with them, and he popped in to take the letter clutched in the bird’s claws. A snap of his fingers filled the treat and water bowls, and the bird started eating greedily.
“Master Draco, yous and Master Harry going to Hogwarts?” Tans asked as he handed the letter off.
“If Gryffindor agreed, yes,” Draco told their number one elf. Tans hadn’t changed in the years that he had been tied to his magic. It spoke well of the bond between them that his elf had stayed healthy and spry, no matter what life threw at them. “We’ll want you there of course.”
Tans wriggled in pleasure and started straightening the already spotless room. Draco wasn’t going to call the little guy on it though. If he was in his position, he would want to know, too. Breaking the seal, he saw that Rowena had written the reply and her first word took up most of the first third of the page.
“I would say that Rowena wants us there,” he told Harry, voice dry and amused as he turned it around so his lover could see. The giant “YES!” was a good indicator that they were welcome.
Harry snorted in laughter and nodded. “Gee, looks like. Tans, I think you can start packing.”
The high-pitched squeal of agreement brought a smile to Draco’s face, too. Opening the bottom third of the letter, he saw that Godric had added a postscript. It seemed that he was in agreement with his wife. They had a place in Hogwarts and the founders wanted them, both for their friendship, and to press them into teaching some classes.
Laughing lightly at the irony, he folded it back up. They were off to their next adventure.
They had been at the castle for six months. The adventure had been… exhausting. Kerrick had taken the crown of Camelot and the turnover had been as smooth as they could wish. From all the reports they were getting from friends and family still there, the kingdom was thriving. Putting the letter with the news away, he got ready for bed.
Draco climbed into bed behind Harry and snuggled in. He had spent the day with some of the seventh years, getting them ready for life outside the walls of their school. It wasn’t going to be the same as it was inside, after all, and the kids needed to know that. Some of them were going to go back to their families, take up their trades and make lives. Others would be going on to apprenticeships or even the forming universities that were starting to take magical students. While still others would be taking up their positions as heirs to the various levels of peerage across Britain. It was interesting to see how things were working out.
He was tired. The tired that came from having worked, done things and lived fully. Smiling softly, he kissed the nape of the love of his life’s neck and fell asleep.
Waking up, he wasn’t in Hogwarts. He wasn’t in Camelot. And he wasn’t in the body of a man who was just over one-hundred-years old. Draco looked down at his body and cursed. He was in the same body and same clothes that they had come back through time in.
Looking around, he tried to figure out where he was. And where Harry was. From the lintel stones, he was back at Stonehenge. Draco didn’t take the time to try to get away, he just started searching the site for his lover. Following the warmth of the bond that he had been living with for most of his life, he zeroed in on Harry’s position.
Standing over Harry when he came around the bluestone was an androgynous figure in white. The flick of his wrist was instinctive, and his hand was filled with the sword that he had carried for more than seventy years. “Who are you? What have you done to him?”
“Peace, Pendragon. Your mate is safe,” the figure told him. Frowning he tried to remember where he had heard that voice but it kept slipping away. Warm and calm, it flowed out and was neither male nor female, but both at once. “You have a choice.”
“We’ve always had choices, whoever you are,” Draco snarled and made his way over to Harry. Dropping to one knee, he tried to see what was causing his lover to sleep.
Like himself, Harry had been dressed in the clothes they had arrived to the past in. He appeared to be as young as Draco was and yet was sleeping soundly. The flick to return the sword to his bracelet was quick, and he pulled Harry up and over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. The movement took only moments, and he got his wand out next. If the sword wasn’t going to do it, maybe that would.
“Good, Pendragon. Much better. You have a choice,” the figure told him again.
“What choice?” he asked, voice heavy with dread.
“Your mate was right. When you went through my fairy ring here at Stonehenge, you slipped between worlds and moved to one where you two were needed to set into motion a change to history. Magic grows and flourishes there. Your line has lived for more than a thousand years and your names are honored.”
Draco took a deep breath and tried not to scream. “We’re no longer there, are we?”
The figure shook its head. “No. You are, for the moment, nowhere.”
He wasn’t going to be facing this on his own any more. Firing a controlled burst of magic down their bond, he forced Harry to wake up. Ignoring the swearing, he let Harry slide off his shoulder and turned him around to face the figure before them.
“Harry, meet the personification of Magic. They’re offering us a choice,” Draco started to explain to him. “We’re back to right before we went to the alternate universe and lived for seventy-odd years, had kids and lives.”
“We’re back there?” Harry asked, voice breaking slightly.
Draco nodded. He knew exactly why his lover’s voice had broken. Kerrick, Amaryllis, and all their children were in that other universe. Depending on their choices, they might never get to see them again. “Looks like you were right on where we landed, by the way.”
“Goodie,” his lover told him dryly. Turning to look at Magic, he moved forward, wand at the ready. “And what are our choices?”
Magic nodded at them and spread their hands to the spaces between the lintel stones. The first space lit with a white light. “You can go back to where you were. You will live out your natural life there and die within minutes of each other. You will pass into myth and legend. In the fullness of time, you may be reborn to find each other again.”
Turning to the second lintel, the light wasn’t quite as bright and threating shapes moved within. Draco shivered at the sight. “You can go back to the world that you were born in. You will have to deal with the darkness that infests it, and there are no guarantees that your lives will not be cut short. But you will be the rallying point for all of the light to gather around and fight.”
“Will we win there?” Draco asked.
“There are no guarantees,” Magic said, voice level.
Draco looked at the two choices before them and sighed. He knew what he wanted. But was it what Harry wanted? Turning to look at his lover, he saw that the green eyes that he loved so much were bright with agreement. Nodding, he reached down and took the smooth hand that he had held in his for a lifetime, and took a deep breath.
Turning to the lintel of their choice, they stepped through.