Survival of the Species
4 Unexpected Lives
Christmas Eve, 2017
Harry sat in the chair by the fire in the eastern corner of the cavern. The magical portal looked out into misty darkness that enveloped the land. The long exhale of air revealed the frostiness of the temperature within the space. This was his spot, the one where he waited to see the sun rise. But it didn’t; they were now in the months of eternal darkness.
Draco was sleeping soundly in his bed, surrounded by frozen stalagmites. Draco had picked the spot for his sleeping quarters last month; it was away from Harry. He wasn’t sure if Draco had done it because the area gave a sense of privacy or if Draco didn’t want to spend more time next to Harry than he had to. Harry spent hours contemplating the changes in the blond wizard.
On that day, they had quickly discovered the cavern behind Lusi’s lair. It appeared to be a solid wall of glacier ice, but Harry could feel the magic behind it. It took both of their blood to open it: one drop from a Dragon Rider and one from a Veela-wizard. The cavern was immense; it seemed as if the inside of the mountain had been carved out. The walls were made of the thick ice, and the floor of granite. Geologically, it made no sense to either of them, but that was not what caught their attention. The space, as tall as the mountain, was filled with great columns of frozen ice, formed into pillars. With every step, the cavern echoed. All around seemed to be areas where people had congregated, some for sleeping, some for eating, and some for preparing food and making weapons. Draco immediately migrated to a solid raised block in the middle of the room. A skeleton lay across it, and to their horror, they saw an infant’s bones resting inside the wizard’s. A long carved bone knife protruded from between two ribs on the left side of the adult wizard. The far south wall contained translucent drawers of ice where more skeletons lay.
Woven baskets contained treasures of the naturally occurring gemstone, Greenlandite. They had been highly polished, and strands of beads were still intact. One basket they both found highly amusing; it was filled with penis-shaped scrimshaw. Draco admired the pieces made from fossilised walrus tusks and whalebones. Harry was sure his cheeks turned bright red when Draco explained that they weren’t for decorative usage. For Draco, though, the major treasure was the diaries he found written by the Shamans and the tribal leaders. They were in ancient Veela script and Harry feared it would take all eleven years for Draco to transcribe them.
The first few days, they had spent in silence, both trying to deal with the knowledge that they would be stranded on the island for more than ten years. Harry immediately took charge of the egg, doing his best to remember everything Hagrid and Charlie had ever mentioned about dragon eggs. He put it in his cauldron and kept a perpetual warming fire below it. Draco had brought a few books on dragons, but they had scant information on raising one. Harry hoped the diaries would contain more.
They both knew that the length of the darkness outside was increasing daily. They would need supplies. They collected the rest of the berries, sorrel and other plants that could be used for cooking. Fish and shellfish were set aside in an area dedicated to keeping supplies in a frozen state. Yes, they could replicate the food, but both felt they needed enough, just in case…In case of what, Harry wondered now.
From his bed, Draco released a moan and turned over. He was covered in numerous furs and had taken to wearing pyjamas recently. Harry wasn’t sure if it was the darkness that had caused the change in Draco, or if he was suffering from depression. He spent most of his waking time either transcribing books or sitting by the western portal, writing letters to Scorpius. They barely talked anymore, and when Draco did, it was to instruct Harry on what he was learning about the island and how to survive. Draco insisted that everything be kept neat and in its place.
The most memorable lesson was when they left the cave and killed a seal. The fish did not contain enough fat to sustain the energy they spent by keeping warm in the cavern. They needed the richer meat, laced with fat. The shore was now frozen and the icebergs that had happened to be drifting by were caught in place. There were certain times when the creaking sound of the ice shifting made them both shiver; the sound was too lonely, too haunting.
The wildlife of the Arctic made its presence known. They saw their first polar bear a few days before. They considered killing it, but neither really wanted to. They would have enough food for the next few months, if they added another seal and reindeer.
Harry feared for Draco, he tried to get him to talk about home, about Scorpius, about anything, but Draco refused. He either ignored the questions or changed the subject. More often than not, he just went back to bed and slept. What Harry noticed most was that Draco appeared bedraggled. His hair was growing longer and thicker, and always seemed dishevelled; this wasn’t the man that Harry knew, or thought he knew.
“Tempus,” Harry whispered. It was almost midnight. His heart was breaking thinking of his family tonight. He missed his kids and he knew they must think him dead. Ginny would survive, but he never wanted this for her, for them, any of them. He could imagine that, between Kingsley and Ron, Malfoy Manor had been searched for any trace of where they might be. Draco had brought most of the maps with him, but there were still hints left here and there, and Ron knew which legend they were attempting to go after. However, the hope of being found was not worth thinking about. The Secret Keeper was dead and buried on the hillside with the others, and Lusi was dead. Her egg, still being kept warm, would hatch in the spring. If they were lucky.
Harry removed the fur blanket covering his legs. While he could still see his breath, he wasn’t cold. The temperature was probably at freezing, but he had grown used to it. He lowered the fire and walked over to check on Draco. His eyelids were twitching and his mouth scowling. Harry cast a small Warming Spell and walked across the room to his own bed, stripped off his clothes, and slipped between the sheets. There would be no presents tomorrow morning, no children tearing the wrapping off gifts and screaming with joy, no house filled with red hair. For the first time in over three months, he wept.
The sound of the ice shifting, followed by the howl of an Arctic wolf, brought Harry out of a deep sleep and into a feeling of instant awareness. He let the feeling of panic diminish, while calmly telling himself that there was nothing wrong. But there was something wrong, he just couldn’t pinpoint it, and then it became clear. Draco was not in his bed. Harry lit every candle in the cavern with one swipe of his wand. Draco was gone. Harry leapt out of bed, throwing on his clothes, boots, hat and an extra fur. He stumbled over to Draco’s bed and saw the parchment with script that hardly seemed to come from Draco’s quill.
I am sorry, but this is for the best. I cannot, and will not, be a further burden to you. I know you do not blame me for what has happened, but I do blame myself. I cannot add to it by causing you further grief. You have been a wonderful friend, and I say that with joy, as I think of us as friends now. I wish you the best.
You will not have to wait over ten years now, only seven. However, I do ask one favour. When you do finally make it home, please give Scorpius the letters I have written for him. I do hope that you will be kind to him and tell him of our adventure.
Goodbye, my friend,
Harry rushed out of the cavern, into the cave, and down the stairs. He knew Draco couldn’t have gone far. Harry had set the Protection Spells himself, and he would have been alerted if Draco had moved beyond them, or if he had tried to take them down. The frigid air hit his lungs with his first breath out of the cave’s entrance. It was too cold and too dry to even snow. Harry pulled down his fur hat and wrapped the scarf around his face. With wand held high, he stopped at the bottom of the stairs, stood perfectly still, and closed his eyes. He was desperately trying to feel Draco’s magic, his signature, amongst all of the other magic he continually felt while in the cavern. It was there, but just barely.
Harry followed the trace, and then a movement caught his eye; a polar bear was on the hill of the dead. Its great paw struck at something, rolling whatever it was back and forth. Harry saw a glint of platinum hair in the moon’s light. He aimed for the bear’s heart and cast the strongest Stunning Spell he knew. He watched in horror as the bear began to stagger and was about to fall on Draco. He didn’t know if it would work, but “Wingardium Leviosa,” tore from his lips. The giant white bear floated above the still body. Harry ran as fast as he could to Draco and dragged him away from where the bear would hit the ground. He let the bear go, picked up the stiff body, and rushed across the frozen shore, up the stairs, and back into their cavern.
He laid Draco on his bed, while he Transfigured Draco’s cauldron into a bathtub and filled it with water, which he warmed. Slowly, he caught his breath back as he peeled the blanket from Draco’s body. One scan of his wand told him there was a slow heartbeat, even if the pulse was not registering; his own was probably off the scale. He couldn’t try a Rennervate until Draco’s body temperature had risen.
“You fucking idiot, Malfoy,” Harry yelled. “Don’t you dare die on me! You can’t die on me! I don’t care if it’s ten years. I do not want to tell your son you died,” Harry cried out as Draco’s shirt came off. His body was blue. He pulled the boots, socks, and trousers with pants off, and then picked Draco up, setting him in the warm water. It was then he saw what Draco was hiding, what Draco did not want to burden him with, what Draco felt was horrible enough to want to take his own life for: Draco’s lower stomach was protruding. “Fucking h-hell, M-malfoy, ” Harry stammered. His hand reached down into the waters and felt the hard bump. “How?” Harry whispered, but there was no response.
He continued warming the water, and eventually the bluish pallor faded. Draco wasn’t waking up, but he was alive. Harry was about to cast Rennervate, but he had no idea what the effect would be on the foetus Draco was carrying. He lifted Draco out of the water, laid him on a blanket of fur, and dried him. Draco’s body began to shiver. Harry cast a spell on his bed, enlarging it. He picked up the limp form again, this time struggling as the adrenaline rush had subsided, and set him down on the warm sheet. He removed his own clothes, and lay down beside him. The candles were Noxed; Harry wrapped his body around his shivering friend, and pulled up the fur blankets to cover them.
Harry blinked his eyes open to see a single candle lit. It took him a moment to register that the warm body he was wrapped around was Draco’s; the long, white hair stuck to his lips should have been his first clue. He felt Draco stir, and he knew he was awake and probably very confused as to why he was in Harry’s bed, naked. Harry’s fingers of his right hand were splayed across Draco’s belly. He gently caressed the soft skin. “How?” Harry whispered.
“The Rightful Heir,” Draco whispered back. “My genes to reproduce were triggered. Because I didn’t mate, and my instincts told me I wouldn’t be with you, the next response of the Veela characteristic kicked in: clonal reproduction.”
“You mean there is going to be another Draco in the world?” Harry asked, trying not relay the humour he found in the situation.
Draco kicked him.
“Yes, thanks to you. You could have just let us die out there, you idiot.”
Any sense of amusement was quickly banished. “No, Draco, I couldn’t. You will never be a burden to me, and neither will your son.”
Draco remained silent. Harry watched the shadows on the ice wall shimmer as the candle flame flickered. “Don’t leave me, Draco. Please don’t leave me here alone. I don’t blame you; I never have. Yes, I miss my family, as you miss yours, but I could never face them in seven years, knowing you died because you thought you were a burden.”
A deep sigh came from Draco. “Okay, I won’t leave you,” he said softly as his hand covered Harry’s on his belly. “I want to name him Dane. Do you like it?”
“Yeah, I do.”
Draco turned on his back, his silver eyes clear and bright. “Harry, thank you,” Draco said, and their fingers intertwined with each other.
“You’re welcome, and Merry Christmas,” Harry responded, and to his own surprise, he kissed Draco on the cheek.
Draco gave a small grin, turned back over and blew out the candle. “Merry Christmas, Harry,” he said, and then they both fell back asleep.
Not another word was spoken about Draco’s suicide attempt. Draco did share the work he had been transcribing with Harry, and Harry learned that it was more than Draco burdening Harry that had caused the depression: it was genuine fear of the future. The bones of the leader they had discovered were of the last surviving Dragon Rider; his name was Dane. In his lifetime, he had one Rightful Heir, which was customary, and three sons after that with his mate, but all of them had perished during the plague. The Veela reproductive instincts took over in his isolation, and he was pregnant and alone. In addition, it was against custom to produce another Rightful Heir. The custom was enacted because each additional heir took half of his father’s magic with him. The leader, Dane, could not perform the birthing ritual by himself, nor could he survive without his magic, so he took his own life.
Harry understood what the transcription meant, but Draco’s spirits were high and he didn’t believe it was time to discuss the situation. A part of Harry knew deep down what needed to happen in the future, but for now that seed of knowledge was planted deep in his subconscious. Anything could happen between now and then, so that discussion would have to wait. Until then, without spoken words, they shared Harry’s bed, with Harry’s arm wrapped protectively around Draco as he lay on his left side. Harry’s hand covered as much of the ever-growing stomach as he could each night. Harry told himself it was because it brought comfort being next to another person in the loneliness of the situation they found themselves in. He told himself it was to keep Draco warm, and to be near him if anything happened. However, deep down, he knew that the reasons were much more complex than those he would admit, even to himself.
Spring came at a snail’s pace. The first sunrise in late February, after months of darkness, made them both weep. Each day, the sun stayed a little longer. By late April, when the sun neared the twenty-three hour mark, Lusi’s egg hatched. She was uglier than Harry remembered Norberta ever being, and just as bad tempered. The blue scrawny chick was constantly hungry and spat sparks of fire until she was satisfactorily fed. Her meals consisted of fresh meat; fish was the norm, but rabbit was her favourite. She was growing, though, and that was what was important. By early June, when spring officially made an entrance to the island, she was walking clumsily around the cave.
It was the morning of Draco’s thirty-eighth birthday, the fifth of June, and Harry found his cup of tea next to his bed, steaming hot. He went to the loo, cleaned up, and then dressed lightly. He walked through the cavern to the cave’s edge to find Draco. He spotted him on the shore below, spearing fish. The spears they found in the cavern still held a trace of magic, which they enhanced with their own. They felt no guilt knowing the Muggles did not have the advantage of always spearing the fish they were after.
Harry sipped his tea and watched Draco as Lusi stirred in her nest. While dressed, Draco barely looked pregnant, even though he was in his final weeks. Being over six feet tall and in extremely good physical shape made his condition hardly noticeable. Harry remembered Ginny barely being able to get up from the couch without a helping hand. The admiration Harry held for Draco grew daily. He never heard him complain, and only a few times heard a groan escape from his lips when rising from their bed. They fought when Harry tried to stop him from jumping on the larger rocks. Draco refused to be pampered. Harry understood, and obliged with the hidden request to let him be.
They had many talks, talks they should have had in the preceding years, but their history and stubbornness precluded them from doing so. Harry even found himself laughing at stories about Lucius and his dealings with the Ministry officials of old. He practically fell off the couch when Draco did impressions of him. Draco loved his parents, but he had discovered, as most children do, that they had faults. Draco learned about Harry; in fact, Harry realised at some point, Draco knew more about him than anyone else save perhaps Ginny. The night Harry told Draco about walking to the forest to meet his death, Draco took his one and only shot of firewhisky while pregnant.
They discussed their children and their hopes for them. What they did not discuss were their marriages. Harry wanted to know more about Draco’s open lifestyle, but he never felt comfortable bringing it up, and Draco rarely mentioned Ginny. Harry felt the ache when he thought of her, but its rawness had diminished.
Draco looked up from the shore and waved. Harry waved back and climbed down the granite steps. Lusi looked over the edge, watching him descend. The slope on his right, leading up to the crevice, was covered in yellow poppies and the rocks with lichen. Harry peeked into the woven basket as he reached the shore and saw that it was nearly full. Draco dropped one more fish in it and then let Harry lift it up onto his shoulders to carry it up to Lusi.
“Would you mind feeding her today?” Draco asked as they reached the top step.
“Sure, anything else you want for your birthday?” Harry asked as he set down the basket. “The local shops seem to be out of merchandise just now.”
Draco laughed. “No, just feeding Lusi will be enough. I think I’m going to take a bath.”
Harry finished his morning chore and found Draco still in the bath.
“Are you okay?” Harry inquired as Draco rarely succumbed to the luxury of being in the water for so long.
“Yeah, I just didn’t sleep well.”
Harry pulled up a seat next to the tub. “I know Dane was kicking quite a bit.”
Draco flung drops of water at him with his fingertips. “More than a bit, my back is fucking killing me.”
“Is that all it is?” Harry asked hesitantly.
“I think so, but then again, I’m not the expert. You’re the one who has had three children.”
“I’m not an expert, but I do know that this is the first time I’ve heard you say you didn’t feel well.”
Draco slid further down into the warm water. “I’m fine, Potter. Go see if the eider ducks have laid any more eggs. I fancy an omelette this morning.”
“I’ll make you an omelette if that’s what you want, but first I want you to sit up.”
Draco looked at him quizzically, but did so. Harry moved his seat to the head of the tub and placed his hands on Draco’s shoulders.
“Potter, what are you doing?”
“I’m massaging your back, that’s what I’m doing.”
“Ah, a birthday massage. Well, in that case, go lower and press harder.”
Harry snickered as he did what he was told. It struck him, as he worked his way down Draco’s spine, how well he knew Draco’s back, how the upper muscles had strengthened over the months of their hardship, and how his waist had thickened. He wondered if Draco knew he had a light birthmark near his left shoulder-blade. His fingers pressed into the muscles, lightly at first, and then gradually worked their way into harder manipulations. He laughed when he heard a small rumble sound come from Draco’s mouth.
“What was that?”
Draco sighed heavily. “I think you had better stop.”
“Am I hurting you? I’ve never heard anyone make that sound before, it almost sounded like a trill.”
“Just stop,” Draco said. “It’s a Veela sound.”
Harry jerked his hands away. “A what?”
Draco leant back in the tub and gave him a sly smile. “A Veela sound. Apparently, it is a sound of pleasure to let you know you did a good job. Now please leave and go find some eggs.”
Harry moved his chair back to the side of the tub. “You make a sound when you feel good?”
Draco glared at Harry. “I said pleasure, not just good.”
Harry blinked and then glanced into the water, noticing the erection Draco made no sign of trying to hide.
“Now, either you go collect eggs and leave me to wank, or stay and make yourself useful.”
“How many eggs do you want?” Harry asked as he stood up.
“Three, and take your time,” Draco responded, flinging more drops of water onto Harry.
Harry hurried out of the cavern. He climbed over the lichen-covered rocks and onto the ‘hillside of death’ as they referred to it, where they had spotted the ducks nesting in patches of cotton grass. His mind, though, was not on ducks, but on what his friend was doing in the tub. The close quarters gave them so little privacy, that the only place he could do it was in the loo, the only enclosed area in the cavern. In the first few months, he never thought about sex as they were in survival mode, but now that he knew they could survive, the feelings returned. He was unaware that they had for Draco, too.
Harry thought of those who had lived in the cavern, hundreds of years before. They had no privacy; every move was watched by all present. Even the ritual table in the centre of the room was used not only for delivering the children, but also for those wizards who chose to be bonded for life. Their first act of mating was to be witnessed by all. His daydream was filled with imaginings of the circle of Dragon Riders that would form around the table as the two wizards consummated their bond. He shook his head as he almost stepped on a nest of duck eggs. He took one from each of five separate nests and slowly walked back to the cavern, hoping Draco had found satisfaction.
The tub was gone and Draco was curled up on the bed when Harry returned. A single skin was pulled over him. Harry set down the basket of eggs and rushed over to the bed.
“It’s time, Harry,” Draco mumbled.
Harry took three quick, deep breaths. “Okay, I’ll get everything ready, can I get you anything?”
Draco shook his head. “Just hurry. This fucking hurts.”
Harry ran to the raised rock platform in the centre of the cavern. He Summoned a small table and the cauldron, which he filled with hot water, and laid a blanket over the centre rectanglular stone. “Can you walk?” Harry said as he gathered more small blankets and set them on the table. Finally, he lifted the lid off a basket nearby.
“No,” Draco responded.
Harry reached into the basket and pulled out a vial of dark liquid and the knife they discovered in the previous leader’s ribcage, and set them on the table. They had talked about the procedure when Draco made the translations. The magic should guide Harry to the correct place to make the incision when the incantation was spoken.
Harry walked over to the bed and picked Draco up with the help of a spell, carried him over to the ritual stone, and laid him down. “It’s going to be okay, Draco. I promise you. It will be over soon.”
“’Kay,’” Draco muttered between heavy breaths.
Harry forcefully unfolded the long body. Draco rolled onto his back and winced with pain as he did so. To both their surprise, magical cuffs latched onto his wrists and legs. “Hurry,” Draco cried as he struggled against the restraints.
Harry opened the vial and poured a thin strip of dragon’s blood below the bulge that was contracting. His fingers spread it across the skin, working it in. The writings had said it would numb the area. Draco stopped fighting the restraints, and stared straight up into the upper reaches of cavern’s ceiling. Harry picked up the knife, brought it to his lips, and whispered, “Rector.”
He grasped the handle and led the blade edge cross along the path of dragon’s blood. Draco’s mouth opened; no sound came out, but Harry knew it was filled with pain. The skin separated as the knife guided his hand to cut deeper through the muscle. He knew from watching Caesareans before that he had to move the organs around manually, until he reached the womb. He pierced it with the tip of the knife, making a small incision. The water poured out. He set the knife down, reached in, and pulled out the life, squirming in his hands. The tiny baby screamed. It was so small, smaller than his children were, but he was alive, Dane was alive. He lifted the child up and placed it on Draco’s chest. The restraints holding Draco’s wrists released and his hands grasped onto the baby.
Harry lifted the knife and cut the cord. He removed the placenta, setting it in another basket, and then poured more of the dragon’s blood over the wounds. He watched in awe as Draco’s body stitched itself back together again. Harry’s only contribution was placing the organs back in their correct positions. It was only when he saw the skin seal itself that he realised he was crying. He fell to his knees, rested his head next to Draco’s chest, and wept. Long fingers ran through his hair and then stroked his cheek. “You did it,” Draco said.
Harry glanced up at the silver eye staring at him. “We did it,” Harry replied.
Draco gave him a brilliant smile. “Yes, we did.”
Harry composed himself, took the small infant from Draco’s hands, and washed him thoroughly as he squalled. He laid him in a nest of furs and then carefully washed Draco, never paying attention to the parts he was touching where the blood had streamed. The leg braces released, and Harry carried him once again back over to their bed. He could have levitated him, but it just felt right to do this by himself. He brought Dane over to his father, where the infant latched onto a small swollen nipple.
Draco grimaced at first as the baby tried to suckle. Harry sat down on the bed and couldn’t help but watch. Draco patted the space next to him. Harry stripped off his clothes and lay down near Draco with Dane between them. He brought the fur over all of them and then stared back into the silver eyes, which were busy watching the baby. Harry’s finger reached out and stroked the soft cheek as it quivered with every suck, then stroked the cheek of the wizard who gave birth to the little boy. “You are amazing, Draco Malfoy,” Harry said as he released an almost silent cry.
The next few months were among of the happiest Harry had ever experienced in his life. That thought troubled him from time to time, but between caring for Lusi and Dane, he didn’t dwell on his other life, the one going on without him. Draco fashioned a leash for Lusi out of strips of reindeer hide and they walked her on the shore. Dane was carried in a sling against either Harry’s chest or Draco’s. By August, they tired of their safe home and ventured back through the crevice to walk the sections of the island they had visited before. They brought the tent and camped by the stream for weeks on end. Lusi loved the cold-water lake and Dane just remained wide-eyed at the scenery around him. His big blue eyes were slowly changing colour as the weeks progressed.
They visited the south shore where they found walruses in abundance basking in the sunshine. Harry collected fallen tusks, some very old and some new, from the shore. He decided that he needed a hobby for the winter months, and was determined to learn the art of carving ivory while Draco spent his time transcribing more of the books.
The winter ice-sheet, when it broke away earlier in the summer, left them with a polar bear on the island, along with more Arctic wolves than the previous year. The wolf population would die down of its own accord, as the rabbits seemed scarce and the herd of reindeer seemed smaller.
As they packed up to go back to cavern in early September, they saw the migration of the minke whales heading south. The eider ducks were leaving also. Harry took down a caribou with a spear as they neared the mountain path. Lusi enjoyed a meal of the innards as Harry carved up the meat they would save for winter. The skins he rolled up; he would let them tan on the ‘hillside of the dead’.
Dane was a remarkable baby, Harry thought. Rarely did the infant cry, and when he did, either being fed, changed, or entertained by magical floating pebbles, quickly satisfied him. If Dane was extremely upset, then only Draco could calm him. A soft warble came from his throat, much like the one Harry heard the day Dane was born, but this one was melodic. Even Harry found it soothing. The one other item that brought Dane joy was his stuffed bear. Harry had killed a rabbit earlier on their trip, cleaned the hide, and filled it with dried cotton grass. Draco shaped it into a bear and Dane rarely let go of it. Toys would be hard to come by when the boy grew older.
Lusi was slowly getting bigger and her scales were turning a lighter blue; it would be a few years before she would be primarily white.
The return to the cavern brought them a surprise; a grey, Greenlandic dog had somehow made his way to the island. Neither Draco nor Harry could fathom how it had survived. They found him sleeping in Lusi’s nest, barely alive. They had to restrain the dragon from trying to kill the beast that was exactly her size. Dane took an immediate interest in the almond-eyed dog, and there was no decision to be made; the makeshift family now had a pet. Harry looked around the cavern as they unpacked. This winter they would have more mouths to feed. The dog would be easy, but Lusi eating only live or freshly killed meat was going to be a problem. Dane would still be nourished by Draco. He would never be a chubby baby as Harry’s kids had been, his genes made him long and lanky. Harry had to admit that Draco must have been a cute kid.
Christmas Eve, 2020
The months and years slowly progressed. Harry was learning his craft, and his scrimshaw pieces decorated the cavern. The item he was most proud of was under their makeshift Christmas tree of reindeer antlers; it was a gift for Draco. He had made a Veela-feathered upper armband and had painstakingly painted it blue using dye made from blueberry skins. For Dane’s presents, he had carved dozens of animals, magical and otherwise. Dane was now two and half years old and speaking like an adult. Harry was sure his other children were never that fluent at that age. Lusi had learned to take short flights and was now feeding herself. That alone was a big relief as the dark months were once again at hand.
Draco was still translating the books and relaying stories of the previous Dragon Riders and the dragons that once called the island their home. The Shamans, he discovered, were competent but some of their means were barbaric in treating those who were injured. He was still unsure if it was intentional or out of ignorance. Those buried on the hillside were members that held high status; the others were left to the sea. The young boy’s skeleton they had found on the first day was the youngest son of the last leader, Dane.
Harry was in his chair by the eastern portal, thinking about his family on this night: his other family. He wondered if James had made Prefect, if Albus had made many friends, and most of all, he wondered if his little girl was now a Slytherin. He was sure they missed him, but by now, three years later, they must have moved on, just as he had. He took a sip of firewhisky and glanced over at Draco, whose arms were wrapped tightly around their son. Dane may have had only one biological parent, but he had two fathers. Harry loved him as much as his own children back in England. In the soft glow of candlelight, Draco looked so young. They were both forty now, and both had begun to have more definite lines around their eyes. Harry’s hair had also begun to grey, his short beard and moustache even more so. He swallowed the rest of the shot in one gulp and poured another. He didn’t know why he was drinking tonight. He hadn’t done so in years, but maybe it was because he felt safe to do so now. They were sealed in their home, and Draco would have sympathy for his headache in the morning. He downed another and for the first time in over three years, he fell asleep in his chair and not in his bed with Draco nearby.
The voice startled him; it sounded familiar, yet childlike. “Harry, Harry, can you hear me?” she asked. Harry stood up on the floating cloud and surveyed the world below. “Up here,” she said.
Harry glanced up and saw the young Lusi soaring overhead. She seemed so proud of herself. She landed next to him; she had grown immensely. “Yes, Lusi, I can hear you.”
“You need to take care of the Cock,” Lusi said as she snorted, and then spat a small spark of flame at him.
“I am,” Harry said defiantly.
“No, you are not!” she screeched in a childish, high-pitched voice, which bored through his head. “He’s in heat and will soon produce another heir. You must not let him.”
Harry fell to his knees. “Are you sure? Does he know?”
“Yes, I’m sure, and he knows. He’s too proud to tell you.”
Harry woke with a startle as the small shot glass shattered on the granite floor. Skee, the dog, lifted his head from the bottom of the bed and wagged his curled, white-tipped tail before settling down again.
Draco shot up to a sitting position. “Harry?” he whispered.
“Yeah, sorry about that, I fell asleep and dropped the glass,” he replied, and then waved his wand cleaning up the mess.
“Everything okay?” Draco asked, eyeing the scene carefully.
Harry removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “Yes, but we need to talk.”
“Yes, while Dane is asleep.”
Harry lifted the fur blanket from his legs and carried it over to Draco’s old bed, it was the place where they talked late at night so as not to awaken Dane.
“What is it?” Draco asked as he widened the bed.
They both lay down facing each other. Harry gathered the blankets and covered Draco’s naked body. “Lusi spoke with me tonight.”
Draco’s eyes widened, they had both been waiting for this moment, it was a sign that she was maturing and not just physically. “What did she say?”
Harry lifted his hand and pushed back the long white strand of hair covering Draco’s eyes. “She said you need to mate.”
“The bitch,” Draco snarled and turned on his back, his eyes focused on the frozen stalagmites surrounding them.
“So, you knew and didn’t tell me?”
Draco gave a short laugh. “Why would I tell you, Potter? Do you think I would let you fuck me? Not in this lifetime, I told you so ages ago.”
Harry watched every move of Draco’s face. He knew what each small muscle movement meant by now. Draco was protesting too much, the twitch at the right corner of his mouth told him so.
“I’m not going to let you do this again. You know what it will do to you.”
“Fuck you! You have no choice. I will have taken almost eleven years away from your family, Harry; I am not going to take you away from them completely.”
Harry was silent for a few minutes. He thought about what Draco was saying. If they had a child together, they would be permanently attached to each other. In seven years, they would not be able to go back to their former lives. They would have a child, or maybe even two, to raise together. It would break both families apart. However, in seven more years, their other children would be gone from their homes anyway. They would only be returning to their wives. It had been a long time since Harry seriously thought about Ginny as his wife. In the beginning he ached for her; he loved her, but now, the longing for her had passed. In two more years, both he and Draco would be officially pronounced deceased, and each family would legally be free to move on.
“I won’t let you do it,” Harry said, firmly again.
Draco rolled back over on his side. “Harry, you are a married, straight wizard.”
“But, Draco, so are you. I don’t see the difference.”
Draco burst out laughing, the maniacal laugh Harry had not heard for some time.
“God, Potter, the difference is I’m not straight.”
Harry knew his jaw had just dropped, but he couldn’t help it. “You…you…you’re gay?”
“Technically, I’m bisexual. I do fuck my wife, or at least I did.”
Harry couldn’t stop his eyes from blinking repeatedly. “And your lovers?”
“Then that’s why that night with Ginny…”
“Exactly, I told you she wasn’t my type.”
“Why didn’t you just tell me?”
Draco released a long sigh. “I didn’t want you feeling uncomfortable. I mean shite, we sleep together.”
“And that doesn’t bother you? I mean, you’re not attracted to me?”
Draco raised a finger to Harry’s lips. “Stop right there. This conversation is now over. We have to live with each other for the next seven years and I am not going to say anything that will destroy our friendship. We need to survive together on this island.”
Harry grasped Draco’s wrist hard, removing the finger from his lips. “No, Draco, we will finish talking tonight. As to whether you are gay, bi, straight, attracted to me or not, it doesn’t matter. We are going to mate.”
A large glob of spit landed on Harry’s cheek at the same time Draco’s knee aimed for his groin. The thick fur covers stopped any damage from being done.
Harry held onto Draco’s wrist, rolled on top of him, and reached for the other. “It’s going to happen, Malfoy. It’s your choice whether you enjoy it or not,” Harry said as he lowered his cheek and wiped the spit onto Draco’s.
A quick bite to Harry’s cheek made him yelp. Harry glanced across the room to make sure Dane was still asleep.
“You don’t need to sacrifice your life for me again, Potter. I could only stomach that once,” Draco snarled as he squirmed under Harry’s weight.
“Maybe I want to,” Harry answered as he continued trying to control the body struggling for release below him.
“No, if you do this, it will be against my will.”
Harry glared into the silver eyes that showed the hate of their youth. “So be it,” Harry replied without emotion. He raised Draco’s arms, grabbed both wrists with one hand, and his other reached for his wand. “Petrificus Totalus.”
Draco’s eyes remained piercing into his in total shock.
Harry rose from the bed, picked Draco up, carried him over to the centre of the cavern, and laid him on the ritual stone. The magical restraints captured Draco’s wrists and ankles. Harry cast a Privacy Spell and then retreated to the shelves of potions. He selected a balm, bringing it back to the table. His mind would not let him think about what he was about to do; what he knew had to be done.
He released the spell. Through clenched teeth, Draco cried, “Don’t do it! God, fuck, please don’t do it, Harry! It won’t work!”
Harry removed his clothes, letting them fall in place. He placed himself on the stone, between Draco’s spread legs. With just his touch to the restraints, Harry moved them to bend Draco’s knees. “I have to, Draco. I’m sorry, but I have to.”
Draco turned his head to the side, facing their bed across the room where his son lay. “I hate you,” Draco whispered as he felt one finger trying to find his hole.
Harry reached down to the ground for his clothes, rolled them up and placed them under Draco’s hips. “I don’t blame you. I would too,” he responded as he breached the tight entrance with his slick fingertip.
“Don’t, fucking don’t do this. It won’t work!” Draco cried one last time as the finger forced its way into him.
“It’s going to hurt if you don’t relax,” Harry muttered as the second finger found its way in.
Draco lifted his head and spat at Harry again, striking him on the chest. “Fuck you!”
Harry had no idea how his dick had got hard through the ordeal. Maybe it was from being deprived of sex for over three years, for it didn’t seem to care. A third finger squeezed in and he heard Draco whimper, “It won’t work”. Harry could no longer bear to look at him. He knew he was probably doing this completely wrong, but without Draco’s guidance, he could only hope what he was doing was enough. He wiggled his fingers inside Draco’s hole, hoping to stretch it enough to ease the entrance of his dick when it was time. Draco’s back arched and a slight trill came from his mouth.
“I hate you,” Draco repeated again. Harry knew he meant it despite his body's betrayal. But if he had to choose between living with Draco's hatred and being responsible, through his own inaction, for the loss of half of his magic...there wasn't much of a choice. Harry continued with his ministrations until he heard the sound again. He bit his lower lip as he watched Draco’s erection emerge. He withdrew his fingers and reached for the balm, coating his own dick heavily in the lubricant.
Harry moved forward and placed the tip of his cock in the slightly slack entrance. “I’m sorry, Draco,” he whispered and then he forced himself in. Draco groaned and looked away again. Harry stopped himself from just thrusting all the way. Just the feel of his cock being enclosed in the tight space brought back the instinct to want to fuck. He waited for a sign, there was none, so he pushed in further, Draco swore at him again. Sweat dripped from his forehead as he made the final thrust. An ancient spell, Draco had read to him once when discussing the mating ritual, fell from his lips. “ Tribuo Vita .”
“Merlin, no,” Draco whispered.
From the tone, Harry knew that wasn’t directed at him. He looked up at Draco and in his peripheral vision, he saw who Draco was talking to. Men dressed in skins and fur surrounded them. Far off in the cavern, a drumbeat began, as did chanting from the men encircling them. Harry wanted to watch them, but his body wanted something different. He grasped Draco’s thighs as his hips flexed forward and back. He wasn’t sure if those around were keeping rhythm with him or if he was with them, but they were in synch.
Draco tried to cry out his objections again, but the trill of the Veela overruled and soon was in cadence with the ghosts around them. Harry knew he was going to climax soon, and the pace increased, he felt the build up that was once so familiar, but then a jolt of magic coursed through him like never before. His vision became even more blurred in a haze of smoke; somewhere in the distance, he heard the words, “Release me.”
Words of old tumbled from his lips, and soon heels dug into his back, forcing him in further. Strong fingers pressed into his biceps, pulling him down. He didn’t resist and his hands caught his weight as he fell forward. Draco’s knees came up to his shoulders. Warm eager lips latched onto his. His mouth opened for the tongue forcing its way in. He kissed back and found himself in a place he had never been before. He should have come, but the moment before climax was sustained; no, his own voice told him, he was reaching higher. The fingers left his arms, and soon squeezed between their bodies. Harry knew where they were going and he wanted his own hand to be there too. Fingers met, entwined, and then circled the prick needing to be stroked. The chanting became almost deafening, the trilling now a vibration pulsing through both their bodies, and then his world exploded. Lips that were so lovely to kiss moved away and he felt the bite to his neck, piercing the skin. He knew someone was screaming, and it might have been him, but he didn’t care. He had never felt so whole, so loved, so wanted, so claimed.
His arm gave out and he fell onto Draco’s chest. His other hand, covered in warm liquid, eased out from between them. He was panting and Draco was too. He slowly withdrew from the hole he was afraid that he had abused and he rolled on his side. He was met with another kiss that threatened to make him want to start all over again. Fingers were running through his hair, and only when he realised the singing and beating of the drum had ceased did he open his eyes. Stormy-silver eyes were staring back at him. They expressed too many emotions for him to count, but the overpowering one, was one of desire.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Draco asked, after ending the long kiss.
“Tell you what?” Harry replied, and then as if they had been long-time lovers, he gave Draco soft kisses across his cheeks and nose. How long he had wanted to do that, he didn’t know, but he guessed it was years.
The tip of Draco’s tongue reached out as Harry’s lips feathered over his. Harry’s own tongue met it and they gently played. “That you were attracted to me,” Draco finally answered.
Harry gave a wry grin in response. “I couldn’t admit it to you if I couldn’t admit it to myself. How did you know?”
The lower lip, that Harry longed to suck on, was drawn in and bitten. “You called the tribe to witness our mating and asked them for their blessing.”
“Um, there were a few details I didn’t tell you about in the translation. The reason the circle is formed is not to just witness the first mating, but is also called when a wizard claims his mate and asks for their blessing for a conception; the feelings have to be there for it to work. You pronounced to them that you wanted me as your mate.”
“Oh, just a small detail you left out,” Harry said teasingly. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I don’t know. I guess because I never thought it would happen. It’s not just isolation that causes the change in Veela-wizards. The stone is magical, and with the spell, it can force the change.”
Draco’s hand freely explored Harry’s chest and arms. Harry wished he could trill as Draco did, as the touches were so welcomed. “This changes things,” Draco said, as his fingers rubbed over and tweaked the dusky circles.
Harry moaned in response to the continued touches to his nipples. “Yes, it changes everything—our present and our future.”
“You’ve seriously thought about it then?”
Harry nodded affirmatively. “Ever since you told me of the custom, I knew this would happen. The night I found you frozen outside, I knew I didn’t ever want to lose you. It’s been slowly building to this point everyday as I’ve watched you.”
“But at night, in bed, you never.…”
Harry smiled at the wizard whose eyes now showed him warmth he never thought possible to be directed at him. Only when he spoke of Scorpius and Dane did they appear that way. “You never did either,” Harry replied, his hand reached behind Draco’s head and pulled him close so they could kiss again.
“Will you fuck me again?” Draco whispered in Harry’s ear the first chance he had after they kissed for what seemed to have only been minutes, but may have been hours.
Harry’s eyes brightened. “On your bed and no restraints.”
Draco laughed as he stood up and pulled Harry across the room with him. “Well, restraints can be fun under the right circumstances.”
Harry pushed Draco down on the bed, laughing as he did so. “Malfoy, don’t tempt me, I can conjure up many reasons why I would like you in restraints.”
“Potter,” Draco said, as he pulled Harry on top of him, “shut up, and let me teach you how to fuck a wizard.”
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