"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Bill Weasley stroked the soft, smooth skin of his sleeping companion. Pale, with the finest covering of black hair, it only held a few scattered freckles, moles and scars, so unlike his own leopard-spotted skin. As he kissed the lightening bolt scar, brilliant green eyes opened.
"Hey," he whispered.
Harry Potter's slim, calloused fingers ran gently over Bill's lips and then his own, a softly murmured charm spoken. Bill felt a quick tingle in his mouth, followed by a burst of spearmint. He smiled; it was a breath freshening charm.
"Good morning, love." Harry snaked an arm around Bill's neck and brought him down for a kiss. "Do we have time for you to give me a proper good bye?"
Bill glanced at the Muggle alarm clock beside Harry's bed. So much more practical than a Wizard clock, it actually told you the time. The red haired wizard pinned his slight companion's naked form beneath him.
"Tonks and Dung won't be here for another few hours and Mum won't be here with Ron and Ginny until after six tonight."
Harry keened softly as Bill inserted a third well-lubricated finger into his tight channel, scissoring and twisting. Harry made a shuddered gasp as Bill found the spot he was searching for. The tall wizard kissed him deeply and caressed Harry's smooth skin with his other hand. He loved the little noises Harry made.
Harry's hand snaked between them, wrapping around the red head's heavy cock. He whispered a lubrication charm and coated the organ thoroughly with the slick substance that had appeared in his hand. Bill moaned; Harry's hands were only slightly less talented than his mouth. He pulled the smaller hand away.
"Please." Harry whispered. "Now, please."
Removing his fingers, Bill adjusted Harry's hips and pushed the knees up and back, spreading his young lover open for display. This position was a little awkward with their difference in heights, but Bill liked to see the younger man's face when he took him. The head of his cock nudged Harry's entrance.
Harry let out a gasp of pain as Bill thrust, burying himself almost to the root in one stroke; the lubricant Harry had conjured was slicker than they were accustomed to using.
"I'm sorry, love I didn't mean to do thatÉdid I hurt you?" Bill tried to withdraw, but Harry's leg snaked around and wrapped behind his hip.
Pale, Harry kissed his chest, but held the red head in place with his leg. "N-never betterÉgive me a minute."
Bill kissed and caressed Harry to sooth him. After a moment, Harry signaled acceptance. The older wizard rocked into him with long, slow strokes, angling himself to repeatedly hit the prostate. Harry's hips arched up to meet his thrusts, taking him deeper.
He looked into Harry's face, so beautiful in it's passion. He reminded himself that this was just a casual fuck Ð just an older friend teaching a younger one the finer points of lovemaking. That Harry had just wanted someone safe for his first time, someone who didn't see him as a savior, who didn't view him as a conquest. And Bill had agreed to those terms.
Then why, his traitorous heart asked, was he still in Harry's bed a month after taking the now seventeen year old's virginity?
Bill felt Harry begin to stiffen beneath him as warmth covered his stomach and chest; Harry had come with the friction of their bodies as stimulation. The spasms of his orgasm pulsated through his slender frame, bringing Bill to climax several moments later.
In the afterglow that followed, Harry nuzzled against his chest. Kissing a sweat slicked shoulder, Bill whispered so softly Harry barely heard him.
"Oh Merlin, Harry I'm really going to miss this."
Summer spent in the Order of the Phoenix Headquarters was a bittersweet but educational experience for Harry. The multi-layered protection spells placed on Number Twelve Grimmauld Place also served to conceal Harry's use of underage magic so that Harry was able to learn, practice and refine the skills that would help keep him alive in the battles to follow.
With Nymphadora Tonks and Mad Eye Moody as his primary guardians, Harry learned many hexes, curses and counter curses that would never appear on the Hogwart's syllabus. And after continually teasing him about the rat's nest on his head, Tonks showed him a few useful charms to control his hair and modify his appearance.
Severus Snape occasionally dropped in for refresher lessons on Occlumency and Wandless Magic. Sirius' death and the start of the second wizarding war had forced them to co-operate with one another. They were colleagues and would probably never be friends, but the continued blind hatred had passed; Snape reluctantly agreed that Harry was not, and never would be, just like his father.
Harry voluntarily gave up his use of underage magic a week before the start of his final year at Hogwarts. Ron, Ginny and Molly Weasley descended upon Grimmauld Place and Mrs. Weasley would have had a fit had she known he was abusing his privileges by using underage magic out of school. Hermione arrived several days later. Fred and George visited in the evenings. Since their thriving joke shop was situated in Diagon Alley, they had picked up all the school supplies for their siblings and Harry. Hermione picked up her supplies the day she received her Hogwarts letter at the end of July.
Arthur Weasley managed to secure a Ministry car for the journey to Kings Cross Station. Tonks and Mrs. Weasley rode in the vehicle with the four students, Crookshanks and Pig. Harry had sent Hedwig to Hogwarts a week earlier with a message for Hagrid and he had told her to stay there.
Kings Cross Station was the usual madhouse of Muggle and magical crowds. Harry noticed several disguised Aurors patrolling the Muggle parts of the station on the lookout for Death Eater activity. Casually, Harry and Tonks leaned through the barrier to platform 9- 3/4 followed by Ginny and Hermione. Ron and his mother brought up the rear. The Hogwarts Express was already loading students as they made their way across the busy platform. Harry recognized many classmates as well as additional Aurors.
The popping sounds of a mass apparation caught Harry's attention just as Tonks was caught from behind by a curse that flung her several feet into the air, crashing to the ground, unconscious. Harry drew his wand and crouched behind his luggage trolley. They were in the middle of the platform with no other protection. Panic erupted all along the station. Children and adults were running every which way; hexes and curses were felling witches and wizards at random. The green-eyed wizard saw at least fifteen figures in Death Eater robes stunning everyone that moved and from the sounds around him he was sure that there were many more he could not see. The frightened children, owls and cats were screaming.
"Enervate." Harry pointed his wand at the unconscious pink-haired witch, but she did not awaken.
The dark wizards were grabbing dark haired wizards and then flinging them aside; Harry realized in alarm that they were probably searching for him. Slowly, he inched the trolley toward Mrs. Weasley who was defending the other children from a protected alcove, dragging the unconscious Tonks behind him.
Several shouts alerted Harry that his location had been discovered. Mad Eye was teaching him how to apparate, but he knew he would splinch himself in his panicked state. Several wizards in Auror robes battled with Death Eaters nearby. Using the distraction, Harry abandoned the trolley and began to drag Tonks toward the Weasleys.
Something black tackled him from behind; his eyeglasses flew off his nose and Tonks was knocked out of his arms by the impact. Harry tried to scrabble away, wand drawn, but the arms captured him roughly and he felt the familiar hook of a portkey below his navel. The last thing he heard was his wand hitting the pavement and Mrs. Weasley's scream.
Peter Pettigrew spooned a cool liquid into Harry's mouth, soothing his raw throat. Harry did not know how long he had been a prisoner of Lord Voldemort; torches provided his only source of light.
Wormtail washed the blood and semen from Harry's slight frame. The now dulled green eyes remained closed. Pettigrew was the only one of his "caretakers" who had made no move to violate him. The slight wizard lost count of how many times an unlubricated cock had been shoved into his arse or down his throat; blood, he discovered, was not a pleasant lubricant.
Snape's Occlumency lessons paid off in an unintentional way; he began clearing his mind to prevent Voldemort from fucking with it as well. Harry began to empty his mind during his repeated rapes; the emptiness was difficult to maintain, but it helped to keep him sane.
Wormtail spooned broth into Harry's mouth, his chained wrists preventing him from feeding himself. After three mouthfuls, Harry's stomach lurched. In a move that had become second nature over the past few days, Pettigrew pulled Harry up and leaned him over a bucket, his raw throat burning as he vomited the meager contents of his stomach.
Drained, the green eyed wizard collapsed back onto the stained mattress; he had been unable to keep anything down for almost a week. He was so tired and thirsty. Oddly, the nipples on his chest were swollen and tender to the touch. Wormtail banished the vomit with a flick of his wand and covered the slight form with a blanket.
Harry breathed in deeply as Lucius Malfoy sucked at one of his swollen nipples. The white blond Death Eater smirked and bit the overly sensitive nub.
"A little tender, are we?"
Harry did not answer. Of all the dark wizards that had violated him, servicing Lucius was the most traumatic. Lucius always took his time, making sure Harry's body responded to his attentions, almost as if they were lovers. Intellectually, Harry knew that his orgasms were just a natural response to the stimulation, but emotionally he was disgusted with himself, as if some twisted part of him actually enjoyed the violence.
Lucius caressed his face in a gesture of mock affection. Harry fought not to flinch at the touch.
"You are so full of surprises, little whore. The Dark Lord is so pleased."
Harry could not hide the look of confusion that crossed his face. Lucius picked up on it at once.
"Didn't Wormtail tell you?" he drawled. "Called in a mediwizard last night while you were asleep, said the vomiting and nausea was normal for someone who was at least a month pregnant."
Harry jolted in alarm and then in confusion. "Pregnant? But I'm a boy boys don't get pregnant."
Lucius' strong hand wrapped around Harry's erect penis, casually rubbing his thumb along the vein. "Oh, pet Muggle men do not get pregnantÉand you." He ran his hand the length of Harry's cock, squeezing gently. "You are certainly not a Muggle and.."
Harry flinched as Lucius pushed his knees apart and nudged at his opening.
"And you are certainly no longer a boy."
Harry curled up into himself as much as the shackles on his wrists would permit. He was frightened, furious and confused. Pregnant. Could his screwed up parody of a life get any more bizarre, he wondered.
According to Malfoy, naturally occurring male pregnancy was rare, but not unusual in certain pureblood families. It could occur any time with a powerful enough wizard, but the Dolohov, Le Strange, Potter, Snape and Weasley males had, historically, reproduced every third generation or so.
The slight wizard stiffened as the lock to the cell door was drawn. The sharp, musky scent that tickled his nostrils belonged to only one man Voldemort. His scar throbbed, but no longer screamed, in the presence of the Dark Lord. Voldemort had partially severed their connection through some ancient dark magic when the constant pain in the curse scar caused by their close proximity overflowed Harry's wild magic and threatened to drive them both to madness.
Voldemort inhaled, smelling sex and cologne; Lucius had recently been there. He pulled back the blanket covering Harry's naked form and wandlessly released the shackles on the young man's wrists. After weeks of wear, the metal bands had left both wrists raw and heavily bruised.
"Get up, Pet."
Without hesitation, Harry climbed off the mattress and stood before the tall, serpentine wizard. He stared straight ahead, not looking up or making eye contact. Voldemort sat on the edge of the mattress and motioned for Harry to approach.
Harry stepped closer to the bed and faced the dark wizard, unconsciously rubbing his damaged wrists. He trembled as the white, spider like fingers caressed his body. Only Lucius and Voldemort ever touched him; to the other Death Eaters he was just a convenient hole.
Green eyes stared unwaveringly into red as Voldemort curled his fingers into Harry's hair and pulled him into a violent, possessive kiss. One hand held him in place as Voldemort devoured his mouth; the other hand ran down his spine, across his buttocks, teased at his chest before finally coming to rest on his lower abdomen. The hand caressed his still flat stomach. This sign of gentle affection terrified Harry; fetuses were used in the darkest of dark magic.
"I think, perhaps, that I will no longer let the others play with you." His almost human face quirked with what may have been a smile. "After all, you are carrying my heir."
"How." Harry began but stopped himself. He was forbidden to speak without permission.
"How do I know that it's mine? You're at least a month gone and for the first week only I pleasured myself with you." A quick wave of his hand and Voldemort's robe opened, revealing that he was naked beneath and fully aroused. He pulled Harry onto his lap, straddling his thighs.
"Of course, there is a chance it might be Lucius' because we shared you the second week. No matter. It's still my heir even if it turns out to be a Malfoy he is a powerful wizard in his own right."
The dark wizard roughly grabbed Harry's already bruised hips, digging his claw like fingers into the flesh. Harry cried out as he was lifted and impaled on Voldemort's erection.
"Yes," Voldemort hissed in pleasure. "Always so much better when Lucius prepares you first."
Albus Dumbledore poured tea for the witch and wizards assembled in his office. After they had all refused his offer of lemon tarts, he called the meeting to order.
Remus Lupin stood up, looking older and grayer than a man his age should look. "Filius and I unearthed an ancient locator spell, used primarily for children missing or kidnapped. Usually it is cast by a parent, or a loving parental figure." Lupin paused before continuing. "But as Harry has no surviving family member that fits that descriptionÉit could perhaps be cast by an intimate, such as a girlfriend."
"Does Harry even have a girlfriend?" Arthur Weasley asked. "Ron and Ginny never mentioned he had one."
"There was that Ravenclaw Seeker Cho Chang." Remus stopped abruptly and scowled. "But that was years ago."
"And it never got beyond the awkward first kiss stage." Snape said and as the room looked at him in surprise, he continued with a growl. "I did give him Occlumency lessonsÉthat relationship died when Marissa Edgecomb revealed the existence of the D.A. to Delores Umbridge. Potter felt betrayed by Miss Chang's decision to defend her friend's actions."
"That, and Cho only used Harry. She likes the dating the famous. She played the same game with Cedric Diggory. She just wanted the power that came from dating The Boy Who Lived." Bill Weasley spoke from the edge of the room. "It has rather put him off dating."
Arthur cleared his throat. "Molly and I have always thought kindly about Harry would have adopted him if we'd been permitted I could get Molly if you think it would be enough."
Remus' shoulders sagged. "It will have to do."
"No," said Nymphadora Tonks suddenly. "Harry took a lover this summerÉ I teased him about the love bites on his neck."
"Who was she?" Lupin asked urgently.
"That's the problem, Remus. I don't know who she was had to be a Muggle maybe his aunt knows."
"Why a Muggle?" growled Mad Eye.
"Harry spent three weeks with the Dursleys to renew the blood bond and spent the remainder locked in at Grimmauld Place Other than Fred and George popping over for dinner once or twice, there were only Order members thereÉand I certainly didn't snog him." Tonks ran her hand through her spiked pink hair. "Until Molly brought Ginny and Hermione the last week of August, there were no young witches there so it must be a Muggle girl from Surrey."
Tonks transformed herself into an elderly woman with sensible shoes. "I'll pop over to Little Whinnig and ask Petunia Dursley. Though I daresay Harry probably would not have confided in her."
"Hold up, Tonks." Arthur said. "I'll go with you as far as Hogsmeade and go home for Molly."
Dumbledore stood up. "Why don't we break for lunch? And meet back here in two hours."
The room began to empty, the wizards following Albus down to the kitchens. There would be too many prying eyes and spies in the Great Hall to eat in the same room as the children.
Remus began to walk slower knowing that only Bill was behind him. As the others got farther ahead, the werewolf suddenly turned, slamming the much taller wizard into the wall. The amber eyes glowed in the semidarkness of the hall.
"Weasley," he said sharply. "Was he just a fuck or does he mean something to you?"
Hedwig ruffled her white feathers before settling herself onto Bill's shoulder, occasionally tugging at the fanged earring. Remus arranged several items onto the table in front of him Ð Harry's wand, his twisted eyeglass frames, his Firebolt and Dumbledore's pensive. Only Remus and Bill were in the unused classroom; the door had been warded and silencing charms set.
Remus was livid. In the aftermath of Sirius Black's death, the Marauder had tried to step in as a father figure for Harry. He had trusted Bill Weasley with Harry's life and the man had repaid his trust by taking advantage of the depressed, emotionally starved child.
"Afraid they'd discover you for the pedophile that you are, were you?" Remus seethed, the wolf rising to the surface.
"He has passed his age of majority, Lupin and he asked me."
"He was sixteen, Weasley. You'll be thirty soon."
"You still should have told him no!" Remus sat down, running his had through his graying hair. "You should have said something Tonks is going all the way to Surry for nothing."
"I couldn't tellÉ no one knows."
"Knows what?" Remus' voice was brittle in anger. "That you liked fucking Harry or that you like fucking men? And your little Veela girlfriend have you fucked her as well?"
Bill ran his hand over Hedwig's feathers and she nipped at him affectionately. "I am not gay, I am Bi and Harry is as well. Fleur and I use one another. She uses me to keep unwanted suitors at bay and I use her to keep my mother off my back." Bill smiled wryly. "Can you imagine what Mum would do if she found out about me and Harry? Not the most forward thinking witch, my mother."
"I imagine incest would cross her mind," said Remus a little more gently; the wolf was fading.
"She thinks of Harry as a black-haired Weasley but I've never thought of him that way Ever."
Lupin held out Harry's wand. "Then he wasn't just..."
"No. Harry wasn't just a fuck."
"I'll keep your secret, but you need to do something for me in return."
Bill looked up warily.
"We do the locator spell just you and me right now."
"And if it doesn't work?"
"We'll try it again with your mother and the others."
With Hedwig still perched on his shoulder, Bill crossed wands with Harry's in one hand and his own in the other. Remus held his wand tip to Hedwig's temple, the pensive by his elbow, and placed his other hand above Bill's on Harry's wand.
"Hold still, Hedwig," Remus spoke quietly. "We're going to try to find HarryÉI know you probably don't understand but concentrate on where you would find Harry if you wanted to deliver a letter. All right, Bill count of three, one two three."
Together the curse breaker and the werewolf began to chant a spell in the forgotten language of Gaul. A haze in Bill's mind began to clear and he followed an aerial path through the countryside, past cities and villages, to a desolate stretch of moor. He realized, with a start, that he was seeing through the snowy owl's eyes.
Descending into a quiet, little village, over an ancient cemetery and into an overgrown estate with crumbling walls, the vision entered an open window and made its way through an illusion charm. The dwelling was exquisite inside, finely decorated in antiques and artifacts Ð a dark wizard's estate. Spiraling down a series of mahogany staircases, the vision brought them to a torch lit corridor. After a moment's hesitation, a door opened revealing the inside of a cell.
Bill's stomach lurched. Remus made a choking sound in his throat. They were glad the vision carried no sound. Harry, bones protruding from his bruised, stick thin body, was being savaged by Lord Voldemort. Chains, hung unused on a wall, but from the black bruised rings visible around the slender wrists, they had recently confined Harry.
Hedwig let out a mournful hoot in Bill's ear as the vision began to fade. Voldemort left the cell and Harry curled up into a ball on his blood and semen stained mattress, the bruises and bite marks visible against his pale flesh.
Bill's horror struck blue eyes locked on Remus' gray face as the image faded to a wisp. One after the other, the two wizards placed their memories into the pensive. Hedwig wobbled on Bill's shoulder, exhausted.
An hour later the spell was performed a second time using Molly Weasley, Albus Dumbledore and Fawkes. This journey showed more detail on the dwelling and the surrounding village. When they finally entered the enchanted estate, Harry was asleep in his cell, wearing what looked to be an oversize man's white dress shirt and covered by a stained blanket to the waist. One wrist was shackled to the wall and both were wrapped in clean gauze bandages.
Sending many of the Order members home, only a few wizards remained to repeatedly view the contents of the pensive trying to decipher the clues. Mad Eye thought he recognized the village and Snape was fairly certain the estate belonged to the Le Strange family.
Harry pulled at the manacle, feeling his gauze wrapped wrist slip a little. The thick gauze of the bandage had prevented the wrist restraint from closing as tightly as it had in the past; Wormtail wasn't usually that unobservant, he thought. He unraveled several layers of the gauze and tugged again, biting back the pain. His hand slipped the restraints.
Rewrapping the gauze, Harry listened for sounds in the corridor outside. Hearing nothing, he crawled out of the bed, naked except for the white dress shirt that hung mid-thigh. He wrapped the soiled blanket around his shoulders; the white of the shirt would act like a beacon in the darkness. The cold stone floor nipped at his toes and he momentarily wished he had something to wear on his feet. As well as cold, the floor was slimy in spots and he really did not want to know what he was stepping in.
The slight wizard crept to the door and listened again. Nothing. He was too short to see out the high barred window. Gathering his courage and his magical reserves, Harry turned the door handle. He was not surprised to find it locked. Reaching out his senses, he did not detect any wards upon the door. He inhaled and concentrated as he held the handle.
"Alohamora," he whispered, feeling the tingle of wandless magic. A soft click told him the door was unlocked.
Quietly, he opened the door a sliver. The corridor was deserted. He opened it wider, peering both ways down the hall. He couldn't see much without his eyeglasses and hoped no one was lurking in the shadows. Keeping close to the wall, Harry made his way through the underground corridors to a set of staircases. Screwing up all of his Gryffindor courage, he silently made his way up to daylight.
In his quest to discover the location of human guards, he never noticed the gray rat with a silver paw following his path in the shadows. Hearing deep voices, Harry crouched low behind a suit of armor and waited for the men to pass. After determining no one else was following, Harry ducked into a large room. It was a banquet room; a long, heavy trestle table and several dozen high backed chairs dominated the room. At one end was a fireplace tall enough to stand in.
Harry squinted into the semidarkness, recognizing the room as the one he had been portkeyed into. He searched for a container of Floo Powder; he had seen wizards depart from the fireplace the day he had been captured.
Hearing a shuffle sound, Harry crawled under the table and hid in the shadow of the chair legs. He heard the soft tap of boot heals on the stone floor and held his breath when a figure entered the banquet room and walked the length of the table. Scuffed brown boots stopped beside the chair he was hiding behind. A small pouch was dropped to the floor beside the chair leg.
"Floo Powder, Potter." Wormtail spoke quietly; afraid his voice would carry in the empty room. "I am returning to your cell to sound the alarm about your escape. Do use your ten minutes wisely."
Wormtail walked a few steps. "Potter, consider my Wizard's Debt to you paid in full."
Harry stumbled but regained his balance as the Floo Network deposited him into the basement kitchens of Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. He relaxed slightly when no curses or hexes greeted his arrival. The room was deserted.
A quick examination revealed the rest of the house was deserted as well. Even the house elf, Kreacher, was gone; decapitated by Buckbeak after taunting the hippogroff one too many times. No tears had been shed over that incident; even Hermione had no reproachful comment and Buckbeak had been released back into the wild, much to Hagrid's delight.
Harry was relieved that the house was vacant. He felt every inch the whore Lucius Malfoy had called him and didn't want anyone to see him covered in blood and semen. Merlin only knew how he smelled.
The slight wizard collected a slim volume on common household mediwizardry from the small shelf of cookbooks in the kitchen. He wandered up to the first floor; stopping in the front parlor to open a secret compartment Mad Eye had shown him. It contained a half-dozen back up wands to be used in an emergency. Casually testing each, Harry selected an ebony wand; it was the only one that gave him a slight tremor of magic. It was not ideal, but it would have to do.
Harry climbed up the main staircase to the bedrooms on the second floor; grateful that Mrs. Black's portrait had not awoken. In his current state, he really wasn't up to her howls of indignation.
Harry gathered up a change of clothes from the lightweight summer clothes he had left in his bedroom and made his way to the large bathroom at the end of the hallway. He closed the door for privacy just in case someone arrived at the house while he was bathing, but did not bother to lock it. In his weakened condition and with a borrowed wand, he doubted any ward he might cast would hold up to even a third year.
As the deep claw footed bathtub filled with hot water, Harry perused the medicine cabinet. He located a powdered general healing potion that contained a wound disinfectant. He poured it liberally into the hot water, watching the water take on a blue tinge.
He folded the blanket and stuffed it into the trashcan beside the commode. The white dress shirt followed. As he unwound the gauze from his wrists, he caught his blurred reflection in the full-length mirror. Pretty whore. He saw nothing pretty in that bruised and used skeleton; he ran his fingers gently over the bite marks on his shoulder. He dumped the gauze into the trashcan and eased his sore body into the bath water.
Harry grimaced as the disinfectant bubbled into the open sores. He held his breath and submerged himself time and time again until the disinfectant ceased bubbling. He noticed with satisfaction that the black bruises were fading and new skin was healing over the cuts and bites.
Dressed in boxers and a t-shirt, Harry curled up into his bed, his mind was overflowing and his stomach rumbled in complaint. As exhausted as he was, sleep was not going to come. Slipping on a pair of miss-matched socks and a too short robe, he padded quietly down the staircase and into the kitchen.
The house was still deserted, but the kitchen was stocked with fresh food. Sipping a cup of tea and nibbling on a few chunks of cheese, cold sausage and crackers, Harry picked up a copy of "The Daily Prophet" that had been left on the countertop. He did not know how long he had been held prisoner, but by the date on the newspaper, it was at least mid-October.
His eyes scanned an advertisement from "Quality Quidditch Supplies." The Quidditch season would have already begun. He forced away thoughts of Quidditch and Hogwarts; he was damaged goods and pregnant with the Dark Lord's bastard child. Hogwarts was no longer a sanctuary open to him.
Bastard and whore. Unconsciously, he ran his hand over his still flat abdomen. His child, he told himself forcefully. The child was his; Voldemort only provided the seed. He couldn't return to the wizarding world, he realized with a start. As often as the temperamental wizarding world had turned against him, what would they do with this information? They would never accept his child; they would never accept him. Some Ministry of Magic underling might even force an abortion. There would be no future for him or his child.
And even if he wasn't carrying Voldemort's child, if Molly Weasley was any indication, the wizarding world was intolerant of out of wedlock children. He and Hermione had received a lengthy lecture from the plump witch one year about consorting with the wrong kind of witch after they had helped a young woman carry a pram down a steep staircase beside Flourish and Blotts. They had found it strange that no one else had offered to help her. Scarlet woman and strumpet were several of the names that Mrs. Weasley had used. "Strumpet" echoed in his mind.
Muggles, on the whole, seemed more tolerant of unwed mothers and single parenthood. The news was full of this actress or that singer having a child and in many neighborhoods teenage mothers were quite common.
Of course, Aunt Petunia and her friends fit right in with Mrs. Weasley's way of thinking. Last summer, Piers, Dudley's best friend, had gotten his girlfriend pregnant. By the way Aunt Petunia carried on, you would have thought the poor girl had single mindedly decided to destroy a perfect boy's life with her wanton ways. Never mind that it took two to conceive a child and, if Piers' bragging to his mates held any truth, he had already "knocked up" two other girls near Smeltings School.
Harry shuddered involuntarily. He would have to return to the Muggle world; it was the only safe place for him to go. He ran his hands through his overgrown hair. He fell into an uneasy sleep, his mind swimming with plans. With any luck, he would disappear before anyone even knew he had escaped the Death Eaters.
Harry awoke from a nightmare suddenly in the middle of the night, shaking violently. He bolted down the hallway to the bathroom, just barely reaching the commode in time to vomit. With shaking hands, he splashed cold water from the sink onto his face. This vision had been more violent than most.
Lord Voldemort had discovered that he was missing and he was furious. Harry watched in horror through their mind link as Wormtail was tortured and cursed until he died. Peter Pettigrew had paid his Wizard's Debt to Harry with his life; in those long moments, Harry suddenly realized why the small Animagus had been sorted into Gryffindor.
The next morning Harry woke up to the sunlight streaming through the torn ancient curtains. He felt safe, a feeling he hadn't felt in a long time. Slowly, he became aware of another presence in the room. He opened his eyes and found himself face to face with an old friend.
Dobby was practically bouncing in his excitement. "Oh, Mr. Harry Potter, sir I'm so happy to see you safe."
Harry held up a hand to stem the rush of words. "Why are you here?"
"Dobby comes to clean once a week more if there are wizards staying Dobby so happy to find Harry Potter. Does Harry Potter want breakfast?"
"Stop, Dobby," Harry said quietly, wishing his world was in focus. "Is anyone else here?"
"No, Harry Potter All away on Professor Dumbledore's orders. Dobby thinks they are looking for you. Should Dobby tell them you are back?"
"No, Dobby." Harry said urgently. "Dobby, you have to promise me you won't tell anyone I'm here. I can't stay here they will all hate me."
Dobby's bat-like ears twitched. He had seen the items left behind in the bathroom and Harry's aura was different. "Dobby promises not to tell anyone."
Harry swung his legs out of the bed. A thought came to mind. "Dobby, would you be able to get me something from Hogwarts without anyone knowing?"
Dobby's large eyes blinked. "I think so, Mr. Harry Potter. What do you want?"
"Is my school trunk there? Did they bring it from Kings Cross?"
"Yes, still locked you want Dobby to bring it?"
"Yes. I need some proper clothes and could you send Hedwig to me? She must be worried."
"Dobby can do that for Mr. Harry Potter. Are you wanting Dobby to make breakfast?"
"Just some tea and toast would be fine. I'm not very hungry."
Harry stared into the bathroom mirror. He had taken another soak in the healing solution and most of his injuries were almost healed. It was even easier to sit without wincing; he did not know a spell to heal the torn anal tissues and the book on mediwizardry did not contain any spell like that; it dealt with common ailments like earaches and broken bones. Wormtail had cast a healing spell on him several times, but Harry did not remember the incantation.
True to his word, Dobby had returned with his trunk and Hedwig. Hedwig was very pleased to see him again; she would not leave his side in case he disappeared again. She perched on a towel bar in the bathroom; her amber eyes followed all of his movements.
Since neither his eyeglasses nor his wand was in his school trunk, Harry made due with the borrowed wand. Dobby located an old pair of wizard spectacles in the Black family library and a quick tap at the temples caused them to adjust to his prescription. They looked much better than the horrid NHS frames the Dursleys had provided him, but one of his first stops would be an optician. The small rectangular frames were from the last century or earlier and were quite fragile.
Harry studied himself critically. To hide in the Muggle world, he would have to change his appearance. Muggle men did not get pregnant. He took a calming breath before patting his unruly black hair; a simple spell Tonks had taught him grew it out. The dark hair tumbled just past his shoulders. He still looked too much like himself; another charm changed all of his body hair to a soft coppery chestnut. Perfect, he thought. His green eyes and pale complexion did not stand out as much with the reddish hair.
Harry ran the wand over his chest, up his arms, under his arms, down his legs and finally, the lower half of his face. The hair removing charm removed the body hair he associated with being a male; he left his pubic area untouched no one was going to see that anytime soon.
Hedwig hooted in confusion, pulling on a strand of chestnut hair. He petted her softly as much to reassure her as himself.
Dressing quickly in plain trousers, a shirt and a long baggy pullover, he hoped that it would not stick out as too masculine as well as obscure a certain male body part he had no intention of altering.
A contingent made up of Ministry of Magic Aurors, lead by Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Order of the Phoenix members, lead by Mad Eye Moody, descended upon the ancient estate of the Le Strange family deep in the Welsh countryside. To a Muggle, the estate appeared to be the crumbling remains of a seventeenth century manor house but, to the wizards, it was an impressive dwelling.
It was soon apparent, by the little resistance given by the inhabitants of the estate, that the Death Eaters had been tipped off prior to their arrival. With the exception of a few house elves and Squib gardeners, the house was deserted. A room-by-room, floor-by- floor sweep revealed several startling discoveries.
The dismembered remains of the traitor, Peter Pettigrew, were discovered in a blood slick banquet room. Several of the younger witches and wizards retched upon viewing him; they were too young to have witnessed the atrocities committed during the first reign of He Who Must Not Be Named. After crime scene photographs were taken, Shacklebolt and Bill Weasley collected the remains of the unfortunate victim and placed them in a body bag held open by an impassive middle aged Auror.
Remus Lupin led a group into the lower levels, following a faint scent he thought belonged to Harry. Deeper and deeper they descended until reaching the lowest underground level. Harry's scent was stronger here. At the end of a torch lit corridor, Remus found the cell where Harry's scent was the strongest. A quick examination of the room revealed that it was empty; the wizards soon left to continue their search of the premises, leaving the werewolf behind.
Remus leaned against the wall in the hallway beside the door leading to the cell Harry had been kept as a prisoner for over a month. The graying man was ashen, the scents of the mattress in the cell too painful to fully comprehend. His werewolf senses had detected the scent of Harry, his blood, urine, vomit and semen as well as the semen of at least twelve additional men. This knowledge along with the vision from the locator spell he and Bill had performed told of the horrible days and nights Harry must have endured no fewer than twelve men had raped his godson.
Mad Eye Moody limped toward the werewolf. His magical eye took in the mattress and the stains; he patted the man's hunched shoulders.
"Lupin," he growled roughly. "The search of the house is complete. There's no sign of Potter so they must have taken him with them when they escaped. Weasley found Peter Pettigrew's body in the Banquet Room hated the man for what he did to James and Lily, but I wouldn't wish that kind of death on anyone."
Remus roused himself. Harry wasn't here, but that meant maybe he was still alive. "We need to take the body back to the Ministry. It's too late to help Padfoot, but Harry would be happy if we could clear Sirius' name."
Standing in the lobby of Gringott's Bank, Harry adjusted the straps of a book bag over his shoulder and set Hedwig's cage on the floor as he paused to get his bearings. He pulled out his vault key from a chain around his neck and joined a line waiting for the next available teller.
He saw a familiar red head stride across the lobby and it occurred to Harry that maybe he didn't need to run away. Bill Weasley was the most levelheaded man he knew. As he debated whether to call out to the tall wizard, Fleur Delacour entered the bank and Bill smiled. Harry turned away as Bill hugged the half-veela and they walked from the bank, chatting happily and holding hands.
Pushing aside the memory of warm hands on his skin, Harry moved forward in the line. Bill had said "I'll miss this" meaning the sex, he never said "I'll miss you". Harry had said he wanted a casual fuck, something with no strings attached and, he reminded himself harshly, that was all he was to Bill. That was all he would ever be to anyone. He was, after all, just a pretty whore.
Dobby bustled about the kitchen at 12 Grimmauld Place preparing a dinner for the Order of the Phoenix members who were returning from a raid. He was in his element, multiple pans simmering, whole chickens roasting and fresh bread baking. He hopped over to the dining area and set out the silverware and place settings.
The witches and wizards had begun arriving as he was putting the finishing touches on the meal; he never knew how many would actually eat, but too much food was better than not enough. Tonks stuck her head in the doorway, offering to help serve the food, but Dobby politely declined. She meant well, but she was extremely clumsy so he sent her off with napkins and an extra tablecloth. Nervously, the house elf glanced at the bundle of fabric he had tucked in an out of the way corner. He should just incinerate it, but he was too undecided about what to do with it.
Remus and Mad Eye tumbled through the Floo Network into the kitchen; the anti-apparation wards on the house were a sometimes-inconvenient security measure.
"Dobby, Professor Dumbledore will be late. He had to take a package to the Ministry. We should begin eating without himÉjust make sure you've set aside dessert for his sweet tooth when he does arrive." Mad Eye began limping from the kitchen but stopped when he noticed Remus frozen in the middle of the kitchen, a puzzled look on his face.
Remus' werewolf senses were still on full alert from the unsuccessful raid on the Le Strange estate. He stalked the kitchen, sniffing. He seized the bundle of fabric Dobby had left in the corner.
Dobby began to slam his hands in the oven door. He had promised not to tell anyone. Remus pounced on him, restraining the agitated little elf.
"Dobby, Harry was here? Where is he? Is he upstairs?"
Dobby whimpered, trying to bang his head. "Dobby promised, bad Dobby."
Mad Eye's magical eye was rotating, examining the inside of the house. "His trunk is in his bedroom, but he's not here."
"Bad Dobby, bad, bad Dobby. Dobby promised not to tell."
"Dobby, it's importantÉdid you see him? Was he injured?" Remus clutched the stained white dress shirt and the wool blanket. Harry's scent was fresh, less than a day. The wizard sank into one of the kitchen benches; Harry's scent had subtly changed. His amber eyes locked on Dobby. "Harry's scaredÉ He was safe hereÉwhy did he leave? Did he go to Hogwarts?É Please, Dobby, he's not thinking clearly."
"Mr. Harry Potter said you would all hate him."
"Hate him?" Mad Eye stopped Dobby from kicking the fireplace. "Why would we hate him? Death Eaters for tortured him over a month. He's not right in his head."
Remus buried his nose in the crumpled dress shirt. His heart ached. While they had gone to rescue Harry, Harry apparently had rescued himself. Wormtail had died either because he had let him escape or had, for some unknown reason, helped him escape. But the scent told him something else.
"He's pregnant. He thinks we'll hate him because one of those Death Eater rapists impregnated him. Dobby, did he go to Hogwarts?"
Dobby's little body was rocking side to side. " Dobby does not know, Professor Lupin, sir. Mr. Harry Potter was sleeping in his bed when Dobby came to clean. Dobby was so happy. Dobby brought him his trunk so he had clothes and his owl. Dobby needed more flour to make bread so Dobby went to get flour. Mr. Harry Potter was gone when Dobby returnedÉDobby is sorry, sirs, but Dobby promised Mr. Harry PotterÉ"
Harry looked around "the Leaky Cauldron" one final time before he stepped out into Muggle London. His entire life now consisted of a backpack, a tote bag and an owl in a cage. In his wallet were pieces of Muggle Identification and a credit card that carried the name of a prestigious London bank but would draw directly from his Gringott's vault. For a certain fee, the goblins would do anything and not ask awkward questions.
The young wizard cast one final charm upon himself, a glamour charm that made him look older. He would need to rent a safe apartment somewhere and no one would be taking a seventeen year old, girl or boy, seriously. He would remove the glamour as soon as he was properly situated to disappear into the Muggle world.
Harry had no real destination in mind and he decided if he acted on whim he would be that much harder to trace. Entering Victoria Station, he caught the first train to depart and ended up in Wales. After spending the night in a clean, but shabby hotel near the train station, Harry picked a direction at random and caught a train the next morning, heading north.
Hedwig didn't like all the jostling, but she was being a good sport about it. Harry was glad he had purchased a cage cover at Eeyops Owl Emporium before leaving Diagon Alley. People just assumed the middle- aged woman he appeared to be had a cage of budgies or a parrot. As long as the snowy owl did not hoot, no one was the wiser.
Albus, Remus and a very frayed looking Fawkes performed the locator charm using Harry's wand and the white shirt as a focus. The vision took them through Victoria Station and followed the path of a Muggle train, finally focusing on a compartment containing two businessmen and a middle aged woman with a large birdcage.
The vision focused on the woman, and that confused them until the afternoon sunlight fell on the distinctive emerald green eyes. Harry. Harry in his glamored disguise stared sadly out of the train window, a forgotten magazine in his lap.
The morning sickness still disabled Harry for at least an hour every morning, but it was not as severe as it had been. According to one of the books on pregnancy he had purchased, morning sickness usually disappeared by the end of the third month. Crackers, dry toast and weak tea all seemed to help.
Harry made an appointment with a realtor who also dealt with rental properties. Harry spun a convincing tale of a messy divorce and the need to move somewhere quiet for at least a year "to find herself".
The realtor soon located several properties. Harry decided upon a small cottage in a village on the Scottish border; it was within a ten-minute walk to a shopping district and came with utilities, appliances and several pieces of furniture. The young wizard paid six months rent in advance and acquired a key without ever seeing it in person. The realtor had given him a video tour via the Internet and a neatly sketched floor plan.
Since Harry could not take possession of the cottage until November 1, he spent the next three days acquiring and shrinking the items he would need for a household. Having never had much opportunity to shop for himself, Harry found the task both overwhelming and enjoyable. He made a checklist of everything he thought he would need to outfit a house and slowly worked his way through the list, knowing that he probably was forgetting many things. Within walking distance of his hotel room was an American-style super store; without much difficulty, he was able to coordinate his bedding, bath and kitchen supplies. He even picked up a few items of clothing from their small maternity department. He couldn't help but wonder what Mr. Weasley would do in such a place.
Hedwig devoured the last of the feeder mice Harry had purchased for her from a pet shop around the corner from the hotel. Harry hadn't wanted to risk letting her out to hunt in the city, afraid that she could ingest a mouse or rat that had eaten poison.
It was nearly midnight on October 31. Harry stood before the mirror in the cramped hotel bathroom and removed the age glamour; an asexual seventeen year old with chestnut hair looked back at him through a new pair of gold rimmed eyeglasses.
With a sigh, he returned to the sleeping area and packed all of his shrunken belongings into several canvas tote bags. Hedwig landed on his shoulder and tugged at the long hair; she was glad her master looked almost like himself again.
Harry stroked her feathers. "Sorry Hedwig. The hair has to stay."
She hooted softly, feeling the sadness in the young man.
"Tomorrow morning we move to our new home. I can't be a wizard anymore. I'll be a Muggle."
Harry sat at his kitchen table and sipped a cup of tea. The afternoon light glittered on the glassware in his kitchen cupboards. He smiled, pleased with his little cottage.
It was a non-descript little house built in the late 1920's and re- plumbed and updated sometime in the 1980's. Consisting of only three rooms a tiny bathroom, a bedroom and a combined living room and kitchen, Harry had spent the past two days scrubbing and polishing it until it sparkled. He could still smell the oil soap he used on the woodwork and the floors. Aunt Petunia had taught him well.
The furniture was old fashioned, but it fit the little cottage's personality. He had taken down the frilly gauze curtains and removed the large floral slipcovers on the sofa and chair; an old woman had definitely been a previous resident. He neatly folded the fabric lengths and placed them in the plastic bag his new duvet had come in tucking the bag into the attic crawlspace; the curtains and slipcovers, however gaudy, were not his property to dispose of.
Hedwig slept on a perch beside a built in bookcase. As the cottage backed up onto an expanse of undeveloped land, the snowy owl was pleased to be able to hunt and exercise again. She often disappeared for hours.
Harry poured himself another cup of tea from his teapot and added an item to his shopping list. Tomorrow he would walk the promised ten- minute walk into town and investigate the shopping district. Perhaps he would see if he could locate a bookstore or a public library.
Harry yawned, the fatigue settling in. Now that he was done moving in and the initial excitement of decorating his own home had subsided, sadness and depression was creeping back into his heart and his head. He would need to find things to occupy his time. There was a small unkempt yard, but the cold pre-winter rains had already begun, so that prevented anything but the most basic of cleanup.
The radio played softly in the background; he didn't understand much of the idle political chitchat of the announcers. A previous renter had left behind a small working television, but it seemed to only get three stations and the afternoon soap operas were hardly his choice for a distraction.
The slight wizard readied himself for bed, pulling on a pair of flannel pajamas. As he buttoned the top, a button came loose in his hand. He set it carefully on the bedside table. He would need to sew it back on in the morning. Mrs. Figg had taught him how to sew buttons and make minor sewing repairs; she thought all young men should be able to take care of themselves.
Harry snuggled into his warm flannel sheets and turned out the light. The windows of the little cottage were drafty; he would need to find something to seal them before winter settled in. The moonlight made odd patterns against the uneven plaster walls. Just before he fell asleep, he cleared his mind. Even though he was living as a Muggle, he continued to practice Occulmency. He had no doubt that Voldemort was looking for him, and he was not going to let their mind link help in any way; his life and the baby's life depended on it.
Harry peered through the window of a medium sized shop. There was a "Part Time Help Wanted Inquire Within" sign tucked into the corner of the brightly decorated window. It was a hobby and fabric shop. The slight wizard looked at all the Christmas decorations and the holiday gift ideas displayed within, mildly surprised that he had not realized Christmas was a month away.
A slightly chubby woman in her early seventies ran the shop Anne Campbell. Stepping inside from the cold November morning, Harry could see tables of brightly colored fabric and a wall filled with skeins of yarn in every color imaginable. The aisles were filled with craft kits, model airplane and automobile kits, silk flowers and artificial greenery, painting kits, unfinished decorative items to paint and do- it-yourself framing supplies. He couldn't believe so much was stuffed inside the building.
He paused beside a display with a sign reading "Classes available please see Anne for further information". His eyes ran over floral wreaths, painted birdhouses, knitted baby sweaters, crotched afghans and finally rested on a baby-sized quilt. It was a brightly colored jumble of fabrics and featured appliqud cats and owls.
"May I help you?" The owner asked pleasantly.
"Oh no, dear. It's a sample for the beginning appliqué class.
"Oh," said Harry disappointed. The little fabric owls reminded him of Hedwig. "Is it hard to do? Ap-appliqué?"
Anne smiled at the young woman. "Can you sew?"
"Just buttons and simple repairs."
"Doesn't take much more skill than that just practice on keeping the stitches even. Are you interested in signing up for a class? They start in January. I could see if there are any openings."
Harry pushed back his long hair nervously. "Well actually I'm wondering about the job."
Harry helped several Girl Guides nail together birdhouses they were building and decorating for a proficiency badge. The part time job consisted of stocking shelves, inventory and helping Anne with her craft classes; Anne quickly discovered that Harry or "Rea" as she had dubbed him, was very good with children.
Harry, with the exception of grade school art projects, which Aunt Petunia had promptly thrown out, had never had much opportunity to work with his hands. Starting simply, he developed a flair for turning the bits of wood, yarn and beads into little creatures the children liked to make.
He especially enjoyed working with the "Wee Ones Craft Class" that met Saturday mornings. The ever changing collection of three to five year olds were making snowmen out of bits of felt, yarn, popsicle sticks and pompoms shot with metallic yarn as many of their mothers attended adult classes with Anne. Harry's smock was covered with glue and bits of yarn and felt as he helped the clumsy little fingers glue their skiing pompom snowmen together; it had snowed the night before and the little ones were all excited.
Anne shared a cup of tea with Harry after the classes left for the day, passing a plate of leftover cookies one of the women had brought. Harry was a puzzle, quiet most of the time, but really animated with the children. She knew the husky voiced young woman lived alone in the small cottage at the edge of the village and she wondered what had happened to all the adults in her life. Just seventeen, Rea was either a runaway or a throwaway; Anne wasn't sure which, but she had taken in foster children and various strays for years. The young red head fit all the signs.
Harry propped up his aching legs and watched an old Christmas movie on the television. He was fine when his mind was suitably occupied helping Anne in the shop or teaching the children's classes, but when he was alone, memories threatened to overwhelm him. Christmas was in a week and for the first time since he found out he was a wizard, he was not looking forward to it. There would be no Weasley sweater, no chocolate frogs, no Great Hall decorated with fairy lights and baubles.
He looked around his small cottage; there were no holiday cards and the only decorations were several display samples for his classes in various stages of completion. Anne often sent him home with bits and pieces to practice on before he taught the children; it was another way to occupy his mind.
Harry turned off the television; it was too painful to watch all the happy people. Hedwig was out hunting so he didn't even have her company. He lay back on the sofa, snuggling beneath an afghan; he was almost asleep when he felt it Ð a slight flutter in his abdomen.
"Hello, love." Harry smiled and rested his hand on the gentle swell of his stomach. "I can't wait to meet you."
It was Christmas Eve Day and Harry was supervising a group of Cub Scouts making topiary trees out of silk ivy strands, small red flowers, Styrofoam balls, moss, and a dowel - last minute Christmas gifts for their mothers or grandmothers and points toward earning a patch.
Harry was hit with a sudden, blinding headache and the color drained from his face. It felt as if someone was trying to invade his brain. Quickly he tried to empty his mind, months of Occulumency practice paying off. After several unsuccessful attempts, the invader left, but Harry swayed on his feet.
"Miss Rea?" one of the young boys asked in alarm. "Are you all right?"
Lord Voldemort leaned back in his chair. He had seen a bit through Harry's mind before the young wizard closed him out. The Dark Lord mulled the tantalizing clue over in his mind; Harry appeared to be teaching children, and from the soft burr in the children's voices, he was in Scotland.
Anne looked up as one of the boys hurried up to her. "Miss Anne something's the matter with Miss Rea."
She could see Rea wobble on her feet and clutch the worktable for support. All the color seemed to drain from her face. Rea's hand momentarily paused on her lower abdomen, a move so subtle Anne almost missed it.
Anne made Rea lay down on a shabby sofa in the storage room. The Den Mother, who had been helping with the class, continued helping the boys finish their trees; thankfully they were almost done. She only hoped that Rea did not have the flu; the other parents would not appreciate sick children on the holiday.
The shop closed early for the holidays and Anne insisted on driving Rea home. Rea was feeling much better, the headache leaving almost as soon as it had struck, but Anne wasn't taking any chances.
The older woman bustled about in Rea's small kitchen, fixing tea and sandwiches. Hedwig startled her when she came to investigate; Anne laughed, realizing why Rea had asked about the quilt.
"How far along are you, love?" she asked gently. Harry froze, sandwich halfway to his mouth.
"What do you mean?" he asked nervously.
Anne smiled. "The baby, sweetie. That little bump of a tummy isn't from too much eggnog."
Little girl, Harry snorted. He knew Anne was bursting with questions, but she did not pry. What she needed to know she would find out when Harry was ready to tell her and not before.
Anne had invited him to spend Christmas with her extended family but he politely declined, telling her he already had plans and would not be alone. He knew she did not believe him, but she wished him a "Happy Christmas" and headed home to her children, grandchildren and assorted former foster children.
Harry propped himself up in bed against the pillows and rested his hands on his abdomen. Every day he felt the fluttering grow stronger and he did not feel so alone. Hedwig flew into the bedroom and perched on the headboard as if asking what was holding up breakfast. Harry smiled to himself as he realized he hadn't lied to Anne after all. He wasn't alone; his family was there with him.
Hedwig flew over to the chair beside him, closest
to the fireplace and dropped a strange little object beside his breakfast
plate. She was grateful to get out of the cold and snow. Remus had
Remus placed a dish of water and a piece of leftover bacon before her and scavenged for a few owl treats from a canister on the counter.
His hands were shaking as he picked up the odd little item. It was a pompom snowman with Popsicle stick skis. Puzzled, he turned it over and over in his hands. It smelt faintly of Harry.
"Hedwig, are you trying to give me a clue?"
"That's odd," Harry said aloud to himself. "I thought there were five of them."
Harry had begun wearing Maternity trousers and oversized tops; even if he was masquerading as a woman, he was not about to wear anything particularly feminine. Merlin himself wouldn't have gotten him into one of those gathered plaid monstrosities with the Peter Pan collars.
At home he found himself wearing his winter weight robes, both for warmth in the drafty cottage and for the comfort the loose garment provided.
He continued to find odd little items missing from
time to time and had begun to search for signs of a packrat or other
such rodent taking up residence in the little cottage. Magic would
Harry snuggled beneath an afghan and continued his reading on male pregnancy, diagnostic spells that should be performed and midwife mediwizardry. The baby would be here sometime in June if Lord Voldemort were correct about the time of conception. Harry was trying to determine if it would be at all possible for him to deliver the baby himself.
The white blond wizard ran his finger lightly over a promising spell; it could trace a magical signature.
Remus attempted to follow the owl on her return flights, both on broomstick and in his wolf form, but she eluded him and any attempt to attach a letter was met with an indignant nip.
Deciding it would be too treacherous for Rea to walk home and the unplowed snow too deep to drive in, Anne insisted that Harry spend the night in her apartment above the shop. Since Hedwig was safely ensconced in the cottage with enough food and water for a day or so, Harry agreed. With his enlarging abdomen his center of gravity was all off and the risk of a fall was heavy on his mind.
Declining the offer of a nightgown, Harry stripped
down to the sleeveless undershirt and boxers he wore beneath his clothes
and snuggled under the heavy quilts in the guest room. He was exhausted
Harry's unsettled mind brought about a horrific dream in which all of his friends, seeing his swollen belly, had looked at him in distain and turned their backs on him. Just a pretty whore. That Bill laughed at him and told him he had never had feelings for him and that only Fleur was good enough. Just a pretty whore.
Harry's dream shifted and he found himself back in Lord Voldemort's custody. Lucius was kissing him, caressing him, acting out his odd parody of affection as he brought both of them to climax. Holding Harry, fucking Harry, telling Harry that only he would ever want Harry. Only he would want such a pretty whore.
The maternal instincts took over as the old woman hurried to the bedside. Rea was talking softly in her sleep; she listened closely as the words came into focus.
"No one will ever want you…you're just a pretty whore…"
Waking her young houseguest from the nightmare had
opened the door to a kind of catharsis. Slowly, Harry revealed bits
of his life, careful not to let anything about magic slip out. He
told her of the Dursleys, the cupboard, of being a freak. About meeting
his convict godfather who wanted to raise him but was not permitted
to do so. About his godfather being murdered while trying to protect
Harry. He told her about Hedwig, his friends and losing his virginity
to Bill. Shaking violently, the abduction from Kings Cross Station
and the subsequent rapes and impregnation. Of Aunt Petunia and Mrs.
Weasley and their archaic view of unwed mothers. His pregnancy, escape,
Anne peeked into the guest bedroom. Rea was still asleep. She was glad of that; after finally baring her soul, the little girl was exhausted.
The woman stepped down the hall to the kitchen, her mind calculating her next move. There was much that could be done for Rea. She would call her niece Abby later today; Abby worked as a counselor in a rape crisis center. She could provide her with a place to start. Rea needed to talk to someone about her ordeal; she needed to understand that she was a victim, not a willing participant and certainly not a whore.
Had Rea been tested for STDs, Anne wondered. Rea had assured her she had seen a nurse-midwife for the pregnancy, but if the woman did not know about the gang rape, she would never think to test the shy girl for a sexually transmitted disease.
Poor girl thinking she was a freak; Anne wanted to strangle Rea's aunt and uncle for raising their niece as a boy. She couldn't even imagine the confusion and distress Rea must have suffered when she realized that her body did not look like her little boy friends bodies. Even when she was talking last night, Anne got the distinct impression that Rea still thought of herself as a boy.
A first Anne had been amused by Rea's sleeveless man's
ribbed undershirt and boxer shorts, the little round tummy making
her look like a man with a beer belly, but now she was livid. The
He kept reminding himself that she was only trying to help as he stuffed the female lingerie into his dresser drawer.
The white blond wizard apparated directly into the bedroom and contemplated the sleeping Harry. He cast a warming charm on the room and slipped out to investigate the rest of the cottage. Satisfied that Harry was the only human occupant, he returned to the bedroom, closing the door tightly behind him.
Smirking slightly, the dark wizard divested himself
of his heavy winter robes and boots. The moonlight made his pale flesh
glow. He pulled back the warm duvet and flannel sheets and examined
his prize. Harry was curled up on his side, wearing only a nightshirt
Harry felt himself pushed flat on his back; his knees bent and spread open. Strong, cool hands caressed his face, his chest, and his thighs. They splayed across his rounded abdomen and he smiled as they jumped slightly when the baby kicked. Strange, he thought, this dream seemed more real than his usual hormone driven dreams; he never smelled cologne before. Cologne. His green eyes snapped open; he recognized the cologne.
Firm hands pinned his shoulders to the mattress as he began to struggle. One hand moved and a thumb caressed his temple.
"Don't fight, pet," Lucius ordered in a soothing tone. "Relax."
Harry tried to calm his racing heart. His eyes drifted to his bedside table but his borrowed wand was missing. Lucius twirled the ebony wand casually in his fingers.
"Looking for this?"
Lucius eyes took in the young wizard's body; he had
put on needed pounds since his escape and a healthy glow radiated
from him. The dark wizard's hand returned to Harry's abdomen and a
"Hello, little one." A large hand caressed Harry's abdomen. "Are you my spare heir?"
Harry found his voice. "But…Voldemort…"
"Has claimed the child?" Lucius' eyebrow arched. "If this proves to be my child, do you really think I'd let someone, even the Dark Lord, raise a Malfoy as his own?"
"What do you plan to do?"
"Do, pretty whore?" Lucius' hands moved on to far more intimate caresses. "I've missed your sweet little body…it wasn't nice of you to leave without a proper good bye."
Once again Harry endured the kisses, the caresses, the odd affections of the older wizard as he found himself carefully prepared.
Lucius spelled Harry's nightshirt and socks back on
after performing a quick cleaning and healing spell. He tucked the
flannel sheets and the duvet under the young wizard's chin. He gave
"I'll be back to check on you from time to time,
Precious." He smirked the trademark Malfoy smirk. "You can
change your appearance, but you can not change your blood or your
Lucius pulled on his leather gloves and ran a finger down Harry's cheek; Harry flinched. Lucius' sharp white teeth glittered in the moonlight.
Awkwardly Harry pulled himself to his feet, holding
on to a fieldstone wall for support. He entered the cottage, pausing
briefly to wash his hands before hurrying to the bathroom. The baby
Sipping a cup of tea, Harry studied the midwife mediwizardry books. If he were to deliver his own child there seemed to be only two options open to him and both had their dangers. He could perform a spell to temporarily change his gender or perform a cesarean section. He preferred the c-section route, but if he cut too deep or if he passed out before he could heal himself, he would bleed to death.
He missed Sirius. His godfather would have known what he should do.
Harry's mind drifted to Remus. Remus was good at healing spells and he was already ostracized by a large section of the wizarding world for being a werewolf. Even though he was considered a dark creature, Remus hated dark magic. Could Harry trust the wolf in Remus with the Dark Lord's heir?
Harry picked at his sandwich; he wasn't very hungry
but if he lost weight, Anne would involve herself. He looked over
to a laundry basket slowly filling with class "samples"
Anne was giving
Lord Voldemort still occasionally tried to invade Harry's mind, but he was now able to detect the invasion almost as soon as it began and easily deflect it. Snape would have been pleased.
If there was anything Harry could be grateful for
about his captivity, it was that Voldemort had partially severed their
bond. Harry no longer had to bear witness to all of the Dark Lord's
Lucius continued to visit and bed Harry, but Harry never remembered the visits as anything other than odd, erotic dreams.
But it was too early. According to Voldemort's calculations, the baby should arrive mid to late June. Harry gathered his wand and medical guides and changed into a nightshirt. He breathed through the sharp contraction. It was too late to send for help; he was on his own.
Harry tried to perform the incantation for the cesarean section spell but his magic was too unfocused and wild; the borrowed wand did not respond as well as one keyed to his magic would have. He couldn't do it. He had been a fool to even think he could deliver the baby himself; his fear of discovery had sealed their fate. The baby's magic would tear him apart trying to be born and they would both die.
Severus plucked the agitated owl off Remus' shoulder. She pulled at his robes, frantically trying to get him to the window.
"Hedwig, do you want us to follow you?" Remus asked, and she calmed herself.
"Remmy," Tonks got to her feet. "You can borrow my broom. It's faster than your old Shooting Star."
"I'll go with you Lupin," Severus said, reaching for his Cleansweep Seven. "Who knows what trouble Potter has managed to get himself into."
"The brooms will be too slow, Severus." Remus had a gleam in his eye. "I have something better…"
Harry's eyes opened and he focused on a pale arm marred by a Dark Mark. Merlin no, his mind screamed. He didn't want to go back with Voldemort. Voldemort would steal his baby. He tried to bolt from the bed, but found himself restrained with a gentle, but firm, embrace.
"Calm down, Potter," Severus said softly, his voice devoid of it's usual malice. "Lupin has gone for Madam Pomfrey."
Harry ceased his struggles, realizing that he was safe with Professor Snape. He was in too much discomfort to even wonder why the professor was there. "The baby…"
"The baby is fine. I have managed to slow the contractions. Madam Pomfrey will perform a cesarean section as soon as she arrives. It's too late to try for a natural birth." Severus watched as Harry rode out another violent contraction.
"Idiot child…even if you were a female you would have been hard pressed to deliver your own child…"
Harry breathed through clenched teeth and snapped at the Potions Master. "If I were female, I would have gone to a Muggle hospital, but being male, I could not exactly go there, could I? I'm sure that even a Pureblood such as yourself knows that Muggle men do not get pregnant."
The front door opened, revealing a man with graying hair. He stepped out onto the small porch and emptied out a basin of dark red water over a shrub. It looked like blood.
Remus looked up in surprise when he heard a strangled gasp a few feet away. An elderly Muggle woman stood, looking at the basin in his hands, horror on her face.
"Rea?" The woman shuddered. "Did something happen to Rea?"
Rea, Remus thought momentarily confused and then realized that Harry must have been using an alias. The woman looked familiar; he had seen her several times while performing the locator spell and he thought she was a friend of his godson.
"Harry…Rea will be fine…the baby came a few minutes ago."
"But it's too early…" Anne reached for her cell phone in her handbag. "Have you called for emergency transport to Hospital?"
Remus smiled tiredly. "It won't be necessary, Madam. Madam Pomfrey delivered the baby and she's been delivering babies since before either one of us was born."
Anne looked closely at the man who beckoned her into the cottage. On closer examination, he was much younger than his hair indicated. Gaunt and rather pale, the man looked as if he had been ill for along time.
"Excuse me, but who are you?"
Remus wiped his hand on his faded Muggle jeans and extended it. "Remus Lupin. I am Harry's godfather…and you are?"
Anne firmly shook his hand, surprised at the strength in his grip. "Anne Campbell…Rea works part time in my shop. I was worried when she didn't show up for work this afternoon."
"Severus," Lupin said. "Anne Campbell, Harry's employer…Mrs. Campbell. Severus Snape. He is one of Harry's professors."
Severus nodded his head politely in greeting. Remus and Anne peered into the towel nestled securely in his arms.
"It's a boy." Remus answered Anne's unasked question.
"Lupin, Poppy needs another basin of water to finish sponging off Mist…Miss Potter…Then we'll need to clean this one up."
Without a word spoken, Anne held out her arms and after a moment's hesitation, the newborn was placed in her embrace. Severus quickly covered the kitchen table with thick towels and ran water into another basin, testing the temperature with a quietly murmured charm. Anne was too busy counting fingers and toes to notice.
Remus returned from the bedroom with two vials of
liquid, several cloth diapers ands diaper pins. He placed the vials
beside the basin. "Poppy says to add three drops of the green
liquid to the
Severus sorted through the laundry basket containing
the baby items. Harry had been adding to the hand knit articles. The
dark wizard puzzled over the odd Muggle garments before returning
"Goodness," Anne laughed as she saw the collection. "He'll smother if we dress him in all of that."
Madam Pomfrey joined them, as Anne was finishing washing the baby's hair. The matron watched as Anne expertly fastened the tiny pink and blue patterned diaper, folding it down under the umbilical stump. Anne smiled at the elderly midwife.
"Disposable diapers…what a Godsend…wish they'd invented the things when my babies were small."
Madam Pomfrey picked up the tiny boy. "Harry's awake, but sedated. You can visit for a few minutes if you don't get him…her excited. Severus, can you assist me with my examination, please?"
"Oh, sweetheart." Anne brushed the damp hair off Harry's forehead. "He's beautiful."
Harry's green eyes searched Remus' face. "I just got to see him for a moment before Snape took him away. Remy, who does he look like?"
Poppy slipped on the tiny t-shirt and the nightgown. The baby made mewing noises. Glancing at the bedroom door again, she conjured a bottle and eased the nipple between the questing lips.
"Poppy, can we run a paternity test here or do we need to do it at Hogwarts?" Severus quietly asked.
"Hold his foot still. I'll need to draw a sample."
The baby let out a howl as she drew a sample of blood from his heel
and quickly healed the puncture. "It'll be admissible evidence
"There was something else I detected when I ran the diagnostic spells on Potter to slow the labor until your arrival."
"The Oblivates?" The matron looked up as Severus nodded."They concern me. They are almost surgically precise."
"Then Potter didn't perform them on himself…trying to escape…memories?"
"No. Whoever performed them knew exactly what he or she was doing. I examined Harry's wand. He has used it to modify his appearance and to perform prenatal tests. And it's nigh on impossible to perform an Oblivate wandlessly."
"Oh, love…a baby is a precious thing…I
would have supported your decision either way…to bear it or
to abort it…I was so scared…I lost Lily and James and
then Sirius…I couldn't bear to think
"Remus, they ostracize you enough because of what you are…My baby is a bastard and the Death Eaters made me their whore…I couldn't bring that kind of shame to you."
Remus kissed his temple. "You let me worry about what kind of shame I'm willing to bear…you're safe now and if our world can't accept us… then the hell with them…we'll start again somewhere else."
Anne watched the older man interact with Rea and wondered
what the fragile man could have done to be ostracized. He appeared
to be a very gentle creature. The priest-like man and the matron in
the starched white wimple seemed to be from another time, but neither
had outwardly condemned her little girl. As unforgiving of illegitimate
children as Rea indicated her friends and family were, perhaps these
three were an enlightened minority.
"She won't stay long. She just wants to make sure I'm all right. She is very protective me."
"And very intelligent." Severus handed Harry his son, showing him how to properly support the infant's back and neck and how to hold the bottle to prevent the ingestion of too much air. "It's a good thing she is much more intelligent than her master."
"Severus…" Remus growled.
"Idiot child…doesn't know how close we came to losing them both."
"Severus, not now."
"No, Remus. Professor Snape is right…I
am an idiot…but I really wasn't expecting him for another month….
How did you find me, any way?"
The werewolf stroked a bright red curl of the infant's hair. "Looks like he has Lily's red hair…"
"That's not Evans red," Poppy began.
Remus looked at her sharply. "Did you run the paternity test? Little Sirius isn't Voldemort's, is he?"
"Baby Potter is full term…do you understand what that means, Mr. Lupin?"
Remus stared at her. "Harry was pregnant before the Death Eaters raped him…before he ever went to Kings Cross Station."
"Ten points to Gryffindor." Severus sneered. "And who do we know with bright red hair?"
He was a father. He had a son.
His attention was caught by a soft, snuffling sound in the corner. Quietly he approached the bassinette and examined the sleeping newborn. He ran his wand above the infant, murmuring a spell. He sighed. The child was not his nor did it belong to Voldemort.
"Expelliarmus." A deep voice said quietly from the bedroom door. Lucius spun as his wand darted from his hand, only to be caught by a tall, thin silhouette. He blinked in the sudden artificial brightness as Bill switched on the overhead light.
"Step away from Harry and my son, Malfoy." Bill indicated for him to move, keeping his wand and eyes locked on the white blond wizard.
"Your son? My, my, what a surprise…would
have thought my pretty whore would have better taste in men."
Lucius was not about to underestimate Bill Weasley's strength or intelligence as a wizard. Cursebreakers were extremely powerful and well versed in all forms of magic – light and dark, ancient and modern – and Bill had the reputation of being one of the best in the business.
His lip curling into a smile, Lucius looked up and down Harry's slight body before locking onto the bright green eyes. He fingered a second wand hidden in the folds of his robe.
""I'll miss you, Precious." He purred and disapparated.
Bill hurried over to Harry, who had gone as white as his bed sheets. "Harry?"
Harry was shaking and gave no indication he had heard Bill.
Bill pulled the slight man into his arms and felt
him stiffen at the touch. Damn Lucius Malfoy to the Nine Hells.
"Bill…did he hurt Sirius?"
"No, love. Siri is fine. He ran a paternity charm of some sort." Bill caught Harry's chin and gently turned it so their eyes met. "We have to leave…now."
"Malfoy knows where we are…and he now knows Siri isn't his…for all we know he'll bring the Death Eaters down on us."
She picked up the charred remains of a pompom snowman; it was the only identifiable object to survive the blast.
Harry had exited the bathroom clad only in patterned silk boxers. Take it slow, Bill reminded himself. He could feel Harry trembling as he took him in his arms. He nibbled on Harry's ear and worked his way down the slight wizard's throat. For the first time, Harry did not pull away in a panic.
He gently caressed his lover's face and kissed him
again, a little more passionately. Tentatively, Harry returned his
kisses, slightly parting his lips to permit entrance. Slowly his tongue
"Yes," Harry whispered.
Bill picked him up and laid him into the middle of the bed. Green eyes glittered in the candlelight. Unconsciously, Harry's hand rested atop the cesarean scar on his lower abdomen.
Removing the rest of his own clothing, Bill joined
Harry on the bed. Harry examined him – thin, but finely muscled
and, like the rest of the Weasley's, covered in freckles. He swallowed
as he saw
Lightly, he ran his fingers over a scar on Harry's hip. Bill felt Harry's pulse quicken and his thighs tremble before he stiffened, rolled off Bill and curled into a tight ball, afraid to make eye contact, afraid of rejection.
Bill gathered him into his arms, kissing him, caressing him.
"You've done nothing to be sorry for." Bill
forced Harry to make eye contact. "I didn't mean to scare you…are
we moving too fast?"
"Harry, I will never hurt you." Bill kissed his shoulder. He began to work his way down, teasing a nipple, nibbling on an inner thigh. He worked slowly until Harry's body was receptive to his touch. Bill licked the cesarean scar; Harry froze a moment and then relaxed.
Bill curled his hands around Harry's hips; fearful green eyes locked on the red head's face. He felt something larger than a finger nudge between his legs and he forced himself to relax. Bill captured his lips in a fierce kiss as he entered with slow, shallow thrusts. Harry whimpered into Bill's mouth, tears glazing his eyes.
Bill began to withdraw, concern etched on his face, but Harry stopped him.
When Bill was buried to the hilt, he paused for Harry
to adjust to the fullness. Slowly he began to thrust, Harry's whimpers
of discomfort and panic becoming gasps of pleasure. Bill repositioned
Harry cuddled, tucking himself comfortably against him. Large green eyes opened and he smiled shyly. Bill wrapped his arms around the dark haired wizard and pulled him onto his chest. Harry returned his kisses but did not initiate any of his own. Too passive, Bill thought, much too passive and that would never do.
Bill reached to the bedside table and picked up the vial of lubricant. He placed it in his young lover's hand.
"Harry." Bill nibbled casually at Harry's throat before kissing him deeply. "It's your turn to top."
Harry's eyes widened and then he smiled.
One photograph featured a red haired, green-eyed baby boy lying on a multi-color quilt with appliquéd owls ands cats; he was sucking on his toes. The other photograph was a group photo, Rea and Remus standing out in a sea of red hair and freckles. For some reason, Rea had dyed her beautiful chestnut hair black.
I am sorry if I worried you, but I have gone back home. Just after Sirius was born, I was visited by one of the men that kidnapped me. Apparently he has been keeping tabs on me and wanted proof that Siri was not his son. Thankfully, we were not alone when the man dropped by; I would hate to imagine what might have happened.
I had not realized that the cottage burned until Remus went to pick up the possessions I had left behind. My elders thought it best if everyone think Sirius and I died in the blaze so no one would look for me anymore, but I wanted you to know we were safe.
Siri is getting so big and he is a delight. If he is anything like his uncles or his godfather, I will have my hands full.
The tall red head with the ponytail and earring is my mate, Bill. He's twenty-six and I can hear you saying he's much too old, but as my new mother-in-law stated – we really should have thought about that nine months ago. Bill has been very understanding of the ordeal my kidnappers put me through, so it probably worked out that he isn't an immature boy. I don't think I could cope with someone who viewed me as damaged goods.
I will be finishing up my schooling – my new family insists on it – with the help of Remus and Professor Snape. They have agreed to tutor me, which I think is very nice of them. You may have guessed that Snape is a bit of a snarky git, but he has always come through for me, even if he hasn't always liked me too well in the past.
Once everything calms down, perhaps I'll be allowed to bring Siri into the shop for a visit, but with everything that has happened to me, no one is letting me too far out of their sight.
Thank you for being there when I truly needed a friend. Please let your niece know that I am continuing with my counseling.
Hormones, thought Bill as he wrapped his arms around
his lover; he pulled aside the thick black braid to nibble at Harry's
neck. His large hands caressed the smaller figure, finally resting
Bill plucked Sirius from the sink, wrapping him into a fluffy bath towel. With a healthy dose of kisses, tickles and giggles, the baby was diapered, fed, and tucked into his crib.
"Go to sleep, Siri. Playtime is over. Daddy needs some quiet time with Papa."
"Did you tell them?" he asked quietly.
Bill kissed the top of his head. "Yes."
"What did they say?"
"After Griphook stopped laughing, he assured me that there was no cause to worry. They aren't going to sack me." Harry's hand rested on the gentle swell of Bill's abdomen. "While they have never had a pregnant cursebreaker before…they have no problem with me being their first."