Chapter 21 : Draco's Invitation
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Over the next few days, the Potter and Weasley families were regular visitors to Room 407. Ginny hated to go home and leave her husband, but she couldn't very well expect her parents to watch Alby and Severus all day and night, nor make the boys sleep at the hospital. Harry himself told her to go home when dark fell and get a good night's sleep in her own bed.
"But I can't sleep in our bed," she groaned. "Because you're not in it, Harry."
"So have the boys sleep with you," he told her. "Gin, I'm sleeping at night, they give me a Sleeping Draught, there's no sense in sitting here in that uncomfortable chair, getting a crick in your neck to watch me sleep."
"I'm afraid if I leave you . . . something might happen." Ginny said , her eyes filled with fear.
Harry reached over and clasped her hand. Because of Severus' burn salve, he was numb and could move easy. "Hey, nothing is going to happen to me. I'm not dying, Ginny. Unless it's dying of boredom from being stuck in here."
So far he'd had a steady parade of visitors, including Arthur and Molly, Ron, Hermione, and Rosie, Tonks with Jamie and Teddy, Bill, Fleur and Victoire, Neville, Luna, and Frankie and so on. Ron brought him a book to read and Hermione a fruit and nut basket. Most of his other friends brought flowers and candy. Arthur brought him a few issues of Enchanters Weekly and apologized so many times that Harry finally snapped, "For heaven's sake, if I hadn't been there, it would have been you or Alby that would have gotten burned and it's better it was me! I'm not blaming you, Dad. It was an accident, now please don't bring it up again."
All of the gifts were piled on a large circular table with chairs surrounding it, Severus and Alby usually climbed on and off them to bring Harry his treats when he asked them, as the Healers didn't want him using magic. The wall on the side of the room was filled with drawings and watercolor paintings done by the children. There were several from Alby, most of them had "Get Well Soon" and "I Love you Daddy" written on them, a few from Severus, one of which had a simmering cauldron and a broomstick on it and Severus had written "Once you're well, we can do this again, so hurry up", and the other was a portrait of Harry, Ginny, Alby, and himself and underneath that one he'd written "We miss you! Come home soon!", Sirius had painted a Quidditch player, Teddy had drawn a big stuffed bear with a large heart and wrote "Hugs, Uncle Harry! Love, Teddy!", Jamie had drawn a Snitch, Rosie had written "I LUV UNCLE HARRY" in huge letters and then written beneath it "I baked you chocolate snaps!" (she had), Frankie had drawn a picture of birds and animals.
The only one whose contribution was missing was Cory, he had been sick with a cold and Draco hadn't wanted to visit until he was better.
Before Harry could argue further the merits of his wife going home to get a good night's rest, an intern arrived with his breakfast tray. She rolled it in and removed the cover. The room was filled with the heavenly smells of a hot cinnamon roll dripping with icing, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee. "Here you go, Mr. Potter!" said the intern cheerily. "The cinnamon roll was baked fresh this morning, had me drooling all the way here." She looked around and said, "I'm surprised your boys aren't hanging on you, begging for some."
Harry sat up carefully, for though numbed, the skin on his back was still healing, and looked about. "She's right. Where are they?" Usually Alby and Severus shared his breakfast, eating some of his bacon, toast, and eggs.
Ginny was mystified. "I don't know. They . . . they aren't in here." She stood up and peered under the table, recalling that Alby had been pestering his older brother to play Hide-and-Seek with him.
"Maybe Sev took Alby to the bathroom," Harry reasoned, not wanting Ginny to panic.
"Harry, there's a bathroom right here," his wife reminded him, indicating the fully functioning bathroom in his room.
Harry sighed and took a bite of his cinnamon roll. He wasn't too worried, after all Alby was with Severus, who watched out for him like a hawk. "Gin, they're probably down the hall, looking at the big fish tank again, the one with the mini shark in it, you know Alby loves watching them."
Before Ginny could take a look, the door to the room opened again . In walked a mediwitch with their two boys in tow, she was holding one by each ear and she said, "I believe these two bairns belong to you, Mrs. Potter. Found this one hiding in ma clean sheets and towels," she gave Alby a little shake.
"Albus!" Ginny cried, shocked. "What on earth were you doing there?"
"I was playing Hide-n-Seek. It was warm and comfy in there on the cart," Alby replied, trying to look innocent. "An' Sevvy never woulda found me! But she made me come out."
The mediwitch snorted. "An' yer other laddie was examining my potions an' touching them." She indicated Severus, who glared at her.
"I wasn't doing anything with them, just reading the labels," he objected indignantly.
"Severus!" Ginny exclaimed. "I'm surprised at you."
"Readin' the labels, he says!" the mediwitch chuckled. "Imagine a little fellow like him!"
Severus twisted free of her and picked up the book Harry had been reading off the nightstand. He opened it and began to read aloud, " . . . Seeker Josef Wronski had the best maneuver anyone had ever seen. It became known as the Wronski Feint and was the move that made him legendary in the eyes of all Quiddtich players and fans across the world . . ." He set the book down and looked over at the mediwitch, who was staring at him with her mouth open. "There! Now do you believe I can read?"
"Ma goodness!" she exclaimed. "I never would ha believed it, unless I saw it with ma own eyes!"
"Sev is very bright for his age," Harry put in, smiling at the youngster. "He's been reading since he was three, reads everything. He can even brew potions."
"Really! How amazing!" the mediwitch said. "How about the little one?"
"I'm teaching him to read too," Severus answered.
"I can write my name an' my brudder's name," Alby put in. "Only his is hard . . . it's gots lots of S's." He climbed up on the bed beside his father. "Daddy, can I have some of that?" he pointed to Harry's bacon.
Harry obligingly gave him some.
Ginny frowned. "What you ought to have, young man, is a time out for hiding in this nice woman's laundry cart! And you too, Severus, for not keeping an eye on him."
"I knew where he was," Severus said defensively.
"You did?" Alby pouted. He had thought it was such a brilliant hiding spot.
His brother rolled his eyes. "It's not like there was any other place you could hide by the fish tank." Really, did Ginny think he would ever let Alby get lost? Hurt, he turned his back on her, and glared at all the pictures on the wall.
"Gin, give them a break," Harry cut in. "They're bored to death here, you can't expect them to just stay here all day with nothing to do."
Ginny sighed. "What was I supposed to do, Harry? Mum had a meeting of the Witches' Spell n' Bake Society and Dad's at work, so they had to come with me."
Harry knew Ginny was frustrated, they all were. He wished he could heal faster, so then they wouldn't be in this predicament. "C'mere, Sev," he called to the sulking child.
Severus turned around, his lower lip sticking out adorably. "Why?"
"I saved some of my breakfast for you," Harry coaxed, knowing that Severus enjoyed eating with him.
"I'm not hungry."
"Not even for a cinnamon roll?" Harry asked, smirking. He knew Severus had developed a fondness for cinnamon rolls ever since tasting the first one served with Harry's breakfast two days ago.
Severus sniffed, his mouth had started watering the moment he'd walked into the room. He supposed he could make an exception. "Okay." He came and sat on Harry's other side, and Harry gave him half the roll, some eggs, and bacon, on one side of the plate. He also gave Severus his glass of apple juice, since Alby had the milk.
"Ye should ha asked them t'bring ye an extra tray, Mr. Potter," said the mediwitch.
"We like to share with Daddy," Alby piped up.
"Maybe you could bring me another cinnamon roll?" Harry suggested.
"Aye, I'll do that!" said the mediwitch and then she called for a house elf to fetch another cinnamon roll.
The elf soon returned with the warm roll and gave it to Harry with a bow.
Alby clapped his hands. "Yay! More cinnamon rolls!"
"You let your daddy eat half of that," Ginny objected. "It's his breakfast, after all. You need to eat some more eggs and toast."
Alby pouted, like Harry he loved sweets, but he picked up his fork and began to eat the small amount of scrambled eggs he'd been given.
The mediwitch waited, leaning on her cart, which was filled with clean laundry, some potions and salves and other supplies, for the family to finish eating before she said, "The house elves'll come clear that away in a minute." She pushed the cart inside the room and began prepping a syringe. "Mr. Potter, 'tis time for your pain reliever. Lads, I need ye to move, so I can give yer dad his shot."
Alby whimpered and buried his face in Harry's lap, crying, "No! I don' want you to hurt my daddy!"
"Alby, it's all right, buddy." Harry said, stroking his small son's hair. "The shot doesn't hurt all that much."
"Does too! Healer Winters gives me shots in my bottom an' they always hurt!" the child insisted.
"That's b'cause Healers don't know how t'give shots the right way, laddie," said the mediwitch. "But I do. Watch n' see, ye won't hear a sound outta yer dad." She winked at Harry.
Severus watched as the mediwitch rolled up Harry's sleeve and swabbed the area with an alcohol wipe. "How come you're giving him the potion that way?" he asked, knowing it was the same one he'd invented.
"According to the Healer, it gets where it needs t' go faster this way," the mediwitch answered. "An' ye don't want yer dad to be in pain, now do ye?"
"No," Severus replied, then watched intently as the mediwitch deftly inserted the needle into Harry's bicep and pushed the plunger down.
Harry didn't flinch or make any kind of sound at all.
"There! It's all done, lad!" the mediwitch called to Alby, who had been hiding his eyes the entire time.
Alby lifted his head. "It is?" He looked up at Harry. "Did it hurt, Dad?"
"No," Harry said, it was true. He had felt a pinch and that was all.
Alby gave a sigh of relief. Then he said, "I still don't like shots," and snuggled next to Harry.
The adults laughed and the mediwitch ruffled his hair. "I dinna blame ye, lad. I don't like 'em maself. But yer dad's a brave fellow."
"He's the bravest!" Alby declared loyally. "He's a hero."
"Aye, I know. Yer dad saved us all," the mediwitch said. "It's my pleasure t'be helpin' ye, Mr. Potter. Ma name's Flora McKnight."
"Pleased to meet you, Flora," Harry said, shaking her hand.
Severus looked at the mediwitch and asked, "How do you know how to give shots that don't hurt?"
"Well, laddie, 'tis all a matter of where you place the needle," Flora answered. "There's some places on a body that aren't as . . . sensitive as others, an' I've larnt that here—in the upper arm—is less sensitive on an adult, so that's why I give it there."
"You should tell Healer Winters that," Alby put in. "She doesn't get that my bum is real sensitive."
Everyone burst out laughing at that comment. Alby looked at them, puzzled. "What's so funny? It's true."
"You are, little brother," Severus replied, snickering.
Flora bid them goodbye and pushed the cart out of the room just as Draco and Cory entered.
"Hello, Harry. You're looking pretty good for somebody that nearly got blown away," Draco greeted. Then he turned and said hello to Ginny, Alby, and Severus.
Cory wriggled his way out of Draco's arms and threw himself at Harry, yelling, "Unca Harry! How are you? Daddy said you was caught in a 'splosion." He caught Harry about the knees and peered up into his face.
"Hey, Cory!" Harry greeted him. "Your dad was right, I did get hurt. I got a bad burn on my back, but I'm healing." He picked up the little boy, who resembled Draco, and hugged him.
"Aww! I hope you get better soon, Unca Harry," Cory said sincerely. He reached into a pocket of his trousers and pulled out a crumpled piece of parchment. "Look! I drawed this just for you."
"You mean you drew it just for him," Draco corrected.
Harry unfolded the parchment. On it was a picture of what Harry assumed was himself, he knew by the glasses and the scar and next to him was a smaller figure with blond hair. Both figures had broomsticks. "That's great, Cory!" Harry praised. "Is that you?"
"Yup. You and me, and you're gonna teach me how to fly. 'Cause you promised, after you yelled at me, that time in school. You r'member?"
"I do. And we'll all have a flying lesson—you, me, Sev, Alby, and Sirius—once I'm better," Harry promised. He sent the picture up onto the wall with the others.
Draco looked askance. "You serious? What are you assembling here, the next Junior Quidditch League?"
"Not really. This is just for fun, and that way I can teach them the safety procedures before they actually join a team." Harry said.
Draco started laughing. "Oh, Merlin, Potter! You're going to teach them safety procedures? How many times did you fall off your broom?"
"That has nothing to do with it. There were extenuating circumstances," Harry protested.
"Uh huh." Draco snorted. He held out a large shopping bag. "Here. I figured you must be going crazy with nothing to do all day, so I brought you all my back issues of Snitches and Seekers and Potioneer's Journal."
Harry took the bag and smiled. "Thanks, Draco. Now how did you know?"
"That's easy. It's how I would be if I was stuck in a bed for a week." The blond wizard laughed.
Alby suddenly stood up and walked over to Draco. "Uncle Draco, I'm bored. There's nothin' to do here, 'cept watch some lady give my dad shots."
Draco raised an eyebrow. "Really? Did your dad cry?" he teased.
Alby's eyes flashed. "No! My dad's the bravest. Did you ever cry when you got a shot?"
Draco shook his head. "No. At least not that I can remember."
"I can remember," Severus spoke up from where he was sitting next to Harry, a sly grin on his face. "You were ten and Lucius was too busy to take you for your dragon pox booster so I had to, since all children were required to get one before school. When the Healer came at you with the syringe, you nearly fell off the table. I had to pin you down before you'd be still and you howled like a—"
"Shut up, Severus!" Draco interrupted, flushing hotly. "Who asked you?"
Cory looked from his father to Severus, his eyes wide. "Daddy, you were a'scared of needles like me?"
"I was not!" Draco snapped.
"Oh, yes, you were," Severus insisted smugly.
Alby patted Draco's arm comfortingly. "It's okay, Uncle Draco. I'm scared of shots too. We can't all be brave like my daddy. Right, Cory?"
Draco shot a look at Severus and one at Harry. "Thanks a lot, Cory."
Cory looked at him. "You're welcome. You don't have to come with me next time, Daddy."
"What do you mean?"
"To the Healer. I'll just ask Mummy."
"And why can't I come, Scorpius?"
"Because then we'll both be a'scared together and I need someone to hold me," his son pointed out.
Ginny, Harry, and Severus all cracked up.
"Severus, I'm going to strangle you," Draco growled, going red. "Just for that, maybe I shouldn't take you home with me tonight."
Severus gave Draco an innocent look. "Why are you getting mad at me, Draco? You never said I couldn't tell that story once you were out of school."
"It's too bad you hardly ever forget anything, Severus," Draco grumbled.
"Draco, what do you mean take them home?" asked Ginny.
"Umm . . . well, I figured that you could use a break, Ginny. And they could too, by staying over Malfoy Manor tonight. It's been a long time since Alby came over and Severus too. Tori and my mother are out at some spa for Girls Night, so it's just me and Father at home. Cory gets bored when he has no one to play with and then he gets into trouble. So I figured let's kill three birds with one spell and I'll take your two home with me. What do you think?"
Ginny hesitated. Then finally, she nodded. "All right. I do need a little break." She glared at Harry. "Now don't you say a word about me staying here, Harry James."
Harry held up his hands in mock-surrender. "I didn't say anything."
"Potter, you are so whipped," Draco sniggered. "Bravest man, my ass."
Ginny cranked her head around. "You were saying, Draco?"
Draco coughed and said, "Nothing. Nothing at all."
Cory began bouncing on Harry's knee. "Alby and Sevvy are comin' to my house! To my house!" he sang happily. He was grinning from ear to ear.
Ginny smiled at him. "You're so cute, Cory!"
Cory giggled as Harry tickled him. "Ahh, Unca Harry's the Tickle Monster!" He squealed and tried to get away, but Harry held him fast. "Don't tickle me! Tickle Sevvy!" He pointed to Severus, who had been trying to slip off the bed unnoticed.
"Oh, no, you don't!" Harry cried, and caught the little boy before he could make a run for it. He dragged Severus into his lap and began to tickle him.
"No-o-o! Harry, stop! Please!" Severus giggled uncontrollably as Harry's fingers danced up his ribcage and poked him underneath the arm, making the ebony-haired imp squeal with laughter. He couldn't get away, he was laughing too hard. Little did anyone know, but Severus was very ticklish, and Harry only had to poke him to make him burst out laughing.
Harry smirked. "Why, Severus . . . I never knew you were . . . ticklish!" He tickled the back of Severus' knee and the boy collapsed over his lap, giggling hysterically.
Draco's eyes lit up. "Ah ha! Payback!" He rose and ran over to Harry.
Severus saw him coming and tried to crawl backwards, but was still convulsed with laughter.
"Got you, Mr. Slyboots!" Draco crowed and began to tickle Severus unmercifully.
Seevrus wriggled and squirmed, gasping with laughter. "Stop, Draco! Stop!" he howled. "Before I . . . wet myself!"
Draco eyes gleamed as he considered taking more revenge, but then Cory yelled, "Tickle me, Daddy! My turn!" And Draco turned and started tickling Cory.
Feeling left out, Alby ran and jumped into Harry's lap . . . or tried to. He landed half on Severus, who yelled, "Ow! Get off, Al!" and Severus pushed the little boy off.
Alby fell against Harry, and the sudden shift in weight caused Harry to fall backwards onto the bed . . . and his back.
Harry gave a harsh gasp . . . for numbed or not, he felt the pressure.
"Harry!" Ginny cried. "Get off him, you silly idiots!" she snarled, and then she grabbed Draco, who was still tickling Cory, by his ear and pulled him backwards.
Draco yelped but didn't fight the enraged woman when he saw what had happened. "Cory! Get off Uncle Harry!"
Cory did, and then stood staring in alarm.
Alby followed suit after Severus tugged his shoulder. "Sevvy! What happened?" he sniffled.
Severus felt tears burn his eyes. "It was my fault, I pushed you into him. I'm sorry, Harry." Huge tears fell down his cheeks as he realized that he might have caused poor Harry serious harm.
"I'm fine," Harry said, trying to sit up. "Stop flipping out. I'm fine."
Ginny rushed over to him and helped him up. "Harry, are you sure? Let me see." She went around the bed to try and see his back, which was bandaged lightly. "Oh, bloody hell! I can't see anything!"
"Gin, calm down. It didn't hurt . . . well, not really. I'm all right." He reached out and pulled Severus to stand near him. "Sev, stop crying. You didn't hurt me." He gently wiped the tears from the five-year-old's eyes.
Severus felt his bottom lip quiver. "Are you . . . sure?"
"Positive. You have no need to blame yourself, since I started all of it." Harry told him firmly.
"Men! You never grow up!" Ginny snapped irritably. Then she put her arms about Harry and gently hugged him.
Over her shoulder, Harry silently mouthed to Draco, "See, she really does need a break."
Draco nodded. "Sorry, Ginny. It was partly my fault."
Ginny sighed and reluctantly drew away. "Never mind, Draco. As long as Harry's okay . . ." She looked at Severus, who still was upset. "Sevvy, it was an accident. Don't feel bad." She gave him a squeeze and smoothed his hair back. "You go and have a good time at Malfoy Manor with Draco and Cory."
"All right," Severus said softly.
"Both of you behave," Harry added.
"Yes, Daddy. I'll be good," Alby said solemnly.
"You'd better be." Harry said. "Draco, I expect a full report . . . and if they aren't . . . " He eyed Alby and Severus sternly. "You'll both be in serious trouble when you get home, understood?"
"Yes, sir," Severus answered.
"Relax, Harry. Even if they wreck the place, we can put it back together again." Draco said easily.
"Draco, let me go home and pack up some of their things," Ginny said.
"Mummy, don't forget Bucky!" Alby said.
"Or Mimic," Severus added. He liked sleeping with the raven at night, especially in a strange place.
"I know," Ginny said, smiling. Then she Apparated back to her home to pack up the overnight bags.
"Are you sure you want to do this, Draco?" Harry asked once she was gone.
"Yes. Why? Your kids are reasonably well behaved, not like Lupin's brats. I'd hex myself if I had them to look after," Draco muttered. "Sirius and Jamie are like imps from hell."
Harry snickered. "They can be. I just hope you're up to handling three kids at one time."
"Godsake, Harry, it's not like I've no experience with kids. Besides, Father's there too. We can handle it, trust me."
"I'll pray for you," Harry said, smirking.
Draco aimed a cuff at his head.
Just then, Ginny reappeared holding the boys' overnight bags and security toys. She looked at both men, who wore half-guilty stupid expressions on their faces. "What's going on?" she asked suspiciously.
"Nothing," Harry and Draco chorused.
"Cory, what happened?"
Both Draco and Harry glared warningly at the youngest Malfoy.
"Ummm . . ." Cory bit his lip. Then he said, "Daddy and Uncle Harry were being stupid."
"Figures," Ginny rolled her eyes.
"He's your son all right, Malfoy," Harry said.
Draco sighed helplessly. "Sometimes . . . I really wish I had a girl."
He took the bags from Ginny and handed Alby and Severus their plushies. He shrunk the bags and put them in his jacket pockets before saying, "All right, boys. Are you all ready to go to Malfoy Manor?"
A chorus of yes's echoed through the room.
"Good. Then say goodbye and then this train's leaving." Draco told them.
Severus and Alby hugged and kissed Ginny and Harry goodbye and so did Cory.
Draco held out his arms for Cory and Alby. The two small boys jumped into his arms and then Cory asked, "Where's the train, Dad? I don't see any."
"It's an expression, Cory." Draco said. He held out his hand for Severus to hold. "Everyone set? On three. One . . . two . . . three . . ."
They all DisApparated.
"Merlin help him," Harry said, then he turned and kissed Ginny. "I'd feel sorry for him, but . . . it was his idea."
A/N: What do you think should happen with Draco and the boys at Malfoy Manor? Ideas please! Should the boys get into mischief? If so, what?
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