Warnings: Slash (um, yeah), violence, D/s, almost non-con, threesome, mpreg, pre HBP
Pairing other than D/H: Snape/Harry
Summary: A missed potion reveals a secret about Proffesor Snape and Draco. They are part of a rare species and have sniffed out Harry as one of their own. Can Harry stand up to the animalistic and sexually charged Slytherins?
Feedback: Yes, please, especially of the critique variety.
Can also be found at http://archive.skyehawke.com/story.php?no=8094
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Prologue, Chapters One & Two, Chapters Three & Four, Chapters Five & Six, Chapters Seven & Eight, Chapter Nine, Chapters Ten & Eleven, Chapters Twelve & Thirteen, Chapters Fourteen & Fifteen, Chapters Sixteen & Seventeen, Chapters Eighteen & Nineteen, Chapters Twenty & Twenty-one, Chapters Twenty-two & Twenty-three, Chapters Twenty-four & Twenty-five, Chapters Twenty-six & Twenty-seven, Chapters Twenty-eight & Twenty-nine, Chapters Thirty & Thirty-one, Chapters Thirty-two & Thirty-three, Chapters Thirty-four & Thirty-five, Chapters Thirty-six & Thirty-seven, Chapters Thirty-eight & Thirty-nine, Chapters Forty & Forty-one, Chapters Forty-two & Forty-three Chapters Forty-four & Forty-five
Snape had given Harry a small room that had at one time been a storage closet. A small cot and mirror were placed in it and his trunk made the only other furniture. Snape snidely indicated that it would only be until Harry left Hogwarts than he could create any arrangement he wanted.
“You have seriously impeded my life, Potter. Now I must stay off the potion until you have delivered. With it I will be unable to continue as a sizable enough threat against Draco. And I haven’t the foggiest clue what it would do to you while you are breeding. One would think that the two of you would have been at least passably clever enough to use some precautionary measures,” Snape drawled nastily.
“But we did, sir,” Harry argued quietly. “Madame Pomfrey gave me a contraceptive potion.”
“Ah, then it was not only your incompetence but hers as well,” Snape sneered. “You are now here under my protection. You will not be gallivanting about the castle after curfew. You will enter my chambers and come directly to your room. You are not invited to speak with me or interact with me. I have little to do with you other than to keep you from your own folly.”
Snape was interrupted from his diatribe by a knocking at his door. “It never ends,” he huffed as he went to answer it. The door opened and in walked a crowd. Dumbledore, McGonagall, Lucius and Draco Malfoy, Ron and Hermione. They all trooped in and quickly staked out there corners. Snape shut the door and sneered.
“Do come in and make yourself comfortable,” he said nastily.
“We are truly sorry to intrude, Severus. But this needs straightening out, I’m sure you know.” Dumbledore’s voice was grave and his eyes were far from any twinkle.
“I have already taken care of the matter, have I not, Draco?” Snape asked silkily. Draco did not respond but continued to look into the fire.
“No, you have not,” Lucius responded. He held his cane in his hand as if he were prepared to use it. He nodded toward Harry where he was partially hidden in the doorway to his ‘room’. “You have no right to him. You gave up any rights that very first night. The boy belongs to my son.” Lucius’s voice was imperious and showed how very assured he was in this.
“And your son gave up his rights when he endangered the boy’s life,” Snape volleyed back. “Potter came to me for help and I have decided to extend it.” Draco looked up at Harry at Snape’s words. Silver eyes met green before Harry looked away. He did not want to challenge Draco and start another fight.
“My son may do as he wishes. The Indago race can be a tad rough but no harm came to him or the infant,” Lucius said. Harry winced as he saw his child become a pawn.
“No permanent damage because Ms. Granger was smart enough to do something to stop young Mr. Malfoy from continuing his attack!” McGonagall’s voice was scathing as she again went head to head with Lucius.
“Which brings me to the important fact that the same Ms. Granger interfered with an Indago situation,” Lucius said, spearing Hermione with a dangerous look. “I assure you that the Ministry will be informed of this gross misconduct.”
“No, Hermione helped me when I asked her to,” Harry argued, stepping a little further into the room. He waited for the argument from Draco but none came.
But Lucius turned his hard steel gaze on Harry. “You asked for help?” he asked in a clearly disbelieving voice.
“Becoming hard of hearing now, Lucius?” Snape smirked. “We all clearly heard what the boy said. Besides which, she was protecting an innocent child when she used the spell on Draco. I am sure the Ministry would be more interested in protecting the infant than a raging lunatic of a dominant. One of two dominants, might I add. The Ministry will see that it was purely good instinct on Ms. Granger’s behalf.” Hermione, Ron, and Harry all wore surprised looks as Snape actually complimented one of them.
“Yes, the infant.” Lucius wore a calculating look. “Again, I refute your claim to the boy. He is carrying the next Malfoy heir. If anything, he should come and live at the Manor so that the best of care can be utilized.”
Harry gawked in horror. “No, I’m not going.”
“You’ll do as you’re told,” Lucius said coldly.
“Harry?” Dumbledore called softly. His eyes were full of kindness. “Is the child Draco’s?”
Harry gazed mutely back.
“What are you saying, Albus?” McGonagall asked. “They have been sharing a room for over a month. Whose else could it be?”
All eyes turned to Snape who held his ground under the inspection.
“Harry?” Dumbledore prompted. Harry looked down in embarrassment.
“I don’t know, sir.”
“Severus!” McGonagall nearly shrieked. “How could you? He is a student!”
“Minerva, that is enough,” Dumbledore said quietly. He turned to address Lucius. “Your claim to the child is in dispute, Mr. Malfoy. Therefore, Severus has every right to shelter Harry here.”
“Regardless, you are interfering in these matters. Draco holds claim over the boy and his child. Draco has attended to him for at least six weeks. If the boy is not returned to my son then I shall be forced to call in the authorities.”
All eyes quickly turned to the low voice. Draco finally looked at the assembly. His face and voice were firm. He turned to look at Lucius.
“It is you who are interfering, Father. What has taken place was dealt with by us three and only us. It is you who are trying to force things to the way you want them. And you are not needed in the decision.”
“How dare you speak to me that way!” Lucius said in outrage.
Draco took a threatening step towards his father and all in the room noticed the elder man falter in his determination.
“If you continue to interfere I myself will inform the authorities and report you for violation of the Protection Act.” Draco smiled. “Don’t look so surprised, Father. Wasn’t it you who read me Machiavelli in the nursery?” His face became serious again before Lucius could answer. “Harry has decided to stay here. He asked for Snape’s help and has received it. Now, we will take our leave and it is done.”
Draco walked past the people gathered. As he passed Harry, Harry stepped out of reach and into the relative safety of his room. Draco paused for only a moment and then held the door open for his father with an expectant look upon his face. “Was there something more you needed to know, Father?”
Lucius drew his arrogance about him like a cloak and stalked past his son and out of the room. Draco inclined his head to the group and was gone.
A few more minutes of discussion, mainly assuring themselves that Harry was indeed acceptable to this situation and then Harry and Snape were alone again.
“Regardless, Potter, of what the others may think,” Snape said quietly, “this is your mess. You can blame Draco if you wish, but you both came to me for your little escapade. Blame yourselves, for I will not be taking any responsibility other than making sure that child is born safely. Once that is done, I am done with you. All of you.”
Harry watched from his position in his doorway as Snape stalked away and quietly made himself a drink at a small sidebar in the rear of the room. The teacher quietly sipped from his glass with his back to Harry. So, this was it. This was going to be his life then. Harry had no idea what he thought anymore. He was glad that Draco had not fought and yet was upset that he hadn’t fought more. He was scared that he was now living, living, with Professor Snape and at the exact same time relieved. Was this some weird hormone thing? Or maybe pheromones? Or maybe, Harry was just tired of thinking and feeling. Why did he always get into these incredibly stupid and crazy situations? Maybe he should take up knitting. That seemed like a nice, safe hobby. He could just sit and make socks for the house-elves. Harry rubbed his stomach. And maybe a few extra.
He watched Snape ignore him for a few more moments and then sighed quietly and walked into his new room and shut the door.
After that first night with Snape, Harry discovered he was once again a social pariah in the school. Everyone avoided him. He heard the whispers when they did not know he was around the corner. Most of the houses were scared to even go near him seeing him as a direct attachment to the most feared and hated teacher. The Slytherins completely ignored him because they did not know how to deal with him. He had snubbed the Slytherin Prince but was residing with their Head of House. They decided self-preservation dictated they just avoid him altogether. That was the theme the entire school had decided to adopt and Harry was glanced at, whispered about and ignored. And to add insult to injury, he had had to quit Quidditch. What hurt worse was that not one Gryffindor seemed upset at losing their seeker. Apparently freakiness outweighed any sort of talent or skill.
Hermione and Ron did their best to make up for it. They spoke happily and loudly to try to cover the silence. They engaged him in chess and studying and walks about the castle. But Harry could see the strain he was putting on them and so began to pull away.
He rarely saw Draco anymore. During the classes they shared, Draco never once looked at him or spoke about him. Snape made sure there was a complete classroom separating the two young men at all times and Harry’s friends made sure that he never got up to get any ingredients and possibly bump into the blond. During Care of Magical Creatures Hermione and Ron, again, ran interference and always made sure to stake out an area far removed from the others. Harry couldn’t help but watch Draco for any signs that the blond wanted to talk to him or even argue with him. He was honest enough with himself that he realized that he missed Draco. Maybe it was the hormones or something, but he was hurt that Draco seemed to not be affected at all from no longer having any contact with Harry. Of not being a part of each other’s lives anymore.
Harry had also quickly learned how very much he was not wanted in Snape’s life either when he came in from studying alone in the library a few minutes before curfew and saw a lady sitting with the Professor on his sofa.
She was a pretty woman with sable brown hair and deep blue eyes. She was curvy and had a ready smile on her lips when Harry shut the door and stared at the intimate scene. Suddenly, another movement caught Harry’s eye and he saw another person was also in the room. A dirty-blond haired man, with a slight build and overt languid grace had just risen from where he had been lounging against the wall. The man set his wine glass down and sauntered forward until he was leaning against the back of the sofa.
“Oh, you must be Harry Potter,” the woman said in a smooth chocolaty voice. She gracefully rose and held out her hand. Harry took it and smiled uncertainly. The lady raised an eyebrow over her shoulder at Snape.
“Well, Severus? Do try to be at least a bit civil and introduce us,” she said reprovingly.
Snape sighed and without looking up from his glass or rising from the sofa he spoke. “Lydia, this is Potter. Potter, this is Lydia.” A slight cough was heard. “And Logan, of course. There. Done. Go away, Potter.”
Logan chuckled and Lydia tsked under her breath but turned and smiled at Harry in a knowing way. “It can be said that Severus Snape does not mince words, hmm?” She patted Harry’s hand and then let it go. “I knew your mother, Harry. I can call you Harry, can’t I?”
“Oh no, do call me Lydia. As I was saying, I knew your mother. A very sweet lady with quite a head on her shoulders. She was a few years ahead of me here at Hogwarts but was very sweet and I have always remembered her fondly. But I do hope that what Severus says is untrue. I do hope you do not take after your father. He had quite the nasty sense of humor and his cohorts were no better.” She leaned in and whispered in Harry’s ear. “Although I must say that I did have quite a crush on the quiet one. I do so love the tall and silent types,” she said with a smirk and glance towards Snape.
“Enough, woman. You are prattling on and I hate that,” Snape snarled. Again, a soft chuckle was heard from Logan.
“Severus is impatient, my dear,” Logan said smoothly in a low throaty voice. He leaned forward and practically lounged on the back of the sofa, almost touching Snape. “Enough playing with the little one. He obviously makes Severus hostile enough to floo out of here and into my bedroom in nothing but a robe.” Blue eyes so light they were startling centered on Harry and Logan smiled. “I must thank you for that, Mr. Potter. Quite gracious of you to work dear Severus up to such a… fever.” The man licked his lips quite sinisterly and smirked.
“Enough,” Snape barked again. Lydia gave the uncertain Harry a sly smile and a pat on the cheek.
“Good night, Harry,” she said sweetly. “Oh, and thank you for saving us all from that horrendous man. Very decent of you.”
“Um, no problem. Good night, ma’a- Um, Lydia.” He smiled uncertainly at her. “Good night, Mr. Logan, Professor Snape.”
“Good bye, Potter!” Snape snarled. Harry quickly made it to his room. As he shut the door he watched as Lydia sauntered back to the sofa and gracefully sat on Snape’s lap, removed the glass from his fingers and drank from it. Harry’s door clicked shut.
Harry saw Lydia and Logan a few more times in the weeks that followed. Lydia was always very polite and nice and Logan was always chuckling and making innuendos. One night, Harry had come out to snag an extra candle in the early morning. His own had started to gutter out and he was still in the middle of an essay for Arithmancy. It was definitely harder without Draco’s help. As he opened his door and stepped out, the sight of Snape and Logan in Snape’s bedroom doorway arrested him. Snape had the smaller man pinned to the doorjamb and they were kissing deeply and quite erotically.
“Sweet Venus, Sev. Have I told you how much I am enjoying this unfettered animal you,” Logan said breathlessly as he pulled away from the kiss.
“Don’t get used to it,” Snape growled. “I change back as soon as the boy has whelped.”
“Oh, I don’t think I’ll mind,” he said seductively and pulled Snape into the room. The door shut and Harry felt the magic as a silencing charm was placed on it. Harry grabbed a candle and went into his room. He knew now that there really was nothing and no one for him. Somewhere in Harry’s brain he had had a small hope that Snape would need him. Maybe not want him, but Harry would have settled for need. But that wasn’t so. He was a burden. A nuisance to be hidden away in an old storage… Harry flung the candle at the wall and fell onto his back on the cot. This was it. He had come full circle.
“Harry? You’re looking a bit peaky. You all right?”
Harry glanced at Ron and nodded. “Mmm hmm.”
Ron and Hermione exchanged a look. “Harry, do you want to talk about it?” Hermione asked.
Harry’s head lolled to the other side to look at Hermione. He didn’t move his chin from where it was resting on his palm which made his head bob up and down as he spoke. “About what?”
Hermione sighed and looked up at the rows of books that surrounded them. The library was quiet. Of course, anywhere that Harry went was quiet since everyone usually left pretty quickly. Hermione looked back at Harry. “You’ve been so quiet these days.” Harry stopped himself from smirking at Hermione’s choice of word. “Are you sure you’re alright? You barely eat anymore.”
“Must be morning sickness,” Harry offered in a mumble. Hermione pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at his careless attitude.
“You seem to be moping also,” she added.
“Post-partum depression?” Harry offered.
“That is after the baby is born!” she huffed.
Harry shrugged his shoulders. “Oh.”
“Mate, come on. You can tell us. We’re your best friends, yeah?”
Harry raised his chin from his hand and looked at Ron. “Yeah, you are. But you can’t fix everything. I know you want to, but you can’t.”
“We can at least listen,” Hermione said quietly. Harry sighed and looked down at the table.
“I feel like a complete waste of air. As if I were to disappear tomorrow, no one would really care.”
“We’d care!” Ron said.
“I know, but then you’d move on. I don’t mean that in a nasty way. In fact it’s a good thing. It makes me feel better. But, I guess maybe I got so used to being needed that now that I’m not…” Harry shrugged his shoulders. Then he looked up at his friends with a small light in his eyes. “Do you think that Draco is ignoring me only because he is scared of Snape’s threat?”
Both of the other Gryffindors groaned. “Harry, we’ve been over this,” Ron whined.
“Stop thinking about that swine,” Hermione ordered. “You know why you’re behaving like this. It is very common for the abused partner to crave their past life. It was comforting and predictable in its unpredictableness. You felt needed there for all the wrong reasons, Harry.”
Harry looked back down at the table and nodded. “Yeah, I know,” he mumbled.
“Besides, Harry,” Hermione continued in a gentle tone, “you are very needed to someone who is counting on you right now. And soon you’ll be so wrapped up in them that you will never feel unwanted again.”
Harry glanced further down at his still flat abdomen.
“Has Madame Pomfrey cast that paternity spell yet?” Ron asked.
Harry shook his head. “No, I haven’t even asked her.”
He shrugged. “Guess it doesn’t even matter. It’s mine and that’s all there is to it.”
Ron went to push the subject further but the small shake of Hermione’s head had him shutting his mouth in frustration.
“What has she said, Harry? Is everything still fine?” Hermione asked.
Harry again nodded his head, still not taking his eyes off the table. “Yeah. She says everything is fine but that I should eat more stuff.”
“What stuff did she suggest exactly?”
Harry shrugged his shoulders. “I wasn’t really listening. Probably vegetables or something.”
Sad eyes watched him as his friends worried over his growing apathy at everything. His grades were dropping rapidly and he seemed to be spending more and more time by himself. Hermione tried again.
“Harry, I know it may seem bad right now, but things will work out.”
Harry looked up. “How?” he asked simply.
“Well, you said Snape isn’t being very nasty to you, right? That’s something.”
“He’s not being anything to me. He doesn’t even acknowledge my presence unless I dawdle too long outside of my room. It’s always completely quiet, except when his friends are there. And then he’s horrible and snaps at me until I go into my room,” Harry explained with no emotion.
“Funny that. Who’d have guessed Snape having any friends,” Ron marveled.
“Lydia’s very nice. I wish you could meet her.”
“Well,” Hermione said, trying to get the conversation back on track, “school will be over in just a few weeks for winter hols. I’m sure you must be looking forward to that.”
“Yeah, mum’s all in a tizzy about having you over,” Ron said.
“Oh, I’ve decided to stay here. Sorry,” Harry apologized.
“But, Harry! The Weasley’s are expecting you. And you always have such a nice time there!” Hermione argued, getting alarmed at this turn of events.
“I know. I just… don’t really feel like it. I’d probably just ruin it anyway. Besides, I’ve started up knitting and I need the time to finish up my gifts so I can send them to you.” Harry looked at Ron and smiled. “I’m making you a scarf.”
“Oh, thanks, Harry. But we finally managed to get our stuff back from Malfoy. Ow, Hermione! What’d you kick me for?”
“Because Harry does not need to hear about him,” Hermione said through her teeth.
“What did you mean, Ron?” Harry asked in confusion.
“Nothing, Harry,” Hermione answered. Harry looked at Ron until the red head squirmed.
“Alright, well, you see,” Ron began. “Draco wouldn’t let anyone out into that gazebo of yours. He said you built it and if they go out there they would be in violation and what not. So Dumbledore finally had to ask the Ministry to decide the matter. They said that since you were not coming back and had in fact moved, then it would be considered an abandoned den and so we could get all our stuff back. Malfoy was not happy about that.” Ron finished his explanation and gave an apologetic look at Hermione.
“Draco didn’t want to take apart the…” Harry’s eyes began to light. “But that means that he wants-,”
“To torture everyone and be his mean, selfish, and normally spoiled self,” Hermione said firmly. Harry’s shoulders slumped and the light faded.
“Oh, yeah, you’re probably right.”
“Geeze, Hermione,” Ron breathed. He looked at Harry in sympathy. Hermione shook her head.
“No, Ron. I refuse to give out false hope to a relationship that was awful and unhealthy.”
“Yeah, but do you have to be so cruel about it?” Ron asked.
“I am being cruel to be kind,” Hermione argued. “What he is feeling is very similar to hostages who sympathize or fall in love with their captors. Harry has to separate these feelings from his need for people’s acceptance and approval. He is also still probably suffering from post-traumatic stress from the war.”
“Yeah, well, I think you’re over thinking things!” Ron snapped. “The bloke’s hurting and you’ve gone Ravenclaw on us.”
“I’m trying to help!” Hermione cried.
“It’s okay, you guys. Don’t fight,” Harry said quietly. He stood up and offered a smile he thought was bright enough to make his friends feel better. “I’m going to go on to bed. I’m pretty tired.”
“Harry,” Ron said, “It’s only two o’clock.”
“Oh, yeah, well, maybe just a nap then. I’ll see you later.” Harry gave a small wave and walked out of the library. Once he made it to the main hall Harry changed directions and started outside. He just did not want to face the quiet. At least outside the birds might be twittering about. But once through the main doors, Harry saw the blanketed world and realized it also was muted and silent.
A movement in the trees had him look down the hill a bit. He saw Hagrid emerge with firewood and decided that maybe the Magical Creatures teacher wouldn’t mind spending some time with a magical creature.
The snow crunched as Harry made his way down to the little hut. Hagrid saw him coming and waved in welcome. Harry felt the first real smile in a long time grace his lips and waved back. Soon he found himself ensconced in a huge armchair, his socked feet resting on a warm Fang belly and a mug as big as a bowl filled with Hagrid’s strong tea in his lap.
“Now, what brings yer out this away, Harry?” Hagrid asked as he poured himself a cup of tea and sat down in another chair.
“I just thought that I hadn’t seen you in awhile and thought I’d come over,” Harry said.
“Ah, well, that’s right nice of ya.” Hagrid blew over the top of his tea and then took a healthy swallow. “I know ye’ve been busy an’ all. I don’t blame yer fer not comin’ out and havin’ a cuppa wit’ me.”
“Oh, I know. But, I missed you, Hagrid.” Harry looked at his friend and really truly meant those words. They saw each other in class, but it was always nice to be here in Hagrid’s warm home.
Hagrid’s face split into a huge smile. “I missed ya too, Harry. Now, what have you been up ta lately?”
Harry’s smile faltered and he stared into his tea.
“Ah, I’ve gone and upset ya,” Hagrid said quietly. Harry shook his head.
“Oh no, you didn’t, Hagrid. I’ve just been feeling a bit down, I guess.”
It was quiet between them for a moment and the comforting sounds of a fire popping and Fang’s snoring filled the small confines of the hut. Harry never wanted to leave.
“Has Buckbeak been by to see you lately?” Harry asked in an attempt to start the conversation again. He didn’t want to make Hagrid feel bad like he did his friends.
“Ah, that rascal comes an’ goes as he pleases. But I jest saw ‘im not more’n a month ago. Right proud he is, what with findin’ himself a mate and all,” Hagrid said, beaming at his animal friend’s good fortune.
“Hagrid, can Hippogriffs find mates outside of other Hippogriffs?” Harry asked.
“Er, well, no, Harry. No they can’t. Birds got to fly with birds and lions got to run with lions and all.” Hagrid scratched his beard in thought. “Most of that way with animals, ya know.”
“But, what if there were no more Hippogriffs around, or the only ones that were didn’t want him? Could Buckbeak still find a mate with maybe a big eagle or a horse or something?”
Hagrid took a moment to answer and when he did his eyes were kind. “Well, no other creature could give Buckbeak the companionship that another Hippogriff could give. But that would be ‘cause he’s an animal. An’ animals, they run with the same likes as themselves. They could get along jest fine with other species, but creatures are simple and they don’ have much use for nothin’ more than instincts and such.”
Hagrid shifted and looked Harry in the eye. “Now, humans, well, that’s ‘nother bag of tricks all together. See, humans, they can talk and sympathize and learn things about each other that an animal wouldn’t even think of. Take me an’ you for instance, Harry. Why, if you were ta look all over this land ye’d never find two that weren’t more completely diff’rent on the outside. But you an’ I, we can talk and learn and understand each other. We can become friends and don’t matter what I am or what you are. An’ says you want to go out and meet another person, diff’rent from you, well, ya could. Or even meet someone ya ‘aven’t seen in a long time. Maybe they changed sommat since ya last seen ‘em, an now ya got to learn ‘em all over again. But you could do that and maybe be even a bit closer than ya were afore. Humans don’t run on instinct all the time and that’s what lets em change and maybe become a bit better an’ nicer. An’ we can re-learn an’ accept them if they did change.”
Harry looked into Hagrid’s warm dark eyes. He felt a smile transform his lips.
“I’m glad that Buckbeak found a mate,” Harry said quietly. Hagrid smiled and nodded.
“Yep, never saw a happier Hippogriff, I tell ye.” Hagrid stood up and brought Harry over some biscuits. Harry chose one and held it in his hand.
“Fer the little one’s sake, Harry, ya should eat more. Yer eatin’ less than a bird, I’m noticin’.
Harry nodded his head. “Just haven’t been very hungry lately.” He looked up at Hagrid. “You don’t think it’s… weird that I’m carrying a baby inside me?”
“Now why’d I think tha’ was weird?” Hagrid sat back down and placed the tin of biscuits on his knees. “Ya think yer the only male that can carry young?”
“Um, well, yeah,” Harry answered. Hagrid chuckled.
“Then ya got a bit more ta learn then. Guess I’ll have to change my teachin’ a bit to get more knowledge into you lot.” Hagrid took a sip of tea. “There are a lot of creatures what has the male givin’ birth. Why, think of the Jolly Cat. He carries the young in ‘im, then sets up a holler that ye wouldna believe when he’s about ready to set ‘em loose. And then there is the Slatern. They live in the water. A sorta cousin of the mer-people. When they don’ have no women about, the men start havin’ the babies so’s they don’t die out.”
“I didn’t know that,” Harry said in wonder.
“Oh yeah, Harry. Yer not doin’ nothin’ that hasn’t been done afore. It might seem a bit odd what with the Indago bein more human lookin’ an’ all. But yer just doin what yer supposed ta do.”
“Do you know a lot about the Indago, Hagrid?” Harry asked. He didn’t know why he hadn’t thought to ask before. Hagrid shook his head.
“Ah, not much. Bits an’ pieces. Indago are magical beings and I knows about magical creatures. A big diff’rence that. A being has thoughts and feelings a lot more complex than a creature,” Hagrid explained then took another sip of tea looking out the window. “Blimey, gettin’ dark out there, Harry. Best be gettin’ back to the castle.” Harry and Hagrid both stood up. Fang thumped his tail in good-bye but did not move otherwise.
At the door, Harry gave the half-giant a hug.
“What was that fer?” Hagrid asked with a smile.
“You always make me feel better, Hagrid. Thank you,” Harry said simply. Hagrid ruffled the young man’s hair.
“Ya jest remember ta take care o yerself and the wee one,” Hagrid admonished. Harry nodded and stepped out into the snow.
“I will, Hagrid. Good night.”
“Good night, Harry.”
His step a bit lighter than it had been, Harry made his way back up to the castle in the gloaming of the evening.