The boat was full as the young man steered it away from Upernavik Island. Twelve wizards, including the Secret Keeper, filled the umiak. Ten of them put their oars out, pretending to row. A beluga whale peeked up to take a look and then dove back down into the depths of the Arctic Ocean. Harry held onto Regulus tightly. He was the youngest; Lucius at the front of the boat, the oldest. Draco spread the blankets out, knowing they would all soon be fast asleep.
Harry sat close by the Secret Keeper, Jonas, who’d recently turned seventeen. On his birthday, he had received a book. Where it came from, he didn’t know, but its contents revealed an important job that he heartily embraced. As the islands faded away and only the white, floating ones remained, a soft ballad broke the wizards chatter. Siri was the first to yawn, and Harry the last.
“You’ve brought friends and family, Dragon Rider. To stay?”
Harry sat down on the cloud. The mighty white dragon landed next to him. He reached out and stroked her scaled neck. “No, Lusi, just for the ceremony, though Dane will be returning in a few years. This is his home.”
“It is, and the island will welcome him back as its leader.”
Harry’s stomach dropped. He knew that would be Dane’s fate, but to hear it spoken as such, hurt his heart. “The other two will guide him and they will be great Dragon Riders, too. They’ve done well these last two years.”
“I know,” Harry whispered solemnly. “I know.”
“Don’t be sad, my friend. They’ll have a good life, and more will come. Dane will need a mate after he has his heir.”
“Shhh,” Harry said, “I don’t want him to grow up too fast.”
A bellow of steam erupted from the dragon. “I understand, and you all may enter, but I will be watching the dragon keeper closely.”
Harry stood up and bowed to Lusi. “I thank you, my lady.”
“Nicely done. I see you have learned some manners. Now I want to know how my namesake is doing.”
“She’s beautiful and frightfully spoiled. I hope to introduce you to her someday.”
Flames of fire shot out of her nostrils. “On the mainland, Dragon Rider. The only magical females allowed here are dragons. I was impressed that your Cock figured out that a witch was always possible.”
Harry laughed, remembering Draco stressing over all of the books and notes he had gathered on the subject matter, trying to decipher how to explain the occurrence of their daughter. Lucius was the one who reminded Draco that his branch of the Malfoy family stopped having children after the first male heir was born. One was enough to fulfil the duties of the family. Draco expanded the thought using Lucius and Dane as sounding boards. Was it really just a simple tradition? Or was it based on their Veela-wizarding history?
Harry had been sitting on the couch by the fire listening to the discourse, while staring at the painting of Lusi. He had remembered Draco telling him that the dragons and wizards were dependent on each other, a symbiotic relationship. “There were not enough dragons,” Harry mumbled from the couch.
“What?” Draco exclaimed.
“There wasn’t any reason for more Cocks. There was only one dragon to ride. Having a girl would put a stop to any of the males on the island reproducing.”
“Balance,” Draco whispered, almost with reverence, “nature was balancing the populations. Damn, that is why Lusi only left us one egg. We could have never been able to take care of two through the winters until they could feed themselves.” Draco had then been perplexed as to whether to kiss Harry or hex himself for not realizing the answer earlier.
Harry woke up smiling; he loved the cheekiness of Cock Island’s resident dragon. The long trek through the glacier opening was arduous. Ron continually shook his head mumbling about how cold it was, while Charlie said it wasn’t so bad. Ron’s son, Hugo, was near the front, conversing with Dane and Siri. James had put five-year-old Regulus on his shoulders, as the young boy’s legs couldn’t keep up. Draco walked with his father and Harry stayed behind with Oliver. The families had joined.
The red pole was still stuck in the compacted ice. The older wizards withdrew their brooms, the youngest two rode with their fathers. They reached the mountain as the sun was setting low. The temperature dropped and they hurried through the mountain pass. Harry breathed in the cold, dry air, and felt at peace once again as the tendrils of ancient magic coursed through him.
An empty cave was disappointing, but Harry could see that it had been recently been cleaned and fresh cotton grass had been laid. He and Draco opened the cavern wall and all of their noses lifted in appreciation from the smells coming from the prepared meal that awaited them in the cavern.
Scorpius and Al greeted their guests with excitement. Harry could only imagine how they felt after being alone for the last two years. Lusi had carried them here and they had never asked to return. Harry knew they would in the future, to visit, but they would return to this place, where Dragon Riders would be emerging as a race once again. They were all here to bear witness and to give their blessing to the two young men who wanted to be part of that goal.
They slept well, despite the insistence that they do so starkers. Harry and Draco both laughed at a few guests, Ron, Charlie, and Oliver, being embarrassed, because the following night would go beyond anything they could imagine.
The next day was filled with reliving memories and sharing with the others how they had survived. They combed the rocks for mussels and hauled in the nets of scallops. To Harry’s dismay, Ron repeated the mistake he made once, and piles of fish covered him. Draco mumbled something about stupid Gryffindors.
In the late afternoon, Harry found himself sitting on the ‘hillside of death,’ smoking his pipe. He watched the wizards below joking and laughing. It was now safe to do so with the greater numbers. Still, as if by habit, he scanned the shore and mountainside for predators. He also repeatedly looked to the sky to see if Lusi was watching from above; she wasn’t. Cirrus clouds were drifting over the sun’s face, and a brilliant pair of sundogs appeared.
“Deep thoughts?” the old wizard asked. Harry called for a thick fur blanket for Lucius to sit down on.
“No, not really,” Harry responded. They both sat in silence staring at the Arctic Ocean as icebergs floated by. “What do you think about all of this? I mean, you could have been a Dragon Rider,” Harry said, after a few puffs from his pipe.
A generous laugh emerged from Lucius. He withdrew his own pipe from his long coat and prepared it for smoking. Harry lit it with his wand.
“I’m too old now, but I can honestly say I would not have made a very good survivor in my youth. I do enjoy my creature comforts.”
Harry chuckled. They both sent smoke rings up into the air. “But what do you think of your heritage?”
“Ah, you mean, am I ashamed that my blood is not pure?” Lucius said, his long white hair whipped around his face as a strong breeze came ashore. “No, how could I be when such matings bring about wonders like Dragon Riders, Cocks, and you?”
Harry coughed repeatedly on both Lucius’s words and the smoke he had inhaled too deeply.
“I’m getting to be an old wizard, Harry. I would have been pleased with Scorpius as my only grandchild, but you gave me so many more to enjoy. But what pleases me most is that my son found happiness and purpose.”
Harry smiled and looked up at the sky again as dark clouds from the north-west were forming. “He was worth saving,” Harry said.
The cavern was filled with floating candles for light; the portals to the outside world were opaque. The wizards gathered around in a circle, all sitting on furs, enjoying the feast. Copious amounts of meats from the land and sea were eaten and an even greater amount of special mead was drunk. The ritual was briefly explained once again to the guests. The wizards, when they had first been invited to witness the calling for life, were apprehensive. The idea that they would watch Albus and Scorpius make love in front of them was unnerving. Harry and Draco were both disappointed at the reaction, but Dane was the one who suffered the most. He stayed outside as long as he could each summer day. His fathers both recognized the signs of being hurt because he suddenly felt like a freak. This was his heritage the family was rejecting. He seemed fine at Hogwarts and enjoyed being there, but anyone who got close enough could see his eyes searched for the closest window to gaze out. He showed a longing to be somewhere else, and now he really knew that he didn’t belong to his fathers’ land.
They were about to meet with each member who had been invited, but Dane’s grandfather beat them to it. Neither Harry nor Draco knew what Lucius had told the others, but soon the responses of acceptance arrived. Only Teddy declined, Andromeda, they all knew, wouldn’t be able to handle another loss if something unexpected happened.
Now here they all sat in the cavern, relaxed, telling stories, and laughing freely. Harry wondered if this was the way it was centuries ago. Siri and Reg were enthralled with the camaraderie and flitted about the men, being teased and hugged. However, Dane shone as he never had before. His wand of Arctic birch and dragon-whisker core filled goblets with more mead as they emptied, encouraging his elders to indulge themselves.
Soon the youngest two boys tired and were put to bed, the one that had been Draco’s before he started sleeping in Harry’s. Privacy Charms were cast for them to rest without being disturbed.
The anticipation in the room rose as the soft beat from the caribou skin drum filled the cavernous space. Dane’s hands moved in a rhythm the origin of which only he seemed to know. The circle moved to the centre, to the ritual stone, and only separated to allow two young wizards to pass. Harry squeezed Draco’s hand as their sons made their entrance, dressed only in cloths wrapped around their waists. The two years had strengthened their bodies, and Harry felt any apprehension he might have had float away. They were physically and mentally ready to take over where he and Draco had left off, to carry on the race that had been a hair’s-breadth away from extinction.
The small table next to the stone held all they would need, the balm and the scrimshaw piece Harry had made years before. Al pulled the knot of cloth at Scorpius’s hip and it slid to the ground. Harry heard Draco inhale deeply. Scorpius returned the gesture and Al’s cloth joined the other on the granite floor. Harry closed his eyes briefly. The last time he had seen his son naked was when he was eleven. Draco’s fingers grasped Harry’s wrist. Harry glanced over at him. “Did you look like that at …?” Draco mouthed, but before he could finish, Harry shook his head.
A brief kiss between the two young wizards preceded Scorpius perching himself on the stone. Al gently helped him lie down and a small rolled fur was placed under his hips. The pulsating beat increased as Al positioned Scorpius legs to a bent position and then, without warning, restraints emerged. Groans and few unrestrained expletives surfaced from those in the circle. A wry grin came over Scorpius’ face. Harry knew then that this was probably not first time Draco’s son had found himself captive.
Albus climbed onto the rectangular stone and between his partner’s legs. There would be no foreplay of kissing and stroking; that was something they shared as lovers. No, only the final act was required for the blessing of the tribe. A soft chant that seemed to come from up high filtered down as Al grasped the scrimshaw penis and coated it with the balm. “He’s been prepped,” Draco whispered. Harry nodded and wondered when that had happened.
The tip of the warmed ivory piece entered Scorpius. His eyes closed and he sighed releasing a trill. Draco’s gasp revealed that this was the first time he had heard his son vocalize the sound of pleasure. Harry glanced around the circle, surveying the others’ responses as the scrimshaw phallus disappeared within Scorpius’s entrance. No one’s eyes met his. Harry’s attention returned to the scene and watched intently the patience and control his son was demonstrating as he elicited more Veela tones from Scorpius. He withdrew the object and slid it back in with an expertise only long term partners shared. Scorpius appeared to be in ecstasy; Harry knew that look, it was one Draco tried to restrain, but couldn’t.
The volume of the chanting increased as the scrimshaw penis was removed. Albus placed his cock at the entrance waiting for him. He threw his head back and cried out, “Tribuo Vita”. The head of his penis pushed in. The cavern filled with mist and reverberated with a chant coming from ghostly Dragon Riders. Another drum joined Dane’s beats as the corporeal wizards found themselves mouthing words they had never known. Draco’s hand found Harry’s and fingers interlaced.
The restraints released, Scorpius legs retracted further to his chest. Albus fell forward and thrust in deeper. The Veela trill emerged from Scorpius, joining the chorus. Harry could see the come seeping down Scorpius’s sides and then the cry of ecstasy came from his son when Scorpius’s mouth found his neck and bit down.
“Harry, I’m coming home. Wake the others and be prepared.
Harry woke with a start. He had so many questions to ask Lusi, but her message was warning enough. He had once heard something similar years before. He wondered what had happened. He rolled out of bed, picked up his wand as he dressed quickly. The others were asleep. “What is it?” Draco asked groggily from across the bed. The three boys were sleeping soundly between them.
“Lusi’s coming and she said to be prepared,” Harry said loudly. He didn’t care if he disturbed the others, they needed to get up.
“Fuck, not again,” Draco said, bounding out of the bed and stumbled towards the loo.
Within minutes, all of the wizards stood in the entrance of the cave. Wands were drawn. “She’s coming,” Al yelled and pointed to the eastern sky.
Harry squinted, trying to see the dot in the sky. “There’s two!” Siri said excitedly. Harry couldn’t believe his eyes, but Siri was right, there were two dragons gliding towards them. Lusi tumbled in first and then the second.
“Merlin,” Charlie spouted out as the two dragons sat down and folded their wings. The second dragon, Harry could tell, was ancient. Her scales were dull, her movements forced.
“Analise?” Scorpius and Albus said in unison.
“Yes, did you think there were more than two of us females?” the older dragon said, in a raspy voice that all could hear.
“You—you can speak?” Draco stuttered.
“Yes, and this young thing will too when she matures, just as her mother did. But enough of that. I see that Lusi was correct, there are Dragon Riders here. Too many for one little girl to handle,” Analise said weakly, and then seemed to choke. Her long neck twisted around until she coughed, releasing small flames. Quick wand movements doused the small fires. She paid no attention to the wizards’ reactions. She lowered her head and then moved her neck side to side as she examined each of them standing before her. She sniffed a few, and then her nose stopped at Lucius. Her face was as large as he was. “Ha, an old Cock. He won’t be useful here.”
Harry had to stop himself from laughing. Ron and Oliver weren’t so successful. Analise then stopped at Scorpius. “Oh, this one I like. We’ve met before, but he never smelled this delectable before. Lusi, he’s newly mated.”
If dragons could smile, Harry was sure that Lusi was. The old dragon stopped again at Dane. “Oh, my, what have we here? Was this the surprise you mentioned?” Analise said and Lusi nodded. “A Rightful Heir,” she gasped out reverently. “And two more young Cocks,” she added. “Lusi, you and your mother have done well. I will be honoured to have you receive my gifts.”
Lusi stood up straight and then lowered her head to the ground, bowing before the ancient one. Analise nodded. “Yes, it is time. Father of the Rightful Heir, fetch the knife and containers for my blood, I am ready to fly into the next world.”
Without question, Draco raced back into the cavern and retrieved the knife and as many empty vials he could find, and then conjured some more. The rest of the wizards stood in place, a few shaking being this close to two dragons.
“Dragon keeper,” Analise bellowed out, “you know how to slay a dragon?”
Charlie hesitantly stepped forward. “Yes, I do,” he said almost reluctantly.
“Good, because I want you to make the cut. None of my blood should be wasted.”
Draco handed the knife to Charlie and passed out vials to Scorpius, Dane, and Albus. Analise flicked her head towards Draco. “Father of the Heir, do you not have a cauldron? I do not think my blood will be dribbling out.”
Harry once again forced down the need to laugh. Draco’s cheeks reddened. “Yes, you’re right. I wasn’t thinking,” Draco said apologetically.
“Of course I’m right. Now go and get what you need.”
Draco collected the vials and soon returned with two enlarged cauldrons. Analise snorted, steam briefly filled the cave. She lumbered over to where a fresh nest of cotton grass was laid and sat down. “I am ready, dragon keeper.”
Harry watched in awe as Charlie sliced through the scales along the underside of Analise’s neck, some falling to the floor and shattering. She groaned loudly as the first squirt of blood came out and shot into the upheld cauldron. “Not so bad,” she said quietly. She groaned almost continuously as the blood began to pour out. One cauldron was lowered and another replaced it.
Harry came forward and stood before her. “Your gift will be well cared for. We thank you,” he said and bowed deeply. He saw her cloudy black eyes sparkle with a flash of life before they went dull. Her long neck started to fall down, but before it hit the cave floor, her body became translucent, crackled, and then burst apart into fine slivers of frozen crystals. She was gone.
They all stood stunned, until Lusi made her way over to the nest. She lowered her face and looked at what was left. “Five, Dad, Papa, she laid five eggs,” Regulus said proudly as he counted the clutch of eggs once again.
“Deep thoughts?” Draco asked as he joined Harry on the ‘hillside of death.”
Harry lifted the large mug of hot coffee to his lips and took a long sip. “No, none at all.”
Draco laughed and leaned over. His tongue flicked along the blue feather mark on Harry’s neck.
“Dad!” Dane called from the shore below. “Can’t you wait until you get home?”