Chapter 15 : Birth
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“I still can’t believe that any of this is real,” Draco said to Harry as they paced back and forth in the waiting room.
“What I can’t believe is real is the fact that you and I are sitting here - together - waiting for this.”
“Do you realize that this is about the tenth time you’ve mentioned that to me?”
“Well, it’s true.”
“I never denied it. But that doesn’t mean that I need to be reminded constantly of the fact. Or it might just make me go back to hating you.”
Before Harry could answer, however, a Healer came into the room and motioned for them to follow her.
All the colour drained out of Draco’s face as he was for sure that something was wrong, that something had happened. After all, why else would they want both of them to come back there?
“Go on,” Harry hissed, practically pushing Draco along the way.
They made it into the room that the Healer had disappeared into and Harry stopped. “This is all yours,” he said, walking back to the waiting room.
Draco stepped into the room and then suddenly he heard the crying of a baby and looked up in shock. Was that... did it mean...?
He looked over at Hermione, who though she seemed drained and overly exhausted, which wasn’t a surprise considering what she had just gone through, smiled at him and nodded. He felt completely out of the loop, not sure what he needed to do. he had always prided himself with knowing exactly what to do in any situation, but this was one he had never even thought he’d be in.
He glanced around and felt stupid and sort pointed at the baby and then at himself. “Can I...May I?” he asked flustered. The Healer smiled at him and handed him the blanket wrapped baby.
Instinctively, he wrapped his arms around the baby and cradled him in his arms.
He sat back in the chair, the baby cradled in his arms and realized there was no place that he would rather be. He had imagined what this day would be like of course, but that was nothing compared to the reality of it.
Suddenly, the tiny infant in his arms began to cry, and gently he placed his index finger in his mouth and the tiny baby quieted down as he began to suck on his finger.
“I’m your daddy,” he whispered, the words sounding strange in his mouth. “And I’m going to do right by you, I promise. I don’t want you to turn out like me.” He closed his eyes and pressed his face gently next to the baby’s. That was when he realized that he was asleep.
“Hermione...” he started, until he realized that she, too, was asleep. The Healer had already left, as though to give them privacy, and he wasn’t sure what to do. Did he lay the baby in the bassinet by her bed and sneak out for the night, or did he stay?
It only took about two seconds for him to gaze at the beautiful baby in his arms to know that he wasn’t going to go anywhere. The tiny baby began stirring in his arms ever so slightly, and gently began to rock him back and forth.
The tiny baby once again sighed in his sleep and rolled over to go back to sleep. Draco adjusted himself in his chair and couldn’t help but gaze at the baby.
No matter how many times that he did this, he still couldn’t believe that this was his. He wondered how long it took for it to sink in that a baby belonged to you. Did it happen automatically, or did it take awhile? Regardless of which, there was one thing that he knew for certain, and that was the fact that he loved this baby. More than ever would have thought possible for him to love another human being.
Cradling the baby against his chest, it wasn’t very long before he himself was asleep as well.
“Where are we going?” Hermione asked, two days later when she and baby Scorpius, as she and Draco had decided to name the baby, had been released from St. Mungo’s.
“You’ll find out as soon as we get there,” he said with a smile.
They had walked for awhile, and then suddenly, Draco made her stop and close her eyes.
“What are you doing? I’m going to end up tripping and dropping the baby,” she protested.
“No, you won’t,” he said. He took the baby out of her arms and held him.
“Have I ever told you how strange you were?” she said to him, but complying with his wishes none the less.
“You remind me at least once a day he said,” taking her hand in his.
“Draco, what on Earth...”
“Shh,” he whispered. “Just come with me.”
She heard a door creak open, and followed him until he stopped her.
He lead her down the hallway, and then he finally told her that she could open her eyes.
She gasped in amazement when she opened them.
“Where are we?” she asked, bewildered. She had been under the impression that they were going to Malfoy Manor, but the place that she was looking at was anything but.
He smiled at her. “You’re looking at your new home.”
“My… what?” she said. “This isn’t…”
He kept grinning. “I know. Somehow, I couldn’t see you in that old dreary, mausoleum of a place, and decided that it was time I got it out of the family. I thought this was much more practical.”
“You bought me a house?” she said, not believing what she was hearing.
He didn’t answer, but rather, opened the facing door and led her inside.
“It’s beautiful,” she exclaimed, staring in wonder at the beautiful nursery he had created.
“You...you did all of this yourself?” Hermione asked in disbelief as she stared around the room. The walls had been painted a soft shade of green, while a silver cot was set up on the left side of the room and facing it was a white bassinet on the right.
He gently laid the baby in the crib and covered him with a blanket.
Above the crib was a mobile that had characters that were shaped like tiny Quidditch players and played a soft, soothing tune when it was turning.
He smiled. “Well, I did have a little help from my friend,” he said, gesturing toward his wand.
“I mean... you planned it all?”
“I’ve been thinking about it for awhile,” he said. “Pretty much every detail had been figured out. Whether it was a boy or a girl, it was going to look the same. I mean... I’m not too good with girls, you know.”
She gave a wry grin. Cocking her head towards the baby, she said, “I can’t imagine that. Apparently you didn’t have too much trouble, you know.”
“What can I say? Malfoys’ have good genes.”
“Are you talking about you, or the baby? Because maybe it’s the Granger genes that are standing out. Did you ever think about that?”
“Hey now, I did something nice for you and this is how you’re planning on re-paying me?”
She just shook her head. “There are times when I just can’t believe you, Draco Malfoy. You never fail to surprise me.“
Suddenly, he looked very serious. “Do you... do you ever regret it, Hermione? I mean, being with me, us having a baby at our age, any of that?”
“No. I...it’s never even crossed my mind,” she said, suddenly realizing that it was true. Sure, things had definitely been difficult, and it wasn’t necessarily the choice she would have originally chosen, but she realized, if given the chance, she didn’t she would change anything.
He tilted his head accusingly at her. “Now I know you’re lying to me.”
She narrowed her eyes in confusion at him. “I’ve never lied to you, Draco Malfoy. Not once. I never lied to you when I thought you were a vile, loathsome cockroach. I never lied to you when I thought I admitted that you’d become a changed person. And I’m not lying to you now.”
He looked at her deeply, and she was once again reminded of how she had started falling for him in the first place.
He licked his lips nervously and then before he could stop himself, he then quickly dropped to one knee and held out his right hand which held a small black box in the middle of it., and opened it to reveal a small two tone silver and golden ring with a red heart and a green heart shaped stone in the middle.
“Hermione Granger, will you marry me?”
She let out a gasp and dropped to her knees in front of him. She found she couldn’t say anything, and could only stare at what he was holding in front of her.
“I...” she stuttered, unable to say anything else.
“Let me ask you again,” he whispered, looking deep into her eyes. “Will you become my wife, and allow the three of us to become a family? A real family?”
“I...I don’t know what to say,” she said, completely left without words.
“Say yes,” he pleaded, burning a hole into her soul with his eyes.
She glanced at him, and at the ring and back again.
“I got it this way to represent the both of us,” he said, thinking that maybe she didn’t like the ring and the colours that it had. “But if you’d rather, I could always get a more traditional looking ring..”
She shook her head. “No...no. It’s perfect the way that it is. Gingerly, she took it out of the box and slipped it onto her finger.
It took him only a moment to understand what she was trying to say.
“Does this mean that...”
“It does. I want to, Draco. I really do. But at the same time I’m afraid... I know it sounds really stupid, but I...”
“Shh, love. You don’t have to explain. But if you want, you know that I’ll listen.”
“I know you will. I just... things have happened so quickly. What if... what if we don’t...”
“Don’t think about it like , Hermione. I know there are times when you still don’t trust me. It’s fine, I don't blame you. Hell, if I were in your place, I probably couldn’t trust me either.”
“It has nothing to do with trust, Draco. You had my trust from the moment that we... in fact, even after everything, you never really lost it.”
He smiled, glancing at the ring shining on her finger. “Does that mean that you accept?”
It took her only a moment to be able to give him an answer. “I will. After all, we’ve made it this far. I think we can really make it all of the way.”
Hermione had trouble sleeping again that night - had she ever truly had a good, solid night’s sleep since all of this began? She couldn’t remember a single night in the past two years that she hadn’t had a least a small bit of trouble going to sleep. She’d figured that she could blame it on the baby - that is, if the baby made any noise. He was the quietest baby that she had ever known, not that she had ever known that many, but she had always heard that they were supposed to be loud and noisy and never wanted to sleep. Not this baby. Every time she went to check on him, he would be asleep. At first, it had absolutely terrified her because she was afraid that something was wrong with him.
She laid her head against the pillow and tried to make herself go to sleep, to no avail. How had her life turned out like this? She had always dreamed about how her life would turn out after she had finished school, and so far it seemed that nothing was going to plan.
She thought back to what had started everything in the first place, and snorted ironically at how it had been because of her parents, and now, it seemed that things was always going back to her parents. How they had reacted when she had told them the news, for example.
“Have you decided what you’re going to do yet?” Elizabeth Granger asked Hermione over the Easter Holidays.
Hermione had dreaded this moment from the minute that she had stepped off the Hogwarts train. She had known that she was going to have to say something, but had kept putting off thinking about it. she decided that the easiest way to get it out would be just to say it, so she decided to just blurt it out.
“I’m not going to go to University, Mum. I’ve decided that...”
But Mrs. Granger didn’t seem to want to listen. The moment that she had heard that, she was practically livid.
“I’m surprised at you, Hermione Jean. We have done nothing but be supportive of you over the years and this is how you re-pay us?”
“That’s not why, Mum. It has nothing to do with that. It’s because I’m...”
“You’re what? Is that wizard boy, what’s his name, the one that you’ve been cavorting with, has he been planting ideas in your head?”
“I’m pregnant, Mum!” she blurted out, and immediately wished she could take it back.
“You’re what?” screeched Mrs. Granger.
Hermione tried, without success, not to lose her patience. “You heard what I said, Mum. I didn’t want to have to say it this way, but that’s in the past now.”
*End of Flashback*
She had known that they would have to find out eventually, but she really wished that she would have had a better way to tell them. She had never seen her parents so disappointed in their lives. It had also meant that once school was over, she wouldn’t be returning home. Even though her parents had never said she couldn't come back, she felt that that was out of the question. Especially since everything was so awkward and confusing.
Knowing that trying to sleep now was going to be next to impossible, she climbed out of bed and pulled on a robe and made her way to the living room. Even though Draco had done re-modelling to the place so that it hardly resembled the mansion that it had once been, it still seemed creepy at night.
It seemed almost like deja vu when she realized that Draco was already there.
“Seems like old times,” he said, when he noticed her standing in the doorway.
She grinned and raised her eyebrows in an agreement sort of way. She sat down next to him as he moved over to give her room.
“Are you... are you alright?” he asked, feeling as though he should say something, but not really sure what exactly he should say.
She nodded slowly. “Surprisingly, yes. I just... it all has to sink in, you know? I mean, I’m a Mum now, it’s a pretty strange feeling. Being a mother. Not to mention with not having my own Mum here,” she said, before she realized who she was talking to. “I’m sorry,” she said quickly, averting her eyes. “I didn’t mean...”
He covered her hand with his. “It’s alright. You don’t have to worry about offending me. Really. You can say what you want, well, unless you call me a vile, loathsome cockroach or a ferret.”
She laughed, softly.
“You aren’t the only one who feels a bit strange. I mean, I’m a Dad. A Father. At least you were able to get used to the idea. You carried the baby. I...”
“Believe me, that doesn’t really make it any easier,” she said.
Looking serious again, he said, “Earlier, I didn’t mean to scare you, or put you on the spot. If you need time to think about it, I understand.”
She looked accusingly at him. “Are you trying to tell me that you’ve changed your mind?”
“Not at all. I’ve... I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more in my life.”
She shook her head and sighed. “I have to admit. There are still times that I have trouble admitting that you’re Draco Malfoy... the same Draco Malfoy that I’ve known since I was eleven. Back then, you were just a stuck-up, spoiled brat who thought he knew everything. Then you became a know-it-all ‘I’ll tell Daddy on you’ jackass. Then you...” she trailed off, not knowing where to start.
He leaned in. “And what am I now?”
“You’ve been kind, considerate, and a friend. To be honest, I’m not sure what is the strangest part.”
He leaned over to put his arm around her. “You’ve brought a lot of changes in me, Hermione. I hope you know that. I’ve become part of who I am now because of you.”
“You can stop, please. You’ve actually made me want to vomit with that.”
“Seriously, though. You helped believe in me. Do you have any ideas how many times I didn’t want to do it anymore? That I figured it would be easier to just forget about it?”
“How so? You had already...”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. But do you honestly think that I would have come this far if it hadn’t been for you helping me?”
“I didn’t do much. To be honest, there were times when I tried to come up with ways to hex you out of our common room and so that you would leave forever.”
“I’m glad you changed your mind,” he said.
“Me too,” she whispered, looking up at him.
“You ready to try and sleep again?” he asked, after a lengthy silence.
She stood up slowly.
He held out his hand to her. “I mean, with me. And my room.”
“Draco, I’ve already told you, I can’t... I mean..”
“Shh,” he said, placing his finger against her lips. “I didn’t mean for that. I was actually referring to sleep. No matter what you might think, or what anyone might think, I’m not just in it for sex.”
It had seemed to be the best solution, after all, for the two of them to have separate rooms, since they still weren't quite sure exactly where their relationship was heading. However, it seemed a bit silly to have separate rooms on opposite sides of the manor, when they could just as easily share one.
“I just have one question,” she said, before he stood up.
“Why did you... when you first left... why did you leave? Where did you go?”
He just smiled at her. “I thought you would have figured that out by now. That was when I got all of this,” he gestured at everything around them, “started.”
“That was when you did it? Why? How?”
“You are just full of questions, aren’t you? How about you worry a little less of why and how, and just be pleased?” he teased.
She watched in amazement as he pulled back the covers for her when they reached his room.
It felt very strange, not to mention awkward, consciously and casually crawling into bed with him. In fact, this was the first time since it had happened.
He crawled in beside her, yet giving her space all at the same time. That wasn’t what she wanted however, and she rolled onto her side and curled herself into the space between his arm and the side of his body, and he wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close.
And there, in the comfort of his arms, Hermione finally fell asleep.
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