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Chapter 24. Ever After
«Oh, Merlin's hairy arse!» I screamed, and grabbed a hold of each side of the hospital bed. «Is it supposed to hurt this much?!»
The tiny Healer assistant looked at me with huge eyes, clearly scared that if she answered, I'd scream louder. She was right about that. «I-I'm afraid it is, Mrs M-Malfoy. Sorry.»
«We're not married,» Draco corrected her, completely 'by the way'.
«Yes, and as if I'm taking his name if we ever do get-» A vibration of pain forced another scream out of my shivering body.
Draco hated this.
«Isn't there anything you could give her?» he barked at the assistant, causing her to jump backwards.
«I-I'm sorry Mr Malfoy, bu-but she's not far enough along to-»
«Not far enough?!» Another wave of torturous hurt pressed on my uterus and up my spine, and I let out a pitiful growl. «That is complete bollocks!»
«Please, give her something,» Draco pleaded with the young woman, but the assistent just stood perfectly still. Well, she trembled a bit, out of fear of me, I guess, but that was it. «I can't stand watching this.»
«Oh, yes!» I hissed angrily at him, deathly rays shooting out of my brown eyes. «It's so horrible for you! I mean, you have to sit there and not squeeze the demon child out of your nostril! Let's all bake you cookies and kiss your pale, white ar-»
«I-I'll go check with the Birth-Healer,» the young assistant mumbled and lowered her gaze before scattering out of the room like a dog with the tail between its legs.
«Yeah, you go do that!» I called after her, and when she closed the door behind her, I turned to glower at Draco. «I don't like her.»
«What's wrong with her?» Uh-Oh. This was so not the time to disagree with me. «I think she-»
«Could you just for one second of your pathetic, little life agree with me?!» I wanted to scream at him some more, but had to take a break when I felt another shooting pain running through my body. Tears of agony and exhaustion were seeping out of my eyes, mixing with the sweat on my forehead. «I'm in this shittyness because of you, you know!» I growled, my eyes closed in order to focus on getting through the pain.
«Bloody hell,» Draco seemed utterly impressed, and smiled at me, «you're like some sort of primal! Blimey.»
«Are you trying to be fun-» the throbbing pain made me squeeze my lips shut, and when it subsided I went right back to where I let off, «-ny, Blondie?!»
Suddenly, the door to the room opened, and Laurie, my Birth-Healer and Tobias, the Head of the Maternity Ward, entered. I quickly sat up straight and flattened my hair, planting a forced smile on my sweaty face.
«All right!» she exclaimed, and smiled at me. «I can see we're coming along nicely in here.»
«Ah, hello, Laurie. And good day, Healer Tobias,» my voice basically dripped of fake politeness, and Draco reacted by scoffing loudly, «it's so good to see you.» Tobias nodded a greeting before he turned to talk quietly to Laurie.
«Why are you being nice to them?» he leaned over to my bed, whispering in an annoyed tone.
«They have the drugs,» I hissed back at him, sending him a glare that quickly made him lean back on his chair.
«So,» Tobias and Laurie turned to me again, both smiling, «you're feeling some discomfort right about now, am I right?»
«Nah, just a smidge.»
«If smidge means ripping people's heads off anf screaming bloody murder, then yes. Just a smidge,» Draco mumbled sarcastically.
My eyes bulged, and I noticed how Laurie couldn't contain a little laugh, something she quickly covered with a cough. I forced out a mechanical laugh, and tried to smile away his remark, but the second the Healers turned to discuss something and studying different vials, I snapped my head to glare wide-eyed at Draco.
«Shut your mouth, you imbicile. You-you man!» But just before I was about to hiss more insults, I grabbed his hand (which was placed right beside mine on the bed, ready for me to take it), and let out a painful groan. «Ow! This hurts!» Tears were dripping down my cheeks, and I let out a aching sob.
Tobias, the Healer, rushed over to me and waved his wand over my tense body. «I can see that you are quite far along now, my dear. And if you want, I can give you a Pain-Relief Elixir that will-»
«Give it to her!» Draco answered for me, and sent the Healer a terribly threatening glare. «Now!»
«Yes, please!» Words came out in whimpers, and I stifled another sob when I noticed the pain coming more frequently.
Tobias mixed together liquid from several viles, and handed me a glass of something completely colour- and odourless. I had barely wrapped my fingers around the glass before throwing the elixir down my throat. And the second it hit my stomach, I felt my whole body sink into the soft bed. Almost drowning in the mattress. I closed my eyes and let out a very long, exhausted breath.
«Feeling better, Brownie?» I could hear the relief in Draco's voice, and I nodded as he began stroking my palm with his thumb.
«She'll feel much more at ease now,» Laurie said, and I could hear Tobias agreeing in mumbles. «We'll be back in a few moments, we just have to go get some more more equipment. Will you two be okay on your own?»
«I think so.»
Footsteps, a door opening and closing, and a heavy sigh from Draco interrupted my dream-like state. It was as if I was floating on a cloud, and I enjoyed it to the fullest, because I knew that the pain would come back eventually.
«Brownie?» Draco whispered. He sounded close, but I didn't have the energy to open my eyes to find out if I was right.
I don't know when it happened, or for how long it lasted, but somewhere between Draco's continous whispering of sweet words, and the dream I was having of the Friends show, I fell asleep. But it was as I thought, the pain was sure to come back, and now it did. It wasn't as strong as before, but it was still no picnic. Instead of groaning, I let out a quiet sob. I was so tired. My body was tired. My head, my limbs, my very soul – everything was tired to the brink of imploding in exhaustion.
«I'm so tired,» I choked out in a low voice. «I don't want to do this anymore, Draco... Make it stop. Make her stop.»
I squeezed his hand tightly as the dulled, but aching, pain expanded. And Draco put his other hand on top of mine again, trying so hard to make this easier for me.
«Yeah, it's a girl,» I muttered, and opened my eyes when I once again felt relaxed. «I can feel it.»
«Are you telling me that I've lost the bet?» His glimmering eyes were locking with mine, and I could see how excited he was about the thought of possibly getting a daughter.
«Yup,» I chuckled, and forgot for a moment about the uncomfortable situation I was in. «I get to pick the name.»
«That is so unfair,» he groaned with a badly concealed smile, «I can't compete with both maternal instinct and female intuition.»
«Your loss, Blondie.»
«Well... Hermione Jr., then.»
Another chuckle escaped me before I closed my eyes again, the fatigue overwhelming now.
«Draco,» I whispered, «I'm exhausted.»
«I know,» his answer came out in an equally low whisper, and I felt him kissing my upper arm. «I'm so sorry, love. I wish there was something I could do.»
«But you are doing something,» I told him lovingly before opening my eyes.
«Trying to be funny, and sit here like a helpless moron?»
«Yes and no.» With a quivering smile, I took a low breath, locking eyes with the God-like man beside me. «You make me laugh so I forget the pain, you hold my hand to support me through this, and most of all... you're here.»
Draco drew his chair closer to the bed, and leaned in to kiss me on the lips. I felt the tremble in his own, and the simple sign of emotion was enough to set my unbalanced self into overdrive. Tears were streaming down my face, and when Draco broke off the kiss, I dried them away with my free hand.
«Of course I'm here,» he choked out. «I would never leave you and Adelle-»
«Adelle?» I arched my eyebrows, smiling teasingly now. Oh, the rollercoaster that is birth was utterly confusing. «I thought I got to pick the name?»
«I-I know... It's just...» Did he seem embarrased? I stifled a giggle by pretending to dry away a tear near my lips. «It's just, you know, a name I've been thinking about. Like, if it were a boy, I imagined something like Scorpius.»
«That is the most ridiculous name I have ever heard in my life,» I laughed, and loved how this man could make me do that at a time like this. «But Adelle, on the other hand...» I bit my lower lip, tasting how the name felt on my tongue. «I like it – I think.»
«I don't know yet, I'll have to see her first.» But my smile faded when the sensations of another contraction ripped through me. «Oh, no. Here comes another one!»
«Okay, just remember to squeeze my hand and breathe deeply.»
A snarl wheezed out between my gritted teeth, and my fingernails dug into Draco's skin. He didn't even flinch. And his strenght made me love him even more.
But this time, it didn't stop where all the others did, this contraction seemed to go on forever, and I let out a hoarse scream as I raised my torso up in the air in pain.
When it finally let go of its hold on me, my back fell down against the pillows again, and I panted as if just finishing a marathon.
«Oh, Draco!» I complained, by now not feeling the difference between pearls of sweat and drops of tears running down my face. «I can't do this anymore! That shit of an elixir didn't help at all!»
«Do you want me to go get the-»
«No,» I answered quickly, closing my eyes drowsily. «No, not yet. I'm fine right now...» I took a few deep breaths, only focusing on how one of Draco's hands were softly massaging my shoulder. It felt nice to inhabit another feeling than throbbing, aching pain.
«Brownie, are you fainting?»
«Switch place with me, love, and see how you do.» But of course I wasn't. My body was just finally relaxing.
Then it suddenly hit me, and I opened my eyes in excitement. «Adella!»
It took Draco a few seconds to realise what I was talking about, but when he did, he grinned so wide it made my heart leap, and my bulging stomach suddenly seemed filled with butterflies again instead of a baby.
«Adella,» he said aloud to himself. «I love it.»
And, not a moment too soon, out she came. It was so strange. At the foot of the bed, in the Healers' expert hands, like the flame of a candle, flickered the life of a human being who had never existed before. Entering this world with a loud and healthy scream.
This was the first time in all my life that screaming actually brought with it the most wonderful, thrilling, indescribable happiness I've ever experienced in my life. First and last, I reckon.
«It's a girl!» Laurie, with her eyes welled up with tears, exclaimed and walked quickly, but carefully, to me.
At the second she put that small creature on my chest, the pain stopped. The whole room could have been on fire, and I wouldn't have noticed.
She was perfect.
Ten fingers and toes, so small and covered with a layer of viscera, not screaming anymore, but shivering because of the sudden change of atmosphere. Her eyes were closed, but I knew that if they were open, they'd be the most beautiful thing I'd ever look into.
«She's perfect,» Draco voiced my own thoughts, and I dragged my eyes away from the wonderful creature on top of my chest, and locked them on Draco. His expression was one of pure, overwhelming bliss, and brand new tears trickled down my cheek when I saw how he, just like myself, already loved this little princess with all of our being.
Draco leaned down and kissed my lips in the most affectionate, amorous way possible. I couldn't help but grin when our lips parted, and the both of us simultaneously turned our attention back to the tiny angel that was now emitting a musical cooing that melted my heart.
The Healers had this entire time waved their wands over her, drying her off, wrapping her in a pink blanket, but I didn't really notice any of it. My eyes were glued to her fragile body, and both me and Draco never let our hands break contact with her soft skin.
But eventually, my worn out body caught up with me, and I fell dead asleep. And when I woke up, several hours later, I could see Draco from the corner of my eye cradling the tiny bundle of light pink blankets, and speaking in a low, adoring voice.
I tried to hear what he was saying.
«Do you want another story, my love?» he asked her, leaning down for a moment to kiss her forehead. «Would you like daddy to tell you another fairytale? All right.» I was falling in love with him all over again as I watched how carefully he held her, walking slowly about the room. Adjusting to the role of being a father, and savouring every single second of it.
I couldn't be prouder.
«..So,» he began, kissing the top of her head, apparently not getting enough of her. «Once upon a time... there was a man named Draco, and he was so awesome that everyone died. And one day-»
«Draco!» I interrupted, raising myself on my elbows. «That's not appropriate.»
«Oh, you're awake!» Draco ignored my reprimand, and rushed over to me, sitting down on the side of my bed. «Look,» he told me needlessly, I was already staring at her, «can you believe we actually made that?»
I smiled, lifting my hand and gently stroked her plump cheek.
«So have you decided?»
«On what?» I asked, absentmindedly, leaning down to breathe in the innocent smell of my daughter.
My hand seemed so big compared to her tiny face, and when I cupped it, I realised that I was actually a bit afraid of breaking her.
«Here,» Draco said, and seemed to get my silence. I was in awe, and he could fully understand that. «Hold out your arms.»
I did, and he placed our little angel in my awaiting embrace. Stifling a joyous sob, I began grinning as I looked down on her perfect face. Her nose, her eyebrows, her chin, her cheek... How could something so small mean so much to you after such a short time?
«Hello, my little princess,» I choked out in a whisper, and a tear fell upon the pink blanket that was wrapped around her. «Adella...» I began, and loved how her name felt as I said it, «..I am your Mummy. And I am going to care for you, and spoil you, and love you with every bit of my heart, for as long as I live.»
«We both will,» Draco whispered and gently pressed his lips on top of her tiny head, before lifting his gaze to meet my own.
It was a silent moment.
And then I knew; neither of us would ever try to resist love again.
Because this was it.
What everybody wrote about, read about, dreamed of, searched everywhere for...
This was true love.
And it really did conquer all, in the end.
Oh, my gosh... It's over. I can't believe it.
This is so sad :'(
I wanted to thank you all so much for sticking with me, and allowed Otherwise Engaged to be a part of your life.
You are the greatest readers a writer could ask for, and I hope you know how honoured and grateful I feel.
AND OVER TO SOME HAPPIER NEWS!
I'm already writing the sequel!
So go read the sequel to Otherwise Engaged: Expecting Otherwise
«Hey! Aren't you the-»
«The daughter of Hermione Granger? Yes.»
«Wow... And didn't your father use to be-»
«A Death Eater, uh-huh.»
Adella Malfoy-Granger is in her last year at Hogwarts, and she is the daughter of the most unrealistic couple in Wizarding history. This was going to be a very different year for them all.
«And just so you know, the name's Adella. Now get out of my way.»
Yeah, she's not the nicest person. And the sudden rise of hormones sure isn't helping.
Again, thank you for being amazing. From the bottom of my heart, I love you^^
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