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Edit: 2nd February, 2015: I've changed a small part of this chapter to reflect a more realistic reaction from Ron :) Thanks to Dan (CambAngst) for the awesome cc. I'm much happier with this version.

I convinced Rose to stop for a bite before we met with Harry. I knew she had not kept her breakfast down due to nerves and I wanted to make sure that she got some food into her. I fiddled with the parchment while she ate.

“Scorpius, I know you want to look at it again, but we can’t here!” she admonished in a loud whisper. When I looked up at her imploringly, she couldn’t hold her smile back.

“You are adorable, you know that?” She grinned.

“I do know that. I have been told before… by others,” I said playfully.

“Really?” she played right along. “Who would that be? James or Albus?”

“Selenia,” I admitted sheepishly and she burst into giggles. It had been a while since she was in such a silly, fun mood and I was reveling in her good spirits. I turned back to the parchment, wanting more than anything to open it up.

“Scoooorp,” she said in a warning tone. “Not here. I promise we’ll look at it all afternoon.” I knew she was right. We were at Fortescue’s and couldn’t risk anyone seeing the picture of the baby. I gently fingered the green ribbon around the outside, reading the words over and over – Weasley-Malfoy Baby. I would have to settle for a smile at the way that looked when it was written out.

I felt her eyes on me and I dragged my own away from my new favorite words to meet the intensity of her blue orbs. They were sparkling and her face was glowing. She looked like she did the night we went out for the first time - so exceedingly beautiful – and much, much calmer since we’d seen Healer Chang. A tiny smile pulled at the corners of her mouth.

“Let’s go get this over with.”

Even her words were lighter as they skipped off her tongue. She didn’t seem like she was dreading the implications of telling our little secret to the family. She jumped up like a spring and I noticed how her short hair was bouncing. She grabbed at my arm and began pulling me up along with her.

We flooed to the ministry from Fortescue’s fireplace and headed directly for Harry’s office. Rose talked non-stop. She talked about where we would go for dinner and how she wanted to tell the rest of the family this Saturday – perhaps we could have a small gathering at her parent’s house. James and Jax weren’t back yet, but she didn’t want to wait another two weeks for them to return. She thought of owling James, but this wasn’t the sort of thing you put in an owl. When she finally got around to asking me what I thought – I really wasn’t sure which thought she wanted.

“About what? Dinner? Telling the rest of your family? A gathering on Saturday? Or owling James?” She realized she had gone overboard in her excitement and began to giggle. “How about we figure it out over lunch after we meet with Harry.” I suggested, pointing to the door in front of us that said ‘Harry Potter – Head of Auror Division.’

“Oh!” she exclaimed and giggled even more. I loved seeing her like this and pulled her close as I knocked on the door.

It took a few moments for the door to open and the troubled look on Harry’s face deepened as he saw Rose and me standing there. After he recovered, his eyes softened, but he was unable to hide the surprise in his voice.

“Rose! Scorpius – it’s… I’m in a meeting at this moment-”

“Rose?” The door opened further and Hermione’s figure appeared to the left of Harry’s shoulder. Through the door, I could see Ron sitting down in one of the chairs in front of Harry’s desk. The golden trio assembled for a meeting? The look on each of their faces told me this was definitely not a pleasure visit between the three.

“Mum!?” Rose’s voice was a mix of surprise and confusion. “Dad?” she asked when she saw Ron as well.

“It’s all right, Harry,” Hermione conceded. “We might as well just include the two of them in this meeting as well. They need to know as soon as possible, anyway.”

“Why aren’t the two of you at training?” Ron stood from his seat and strode toward us, concern and suspicion etched on his face. Hermione and Harry stepped back to allow us to enter.

“I had a Healer appointment and Scorpius came with me.” Rose looked right at him as she answered and we all met at the center of Harry’s office. She was so excited, the news was practically spilling out of her. The scenario actually worked out well for her, because then she wouldn’t have to feel guilty about telling Harry before her parents. Rose didn’t seem to notice the dark looks they were giving each other.

“Healer appointment?” Ron’s voice rose a notch in alarm. “Are you all right?”

“I am.” Rose was beaming. “I’m more that all right.” She turned to her mother and grabbed both Hermione’s hands in her own, wanting to see her face when she gave the news. Rose’s eyes were bright with excitement and I couldn’t contain my own smile at seeing her so giddy. I turned my gaze to Harry and Ron, wanting to gauge their reactions.

“Mum, I’m going to be a mum! I’m expecting!”

Hermione’s eyebrows shot up, and she didn’t say anything for a few moments. Her mouth opened, but still no words came out. She looked to me for confirmation, and then looked back at Rose. Finally, after several moments, she began to squeak, “Oh! Er… That’s interestin– I mean that’s a surprise – a good surprise? It’s good. Very good. Sorry, I just… I – d-did not expect you to say... Merlin.” She exchanged more looks with Ron and Harry and I knew that there was more going on than we had been privy to. She collected herself and a smile graced her features. “Darling! That is wonderful!”

Ron’s reaction was one of confusion – and then realization as he rounded on me.

“I thought you were going to propose! H-how does… this happen be-before one proposes, Malfoy?!” He started off in a splutter and ended in a growl. It wasn’t going well.

The two women turned their heads at his outburst. Harry took a step to stand between Ron and me, most likely to prevent any wands from being drawn. Just to be safe, I slid my hand into my robes and put my fingers around mine, even though I knew that Harry and Ron would notice this gesture. In fact, I was counting on it, as I felt my emotions rise up. I wasn’t a fifteen year old kid anymore.

But before I could say anything, Rose beat me to it.

“He did propose, Dad. Actually he proposed before we found out about the baby.” Technically, she was right, even if the two events were separated by only about an hour. Rose held out her hand to show the ring to all of them. Ron and Hermione had already seen it; I had brought it to their house the night I went to tell them of my intentions with Rose. Hermione admired how it looked on her daughter’s finger.

Ron was still fairly upset. “You are too young! Both of you are t-too young to be d-doing… things… to be having babies!”

Merlin, Ron” Harry shook his head and let out an amused sigh. “You’re just about the most immature forty-seven year old on the planet. I don’t think that’s the most pressing issue at hand.” Rose looked relieved that her Uncle had come to our defense, however, I had the distinct feeling that Harry was not defending me, but rather referring to whatever they’d just been meeting about.

“Harry, this is not good. You know why this is not good at all. Now he,” Ron rasped, poking a finger at me, “has added another level of-”

“Rose,” I interrupted, trying to keep my voice light. “Here – don’t forget this!” I shoved the parchment in her hands to distract her from Ron. It worked. She immediately opened it up to show Hermione. I used this opportunity to pull Ron and Harry a few steps away from them, summoning all the courage that a non-Gryffindor could. Fueled by my indescribable need to keep Rose and the baby as safe as possible, I put one hand on Ron’s shoulder and pulled my wand out of my robes. I didn’t raise it, but rather let it hang at my side. I turned us so that both our backs were to the women and Harry was facing us.

“Listen,” I said sharply to both Harry and Ron, but my words were mostly directed at her father. “Rose has been completely panicked about the prophecy and the baby. After her Healer visit today she is finally, finally getting more relaxed about everything. She’s already lost a lot of weight and needs to start gaining it back. I don’t care that you are one of the most bad-ass Aurors in history and I don’t care that you have the power to bust my arse back to a desk job for the next five years or so, nobody, nobody is going to say or do anything to upset her right now.”

I took a breath and continued, slower this time. “She gets to have this. Whatever it takes for me, or this family, or the ministry, or anyone else that I need to hex -” I sucked in a deep breath of air and repeated my words. “She gets to have this. Because you and I - and even Rose - knows that she still has the prophecy to contend with. As long as she’ll let me, I’m ensuring that no one,” I pierced Ron’s blue eyes that were identical to Rose’s, “no one upsets or stresses her out in any way.” I glanced over at Rose and Hermione, who were both giggling and oohing over the baby’s first picture, unaware of the intensity of our conversation. During my speech, my wand arm lifted up and, although I wasn’t specifically pointing it at Ron, a few sparks shot out of the end.

Ron’s face went from beet red anger to slightly pink shock. His eyes widened and mirrored the o-shape his mouth was stretching into. I took a step back and breathed in, but remained ready to defend anything he was ready to fire at me.

“Wh-what… You - This is not…” he trailed off for a moment, with his mouth lolling open.

“Scorpius,” Harry put an arm on my shoulder and I tensed, but quickly lowered my wand when I saw the amused look on his face. “You had him at ‘bad-ass.’” He let out a chuckle, shaking his head.

Although Ron didn’t smile, I would take his lack of hexing me into the next millenium as a sort of truce for now. At least he knew where I stood when it came to Rose. Ron grunted some sort of a reply, more directed at Harry than me.

“Congratulations – on both counts,” Harry said, clapping me on the shoulder.

However, there was little cheer on his face when he continued. “But you’re right and we were in the middle of discussing Rose and the prophecy because we’ve some new developments that I think you both need to be aware of.” I started to protest, hoping to convince them to wait a little while so Rose didn’t have more things to worry about, but Harry cut me off. “I’m sorry Scorpius, but I can’t, in good faith, keep the two of you in the dark on this one – and it’s not all bad news.”

“Oh, Scorpius,” Hermione squeaked as she skittered toward us and threw her arms around me. “I am so happy for you – for Rose and all of us! Congratulations!” I hugged her back and thanked her. “Look!” she exclaimed at Harry and Ron, who were busy congratulating and hugging Rose, showing them our parchment of the baby.

“Is that th- the baby?” Ron’s eyes were bigger than I’d ever seen them as he looked at the picture in Hermione’s hands. He just stared and watched his grandchild wriggle around. I think I may have even seen them begin to glisten when the baby’s hand moved. My suspicions were confirmed by his avid blinking. “Wow…” was all he could say. “Wow… wow.” Rose was right. Ron Weasley was a man of few words.

“That’s absolutely brilliant,” Harry was all smiles for us. “I hope you’re feeling well, Rose.”

“I’m doing alright. Just a bit of sickness, but I think we’ve got that under control,” she admitted.

“All right then, well, all pleasantries aside,” Harry began by conjuring a few comfortable looking couches and an armchair for all of us to sit, “I think it is best that we discuss the business of the prophecy – that is, if you feel up for it, Rose?” he sounded a little unsure and I appreciated that he gave her the option – especially considering the fact that he just told me how important it is for us to have this information.

“Thank you, Uncle Harry, but you’re right. We need to know as much information as possible.” She sat on one of the couches and gently pulled at my hand, indicating for me to sit next to her. Ron and Hermione took the other couch and Harry sat in the armchair. We could’ve been discussing the latest Quidditch match in one of our living rooms.

“Hermione,” Harry began, “Why don’t you start?”

“What?” she was still preoccupied with the baby’s picture and was startled when Harry spoke. “Oh! Sorry! I’m a little bit in love over here.” Everyone let out quiet laughter and Ron put his arm around her. He gently took the parchment from her, tapped it so it rolled up with the ribbon and handed it back to Rose. As soons as she took the parchment from him, the took out her own wand and muttered Gemino. Rose handed the copy emerged from the wand tip to her parents and tucked ours into the pocket of her light blue traveling cloak that she’d draped over the arm of the sofa. Hermione smiled warmly and handed the rolled up photo to Ron, who clasped it in his large hand.

“Right then,” Hermione refocused herself with a deep breath in. “Do you remember the night we all heard the prophecy for the first time?” Rose and I nodded. “Well, something about the wording of it made me think. I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions so I thought I would do some research.”

Hermione Weasley was the most respected ministry official in the Magical Law department. She had spent years helping to shape wizarding law and updating practices. She was known for being a champion for magical beings that didn’t have a voice at the ministry – and she’d been able to do it without making too many political enemies. In short, she was really, really smart and incredibly clever with a kindness to her that made her well liked among most wizards and witches. There’d even been talk of her running for the next Minister of Magic – something she refused to discuss. If Hermione Weasley was doing some research, then you could bet that it was the most thorough research that had ever been done on that subject.

She continued, getting excited – as if doing all this research was a fantastic way to spend her days. “I started by looking up old prophecies to see how they were worded and how the events that they indicated actually unfolded. Then I researched different seers to see if there was a certain ‘style’ in the way that a prediction was made for each individual oracle.”

I was trying really hard to pay attention. Mind you, I loved Hermione, but she tended to be a bit, well… dry. If this particular topic did not directly pertain to me, I think I could’ve easier stayed awake during one of Professor Binns’s ‘History of Magic’ lessons. In fact, if the whole Minister of Magic thing didn’t work out for Hermione, I would’ve suggested she consider applying for a job at Hogwarts.

She continued, “The next thing I looked at was any other prophecies that were made regarding the same event or time period. Occasionally, but not always, more than one seer will predict the same event. But – no such luck in this case. That would have been helpful because having two sets of predictions to go off of usually makes figuring out the specifics much easier.” Rose and I were nodding intently.

Hermione stopped for another breath. Ron grabbed her hand, a gesture that did not go unnoticed by Rose nor I and I felt like a big bomb was about to drop. Rose, in turn, grabbed one of my hands and I put my other arm around her waist. She was so tiny that I could wrap my arm around her and rest my hand on her belly. I liked being able to hold my family this way.

My family. That had a nice sound.

Hermione spoke slowly, as if choosing her words carefully. Her right hand pulled at her upper lip as she began to speak, “Finally, I started to research who the wizard in the prophecy might be – the f-father of the baby.”

Hermione paused for a long moment and looked down at her feet. Rose tensed next to me and it took all my strength to control my body from reacting the same way. Rose (and secretly I) had always thought that the father of the baby in the prophecy was Stannous. Even after all the assurances from Harry and all the promises I’d made to Rose that Stannous wouldn’t touch her again – if it had been prophesied and must happen according to fate… then, shit.

Shit, shit, shit.

I felt so unbelievably helpless. Rose’s tiny body began to shake and I adjusted her in my arms so that she could lean back against me and I could wrap both of them around her. She grabbed onto my forearms with both hands. I steeled myself and looked up at Hermione again to see that Ron was stroking her hair and whispering, “It’s alright love, just tell them.”

Hermione’s voice was squeaking again. “There are two lines in the prediction that describe the father: The child is born from a family of death eaters and A lost soul descends from those who were the dark lord’s retreat.” Another pause.

Next, it was Harry who urged her on, “Hermione, you’ve done a fantastic job with this. I’m confident that your conclusion is correct.” She nodded, with a small sniffle that reminded me of Rose. “I started looking at death eaters, their families and who fit the description the best.” She took a deep breath in. I thought that drawing it all could’ve constituted some kind of torture.

At long last, she continued. “Well, after I came to my deduction, I consulted with the Department of Mysteries and the Auror Department,” she nodded to Harry, “and the Centaurs… and we’ve all agreed that…” another deep breath, but that didn’t subside the squeaking. “…the father in the prophecy is… you, Scorpius.”

A/N: So - there it is! I know some of you have guessed at the father in the prophecy - and great job! Thanks to all of you who have been reading and reviewing. Special thanks to Joey (crestwood), my beta reader. I sent him something like 5 chapters all at once and he didn't even flinch! If you get a chance, make sure to check out his amazing writing.

♥ Beth

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