Nearing the end of Hyacinth's second trimester, Reborn suddenly announces over breakfast, "We're going to parenting class."
Hyacinth, placing milk in her tea – when she had always preferred it black before pregnancy, looks confused.
"There are parenting classes?" she asks.
Reborn just stares at her. "Hyacinth, does your kind not have parenting classes?"
Hyacinth absolutely has no idea. "I can ask?" she says uncertainly.
"Alright," he agrees. "But we are absolutely having a parenting class."
She nods absently, because she is wondering. Does the wizarding world have parenting classes for new parents?
Hermione shakes her head. "No, it doesn't," she answers, baffled. "I asked Madam Pomfrey and she says that they discontinued it during the first Wizarding War. During the first rise of Voldemorts power. It got too dangerous for people to be informed of pregnancies."
Unsaid is the very matter of Hyacinth's birth. If her birthday had been a better kept secret, she would not be the Girl-Who-Lived and it would have been Neville.
"Did you ask Madam Pomfrey about what new parents do?" she had to ask before she got too depressed.
Hermione is thorough, of course she did. "She said that she directs them to ask other wizarding parents."
It had become a communal thing, wonderful. Except, the closest parental units she could think of are Arthur and Molly, and Hyacinth still has not forgiven Molly for implying that Reborn would get her pregnant and leave her.
Hermione looks exasperated, which means that she'd guessed where Hyacinth's thoughts went.
"Haya," she sighs. "Bill and Fleur are parents too."
Hyacinth isn't exactly close with Bill or Fleur, but the three of them had mutual respect born from fighting the war together.
And Ron had told her a lot about Bill, enough that she knows she can come to him with any problem. His title as "The Cool Brother" isn't just about his fang earring.
Hyacinth feels marginally better and she gives Hermione a smile. "Thanks, 'Mione," she says. "Want some tarts? I made strawberry tarts yesterday and they go well with the tea you brought from that new tea shop."
Reborn does not tell Hyacinth what kind of parenting class he'd signed them up for.
As such, when starts dressing for the appointed time and Reborn appears behind her offering her a costume, she's completely confused.
"Reborn, what?" she says.
He pushes it insistently on her and she relents. He usually has reasons and she is very weak to his whims.
It's a long white and sleeveless dress with a note for her to turn her hair blonde. Propped along the wall is a trident and white high heeled shoes.
"I am pregnant and wearing heels at this point is a recipe for disaster," she mutters but she obligingly changes her hair blonde and reinforces the heels with a balancing charm that's usually used for seeker brooms.
When she finally does go down, she has to sit on the stairs and giggle for a long time.
Reborn's trademark fedora is gone and his hair is done weird. He's also wearing a shirt and…
"Reborn," she tries and gives a little gasping giggle. "What are those shoes?"
He preens and says, "Its cosplay, my love. This way, no one will recognize us!"
That doesn't sound good.
"I thought we're going to a parenting class?" she asks. Not with dread, but with curiosity.
"It's a mafia parenting class," he explains, like it's supposed to be obvious.
"The first phase is protection," the instructor announces, dressed as a long-haired woman in a pink dress. They wig is completely the wrong color for their skin tone but no one is batting an eyelash given that everyone else is dressed just as weirdly. Someone else has a long and silver wig. Hyacinth feels absurdly normal in such a crowd.
"In the first week of your spawns existence," the instructor continues, "your spouse will be vulnerable. As such, you have to arrange for appropriate protection. There is a Mist trick to have a competent nanny while binding their tongue for silence. It goes like so…"
Right. Mafia Parenting Class. The row of disguised weapons along the side wall reinforces the idea.
"If your spawn is adopted or otherwise gained," they continue. "It is still a good idea to have adequate protection. But that is not useful when their health is compromised. Mafia Land has neutral doctors, but bear in mind that they can also sell that information to anyone."
Hyacinth turns and gives Reborn a look.
He does not notice, busy taking notes. The instructor moves on to Flame Tricks that's good for keeping track of children that won't compromise play dates with civilian children.
With a quiet sigh, Hyacinth arranges her face to a polite deadpan and faces forward again. Might as well listen since it does make sense. At some points.
(She just has to ignore "otherwise gained" else she'd have a migraine.)
Bill and Fleur are much more informative than their mafia counterpart.
"I have a list of charms that's good for a mother to know," Fleur says, handing her a roll of parchment.
Hyacinth peeks inside and smiles. Cleaning Charm, Baking Charm, Laundry Charm, Air-Freshening Spell…
"Wow, these are really comprehensive!" Hyacinth says. There are even moving illustrations for wandwork.
Fleur smiles back. "Oui. When I first started, Maman gave me the exact same set of spells. Very helpful, especially that distress spell."
Ooh, for when the baby is in distress and the parent is too far away to hear the cry. With a little tweak, it can also become a tracking spell, she realizes. Runes would help there…but maybe she could ask Bill if he's already done it.
"Thanks Fleur," she says. "I got some homemade wine?"
The Veela's eyes gleam when they land on the bottle and she produces Victoire's baby pictures.
Bill sits with Reborn, both of them watching the women talk over the parchment and cooing over a photo album.
"I've never seen her that happy," Bill says wistfully. "You're good for her, mate."
Reborn's eyes are soft when he looks at her. "She's better than I deserve," he says quietly. "I don't know if I can be a good father."
The redhead glances at him before looking away. "It's just patience. And doing your best. You might mess up sometimes, and so could she. But children are great. They bounce back fast as long as you learn fast too."
Reborn finally laughs. "As long as I don't leave permanent scarring, it's fine?"
Bill pats him on arm. "Mate, you impregnated a witch," he stresses the last word carefully. "And they don't get pregnant unless they want to."
Reborn blinks, then stares at Hyacinth in wonder.
"She must really trust you," Bill says, delivering the finishing blow and making Reborn's heart beat a staccato in his chest.
"How was parenting class?" Hermione asks during dinner, having stayed to add runic equations on the wall of the nursery to change the wall color according to the mood of the children.
Hyacinth finally finds the mafia version of parenting funny. It helps that it had been three hours ago.
"It was great!" Reborn says cheerfully, making Hermione twitch at his manic smile. He had been smiling since they left Shell Cottage and Hyacinth is starting to feel bemused. Whatever Bill told him must have been something to make him so happy.
"We had fun," Hyacinth agrees. "Fleur gave me a family scroll that's been passed down since their many times great-grandmother migrated from Russia."
Reborn gives Hermione another generous serving of pie. "Apparently, it's not a good idea to have windows or balcony's in a nursery since it's an easy way for assassin's or snipers to kill your child."
Reborn and Hyacinth smile at each other fondly.
Hermione's eyes are wide and her eyebrows are raised. She looks like she regrets asking the question.
That night, both of them feel the babies kick.
Both of them deserve each other.
Who can guess what Hyacinth and Reborn cosplayed? Hint: It's from a game.