~ epilogue ~

Draco brushed a careful finger over the baby's forehead, right at the edge of the hat the midwife-Healer had slipped over his head. "He's perfect," the man whispered. No matter how much he thought he had prepared for this moment through nine long months of stress and fear and Hermione's sudden obsession with caramels nothing could have gotten him ready for the way his heart sat in his throat at the sight of the newborn baby wrapped in a blanket and asleep in Hermione's arms.

She looked up at him. Her hair was lank and greasy, her face shone with sweat, and she looked beyond exhausted. "You're happy?" she asked.

"Thrilled, my love," Draco said.

The door pushed open and the man walked in, his surely manicured hands thrust down into the pockets of his expensive trousers. He smiled at the suddenly tense couple as he approached the baby and leaned over, laying a single finger on the boy's tiny nose "Little Scorpius," he said with what passed for warm fondness in his voice. "Here at last."

"It's generally how pregnancy ends," Hermione said. An observant nurse might have seen the way she pulled ever so slightly away from her visitor but the couple had been left alone to bond with their new child.

"I think," the man said, "You should name me godfather. It will be a good way to cement our close relationship, don't you agree?"

"He's included in the Vow," Hermione said. There was no room for disagreement in her voice and the man turned his engaging smile on her.

"Have I implied otherwise?" he asked. "Godfather, yes?"

"Of course," Draco said, the words a torment in his mouth. "We would be honored."

.