The wedding was held at Malfoy Manor for a number of reasons. One was security, the inability of the press – even a particularly obnoxious Animagus – to get in past the wards. Another was that it allowed us to set up everything fairly quickly for a small, intimate affair. It meant that Lucius Malfoy was able to attend without having to suffer the indignity of having to ask permission to attend his own son's wedding.
Well, small was the wrong word.
I glanced down from the window of the room where I was getting ready. I could see the wedding guests spread below me in the garden – Weasleys and dates, Basilisks, DA, most of them were there. Remus, Andromeda, and Teddy all sat together near the front on either side of a long, white roll of fabric that crossed the ground.
"I'm sure you look great," Amity commented, and there were tears in her eyes as she reached out. I knew what she wanted and pressed my cheek into her palm. She gave me a watery smile as her thumb stroked over my scar, but for once I didn't mind because for Amity it was the gesture, not the mark that she was interested in.
Narcissa Malfoy was smiling at me with a proud gleam in her eye as she stepped back. I turned back to look at her handiwork in the mirror and was delighted by the result.
My dress was plain and white, flowing gently out from my waist and skimming my hips. The whole thing was overlaid in lace. A small train dragged behind me as I walked. The lace split off and created long sleeves that ended in points on the back of my hands, held down by a loop around my middle fingers. I wore simple white pumps under the dress, not that anyone would be able to see.
My hair was pulled up and back in an elegant French twist, some strands coming loose to hang around my face, curling gently. The veil was made of yet more lace and affixed with a comb just above my bun. My makeup was light and natural for the day, and I wore some of the Potter jewels – the filigreed collar of diamonds I had worn to the Yule Ball once again decorated my throat and spread slightly across my shoulders.
"You're lucky," Hermione commented from beside the door, where she was waiting, looking lovely in a demure purple dress. There was an engagement ring on her finger these days as well, something a lot of my friends had gained.
No one had been very surprised when Hermione had broken up with Ron. There had been some definite frostiness towards her from Mrs. Weasley for a while, until she heard the sorts of things Ron muttered about her under his breath when he invited Harry over for a night of drunken commiseration at the Burrow. Ron's ears had been red with embarrassment for days and, when Hermione showed back up at the Burrow on the arm of one Fred Weasley, she was happily received.
Harry was married. It had been a quiet affair in the back garden of the Burrow, just the Weasleys Hermione, Remus, Teddy, and I. He and Ginny had made a dashing couple and when I presented Harry with a picture of he and his new wife in the exact pose of one of the pictures Hagrid had given us all those years ago he had broken down crying. It was truly a small ceremony, and we'd all immediately gone inside for drinks and cake afterwards, curtesy of Mrs. Weasley.
Daphne and Nott's wedding was hailed as the event of the year when it happened, hosting a prestigious pureblood guest list as well as friends from the war. Daphne, never one to shy away from attention, had worn a dress adorned with goblin-cut crystals so that she glittered when she walked. Her bouquet had been charmed silver to match the rest of the winter-themed wedding and when Nott spun her around the dance floor for their first waltz as husband and wife, he was beaming wider than I'd ever seen.
Even Amity wore a wedding ring these days, and that had been the biggest shock. There hadn't been a ceremony for her and Severus, nor had anybody changed their name. They simply went to the Ministry, filled out the appropriate paperwork, and got on with it. Amity sold her shop and they got a house together out in the countryside, where she opened another shop and Severus consulted and researched out of their basement. Not even I had known they were married until I went to Amity's for dinner one night and noticed that she was wearing the ring.
I was one of the last from our year to be married, but that was by design. When Draco and I first got engaged, we'd spoken again about what we wanted out of the future. We'd both agreed that in five years we wanted to be married properly. No one else knew the significance of the date, but this was the five-year anniversary of that very conversation. We were making our dream come true.
There was a knock at the door, pulling me from my thoughts, and Severus opened the door, stepping inside.
"Are you ready?" he asked, giving me a once over. It was almost impossible to tell with him, but I could have sworn there was a faint glint of tears in his eyes as he looked me up and down, and something like pride smoothing the lines of his face. "Hm. Well done, Potter. You look deceptively innocent."
"By which he means you look gorgeous," Amity translated, rolling her eyes. "Honestly Severus, just tell the girl she'd pretty. We won't tell anyone," she wheedled.
"Potter has eyes, she's fully aware of the fact that she looks beautiful," Severus sniffed, and Hermione chuckled.
"I think that's as good as you're going to get. Come on, let's take our seats."
Amity pressed a quick kiss to my forehead and Narcissa embraced me gently, careful not to rumple my dress. Hermione tossed me a cheerful wave before they all vanished downstairs, the door shutting behind them.
"Last chance," Snape said quietly. "I can still fetch Lupin from the guests."
I gave my mentor a stern look. "Why would I want you to do that? My father is going to walk me down the aisle, not my Uncle Moony."
This time I was certain of it, there really were tears in his eyes as he offered me his arm.
"Your actual father would be horrified," he said gruffly, trying to hide how deeply affected he was. I still remembered when I'd asked him to be the one who walked me down the aisle. He'd sat in silence for a full minute and a half before drawling, "If that is what you wish, Potter."
I felt… I didn't know how to describe it. I was on the arm of a man who had taken me under his wing and encouraged me in in ways I'd never expected, who always encouraged me learn whatever I wanted to learn and do whatever I wanted to do. He was shortly to take me out to marry a boy who I'd once have been quite happy to watch fall off a broomstick. Sitting outside, waiting, were more than two dozen people who cared about me and wanted me to be happy, who had supported me through a literal war.
These had once been the pipe dreams of a little girl who had no one but her brother, curled together for warmth in a cupboard under the stairs and praying that something would happen that would get them away from their personal hell. It was a reality now, all of it, and while I didn't really have a religion, it seemed too amazing a change for there not to be some higher power at work.
Snape led me down the stairs and into the open observatory that led out into the gardens. I could hear the music picking up and felt my heart begin to pound. This was such a massive step – tying myself to someone else, forever – and there was a moment, just a moment, of sheer, blinding panic. As if Snape knew, he laid a hand over mine on his arm and patted gently. I relaxed smiling faintly, and let the magic work through me.
Snape looked at me sideways and smirked as he felt my weight shift. "You're flying under that exceptionally long skirt, aren't you?"
I gave him an amused look. "I'm sorry, do you want to try walking across a gravel path in these shoes? Because I'd be happy to postpone the ceremony while we all watch."
"Cute, Potter. Very cute."
"Not Potter for much longer," I reminded him, and suddenly I couldn't wait to get out of the house and down the aisle. Lorena Malfoy… it did have quite a nice ring to it.
Snape waved his wand and the door slid open, revealing the bright sunlight and the rows upon rows of friends and family. With Snape guiding me, I quite literally floated down the aisle, the train of my dress trailing behind me. I kept my head high, my shoulders back, trying to look as dignified as possible. I was sure it was completely ruined by the face-splitting grin I couldn't seem to suppress.
Draco turned when I was about halfway down the aisle, and I saw Harry, standing at his side, roll his eyes and mutter something. Draco wasn't listening though, he was staring at me like I was a unicorn strolling down the aisle towards him, at least in a Muggle sense of the saying. The sun glinted off his platinum hair and fell on the dark shoulders of his formal robes. And his eyes were so bright they were…
He was crying. Sweet loving Merlin, I'd reduced him to tears.
My smile turned into just a little bit of a smirk and Draco tried to subtly wipe his eyes under the guise of fixing his hair, aware he'd been spotted.
Snape drew me to a stop just before the small dais that had been erected in front of the fountain, marble peacocks with elegantly-sweeping tails spilling water into a basin etched in swirling patterns. He slowly reached up and cupped my chin, kissing my forehead gently, before passing my hands over to Draco. He took them eagerly and drew me up beside him.
"You look…" He trailed off. He didn't have the words. I knew the feeling.
In the end I didn't remember much of the ceremony. There were words said and spells cast. I kept half an ear out to listen for when I needed to respond, but I spent most of the time just staring at Draco and trying my hardest not to cry. My makeup was magically affixed so no tears would affect it but still, it was the principal of the thing.
I slid the platinum band onto Draco's finger. Aside from the Malfoy family crest he wore on his pinky, it was the only ring he wore. My hands were considerably more adorned and Draco slid my thinner band on to rest against the emerald ring he'd given me when the future was still dark and murky.
"One more for your collection," he murmured, and I chuckled softly.
"You may now kiss the bride!"
I didn't have any hesitation. I threw my arms around Draco, glad I hadn't bothered with a bouquet, otherwise it would have gone flying. At the same moment his arms tightened around my waist. Our lips connected passionately and I closed my eyes, savoring the moment. We'd kissed I don't know how many thousands of times before, but this one was special, this one meant something extra.
Draco's grip shifted and suddenly I was lifted off my feet and spun. I pulled away from him laughing as my veil and train fluttered behind me. The applause from the crowd was thunderous as I rested my chin on his shoulder and let him spin us. I could hear him laughing joyfully, but more than that I could feel it in my own chest where we were pressed together.
My feet rested on the ground once more and Draco kissed me again soundly before we turned to face the crowd. I could see Harry out of the corner of my eye and reached for him. He caught me in a tight hug.
"I'm so happy for you, Rena," he whispered in my ear. Over his shoulder I could see Hermione, Daphne, and Ginny on the front row, clutching each other and crying into handkerchiefs. My first nephew, James Sirius Potter, was resting on Ginny's knees and looking befuddled. He blinked at me like he was demanding an explanation for the noise and my heart lurched.
"I'm happy for you too, Harry."
It really came down to family. Neither of us had grown up having one and so we'd been left to make our own. I didn't doubt that Harry would be having a passal of children and that he would be an amazing father – after all, we'd grown up in the prime example of what not to do. I had never seen him so happy as the day Ginny had James. He had been a mess, smiling and crying as he held his son.
I couldn't wait for that for Draco and I.
The questions came soon after, and not just from people I knew. Mrs. Weasley had taken to subtly leaving patterns for baby clothes around the Burrow when I came by to visit, Andromeda and Narcissa were dropping hints about one day having a child of my own when I was with Teddy. Somehow, even Amity had been roped into it, as she spent a long evening extolling the number of elderly old biddies she had come into her shop looking for fabric for a baby blanket for a grandchild with a wicked smirk on her face.
"Leave her be," Snape had tried to contain her as we all sat around their fireplace one night, Amity curled up and pressed against his arm on a couch while Draco and I sat in wingback chairs and sipped elf-made wine.
"What?" Amity asked innocently.
"Since you've obviously been thinking about it, any ideas for names?" I asked her sweetly. "Or are you saving them for yourself?"
Snape had choked and gone brilliantly red when Amity threw her head back and cackled, "Trust me, honey, I'm trying real hard on that front, and having a blast doing it!"
Draco and I had always been careful on that front. During our school years we had never been sexually active. With the apprentice's lab open to Snape – who would have been deeply unamused had he caught me brewing contraceptive potions – there weren't any ways besides abstinence to make sure there would be no child. Neither of us were ready for that and it could have easily outed or killed us at the rime.
After the war, when it was safe, we began sleeping together. But still, neither of us felt comfortable with the idea of children. Draco was trying to figure out what he wanted out of life and patch up the damage the war had done to his family, and I had big plans for my career that a child would put on hold indefinitely. It hadn't been the right time then, either.
But five years on, a married couple, a house in our name, a business established, a family mended, and there was nothing else stopping us. The day before our wedding was my last dose of contraceptive potion. We had decided that trying for a child might take some of the fun out of it, and while I was aware of my cycle and which times were more likely for us to conceive, nothing was really said on the matter. We were content to let nature take its course.
When I missed my first period I wasn't entirely concerned. Working with Madam Pomfrey had made me aware that it wasn't uncommon for a woman's cycle to shift or skip a month, even into her early twenties. It was when I had gone two months without a period and began to crave ice chips and exploding bonbons with a passion that I knew something was up.
Witches had long ago progressed past peeing on a stick, and there was a simple spell that could be performed. A flick of my wand, a flash of white light, and I knew for certain that I was pregnant. With that knowledge, there was only one thing left to do – tell Draco.
I stood before the full-length mirror in our bedroom, peering at my nightgown-clad body fresh from the shower. It was a mind-bending thought that in my stomach, separated from the world by a bit of skin and muscle, was a tiny person currently being formed. I had made many impressive potions and enchantments, things that had gotten me mentioned in international wizarding newspapers, but a person… I couldn't quite process the thought.
Of course I had a million questions and concerns. It sounded horrible, but one thing that kept cropping up was the thought that I couldn't care less whether my child was a boy or a girl, so long as they were smart. I'd never been good at suffering fools. What if it made me distant to my child? What if my reactions hurt my son or daughter? What if my own frustrations crept through and damaged their self-image? I hated myself for the thought, but it was one among many that I didn't know how to handle.
"You're not usually one for standing around staring in the mirror."
Draco appeared behind me wearing pajama pants, also just out of his own quick shower. I could feel smooth, slick skin against my back covering corded muscle and shuddered a little, eyes hooding. We made eye contact in the glass as he bent, gripping my hips and resting his chin on my shoulder.
"What are you thinking about?" he asked softly, tilting his head to press a kiss to my shoulder. I hummed and let my eyes drift closed, leaning my head aside. He took the invitation and laid long, slow, suckling kisses along the column of my throat. A drop of water fell from his hair and ran down my spine. I gasped in surprised and arched away instinctively but Draco's grip on my hips tightened.
"Ah ah," he chided gently, pulling me back against him. "You haven't answered my question yet. I'm not letting you go until you do." He peeped up and met my narrow gaze in the mirror once more. Not breaking eye contact, he very carefully parted his lips and bit down on the line of muscle leading from my neck to my shoulder, using just enough pressure that I could feel it.
Answering him would undoubtedly change the mood, and much as I would absolutely love to fall into bed with my wet and naked husband, there would be time for that later. For now, there were serious conversations to be had.
I was still a Slytherin though.
I smirked as I moved a hand to rest low on my stomach. "I was wondering if it's going to be a boy or a girl. Any preferences?"
"What?" There was a moment of confusion on his face as his brain slogged its way out of a fog of lust and process what I was getting at. I saw when he hit on it in the way his eyes widened and his head came up, grip on my hips softening. "What?"
His voice was soft in a whole different way. He looked like a child who dearly wanted to reach out and take a sweet being offered but was afraid it would be yanked away at the last second.
I rotated, turning to face him, and pressing close, arms draping over his shoulders.
"I said," I repeated, staring at his Adam's apple, "do you hope our child will be a boy or a girl?" I chanced a glance up at him and couldn't help but snicker at his expression. He might as well have taken a Bludger to the head. "Sweetheart, are you alright?" I asked lightly. "Do I need to say it a bit more simply?"
"You're pregnant?" he breathed, and I nodded.
Draco's reaction was much the same as it had been on our wedding day. He gripped me tightly, spinning me about. I laughed as I clung to him, the long skirt of my nightgown fluttering around my ankles. Draco set me down after a few revolutions and dropped to his knees, staring incredulously at my stomach.
"There's a person in there," he breathed pressing one palm against my still-flat stomach. "Phoenix… you're making a person." He looked up at me, wide-eyed and beaming like a fool.
I couldn't resist, smirking as I leaned down and cupped his cheeks in my hands. "Oh, I can't take all the credit. You definitely helped."
Witch Weekly often gets questions from expectant mothers asking for advice on everything from how to rock maternity robes to how to balance pregnancy and work. Normally those questions end up in our advice column section, Ask Housewitch Harriet. But now, we see a real life example of having it all while pregnant, and we couldn't resist.
Lorena Malfoy's marriage was a closely-guarded affair, but now a year and a bit afterwards she's expecting her first child. Since then, it's all many want to gossip about. The Weasley-Potter-Malfoy clan is expanding at a truly amazing rate! Sources report that the matriarch, Mrs. Molly Weasley, couldn't be more delighted with the amount of grandchildren she's gaining. So let's take a look at how Mrs. Malfoy is handling things, shall we?
First, work. Lorena Malfoy has anywhere from three to eight jobs, depending on who you talk to. Founder and director of Riddle House, owner of L. P. Apothecary, brewer, researcher… the list goes on. So, how does she balance it? As far as many can tell, she's retreated to her home at Grimmauld Place and is running her businesses from the comfort of her personal office. Obviously not an option for many witches, but she makes a good point – take breaks when you can, and don't be ashamed to do so.
Mrs. Malfoy has never been terribly friendly with the press – I'm sure we all recall her tumultuous history with the Daily Prophet in particular – but she was available for comment when she appeared in a meticulously-tailored dove-grey robe in Diagon Alley on her way home from that L. P. Apothecary location.
"I still buy regular robes off the rack, and I do my alterations myself," Mrs. Malfoy replied as she headed for the Leaky Cauldron, apparently intending to Floo home – a brave woman at six months pregnant! "That way I'm not worried about this pinching or that being too loose. Basic tailoring spells are simple to learn and amazingly useful. In a pinch, I've turned my curtains into a ball gown."
This, of course, makes us wonder which of Mrs. Malfoy's always impressive wardrobe started life as drapery.
There are also things to be done around the house to prepare for a child. Many first-time parents find themselves frazzled at the prospect of trying to baby-proof the home. Mrs. Malfoy has admitted to investing in Muggle baby locks and baby gates to supplement the usual spells. One can only assume that her house elf, Kreacher, will also prove a big help when Mrs. Malfoy is needed elsewhere.
The question many are wondering is what the child will be named. After the birth of James Sirius Potter, many are theorizing that we're about to be introduced to Lily Malfoy. However, the Malfoy family has a long history of naming their children after constellations and stars. Will tradition win out over sentiment? With no hint yet as to the gender of the baby, it could really go either way. Tattooed and beringed, Mrs. Malfoy would be the one to flout years of tradition if anyone was going to do it.
I had experienced the Cruciatus multiple times, been left on a cold stone floor with a broken bone that wasn't set properly, been beaten and bloodied…
It wasn't comparable to childbirth.
I was left, panting and sweaty, and staring in blank shock at the two bundles in Draco's arms.
"Wait… but… we only ordered one?" I said dizzily, my head pounding, and Draco gave me an amused look.
"Still enjoying your Extra-Strength Pain Reliever, I see."
"S-Shut up and gimme…."
I felt like a child as I stretched out my arms towards Draco, requesting one of the bundles. St. Mungo's had been very helpful wrapping one in blue and one in pink.
"They're color coded," I said stupidly.
"It's really a good thing we didn't do the spell to learn the gender and just planned for both," Draco commented with a brilliant smile as he passed me the pink bundle. I took it into my arms gently, suddenly terrified, heart pounding. I was holding a tiny human. That Draco and I made. And there were a million ways that everything could go wrong and I could totally ruin her life, both of their lives, and then… then…
She had my eyes. She had Lily's eyes.
"Oh sweet Merlin," I whispered, my voice cracking embarrassingly. "Hello, Seren. Hello, little star."
"Seren and Scorpius," Draco breathed, and I was gratified to hear that his voice sounded as affected as mine. I looked up at him, eyes bright with tears, and saw them already flowing down his cheeks. "Phoenix… we've got kids…"
"Let me see him," I begged, and Draco shifted in his chair, angling the bundle so that I would see.
Scorpius was asleep, his hand curled into a little fist under his chin. He had a shock of blonde hair that looked white against his ruddy face. I'd never found babies attractive before – it was quite the opposite – but Scorpius and Seren were beautiful. It was true what they said, it was different when it was your own kids.
There was a gentle knock at the door and a nurse poked her head inside.
"Mrs. Malfoy?" she asked. "Would you like some company? Only there's about a dozen people in the waiting room wanting to see you."
I gave Draco a look, feeling suddenly overwhelmed. Here I was, my hair sweat-stained and tangled, nothing on but a papery robe that felt a little too breezy for mixed company and I hadn't slept in roughly twenty-eight hours. I wasn't certain I wanted a room full of people.
"It's only four at a time allowed," the nurse assured me, seeing my panicked look. I relaxed a little.
"My parents and Harry first?" Draco requested, and the nurse nodded. I shifted my grip on Seren and reached for my wand on the table next to my bed. A few flicks and the sweat had been cleaned off me, getting rid of the awful sticky feeling. My hair was pulled up and back in a ponytail and the worst of the tangles vanished. Finally, my hospital-issue gown turned from papery material to a proper nightgown.
Only a few minutes later, in came Harry and Ginny with Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. Mr. Malfoy had received permission from the Ministry to go to St. Mungo's when her grandchild was born, whenever that was.
"There's two!" Harry exclaimed, freezing the minute he stepped inside. Ginny pushed hard on his back, forcing him on in and dragging him out of the way of the door.
"Good job, brother dear, you can count," I drawled, shifting my grip on my daughter. My daughter…
"Oh Merlin." Narcissa Malfoy had tears in her eyes as she rushed to Draco's side. Her hands clasped under her chin as she stared down at her grandson wrapped up in blue. "Draco, he's so handsome!"
"What… are their names?" Mr. Malfoy was the last one in, looking like he wanted desperately to come in but wasn't sure if he was entirely welcome.
"Come here and meet your granddaughter, Lucius," I said, and beckoned him to my bedside. Mr. Malfoy stepped forward as if in a trance, and Harry obligingly moved back to make room for him, rounding the bed to stand by Draco on my other side.
"Her name is Seren Halcyon Malfoy," I introduced. "Would you like to hold her?"
I caught Harry's subtle rolling of his eyes – he'd spent my entire pregnancy telling me not to saddle my child with some pretentious pureblood name for their own good. Of course, given that his son's middle name was Sirius and they were talking about naming their next child Albus, he really had no room to judge whatsoever.
Mr. Malfoy looked like he was holding a Ming vase or something equally fragile and priceless as he lifted Seren from my arms. He handled her easily, shifting so that she was cradled securely in his arms. I wondered what it had been like when Draco was born, when the Malfoys were not whispered about as much as they were talked openly of. I tried to imagine what it would have looked like, Narcissa in my place on the bed and Lucius Malfoy holding a tiny Draco, both of them younger, both of them happier, both of them filled with hope for the future.
There were chuckles all around as Seren's hand slowly and clumsily swept up, batting at a strand of Mr. Malfoy's long hair.
"This is Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy," Draco said, and Narcissa held out her hands pleadingly. Draco obliged as he passed Scorpius over, settling him gently in his mother's arms.
"Well, they're definitely yours," Harry said in amusement but I saw the faint glimmer of tears building behind his glasses. "The Malfoy hair and Lily's eyes." I knew he wanted one of his children to inherit Lily Potter's eyes, the eyes he'd always been recognized for.
Getting Mr. Malfoy to release Seren was quite the ordeal. He seemed absolutely fascinated by her, and I wondered if it was because he'd had a son, but never a daughter. Baby girls were strange to him. Nevertheless, we finally pried them apart. Harry was the last one out, leaving with a kiss on my forehead and a clap on Draco's shoulder.
The next ones in were Severus and Amity with Nott and Daphne. Daphne immediately rushed to my side and settled herself on the edge of my mattress. I obligingly passed Seren to her and she held her carefully, like she was afraid the slightest movement might hurt her. Daphne and Nott, despite being married longer than most of us, had yet to have a child. Daphne had confided in me that she feared there was something wrong with either her or Nott, that children wouldn't be in their future, but neither of them dared to go to the Healers to test that theory yet.
"Oh, she's beautiful," Daphne breathed. "Hello little lady, it's your aunty Daphne!"
"Actually," I said lightly, and nudged her in the side. "It's her godmother Daphne."
Daphne froze for just a moment before whipping her head around to face me incredulously.
"Well done, Malfoy, you've rendered her speechless," Snape drawled as he stood by Draco's shoulder, peering down at Scorpius.
"Which one of us, sir?" I asked lightly. This had been a joke I'd made more than once since my wedding when Snape decided to be difficult and not call me Lorena. "There's four of them in the room!"
Snape rolled his eyes. "I am, of course, addressing the infants who can't so much as hold up their own heads, Potter, who else wouldn't I be talking to."
Draco smirked and looked up at him. "No Potters here anymore, sir."
"Wait, wait," Daphne interrupted. "You're serious?" she demanded. "You're actually making me godmother? Of your children? Me? Why not…" Her eyes drifted toward Amity, who wouldn't see her but could guess what she was implying.
Amity chuckled. "Honey, I'm nigh onto fifty. For a Muggle, that's nigh onto old. Practically speaking, they don't want me for a godmother, and besides… you're Lorena's best friend. You say it like you didn't know!"
"Harry's godfather, thought he doesn't know it yet," I explained. "But I figure between you and him I'll end up with some pretty amazing kids if something ever happened to Draco and I."
Daphne stood and rounded my bed, carefully passing Seren into Snape's arms. Then she launched herself onto my bed hugging me tightly and sobbing into my shoulders. I hid the fact that the jostling hurt quite a bit and embraced her back, laughing as I did.
"No tears in my maternity room," I informed her sternly. "That's the rule, Daphne."
Daphne pulled back, her face tear streaked and, for once, not even close to ashamed about it. "When have Slytherins ever been bothered by rules?" she sniffled, but tried to recover, swiping at her eyes with the back of her wrist. Nott stood behind her, hand resting on her shoulder supportively.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of Amity moving. One of her hands made its way to Snape's shoulder and the other pressed against her stomach. My eyes widened – it was a gesture I'd become very familiar with over the past few months, and one I'd found myself falling into unconsciously after only a few weeks of knowing.
"No," I breathed, staring from Amity to Snape incredulously. "You can't be…"
Snape frowned and sniffed, looking up from Seren. "What are you talking about, girl?"
"What?" Draco asked blankly, but then he caught sight of Amity's hands. He'd been around me enough over the past few months to know what that meant. Unfortunately, his mouth got a little bit ahead of him and instead of being delicate about it he blurted, "But you're too old to be pregnant!"
Amity glared at the wall opposite her. "If you weren't holding a baby I'd whack you for that, boy."
"Oh sweet Merlin it is true!" I exclaimed, eyeing Amity's midsection. Under her blousy peasant shirts it was hard to tell, but there was a definite bump.
"We were trying not to steal your thunder," Amity sighed, pressing a hand over her eyes. "Sorry, sweetie."
"No, not at all!" I insisted, straightening up. "It's just wonderful news!"
Amity was forty-five, the likelihood of her having a child was greatly decreased but not at all impossible. And it seemed that she and Snape were going to be having a baby. I tried to imagine Severus Snape, bat of the dungeons, changing a diaper or picking out tiny little baby shoes, and barely managed to suppress my laughter.
"Wouldn't it be interesting if our kids were in the same year at Hogwarts?" Draco piped up, looking up at Professor Snape. "They might end up friends!"
"They'll grow up together," I replied drily. "If they aren't friends it won't be for lack of trying."
Amity released her hold on Snape and bent down, laying one hand on the bundle in Draco's arms.
"Scorpius," she informed the child seriously, "I'm terribly sorry, but your parents are already scheming. They're Slytherins, you'll just have to get used to it."
Inside Grimmauld Place
By Adam Gerhardt
Grimmauld Place shows signs of being the forbidding home of the Black family in the dark woods and the ancient silver tea service which I was served with, but signs of light and life abound as well. A cluster of picture frames filled with famous and not-so-famous faces decorate the family lounge where I was welcomed. There are button throw pillows on the lounge and thick rugs. With a crackling fire, the room can be downright cozy.
Obviously, the Malfoys are very busy people these days. Lorena Malfoy is the well-known war hero and owner of L. P. Apothecary, as well as director of Riddle House. Her husband, Draco Malfoy, has taken up researching Dark artifacts and alchemy. The famous couple are also now doing battle with not one but two babies, the four month old twins Septimus and Seren.
Mrs. Malfoy was busy with the children at the time of my arrival, but Mr. Malfoy was very accommodating.
AG: I know you and your wife have had a fairly tumultuous history with the press, so I thank you for granting me an interview, especially one in your home.
DM: Lorena and I are trying to look past old wounds. We've recognized that, because of our involvement in the war, people are interested in our lives and that's just something we have to accept.
AG: Yes, I'm sure you're aware by now that you and your wife have been described as a sort of Romeo and Juliet love story because she was a Potter and you came from, forgive me, a Death Eater family. How do you feel about that description?
DM: I think it makes it all sound a bit less serious than it was. I don't suppose it's technically a wrong way to describe us given the situation, but people are wrong to romanticize that type of situation. It was a very scary and dangerous way to begin a relationship, especially since this was the first serious relationship either of us had ever had. We had to be very careful to try not to let on even around people we knew were friends because we knew that a slip to the wrong person could quite literally, kill us.
AG: I don't think many people consider the danger that comes with a relationship like that. Were there any other challenges to your relationship, aside from seemingly being on opposite sides.
DM: There were many, but I don't feel comfortable discussing them. Some are very personal to my wife and I.
AG: That's perfectly fine, I don't mean to dig into any old wounds. I'm sure you both have enough of those. Now, you were together during the war. I can't even imagine what that must have been like.
DM: I won't pretend it wasn't bad, but perhaps not so much as you might think. Lorena has since patented her mirrors, but we were using them even when we were in school. She and I were able to keep in contact during the war and that made things easier, being able to talk to her and know that she was alive.
AG: That's beautiful. Now, you said you were using them in school. She developed them back then? That's impressive, especially considering many are saying this may replace Floo as a way to talk to someone quickly.
DM: She's brilliant, that's all there is to it. She developed the idea back in our fifth year as a way to communicate between students who had organized against Umbridge during her time as headmaster. There was her brother's Dumbledore's Army, and she had her own group of Slytherins. The idea didn't actually come to fruition until after Umbridge was gone, but it was the need to coordinate against a common enemy that sparked the idea.
AG: Stories that have come out since Umbridge was arrested have made many people shudder. Was it really as bad as it's been made out to be by students?
DM: Umbridge tried to quash any sort of outside information that didn't agree with the Ministry party line which, keep in mind, was that everything was fine. A year later we were at war, so we know that wasn't true. She drugged and tortured students who flouted her numerous new rules and tried to institute completely inappropriate punishments. Yes, it was bad.
AG: And this group your wife ran, did it have a name? Where did you meet? Who was involved?
DM: I won't give you member names, some wouldn't want me to. Our focus was in under mining Umbridge. More broadly, we were prepping students loyal to the Light to defend themselves in the coming war since Umbridge refused to do so. We called ourselves the Basilisks.
AG: Why that name in particular?
DM: Two reasons – as Slytherins it seemed appropriate and because we practiced in the Chamber of Secrets. Lorena's a Parselmouth, she was able to let us in, and it was a place where we were guaranteed privacy.
AG: The Chamber of Secrets? That's amazing! So few have ever seen the place! Is it as grand as they say?
DM: Moreso. After the incident in our second year when the Chamber was opened and students were petrified there was a great rotting snake corpse down there. Lorena went down and made the place habitable – she even turned the skeleton of the basilisk and one of its full sheds into a chandelier and hung lanterns. The place was pretty dark before that. She's quite the interior decorator, even if that project was a bit macabre. She also took basilisk skin – that's what her robes in the Triwiard Tournament were made of and what her dueling vest is made of. She's become fairly well known for that one.
AG: Amazing. However, your wife is a familiar sight to the public, you are less so. Do you ever envy her that?
DM: Merlin, no. I'm content to be in the background. As is she, honestly. She'd probably be quite happy spending her days down in her lab brewing things up and handle everything by owl post… if she weren't such a perfectionist that she feels the need to oversee everything.
AG: Your wife is quite the brain, but so are you. Alchemy is a touchy subject, not something many people want to get involved in, particularly in this day and age. Why were you drawn to it?
DM: Precisely because it's so touchy. I could read about it my whole life and not fully understand it. I wager Nicholas Flamel was the only person who had any real handle on it, and he's gone. But alchemy is more of a hobby, something that interests me. My passion, I've come to find s Dark artifacts.
AG: Considering you history, that could be taken the wrong way.
DM: I'm fully aware. However, I grew up around Dark artifacts and I know how to handle them more than some random witch or wizard who dug something up in grandma's attic. Dark artifacts can be safely handled with the proper training. Most people will turn them over to the Ministry for destruction, which is really a shame. Just because something is Dark doesn't negate the fact that it has significance or is part of the history of magical culture. Many things, I feel, are improperly labeled 'Dark' because people don't know how to use them and end up endangering themselves or because they're very powerful objects that shouldn't be messed around with. Enchanting is already a risky business, and especially enchantments that have been left idle for a century or more can become even more finicky. A so-called 'Dark artifact' may not have started off that way, and could end up being very useful once it's been restored.
AG: It's clearly a subject you're very passionate about, but here's a question. Do you have Dark artifacts in this house right now?
It was at this point that we were joined by Mrs. Malfoy, who answered the question for her husband.
LM: If we did, we're not likely to tell you, are we? There are still those at the Ministry that would love to have an excuse to raid our home and it would be terribly embarrassing when they couldn't get past the front door. Kingsley already isn't fond of me, I really don't need to feed that grudge. Still, it sounded as though you were leading somewhere with that question.
AG: Well, many would question the wisdom of having Dark artifcact in the house with two young children.
DM: That's the point I'm trying to make – these things can be handled and displayed without fear so long as it's done properly. Obviously, we wouldn't leave these things laying around. My workspace and Lorena's are both heavily warded, there's no way our children could get into anything, and even if they did manage to, Kreacher is also a very good safeguard. He dotes on Scorpius and Seren, he wouldn't let anything happen to them if they were out of our sight. Between us and him, they're never unsupervised.
LM: Of course, this is all purely hypothetical. We do not have Dark artifacts in the house. At all.
AG: Certainly, Mrs. Malfoy. That brings us to another topic of interest – Grimmauld Place itself. You inherited it from your godfather, Sirius Black, did you not, Mrs. Malfoy?
LM: I did. It was a bit of a shock when Sirius's will was read, but he knew Harry wouldn't have wanted the place. It's just not his style, nor was he really prepared for the amount of work that would go into making it habitable.
AG: Why live here, though? Surely you could live in Malfoy Manor with your in-laws?
DM: I've lived there my whole life. After the war, I wanted to get some distance from my parents for a while, live somewhere else, be a bit more independent. Playing house with Lorena did that for me and soon it was just our reality. We discussed moving into the Manor after the twins were born so that my parents could be around them more and we would have some help, but ultimately decided we'd rather raise our children in our own home.
LM: I expect at some point we probably will move into the Manor but I don't see it happening soon. We're adults, and it's nice to have our own space.
AG: Completely understandable. Now, I know people are curious… what's it like being first time parents?
LM: I'm running on energy elixir and coffee. I found Draco asleep on the kitchen floor the other night. I'm covered in some kind of bodily fluid at most hours of the day. The other day Draco had applesauce for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because we have truly alarming amounts of it in the kitchen. I'm honestly not sure where it came from.
DM: In summary, it's wonderful.
LM: Wouldn't change anything.
AG: Now, what's interesting is that you younger war heroes are mostly married and settled now, and most of you have children. Many have been born in this past year. What's it like, so many of you having young children at the same time.
DM: Actually it's been pretty useful. Quinlan and Maeve Stenet have donated a truly staggering amount of baby supplies – cribs and strollers and such – and they've been keeping us calm, telling us things that might seem like a problem are totally fine.
LM: And we've sort of developed a sense of communal property.
AG: How so?
LM: For example, the other day, I ran out of diapers. I popped 'round to Hermione and Fred's and borrow some off of them. When I went to the store I grabbed extra sippy cups and sent them around to everyone.
DM: Last week, Ginny Potter was out shopping and she found a sale on plushies. Half of a Hogwarts year will now have grown up with the exact same teddy with different colored shirts.
AG: It sounds like you're all very supportive of each other. You raise an interesting point though – given how close many of your year at Hogwarts were because of the war, there will be a large portion of a Hogwarts year that was raised – I'm assuming – basically as a large extended family. Do you think that will affect them when they start school?
LM: Certainly. There will be a generation of students who will – hopefully – be friends regardless of blood or house. I'm certain there will be a good bit of rivalry once they're Sorted, but ideally bonds will hold strong beyond that. I think it could be a major step for house unity, which is something that has been an ongoing problem at Hogwarts… well, since it was Founded.
AG: Don't you think it's a bit extreme, to put those kinds of expectations on children?
LP: Not at all. Don't all parents hope for something impossibly great for their children?