Finally, almost more of a drabble than anything else, but this has been bouncing around my head for a while, and I wasn't quite ready to be done with the story.
If you'd like to read more of my stuff, the first chapter of *NEW* Gin'n'tonic How do you solve a problem like Ginevra? is up and waiting for you, or you can find me on tumblr (drsallysparrow dot tumblr dot com)
Some acknowledgements at the end 3
Harry was shattered by the time he arrived at St Brigid's Magical Midwifery in Boston. As soon as the charmed galleon on his desk had lit his whole office blue with the news that Hermione had gone into early labour he'd scratched off a quick note to assure a very pregnant Ginny that he wouldn't be gone longer than was necessary and headed straight down to the DMT. He'd had to play his 'Chosen One' trump card to bully the clerk into issuing him with a permit to use an emergency four-portkey chain via Iceland, Greenland and Nova Scotia, but it was worth it to be the first of their friends to arrive.
He strode into the private room the mediwitch had directed him to and started laughing the moment he saw Draco staring down into the bundle of blankets in his arms, wonder and utter shock warring for dominance over his pale features.
"For the love of Salazar, shut up!" Draco hissed, jerking his head to where Hermione lay sleeping, cheeks faintly pink and her hair in absolute disarray.
"Sorry Ferret, it's just your face. You look like you got confunded again, slipped some amortentia, and then made to go two rounds with a-"
"Potter." Draco raised a hand to pinch at the bridge of his nose, shifting his armful of baby awkwardly. His voice was low but the exasperation in it cut through Harry's chatter. "Would you please be quiet?"
Harry took note of the smudges beneath Draco's eyes, and the fact that he looked even paler than usual. It wasn't really all that surprising, given that Hermione's water had broken over a month before her due date, right in the middle of a seminar she was attending on Dekker's usage of the Vigenère cipher as part of her Mastery at the Massachusetts Institute of Thaumaturgy. By the looks of things Draco's usual cool equanimity had been thrown off somewhat by his firstborn's early arrival. How very appropriate, Harry mused, that the Malfoy-Granger offspring was already proving himself startlingly precocious. Narcissa would be thrilled. Speaking of which...
"Is your mother not here?"
"She went back to the townhouse to fetch a few things." Draco heaved a sigh, his wide-eyed gaze returning to the bundle in his arms. Harry frowned, eyeing him more closely. He remembered his own state of utter bewilderment holding James for the first time nearly two years ago, and something about Draco's demeanour was off. There was the usual terror of a first-time father, but there was also an undercurrent of utterly un-Malfoy-like panic.
If the past six and a half years had taught him anything, Harry knew that sometimes the best policy with Draco was just to bluster through, so he thrust his arms out enthusiastically. "Pass him over then, I want to get a good look at my godson."
Draco's eyes shot up to meet Harry's, his expression full bunny-in-headlights, and Harry felt the first stirrings of real unease. He hadn't seen Draco this off-kilter since he'd been offered the job as junior envoy to the Magical Congress in New York, and had managed to convince himself Hermione would break off their engagement if he took it. A series of blazing rows, an application to transfer her Mastery studies to MIT, and a hastily expedited wedding would indicate that Draco had been worried over nothing. Whatever bee the blonde wizard had in his bonnet now was probably something similarly idiotic, so Harry chose the route of bluntness.
"What the hell is going on?"
"Not godson," Draco half-whispered, "Goddaughter."
Harry felt his eyebrows pull together in confusion, "I thought the mediwitches confirmed it was a boy? Can't they get anything right over here?"
Draco glowered at him, swallowing hard before he answered, "Apparently it can…they can…it messes up the accuracy of the charm when…" The inarticulacy was so out of character, and Draco's expression so overwhelmed, that Harry decided to take matters quite literally into his own hands and grabbed the baby from the blonde wizard's grasp. Draco made a faint growl of protest, but relinquished his daughter to her godfather all the same.
Harry got about a two-second look at a perfectly doll-like little face, a hint of Hermione's button nose and Draco's grey eyes topped with the faintest wisps of silver-blonde curls, before the baby blinked, the newborn shade of her eyes taking on a vaguely green hue, and the silvery strands of hair darkening to jet black.
There was absolute silence in the room for a good thirty seconds, and then Harry looked up at Draco, his expression as thunderstruck as the blonde wizard's. "Your daughter is a metamorphmagus?" he asked incredulously. Draco made a helpless movement that was half-shrug, half-nod, and Harry felt an irresistible bubble of laughter. "Oh Godric," he wheezed, handing the little girl back to her father before he dropped her. "This is too much," he managed to choke out eventually, as his laughter began to subside. "First you manage to knock Hermione up by accident and then your kid is a fucking metamorphmagus!"
Harry saw Draco wince at the reminder that his daughter was the result of an overenthusiastic consumption of champagne on his and Hermione's first wedding anniversary and the subsequent christening of the Persian rug in the upstairs living room of their Back Bay townhouse. He could, however, also see the beginnings of a smile tugging at the edges of Draco's mouth. One of Draco's fingers was stroking softly over the baby's hair, which had turned silvery again as soon as she was back in her father's arms.
"It's good to see you, Potter," Draco said quietly, his voice markedly less tense than before. "But please, no swearing in front of the baby."
"Well, Draco has another year to go on the posting in New York, and of course Deputy Head Barrows will be retiring from International Magical Cooperation at around the same time, so a move back to London would make sense. Hermione will have finished her Mastery by then, so naturally..." Harry, having heard the plans from the horses' mouths, stepped away from where Narcissa was holding court in a corner of the parlour of the Spitalfields House. On the other side of the room Draco was engrossed in a conversation with Theo, Ron and Neville about the arrangements being made for the Quidditch World Cup, to be held in Paris in a little over a month. Teddy was stuck to Neville's side like a limpet, and Harry smiled to himself at the sight of Neville's hand absently resting on the boy's blue hair.
He was conscious that he hadn't seen Hermione, Ginny or Caroline for a while, and that the objects of the name-day were also absent, and decided to go and track them down.
"Original Magic's a very funny thing when you mix it with the old bloodlines," Andromeda was saying to Luna when Harry stepped into the entrance hall of the Spitalfields House. "All those years of inbreeding, and finally the chance for a bit of free expression." She took a sip of her champagne and smiled warmly at Harry over Luna's shoulder. "At least, that's what the mediwitch said when I had Nymphadora." Her expression turned faraway, and Luna laid a hand on her arm as Harry slipped past them to climb the stairs.
He found the three women in the study, each carrying a sleeping child. Harry had been worried about the number of pumpkin pasties that had gone missing in James's vicinity earlier in the day, but given the growing patch of drool where his eldest son's head was resting on Ginny's shoulder, the sugar rush had abated relatively quickly.
Caroline was holding Albus, who had been born two weeks after Sagitta. Molly had been a little put out when she was informed that Narcissa had offered to host a joint name-day in London, and so the hospitality of the Burrow wouldn't be required, but after a tentative first meeting the two older witches seemed to have found plenty of common ground in a mutual love of party-planning. Ron had been relieved to have Molly distracted - he'd told Harry the last time they'd gone to the Leaky together that she was dropping hints with all the subtlety of a Norwegian Ridgeback about when he and Caroline might want to start a family. Seeing how naturally the dark-haired woman held Albus, Harry wasn't sure how much longer Molly would have to wait.
He cleared his throat from where he stood by the door, and the three women shot him smiles before turning their attention back to the silken tapestry. Harry soon realised what had caught their attention, as he watched embroidery appear as though made by a disembodied hand. Two portraits: Sagitta Rose Malfoy, and on a nearby branch Albus Severus Potter.
"That thing is never going to not creep me out," he muttered, once the two names were complete. The tapestry rippled slightly, and he felt a vague sense of disapproval settle over his shoulders, making him shudder. Caroline shot him a sympathetic glance, but Ginny and Hermione both laughed, making Sagitta lifted her head, blinking sleepy brown eyes at her mother as she clearly tried to work out whether or not to cry at the disturbance. Catching sight of Harry over Hermione's shoulder, Sagitta's hair shifted from its usual corona of silvery ringlets into tufts of black and she reached her pudgy hands for her godfather.
"Thank Godric," Hermione sighed, as Harry moved into the room to take the little girl from her. "My arms were going dead."
"Lucky you," groused Ginny, shifting her weight to her other foot and trying to resettle James against her shoulder. Harry shot her a sympathetic look as he hefted Sagitta in the crook of his arm. Behind him, Draco appeared in the doorway. "I felt something in the wards?"
"Harry insulted Uncle Alphard's tapestry," Hermione grinned.
Draco glanced at the silken panel, "I missed it updating?"
"You were mingling," Hermione placed her hands against his chest and lifted onto her toes to press a kiss to his petulant mouth. "We didn't know how long it would take, and I didn't want to drag you away."
"I was only talking to stupid Ron," Draco muttered, and was met with a chorus of "Hey!"s from the other occupants of the room, and an indignant "Oi!" from where the wizard in question had just followed him in.
Sighing dramatically, Draco plucked Sagitta from Harry's arms, prompting her hair to shift into the bright pink that usually indicated delight. "You'll be on Daddy's side, won't you sweetheart?"
It was late that evening, after all the guests were gone and Sagitta had finally settled, that Hermione came back into the study and found Draco staring at the moonlit tapestry, deep in thought. She wrapped her arms around his waist from behind, settling her cheek between his shoulderblades. "It was weird not having Blaise and Ed here today."
Draco's hand smoothed along her forearm, "I know. Blaise owled to say they were planning to stop in Boston on their way back from Mexico, so we'll see them next month." The two were on location for a road movie that Blaise had landed a fairly major role in, and had sent their apologies for missing the day, as well as a stuffed arctic fox that was about four times as big as Sagitta and had required three owls to deliver.
Sensing that Draco remained pensive, Hermione nuzzled further into him. "I'm sorry you missed her appearing."
Instead of answering, Draco took hold of her arms, prising apart her grip and pulling her round in front of him. "There's always next time." He laughed at the look on Hermione's face, and leaned down to bump her nose with his. "I'm still very keen on the name Scorpius."
This is pure fluff, but forgive me.
Six months later, and this is finally done. It's been a labour of love, and turned out A LOT more substantial than I ever expected, but to everyone who's read it thanks very very much.
Special words to:
- RS: who said 'why don't you then?' when I mentioned I'd been thinking of writing fanfiction
- PG: who said 'no really, why not?' and who also recommended Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
- CS: for sending me angry whatsapp messages whenever I went too long between updates
- AM: reading this aloud to you was wonderful
For those of you who've left me such lovely reviews, you really did make it all worthwhile and I'm sorry I'm terrible at replying. Also sorry if I've missed anyone!
Capecodcanal (such detailed reviews, they were amazing!)
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