Just Once 7

Draco woke to Harry nuzzling the back of his neck. He groaned and pulled the covers over his head.

"Morning." Harry whispered into Draco's fair blond hair.

"Harrumph!" Draco snorted into the thick bed coverings.

"I love you!" Harry sounded terribly hopeful as Draco felt a prodding at his bottom.

"You'd better, if I have to put up with this nonsense." Draco groaned. He turned over and flopped an arm over Harry's head.  "Go back to sleep."

Harry pushed Draco's arm off his head and tried to wrestle his limp lover's body back over. "And you're so sweet and charming in the morning." He grunted as Draco's dead weight shifted. "Dear Lord, you've put on a few."

Draco was suddenly awake and pummeling Harry with a pillow. "I most certainly have not! And you're one to talk!"

Harry suddenly froze. Draco wished with all his will that he could have taken it back, but it was too late. He saw tears pool up in Harry's eyes.

"Oh for the love of Merlin, you know what I meant!"

"I know!" Harry angrily wiped the tears from his eyes. "It's the damn hormones going crazy again. I swear, Hermione deserves an award and Molly needs a national holiday."

It had been 3 months since Harry had his pregnancy confirmed. He was officially driving Draco batty, and they still had months to go.

"I'm fairly sure Ron and Arthur deserve an honorable mention as well." Draco handed Harry a tissue from a box near the bed.

"Probably." Harry sniffled.

Draco chuckled. "We should've expected this, you know."

"I know." Harry sounded miserable.

"It's all perfectly natural." Draco assured Harry.

"If you're a girl!" Harry protested.

"Not according to the book Molly was so sweet to provide us with." Draco said silkily.

"Only once a millenea and for all we know wizards have evolved so much we're not suited for this sort of thing anymore!" Harry scowled. "This whole thing is a risk!"

"Now whose fault is that?" Draco laughed. "I would have been happy carrying on as we were! You're the sentimental sap that had to bear the fruit of my loins!"

"You are happy, aren't you?" Harry asked tentatively.

"More than I ever could have imagined." Draco sighed.

Harry studied Draco's face for a moment. Then he sighed contentedly and rested his head on Draco's chest. Draco sighed in relief this conversation was over, or at least sensible. It was so hard to tell these days.

-+-+-

Molly sat humming to herself by her hearth while Arthur was at work. How quiet the house had become since Ginny finally moved out. She was knitting a pair of purple baby booties and thinking about tentative plans for a baby shower. Hermione had suggested it and Molly had latched onto the idea.

Molly briefly glanced up as the front door opened and Arthur strolled through.

"Hello, dear." He smiled as he kissed his wife's cheek. "Are those for the boys or Hermione and Ron?"

Molly snorted. "Hermione claims they have enough booties to clothe a small centipede colony."

"She may have a point." Arthur said as he hung his cloak on the hat rack near the door. "You were rather enthusiastic when the twins were on the way."

"That's only because our twins ran through them like tissue paper." Molly protested hotly.

"Well, Hermione was rather well at," Arthur coughed politely, "keeping track of booties better than we did."

"That's only because their twins didn't yank them off and fling them off at every opportunity!" Molly protested.

Arthur held his hands up. "Don't tell me, dear! I was there!"

Molly's face softened. "I suppose you were, weren't you?"

"And I always will be." Arthur went to his wife and knelt at her feet. "And if we were younger than we were now I'd try to learn more about this phoenominon so we could see if I could carry instead of you for a change."

"You'd do that?" Molly asked quietly. "You would have carried one of them?"

"It would be an honour, my love." Arthur insisted as he wrapped his arms around her. "I wouldn't want to be the mother of anyone else's child." He choked on his laughter.

Molly playfully slapped him on the shoulder. "Bloody oaf."

-+-+-

A tawny colored owl soared over wild, open land. He could see the lake and smell the approaching water. It had been quite some time since he had gotten the chance to fly to Hogwarts and he did miss the other owls.

When the castle came into view he hooted with joy and pumped his wings harder. He was looking forward to seeing Hagrid and settling down for the night in the owlery.

He soared out over the grounds: over the Quidditch pitch, around the back of the castle, over the gardens, until he landed on the perch that stood outside Hagrid's hut.

Hagrid looked up as he heard a soft hooting and a flutter of wings. He smiled as the little owl settled on the perch outside his home.

"Hello, Pigwidgeon!" Hagrid wiped the sweat out of his eyes and walked to the perch. "Message from the Weasley clan?"

Pig hooted gleefully and shook a leg at Hagrid. There were three letters attached to it.

"Now, what's all this?"

Hagrid peered at the letters and pulled his reading glasses out of his jacket. He took the letter marked for him from Pig and opened it.

His eyebrows went up in surprise as he opened the card inside. Then he shook his head as he closed it.

"That woman really is a piece of work." Hagrid chuckled to himself. He looked at the owl. "Stop by before you leave. I'll have a message back by then."

Pig hooted cheerfully and took an owl treat Hagrid had produced from his pocket before he took to the air and headed towards the castle.

-+-+-

Molly and Hermione bustled around the Weasley kitchen preparing a celebration dinner for Harry and Draco. Pigwidgeon flew through the window and nearly knocked into Draco, who was carrying an empty bowl back into the kitchen.

"You weren't supposed to tear into them yet!" Hermione said in a surprised voice. "Those were supposed to go with dinner!"

"I couldn't stop them." Draco said innocently. "I was outnumbered."

"There are plenty more, Hermione." Molly wiped her hands on her apron and went to the little owl who was sitting on his perch, letters dangling from his leg. She peered at the envelopes. "It looks like they all replied!"

"Well, that's nice." Hermione said as she bustled over to the owl.

"What is all that?" Draco asked as he went looking for more rolls among the piles of food ready to be carried into the eating area.

"RSVP's for the baby shower." Molly murmured as she opened an envelope.

"What?!" Draco exclaimed.

"We're throwing you a baby shower." Hermione sounded apologetic.

"Everyone is coming!" Molly beamed up from the opened letters.

"Don't let Hagrid bring any nibbles." Hermione warned.

"You invited Hagrid?!" Draco looked stunned.

"She invited half the Wizarding World." Hermione snorted. "I've survived several, you can survive one."

"This is our first co-ed one." Molly reminded Hermione. "There will be a lot more people."

"Good heavens." Draco said weakly. He remembered his manners abruptly. "Thank you, Molly. How very thoughtful."

Molly laid the letters on the table, gave Pig an owl treat, and went back to her kitchen tasks, humming pleasantly to herself.

Hermione met Draco's eyes and slipped out of the room with a bowl of rolls. He followed closely behind her.

"A baby shower?" Draco questioned her as soon as they were out of Molly's earshot.

"I couldn't have stopped her if I'd wanted to." Hermione shrugged. "It's an excuse for her to organize a get together."

Draco pursed his lips. "I suppose you did your best."

"At least I got her to leave out Snape."

Draco looked horrified. "Thank heaven for that!"

"Although he may be over to observe the birth."

"WHAT?!"

"Well, I do talk to him professionally. He's been collecting information on the hormonal changes of males during puberty during the phenomenon."

"So why does he have to be here during the birth?"

Molly sailed out of the kitchen, parting the air between them and beaming as she went. They both smiled at her until she was out of sight.

"He doesn't have to be." Hermione threw an annoyed look at Draco. "It was just a thought. This is a once in a lifetime occurrence. I'm sure any male choosing to carry will get offers from people wanting to observe the phenomenon."

"Snape would be the best person to have around if any emergency potions are needed." Draco looked thoughtful.

"Just think about it." Hermione waved a hand dismissively.

Draco shrugged. "It's all up to Harry. Whatever he decides."

"Fair enough." Hermione said.

-+-+-

"Absolutely not!" Harry howled.

"That's not fair!" Hermione stomped her foot at him.

"Too bad!" Harry threw his arms up dramatically.

Draco and Ron snickered in an adjoining room where they were building a house of cards of a deck of Exploding Snap. Ron shrugged at Draco. Draco just shook his head.

"She's quite bonkers, you know." Ron said in a low voice.

"I could've told you that." Draco smirked.

"This is the chance of a lifetime, Harry!"

Harry stormed through the room, Hermione close on his heels and fuming at him.

"He's a horrible greasy git and I'm not having him there to laugh at me!" Harry wheeled around at her and his heavy tread shook the floor, thus shaking the table and causing an explosion and flurry of cards.

Draco jumped in surprise and Ron covered his head with his arms.

"We'll let you know." Draco told Hermione.

Harry glared at Draco.

"We need to think about every possibility when it comes to your safety." Draco insisted.

"I assumed I'd be going to St Mungo's." Harry said hotly. "I see no need to take an army with me."

"You'll be lucky if they don't put you in an observation room with coliseum seats." Ron said. "Do you have any idea how many people will want to see this?"

"You really might want to consider a home birth." Draco said frowning. "Even if we just do it for security. We may want to call in a couple Aurors."

"I think that may be a bit extreme." Hermione frowned. "But I agree with home birthing. You should have a select few people be there, not every Healer and intern that wants to watch. Childbirth is stressful enough without being the center of a show."

"And remember, most male births the last time around had a better survival rate than women giving birth." Ron added.

"You can't be agreeing with them!" Harry fumed incredulously.

"I'm saying I don't like Snape either, but it makes sense for him to be there." Ron snapped. "Deal with it, Harry. You were the insane one that wanted to get knocked up without thinking about how dangerous it was."

Harry looked as if Ron had slapped him.

"What you're doing is more than a little stupid." Ron spread his feet apart and put his hands on his hips. "Now stop being so stubborn and do what makes this easier on you and your baby in the long run. And honestly, I've never seen Snape laugh at anything. He may sneer at you but that's about it."

"Anything else would be considered off color and he'd never stoop that low." Draco tentatively offered.

Harry looked from Draco to Ron. He looked furious. Then his shoulders drooped and he closed his eyes. "I'll consider it."

"Thank you." Hermione let out the breath she had been holding in case she had to yell some more.

-+-+-

An owl fluttered down one of the corridors to Hogwarts' maze of underground dungeons. It twisted and turned down hallways until it soared into Professor Snape's classroom and perched happily upon a globe balanced upon a pile of books on the corner of the Professor's desk. The owl hooted softly.

Professor Snape looked up from the small dish of microscopic newts, an ingredient for the Fifth years. The magnifying glasses were still perched on his nose, giving him a clear view of the barbs on the owl's feathers and giving the owl a clear view of Snape's pupils.

It hooted in alarm and tried to scrabble backwards.

Snape whipped the glasses off and grabbed impatiently at the owl. "Come here, you stupid bird. I'm not going to hurt you."

Snape gently removed the scroll case from the leg of the owl and unrolled the parchment within.

"Well, it looks as if one of them has a vague idea of what sense is." Snape shook his head as he gave the owl a treat and shooed him out of the window. "Barely reassuring."

For a moment the potions professor looked thoughtful, but then his attention was distracted by a knocking at his door.

He smiled silkily. The detention for this evening was right on time and the Third Years had produced a particularly disgusting batch of cauldrons ripe for cleaning.

It was going to be a good eening.