Title: A Piece of Normalcy
Author: Edie
Rating: R. Language.
Summary: A couple years into his relationship with Hermione, Draco contemplates fatherhood.
Disclaimer: sigh All JKR's…

A Piece of Normalcy

Hermione Granger has her cheek pressed tightly to Lavender's belly and she is cooing in nonsensical baby language at it in a way that makes Draco think her IQ has dropped by at least a hundred points. Ron is lounging on the couch, nursing the beer he had begrudgingly offered him off of Hermione's glare, and is smiling in a proud paternal way as Lavender murmurs some god awful song that has the words "lavender blue" sung in an irritatingly high pitch.

Standing by the wall, trying his hardest not feel like an outsider, Draco Malfoy thinks to himself that he hates them all for their happy front, for their cheer. Like it's not a big fucking decision- a big fucking mistake- to bring a baby into the world like nothing has happened; like nothing has changed. He even feels a troubling distance from his girlfriend, whose eyes are bright with tears and whose smile is the most genuine he's seen in awhile. He tries to pretend that Hermione smiles at him like that all the time, like she's happy and complete, and even thumps Ron on the back in a congratulatory sort of manner on the way to the loo.

The world is such a fucking marvelous place! Bring out the bloody streamers! Throw a damned party! Voldemort is dead and Ron is content in wedded bliss! Joy!

He's afraid he might lose her, watching her like this.

Can't lose Hermione. Won't lose Hermione. Needs Hermione, like water, like air; like blood.

Once the prat and the breeding machine have left, she corners him in the kitchen. Her eyes are still glassy and abnormally bright; he feels scared watching the way they glow. She looks delirious and off her rocker. He clenches his hands tight and waits.

"I missed my last period," she whispers, breath warm and moist against his ear.

Draco Malfoy does not want to be a father. He is too young and still too bloody crazy to be any good at it. He can't imagine rocking a baby to sleep or checking the closet for monsters every night. Hell, he is afraid of monsters in his closet, of the big bads that are lurking around every single sodding corner, and it makes him uneasy to think about telling his future brat that they don't exist. What if they do? What then? His father was a liar and Draco will not lie.

"The world's a scary place, kid," he imagines telling it, "You cling to your mum and don't let go. She's good. She's right. She'll protect you but you stay the hell away from me."

Draco Malfoy comes with baggage in the form of Death Eaters and the Cruciatus Curse. He is secretly afraid that he'll snap like his father and hex the hell out of his kid for simply existing.

"I missed my last period."

Nobody will be surprised if he leaves her. He might play all buddy buddy with the Weasel and Potty and charm their adorable little wives but he knows what they think of him. They'll welcome Hermione and his bastard back with open arms and cluck about how he's always been bad; how lucky she is to be able to raise the kid on her own. That Draco Malfoy, you could never trust him. You remember sixth year. Maybe Hermione will laugh and say she was under the Imperius Curse. He won't blame her. Hell, he'll support the damned story.

He wonders if she'll cry if he leaves.

"It'll probably come any bloody second," Draco ensures, thinking no pun intended. He pats her arm in a comforting way- she thinks it's patronizing, he can tell- and steps around her. Heads for the shower and doesn't look back.

By the time he gets out, Hermione has gone to bed. He finds her cuddled up under the comforter, back to the door, and crawls in behind her, feeling a little sheepish and a lot like an arse.

Doesn't change things. He doesn't want the kid. He doesn't want any kids. He doesn't think.

She rolls over once he's in; finds his hand under the blankets. Her hands are a bit clammy but he thinks nerves have made his worse.

"I'm sorry," she murmurs and he thinks maybe she had a bit of a cry while he was in the shower, "I know you didn't want to do it this way. Any way. It'll be a Halfblood and I know that's not what you want."

He wants to laugh. A Halfblood! Finds it kind of ironic that the thought had never crossed his mind but he guesses it's true. Goodbye to the purity of the Malfoy line. It bugs him that it doesn't bug him, after everything. He's seen too much and he doesn't give a flying fuck about any of that. His father had died for it and how many years had he wasted before switching sides; now it seems like nothing. Petty small minded problems.

There are bigger problems. Like, can he change a diaper? When the baby pukes all over him, will he able to deal with it? Will the crying get on his nerves until he banishes the brat and his wife (and she will be. Draco will not have a bastard) to some forgotten wing of their house? Will he stay?

He is rather unnerved to find that his hand has crept its way down to rest on her stomach, perfectly flat now but soon… He imagines her round and waddling; thinks rather absurdly that he lives in a flat, not the Manor, and where on earth would he banish them? The loo?

Draco Malfoy doesn't want to banish them. Not really.

"Ginny's pregnant," Hermione is saying, resting her hand on top of his, "Did you know? Harry told me this morning. If… if I am they'll be born pretty close together. Maybe they'll both be Gryffindors."

A Gryffindor. Yeah fucking right!

"Like any child of mine will like any child of Potter's." The statement lacks any real venom, he is disappointed to note. "Make sure to pass on my congratulations."

And then another idea smacks him upside the head. Clearly he can envision a blond little boy with impossibly round brown eyes trotting along after him. "Father," he will complain, "That old bat McGonagall took off 50 points today! Just on one tiny little hex too! It's because he's Potter's son."

Holy shit, they can be sidekicks! Being a pain in Potter's arse had gotten old a little over a year ago, largely because- and you didn't hear it from him- he had run out of fresh material. A miniature version of himself is exactly what he needs to get things back on the right track. He feels like cackling.

"I don't even want to know!" giggles Hermione, "I know that smirk!"

Draco is excited now. He can't help it. "Just think, woman! With my Slytherin cunning and your brains-"

"Draco, that's rude." She jabs an elbow in his ribs but her tone clearly implies that she agrees with him. Potter and his progeny are going down.

Hermione seems to sense his change of mood because she snuggles closer and kisses him very lightly on the cheek.

"Are you horribly mad?"

"No, not at all. It's hardly your fault, now is it? I do recall being an active participant in knocking you up." And he isn't mad. Right now. But his moods are mercurial. At least she knows this. Hell, half the time she isn't exactly a walk in the park herself.

Hermione smiles and goes all soft and womanly against him. Makes a contented little sigh that promptly sends all the blood in his body south and, well, his response isn't soft at all.

When they make love tonight, it's different. They have done everything together, have experienced every single emotion Draco can name and probably a hundred more that he can't, but tonight it feels special in a way that it never has before. He feels completely unhurried and does everything slow and just the way she likes. She insists on maintaining eye contact the whole while. Usually Draco hates eye contact. Usually he shuts his eyes. Tonight he watches her watching him and he experiences bliss in a way he hadn't thought possible.

After Hermione is asleep, he continues to stroke her belly, wondering and wondering and wondering. He knows all that shit about fallopian tubes and how long it takes to get to her womb but right before he drifts off he thinks he can feel its tiny heart racing beneath his palm.

"I'll try," he whispers absently to it, "I'll try."

They don't bother getting a test until the afternoon. Upon waking, he catches Hermione examining her stomach critically in the mirror.

"Can you feel it?" he asks, propping his head up on his palm.

"No," she replies, biting her lip, "But it's too soon, anyway. Maybe I like to think I can but that's rubbish."

He watches her, standing unselfconsciously before him. Watches the way the sun sneaking through the crack in their curtains bounces off that god awful hair that has kind of sort of maybe grown on him. He thinks about babies and marriage and realizes for the first time that she won't be able to leave him then, or at least not without some fuss. She will be his forever, she and the baby both, and there isn't anything Potter or Weasley could do to change it. His before God and the whole entire fucking planet.

Draco Malfoy isn't his father. Draco Malfoy loves his girl.

Hermione insists on buying a Muggle Home Pregnancy Test; threatens to use a silencing spell on him if he won't shut the bloody hell up about the inaccuracies of Muggle technology. The microwave is a Muggle invention, she points out, and Merlin knows he loves the sodding microwave!

Absently, he wonders when the mood swings kick in.

When they get back to their flat, Hermione uses some of her patented Gryffindor courage and goes straight to the loo. Draco waits on the couch and tries not to fidget. Tries not to think too hard on the fact that soon she'll have to stick it out with him; that soon he'll have a bloody family that could rival any in the whole of England. He remembers hearing once that you can't choose your family but he thinks he did. Who on earth else would he want?

Hermione comes back and sets the thing on the coffee table. He wonders if she had to piss right on the stick- he'd heard that once- and is a bit grossed out in spite of himself. His coffee cup goes there, for Merlin's sake!

Thinking about urine reminds him of the diaper debate and his stomach flip flops all over the place.

The minutes tick by slowly and both of them sit in silence. Hermione is clenching his hand so tightly that it would hurt if he was paying attention to it. As it is, he's staring at the wall and pretending his whole entire life is not about to change. For the worse? For the better?

He is not Lucius fucking Malfoy.

"It's done," she says after awhile.

They stare at it some more. Draco's eye begins to twitch and Hermione's hand feels damp again. At long last, she grabs it up and stiffens.

"It's negative," is what she says, "I'm not pregnant." She puts it back on the table, gets up, and goes into their room.

Draco stays on the couch, moving only to grab the test off of the table. He holds it in his hands for what feels like an eternity and, despite everything, misses the baby.

When he builds up the courage to face Hermione, he enters their bedroom with the depressing knowledge that the hold he thought he'd held on her is gone. She's free again; can up and leave at the drop of a hat. He feels sick thinking about it and maybe those fuckers were right. Can't choose your family.

She sits up when he opens the door and her eyes are red rimmed. Holds out her hand and beckons for him to join her on the bed. Once he sits down, she dissolves into tears. Cuddles right into his chest and sobs, years of pent up angst welling over and exploding.

"I wanted it," she weeps into his shirt, "I wanted it all. Fuck, Draco! I just want to be normal. I just want what Harry and Ron have. Like the whole thing never happened. Like we all had a normal childhood. I just want to be normal!"

He doesn't know what he says. Maybe he parrots her words back at her, soothing and low, or maybe he just rocks her silently. All the same, he is plotting. Her normal might involve white picket fences but his normal quite simply involves her and he refuses to let her go.

Eventually it occurs to him that their reasons are all wrong. A baby to be normal? A baby to gang up on Potter with? His first instincts were right. They sound like two teenagers high on the idea that they could have done it!

He starts to laugh into her hair, all high pitched and crazy. After a moment, she joins him, just as insanely.

"We're so stupid!" she giggles rather hysterically, falling back onto the bed, "We're so stupid!"

When they're done, he faces her and asks, "Hermione? What do you think about choosing your family? Total rubbish, right?"

Lavender and Ron have a girl two months later. They name her Daisy Joy Weasley, a name Draco detests. Daisy Weasley he thinks in a mocking sort of tone. Almost as bad as Draco Malfoy and coming from the boy who had teased him about it so many years ago! He kind of wants to hex him for the poor girl but that seems kind of low on the day of her birth, what with Ron running around all excited and such. He practically skips out of his wife's room to tell them it's a girl.

It takes Hermione and Draco hours to see her. They have to wait until the whole entire Weasley posse takes a break and Hermione lets Harry and Ginny stay alone with Ron before she goes in. Daisy is sleeping but Lavender lets her take her out of the bassinette; smiling, Hermione brings the baby over for him to see.

Cute little thing, he has to admit. Blue eyes, the beginnings of red hair, and an impossibly round face. But Draco isn't looking at the baby. Rather, Draco is looking at her looking at the baby and he can feel the weight of the small box in the pocket of his robes where it brushes up against his thigh.

"You can't choose what family you're born into," Hermione had said, somberly gazing at him, "I think that's rubbish. But I think we can all choose what the family we bring a baby into is like. Don't you?"

Watching her, Draco Malfoy does not think of trapping her. He thinks of choices and the freedom to do so and abruptly he feels just as content as every other bastard in the room.