Author: diggingupophelia/sapphiretragedy/digupophelia – it all depends where I'm posting.
Beta: Gothicide, but I like to tinker a lot so any mistakes are my own.
Notes: Companion piece to Grave Side and Death's Door. which I shall be posting at a later time as separate one shots Part of the same story arc, but not necessarily connected. I thought this would be unadulterated fluff, but it turns out that it is only minimally fluffy. shrugs I still like how this turned out. Comments are appreciated but never required.
The rain was pelting the windows and the torches were flickering because the windows were drafty. The fire was dying out, it was almost down to the embers; he had heard the last crackle of the wood an hour ago. No one had come down to get him; he had been abandoned by the two people he loved most in the world. He contemplated leaving, but he had nowhere to go. They were home. Draco put his head in his hands and scrunched his eyes shut as he tried to chase away images of Harry and Hermione happily cooing around a baby. Their baby to be precise. This time around, he wasn't the father. He was bitter about that; for once he wanted to be first.
He hadn't been the first one to notice Hermione on the train. He hadn't been the first one to see her stunning beauty at the Yule Ball. He hadn't been the first one to kiss her, taste her, and have her. And now he wasn't the first one to father her child. Potter always got to her first. He loved Harry. They both loved Hermione. But Draco was always doomed to sloppy seconds. It stung his pride more than his mind - Malfoy's never got second hand goods. But then Hermione never made him feel like he was second to Harry.
"Draco," called a soft voice from the top of the stairs. It was Hermione. Draco's head snapped up.
"What are you doing out of bed? Longbottom specifically told me you aren't supposed to get up unless it's to go to the loo," Draco said, worried as he made his rushed toward her.
"I was on my way to the loo. The one nearest to whatever room you're in," she said giving him a tired smile. "We miss you in there," she said inclining her head toward the Master bedroom.
"I don't want to intrude," Draco said shyly.
Hermione gave a derisive snort. "You can't intrude. You belong with me and Harry and our - by that I mean belonging to the three of us - son." Hermione moved to take a few steps towards Draco and grimaced.
"Are you alright, love? Does it hurt terribly?"
"Not so much as before ... but I'd like to see you after you push a nine pound child out of your vagina."
"The scary thing is that you could make that happen. I'm going to have to watch my drinks and the business end of your wand for a while aren't I?" Draco said giving her a soft smirk.
"Come on. I've got a long way to wobble to get back to bed," she said gesturing for Draco to follow.
"Are you sure? I mean, I've been down there since just after and you three seem to have made it all right on your own," he said not bothering to conceal his hurt.
"I told Harry to go after you. He said you needed to brood. I would have come after you, but Neville gave me something to help me sleep for a while."
"Sure, blame the Scarhead," Draco teased. "Come here, I'll carry you back to bed."
"Really I can do it," she offered as a token protest. She stood with her arms reaching for him. He moved close to her, bent down to scoop her up. "Just be careful. Don't jostle me."
"I could levitate you if you'd like. Never mastered the landings though," he said. Draco loved the feeling of Hermione nestled against his chest. Her arms were clinging around his neck and she was tense with the fear of falling. "Relax. I would never let anything happen to you."
"Sometimes you can't help it, Draco. Things just happen. And if it were all the same to you I'd rather not be dropped onto the bed. I do love you for carrying me though. I'll have to be sure to tell Neville. He was worried you'd have me slogging away next to the house elves first thing tomorrow morning."
"I'm no barbarian! I'll at least let you have until tomorrow afternoon. Then it's back to the kitchens with you," he teased as he eased her into the bed next to Harry. Harry was holding a blue bundle with a tuft of ink black hair poking out from the top of it. He was entranced with the newborn.
"Harry give James over so his ... what was it you wanted to be called, Draco?"
"Father," he said sitting down on Hermione's right side.
Harry cooed. "Ok James, Daddy loves you but he's going to give you to Mummy and she's going to give you to father. Be a good mate and don't spit up on him. He's very fussy about his robes." Harry glanced over at Draco. "He's wearing the expensive linen ones today so if you know what's good for you..."
"Just hand him over, Potter," Draco demanded impatiently. "You're just trying to hog him. You've had him for hours while I sat in the cold, dark, damp, musty ... shall I go on? ... Kitchen waiting for you to show me my son."
"Drama queen," taunted Harry as he handed the baby over to his Mum and she handed him over to Draco.
"Draco, love, this is your son. James Middle-name-yet-to-be-determined Potter. Well, we think its Potter. We all have to decide on that after you choose the middle name."
"But we decided that you and Harry would do that," he said surprised.
"Well, we decided you'd be more inclined to change nappies and do feedings at 3 AM if you had input right from the get to," Harry deadpanned.
"That's what wands and child care spells are for. I've read up," he said taking the baby into his arms. He held the infant stiffly. He was afraid to hurt the baby.
Hermione chuckled. "You aren't going to break him, Draco."
"Yeah. You should have seen the way Neville was flipping him around after he swaddled him. He was showing Hermione the proper technique for burping. It was making me nervous as hell," he said, running a hand through is messy hair.
"Next time I see Longbottom I'm going to use that hex of Weaselette's on him," Draco cooed at the infant. "Father won't have anyone endangering his boy."
"Well, what do you think of him?" asked Hermione. "I of course think he's gorgeous."
"To be honest," Draco said seriously. "The poor kid looks just like Harry. He's going to have to fend the masses off with a stick. Especially if he gets Harry's hair. But I hope he gets Hermione's eyes."
"I don't," Hermione replied. "I hope he gets Harry's eyes. Mine are so ordinary. I hope all of our children end up with their father's eyes."
Draco scooted back so his back was resting against the headboard. James began to squirm in his arms. Draco hung on to the infant as tight as he could without causing damage. The baby blinked his eyes open and his tiny tongue darted out between his thin pink lips. Draco swallowed back tears - tears of what he wasn't certain, but he wasn't going to stain the baby with his tears. "He's got ten fingers, ten toes, two testicles, and one penis, right?" he asked.
"Everything is accounted for," reassured Harry. "It's just the most amazing thing. He's so tiny and perfect and innocent."
"He is," said Draco.
James stared intently at Draco as he spoke. Hermione was delighted, "He knows your voice, Draco."
"I'm glad you made me read to your belly every night then," said Draco. He had argued her on that point numerous times. He thought it was nonsense and felt stupid reading from old textbooks to Hermione's ever expanding midsection.
"I can't wait to buy him his first broom," Harry cut in. "And teach him to play Quidditch. I think I'll head out tomorrow and see what I can find."
"Harry, it'll be some time until he can fly," laughed Hermione.
"I know. But, life's so short and I want to make sure I get as much done as possible. I mean my parents ... there wasn't so much as a photograph album they got to leave behind for me. We live dangerous lives and well ..."
Hermione waved Harry's worries away. "You can buy the broom if you want. But there's no more talk of death. Not when this little one has just brought so much happiness into our lives."
Harry nodded and smiled. He got up from the bed and sat in the window seat. He loved to watch the rain. He leaned his back against the cold glass and stared at Draco and Hermione with the baby. He'd never seen anything so beautiful in his life. It was a family: his family. Hermione was gently brushing her hand over James' soft hair while she whispered something to Draco to make him laugh. He saw Draco relax a little as he propped the baby up on his knees while supporting his neck with his hands. His heart stung a little at the thought that neither of them had noticed he'd gotten up from the bed. In that moment he knew they'd all be fine without him. He'd discuss that with Draco in the morning.
James started to fuss. Harry noted his tiny fists were balled up and fighting to escape the confines of his swaddling blanket. Hermione gingerly plucked James from Draco's hold and clutched the child to her breast. She rocked the infant in her arms for a moment while she freed her breast from her nightgown. She looked like a goddess. Still round in the face from the pregnancy. Her skin was radiant - Harry assumed it was because she was happy. Her hair was loose and hanging down in wild curls that framed her fair face. He saw her hiss in pain as the baby latched on to her breast. He didn't fail to notice that Hermione tightly gripped Draco's arm. She looked to her left, where he had been sitting and a small frown dissolved her happiness.
"Harry, what are you doing all the way over there?"
"Watching the rain," he said non-chalantly.
"Last time I checked it was raining on the other side of that window and not over here," said Draco. "You were staring at me and my stunning beauty, love. Admit it, you can't keep your eyes off me."
"You caught me," he said as he moved back over the bed. He was careful not to disturb the mattress. He sat on his haunches and hovered over Hermione so he could get a bird's eye view of his son feeding. "Looks like we've lost our claim, Draco."
"Speak for yourself. He's not feeding off of my breast yet," he teased.
"I hate when you two do that," Hermione said glaring at her boys.
"What?" asked Harry innocently.
"Claim my body parts as property and then speak about me like I'm not even in the room. It's uncivilized," Hermione chastised.
Draco turned so he was lying on his side in the bed with his head propped up on his arm. Harry was hovering over Hermione. "You're going to suffocate the both of them if you don't back off, Harry. Give them some room."
"I don't want to miss a moment," was all Harry said as he grinned stupidly. "We never know when we're going to use up all our time," he added quietly.
Neither of the three looked at another. To look into the eyes of their lovers would only confirm the fears and the reality of their precarious situation. There were Death Eaters on the loose who would love nothing more than to kill the great Harry Potter or those who meant anything to him. Fidelius may not be enough and they all knew it. The presence of the threat was suffocating.
James cried out and distracted his parents from horrific thoughts. Hermione hugged the infant closer to her chest while Harry gently stroked the baby's hair while gently 'shushing' by way of reassurance. Draco was hesitant to touch James, to offer comfort. He contemplated sneaking off into the darkness and the rain to find those who wanted to hurt the ones he loved. Harry had much more to live for than he did. He decided when the time came he'd be the one to sacrifice himself. They'd forget about him in the end and life would go on. But in the mean time, he was going to enjoy the precious moments. There would be plenty of time for sadness in his future.
Draco waited until Hermione and the baby were asleep before he woke Harry. He gently shook his lover, and kissed his lips quickly to keep him from making any noise that would wake Hermione or James. He backed away from Harry and held his finger gingerly to his lips as he beckoned for Harry to follow him. Harry gently untangled himself from Hermione and tiptoed after Draco. Harry gently clicked the door shut behind him and saw Draco standing at the top of the stairs.
"It'll be better if we talk downstairs. I don't want to wake her and I don't want her to hear what I've got to say," Draco whispered.
Harry gave Draco a confused look and nodded before following after him. He seated himself opposite Draco at their small breakfast table in the kitchen before he spoke. "What's going on? You aren't planning on leaving are you?"
"No," Draco answered, almost too quickly as he failed to meet Harry's penetrating gaze.
"You are! She won't have it. I won't have it. Ron will hunt you down and kill you for breaking both our hearts … and James will never get to know his father," Harry whispered urgently, grasping at any bit of threatening knowledge he had to shackle Draco to himself and Hermione forever.
"Relax, Harry," Draco said cupping Harry's clammy hand in his own sweaty palm. "I'm I not /I leaving. Not willingly anyway."
Harry relaxed. Draco rarely called him by his first name. He especially invoked it when he was telling the truth and because Draco was holding his hand and looking in his eyes, Harry believed him. "Then what are you planning. You never get that look of determination when you aren't up to something," Harry observed.
"We have to keep her alive. No matter what the cost to us. Her life is worth ten of ours at least – it's priceless," he explained.
"Do you think they'll find us?" Harry asked, his thumb absently stroking the soft flesh between Draco's thumb and forefinger. "I know i Fidelius /i is in place – but we all saw how well that worked with my parents."
"No one will betray our secret. As long as we stay here, we'll be safe," Draco reassured. "Unfortunately, we can't stay here forever. We can't hide forever because of who we are. Things happen. Spells can be broken. She can survive without us. I don't know about you, but I can't survive without her," Draco said, tears making his eyes bright.
"Me neither," Harry agreed. He suddenly became aware of his hand stoking Draco's and stopped. He gently squeezed Draco's hand as he looked into his eyes, "I do love you Draco, it's just she's the spell-o-tape holding us together, you know," he punctuated his statement with a wry grin.
"I understand it totally, love," Draco said smiling sadly. "I feel dead just thinking about living without her."
"When she was up there today, bringing James into the world – just after you left, it was a bit touchy. Neville was worried she'd lost too much blood. My heart stopped, my lungs were burning with a breath I was afraid to take. All I could think was that it would be my fault if she died. It would be my fault because it was my child," he paused "biologically speaking," he added. Draco nodded in both understanding and for Harry to continue. "I felt that if she died I would collapse right next to her and die from the sheer guilt of it."
"I feel the same way," said Draco.
"Right then. Do we need to make a magical contract or is my word good enough for you, Malfoy?" asked Harry.
"You're nothing if not your word," Draco said. "If it comes down to the two of us and we have a choice over who gets to go it's only fair we duel for it, like gentleman. So it's fair."
"I can't fight you. I volunteer here and now to die for her," Harry declared.
"So you can get all the glory?" Draco nearly shouted in outrage. "You get to be the martyr and I get to be the coward. No thanks. I'll duel, whether you want to or not."
Harry couldn't help but roll his eyes. "Fine then, have it your way. Just as long as she's alive it doesn't really matter does it?"
Draco shook his head. He stood up and made his way round the table. He tugged at Harry's arm and led him upstairs without saying a word. Before they went into bedroom where Hermione was sleeping, Harry pulled Draco into a deep kiss. "Even if you have to kill me to save her, I'll still love you, Draco," he whispered breathily. Draco pulled Harry into a hug as he gently clicked the door open.
Each man entered into his own side of the bed without disturbing Hermione's sleep. They were careful to wrap themselves around Hermione, mindful of the delicate state of her condition. Each one planted a chaste kiss on the side of her head and fell asleep clasping one of her hands in both of theirs. It was all for Hermione.
As always, feedback is always appreciated but it is never required. I hope you enjoy reading the fic as much as I've enjoyed writing it.