Harry Potter had been sitting on the same barstool for the past eleven hours. He had shown up on the street of Diagon Alley, and waited till the bar opened its doors. Tom had been pleased to see the young man waiting so diligently but he was rather confused.
The last time Harry Potter had been waiting for his doors to open, he had been sleeping off the night before when he had to carry the young hero from the establishment. So when the young man was standing outside pacing for the open sign to flip he was a bit wary.
"Is the Master Potter feeling alright?" Tom had asked wiping a few remnants of water from the glass tumbler. "Would you like anything to drink?"
Harry had not heard the barman's question because he was so deeply involved in his own memories that he was oblivious to the world around himself. There was only one reason to explain his current state of disarray, a woman. Though most recently it was the same woman that drove him to near insanity, January and her chaos inducing pregnant state.
Harry Potter and his fiancé had been blessed with a very easy first trimester, there was hardly a time of morning sickness, and the only awkward craving January had was about three in the morning and she wanted watermelon. Harry had to drive around for about an hour to find a store open, and then find one that was carrying ripe watermelon. This was also during the middle of the winter.
In her second trimester, she had only put a little weight, and one could barely tell she was expecting a new witch or wizard. Plus when the baby first started to move about in her belly, the baby would only move during the day hours. It was if he or she could see the sun shining through skin. At the sixth month check-up, Healer Munsk had asked if they wished to know the gender but Harry and January had made the decision to keep it a surprise.
So then they entered their third trimester.
It had been the trimester from hell. It was if the pregnancy had consumed January's mind completely and she had no control over her hormones for example with one look Harry had caused her to burst into tears, when he suggested an idea for the nursery, she gave him a look and Harry had barely enough time to duck out of the way from a can of paint flying at his head. That afternoon he spent hours cleaning the paint from the wood floor. He had been living strictly magic-free in the house because Astoria had so nicely lent some reading material to January.
Reading material that suggested the dangerous effect magic might have on a fetus. So after a serious conversation, Harry agreed to refrain from using magic in his own house.
It had been situation after argument to the next catastrophe and Harry was feeling an extreme stress, until they had been invited to Narcissa Malfoy's house for a baby shower brunch. Harry had been swindled into attending because Draco was being forced to go.
Harry was sitting in the bar with Draco swirling a plastic cup filled with a sparkling pink drink. He was dressed in a pair of khaki's a pale blue shirt, while Draco had been forced into a dark suit with a bright pink shirt.
"Have I commented on your brilliantly pink shirt today?" Harry asked taking a sip of his cup. A flavor of strawberries blasted his taste buds and Harry was forced to wince from the pucker-factor. "Ugh this is disgusting."
"Yeah that was my mother's concoction." Draco said putting his own tumbler to his lips. His was filled with Wizard's brandy. Harry had forgone the alcohol because he did not need to have another situation and that he did need to upset his pregnant fiancé for having a drink.
Who knows how that might harm the unborn child?
"The shirt, the drink or both?" Harry asked smirking at his wit and took yet another drink of the strawberry disaster. Draco blanched and rolled his eyes.
"Potter, are you sure you are mature enough to raise a child?" Draco smiled at the annoyed look on his friend's face. "And that drink was my mother's concoction; the shirt was my wife's idea. She had coordinated my shirt with yours. I guess our significant others thought it would be cute for one of us to wear blue, while the other wore pink."
"Well you pull it off quite well." Harry laughed and put his cup to the counter. "This drink would lead someone to drink."
"Yes, mother was quite excited for the day to arrive. She said this was like her trial run for when Astoria and I finally decide to have our own child." Draco said taking another drink then put his empty glass onto the counter next to Harry's discarded cup. The two moved from the bar area towards the formal living room to happen upon a room full of screams.
The girls were still playing games.
They stopped in their tracks and turned back to another section of the house. "So are you getting excited for the little tyke?" Draco asked as the two stepped out into the mid-afternoon day. The garden had been untouched by the party.
"I have no clue." Harry said breathing in the crisp air. "I have no clue if I will survive until the baby comes."
Draco smiled remembering one particular lunch that Harry had slept through because January had kept him up until all hours of the night discussing different parenting books after working Harry all day to get the nursery decorated to the exact vision she wanted for the baby's room. "I thought the pregnancy had been so simple."
"Ugh, it bloody was until we got to these last few weeks. I swear with each passing week, and each extra pound she seems to gain, the crazier she gets." Harry complained, "I mean she is completely possessed by some strange spell."
Draco laughed and patted his friend comfortingly on the back. "I'm sure it will be better once the baby comes."
"I can only hope."
"How many weeks are you down to?" Draco asked.
"Four and a half." Harry sighed a relief. "And I have a feeling after the baby is born, I will be wishing for the crazy pregnant fiancé back. I have only heard horror stories from other father's at our breathing classes about how the baby only eats, sleeps and screams its head off for the first six months. One man even said that he fell asleep standing on the train one morning, nearly fell over and killed himself because he was so sleep deprived."
"Breathing classes?" Draco quirked his eyes at his friend.
"One other stupid class we have had to go to prepare for the birth. We have gone to so many different classes, swimming classes because they are supposed to cause a bond between mother and child. Breathing classes help us prepare for the birth, and yoga classes that help keep the blood circulating and ease the muscle stress off the mother and child." Harry counted off the different classes he had been taking with January.
Draco was a bit confused, "These classes all sound like they should just be between mother and child, why would you go?"
"Draco do you think I enjoy going to these classes?" Harry said, "You do not want to know the headache I received from asking her why I needed to come to the swimming class." It had been a huge argument, going from Harry asking his need to attend a swimming class which somehow translated to January he was not ready to be a father and was regretting his decision. This led to the hormonal January to take her ring and throw it at Harry's head.
One of the many arguments that led to an inanimate projectile being hurled into the air at his head.
"Have you decided on a name for the baby yet?" Draco asked, "I hear Draco could be quite a cute girl's name. Think of the child, Draco Potter. Nice ring to it."
"We haven't even started talking about names." Harry admitted and they turned back to the house because they heard Astoria calling their names from the living room. The men walked into the living room and Harry took his designated spot next to January giving her a customary kiss on the cheek while Draco stood next to his wife with a hand on her hip.
"Where have you two been?" January returned a kiss to his cheek and touched a hand to her stomach because of the baby's movement. A pile of baby presents seemed to fountain in front of the pair ready to be opened and praised over. She reached out for the first package, being from a friend from America. The two opened the wrapping together to find a three baby one-sie outfit. The first was blue with a picture of a microscope, another was pink with a magnifying glass, and the third was yellow with the periodic table of elements. The note with the package was,
"Saw a new line of baby science gear. Knowing your new tyke, it will be quite the brainiac. With love"
"They are adorable." January cried.
"Draco and I were out front just talking." Harry whispered while they passed around the next few presents, a few were baby clothes, bonnets, toys and memorabilia. "He asked what we were going to name the baby."
"Oh yes January what have you and Harry picked for your baby names?" Narcissa who was sitting closest to the pair. She had the wicked knack of listening to the quietest of conversations and interjecting herself into a private moment. January flushed realizing that they had yet to even think of what to name the baby.
"Well, I have always been fond of the name Thatcher for a boy." January commented. Harry chuckled at the idea and he found he was on the receiving end of a directed glare. "Is there something funny for my suggestion?"
"Well, I thought it was joke, I mean what Thatcher means, to fix a hay roof?" Harry smiled and looked at the other people in the room. Draco shook his head as a sign to stop. "I mean, it's an interesting idea."
"One that you obviously do not like." January said stressing each syllable. "Please tell us what you think of a good name for baby?"
"Well, I would rather pick something a little more common." Harry said shirking from his fiancé's angry face. The tone of her voice was as grating as nails on a chalkboard. He also understood that when she got this tone, he needed to back away slowly, and run in the opposite way as fast as possible. "Like Annie, Elizabeth or Claire."
"Ah, I like the name Annie." Astoria commented but shut her mouth quickly when January glared her down.
"Yeah, but it is so mundane, those popularized names are so boring." January remarked and reached for another package. The name discussion was dropped because Harry made the executive decision to not continue it further.
The tension between the couple resided through the remaining presents, another game and cake and ice cream. The couple had returned home in silence and went about their nightly routine separately. Their avoidance was screaming denial.
They had just settled into bed, when Harry finally let out a strained breath. "Harry please just say what you want to say." She demanded lying on her side sandwiched between her pregnancy pillow and other gizmos. January was reading her most recent parenting book the chapter about the fourth trimester.
"I don't have anything to say January." He stressed her name and slowly she tried to flip over onto her back. She had become so big and bloated she had difficulty turning over.
"You have that tone in your voice. There is obviously something on your mind." January shifted still in her pillows. "Bloody hell these stupid pillows!" She nearly screamed but it was just another nightly occurrence for Harry. He groaned and made a move to help her but she just pushed away his hand. "Just let me be, I can do this."
"You know what fine, do it yourself." Harry said getting up from bed. His outburst surprised January to stop moving.
"What?" She asked.
"I am so sick of this." Harry said pacing in front of the bed. "You want me to go to classes, but you do not let me partake in anything, you want me to be part of the nursery, but you shoot down every single idea, you want me to be more this way yet you screech at me for doing just that, you nag at me for not being enough this way so I do what you want me to do. I cannot do anything right."
January remained tight-lipped and blown away into surprise by the outburst.
"I have a hand in this child January." Harry said, "And we to work as a team."
"Is this about the baby names and me shooting down your ideas this afternoon?" January asked trying to figure out a reason for Harry's actions.
"That would just be an example of how you have been treating me for the last seven weeks." Harry responded his frustration shown through his hands tightening into fists. "But I guess we could discuss what happened this afternoon. How you completely shot down my ideas."
"And you laughing at my baby-name choice wasn't hurtful?" January asked pushing herself into a sitting position. "I really like the name Thatcher."
"Well I don't." Harry snapped giving her a taste of her spiteful tone. "How about the name Rose for a girl." January rolled her eyes at this option. "What do you not like it because it is too popularized for your taste?"
"Well that and I don't really like the idea of Rose."
"But you like flowers and plants." Harry replied to her negative comment.
January sat for a moment looking at the ceiling and counted to four in Chinese. "Well, how about we name the baby Bludger since you like playing quidditch. Can you just see it now, our son running around the front yard, and we can call out to him, Bludge, bludge come over here."
"Well I guess his name would not be common." Harry grumbled. "And there is a different between naming a child after a flower and sporting equipment."
"Fine, let's name the baby if it is a girl nasturtium. Her nickname could be Nasty!" January snapped, if the two had not been so stressed, tired and well we could say it pissy and actually stepped back from the situation they would be laughing their heads off at the conversation.
"Why do you have to make everything so damn difficult?" Harry snapped.
"Why do you have to make everything so damn ridiculous?" January countered his question. Harry stopped looking January in his bed. He turned and moved to the closet. "Where do you think you are going?"
Harry turned only slightly. "I am going out, and watch this." He tapped the side of his head and in a magical instant his outfit changed from the blue cotton pajama set to a sweater, pants and a thick cloak. "Yeah, I used magic and I bet you the name Thatcher that it had no affect on you at all."
He turned on his feet and left the premises and then flooed away to Diagon Alley.
So he remained there for the better part of the night, walking about the Alley and its random tangent alleyways. He barely noticed the different alleyways, which direction and any witch or wizard he might have passed. The hours continued into pass and the pain of Harry's feet continued into a dull ache to a piercing pain.
When he finally stopped he was standing in front of the Leaky Cauldron. It was still early morning and the bar had closed for the night, but Harry knew it was only for a few moments more so Tom could catch a few hours of sleep between the nighttime rush and morning breakfast orders.
So he sat, and waited on the cobble stone curb, until the barman came whistling up the street, surprised to find Harry Potter sitting at his bar-stoop.
"Mr. Potter can I get you a drink?" Tom said placing the cup he had been drying onto the bar. "Anything at all?"
"Tom have you ever dealt with a pregnant woman?" Harry asked.
"Um, no Mr. Potter I have not had the pleasure." The barman said and Harry laughed at the man's veiled attempt to appease Harry.
"Really it is no pleasure." Harry said. "Trust me."
Then Harry went into great detail about his last few weeks retelling his personal hell of the different classes, the stupid room, and the baby names. It was with every passing story, and each pressing minute that Tom listened like a good barman should, but also his smile grew.
It was after Harry finished talking that he looked at Tom for a response. "Mr. Potter, I don't know if you understand the life of a barman or ever thought what it would be like."
"No, I guess you could say I haven't." Harry grimaced at the poor man who probably sat through dozens of different chaps each day complaining for hours about their pitiful life. "I'm sorry; I never thought to stop talking."
Tom let out a laugh. "Merlin, no, I absolutely love my job. I have heard story after story and I have to tell you, customer stories are like fingerprints one is never like the other."
Harry still was confused.
"But sometimes there are threads a bit similar. Have I ever told you that your father used to frequent this bar; in fact you are sitting about three stools down from the one you are sitting in. And he used to come here from time to time. I remember one unique story. He was freshly married to your mother, maybe six months after the wedding, I provided the drinks mind you, and they had just had a doctor's visit." Tom smiled, as if he was reliving the memory. "Your mother had wanted to keep the gender a surprise but your father had really wanted to know. So he and Sirius managed to sneak into the doctor's office, swindle a nurse to leave the chart unattended and James peaked at the sex. Well at the same moment your mother had actually returned to the office because she wanted to know as well and surprise your father. Well there was a huge row, and your father had come to vent his frustrations and feelings of inadequacy just as you have been doing."
Harry smiled at the story of his parents.
"Was that the only time he came?" Harry asked.
"Merlin's balls no, he came multiple times before you were born, needing a place to escape for a few hours to unload his stress. But no matter the night, no matter the fight, he always returned back to your mum. So what I am trying to say Harry is that life can be hard but there is always something better behind the hard parts."
"I don't know." Harry said shaking his head.
"Do you love this girl Harry?" Tom asked in a fatherly tone.
"Are you going to be the best damn father to this child?" Tom asked and the look in Harry's eyes confirmed the positive answer but Harry nodded yes. "Well, boy you have had your time, get back to your girl and make it right."
So after the barman pep-talk, Harry left the bar and returned to number 12 Grimmald place to find the house completely empty. His fiancé, his unborn child and his house-elf was no longer in his house. "January?" Harry called hoping his echo would be returned. "Are you home?"
After thoroughly checking the house, he flooed over to the Malfoy townhouse. "MALFOY!" He bellowed into the house and he only heard a scurry of feet hit the tile floor. One of the many house-elves came rushing to the fireplace.
"Master Potter, the master and mistress has been looking for you." Teekhee the house-elf responded. "There was such a scream coming from your house earlier. Mistress Bristow needed a healer right away."
Harry stopped listening and directly apparated to the Healer's office at St. Mungos. The maternity ward always seemed like an ordered chaos whenever Harry and January went for a visit and appointment. Healers and nurses were rushing in all different directions while frantic witches and wizards screamed for attention.
And Harry vowed during their fourth month visit, that he would not be that wizard. "MY NAME IS HARRY POTTER, MY FIANCE IS HAVING MY BABY!" Harry yelled at the receptionist who simply smiled at the outburst.
"Sir, please calm down." She calmly took out her chart and allowed Harry a moment to collect his wits.
"I'm sorry, but I just found out she came here." Harry said trying to calm his heart rate. "Her name is Dr. January Bristow and I'-
"Yes Mr. Potter, January is doing quite fine. Here let me show you to her suite-recovery room." The medi-nurse smiled and walked through a pair of doors and he soon was engulfed in a completely different atmosphere. This wing was incredibly quiet, no screams except the quiet wail of a hungry baby or the coo of a happy proud family member.
After another turn, Harry was surrounded by Twyla, Sawyer, Martin, Narcissa and Kreacher. "HARRY!"
Before he responded to any of their calls, he rushed into the room to find January resting on the bed with a baby cuddled to her chest. Their eyes connected and all that was said, and all that had happened was forgiven, forgotten and Harry forged ahead to her bedside and kissed her soundly on the lips.
"I'm so sorry." Harry said nuzzling her cheek. January kissed his forehead and gave him a dazzling smile.
"You better be," She teased pulling at his heartstrings. "I just want you to know for punishment I named our son Thatcher."
"Truly January, we could name him Darwin Bludger Stuart." Harry said softly caressing the sleeping child's head with his palm. "January, he is beautiful."
"I wouldn't say beautiful, no he is more handsome a dashing young man, now his sister. She is a gorgeous little beauty." January said and at that moment Draco coughed and Astoria was holding another infant in her arms. She walked forward and placed the second baby in Harry's waiting arms.
The pink swaddled baby stirred gently in Harry's arms. "A girl? Is she ours as well?"
"Well I should think so Potter, your wife did push her out." Draco joked and he soon received a smack to the side of his head from his wife. Astoria had been tearing up at the happy family moment.
"What's her name?" Harry asked ignoring his friend's comment and then his whine. January smiled at her husband.
"Well after you left I thought long and hard about our last argument. You liked flower names, and I wanted a name that wasn't common. You were right. Her name is Calla, it means beautiful flower, and I thought it was perfect to honor your mother." Harry turned his face away to look down at his daughter; he pulled the pink blanket back a bit and caught a glimpse at her blondish red hair.
"Calla and Thatcher Potter." Harry said sitting down on the bed next to his fiancé.
Harry felt peace.
He felt happiness.
He felt complete.
So wow, I know this chapter was definitely not what the chapters are normally but I was finally able to get it out, and down on paper. I think I attempted this epilogue possibly sixty different ways these past few months. You have to forgive me, but I have had a lot of things happen, 1. Trip to England for two weeks. 2. Crashed and totaled my Subaru on the highway at 75 miles an hour, survived with just a few bruises. 3. Graduated college, hells yes. 4. And now I finally was able to get this out and finished.
Just another thing to check off my list.
I hope you all are happy with the turn out. I was going to try a future chapter, but it was disgusting. Focus on a Weasley moment then back to Harry but it didn't seem right. But whatever happened, it is done and over.
I really enjoyed all the support and praise. This goes out to you guys.