Chapter 42 – Epilogue:
"Why did I buy him a mobile phone if he isn't going to answer it?" Hermione said to herself in frustration. She closed her phone and placed it back in her pocket. She waddled (she was that big, so she waddled), through the piles of boxes and books, cursing her husband for the fifth time that day.
The first time she rued the day she married him was when she woke up this morning and he was already gone. He knew she wanted help setting up her library in the new house today! Hermione told him that last night! Yet, he was gone.
The second time she rued the day she married him was when she was taking a shower, and she looked down at her massive stomach. She actually said, "I hate you, Draco Malfoy."
The third time was when her back started hurting. Not that, that was his fault, really, but she still blamed him. She was using magic to move around most of the boxes, but she still needed good old-fashion muscle to put things right, move them back around, and arrange them just so, and her 'muscle' was missing.
The fourth time was when she tried to call him the first time to tell him that she had now been up and about for four hours, and where the hell was he?
Now was the fifth.
She knew it was a mistake to move to the new house so close to the due date of their baby, but Draco insisted. He said he didn't want his child to come home to the little cottage and think it had been born into poverty. His parents let them 'borrow' (actually, they gave them) two house elves to help with the move, but also to live with them permanently. Hermione wasn't thrilled with that thought. The new house really was a blessing. They were very lucky to find this big house. It was very close to her parents, a large Victoria house, completely refurbished, with two front parlors, (Draco called them 'his' and 'hers',) a library, a den, a dining room, a kitchen, a breakfast room, a maids quarters, (for the elves!) and five bedrooms. Best of all, four wonderful bathrooms. The first thing Draco did when they moved in was to go to each bathroom and flush each toilet.
He gave her the library, saying, "Why would I need a library?" and he took the finished third floor for his "playroom". She gave him a black leather couch for a house warming present. He was so happy and indebted one would have thought she gave him a lifesaving kidney or something. He decorated the top floor just like her father's basement den. She wanted to laugh. He even did it in the same colors.
She tried his phone again. It just rang. It didn't even go to 'voice mail'. She already sent an owl. She couldn't call around on the floo, because they weren't hooked up yet. She could owl his parents to ask if they knew where he was, but she would rather not. While her relationship with them had become much warmer over the last few months, she still tried to avoid them whenever she could. She only dealt with them when Draco was around. Hermione needed Draco as a buffer, a sort of 'Lucius and Narcissa' protector. Like a sneeze guard around a salad bar. Draco was Hermione's sneeze guard when it came to dealing with his parents.
She really needed him to help her unpack! She had a lot of books, and it was tiring trying to alphabetize them by herself. Oh, whom was she kidding? He probably thought Q came before P. Usually, Hermione wasn't so anal about her books, but she knew she needed to become more organized with a baby on the way.
Their baby was due in just three weeks. They elected not to know the sex. She really didn't care and she had a feeling Draco didn't either. They just wanted a healthy baby. Hermione had many complications during the pregnancy, due to her diabetes, but Draco had been so wonderful and helpful.
Maybe she should call Harry and report Draco missing. She didn't really think he was, but Harry didn't have to know that. He could send out the Aurors to find him. Maybe Harry would come over and help her? No, Draco would have a fit if he knew she called Harry for help.
Where was he? What if she were in labour!
She did have a persistent pain in her lower back, but she was probably just overdoing things. The pain was slightly disturbing, though. Surely, it wasn't labour. It was a small, albeit, continual pain. Hermione stopped moving books with her wand and thought about things for a moment. The pain started last night. It continued, at irregular intervals, since then. Now, it was more consistent. Oh no. No, please.
Hermione was in labour. She was having back pain, she was a Healer, and she knew some women only had back pain in the beginning stages of labour. With her phone clutched tightly in her hand, she walked up to the nursery where she kept her bag packed, and tried his phone again, though there was still no answer. She really hated him! Well, she really loved him, but she hated that he wouldn't answer his phone. What should she do? She stood there, pondering her options when the unthinkable happened. Her water broke and went all over the new hardwood floors. She stood there, wet and scared, and decided to call Harry. If Draco became angry because she called Harry that would be his problem. She was about to hit speed dial, (Harry was number two), when the phone rang. She looked at the caller ID and it was Draco.
She answered and said, "Draco, come home."
"Have you been calling me, wifey-poo?" he asked, ignoring her previous order to 'come home'.
"Draco!" she said frantically, "I have been trying to call you all day! Where have you been?" She wanted to tell him that she tried to call him all day because she was in labour, and while she really might have been in labour all day, she originally started calling him to help her unpack. She was in labour now, so she tried to finish her sentence with that very thing, but he interrupted.
"I had a lot of errands to do. Things to buy, people to see." He laughed. "Do you like the color blue?"
"What?" she asked. She looked down at the mess on the floor. She would clean it up, but she half hoped it would ruin the floors and he would have to replace them.
"Blue, do you like blue? I'm here at the car dealership. I'm buying you a blue car. I won't tell you what kind, but I think you'll like it," he boasted.
"Draco, stop talking and listen to me, I have been calling you all day," she began.
Before she could say another word he interrupted again, "I know, I saw that, but the thing is, I really have been busy and I know you just called me to help with your blasted library, and seriously Hermione, that's what those big eared creatures called elves are for, just have them do it," he said.
She wanted to cry.
"That is why I called you at first, but now…," she started to explain again, when once again he interrupted.
"I went to the store earlier and got some strawberries. They looked really nice, and they were buy one get one free," he said. "Maybe tonight we can have some with some sparkling apple juice, and christen the new library. What do you say?" he asked.
"Draco, I don't care about strawberries, please, focus for a moment, and listen to me," she stated.
"I thought you liked strawberries," he said.
"Oh God Help ME!" she said to herself, but aloud. "Draco Malfoy, shut up for a moment," she said.
"There's no need to be rude," he said. "By the way, will you check the icebox and see if we need milk? I think the milk I had earlier was stale. I'll wait on the line until you come back." He smiled at the car salesman and said to him, "It will just be a moment, she'll be right back. I think she'll like the blue car." He waited a moment longer and then said, "Granger, are you there?"
"Hermione?" he asked.
Still no answer.
"Did you hang up on me?" he asked. When she didn't answer, he assumed she did. "That was rude," Draco said. He looked at the car salesman and said, "Since she was rude and hung up on me, I think I'll get her the green car instead."
Hermione hung up on Draco, and then called Harry. She had started to cry. She knew that Draco hated when she cried anyway, and Harry was always sympathetic when she cried. She was still standing in the water when he answered.
"Harry Potter," he said.
"Harry, I'm in labour and Draco's being a prat," she said in a rush.
"I'll be right there."
Draco's phone rang as he was in the market getting milk. He almost didn't answer, but decided he should.
"Hello?" Draco said.
"Draco, it's Harry," he said.
"I know who you are. I programmed your name to come up on the phone. Well, actually, I programmed it to say 'Scarhead', but that's you. I put 'wifey poo' for Hermione, Dad number two for Hermione's dad, Mum number two for Hermione's mum, and my parents refuse to get a phone, but if they ever do, I'll enter them as Mother and Father. That isn't very interesting, is it?" Draco said, as he realized he was rambling.
Harry hung up.
"Potter?" Draco asked. "Are you there? Did you hang up on me, too? Why is everyone so rude these days?"
Draco arrived home three hours later. It was after seven pm. He gave the groceries to the little elves and asked them where Mrs. Malfoy was. The big-eared buggers didn't know. He went all around the downstairs, calling her name. He went to her library. It wasn't even set up yet and that was her whole goal today. He would come back down and set it right for her. She was probably upstairs resting.
He went up the stairs, calling her name. "Granger? I have a surprise for you! I need you go come downstairs, and then outside to the drive!" He looked in their room and bathroom. No wife. He frowned.
He went right to the nursery, where he proceeded to slip and fall in what appeared to be water all over the new, hard wood floors. He examined the liquid on his hands as he lay on his back, in the water, and that was when he saw a note written to him on the ceiling, of all places.
It read: "Draco Malfoy you are a prat. I tried to call you all day. I have been in labour ALL DAY! When you finally called me back, all you wanted to talk about was cars and strawberries. You would not even let me speak. By the time you read this your child will probably be born, and may even be walking and talking, with no help from you. PS/ My water broke and that is what you slipped in, you arse. Love, Hermione."
Draco ran to the information desk at St. Mungo's, but before he could inquire about his wife, his father ran up to him.
"Where in the blazes have you been?" Lucius bellowed.
"I am so sorry!" Draco said. "I just needed a day to myself," he tried to explain.
"Yes, well, while you were off being by yourself, your wife went into labour! She already had the baby!" Lucius scolded.
"But Hermione's not due for three more weeks!' Draco said.
"Well the baby is part Granger, so it has a mind of its own apparently," Lucius returned.
"Are they okay?" Draco asked anxiously.
"Do you care?" Lucius asked.
"Father! You know I do!" Draco yelled.
"Then go see for yourself! Your wife won't let anyone see the child until you see it!" Lucius said. "I have been a grandfather for almost an hour, and I can't even see my own grandchild."
As Lucius and Draco ran down the hall, Draco asked, "Is it a boy or girl?"
"Good question! She won't tell us that either. She said that you have to know first. Only bloody Potter knows," Lucius said as they got on the lifts.
"Harry knows?" Draco asked.
"Yes, Son, because that stupid man went in the delivery room with her, because she said, and I quote, 'Draco is out buying strawberries,' end quote," Lucius said.
Draco began to bang his head upon the wall of the lift. Lucius decided to leave him alone. Maybe it would knock some sense into him. When they exited the lifts, Lucius took his son's arm. He said, "Draco, I hate being so hard on you, but you're a man now, not a boy. You need to learn to take care of things. You have a wife and a child that needs you. You have to put their needs before your own. A day to yourself is no longer in the cards, is that understood?"
"Yes, Father," Draco said. He wanted to tell his old man that if he wanted Draco to act like an adult, Lucius should treat him like one, but he knew his father had a point.
Lucius held out his hand and said, "By the way, congratulations on becoming a father."
Draco shook his hand and said, "Congratulations on becoming a grandfather."
They walked to the lobby, and Draco almost felt ashamed. Everyone was there for her, her parents, his parents, all of the Weasleys, even Ron and Pansy, who had gotten remarried just last month. All of them were there, but him.
Harry walked out of a room across the hall and said, "Oh, Malfoy, Hermione's in there," and he held open the door.
Draco started in the room and held out his hand. "Thank you, Harry."
Harry knocked Draco's hand away, which shocked Draco. Then, Harry grabbed the other man in a tight embrace and said, "That's what friends are for, Malfoy."
Draco patted Harry's back, and as they parted, Draco said, "Well, then, thanks for being a good friend to Hermione."
"You stupid git, I meant I was being your friend." Harry patted his arm twice and held the door open for him. Draco walked inside.
Hermione sat up in the bed, holding a bald little baby wrapped in a white blanket, next to her chest. She smiled at Draco and said, "I'm sorry about the nasty note on the ceiling. I tried to accio my last Justin poster to put up there with it, just for spite, but I didn't have time. Look at the beautiful baby we had."
He sat down on the bed and touched the baby's little round head with his finger. "It's beautiful. It's bald. It's so much better than strawberries." Hermione laughed and he smiled. "May I hold it?" he asked.
"But of course. You are the father," she said with a yawn.
He took the little baby in his arms and said, "Its little arm is the size of my thumb!"
"Ah huh," she said with another yawn. She lay back on the pillow and closed her eyes.
"Granger, I'm sorry I wasn't there. I was being selfish. I didn't want to help you with your library today, and I wanted one last day of freedom, a day to myself, before fatherhood was thrust upon me. I'm so sorry I wasn't there. I can't believe I missed the birth."
"It all happened so fast," she said, opening her eyes. "To tell you the truth, I was calling all day because I wanted you to help me with the library. It's true I was in labour as well, but I was in denial. I'm a terrible Healer. I can't even tell when I'm in labour." She put her hand on his arm and said, "No more apologies. You're here now."
Draco again said, "No hair at all on its little head, I swear."
"That's probably a good sign, because I've seen your baby pictures, and you were bald until age two, and I was born with a mop of dark curls," she said. "So maybe it will have your hair someday."
"I heard you wouldn't let anyone see it yet," he said. He swayed the baby in his arms back and forth, as he sat beside her on the bed. "You didn't even tell them the gender. My father is fit to be tied."
"Well, I thought that you should see it first, and know the gender first. I'm sorry that Harry had to know before you. Are you angry?" she asked. He leaned over and kissed her lips sweetly. She said, "Don't squish the baby."
He laughed as he sat back up and said, "Seriously, I'm glad old Scarhead was there." He looked back down at the baby and said, "It's pretty. Just like you. It has such a round head."
"It must get that from your side of the family," she said and laughed.
"Your mummy is so funny," Draco said in a high-pitched voice to the baby.
Hermione said, "I want to sleep now. You take the baby to the lobby and show it off, okay?" She shut her eyes again.
He ignored her for a while and continued to hold the little one. He looked back over to Hermione and said, "Well, little baby, Mummy is tired, and I guess she deserves to sleep. You would think she just gave birth or something." He stood up from the bed, but leaned back over and kissed her forehead. "Thank You, Granger. This is the most 'perfecter' present ever."
She opened her eyes again and said, "Don't you mean 'perfectest'?"
"Now, Granger, you know that's not a word. Let's not start baby off on the wrong foot. We don't want it to go around saying made up words like 'perfectest' or 'artful'." That was the word she used to describe his lying all those months ago on their first weekend together, and he thought it was a 'made up' word back then.
Hermione sighed, said, "I love you so much, Draco," and she closed her eyes again, and this time, she really went to sleep.
He went to sit in a chair by the bed and said, "You could never love me as much as I love you, Hermione. You are both the perfectest presents a man could ever have."
He continued to rock the baby back and forth, knowing that he would have to share it with the rest of the family soon. That was when he realized something. He didn't even know the sex yet! "Hey, little one, is your name to be Cygnus or Aquilla? I don't even know if you're a boy or a girl yet. How dare you not reveal that to me." He unwrapped the little receiving blanket, and lifted the little gown. "I am sorry, son or daughter, but your mummy is asleep so this is the one way for me to find out. The embarrassment won't last long." He undid the little nappy and took a quick look. "Ah, I thought so. I thought you looked like a…"
A/N I: I am laughing hysterically here! I have to live up to my title of 'queen of the cliffhangers'. Oh, wait; this is the last chapter, isn't it? How will I ever reveal the gender to you all? I wonder. Oh, well, Thanks!
A/N II: Fine, stop complaining. It is a boy, Cygnus Abraxas Malfoy. So there.
Thanks to my beta for this story…Oliverwoodgirl!!