Disclaimer: I do not own anything from the Harry Potter Universe.
Many thanks to my beta Aerileigh, who was more than patient with me as I ripped my hair out over this epilogue (one of the hardest chapters I've ever had to write for this story).
Ginny cringed, squeezing Draco's hand as the Healer told her to push. Her mind was in a hazy fog of pain, and she felt as if her body was being torn to bits. Deliriously, she wondered if her baby was coming out with Ron's head. But the thought was pushed from her mind when another contraction hit her, and the Healer yelled at her to push. She wondered if perhaps she could stretch her hands out and strangle the black-haired woman but decided the exertion might be the death of her.
"We just need one more push, Mrs. Malfoy," Healer Partridge cried excitedly.
With fierce determination, Ginny squeezed Draco's hand and pushed, getting a slight feeling of satisfaction as an expression of pain flashed across Draco's face. After all, she had not gotten herself pregnant; he had taken part in that joyous occasion as well. But he wasn't the one who was pushing something the size of a Quaffle out of a hole the size of a Snitch. And she hadn't seen him vomiting every morning, giving up flying, growing cankles, or anything else dealing with pregnancy, for that matter.
She pushed, her upper body rising off the bed and a scream exiting her mouth. There was a sheen of sweat on her skin, and she knew her hair was plastered to her forehead, but she couldn't care less. The only important thing was for her baby to come out healthy. So she pushed and pushed, the pain coursing through her—familiar pain. And worry began to overcome Ginny as her eyes got heavy.
Suddenly, a cry permeated the air. Ginny's eyes flew open, and tears slid down her cheek as she saw the red baby in the Healer's hands. Its tiny fists were clenched on its chest, body curled up, head moving back and forth with the force of unrestrained wails. In that moment, the tears began to fall, and Ginny wanted nothing more than to hold her little baby.
"Congratulations, Mrs. Malfoy," the Healer said. "You have a healthy baby boy."
Ginny let out a sigh of relief as she saw the Healer walk away with the baby to clean him up. The Healer briefly told them she had to perform the usual tests to make sure the baby was responding correctly, and Ginny rested her head on her pillow as an achy tiredness settled into her bones. Her eyes automatically sought out Draco's, and she gave him a watery smile.
"You did it," Draco murmured, placing a kiss on her temple.
"Mmm, we did it," she said quietly, eyes drooping slowly. "Now I'm tired. Remind me to not go into labor in the middle of the night again. It's far too exhausting."
Draco chuckled, wiping away the hair in her eyes. "Next time? I clearly recall that on the way in here, you promised I wouldn't be able to step within ten feet of you naked."
"I also told you I would castrate you," Ginny said airily. "If you're going to take everything I said to heart, don't forget that particular sentiment."
Ginny didn't remain awake long enough to hear Draco's retort. Her eyelids closed slowly, the weight of the labor alleviated as she fell into a restful sleep. Her last thought before she drifted off into a peaceful slumber was that she should never go to a ball when eight months pregnant. She didn't doubt the fact that the dancing and subsequent activity after the ball had induced her labor—and caused her sleepiness.
Ginny awoke groggily, a hand reaching up to rub the tiredness out of her eyes. She listened for any sounds of her baby, a brief flash of worry coursing through her. But she knew that Draco would never allow anything to happen to their child or leave her alone. She tried to turn her head to see if he was next to her, but her body ached in so many places. It was apparent that the Healers thought the sleep would help to ease the soreness. Again, she entertained the thought of strangling Healer Partridge, the Healer who had been dealing with her pregnancy since its earliest stages.
Once more, she struggled to turn her head, managing to move it a fraction—an unhelpful fraction. A rush of air left her mouth as she grumbled discontentedly under her breath. Finally, she decided the best course of action would be to summon her husband to her side, and she nearly hit herself for not thinking of that first.
She heard rustling before Draco's face appeared above her, sleep still in his eyes. Ginny longed to run her hands through his hair, but her inability to move without feeling stabbing needles in her body prevented her from doing so.
"Where is he?"
"They took him to the nursery to have his first feeding. Healer Partridge thought it best to leave you to get some rest," Draco said, running a finger down her cheek. "How are you feeling?"
"Like I got hit by the Knight Bus," Ginny replied with a sigh. "But I want to see the baby before I take anything that will make me sleepy."
"I'll go get Healer Partridge," Draco said. He kissed her lightly on the lips. "I love you."
"I love you too," Ginny said quietly.
She struggled to sit up, and by the time she managed the feat, Draco was entering the room with Healer Partridge, a bassinet slowly moving in front of her. Ginny barely listened as the Healer listed off post-pregnancy effects; her concentration was so focused on the bassinet and the small bundle inside it.
"Why don't I come back later?" Healer Partridge left the room, pausing briefly at the door to say, "Congratulations again, Mrs. Malfoy."
Ginny turned a questioning gaze on Draco, eyes brimming with unshed tears. "Can I hold him?"
"You don't need to ask, love," Draco murmured. He gently lifted the baby from the bassinet and brought him to her. "Ginny, I'd like you to meet our son."
Slowly, she raised her arms and took him from Draco, being careful not to jostle the tiny baby. A feeling she could hardly describe encompassed her, and her heart felt like it would burst with all the emotions surging through her. This was the experience she wanted the most: to hold her baby in her arms with Draco, her husband, standing next to her, a soft expression of contentment on his face.
Her tiny bundle of joy was wrapped in a green blanket with the Malfoy crest emblazoned upon it, and she realized that Narcissa must have been here. She had knitted the very Slytherin-esque blanket for the child, citing her feeling that the baby would be a boy even though she didn't know for sure. Draco and Ginny had wanted the gender to be a surprise.
Ginny ran a finger down the baby's cheek, watching as his eyes slowly opened—dark, inquisitive eyes. His body twisted in her arms, and she loosened the blanket, instinctively knowing he didn't like the restraint. A tiny fist rose from his side and pressed against her hand before unfurling to grab her finger. She felt his soft skin wrapped around her finger and smiled a watery smile.
"Hello there, darling," she murmured. "And what shall we name you?"
"Alexander," Draco stated, sitting on her bed. "I remember you liked that name."
"Yes, Alexander. How do you feel about that name?" she asked, gently waving the little baby's hand back and forth. When he cooed, she laughed softly. "I think you like it."
"Alexander Malfoy," Draco said proudly.
"No, Alexander Lucius Malfoy." Ginny smiled up at Draco. "I've always liked your father."
"Are you aiming to make my father cry?" asked Draco, gratefulness coming off him in waves.
"I have always wondered if his tear ducts were functioning," Ginny said seriously.
Draco chuckled. "I love you."
"I love you too." Ginny leaned over, careful not to crush Alexander, and kissed Draco. "Now, where is our family?"
"I'll go get them."
Hours later, Ginny opened her eyes to find Draco sleeping with Serena on his lap. Alexander was not in sight, and she began to worry, eyes darting around the room. But she spotted Lucius with Alexander in his arms by the window, pointing to the sun rising in the distance. She strained to hear him as he whispered to the little boy.
"This is your first sunrise, Alexander Lucius." Colorful rays of pink, red and orange shone in front of them, casting a glow around Lucius and Alexander. "I hope I get to enjoy many sunrises with you in the future, little one."
"I'm sure you will," Ginny murmured.
Lucius turned around, a slight hint of concern on his face. "Did I wake you?"
"No," Ginny said with a sleepy smile, sitting up on the bed. "I think the pain relief potion has worn off."
He brought Alexander to her, placing the baby in her arms. "I should get home. Narcissa will begin to worry."
"Tell her I said hello," Ginny replied, her gaze rising from Alexander to Lucius. "I hope you don't mind all the attention you got last night."
"I love being the center of attention," Lucius said before placing a small kiss on her forehead, eyes shining. "I am honored that you chose to make Alexander my namesake. I will see you in the evening."
"Goodbye," Ginny called as he left the room. She looked down at wide-eyed Alexander. "Your grandfather has tear ducts after all."
"Ginny?" Draco woke up, concern in his eyes. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," she whispered. He smiled at her, one of his true smiles that reached his eyes. "What?"
"I am truly happy, Mrs. Malfoy," Draco said softly, adjusting the seven-year-old on his lap. "I couldn't imagine my life turning out any differently."
"Keep that in mind during my post-pregnancy months," Ginny said with a smile. She gestured to her body and said, "This won't be going back to its former glory days soon."
Draco chuckled. "You look beautiful everyday."
"Oh and let's not forget the no-sex rule," Ginny said with a sly grin.
"The no-what rule?" Draco's face paled. "I thought that was a joke."
Ginny laughed. "I love you, Draco."
Draco shook his head, seemingly still in shock. "Yes, love, I love you too. But no sex?"
Well, that is it folks. The road ends here. I've finally completed Buttercup after nearly two years.
I would like to extend a special thanks to all those who have been on this long journey with me from the beginning. You have been most patient and kind. To all those who joined us along the way, many thanks to you as well for even bothering, especially when sometimes it seemed like I had abandoned my duties to this story.
To my faithful reviewers who reviewed every single chapter, you've been far too kind to me. So thank you.
Again, to Aerileigh, many, many, many thanks.
I hope you have all enjoyed this story as much as I have enjoyed writing it (most of the times).