Part One: Draco's Birthday
Astoria could feel Daphne's irritation radiating out at her. It made Astoria feel like a little girl rather than a fully grown glamorous and elegant woman that the world idolized and envied. No, leave it to her big sister to make her feel horrible. "I don't get how you could gain weight so quickly in a month," muttered Daphne.
Daphne had designed beautiful dresses for Astoria's upcoming concert tour which was opening in just the following night. The gown that Astoria was wearing was made out of luscious blue silk, even though Daphne preferred green. The top was fitted with the skirt floating away from Astoria's body, putting curves where she lacked. It was sleeveless as most of her gowns were because it made easier for her perform. "It's like your breast are inflating," declared Daphne.
Astoria felt the heat of her cheeks as she blushed. "They have not!" she countered defensively. The mirror clearly agreed with her sister.
"Marriage makes a woman fat," sighed Daphne. "It's almost tragic."
Astoria fumed, "It does not!" Her sister gave her a surprised glance. Astoria was close to tears, which wasn't like her. She wasn't one to normally get riled up by Daphne's teasing. She quickly amended, "I'm sorry. I'm just so tired with the show and everything. I've also been not feeling well. Not really sick though."
"Your husband is also keeping you up at night," added Daphne.
"No, he's away on one of his consulting trips," said Astoria. "He's coming back today."
"Maybe, you should skip your afternoon rehearsal, Astoria," recommended Daphne with concern. "You do look a bit peaky." She decided not to mention what she thought about her sister's husband being away while she wasn't feeling well. Daphne despised her brother-in-law and considered him a waste of space.
Astoria firmly shook her head. "No," she insisted. She was a professional after all. "Just get me out of this gown. The sooner I can breathe, the better I'll feel."
"Very well," agreed Daphne.
Astoria waited as Daphne unlatched and untied the back. "What contraption have you trapped me in? Honestly, Daphne."
"It's beautiful and interesting," said Daphne.
Astoria would have said something else, but she was feeling lightheaded. She almost swayed. This time Daphne was really worried, "You should go to a healer."
Astoria shook her head again, "No, I don't need a healer. I told you the dress was too tight."
Daphne said, "You're not supposed to nearly faint after you're out of it."
Astoria glared at her. "I'm fine," she further insisted. She added, "Don't tell Draco. He'll be worse than you and you're bad enough." She even smiled, but that didn't make her sister worry any less.
Draco Malfoy was a complicated man. He was almost twenty-five years old and the husband of Astoria for almost two years. Whilst theirs was an arranged marriage, they grew to love each other, despite Draco's utmost reluctance. Draco was feeling guilty about hiding a growing secret from her. What had started as a fluke had grow into something more.
Draco sat at a makeshift office in a large, cavernous warehouse. He drew out plans, blueprints for the space. He had a lot of plans to make and he wasn't far from home as he implied to his wife. Telling Astoria, rather vaguely that he'd be unreachable was true, but he hadn't mentioned that he was still in England. He wasn't in a part of London one would expect to find him.
He got up and stretched a bit. This was an enormous undertaking. He went outside. It was early June. His birthday was tomorrow. His wife had a concert that night, but that was fine with him. He was thinking about the rough year they had had. Draco worried about Astoria's health. She had had a miscarriage and had almost withdrawn from everyone. She was only twenty-three and they still had more than enough time to have a family. At least that's what Draco thought. He liked having her all to himself at home. Their overbearing relatives were bad enough.
However, Astoria did want a baby, almost from the start. Draco couldn't deny her anything she really wanted, so he had agreed to see a specialist at St. Mungo's about four months ago. The appointment had been awkward and invasive. It ended at home in a fun, rainy afternoon.
After that Astoria had work to do with her music. Draco was glad to see her happy again. He thought that she had a glow about her lately. He hadn't seen her in a few days. He missed her when he was apart from her. Draco decided to wrap up his business and go home early. He could do more planning and be in the company of his wife.
Draco returned home to the townhouse they lived in since they were married. It belonged to the Malfoys. It had been Draco's residence since he was seventeen. Astoria brought some feminine touches. She had potted lilies that she had devoted her energy to after the miscarriage. They had talked about getting their house, but hadn't been serious.
Much to Draco's surprise, he found Astoria napping at the sofa. She had looked exhausted. "Astoria," he called her.
Astoria woke with a start, "Wha? I'm awake. I was just resting my eyes."
Draco started laughing, "It's me, Tori." He was the only one who called her that.
"You're early," she said as she got up to give him a proper welcome. She kissed him with her full lips. He embraced her. Normally it wouldn't hurt, but she winced.
Draco pulled away from her when he noticed that she had stiffened. "Are you all right? I didn't mean to hug you so hard. Sorry."
"No, I'm fine," Astoria quickly reassured her husband with a smile. "My breasts are a bit tender."
Draco said, "Hmm…I'm not complaining."
"Hey, eyes up here, mate," chided Astoria, noticing his line of vision. "They're swollen."
"Still not complaining." He grinned as he looked at her face. "It's not like you to nap in the middle of the day, love." He didn't want to probe her thoughts, but he knew when she was lying.
"I'm fine," insisted Astoria firmly.
Draco frowned. "If you're not well, maybe you should postpone the performance," he said.
"Why are you so stubborn?"
"I'm just tired. There's loads to do and everything's almost ready."
Draco knew how stubborn Astoria could be. She was a Ravenclaw in school, so he tried a more logical argument, "Tori, there's no point in you working so hard before your performance if you'll be too tried by them."
"If you hadn't snuck home early, I would have been refreshed by the time you were here," she said as she tried to stifle a yawn.
"I live have," pointed out Draco rather sharply.
Astoria's eyes started to tear up again. Why was she was so teary? Draco was startled by it. "Sorry," he whispered. "I'm just worried. You don't look well, Tori." It had done the opposite and made her burst into tears.
"It's not going well," she admitted as he brushed a tear away. "I'm tired and scared about how it will go. Daphne's mad at me because the dresses aren't fitting right. I'll be fine once it's done. I just want to know that I can do it."
"You're the best," Draco firmly reminded her. "You don't have to be nervous. Your album is selling wonderfully. I just don't want you to work yourself to exhaustion. Now, why don't we take a nap? I could use one, too."
Astoria nodded. She leaned into him softly.
"You hardly complain," he continued. "I was starting to think you were like one of those blind, dutiful wives. I'm happy you're not."
Astoria looked up at him. She smiled, shaking her head, "I love you, too."
Draco smirked a bit and said, "And I love you." He kissed the top of her forehead the top to of her breast, "And you." Finally the other one, "And you."
"I could smother you with a pillow in your sleep, Draco," joked Astoria with mock annoyance.
"You can't. My birthday's tomorrow," laughed Draco.
"Fine, the day after tomorrow," laughed Astoria.
So far Draco had had a fantastic birthday. Astoria seemed recovered from the previous day's fatigue and they enjoyed a leisurely morning in bed. The morning was drawn out in the shower and back in bed until around eleven. By noon, Astoria had insisted it was time to get out of the house.
Draco had to drop in on his parents because his mother wanted to see him. He supposed his father also wanted to see him. Draco came during lunch. He didn't really want to go to his childhood home. He filled with apprehension as he crossed the threshold.
"Mother!" he called out. "Hello?"
"Draco," said his mother as she came up to him. "Happy Birthday." She gave him a hug and a kiss.
Draco's parents were very interested in grandchildren. He thought he was too young for children despite people his age reproducing on what seemed a whim to him. He found the prospect terrifying and overwhelming. His mother was more interested than his father. He had to listen to her at length on the subject.
In truth, Draco was supposed to have gotten married sooner. Astoria and he were engaged for three years. However she went to the Wizarding Academy of the Dramatic Arts, and Draco indulged his wanderlust for those three years. Because theirs was an arranged marriage, Draco had held off physical intimacy until Astoria was comfortable. Also, he had hoped to have it annulled in the beginning, but fell in love with his wife. His parents weren't aware of the early part of their marriage.
"You know who had a baby recently?" asked his mother.
Draco rarely kept up with the reproductive lives of others, much less his own. "Who?" he drawled.
"Harry and Ginny Potter. They had a boy," replied his mother.
"That's nice," said Draco blandly.
"More Potters and Weasleys in this world. We're seriously out numbered," said his father.
Draco sighed. His father getting in on the action wasn't good. "Why don't you two adopt a grandchild and leave me be?" His parents didn't tell this Astoria. They didn't put any pressure on her, especially with the loss of the first pregnancy. Draco was willing to take it as long as they left his wife alone.
"Astoria is ready," said his mother. It had been her who had helped Astoria the most when they had lost the baby. "Think of her."
"If it happens, it happens," said Draco simply.
"We'll help, of course," offered his father.
This irked Draco. He hated his father's implication that he was incapable of taking care of his own family, even if it was just himself and Astoria. "I've had some returns and my consulting business will help," said Draco.
His father peered at him. He asked, "I'm curious Draco what type of consulting do you do."
"Threat assessment and security," stated Draco. "I can't talk about it."
His mother said, "We'll be going to Astoria's performance tonight. It's looking to be the event of the season."
"She's a bit nervous. She was tired yesterday, but it's just a case of nerves," said Draco.
'We're all looking forward to it," said his father.
Astoria felt another wave of nausea as she made another trip to the loo. Her nerves hadn't steadied. She looked lovely on the outside, but on the inside she was a mess. Daphne had to alter almost all of the gowns at the last minute, while Astoria was feeling faint.
By the time Draco had arrived, it was clear even to Daphne that Astoria wasn't going to make the performance. Astoria stubbornly refused to call it off. It was only under threat of hexing that Daphne didn't say anything. He wasn't so easily convinced. "Daphne, where is Astoria?" he asked when he got there.
"She's getting ready," she replied.
Draco arched his eyebrow. He and Daphne had known each other for years, even before he had met her sister. "Is there something wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong. What ever gave you that idea?"
"Why are you being nice to me?"
"It's your birthday, isn't it?" asked Daphne with a laugh.
Draco shook his head, saying, "That's never stopped you from being nasty to me before."
"Look, I've got loads to do, Malfoy," said Daphne very briskly. "I have to go."
Draco shook his head again. He went on to Astoria's dressing room. He knocked on the door. "Tori, it's me," he announced.
"Come in," she prompted after a few seconds. It sounded to him like she was doing something.
Draco smiled at her and closed the door. He took one look at her and frowned. She had a smile plastered on her face. "Tori, are you all right?" he pressed.
"Fine. Just fine."
"Why are you so pale?"
"I'm always pale, Draco."
"Damn it, Tori," swore Draco darkly, "are you lying to me?"
Astoria stared at him. That angry expression on his face undid her. She started to sob. Draco winced. He had never made her cry so often. He was irritated, but he kept his temper in check as he went up to her. "Now I've ruined my make up," she cried. "I don't know what's wrong with me. I've been such a weeping ninny."
"It's all right. You've been under some stress," whispered Draco.
Astoria wasn't saying anything. Concerned, Draco looked down at her. She was awake, but held her hand over her mouth. Suddenly, she shoved him out of the way and ran to the rubbish bin, throwing up into it. She slumped on the floor. Draco came to her. "You can't go on stage like this," he said.
"The show must go on," she muttered.
"This is stupid," hissed Draco, knowing if he yelled, she'd start crying. He didn't want to be responsible for making her cry even more.
Astoria snapped, "It is not!"
Another knock came at the door. "Five more minutes, Ms. Greengrass."
"I have to get out of here. Help me up, please, love," she said to her husband
Draco helped her to her feet. She went to the door and started to faint. He caught her. "Tori!" he exclaimed. "That's it. You're not performing. We're going to St. Mungo's."
"No," protested Astoria weakly.
"Too late," said Draco as he easily picked her up. He ignored all of her protests as he opened the door. The stage hands, who had been at the mercy of Astoria, quickly got out of Draco's way.
"Daphne!" shouted Draco.
Daphne came running towards them. "Astoria!"
"Draco said I can't perform tonight. Tell him I'm fine. He's not listening to me!" exclaimed Astoria.
"I'm taking her to St. Mungo's. Please let the manager know," said Draco calmly.
"Okay," agreed Daphne. "Sorry, Astoria, you'll just have to hex him later for this."
Draco and Astoria took the fireplace to St. Mungo's. Astoria continued to protest as Draco's patience wore down. He knew there was something wrong with his wife. The shifting of her moods was highly irregular.
As they waited to see the healer in a triage room, Astoria cried, "Everything was fine before you overreacted and started to act like a…a husband."
Draco coolly retorted, "Well, excuse me for being more concerned about your well being than you."
Astoria spat back, "I thought you didn't want to be as controlling as your father!"
"I can't believe we're fighting like this on my birthday," flared Draco, forgetting to keep his temper in check. "Maybe they can give you a potion to put you right or prescribe one to knock me out."
Astoria gave him a basilisk-like glare, but he didn't turn to stone. A knock at the door came. They both roared at the same time, "What?"
"Hello I'm Healer Bennett," said a young healer. "My, don't you two look wonderful this evening." They glared at her. "Anyway, I've had a chance to look at the nurse's report. Let me ask you a few questions, Mrs. Malfoy." Astoria nodded. "Have you been experiencing any breasts tenderness?"
"Yes," said Astoria.
"Any nausea or any changes in your diet?"
"Yes, on the first. No, on the second."
"I'll say she's been moody," piped up Draco. Astoria glared at him, but this time he took heed of it, swiftly relenting, "However, I value my life too much to confirm that."
The healer drew out her wand. "I believe that you have virus, Mrs. Malfoy."
"Is it bad?" asked Astoria, truly worried for the first time.
"Can you give her a potion or something for it?" asked Draco.
"Tell me, Mrs. Malfoy when your last period?" asked Healer Bennett.
"Um…I can't remember," answered Astoria. "It's been kind of irregular because of the stress."
"Please recline," instructed the healer. Astoria did just that and the healer waved her wand over Astoria's midsection. An image projected onto the blank wall. "Congratulations Mrs. Malfoy, you're pregnant."
Astoria exclaimed, "It's a baby!" She looked at the little figure. It was moving a little bit. "Is it where it should be? Is it all right?"
"You see that lining on the side? That's the uterine wall. The umbilical cord is connected to the placenta and it looks like the baby's doing just fine. Quite comfortably actually, compared to you."
It was then that Astoria noticed just how quiet her husband had been. "Draco, you haven't said anything in the last minute," she said, looking at him. "Have you even breathed?"
"There's a tiny little person in there," he managed as he pointed at the projection, then at her.
"Silly, that's what a baby is," she said as she put her hands on his lapel. She snaked her arms around his neck and pulled him into a kiss. "We're having a baby," she whispered. "I'm sorry I yelled at you."
Healer Bennett left, thinking it was best to give them some privacy.
Author's Note: This is a special companion piece to the Inquisitor's Son. These are meant to be vignettes of Draco and Astoria Malfoy's, but mainly stories about Scorpius' early childhood and early life. Happy Holidays!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Him and all of the original characters belong to J.K. Rowling. Please use this story with my permission.