"Come on, Daddy!" Mia grabbed his hand and pulled. Rose watched on with a smile. "You're taking too long!"
Scorpius groaned and let his daughter pull him up the hillside.
Rose held onto Kate's hand and the picnic basket handles, following behind them. Cassie trotted contentedly in the middle, plucking stray dandelions and wildflowers as she went. She'd been ordered by her older sister to pick up every daisy she saw. Unfortunately, she didn't exactly know the difference between a daisy and every little thing growing out of the ground.
"Mummy," Kate gazed up at Rose with big, blue eyes underneath her red fringe. "Are we there yet?"
Rose almost wanted to laugh. Apparently Kate was like her in more ways than just appearance: Ron had told Rose stories of her impatience as a child. It hadn't disappeared in Rose as she'd grown up; it was doubtful it'd disappear in Kate.
"Almost," Rose grinned and ruffled her hair. "You can always ask Daddy for a piggyback if you get tired."
Kate's eyes lit up with glee and she launched herself at Scorpius. He picked her up and spun her around in the air.
Their laughter echoed over the hillside.
Cassie sidled over to her mother and held up a bouquet of messy flowers. "These are for you!"
Rose felt her heart warm at the sight. "Thanks, Cass." She took the flowers and inhaled. Confusing aromas of dandelions, wildflowers, and grass hit her nostrils. They were an array of blue, yellow, purple, white, and – was that poison ivy?
They eventually reached the top. Scorpius rolled out the blanket and Rose set out the food.
It was so peaceful. So relaxing, calming, heavenly, really. Just the five of them, lounging out in the sun – a rarity for England – and being together.
Scorpius pulled Rose over into his arms and kissed her lightly, rubbing her stomach. "It'll be more hectic with this one around, soon."
Rose smiled and kissed her husband again. A picnic in England, the five of them, plus Rose's stomach (she supposed it counted as 0.7). Her dream had literally come true.
Two months later…
"Scorpius, I'm going to fucking kill you for this!" Rose screamed.
Scorpius just let her squeeze his hand tighter. He just hoped she didn't break it again this time. He'd learned by now not to respond. She just got angrier.
The trainee looked a bit frightened at the sight of his wife. And at the foul words streaming out of her mouth in rapid succession. Worse than a sailor.
Scorpius tried to give him an apologetic look, tell him that Rose didn't mean it personally, but the kid had to toughen up if he was going to work in this profession.
Besides, none of his words would do anything right now because if it was anything like Kate's birth, Rose was going to start throwing things at the healers soon.
Rose panted as the contraction passed. "Okay, I'm not going to kill you," she amended. "I'm going to torture and maim you until you're in as much pain as I am right now."
"I was kind of already in a lot of pain this year, Rosie. How about we just call it even?"
Rose narrowed her eyes at him.
Scorpius shrugged helplessly. "Want me to get the trainee to give you more drugs?"
She really, really wanted to say yes. But the trainee had already cut her off. Scorpius was practically dangling the offer in front of her face.
"Oh shit," she muttered as another contraction started. She gripped Scorpius's hand so hard it turned purple, the circulation becoming completely cut off.
Way too many hours later for the sake of Scorpius's and Rose's combined sanity, she was allowed to push.
"Look," Rose said, cradling the newborn baby boy. "He's got your nose."
"Are you crying?" Scorpius teased Rose.
"No," she sniffled. "Shut up."
Rose passed her son to his father. Scorpius's hands felt too big, too awkward, like he could hurt his son just by taking a breath a little too deep.
"So?" she asked. "What's his name?"
"Name?" Scorpius stared blankly at Rose.
She nodded. "We forgot to think of names."
Scorpius snorted. "Of course we did."
He looked back down at the little boy. What did he look like? And were they going to follow the constellation-Shakespearean name trend? He voiced his concern.
"Do we have to?" Rose almost whined. "The girls have those names. Can't we change it up?"
"Oh thank God," Scorpius said. He hated that tradition. After all, it had landed him with the bully-inducing name of 'Scorpius'.
"Can we name him after Nathaniel?" Rose voiced quietly. If they named their son after either of their fathers, they'd never hear the end of it from the other one. Nathaniel was someone who was completely deserving of everything he got; a kind-hearted, wonderful man who had taken in Rose, Scorpius, and their family. She wanted to thank him somehow.
Scorpius thought for a moment. "Yeah, I think that's a great idea."
"Call him Nate."
"Nathan Scorpius Malfoy."
"Alright," Scorpius sighed. He knew she wouldn't relent on the middle name. "I'll go get the girls."
Mia, Cassie, and Kate burst through the doors, hoping up onto Rose's bed.
"Mummy, Mummy!" Cassie shrieked, hugging her so hard Rose had to physically restrain herself from groaning in pain.
Mia hugged her but not as painfully. Kate curled up against Rose's side.
"Girls, this is your baby brother," Scorpius said, pointing at the little bundle in Rose's arms.
"Nathan Scorpius Malfoy," Rose added. "He's going to be called Nate."
Kate scrunched up her nose as she looked down at her brother. "Why's he so wrinkly?"
"And red?" Cassie added.
"He looks like he has to poop," Mia added. "When Alex and I have babies, they aren't going to look like that."
Rose and Scorpius looked at each other, smiling. Neither succeeded in stifling their laughs. Some things just never changed.
Three months after that…
Rose rocked the baby carrier back and forth, making hushing sounds to calm Nate.
She looked around and smiled. The warm air felt nice; Hermione's charms had kept the Burrow and the yard warm, free from the frostbite and snow outside.
Lily's and Seamus's wedding had been gorgeous. Plain, simple, and elegant. Rose had to admit that she'd been surprised they'd had the wedding at the Burrow instead of one of Seamus's hotels. But Lily had told Rose and Victoire a month or so ago that Seamus wanted her to do what she wanted and if that was to have the wedding at the Burrow, then that was that. After all, he'd already had a wedding – she hadn't.
Lily's laughter was now tinkling in the air as Seamus spun her around the dance floor, light on his feet as he twirled her from one corner of the dance floor to the other. Teddy, James, Al, and Harry each took their turns with the bride. Then came all the cousins and men who had married into the Weasley family.
Rose glanced over when Arthur began to dance with Lily. He bent towards her ear and said something which made Lily look at him with hope and a grateful smile.
Rose smiled, herself, when she saw it. She suspected it was the same thing Arthur had told her on her own wedding day: advice on how to keep looking and being as happy as she was right then. It was small, probably not incredibly profound, but it had certainly worked. All he had said, was, "Just say, 'Take a break, I'll do it.'"
It certainly worked, too, Rose reflected. She looked over at Scorpius, swinging Cassie across the dance floor as a fast song began to play.
There was no way anyone would be able to tell that he had been a hair's breadth from death, just a few months ago. He was smiling. Grinning, really. His smile was stretched so wide across his face that the crow's feet at the corner of his eyes looked permanent. He wasn't as scrawny as he had been right after the coma from losing so much muscle. He was happy. Smiling, dancing with his daughters, laughing at jokes, talking with friends.
A small coo reached Rose's ears. She turned to the baby carrier on the seat next to her and looked down at Nate. He was gurgling up at her, a twinkle in his eyes and a smile gracing his lips.
Of course, the copious amounts of drool escaping his mouth diminished the perfect angel of a baby picture.
Rose giggled. "Hi, Nate. I think you need a sippy cup to stick all that spit into." She hefted him out of the carrier and held him gently in her lap. Her son. She had a son.
It was still surreal. Half of the time, Rose couldn't believe she had a son let alone three daughters before him. She couldn't believe that she'd graduated Hogwarts. She still felt like that little eleven year old staring petrified at the train with frizzy red hair and her dad's blue eyes.
Rose caught Scorpius's eyes and grinned. He smiled back at her and weaved his way through the crowd to take Nate in his arms. "Ron wanted to dance with you."
"Okay, I'll go find him."
Rose tried not to feel a sense of loss as Nate left her arms, but it was inevitable. She felt it whenever one of her kids pulled away from a hug.
She pulled her dad out of a dance with her mum. Hermione smiled and began to dance with Harry, Fred and Martha wrapped up in their own little world beside them.
"Hey, Rosie," Ron said. "How's my favorite grandson doing?"
"You mean your only grandson?"
"Sure, but he's my favorite, too."
Rose just smiled. "He's good. He's finally started sleeping through the night. Thank God." Rose leaned her head against her dad's shoulder. She felt Ron's hand stroke her hair and hug her tighter.
"I'm so proud of you," he said. "You have not had an easy time, and look at what you've done with what you've been dealt."
Rose looked up at her dad, surprised to see such love and, yes, pride, in his eyes shining back at her. "Thanks, Dad," Rose mumbled, blushing. She looked away but Ron tilted her chin back.
"I love you, honey. Keep doing what you're doing, and you're going to be happy for the rest of your life."
"I love you, too," Rose said. She looked over to Scorpius, seated at a table, with Nate on his lap, Mia and Cassie having an angry food fight slightly behind him, and Kate asleep in her chair. The perfect family. Yes, she was happy. Incredibly, astoundingly happy. Who would've thought?
I just want to say, thank you so much to everyone who has read this story! I appreciate it immensely. It's always really gratifying and rewarding to know that someone not only reads your writing, but actually likes it and wants to read more. Thanks so much for taking the time to read two stories and to review them. It means so much and helps to make me a better writer.
I do have a few stories in my brain and on my computer that I will be either uploading or writing shortly, so please look out for them!
I really hope you all liked this story, and so, one last time (for old time's sake) ... review?