Two Years Later...
"Happy birthday toooo youuu…."
Aurelian beamed as his family and friends finished their song and he blew out the candles on his cake to a raucous chorus of woops and cheers.
"Very good, dear," Molly smiled. "Now let me see that cake so I can slice and serve it up."
Molly pulled the large cake closer to herself, but Aurelian was able to snatch one of the candles from the top before it was beyond his reach and sucked the frosting from the wax stick.
"What did you wish for?" Teddy asked excitedly from the chair to Aurelian's right.
"Oh, he can't tell you that or it won't come true," Fred smiled as he and George swooped in from behind.
"Happy birthday, buddy," George greeted.
"We got you a present," Fred grinned, placing a neatly wrapped gift on Aurelian's lap.
"Presents come later," Molly admonished lightly, snatching the gift away and placing it on the table, just out of Aurelian's reach.
"We know that," George whispered to Aurelian, "but we thought that now'd be the time to give you this." George secretly slipped a tiny wrapped gift into Aurelian's pocket and gave him a wink. Aurelian looked around to be sure that no one had seen and returned an exaggerated wink.
Hermione stood across the dining hall and witnessed the whole thing. She simply rolled her eyes. Surely the twins had to know that all their secret gifts weren't so secret. She might not have known what the gifts were when they were given, but she never missed the exchanges. The fun, she supposed, was in the element of surprise and the exhilaration of mischief. So long as Aurelian didn't get in too much trouble, she wouldn't be the one to ruin their fun.
"Merlin," said Ginny. "He can't really be five years old now, can he?"
"I've been asking myself the same thing all day," Hermione smiled. "He most certainly is though."
"Hey," Harry said, bringing a plate of cake to Ginny. "I thought you ought to know, Fred and George slipped Aurelian a secret gift."
"Yeah, we saw that," said Draco. "It's fine. I only hope it doesn't cause too much trouble."
"I can't believe that he's already five," Ron said, joining the group with his own slice of cake. "Did you have a chance to look at the Daily Prophet today?"
"I had the chance, but I've been avoiding it," Hermione answered. "I really don't want Aurey to see it. He's beginning to understand the time travel concept, but I'd rather he didn't see the world's reaction to it. Not to mention, I dread seeing what kind of nonsense they've printed. Draco and I gave them statements when they asked, hoping that they'd find the facts interesting enough, but who knows what kind of things they threw in there."
"It really wasn't that bad," Ginny said with a shrug. "They did use one of your quotes at least. Is the request that people not approach him about his past the thing you were hoping for?"
"Yes, and I'm glad they did. I only hope people heed it," Draco said moodily. "Can you believe that last week a woman stopped us in Diagon Alley to ask him her son's future? Some people are so ridiculously dense. He's not a fortune teller."
"Some people will just never understand, but perhaps more will after they read the article," Ginny said optimistically.
"I brought you a copy," Ron told Hermione, offering her a folded piece of newsprint. "I thought you might like it for Aurey's scrapbook. You know, for when he's older."
Hermione opened the snipped article and Draco immediately scoffed. "The front page? You've got to be kidding me. This is the biggest news they could find? A child's birthday?"
"Well, it is, kind of," Ron shrugged. "You know, I'm kind of bored with the humdrum cases coming in to the MLE, but I really rather prefer our business being reported on page 9, like the duel between brothers over that broken antique broom, than anything serious that would take front page. I think it'd be better for Aurey if he were kept out of the papers, but it's nicer to see his birthday on the front page than a murder or something."
"Yes, I understand that, but I still wish it weren't my son…" Hermione sighed and reopened the paper to read aloud.
"'Mysterious Malfoy Turns Negative One and a Half Years Old!' Seriously? How witty," she said sarcastically. "It sounds like a headline for The Quibbler rather than the Daily Prophet."
"Shh, Hermione, keep your voice down. You might offend Luna," Ginny admonished.
Hermione looked up remorsefully at the table, but Luna was engaged in what looked like a fascinating discussion with Pansy and had not overheard.
"You've read the headline. Keep going," Draco urged.
"'It's hard to believe that it has already been two years since Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger introduced their son, Aurelian Jude Malfoy, as the first recorded time-traveling tot,'" Hermione continued. "The couple told us then that his arrival was just as much of a shock to them as it was to anyone else. The two of them were closer to being enemies than friends before Aurelian came into their lives. That all changed rather quickly when they realized that they were biological parents to the same child, a child nearly three years old at the time. 'His age is complicated,' said Draco Malfoy, his father. 'We aren't sure of his actual birthdate, but we believe it was sometime in the winter of 2003 to 2004. He was close to three [years old] when he came to our time in summer of 2000, so we thought we'd forget the actual month he was born and go by how many months until he'd turn three if he hadn't time traveled. We chose a week into September because it was close, but we also wanted to make sure he could start at Hogwarts with his best friend, [Ted Lupin] in the 2009 school year.'
"Doing the math ourselves and checking with his parents, we learned that his legally registered birthday is, in fact, September 7th, 1997. Were he really alive at that time, he'd have been born in the heat of the Second Wizarding War.'
"Well, it does sound pretty factual," Hermione said, skimming very quickly through the rest of the article. She decided she'd read it properly later. "There aren't any crazy theories or accusations are there?"
"No, no suspicions of scandals," Ginny chuckled. "As you said, the story is interesting enough on its own."
"Yes, but from what I can see at first glance, it's about the same as what they printed last year," said Hermione.
"In essence, it is," Ginny agreed. "People are fascinated by him. They did have some updates on him. For example, they told how he played ring bearer at his parents' recent wedding. You may have done a good job at making the paper keep your wedding announcement hidden amongst the others, but now it's front page. I wouldn't be surprised if you received wedding gifts from strangers, as well as the usual birthday gifts people send Aurelian."
"It's a nice gesture," said Draco, "but it's really quite a hassle. We have to do a series of tests on each gift just to make sure no wackos are trying to send us something cursed or dangerous."
"That's just the way it goes," Harry shrugged. "We have to do the same thing."
"Yeah, but we're busy enough with all the redecorating Hermione is doing to this place," Draco smirked.
"And it's looking fabulous already," Ginny commented as she looked around the redecorated dining hall.
"It was well decorated to begin with," said Ron. "I don't know why you want to change everything."
"You sound like Draco," Hermione said with a lopsided smile and a sideways glance at her husband.
"It's all in jest. I rather like the changes you're making. The decorations were getting old. It hadn't changed at all in all the years I've lived here," Draco explained. "It's nice to make it all our own."
"Have you started on Aurelian's room yet?" asked Harry.
"Oh, his was the first room decorated," Hermione told them. "His ceiling is charmed with stars, just as he remembered, and he has his quidditch rug, of course. My mum helped me make special boxes for each of his quidditch teams. He's got nearly all in the league now. And, I know boys rooms are usually blue, but it's ridiculous how much is in there with all of his Tornadoes merchandise."
"I bet he hardly leaves his room," Ron smiled.
"Neither does Teddy. Each playdate, we hardly even notice he's here. They're always up there or in the garden," said Draco.
"Ginny tells me that Aurey got another birthday present from the Tornadoes this year," Harry said in amusement.
"Yep, season tickets for the three of us again. Our own box, front and center, for each game," Draco said with pride.
"They seem to think of him as their mascot or good luck charm," Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Well, he sort of is, isn't he? They won the Quidditch Cup just as he predicted for the last two years," Ron reminded them.
"I know, but it's still kind of crazy. It looks like I'm going to need another blue winter cloak this year. I was sort of hoping for a change in color and style, but if I show up at the games in another team's colors, which wouldn't be hard to do, I'd find myself in the papers. It'd be an outrage," she sighed with a smile.
"Well, I'll have to look at the accounts, but I think we just might be able to afford to get you a second cloak for daily use," Draco chided smugly. "We didn't get to tell the other part of the gift though."
"Right…" Hermione sighed again, this time a little heavier. "The team also invited Aurelian to join them for one of their practices – toy broom only for him, of course! No way we'd let him on a real broom yet."
"Wow! I bet he's thrilled," Harry beamed.
"A dream come true, I'm sure," Ginny agreed. "I swear, that boy has some serious talent. He does things on that toy broom that I didn't even know were possible. Too bad the Holyhead Harpies only accept girls or he'd be able to play for them one day."
"Oh, come on, Ginny. You know he'd never change his allegiance," said Ron. "With his talent and their affection for him, I'd be surprised if he didn't play for Tutshill Tornadoes one day."
"Won't change allegiance… Thick and stubborn like you then. The Tornadoes won't win forever you know," she replied, crossing her arms across her chest.
"You're the same way. You don't play anymore and you're still rooting for the Harpies. I think you're only salty that the Tornadoes beat your team those two years," Ron said smugly.
"Perhaps, but at least we made it to the finals. The Chudley Cannons came in last place, as usual, and you still root for them."
"They'll make a comeback someday. I promise you that," Ron said firmly and a bit crossly.
"Perhaps a thousand years down the line," Ginny murmured under her breath.
Harry chuckled at Ginny's hushed comment. "You don't need to get defensive. You know your team is one of the best. You also have to remember to keep your favoritism quiet. It wouldn't do to let your preference affect the sports column."
"I know how to stay objective and professional in my writing, and I do wonderfully. That doesn't mean I can't still swear fierce allegiance to the Harpies outside of my Daily Prophet Quidditch Column," Ginny proclaimed with her freckled nose proudly in the air.
"I know, but it still doesn't help to provoke those that support other teams. Perhaps our little girl will be a Holyhead Harpy when she grows up," Harry said sweetly as he wrapped his arms around her waist and laid his hands on her swollen belly.
"You know it'll be a girl then?" Draco asked with interest.
"No, we've decided to be surprised, but Mum insists it's a girl, so that has pretty much settled it for most in the family," Ginny explained. "Mum's guesses are never wrong. Well, with the exception of Percy; she thought he'd be a girl. If you ask me, he's not far from…"
Ron snickered with Ginny, but the others politely kept their opinions to themselves.
"Molly's never been wrong other than that?" Draco asked skeptically.
"Nope. She guessed all of her own, Harry, Neville, Teddy, and Victoire. And out of those, she was only wrong with Percy," Ginny declared. "Now she's only wondering when you two are going to give her one to guess on."
"Is she the one putting those ideas into Aurey's mind?" Hermione asked. "He told us that that was what he was going to use his birthday wish for, a brother or sister."
She looked over at her son who was busy trying to swat Blaise's hand away from his plate as Blaise made a game of trying to sneak a bite of Aurelian's slice of cake. She snorted a quiet laugh when Narcissa smartly smacked the top of Blaise's hand. Blaise looked stunned under her scolding eyes, but as soon as Narcissa turned, Hermione saw a playful smirk that she had hidden from him. Katie and Alicia giggled and teased the sheepish looking Blaise. Angelina looked ready to join them, but George seized her hand to hold her attention. Fred rolled his eyes at George's act of jealousy. It all felt so natural and so right. It was hard for Hermione to believe that it was really her life.
"No plans then?" Ginny asked, still looking hopeful.
"Well, we've talked," said Draco. "I've decided that I'm not opposed, but Hermione here… After all this woman's been through, she fears childbirth."
"Easy for you to poke fun, as you'll never have to do it. I admit, I'm a bit nervous myself, but there's really no changing my mind at this point," Ginny laughed.
"I might be a bit apprehensive about giving birth, but that doesn't affect my decision in any way. We're discussing it…" Hermione said a bit sheepishly. "We did just get married a month and a half ago."
"But, we're getting plenty of practice in the baby-making process for whenever we're ready," Draco said with his signature smirk and a sideways glance at his wife. Hermione gasped in shock and horror that he would say such a thing to their friends. It was only made worse by the disgusted expression on Ron's face. He looked thoroughly repulsed.
"Come on, I don't want to hear shite like that," Ron scrunched his nose in distaste. "The last thing I want is a lasting image of you looking all scrawny, pale, and starkers."
"I'm anything but scrawny, I assure you, but I hope that your statement doesn't mean that you don't mind thinking of my wife that way," Draco sneered dangerously.
"Oh, come on, Draco, drop the attitude," Harry said in exasperation. "He only meant to take a dig at you."
"Yeah, no need to get all possessive. I wouldn't want to picture that sickly looking thing either," Ron smirked, gesturing to Hermione. Hermione rolled her eyes and Draco merely pursed his lips, reminding himself that Ron would never really insult her. In his own opinion, Hermione looked far from sickly, better than she ever had would be his description.
"Can we please change the subject?" Hermione asked. Her eyes still averted as she tried to hide her deep blush.
"Yes, please," said Harry. "Oh, before I forget, Robards asked me to pass on his birthday wishes for Aurelian and congratulations on your wedding."
"Yeah, the whole department misses you terribly," Ron added.
"I've only been gone for two months," Hermione replied.
"That doesn't mean that we don't miss you," said Harry. "How's healer training going anyway?"
Hermione was startled from her thoughts when a bang echoed through the room. She gaped at Blaise who was covered in frosting. Pieces of his cake were splattered all around him and the twins and Aurelian howled with laughter. When the shock wore off, the others joined in their laughter.
"Well, I think we figured out what the twins gave Aurelian," Draco chortled.
"Anyway, you were saying?" Harry prompted, still snickering at Blaise.
"Oh, right…" said Hermione, trying to regain her train of thought. "Training is going alright so far. I have to admit, I feel rather old and foolish sometimes. All of my classmates are straight out of Hogwarts."
"Twenty-two years old is hardly old," said Ginny.
"I'm almost twenty-three, but it's not really the age so much; it's that I'm married and have a five year old son," Hermione sighed.
"Well, you'll look anything but foolish once you finish that potion with the Fay Stone," Draco said with smug pride.
"Yeah, how's that coming along?" Ginny asked.
"Pretty well, I think," said Hermione. "I'm still doing tons of research on healing potions, but a lot of it is trial and error. There's quite a bit of error still, but I think I might be getting close. I had sort of a breakthrough last night."
"Yeah, I only bled half as fast as I normally would before she used the ring itself to heal me," Draco smirked.
"Hey, you're the one that volunteered to test it," Hermione reminded him, crossing her arms again.
"Well, you said that it'd be best to have a human test subject this time. I was afraid that if I didn't volunteer, I'd walk in on you bleeding half to death," he retorted.
"Sounds to me like he's a closet masochist," Ginny gibed.
"Hardly. It's solely for scientific purposes that I subject myself to that testing," said Draco. "But honestly, I'm really not bothered by it. I've suffered much worse."
"I wonder if anyone will ever guess that you own the Fay Stone," Ron thought aloud.
"Guess? Not a chance. It's a ludicrous idea and would take a madman to guess such a thing," Hermione answered. "The only way anyone would find out is if any of you spill it, so I have no fear of anyone ever discovering my ownership of the stone."
"Ludicrous, yes. But people are going to get rather curious when you start miracle healing," said Ron.
"They will get curious, especially the people I'm working with, because I'll never give the secret to my healing potion, but I don't plan to use it on everything. I actually do want to be practiced in the healing arts. I've always been fascinated by them. I'm going to save the Fay Stone Potion for cases that would be hopeless without it," she replied.
"Yeah, I guess it would be hard to guess if you play it like that, but what about when Aurelian's wife becomes a world renowned healer, too? Pansy's friend will get suspicious at least," Ron challenged.
"You make it sound like you want people to discover it," Ginny said irritably.
"Of course not. I-"
"As brilliant as you can be, Ronald Weasley, you're notorious for speaking before you think," Ginny interrupted him. "It won't be Aurelian's wife that gets the ring next. It only gets passed on when Hermione… passes on. That won't be until at least Aurelian's daughter-in-law, but hopefully not until his grandchildren or great-grandchildren."
"Oh… right," Ron blushed.
"Can we not talk about my baby's grandchildren? He only just turned five," Hermione reminded them.
"Mummy! Dad!" Aurelian shouted as he rushed up to his parents with Teddy on his heels. "Can Teddy sleep over tonight?"
"You're kidding, right?" said Draco. "He just slept over two nights in a row."
"I know, but please?" Aurelian pleaded, his hands poised for prayer.
"Aurey, he's going to be missed at home if we keep having him over. And don't you want to spend the night of your birthday with just me and dad?" Hermione asked.
"No," Aurelian said simply. "I wanna have Teddy here, too. Please, please, please? He's small; you won't even know he's here."
Teddy nodded fervently in agreement, his violet hair falling into his eyes. "They won't miss me. I'll be quiet," he added.
"Please? It's my birthday."
"Aurey…" Hermione sighed with exasperation. Aurelian blinked his innocent grey eyes and pouted his bottom lip just right. Hermione sighed again and nodded. "So long as it's okay with his grandmum, it's alright with us."
"YES!" Aurelian and Teddy cheered together.
"Now can I take my broom outside?" Aurelian asked.
"Aurelian, this is your birthday party," Hermione said sternly. "It's rude to just leave your guests-"
"No, I'm not leaving. They can watch if they want. I wanna show Grandmum and Grandad my new spinny move," Aurelian said, batting his eyes again. Hermione pursed her lips, disinclined to agree to his request because she felt he was trying to play her.
"That's fine," Draco agreed smoothly, saving Hermione from responding.
"Can he bring 'is quaffle?" Teddy asked excitedly.
It was Draco's turn to sigh then. "Fine… But not the signed one!" Draco had to shout the last order because the boys had already started running away. Upon hearing the last part, Aurelian stopped in his tracks.
"But, Dad!" Aurelian whined. "My other one is so old… Can't I use the special one?"
"That special one is just that – special. And it's only special because it's new and signed. You will never play with that one. Do you understand me?" Draco said firmly.
"Fine… You go get the quaffle, Teddy and I'll get an extra broom for you," Aurelian said heavily. Hermione and Draco both rolled their eyes.
"Look at that. So much confidence that neither of them have even bothered asking Andromeda or my mother about Teddy sleeping over," Draco said, shaking his head.
"They probably should have. I'm sure they both miss him. I'm not sure they'll let him stay another night," Hermione said skeptically.
"I'm sure they will. They can never tell that boy no," Draco laughed. "Not to mention, Mother said that she and Andromeda have been wanting to go see the Magna Octoginta Orchestra. They would have gone last night if it weren't for the meeting about their scholarship program. I'm more surprised that Teddy doesn't terribly miss the two of them."
"No way. If I lived with only my Grandmother and Great-Aunt, I'd be out of the house as much as I could, too," Ron snorted.
"You must be joking. Mother and Andromeda spoil that boy positively rotten," Draco replied.
"Oh, like Aurelian isn't spoiled at home, too?" Ginny challenged.
"Oh, I never said that. I intend to dote on him as long as he lets me."
"Let's just hope that neither of those boys end up as rotten as you because of it," Hermione chided, nudging Draco with her elbow.
"Not possible," Draco said, looking quite smug as he stuck his hands in his pockets.
"That's not something to be proud of," Ginny said with a lopsided smile.
"So what's that 'spinny move' that he mentioned?" Harry asked. Hermione tittered with laughter when she realized that Harry had completely left their conversation at the mention of a broom maneuver. He was leaning his head out of the dining room entrance to try to catch a glimpse of the garden through the glass doors.
"Sort of his version of the Sloth Grip Roll on a toy broom. He's dying to get Auburn's move down. He's not yet learned to catch the quaffle, even when flying straight, but he's trying to learn to fly the broom with it in one of his arms. It's pretty advanced for him, but he's determined," Draco explained, the fondness for his son shining warmly in his eyes.
"He's incredible," said Harry. "Hogwarts isn't going to know what hit them when he shows up."
"Oh, they most certainly will. There's not a single kid in the wizarding world that doesn't recognize the name Aurelian Malfoy," Ron declared.
"Which worries me…" said Hermione.
"It's not like me, Hermione," Harry reassured her. "There's no danger on the horizon. He'll have nothing to struggle with but normal kid stuff. Yes, he has fame, but he has two great parents and all of us to keep him grounded."
"Thanks," Hermione responded.
"With his connection to the Tornadoes, I have a feeling he'll be more well-known by his peers for his fame in the quidditch world than from being from the future," said Ginny.
"And from what I hear, Hogwarts is desperate for some good quidditch players." Draco commented. "Can you believe that Hufflepuff won the Quidditch Cup last year? What's next – the bookworms taking the cup? It's sick. It will be one of my proudest days when my son wins the cup for Slytherin."
"First, they're called Ravenclaws, not 'bookworms' and, second, there's nothing wrong with bookworms," Hermione said, crossing her arms once more.
"And third and most importantly," Ginny continued, mimicking Hermione's stance, "who said Aurelian's going to be in Slytherin?"
"My son, with as ambitious as he is, will be the prince of Slytherin," he answered with a cheeky grin.
"I disagree," Ginny argued smartly. "With as bold and courageous as he is, that boy is bound to be in Gryffindor."
"I'll be proud no matter what house he gets into," Hermione said, putting an end to the dispute before it got any farther.
"And whatever house he gets into will have one hell of an addition to their team," Harry added. "Damn, look at him go. I'd be willing to bet a hundred galleons he gets on his house team in his first year."
"Stop… please stop," Hermione grimaced. "I know he's incredible and I know he's got quidditch in his future, but I'm terrified that, at this rate, he'll break his neck before he ever sets foot in Hogwarts."
"Break his neck? If that's your biggest concern, then stop worrying," Draco said with his signature smirk. "His mother can fix that in a second with nothing more than a simple kiss." To demonstrate, he took her hand and placed a delicate kiss upon her wedding band. "I assure you, that boy is going to be just fine."
A huge thank you to all of you that have stuck with me through this and for all of your wonderful reviews. The biggest 'thank you' goes to my incredible beta, HG4eva! You rock!
I am so sad that this is finished, but it just means that I must dedicate myself further to that other ideas I have. There are a few fanfics I'm working on, but all are quite long so I'm not sure when I'll start posting again. Wish me luck and put me on Author Alert, because this certainly isn't my last.
Thank you. Thank you again. Please review.