[A/N: Sorry that I updated and ran away, but I have a very good excuse! Check the end for notes!]
Of all days for Mira to be grumpy, she'd picked Victory Day. She fussed the entire morning when I got her dressed, she kept throwing her food when I tried to feed her, and she would hardly let me walk away from her when I getting myself dressed. By the time we got to Hogwarts, I was certain I'd never been more relieved to see Draco.
"Naturally, she knows that today is important so she had to be a brat," Draco said taking her from me. The dedication ceremony wasn't for another hour, and I needed a break before getting into anything. Thankfully, Mira was starting to settle and get tired. If we were lucky she might sleep through the whole thing. "How are you holding up, aside from the little monster?"
"I'm a little anxious. I've never really talked about what happened with anyone. I don't want to talk about it," I said. "People are expecting Harry and me to give them answers and we can't do that."
I sat down on Draco's bed and folded my legs.
"Do you not like the speech you wrote?" Draco asked.
I shrugged. "I kind of just gloss over everything."
Draco came over and laid Mira down on the bed. She started whine. I sighed.
"Please just go to sleep," I urged her, gently rubbing her back. That was doing nothing to soothe her. Draco laid down next to Mira and then moved her so she was lying on his chest. She stuck her thumb in her mouth and quieted again.
"Daddy to the rescue," Draco said.
"I cannot wait until you get home," I said. Draco took my hand and pulled me to lay down next to him. I rested my head on his shoulder reached out to brush hair from Mira's face.
"If you're not happy with your speech, then don't use it," Draco said.
"You want me to rewrite an entire speech in an hour?" I asked.
"You can wing it," Draco said. "You're clever enough."
"I can't wing this," I said. "People are expecting-."
"Hannah," Draco stopped me, "you do not owe anybody anything."
"I know, you feel obligated to give everyone some sort of explanation, but you do not have to," Draco said. "I can't imagine what you must've been going through, and I never ask you to tell me about it because. . . How could I? You're busy trying to move on and be happy and feel safe for the first time in your entire life. What good is it making you relive all that stuff?"
I watched Mira's eyes blink slowly before they closed and stayed closed.
"You already killed a dark wizard, sweetheart. You don't have to do anything else, but be happy now," he said. He kissed the top of my head. "You should go out there and tell them that."
"Leave it to you to throw out your entire speech at the last minute," Harry said. We were standing outside on the grounds. The memorial was fully built now, not far from Dumbledore's gravesite. It was a beautiful day. It had been a nice day a year ago as well.
"It didn't feel right, going up there and dancing around what happened. Neither of us wants to talk about it, so let's not," I said. Harry sighed.
"You're crazy, but you're right," he said, shoving his speech in his pocket. "Good thing you're going first. I'll just piggyback off what you say."
I shook my head. "Team work is truly our forte."
I heard McGonagall say my name and I looked up to her. She motioned me forward. I rose from my seat and walked up to the podium. I started to remember back to the day of Dumbledore's funeral. But I spotted Draco in the crowd. He smiled at me. Mira was, thankfully, completely asleep in his lap.
"Yesterday, Ron was visiting and Harry was going on about making dinner and I asked him what the occasion was, and he asked if I remembered what I was doing a year ago at that exact moment. Um. . . It was in the ball park of escaping from Gringotts on a dragon. Ron said we'll never do anything that cool again. I hope he's right," I said. "But, then Harry decided we should have a toast and he even got a juice box for my daughter, and he said that we should toast to her. My Mira is a pretty awesome kid, but I wasn't sure why he wanted to toast to her and he said that. . . He said that it was because we'll get to see her grow up, and a year ago we didn't think we would." I wiped a stray tear from my eye.
Draco was still smiling at me, softly, urging me on.
". . . Harry and I aren't going to talk about what happened last year. We don't even talk about it amongst ourselves. It's just too much. . . Too much to unpack from all of that," I said. "But. . . We're here now. All of us. We're all alive and relatively healthy and happy. In September, I'm going to get to see my daughter turn two-years-old. Already, I've gotten six more months with her than my parents ever got with me. That's six months of crying and tantrums and laughing and wondering how on earth one person can make such a mess. This past year I've gotten to see a brand new group of students start at Hogwarts. I've gotten see people reunited with their families after being separated because of this war. Two of my best friends got engaged. Another one is going to be a professional Quidditch player. This year has had its difficulties, but it's better than last year and all I want for myself, for anyone really, is happiness.
"We can all think of someone we lost last year, but for those people we have to. . . We'll. . ." My brain stopped. I couldn't find the words. I felt Harry's hand on my shoulder.
"We'll carry on," Harry said taking over the podium. "We'll carry on." My eyes went wide. He wouldn't. "And though these people are dead and gone, believe me, their memory will carry on."
Ginny was sat between Draco and Hermione. I watched her hand come to cover her mouth to restrain a laugh, but the look of pride on her face was unmistakable.
"My sister and I have been called heroes for what happened, but really. . . I'm not a hero, I'm just a boy, who-."
Suddenly from the audience there was a lot shouting, in French, from the audience. Harry and I exchanged glances as Fleur and Bill got to their feet. Bill was listening to Fleur, nodding his head excitedly.
"Sorry; my wife's just gone into labor! We'll just be getting out of your way now," Bill said. There was a ruckus as Fleur, Bill, and Ron's parents left the scene.
Harry chuckled. "We're dedicating this memorial today just for this. Because we're not mourning the people we've lost, but celebrating the new life that can exist today because of the people we've lost."
"I cannot believe you actually quoted that song in your speech," I scolded Harry. We were all waiting at St. Mungo's for Fleur to have her baby.
"The speech was mostly the song, actually," Ginny said. "I thought it was brilliant."
I rolled my eyes. "I think it was terrible enough that actually sent Fleur into labor. The kid probably wanted to escape and punch you for being an ass."
"Don't hate me 'cuz you ain't me," Harry said.
I sighed. "Whatever. I'm going to have to call it quits on baby watch soon. I have to get my own to bed soon."
We'd already been at St. Mungo's a few hours and it was staring to get late. I was exhausted and Mira had already been having a difficult day. Draco had walked her to the bathroom a few minutes ago.
"I'm sure Bill and Fleur will understand, given how tired they're about to be," Ron said.
"Truth," I said.
I was surprised to see Mira sleeping when Draco returned with her.
"How did you manage that?" I asked.
"No idea, but I figured we should get her home before she gets her second wind," Draco said.
"It's a girl!" Bill shouted as he entered the hallway.
"Congratulations, but please keep your voice down," I urged him.
Bill spotter Mira and covered his mouth.
"Sorry," he said. "It's a girl."
"That's wonderful!" Ginny said, hugging him.
"Named her Victorie—i-e. Hopefully she doesn't resent us for it later," Bill said. "You wanna come up and see her? Mum, Dad, and Fleur's parents are up there. There's actually a bit of a queue."
"Draco and I are going to pass; we've got to get this little one to bed, but I'll be by the cottage in a few days," I said.
"Excellent," he said.
"Congratulations," I said, hugging him.
Mira managed to stay asleep the whole way home and we got her into bed easily as well. It was nothing short of a miracle. Draco was fussing with her monitor, shaking his head.
"I understand the reasoning behind this, but this bloody muddle technology makes no sense," he said. I walked over to him and clicked the nob to turn it on. "You make it look so easy."
"It is easy. It's just a switch. All of it works like that. On and off for everything. It's like muggle magic," I said.
Draco chuckled and led me from Mira's room, quietly closing the door behind himself.
He put his arm around me and led me to the stairs.
"I'm sorry," he said.
I shrugged. "It's not my fault you can't work a baby monitor," I teased.
"It's not that," he said as we descended the stairs. "It's just. . . It's been a whole year since everything happened, and I know you want to put it behind us, but being at the hospital today I realized. . . I never really said sorry for all the shit I put you through."
"No, I'm serious," he said. We walked over and sat down on the couch. "Especially with Mira. . . Seeing Bill today it reminded that. . . She just. . . Showed up one day. Part of me thought I was never going to get to see her. Ever. . . I wasn't even there when she was born. What kind of lousy idiot misses their own daughter being born?"
"You're here now. That's all that matters," I said. "She's not going to remember the day she was born, or that there was an entire month before you got to see her. She won't remember anything about the war. She's going to remember this house. She's going to remember you tucking her into bed at night. She's only going to remember her life with you in it. Nothing else matters."
"What about when she learns that I used to be a death eater?" he asked.
"The only thing we can do is tell her the truth, the whole truth, and hope she understands, and as long as you love her, take care of her, and let her know that you genuinely wanted to no part in any of that, she'll know that you're not a bad person," I said. "Because you're not a bad person."
Draco nodded, and laid his head back on the couch.
"Have you been reassured, or shall I go on?" I asked. "I can come up with lots of reasons you're a good person and a good father."
"Save it. You have to spend the rest of your life with me. Don't want to waste all of your good sense on me before we've even tied the knot," he said. "For instance, after I graduate I'm sure I'll need reassurance that I'm not going to be useless."
"I'll put it on my schedule," I said.
The front door opened and Harry walked in.
"Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt," he said.
"It's fine. I have to be going anyway," Draco said. He leaned over and kissed me. "I'll talk to you Tuesday." I gave him a nod and he rose from the couch. He said goodbye to Harry and walked out the door.
I let out a sigh.
"Everything okay?" he asked.
I nodded. "It's just been weird. Me losing my baby. Fleur having hers. The anniversary of the war. It just gave us a lot to discuss. . . He was just saying how he felt like crap because he wasn't there when MJ was born."
"You wanted him to feel like crap, remember? That's what you named her Potter and not Malfoy," Harry said.
"I know all that, but things are different now," I said. "We're going to be married in a month and a half. He's here for his daughter every chance he gets, and up until a year ago today he was there with her every day when I couldn't be."
"Thinks he's a bad dad then?" Harry asked. "I think he's doing a great job. No offense, but you were clearly not born to handle a Slytherin child."
"She could be Gryffindor," I said.
"Hannah, don't kid yourself," Harry said.
I frowned. "Anyway, it's not that. . . He's just afraid of what'll happen when she finds out he used to be a Deatheater."
Harry paused for a moment. "If she's truly your child she'll love him more for it."
"Why do you say that?" I asked.
"Because you did. Draco told you he was a Deathereater and you understood immediately why. He was doing it to save his family. It wasn't the smartest thing, but you knew he'd do anything to protect his family. You're his family now. So is Mira. She's gonna know her dad did some ridiculously stupid things to save his family and would do it again if it meant keeping you safe," Harry said.
Suddenly my eyes were swimming with tears. "Harry, I didn't know you felt that way."
He waved a dismissive hand at me. "Draco's grown on me. He's had to, obviously. He's about to be my brother. But the one thing I never doubted about him was that he'd do anything for you. Even when everyone in the Order was going crazy thinking Voldemort was using him to get to you, I knew that what you guys had was real. I still wanted to strangle him, but I knew. . . I know he's not going to ever hurt you make you sad or leave you. He's an ass, definitely. I will think so until the day I die, but he treats you well. That's why when he asked me, for permission to marry you when we were 16 I said go ahead—also because I knew you'd say yes regardless of what anyone said, but that's neither here nor there."
I smiled at him. "You really are my favorite, you know?"
Harry nodded. "I am a pretty cool older brother."
"We're twins," I said.
"Minor detail," he said.
". . . Do you think you'll marry Ginny?" I asked.
"Definitely," Harry replied quickly. "Not for a few years, of course. But I already know. She already knows."
"If you already know, then why not now?" I asked.
"It's not that I'm unsure or anything, it's just. . . Maybe I want time to just be me without Ginny. I'm not like you," Harry said.
"What do you mean by that?" I asked.
"You already know what you want and you were always determined to just go and get it. Anyone who ever dated you already knew what they were getting into. You already know what you're getting into. You're already so much your own person and Draco is second to that. I'm still trying to figure all that out. And maybe Ginny knows what she wants, but at the very least I want her to be a big Quidditch star without her name being an amendment," Harry said.
"You mean headlines that say 'Harry Potter's Wife Brings Home the World Cup Again' sort of thing?" I asked.
Harry nodded. "You're already very well established as your own person. Ginny and I aren't. Plus we're both slightly terrified of long term commitment, so we have that too."
I nodded. "I guess that makes sense."
"But why now for you and Draco?" Harry asked.
I shrugged. "I guess Draco and I are just like you and Ginny except, even though Draco has absolutely nothing about his life figured out, he wants to figure it out with me. And I want to figure it out with him."
Harry smiled at me. "You're adorable."
"I'm aware," I said.
"I'm glad you're happy," he said. "I mean it. I hope the summer you spent with the Dursleys and the subsequent year will be the unhappiest you ever feel for the rest of your life. As I said before, I am not a Draco Malfoy, but I will be for as long as you're together. And the moment he does something awful I will fight him for you, even though I'm pretty sure he could kick my ass."
"Well, you always have Plan Delta Theta Nine to fall back on," I said.
Harry nodded. "You didn't tell Malfoy about that did you? I want it to be a surprise if he ever screws up."
"I didn't say a word," I said.
"Excellent," Harry said. "Damn, I just realized I'll have to break the habit of calling him 'Malfoy' since you're going to be Malfoy too."
"I'm hyphenating my name, but I guess I probably will just go by Malfoy now," I said.
Harry wrapped his arm around me and pulled me into a hug. "It's a whole new world."
[A/N: Sorry I updated and ran away. I have a good excuse though! I had a baby. Not, like, immediately after updating, but I had the worst pregnancy in the world and was in bed unable to even sit up and use my computer because of how sick I was. But I'm alive! My son is wonderful and he finally sleeps without me holding him so I can start writing again! I've got some stuff backlogged so expect another update soon! I promise no more weddings or babies until this is finished].