~*~The Epilogue~*~

Being pregnant was both a blessing and a curse.

The Malfoys, meaning Lucius and Narcissa, had refused to allowher to go to any muggle doctor and instead hired a well-known pureblood Mediwitch. Cold and snide, the woman was a godsend when contractions fell on her so powerfully her vision faltered. It caught her breath in a vice as much as she was told to breathe and the sensation of her body morphing itself to a thing capable of birth drove tears into her eyes.

Only women were allowed in the room with her and Narcissa was cooing in her ear as Ginny slipped inside to the sound of Harry's voice. Hermione's new godson, James Sirius, had been born about two months ago, healthy with pudgy little cheeks. His hair was as black as his father's, but he had glowing brown eyes. The still plump Ginny came over and kissed Hermione on the forehead, brushing her hair from her sweaty skin. She shifted in her seat as she tried to find enough time to breath properly.

"Draco's losing it. He wants to be here for you."

"We broke tradition to have Hermione join our bloodline and this child is another kick in the shin for our ancestors, but this baby willbe born in pureblood fashion." Narcissa was pacing as Hermione stood to withstand another contraction. As much as the society rules were weighing on her view of her first child's birth, Hermione did welcome Narcissa's sharp fingers on her back. The entire affair was much easier with all these attendants.

"It's fine. He can wait." She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. The mediwitch with a pinched face swept over and waved her wand across the curve of Hermione's belly. A blue sheen flashed quickly and the woman nodded.

"She should lay down. She'll have to push soon."

The bed in this room was technically Narcissa's spare one, in a separate room in the expansive manor she and her husband owned. Draco had been born in this bed. It seemed a proper place to have his child. The softness and firmness of the bed cradled her and she thanked magic once more as the pillows grew plush and thick until she was comfortable. Or as comfortable as she could get in this situation.

She was ready for this, she had planned and plotted and searched herself clean and she had decided she was actually ready to do this. None of them but the Mediwitch knew the gender and Hermione wanted it to stay that way. Draco and Lucius had agreed on Scorpius Hyperion for a boy and she just thought that was silly. She wanted to name the boy Hugo, after her grandfather, but that was shot down almost immediately. It was finally revealed that Draco had taken the liberty of more or less promising the right to name the first boy to Lucius. The underhandedness of the act made her mad, but she gave her father-in-law a pass since he had looked so happy at the prospect of a boy.

Pureblood notions of what was important, she shook her head.

A rush, a feeling beyond her own mind, came over her and she felt the urge to push. The Mediwitch guided her through the process and the pain with quick orders and she clung to the method of the thing as much as the emotion. She wished her mother was here. She wished her father was here, mingling with all the important men in her life as they joked to release the tension and fear. She wondered if the pain would linger after all was said and done or if the effort of bringing life would ease once the baby cried out for the first time. Her mind ran from the color of the walls in the baby's room to the idea of seeing the child off to Hogwarts. The only time her mind was clear was the moment she felt the baby emerging out of her smoothly with a breathless last push.

Compared to the actual birthing, the pain was nonexistent. She laid her head back against the pillows and started to drift from consciousness, but she couldn't fathom falling asleep without seeing her baby's face, counting the fingers and toes like Ginny had. With a burst, however small of energy, Hermione brought herself up slightly higher and reached for the bundled red siren Narcissa was rocking and Ginny was crying over. After a moment, she was holding her child, her lovely, wrinkled baby.

"She's beautiful, 'Mione." Ginny was wiping her eyes on her sleeve and Narcissa took a seat on the bed beside her.

"What will you name her, my dear?" Tears were spilling over Narcissa's cheeks and she met Hermione's eyes seriously.

"I want to name her Rose." The crimson fabric wrapped around the girl matched perfectly.

"May I add a name?" There was uncertainty in the woman's voice and she fiddled with a handkerchief in her lap.

"Not anything like Scorpius Hyperion, right?" Ginny had a smile on her face.

"No. Nothing like that." Narcissa brushed the downy soft blond hair over and over with her fingers. "I would like to call her Bella Rose."

"Bella?" Hermione did not know why Ginny seemed to be her voice, but she was willing to be silent as she thought.

"My...my sister was...horrible, I know. But...she wasn't always as you saw her. When we were little, she was loving and witty. You would have liked her." Narcissa looked to Hermione again. "I loved her even though I knew she was falling apart. Maybe my granddaughter can make the name beautiful again. Something for me to remember fondly of my sister."

"She tortured people." Ginny shook her head. "I wouldn't want to name a child after that."

"Just because everyone you know is a saint doesn't mean those that I know are any less deserving."

Hermione sighed. "I think Bella Rose is perfect, Narcissa."

Ginny frowned, but sighed as well. "Alright."

The Mediwitch opened the French doors as soon as Hermione was presentable and four men charged in. Lucius and Draco were neck-and-neck to reach the bed and Harry and Ron lingered back. Ginny took the sleeping James from her husband and began to talk to her brother. Draco looked hesitant to peek, but when he did he didn't look away.

"A girl?" he whispered and replaced his mother at the bed beside her. Hermione lifted their baby girl and settled her in his arms gently. He laughed and scooted closer so he could lean against the headboard and pillows. "What have you named her?"

"Bella Rose."

"Bella?" He glanced from her to his mother and back. "Are you alright with this?"

"If I don't forgive now, I never will. Bellatrix is gone and I should move on with my life." She kissed him. "I have moved on."

Everyone had a moment to cradle and laugh and she was starting to drift again leaning on Draco's chest. At some point, James woke up and Harry brought Bella Rose near him. The chubby little boy reached out and touched her sleeping face with wide brown eyes. He giggled when she shifted.

"Watch your boy, Harry. That's my girl he's blushing over."

Hermione patted her husband in answer and he chuckled. The sound of his laughter made her close her eyes out of relaxation and she fell asleep to the cacophony of everyone's voices. Hearing Ron and Lucius having a back-and-forth over him being godfather was so odd she smiled as she succumbed to exhaustion.


A/N: I wanted it to end on a happy note and so I am very pleased with the fact that I was able to do that. This story is kind of momentous for me as it's the first double-digit chaptered story I have ever finished. I would like to thank all of you for the Favorites, Alerts, and Reviews and even if you never did any of those things, thank you for reading regardless. Now that I've proven to myself that I can finish a story that's longer than five chapters, I'm going to take that achievement to all my other projects. Thank you for reading and please review. Much love and gratitude, Tickle2Kill