A/N: Some readers have been asking for the children Hermione saw in her vision one day. It had never occurred to me to put them in the story anywhere because it was just a vision, but due to the demand they snuck in my head. Here's how they came out.
Oh, almost forgot (I'm already done, mentally): thanks for reviews go to the lovely scv914, SSHGDMLOVE and kimo acp. Did I forget somebody? (It's late)
There's no shagging in this chapter but another hospital stay and mention of blood. And indirect profanity. Be aware.
And the last disclaimer for this story. The characters belong to JK Rowling and her associates, only the plot is mine, no profit is made from this, only the satisfaction of a job bloody well finished.
"Why is mummy so grumpy these days?"
Standing in the Manor's breakfast parlour at the table where he just pushed the plate with a sandwich, that Deezy had prepared and brought in, in front of his 3 year-old son, Scorpius, Draco smirked at the question.
"Because she is fat as a whale with your sister and she doesn't feel comfortable if she can't see her feet."
As soon as he had finished speaking, there was a yell coming from the adjacent room where he knew Hermione was resting with her feet put up, because her ankles had the volume of a body builder's biceps this late in the pregnancy.
"What, Granger?" he yelled back.
"Where's my milk shake?"
"I'm feeding our son because you can't do it yourself anymore. Be an adult and wait your turn, will you?"
A quiet "Oh" came from the other room and Draco knew she'd realized that Scorpius was with him and not to yell in front of him. Then he heard a short snort and something resembling a muttered "as if Deezy couldn't have done it". Draco grinned at his wife's impatience, but he motioned to Deezy to fulfil Hermione's request. Deezy nodded and popped into disappearance.
Scorpius mused, picking on his whole wheat bread. "Daddy?"
"Do you love mummy?"
Draco smiled, pulled out a chair, sat next to his young boy and answered "Yes." From the bottom of his heart, he felt. When that didn't seem to convince the buggering three-year-old, he asked: "Why would you ask that?"
"Mrs Butterbloom told us that if you like someone, you don't yell at them and that it's not nice to yell, and you and mummy, you yell all the time." After a brief pause, he added: "At each other that is, not at me."
Draco closed his eyes and decided to have a word with his son's kindergarten teacher about spreading "unqualified wisdom" to his kid. He reached across and ruffled Scorpius' dark blond strands and said:
"I agree it's not nice to yell in general. And particularly, Slytherin's don't do it. But your mummy is a special case and we just love yelling at each other. If your mummy stops yelling at me, I know something is seriously wrong with her. We tease each other quite a bit, but we love each other very much, so, don't you worry about that, kiddo."
Scorpius nodded and finally picked up his sandwich satisfied. Draco looked at his son's blond head, now bent over his meal, and marvelled how Granger's influence had darkened the typical Malfoy platinum-blond, but how his son still had the same grey eyes.
He considered telling his son about their clashing magic, which made them go for each other's throats all the time. But when he thought about how this same magic had created a wonderful entity made to balance and spread the love in life (and how he, Draco Malfoy, was an essential part of it, incredibly) he wondered how a three-year-old would be able to understand this. His son was smart for just three years, no wonder when looking at the parents, but he could hear Granger cautioning him in his head against overtaxing the boy with too complicated things.
But he couldn't wait for the day when he would explain his children how he had come to love their mother. A story that he liked to repeat to any audience he could get because it warmed his heart every time he told it. And Granger's smile helped, when she heard him tell it.
When he looked at his son chew, he was naturally drawn to the acts of making him, in his mind, and how they couldn't stop and were having a daughter soon, very soon.
He reminisced last night with a suppressed shudder. Having grown to the size of a small Beluga didn't prevent his wife from climaxing spectacularly when he went down on her, something he still liked to do very much, because she still enjoyed it very much. But he missed getting into her. He still loved the feeling of connecting with her deep in her body. He didn't think that would ever change. But they couldn't risk it this close to the delivery date for fear of an early labour and resulting complications. Granger was still a slim woman.
But it wasn't long now. His daughter was due any day and in a few weeks' time, Granger would be back to normal size and have healed and she would take up her wifely duties again. Her riding him to completion and her taking him into her mouth had fallen a little behind recently due to her size. He couldn't even lean over her, due to the belly being in the way. He just couldn't wait.
A renewed yell from Hermione ripped him out of his thoughts: "Draco!"
He froze at her urgency. "What?" he yelled back.
"My water broke."
Cursing wildly, ignoring Scorpius' wide eyes upon his filthy words, he jumped from his seat and ran to Hermione to see the dark wet stain spreading out on the seat below her. He threw one look at his level-headed wife, who grinned at him even while the first contraction gripped her and she winced. "Perhaps you shouldn't have made me come quite so hard last night," she pressed out between clenched teeth.
And then he ran with another string of curses to the fireplace to floo his mother, who was visiting the Parkinson's but came over immediately to take care of Scorpius.
Getting Hermione to St. Mungo's was no problem once Scorpius was safely and calmly settled in his Grandmother's loving arms. Narcissa carried him out of the room, promising to show him some of his father's old toys he had never seen before and that Mummy was fine and they would visit her as soon as his sister was born.
The real problem was Draco's fight with the healers over him being in the room while Hermione gave birth, a hitherto widely unknown thing in the wizarding world. He won the fight when Hermione imperiously demanded in the middle of a contraction that she be allowed to crush her husband's hand when she needed to, just as she had done during her first delivery, and didn't they know who she was and to shut up and give her something against the fucking pain.
Huffing the pain off with her eyes squeezed shut, she reminded the healer-in-charge that the last time they had tried to ban her husband from her room she had crushed a healer's hand as a substitute and that said healer was still not able to take up his manual work again. The healer-in-charge relented with an eye-roll, while Draco Malfoy smirked uncertainly. He wasn't too concerned when Hermione still had enough air to berate a healer. He was more concerned for the soundness of his hand.
And then they got down to business. Shoes pulled off, Draco Malfoy sat at the head end of the bed. It turned out that the delivery would go smoother when Hermione was on her knees, due to the positioning of the baby, and so he had his wife's head on his shoulder and held her shaking, sweating, wincing and whimpering body during the birth of his daughter, stroking over her back and sides and letting his hand be crushed to smithereens with every major contraction.
Merlin, was he ever grateful for healing spells.
Several times he used their compow's extra strength to numb Hermione's pain considerately with a pain soother charm (Hermione's invention) (and his hand's, just taking the edge off this crushing pain, for fuck's sake. How could a small, slim woman have so much strength?), but each time she waved him off after several minutes, claiming she wanted to be able to feel the contractions coming.
For the final pushes Hermione had to turn around again and so she was lying in his arms and in his lap when they both saw their daughter for the first time. After a quick clearing of her airways and the cutting of the cord, Cassiopeia Malfoy was put on her mother's stomach and Draco had a prime seat when she raised her head for the first time and looked at her parents.
And just when he had looked at his son for the first time, Draco felt this choking pressure in his chest, this indescribable feeling of being filled with love to the brim and not being able to hold it in, so it would squeeze out through the eyes, darn it.
"She's beautiful," Hermione whispered at that moment. Blond strands of hair were darker than they would be eventually because they were still wet and plastered to her head, but it was already very evident that she would be the exact mix as Scorpius, with parts from both her parents. Grey eyes and darker blond hair.
"Yes, just like you," Draco wanted to say, but all he was able to croak out was a feeble "Hm, yyy".
Hermione understood and when Cassie was taken away for proper cleaning, checks and measurements, she turned around and pulled her husband's head down for a full tear salty kiss.
"Thank you," he whispered, his forehead leaning against hers, when he was master of his voice again.
"Thank you for helping," Hermione smiled back, and then closed her eyes in exhaustion. Draco scooted out from behind her back to give her a better position to rest. With a last kiss he sauntered over to where his, no, their daughter was being taken care off.
When she was cleaned and dressed the healer moved aside, and with a smile said: "Here you go, Mr Malfoy. Congratulations. Your daughter is beautiful and completely healthy."
"Thank you," he said neutrally, the overwhelming evident in his features. "Please take good care of my wife, she needs to rest and heal properly."
"Of course," the nameless healer nodded back. Draco couldn't be arsed with remembering their names. Hermione or his mother would take care of thanking them later, once they were safely back home.
And so Draco stood bend over the table, on which his daughter lay in one of those thingies that prevented babies from turning over completely and falling off.
Taking her between his forearms, this tiny baby that was his daughter, he spoke the magical words of a wizard accepting his child as his, just as he had done with Scorpius:
"Cassiopeia Janna Malfoy, welcome to this world. Your mother and I love you very much."
Cassiopeia didn't even have the courtesy to open her eyes to look at her father, but she waved her arms wildly while her tiny mouth split into a huge yawn. Draco laughed, tears in eyes, and kissed her hands, then picked her up with well used movements and cradled her in the crook of his arms where she fell quickly asleep. Hermione had already done the same thing over on the bed, and so Draco sat down on a chair a little to the side, while healer assistants cleaned up the bloody sheets and gown and towels, and watched his daughter sleep, holding tight onto one of his fingers and making sucking movements with her mouth from time to time.
'If only I knew who to thank for these miracles in my life' he mused by himself, while leaning his tall frame back in the flimsy chair once again with a smile.
After a while when his arm grew heavy with the strain of the holding the little body on it, he carefully put her down in her crib where she continued to sleep, and with a last kiss on the sleeping Hermione's forehead, he left the room to floo his mother that she had a healthy beautiful granddaughter.
Hermione woke to her son's squealing, bent over the crib: "She looks just like me."
"Yes, sweety, she does. Exactly like you," she said with a smile.
"Mummy," Scorpius exclaimed and skipped to her bed immediately to hop and climb on and give her a hug.
"Grandmother had me look through Daddy's toy box and in the afternoon we went to Diagon Alley and had ice cream. It was great," he told her excitedly.
Hermione looked over his head at her mother-in-law and said: "Thank you, Narcissa"
"Don't mention it," Narcissa Malfoy waved off. "Anything to give you the time to bring such beautiful babies into the world. Draco, may I have her now? After all, this is what I came for," she imperiously demanded from her only son, who wouldn't let go of his daughter.
With a sigh, he passed the baby into his mother's capable hands and joined Hermione and Scorpius in the bed.
"Grandma said she would take me to the Zoo tomorrow if you won't be back."
"Well, perhaps Grandma can take you there anyway, even if we will be back. Your mummy and Cassie will need lots of rest, even if they don't have to stay here at St. Mungo's anymore," Draco said.
"Of course, I can," Narcissa said distractedly, while making grand big smiling grimaces at the baby in her arm. "She has your eyes as well, Draco."
He sighed. "Yes, so now we know what really the Malfoy marker is. Although, I expect that Scorpius will go lighter as he grows older, as all male Malfoys."
Narcissa shrugged. "I don't care either way. And it can happen to Cassie as well. We have almost no precedence case, what with Malfoy women being so few over the centuries. A true miracle."
"All due to my wife, here," Draco said with a smile, turning to Hermione and kissing her fully. "You are truly magical."
Hermione grinned: "Perhaps the Malfoy's should have brought a Muggleborn witch into the family before. Who knows what could have happened?"
"Miracles, is what I think," Draco whispered in her ear. She giggled.
Scorpius cuddled between his lovey-dovey parents and yawned heartily, not unlike his sister earlier. Narcissa noticed it and put her granddaughter down with a heavy sigh. "I better bring Scorpius home. It's past his bed time. Send me an owl when you will be coming home tomorrow."
Draco nodded. "Will do, mother." And Hermione backed him up with another "Thank you, Narcissa."
Narcissa hugged her daughter-in-law. "Anything for you, my dear."
"Hey, and what about me?" Draco whined.
"Yes, yes, you as well, Draco. But I expect to have some extra quality time with my granddaughter for my favours," Narcissa grinned at her son.
He grumbled something that sounded awfully like "When I can arrange it to let go off her for more than two minutes."
When Narcissa picked Scorpius up, he mumbled sleepily: "Isn't Mummy coming with us?"
"No, sweety, your mummy needs to rest here in the hospital one night. And we'll go to the Zoo tomorrow and see if we can find a nice "Welcome-home" gift for her and your sister, what do you say?"
Scorpius mumbled something which sounded like an agreement and then something with Daddy in it.
"I'll stay with your mummy and sister a little longer, big boy. You are having a sleepover with Grandma. But tomorrow I will bring them both home, alright?" He gave his son a good-night kiss and said "Thank you, mother" once more.
Narcissa Malfoy smiled. "Of course, Draco. That's what family is for."
He smiled back.
When his mother had left with the half asleep Scorpius in her arms, he pulled the crib with the gurgling baby closer to Hermione's bed and made to sit down, when she reminded him: "You can give her to me. It's time for a feed."
He picked Cassie carefully up and put her next to Hermione on the bed, and watched his wife putting his daughter on her breast.
Watching Hermione nursing and having a mother-daughter moment when their eyes connected and she smiled at the baby, made his throat go tight again. He sat on the bed ledge and leaned over Hermione's legs for purchase.
Hermione leaned back with a sigh: "A few more weeks of recovery and I can finally go back to working the compow with you."
Draco looked unsure. "Are you sure you don't want to wait some more? After all, there's no deadline for us and we've already done so much. I wouldn't mind at all to take an extended vacation. When you're fit again, that is."
Hermione smiled at him. "I know we have no deadline. And we are nowhere close to finding the counter to Avada Kedavra. It will take so much longer." She shook her head in exasperation. Draco smirked. Not being able to simply research and find a solution was still inconceivable for Hermione.
"But I feel almost handicapped without our shared magic. And we know it's not harmful to use it while pregnant. Just the potentially accidental meetings with curses we cut out. And that was alright. But I want to feel empowered again, when working it. Sitting around being pregnant didn't really suit me."
Draco kissed her blanket covered hip. He loved every part of Hermione's body, even seemingly insignificant ones like her hip. Everything about her was magical and enchanted him, down to his root. Still. It had only gotten stronger over time. If she ever accidentally lost a finger, he was sure he would grieve like for a lost friend.
Sometimes he thought he was going crazy with his obsession, but then Hermione kissed him good and pulled him back to reality whenever that happened. She had a one-of-a-kind way to pull him down to the naked reality. Especially the naked part.
He shook his head. He always had an intense relationship with his sexuality but being with his wife made him feel oversexed at times. There was just nothing comparable than connecting with her deep in her body and feel their magic sweep through him. He felt his root twitching.
And he couldn't say "No" to her, especially since he knew there was no harm.
"Alright. But after you sated your hunger for magical fireworks, I insist that you take time to recover properly."
Hermione grinned. "Whatever for?" She knew exactly what Draco was referring to. It still amazed her, but Draco hadn't wavered in his devotion to her. Not one bit. He still loved every bit of her. Even in her swollen pregnant form, he had.
And his devotion to their son had severely impressed her. Who would have thought that Draco Malfoy would turn out to be such perfect husband material? She was aware that their bliss in the bedroom was enhanced by their shared magic but that didn't make it any less endearing. And, well - blissful.
"For the firework dedicated to your husband. It's been a long time since I was ridden into the sundown and seeing stars."
She laughed. "Come here, you."
When Draco bent over her, her breast still tightly latched in her daughters sucking mouth, she kissed him in a way that made both of them breathless. Draco had just taken a deep breath and was going for the second round with his wife's dark eyes boring into his and his trousers needing to be shifted, when it knocked on the door. Draco sat back a little with a groan and covered Hermione's exposed breast with a blanket, before a healer put her head in the door. She smiled kindly but remorseful.
"Mr and Mrs Malfoy, I'm so sorry. I would leave you to your quiet time, but there's a whole crowd of people out here in the hallway, wanting to visit you. And we can't have them clogging up our hospital. They won't leave though, unless I at least talked to you. Please, tell me I can send them away."
Hermione raised an eyebrow at her husband: "Draco, how come there are so many people out there? I barely finished delivering and I'm fairly certain that your mother wouldn't inform crowds of people while being out with Scorpius."
Draco looked very annoyed at the interruption. What timing. "I may have gotten in a quick floo call to Potter, informing him that I pulled equal with his two brats, but that my daughter was prettier than his. How was I to know that he would use it as an excuse to come here, likely wanting to compare their beauties?"
Hermione looked baffled for all but three seconds. And then broke out laughing whole heartedly. "Are you saying my god-daughter is ugly?"
"I said no such thing," Draco mumbled. "But you can't deny that our daughter is leagues prettier than any Potter child could ever be. Can you imagine how she will look when she's 16, with her blond hair and grey eyes, your pretty face and my tall stature? I'll have to hex every suitor from the Manor's doorstep. What kind of mother would you be if you didn't think that?"
Hermione laughed so hard that it hurt her sides and Cassiopeia unlatched from her breast to stare at her mother puzzled.
When she could fathom enough breath to address the poor waiting healer, she panted: "Let them in. I'm in a good mood, thanks to my lovely husband here. But tell them only for five minutes. And make sure you'll shoo them out in five minutes. It makes more of an impression if you do it."
The healer nodded with a grin at seeing Hermione Malfoy, nee Granger, and her unlikely but perfect husband Draco Malfoy in such a lovely interaction and went out again to give the instructions to Harry Potter and extended family.
The world would heal after all. One hearty laugh at a time.
A/N: Yay, this is it, the end. It really is. Thank you all reviewers who accompanied and supported me on the way, and you, who put me on favourites and story alert.
Before you say it, I am aware that Harry's and Ginny's second child is a boy, Albus Severus, but I'd already written it before I remembered. And now I'm just leaving it, AU and all. For this and likely for other related but separate one-shots that will come in the future, the canon timing may be a little off at times for the sake of the story.
I hope I covered all open ends. If you miss something, tell me, and I'll try and fit it in. I have a few ideas in my head for the "future". There won't be a sequel but maybe a few one-shots. When I ever write another long story, I will write it out first and then start publishing it. Or at least, have the plot sketched out entirely before I start publishing. And make sure I have more time to write, in the very least. The pressure was terrible, and I hate to let you hang for weeks on end. With work, it will be that way for many months now. So, it will be a while.
I was reading "The Fallout" by everythursday (over on H&V) recently, which is a war story, and I realize that the war in my story falls very short (I don't like gruesome fight description. I'm also a nurse and watching and describing blood for fun is not my cup of tea. I've seen it for real). I may be tempted to expand my story for a bit (eventually), so we see more Draco and Hermione fight action, more use of their compow and to really see the war end, not fizzle out as it is right now. But for now the story stands as is.
Watch out for one-shot "Fear of Flying" when Hermione takes (it) off with Draco on a broom. And something about Quidditch and Draco finally catching the snitch (another much overused cliché, but I had some ideas around it), is already posted.
Let me know if you want to see them do something specific. I could imagine that you want to see more of them working the compow, but that's not even clearly in my head as a situation yet. So, if you have ideas, let me know.
In a review. Or PM. I don't bite.
River in Egypt