Give Me a Sign
The official story would be that they'd found him—just one more wizard child left parentless by Voldemort. Technically, it wasn't a lie. Pansy stared at him as he happily shoveled bits of pancake into his mouth. "Rodolphus must have woken him a few times," she said, hearing Tonks come in.
"Why do you say that?" Tonks asked.
"He can feed himself. And he just said 'No'."
"How though? All you did was pick him up…."
"Probably some kind of sleep spell that's broken by physical contact. Let's face it, can you see Bellatrix rocking him to sleep every night?"
Tonks snorted at the idea. "I don't get it…him…" she mused. "Bellatrix was only out of Azkaban for a little over two years. How could she have had a kid?"
Pansy shrugged. "He looks like he's almost two. If it happened right after she got out…."
"Eurgh…. I don't want to think about it."
They sat in silence for a long moment, watching the baby play with his food. Pansy finally looked over at Tonks. "You know it has to be us, right?"
"Like hell it does."
"Tonks, do you think Aldhurst's reaction is going to be the exception, or the rule? Because I'm betting on the rule. You and Draco are the only people he has left…and do you really want Draco raising him?"
"Besides, look at him! He looks like her. The only thing he got from Rodolphus is his nose. People will wonder. He—"
"Okay, I get it," Tonks sighed. "We'll have to rename him."
Pansy nodded slowly. "Do you…do you think maybe…if people knew who he was, and who adopted him—"
"They would react the same way as Aldhurst. You're right. He doesn't really have a chance. Just…we've been together for less than a year, and we're already adding a baby to the equation."
"We'll just look at it as if you knocked me up," Pansy said, grinning.
"And you gave birth to a two-year-old…." Tonks added. She still sounded serious, but the corners of her mouth were twitching. "This is insane."
"This is the fallout," Pansy said. "There are a lot worse things we could be dealing with than a kid."
"Are you ready to be a mom? You don't want to…I don't know…travel the world first?"
"I've been through a war. I'm set. And as for being ready to be a mom… pureblood girls are raised to be baby factories. I've been marginally okay with the idea since third year."
"Please tell me you aren't planning on doing what I think you're planning on doing," Harry said quietly, coming through the door.
"Not a word, Potter," Pansy said.
"Better he's with family."
Harry shrugged. "What are you going to tell everyone tonight?"
"Ron and Hermione's engagement party?"
Both witches swore.
"Language," Harry said, grinning and covering the baby's ears. "Janus is listening."
"We have to pick another name for him," Pansy said.
"Harry Ronald Neville Frederick George Seamus Tonks?" Harry suggested.
"Don't make me hex you, Potter."
"Who is this?" Molly asked ecstatically.
"Nico Rhydian Tonks," Tonks said. "Pansy named him…."
"Quiet, you," Pansy said. "Hi Mrs. Weasley."
"Please, call me Molly. I didn't know you two were thinking about adopting," she added.
"It's not final yet, but yeah," Tonks said, handing Nico to Molly.
"Everyone's in the garden. Let's go tell them the good news."
"Let's not make it a big thing," Pansy said. "It's Weasley and Granger's night."
That turned out to be impossible—even Hermione agreed that the baby trumped another Weasley engagement.
"Cute always wins out," she told Tonks with a grin.
Pansy watched all of them with a smile. She still felt uncomfortable at the various family gatherings, and tended to maintain a respectful distance. Normally, she'd spend the evening talking to Harry, or Arthur, and avoiding eye contact with the rest. They didn't really know what to do around her either. It was all very weird.
"Hey Johnson…er…Weasley now, I guess."
Angelina nodded at her. "Could I talk to you? Privately?"
Pansy shrugged and followed the older girl outside. "What's on your mind?"
"That's Bellatrix's kid," she said, without preamble. "Don't," she told Pansy, holding up a hand. "I won't tell anyone, and I think what you're doing is…admirable. The only reason I know is because I saw him change back a little while ago. How are you doing it?"
"It's a disguise spell," Pansy explained. "We can't keep it up forever, but we figure we'll do it for a few months. Only when we go out, just to be safe."
"What's this about?" Pansy asked. "You didn't call me out here just to confirm your suspicions."
"No, I… I just wanted to tell you…. Do this because you want to, not because you feel like you have to. Hannah's started the War Orphans' Home already—the kid would be safe—"
"But he'd be alone. If I thought he would have a better life not knowing who he is, I might have considered letting him go. But he's a spitting image of Bellatrix, and even if Hannah found parents who could look past that…. He'd get older and think he wasn't wanted by the family he had left. It's not his fault his mother was a raging psychopath."
Angelina smiled. "Sounds like you've thought it out at least. I'm happy for you both, if this is what you want."
"Thanks," Pansy said, starting to feel awkward.
"I'm speaking from experience," Angelina said, not missing the way the younger witch fidgeted.
"You mean you and George?"
The older witch nodded. "I love him; don't get me wrong, but still…the way it happened…" she broke off, shrugging. "Let's get back to the party."
Pansy nodded and led the way back inside.
The baby's nose was a cute point, and his hair was jet black and wavy again. He was snoring quietly in his crib, oblivious to the two witches watching him.
"Molly knows there's something up," Tonks said, smiling at Pansy. "I didn't tell her, and I don't think she knows exactly, but she was grilling me for information."
"Course she was… nosy woman."
Pansy smiled. "When do we tell him? One day he'll have to know…."
"Not tonight," Tonks said, taking Pansy's hand. "Let's go to bed."