Welcome to the end. Thank you all so much for reading my story! The chapter is a bit fluffy, but I wouldn't be me without a bit of fluff.
Two Years Later
"Mummy, what if Santa can't come because Ava won't sleep?" Scorpius asked.
Hermione smiled softly and glanced from her son to the baby asleep in her arms. "Sweetie, you have nothing to worry about," she promised.
The little boy's lower lip began to quiver. "But...but you and Daddy said that Santa can't come if all the kids aren't asleep," he argued. "And if Ava doesn't sleep that means he can't come. We're gonna miss Christmas!"
Ava stirred as Scorpius's voice rose. "Scor, I need you to keep your voice down," she whispered. "Please don't wake your sister."
"She's not my sister," he yelled. "And you're not my mum. I wish you never brought that stupid baby home!"
With Rose on his heels, Draco ran into the living room. "Hey, what's going on?" he demanded. "Why are you yelling at your mother?"
"It's her fault Santa's not coming," he cried. Then he ran up the stairs and slammed his bedroom door shut.
Draco crossed to the sofa and took Ava from his wife's arms. "What's gotten into him?" he wondered as he tried to soothe the baby.
Sighing, she shook her head. "Why don't you calm her down and put her to bed. I'll talk to Scor," she suggested, leaving before he could reply. Taking the stairs two at a time, she entered the first door on the left and shut it behind her. "Can we talk?" she asked, taking a seat at the foot of his bed. Scorpius curled into a ball and continued to stare at the wall, tears staining his red, round cheeks. "I kind of had a feeling this might be a one-sided conversation. Did I ever tell you that from the time I was little, about the same age that you are now, I always wanted a son? All of my baby dolls were boys, even though they were really girls. The first bit of magic I ever did was change the pink clothes to blue. I love my daughters, but I always hoped I'd have a little boy."
Scorpius sat up and sniffled.
But he said nothing.
So Hermione kept talking. "You have no idea how happy I was when your daddy said I could adopt you," she said. "I really wanted to be your mum long before Daddy and I became a couple. I'm sorry that you don't feel like I could be your mum."
"But Rosie and Ava are yours and Daddy's," he said softly. "I'm only Daddy's."
Hermione smiled. "But that's the good thing about adoption," she replied. "I picked you. I got to choose my son, and I think I got the best one I could ever hope for. There is nothing I love more than being your mum."
He moved down the bed and crawled onto her lap. "Is Daddy mad at me?" he asked.
Wrapping her arms around him, she kissed the top of his head. "Let me handle Daddy," she replied. "Now, about Santa. You know how Daddy and I write letters to him too? I was worried that he might pass over our house if Ava was awake, but he told me that he makes special allowances for families with little babies."
Glancing up at her with wide, excited eyes, he asked, "You got a letter from Santa? Can I see it?"
Smiling, she shook her head. "Sorry, Santa said not to share it with anyone."
He settled back into her arms. "Will he still come?" he wondered. "Even though I was bad?"
"I think he knows what a good boy you are," she said. "One little fight doesn't change that."
"Will you still be my mummy?" he asked.
"Forever and ever and ever," she promised. "Now, get dressed for bed or Santa might have to change his mind about coming here."
He quickly scurried off her lap to change into his pajamas. Promising that she would be back soon, she left him to his dressing and returned to the living room to find Draco alone. "Ava's asleep and Rose is getting ready for bed," he reported as he stared at the roaring fire in the hearth.
"Don't be mad at him," she said, taking a seat beside her husband.
Draco crossed his arms over his chest when she attempted to reach for his hand. "Don't be so lenient with him," he retorted. "You signed those adoption papers two years ago. He wanted this. He begged me to figure out how to make you his mother. And then, what? He gets mad because you ask him to do something, and you just let him tell you that you aren't the parent here? Even if you hadn't wanted to adopt him, that doesn't make you any less of an authority figure. Don't kowtow to his ridiculous behavior because you...I don't know...feel like you're not his mother or something."
"It's not that," she murmured, getting to her feet. "And we have prying ears here."
He followed her to the kitchen and sat down at the table. She took the seat across from him and folded her hands on top of the table. "Okay, so what is it?" he asked, striving to sound more patient.
She released a deep breath and averted her gaze. "Sometimes, I feel like you pay more attention to the girls than you do Scor," she stated. Draco scoffed. "You let Rose get away with everything. She took his train last week because she didn't like that he wasn't playing with her, and you yelled at him for ignoring his sister. No matter that she took something he loves. And that's not the first time it's happened either. I can think of dozens of times when she's done something wrong and you blamed Scorpius for it."
"Did you say anything to her?" he asked quietly, feeling guilty for his behavior. Hermione nodded, letting him know that she had disciplined their daughter. "You told her she had to help me clean up after dinner every night this week?"
Hermione chuckled. "She hates drying dishes," was all she said on the matter.
"I didn't realize I was doing that," he admitted. "Sometimes I still feel like I'm walking on eggshells with Rose. Do you remember that time she slapped Scor upside the head during dinner and I sent her to her room without dessert? She didn't speak to me for two weeks. With Scor, I could punish him and I knew he'd talk to me again in a matter of hours."
"Sorry I passed along the ability to hold a grudge to our daughter," Hermione replied. "If it's any consolation, at least we both know that growing up seemed to help me overcome that. You gave me better reasons to dislike you too."
He nodded in agreement. "Lucky for you, I outgrew it too," he said with a smile. Holding out his hand, she slipped her own in his from across the table. "Ever find it hard to believe that this is our life? Like if you had a time turner and went back to when we were kids, the old us would have laughed in our faces."
"That's only if we didn't all implode from meeting our former selves," she pointed out. "I mean, yeah, it's strange to think about sometimes. But other times, like when Ava sleeps more than two hours at a time or when Rose and Scor are getting along, that this seems so right. I've never been happier than I've been these last two years. That's because of you, Draco. I never would have had Rose or Ava or Scor without you."
With a tug on her hand, he silently asked her to join him. Now settled on his lap, he kissed her tenderly. "I love you," he whispered. It was something he made sure to tell her everyday of their eighteen month marriage. Never had he heard his own parents exchange those three simple words, and he always vowed to live his life differently.
She smiled against his lips. "I had a feeling you did," she replied. "Come on. Let's go put the kids to bed so Santa can come."