2004

The sound of a baby screaming penetrated his sleep. He groaned and threw the pillow over his face for the third time that night.

"Your turn, Draco," Hermione murmured from next to him in the bed as she turned over.

"It sure as hell is not my turn," he grumbled. "You get him."

And yet he pulled back the blankets and stumbled out of bed, pushing platinum hair out of his face and rubbing his eyes in exhaustion, day-old stubble lightly scratching his wrists and forearms. The nursery was just across the hall, and he slumped over the edge of the crib, drawing the screaming baby up into his arms and trying to pat its back soothingly.

"Perseus," he whispered in the baby's ear. "It's all right, it's all right, Daddy's here." He began to pace as the baby screamed all the louder. "Merlin's beard. What do I do?" He raised his voice to reach his wife. "'Mione! In the name of all that's holy, come help me! He won't be quiet!"

After a few moments, she stumbled into the room. He immediately handed the wailing child to her; the baby quieted immediately.

"Oh, heaven forbid he do that for me!" he cried, exasperated, as he ran a hand through his hair to brush away the strands that had fallen back into his eyes. "I swear he doesn't like me! Wonderful father I'm going to be!" He collapsed into the rocking chair, which squeaked loudly in protest. "Wonderful father I already am."

Hermione, who had let loose an amused snort at him, quickly sobered up at his last words. "You're a wonderful father, Draco."

He made a sound that might have passed for acceptance. "We named him after Perseus, 'Mione. He's supposed to be a bloody hero, for goodness' sake! A hero that can't even sleep through the night!"

"Oh, I highly doubt the real Perseus slept through the night, Mr. Malfoy," she growled, half irritated. "In fact, I highly doubt you slept through the night."

"I never claimed to be a hero, Mrs. Malfoy."

"True, but you're mine."

He dropped a kiss on his wife's forehead before leaning down to do the same to his son, who had already fallen asleep.

She was flawless, and he had a son.

He didn't deserve any of it, and yet he wasn't going to complain. Life was life. It went too fast and sometimes it hurt too much, and if you blinked, you'd miss it.

He wasn't willing to miss this.