Lucius was exhausted as he waited for his wife to return, while watching his newborn grandson. That was an improvement from an hour earlier, when he was tired and hungry. The muggles had provided him with a sandwich and thankfully hadn't even asked him to pay for it; he didn't have any muggle money and didn't know a safe place to trade in galleons to get some. But when he mentioned payment the nurse said not to mind that, because the sandwiches were provided for free to patients in the maternity ward.
The nurses' one request was that Lucius eat the sandwich outside the NHDU. He didn't want to leave his grandson alone with muggles, even for a minute, but by that point he was starving and he figured that nothing much could go wrong in the short time it took to eat quickly. There wasn't much he could do medically for his grandson, because he knew fewer healing spells than Narcissa and he was relying mainly on the muggles for treating the baby. Mostly what he was there to do was to make sure that the muggles didn't try some outlandish procedure on the baby and that they didn't mix up his grandson with some muggle baby; but muggles couldn't complete a procedure in the time he was out of the room and his grandson already looked distinctive enough that he was sure he could spot him out of a whole line of babies. His grandson had his facial structure and had the look of fine breeding, even with the black hair; besides, Narcissa's father and sister had had black hair too.
Lucius had eaten the muggle sandwich and he'd enjoyed it too, since it contained foods they didn't have in their storeroom at the villa. By the time Narcissa finally arrived, he was back in front of the incubator watching his grandson sleep. He greeted her with a hug and she beamed at him with a smile that could only be possible with proper sleep.
"How is he doing?" Narcissa asked in French, looking over at her grandson.
"Brilliant. While you were gone the little champion whizzed all over the place. They had to get a new incubator to switch him over to, while they cleaned out the last one. I had to show them how to change a proper cloth nappy. They don't use the cloth ones and it took them an hour to scrounge up a pack of them, before I could show them how to make sure the tip was tucked in just right so that it wouldn't happen again," Lucius answered proudly, also in French. He had even put on a pair of those awful muggle gloves and muggle hospital clothes to do it. "What news do you have from home?"
"Our son has finally chosen names for the babies. This little one is Scorpius," Narcissa answered.
"That's an excellent name," Lucius replied.
"We'll update his incubator with the new name," the nurse said, getting a marker and making the new name card.
"Go home and get some rest, dear, but do try to relieve me before nine," Narcissa said.
Lucius agreed and went home. Narcissa took his chair.
"Your son must be a Farscape fan," the nurse said, changing the baby's name in his charts, now that the incubator was already updated.
"What's Farscape?" Narcissa asked.
"An American scifi show. My little sister watches it and the villain alien is named Scorpius."
"Oh, I've never heard of it."
"Not many people have; it's sort of hard to get here in France, but my little sister is obsessed with that sort of show."
"I'll have to ask my son if that was where he got the name from."
"What's the other baby's name? Scorpius' twin?"
"Now that has to be a name from one of those scifi shows. I don't watch them enough to know all their names, but that name fits in with those shows."
"I'm sure you're right," Narcissa lied, because it was easier to let the muggle think her son was into whatever it was the nurse was talking about than to reveal the truth.
"I'll have to ask my sister the next time I see her if she knows of a character named Hyperion."
"Yes, please do. My son's girlfriend expressed more milk for Scorpius. My son wants me to be sure his little man is getting breast milk," Narcissa said, changing the subject and pulling out the full bottle of milk from her large handbag.
"Oh my, that is a lot of milk; Scorpius hasn't even finished the last bottle your husband brought. Is the mother really expressing all this milk and having enough for the other baby?" the nurse asked, taking the bottle and labeling it, before putting it into the nearby refrigerator.
"Yes. She feeds Hyperion on one side, pumps the other side, and sends it in. That's what came out."
"Well that's excellent news for your grandsons; they'll have plenty of breast milk and breast is best. Scorpius is too little to drink all this milk as quickly as you're bringing it in, so I recommend freezing the extra and then just letting it thaw out when you need it."
"How much is that tube feeding him?"
"Half an ounce every hour, but I'm hopeful that I'll be increasing it soon."
"How long will he have to be fed through a tube?" Narcissa asked, not even understanding why her grandson was being fed through a tube.
"Until we can take the respirator out. We can't bottle feed him with the respirator in."
Narcissa settled in to watch and wait. Scorpius soiled his nappy, which was the big shocker of the afternoon. And when Scorpius stayed awake after the nappy change, the nurse let Narcissa hold him, provided she change into muggle-hospital clothes, which she did. The nurse even took a picture of them and promised to give it to her once she had it developed. And while Narcissa fawned over the tiny newborn, Scorpius opened his eyes and she got the first look into a pair of light grey eyes that matched her son's and husband's.
"Can you take another of his face with his eyes open? I want to show my son that Scorpius has his eyes; he's never seen his eyes before," Narcissa said.
The nurse agreed and took another photo, this one a close up on Scorpius' face.
While Narcissa was at the hospital, Lucius, Severus, and Druella were sleeping at the villa. Draco was up off and on with Baby Hyperion, but mostly he took it easy, rested as much as possible, and tried to keep to the two glasses of water he was supposed to be drinking every two hours. He now had quite a few bottles of milk under stasis charms sitting on his desk. Hyperion drank a lot, but Draco seemed to be producing enough milk for two Hyperions.
Draco quickly became lonely now that he was once again left alone with just the one baby. He began thinking of Harry and then of Scorpius and what the muggles had said about his baby's leg. There had never been any birth defects in either the Malfoy or the Black families. He could only think of one reason why there would be something wrong with his son and that was because Harry's Weasley friend had punched him in the stomach. Apparently the smaller of the two babies had been seriously injured by Weasley's attack.
The Protean charmed parchment was back in his nightstand drawer, but it only took a second for Draco to pull it out again and prepare his quill. He wrote, "Mother just got back from the hospital. The muggle healers said the baby has a deformed left leg and foot. It's too thin and bowed, and the foot is turned in. This is Weasley's fault."
It was only a minute later that Harry wrote back, "Is he alright? What are the doctors going to do to fix it?"
"They're not going to fix it; we're going to have to wait until after the war to seek treatment. You better end this soon so it doesn't interfere with his development."
"I'll try. I'm sooo sorry this happened. I stand by my promise that I won't let Ron near him."
"Good, see that you don't."
It took more than five minutes for the next reply and Draco began to wonder if Harry was still there. But then, "How bad does the leg look?" appeared on the parchment.
"I didn't notice it during the glimpse I saw of him, but apparently the muggle-healer said it's smaller than his penis, and he doesn't think the baby will be able to walk like that. They also thought there was a defect in the penis, because he's a Peverell boy."
"Is your mum going to be able to cast the vanishing spell on them?"
"For the waste?"
"Oh, I'll have to ask her. I've just been letting the first baby poop. As long as the second baby is with the muggles, he'll have to stay pooping," Draco wrote, thinking that that was a good point. Both boys were Peverells and as such they would need the permanent feces vanishing charm placed on them.
"What if she can't do it? The muggles won't be able to fix it."
"You lasted sixteen years without an infection; the boys will be fine for a few months until you end the war."
"Yeah, you're right. I love you. Can you tell the boys I love them?"
"I'll tell the first one. I love you too."
"I'll keep this parchment out; write me anytime you want to talk. I've missed you so much and I'm so glad to hear from you."
"How is the war going then?"
"Not so good. We found one piece of the puzzle, but we haven't been able to destroy it yet. Ron left us. Hermione and I haven't been able to come up with any new leads. We're at a dead end with nowhere else to search."
"What are you looking for?"
"Items of value to Voldemort. He has an obsession with the four founders, so any item that belonged to one of them might be it."
"I didn't see any relics from the founders when I was with him."
"What about places he might hide something very valuable to him? Like the diary he gave your dad to keep, but your dad gave to Ginny to open the Chamber of Secrets."
"My father is currently out of his favor. Professor Snape and Aunt Bella are his current favorites."
"I don't think Snape has been a favorite long enough to have one of these items. Where would your aunt hide something valuable? Where does she live?"
"She lives with Him in the guesthouse at Malfoy Manor. Uncle Rody's mother hates her and won't let them back in her home, but Uncle Rody still has control of the family's vaults."
"I know he's your dad, but opening your home up to Voldemort and his Death Eaters?"
"Father isn't with Him; hasn't been since a few weeks after he was released from Azkaban."
"You mean escaped."
"No, he was released. The dementors let him go and he walked out the front door."
"Alright, but where did he go? I heard he was missing; is he with you?"
"He went into hiding. I wrote him and told him to bail and he did. He gathered some supplies and left immediately; he'll lay low until the end of the war and then we'll contact him."
"But then why is Voldemort in your house?"
"Father agreed to let Him in when he was in Azkaban. The Dark Lord already had access and Father didn't bother taking the time to kick Him out when he left. Feel free to kick him out anytime you want."
"You're a Malfoy now; you have access to the Manor. The house elves and wards will obey you first."
"That's great! I'm sure that will come in handy during the final confrontation, but I can't do that until I've found all of the objects."
"Baby is crying; got to go," Draco wrote, hearing Hyperion wake up. He fed, burped and changed his baby and expressed more milk for the other baby.
Grandmother Druella was the first one to wake and she came into Draco's room to talk to him, while Hyperion slept off and on. Mostly his grandmother alternated between telling him stories about the adventures she got into when she was young and criticizing the latest Minister, the Ministry, and the Daily Prophet, even though all three were now under Death Eater control. Everything was better back in her day when she could buy a crate full of pumpkin juice for a knut.
Draco and Druella had dinner together and they were just finishing up when Severus woke up and joined them. Draco asked his old professor to cast the excrement vanishing charm on Hyperion and Severus agreed to do it after dinner.
Harry and Hermione were having a very solemn day in their tent after learning the news about the second baby. Harry would have brief moments of joy as he contemplated that he was a dad, that his first born was healthy, and that Draco was safe and alive in hiding. But those moments of joy were quickly squelched by thoughts of the second baby's precarious position in a muggle hospital, not safely in hiding, and not even breathing on his own.
Neither Hermione nor Harry had had much of an appetite for lunch, nor had they gotten much research done. They spent the day alternating between sitting, standing, and pacing while they thought of Draco and the babies. Neither of them had moved the Protean charmed parchment from the table and they hadn't touched the quill and pot of ink either, except for to close the ink so that it didn't dry out.
Harry was pacing back and forth in the tiny tent when he noticed a flicker of black from the parchment. He quickly ran over to the parchment, calling for Hermione as he went, and read Draco's new message.
"What is it?" Hermione asked, getting up and joining Harry at the small table.
"The second baby has a deformed leg; Draco said it's Ron's fault," Harry answered, still in disbelief as he silently read the parchment a second and then a third time, before it blanked itself. He reopened the ink and dipped his quill in, preparing to write back, but then he paused as he realized he didn't know what to write.
"Well is he otherwise alright? What are the doctors going to do to fix it? Surgery maybe?" Hermione asked.
Harry shortened Hermione's questions and asked them of Draco. Moments later Draco wrote back that healing the deformity was going to have to wait on Harry defeating Voldemort.
Harry wrote back that he would try to defeat Voldemort quickly, that he was sorry this happened, and he reaffirmed his earlier promise not to ever let Ron near the baby.
"No, you can't do that! Ron is your best friend! He made a mistake, but you don't even know this deformity was caused by him; sometimes these things just happen."
"I already told Draco when he was still worried he'd lose the babies over this that I wouldn't let Ron near him or the babies again. I won't have Draco living in fear of another attack and besides, just look at how mental Ron is! He left us and went back to his mummy and daddy when we're in the middle of the most important mission of our lives! I've just become a dad for the first time and you don't see me walking out on my duties."
"Yes, well Ron is an absolute prat, but he apologized for attacking Draco. He promised that he would never hurt him again. He didn't even know Draco was pregnant at the time and he certainly didn't know you two were dating."
"Don't defend him Hermione! He walked out on you just as much as he did me! And before he went, he said all those awful things about Draco and that Draco abandoned me. He still doesn't approve of my relationship with him; he even said I should take the babies and leave Draco, for Merlin's sake!"
"So what does that mean? When this is over, are you not going to be friends with Ron anymore?"
"I don't know Hermione," Harry said sullenly. "I really haven't thought that far ahead. But, if we are friends, Ron won't be permitted over to my house or to be anywhere my children are. Even if I was considering forgiving Ron before, I just can't let him near the babies, especially not now that I know the second one has a physical deformity as a result. Merlin Hermione, it's his leg; what if he never walks?"
"He will. Once you get him to St. Mungo's, they'll be able to fix it. Magic can fix almost anything."
"Magic couldn't fix Mad-Eye up. I think it all depends on how bad it is."
"Ask him then," Hermione said and Harry did, writing the question out on the parchment for Draco.
Hermione giggled as she read the answer Draco sent back, but she knew this was not a laughing matter, so she stifled her giggles with her hand.
Harry noticed Hermione's giggles and he too found the idea of the muggles coming across a Peverell baby and thinking the penis was deformed…well it was funny. Harry was very tense and he needed the laugh. Hermione removed her hand and joined in. The moment of frivolity didn't last long as the gravity of the situation sank in.
"Either he has one giant penis or he had one very tiny leg," Harry said.
"You have to keep positive Harry; there is a leg there and proper wizarding healers will be able to fix it up and straighten it out."
"The deformity couldn't be that severe if Draco didn't notice it."
"But he wasn't breathing when Draco saw him, so maybe Draco didn't even look down there," Hermione replied, bringing them down, despite her earlier insistence that they needed to stay positive.
"Yeah, if my newborn baby wasn't breathing, I'd be looking at the face and the chest and I might miss the leg," Harry added, before turning back to the parchment and reading Draco's message again.
Then it occurred to Harry that his sons were Peverell wizards and would need the special waste vanishing charm that Snape had performed on him. Would Narcissa be able to perform the charm? He didn't know, so he asked Draco. He went back and forth with Draco on the subject a few times. Draco agreed to ask Narcissa and assured Harry that even if Narcissa couldn't perform the charm, the boys would be alright without it for a while.
Harry told Draco he loved Draco and asked Draco to tell the boys he loved them too. Draco agreed to tell the first son, which only made Harry's heart sink as he once again thought of his second son fighting for life in a muggle-hospital. But while he had Draco talking to him again for the first time in over five months, he took the opportunity to encourage Draco to write to him more often, especially now that is seemed the parchment could deliver unlimited numbers of messages both ways.
Draco asked Harry about the war and he answered back with minimum detail, leaving out what exactly they were searching for. Draco seemed willing to help Harry out and even offered up some information on Voldemort, such as that Voldemort and Bellatrix were living in the guesthouse at Malfoy Manor. When it came time and the penultimate horcrux had been destroyed, he now knew that they could go to Malfoy Manor and confront Voldemort. Nagini, the last horcrux, would have to be killed first, but maybe Hermione could do that while he fought with his arch nemesis.
Harry also learned that Bellatrix and Snape were the leading Death Eaters at the moment, making them prime candidates for being the guardians of horcruxes. But Snape had been a spy and up until Dumbledore's death, no one had known his true loyalties lay with Voldemort. It seemed unlikely that Snape himself would be trusted with a horcrux. Bellatrix, on the other hand, was a prime suspect. He was disappointed to learn that Bellatrix lived with Voldemort, which meant they couldn't break into her home to look for horcruxes, without alerting Voldemort.
The one other lead Draco was able to give Harry was that Bellatrix and her husband had a family vault, presumably in Gringotts. Hermione promised that she would try to look into it and so Harry turned back to Draco and the charmed parchment.
Harry couldn't help but criticize Lucius for letting Voldemort and Bellatrix live in Malfoy Manor. The response he got back from Draco was shocking: Lucius had abandoned Voldemort after a simple letter from Draco. He never thought that Voldemort's right hand man would turn against Voldemort with nothing more than a letter; he had seen evidence of Lucius' desertion through his link to Voldemort and he thought that Draco must've been behind it, but he had imagined that Draco had written a great many pleading letters and had worked very hard to bring Lucius around to deserting Voldemort. But now Draco would have him believe that it had only taken one letter from Draco for Lucius to abandon his own home and go into hiding and stayed in hiding all of this time. Lucius clearly wasn't the one-dimensional follower he had taken Lucius for. If nothing else, Lucius loved Draco.
Unbelievably, that shocking news was topped when Draco told Harry that because of the marriage, Harry was now a Malfoy and the Manor and the Manor's elves would recognize him as the proper owner, over Voldemort. Voldemort was a guest in the Manor and Harry was a owner. He began fantasizing about showing up at Malfoy Manor, wand blazing, and over taking Voldemort, Bellatrix, and any other Death Eaters present, with the help of the house, the house elves, and Hermione.
Harry's fantasy was temporally interrupted by Draco's message that the first baby was crying and that Draco had to go. He was disappointed that the conversation was ending, but he hoped that Draco would contact him again and he and Hermione now had loads of new things to think about, so he turned back to his fantasy of walking into Malfoy Manor, finding all of the remaining horcruxes, and taking care of business in one final battle.
"Hermione, do you think You-Know-Who might have both horcruxes on him? If Bellatrix and Nagini are with him and they're all at Malfoy Manor, where else could they be?" Harry asked.
"It's a possibility, but Draco also mentioned the Lestrange family vault and keep in mind, we are still no closer to actually destroying a horcrux than we were before. We should have a way to destroy the horcruxes before we go to Malfoy Manor. I know you destroyed the first horcrux with a basilisk fang, but we don't have one and we have no idea how to get another. Dumbledore wanted us to have the Sword of Gryffindor to destroy the horcruxes, but we don't know where it is or how to get it," Hermione replied, bringing Harry back down to Earth.
"Yeah, you're right. It'd be better to check the vault for horcruxes first, find the sword, and then take the battle to the Manor doorstep. Merlin I wish I knew what was going on in that house."
"I think we will have to wait to find out. When we get there, we'll have to scope the place out. If the house elves obey you, then that will make it so much easier."
"Now look who's talking about using house elf labor," Harry teased.
Harry and Hermione continued on in their discussion of their new horcrux and Voldemort leads and began to put together a plan of attack. Harry found himself staring at the Protean charmed parchment as he spoke with Hermione. He was halfway through a sentence about the Lestrange family vault when something occurred to him. "-er, yeah, so as I was saying, the vault being heavily guarded or protected would be a good thing, because then it'd be more likely that Voldemort actually left a horcrux there. But I just thought of something different. Something about Draco," Harry said.
"What is it?"
"Well I didn't know how that parchment worked before, but basically it works like our coins do, except instead of tapping with our wands we write out messages with our quills."
"So, that means that Draco didn't write his farewell letter to me before Dumbledore died. He left a charmed piece of parchment for me before it happened, but he didn't write the message until sometime later! He didn't know Snape was going to kill Dumbledore after all! He probably just left to have dinner with his mum and happened to be safe else-where when he found out about Snape. Ron was wrong; Merlin I wish Ron was here so I could rub that in his face and then hex the daylights out of him."
Harry suddenly realized why he hadn't wanted to keep the parchment on his persons in the moleskin pouch around his neck. It was because he believed Ron that that parchment signified Draco's betrayal, or at least Draco had known of Snape's future betrayal, before it happened. But now that he knew that Draco hadn't known and that Draco hadn't betrayed him, this charmed parchment was not the horrible reminder of being betrayed by his husband on the day after his wedding. The parchment was now the last link to his family and a symbol of what was positive in his life, not what was negative. And in that moment, he decided to start carrying the parchment around with his galleon in the pouch around his neck.
"You're right Harry; Draco probably didn't know and he probably didn't write that message until hours after you left," Hermione replied.
"Probably? No, absolutely I'm right. Draco has never done any of the suspicious stuff Ron accused him of. In fact, I'm starting to think I only started to believe that Draco said he already had the middle room cleared of bunk beds and not that we were going to clear the middle room of bunk beds, well, it's because Ron kept telling me that that was what Draco had said. But Ron wasn't even there to hear it!"
"Well I said all along that Draco wasn't to blame for what happened; it was Snape who did it," Hermione agreed. "And Snape was ordered to do it by Professor Dumbledore himself."
"Not this again," Harry said with a groan.
Author's Note: The muggles are going to start growing suspicious next chapter…