Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Harry Potter characters or the magical world in which they live. Nor do I make a profit from this upload.
Welcome to my Dramione story. This is just a test upload. I want to see how this story will be received. I'm not really sure exactly where I'm going with it yet, but I've had this on my computer for a while now and I thought I'd see what everyone thought. So, enjoy. ^.^
And now without further ado... Black Market Mishap.
Black Market Mishap
“A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.” - Mark Twain
Early April 2005
In a candlelit room, in the west wing of a manor, a fair-haired man sat with his head in his hands. The candle had burned halfway down and it was Draco’s only indicator that the world had not stopped turning.
He had just been told tragic news about his wife. The worst thing that could happen to a Malfoy wife had indeed happened and no magic in the world could fix it.
Astoria was barren.
For the last year they had been trying to conceive and after no success, they grudgingly went to see a healer. After a few waves of the healer’s wand, it was confirmed that Astoria would never be able to have children.
Draco let out a sigh as he shifted his hands through his hair and then began to stare straight ahead at nothing at all. He had so many thoughts racing through his head and yet he couldn’t concentrate on any of them. They were a whirlwind in his mind and every time he would glimpse the severity of what had happened, he would instinctively dismiss it. Thus, sending his thought process in an uproar again.
As the Malfoy heir, he had one duty. Produce the next Malfoy heir. With Astoria being barren there was no way for him to do this … but…
There had to be a way. There had to be something he could do…
He curled his hand into a fist and slammed it down on the arm of his chair.
Something had to be done!
Draco got up and marched across the room. He ran his hand through his hair once more, more aggressively this time.
He had contemplated telling his father the dreadful news, but Lucius would only demand he divorce Astoria. He couldn’t lie and say the thought hadn’t crossed his mind. However, when he married Astoria he had been so bewitched by her charm and wit (and not to mention beauty). Furthermore, the year of marriage they’d spent together had only enhanced those feelings. He wouldn’t leave her. There had to be a way to get around this and he would find one. Therefore, telling his father was a definite no.
Draco was so wrapped up in his thoughts that he didn’t see the fireplace light up green, nor hear the arrival of someone via Floo. If he had, he wouldn’t have given an undignified jump from being startled by Theodore Nott’s greeting.
Theo gave him a suspicious look when Draco tried to cover up his less than perfection slip-up. “You all right there, mate?” he asked.
Nodding, Draco looked over his shoulder at his brother-in-law. Both he and Theo had married a Greengrass girl and since then they had maintained a somewhat close acquaintance, if not friendship. The dark curly-headed man was still giving him questionable looks. “It’s just been a long day is all.”
Theo nodded. “I assume that the healer’s appointment was a bit rough then?” he questioned. “Is there something wrong with Astoria? Wrong with you?”
The anger that had been simmering over the whole situation erupted inside him. “No!” he almost shouted. The lie had burst through his lips before he could even think about it and the fact that he wanted it to be true propelled him to continue. “I’m just frustrated that we haven’t gotten pregnant yet …The healers had no idea why. It was a bloody waste of time.”
Theo was quiet for a moment, scrutinizing him. Draco felt sweat appear on his upper lip. It was another moment before Theo nodded his head in understanding. “Can’t imagine how you feel, Malfoy. I guess you’ll have to keep trying then. Not that you should be complaining about that, right? Sex whenever you want it should be easy living, yeah?”
“Should be, yeah,” he said grudgingly.
Theo smiled triumphantly as he made his way over to an armchair and then propped his feet up on the leg rest. He then reached over and grabbed a copy of the Daily Prophet. There was silence for a few moments before Theo commented, “‘Ministry busts elderly couple for selling kidnapped infants?’ Blimey, who sells infants? More importantly who would buy a baby? They’d have to be barking mad!”
Draco had stopped cold. The words ‘selling’ and ‘infants’ jumped out at him. Maybe there was a way to stay married to Astoria and mistakenly appease his father. If he could somehow plan out everything, down to the last detail… He could perhaps make it seem like he and Astoria had had a child. He would definitely need to speak with Astoria right away--
“Did you hear me, Malfoy?” Theo asked, shattering his thoughts. “I said it’s a good thing no one we associate with is desperate enough to sell their babies. I suspect they’d be more common in the lower society.”
Draco forced a laugh. “I suspect as well.” He cleared his throat and continued, “Is there a particular reason for your visit today, Nott? Or did you simply come over to chat about stolen infants?”
Theo folded the paper up loudly. “If the topic bored you so much, then why didn’t you change it?” he asked with irritation. “Besides, I was just trying to take your mind off of the whole pregnancy ordeal.”
With a sneer, Draco replied, “Well then, talking about infants isn’t the right way to do that. As it stands, I don’t need my mind taken off it. In fact, I think I should be giving it my full attention. Having a baby is very crucial. Especially with my father breathing down my neck.”
Theo glared at Draco. “Where’s my sister-in-law? Is she in the same charming spirits as yourself?”
“I don’t appreciate your sarcasm, Nott,” Draco drawled. “And as far as the whereabouts and mood of my wife, I assure you she’s just as frustrated as I am; however, she’s not under as much pressure as I am and her moods are easily fixed with a turn about the gardens.” This was a blatant lie. Astoria had locked herself in their bedroom and had been crying ever since they had gotten back from St. Mungo’s.
Suspicion entered Theo’s eyes. “One would think that the two of you would be together now,” he said after a moment. “I mean, if you’re under as much pressure as you say, Malfoy, it’s a wonder you’re not doing the deed instead of shutting yourself up in a room.”
Draco felt his heart rate increase, but he’d be damned before he let Theodore Nott catch him in a lie. “Is that what you were hoping for, Nott? To catch me and Astoria in a round of dirty, frustrated shagging? Is that how you get your kicks when Daphne isn’t putting out?”
Theo’s upper lip twitched as he held back a snarl. “You know, Malfoy, sometimes I don’t even know why I try with you. You’re nothing but a bloody tosser.” With that said he stormed over to the fireplace and used the Floo to leave.
If Draco felt a little bad about the comment, he quickly cast the emotion aside. Right now he had business to take care of. Very important business. He strode out of the room and then up a flight of stairs to he and his wife’s bedroom. He knocked on the door once before saying, “Astoria, let me in, we need to talk.”
He heard lithe movement on the other side of the door before it swung open. In front of him stood his wife with her long, dark hair cascading around her shoulders and down her back, her brown eyes puffy and her makeup smudged. It was the first time he’d ever seen his wife out of sorts and he had to admit that she still looked beautiful.
Astoria gave a small tearful huff and then turned away from the door. “I know what you’re going to say, but may I just ask when you leave me and expose me as a barren woman that you do it as kindly and painless as possible. After this I’m probably doomed to die alone, but I don’t want people pitying me on top of it.”
“What are you going on about?” Draco asked incredulously as he entered the room. “I’m not leaving you, Astoria. Don’t be absurd.”
His wife faltered in her demeanor and blinked at him in confusion. “Not leaving me? Correct me if I’m wrong, Draco, but isn’t it mandatory for you to have a child? I mean, you’re the one who was always going on about carrying on the Malfoy name. I can’t help you do that. So, it makes little sense to stay with me.”
Nodding his head, Draco agreed. “That’s true. I do need an heir … At least in name.”
Astoria was silent for a moment. “In name? Are you talking about adopting?”
Draco shook his head. “No, my father would still see it as the Malfoy line ending,” he explained. “What I’m talking about is a bit more illegal.”
Astoria’s eyes widened. “Illegal?! Draco, what are you planning?”
He grabbed her hand and brought her over to sit on the end of the bed with him. “Listen, today in the Prophet there was an article about a couple selling infants--”
“Let me finish,” he interrupted, “If we tell everyone that you’re pregnant and leave for the duration of the pregnancy, then come back with a baby, who’s to say that that baby isn’t ours?”
Astoria shook her head. “That sounds like a half-formed plan and people will pick it apart!” she said aspirated. “We can’t just go away and then come back with a baby! People will want proof--”
“And there are spells that will make you look pregnant. We’ll take pictures, invite my parents over and they won’t be able to say that we didn’t have a baby,” Draco pressed on. “This can work, Astoria.”
It was quiet for a few minutes as Astoria processed what had been said. “…I don’t like this idea, Draco,” she said quietly. “It’d be one thing to adopt a baby and legally have him as our child, but I don’t think I can lie for the rest of my life about giving birth to a bought child.”
Draco grasped her hands tightly. “It’s the only way we can stay married,” he said, slightly pleading. “I don’t want to be forced to leave you, Astoria.” She tried to turn away from him, but he stopped her by tugging on her hands again. “I know we can do this. In a month we’ll announce the pregnancy, then we’ll claim the Italian air is better for your health. Once we’ve been gone an appropriate amount of time, we’ll come back with a baby. Like I said, we’ll take pictures of your fake pregnant state and have eyewitnesses, and then when the time comes I’ll get us our baby.”
Astoria shot him a stern look. “And about that, say you do buy us a baby, what next? How are we going to convince people that he’s our child when he’ll look nothing like us?”
“I’ll find us one that fits--”
“Yes, because I’m sure the business is booming and you’ll have a huge selection to choose from,” she interjected sarcastically. “What if you can’t find a blonde-haired, grey-eyed baby boy? What then?”
Draco contemplated this alternative for a moment before giving into the possibility. “There is a possibility that we won’t find a baby that fits our descriptions, but it’s a risk we’re going to have to take. If anything, we’ll just have to tell everyone that he takes after you.”
Astoria shook her head and ripped her hands from his. “This is complete madness, Draco! And I don’t think I can do it. Even if you were able to find the perfect baby, I can’t lie for that long. At least not about an ability I don’t have, one that I desperately wish I had.”
Draco stared at her for a long moment. Her eyes held such determination that it had him almost giving up the whole idea, but then he thought what that would mean. He could not lose her. With that thought, he grasped her hands once more and met her determined stare with his own. “Astoria, you know I’m not the type of wizard who begs, but I’m begging you now. Please agree to this. If you don’t, I’ll have to give you up. Don’t force me to do that.”
At first, Draco thought she would still refuse. The determination didn’t leave her eyes and her shoulders were stiff against resilience, but slowly he watched as her barriers broke down. Her shoulders sagged and her eyes dimmed.
It was a moment before she opened her mouth to speak and Draco held his breath as he awaited her verdict. “I don’t like this. I don’t like this at all, but… if it’s the only way…”
“It is, Astoria. Trust me, it is.” He assured her.
Astoria hesitated again. “…All right. I’ll do this with you,” she said in a resigned voice.
Draco grinned widely and then kissed her hand. “Thank you. You’ve made the right choice.”
Astoria nodded silently and barely noticed when her husband moved away from her and started to formulate the finer parts of his plan. She barely listened as he told her where exactly in Italy they’d be going and how long they’d wait before announcing the pregnancy. She just sat there wondering if she’d truly made the right decision.
Monday, January 9, 2006
It was supposed to be a peaceful morning being that it was the first day that Hermione Granger would be waking up as a mother. The sky was supposed to be blue and the birds (if there were any left in this weather) were supposed to be chirping. Everything was supposed to be bliss. She was supposed to wake up aching to see her new son, Hugo. She could imagine begging to hold him for just a little longer, to smile at him for five more minutes so that she could memorize his face.
However, Hermione awoke to a hysterical mediwitch running into her room.
Hermione quickly sat up, instinctually reaching for her wand, and then faced the witch. “What is it? What’s happened?” she asked, inspecting the room for danger. When nothing dangerous popped out at them, she lowered her wand. However, her nerves were still on edge when the witch continued to cry.
The mediwitch took several deep breathes, but still only managed to get out, “M-mi-miss G-g-grang-ger…” before succumbing to her unstable emotions again.
Hermione’s heart rate rose significantly when she heard more frantic scurrying outside her hospital room. “Where’s Hugo? Is he all right?” she inquired about her newborn son, fear lacing each word.
It was then that a tall, coffee-colored skinned wizard walked into the room. “Please, Madam, would you kindly stop your blubbering,” the man instructed.
The mediwitch didn’t stop crying, but did end up leaving the room. It was now only Hermione and the wizard and Hermione couldn’t say she felt any better. She could tell by the man’s uniform that he was a wizard from the Ministry and part of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad. If anything, this made her feel worse. “What is going on?” she snapped.
The man walked forward. “Miss Granger, I’m Officer Henderson with the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol,” he introduced himself.
Hermione felt tears build behind her eyes. She didn’t know why this man was here, but just the fact that he was couldn’t mean good news. Tears quickly started to roll down her cheeks. She covered her mouth to keep from sobbing. She knew her hormones would be out of balance after labor, but she never expected them to be this touchy. “Please, just tell me what’s going on!” she begged, suddenly exhausted.
“Very well,” Henderson said. “It seems last night that three newborns were stolen out of the nursery.” He paused to watch her for a moment and Hermione had a dreadful feeling she knew where this was going. “I’m sorry to inform you that your son was one of those newborns.”
It surprised her very much that she didn’t wail out dramatically with the state that her emotions were in, but instead she found herself in disbelief. This couldn’t be true. Her Hugo had to be still asleep in the nursery. This man didn’t know what he was talking about.
To prove that she was right, Hermione slowly pushed herself out of bed. “Miss Granger?” Henderson asked her when she walked on unstable legs towards the door. “Miss Granger, where are you going?” However, she was already making her way down the hall.
She stumbled now and then, but with the help of the wall she made her way through the hallway. She would have continued all the way to the nursery, but it was then that Harry Potter and Ron Weasley came into view.
“Hermione!” they both shouted as they ran over to her. Ron grabbed her by the arms and Harry skidded to a stop beside them.
“‘Mione, we just heard what happened,” Ron explained, looking at her with concern. “The news is all over the office.” His face darkened, then. “We’ll find the bastards behind this.”
Harry’s expression was just as angry as he nodded in agreement. “Don’t worry about that, Hermione,” he assured her.
Hermione didn’t want to hear their promises because they weren’t needed. Her son was still in the nursery, waiting for her to come coddle him. She pulled away from Ron and with a determined demeanor she continued down the hallway.
She didn’t get very far before Harry was grabbing her arm. “Where are you going?” he asked as Hermione came to a halt.
“To see my son,” Hermione replied as she tried to get out of his grip. “Everyone’s saying he’s not here, but he’s in the nursery. That’s where he slept.” Their gazes were full of pity and it ate at her soul. “He’s there. He’s got to be there.” With all the strength she could muster, she pulled her arm out of Harry’s grasp.
“Hermione, wait!” they both yelled, but before they could do anything else someone intervened.
“Let her go. She needs to see the truth for herself.”
Harry and Ron looked behind them and saw a dark man walking in their direction. “Who are you?” Ron asked abrasively.
Henderson said nothing as he followed Hermione around the corner. Harry and Ron followed right behind him. “My name is Adair Henderson and I’m the presiding officer over Miss Granger’s case.”
Harry’s professional instincts kicked in at this revelation. “Are there any witnesses to the kidnapping? Do you have any suspects?” he asked as he walked beside Henderson.
Ron even chimed in with his own question. “Was there anything left behind by the culprit?”
The officer came to a halt and gave them both a stern look. “I’m sorry, but seeing as neither of you are of kin to Miss Granger nor the infant, I’m not at liberty to discuss the case with you.”
“We’re as good as family!” Ron shouted.
Harry’s reply was a bit more calm. “We’re both Aurors; surely we’ll be able to help.”
Henderson shook his head. “I’m sorry, but the Auror Department isn’t involved with kidnappings,” he replied, but seeing as he was talking to the Harry Potter, he cleared his throat. “Now, if Miss Granger has no objections with the two of you being in the room with her while I’m going over the details, then I won’t have any problems with you both being there.”
They both nodded before they started after Hermione again.
Upon turning the corner, Hermione walked with confidence. She would see her son sleeping among the other newborns and then she would tell that officer that he didn’t know what he was talking about.
She felt her nerves start to frazzle despite her determination when she spotted the nursery. As she approached it, she noticed that healers and mediwitches alike were running around. When she got close enough to peer inside the glass-walled room, she felt tears fall from her eyes.
The nursery was chaos. Cribs were tipped over and babies were crying. The staff was in the process of reclaiming order, and even though Hermione saw all of this turmoil, it was the empty crib to the far left that made her world spin.
She fell to her knees. She vaguely felt Harry and Ron reach out to her and the high-pitched ringing in her ears blocked out all friendly words they might be saying.
Her son… Hugo… Where was he? Where was he taken? Who had taken him? Her mind, that was usually so organized, was a jumble of thoughts and panic. She wanted her son, but he wasn’t there.
“No, no, no, no, no…” She heard someone saying and as her senses returned, she realized she was the one speaking.
She heard someone say something about getting her back to her room and then felt two pairs of hands dragging her away from the nursery window. What were they doing? What if Hugo came back and she wasn’t there? Didn’t they know that she had to stay?
Hermione started fighting the hands. “Let go! I need to stay!” she shouted. “Hugo!” She ripped herself from the grasps and ran back up to the window and pressed herself to it.
“Hermione, come on,” Harry whispered to her and then gently pried her from the window. “Let’s get you back to bed. We’ll sort this out. I promise.”
Only with that promise did she finally let Harry and Ron escort her back down the hallway to her room. They sat her down on her bed and then Ron pulled the blanket up around her. Hermione noticed as she gripped the blanket that Officer Henderson had followed them there.
Henderson softly closed the door and faced the Golden Trio. “Miss Granger, I know that you’re upset, but I must insist that I go over the situation with you,” he said as he approached the bed.
Harry grabbed her hand for support. “Do you have any ideas as to who’s behind this?” he was finally able to ask.
Henderson shook his head. “Unfortunately, no and it won’t be easy to track them down either,” he replied.
“Why not?” Ron interjected. “There were three babies stolen today. Surely it’ll be hard to be inconspicuous carrying them around!”
With a sigh, Henderson answered, “If it were that simple, yes. It would be extremely easy to locate the culprit. However, we don’t think this a ploy to just kidnap infants.”
Hermione finally looked up at him. “What do you mean by ‘just kidnap’?”
“There’s been a pandemonium on the black market for years now about how people are selling infants. They’re very high priced on the black market, and as you can see, it‘ll be particularly hard to track down your son if he gets sold. There will be no leads. It will be like he never existed.” Hermione let out a particularly loud sob. “That’s why I plan to do everything in my power to track him down before that happens,” Henderson explained and Hermione felt more tears build behind her eyes.
Everyone was quiet for a moment as they listened to Hermione’s crying and Harry felt extreme sadness and anger for his friend. He then spoke up. “What I don’t understand is why St. Mungo’s wasn’t protected from such an attack. Surely if this is such a problem, the hospital would have defensive spells placed.”
“It’s strictly black market business, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of them targeting St. Mungo’s. They usually get their ‘merchandise’ from homes with newborns,” Henderson tried to explain, but Hermione zoned him out. Her son was missing and there was a chance that she’d never see him again. It didn’t matter now how it happened.
Hermione curled up on her side and brought the blanket up over her head. She was a mother without a baby and she just prayed that this void that was engulfing her heart wouldn’t swallow her soul as well. She then closed her eyes and begged for the gift of sleep to take her away from this troublesome reality.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
If there was ever a time one didn’t want to find oneself in Knockturn Alley, it was at night. Wizards and witches that were too horribly disfigured came out to play at that time and one was better off to stay clear if they knew what was good from them. However, Draco found himself walking with his head down through the twists and turns of Knockturn Alley at half past midnight, way past the safety of the daylight’s rays.
Normally Draco had sense enough to stay clear during these dark hours, but tonight was a very special circumstance. Tonight he was going to become a father.
When the letter arrived yesterday saying that a new selection of infants were on the market and how one infant fit his prescribed criteria, Draco had been ecstatic. He couldn’t have planned the timing better himself. He had immediately went and showed it to Astoria, who simply nodded and walked away. He knew that she was still having problems accepting what they were doing, but he was positive that once the baby arrived everything would be better.
The trip through the dark alleyway was easier than he expected. He had had only one encounter with one of the late wanderers, who had tried to sell him a jar of pickled eyeballs, but once Draco drew his wand and threatened his life the seller hurried on his way.
Taking a sharp turn, Draco looked up at the overhead sign. It read Alley #17. He quickly checked the letter once again to make certain he was at the right place. After verifying, he further read that it said to knock on the third door down. Draco gripped his wand tightly and walked farther down the alley to where he found the door in the darkest crevice.
He knocked three times before it opened up just a crack. “Yes?” a hoarse voice from the other side asked.
Draco cleared his throat. “I’m Clive Warrington,” he informed the man. He had used an alias when he had contacted the baby market. He didn’t want to take any chances of any of this coming back to haunt him. “I received a letter about a new infant selection.”
The door opened wider then and revealed a short man with a scraggly beard, dressed in haggard clothing. He smiled, which revealed that he was missing some teeth, and said slowly, “Well, ‘allo, Mr. Warrin’ton. We be expectin’ you.” He then ushered Draco to come inside. Vigilantly, he proceeded. “Now, you brought the money, dincha?”
He answered with a swift nod and the man held out his hand in reply as if expecting to get paid on the spot. Draco sneered at him. “I hope you don’t assume you’re getting paid before I even see the child?” The man dropped his hand with a sneer of his own. “I want to make sure the child is to my satisfaction.” When he wrote to them, he gave specific requirements for the child’s appearance. He wanted a blonde-haired, grey-eyed male.
“I want proof you ‘ave the money!” the man insisted and Draco noticed how the man’s hand twitched for his wand.
Draco eyed the man before shrugging. “I suppose that’s fair,” he drawled. He really didn’t want this to get ugly, so he dug into his robes’ pocket and brought out a heavy drawstring pouch. Opening it, he reached in and pulled out a few galleons. “Satisfied?”
The man nodded grudgingly. “My wife’ll bring ‘im out,” he said and then shouted, “Maggie, bring out the Warrin’ton brat! The proud papa wants to take a gander at ‘im!”
A tall, blonde woman came out of the back room carrying a sleeping babe in her arms. Draco noticed that the woman had the same sense of hygiene as her husband; absolutely none. It disgusted Draco to know that this woman could be holding his son. However, as soon as the woman started walking toward him, he found a whole new reason to be disgusted with her. Her stance reminded him sickeningly of his late Aunt Bellitrix.
“‘Allo, there, wanna meet your son? That’s what ‘e could be, if you want ‘im to be, you know?” she said as she angled the baby toward him.
Draco felt uneasy around her, but nevertheless stepped closer to her and the baby. He looked down that the sleeping infant and noticed right away that his hair was blonde. “Are his eyes grey?” he asked.
The woman nodded. “Wouldja like me to wake ‘im for you?” she offered as she ran a finger down the side of the baby’s face.
Shaking his head, he replied, “That won’t be necessary.” He then continued to look the boy over before saying, “I want to hold him.”
Both the man and woman were hesitant. “You pay ‘alf the payment first,” the man said gruffly.
Draco stared indignantly. “What if I decide I don’t want him?”
They both cackled. “Then you oughta make sure you want ‘im first,” the woman replied with a smirk.
He scrutinized the woman and then looked down at the child again. He watched as his tiny eyelids fluttered and his little fist twitched. If he could only be sure that the child had grey eyes, then he wouldn’t mind paying half in advance to hold him. Maybe he should have the woman wake him up after all.
This contemplation proved unnecessary because at that moment they baby yawned, waking up slowly. He blinked and then started to cry, but before he could scrunch up his face Draco had caught sight of his dark grey eyes. “All right, I’ll pay your compensation.”
The man greedily came forward, outstretching his hand once again. Draco tried to keep the sneer off his face as he summoned ten thousand galleons out of his pouch. The man accepted it and then with a flick of his wand vanished it somewhere safe. “Go a’ead an’ let Mr. Warrin’ton ‘old ‘is son.”
The woman passed Draco the crying boy and he naturally tried to sooth the child by rocking him gently. As the baby slowly settled down, Draco studied him. His face was round and pink, he didn’t look to be many days old.
The woman hovered around him, excited that she was about to make a sale. “‘E’s a cute one, inee?”
Draco ignored her and asked, “How old is he?”
The man answered, “We got ‘im yesterday. Our supplier says ‘e’s bout t’ree days ol’.”
Three days old. Draco nodded to himself. He could make that work. “I want him,” he said and maneuvered the baby so that he was comfortable in the crook of his left arm. He then summoned the pouch and withdrew another ten thousand galleons.
The man vanished the money again and gave Draco a crooked smile. “‘Appy doin’ business wiv you, Mr. Warrin’ton.”
Draco frowned. “Yes, about that,” he started. “I’d like for neither of you to mention who this transaction occurred with.”
“Oh wouldja now, an’ ‘ow important is it to you?” the man inquired.
“I think an extra thousand galleons should be enough to hold both of your tongues,” Draco replied. He saw both of their expressions light up greedily at his proposition. He leered and then threw the pouch at them. “Have a pleasant night.” He turned and walked out the door and then Apparated back to the manor.
Upon arriving, the baby started wailing. Apparently he didn’t care much for Apparation. Draco understood that it probably wasn’t the best idea to travel that way with an infant, but he had wanted to get out of that alleyway as soon as he could.
He adjusted the little boy so that his head was now leaning on his shoulder, then he started rubbing his back. “Shh, it’s all right. There, there,” he said awkwardly, but the baby kept crying. Luckily he didn’t have to worry about him waking up his parents as they were sleeping on the other side of the house.
Sighing he finally let himself relax. He’d been planning to get to this moment for the last nine months, but now that he’d gotten here, he realized he had no clue what to do next. He supposed he was just going to have to be a father.
And then the reality of what had happened hit him as the child continued to scream in his ear. He was a father. He no longer had the distraction of the fake pregnancy to conceal or the fear of losing his wife to worry about. Now all that was left was to be a father to this little human being and for the first time he questioned if he was ready for this or not.
Between his slight inner turmoil and the baby crying, he almost missed his wife calling from the top of the stairs. “Draco? What’s going on?”
He turned toward his wife and as she descended the steps, he noticed that she had deflated her stomach, that had looked ready to burst when he had left earlier. He hoped this was a good sign and that she was finally accepting what was happening.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you. It’s just that I Apparated in and the baby didn’t appreciate it,” he said, praying that his voice was steady. He was still reeling about having to father the boy. He looked down at him and then up at her as she approached. “Do you want to hold him?”
Astoria hadn’t taken her eyes off the baby. This was going to be her son, but for some reason she felt nothing for him. “No, I don’t think so,” she replied.
Draco frowned. “Nonsense, Astoria, he’s your son,” he insisted and passed the baby to her. She took the still screaming child from him and cradled him in her arms. He watched her rock him and sooth him back to slumber. As he watched his new son fall asleep in his wife’s arms, something changed. The fear he had been feeling vanished. He knew as long as his wife was by his side, he could handle being a father.
He reached out and petted the upset boy’s head. “We certainly lucked out with him. He’s absolutely perfect,” he said to her. A small smile quirked at the corner of his mouth. “Welcome home, Scorpius.”
Astoria rocked the boy hoping that some kind of bond would form, but she continued to feel nothing for him. Sure, he was an adorable baby, but the more she stared at him the more she began to resent him. He symbolized her failure as a woman and now she was going to have to lie to everyone she knew that she was his mother. She felt her lower lip tremble and had to blink back tears. “Here,” she said and she passed him back to Draco. “Excuse me.” With that she turned and made her way back up the stairs.
She flew through her bedroom door and fell onto the bed. Tears started pouring out of her eyes. How was she supposed to be a mother to a baby she felt resentment toward? She couldn’t do this. Someone would notice.
She turned to look toward the window. She was starting to feel suffocated. This was her life and it was a lie. Looking away from the window, her eyes landed on Draco’s firewhiskey cabinet. She’d never drank in her life, but under the circumstances she felt she deserved one drink. Just one drink.
TBC: Well, what'd ya think? Good? Bad? Mediocre? Leave a review and let me know!