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Chapter 5 : Parenting
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I try to stay strong, to keep my emotions in check and my fears from showing, but it isn't easy. Lucius cannot even hide how scared my cries make him. His hair is pushed back, no longer reaching his eyes and curling under his ears, and his face is slicked with sweat he hasn't bothered to wipe away.
I grit my teeth and squeeze his hand, one thought in my mind. Just one.
How there are women in the world who have more than one baby is beyond me.
I don't think I can do this.
"It's almost over," Lucius whispers into my ear, completely ignoring the healer telling me that it is not time to push yet. I would rather believe him.
He continues to run his hand through my hair, occasionally cupping my cheek to wipe away any stray tears that fall, and whispers his reassurances whether it contradicts the healer or not. We are all past caring, I think. Besides, it helps me. It keeps me from thinking about how much I cannot do this, how much I don't want to do this.
It's minutes later - how much time actually passes, I genuinely do not know - before the healer returns to the end of the bed and tells me that I can push. The pain gets worse, but the act is more of a relief than anything in my mind - it will all be over soon. I can do this.
We are in one of the smaller rooms of the manor, because the bed is not so wide; I only needed to move a little downward for the healer to reach me and deliver the baby. Pillows are stacked up behind me, keeping me comfortable while also allowing me to see. I do not look - maybe fear is the final emotion that stops me from dropping my gaze, but it's mostly the agony that builds up as I push. I can't not grit my teeth and throw back my head.
"One more, Lady Malfoy, just one more," the healer murmurs, her voice soft and calm, in an effort to soothe me. She is not as good as Lucius, but it still works.
She lies. One more push does not end this. It takes another three. I think Lucius might punish her for the false truth, but my squeezing and whispering distracts him. And then it's over and there is something else to keep his mind occupied, something much more precious.
A baby boy.
His crying ceases moments after he is born. The healers treat him as though we are in the hospital; quickly, efficiently. There is not much to see while they work, a finger here and a tuft of blond hair there. They need to check him, make sure he is fine and healthy, update his records for the Ministry and ensure that the Trace is active.
The tests take time, time which Lucius uses to get me into our own room. I do not waste it with a long bath, a few minutes works fine; I mostly want to sleep anyway... after I have seen my son.
The bed is already made, but I only make a note of it; Dobby probably did it hours ago. It's so soft, I close my eyes for a moment... just for a moment... or two.
The next thing I know, Lucius is gently shaking me awake and the healer is by the bed, holding our baby in her arms.
Our baby... and I thought 'my husband' was weird to say.
"Would you like to meet your son?" she asks politely. I only nod, my arms ready for him. Given the hours of labor we've just gone through together, a part of me thinks I should remember her name.
But my son is all I can think about. After the pain and hardships we have gone through recently, he is all I want to think about. The healer lowers him down into my arms and I wrap my hands around him automatically. He has Lucius' grey eyes and what might be his blond hair, too (there isn't much, so it's hard to tell).
I already love him.
"Does he have a name yet?" she asks, her voice a soft whisper, so far away in my head, yet I know she's in front of me.
"No," Lucius replies.
"Let us know soon, so we can add it to his records," she says. "We'll leave you three alone now."
Three. I like that, too.
And so does our little boy; he graces is with a small smile, and then his eyes flutter closed.
"Well, he knows what he wants," Lucius jokes, his hand outstretched as though to touch him, without actually doing so.
"Do you want to hold him?"
Lucius hesitates slightly, just enough for me to see what he's truly thinking, and then it disappears and his hand drops to his side. "Not yet. I don't want to wake him."
I want to tell him that he does not need to be afraid, that he will be a wonderful father once he learns, but I don't. Not tonight; he'll only deny what he feels, make up some excuse and walk leave the room, leave us, and I don't want that. Instead, I move further into the middle of the bed and stare him down until he does as he is (silently) told and gets in with us.
The silence between us is stretched but comfortable; we just sit - me watching the baby, Lucius watching us both. I know he wants to say something to me, I have a feeling I know what it is, and I brace myself for his question.
"Do -Do you want to name him after Regulus?"
I still don't think I'm ready for it. Regulus died - was murdered - almost a year ago and it still hits me like a knife going into my chest, or a bucket of ice waking me into reality. Maybe both. Regulus was the one who came to me when he needed to, to talk or to hide. Me he needed when his father could not help. And now... now he's gone.
I still expect him to come through the floo, I still wait for him to lie for an hour before whispering his worries and doubts. They will never happen again. Because he doubted his allegiance, that mark on his arm... and he was killed for it.
And now Uncle Orion has lost both of his sons - one ran and the other was taken. He isn't handling things as well as he likes us to believe. I think he is getting sick. He has less faith in Lord Voldemort and his 'mission' than I do.
Knowing I have been quiet for too long, and Lucius will probably know which direction my thoughts are going, even though I never voice them to him (he may not have joined them, but he still agrees with their words and thinks we should respect them and their choices... or he did, we haven't spoken of them since they killed my cousin), I shake my head.
"That name belongs to my cousin," I whisper. "Besides, it will only make me sad and I do not want to be sad when I see him."
"We'll find the perfect name," he says and we slip back into comfortable silence.
Lucius finally held our son an hour later, when he took the baby into his own room and told me to get some sleep. As much as I already missed him, I did as I was told for once, thankful that sleep came quickly.
I wake up hours later, mid afternoon the next day, stretch and call Dobby to run me a bath while I get ready. He does so, coming in only once to say that it's ready and he is going to prepare lunch for me.
The water is warm against my skin and awakens the muscles in my body; I feel revitalized and limber, ready to take on the day, and I want to do so with my family. I'll be damned if Lucius does any work today and there will be hell to pay if he has already left.
With that thought in mind, I get out, dry off and dress; nothing fancy since I won't be going anywhere. I pick a lovely, light summer dress I wore to visit Adrianna Nott after she gave birth to their son Theodore in March; it flows down, stopping just above my ankles, and hides my stomach well. It will do.
The first place I go to is the baby's nursery, but he isn't there. I panic for a minute, or several, and rush to find Lucius. What I see in the lounge stops me in my tracks, but is a happy sight to see: Lucius has him.
The baby is on the floor, lying on some sort of fluffy mat that Lucius must have transfigured because I have never seen it before, and surrounded in the couch's soft cushions, Lucius' pillow propping him upwards. Lucius is on his side next to him, reading from a book; it sounds like the boring drivel he does for work, but his voice has the baby smiling so I don't care.
I wish I could take a picture. It will probably never happen again.
"I was looking for you," I say, joining them. I lie on the other side of the mat.
"Baby was crying and Mummy was sleeping," Lucius informs me, lowering the book but not putting it away. "I can tell he likes money already; this stuff is keeping him quiet."
"Of course he likes money, he's yours," I retort playfully. "One day he'll take over whatever you do and make more than you."
"Eight years and you still don't know what I do," he sighs, shaking his head and turning to the baby. He murmurs something suspiciously like 'your mummy is hopeless', but I can't tell for sure so I can't punish him for it.
"I know you own a large financial company that gives you too much power over people's money, besides Gringott's, as well as smaller companies that deal in 'other things'," I'm quick to tell him. "I just don't care. I only spend the money you make."
"Good to know."
"Have you thought of any names for him?" I ask, changing the subject.
Lucius gives me some; constellations like my family have done for generations, names from old Latin and Greek times like his family do, as well as random ones he's heard from around him. I turn each one down; they just don't seem to suit him.
"Lucius," he says last.
I almost roll my eyes. "That's your name."
"Junior," he adds... No.
Lucius shrugs. "Then I'm sticking with Cassius."
I admit, Cassius Malfoy does have a nice ring to it and I think it through for a while. At least until I think of something better; if there isn't one by the end of the day, I'll call the healer in the morning.
"Ah, fierce grip," Lucius mutters, slowly prying the pages of the book out of the baby's hand, along with his finger. "He has dragon claws," he continues, exaggerating; there's nothing there when I see his finger.
What he says causes me to pause and look down at the baby, considering the name thoughtfully.
"What do you think of Draco?"
"Draco Malfoy," he tests the name. "I think it suits him."
This time I do roll my eyes; melodramatic baby that he is. But I agree, it does suit him.
With a hesitant breath, I tell Lucius the baby's full name and wait for a reaction, not that I expect a bad one; it was his idea, after all.
"Are you sure?" is all he says.
I nod once, having already had this conversation with myself. "It goes well with my family's traditions, though I don't know how Uncle Orion or Aunt Walburga would take it. And I want to remember my cousin, I want him to stay in our lives even when no one else talks about it. I want Draco to know his family. It'll make me sad to think of him, but it will also make me happy to know that part of him is still here. So, yes?"
"Yes," Lucius agrees. "'A large serpent or dragon to rule'; if that alone doesn't put him in Slytherin, I don't know what I'll do. Unless he goes to Durmstrang."
I can't help but laugh, even if I also throw one of the cushions at him; Draco is too young for us to even think about him leaving for school.
Muttering about evil wives, Lucius goes back to his book and picks up where he left off. I settle down with the baby, but unlike him, I don't listen; I watch him smile and blink and finally fall asleep to his daddy's voice.
Dobby brings in my lunch, asks if we want the baby taken back to his nursery. I say no, I want him to stay with us.
Draco Regulus Malfoy.
A/N: Like me, Narcissa doesn't take Regulus' passing very well. At least I know the truth about his death... She only know what she was told... ;(
Thank The Misfit for help with Draco's middle name. It was never stated in canon, so we researched stuff, and the idea of the name Regulus being plausible for both a Malfoy and a Black came to be... but it's a long story, so I won't bore you with it. I just hope you like it. :)
Please let me know what you think.
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