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Chapter 43 : Bemoaning and Bearing: Rose and Scorpius POV
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“Scorpius? I know you’re awake. I can tell by your breathing,” I tried to leave the hurt out of my voice, but it kept creeping back in.
The only indication that he’d heard me was a long sigh escaping through his nose and his weight shifting as he rolled toward the wall. It’d been over a month and we’d danced around each other, going through the motions of work and home, but he didn’t speak to anyone — not even Albus. He went to all the meetings required by the Auror department and filled out his paperwork for the cases, but beyond that, he walked around in a haze and… I followed. It was almost worse than when he’d holed himself up in Regulus’s room, because he was physically present, but emotionally completely absent from all our lives.
At first, I’d tried to just let him be. While we were staying at Uncle Harry’s house for a couple of days, I tried to get him to talk about their deaths, or their lives, anything, but he would change the subject or grunt an offhand comment about being tired. When we moved back to Grimmauld Place, I figured he’d come around once we were again at home in our own place. But he’d pulled away even more. He didn’t even eat dinner most nights, heading up for a shower and bed after working late at the Ministry. If he wasn’t already in bed when I got up to our room, he usually turned out the light as soon as I came in.
I’d even tried to talk to him about the baby. As my due date drew closer, I was getting more and more nervous. Because of the restrictions, and what’d happened at Mungo’s the last time I was admitted, the Aurors had decided it wasn’t entirely safe to have the baby at the hospital.
After much deliberation, we came to the conclusion that my parents’ house would be the best place. It was more sanitary than dingy Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, according to my mother. Plus, it had the added bonus of being accessible to my Healer and other medical personnel.
Not to mention that Nana Molly had made it abundantly clear to my father and Uncle Harry that absolutely nothing was going to stop her from seeing her very first great-grandchild; not the entire Auror Department, nor the Ministry itself, and certainly not a silly little fidelius charm. It only took one stern look from her before my father and Uncle Harry caved.
Even so, I was still going to my appointments with Healer Chang at St. Mungo’s. Of course, I was always accompanied by a team of Aurors. At minimum, it was a very silent Scorpius, Dominique and either Dad or Uncle Harry. In addition, there were always at least two plain clothes Aurors in the lobby when we arrived, Teddy or Al would hang around as well, although I got the feeling neither of the two were officially assigned to the case, but no one was about to stop them from being there.
Dad said going to St. Mungo’s for my checkups would give the impression that I had every intention of having the baby there, so if Stannous was planning something, he wouldn’t suspect we had an alternate location. The only people who knew about Mum and Dad’s house were Healer Chang, Healer Lawrence and a handful of Aurors. Healer Chang also explained that everything looked really good with the baby and I was right on schedule, but if for some reason there was an emergency and she needed to summon an additional Healer to assist at my parents’ house, it was good that the other staff members were familiar with my medical history.
Everything looked fine. I should’ve been happy — elated, actually. But I couldn’t bring myself to want to be happy when Scorp was so miserable. As if I wasn’t already worried enough about being a good mum, I had the added stress of having to give birth at secret location, with a partner who was otherwise going through one of the most trying times of his life.
He blew out another long, tiresome breath. He was lying next to me but felt miles and miles away. I reached over to him and smoothed my hand up and down his back, my fingers landing on his neck and massaging across his shoulders. As expected, I got no response from him. The worst part was that I didn’t even know what he was thinking. I could guess, as he was just in whirlwind of emotions about his parents’ murders and becoming a father, but I really wished he’d talk to me about it. The whole thing was scary, but it would’ve been nice just to be scared together.
The baby and Scorpius and Stannous and my Healing practice and everything kept bouncing around inside my head all day and night. I could feel my body tense up and the baby wiggle around in protest as I lay there next to my mute fiance. He hadn’t even been trying to feel the baby move in the weeks prior. I missed the days when he’d lean up against the headboard and I would settle in between his legs. His arms would wrap around me and we’d both put our hands on my belly, gasping and giggling at every twitch.
I waited a few moments for the tension to pass, dropped my hand my side to hoist up, and shuffled myself off the bed, waddling across the sitting area of the room. I frowned at my slightly puffy fingers as they turned the knob of the door to the baby’s room. Everything was swelling up. The worst was when the bottoms of my feet got swollen and I felt like I was walking on pillows. I conjured a glass of water and checked the time. Two-eleven am. Shaking my head, I downed it in one gulp. The water always seemed to help the swelling a little bit, but the catch was that I’d need to visit the bathroom at some point — most likely right after I’d gotten myself into a comfortable position.
Mum had been over to help me clean up the baby’s room a few times in the last week, but I couldn’t stop myself from casting a few more scourgify charms on it, just for good measure. I’d received a few more baby gifts of clothes and blankets from friends at the ministry, so I set to cleaning those and putting them away in the small chest of mahogany drawers. Months back, Scorpius had been given his old set from when he was a baby by his Aunt Daphne. She’d been holding onto it for him and when she found out about our little one, passed it along to Scorpius. He’d always put on a warm smile when he walked in the room and saw his old bureau and cot in our baby’s room. But even that couldn’t shake him out of his recent funk.
My cleaning and rearranging had been quite rigorous, because I felt the tension building up in my gut again and I let out a long sigh to try to relax. When that didn’t work, I lowered my body into the rocker next to the window that overlooked the back garden, hoping that I’d be able to heave myself out at some point. I conjured another glass of water and rocked back and forth, taking small sips and trying not to let everything stress me out.
Stannous. The baby. Scorpius. The prophecy. My Healing practice. Scorpius. Selenia’s murder. Draco and Astoria’s deaths. Scorpius. Being a new mum and feeding the baby and holding the baby and dressing and undressing and changing nappies. And Scorpius, Scorpius, Scorpius.
My hands rested on my belly without even thinking about it, in an effort to smooth the tightness that seemed to be coming in more frequent bouts. I knew my bladder would be telling me it was time to go within minutes, so I rocked myself forward, put one hand on the top of the bureau and the other on the changing table. With one final rock, I pushed down and raised myself out of the wobbly chair. I headed out the door that led to the hallway and crossed to the bathroom.
Once there, it dawned on me that I’d also have to clean it as well. The weekly scrub down I usually gave wasn’t going to cut it in the place where the baby would be taking his bath. So I started with the tub, making sure to hit every spot with my extra strength scourgify spells. I cleaned every inch of the liner and curtain, then moved on to the floor, chasing myself around the room to reach every corner. I had to take a break before I started the sink; I was out of breath and the baby was kicking furiously as my stomach flexed and tightened from all the activity.
After a couple of minutes, it passed and I started on the sink, mirror and vanity cabinet. Next was the small linen closet. I took out each towel, cleaned it, cleaned the shelf and the doors and the handles.
By that time, I really had to use the loo, so it made sense to do that before I cleaned the toilet. The second round of cleaning seemed to take more out of me than the first and I found myself gripping onto the sides of the walls to wait for the intensity of the pressure on my back and abdomen to pass. I’d been warned by Healer Chang not to overdo it. And Mum and Dad and Nana Molly, Aunt Ginny, Dom, Albus, the whole lot of them. I wasn’t tired, but I figured I’d go back to bed and finish my cleaning in the morning.
I didn’t get two steps before I felt a weird twinge in my belly. It was different than when the baby would kick. Before I could categorize it, everything on my lower half was wet.
I wondered if Scorpius would finally have something to say.
When Rose told me it was ‘time,’ something clicked inside of me. It’s the very same as whenever I’m under a pressure situation: there’s a task to be done and I set my brain to work mode and that’s that.
I pushed everything aside, got out of bed, had her sit as comfortably as she could get, got the beaded bag she’d borrowed from her mum ready to go, and patronused all the people who were on the notify list: Healer Chang, her parents, Albus, Dominique (although they were right upstairs), and Harry. In no time at all, we were settled at her parents’ house, with nearly the entire Weasley and Potter family gathered downstairs, while we had Healer Chang in the upstairs room with us.
Rose was white. She’d been in labor for hours and hours. At her own request, she only wanted me and necessary medical personnel in the room with her — which was only her Healer. I’d made the mistake of letting her Mum and Dad come in when Healer Chang was helping her to the bathroom. When she’d finished, she stood at the door and whispered me over.
“What are they doing in here?” she demanded.
I wasn’t sure how to respond. It was their house, after all, so it seemed a kind of moot point to argue, but apparently Rose wasn’t looking for a conversation because she didn’t wait for me to answer.
“Tell them to get out.”
“Erm…” I stammered, thinking of how to tell my boss and his boss to leave a room that they owned. Before I could ask Rose for suggestions, she slammed the door to the bathroom in my face and I was left standing there.
I turned around and paced across the room, scratching the back of my neck. I wasn’t sure if they’d heard Rose, so I was searching for the right words. I didn’t want to come off as a total prat, being that I’d been sort of in my own head for the past few weeks over the shocking news of my parents’ deaths. I couldn’t bring myself to look them in the eye, so I kept my sight trained on the carpet.
“So… erm — Rose was wondering…” I started.
“Are they still HERE!?” I heard her bellow through the door.
“Would you two mind terribly… if… erm if…” I raised my head slowly to see two very amused faces.
“Scorpius, it’s alright,” Hermione couldn’t contain her smile. “We’ll wait downstairs with the others. This is yours and Rose’s time.”
“Yeah,” Ron added. “And what a splendid time you’ll be having— OOOF! Hermione! Ron hopped on one leg and tried to turn around gracefully as Hermione flicked her wand effortlessly and the door snapped shut behind them.
I hurried across the room to tell Rose and Healer Chang that they’d left and it was safe to come out. Rose was in the middle of a contraction and was bent over the sink, taking deep breaths and blowing them out slowly, as Healer Chang coached her through it, rubbing her back.
When it had passed, we helped her to the bed and I conjured some more water for Rose. She wasn’t permitted to eat while in labor and I couldn’t completely determine if her crankiness was due to the actual pain of labor (which certainly did not seem to be a flight on a broomstick) or from hunger. Generally Rose (as did most of the Weasleys), ate about six times a day. She hadn’t had any food since her evening snack the night before. The clock on the wall said it was close to six pm. Nearly twenty hours without food would be enough to make anyone irate, but you have to amplify that number by about a hundred when you’re considering the Weasley appetite.
After checking, Healer Chang announced that Rose was really close and that it was nearly time to start pushing. I felt relieved because just by looking at Rose, it seemed that she was nearing the end of what she could take. Her face was flushed and her lips pink from biting on them. A few stray strands of red hair that had escaped her hurried, short ponytail were sticking to the side of her face. Her freckles seemed to stand out more than usual. She’d never looked more rumpled or more determined or more perfect.
After another forty minutes or so, the intensity was beginning to wear on Rose. She was whimpering and losing her breath quite a bit. Healer Chang was giving her directions to slow down and focus, but it was almost as if Rose couldn’t hear her.
Rose was softly moaning, but she gritted determinedly. And although she wouldn’t admit to it, I knew her stamina was starting to fade.
Kneeling by her side and holding her hand didn’t seem to be adequate. I was tired of being on the outside, looking in at my life and letting my emotions get the best of me. Rose and the baby needed me and I wanted to be there for them.
I stood up, kicked off my shoes and gently shifted Rose forward on the bed with both hands, between contractions, that were coming fiercely and quickly. Healer Chang sent me a questioning look as I slid myself between Rose and the headboard, with one leg on each side of her. She pressed her back against my front and gripped my knees for support, just in time to bear down as another contraction slammed into her. My fingers rested on top of hers and I dipped down to whisper in her ear, “I’m here, Ro. Let’s do this. You can do this.”
Healer Chang was counting and Rose was breathing and I was giving all the encouragement I could with my words and my touches. I couldn’t ever figure out how much time had gone by, but I’d never forget the tiny squeak that turned into our baby’s first cry. It wasn’t a wail — not like the sobbing of babies I’d heard in the store crying, it was more like a high pitched, tiny, cat-like screech.
And when the sound stopped, so did my heart — until I realized the baby was just taking in a lungful of air to let out another timid but heartfelt cry announcing its arrival.
“It’s a girl!” Healer Chang nearly sang out.
“What?!” Rose yelped with energy she couldn’t possibly have. “That’s not possible, the prophecy...”
I was surprised at the announcement as well, because we’d been constantly referring to the baby as a him by default. We’d only discussed boy’s names and sort of just assumed we were having a little wizard. My brain acted fast to remember the words of the prophecy.
A child is born from a family of blood traitors
A child is born from a family of death eaters
“The prophecy didn’t say if the baby was a witch or a wizard,” I whispered to her. “And this makes so much more sense to me,” I realized that I was grinning and couldn’t stop. My fingers entwined with hers and I wrapped our arms together in a warm hug. “Considering who her mother is, she’s gonna make a downright scary-good witch.”
Rose let out a tired chuckle and leaned her head back against me; exhaustion was creeping in.
“Scorpius, do you want to perform the severing charm to cut the cord?” Healer Chang asked from the end of the bed. She was moving about and her wand flicked here and there, muttering spell after spell.
That time, my heart really did stop.
“Erm… d-don’t you think that requires a b-bit more qualifications than I have? I mmmean, I’m not a Healer and they didn’t exactly cover this in my Auror training.”
“Not at all,” the Healer said with a wink. “You’ll do fine.” She had such confidence in her voice that I didn’t want to let her down, so I carefully untangled myself from Rose and got off the bed. I conjured a few extra pillows to make sure she was comfortable, steadied my wand and performed the spell right where Healer Chang said to point. It felt so weird and I looked up at Rose to see her give a tired smile at me.
Before I had a chance to think or gloat about my fabulous and spot-on severing abilities, Healer Chang was handing me a wad of blankets. When I reached out to grab them, thinking they were for covering Rose, I heard them give a small creak.
“Here’s your daughter Scorpius, a perfectly healthy little girl,” Healer Chang pronounced.
My arms felt light and shaky, and for a moment I was certain that I’d mess up holding the baby. I wasn’t sure if I should grab her with my hands or wait for the Healer to put her in my arms, but we managed to shift the small bundle from her to me, mostly with her guidance. I was afraid to move for fear of jerking too quickly and startling the baby, or worse, dropping her.
She was much, much lighter than I expected, which only added to the fear that I was about to drop her. I stared down into her tiny pink face and marvelled at how little she was. Her skin was surreal — it didn’t look like regular skin, it was as if I could see through it. It was a bit puffy and very red in some spots. Her eyes were squeezed shut, but she didn’t look distressed. In fact, she seemed rather content wrapped in the snuggly warm blankets. She fit perfectly within my arms.
All my faults and transgressions and all the horrible things of my family’s past seemed to lift away. Everything else seemed so trifle and silly. I was going to be better. Better for her and better for Rose and better for this little family that we’d become. I hadn’t felt so complete or whole since… well, since Mum and Father had died. The news that their deaths were really a murder had weighed so heavily on me and I hadn’t realized that I’d been missing out on the living part of life.
The baby wiggled a bit in my arms and opened her sleepy eyes for a moment before they lazily closed again. Crystal blue. Just like Rose. Waves of emotion crashed down upon me. I couldn’t wait to learn more about this little being that was part of me. Would she have Rose’s freckles too? The bit of hair that I could see peeking out from the hat Healer Chang had put on her was white-blonde.
She was my saviour. I pulled in a ragged breath and bit my lip to hold in the torrent of feelings that were coming on all at once. It a cross between welcome relief to the numbness of the past few weeks and overwhelming excitement at welcoming a whole new person to the world. It was too much to process.
“Scorpius?” Rose asked, craning her neck from the bed and bringing me back to Earth.
“Oh. Yes. Here she is, Ro. She’s absolutely… ” I struggled for the right word. “...everything.”
I turned very slowly, not wanting to jostle too much and finally made it to the head of the bed, lowering myself at a snail’s pace. Rose was so eager to finally meet her, she reached up and with much surer hands than mine, brought the baby down to her chest.
As soon as she was no longer in my arms, I felt empty and I wasn’t sure what to do. At first, I hunched over the bed and tried to lean as far as possible to be closer to the two of them. But it was not nearly close enough and I got up, removed the pillows from behind Rose and took their place, settling once more behind her. I could hold all of my entire life at once and — I was home. My heart rate steadied as Rose and I gazed upon our baby.
As if she could sense it, the baby’s eyes blinked open again, puffy and a little pink — just like the rest of her. Rose let out a tiny gasp at how beautiful she was. My arms were wrapped around hers as we held the being we’d made together.
Nearly an hour later, Rose’s entire family was gathered in the room around us. As was tradition, Nana Molly was offered to be the first to hold the baby, but she declined.
“I’m not the grandmother this time,” she smiled warmly. “That privilege goes to Hermione.”
Hermione let out a small squeak as Rose gave her the baby. She was overcome and couldn’t speak. The little bundle was then passed around the room, each Weasley and Potter getting a turn to hold her. All Rose’s aunts, uncles and cousins were there, as well as Samara and Jax. My Aunt Daphne came too, although Uncle Phil chose to stay at home. I’m not sure he ever got over the events from when I was fifteen and Harry and Ron had showed up at his house, wands drawn and looking for their children.
Even Lily and Hugo had flooed from Hogwarts for the evening just to meet their new relative. As soon as we went back to Number Twelve, visitations would be extremely limited.
“Does she have a name yet?” Dom asked, waiting patiently to be the last to hold her.
Rose looked up at me and smiled. We’d focused mostly on boys names, and had spent months arguing all the different constellations and other names for what we thought was going to be a boy. But this time, we’d come to an easy agreement for our little girl shortly before all the family had arrived.
Rose smiled and looked up at me. I nodded for her to make the announcement.
“Her name is: Carina Violet Selenia Jean Astoria Weasley-Malfoy.”
“You can’t be serious,” James blurted out.
All heads turned to him. “The fuck you say,” he continued. “Ya know, I’ve heard rumors that couples are indeed allowed to have more than one child. You don’t need to use up all your names on this one.”
“James,” Dom said, although she didn’t move her gaze from the baby. “If I wasn’t holding this little darling right now, I’d send a hex at you that’d make your precious hair go straight and greasy for a month. Again.” She said it in a cooing voice as if she were telling the baby a cute story. “Yes I would, little Carina, wouldn’t I? I’m going to teach you how to hex mean, old Uncle James,” Dom let out a small giggle.
James flinched at her threat and didn’t utter another sound.
“I think it’s a brilliant name,” Albus sniffed and wiped his eyes. He gave me an assuring nod, sending his blessing for our honor to Selenia.
“Yes, it’s perfectly lovely Scorpius,” Aunt Daphne said when I caught her eye.
“Not to put you two on the spot,” Rose looked up at Dom; I put my hand on her shoulder, agreeing that this was the right time. “But we’d like to ask Albus and Dominique if they’d be godparents?” she asked.
Albus nodded again in his serious way and swiped at the corner of his eye once more. Dom’s eyes jerked up at Rose and me in surprise, taken aback at our request.
“Yes you, silly!” Rose answered. “This little one needs strong female role models in her life, and you’re about as badass as they come.” Rose was smiling from ear to ear. “Now give me back my baby.”
The whole room let out a light-hearted chuckle.
“This family is definitely not lacking in strong female role models,” Harry said, glancing around the room. “I’d say little Carina is in good hands, across the board. Plus, she’s got some first-rate parents,” he gave me a wink and my breath caught. Not only because it hit me that I was a indeed a parent, but that he had confidence in me to do a proper job.
After a few minutes more of cooing at the baby and telling us how beautiful she was, everyone began to file out. Healer Chang gave Rose and Carina another once over, ordered sleep for the three of us, and promised to come back in the early morning for another check. She left instructions with Ron and Hermione that she was only a patronus away if we needed anything at all.
As soon as she left, Rose began demanding food. Nana Molly must’ve had an entire feast sorted out in the kitchen because platters and platters of her delicious cooking hovered in front of us with a flick of her wand. I was hungry for the first time in ages and ate my fill. Ron, Hermione, Dom and Al came back to eat with us.
Once everyone’s bellies were full, the room began emptying out. Dom and Al snuggled their godchild one more time and said their goodbyes. Hermione and Ron were the last to leave and although Rose was beyond exhausted, she didn’t make me kick them out this time. It was Ron who nudged his wife towards the door.
“C’mon ‘Mione. They’ll still be here in the morning.” Hermione reluctantly gave her new grandbaby back to me. I was getting better at the process of picking the baby up from someone else and the transfer was much less awkward.
After everyone was gone, Rose fed Carina the way Healer Chang had shown her. It took a few moments to get both mother and baby comfortable, but from the sound of it, little Carina had inherited the Weasley appetite too. I smiled and awed at Rose’s determination to get it just right. I wondered what else our baby had inherited — from both sides.
After the feeding, I settled myself behind Rose on the bed again and rocked my family to sleep. I couldn’t let go of a twinge of sadness that crept over me. Mum and Dad would’ve loved to have been here for this. But it wasn’t the same despair that I’d been feeling the past few weeks. A new Malfoy was here and Rose and I and Carina were our own family. And the amazing woman that Rose was, she’d forgiven me for my behavior as of late.
When both my girls were fast asleep, I moved the baby to the cot next to the bed, quickly washed up and changed into sleeping clothes and settled down next to Rose, draping an arm over her. Nothing could separate us now.
A/N: Hi everyone! A new chapter installment for a new year! I hope this is the one you've been waiting for. Special thanks to -BookDinosaur- for help with the chapter name. Also, I want to give a HUGE shout out to my amazing beta reader, merlinsbeard. Anja! Thanks so much for all your help! ♥ Beth
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