Chapter 5 : Chapter 5
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She really doesn’t seem to have grown at all. Having towered over Rose since their Fifth Year, just when they started getting closer (and thank Merlin for that, they'd been about the same height until then), Scorpius was a good foot taller than her by the time he left. He’s always enjoyed their height difference though; the way he used to wrap his arms around her and rest his chin on top of her head, how she had to get up on her tiptoes if she wanted to kiss his cheek or pull him down to snog the life out of him, the way she relished in feeling the slightest bit taller whenever she straddled his lap if they found themselves in privacy.
The older nurse elbows Rose to divert the redhead's attention to Scorpius' presence - which makes him feel a bit like a stalker, great - just when a certain part of him started coming to life for where his wandering thoughts were going - which makes him feel like a deer caught in the headlights, all the better -, and Scorpius is jolted into moving before his embarrassment gets any worse.
Rose seems apprehensive at first but ends up laughing when Scorpius waves awkwardly at her, bidding farewell to her colleague with a "Have a nice weekend, Agnes" that sounds entirely like all the sweetness Scorpius has missed from Rose while he was away. Being back won't be easy by a long shot, but being far was much, much worse.
Rose beckons him over as she continues jotting down notes and Scorpius meets her at the desk. “Fancy meeting you here,” he jokes lightly, remembering all the times they’d said it whenever they wanted some alone time in one of the empty corridors or hidden passageways of Hogwarts.
She takes a moment to respond as if she’s taking a moment to herself, and Scorpius likes to think that it’s because Rose’s thoughts went to the same place his did. When a few seconds pass and she says nothing, Scorpius realizes he might have gone too far - she’s with someone, you git! -, but Rose surprises him by replying the same way she always did; a small, shy smile playing at her lips. “We meet again. What can I do for you, Mr. Malfoy?”
Scorpius remembers Rose being far more flirtatious in their day, but he’ll take whatever he can get. “I just wanted to… You know, see you. Talk to you. It’s been a while, if you haven’t noticed.” He’s rambling and he knows it all too well, but Rose has always had that effect on him. “But I can see that you’re busy.”
He leaves it in the open, not really wanting to be the one to suggest that he should leave because she’s working. He doesn’t want to leave at all, and Rose sees right through him, as always. “It’s alright. I’m just finishing up,” she tells him, gesturing for the chart in front of her.
Scorpius puts aside the thought that, according to his mother, Rose will be leaving the hospital in a few minutes as soon as he notices that the patient’s name in the chart is that of Astoria herself. “My mom. Are you her physician?”
His question is laced with both worry and amazement, and Rose is reminded of all the times when Scorpius had found out something about her that he thought was completely extraordinary. “I am, yes.” Feeling her mouth dry suddenly, Rose is assaulted by all the pressure she’s been feeling lately, having known that he’d be back sometime soon and that she’d have to be the one, along with his parents, to catch him up to speed on Astoria’s nefarious condition. “We’ll have to talk about her, Scorpius, but I’d rather not do it today. You just got here and I’m sure you’re tired, and there’s a lot for you to be acquainted with.”
And with that thought, Rose is reminded that she left Astoria without addressing the pregnancy test, even though they’d gone through the - granted, fairly simple - procedure several times in the past week. Guilt pools in Rose’s stomach regardless, despite knowing that Astoria would never hold such a simple thing against her. All of their moments seem important, all the more when they know they are on borrowed time even if Rose refuses to accept it for a second.
She’s grown to love Astoria too much to ever think otherwise.
The weight of Scorpius’ question threatens to suffocate her, and his eyes betray how, deep down, he wants to know everything about his mother’s condition when his apprenticeship has had everyone keeping information from him. Having been undercover in several occasions, and on remote parts of the planet in others, Mr. Ollivander’s instructions had been clear. For Scorpius’ sake, and of his mission, Scorpius was to only be contacted in case of an emergency for reasons that Rose committed to memory the second they first discussed it. When undercover to gather rare ingredients, invaluable knowledge or information, Scorpius could be found out. On the other hand, keeping the mysteries of both who was to be the next wandmaker of a generation and where had Scorpius Malfoy fled to after graduation kept the tabloids going. Thankfully, not many had made that connection, and clues on the truth was so scarce that they ended up not being pursuit. Third, being a Malfoy still had it’s weight, and even though these weren’t the dark days of their parents’ time anymore, enemies still showed their faces at times, and everyone feared the repercussions of an eventual hostile situation.
All in all, Scorpius had been kept in the dark about pretty much everything that happened in the outside world in his years abroad, especially about those he cares for the most, save for the occasional short message that Mr. Ollivander allowed his apprentice to exchange with his parents, and solely to appease all their minds. Trusting the older man to look after their boy, Astoria and Draco had relied on the man’s word for the past few years, knowing that if something bad were to happen they’d know immediately. Looking back on it now that Scorpius is home, Rose understands why it had to be that way; for his safety, and for the complexity and responsibility that the craft demanded from him, a branch of magic too powerful for just anyone to delve into. While he’d been excited and accepted the task bestowed upon him with pride and eagerness, and regardless of how humble he had always been about it, Rose knows that Scorpius will have plenty of changes to adapt to once he finds out all he’s missed on.
It’s part of the reason why, despite trying to keep his imminent return off her mind, Rose has worked on tidying all the information she’s gathered so that she could go through it with him when the time came.
“I-” Scorpius watches Rose struggle for a moment, as if she's trying to find the right words for what she wants to say. “I've put together a file for me to go through with you. I knew you'd be in the blue about most of your mom's condition, and some aspects of it aren't all that easy to understand without the right background knowledge of ancient curses, human anatomy and medical expertise. While I know,” all to well, she added to herself, “how smart you are and how you soak knowledge as if you need it to breathe...” A small smile plays at her lips at that, remembering one of the things she liked most about him. “It’s a lot to take in. I’d rather we do it when you’ve had some rest on you, and have enjoyed being back for a little while.”
Scorpius lets out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. From the little information he got on his mom’s condition while he was away, he’s never really known just how serious it was or wasn’t. The only assurance he ever got, both from his parents and Mr. Ollivander, was that it wasn’t grave enough for him to come back. From Rose’s speech now, he wonders whether they’ve been keeping the seriousness of it from him.
Answering his silent question, Rose adds with a bittersweet note “Try not to worry, we still have time. You should make the most of being back. I’m sure you’ve missed your parents like crazy.”
That has to be the understatement of the century. He hopes he won’t be so homesick ever again. “My parents, Albus, you… I’ve missed you all a lot,” he confesses unabashed, and Rose ignores the way her heart beats a little faster. “Even the whole Weasley clan, honestly. I’d give anything to never be in such loneliness again. It was hard.”
Rose reacts before she can stop herself, and her hand finds his to hold in comfort. “I can’t imagine,” she murmurs, looking down at their connection, lost in thought. “We all missed you too.”
Scorpius tries hard not to focus on the way the skin between his thumb and forefinger tingles with Rose’s touch, and briefly he wonders if she can see past the incantation to reveal what lies hidden, marked on his skin as a promise to never forget her. “I hope I came in time to catch up. I’m assuming I missed on a lot of things.”
Rose meets his eyes and smiles softly. As she recalls the main revelations that he might find most unexpected, or even shocking, Rose finds herself grinning. “You haven’t a clue. You’re perfectly on time to be taken by surprise by most of it,” she lightly jokes. “Have you had the time to read any magazines?” Rose lets go of his hand and jots down a few words on a small piece of parchment, then proceeds to finish her notes on Astoria’s chart. “The Daily Prophet, perhaps, or any of the other tabloids?”
Scorpius is intrigued as to why Rose prefers to pen her notes instead of just using an enchanted quill, but doesn’t voice it in the moment. Rose has always been a certain way kind of girl, always liked doing things on her own terms. It has him smiling right along with her. “No, I haven’t. Took an International Portkey to one of the Ministry’s safe houses just across the street and came right in. I haven’t even had the time to meet with Mr. Ollivander since being back, even though that was supposed to be my first stop had mom not been here. He understood though, of course, so here I am.”
“Here you are,” Rose repeats to herself, finding that it doesn’t hurt as much to accept that as she thought it would. “Then I would suggest, Mr. Malfoy, that you stay clear of any newspapers you come across if you want to have your mind blown with all the news,” she teases him, predicting that he’ll meet with the brood soon enough and find everything out. “I’m sure you’ll have a rather eventful, flabbergasting weekend.”
“What are you keeping from me, Rose?,” Scorpius asks interestedly, noticing her playful tone. “Did I miss on something good?”
Scorpius has never really been one to gossip, but Merlin, he’ll most likely be stunned. “It would depend on your definition of good, but I think it’s safe to say that’s putting it mildly,” she replies, meaning it about almost everything that concerns every single member of the Weasley clan. “I’m not telling you, though.”
“Now come on, Rosie. You can’t do that,” Scorpius scolds mockingly, leaning forward a little.
“Oh, I can and I will. No amount of sweet Rosies is gonna have me bursting that particular bubble. It’ll be so much better if you find out by yourself.”
His eyes darken, and Rose knows her mistake the second they do. His voice comes out so raspy that she has no choice but to face the reality that not only it still sounds exactly the way she remembered it, but that she brought this upon herself. “Yeah. You always preferred it when things were a bit more formal to get you to do something for me. Isn’t that right, Ms. Weasley? I remember.”
Rose is surprised by how hot his words make her feel. How can it have been so long and he still seems to have the same power over her that he did before he left? It’s the strangest thing, and yet not at all. Pretending her cheeks aren’t the color of her hair, Rose puts down her quill and turns around. Whether just to put the chart away or to escape his burning gaze, Rose would never dare say out loud. Seems they’ll have a hard, hard time walking the fine line between their friendship and something else. Rose hasn’t a clue why she ever thought it would be any other way. Diverting the subject is probably for the best, she decides. “It’s Lily’s birthday this weekend, as I’m sure you remember.”
Scorpius takes a moment to respond, studying her reaction closely. Maybe there’s still hope for him, for them, even if it’ll take patience and effort that Scorpius is no doubt willing to put in.
“I know.” Growing up, Lily had been like a little sister to him, and it had been part of the reason why Scorpius had come home a little early now. Missing everyone has been pure hell, but he’d be damned if he’d miss his second favorite redhead’s 21st birthday. Who’d fend off potential gits who might be interested in getting it on with her? Certainly not James, who’s always been too much of a nutcase to ever care about anything other than his Quidditch career. And definitely not Albus, mooning over Alice Longbottom ever since she gave him the time of day. Now Mrs. Potter, of course, was another case entirely, and yet not so comforting for Scorpius. He’s heard of her days at Hogwarts and has seen Lily want to go down a similar path back in their days at school when boys started to interest her, and despite being away for so long, Scorpius hopes that he can still play the part of her third big brother. Merlin knows he’s missed it. “I was hoping to get here in time to surprise her. I’ve missed her energy a lot.” And that’s downplaying it. Lily has enough energy to lit up a room.
“You’ve missed her craziness, you mean?” Rose asks, feigning shock. She of all people knows how much Scorpius has always cared about Lily, and Rose still finds it as sweet as she did when she first became enamored of him. Not to mention that Lily was one of the main reasons Scorpius and Rose got together in the first place. Details. “In all seriousness, she’ll love knowing you’re back. And for her birthday, no less.”
“It’s not the only reason I’m back,” he says simply, and part of Rose wishes he hadn’t said anything at all. “It’s not even the main one, as you can guess.”
Rose is left wondering whether he means just Astoria’s condition, missing his parents or something - someone - else. “You’ll make her day, regardless. She idolizes you.”
“That little firecracker is something, isn’t she?” Scorpius smiles, reminiscing about all the trouble Lily had gotten herself into growing up, when she made sure to let everyone know just how much Weasley blood she had in her. She was worse than Fred and James together ten times, no doubt.
“We’re getting together tomorrow night at the Burrow, for dinner, before hitting the town. I’m sure Grandma Molly won’t mind to add another plate to the table, if you want to join us.” Realizing that it sounded like all the times she’d invited him to dinner with her family before, and that the circumstances are fairly different from then, Rose clears her throat. “The whole gang is going to be there. Everyone will want to see you, I’m sure. What better way to catch up with us all?,” she says offhandedly, trying to sound nonchalant even if she’s feeling anything but.
Anything to spend more time with you, Scorpius thinks, even if it means facing the madness that is the whole Weasley clan at once. “I’ll take you up on that offer, if you’re sure your grandparents won’t mind. I can’t wait to see everyone.”
“And everyone can’t wait to see you.” More of you, she means but doesn’t say. And she really means it; even her father has fallen for Scorpius Malfoy’s charm, in all impossibility. “Just floo there at around 7. I’ll let Grandma Molly know you’re coming.”
“Great,” Scorpius mumbles, feeling like they’ve been talking for an age and knowing that not only he’s keeping her from work, but that Rose will be going soon. If only being with her wasn’t so easy… “I’ll leave you to it, then. I’ve taken enough of your time,” he tells her sheepishly.
Not enough, Rose thinks to herself. Not enough. “What are your plans for the next few days?,” she finds herself asking. “I mean, with work, of course.” Nice save there, Weasley.
Scorpius knows her all too well, or so he thinks, so he covers all his bases. “I’m staying with mom until I can today, and then I’ll go home with dad. I haven’t seen him yet and Merlin, do I miss sleeping in my bed.” He catches Rose giving him a look that says I miss sleeping in your bed too but Scorpius decides not to comment on it, pretending he missed it. It’s been hard enough navigating the range of emotions that this simple talk between them has already gone through. “I’m meeting Mr. Ollivander in the morning at the shop, and then I’ll meet you at the Burrow later in the day. Other than that, I haven’t really found the time to plan anything else.”
Rose nods in acknowledgment, making her way from behind the desk to the hallway until she’s in front of him. “You could meet with Albus in the afternoon tomorrow, perhaps. He’s been insufferable waiting for you to get back,” she chuckles lightly.
“That would be great. Where can I find him these days?” He raises his eyebrows suggestively. “At the Longbottoms, I hope?” It hurts Scorpius a little to think that his best friend has gone on with his life and he knows nothing of it, but he can only hope that everything went well for his friend. Having fallen madly in love with Alice midway through their 6th Year, Albus and Alice had been on an on and off relationship up until Scorpius left. He hopes his friend has sealed that deal.
“I think you’re in for quite the surprise, Scorp.”
He doesn’t know whether to focus on the fact that Rose’s nickname for him slipped out so effortlessly, or that there is a possibility that Albus still hasn’t figured out his relationship with Alice after all this time. “Don’t tell me he and Alice aren’t together still? It’s been four years!”
“Oh, I’m not saying anything,” Rose teases him, mischief in her eyes. “Since you’ll be in Diagon Alley in the morning anyway, why don’t I tell Albus to meet you at the Leaky Cauldron for lunch? He’ll be beyond himself to finally see you, and you’ll most likely find out what’s been going on with him.”
“That’ll be great, but why aren’t you telling me what’s happened?” He eyes her suspiciously. “Have they married?” Rose watches as color drains from his face. “Don’t tell me they’ve married. I was going to be his best man, oh Merlin…”
Rose raises her hand to stop his pacing as soon as it begins. Albus and Scorpius have always had a flare of drama between them; a true bromance, as it were. “Don’t worry, they’re definitely not married.”
“That’s not better,” Scorpius lamely complains.
“You’ll know what I mean. And Albus is on duty tomorrow, anyway. He’ll be plenty busy but you’ll see what I mean the second you lay your eyes on him, I promise.”
“I miss my best mate, Rosie, and you’re not making it any better. You’re mean.”
Rose bites down on her lip gently, her mouth relaying the words she didn’t want to want to let out before her mind can stop her. “I remember a time when that wasn’t an issue.”
Is the air impossibly hotter? Scorpius swears the air around them is impossibly hotter. Damned hospitals. “And it isn’t. It never was.”
Rose has to stop herself from swaying on her feet, compelled as she is to get closer to him, even taking a step back for good measure. It’s been emotional enough for the day, and it’s best that she doesn’t do something she shouldn’t. “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow, Mr. Malfoy.”
Scorpius hates how much he loves when Rose is mischievous like that, always has. Oh, he’s missed how she can drive him bonkers. Merlin, how he’s missed her. “Ms. Weasley…” Knowing in every fiber of his being that it’s wrong, Scorpius takes a step forward anyway, and he can’t help himself from letting out “I look forward to it” before walking away, and Rose is left with no choice but to go home to her boyfriend, all worked up.
Toeing the line between her and Scorpius will be a challenge, that’s for sure, but will either of them be able to resist the pull to step on the other side?
It’s with astonishment, to say the least, that Draco Malfoy arrived at Room 478 after such a long day at work to find his son relaxing on one of the armchairs by Astoria’s bed, both so lost in the moment that neither of them noticed his arrival. And it was a good thing too, because it gave Draco a brief stolen moment to just give thanks for his family.
Almost three hours later and after a rather emotional reunion, Draco is sending his son back home hurriedly to unpack, with the promise to meet him there soon for dinner. The reason for Draco to stay behind? Astoria’s bedroom eyes, which she never, ever has cast upon him while at the hospital. Even if Draco knows that they’re most certainly not getting it on when they’re in a public facility and there’s a high risk of them getting caught, Astoria’s gaze is, to say the least, bound to leave the man intrigued. Admittedly, the choice between reconnecting with his son or spending time with his wife is a tough one, but given the circumstances, and knowing that he’ll have Scorpius home for the whole night - and hopefully indefinitely, at least for the foreseeable future -, he thinks it can pass for understandable.
Hooking a Mumbling Jane to the door handle - one of the many Weasley’s ingenious inventions, even Draco has to admit they have their days, this one in the form of an old lady in a small door sign that starts mumbling under her breath whenever people with the intent of engaging with or interrupting the sign’s owner is approaching -, Draco looks at Astoria curiously , wondering what she’s all about. “Want to tell me why you wanted your son out of here?,” he drawls jokingly, and Astoria immediately scowls.
“I did not want Scorpius to leave.”
Draco tilts his head and cocks an eyebrow, pleasantly surprised by her playful mood today. It hasn’t been that way lately, unfortunately. Not so much, not like before, and he knows the disease and her medicine are to blame for it. “And yet, you did. Care to tell me why?” Astoria looks down at her hands on her lap, even blushing as if she’s embarrassed with her own behavior, and immediately Draco crosses the room to hold her face in his hands. “Hey, I was just teasing you.” It’s been difficult to find a balance lately, between her potions-induced mood changes, and the being on and off the hospital constantly. Draco is often at a loss of what to do or say, afraid to act the wrong way when he doesn’t know what it could mean given her curse, even if he tries his hardest not to think about it. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.”
Astoria smiles a little, turning her head to kiss his palm in reassurance. “You didn’t, don’t worry about it. I’m just nervous.”
“Nervous?,” he asks in confusion. “You looked anything but nervous.”
Knowing what he means, and excitement turning her insides into mush, Astoria brushes his lips with hers. “What did it look like, then?”
“Why, Mrs. Malfoy,” Draco kisses her fully, the way he wanted to do the second he got to the room had their son not been there. “Like you’re looking for trouble. Or some alone time with your husband. Perhaps both.”
Astoria chuckles and pecks his lips once more, sitting up straighter in the bed. “I promise you, husband of mine, the second we are out of here we’re making up for lost time. It’s bee too long.”
He agrees, and yet “It’s only been three weeks.”
“It’s been three weeks too many. Damned curse…”
“Yeah,” Draco murmurs, touching his forehead with hers, hating that she’s been spending more and more time at the hospital at a time. “Damned curse.” Brushing his thumb against her cheek, Draco sits on the bed facing her. “I missed you today…”
“Don’t you always?,” Astoria asks coyly.
“Only sometimes,” he remarks sarcastically, entwining his fingers with hers on her lap.
Astoria sees all the love and care and commitment in his eyes that she’s always seen there, practically from the very beginning of their relationship, and her stance softens. She really couldn’t have asked for a better partner, and it makes her want to try her hardest to give back to him as much as he’s always willing to give her. Taking a deep breath, she reaches underneath the sheet and retrieves the bag that Rose had brought her earlier. “Then perhaps this will make your day better.”
Draco looks at the ordinary paper bag, unsure of what it could contain inside. “Did you get me something?”
Astoria would laugh at his response, weren’t she becoming overcome with anxiety. “You could say that.” He glances at her quizzically, and her nervousness makes her ramble. “Well, I don’t know myself. I’m not sure. It’s why I got this, actually.”
“So… You got me something to be sure whether or not you got me something?”
She can tell that he’s half confused, half joking, and a strange energy can be felt between them. Anticipation rises and Astoria finds herself urging him. “Look into the paper bag, would you?”
Draco barks a laugh at the way she’s behaving, having no clue what’s expecting him but enjoying their banter all the same. Thankfully, large letters tell him exactly what he’s looking at, otherwise he’d have no idea. Taking a moment to digest the information, Draco takes the box out from the paper bag and just stares at it, and keeps on staring until Astoria’s voice cuts the silence.
“Tell me what you’re thinking.”
She sounds hesitant, and Draco hates the way her voice wavers. Meeting her gaze, he finds apprehension laced with expectation, worry and excitement intertwined so deeply that he can’t help but share them and let himself get lost in the same feelings, like it’s always happened with them. Both empathetic in their own ways, they’ve learned to balance the other out in ways Draco never thought possible. Merlin, he can never imagine his life without her. “You’re pregnant?,” he whispers, as if saying it out loud would break the spell.
Astoria fidgets in her lap, gathering her strength to let him in on everything she’s already gone through with Rose. “There’s a fair chance that I am. And I think I am, yes.”
“But you’re not sure,” he tries to make sense of what she’s trying to say.
Astoria shakes her head no. “That’s why Rose got me a pregnancy test.”
Draco isn’t all that surprised to find out that Rose already knew about this, since the girl has been a constant presence in their lives for years now, being especially close with Astoria. Still, he’s not sure what to make of it. “I don’t understand. Rose is a Healer. Couldn’t she have done a spell to know whether you are expecting?”
“She didn’t want to risk it. First, because all spells and incantations aimed at me could have an unexpected effect, as you know, even if the Pregnancy Spell is a fairly simple one. And second, because all wands are examined at the end of each shift, Rose was afraid that the results, either being positive or negative, could alert one of the Senior Healers to my condition and have them intervene with her research, one way or the other. And either way, there’s always the risk of a breach of confidentiality and our story, whatever it turns out to be, could end up in the papers. Rose thought better not to risk it, given the circumstances.”
“You really do trust her,” Draco finds himself saying even though there’s no surprise there. Astoria loves her, and he has to admit that he has a soft spot for the girl as well.
“Of course. I don’t think I’d ever trust my treatment to anyone else.”
Sometimes Draco wonders whether this is completely blind faith, and irrelevant for a future he’s not ready to accept, but he chooses to trust his wife instead. “What is this, then? Is it Muggle?”
“Yes,” Astoria says, glad for her husband’s support. “It’s a standard Muggle Pregnancy Test. Rose is fairly confident I’ll get an accurate result with it, and there’s no risk of whatever result we get ever leaving this room if we destroy it after I take it. When we find out, I’ll let Rose know so that she can adjust her research accordingly. Poor thing has been running ragged, worried about both possibilities and how it’ll affect her work.”
“How long have you known?,” Draco asks, glancing between his wife and the box in his hands.
“Only a few days. At first, I think it was just wishful thinking. Then the signs became a little more clear. But it’s not the same as it was before, with Scorpius and the others, and it’s been so long since then that I was afraid I could be misreading the signs altogether. So I had to tell Rose since it could be something related to the curse. We spent the last week going over my cycle, and things I did, or ate, that could have influenced my symptoms. We realized it would be easier to confirm or dismiss our theory by just taking a test and going from there. Rose just got it for me today. It’s why I wanted some time alone with you as well. We can decide whether to tell Scorpius about this afterwards.”
Draco licks his lips anxiously, trying to make sense of the turmoil of feelings inside him at the moment before lifting his eyes to hers again. “And?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t want to worry you before knowing for sure, but I also didn’t want to take the test without having you with me.”
He blows out a breath, handing the box to her. “Okay. So how do we do it?”
“You’re going to love this,” Astoria chuckles softly. “Apparently I have to pee on it.”
Draco scrunches his nose. “What?”
“Rose explained to me all about how a change in hormones, that could be caused by pregnancy, can create a chemical reaction with a strip on that stick. Since drawing blood from me isn’t an option unless it’s really necessary, and Rose wouldn’t really know what to do with it anyway, unless she was to run to a Muggle hospital to have it tested - and Merlin knows that could bring all kinds of trouble in and on itself -, urine is a much more effective, painless and easier way to take the test.”
“Muggles are crazy,” Draco mumbles, looking the package weirdly. “Couldn’t Rose do the spell with someone else’s wand so it wouldn’t be on record?”
Astoria shakes her head, giving her husband a pointed look. Even despite spending more time with the Weasleys than he ever thought conceivable, and given Scorpius’ interest in everything Muggle, Draco still has some aversion to Muggle things that he can’t, or doesn’t want to try, to understand. “She thought it would be too risky, giving my condition. One always fares better with their own wand, and isn’t this a good way of finding out anyway? It’s safer, at least, and we’re sure it’ll work just the same.”
Draco concedes, not wanting to upset Astoria even though there still are Muggle things he can’t really comprehend. “So… Do you just do it?”
“I guess,” Astoria murmurs, but Draco can tell that she’s nervous.
“Hey,” he says, cupping her chin in between his fingers. “No matter if it works, and whatever the result is, we’ll figure it out, alright?”
Astoria takes a moment to find the right words to say, and when she voices them, Draco realizes that she said out loud what he’s thought for the longest time. After all they’ve been through with Astoria’s failed pregnancies, both before and after they had Scorpius, it’s a bittersweet feeling. “I want it to be positive, Draco. We’ve wanted it for so long and I know we’ve grown accustomed to the idea that we were ever only going to have Scorpius, but now… I really want it to be positive. Regardless of my condition, I want it, and it both excites me and terrifies me.”
Even though he finds himself conflicted in the same way, Draco pushes aside his fear for the time being, and surprising Astoria he captures her lips with his in a searing kiss, only stopping when they need to catch their breaths. “We’ll take our days the same way we’ve been doing ever since you were diagnosed. We’ll take our days one at a time, and we’ll figure it all out, no matter what the Muggle stick thingy says, I promise.”
Astoria chuckles and catches a tear from the corner of her eye before it falls, grinning at him. “I’ll be right back then.”
Draco watches her go, and time seems to drag by as he waits for his wife to come back. Antsy about the whole situation, jittery, Draco starts pacing the room, unable to stay still. When Astoria returns to the bed, her eyes are fixed on the stick in her hand, and Draco swears he can hear his heartbeat in his ears. “So?”
“We have to wait,” she tells him, settling down again and placing the test on her lap. “Two minutes.”
Draco sighs. “These are going to be the longest two minutes of our lives, aren’t they?,” he asks, sitting beside Astoria in the hospital bed that he loathes so much, draping an arm over her shoulders. She leans in to him and Draco kisses her temple, her cheek, her nose, until her attention is diverted from their future in her lap back to him. “Before we find out, I want you to know that no matter what happens, I love you. With all my heart. I’m yours, same as I’ve always been.”
“Even if there might be more of me to love in the near future?,” she jokes, already attached to the idea, even if she knows how much of a risk it will be.
“Especially so,” he tells her, remembering how alluring and radiant Astoria had been when she was carrying Scorpius, and finding that the prospect of ever seeing her like that again could be so dangerous, and yet so lovingly welcomed. “I love all of you, never doubt that.”
She never did, not even in the beginning of their partnership when they barely knew each other. “As I love you,” she kisses him, resting her forehead against his cheek and settling on the crook of her neck comfortingly. “We’ll take the future as it comes.”
“We will,” he assures her. “Together.” Astoria holds his gaze for a lingering moment, and suddenly she wishes they weren’t in the hospital at all. Draco shares the sentiment. “Ready to find out?,” he questions, never looking away from her as if he’s in a trance.
Astoria nods resolutely. “One line is negative, two lines is positive.” Draco is sure that the fear and enthusiasm in his eyes are mirrored in her own, and his hand rests on top of the one of hers that’s holding the pregnancy test. He can’t tell if his hand is the one that’s shaking, or if it’s hers, or both. “On three,” Astoria licks her lips anxiously, her eyes not leaving his until the last moment. “One, two, three.”
She feels breathless, and scared, and as if her heart will escape her ribcage for how nervous she really is. The conflicting emotions assault her, and beside her Draco is as silent as she is. Glancing at him, she finds him livid, and that’s saying something for his usually fair complexion. Her husband’s hand trembles on her own and she tries her best to steady it, but they’re both shaking. When a moment passes, then two, Astoria feels her breath coming short with emotion, and then the sobs start. She finds consolation in Draco’s arms but he feels as strong and weak for the moment as she does, and she finds that he’s started crying as well. The laughs come next, and the shy, then easy smiles take over them. Before she knows it, Draco is kissing her lovingly the way he does when they’re intimate and it’s just the two of them, and for the time being all of their worries are forgotten, and Astoria has to admit that she has never wished so much to be out of this forsaken hospital as just now.
Gasping for air, they part, looking down between them where the test dropped on top of the sheets, and it’s with pure joy that they study the two lines that stare back at them.
Author’s note: I wanted the whole Scorpius/Rose interaction to reflect the way they were with each other when they dated, and that they’ll have a lot of trouble keeping from now. I wanted it to be a little sweet, a bit flirtatious, a tad serious and emotional enough. They’ll walk the line as they go, sometimes misstepping one way or the other, and I can’t wait to explore it further.
As for Draco/Astoria, their initial reaction to the pregnancy is that of parents that have wanted another child, and have been denied it for a long, long time. However, as we delve further into Astoria’s condition as Rose will explain it to Scorpius in a couple of chapters or so, I’ll try and explore both sides of the dilemma: Astoria’s, because she wants to keep the child knowing that it might be her last chance at being a mother again because she sees her own death as impending, and Draco’s, who’ll struggle between wanting another child and the high probability of it aggravating considerably his wife’s health, rushing Astoria to a demise he hasn’t yet come to terms with.
As a side note, I decided not to write Scorpius reunion with Draco because we’ll get plenty of time to explore their relationship after Astoria dies, and I’d rather go into Astoria and Scorpius’ bond now since it’ll be so important to the story. Regardless, please assume that Draco and Scorpius have a great relationship, because they do, even if it’ll be hard for Scorpius to deal with his mother’s pregnancy since he accepts and understands both his parents’ views on the matter.
We’re in for a ride.
Last but not least, what do you think is up with Albus? That’ll be another fun subplot! On a second side note, the story will be changing POVs a lot since there are so many characters, and one of the main subplots will revolve around Lily and her friendship with both Scorpius and Rose, both with each individually and together, since she’ll play a key role in getting the pair back together again. There’ll be plenty of other subplots going on and I’ll try to present them one at a time, and I can’t wait to update again already!
Next up, Scorpius meets with his best mate and there’s Lily’s birthday dinner party, where a rather important scene with Scorpius and Ron plays out.
Let me know what you’re thinking of the story so far in the comments below. Until next time xx
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