Disclaimer: I own none of the characters here. I just use them for my own enjoyment and wish fulfillment. Everything belongs to JK Rowling and company. No copyright infringement intended.
Summary: Set after Harry's 24th birthday party. He had an epiphany and realized he had feelings for someone he never thought he'd have feelings for. His best friend, Hermione. Will he be able to tell her? Will she want to know? Does she feel the same? Harry struggles with this as he tries to cope with his wayward feelings, while keeping their friendship alive. Harry/Hermione obviously
Author's note: I am rating this M to be safe, for language and eventual sexual situations. Also in this story world, Hermione got her parents back and restored their memories. Just in case anyone is confused why she keeps talking about them. But they're back.
It's been brought to my attention that some of my words and phrases are not "English enough" or improperly used in England. Sorry for any of that, but as an American I'm winging it here! And I watch a lot of British TV and movies, so I'm doing the best I can. But if you are British and see mistakes, sorry. I'm just a lowly American girl doing her best. Hope you still enjoy the story!
Author's note: Thank you to everyone who read along with this story of friendship and love. I hope you enjoyed it! I had fun writing it. Thanks again!
Masquerading As Your Best Friend
A year and a half later….
A lot of things had happened in the time since Harry and Hermione had gotten married. What they didn't know until after their honeymoon, was that Neville proposed to Luna the night of their wedding and she said a very enthusiastic yes. They just chose not to tell anyone until a week later when Harry and Hermione were back home from their holiday. But Neville had spirited his love off to the forest in the snow, after midnight, and said he didn't want to spend another year not being her husband. When everyone found out, they were over the moon excited for them. And they planned a summer wedding to coincide with Neville being off work from Hogwarts. But they weren't the only ones who decided to tie the knot. Ron, feeling pressure that both his good friends were either married or getting married, followed through on his promise to ask Charity on Valentine's Day. She had been about ready to break up with him, as he'd wanted her to be surprised, so he kept saying how he thought everyone else was nuts for getting married. She'd believed he really felt that way and would never ask her. And she confided to Hermione that she was thinking of moving on. But Hermione knew Ron's plans, as Harry had told her, so she subtlety urged Charity to give Ron another chance. When he broke out the ring over their dinner, Charity nearly fainted. And she worried he was only doing it because everyone else was doing it. But he promised her it was always his plan. And the two of them got married in May at the Weasley's house. Then two months later, everyone was celebrating Neville and Luna's union at her father's house. Now Harry's best friends were all married too, and it really felt like everyone was growing up. Which they were.
George and Angelina had their baby in August, and it was a little boy they named Fred. And it was very soon after this that Hermione found out she was pregnant. They had decided to try for a family, but each month, they were disappointed. But Angelina kept telling them that it takes time. Hermione didn't understand how teenagers got pregnant all the time when they didn't mean to, and when she was actively trying, nothing was happening. But right before her 26th birthday, she realized that something was up. She was late, which in the past had not meant what she hoped, as her cycles were irregular. But then a few days later she took a test anyway just to be sure. It was positive to her utter delight. But she didn't tell Harry until the night of her birthday celebration. They had invited their friends over for dinner, and Harry was surprised when she handed him a present instead. But he ripped it open and found the positive test and they both cried with happiness as everyone clapped for them. It was the best moment of Harry's life, aside from his wedding day, as this meant he was really going to have a family of his own. And he'd be able to give this child, and any others they might eventually have, the kind of life he never had. It was a dream come true for the both of them.
Hermione had a very easy pregnancy, which Angelina was jealous of, because Hermione never even once felt ill. She was lucky, and her mum explained how it was just as easy for her too. Hermione had never felt better and relished each moment of her pregnancy. Especially when they found out in her fifth month that it was to be a boy. Harry was more excited than she'd ever seen him, and he kept trying to push names on her that she disregarded immediately. He was intent on naming his son after Snape in some fashion, but Hermione absolutely refused. They finally settled on James Sirius as the name, and Hermione could live with that. She understood Harry wanting to honor people who were meaningful to him, but she had to draw a line somewhere. At least she respected this choice. But around the time her ninth month kicked in, she was starting to feel less excited about being pregnant. She felt enormous and swore the baby would be gigantic, but the doctors insisted he was normal sized. But she felt like she was going to give birth to a three year old. Her crankiness was apparent, and she told Harry she'd had enough of being a human incubator. She did everything she could to make the baby come sooner. She drank potions, followed her mother's Muggle old wives tales, and had lots of uncomfortable sex because her stomach was so large it kept getting in the way. And for these times, the passion wasn't there because she looked at sex as a solution and not a form of pleasure, which had Harry feel like he was servicing her and disappointing her when the baby didn't just magically pop out afterwards. By the time she was eight days past her due date, her water finally broke while she was doing jumping jacks in the living room to get things moving. At first she thought she had peed herself, as this was an unfortunate side effect of having a human resting on your bladder. But the pain that started up almost immediately told her this was the time. It wasn't an accident, it was show time. And Harry started panicking even though he'd had months and months to gather his wits and handle this situation.
But he forgot almost everything they'd talked about, and just worried about getting her to St. Mungo's as soon as possible. She was in terrible pain and Harry felt absolutely helpless. Hermione had insisted on using no potions or spells to mask the so-called beauty of childbirth. But as soon as they got settled in at the hospital, she changed her mind entirely. She asked to be loaded up with painkillers and sedatives and anything else they were offering to make it easier. Harry was relieved because he couldn't bear to watch her screaming out in pain. It was now the middle of the night and he was still at the hospital waiting, and Hermione had dozed off. The spell they had done was exactly like the Muggle version of an epidural so she was no longer feeling the contractions as they happened. But they assured Harry she still had a couple hours before the baby would be born and urged him to nap on a cot they'd brought into the room. But he couldn't sleep. He was too nervous. So he wandered out of the room in search of a coffee machine that he'd seen in the family waiting area. Hermione's parents had been there earlier, but decided to go home and rest as the doctors assured them it would be morning before anything happened. So it was just Harry alone. And he really wished he had his dad or Sirius or anyone mature to speak to, just to put his mind at ease. But he didn't have anyone to talk to. Ron was no help at all when he'd called him earlier. And Neville said he hated St. Mungo's and preferred to just pop in on them once they were back at home. Harry understood that having his parents as permanent residents in the mental ward had done some damage to poor Neville. But Harry wasn't going to force him to keep him company. It's not like he had experience with this yet anyhow. So Harry wandered alone into the waiting area and headed for the coffee machine.
He put in his money and it dispensed a sad looking little cup of scalding coffee that looked rather sludgy, but he hoped it would perk him up a little, even if caffeine was probably terrible for the nerves. But as he was stirring in his cream and sugar, another man entered the waiting room. Harry saw him out of the corner of his eye, but didn't actually look at him. Not until he heard chuckling and the man walked over closer to him.
"Potter?" Draco Malfoy asked with a slight smile on his face.
Harry reeled around in surprise.
"Malfoy? What are you doing here?"
"I suspect I'm doing the same thing you are. This is the maternity waiting lounge, isn't it?" Draco said, putting money into the coffee machine himself.
"You're having a baby?" Harry asked with some shock.
"Sure am. And you? Or are you visiting a friend?" Draco wondered, sipping his coffee black, and making a face at it.
"No, I'm here for me. I mean, Hermione. She's sleeping right now," he said somewhat uncomfortably to his former enemy.
"Yeah, Astoria is asleep too. I swear, they're the ones having the babies and we're the ones wide awake and panicking. Am I right?" Draco chuckled slightly.
"It is a bit backwards huh? But I didn't get the good potions like she did. If they loaded me up with sleeping draught I think I'd be happier and less scared shitless honestly," Harry remarked.
"Scared shitless eh? I didn't think the great Harry Potter ever got scared shitless about anything," Draco pointed out.
"You don't know me very well. I've been scared shitless loads of times. But I mean, give me a Death Eater or a dragon or Voldemort and I know what to do. A baby isn't something I fight. This is an entirely new human being I'm supposed to love and take care of. And I barely can take care of myself," Harry admitted, the words just pouring out of him, no matter who the company.
"I get it. It is scary. I'm a bit freaked myself. I wasn't really ready for a baby, but she was. And my parents were too. So I just went along. But I guess you just wing it eh?" Draco said with a shrug as he sat down in a chair with his horrible coffee.
Harry just stared at him a second, then he sat down across from him.
"Do you really think we'll be good at this father business?" he asked.
Draco laughed slightly.
"Well my father is a wonderful role model, as you know. And your father is dead. So who knows, frankly? But I suspect we better get with this program soon. They say Astoria will deliver sometime in the morning, so I have about four hours to get ready."
"Me too. They said morning. God this is weird. The two of us having babies the same day? It's really strange," Harry admitted.
"I can think of stranger things. Like us speaking to each other normally like this. I think that's far stranger," Draco told him.
"You got me there. But you did send us a wedding gift. And I sent you one too. Remember, the hatchet is buried?" Harry jostled Draco's memory.
"I know. I remember. Lovely candlesticks you sent, by the way. We use them all the time."
"We use the vase all the time too. It's beautiful."
"I figured that if my words held no real weight, the power of an expensive gift would show I was serious about wanting to make nice," Draco informed him.
"It worked. Sort of. I still don't know why you care though," Harry confessed.
"I've done a lot of stupid things in my life. Bad things. I guess I just didn't want one more thing hanging over my head. Without you, God only knows what my life would be like now. It wouldn't be this cushy or happy. I wouldn't have Astoria. I wouldn't have this baby on the way. I'd be a servant of a Dark Lord and Death Eater forever. That is if I was alive at all by now. So I know I owe you a lot. I'm just too pigheaded to actually say it," Draco explained.
"Seems like you just did," Harry said with a hint of a smile.
"Yeah? Well my brain is mush. It's 3am. And this coffee tastes like something I scraped out of the bottom of a cauldron of the living death," he sighed as he got up and tossed the paper cup into the trash.
There was a beat of silence while Draco paced a little and then sat back down again. Then Harry spoke.
"So do you know if you're having a boy or a girl?"
"A boy. We're calling him Scorpius. What about you?"
"A boy as well. His name is to be James after my father."
"Lovely. At my mother's insistence we named our son after a constellation. Silly tradition, but I do like it. It's strong and manly. What do you think of it?" Draco wondered.
"It suits your family. Can't say I'd pick it, but for a Malfoy? It works," Harry shrugged.
"You do realize our children will be the exact same age? They'll go to Hogwarts together. I wonder if they'll hate each other or be friends, the way we never were?"
"Well if your son is nothing like you were, they might be friends."
"True. I don't want him to be like me. I mean, I do in some ways. That boy better be a Slytherin. But in terms of his attitude? I hope he's nothing like I was. Astoria has shown me the error of my ways, even if I already sort of knew them. But she'd never allow me to spoil our son silly or teach him that purebloods are the only real wizards and witches. I know that's all rubbish and silly now anyway," Draco admitted.
"Really? What made you see the light eh?" Harry wondered.
"What do you think? I know you may not have believed it, but I changed after the war. I saw that the entire thing was pointless. And Voldemort wasn't even a pureblood himself! His entire cause was run by a hypocrite. That's when I realized how stupid it all was."
"It was stupid. All of it. But you really were a prat. Like a colossal prat. It's hard to just forget that," Harry told him.
"I know. And I don't expect us to be chums. But we're here now together right? And I suspect you were feeling a bit lost with no one to talk to right?" Draco said.
"How did you know that?"
"Because I was too."
"What about your folks?"
"They went home. They'll be back in the morning. But honestly my father is zero help. He doesn't even want to be here and says it's a woman's time to be alone. And my mum is just overexcited and telling Astoria all these things to expect and ignoring me entirely," Draco explained.
"I bet that pisses you off. Being ignored by Mummy. Never happened before, has it?" Harry ribbed him.
"Ha-ha. Funny. Although you're not exactly wrong. I feel invisible!" Draco scoffed, shaking his head.
"Get used to it. You're not going to be the shining star in the family anymore. It'll be their grandson they spoil senseless and heap their attention on," Harry informed him with a chuckle.
"I know. But that's okay I guess. I had my turn. But I'm not letting them corrupt this child. Especially my dad. Although you'd probably never believe it if I told you he was somewhat humbled by his experience from the war. He's not as bad as he was," Draco told him.
"Really? I do find that hard to believe."
"I'm not saying he's a saint, but he's a bit gentler. Still doesn't think a man should be involved with childbirth, like it's the Dark Ages, but on other things, he's better."
"Speaking of being involved in childbirth, I probably should get back to Hermione in case she wakes up," Harry said, standing up and tossing away his half-drunk cup of sludge.
"Yeah, me too. Astoria will be upset if I'm not there," Draco said standing up as well.
"Good luck and congratulations," Harry said sincerely to him.
"Same to you. I guess I'll see you in about eleven years at the platform eh?" Draco smiled.
"We'll be there," Harry smiled back.
They both tried to leave at the same time and ended up bumping into each other before Harry just let Draco go first. He disappeared down the hallway and Harry went the opposite way back to Hermione's room. When he walked in, he found her semi-awake and rubbing her belly, while a healer fussed over her and poured her more water and tidied up the bed.
"Hey. Where'd you go?" Hermione asked sleepily.
"Just to get some horrible coffee. I couldn't sleep. How are you?" Harry asked, rushing back to her side.
"I'm fine. The healer says I'm at seven centimeters and it could either be a few hours or go incredibly fast and I could deliver before dawn," she explained.
"How will we know?" Harry asked confusedly, starting to get nervous again.
"That's what I'm here for. I check her progress every hour," the healer smiled at him as she patted Hermione's hand and ventured out of the room.
"Wow, maybe even before dawn? That's soon," Harry said with a deep breath.
"Are you scared?" Hermione chuckled slightly.
"A little. Aren't you?"
"Shitless. I'm the one who has to do all the work. But I'm ready to meet our son," she smiled.
"Me too." He placed his hand on her enormous belly and felt the baby squirming around. "He's still really active. Think he knows his time is almost up in the cushy atmosphere of your womb?"
"I think he does know. And I think he's eager to meet us."
"You know who I ran into in the waiting lounge?" Harry tossed out.
"Yeah, he's having a baby tonight too. A boy. They're calling him Scorpius. What a name huh?" Harry chuckled under his breath.
"Scorpius? Well it's better than Severus," she teased him.
"I only wanted that as a middle name!" he defended himself.
"Well I like James Sirius better. Wish they were here to see this," she trailed off.
"So Draco is having a son the same time we are? That's so strange. Was he pleasant or a total jackass?" Hermione wondered idly.
"He was nice actually. Weird that he was, but he was. He actually sort of thanked me for saving everyone, including him," Harry told her.
"He thanked you?"
"I know, it's odd. But I think he really has grown. He doesn't seem the same anymore."
"God, can you imagine us having playdates with Malfoy and his son? I shudder to think. You don't think he'll go that far will he?" she asked.
"Doubtful. Although he did mention it'd be interesting if our kids grew up to be friends at Hogwarts."
"Now there's a thought. I can't picture it. But I guess you never know. If little Scorpius takes after his mum maybe they will be friends? I'm assuming his mum is nicer than Draco ever was. She must be."
"I think so. But I've never met her. But maybe one day James will invite Scorpius over. I think it'd be one for the record books," Harry laughed slightly.
"I should try and rest more. I'm going to need my strength. It's just hard to stay asleep because I'm so nervous," she admitted.
"It'll be alright. Just try and rest. I won't go anywhere this time. I'll be right here on this cot," he assured her.
He leaned over and kissed her and then she rolled to her side and tried to drift off. Harry just sat on the cot and contemplated his new life he was about to have. It didn't think it was possible to be so happy and so scared at the same time. He just wanted to be the best father he could be. And he didn't have one of his own to ask advice from. The closest he had was Arthur or Mr. Granger. But they still weren't his father. It was times like this he really felt the absence of parental figures in his life. One's that were just for him. But he knew he could make due with what he did have. It wasn't too long before exhaustion set in and Harry fell asleep sitting up on the cot, leaning against the wall. He was awoken when Hermione cried out and he jumped up and rushed to her side.
"What is it? Is the baby coming?" he asked with sleep still fogging his brain.
"Oww! I think the numbing spell is wearing off. I can feel it. And it hurts! Please go alert one of the healers," she said wincing at the pain.
Harry rushed off and found a healer standing at a desk down the hall and he explained the situation. She rushed off with him down the hall and into the room.
"Feeling the pain a bit, dear?" she asked Hermione, who only answered with a loud cry. "I'll take that as a yes."
"Please, do the spell again. It hurts too much. I never knew I was such a wuss," Hermione admitted, clutching her stomach.
"Let me just check your progress first," the healer told her.
Hermione let her do what she needed to do and the healer smiled at her.
"I'm afraid that there isn't time for a spell. You're having the baby! I can already feel the head! Oh lord, don't push! Not yet!" the healer said hurriedly as she rushed to the door to get reinforcements.
"What do you mean you feel the head? Oh God. I'm going to feel this baby being born? What good is magic if I feel it?" Hermione said with a panicked look on her face.
Harry tried to calm her.
"It's gonna be quick. I'm sure you'll be alright."
"Easy for you to say! You're not squeezing a person out of your body!"
"Please can't you redo the spell?" Harry asked the woman at the door, as other healers began to rush in and prepare for a delivery.
"I can't, sir. If I do, she'll be numb for up to ten hours. We don't want that. No, I'm afraid we just have to let nature take its course now."
"Can't I have some pain potion at least?" Hermione asked.
"You'll be loopy and sleepy. We need you alert if you're to do this job. Don't worry, women do this all the time," the main healer assured her.
"This is a disaster. I thought I wouldn't feel it," Hermione cried as another wave of pain overtook her.
"Love, you didn't even want the painkillers at first. Now it's a disaster?" Harry reminded her.
"I changed my mind! I didn't realize how dreadful this felt. I don't know how my mum did it without painkillers. She was insane!"
Harry tried to soothe her, to no avail, and the healers got her prepped and ready for delivery as fast as they could.
"God, call my parents! They're not even here!" Hermione said, as they stuck her feet into the stirrups.
Harry pulled out his new mobile that he'd gotten when Hermione first learned she was pregnant so he could always be reachable in case there was a problem. He put in the call to her parents, effectively waking them up. But they knew they'd never make it to the hospital before the birth. But they promised to leave immediately.
"Oh, I really wanted my mum here. Harry couldn't you go get them? Apparate back here?" she asked.
"Mrs. Potter, this baby is coming right now. If your husband leaves now, he'll miss it," the healer told her from down below the sheet they'd put up.
"Oh god, now? It's coming now?" she cried.
"Yes, just give it a good push!" the healer urged her.
Hermione did what she was told and it was exhausting. Harry stood up by her head as he was sort of afraid to watch the actual moment. He didn't want to pass out. He just kept holding her hand and comforting her as she kept pushing at various intervals.
"Harry, don't you want to see your son be born? I thought you were going to watch?" Hermione panted between pushing.
"No, I don't need to see it. I'll wait until it's over," he shook his head.
"Chicken. I'm doing all the work and you don't even want to see it?" she pointed out to him.
"One more big push, Mrs. Potter! The head is almost out!" the healer cried.
Hermione gave it all her might and the head emerged and the baby immediately started crying even before he was all the way out. Hermione and Harry both laughed and cried at the same time and the rest of the pushing was easy compared to getting the head out. It was only moments before they pulled the rest of the baby free and held him up to the proud parents.
"It's a boy!" the healers all announced happily at once.
"Oh God, he's beautiful!" Hermione said with tears in her eyes.
"He's so…slimy. But beautiful! He's perfect," Harry said laughing through his own tears. "You did it, Hermione. You really did it. I knew there was nothing you couldn't do." He leaned down and kissed her sweaty forehead.
"I did do it. And it was awful but beautiful at the same time. I just can't believe he's here. And he's perfect," she smiled.
"Would you like to cut the cord, sir?" one of the healers asked Harry.
"Yes, it's tradition."
Harry walked over and grabbed the surgical scissors they handed him and cut the cord right where they showed him to cut it. He smiled and felt accomplished even if his job was far easier in this. They promptly bundled up the baby and handed him to Harry and he took him up to Hermione.
"He's got your nose," he told her with a grin.
"And he's got your hair. I can already tell. It's dark and sticking up everywhere," she laughed happily. "Let me hold him."
He handed the baby to her and she cradled him in her arms. She never wanted to let him go. But they told her he needed some tests and to be cleaned up properly and then they'd return him to her. By the time they delivered the placenta and magically healed Hermione up, her parents came bursting through the door, just as they handed the freshly clean baby back over to Hermione.
"Oh we missed the entire thing. But look at him! Oh he's precious!" Hermione's mum exclaimed, rushing to her daughter's bedside.
Mr. Granger patted Harry on the back and shook his hand. Then he just hugged him tightly.
"Congratulations to you. You're a father now," he smiled at Harry.
"I am. And your brilliant daughter is a mum now."
"I know. They grow up fast. Remember that. Spend all the time you can with them, because one day they grow up before you realize."
Harry took that advice to heart. He didn't want to waste a single second of his child's life because he knew anything could happen. And that they did grow up fast. He didn't want his son to ever be without him if he needed him.
A few hours later, Hermione said she was ready for other visitors. Namely Charity and Ron. They were beyond excited for the two of them and Charity had wanted to be there for the birth, but Hermione wanted to keep it intimate. But now that it was over, she was excited to show off little James. Charity immediately ran to Hermione's side and cooed over the baby, and Ron gave Harry a hug and a congratulations. Then he pulled out cigars and flask of whiskey from his pocket.
"You wanna go on the roof and celebrate?" he asked Harry with a grin.
"Whiskey and cigars at 8am?" Harry laughed.
"You only have a first child once. Plus the cigars are traditional. I know we don't smoke, but you gotta do it," Ron urged him.
"Don't you want to hold the baby first?" he asked his friend.
"I will later. Bit nervous honestly. Babies seem so fragile."
"He won't break."
"Let's celebrate first."
Harry looked at Hermione who was busy gabbing away to Charity and letting her hold the baby. He went over and kissed her cheek.
"Ron and I getting some fresh air. We'll be back," Harry told her.
"Okay. Be back soon."
"I will be. We're just going to the roof."
Hermione nodded and let them go, and Ron and Harry snuck off together. They found the stairwell to the roof and headed up. Once out there, they found a large ashtray with the remnants of lots of half smoked cigars, proving it was indeed a tradition many people followed. They lit up and both of them coughed at the acrid smelling smoke.
"This is disgusting," Harry told Ron.
"Yeah, it is a bit. But just go with it. Here, have a kip of this," he said, offering the flask over.
"Nah, I don't need a kip this early in the morning. Hermione's already gonna get on my case for smelling like cigars," Harry shook his head.
Ron took a quick little sip and shoved the flask in his pocket.
"Truth is, I need it. I'm freaking out a little, to be honest," Ron admitted.
"Why? It's not your baby. It's mine. Shouldn't I be the one freaking out?" Harry laughed slightly.
"I know. It is yours and not mine. But seeing it all tiny and helpless? That's gonna be me soon with a tiny helpless person. I'm terrified."
Harry looked at Ron.
"Are you saying Charity is pregnant? Or are you speaking in general terms?" he wondered.
Ron took a puff of the cigar and let it out.
"She's pregnant, mate. We wanted to tell you guys, but Charity is superstitious and said we needed to wait three months. But fuck that. Just don't tell her I told you okay?" Ron said with a small smile.
Harry grinned widely and gave Ron a quick manly hug.
"That's brilliant! Congratulations! Now our kids won't be too different in age. This is great news."
"Yeah, it is. I'm just panicking. And seeing your baby made it more real."
"How far along is she?"
"Wow, that's so great. I'm thrilled for you guys. Even if I know you're scared. But there's nothing to be scared of really. I'm not that scared anymore. Not after meeting my son," Harry told him.
"Yeah? It's not so bad?" Ron asked.
"Not at all. Trust me."
"Yeah, trust him. It's not so scary really. And the women do most of the work," a voice said from behind them.
They turned around and found Draco standing there with a cigar in his hand and presumably a friend with him, that neither Harry nor Ron recognized.
"Malfoy?" Ron asked with confusion. "You're celebrating Harry's baby?"
"No, you half-wit. My wife just had a baby too. Didn't you tell him you'd seen me?" Draco asked Harry.
"No, it didn't come up. But congratulations? I guess your wife delivered?" Harry said, noting the cigar.
"Yes, a beautiful healthy son. He looks just like me. What about you, Potter?" Draco asked curiously.
"A beautiful son as well. He has my hair. Let's hope he doesn't have my eyesight," Harry laughed slightly.
"You're actually talking to this jerk?" Ron whispered uncomfortably.
"Shh, he's not so bad anymore," Harry whispered back.
"He called me a half-wit," Ron shot back.
"Listen, we didn't mean to crash your party. We just wanted to celebrate a bit too. This is my friend Andrew," Draco introduced his buddy, who merely waved and nodded.
"It's a free roof," Harry shrugged.
Ron took another kip out of the flask and Draco saw him.
"Hey, can I have a swig of that?" he asked.
"What? As in put your lips where mine just touched? No," Ron protested.
"You think I have cooties? Please. Never mind. I just could use a bit of something for the nerves," Draco said putting up his hands.
Ron glared at him and then sighed. He handed over the flask.
"I thought you said there was nothing to be scared about anyway?" Ron told Draco, as he took a quick sip and handed it back.
"There's not really. I'm not scared. I said nervous. And there's plenty to be nervous of. But scared? No. And like I said, the women know what they're doing," Draco shrugged.
"So you're just gonna stand back and let your wife do it all?" Harry asked with a raised eyebrow.
"No. I'm not. But if the way she's acting now is any indication, I'll be lucky to get my hands on Scorpius sometime this year. She hasn't let go of him once. She barely even let me or our parents hold him. Now she's feeding him, so we left her some privacy," Draco explained.
"You named your son Scorpius?" Ron sniggered.
"Yeah? What of it?"
"Nothing it's just kind of weird. But not my kid," Ron held up his hands.
"What would you name your kid, Weasel?" Draco wondered.
"My name is Ron, not Weasel. And Charity and I were thinking of the name Hugo."
"Hugo?" Draco and Harry both said in unison.
"What? You guys don't like that?" Ron asked with a frown.
"It's interesting," Harry remarked.
"Yeah, it sounds like an old man who putters around in his bathrobe," Draco laughed.
"Well we're still discussing. It could be a girl! And no one was even supposed to know, and now Malfoy knows? Ugh."
"Look, I'm not telling anyone. I just overheard is all. Congrats, by the way."
"Thanks. I guess. I don't understand why you keep popping up and acting like we're pals," Ron told him.
"We're not pals. I'm just trying to be nice."
"Well then don't call me Weasel or half-wit."
"Now that just sounds wrong. Call me Weasley. Let's not be on a first name basis. I'm not feeling that generous," Ron protested.
"Fine. Weasley, Potter-Andrew and I are going over here to smoke our cigars. We'll leave you in peace," Draco said with a sigh as he took his friends arm and led them away to another side of the building.
Ron looked at Harry.
"Why didn't you tell me he was here?"
"It didn't come up! Besides, it's a hospital, not an exclusive club. He can be here. I don't hold a grudge anymore. You know I buried the hatchet with him," Harry explained.
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean we have to actually see him and speak to him."
"He's all the way over there now. Let's just finish these up and go back in," Harry said, indicating the stinky cigars.
They were silent for a bit as they both puffed away and tried not to cough too much. Then Ron looked at Harry.
"Do you really think the women will do most of the work?" he pondered.
"No. I mean, some of it, yes. But I don't plan to sit idly by and let Hermione do it all. That might be how it is for Draco, but not me," Harry admitted.
"But what if I like that idea. Think Charity would go for it?" Ron asked.
Harry shoved him slightly.
"You're just panicking. It's gonna be great. Just don't name your kid Hugo. You don't need him getting beat up," Harry teased.
"Shut up. But okay. Yeah. I'm panicking. But I think I am ready to hold your son. If Hermione lets me," Ron told him.
"She will. Come on, let's ditch these and go back inside," He said putting the cigar out in an ashtray.
They walked off towards the door and Harry called out to Draco.
"Same to you," Draco called back.
And then they disappeared down into the stairwell.
"You are acting awfully chummy with him. It's weird," Ron remarked.
"No I'm not. I'm just being polite."
"He was never polite."
"We aren't kids anymore, Ron. Obviously. So why stay angry?"
"I guess you have a point," Ron muttered, giving in.
They walked back into the hospital and went to Hermione's room. It was just her and Charity and she was feeding baby James. Ron covered his eyes immediately.
"Oh sorry! I didn't know you were feeding the tyke," he said embarrassed seeing half of Hermione's breast uncovered.
"Oh stop. You've seen my boobs before. And this is beautiful. Don't be a moron, Ronald," Hermione scolded him. "Besides, I think he's just about done. Do you want to hold him?"
Ron uncovered his eyes and walked over closer.
"Yeah, I'd like to hold him. If you think I could."
She removed the half asleep baby from her breast and covered up quickly as Ron still looked away. Then she handed him to Charity, who handed him to Ron.
"He's so tiny. And so perfect. Wow. He's amazing, you guys," Ron said with awe.
"Soon enough it'll be you holding your own, I hear," Hermione smiled at him happily.
"Wait, you told her?" Ron asked Charity.
"I let it slip! I couldn't help it. I know I said we were waiting, but I couldn't," she admitted with a sheepish grin.
"It's okay. I told Harry too. I couldn't not! I had to say something," Ron told her.
"We suck at secrets," Charity sighed.
"Hey, listen, Hermione and I have something we want to ask the two of you, while you're here," Harry chimed in as he sat down on the edge of Hermione's bed and held her hand.
"What's that, mate?" Ron asked.
"Well, we'd like you two to be godparents. If you're up for it," Harry smiled.
"Godparents? Us?" Charity was shocked.
"Yes, of course. You're our closest friends. We'd be honored," Hermione told them.
"Oh yes, definitely!" Charity exclaimed happily.
"Yeah, for sure. Thanks you guys," Ron smiled at them both.
He finally handed the baby over to Harry who felt as if he'd barely had much a turn with other people wanting to hold him. And Ron and Charity said their goodbyes, leaving Hermione and Harry alone for the first time the whole day. Hermione scooted over in the bed and let Harry climb in with her. And then they both just gazed at their sleeping son with wonder. So small, yet so loved and so wanted. Harry had never been happier.
"James Sirius, you are going to have an amazing life, you know that? Your mum here is brilliantly smart, so let's hope you inherited her brain. And her eyesight. And I don't know what I have to offer except my bravery, but your mum is brave too. And you do have my ridiculous hair. Sorry for that. But someday, you'll do great things. I know you will. Just try not to be as much of a troublemaker as we were," Harry spoke to his son, as Hermione looked on.
She laughed at the last part.
"James Sirius, you were named after two of the biggest troublemakers of their time, from what I know. Plus your our son, so I'm sure there will be some detention in your future. But I know you'll make us proud. You'll be a hero like your daddy. Probably rescuing kittens and puppies and damsels in distress. You're going to be a wonderfully loved little person. And I will defend you any time you get in trouble. Unless it's really bad, and then I'll be cross. But let's give you a chance first, eh?" she said with a large smile, smoothing her sons wayward hair as he slept.
"Think he knows what we're saying?" Harry wondered curiously.
"No, but we can say this all again and again and eventually he'll get it," she told him.
"Thank you," Harry said, giving her a kiss.
"For what?" she wondered curiously.
"For giving me the family I always wanted. You've made my dreams come true. I get to live with my best friend my whole life, and have children and I have the best life I could imagine. And it's all because of you," he whispered, kissing her again.
"You've given me all those things too. I love you Harry," she smiled at him lovingly.
"I love you too, Hermione."
And with that, they just lay there together holding their precious son and dreaming of the future. They knew it wouldn't always be easy, but they'd always have each other. And together, they could overcome anything. They had a love that was stronger than any love either of them had known. And this baby would be surrounded by it. They couldn't think of more perfect beginning to their future.
Please comment and let me know how you liked the epilogue! Thanks again to everyone who read along and favorited and comment to this story. Much love!