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An Indefinite Amount of Forever

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Nine months later…

Draco’s eyes burned in his skull as he bounced the screaming little hellion in his arms. “Please stop crying,” he begged. “Please.”

She responded by opening her mouth wider, shutting her eyes tighter, and letting all Hell break loose.

The poor man was pooped. He hadn’t slept properly in days. Mirum seemed to regard any moment her parents’ attentions weren’t 100% fixed on her as a wasted opportunity.

They had been forced to schedule sex. Hermione’s idea. Whimsy took care of Mirum for the afternoon while Draco and Hermione snuck upstairs to be alone. But even that was ruined.

“I’m going to fuck you so good,” he said, kissing across her collarbone.

“Yeah…you…” Hermione yawned mightily.

“Oh no, don’t…”

But it was too late. Draco yawned too, and in seconds, the two of them were passed out and drooling on each other. Granted, it had been a rather stunning nap, but hardly the way he had planned on exhausting his fiancée.

“Shh, shh,” Draco pleaded. “What do you want? I’ll give you anything.” She had already eaten. Draco had changed her twenty minutes ago. And she absolutely abhorred her dummy. Every time they tried to give it to her she ripped it out of her mouth and threw it on the ground.

Her prospects as a future Beater were rather promising.

As if to prove this point, she launched her tiny fist at his chin.

He closed his eyes, breathing deeply. “I love you. I do. But you’re a monster.” He barely heard the Floo in the other room, signaling Hermione’s return from her lunch with Ginny. He had hoped Mirum would settle down before Hermione returned home, so he could prove to her that it was okay for her to go out every now and then. He’d practically blackmailed her just to get her to go to lunch with Ginny. Their wedding was only a month away, and Hermione was more stressed than ever. She needed this.

Plus, it gave him an opportunity to bond with Mirum. At this stage in her young life, there wasn’t much the two of them had in common other than shared DNA and a fondness for Hermione’s breasts. But he could always establish a connection by holding her while she screamed, changing her soiled nappies, and letting her use him as target practice for her projectile vomits.

That said, he was anxious for her to get a little older so they could talk about Quidditch or something.

He continued to bounce their daughter while she screamed. His eyes were dry and red from not having blinked in ages, so he couldn’t muster a proper greeting when Hermione entered the room. “How was Ginny?” he asked with a hollow voice.

“Fine. I mean not fine, exactly. I hexed her.” She plopped down on the sofa next to him.

Deciding that a change in tactic was in order, Draco put the infant on his chest and rubbed circles on her back. Perhaps she just wanted to be burped. “Might I ask why?”

Hermione rolled her eyes—also dry and reddened from lack of sleep. “She bought Mirum a present.”

Draco’s movements paused. “I don’t follow.”

“Let me show you,” she said, pulling something from her bag. “Here.”

Draco finally blinked. It was a onesie that read, “My Parents Shagged Nine Months Ago, and All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Yeah. She’s not wearing that.”

“That’s what I said.” She rubbed her temples. “Did she take a nap?” Mirum screamed in response to her mother’s question. Both mother and father were such veterans when it came to Mirum’s tantrums, they didn’t even grimace at the noise.

“No,” he responded.

Hermione sighed. “Of course she didn’t sleep. She never sleeps. Demon babies can’t sleep.”

“It’s your fault.”

“Is it?”

“I wanted to name her Ara after the constellation south of Scorpius. But noooo. You had to name her something esoteric and flippant.”

“Mirum is a beautiful Latin name.”

Draco released a hollow laugh. “It literally means ‘surprise.’ She’s going to notice. She probably already does.” He narrowed his eyes at the baby. “How much do you already know? Are you a genius too, like your mother?”

“Draco, honey. No offense. But you sound absolutely bat-shit barmy. You’re going crazy. Give her to me and go sleep.”

“No, I—”

Haven’t slept in days. Give me my child.”

He handed the wailing baby over to her and rubbed his face. “Neither have you.”

Hermione deposited the infant on her chest. “I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but don’t you think we could let the house elves do a bit more than we have up till now?”

He took a deep breath and spoke in a rehearsed voice, as if he’d said it a thousand times. “The parenting books say that it’s important we take a direct interest in her early care so she can—”

Sod your books.”

He blinked blindly at her for a moment before comprehending the meaning of what she just said. “It is…literally unbelievable that you just said that.”

“Take a nap, Draco.”

“But I—”

“I swear to Circe, Draco. If you don’t go upstairs and get in that bed and take a goddamned nap, I will personally give you a vasectomy, so that we don’t ever have to worry about any more ‘surprises’ ever again.”

Draco yawned and nodded. “Okay. Okay.” He smacked his lips sleepily. “What was I doing?”

She sniggered. “Just sleep, love.”

“Okay. Good night.” He curled up into the fetal position and feel asleep right there on the couch.

Hermione made calming, cooing sounds at her daughter while she cried. “Shh, shh, shh. It’s alright. Mummy’s here.”

She had lied to Draco. When she suggested they name their daughter ‘Mirum,’ she failed to mention the deeper meaning: wonderment, awe, an extraordinary thing. Because she felt it; that tug at her heartstrings the moment she lay eyes upon this miraculous, fascinating little person she helped make.

It was just so much funnier for Draco to think the name was an homage to her unplanned conception.

Mirum, the Wonderment, cried. She cried wet, loud, baby tears that simultaneously broke Hermione’s heart and irritated her to the depths of her soul. If one really thought about it, no human being should be allowed to act like this; cry for no reason until they decided they were finished or somebody gave them what they wanted.

“This is so not cute,” she said as she patted Mirum’s back. She remembered the mantra Ginny taught her. “I will not eat my young. I will not eat my young. I will not eat my young.”

Slowly, but surely, Mirum’s squalls lessened as her mother held her. Hermione kissed her daughter on the forehead as she finally began to show signs of sleepiness. “Oh, my sweet, little demon. Daddy and I are going to fuck you up so bad.”

“Goo!” Mirum said, with a smile.

 

*

 

Three years later… \

No, Daddy. No! Mrs. Feathers has to have the purple cup and Mr. Whiskers gets the pink cup!” Mirum corrected the stuffed Hippogriff and lion toys’ preferred choice of stemware.

Draco was currently the guest of honor at a tea party to celebrate the marriage of Mrs. Feathers and Mr. Whiskers. He was wearing a hot pink boa and a sparkly tiara to match the one on his three-year-old daughter’s curly blonde head. “Well, shouldn’t they have matching cups? After all they are about to comingle their assets and everything that belongs to Mr. Whiskers will soon be Mrs. Feathers’s.”

Mirum giggled. “You’re so silly, Daddy. Mr. Whiskers likes pink. It’s his favorite color.”

Draco narrowed his eyes. He suspected Hermione had had some sort of discussion with their daughter about ‘the toxicity of traditional gender roles’ or something equally woke like that. The first clue probably should have been that Mrs. Feathers had opted to keep her own surname. Obviously, he must have listened to one of his wife’s rants closer than he thought, given the fact that he and his three-year-old daughter were currently sporting twin accessories in complementary colors. “Oh, I see now. Please forgive me for the mix up.”

“You need to say you’re sorry to Mr. Whiskers.” Mirum looked at him with large, liquid brown eyes, so similar to her mother’s. It never even occurred to Draco to turn her down as he picked up the stuffed lion toy, his eyes full of contrition, and said, “Mr. Whiskers, it is my most sincere hope that you will accept this humble apology for nearly giving your pink cup to your wife.” His voice lowered slightly as he cupped a hand to Mr. Whiskers’ ear as a useless barrier. “Although, if you want a bit of friendly advice, you should probably learn to share sooner rather than later because the second Mrs. Feathers decides that she likes that pink cup, you’re going to be drinking out of purple for a long time, mate.”

The room was so saturated with Mirum’s laughter, Draco nearly didn’t hear the Floo go off, signaling his wife had returned home from work.

Mummy!!!!” With the fickleness only a child could display, Mirum immediately lost interest in celebrating the Feathers-Whiskers wedding and jumped up to greet her mother.

Hermione swooped Mirum up into her arms and kissed her on the cheek. “Were you a good girl for your Daddy today?”

“Daddy says that once Mr. Whiskers marries Mrs. Feathers that she gets whatever she wants.”

Hermione quirked an eyebrow at Draco, who nervously laughed at their child’s backstabbing candor. “Kids. I’ll never know where she comes up with this stuff.”

Hermione smirked and set Mirum down on the ground. “Why don’t you go down to the kitchen and have Quincy make you a hot chocolate?”

Mirum’s large brown eyes widened impossibly larger. “But Mum! Quincy scares me.”

Draco bit his lip at the sole parallel between his and his daughter’s childhoods.

“Tell him I said you could have one,” Hermione said.

“Okay, Mummy.” In a flash, she skipped around the corner and disappeared in a haze of curls, glitter, and lace.

Hermione wasted no time and collapsed on the sofa. “How many sweets did she talk you into letting her have today?”

Draco shrugged and contemplated his answer. “Oh, probably just the one biscuit I let her have after lunch.”

“Draco.”

“Several.” There was no use lying to her. His former-Auror wife could sense his bullshit from a mile away. Blaise always teased him that between Hermione and Mirum, he was so whipped it was a wonder he could stand up straight.

She rubbed the back of her neck. “Since you’re the one spoiling her, then you can be the one to put her to bed later.”

“Fair enough,” he said, plopping down on the couch next to her and batting her hands away from her neck, replacing them with his own.

“Mmmm. That feels amazing. Almost enough to distract me from what you’re wearing.”

Draco ignored her and continued to work the knots in her neck. “Only real men wear pink feathers.” He placed a kiss where her neck met her shoulder.

She chuckled lightly. “How soon do you think I could send Mirum to bed and it not be considered child abuse?”

“As wound up as she is, probably well after midnight,” Draco said, kissing her neck again. “Hard day?”

“Just long. Rose and Scorpius are being divas about the Graduation ceremony. Rose made us run through the entire rehearsal five times this afternoon and I am officially never trusting Scorpius again when he asks me for ‘a quick fashion consultation.’ He spent thirty minutes agonizing over which pocket square best complemented the colors in his tassel.”

“That’s my boy.”

“Eh. You probably would have spent forty.”

“Yes, well, luckily for the Hogwarts faculty, I was never asked to be Head Boy, so I didn’t get to lord over the graduation ceremony.”

“Luckily is right. As if you aren’t a total brat now, you would have been absolutely unendurable.”

He chuckled against her neck and placed a hot, open-mouthed kiss just below her ear. “Have you noticed that we’re alone right now?”

“Why do you think I sent Mirum down to the kitchen?” A devilish glint sparkled in her eye. Hermione never let Mirum have chocolate before dinner. It was a vain attempt at instilling proper nutrition habits, however, as the child refused to eat anything besides butter noodles these days.

“You sneaky minx.” Draco bolted up and immediately started removing clothes, starting with his shoes. It might have been more sexy and less ridiculous if he still hadn’t been wearing the tiara and boa Mirum had insisted he wear for the tea party. “What?” he asked as Hermione erupted into a fit of giggles.

“Nothing, just…” She sighed. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” he said, grinning that dashing, close-mouthed Malfoy smile that left Hermione weak in the knees. “Now take off your bloody clothes, woman.”

“You’re not the boss of me,” she said playfully.

Draco’s mischievous glint faded slightly. “Please, please, please don’t ever let Mirum hear you say that. I have a feeling she’d have a field day with that one.”

The immediate fear in Hermione’s eyes at the prospect of feeding Mirum’s inner brat was apparent. She nodded vehemently in concurrence. She had a faraway look in her eyes just thinking about their daughter stomping her foot, Shirley Temple style, and insisting “You’re not the boss of me!” The kid pretty much soaked up everything they said or did.

Draco narrowed his eyes at his wife. “What are you…? Oh, no, no, no. I didn’t mean to kill the mood. Please don’t let the mood be dead.” He leaned down to kiss her. “Here. Let me help you get out of these clothes.” He snuck one hand inside the front of her shirt and cupped her breast, freeing it from the confines of her bra cup whilst Hermione giggled into his mouth.

Daddy! Mummy!” Mirum ran into the room with the area around her mouth covered in chocolate.

As if he was on fire, Draco immediately removed his hand from Hermione’s top. She, in turn, crouched down on the couch and refastened the buttons on her blouse whilst Draco covertly pulled his trousers back up. Damn it. He had been so close! “What is it, sweetheart?”

“When we go to see Scor-puss and Rose walk across the stage tomorrow, can I wear my Elsa dress?”

While the untimely arrival of their toddler meant Draco could kiss goodbye the dream of shagging his wife rotten on the sofa, he couldn’t help but be charmed by her request. Mirum hadn’t yet mastered the pronunciation of her brother’s name. Nor had she taken to magical fairytales over the Muggle ones. Ever since Edward and Jean took her to see Frozen, she only had eyes for Elsa. Hermione always teased him that it was only proper a Malfoy girl would find her kindred spirit in a broody ice queen with impossibly blonde hair. His mature response was to stick his tongue out at her and pull at her hair. Having a three-year-old really made one question the merits of acting one’s age.

Hermione emerged from behind the couch, her clothes righted. “That depends. If I go up to your room right now, will I find crayons all over the floor?”

Mirum shook her head emphatically. “I picked them up, Mummy. I pinky promise!”

Hermione nodded. “Well, alright, then.” She made a mental note to have Whimsy press Mirum’s Elsa dress. She typically tried to ration how often Mirum wore it, because if Mirum had it her way, she’d wear it every day. A fondness for princesses was a little girl trend Hermione had bypassed, but she couldn’t deny it was endearing on her daughter.

Yaaaayyy!!!!” Mirum skipped in circles around the room. “Daddy and me are playing tea party. Will you play with us?”

“It’s Daddy and I,” she corrected. “Yes, I suppose.”

While this was not the game she had anticipated on playing with Draco when she returned home, she could never get enough of the novelty of seeing Draco Malfoy in a tiara, saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ to a variety of stuffed animals while sipping imaginary tea out of flowery cups.

 

*

 

The following day, Hermione, Draco, and Mirum (clad in a satin, baby blue princess dress with a glittery, organza train), stood at King’s Cross Station, waiting for the Hogwarts Express to take them to the graduation ceremony. Mirum stood between her parents, each of her hands holding one of theirs. Draco bit back a grin at the realization that the scene was painfully idyllic—a word that he never would have thought could possibly describe his life.

“Are Scor-puss and Rose winning a prize?” Mirum asked, clutching Mr. Weezy, an orange stuffed bunny she’d grabbed after Hermione informed her she could only bring one toy to the ceremony. The bunny had been christened ‘Mr. Weezy’ due to Draco’s inability to damper his jibes at his wife’s ginger best friend. The day he bought it for his daughter after she refused to be parted with it at the toy store, he stood at the counter, held it up, regarded the slight paunch in the bunny rabbit’s belly (along with its vacant, wide-eyed expression), and declared to Hermione, “This thing kind of looks like Weasley.”

Kids pick up on everything. Draco still hadn’t heard the end of it from Hermione.

“No, sweetheart. Your brother and Rose are the Heads of their class. They’re each giving a speech today because they’re graduating,” Hermione aptly explained.

“What’s grad-jating?”

“It means that none of the boys and girls the same age as them have to go to school anymore.”

“Why?”

“Because they’re old enough now to go out in the world and work. Like Mummy and Daddy do.”

“Why?”

Draco chuckled. If he didn’t cut in, these two would be at it for hours. “Because darling, the government, in its omniscient wisdom, erroneously believes that 17 is old enough for a person to have something useful to contribute to the world, and that the real adults, for some reason, are willing to put up with having to regard them as peers, even though most of them are still raging smart alecks who live with their parents.”

Mirum blinked up at him. She was too confused to continue her line of questioning. His tactic had yielded its desired outcome.

Hermione rolled her eyes at his faux-pessimism. “Do you have any idea how old you sound when you say things like that?”

“Mirum,” Draco said, looking down at his tiny daughter, “tell your mother I’m not old.”

She giggled. “You’re old, Daddy. So old!”

His daughter’s betrayal was punctuated by his wife’s totally unnecessary laughter.

“Oh, like you’re so much younger than me. Oh, wait. You’re a year older,” he said.

Feigning innocence, she placed a hand over her heart. “Hey, I’m not the one with an adult son.”

Adult,” Draco snorted. “And for all intents and purposes, yes you are.”

Hermione mockingly mouthed his words back at him.

Their banter came to a halt as they approached Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Susan who were also awaiting the train, and exchanged greetings as if they didn’t see each other constantly. Seriously, constantly. Or at least it seemed so to Draco.

As usual, Mirum was the center of attention.

“I love your dress,” Susan said.

“Thank you,” Mirum mumbled as she stuck Mr. Weezy’s ear in her mouth, pretending to be much more shy than they all knew her to be. ‘Awww’s’ were exchanged.

The train finally arrived. As they all prepared themselves to board, Ron elbowed Draco in the ribs. “Twenty Galleons says more people applaud at Rose’s speech than Scorpius’s.”

Draco winced. Weasley was always fucking doing this. Your son’s lucky to have Rose. She could have any boy she wanted. That sort of thing. It was dull and completely beneath Draco. He wanted no part in it. “You’re on.”

The pointed clearing of Hermione’s throat brought them back to reality as they sheepishly avoided their respective wives’ eye-rolling and took their places on the train next to them.

“Daddy, will I have to go to school one day too?”

Draco’s chest tightened at the very thought. “One day, yes. But not for a long time.” Not so long, he thought regretfully.

The familiar dips and valleys in the English countryside whizzed past them as the Hogwarts Express tore through the landscape. Mirum tugged tightly on his arm, unsure of how to make sense of her very first train ride.

“Daddy?”

“Yes, sweetheart.”

Her chin wobbled a bit. “What if the other boys and girls don’t like me?”

It was official. Being a father to adorable little girls was the worst. The burning in Draco’s eyes and the tugging in his chest at his daughter’s distress made him realize why Edward Granger was such an intense man.

If anybody ever treated a daughter of mine like I treated Hermione when we were growing up, I would hang him over the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch by his fingernails.

He would, too. What had his life come to when his Gryffindor wife was the level-headed one?

“Sweetheart,” Hermione said, realizing that this was not the sort of question Draco was capable of answering, “I promise you that you will have friends and they will like you.”

“Did you and Daddy like each other when you were in school?”

Hermione shot her four friends warning glares as they attempted to stifle their sniggers. “Not exactly. But we grew up and we fell in love and made you.”

That answer seemed to pacify Mirum as she snuggled drowsily into her mother’s side, letting the train gently rock her into a pre-nap stasis.

Draco caught Hermione’s eyes and tried to wordlessly communicate to her how much he loved her in that moment. It was comforting to know that when he was too much of a mess to be useful, she would step in and say the right thing to their daughter. Admittedly, the reverse was sometimes true as well. Neither of them were perfect. But they always seemed to know when the time was ripe to step up to the plate for the other’s sake, as well as Mirum’s.

With Scorpius, he’d been alone. He’d played the role of both parents, and had to pick up his own pieces from the days when he was operating at less than full capacity. He never allowed himself to become overly emotional, never dwelling on the temporary nature of childhood or even existence. Stiff upper lip. Chin up. There’s no time to fall exhausted onto the sofa after a hard day when your little boy needs to tell you a two hour story about a grasshopper. By the time Scorpius went off to school, Draco was utterly exhausted. There had been no time to fully realize the depths of his own needs as a person until Hermione came along.

He was grateful. So completely, devastatingly grateful. He took Hermione’s hand over their sleeping daughter’s form and raised it to his lips. She blushed. He hoped he could always make her blush, even when they were old.

Hills turned into mountains through the frame of the windows in their compartment as they headed towards the next of many milestones in their family’s future.

All was well.