Fleur opened the door to the townhome. A few times a week they tried to go through the whole song and dance of using the actual front entrance so that the neighbours wouldn't get suspicious. She shrugged out of her coat with a groan of appreciation and unwrapped the scarf around her neck. It was late February, so it was cold and wet nearly all the time. She was counting down the days until their next holiday in France.
The smells of mushrooms, onions, and garlic wafted through the home and Fleur's stomach grumbled. She rounded the corner to the kitchen and her wife met her with a warm smile that still made her heartbeat quicken every time. The veela came up behind her as she stirred the sauté and wrapped her arms around her waist.
"Mmmm, bonjour, mon coeur," she purred, kissing her cheek and then the mark on her neck.
"Hello, love. How was your day?" she asked, tilting her head to the side encouragingly as Fleur continued to trail kisses down the column of nerves.
"Long," she said simply, "I had Guillaume dealing with a new team and I had to run to Austria briefly this afternoon."
"Mmm, you work too hard. Sit down and rest until dinner. I should be done in five minutes," she said.
The blonde scoffed, but relinquished her hold, "You're one to talk." She walked to the wine cabinet and spun a few labels towards her, picking a rich red that would pair nicely with dinner. She got out two glasses and started uncorking. Hermione looked over at her when she poured one glass out.
"Oh, none for me, thanks."
Fleur looked up with the bottled hovering over the second glass. Her wife turned the stove off and set the pan aside.
The blonde furrowed her brow a little but put away the second glass. She took a careful sip, watching her wife as she took out some plates and started assembling everything. The veela had half her brain focused on that, and the other half of her brain was counting. That was the…third time this week that Hermione had refused a glass of wine. Normally, they shared at least a bottle a week between them.
Dinner interrupted her thoughts, and soon she was catching up with what the Gryffindor got up to today and venting more about her Austrian clan issues. When the plates were cleared and loaded into the dishwasher, Fleur met her mate over on the couch with a relaxed sigh.
"I have something for you," Hermione finally said, fiddling with the corner of the cushion.
"Oh?" the blonde raised an eyebrow as her wife wandlessly summoned a small box. She shifted to face her, and gently slid off the top of it to reveal an ornate silver key with her family crest engraved on the head. Her eyebrows scrunched together.
"Your key, technically," she stated, as if that answered anything.
"I got it from your mother," she said, again, unhelpfully.
"Why are you giving me my own key?"
"Because we are moving," she replied with a smile, and Fleur's heart stopped. She looked down at the key again. It was her family's estate key; she would recognise it anywhere. The wine. The key. Her brain finally connected the dots, and she looked over to her wife to see a shy smile forming on her face.
"I'm pregnant, Fleur," she whispered, "You're going to be a mother."
Her mind raced back again. They had spoken at length about the possibility of children and had both agreed that Hermione would stop taking the birth control potion. They weren't going to treat anything else differently, however. They thought they'd start by just letting things occur naturally, but that was only…four weeks ago.
"Y—You're…pregnant?" she said softly, her eyes wide as she stared at her mate in wonder.
Light brown eyes were filled with joy, and she nodded, biting her lip between her teeth as though she were nervous.
"Oh, my god…" Fleur's eyes were filling with tears. She looked down at her wife's stomach and she muttered, "Oh, my god…Oh my god!"
A thousand thoughts ran around her mind, and she couldn't make use of a single one of them. All she knew was that her cheeks were hot with tears and she was pulling Hermione into a tight embrace on the couch and kissing her, saying, "I love you, I love you, I love you," over and over again as they tried to stop crying and laughing from this feeling of senseless happiness.
Fleur was pacing around the room, biting her nails even though she had rid herself of that terrible habit over twenty years ago. Hermione was being checked over by the healer, so she reluctantly gave them some space. Her belly was huge underneath the hospital gown. The healer was speaking gently and had started touching her sparingly to conduct a few tests, but Fleur watched her as though she were Voldemort himself laying hands on her very pregnant wife. She balled her fists up tightly by her sides and clenched her jaw.
The healer waved a wand over her wife's enormous stomach and Fleur heard a low growl fill the room. Hermione gave her a sharp, "Are you serious?" look. Whoops. That was her. She was at the end of the bed, rigid as a board, glaring at the young healer. The brunette's facial expression softened a little and she motioned for her to come to the empty side of the bed to join her. Fleur did so immediately, reaching for her hand without taking her black eyes off the healer, who was glancing nervously at the veela now.
"Fleur," her wife said patiently, "She is helping us, remember? You don't want to deliver this baby yourself, do you?"
"No," she said through gritted teeth, rubbing circles onto Hermione's hand.
"Good, then relax and stop looking like you're going to murder the nice staff."
Fleur scowled but did as she was told and shifted her focus back to her wife. The visage of homicide was immediately replaced with that of great concern for her mate. She was a little sweaty having been through a few bouts of contractions, but all in all, looked comfortable and…slightly bored. Her contractions weren't that close together yet, but once her water broke Fleur all but flew them to the hospital immediately in a frenzy when it happened.
Fleur was in the kitchen, going over some bathroom design fixtures. It had been a long eight months, but they were nearing the finish line now. Thankfully, Apolline and Phillipe were all too excited to move out of the large estate to give them the space for their growing family. After giving their eldest daughter the "If you let the vineyards go to shit you will be disowned," speech, they settled at their summer home in Lyon permanently, giving over the rights and deed to the newest estate members.
The Delacour-Grangers contemplated waiting to update the place until after their little one was born, but they both figured construction and picking out new paint and hardwood would be the last thing they wanted to do with a newborn. Therefore, they had all but redesigned every inch of the antiquated mansion in a few short months. Gold trimmed furniture and crown moulding was replaced with a simpler, contemporary design that was more their style and less imposing. All the furniture was replaced and every wall repainted. The new look made it look bigger - if that was possible - and much brighter. They tore down walls and expanded certain rooms. Hermione insisted that they triple the footprint of the already enormous library, and Fleur wanted to add a potions room so they could make their own stock of whatever they needed.
It was not a cheap bill, but after going through their books together they realised they had quite a lot of money to throw around. Fleur would take control of the Delacour fortune now that the deeds had passed to her, and she made a fairly impressive earning over the past fifteen years that went mostly unspent. Her wife had an impressive salary as Minister, and Fleur learned she had invested a majority of her war earnings early on in various growing industries and businesses which turned out to be quite ludicrous. In one afternoon, the two women realised they had more money than they knew what to do with, so splurging to create the home they really wanted was an obvious choice.
Fleur bookmarked a faucet she liked in the magazine she was poring over when Hermione waddled in, groaning and rubbing her belly.
"I'm so hungry," she whined, and the veela grinned as the opened the refrigerator for the tenth time today. Fleur moved the magazine to the side and watched her wife rummage around. Pregnancy looked so good on her. The Gryffindor found a carrot and some peanut butter before coming to stand beside her at the kitchen counter, turning the page of the magazine again and looking over the blonde's bookmarks.
Fleur continued to watch her crunch away, but the small smile on her face disappeared in an instant when she heard the pattering of some watery substance against the kitchen floor. She and the brunette looked down together, and then back up. Brown eyes were wide with surprise as the carrot covered with a gob of peanut butter froze halfway to her mouth. The blonde couldn't move for a moment, and her wife took the opportunity to chomp down on the carrot once again.
"I think the baby is coming," she finally said through a mouthful of peanut butter.
And then Fleur was shouting and moving, having finally snapped out of it.
"Jean!" she yelled, and a house-elf was there instantly as she started walking her wife towards the front door.
"Please get the baby bag for me and put it in the car ," she said rapidly. Hermione's hand suddenly shot to her stomach and they stopped their walking.
"Ow, ow, ow, ow, owwwww," she cried, hunching over in pain and dropping the damn carrot finally as her first contraction hit.
Fleur saw red when those horrible sounds filled her ears. Her Veela wanted to shift, to attack, but she knew there was nothing to fight. Thankful her wife had already planned out their entire emergency plan with great detail, the blonde carefully got her mate into the car before peeling off towards the nearest hospital. They knew they couldn't use the floo or apparate. If Fleur had her way, she'd be flying them herself, but Hermione put her foot down at that suggestion. A car was the next logical answer, and the blonde had practised the route to the hospital at least a dozen times now.
Hermione's panting breathing had returned to normal now that her contraction passed. She looked over at the blonde gripping the steering wheel. Every ten seconds or so she would look over at her precious cargo, asking how she was feeling and if she was in pain.
By the fifth time her pregnant wife snapped.
"Fleur, I'm fine!"
"I'm just making sure you don't need anything," the blonde said sheepishly.
"If you really want to help me you can either shut up or go back and get that carrot," she whined.
Admittedly, Fleur probably panicked a bit, as they were now on their tenth hour at the hospital waiting for her contractions to get closer together. They started almost twenty minutes apart and now they were just over ten. Her wife was doing a crossword puzzle in between them now, looking extremely underwhelmed. She looked at the watch she placed beside her and made a note in the margin of her crossword. Fleur rolled her eyes. Of course, her wife was monitoring her own contractions.
In the downtime, the veela had sent messages to their close family and friends, who were waiting patiently for the arrival of their newest member. The Delacour's had come in briefly to say hello and wish them good luck, but now they waited in the waiting room with everyone else. Every now and again Fleur would hear Ron yelling, having been bested by Adele in countless matches of wizard's chess.
Hermione's hand suddenly shot to her stomach, and even Fleur knew this one was much closer than the last. Close to half the usual length.
"Oooooooohhhhh, ah, ah, ahhhh!" she cried, beads of sweat reforming on her forehead as it kept going. Fleur looked at the watch, her eyebrows knitting together. This one was much longer.
She sent a patronus to the healer, who entered the room after twenty seconds. She looked down at Hermione's noted on her contractions, evidently confident she was being accurate.
"Okay, let's have a look down there," she said, and Fleur held onto her wife's hand as the healer checked her cervix.
"Well, it looks like we are getting started, ladies. I hope you're ready to meet your baby soon!"
The next hour or so went by in a whirlwind. Fleur had never been so proud of her brave wife. She was so strong at every moment. Every contraction she could feel Hermione's anguish flexing over her skin, but couldn't feel the pain. She wished she could take it from her. Goddess, what she would do to be able to take her pain away. The veela stayed by her wife's head the whole time, kissing her temple and trying to encompass her in calming thrall even though she knew it likely wasn't helping at all. She whispered words of encouragement as she witnessed the most extraordinary woman bring their firstborn child into this world.
Hermione was covered in sweat and tears; her hair was sticking to her forehead, but Fleur had never seen anything as beautiful as when the healer placed their daughter in her arms for the first time. Fleur knew she was crying, but she couldn't feel the tears. She couldn't feel anything except gravity. Her whole world was reshaping inside the confines of her body, drawing her towards this little wrinkly bundle with the tiniest hands she had ever seen. Those were hers…she helped make those hands. Those ears. That button nose. Those eyes, scrunched tight, trying to keep out all this new light. Fleur raised a hand to her little girl's back gently, unable to form words. Her wife was the first to figure out how to talk.
"We're so happy you are finally here, baby girl," she said softly, and the blonde felt fresh tears on her cheeks again. She smiled and laughed, giddy all of a sudden at how surreal this was. Their little girl gave a small squeal at the sound of her voice, and her wife and she shared a look of wonder.
A single sheet of paper suddenly appeared out of thin air on the bedside table that read:
Certificate of Birth
Sophie Rose Delacour-Granger
Born: 05:27 AM on November 17th, 2012
Assigned Sex: Female
Weight: 3.41 kg
Length: 49.89 cm
Biological Mother: Hermione Jean Delacour-Granger
Biological Mother: Fleur Isabelle Delacour-Granger
Comments: Part-Veela (1/4) Natural birth.
The serene silence was broken by the first of many window-shattering wails from their daughter. Fleur still couldn't stop smiling.
"Sophie, get down here! We are going to be late!" Fleur shouted, looking down at the list again in her hands before tucking it into her purse. She was in a white sundress and wedged heels for the occasion, her hair up in a loose bun at the nape of her neck.
"Coming, Maman!" she heard a little voice from the other end of the hall and footsteps padding rapidly across the hardwood. Hermione swept into the room just then, and the veela was thankful she wouldn't have to round her up as well. She was dressed sharply in Fleur's favourite blue suit, their three-year-old bouncing happily on her hip with a toy block in her chubby hand.
The blonde cooed at her, "Good morning, my princess. How are you?" she asked, holding her hands out to take her as her wife shifted and looked at her watch in distress.
"We're late," she grumbled, looking around for their eldest.
"I know," Fleur said through smiling teeth at her daughter as she blabbed incoherently about the toy in her hand. The blonde's eyebrows rose in shock when she was told of a specifically interesting trait of the tremendously uninteresting block.
Olivia Adeline was in a little polka-dotted dress and ballerina flats. Her wavy, dirty blonde curls were just past her chin, and already sun-kissed with streaks from their time in the sun. Bright blue eyes suddenly looked to the door as her big sister came charging in, shoes in one hand and her other stuck firmly behind her back. She was sporting some stripey blue shorts and a lime green top that clashed horribly. The veela winced as soon as she saw her. Hermione had convinced Fleur to let her express herself, but every day it seemed to be getting worse.
Sophie's light brown hair was a little darker and less wavy than her sister, but her eyes were just as bright. Currently, the five-year-old looked conspicuously naughty as she stood at the doorway.
"Sophie," Hermione narrowed her eyes as the blonde made her way to the floo with their smiling youngest, "What are you holding behind your back?"
"Nothing!" she said too quickly, and the Gryffindor just raised an eyebrow, unimpressed.
"Then I guess you won't mind putting your shoes on yourself, will you?"
Fleur smirked as her daughter's eyes widened with the realisation that she had trapped herself. As big as she was now, there was no way she would be able to tie her own shoes with one hand. Big blue eyes looked down at the floor and her little body sagged dramatically.
"Okayyy," she said, holding out her hand to her mum. It was one of her favourite books; a strange story about a sea monster who made friends with a baby deer that only ate beans. Or, something like that. They had Gabrielle to thank for that strange find.
Hermione knelt down and smiled reassuringly, "Why are you bringing that, love?"
Sophie was still staring at the ground as she mumbled, "Sometimes I don't want to play with the other kids."
The brunette looked over at Fleur, who was watching the whole scene with adoration. Little Olivia was still babbling loudly in her ear.
"Sometimes they just want to run around and play quidditch and I don't always want to," she admitted.
Hermione was so obviously ecstatic that Fleur was hard-pressed to control her eye roll. She knew her wife loved seeing their brainy little daughter beat to her own drum.
"You don't have to play if you don't want to, but remember, it's easy to get lost in a world that is not your own, okay?" she spoke seriously, and Sophie nodded her head gravely, "Having friends is important. You just have to find the ones that like the things you like," she clarified.
The brunette paused and nodded, "Yeah, like reading. Now, come on, troublemaker. You can bring the book. You should never have to hide that from us, okay?"
"Okayyy," she said dramatically again with a sigh, and Fleur snorted. She had so much attitude already it was scary. Such a combination of the two of them.
They landed at Grimmauld and found Neville watching over the group of kids running around. He had charmed a few ribbons that they were all screaming at and chasing, nearly knocking the guests over in the meantime. Sophie thrust the book into Hermione's hand, grabbed her sister, and the two toddled after the shrieking hive of children.
"So much for not playing," Hermione said dryly, but she had a smile on her face. The Delacour-Grangers took a deep breath of temporary freedom and gave Neville a very warm welcome for soldiering through the babysitting duties.
They made their way into the yard with two glasses of wine and found Harry, Luna, Malfoy, and Ron chatting on the far end.
"Mione! Fleur! How are you guys?" Harry yelled, giving them both warm hugs as they meandered over.
"Great! You?" Hermione asked as she let go of Draco after a round of hugs.
They all murmured in assent before Luna asked, "How is the new company?"
Hermione grinned and dove right into it. After her second term as Minister ended, she started a research company specialising in medical and psychological research for the effects of dark magic. Her team had published numerous studies on solutions that helped to diminish the neurological impact of the Cruciatus curse. Similarly, the company was intent on finding the best and most effective means of emotionally helping patients deal with the aftermath of dark magic, dependent on their specific needs. The company had been granted a trial period already by St. Mungos and were operating at a 68% success rate in reducing mental health disorders for those who had been badly injured, tortured, or who contracted irreversible curses, such as a werewolf bite.
Malfoy looked impressed, "That's great stuff, Granger. A year in and you're already making waves. Can't say I'm surprised, though, with that big head of yours," he muttered into his whiskey.
"Hey!" she said, pushing him slightly on the shoulder.
The pack of rabid children were running by screaming, and all the adults did a quick once over to make sure their ducks were accounted for before continuing.
"So, Harry, are you going to start us off?" Ron asked, eyeing the large crowd. It was a great turnout. Everyone who had been a part of the Order, Dumbledore's Army, and who had been a part of their lives since the battle were in attendance.
Harry looked at his watch, "Yeah, I suppose I should get going and crack us off. Excuse me."
Not fifteen seconds later they heard him again, standing on a garden chair at the other end of the yard with his wand at his throat. Neville had somehow gotten all the children to stop screaming, and they stood watching in the corner, out of breath and sweaty.
"Hello and welcome, everyone. I am going to keep this short, but I thank you all for being here again. Today marks twenty years since the Battle of Hogwarts and our fight for peace and freedom. Tonight, we remember those who cannot be with us, and we honour their sacrifice so that we can live ours to its fullest potential."
To the untrained eye, Harry was just taking a break, but Fleur could sense his emotion even though he tried to hide it. She took Hermione's hand out of instinct.
He continued, "I hope that not a day goes by where we don't remember them, and we do that by passing on the values of equality, compassion, and love amongst ourself and to generations to come. Please, enjoy the night. The ones we lost would not want a single day or drink to go wasted. Thank you," he stepped down, and everyone raised their glasses in a minute of silence for the friends and family that were not there to share it with them.
When they got back home, Hermione was carrying Sophie and Fleur held Olivia, both fast asleep in their shoulders. They would have to send Neville a gift basket for his services tonight. They made their way up to the girl's bedroom they shared, which the girl's preferred even though sometimes it made nightly routines all but impossible.
Hermione set Sophie down and the little brunette groaned when her mum tried getting her out of her grass-stained clothes. Fleur was trying not to laugh at the noises of frustration coming from her.
Soon, the two stood by the door, looking over their girls as a charmed solar system floated above them. Fleur wrapped her arms around the brunette, resting her chin on her shoulder as they watched them sleep for a few more moments.
Hermione broke the silence with a whisper, "I can't believe how lucky I am."
The veela grinned and kissed her mark softly, "I was just thinking the same thing."
Her wife turned in her arms and kissed her slowly, wrapping her arms around her neck. Fleur pulled her in closer, exhaling against her lips.
"I love you," she said.
"I love you too," her mate replied, before kissing her again. They were lost in one another for just another heated moment before—
Their eldest threw a pillow theatrically over her face. They both sighed in defeat.