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A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier,
clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.

~ unknown

Wednesday, April 4th ~*~ Evening

Dobby had taken the carefully prepared picnic basket full of Winky's favorite foods, and happily agreed to disappear for several hours as soon as dinner was served. The table was set in the dining room, candles lit.

Daphne smoothed a loose curl back behind her ear, and moved through the house, making sure everything was just the way she wanted it.

Tonight was important, and she wanted to be special.

A night to remember for the rest of their lives.

She took several deep breaths, reached up to adjust the top of her strapless dress that seemed to fit just a bit tighter than it used to, and headed for the front hall to wait for Harry to come home from work.
Getting back into the normal classes had taken a bit of getting used to. Portheson hadn't returned to his class and even though he'd given the man an apology - Harry really didn't expect him to. He'd been offered a full refund, but hadn't taken them up on that yet either. When Doris had asked if they should offer restitution for any mental suffering, he'd reminded her of the release the students had signed.

She'd raised an eyebrow and Harry had used that opportunity to bring out a gift for her. The Mantilla Lace Shawl seemed to soothe Doris right down and she actually smiled without baring her teeth.

I think I'm glad we got quite a few extra of those in case there's anyone else I forgot, Harry decided as he Apparated home. After hanging up his suit jacket he turned around and stopped. The sight of Daphne - in that dress - made him smile. The slightly sour mood left behind with the jacket.

"You look absolutely gorgeous," Harry said while moving forward. He slipped an arm around her waist and kissed her while he tried to think what it was he forgot.

She's dressed up...

What day is it?

Wednesday - so not the - damn, three weeks ago - was last night.

Harry frantically tried to think of what it was and finally gave up. Breaking the kiss, he wiggled his eyebrows at her.

"Are we going out or do I get this delectable vision all to myself?"
"All to your self," she replied, pleased with the compliment. Best to make the most of the alone time, it won't last too much longer.

"I hope you don't mind, I gave Dobby the night off after he serves dinner."

Daphne took his hand and led him toward the dining room. "I thought we could eat now, and then send him on his way. If that's alright?"

She was a little nervous, but not as bad as she had been expecting. Harry was happy to see her, and just being near him like this seemed to calm the butterflies in her tummy.
Behind Daphne's back Harry's eyes widened slightly when he saw the candles and the way the table had been set.

Oh, hell.

I forgot something.

Taking a few quick steps, Harry released her hand in order to pull out a chair for her.

Every little bit has to help - I hope?

"I don't mind at all, Daph. Dinner - which smells great by the way - and you are all I need. Unless you'd like to reverse that order?" he asked with a teasing wink.
Taking the offered seat with a smile, Daphne was tempted to change her plans.

No, remember you worked this out. Dinner, then talking, then the fabulous celebratory sex.

I hope.

At the very least, Dobby needs to be gone before anything happens.

"I think Dobby is eager to be on his way, and I did promise him the night off." And bribed him with food, and suggestions of romantic places to take his girlfriend that were far, far away from Glen Hollow. Probably should have check to make sure Malfoy didn't need Winky tonight. Oh, well.

She reached out to take Harry's hand as the food appeared on their plates, right on cue. "I told him we'd take care of dessert ourselves."
Dinner smelled even better if that was possible and since Daphne appeared to be in such a good mood - Harry decided to forget about trying to remember whatever it was he'd forgotten. Raising her hand to his mouth, he pressed a kiss into the palm.

"As long as dessert includes you, I don't have any problems with that either."
"Oh, I can pretty much guarantee it," she assured him.

Truth be told, she was looking forward to that part herself.

Dobby popped in to let them know he was leaving, and then they had the house to themselves.

Daphne flirted over dinner, offering Harry bites from her plate and nudging his leg with her shoe every once in awhile.

Once their plates were clean, she took one final drink of the water in her wine glass, and suggested they leave the dishes for later.

"To the telly room, or would you rather go someplace else?"
Instead of answering right away, Harry rose and helped Daphne out of her seat. Putting both hands on either side of her neck, he smiled and kissed her gently before pulling back a little. His thumbs ran up the sides and stroked the line of her jaw.

"The telly room, the window room or our bedroom - it doesn't really matter - as long as you're there with me."
Both arms went around him, and she leaned forward to press her cheek against his chest for just a moment. His words had warmed her, eased that tiny hint of nervousness, and made Daphne realize once again just how lucky she was.

"It's like a fairy tale," she murmured, pulling back to smile up at Harry. "I think the window room. I want to be surrounded by the stars when I tell you how much I love you."
The moon was high - and even though it wasn't quite full - it still made the use of artificial light unnecessary. Closing the door behind them, Harry took Daphne's hand and led the way to one of the couches. Glancing up, his eyes narrowed in thought and a small smile lifted the corner of his mouth. It was the first time Harry'd been back up there since he'd visited his childhood home, and it reminded him of something.

"Did I ever tell you why I made this room? It was quite similar to the game room before."
Daphne settled in to the couch and drew her feet up beside her, pulling off her heels and tossing them onto the floor with a small sigh.

It was hard to imagine this room being any different then it was. She thought he'd made the right decision in the end, this was one of her favorite rooms in the entire house.

"I don't think you did. Why?"

He'd spoken without thinking and now faced the problem of how to explain it to her without making her feel sorry for him. Ron and Hermione always did and he hated it. Harry stalled for a moment while he took off his own shoes before joining her on the couch. One arm went around Daphne's shoulders and she was pulled snug against him. He couldn't resist kissing the bare shoulder that was so close while his hand appreciated the other one.

"I really love this dress by the way. Almost as much as I do the green one," he advised with a teasing note in his voice.

Glancing up again, he gestured toward the glass ceiling and walls.

"It was - well - I had a pretty small room when I lived with my aunt and uncle before I found out about Hogwarts. I was pretty attached to it, but it didn't have a window where I could see outside. I realized the room that was here was going to have to be completely torn down because the roof had caved in on that section over there - and did and when I saw what a beautiful view walls in any direction would block - I couldn't do it. So I compromised. And now we have a room where you can always see outside."
Having met Harry's thoroughly unlikable family, Daphne could readily imagine them giving Harry a tiny room with no windows to live in. They are never getting their hands on the baby, that's for sure. The cousin might try to eat him. Or her.

Daphne cuddled closer against him, and put her head on his shoulder. "This room is - the whole house is wonderful - but this room is something special."

She turned her head up to look at him. "Just like you. Harry - I love you."
He knew exactly how he wanted to answer that. Just telling her he loved her in return wasn't enough anymore.

"No, Daph. You're wrong," he stated simply before he kissed her softly.

"The house is alright. This room is different and so am I for the most part. We were all three pretty much what you might call ordinary. It's you that's made the difference. It's now a home - this is now our window room - and I'm the husband of the woman I love more than life itself."
Harry was far from ordinary, at least to her.

"Oh, Harry," Daphne breathed against his lips, gently kissing him even as she felt herself start to tear up slightly.

Her hand reached for one of his and urged it to rest flat against her tummy. She wasn't far enough along to show yet, but Daphne hoped he'd figure it out anyway. "Our home."

She held her breath and watched him, anxious for his reaction.
Puzzlement held Harry only briefly before the meaning of where she'd placed his hand sank in. Keeping his face expressionless wasn't easy and Harry's eyes closed while he tried to figure out which emotion going through him would win. He hadn't allowed himself to dream about or dread the possible outcome of their enlightening visit to Snape's shoppe.

He'd resisted the temptation to think about what a son or daughter would look like - although it hadn't stopped the slow building of those images in the back of his mind. They came out now and danced behind closed lids. They had his mother's and Daphne hair color - sometimes his eyes - but always laughing and happy.

Swallowing hard and keeping his eyes closed, Harry voice was a whisper and the hand under hers trembled slightly as he asked, "You're sure?"
Was he happy, or upset? Daphne couldn't tell, and her nerves were starting to get the better of her.

She forced herself to remain still, although her hand did grip his a little tighter.

"Yes," she answered just as softly has he'd asked. "I saw the Healer yesterday."
Eyes flew open and a smile started. It hovered, went down before it gained an advantage and lifted the corner of his mouth.

"We're - you and me - going to be - parents," Harry said with a note of wonder in his voice as joy won out and decided to make him completely an idiot. "A baby."

One small qualm struck him.

The nightmares.

It was always two girls or a girl and a boy.

Never just a boy or a girl.

One child?

Could we keep one child?

Harry didn't know if he was asking himself or someone else, but he could hope - and plan.

"We're having a baby!" he almost yelled before grabbing Daphne and pulling her close.

"A baby," he whispered close to her ear. His eyes closed again, a couple of tears slid out and he was heartily glad Daphne couldn't see them.

"Men don't cry," echoed in his head and he realized it was in his Uncle Vernon's voice. That more than anything made him pull back so she would see them. It finally occurred to him that she might not have wanted a baby quite so soon.

"Are you alright with it happening this soon?"
A smile.

Daphne had no clue that one smile would effect her so much, but it did. He was happy about the baby, she was happy about the baby, everything was perfect.

Harry was crying, which made Daphne smile through her own tears. "Of course, I'm alright with it. I mean, it's not ideal timing, I would have liked to spend a little more time getting used to being a wife, but I wouldn't change anything for the world. Are you?"
"Are I what?" he asked in confusion.
"Alright with it happening so soon. We agreed to wait until... if... well, we weren't planning anything like this right now and you really haven't had much time to think it through."

She reached up to touch the side of his face. "It's a lot of changes for a guy who was a rich and sexy bachelor less than a month ago."
The sexy remark made him chuckle and he nodded.

"I know what an ass I made of myself the night we got married, Daph. In spite of what I made you promise - I'm not sorry - at all."

Ducking his head for a moment while he considered how to tell her, it took a moment before he met her eyes again.

"When we were - apart - I visited a few places and remembered a few things. Before I knew about Hogwarts - and I'd be in my room at my aunt and uncles - I'd dream about having a family of my own to love."

He grinned at her a little and put his hand over hers.

"I've waited a lifetime - well, about twenty years anyway- for you. Now, you're making the rest of my dream come true. How can I not be alright with it?"

He frowned for a moment, kissed her hand and brought it down to hold between his.

"I say that now and I mean it, Daph. But I know there will be days when - even now..."

His eyes moved to the windows. The windows that let them see the grounds. Motioning toward them with his head, he snorted.

"Now I see those windows as a possible hazard. I'm going to have to figure out some wards to keep a little person from crashing through one and falling to their death."

His eyes widened slightly and he glanced back at Daphne.

"Do you think we should put wards on the stairs or just cushioning charms in case - he - she - falls?"

A hand rose, went through his hair and he frowned.

"Did the Healer say anything about you continuing to work? What about vitamins or is that just a Muggle thing?"
If he had simply told her everything was fine, Daphne might have worried, but his honesty and concern (and the apologetic reference to their wedding day) made her feel better.

"I've got a whole list of dos and don'ts, and some dietary supplements I can easily get from Snape. Unless something happens, I can work through the entire pregnancy, although I'll probably want to spend more time in my office and off my feet toward the end. If it would make you feel better, you're more than welcome to come to my next visit and ask all the questions you want. Not to mention all the books I plan on getting us, for research."

She turned to look out at the night sky and put her head on Harry's shoulder again. "I had a friend with a toddler when I was that Academy, and the Muggles have these little things they called baby gates to help corral the child. I think we can do something similar with some wards, to keep he or she off the stairs and out of certain rooms. Don't forget, we have Dobby. I can't imagine Dobby would let anything happen to our little one while he's in the house, can you?"
"You're damned right I'm going with you. I'd like to see you keep me away and I've seen those baby gates - that's a good idea."

A brief flash of relief flowed through Harry at the mention of Dobby and he nodded.

"You're right."

And then something else occurred to him.


"Uhm - if Dobby has any questions about the baby - do you think the Healer would mind answering? When we're not there?"

"I'm not explaining where babies come from, that's for sure."