“Lily, are you sure you’ll be fine on your own?”
Refraining from rolling her eyes at her worrywart husband, Lily fed their new daughter with a bottle (which, along with diapers and other necessities for the daily care of babies, Molly had lent them until they could get the necessary supplies for Ariana) as she replied, “Of course I’ll be fine, James. It’s not like we haven’t been alone together before, you know.”
“Yeah, I know,” James admitted as he ran a hand through his hair, “But considering who she’s married to…”
“And you know that he wasn’t her choice,” she interrupted, “But rather her father’s.”
“But she does believe in blood-purity!”
Not restraining her eye-roll this time, she corrected, “No, she believes that ancient holidays like Yule and Samhain shouldn’t be replaced by muggle holidays like Christmas and Halloween. She also believes that Muggleborns shouldn’t go and try to change traditions that have been around for hundreds of years just because they think they know better, or that just because the word ‘sacrifice’ is involved that a tradition is automatically labeled ‘Dark’ even though the sacrifice may just be an inanimate object or even a simple bit of fruit.” As James opened his mouth once again to object, she cut him off by adding, “We’ve had this argument numerous times, so let’s just agree to disagree, alright?”
As he exhaled with a sigh, James looked at his pregnant wife and new daughter. After a few moments, during which Ariana finished her bottle, he conceded, “Alright. Promise me, though, that you’ll contact me at the first sign of trouble?”
Smiling at this show of support, Lily agreed while shifting her daughter into burping position, “I will, James.” Standing up, she walked over and pecked him on the cheek while patting Ariana’s back. “You’re such a good husband… and you’ll be a good father, too.” Her smile turning into a grin, she added, “Especially if you continue on with what you did last night.”
Grinning back, James gave his wife a kiss. “Well, you were tired from the party preparations, and from Ari’s sudden arrival… plus, I got some alone time with my new baby girl.”
“Oh, you’re just dying to turn her into a Daddy’s Girl, aren’t you?” Lily teased. As James unashamedly nodded, said girl gave off a loud burp.
Gently placing a hand on his daughter’s head, James chuckled as he rubbed it and proudly said, “That’s my girl.” Kissing his wife once more, he then removed his hand and positioned himself to place a kiss on his daughter’s forehead. As he did so, Ariana cooed happily, obviously enjoying the attention.
Stepping away, Lily watched as James walked over to the kitchen fireplace, lit it, and tossed a pinch of Floo Powder into it. “Diagon Alley!” he called out as he stepped into it.
As he whooshed away, Lily placed Ariana into the nearby bassinet (that, while functional, was very plain- having been transfigured by James from a toilet paper roll- hence why a new one was on the list) and tidied up a bit while waiting for her friend to arrive. Flicking her wand multiple times, soon many of the more tedious chores were either done or taking care of themselves.
“Of course, when you and your new sibling are old enough I’ll have you take care of some of them to learn some responsibility, unlike your father in his early years,” Lily assured her daughter, “but for now magic can take care of the chores.”
Ariana gurgled in what Lily took to be agreement as she waved her arms.
Unable to resist, the new mother began to play with her daughter. Creating harmless sparks out of her wand, she charmed them to circle slowly around the bassinet, as if they were a mobile without any strings. As Ariana looked with obvious wonder and delight, she then had them slowly change color. This earned her a delighted giggle, which made a huge smile appear on her own face.
“You’re such a happy baby, Ari… I wonder what happened to your birth parents,” Lily couldn’t help but wonder aloud.
Seemingly in answer, the fireplace in the living room erupted with the tell-tale signs of the Floo being used. Lily rushed over to meet her friend, who was elegantly brushing the soot off of her elegant robes.
When Lily came into view, the newcomer smiled warmly. “Lily,” she greeted, giving the Lady Potter a small curtsey of equals, “It’s so nice to see you.”
“Narcissa,” Lily greeted back, curtseying back to the Lady Malfoy like she had been taught. “I’m so glad you were able to make it!” Once she finished her curtsey, Lily then rushed over to hug her friend. As Narcissa hugged back as warmly as she could (given her upbringing), the younger of the two excitedly commented, “I can’t wait to show you one of the gifts I received yesterday!”
“Hmm…” As they separated, Narcissa mimed thinking deeply. “Did you get… a new cauldron?”
“Well, yes… but that’s not the gift I’m talking about.”
Raising her eyebrows with intrigue, Narcissa guessed, “Is it… a rare book on Charms?”
Grinning, Lily replied, “Better.” Before her friend could guess again, she added, “Come on, I’ll show you.”
As she followed Lily, the new mother could almost feel the curious look Narcissa shot at her back. Suddenly, the sound of footsteps stopped.
“Lily, are you babysitting again?” Narcissa asked, staring at the new addition to the kitchen.
Smiling, Lily walked over to the bassinet and gently picked up Ariana as she answered, “Nope.” Turning, she presented her new baby that was now cradled in her arms as she announced, “Narcissa, meet the newest member of the Potter family.”
Oh, it was priceless to see the gobsmacked look on her friend’s face. Lily almost wished that she didn’t have Ariana in her arms so that she could’ve had a camera for this rare moment.
“You… when did you have a daughter?” Narcissa finally managed to ask after several attempts.
While Ariana curiously looked at the Slytherin, Lily grinned as she answered, “Yesterday as James and I were announcing that there’s another little one about to make its arrival in about six months.”
Performing one of the most graceful double-takes Lily had ever seen, Narcissa was obviously speechless. “How?” she managed to finally say.
“Well, when a man and a woman desire each other very much…”
Snickering even as Narcissa looked ready to hex her, Lily eventually broke down and described the events of the previous day.
“After Sirius’ outburst, Molly handed over some of the diapers that she always keeps on hand, and I had James transfigure one of the shirts that I don’t wear all that much anymore into this onesie and a toilet paper roll into a bassinet so that Ariana could have someplace to sleep. Once we had done that, we all tried to figure out just how old Ari is.”
The baby in question suddenly wailed, and it was soon obvious to her mother that her daughter had apparently decided that the current point in her story was a great one to go pee in. Luckily thanks to having to watch baby Fred and baby George numerous times Lily had taken up the habit of storing at least one diaper and other necessary supplies in every room that was commonly used.
Changing the diaper with an ease that came from helping Molly with all of her little ones, Lily continued her story, “We eventually figured out that she must’ve been born during Samhain, so James and I decided to consider October 31st her official birthday.”
“She’s a Samhain child? Auspicious, considering that many children born on Samhain are known to possess a sense of understanding and an unusual inner strength,” Narcissa commented as she glanced down towards the now clean baby.
Picking Ariana back up again, Lily inquired, “Really? I don’t remember you telling me about that from any of my previous lessons on Wizarding Culture…”
“I was actually planning on covering that today,” the adult blonde admitted, “since I also had some news to share with you as well.”
Whatever one would say about Lily Potter, even Voldemort himself would never say that she was stupid (at least, if his two previous offers for her to join him despite her blood status were any indication). Putting two and two together, she blurted out, “You’re pregnant?!?”
Nodding as a large (well, large for her) smile appeared, Narcissa confirmed, “Yes, I’m about four months along, according to my Healer.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful! So, your little one will probably arrive in early June, then?”
“That’s what we’re guessing.”
If she didn’t have Ariana in her hands, Lily would’ve undoubtedly clapped with joy as she exclaimed, “That’s even better, we’re thinking that my next little bundle of joy will be born either late July or early August! And since Ari’s birthday falls after September first, all of our children will be yearmates!”
Chuckling, Narcissa commented, “Let me guess- big sister Ariana will keep an eye on the other two?”
“Of course, won’t you Ari?” Lily cooed to her daughter. Narcissa couldn’t help but melt a little when Ariana cooed back. Seeing this, Lily offered, “Would you like to hold her?”
Blinking with surprise at the trust the new mother showed her, the Lady Malfoy wordlessly nodded. As Ariana was gently transferred into her arms, her hazel eyes once again stared curiously at the one who held her.
“Hello, little one,” Narcissa said softly as a smile grew on her face. Due to the lack of children in many families, it was an unspoken fact that all purebloods shared a weakness for babies. Even the Death Eaters refused to tolerate any unnecessary harm towards them, and if they were forced to kill a family that had any infants they would ensure that the youngest ones died with a painless Killing Curse. Once a child had become old enough to speak in coherent sentences, however, then depending on the Death Eater all bets were off (and sadly, Narcissa’s own sister was a part of this camp, choosing to take her rage at being unable to have any children of her own out on those who belonged to others).
Unbeknownst to the two of them, Lily smiled at the sight of Narcissa, who in school had been known as the very epitome of pureblood princess (to the point where she was in the running for the title of ‘Ice Queen of Slytherin’- only Viola Montague had managed to edge her out of the title, and the now Lady Greengrass was still as cold as ever, if occasional glances during trips to Diagon Alley were any indication), growing soft over a cute baby. Quickly and wordlessly summoning her camera, she quickly took a picture of the adorable sight.
“I better get a copy of that photo, or else there will be consequences,” Narcissa warned, showing her hidden sense of humor by using a very exaggerated version of her husband’s drawl.
Giggling, Lily performed an exaggerated curtsey as she replied, “Yes, my Lady.”
Narcissa shook her head and chuckled at her friend’s antics. Ariana, meanwhile, simply looked back and forth between the two women with obvious content in her eyes.
Several hours later, as Ariana was taking a nap in the bassinet, Lily was finishing up her current lesson on Wizarding customs.
“There,” Narcissa stated, satisfaction filling her voice, “now you know enough about our customs concerning children in order to pass inspection at one of our Balls.”
Smiling with relief and not a small amount of mischief, Lily couldn’t help but respond, “Even if I’ll more than likely never go to one for quite some time.”
The Lady Malfoy promptly swatted the Lady Potter lightly with a hastily conjured fan. They stared at each other for a moment, then burst out laughing.
When the laughter died down, Lily’s face turned serious as she looked towards her friend. “Narcissa… there’s something I want to ask you.”
“What is it?”
Hesitating for a moment, unsure of how her friend would respond to this request, Lily asked, “Would you be Ariana’s godmother?”
“What?” breathed out a surprised Narcissa.
Taking a bracing breath, Lily explained, “When we first found out I was pregnant, one of the things James and I agreed to early on is that I would choose our children’s godmothers while he would choose their godfathers. He already has Sirius in mind for our unborn child, and I had thought that Marlene would be a good choice for godmother. With Ariana arriving so suddenly, however, we haven’t had a chance to decide yet who would be her godparents. Knowing James, he’ll probably pick Peter only because Remus can’t be by law… after all, they’re the Marauders, so of course they’ll all try be the godfathers of each other’s children.”
“Even if they’re not the best choice for that amount of responsibility,” Narcissa commented, thinking of Pettigrew. She would be extremely surprised if the coward actually found someone willing to bear his children.
With a wry smile at Narcissa’s comment, Lily continued, “However, with the role of godmother… during our lesson, I realized that Ariana may one day need someone to teach her these things. As much as I’d like to say that I’ll take that role on… with this war, I can’t make that guarantee, especially since I’ve denied him twice now.” Her smile turned sadly nostalgic as she added, “And I don’t want her to be forced to deal with the bigots’ criticisms until she manages to get one of them to teach her what she has to learn like I had to.”
“And who better to teach her than her pureblood godmother,” Narcissa finished, realizing where Lily was going. “But Lily, what of my husband and his… loyalties?”
Remaining silent for several moments to ponder this very problem, Lily finally answered slowly, “Even though I’m positive you’d be a good mother to any child, I know that should anything happen to James and I, due to Lucius’ obvious loyalty to him nobody will allow you to try and take custody of Ariana and her future sibling. However, I do know that I still want you to at least be a part of Ari’s life…” Suddenly brightening as an idea came to her, she looked over at her friend shrewdly. “Have you ever heard of a Guardian Angel?”
“Guardian, yes. Angel… no,” came the confession.
Nodding once, for she expected something similar, Lily secretly relished the opportunity that now it was her turn to be the teacher. “In many muggle religions, especially Judaism and the many forms of Christianity, living in Heaven alongside God are beings called angels, often depicted as beautiful humans with wings- rather similar to Veela, minus the rest of the upper body turning birdlike and the constant allure towards those of the opposite sex. They are often considered to be amongst the holiest of everything in creation, save for God and (in the case of Christianity) Jesus Christ. In order to help their Heavenly Father, angels are given various duties- one of the many being a Guardian for various humans.
“When I was young, my mother would tell Petunia and I that no matter wherever we would go in life, our Guardian Angels would be watching over us to keep us safe from harm. While we wouldn’t be able to see them, they would always be there in case they were needed.”
Intrigued despite herself, Narcissa asked, “And how does your Guardian Angel fit into my role as Ariana’s godmother?”
“Why, you’ll be Ariana’s Guardian Angel, of course!”
Blinking several times in shock, the Lady Malfoy finally gathered her thoughts enough to mull over what Lily had told her. If Guardian Angels supposedly guarded their charges without being seen… then, as Ariana’s godmother and Guardian Angel, Narcissa would have to work behind the scenes to be sure that her adorable goddaughter would not only be protected from those that would wish her harm, but also give her the tools needed to be able to one day stand on her own. It’d be a challenge for sure, considering that she’d have to make sure that neither the Dark Lord nor Dumbledore ever figured out what she would be doing… but she was positive that it could be done.
The more she thought about it, the more being Ariana’s Guardian Angel satisfied Narcissa’s Slytherin nature. With that thought in mind, there was only one way to answer Lily’s request.
“Lily, I would love to be Ariana’s godmother, with all that it implies.”
Smiling, the Lady Potter let the feeling of one less burden being relieved fill her soul. If everything went as planned, even if she and James fell to Voldemort her family would be safe in the years to come.