As the cry rang through the still night air, Draco wished that he had managed to retain the ability to sleep through anything. It had, alas, vanished as soon as his daughter was born, along with his sex life and the ability to make conversation that didn’t at some point involve a deep and thorough discussion of the baby’s digestive system. He continued to lay still, hoping that maybe this time his beloved wife would go take care of the baby, and he could roll over and go back to sleep.
“Your turn,” the evil woman murmured and she rolled over and cuddled her pillow. “I went last time.”
“But what if she’s hungry?” he asked, without twitching a muscle to sit up.
“I expressed some milk earlier. Just get the bottle out of the fridge and warm it up.” She tried to pull the blanket off of him, but he tugged back. With a scowl, she brought what blanket remained over her up to her chin and determinedly shut her eyes.
He sighed, but sat up. “I thought breast feeding was supposed to be a marvelous bonding experience between mother and child.”
One of her eyes opened in order to shoot him the deadliest glare he had ever seen. “And now bottle feeding will be a wonderful moment of father-daughter time, especially since I’ve been up twice already.”
“You realize this is exactly why I wanted to have my mother stay with us, or get a nanny. Hell, even your mother would have—“
“If you want to live,” she said pleasantly, “I’d suggest you shut your fucking mouth and go take care of the baby right now.”
Grumbling, but not clearly enough for her to understand any of what he said, he pulled himself out of bed and shuffled into the adjoining room. He’d prepared bottles so often in the past month that he could do it now entirely by feel, needing only the glow of the nightlight to confirm that he had the correct bottle before he warmed it and approached the crib.
“Hey, monkey,” he said softly, smiling down at the huge, startled eyes of his daughter. “Yeah, it’s just your dad. Come on, let’s check your nappy.”
This was another procedure Draco had learned to be efficient at, and she was soon sporting a powdered bum inside a fresh diaper. Not bothering to cover up a huge yawn, he found himself smirking at the way the baby looked at him with one eyebrow raised, much as his mother might’ve looked at him if he’d displayed bad manners. “Come on, don’t tell and I’ll feed you.”
She nodded, or at least her head lolled forward a bit, and he sat down in the rocking chair to give her the bottle. Ginny had been right about it being a lovely moment, with a feeling of great closeless, but he didn’t think he’d tell her so. It’d just encourage her to make him do it again, and these late nights were killing him.
He remembered the cloth before he put the baby to his shoulder this time, and as he rocked gently, the baby’s warmth stretched across his chest, he let his eyes drift closed, just for a moment...
The next time he woke, it was because his arm was already moving to clutch at the baby, who had woken up and started to wriggle. He looked around blearily at the nursery, filled with the soft light of dawn, and then back at the baby. “Don’t tell your mum, okay?”
Taking the spit bubbles she blew as agreement, he stood up, careful to support her head, and stretched as much as he could while still holding her. “Come on, let’s go see if there’s anything on tap.”
As he entered the bedroom, he grinned. His delicate wife was sprawled over the bed, a foot hanging off one side and a hand over the other, with her hair in a wild tangle all around her and her jaw hanging open to allow some truly impressive snores to escape. “On second thought, let’s check the icebox,” he told the baby as he tiptoed back out. “Maybe if she gets a bit of extra sleep this morning, she’ll let your old dad sleep a bit more tonight.”
While he’d been told that babies didn’t even smile until they were at least three months old, Draco could’ve have sworn his own child had just laughed at him.
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