“Mummy, we look the same,” that’s what Delphi said when she saw our reflection in the long mirror.
We are getting ready for our dinner. It was supposed to be just her and her father, but then my daughter opened her mouth, and now it’s the three of us here in France. I’m currently wearing a floor-length black gown with gold accents. It has a low neckline. Actually, it’s not that low, but just enough to showcase my emerald necklace. It is the one that inspired Tom’s birthday gift to Delphini. Delphini chose a black velvet knee-length dress with a small bow adorned with gold accents, wanting to match my outfit. Her hair has an intricately designed hairpin, my gift for her birthday.
“Well, somebody wanted to have the same outfit as me,” I replied with a playful eye roll,
“It’s not really the same, mummy. Your dress is a bit different than mine,” she raised her eyebrows at me and then her eyes sparkled, “mummy, can you fix my dress, please,” she asks with a grin. Fix what? Her dress is not damaged.
“Delphi, your dress is very new. I doubt there is something in it that I should fix,” I replied drily.
“Well, you could fix it then make it look ‘xactly like yours!” she grins
I don’t know why, but I immediately flicked my wrist to transfigure her dress into a miniature version of mine.
“Thank you, mummy!” she said, her gratitude evident in her shining eyes. How I love this kid.
“Now, let’s go to dinner before your father starts complaining, ok?” he’s going to go at it for hours after the dinner if we’re going to show up late for more than 5 minutes. And I’m not in the mood to listen to his rants today. Before I could leave, I felt Delphi’s small hand hold my wrist.
“Mum, are you alright? I asked daddy… buthesaidtoaskyouinstead,” she takes a gasp at the end of her statement.
“Darling, you lost me after ‘I asked daddy’. What was that?” why is she even asking if I’m ok? I don’t think she knows about me vomiting a while ago.
“uhm, daddy said to ask you instead,” oh ok
“Yes, Delphi, I am ok. Why do you even ask that?”
“Cause you’re acting weird, mummy!” I have to use all my might to not cackle at her sudden outburst. Is it really that noticeable when I start to follow everything that her father is saying?
I do follow his orders at work and sometimes in bed, but when decisions regarding our family, I do fight him on it a bit. Sometimes it is just to tease; other times, like what we’re experiencing now, is due to conflict in decisions.
“Yes, Delphi, I am alright. Don’t be ridiculous. Now, let’s go have dinner with your father,” I can’t blame her for still looking at me suspiciously. She’s a Black. We’re always suspicious.
Delphi held my hand all the way to the dining room. At the head of the table is Lord Voldemort.
My master, my lover, and the father of my child.
Children… my mind whispers.
I whisk that thought away. Tonight is a time of celebration, not of grief.
I know I decided not to give in to him in our argument, that I would treat him like how he asked. But I think my daughter is troubled by the little interaction she saw back home. So tonight, I will be my usual self. I won’t do that obedient servant shit. But just for tonight. I just don’t want to make my daughter uncomfortable during the duration of our dinner.
My daughter is my priority.
Always my priority.
I smirk at Tom from across the table. I hope he gets what I meant with my expression.
“You’ve finally graced me with your presence,” he says with one eyebrow raised.
Ah, good, he got it.
“Well, we do want to look good. It’s not every day that your daughter turns 5 years old,” I retorted. It’s not as if we’re late; he’s just early. Delphi seizes the moment to mention the obvious,
“Daddy, have you not noticed our dress?” she asks excitedly. Delphi gets excited every time she manages to get her father’s attention. He’s always the favourite parent when it’s just the three of us. It’s always ‘daddy, look…’ or ‘daddy, I can…’.
Tom smirked at her and went on to humour our daughter, “Oh yes. I did wonder if old age is starting to attack my poor eyes again. I thought I was seeing double,” he looked at me, “You both dressed well. I guess I cannot proceed with dinner while looking like this,” he said. And then, he proceeded to remove his glamour, showing off his handsome face. He found a way to have his actual appearance even with the creation of his hocruxes.
He is even more handsome now than the first time I saw him.
All decorum is forgotten when Delphi sees what her father did. She ran to the head of the table and shimmied her way into her father’s lap.
“Daddy, you look handsome again!” she says while each of her tiny hands stays at her father’s cheeks. Tom chuckled while I flat out cackled at her comment. Delphi does not have any filter if it is just us.
“Are you saying that I’m ugly on my other appearance?” Tom asks playfully with an eyebrow raised. Delphi nodded with all of the conviction that she could muster, and we couldn’t help but laugh at her again. I also can’t help but look at Tom fondly. In front of me is the man, no, a god, who says he needs to distance himself for the safety of our daughter, but his actions are telling me otherwise. He and Delphi are practically cuddling on his chair while she’s on his lap. That does not look like someone who will ignore his child even with noble reasoning.
How I love this wizard.
I was broken out of my reverie when Tom called to start our meal. I sit at his right while Delphi stays across from me. Delphini and Tom talk most of the time during our dinner. It seems that I’m still not feeling well from the portkey incident a while ago. I’m still a bit dizzy, and I feel a slight headache. I’m also a bit nauseous, so I’m afraid to eat much. It is not in my plans to spend my night on the bathroom floor while my head is in the toilet.
I remember a spell that helped with nausea. Nonemesis. I did it wandless and only muttered the word so Delphini and Tom won’t be able to notice, but I only succeeded with Delphini because she is too distracted telling some tales to her father. Tom looked at me the moment I said the spell, and he immediately noticed what it was for. He raised an eyebrow at me, inquiring silently if everything was alright. I just gave him a discreet nod.
Over the years, we were able to communicate silently around Delphini. Most of the time, she is a very observant child; she’s also very inquisitive, and as much as I like telling her truths, there are things that a child her age should not be burdened with, especially when it is about our works. Despite the war ending years ago, there are still some gruesome and sensitive things that happen in the ministry that are not meant for a toddler to hear or know.
We both continued to eat as if nothing had happened. Now that my nausea is controlled, I can eat a bit more without immediately worrying that I will dash out of the room because I feel ill. I drift my focus on what Tom and his daughter are talking about, and I realize that they are now on the pureblood gossip. Delphi is really turning into a mini-me. Morgana help us all.
Tom sometimes says that our daughter is too young for other things regarding the pureblood community, but he obviously enjoys judging and gossiping with his daughter. Now, they’re talking about how Narcissa interacted with Amanda Nott.
“Aunt Cissy’s face was like this daddy,” she said and went to imitate Narcissa. She tilted her head upwards a bit, so her nose was raised a bit, and then she pursed her lips. I couldn’t help but laugh at her impersonation because she looks nothing like Narcissa, but she captured my baby sister’s stance perfectly.
“Oh, yes, there was a bit of condescension in the tone of your aunt a while ago. Her dislike of Amanda was very much obvious. I cannot blame her for it,” he replies. As I said, my entire family dislikes Amanda Nott. Dragging Amanda is our favourite hobby. That may be our best bonding.
“Well, from what I heard, she’s pregnant again. Let’s hope that this kid is better than Alexander” I decided to join their conversation, because like I said, dragging Amanda through the mud is our family’s thing.
“Mummy, I was supposed to reveal that!” she grunted at me to highlight her irritation but continued, “Madame Nott is pregnant, and Xander was bragging it to us,” she said to her father. Tom merely smirked in her direction, “that idiot kid has not realized yet that his inheritance has decreased again,” I laughed at his statement. Poor, poor boy.
“Why did his inheritance decrease, daddy?” genuinely interested in why Alexander Nott just became a bit poorer because of his upcoming baby sibling.
“Because another child is going to be in their family, which means that when the time comes, they would need to divide their fortune into a bigger number which gives the heirs a lesser inheritance,” Tom explained, with an amused look on his face because Delphini looks like she’s clinging into every word that her father is saying. I roll my eyes at Tom because he’s making having a sibling look like a horrible thing, well, financially.
“But then, that’s still ok, right?” she paused, looking at him, seemingly thinking if her reasoning was not too ridiculous to present to her father. To end the silence, Tom raised an eyebrow to break Delphi’s thinking, “because they’ll have playmates?” she continued. Of course, that’s what she is thinking. She’s 5, after all.
“If you look at it that way, then I guess it’s great to have a sibling,” I butted in already before Tom could ruin Delphini’s perception of having siblings. Although I’m quite sure that she never needs to worry about that unless her father decides to have another kid with another witch. That thought made me grimace and made me cold in my stomach. I don’t think I’ll be able to cope properly if I lose him to another, but then it is entirely his prerogative on who he decides to sleep with.
But it does not mean that it’s going to hurt less.
“What? Why are you even shouting, Tom?!”
“Because you’ve been gone for some time!” he retorted. Before I could formulate a comeback, Delphini, while looking at his father with shock and confusion in her features, started talking in parseltongue. I automatically groaned at it. I hate it when this happens. When it’s just the three of us, there are times that the two of them will be conversing in parseltongue, which leaves me guessing on what they might be talking about. For all I know, they might be talking shit about me.
For the next few minutes, all I can hear are the hisses that they are exchanging. One might think that having relations with a parselmouth for 3 decades, and having a daughter who is also a parselmouth, will give me the skill to understand some words. But no! All I get are snake sounds, and when Delphi was a baby, I used to get sprayed with saliva when she started to talk in parselmouth. She actually just looked like a baby who is having difficulty blowing a raspberry instead of someone talking in parseltongue.
Delphini has her eyes wide while listening to everything her father is saying, hissing, but then that is hardly a surprise at all. I rolled my eyes at them and just continued eating. I’ll just ask Tom later what got Delphi looking like that.
“You two, can we go back with English, please?” I sarcastically asked. They both grunted, “ok, ok, fine.”
“Now, do you have any plans on what we shall do tomorrow?” Tom asked,
None of us suggested anything. Tom looked at us, amusement visible on his features, “did you two just decide to come here to France without any plans at all?” he asks. I did plan on taking us to France rather impulsively, but I’m not admitting that to him!
“Mummy just surprised me in the morning when she says we’re going here, daddy!”
You little rat!
“Did she really?” her father asked. She nods while eating her dessert.
“Well, it was a part of my birthday gift for you, darling,” I have a few lies up my sleeves. It’s a good thing that Delphi loves going here in France. We’ll just do the usual things she loves here.
“Is it really?” Tom asked again. I glared at him for questioning me, “Yes, it really is,” I snapped at him, and he merely rolled his eyes on me. Delphi watched as we bantered back and forth. She did not mind us very much, though, because she have dessert in front of her.
Before we could start an actual argument, Delphi butted in our conversation, “mummy, can we play chess after dinner?”
“Have you taught her already?” I asked Tom. Instead of answering me, father and daughter both smirked at me. For a second, it looked like one of our photographs, with Tom and me smirking at the camera.
I could not help but roll my eyes at them.
“Mummy, can we?” Delphi prompted further. I have a feeling that she won’t take no for an answer, “do I have a choice?”
“No, mummy, I’ll just annoy you until you agree to play with me!”
And we played alright. Her father and I played with her.
“Mummy, daddy, please?” she begged us,
She wanted to watch Tom and I play, but we refused because heaven knows how long that match would be, and it was starting to get late, and it is evident that she’s tired and sleepy already. It’s already past her bedtime.
Also, I’m getting quite sleepy too.
“Delphini, you can watch us play tomorrow,” her father said sternly. She knows better than to argue with that tone, so she looks at me and expects me to argue with her father on behalf of her.
“We’ll just play tomorrow, love” I had to bite my lower lip to stop myself from laughing when her pretty face frowned. Disappointment is visible in her small face. I look at Tom, and I can see him smirking because he also knows what my daughter wanted me to do.
“Fine,” she says with a pout, “Now, let’s go to your room, ok?” she nodded and uncrossed her arms to gesture to her father to carry her,
“Daddy,” she whines; Tom complied immediately before Delphi changes her mind about sleeping. I smile at the both of them. Who would have thought that the Dark Lord would be caving in with his daughter’s demands?
I seem to love him even more, every time I see him treat Delphini like that.
We walk to Delphi’s bedroom silently. I then noticed that Delphi was already asleep when we reached the top of the staircase. I tapped Tom to let him know about Delphi; he did nothing more than raising an eyebrow. As we continue to go to her room, I get more tired and sleepy.
Tom flicked his hand to dim the lights, then he left her in the bed and proceeded to our bedroom. I have to change Delphini into pyjamas first before going to sleep myself.
While changing her pants, I see her eyes flutter open, “Mummy,” she says, sounding groggy from sleep.
“Go back to sleep, Delphi. I’m finished changing you already,”
“Mummy, rub please,” she asks while having her eyes fluttering, obviously fighting sleep. I lay down beside her, and she immediately clutches my clothes and cuddles into me. In return, I rub circles in her back to help her go back to sleep.
The silence in the room tempts me to close my eyes a bit, and before I know it, sleep proceeds to claim me.
The next thing I know, I’m floating. A hot body close to me, with strong arms closing in my body. Oh, I’m not floating; somebody is carrying me.
Now I feel like I landed on something soft and plushy, which tells me that I am now on a bed. I open my eyes, and I see Tom hovering,
“Sleep, Bella,” he says smoothly, or maybe I’m just too sleepy to get another tone.
“’ side me, please,” I pleaded, and then I heard a sigh coming out of Tom, “ok, fine. Just for tonight,” he says firmly, and if I did not know him well enough, I might as well have believed him. I feel the other side of the bed dip, so I turn around. His arms embraced me, and I clutched at his shirt to bring me closer to him.
I’m in the arms of the love of my life. All is well.