Disclaimer: All things Harry Potter belong to JK Rowling, and Warner Bros. I just borrowed them for this, and I own nothing.
A/N 1: Thank you to those who reviewed this when I had it in Lockharts Office, and gave me the confidence to try to have it archived. A very big thank you to Zsenya, who not only put up with my backwards situation, but also amazed me with a super-fast beta.
A/N 2: Its important you know that this story is placed as if the defeat of Voldemort does not occur in seventh year as we all expect it to, but a few years after they leave school.
You could say he was attractive, if you liked that sort of thing. His skin was pale, almost a translucent white. His hair was silver-blond and sleeked back from his face. His height was somewhere between average and tall. He was thin with a muscular build, though this could only be said lightly. He was on the slender side, and looked fit more for speed rather than strength. His eyes, his most striking feature, were like ice. They were cold, blue, and seemingly impenetrable. He was in many ways an exact replica of his parents, except for one thing. While his mother and father had a sturdy bone structure, hardened it seemed by generations of Dark arts, his own features were delicate, almost fragile.
And if one could get to know him (a difficult task indeed), then they would find that his inner self seemed to reflect his outer physical features. He was as frozen and bitter as a lake hardened over in winter. He seemed never to have known real love, and in fact, did not even believe it existed. His one saving grace was the very thing that worked against him in his physical features. The fragility that earned him many a taunt by his peers was also the promise that he was in some ways very different from those peers. He was like ice, yes, but ice could be cracked. No one yet had succeeded in this, but the possibility did exist.
Today, a day less than two months after the defeat of him, the death of his father, and the downfall of many of those he had grown up with. Today could very well be a day when a crack would occur.
He stood back, detached and almost unaware of the screaming woman. She lay there, her scraggly hair falling around her normally pale cheeks, now red from her effort. He briefly recalled her once black shining tresses, now greasy and grimy from a lack of washing and care. She cursed at him and he barely glanced her way. It washed over him calmly, as if a caress rather than a curse. He felt no sympathy for her. She deserved no sympathy.
Many changes in his life had occurred over the last two years, and thanks to those changes, he could sympathize. Even that Mudwitch Granger, he would feel sorry for if she were in such pain, one whom he used to loathe, but her, no he did not feel sorry for her. She who had claimed to love him. She who had pretended to understand him, and his pain and confusion. She who had betrayed him, and ultimately tried to take his life.
Those that he had hated, those that he had been taught from birth to hate, they had been the ones to save him. From the moment he had realized exactly what he had gotten himself into, and pushed it aside, he discovered a feeling he had never known before: freedom. The promises they made were given freely, not out of spite, and with no ulterior motives. Their promises, unlike any he had been given before in his life, were kept. There was no love lost between him and Potter, but he had earned a begrudging respect, which he proved himself worthy of many times over.
No, nothing would ever arise sympathy in him for her. Not even the fact that she was on her deathbed, and in a tremendous amount of pain. She had taken the potion. No wizard or Muggle could produce the antidote for the astringo mortis potion. Not that he blamed her. She apparently would rather have death than Azkaban. He would have done the same thing. Even without the dementors, no one would wish to spend any more time there than absolutely necessary. He, however, had made the right choice the first time around, and now he didnt have to make that decision.
The only thing they could do now was give her a potion to guarantee that the child lived. This she had taken with a look of resigned acceptance, and even that had made him suspicious. He spent days researching to make sure it would work, and had even enlisted the help of Granger, loath as he was to do so. It would work, she had assured him. There was no potion, spell, or charm to stop it, and as one of the smartest witches to have graced the good side, she would know.
When she screamed her last scream, gave a final push, and collapsed in death, he was finally broken from his trance. One of the mediwizards gathered in the cold room that seemed lifeless, placed in his arms a small bundle. The red-cheeked, dark haired child squalled at him with as much force as her newly working lungs would allow. He now held before him his daughter. Not a son, which he had expected, to carry on the frost and bitterness, but a girl, something sweet and innocent. He held her tenderly, and uneasily, as if he was afraid she would break. Her cries filled the room, letting the world know that life did exist in the form of this tiny human. Though he didnt know it yet, he held before him a future very different than anything fate could have imagined for him.
This girl. This girl would grow to look almost nothing like or her mother. She would have curly back tendrils, which would float around face girlishly, even in old age. She would have rosy cheeks, and only a hint of her fathers fine bone structure, which would counteract her later buxom features, and make her very beautiful>
This girl would not be a Slytherin, not that he wasnt proud of his old house, but there were too many ghosts, which would never be laid to rest. She would be a Ravenclaw through and through, and would come to admire Hermione Granger-Weasley more than anyone else. His first instinct was to be horrified at this, but he would never allow this to show. Besides, he would give his daughter almost anything if it would make her happy.
Many would never trust him because of his past deeds, but she would be welcome among all for her charming nature and high-standing among the Potters and Weasleys, the children of whom would be her childhood playmates (this much to Hermiones doing, knowing he would take her no where else). He would cringe inwardly, but would always allow her these friendships because it would help to put the past to rest.
The greatest part of all, though, was that she would give him something that he had never known before. As he stood there, holding her for the first time, his eyes pooled with tears, and slowly but surely the ice began to melt.