Who: Rabastan, Narcissa & the little baby.
Where: The nursery, Venice.
When: Some time Aldous and Antonin weren't there.
What: Rabastan stops by for a visit.
Rabastan felt absolutely ridiculous. Here he was, lurking outside the house under a coating of spells only stalkers were known to use, waiting for Aldous and Antonin to leave. He didn't even like Venice all that much.
Sneaking through the house (Lord, why did this have to feel so wrong...), hushing the House-Elves and asking for directions to the nursery, he searched for Narcissa, praying that he wouldn't regret this.
Narcissa was in the rocking chair, again, Nicholas safely in her lap. She had a storybook open, and was reading him fairytales -- the original versions, thank you very much.
She looked up when Rabastan entered, and managed what was almost a smile. "Hello."
"Oh, 'Cissa," Rabastan gushed, creeping into the room, softly closing the door behind him. He strode right up to her, getting down on his knees to kneel before her -- but not before kissing her chastely on the forehead. "Oh, darling..." He was quiet a moment, his eyes sliding down from where they stood locked with hers, to the infant in her lap. "...So. That's him. Nicholas."
Nicholas blinked at Rabastan a bit, and tried to shove his tiny fist in his own mouth. Unsuccessfully, for the most part. Narcissa looked faintly amused by that.
"Yes, this is he. My beautiful little angel."
Gently, Rabastan reached forward and touched the tiny boy on the forehead. A soft, perfect little forehead -- flawless. Trailed a single fingertip over that tiny little nose, and across that tiny, perfect little, beautiful hand he'd tried to stick in his mouth... "He's beautiful, 'Cissa," 'Bastan breathed. "He's perfect."
Perfection must be a hereditary trait -- in Rabastan's eyes.
Narcissa looked proud. Nicholas sneezed and gurgled, as babies do. She cooed at him for a moment, and then looked back at Rabastan. "He is, isn't he? He's so tiny, and I adore him." She shifted a little, and put the storybook to one side. "...How are you?"
"Fine, fine," 'Bastan murmured without taking his eyes off the beautiful little baby -- automatic response. "...Look, I brought something. For the baby." He dug into his pocket, and dug out-- ...a saint medal. He held it in front of himself, dangling just above the baby's head, watching it winding in and out, spinning. "...It's Saint Nicholas of Myra. Patron saint of children, maidens... murderers... prisoners... Russia... unmarried girls." His eyes flickered up to meet Narcissa's. "...It seemed like it was meant to be. Nicholas. ...I... I don't know how you're raising the boy, 'Cissa," he said, shifting his eyes back down to look at the little Nicholas. "...Whether or not you'll have him grow up knowing God... But... still, I wanted him to have this... this saint medal. For you to have this. It means something to me, and I want you to know that your boy does mean something to me... Look at him... He's just so perfect..." The unspoken words there were that Narcissa meant something to him. That Narcissa was perfect.
There probably wasn't anyone, except perhaps Antonin and Aldous, that Narcissa knew half so well as Rabastan. She smiled at what he said, and even more so at what he didn't say.
"I've never been especially religious, darling...you know that...but he'll be baptised, and such..." It was, after all, the Done Thing. "Thank you. For the medal, for coming, just...yes. It's good to see you."
"...And to see you," Rabastan murmured, meeting eyes with Narcissa for a lingering moment, touching her cheek, then quickly returning his gaze down to little Nicholas. "...I swear, every December 6th -- his saint day -- I'll send him a gift. Wonderful gifts. And I'll include him in my prayers every night, I promise. ...If God doesn't look after this little one, I swear... I... I..." Rabastan's adoration was beyond words, as his adoration was often wont to be. Again, he reached out and touched Nicholas on the cheek. He became very quiet, intensely focused on the tiny boy -- so intense was his feeling. ...Rabastan couldn't help thinking how he might have liked to be Nicholas's father. How he might have liked to be Narcissa's husband. ...Narcissa's husband and Nicholas's father. He exhaled a breath he didn't know he'd be holding -- a breath he might have been holding since those years so very long ago.
Nicholas yawned a bit, snuggling up in his mother's arms and dozing off to sleep. Adorably.
"That'll be lovely," Narcissa murmured, watching them both. "He'll be such a spoiled child, I'm sure of it, everyone's always said how I'm far too indulgent a mother." She thought of Draco, and sighed just a little. "...I'm a terrible hostess. Would you like something to eat? Drink? An actual chair?"
"...oh... no, it's fine. ...I... probably shouldn't stay long, after all. Aldous... and... and Antonin, and all... But I will sit down. For a while." Rabastan got to his feet and pulled up a chair. Sitting himself down, clasping his hands together and always looking as terribly candid and sincere as he always did, he said, "...But really, 'Cissa... how are you? Are you all right? The birthing and all... Are you feeling okay?"
She nodded, her chair rocking ever so slightly, pushing back and forth with one bare foot. "Yes, yes...I've certainly been better, but I'm all right, dear. As is Nicholas, despite his rather unexpected arrival. I'm getting lots of sleep...I've just been so tired lately..."
"You should get all the sleep you can, darling," Rabastan told her earnestly. "You must keep in good health, you absolutely must... Really, 'Cissa, you must believe me -- if there's anything I can ever do for you... ever..."
She rested her hand briefly on his, and gave a small smile. "If there's anything you can do, Bastan, I'll ask. And I'll take very good care of myself, too. And of course, Nicholas."
"Oh, and of course, Nicholas. Of course." He reached, momentarily, for her hand, but seemed to change his mind halfway there, and reached out and touched Nicholas's hand instead. "...I...I..." he started, stopped, going quiet. Then tired again, "...I think I might have liked to have been a father, 'Cissa. ...Maybe. I dunno. I'm not sure."
"I think you would be a good father," she said, lightly. "Granted, you'd probably be wrapped around the child's little finger from the moment you saw it..."
Rabastan chuckled. "...Yes. Quite probably. ...Quite definitely. I suppose I'm just... like that. Yes?"
"You really are, dear." She nodded, and looked down at her own, sleeping baby. "Not that I can throw any stones there..."
"And I'm sure darling Nicholas will be the same way. After all, a son's first love is always his mother, or so they say."
That made Narcissa actually laugh. "Aldous was convinced that Nicholas would love me best and kill him in his sleep." That had been a memorable conversation.
Even Rabastan grinned. "Predictions of an Oedipus Complex? Positively morbid."
"Just a little."
"...I wouldn't worry. Everything's going to be fine. Just fine."
"You're the second person in as many days to promise me that." Narcissa commented, and sighed. "I'm sure it will be. Eventually."
"Because it will, darling. Really, it will. I'm sure of it."
She smiled slightly. "I hope so."
He touched her hand. "I know so."
"Then I'm lucky to know you, and have you to tell me these things."
He smiled, just a little. "...I suppose that's what I'm here for."
"I've missed you." She said, after a pause.
Which was met with even a longer pause. "...I've missed you too."
Who: Rabastan, Narcissa & the little baby.