Now. Now? Now! NOW? NOW!!! "Special Delivery!" So much for that secret. Ah well, it would have all been found out eventually.
Now. Now? /Now/! Now? /NOW!!!/
The door to the Room of Requirement opened and Albus Dumbledore entered. Gwen walked over and threw her arms around him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
"Professor...Albus, thank you so much for all of your help with this visit."
"Oh, just my way of spreading some Christmas cheer, Gwen, my dear." Albus was blushing. "But, I'm afraid we've run out of time. So..."
Draco relinquished his little sister to Narcissa, but Lyn fussed at being deprived of her new playmate. She reached for him and screwed up her face.
"Now, don't you cry, young lady," Narcissa warned her daughter. "Draco has to get back downstairs. We'll see him again and soon, I hope."
"You be a good baby, ok?" Draco gave her fat little cheek a peck and she smiled up at him.
Anna and Severus sat looking deeply into each others eyes. She smiled at him and he leaned forward and gave her a kiss.
"Ok, Prince Charming, help me up."
Severus stood and grasping her hands, pulled her gently to her feet.
"Thanks. I thought for a bit I'd never get out of that chair. Very comfy furniture, Albus."
"Thank you. I enjoy cushy myself, so I thought you might be more comfortable with these."
Remus stood with Gwen, arms around each other as Severus walked over to the Headmaster, holding Anna's hand.
"You and I are going to have a small chat, Headmaster, about you not telling me the fact that Narcissa was with Anna. I'd have rested easier, had I known."
"Probably, but at the time, we thought the secret should be on a need to know basis. So, just Gwen, Anna, Dobby and Winky knew, besides yours truly, of course."
"Dobby?" Draco looked at Narcissa. "He's with you?"
"Yes, and he's been a dear; loves watching over Lyn, just as he did with you."
"Oh, excellent. He always was a good house elf."
"Wait a minute!" Severus turned to look at Draco. "You weren't surprised to see your Mother with Anna and Gwen. You /knew/?"
"Yes, Mother told me just before she had Lyn. I was worried about her going into labor, thinking she was all alone. So, she told me with whom she was hiding. I can keep secrets, too, even from you!"
"Apparently. I had dismissed the notion months ago; it was too wildly improbable. I should have known, given the circumstances. /You/," he said, turning to Anna, "can keep a secret, too, it seems..." But he stopped suddenly, seeing the grimace on Anna's face. "What is it? What's wrong?"
"It's nothing, just a contraction."
"WHAT?" Panic showed on Severus' face. "You're in labor?"
"No, no, not yet. It's just Braxton-Hicks."
"Braxton-Hicks - false labor - practice contractions. But they're just as attention grabbing as the real thing, I'm assuming?" explained Anna, looking to Cissa.
"Oh, yes, they can be annoying, too, toward the end. I thought I was going into labor, what Gwen, two or three times, before I actually had Lyn?"
"Relax, Severus, Anna's in good hands. I've even sent a note to Artemus Pye and he's agreed to come and help if it's necessary, being a twin delivery," Gwen reassured him.
"You think that's safe?" Remus questioned.
"Yes, he has no idea where we are and being at St. Mungo's most of the time, won't have any contact with Death Eaters who might be looking for us. I hadn't said why I might need his help as a Healer at some point, but he said he'd some straight-away."
"We'll port key him. It'll be safer, for him and for us," Cissa added.
"Hopefully, Anna will deliver the twins without any need for help," Dumbledore concluded.
Severus and Remus nodded.
"Well then, I think if we're all..." Albus stopped as he looked around. "Anna?"
Anna wasn't grimacing, but a smile was replacing a wide-eyed surprised look on her face.
"Anna?" Severus bent toward her. "Are you alright?"
"Well, apparently your children are reluctant to leave you."
"What? I don't understand."
"My water just broke, Severus. I am in labor, it seems."
"Now! Here?" Severus looked around at Gwen and Narcissa. "/What do we do/?"
"Might I suggest a trip to your hospital wing?" Gwen suggested.
"I don't think I can make it that far, Gwen," Anna gasped, as a contraction started.
Narcissa gave Lyn to Draco and came over to Anna, and started coaching her with her breathing.
"Then how about turning this into a delivery room? You can do that can't you?" Gwen looked around at the gob-smacked Wizards standing in front of her, watching Anna puffing away. "/Hellooo/!"
Dumbledore turned his attention to Gwen's inquiry.
"What? Oh! Yes, yes, but we'll have to step out into the hall. Severus, you go in one direction, Remus, the other; to keep watch for anyone coming along the corridor. It'll only take a few moments, Gwen. Draco, could I impose on you to go and find Madam Pomfrey. Tell her I wish to see her and escort her."
"Yes, sir." Draco handed the baby to Gwen, yanked open the door and took off running.
Severus looked around at Gwen, with a mixture of panic and bewilderment on his face.
"Gwen, Anna's not due yet! She can't give birth now! She..."
"/Severus/.../calm down/! Twins usually don't stick to the schedule. Anna's only a few weeks early and I thought this might happen; so it's ok, really. I'm all prepared, but at the house, not here. Small complication; depends on if I can go get a few things and come back or if your Madam Pomfrey can cover the supplies."
Turning to Anna, Gwen reached out and felt her stomach. A contraction was just starting, so Gwen timed it and then looked at Dumbledore.
"Head master, we're going to need that delivery room sooner than later."
"Shall we then?" Albus waved them to the door.
Severus and Remus walked out into the corridor and headed in opposite directions. After a few moments, Albus, Narcissa, once again holding Lyn, and finally Gwen, assisting Anna, walked out. The door shut behind them and disappeared.
"Gwen, look into my eyes and think of what you would need for Anna - non-Muggle equipment, of course."
Dumbledore faced the young doctor and looked at her over his half-moon glasses.
"Right. We'd planned on everything, so, here goes.
Gwen looked into the Headmaster's twinkling blue eyes and pictured exactly what she, Anna and Narcissa had decided would be needed for the twin's delivery. After a minute, Albus straightened up, nodded and began pacing up and down the hallway, muttering to himself. As he passed the tapestry of Gregory the Smarmy for the third time, the door appeared again.
"Shall we, ladies?"
He opened the door and ushered the little group went back inside the Room of Requirement.
The two men returned and Severus went straight in, but Dumbledore caught Remus by the elbow.
"Would you stay here and wait for Draco and Madam Pomfrey. Then you and he can go back downstairs. I think there will be enough people inside, plus two more, in a bit. It could become crowded. I'm planning on returning to my office to wait."
"I think that wise, for all of us men. But Severus? Do you think he'll stay? Or should I take him down to his chambers for a stiff drink?"
"Oh, I don't think we can talk him into leaving, do you?"
"No, I suppose not. Everything you told me at the townhouse has come back to me. Good decision, that temporary memory charm."
"Well, we'll have to make a group decision about the need of a new one for everyone. But that can wait for a bit."
"I think so, too."
"Well, I'm going to my office. Keep me updated."
"Certainly, Headmaster," replied Remus.
Draco burst, full speed, through the door of the hospital wing, skidded to a halt before changing direction and scrambling over to the door of Madam Pomfrey's office, which he yanked open.
He turned and flew back out of the door, charging down the stairs, heading for the Great Hall. Half-way there he realized the celebrations might be over and as he was near the teachers' lounge, he thought he'd stop and check there first. He detoured down a hallway and pulled up at the door, bending over, hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. The door opened and Professor McGonagall emerged, nearly falling over Draco.
"Mister Malfoy, what on earth are your doing?" Minerva gasped, looking thoroughly startled.
"Where...where is...Madam...Pomfrey?" he wheezed, still bent over.
"Why do you need Madam Pomfrey? Breathing difficulties, perhaps?"
"/Albus/? What's wrong with Albus?" she asked, alarmed.
"No, not him." Draco finally caught his breath and stood up. "He told me to fetch her, for An..." He stopped, realizing he'd almost blurted out Anna's name. "He just wants me to bring her upstairs. Is she in the teachers' lounge?"
"Well, yes she is, but..."
Draco scooted past her and knocking on the door, opened it and stuck his head in.
"/Mister Malfoy/!" Professor McGonagall spun around, outraged.
Ignoring her, Draco called out, "Madam Pomfrey, could you come with me, please? Professor Dumbledore wants you on the seventh floor/. Immediately!"/
"Can't say. Sorry; I was just told to bring you as quickly as I could."
"Mister Malfoy/!" Professor McGonagall grabbed his arm and pulled him back out into the hall. "How /dare you..."
"I'm sorry, Professor, but this is really important. Not an emergency, but...I'm just doing what I was told. Sorry."
"Minerva, what is going on?" asked Madam Pomfrey as she emerged into the hall.
"That's what I'd like to know, Poppy!"
"Please, Madam Pomfrey, come with me."
"This is preposterous behavior, Mr. Malfoy!" huffed Professor McGonagall.
"/Fine/! Suit yourself; you come, too, Professor. But, /can we go/! /Now/!" Draco glared at both of them.
Madam Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall looked slightly taken aback.
"Very well, Mister Malfoy, lead the way." Minerva waved her hand.
"Who's been hurt?" Poppy asked.
"No one...You'll see. I can't say any more," Draco called over his shoulder, as he turned and marched off, quickly leaving the two witches behind.
They looked at each other, shrugged and hurried down the hallway after him.
Arriving back on the seventh floor, the trio approached Remus Lupin, who was leaning on the wall next to the entrance to the Room of Requirement. He heaved himself away from the wall and opened the door.
"Madam Pomfrey, go right in, please."
"Remus, what is going on?" Professor McGonagall looked terribly surprised as he closed the door after Madam Pomfrey entered. "Who is in there?"
"Minerva, I think it's time you and I had a chat with Albus. Shall we?" he replied, sweeping his arm to lead her toward the Head master's office.
"What about me?" Draco looked a bit lost.
"Oh, right. Sorry. Go on in Draco, they might have another job for you." Remus smiled at him and winked.
Draco entered the Room of Requirement and stopped dead in his tracks. Had he stumbled into St. Mungo's? Gone were the cheery Christmas decorations, replaced by austere white bedstead, two bassinettes, a table holding supplies and some chairs. The lighting was subdued, soft and comforting, somehow.
Madame Pomfrey was conversing with Anna and Severus while Gwen was fussing over the supplies.
Narcissa walked over to her son and gave him a hug. He looked at her, surprised.
"Well, my arms were full, with Lyn, earlier. So there's a proper hug." She smiled at him.
"The last time you hugged me...it was about a year ago, when I was coming back at the end of the holiday. Do you remember?"
"I do. That was a different time and the reason for giving you a hug was totally opposite. I was terribly upset; about your father and what was going to happen to him, to me, to us as a family. Now, I am proud of you, happy with my new daughter and I just know everything will be all right. Some day."
"If we get through this war."
"Yes. And we will, I just know we will."
"I hope so, Mother, I really do."
Draco gave his Mother a return hug and then looked at her, puzzled.
"Where's the baby?"
"Asleep, over there in the crib in the corner."
Draco walked over and gazed down at the sleeping infant. She lay on her back, arms thrown wide, breathing slowly, evenly, 'dead to the world', totally unaware of what was going on around her. Narcissa came up beside him, watching him closely.
"Does she have a future? Will she get a chance to grow up, come to Hogwarts?" Draco voiced his concern.
"Are you regretting your decision?"
"No...not for an instant."
"Good. I'm glad to hear that."
"And you, Mother?"
"Best thing I've ever done. In some strange way, we have to thank your Father for liberating us, don't you agree?'
Draco turned and looked at Narcissa and a slow smile spread across his face.
"I suppose that's true. /He'd /disagree, of course."
"But, you're right, his death was the turning point, wasn't it?"
"Well, a little before that, actually. I was worrying about you, but it gave me the direction and way out, although it was hard leaving you on your own as I did. I hope you know that."
"I do, now. Anna helped me see, as did the Headmaster. Once I decided though, it was a weight lifted and I've never regretted for a minute. I have been mending some damage with the other students. Six years of being a right git, it's not easy to turn around peoples' opinions. Nevertheless, they have been forgiving, once they realized I was sincere. I had no idea what friendship was really about until this last summer."
His smile faded.
"Don't blame yourself about Pansy, dear. He could have used anyone who was close to you. I was amazed Gregory and Vincent were spared, until we were shown why he had saved them; to attack you."
"Friends like that, who needs enemies."
"Don't dwell on it. It's done. I fear, though, there will be more killings, of people we know; we just have to be prepared. Anna, Gwen and I have been working hard, from a distance, to do our part."
"Yeah, I heard; the 'Felix' potion. That was brilliant! Anna's idea?"
"I figured. And Professor Snape isn't really a Death Eater." Draco shook his head. "Married...those two!" The smile had returned to his face. "She can lie with a straight face, too. I once said to her she'd have made a good Slytherin."
"Oh, yeah, about her being your secret keeper, about Professor Snape being a Death Eater, 'Don't leave the Hogwarts grounds with him', so he wouldn't take me to Voldemort. She really is a 'devious wench'."
"Hey, I'm just quoting her husband!"
"Really? They must have done a nearly perfect job of hiding their relationship if nobody but Albus Dumbledore knew."
"Well, Dr. Jones...Christopher, that is, knew, but..." Suddenly, Draco froze and then spun around. "I just thought of something."
Draco walked over to Severus, standing next to Anna, who was puffing away rather alarmingly. Gwen was timing the contraction with her watch, nodding her head. Anna slowed down after a few moments, took a deep breath and sighed. She turned her attention to Draco and cocked her head.
"Hello. Something the matter?"
"I was just wondering, should I go and find Christopher and tell him what's happening?"
"Oh, my God, I forgot all about Christopher! Could you be a dear and find him and give him the news; he'll have expected us to be home by now. Try his picture in Albus' office, and if he's not there just whistle for the dogs, they'll fetch him for you."
"Speaking of Albus' office, I should pop home for a few things, as we don't have much time. I'll only be gone a few minutes, but if Draco could show me the way, that'd save me taking a wrong turn and getting hopelessly lost."
"Sure, come on then." Draco headed for the door with Gwen following him, but he called to Narcissa, "I've got an errand to run, be right back!" as they left.
"Fine. I'll be here."
"Well, Albus, I suppose there's nothing for it but to let nature take its course. As long as no-one knows they're here, no harm done."
"My thought exactly, Minerva, so we'll go about our business until we hear the news."
"In which case, I think I'll toddle off to my chambers." Glancing at her watch, she stood up to leave. "I'm off to change; I promised Pomona that I'd help her do some pruning in greenhouse 4 this afternoon. And I'll be late if I don't hurry."
As Professor McGonagall descended the spiral staircase, she met Draco and Gwen heading up to the Headmaster's chambers.
"Mr. Malfoy...Dr. Jones...any news?"
"No, but it won't be long. Hello, Minerva," replied Gwen, giving her a hug and kiss. "Sorry, can't talk right now, have some supplies to grab from home. We'll chat later."
"Splendid, well, don't let me stop you two on your errands. But send word, to greenhouse 4, will you. I'll be there for the remainder of the afternoon."
"Right, we'll send word."
Draco and Gwen came in and walked up to the Headmaster's desk.
"No, we're on missions; Draco is going to alert Dad and I need to pop home for a few things," Gwen informed him.
"Ah, well, in that case, Draco, please turn your back and cover your ears."
"Yes, sir." Draco turned around and did as he had been instructed.
Gwen smiled, stepped up to the stone column and whispered the password, slipping through the door and in moments, she was gone.
"Alright Draco," said Albus, tapping Draco on the shoulder. "You will have to call for the dogs, as Christopher isn't here right now." Albus indicated the portrait.
"I just realized I don't know how. Do I just whistle? That's what Anna said."
"Allow me, Draco, the dogs know my whistle and will come that much quicker, I should think."
Dumbledore walked to the painting hanging near his desk, put his fingers to his lips and let out a shrill whistle.
"Whoa! I'm impressed, sir. I couldn't have done it that loud."
"Practice, like everything worth doing well, just practice," chuckled the Headmaster.
Then, cocking his head, he listened intently. Draco walked over straining his ears, also. Then, from a distance, barking was heard. Within seconds, Chester and Beau bounded into the frame, wagging their tails.
"Good boys. Would you be so kind as to fetch Christopher. Go on now, fetch Christopher."
The two labs barked and turned to run out of the frame, but stopped and sat down, tails wagging. Christopher Jones walked into the frame.
"Did I hear my name being mentioned?"
"Ah, Christopher, didn't realize you were so near."
"Just down the hall, actually. So, what can I do for you?"
"It's Anna; she's still here and would like a word with you. She's in the Room of Requirement."
"Still here? That's pushing her luck a little, isn't it? I thought it was agreed an hour?"
"Speaking of pushing..." Albus smiled at his friend and winked.
"You mean?...she's not! She is? Where's Gwen?"
"Just popped over to their house for a few things, she'll be right back."
"Don't worry, Christopher," injected Draco. "She not alone, Professor Snape is there, my Mother and Madame Pomfrey, too."
"Oh, good. Where's this room of Requirement?"
"There's no paintings in the room, at least I don't remember any." Draco looked to the Headmaster.
"You'll have to take Christopher's portrait with you, Draco," said Albus.
"Oh, right, that'll work."
Albus lifted the painting off the wall and handed it to Draco. Watching the boy struggle with it for a few moments, he commented, "It's not the weight, but the bulkiness that seems to be the problem, am I correct?"
"Yes, sir. I can't get a proper grip."
"Perhaps a strap and handle."
Conjuring a harness around the frame, the picture became as easy to carry as a large portfolio case.
"That's the ticket, Albus," commented Christopher. "However, to avoid a bit of seasickness, I'll wait until the frame is delivered before popping back in."
"Good idea, Christopher." Albus laughed. "Don't need two patients. Send word when you have any announcements to make, so to speak. Off you go, Mr. Malfoy."
Draco turned and carried the painting out of Dumbledore's office and down the spiral stair.
Halfway back, he ran into Harry and Ron on the stairs.
"What have you got there, Draco," asked Ron.
"Picture frame; delivering it for the Headmaster."
"Hold on! That's Christopher's portrait frame!" Harry exclaimed. "Where are you taking it?"
"I...ah...well...um..." Draco was stumped. He didn't want to lie to Harry and Ron, now that they were becoming comfortable with each other as friends and allies, but... "Oh, sod it! Come on you two; I've got a surprise. Follow me."
As they approached the Room of Requirement, Harry and Ron exchanged glances and raised eyebrows.
"You don't think?"
"Knowing Anna, I wouldn't put it past her. But why would Draco?"
"Holy Hippogriff! Draco, is your Mum here?" Ron asked
"Yeah, and Anna and Gwen and my baby sister and you'll never believe what else! Get the door, will you, Harry?"
The contents of the room caused Harry and Ron to skid to a halt. All of the occupants were staring with as much surprise on their faces as the two boys. Anna puffing steadily was the only sound. Harry and Ron both swiveled to locate and focus on the source of the sound and their mouths dropped open in unison. Anna smiled, as best she could while continuing her breathing, and waved cheerily. Severus Snape was the first to recover his senses. He left Anna to descend on Draco.
"Mr. Malfoy! What ever possessed you to bring Potter and Weasley with you?"
"Well...I just...they...ah," Draco stammered, trying to explain, as he settled the picture frame on a table, leaning it back against the wall.
"It's ok, Professor Snape; we kind of trapped him. Caught him with the picture frame and he had to bring us along," Harry related.
"Right. I couldn't lie to my new mates. Hell, if I had told them the truth out there in the corridor, when they spotted me, they would never have believed me anyway. There wasn't anything for it, but to bring them along." Draco shrugged.
"Oh, Severus, calm down. They won't tell, will you, boys?" Anna waddled over, smiling.
"No, who'd believe us?" "Bloody hell, no!"
Christopher walked into his portrait.
"Hello, Christopher, dear. I'm glad you're here; that makes three doctors, four if you count me. That must be some kind of new record for Hogwarts."
"Hello Anna. I heard the news and had to come and offer my professional advice, if needed. And Severus, the boys did just run into Draco and I agree, he couldn't do anything but bring them along."
Harry and Ron were still standing there trying to process what they were seeing and hearing: Severus Snape with his arm protectively around Anna's shoulder, Anna, pregnant out to THERE!
"What the bloody hell's going on?"
"I'm having twins, any minute now."
He looked at Harry, who shook his head as if to clear it. Then he looked at Severus Snape.
"I'm almost afraid to ask...why are you here?"
"Wait," interrupted Anna, who with a wave of her wand lifted the memory charm. Smiles appeared where there had been frowns as Harry and Ron remembered everything that had happened last spring in the Headmaster's office...except...they both turned and their mouths flew open again as Narcissa Malfoy approached. She smiled at them.
Draco walked up behind Harry and Ron and draped an arm around each of their shoulders.
"Here's the best bit; Anna is my Mother's secret keeper. And they're all in hiding, together!"
"They haven't been hiding HERE the whole time, have they?" Ron asked.
"No, we're just here as a Christmas surprise, that turned into a surprise for everyone. Anna went into labor," answered Narcissa.
"So, I'm having the babies here.../Now/!" added Anna as another contraction hit and she started puffing. Severus whirled around, grasping her hand and murmuring encouragement to her.
Harry turned to Ron.
"I REALLY don't think we need to be here, /at all/!"
"Yeah, let's make our selves scarce."
"Actually," Narcissa said, "Draco and Lyn and I were going to go up to the hospital wing to wait. Poppy doesn't have any patients and we'll not be disturbed, so Harry, Ron, why don't you two just come with us."
"By the way," asked Anna, who had stopped puffing for the minute. "Which students are here, besides you two?"
"Just Ginny and Hermione."
"Well, if they stumble upon your little group, no harm done. You can just say Narcissa's here to visit Draco. We'll tell them about all of this part later."
"Maybe we'd better tell the Headmaster about this little side trip."
Christopher Jones waved his hand in the air, volunteering. "Oo! Oo! Pick me, pick me! I'll pop over to his office and give him an update."
"Great! Save us the trek up there!" Ron grinned.
"I'll go straight-away...don't have those babies until I return," Christopher instructed Anna, smiling.
"I'll pass that along." Anna nodded, starting to puff again.
"Ginny, are Ron and Harry back yet?" asked Hermione, as she entered the Gryffindor common room.
"No, haven't seen them. Wonder what they're up to?"
"Merlin only knows."
"Do we go look for them or just wait?"
"Let's take a walk around. We're bound to find them, probably getting into trouble with Draco."
"Come here, you two," called Draco, motioning Harry and Ron to follow him over to where Lyn's crib was sitting in a shadowy corner.
They peered down at the sleeping baby, while Draco stood beaming.
"Isn't she adorable?"
"Oh, yeah, drool is so becoming," commented Ron, until he spotted the thunderous look on 'big brother' Draco's face. "No! I was kidding; she's really cute, honestly!"
Draco relaxed, realizing Ron was teasing him. "Sorry, Ron; gut reaction."
"No harm done, you were just being protective. Good reaction time, too."
"It's a good indication, that small as she is, Draco, she's got /you /wrapped around her little finger," laughed Harry.
Draco regarded Harry, then his sister and smiled. "You're right about that; she smiles at me and I'm no good."
The baby wiggled and rolled on her side, sighed and settled down again.
"Shhh, don't wake her, you three." Narcissa came up behind the boys. "She'll sleep another hour if we can keep the noise to a minimum, hence the move to the hospital wing."
"She's a cutie; quiet, too," Ron observed.
"Oh, she's got a good set of lungs, Ron; don't let that angelic look fool you. She's quite capable of making her presence known."
"If you think you'll get out of Hogwarts without the girls seeing this baby and goo-gooing over her, you'd better think again, Madam Malfoy," Harry said, smiling.
"Please, Harry, call me Cissa. I'm not Madam Malfoy anymore. That title will go to the woman Draco marries."
"Well, it's true. I'm Cissa Black, as far as I'm concerned."
"No, I mean about me getting married. Merlin's beard, don't start pushing me to do that!"
"You are of age dear...handsome...wealthy..."
Harry and Ron were leaning on each other, rocking with silent laughter at Draco's embarrassment. When he spotted them, he did a double take, and then he started laughing, too. As did his Mother. The baby rolled over again and they all clamped their hands over their mouths to smother the sound.
About then Christopher returned with the news that Professor Dumbledore thought that their removal to the hospital wing was a good idea. Also that Gwen was on her way back, with Dobby and Winky in tow.
"Winky's a little panicky, but Dobby's got the situation under control, keeping her calm and leading Gwen back to the fifth floor.
Narcissa took out her wand and transfigured the crib into a pram.
"Let's toddle off, shall we?"
"Right this way, everyone," directed Draco as he opened the door and waved his Mother, Harry and Ron through and then followed. Anna, Severus and Madam Pomfrey were too busy to notice.
As they emerged from the Room of Requirement, they beheld a little procession hurrying down the hall toward them; Gwen carrying two big shopping bags, and Dobby and Winky, hand in hand. Draco held the door and Gwen went straight in, but Winky and Dobby stopped in front of Cissa.
"Hello Winky, your Missy Anna is going to have her babies."
"Yes, Missy Cissa, I is hearing, that's why we is hurrying here. Is her ok?"
"Just fine, Winky, Severus is with her."
"And Madam Pomfrey."
"And Christopher, and now Gwen," Harry finished the roll call.
"Why don't you go on in; I'm sure Anna will be glad to have you there, Winky."
Draco opened the door and the house elf ran in. Dobby hung back, his hand on the side of the pram.
"May be Dobby should help with Missy Lyn?"
The boys looked at each other and grinned.
"That will be fine, Dobby." Narcissa smiled at him and then at the boys. "Shall we, gentlemen?"
Turning, she pushed off down the hall, the three boys and Dobby following her.
Ginny threw herself down on the sofa in the common room. She was carrying Professor Snape's new pet Pygmy Puff, along with her own, Arnold. They began purring and crawling around Ginny's shoulders.
"I checked the Slytherin common room and I saw Professor McGonagall in the greenhouse with Professor Sprout, but she only knew the Draco was running an errand for the Headmaster. She hasn't seen Ron or Harry. I give up."
"Well they have to be /somewhere/. I checked the courtyard and the Great Hall. I even looked to see if there were any footprints going down to Hagrid's. Nothing"
"Where are they?"
"Something's going on, I just know it. I'm starting to get annoyed with those two."
"Maybe one of them got hurt or something, you know, horsing around. Maybe we better check with Madam Pomfrey."
"Sure, why not, beats sitting here on our duffs. We'll leave a note, in case they wander in."
Hermione grabbed a piece of parchment and penned a brief note, then propped it up, so the boys would be sure and see it.
The girls headed out of the portrait hole, on the way to the hospital wing.
Dobby's ears pricked up.
"Missy Cissa, someone is coming."
Harry walked over to the door and looked down the hall.
"We're busted; here comes the search party."
He hurried back and took his seat where he, Ron, Draco and Cissa had been relaxing and talking while Lyn slept.
"Let's surprise them," suggested Cissa, quickly conjuring a screen from across the ward, to hide herself and the pram.