Disclaimer: I don not own Harry Potter.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Rubeus had thought he would continue on as he had, take care of Merope and then after Tom was born, be a benefactor to them both. Make sure they had a place to stay, and enough to live on. He had even been contemplating offering Merope a job, maybe as an assistant, after she had regained her strength post-birth. He was supposed to have been distant. Kind but distant.
So when had she become important to him? When had she become almost-family?
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Merope was healthy, Rubeus had made sure of it. Instead of being a starved and homeless girl, who died giving birth on the steps of an orphanage, this Merope was healthy. She had been taken to St. Mungo's regularly for her check-ups once a week, ever since she had come under Rubeus' care. Passed off as a cousin, Rubeus had made sure that Merope gained the weight and health she needed.
So, how had this happened?
It was not supposed to be this way. The thought wouldn't leave Rubeus as he sat, stunned by the news the grave-faced Healer gave him. Merope was dead, and that was how it was, but it should not have been. There was an amalgamation of feeling swirling in Rubeus' mind - sorrow, grief, horror of the maybe-inevitable, and helplessness.
If Merope died, in spite of the care she had been given, then what of Tom? Was his future written in stone? Rubeus did not know, and right now he did not have the emotions to care. Merope was dead, and he was left alone again.
It was not supposed to… the child was placed in his arms. A squalling, wrinkled babe announcing his displeasure to the world. Rubeus took in the dark hair, and scrunched up eyes. The tiny, tiny body of the child. How fragile this babe was. So small, especially compared to Rubeus' own size.
It was a cliché, like all good things in the world are, but Rubeus knew in that moment that the child was his. His to love, his to cherish and his to protect. He had been unable to protect Merope, but that did not mean he could not protect Tom. He would give the child a childhood, he would give the child love, regardless of what the future might hold.
Merope had told him that she wanted the child to be named Thomas, if born a boy, and Clementine, if she had a girl. She had also requested that Rubeus give the child his/her second name.
And now, holding the child in his arms, Rubeus whispered the name Thomas Hadrian Hagrid. Named for the man Merope had loved, named for the boy who had been family to Rubeus, and named for the new family the child was becoming a part of. Perhaps it wasn't supposed to be this way, but what-the-hey, it was the only way Rubeus could walk without regret. So.
Thomas Hadrian Hagrid, adopted son of Rubeus Hagrid. Yes, that did have good ring to it, didn't it?