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Chapter 9: The Redhead's fear
The morning sun shone through the bay window of Hermione’s bedroom, casting the two bodies in a yellow glow. Blinking away the sleep in her eyes, Hermione shifted her weight to gaze around her comforting bedroom. The main wall which her bed was up against was covered in dark brown wallpaper that was patterned with bright pink flowers. The other three consisted of a purple/beige paint that matched the stems. She wasn’t a ‘pink’ girl but the wallpaper was so warm that it made the whole room cosy and loving and whenever she had her bedside lamp on, it was in some ways, romantic. Her curtains were a shade lighter than the pink on the flowers and her carpet with was fluffy beige.
It was home. Her eyes shifted to the sleeping, solid form next to her and a small smile crept across her sweet face. It had been a long time since someone had slept at her side and wasn’t three foot. The six foot three inches next to her was covered in modest muscles. The stomach was toned and the legs were of athletic quality, a lovely even tan covering the whole body. His back was to her and she was able to appreciate the smooth, lean curve that she had clung to only just last night.
It had been a wonderful night with him. Draco had literally swept her off her feet and showed her how to love again. He had caressed and kissed with such passion that Hermione thought she was going to be consumed with emotion. He had been just as careful as he had all those years before, on the night when Mia was conceived but his sure confidence in his ability made Hermione feel as safe as she possibly could. His fingers had tormented her skin by giving her goosebumps, while his lips created ripples of pleasure through the rest of her body. She was in heaven.
His floppy hair had run easily through her fingers as he nibbled at her earlobe and it hadn’t taken her long for her to find his weak spot again; his lower back. She caught it as she traced her fingertips along his skin making Draco twitch. It had been magical. Hermione lazily stroked the nape of Draco’s neck, creating an inaudible sound from the Slytherin Prince.
“It is way too early for you to be awake right now.” She moved to let Draco shift his weight around so that he was facing her. His eyes were bleary, the stormy colour flecked with more blue than usual. His floppy hair had become messy and was drooping in his eyes but to Hermione, he looked gorgeous. The ‘Mr Perfect’ had imperfections and he wasn’t ashamed to let her see them. Well, most of them anyway. Last night he had flinched when Hermione had run her hand along the Dark Mark, but she had kissed in gently and then kissed his lips.
“I hate it.” He stared at the ugly skull and snake that seemed to fester on his left arm. He tried to cover it with the duvet but Hermione placed a calming hand on his shoulder.
“It isn’t something that you should hide.”
“Why shouldn’t I?! It’s dark and its evil and it’s a constant reminder of who I was!” He turned from her, his shame etched across his face. Hermione pitied him. This was a man who was constantly reminded of his past because of something his father pushed him into. He was trying to change for the better, but his personal scar was bringing back the painful memories that he couldn’t cope with.
Turning to her bedside table, Hermione grabbed her vine wood wand and tapped it lightly against his tanned skin. A flow of ink left the tip of her wand and started to etch itself onto his arm. It wrapped and twirled around the skull and snake tongue, caressing it with love. She smiled as the Celtic design twisted and turned, adding colour to the symbol of Voldermort. He didn’t feel a thing and when he turned to see what she had created, he couldn’t help his gasp.
It was like an arm band that covered the area where the dark mark lay. The skull and snake tongue was at the centre, but the Celtic knot that Hermione had created made it seem beautiful. It was green and silver; the colours of his past but the yellow and purple vines that interlaced through the whole tattoo were the colours of his future; Hermione and Mia.
Hermione sat silently next to him and said, “Now it is yours. Neither he nor your father owns you any longer.”
The kiss that he gave her was the most loving she had ever received. Not even Ron’s sweet natured passion could have topped what Draco was giving her. It was like he was trying to promise the entire world to her through one connection…and Hermione wanted it.
She hadn’t realised she was staring at him until her honey coloured eyes caught his stormy blue ones. He grinned at her and said, “Admiring something?”
She smirked and thumped him lightly on his chest before snuggling into his warmth. Lazily, he stroked her hair with his nimble fingers and was pleasantly surprised to see that she had goosebumps along her arms. They laid like that for a while, neither of them speaking, just listening to the morning sounds of the outside world before Draco’s hand paused.
“We should really get going; Mia’s probably wondering where you are.”
He felt her body sigh next to his but the beautiful brunette didn’t move from her position. Instead she began stroking his chest, following the snail trail up and down making the Prince shiver in pleasure. He stopped her hand with his before gently pulling it towards his lips.
“We have to move Mione, she needs to be told.”
He could tell that she was worried about telling Mia; she wanted too…she was just worried about how their daughter would react.
Nodding into his chest, she shuffled out of the covers and moved towards the bedroom door. Draco sat up from his position in bed and gazed after her sexy figure. Hermione turned to look over her shoulder and smiled. Her hair was slightly bushier in the mornings but to Draco, it made her look even more angelic. She was only in t-shirt and her underwear because of the humid summer that they were having, and her hair cascaded down her back like a waterfall of curls. The early summer morning was shining through her slightly opened curtains, catching her golden highlights and casting her body in a healthy glow. She truly was the most beautiful woman that he had ever shared a bed with.
Feeling a sudden emptiness without his new love being next to him, Draco followed clattering noises that appeared to be coming from the kitchen. There she was, standing in front of the kitchen counter, completely at home with herself and her surroundings. He watched as she moved with elegance that was befitting a dancer. She seemed to travel with a coordinated step, this way and that, lifting her slender arm as she flipped the pan before twirling to reach the fridge. It was her own dance routine, choreographed and tuned to fit her home and she was working it with style. The swift movements that carried her from one end of the kitchen to the other were an obvious sign that she was a mother, but the twirls and the certain lift of the arms showed that she was a woman with power and efficiency.
This was the woman he was in love with.
“You have to tell me!” Ginny waddled behind her best friend, her arms up in the air. “I mean it’s compulsory! Part of the friendship code!”
Hermione sighed and carried on browsing through the hundreds of party dresses that were on sale in Madam Malkins. It had been the same conversation ever since Hermione had apparated back to the Burrow earlier that same morning.
“Ginny I’ve told you already, I am not getting into a conversation about it until Mia knows that he’s her father! End of!”
The redhead huffed but fell silent and began browsing through the maternity clothes; this was the third time this month that they had to shop for clothes that would fit over her oversized belly. Hermione rolled her eyes at the sulky expression on her best friend’s face and ignored her. Hermione had never understood Ginny’s desperate need for ‘dirty gossip’; she had never been this way when the Brunette was dating Ron…but then again who would want to know about their brother’s sex life. She let her fingers run across the hangers without really looking at the clothes that they displayed before stopping at the sixth one from the end. It was something Hermione had done ever since her mother had taken her out shopping for her own clothes. It was like her fingers knew where they had to land and every time she retrieved the piece of clothing it had always looked magnificent and perfect for her.
Ginny had always been jealous of this natural skill; especially since Hermione wasn’t amazingly keen on shopping. She had tried doing it herself, copying Hermione’s actions and posture but ended up picking up a dress that looked like it had been made by a Troll that was half blind. Instead, the Redhead had settled for the next best thing and brought Hermione out every time she needed new clothes.
Hermione stared at the blouse in her hand with surprise and slight distaste. It was like one she had bought before the Trio had left to go and search for the Horcruxes. It was the same blouse she wore under the sweater when Ron decided to leave and the same one when she was tortured by Bellatrix on the floor of Malfoy’s Mansion.
“Hermione, are you okay?”
“Yeah, it just reminded me of something similar I used to wear.”
“Well, are you going to buy it; it is lovely?” Ginny stroked it lovingly as if by touching it she could make it stretch and grow so that it would fit her bloated tum.
Hermione shook her head and replied, “No, I never really liked the other one anyway.”
She placed it neatly back on the clothing pole before carrying on sifting through the rainbow of clothes that Madam Malkins used as her source of income. A few eleven year olds were in the section of the store where the school robes were sold and Hermione felt a sudden pang for her old school life. Nearly sixteen years ago she had been in the same position; standing on the circular podium as Madam Malkin pinned and prodded here and there until the robes fitted just right.
She could remember the pure excitement that she had felt as she stood like a statue; her heart pumping with the idea that she was a Witch and would be learning magic. Her parents standing by her side, their eyes gleaming with pride as they saw her in her new school clothes; clothes that represented her uniqueness. Once they had returned to their home that day, Hermione’s mother had grabbed her camera and flashed at least a hundred pictures of her daughter twirling and laughing in her father’s arms, celebrating the new start of her life.
Smiling to herself, she turned to see that Ginny was watching the to-be first years as well.
“I remember when mum took me to get new robes; I couldn’t have the boy’s hand-me-downs because they were too big. The pride in her eyes when she saw me in my new robes made me feel like I’d been to the moon and back.”
The girls looked at each other, their quarrel forgotten. Ginny grabbed her best friend’s arm and paraded her towards the door, “Come on, let’s go get a cup of tea with some honey. I fancy some lunch.”
Hermione laughed and followed.
They had decided on a little café just around the corner from the Leaky Cauldron. It was a nice enough day to sit outside while they ate their lunch and Hermione was quite happy to lap up the warm rays through her skin.
“Mione have you thought about the weird man that was at the Burrow last night?” Ginny didn’t look at Hermione when she spoke, instead she ran her thumb around the rim of her mug, her eyes clouded as if her mind was elsewhere. It was the same expression that Molly had whenever she was deep in thought, yet also afraid of what she was thinking of.
The brainy bookworm was surprised at this question; she hadn’t thought about that part of the night at all since she had awoken this morning; her mind was only filled with the memory of Draco’s fingers tracing circles on her skin.
If it had happened in the days when fear was around every corner then Hermione would have been unable to think of anything else but the small glimmer of love and hope that she had experienced after the ‘shadow’s appearance had evaded her until now.
“In all honesty, no, I haven’t.”
Ginny did not raise her gaze instead began gripping her mug so tightly that her knuckles were white.
“Gin, are you okay?”
“I’m just concerned that’s all.”
This time Ginny raised her head her eyes alight with fear and determination. “I have a constant fear that something will take you away again, that you will be in danger… I...I have dreams too.”
Her face flared with shame and sadness, as if these dreams were of her own making; that she was seeing was her secret desires.
“Horrible, terrifying dreams…dreams that I can’t seem to shake from my head no matter how hard I try.” Her hands began to tremble as she tried to control the tears that were threatening to fall.
“When that man turned up I was terrified, especially when you told us that you had dreamt about him before.”
Her lips quivered and Hermione felt the urge to take her pregnant friend in her arms and soothe her. However, her body seemed unable to move, as if Ginny’s words had caused her limbs to freeze.
When Ginny raised her eyes they were brimming with tears. “I’m so scared for you Mione; sometimes I wake up and I can’t breathe because my fear is crushing chest. I…I” Her eyes widened in such horror that it unfroze Hermione’s figure so that she could reach out for Ginny’s hand, “I think I’m going into labour.”
The two women stared at each other for a few moments before Hermione reacted with her midwife skills that she had learnt during her pregnancy with Mia.
“Right, we need to get you to St Mungoes now. Give me your arm and put your weight on me.”
Ginny followed Hermione’s orders without protest but her grip tightened on the brunette’s shoulder as a contraction spread through her body. With a nod of determination, Hermione lead the way across the street where the Leaky Cauldron stood along with its Grand fireplace. Tom raised his eyebrows at the two women when they entered his bar but snapped to attention when Hermione ordered him to help her get Ginny into the fireplace.
With a flash of green, the two Witches disappeared.
It had taken mere seconds before a Healer had recognised Ginny’s situation, and, with a wave of his wand the Redhead had been laid neatly onto Gurney right before Hermione’s eyes. Another two appeared by his side and they began pushing Ginny through the door at the end of the corridor which read ‘Maternity Ward’.
The Healer who rushed to Ginny’s aid when they first arrived, turned towards Hermione is gaze curious and steadfast.
“How many month’s pregnant is she?”
Hermione did a quick calculation before answering, “Seven. She’s not meant to the baby until October!” She cast a quick glance to her friend and was saddened to see that her face was contorted in pain.
Looking back to the Healer whose nametag read ‘Healer Shayde’ she could tell that he had half suspected her answer.
“What is this woman’s name?”
“Ginny Potter, she’s married to Harry Potter.” Healer Shayde seemed unaffected by this news, as if he was used to many different ‘celebrities’ coming to him for aid.
“I see. Well it appears that Mrs Potter is having some difficulty with the birth. We will have to have her looked at rather quickly as the baby may be stuck in the birthing channel.
“Where is HE?!Where is Harry?!” Ginny screamed, making Hermione rush to her side so that she could hold her hand, while she was being led to the procedure room. The three Healers that were surrounding Ginny had looks of concern and seemed to be looking at the chart that floated just above the redhead’s body.
“I’m not sure sweetie, I’ve seen him a Patronus call but it might not have arrived yet. But don’t worry I’m here just like I said I would be.”
Ginny groaned, her eyes brimming with tears, “You promise you won’t leave me?! Please Hermione promise me that you’ll stay and hold my hand! Ahhhhhh!” She sobbed slightly as another contraction shivered through her body; they were getting much closer now. One of the other healers waved his wand in a swift motion but found that Ginny was unresponsive to his calming spell. Another look of deep concern crossed the Healers faces before Healer Shayde spoke.
“I think we will have to carry out the birthing procedure without the usual potions; Mrs Potter is too agitated that they could cause more problems if we give them to her.”
It took Hermione a few seconds before she realised that the Healer was talking to her and another five before she could respond.
“But she’s in pain!”
The Healer had a look that seemed understanding but at the same time decided that it was the least of his worries. Instead, he turned to the only woman Healer that was surrounding Ginny.
“We will have to place Mrs Potter in Intensive Care until it is time for her to push; keep an eye on her vitals and I will be back with Healer Thorn in ten minutes for the birth.”
The woman nodded and with a wave of her wand, Ginny zoomed through a door on the right which read ‘Intensive Care.’ Hermione watched her friend disappear behind the white wood before following after her.
“I’m afraid it’s family only in Intensive Care.” Healer Shayde placed a restraining hand on Hermione’s shoulder but the Brunette shrugged it off with such defiance that he took a step back. Her eyes were alight with anger and hair appeared wild as she pointed a slender finger at the Healer’s chest.
“I don’t care if only Goblins can enter that room; Ginny wants me to stay with her and for the moment I’m all she’s got, so if you don’t let me in there on your own free will you will find that I am very good at the Avis Oppugno hex.”
The Healer’s exterior appeared unchanged but Hermione had noticed the flash of alarm in his chocolate coloured gaze.
“Fine you may stay with Mrs Potter until her husband arrives. Once he is here you must leave the room and let the Healers do their work.” Hermione nodded fervently before rushing through the big white doors where Ginny was lying.
As soon as she saw her friend, the redhead reached out her freckled hand which Hermione took willingly.
“Hermione it hurts so much! I can’t stand it! It wasn’t this bad with James I swear it wasn’t!”
Hermione rubbed the pale hand soothingly. “Hush now; it’ll all be over soon, just wait.” She smiled reassuringly and went to push back her friend’s fringe but on touching Ginny’s forehead she noticed how hot she felt.
Noticing the worried gaze, Ginny asked, “What is it Mione? What’s wrong?”
Hermione bit her lip and replied, “I’m not sure. Let me just go and ask the Healer to have a look at you.”
Without even being asked, the woman Healer wandered over to the hospital bed and began flicking her wand this way and that over Ginny’s sweating body. Her eyes scrutinised the glows that were illuminated from Harry’s wife and said,
“I will call for Healer Shayde at once.” She scurried away out of the over-powerful white doors leaving the two women alone in the room. Turning back to her, Hermione rubbed Ginny’s hand comfortingly but Ginny whimpered then screamed as another contraction enveloped her body.
“Hermione! Something’s not right! I can feel it!” The look of pure horror that was etched across Ginny’s face made the brunette rush to the door and scream down the hall for the Healers to get back.
Healer Shayde, Thorn and the woman who’s name Hermione did not know, came rushing down the hall, their wands held high.
All three pushed Hermione aside as they entered the room and bellowed to Hermione that she had to leave the room. When she began to protest, Healer Shayde marched her into the hall, his grip on her arm a little too hard.
“Look, I know you want to be there for your friend but, if you want to help her then you have to stay out here. If you got in the way at any point you could risk Mrs Potter’s life. Do you understand?”
Hermione nodded; her voice had left her and her body felt numb. She stood watching the door with pure terror. Ginny’s screams pierced her heart leaving the brunette weak at the knees. Sliding down the wall opposite the door, she waited.
It took nearly four hours before the baby was delivered. Harry had arrived into the second, his face echoing the worry he felt. He ranted and raved when the Healer told him he had to stay outside but in the end he subjected to pacing out front. Hermione stayed in her curled up position; her arms around her legs, her eyes wide. All she could think of was Ginny’s foreboding dreams that she was having about Hermione. Maybe the dreams weren’t about her at all…maybe they were just signs of something horrible that was going to happen to Ginny herself throughout her labour. It was these kinds of thoughts that evaded Hermione’s head as Harry paced up and down in front of her, as if he was trying to wear his footsteps into the cold wood flooring.
Nearing the end of the labour the rest of the Weasley clan arrived, their expressions matching Harry’s mingled with anxiousness and fear. She had wanted to comfort them but her body had become frozen again, as if her limbs no longer obeyed her mind. She didn’t even move when Mia came running towards her, her arms outstretched for hug. Once she reached her mother she snuggled deep into her body and wrapped her arms around Hermione’s neck. Breathing in the familiar smell of her daughter brought her out of her revere, allowing her to move her limbs and hug back.
“Mummy everyone’s sad…I can feel it. I can feel pain as well…I think it might be Aunt Ginny’s.” Hermione stared at her daughter before hugging her more tightly to stifle her sobs.
It took Hermione a few moments to register who was speaking to her. Cautiously, she lifted her head from her daughter’s small shoulders to see the stormy grey eyes that she had grown so accustomed too.
Draco was gazing at her with such concern that it made Hermione’s heart melt. She tried to smile but it felt unusual, as if she was not used to the action. Mia turned to see who her mother was staring at and smiled her brilliant smile when she saw it was Draco. He bent down so that he was at both Grangers’ levels. Mia shuffled over and snuggled into his body, breathing in his warmth and smell.
“Daddy, come and give Mummy a hug please, she’s sad.” She regarded him with her blue crystal eyes; so serious that they reminded him of her mother’s even though colour was so much like his own mother’s.
No one spoke; the scary sadness that was filling the atmosphere around the Weasley and Potter clan was washed away with what the little Granger had said. Hermione froze, her mouth wide in shock, as she waited for Draco’s response.
He stroked his daughter’s hair and replied, “Mia, how do you know I’m your father?”
She shrugged her tiny shoulders as if it didn’t matter but said, “I’ve always known, I can feel it.”
He smiled and kissed the top of her nose and gave her a quick squeeze. “Okay Poppet, I’ll go give Mummy a hug.”
He let his daughter go and shuffled on his knees to where Hermione was still crouched in the corner. He held out his hand to her, which she took with care, as if she was unsure whether or not to take it. Gently, he pulled at her arm to make her move from the floor. The pair rose in synchronisation and wrapped his arms around her, allowing her to melt into his warmth, letting her feel safe again.
Everyone had watched the scene with amazement while Mia just smiled at her mother and father. James tapped her on the shoulder making her turn around to face him and when she saw his confused expression on his face she took his hand in hers and gave it a squeeze.
Every one of the Weasley clan ‘awed’ except Harry. He tried to smile at the sweetness of the two children and the romance blooming between Hermione and Draco but all his heart contained was fear. Fear for his wife and unborn child.
It was then that the white doors opened.
Everyone turned around; no one seemed to be breathing. Harry had turned pale at the sight of the Healer who was holding Harry’s gaze. The staring competition lasted for three whole painful seconds before the Healer’s face broke into a smile. “Your wife has given birth to a baby girl. Congratulations.”
The bland hallway echoed as the cheers of the Ginny’s family erupted from their lips. Harry grabbed the Healer into a massive bear hug before running into his wife. Molly was wiping happy tears from her eyes so like her daughters while the Twins were hoisting James into the air in celebration; even Malfoy was smiling at the good news.
The Healer was clapped on the back by Arthur before he left the family in the hall to see to his other patients. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief as it dawned on her that Ginny was going to be fine. Draco absentmindedly rubbed her back in a soothing gesture; he truly was a guardian angel.
“Hey, who wants to meet Lily-Mae?”
Everyone turned abruptly to see Harry standing in the doorway, holding a small bundle in his arms. There was a slight tuft of red hair peeking out from under the cotton blanket which moved as Harry shifted Lily-Mae’s position. She was obviously going to take after her mother.
Molly beamed at her son in-law and said, “Oh Harry she’s gorgeous. Why Lily-Mae? Why not just Lily like your mother?”
Harry smiled all knowingly and replied, “Because Molly, we both knew that your own mother used to call you Molly-Mae when you were a little girl, and well, because Lily-Molly didn’t exactly fit we decided that it was the next best thing.”
The joyful tears that shone in Molly’s eyes were an answer enough. Arthur bent over the small bundle and cooed at her.
Hermione and her family, for she could now call Draco a part of her family, stood back as she watched Harry, James and the Weasley’s all gush over the new member of the Potters.
She wanted to join the people who meant so much for her but, for some reason she held back. It wasn’t until this moment right now that she realised that she wasn’t really a part of this family. She had no blood ties to it…not anymore and it made the bookworm feel so desolate.
As if he could hear her thoughts, Harry turned away from his family and carefully walked to where Hermione, Draco and Mia were standing; James was clinging to his leg as if he feared that if he let go Harry may become sad again.
The green eyed boy wonder stopped in front of his best friend with a massive grin over his face. “What do you think of your Goddaughter?”
Hermione couldn’t believe her ears. Happy tears began to fall as she stared at her best friend who nodded as if it could answer all her unspoken questions. She peered at the small body that Harry was delicately holding, a small, watery smile creeping into the corners of her mouth.
Harry’s grin widened. “Isn’t she just.”
“Hey, is anyone going to come and see me; I did just give birth you know!”
Everyone laughed as they heard Ginny’s disgruntled outburst before all rushing in.
Harry rolled his eyes at his wife’s impertinence but smiled all the same. Turning back to Hermione he asked, “Do you mind holding her for a bit?”
Hermione’s smile turned into a grin and nodded. Shifting his baby’s weight, Harry expertly placed his new-born daughter in his best friend’s arms before picking up his son and taking him to see his mother.
Draco picked Mia up and held her so that she could see the baby that was lying so peacefully asleep in Hermione’s arms. She smiled and leaned in closer and said,
“She has a good aura Mummy. She’s a lot like Auntie Ginny already.”
Hermione nodded in agreement but said nothing. It had been not so long ago that Mia had been this small that she could fit in the crook of the Brunette’s arm. After all the worrying and fear that the family had felt this small bundle full of joy had made everyone feel better, bringing life and hope back to everyone.
If nothing bad had happened to Ginny…then what does the dreams she’s been having mean?
A/N: Okay so you probably all hate me for not updating but I have been really busy lately and I just haven’t had the time – so I do apologise for the lateness of this chapter. I hope you enjoy it and it makes up for the massive period of absence in between.
I felt that the story had to be shifted a bit to the other characters, especially after the last chapter – I didn’t want this to become rushed and all about Draco and Hermione. Anyway, I will try and not leave it too long for the next chapter. Please read and review you know I love to hear from you guys J
Yours Stagzpotterfan x