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Chapter 12: The bug
The next morning Hermione awoke feeling well rested and like the luckiest woman in the world when she realized she was still lying in the arms of a gorgeous man whom she loved. Yes, she loved him she thought smiling and feeling her heart would burst from happiness.
Hermione gently got out of bed careful not to wake the sleeping Draco, and got herself ready for her big day. Hermione wasn't as nervous as she thought she'd be. When she was ready she walked back into her bedroom to find the handsome naked Draco sitting up in her bed.
"Good morning." Draco said smiling at her looking extremely sexy.
"Well good morning sleeping beauty, I thought you'd never wake up." Hermione replied returning his sexy smile.
Hermione went to join him in bed…she still had some time before she had to be at the ministry.
"Are you calling me beautiful?" Draco asked playfully taking her in his arms.
"You are sort of good looking.."Hermione grinned coyly at him.
"Well you're gorgeous." Malfoy said kissing her ear lobe making her shiver with pleasure.
"Draco…" Hermione said after their lips parted.
"Yes, Hermione?" Draco asked her name on his lips still gave her butterflies.
"Last night…when you said you've always loved me…what did you mean?" Hermione asked curiously.
Draco pulled her closer to him as if he were afraid she was going to leave him.
"I meant…that I've always loved you Hermione. Ever since I first laid eyes on you at Hogwarts I knew you were different. I know I was the worst git imaginable…and I'll never forgive myself for it…but regardless of how I acted toward you..deep down I couldn't help myself from loving you. You are the smartest most beautiful and most interesting girl I've ever known." Draco finished.
"I…don't believe you." Hermione said finding it incredible that he claimed to have loved her at Hogwarts…there was no way.
"Hermione…you have to understand I was brought up to hate muggles and muggle borns…you were everything I'd always been taught to despise. I know that's not an excuse but it's why I acted the way that I did. I never in a million years thought I'd be lucky enough to have you in my arms..I certainly don't deserve you Hermione but you have no idea how unbelievable happy I am." Draco kissed her passionately.
Hermione still couldn't wrap her head around the idea that Malfoy loved her during their time at Hogwarts but she could agree that he was making her unbelievably happy as well.
"I have to go." Hermione said suddenly looking at her watch.
She wished she could stay in bed with Draco all day but she also knew how important this meeting was.
"You're going to do amazingly." Draco said gently stroking the hair out of her eyes.
"Mum! I'm home!"
"Shit!" Hermione cried as she heard her son enter the living room.
Malfoy jumped out of bed like lightning and Hermione scrambled to find his clothes throwing them at him.
"Ok, hunny!" Hermione yelled to her son.
"Bloody hell." Draco mumbled as Hermione threw his underpants hitting him in the face.
"Hurry!" Hermione whispered frantically. How could she have forgotten Hugo would be home this morning….how was she going to explain Draco to him.
Draco clothed himself in record time and Hermione kicked herself for letting her son see another man walk out of her bedroom. She didn't want him to find out this way…and she had no idea how he would react. This was a very sensitive situation…it had all happened in the heat of the moment but how could she not have considered this.
"Ok, come on." Hermione said opening her bed room door.
"Are you sure?" Draco asked unsure.
"No…but I don't think we have much choice." Hermione replied.
They walked out of her bedroom and found Hugo in the kitchen eating cereal.
"Morning Mum." Hugo said looking up only a moment from the back of an enchanted cereal box.
"Good morning sweet heart…this is Mr. Malfoy..from where I wo-" Hermione was cut off.
"Yeah I remember him."Hugo said not looking up from the box.
Hermione looked at Draco and he raised his eyebrows at her.
"Mum I'm going to Hustavo's house today, his mum is tutoring." Hugo said normally.
"O-oh…ok hunny. Well I'll see you tonight for dinner…I love you." Hermione kissed her son on the head.
"Bye mum, good luck on your meeting, love ya too." Hugo replied looking up to smile at his mother.
"Thank you darling, I love you more." Hermione said smiling back at her son.
"Bye mister." Hugo went back to his cereal box.
"Goodbye Hugo." Draco said carefully.
Hermione eyed Draco raising her eyebrows and they shrugged.
Hermione silently waved goodbye to Draco as he gave her a dazzling smile and walked across the threshold into the fireplace.
Hermione followed Draco shortly thereafter and was in the ministry moments later. She was early, thankfully. As she walked from the atrium she found a large group of house elves huddled together. Passing Ministry employees eyed them inquisitively, while others looked simply appalled at such a congregation. Hermione rolled her eyes at this but gave the group of elves a huge bright smile. She couldn't have been happier to see all of them.
"Good Morning everyone!" Hermione said genuinely.
"Good morning Hermione Granger." The majority of the elves spoke.
"You have no idea how grateful I am that you all took the time to participate, I know we'll all be able to make a difference together." Hermione beamed at them.
"We trust you Hermione Granger because you treat us like witches and wizards, and we'd like everyone to treat us as such." One of the youngest looking elves named Piper said.
"I would love nothing more then to make that happen for all of you." Hermione smiled feeling more than ever that she must succeed.
"Well let us go then, on to the meeting." This time the oldest looking elf named Grometh spoke leading the gathering toward the lift.
Hermione smiled and was obliged to follow in their wake.
Some time later, Hermione exited the board room and felt as though she were on top of the world. She had done it! They had done it. The Elves came piling out of the room after her and each one touched their forehead in a sort of saute toward Hermione. It was a sign of great respect coming from the elves and Hermione felt deeply touched. She felt she should be saluting them for undergoing lives of servitude as less than equals. This was for them, and Hermione was just grateful that she was able to help give it to them.
"Hermione Granger we will forever be grateful for what you have done for us today, something that no other has been compassionate enough to do." Grometh said to Hermione speaking for his fellow elves.
Hermione felt tears of happiness begging to swell in her eyes when she saw Draco come toward her. She let the tears fall as she met Draco and jumped into his arms.
"We did it!" Hermione said through her tears of happiness.
Draco put her down and looked into her eyes.
"I knew you would." He said ardently cupping her chin in his hand.
He kissed her softly and Hermione felt transported into another to a place where it was only she Draco.
They finally released each other and said goodbye to the elves.
"We have to celebrate." Draco said decidedly.
"Now?" Hermione laughed.
"Especially now." Draco grabbed her hand and led her toward the lift.
They only made it a few steps before the minister barged through the double doors and stopped them in their tracks.
"Mr. Malfoy I need to speak with you." The minister said looking seriously at Draco and raising his eyebrows slightly at their clasped hands.
"Yes, Minister." Draco replied gently releasing Hermione's hand.
"Meet me in the Atrium?" Malfoy asked Hermione quietly.
"Of course." She nodded in return.
Draco and the minister walked down the hallway and disappeared around the corner. Hermione proceeded toward the lift when Claudia Merkins head of the foreign regulations office came bustling through the double doors hands full of papers which were dropping all over the place.
"Miss Granger, good morning!" Claudia said breathlessly.
"Good morning Claudia, would you like a hand?" Hermione asked her already bending down to retrieve the fallen papers.
"Yes, dear thank you so much, if you could please help me get all this rubbish into my office." Claudia handed Hermione a large stack of papers.
"Right down this hallway dear." Hermione followed Claudia down the hallway in the direction Draco and the Minister had gone.
Hermione opened her office doors and helped her with her papers inside. After bidding farewell to Claudia Hermione shut her office door and turned to leave when something made her stop in her tracks.
She could hear the minister speaking in an angry voice.
"Now listen here.. you know very well what conditions you are allowed to be here serving us...now for the last time what of Halamer and Bendel?" The minister said angrily in a hushed voice.
"Minister I assure you I'm doing everything in my power to locate their whereabouts." Draco replied calmly.
"You better hope you do or you'll find yourself in a much different situation Malfoy." The minister said fuming.
Hermione could hear footsteps coming toward her. She stood frozen for a moment before running to the lift. She luckily made it there before Draco or the minister had seen her eavesdropping. Her stomach felt sick and her knees felt week as if they could buckle in. She didn't understand what she had overhead…Halamer..Bendel…those were two of the dark wizards present at her husbands death. What did the minister mean Draco was being allowed to serve them? What could he know about Halamer and Bendel that no one else did.
Hermione's head felt cloudy when she made it to the Atrium and she had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.
"Hermione!" Draco called after her.
She stopped and looked at him and he immediately knew something was wrong.
"What is it Hermione, are you alright?" Draco asked concerned.
"What did the minister mean Draco..? What do you know about Halamer and Bendel?" Hermione asked somewhat dazed.
"Hermione..not here come with me so I can explain." Draco had traces of worry on his face.
Hermione stood planted where she was…she suddenly wasn't sure she wanted to be going anywhere with Draco Malfoy though she wasn't sure exactly why yet.
"Please Hermione, come with me." Draco begged her.
Hermione followed him into a fireplace and moments later she was transported to the inside of a large and opulent room. She knew it was Draco's home.
"What did the minister mean Draco? Why was he saying those things to you?" Hermione asked more demanding this time.
"Hermione please…just hear me out." Draco looked sickly pale.
Hermione stood silently as the sickening feeling in her stomach grew stronger.
"Hermione, he had a son." Malfoy said seriously.
"Who..who had a son Draco..what are you talking about?" Hermione asked confused.
"Voldemort, Hermione. He had a son…no one knew…no one...until he came for us." Malfoy said looking somewhat crazed.
"Draco..that's just not possible." Hermione shook her head. It could not be true she thought.
"But it is. Voldemort sought him out toward the end… told him who he was…gave him…instructions." Malfoy said disgustedly.
"Instructions for what?" Hermione asked starting to feel fear creep up on her.
"To bring him back." Draco said looking at her seriously.
"It didn't work the first time… it went wrong. The spell backfired on him when the sacrifices were not made… he lost power. But it is only temporary…he will regain power what ever it takes…and when he does he will try again." Malfoy finished looking miserable.
"How…do you know all of this?" Hermione asked slowly backing away from him.
"Hermione…he called upon all living death eaters and others. He threatened our families…I felt I had no other choice." Draco said looking defeated.
Hermione backed away from Draco feeling she was going to be sick.
"My husband was murdered because of you." Hermione whispered.
"Hermione…please I'm so..so sorry about Ron…if I could bring him back for you…take his place..I would." Draco said with despair in his eyes.
"How are you at the ministry?" Hermione asked demanding an answer.
"I didn't go through with it Hermione...I backed out before the sacrifice. But I was still captured by the ministry…I've been interrogated for the past three years for information. Just recently they've decided to use me in the ministry…I'll be going under cover soon." Draco finished.
"How could you…I can't believe I fell for you!" Hermione bellowed.
"Hermione please.." Draco reached out for her but she was gone before he could take a step toward her.
Hermione felt ill…betrayed…lied to.
She collapsed on her bed and fell asleep for some time.
When Hermione awoke it was dark and she didn't want to move. She felt like she had woken up into a nightmare that would not go away. Draco…the man she thought she had loved was now a traitor to her. How could he have kept such a thing from her? She felt now more than ever that she had betrayed Ron.
Hermione slowly got out of bed and found a light on in her son's room. Hugo. She opened his door and found him sitting on his bed reading.
"Hugo honey I'm sorry…I wasn't feeling well..I didn't mean to sleep for so long." Hermione said feeling like a terrible mother yet agin.
"It's ok mum, I made some dinner..I left some for you in the fridge." Hugo smiled at his mother.
"Thank you dear." Hermione smiled back at her son.
Hermione went back to her bedroom and easily fell into a deep slumber. She was glad to escape from reality for just a bit longer.
Over the next month Thanksgiving had come and gone and Hermione was busy at the ministry getting her new department in order. It would come to fruition in the new year so there was a lot of work to be done.
Hermione had not seen Malfoy once since their conversation in his home, she supposed he had gone undercover like he told her he soon would be doing. She thought some about what he had told her about Voldemort's son and felt dread spread through her until she convinced herself not to get too worked up. Hermione told herself she was glad Malfoy was gone and tried her best to keep her emotions at bay and remove him from her life. But she knew she was devastated and nothing seemed to console her.
Hermione told herself that she hated Malfoy but this only caused her to hate herself because she knew deep down it wasn't true. The longer he was absent from the ministry the more she found herself wondering his whereabouts and worrying about his safety. She did everything she could to suffocate these feelings.
Hermione was all out of sorts and she wished with all her might that she could go back to the way she was before she had invited Malfoy back into her life. She found she was sleeping all the time now, and felt sluggish and moody when she was awake. A dark cloud of depression seemed to consumed her.
Another work week came to an end and Hermione was headed to The Burrow after work. It was Molly's birthday and the family was getting together to celebrate. Lately Hermione had felt overwhelming isolated wanting nothing more than to curl up in her bed and fall asleep at the day's end, but she missed her family and she knew it would be good for her to get out and spend some quality time with them.
Hermione made it to the Burrow and was greeted warmly by her family. She found Mrs. Weasley "relaxing" in the living room as she kissed her on the cheek wishing her a happy Birthday.
"Oh thank you dear!" Molly chimed looking a bit anxious in her seat.
"Arthur absolutely insisted that I sit back and relax while he prepares dinner…but he just doesn't know were a thing is and…"
"I'll go check on him." Hermione smiled at her realizing the case for her uneasiness.
Hermione walked into the kitchen and got an overwhelming whiff of something in the air. She found Arthur a bit frantic with sweat on his brow running from one boiling pot to another.
"Why Hello Hermione!" Arthur beamed at her.
"I've got quite the feast brewing." Arthur said though he sounded somewhat unsure of himself.
Hermione walked closer but the stench became stronger and she felt a wave of nausea roll over her.
"I'm sure it will be just..just delicious Arth-" Hermione stopped in mid speech putting a hand over her mouth and ran for the restroom.
Hermione made it just in time kneeling to the floor and hugging the toilet. She vomited several times and sat there until her nausea began to subside. She groaned. Hermione couldn't remember the last time she had been sick and hated the feeling of vomiting. She figured she must have gotten some kind of stomach bug as she sat there resting her queasy stomach for a bit longer hoping it would stop.
As Hermione sat on the bathroom floor she noticed the bathroom cabinet slightly ajar displaying a box of tampons that she knew Rose had probably left over in case she was in need of one while visiting. Hermione stared at them a moment and then felt her sick stomach drop with dread. Hermione couldn't remember the last time she had received her period. She sat on the floor frantically trying to account for her last period but she could not remember. But given her current state and how many things that had happened in the last month she knew it was likely that she just simply couldn't remember or perhaps she hadn't even gotten it due to stress. It wouldn't be the first time. Hermione felt a sense of relief as she convinced herself out of anything serious yet a bit of doubt still lay deep in the pit of her stomach.
The following day was Saturday and Hermione was spending it with with Hugo at Harry and Ginny's. Harry was on official ministry business So it was just she Hugo and Ginny. They were having fun making Christmas cards for friends and family. Hermione was still feeling a bit ill but to her relief she felt the worst of it had passed.
Ginny had gone to fetch a snack form the kitchen and returned with a bowl of carmel popcorn. Hermione felt another wave of nausea come over her as she sniffed the aroma from the freshly cooked popcorn. It did not smell right and Hermione thought perhaps somehow it had gone bad. Ginny raised her eyebrows at Hermione questioningly as she rushed to the restroom and vomited sinking to the floor groaning. She couldn't wait until she was over this dreadful stomach bug.
Hermione felt the nausea slowly subside and she careful picked herself up from the floor to the sink. She looked in the mirror and could tell that she was not looking well. She was strangely pale and she had broken into a cold sweat. Hermione splashed water on her face and began to rummage through the drawers to find some toothpaste hoping to rinse her mouth with it. Hermione found to the toothpaste next to a box of unused pregnancy tests in the drawer. She stopped dead as the bit of doubt began to creep back up on her. Before she could contemplate it any further Hermione had the slim stick in her hand and quickly sat down and peed on it following proper procedure. She knew how silly this was and wanted to get it over with so that she could confirm that she was just ill from some sort of stomach virus.
Hermione sat on the edge of the tub…she had to wait three minutes for the results to pop up on the little rectangular screen. A plus sign for positive and a minus sign for negative. Simple enough. With every passing minute Hermione felt herself become more and more nervous until she felt she need to throw up again. The alarm on Hermione's watch beeped indicating that the three minutes were up. Hermione slowly reached for the test feeling entirely too nervous. Hermione's stomach dropped to floor and suddenly she knew she was going to be sick again as she lunged for the toilet.
"Hermione.." she heard Ginny softly rapping at the door. "Are you alright?"
Ginny opened the door finding Hermione hugging the toilet.
"Oh Hermione you look awful, can I get you something?" Ginny asked sympathetically.
Hermione didn't answer but instead felt tears forming in her eyes and felt them slowly streaming down her face.
Ginny looked at her worriedly until her eyes met the slim stick that Hermione had dropped to the floor.
Ginny Carefully picked up the test and read it's results eyes widening.
"Hermione…."Ginny said clearly shocked.
She bent down and pushed back strands of Hermione's hair looking her in the eyes.
"It's him isn't?" Ginny asked quietly looking at Hermione for an answer.
Hermione looked up at her despairingly but felt a lump in her throat keeping her from uttering a single word.
But Hermione knew that Ginny could she the truth in her eyes.