Hermione stared out the window anxiously, peering through the darkness for any sign of movement. They should have been back by now. They should have been back hours ago. It was a simple operation. Go in, kill the traitorous mediwizard who knew too much for his own good and come back. Why were they taking so long? Something must have gone wrong. If it were a simple set back, he would have informed his father. But when she had gone and asked Lucius about it almost three hours ago, he said that he knew nothing.
She let out a sigh as she stroked a hand over her belly. At almost nine months, she was experiencing the most extreme back pain that pregnancy promoted. She couldn’t wait at the window any longer or she was sure that her back would give out. Resigning herself to bed, she lay awake despite her sore body crying out for rest. How could she rest in times like these? The war was taking hold. There hadn’t been a day in the last month where Draco hadn’t been called out on an emergency assignment. Most of them assassinations. Traitors to their cause, people who had seen or heard something that they shouldn’t have. Hermione didn’t know what to think of all the killing that was happening, and in truth, she didn’t care. All she cared about was greeting her husband every time he came back with a kiss. She dreaded the day that she might not see him come back…
Despite her constant worrying, her exhaustion soon got the better of her and the next thing she knew, the gentle rocking of the bed woke her. Startled, she rolled over to see…
"Draco!" she said, levering herself up onto her elbow. His hair was wet and his face pale in the moonlight, but she guessed that he had just gotten out of the shower.
"I’m sorry … I didn’t mean to wake you-" he apologised, leaning over and planting a quick kiss on her forehead with the intention of then rolling over and going to sleep.
"Where have you been? You were meant to be back ages ago! What happened?!" she asked worriedly.
"I know – I’m sorry I couldn’t send word, there was a bit of trouble…"
"How much trouble?"
"Four Auror’s of trouble. They were unexpected … we lost Harris and Trip." he said, bowing his head as he delivered the news of the loss of two of his good men. Only five had gone one the assignment, Draco included. To be greeted by four Auror’s – it was a miracle that they made it out alive.
"Oh Draco … I’m sorry…" Hermione said soothingly as she wrapped her arms around him. "They were good men – they died for what they believed in … and they believed that they were fighting for a cause…
"I know … I know." He sighed as he pulled her closer, despite the large baby bump that was settled between them. She wanted to be the one to hold him close and let his troubles fall away, but the aching in her back returned and made it too uncomfortable for her to stay in that position. Gasping a little, she pulled away. "What’s the matter?" he asked, a slight expression of concern clouding his features.
"Oh, it’s just this horrid back pain. I’m telling you; the sooner this baby decides to come, the better! Then I can have my body back…" she grimaced as her hand ran over the small of her back, massaging the tender spot beneath the skin. Draco’s spare hand looped around her waist to touch her back also and rub it gently as well. "Mmm, that’s good…" she moaned happily as his hands worked at the small of her back.
"Not long now, and soon enough you’ll be a mum … I still can’t get used to the idea…" Draco said calmly as he continued to rub the spot in the small of her back.
"Hmm, what? What, you can’t get used to the idea of me being a mum?" she asked incredulously. Draco laughed a little then bit his tongue at the sight of her shocked expression.
"No! No, not at all! I meant that I can’t get used to the idea that within a couple of weeks, there’s going to be a baby here. Not just any baby – but mine … ours..." he said, a look of awe coming over his face. She smiled at him. It was something that she had been thinking about a lot lately as well. She was already a mum in her own mind, twice. But soon enough, she’d have the proof – a tiny baby boy to hold in her arms and marvel at. A little wizard to wake up in the middle of the night and scream bloody murder. Her own little human that she could claim as her own and never let go. "Anyway, it’s late, lay down and we’ll try and get to sleep…" Draco commented, bashing the pillow with his fist hoping to fluff it up a bit. "Honestly, I don’t know what those house elves are doing with their time!"
"Misfit’s looking fairly old these days, maybe he’s not getting around very well…" Hermione commented as she lied down next to Draco and he placed his hands around her waist to continue rubbing her back. He made to shrug his shoulders as if to he didn’t really care one way or the other, and then placed a single kiss on her forehead before snuggling himself close to her body, where together, they fell asleep within moments.
It could have been minutes or hours later and Hermione wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference, but she woke with an uncomfortable pressure in her groin. At first she thought she could forget it and go back to sleep, but half an hour later, she was still trying to get comfortable with the new pulsating feeling that was growing in her pelvis. She decided to get up and walk a little to hopefully ease the pressure a little. A thought niggled at the corner of her mind but she dismissed it easily. She wasn’t due for another week or so, this couldn’t be the start of labour – no way!
‘Maybe your going to have a premature baby? It is possible…’ the voice in her head told her in the same know-it-all voice that people had put up with for so long. Thankyou head! She paced back and forth across the room while Draco slept on through her panic, but after fifteen more minutes, the pressure had turned into a dull ache, not sore, just noticeable enough to really annoy Hermione. She checked the time at 4.02AM and sat down in the wicker chair that sat in the corner of Draco’s room rubbing her belly gently.
"Come on, calm down. Your getting too excited, you’re early – I’m not ready for this yet…" she whispered to her unborn baby. He gave a little kick in protest of her words, and she felt him move slightly. He had dropped down in the womb a few weeks earlier, but that was expected. This was not. Over the next half an hour, the ache slowly escalated in severity until it was quite noticeable and Hermione began to time the regularity of it’s coming and going. She knew for sure that she was in labour now, and at 4.49AM she decided that it was time to wake Draco. "Draco?" she said quietly. There was no response, for he was quite a heavy sleeper. "Draco, wake up!" she said a little louder.
"Mmm-hhh…" he mumbled and rolled over. Hermione groaned and grabbed the small cushion off the chair and ditched it across the room. I smacked into his shoulder, but still he slept on. She wasn’t game enough to move across the room and wake him up because she could feel the ache coming on again. She got another idea and snapped her fingers in mid air, and a moment later a very old and dirty looking house elf called Misfit appeared next to her chair.
"Misfit, can you please wake up my husband? I need him…" she ordered, the elf hesitated for a moment. She was in no mood for his delays. "If you don’t, then you’ll be delivering my child – how bout that?!" she said scathingly and the ugly elf screwed up his nose in disgust, and without a word, moved over beside Draco and started poking and nudging him awake. He moaned and groaned, but still didn’t wake up. Hermione was completely fed up by now and snapped. "DRACO! WAKE UP!" she screeched. This time he sat bolt up-right in bed and looked around groggily.
"Wha… what?!" he stuttered, looking first to her side of the bed and then hurriedly around the room until he saw her in the chair in the corner. "Hermione … what are you do-" he started, but as her face screwed up in concentration as she breathed her way through the latest aches, he leapt out of bed. "Oh Merlin … is this it? When? How? Misfit!!!"
"Yes master?" asked the ugly elf standing at knee height beside Draco, sketchily glancing between Hermione and Draco.
"Go and wake my mother…" Draco ordered, but the elf hesitated once again.
"But Sir, Master Malfoy will certainly be angered if woken this early in the morn-"
"I could care less, now go!" Draco barked at the terrified elf, who despite his reservations, disappeared in a moment. Draco knelt down next to Hermione. "Hey, how you feeling?" he asked carefully, a nervous smile playing across his face. Hermione sniggered a little.
"I’m ok, it’s not too bad really, just uncomfortable…" she smiled. A moment later, the door burst open and in waltzed Narcissa, her hair in curlers and her silver nightgown wrapped tightly around her bony frame.
"Well, how are you feeling? Are the contractions regular? Merlin girl, what are you doing sitting down?! You should be walking – come on, up with you!" she ordered and Hermione was lifted out of her chair and made to walk back and forth across the room.
"Really, Narcissa, it’s fine. I don’t feel too bad – it comes and it goes, but it doesn’t hurt too much…" Hermione reasoned as she was dragged back and forth across the room while Draco watched on nervously from his spot beside the wicker chair.
"Nonsense! You may not be feeling it now, but soon enough it will get worse and you’ll be thankful for this chance to walk." she snapped and Hermione felt that all she could do was follow her orders. She paced back and forth with Narcissa by her side until she ordered Draco to come up and take her spot. They talked about all sorts of things, but as the time wore on, Hermione felt the aching slowly turn into a sharper pain that reached all the way to her knees. At these times, Draco remained quiet as Hermione learnt to breathe her way through the pain. Only Narcissa kept on talking, giving her gentle guidance in dealing with the pain. Soon enough, the time came when Hermione found it too hard to walk through the pain, and so she sat back down in her wicker chair.
Draco was so unsure of himself. For once in his life – he felt completely useless. She was in pain, hurting from the inside – and there was completely nothing that he could do to take it away. He got her some water but she turned it down flat as she started to focus on another bout of contractions. He stroked her hair back out of her face, but she didn’t seem to notice. It killed him to see her suffer and yet with all his power, he couldn’t do anything to stop it. He paced back and forth as his mother attended to her and at five twenty, his father finally poked his head through the door and beckoned Draco outside.
"How is she faring?" Lucius asked as Draco closed the door behind them. Draco shook his head in dismay.
"Mother say’s she’s doing fine, and the contractions are quickening … she says it wont be long…" he said tiredly rubbing his eyes. Draco’s father didn’t even look at him as he said it, but watched the closed door behind Draco carelessly as if he didn’t even care. "It’s just that … I’m useless. I’m not helping, every time I try to do something … she pushes me away…"
"Draco! Stop your moping! Right now, your wife is having your child – the child that will change our way of life forever! He is the chosen one!" Lucius barked in a hushed tone, snapping Draco out of his self-pity. Watching his son’s face for a moment, he then changed his tone and spoke to Draco more calmly. "Listen, Draco, I know it’s hard. She’s in pain and you want to be the one to take it away. You can’t. Get over it. But she needs you more than she lets on. She’s not in her right mind right now. She’s trying to get through the pain the best way she can … but she still needs you there more than anything. If … if she loves you like I think she does, then she just wants you there with her…" It was the most open he had ever heard his father be. Narcissa suddenly interrupted them as she threw the door open; her eyes growing wide upon finding them both out in the hall.
"There you are! Hurry up and get back in here!" she said angrily at Draco and dragged him into the room. Before the door was slammed behind him, he caught one final glimpse of his father, and gave him a curt nod. He would be there for her. Even if it was the only thing he could do successfully, there was no way he would let her down.
Author's Note: Well, it took me about nine months - but I'm getting there. I'm sorry I took so long - but I don't think sorry covers it at this stage. So instead I'm just going to shut up with my apologies and keep on writing and then eventaully get around to answering some reviews.
P.S. Whats with the new chapter editor? I hate it! It's too stupid!
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