Hermione wasn’t fine though. Over the next few days she noticed that every morning she’d be puking her brains out, and feel absolutely fine for the rest of the day. She was no fool and every time she was hanging over the bathroom sink, she wondered if these were signs of a much bigger problem. But she always pushed those thoughts out of her head. It was probably just her body’s reaction to something she ate; she was being paranoid. But as the days went on she became more and more worried. And now there weren’t even any exams to preoccupy her when her mind would drift towards those ideas. It couldn’t be Ron’s; she knew that. As far as he was concerned she was still a virgin; he knew nothing of Aristo and she’d never bother to tell him about Viktor from the year before. She found herself crying herself to sleep these nights.
Life only seemed to get worse as the days went by. Harry was easily irritated and Ron as clueless as ever. The small things she once found so adorable were now just bothersome; such as the big chopping noises he made while chewing, the way his face twisted into confusion if Hermione used a big word in conversation, and worst his erratic breathing pattern. God at some moments it felt like she could strangle the red headed boy standing in front of her. These were the things Hermione Granger felt as her sixth school year was drawing to a close.
The night Harry contacted her through the old D.A coins; she’d been sitting by the fire writing to Aristo. His presence was the only thing able to calm her. Hermione was just getting ready to finish her letter when the galleon began to feel warm against her thigh. Quickly reading it she raced from the Gryffindor common room and down stairs where Deatheaters confronted her. By now however, Ron, Luna, Ginny, and Neville had also joined her. A few teachers were already in the process of fighting them off, Professor Snape amongst them.
The battle, which began almost instantly, seemed long and endless. Minutes felt like hours as Hermione dodged multiple spells at once. One Deatheater sent the killing curse at Ginny who managed to barely dodge it as Hermione stunned him in the back. After making sure Ginny was all right through simple head nods, she returned to fighting off the particularly large one who had come her way; he obviously had to be the father of Crabbe or Goyle. Hermione must have been the only one to see Snape also follow along with the Deatheaters fleeing from the scene. She ran after him hoping to set him on fire for betraying the Order. By the time she reached the grounds however, all she saw was Harry stumbling along the ground ahead. She ran to him and turned him to face her; she’d seen Harry angry before but never had his eyes been ignited with such a present rage.
“I’ll kill him!” he was screaming. “I swear Hermione I’ll kill him if it’s the last damn thing I do!”
Hermione held on to him and looked him straight in the eyes although it was painful, “Harry what happened?” she asked him.
“Snape killed him! He killed Dumbledore! That ungrateful brute after all Dumbledore’s done for him, he still had the nerve!” Harry was shaking now. The anger was still in his eyes but there was pain there too. Hermione tightly hugged him as he cried onto her shoulder. “This is it Hermione. This is the last straw; Voldemort’s never going to take another person from me again!” he said through tears.
“I know Harry,” she whispered in his ear. “I know”.
* * * *
The day of Dumbledore’s funeral was probably one of the worst in Hermione’s life. She had cried on Ron’s shoulder throughout the entire ceremony. The biggest moment for her however was the promise she’d made to Harry. She said she’d stick by his side until the end of either the war or her life whichever came first. Now, sitting in the bathroom at the Burrow Hermione felt terrible. She hadn’t known what she did now when she made that promise. Hermione looked down at bright pink magenta potion in the basin she was holding. It had been a pregnancy potion she got in Diagon Ally. It was originally green and was only supposed to turn pink if she was pregnant. Her mind went blank for a moment. She felt numb surrounded by the dull painting on the wall. The only face she could think of was Aristo’s. Everything was a blur but his face was painted clearly in her mind. She walked back into her room where she grabbed some parchment and a quill. She sat down at the desk and quickly scribbled a note to him. She told him she needed to see him urgently, but made sure not to mention why. She went to bed almost immediately after crying herself to sleep once again; only this time her worst fear had been confirmed.
The next morning at breakfast Hermione could barely touch her food. Instead she focused on Mrs. Weasley bustling around for the wedding, cooking, cleaning, and making sure all of her children were fed. Was she ready for that? Was she ready to be in charge of another’s life? Could she handle all the responsibilities that came with motherhood? Well of course she could one day, but not now, now she was as far from ready as she could be. Her thoughts were interrupted however when Aristo’s tiny bird came whizzing through the window.
I’ll meet you in the park by the Waterloo station at midnight. Be there. Aristo.
She gave the owl a treat before setting it on its way. “Hermione what’s the letter about? Who’s it from?” Ron questioned her with a concerned look on his face.
“It’s nothing Ronald. I’m not feeling too well though I think I should just rest for the day”. Ron nodded and with that Hermione got up and went to her room she began to think about how she would tell him about their unborn child.
Night arrived too fast for Hermione’s comfort. It was almost as if she’d slept through the entire day with her eyes open. When she looked at the clock near her bed that read 11:30, she stood swiftly and changed into a pair of jeans a t-shirt. Grabbing her wand of the nightstand, she apparated to the park to meet Aristo. She got there less than five minutes later, but she needed the time to think about exactly what she would say to him. Hey Aristo you remember that first night? Well…- Guess what dude, you’re going to be a dad!. Hermione couldn’t think of the right way to tell him, and when she saw his body appear amongst the shadows, she felt as if she could just lean in and cry on his chest all night long. But instead she kept reminding herself that she had to hold it together; she had to be strong.
“Hey babe,” Aristo said walking up towards her. He kissed her softly on the lips before wrapping his arms around her body. “So what’s up?”
Hermione took a step back from him while looking down at the floor. She refused to look into his face. “I’ve got something to tell you,” she said, “I think…no I know I’m…I’m pregnant”. The silence that followed was deafening surrounded by tension thick enough to be cut with a knife. Aristo released a loud sigh breaking through the stillness and ran his fingers over his hair.
“So what are we gonna do?” Aristo asked. Hermione looked into his face for the first time and saw not only genuine concern but a bit of excitement.
“I’m not sure what I want to do,” she whispered.
“Well, no matter what decision you make, I’ll always be there for you,” Aristo responded. They were no sitting on the bench, Aristo’s hand resting on Hermione’s knee, squeezing it in a supportive fashion.
“What do you think we should do? I don’t want to kill it but what choice do we have?”
Hermione asked with tears coming to her eyes. “If anyone finds out about us having a child, especially Voldemort, it’d probably be murdered”. The pain in her voice was undeniable. This was obviously a hard choice for her.
“Who says anyone has to know?” Aristo asked.
“What do you mean?” Hermione replied.
“I mean, I love you Hermione and I want to be with you forever. What if we ran away from here? What if we got married and had this baby somewhere where nobody could find us. I have truck loads of money, you know I could take care of all of us.”
Hermione looked at him. “But where would we go Aristo?”
He smiled. “I never told anyone where I reside. All they know is I live somewhere in America. And I live in a muggle town anyway, so even if Lucius ever felt the need to track me down there’s no way he could find me. If you come and stay with me, you’ll be safe. I promise you. I want to have the baby Hermione; I don’t want to wonder what if for the rest of my life. I love you, and I’ll always love you; I just want a chance to love my child too”.
Tears were now running down Hermione’s face. “But when would we leave?”
“Tonight, right now!” Aristo answered. “You have your wand right?” Hermione nodded.
“Well than we can just go. I mean think about it, no one will know you’re with me. We could get married and plan our life together. You can even go to school if you want to, and I can get a good paying muggle job. Hermione you have to trust me on this, it’s the best solution.”
Hermione looked into Aristo’s pleading eyes. He was right, it was the best solution; and Hermione had always wanted to see America. She loved him with all her heart, and would give anything to be with him. But could she just give up her life here to go off and start anew? Yes, she decided. “Yes,” her voice echoed, “I’ll come with you”.
Aristo’s smile grew wide as he embraced her in her hug before passionately kissing her tender lips. He pulled away and flicked his wand; two tickets for the next flight from Heathrow suddenly appeared in his hands. They smiled at one another as Aristo grabbed hold of her hand. They then apparated to Heathrow airport, where Hermione and Aristo got on the plane leaving for JFK Airport at 1:15 am. Hermione sat on the plane, the whole way thinking of the new peaceful life she would live with the love of her life.