Chapter 14 : Day of Discoveries
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"Right after they took her away a woman showed up at my door wanting to talk about the trial and my part in it." Draco explained to Nilia as they sat in her fathers study. "I just have to be there to testify that we were supposed to get married and if I knew about any of the bribing on my fathers part. I don't see them getting away with it. Do you?"
Nilia watched him take a sip of coffee and sighed, "It would be ridiculous if they did. Once they had the pensieve memory and the tape recorder they went straight to work. Asked us to leave and that they could take over from there. I heard from Hermione, who was eavesdropping that they arrested Mrs. Zabini first, then Blaise, and lastly Pansy. They raided the Zabini residence and found a letter that she started to write to your mother. About how sorry she was that you passed so soon. Plus a ton of other evidence. Weird huh?"
He nodded. "I can't believe you guys pulled if off. It's amazing. I am still in shock though. Not sure what to expect from this trial."
She grew silent and tapped the table trying to avoid the conversation about Nicholas. All she did was worry about this. The court would most likely find a suitable home for Nicholas, but she wanted him to be able to be with his father. But Draco was not going to get married anytime soon. She thought about asking Molly and Arthur if they could take him in until they found someone else, but they were going to Egypt soon and wouldn't have time. And in the midst of all this, she had a Order Ball to go to that night and hadn't even thought about it. Fred had been running errands the last few days, so she barely saw him. She would try to change the subject. "How is your mom taking this?"
"Alright I guess. We are just both really worried about Nicholas." He ran his hand through his hair. "What do you think she was going to do with him when she killed me?"
There he goes, mentioned that subject she didn't want talk about. And apparently they hadn't gave him all the details. She prayed for someone to walk in the study and distract them from the answer, but moments passed and she sighed and told him about what Blaise's mother had planned. "So, his mother didn't want the child." She finished the story with.
She looked up and tears ran down his face. Which caused the same to happen to her. For the next hour she told him that she would never let anything like that happen to Nicholas and that she would do anything to keep him safe. She just hoped that she was able to keep her promise.
Molly scanned her group of kids making sure they all looked good enough for the ball. Each had a brand new robe on, thanks to Fred and George. They had surprised everyone with a new one that morning. "Mum, it's the least we could do." They explained. Her eyes welled up at the thought of all of her kids growing up. Each had a new life now, and soon Ginny would be out of the house.
"Mum, don't cry." Ginny threw her arms around her mother.
"You just all look so...grownup." She babbled between her tears.
"Because we are." George flung his arm around his mothers shoulders. "And remember, Fred will be much more grown up after tonight."
Molly smiled and looked over at Fred. She was so proud of what he was doing. For a number of reasons. He had changed into a great man over the last couple years. And he knew that part of it was thanks to Nilia. Never in a million years did she imagine that Fred would be proposing to Nilia tonight in front of all of the elder wizards and those closest to him. Which reminded her...
"Are we picking Nilia up?"
"Nah, she went with Hermione since it's her last night in town. They wanted to see eachother before all of the chaos of the ball ensued." Fred explained while rummaging around in his pocket. "Mum?"
Molly walked towards her son and saw a concerned look on his face. "What's wrong?"
"Do you think I should do this?"
"Do you want to do this?" She asked while straightening his robe.
He nodded and blushed. "I love her so much. Can't imagine not doing it."
"See, there's your answer." Pinching his cheek she turned around and gathered her whole lot up.
Nilia cried while hugging Hermione. "Do you have to go? I mean, can't you do it later?"
Hermione laughed while crying also. "I could, but it may not be there later. Plus, I will come back even smarter!"
"You're already smart." She clung to her more.
"I know." She giggled and they pulled apart. "We should get ready."
"Bleh, I am going to look terrible." Nilia complained as she walked into the bathroom to freshen up.
"I doubt it!" chimed her best friend.
"Nothing a wand won't help, I suppose." She flicked her wand and her hair turned into curls above her shoulders. Her makeup was light but noticeable.
She then pulled on her dress robes over her black dress and took a look in the mirror. "Alright, you can do this." She said to herself and pulled her shoes on. Looking into the mirror once more she was glad that she looked decent. Since that morning she had woken up feeling terrible. She figured it was the chinese takeout from the night before because less than ten minutes of being awake she ran into the bathroom and vomited. She of course didn't find it to be a huge deal since the place they got the food from was a little shady. Smoothing her robes down once more she stepped into the living room.
Walking out she stopped when she saw Hermione. Her hair was pulled up with some curls down. Her blue dress robes made her look radiant and her makeup gave her a glow. "You look great."
"Back at you kid." Hermione laughed and plopped down on the bed eyeing her best friend. She noticed how pale Nilia looked when she arrived. After asking Nilia she explained about the bad food and she left it at that. But everyone knows that when a female wakes up throwing up it means something else. But she wasn't going to approach that situation right now. Not when Fred was planning on proposing tonight. "I am sad that I don't get to see the trial."
"I'd rather not go, but Fred said I need to be there to support Draco." She said sadly thinking about Nicholas.
Then as if Hermione read her thoughts, "Nicholas will be fine. He'll be put with great parents until Draco can legally have him back."
Nilia stood up and grabbed her purse. "I hope so."
Hermione walked behind her and muttered an incantation. When a soft pink glow appeared on the end of her wand she did a quick little dance and smiled all the way to the ball.
The room was decorated in blue and silver. Soft music was playing in the background but mostly all you could hear were groups of wizards talking. Candles were on the ceiling, a favorite of many wizards, but mostly Dumbledore. Members of the Order, their loved ones, and Hogwarts Staff could be found clumped into groups in this room. The dance floor stood in the center and a few couples danced elegently to the very soft music. To the side of the room stood a table of mass proportions. Food filled every spot. At the end, a chocolate fountain flowed while a few young wizards kept sticking their fingers in it. A man stood next to it, handing out glasses of wine. And lecturing the underage wizards who "shouldn't even think of drinking."
Fred stood with Percy at the door waiting for Nilia to arrive. She owled and said they were running late because of girl stuff. Which meant her and Hermione took their time getting ready because they were gossiping. He was terribly nervous and not because of the amount of people who would witness his proposal, but of her father standing to the side watching. And the fact that she could say no, it's too soon. He has asked Severus, no Proffessor Snape if he could take her hand in marriage. All he did was nod, and what Fred thought was the start of a smile. He broke from his thoughts and listened to Percy complain about pregnancy with his wife.
Nilia stood in the hall nervous. There was a feeling in her stomach and she couldn't get rid of it. Damn chinese takeout she thought to herself...
Hermione had already gone in, so she was expected to come in soon she figured. Why was she nervous, it was like a dance. A get-together. All she wanted to do was find Fred and mingle with him all night. She took a deep breath and walked in.
She was a vision. Her green robes made her look radiant. It felt like he fell in love with her all over again.
He looked nervous, but handsome in his black dress robes with a ruffled shirt and black pants underneath. She felt like she fell in love with him all over again.
They smiled at eachother and met halfway across the room.
"You are gorgeous." He whispered in her ear. Then kissed her lips softly. He pulled away and saw a tear run down her cheek. She looked a little pale but figured it was just nervousness. "Why so sad?"
"I just thought about how much I love you and how you put up with so much. It made me so happy, I started crying." She wrapped her arms around his waist. "And you look handsome tonight. As always."
They smiled at eachother and Fred led her onto the dance floor.
"Look at them." Molly exclaimed to Dumbledore. "They are perfect for eachother."
"Indeed." He said softly and thought back to when they were in Hogwarts courting eachother. It was funny, even for him. The looks they gave eachother. He knew that this indeed would happen, and any love that can survive a year apart without communication would last forever. "Is he doing it tonight?"
She looked over at him wide-mouthed. "How did you know?"
He chuckled softly, "Well, I hear things. Plus, he looks nervous. He kept reaching in his pocket for something. Or checking to make sure it's still there."
Ron scanned the room for someone to talk to. He found Hermione standing alone by the chocolate fountain. No, he wasn't going to talk to her, but she looked so beautiful. No Ron, he thought to himself. But he found his legs moving towards her. He peered around for Harry and found him talking to George.
Alright, you can do this. We were great friends. He reached her. "Hermione, how are you?"
She looked up at him and started crying, "I missed you so much!"
"Oh, you know I hate it when you cry!" He enveloped her in a hug.
Harry looked over and saw Ron and Hermione in an embrace. Heat rose to his face but stood where he was. He didn't want to cause anything at the ball. In front of all these people. But what he saw between them was friendship when they pulled away from the hug. They stood there and joked around, and he even caught
Ron checking out a blonde girl that walked by them. Hermione nudged for him to go talk to her. Harry smiled to himself. Maybe everything was ok. He excused himself from George and walked over to Hermione.
"You two ok now?" Harry asked as he planted a kiss on her forehead.
She nodded and started crying again. "I have to leave tomorrow."
"Oh." He said and embraced her. "It's alright. Shhh...don't cry."
"But we wasted so much time on this stupid fight and now I dont get to spend time with either of you!!" Hermione wailed and buried her head in Harry's chest.
He laughed and smoothed hair down. "Make the most out of it now."
She looked up and kissed him gently on the lips. "Will you talk to him?" She gestured towards Ron.
Harry shifted uncomfortably and looked at Ron also. "I don't know, it's just weird."
Her crying grew louder and he felt a pit in his stomach. He knew that he needed to make up with Ron to not only make things better between him and Hermione, but so that he could have his best friend back. He knew how stupid he had acted but he didn't want to admit it. He looked back over at Ron who was now talking to Remus Lupin. "Alright." He kissed her gently on the cheek. He moved towards Ron and took a deep breath.
"Fred?" Nilia looked up at him and kissed him on the lips. "Where is the restroom?"
He looked down at her and saw her face even paler. "It's over past the fountain." He took her hand. "You alright?"
"The chinese food made me sick." She led him towards the bathroom.
"Umm-" He was about to respond when she broke her hand away from him and ran to the bathroom. Looking for Hermione he motioned her over. "Can you see if she's ok?"
Hermione smiled and nodded. "No problem."
Fred took notice of this quickly and pulled her back before she got to the restroom door. "What was the look for?"
She shook her head. "Oh, it was nothing. I am just happy about this night."
"Sure..." He responded and let her arm go. George stood next to him and they watched Hermione bounce into the bathroom. "George?"
"Yep?" George took a sip from his glass of wine.
"Did the takeout from last night make you sick?" He asked while rubbing the back of his neck.
His twin finished off the wine and set the glass down on a table nearby. "Nope. You?"
"Nope." Fred answered quietly and found somewhere to sit.
"You ok?" Hermione knocked on the stall door.
"Hmmm..." Nilia answered.
"Come out sweety." Her friend responded and stood back for Nilia to come out. When she opened the door her face looked terrible. Sweat dripped down the side of her face and she looked even paler. "Not the takeout is it?"
Nilia turned the water and washed her face off. "What else would it be Mione?"
When she didn't receive a response she looked into the mirror and saw her best friend standing behind her with her hands on her hips. She could tell by the look on her face that she knew something and wanted Nilia to confess to it. She spun around and steadied herself before answering her friend. "What?"
"Did you guys use the contraception potion?" She asked quickly.
"What?" Nilia panicked. "We did-" She thought for a moment and stood there shocked. "How could I forget?"
Hermione smiled and jumped up and down. "You are pregnant!"
"NO!" She sunk to the floor. "No, how do you know?"
Looking up she saw Hermione sit down in front of her and wave her wand. Muttering an incantation. The end of her wand turned pink. And in that instant Nilia felt dizzy and lost her breath. Hermione laughed and poured a glass of water for her and handed it over. "what are you going to do?"
Nilia didn't have the breath to even answer that question. She was in shock. How would she tell Fred? Let alone her father? And Molly? She was dead, she knew it. Maybe Hermione didn't do the spell right?
"How can we be absolutely sure?" muttered Nilia.
"My incantation is correct." Hermione patted her friend on the back and saw panic all over her face. "But if you want we can do a pregnancy test done by muggles. Will only take minutes. No one will know we're gone."
Nilia didn't say anything. Instead she nodded and stood up slowly. They disaparrated to Hermione's parents house and went in search of a pharmacy.
Fred had made his way back into the crowd with George when they realized that the girls were taking forever in the bathroom. They found Ron and Harry actually talking so they made their way over to them. "This is a sight we like to see." Fred announced as they shook Harry's hand.
Harry and Ron both smiled and asked where the girls were.
George rolled his eyes. "Being girls in the bathroom. Nilia was sick from the takeout last night, been sick all day I guess."
They nodded and talked about Quidditch until Arthur joined them, setting his hand on Fred's shoulder. "Soon?"
Fred nodded, "I figured after Albus did his speech."
Arthur smiled, "Can I talk to you son?"
Fred agreed and they made their way over the chocolate fountain. "What's going on dad?"
"Nothing." He responded. "I was just actually wondering something?"
He looked at his father and waited.
"Assuming she is going to say yes tonight." Arthur paused and waited for his son to nod.
Fred laughed, "I hope so."
"Well, assuming she does." He continued. "It will be soon, correct?"
"I am not sure." He answered but knew full well that Nilia wanted to take care of Nicholas and could only do that if they were married. She wanted to take care of him until Draco could find a way to get custody without being married, or if he got married soon. "She wants to assume responsibility of Nicholas so Draco would be able to still see him."
"Your mother figured that much. We could have the wedding next week, in the backyard. Before the trial." Arthur managed to spit out before getting emotional and trying to fight back the tears.
Fred hugged his father and wiped the tears from his eyes also. "That would be great. The Burrow would be the perfect place to get married."
Arthur nodded and hugged his son one more time before Molly joined them, crying right along with them.
"Fantastic." muttered Nilia as her and Hermione emerged from the bathroom. She managed to freshen and look presentable after her little discovery. Her eyes fell upon her father and she felt guilty. What was she supposed to do? She made her way over to him while he was talking to a wizard to she didn't recognize.
"Oh Nilia." Her father greeted her then introduced her to the man he was speaking to. They talked for several minutes and she asked her father to join her outside for a moment. They walked quietly out onto the deck and she remained silent. "Everything alright?"
Nilia nodded and watched the sun set in the distance. "Life is strange father."
Severus glanced sideways at his daughter and saw her face look scared. "What is wrong dear?"
"Oh, nothing." She answered, she wasn't ready to tell anyone, let alone her father.
He put his arm over her shoulder and felt her lean in towards him. "I was just wondering, what are your plans for the future?"
Nilia shrugged and wished she could say apparently it was being a mother at an early age. But it wasn't the right time. And to think of it, she hadn't even thought of it. She could work in the joke shop and help Fred out. But knew that her father wanted her to further her education and find a field she was interested in. And she had thought about it but wasn't sure what she wanted to do. And working in the joke shop wasn't her idea of a career. But how could she be a mother and a student? Most schools around there required a lot of studying and long hours.
Her father sighed and turned towards Nilia. "What do you like to do?"
"Hrm-." She thought for a second. "I like to help people."
He smiled, he expected that answer.
"Maybe social work or something?" She asked. "Is there something like that in the wizarding world?"
Severus nodded, "Tons of different things like that at the ministry. The woman dealing with Draco's case is a wizarding social worker who helps with children cases."
Nilia smiled and thought of Nicholas. He was such a good baby who happen to get the worse kind of mother. One who was willing to give him up for a boyfriend and money. Then Nilia knew what she wanted to do.
"Father, I want to help children like Nicholas. And fathers like Draco."
He hugged his daughter. "We can make that happen. But let's think about that later. I think Albus is going to give a speech soon."
She hugged him back and kissed him on the cheek. "It will be just like at Hogwarts."
He watched Nilia smile and bounce back into the Ball but he noticed something different on her face. He couldn't quite place it and thought no more of it when he realized what was about to happen.
Nilia found Fred and held his hand while Albus gave a heartwarming speech on his appreciation for everyone who helped with The Order. The speech lasted for ten minutes and she found herself trying to figure out how she was going to tell Fred that she was pregnant. And wondered how he was going to take it. Sure, they both wanted children, but were they ready for them?
Fred glanced at Nilia and his stomach felt heavy. He was assuming she would say yes, but she had been acting strange all day. He had hoped it was because she was sick from the food. "You alright?" He kept asking her.
"Yes." She giggled and kissed him on the cheek. "Why are you shaky?"
He hadn't noticed how nervous he was. "I am hungry, didn't eat much."
"Alright." She snuggled up against him and watched Albus. Not realizing that most people around her were looking at the couple smiling, knowing that in a few short minutes Fred would be up on that stage proposing.
"So, that is all I have." Albus finished up and smiled at the crowd. "Anyone else like to say anything?"
He glanced at Fred giving him his cue but he stood still looking quite nauseous. He cleared his throat hoping to get the shaken man's attention but Fred stood there staring at the wall behind Albus.
George threw a roll at the back of Fred's head and got his attention.
"Oh." Fred said startled and led Nilia up front, she looked confused and tried to get Hermione's attention, but she looked away so she wouldn't give anything away.
"What are you doing?" Nilia pleaded with Fred, she hated being in front of people like this and he was now pulling her on stage.
"Just want to say a few words." Fred managed to sputter out as he grabbed the microphone.
"I will stand down there while you do it." She walked down the stage but he grabbed her and pulled her next to him. "Fred, I hate being in front of people."
He smiled at her then looked out in the crowd. Nilia looked out to and saw his mother crying. What the heck was going on?
"Alright, attention everyone." Fred said into the microphone. "I just wanted to say a few things."
Fred went on to thanking everyone for everything they had done for him, the opportunities they gave him. This was a good way to throw Nilia off to what he was doing. He watched her out of the corner of his eye and noticed that she was now looking out into the crowd just listening to him talk, not noticing how pale Fred became as he knew the moment was getting closer. "Without the support of all of you, I wouldn't be where I am today."
Everyone clapped and he squeezed Nilia's hand, she squeezed back and looked up at him. She noticed a different look on his face. It was the same look he gave her the first morning after she got back from hiding. The look that made her feel safe. Where she knew that her life was going to be spent with him, Fred Weasley.
"And now." He cleared his throat, "I have something to say to Nilia."
The room went silent except for Molly crying in the front row. Nilia looked around again and saw several women crying, panicking she had a feeling that Fred was up to something and it was going to cause attention on her. She tried walking off the stage again but was pulled closer to the microphone.
She turned towards Fred and saw him struggling in his pocket for something. "Fred?"
"Hrm..." He looked at her. "Umm. Nilia. The time we have spent together has been wonderful. The most amazing thing is that we didn't even spend most of our relationship together because of circumstances, but I loved you even more than before you left."
Nilia and him were now facing eachother and she noticed his breathing had shallowed and she felt herself getting dizzy with how warm it was on the stage and anticipation of what he was doing. She nodded in response and kissed him lightly.
Fred smiled and knelt down while pulling something out of his pocket.
Of course by this point, Nilia's breathing had shallowed. "Fred, what are you doing?"
"Nilia Herne, would you marry me?" He said quickly but clearly.
She dropped to her knees, "What? Are you sure?"
Everyone laughed and he felt tears run down his cheeks. "More sure about this than anything."
Nilia laughed and hugged him. "I would love to marry you!!!"
They kissed while everyone stood in awe at how much they loved eachother.
Harry and Hermione hugged one another and then she turned to hug Ron. His ears turned red and gasped when Harry hugged him in turn. Ginny pushed past them to congratulate her brother when he noticed that Nilia was running towards the bathroom with Fred hurrying behind her. She turned to Hermione and pulled her aside. "Is she?"
Hermione nodded and they both squealed. Then Hermione realized, "How do you know?"
Ginny giggled, "That was her fifth run to the bathroom."
They both laughed and talked amongst themselves.
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