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A Mother's Dying Wish by required_inspiration
Chapter 10 : More Than Civil Behavior
 
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Four days later…



~*~



    The first week of term had ended without much ado and it was now the first Saturday and consequently the first Hogsmeade weekend as well.
    Hermione had a busy day set ahead of her and as she pulled on a few layers of sweaters to cut the chill of the crisp September air, she looked over her calendar with today’s agenda.

    9:30 AM – Meet Harry, Ron and Ginny in Entrance Hall to walk to Hogsmeade.
    11:45 AM – Appointment with Astrid at St. Mungo’s (Floo from the Three Broomsticks)
    10:00 PM – Start Patrol with Malfoy

     Well, at least the first two will be tolerable… The last one though…

    Since their initial Head meeting four nights ago, Draco and Hermione hadn’t spoken once except in passing. Hermione didn’t want to jinx it, but she sincerely hoped this was how it was going to be between them from now on. Truth be told, she didn’t really need another factor in her life to complicate things any further. And complicate things Malfoy was positively guaranteed to do.
   
    Yes, I’d be simply peachy keen if Malfoy decided to keep to himself for the rest of the year and leave me alone, Hermione thought hopefully as she hurried down the stairs to the portrait hole.

    “Where are you off to?” came Malfoy’s voice from the corner of the common room.
    Hermione bit her lip in frustration. Knew it was too good to last…
    “Err, you know, Hogsmeade for some shopping,” she replied casually, turning to look at him.
    “Planning to stay out all day, then?” he continued quickly before she had the chance to turn away.
    “Well, I have an appointment with the Healer that will be… watching me throughout this whole, um, pregnancy, this afternoon as well,” Hermione answered awkwardly.
    “Oh, so you’ll be Flooing to St. Mungo’s from Hogsmeade?” Draco chipped in, standing up.
    “Yes… May I ask why this is of such particular interest to you, Malfoy?”
    “Just wondering where you’ll be in case you’re late to our patrol date tonight, Granger,” he replied snidely.
    “I see…” Hermione said skeptically, eyeing him as she pulled on her coat. “Well, see you later then, Malfoy. I’ll be sure not to be late.”
    “Oh and Granger!”
    Hermione halted mid-step, now thoroughly annoyed, “Yes?”
    “Make sure no one sees you using the Floo –”
    “I know, Malfoy!”

* * *



    The air around Hogwarts was unusually crisp for early September, but the midmorning sun served as a reminder of the waning summer months.
    Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny were walking down Hogwarts’ sloped, cobbled drive towards Hogsmeade, reveling in their first day off after a challenging first week.

    “So, Hermione,” Ron started with a slightly malicious grin, “tell us what it’s like living with the ferret.”
    Hermione sighed; she knew this was coming sooner or later. The boys had avoided interrogating her all week –she did give them that – but she knew their silence would not last forever.
    “Well, surprisingly, there’s not really anything to tell,” she said honestly. “Malfoy and I have hardly spoken a word to each other all week.”
    “Figures!” said Ron loudly and quickly as Harry let out a snort. “He just thinks he’s too good for you!”
    “Uh, I’m pretty sure that’s not it,” Hermione replied, confused at the boys’ reaction.
    “Yeah, he thinks he’s too pure to talk to the mudblood!” Harry added, looking irked.
    “Boys! Honestly, you’re trying to make something out of nothing!” Hermione argued in vain.
    “I could really kill him!” Ron shouted, his ears turning red.
    Ginny pulled Hermione’s elbow before she could interject further and whispered near her ear, “Just ignore them! They would have responded this way no matter what you told them – they’ve been planning on asking you all week.”
    “Have they really?” Hermione asked with a laugh.
    “Yeah, and you’re lucky you didn’t have to be there during their epic conversations about it around the fire every night this week!”
    “Oh, Lord, I’m sorry.”
    “Yeah, well, you should be saying thank you.”
    “Really?” Hermione laughed, “And why is that?”
    “Well, it’s thanks to me that they’ve been this rational today.”
    “You call this rational?” Hermione asked, amused.
    “In comparison to their other ideas, this is positively demure.”
    “Oh, goodness, do I even want to know?”
    “Probably not, but I’ll give you the highlights:  a crate of blast-ended skrewts, some rope and a new Weasley Wizard Wheezes product called the Undefeatable Towering Inferno.”
    “Interesting,” said Hermione slowly. “I presume they were all various ends Malfoy was bound to meet if he had done something to me?”
    “Actually they were all part of the same end,” Ginny said lightly.
    “Oh, well then, thank you for being there to persuade the boys not to commit manslaughter.”
    “Anytime.”
   
    The four continued their trek to Hogsmeade, Harry and Ron discussing Malfoy, and Hermione and Ginny discussing boy stupidity just in general. They didn’t have any big plans for Hogsmeade that day, but were planning on doing a little shopping and sitting around before Hermione had to leave for her appointment at St. Mungo’s.
    The Three Broomsticks was packed with Hogwarts’ students as was usual for a Saturday. They meandered in to the dimly lit, but cheerful pub and split up, the girls going to search for a table and the boys going to get the drinks.
   
    “So,” said Ginny as soon as Harry and Ron walked out of earshot, “Tell me what it’s really like to be living next to Malfoy.”
    “What makes you think I wasn’t telling the truth before?” Hermione asked, laughing at Ginny’s audacity.
    “Oh come on! You think I’m going to believe you haven’t said one word to each other when you’re practically living in his lap?”
    “Well it is true…”
    “Not a single word?”
    “Well, of course a few words in passing, but that’s seriously it!”
    “I don’t believe it.”
    “I don’t see why not…”
    “Malfoy doesn’t keep his opinions to himself, that’s why not.”
    “Well he was being kind of weird this morning…”
    “Yeah?” Ginny urged her to continue enthusiastically.
    “Yeah… he was being all awkward about me taking the Floo. Worried or something. It was strange…”
    “Seriously?” Ginny asked, hardly able to contain her smile.
    “Yeah, why?”
    “Well, it seems like our Malfoy has a little soft spot for pregnant women.”
    “What? No!”
    “Well, why else would he be acting like that?” Ginny asked defensively.
    “I don’t know… he was just trying to get in my business.”
    “Oh, okay. Tell me what he said word for word.”
    “Oh, I don’t remember…”
    “Yes you do, come on!”
    “He was just pretending to be all interested in my plans. Like, he asked me what I was planning to do and if I’d be using the Floo and then he went on to try to warn me not to get spotted by anyone!”
    “Hah! Just like I suspected – he’s being protective of you.”
    “What?” Hermione exclaimed in shock. “Why would he do a thing like that?”
    “Because!” Ginny began in her matter-of-fact voice, “You’re pregnant, you’ve got a baby somewhere inside there,” she said, wiggling her fingers at Hermione’s stomach, “and you’re single, making Malfoy feel responsible for your protection.”
    “And that’s your official prognosis?”
    “Don’t be snide. There is something deeply psychological about this situation and Malfoy is responding with the classic alpha male approach.”
    “Oh and that would be protect the weak and vulnerable female carrying the young?”
    “Precisely,” Ginny said with a smug grin.
    “That’s ridiculous. Malfoy sees me as nothing more than the girl he’s loathed for six years on pureblood principle. It’s preposterous to think there’s anything else there… your psychology just does not apply.”
    “It’s alright, denial is the first step.”
    “Oh, Merlin!”
    “I’m not joking, Hermione,” Ginny continued, fully serious, “Malfoy must think he’s being your… manly defender or something. Mark my words, his little paranoia about your whereabouts today will not be the end of his concern for you.”
    “Well, we’re just going to have to wait and see about that,” Hermione cut in, standing up and swinging her coat around her shoulders again, “As for right now, I’ve got an appointment to make…”
    “Well, be careful no one sees you taking the Floo,” Ginny said with a wink.
    Hermione scowled at her.

* * *


    It had been arranged previously that Hermione would be able to Floo directly into Astrid Vance’s surgery for every scheduled appointment so as to ensure that her pregnancy remain a secret for as long as possible.
    Hermione coughed a little as she stepped out of the sooty grate and onto the shining checkered floors of the examination room.
    She had been through three scheduled appointments as of now and the surgery was becoming more and more familiar which each visit.
    Astrid was becoming familiar as well. Hermione was learning to genuinely like the woman despite the fact that having to see her was a constant reminder of the difficult situation she was in. She was getting used to it, but no one could expect her to fully embrace being pregnant any time soon.
    “Hermione, dear!” Astrid called from her adjoining office, getting up from her desk and striding into the surgery. “Sorry, I was just catching up on some paperwork.”
    “Oh, no problem,” Hermione said readily.
    “Well why don’t we got started right away then,” Astrid said with a smile as she ushered Hermione over to the examination table. “How has your morning sickness been since your last visit?”
    “Um, well, it hasn’t gone away yet,” Hermione said, clearly annoyed by the fact, “Could you give me any sort of approximation of when it will?”
    “I really wish I could say something definite, but morning sickness is just one of those things that changes with every woman and every baby. Those who do experience it usually find that it lets up by the end of the first trimester.”
    “So I have another… two weeks of this?” Hermione exclaimed. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to suffer through it…”
    “Well you never know, it may end sooner for you, it’s all depending.”
    “Yes, and it might end later as well.”
    Astrid chuckled, “Just be happy with the fact that your morning sickness lives up to its name. I’ve had plenty of women who can’t get themselves out of the bathroom all day.”
    Hermione gulped.
    “Exactly,” Astrid said with a knowing grin, “Now, do you have any other physical complaints besides the morning sickness?”
    “Hmm, not really…” Hermione said, thoughtfully, “I’m just very tired all throughout the day. This week has been really hard to get used to my school schedule again. I’ve just wanted to nap every afternoon after lunch.”
    “Yes, that’s perfectly normal and it’s also a good thing to be getting rest. The baby demands a large amount of your strength and energy, so try to take naps whenever you can fit them in. I know you are a very diligent student, but you must understand that this is important too.”
    “Yeah, I just need to get used to my schedule, that’s all.”
    “Maybe I could have a word with Dumbledore about your classes… see if he could fix your schedule to make it more lenient.”
    “Oh, please don’t! I need to do everything this year that I would have done if I hadn’t become pregnant,” Hermione pleaded suddenly. “Please, I know it’s not going to be easy, but if I don’t want to resent this pregnancy, or worse, this baby, then I really need to live my life as normally as I can. I have always had a demanding schedule and I really can’t give that up.”
    “Alright,” Astrid said contemplatively, “I respect that decision. I just want you to be very aware of your body’s needs. You can’t be pushing yourself so hard all the time.”
    “Of course.”
    “Ok,” Astrid said slowly, looking at Hermione’s chart, “Well, besides fatigue, are there any other complaints?”
    “Oh, well, yes, there is one other thing… it’s quite awkward though.”
    “Hermione, I’m your Healer. Trust me, there is nothing I haven’t heard before.”
    “Yeah… it’s just my… breasts are extremely sore right now and they already feel like they’re growing. I don’t know, I didn’t think they would grow until after the baby came.”
    “Oh no, the breasts usually start growing late in the first trimester so you’re right on schedule.”
    “And it’s supposed to hurt this bad?”
    “Unfortunately, yes. Your body is producing a lot more hormones than usual, which incidentally causes the breasts to grow quite rapidly. My best advice is to buy a maternity bra now and learn a good garment adjusting charm so you can expand its size as you need to.”
    “Alright, thanks… Is there anything I can do to help with the pain?”
    “I’ll give you a potion that helps with growing pains, but it’s officially meant to help pain in the bones and muscles, not soft tissue, so I can’t guarantee it will help you tremendously.”
    “It’s worth a shot.”
    “Alright, if that’s all, then I guess I’ll just have a look at the baby and see how it’s doing,” she said, walking over to the counter along the wall to deposit her clipboard.
    On cue, Hermione leaned back on the table and rolled up her sweater so that the small bump on her stomach was fully exposed.
    “Well you’re definitely getting bigger!” Astrid exclaimed, conjuring a magical measuring tape with her wand and flicking it around Hermione’s middle. “90 cm on the dot.”
    “Yeah, I’ve been thinking it must have been getting bigger because my back has been hurting more.”
    “Yes, indeed! You’ve grown six cm from our visit two weeks ago.”
    “Is that more than normal for this stage, or what?” Hermione asked curiously.
    “It’s very healthy, I would say. For your natural size and stature I’d think 90 cm was right on target,” Astrid said as she carefully prodded Hermione’s stomach.
    “Yeah, I was thinking about asking Dumbledore quite soon for the daily concealment charm. It’s getting harder and harder to wear clothes that will hide my belly.”
    “That’s probably a good idea because from this point on your belly is going to be growing much more significantly every week.”
    “Great…” Hermione responded, less than enthusiastically.
    Astrid smiled knowingly at her, “I’m going to perform the translucency charm now, so be prepared.”
    Hermione felt the usual cold wave roll over her skin and she leaned up a bit to catch site of her suddenly visible inner parts. This part of the routine examination never got old with her. Suddenly being able to see your intestines wasn’t something a person could get used to very easily.
    Astrid waved her wand again and the front-most organs became clear as well, bringing the small uterus into focus.
    “And there we are,” she said, using her wand to manipulate the image.
    “Everything OK?” Hermione asked. This part always made her nervous.
    “Everything looks just beautiful,” Astrid said reassuringly. “It’ll be a few weeks yet until I can determine the sex of the baby.”
    “Oh, I’m not sure I’m going to want to know…”
    “Really?” she said, looking quite surprised. “I usually find that the younger the mother is, the more anxious she is to know what she’s having.”
    “I don’t know… I’m not really sure I want to find out so soon.”
    “That’s perfectly fine. I won’t say a sound if that’s what you really want.”
    “Yeah, let’s just see how things go. I might change my mind for all I know.”
    “And you have every right to!”
    There were a few more moments of silence as Astrid carefully wrote things down on the chart and Hermione sat patiently, chewing the side of her cheek.
    Finally, Astrid breathed a sigh of finality and said, “Well that’s all for today.”
    Hermione sat up, filled with happiness that she had managed to pull through another week without killing her baby and rolled down her sweater over her still clear stomach.
    “Thanks so much, Astrid,” she said gratefully. “Umm, would you mind if I asked you a slightly personal question.”
    Astrid turned away from what she was doing and looked Hermione in the eye, “Go ahead.”
    “Do you have any children?”
    “No,” Astrid said slowly, “No, I do not.”
    Hermione nodded.
    “Could I ask you a question, Hermione?”
    “Yeah.”
    “Do you have a boyfriend?”
    “No, I don’t have one of those either,” Hermione said smiling good-humoredly.
    “Don’t be afraid to get ‘one of those’,” Astrid told her.
    “I find it hard to believe that I’m going to have any guy pursuing me when I’ve got a baby on board,” Hermione responded skeptically.
    “Oh, you’d be surprised what some men find attractive,” Astrid said with a small wink.
    Hermione thought back to Ginny analysis of Draco’s protective behavior. Is he doing this because he finds my pregnancy attractive?
    She shook her head and looked back at Astrid again.
    “Well, I better get going, don’t want to miss dinner…”
    “Alright, see you next week, Hermione,” Astrid called after her as she moved into the fire.
    “Yeah, see you next week.”

* * *



    10:00. Where is he? Hermione thought as she paced up and down in the Head’s common room.
    At that moment a door opened upstairs and Hermione quickly plopped down in one of the chairs and picked up a book to look busy.
    Malfoy jogged down the stairs and clapped his hands together when he reached the bottom.
    “Well, Granger?” he said, eyebrows raised expectantly, “Are we going?”
    “Yeah… one second,” Hermione said, pretending to sound extremely engrossed in her reading.
    “OK, although I’m sure…” he bent down to look at the cover of her book, “Common Cures for the Common Cold is endlessly fascinating, I really think our patrol date is a little bit more important.”
    Hermione snapped the book shut. “Excuse me, but I was not the one who was late.”
    “Yes, but you are the one holding us up now,” Malfoy replied with a goading smile.
    “Let’s go,” she growled, grabbing her lumpy sweater and pulling it on as she made her way to the portrait hole.
    They were walking down the torch-lit, seventh floor corridor when Malfoy decided it was safe to initiate conversation again.
    “So, tell me, Granger,” he began, “How many books have you checked out of the library about this whole Phasma Eturnus thing you’ve got going on? My bet is on upwards of 25.”
    Hermione smiled, “Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but no books, Malfoy.”
    Malfoy stopped and grabbed her shoulder to halt her progress down the hall, “What? Hermione Granger, world-renowned bookworm has failed to – to – to research?”
    Hermione raised her eyebrows and started walking again.
    “I just didn’t think it would be healthy to look into it myself,” she said nonchalantly.
    “Oh really? And how do you plan to find out about it then?” he asked her skeptically.
    “Well, I do see a Healer every week. She’s a trained professional and I’m sure she can tell me everything I possibly need to know about what’s going on with me.”
    “Wow.”
    “What? Why ‘wow’?”
    “It’s just a little shocking that you of all people are willing to put so much stock in someone else’s knowledge… I don’t know, but you’ve just never been the person to not get personally involved.”
    “Well I am personally involved. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve got the thing living inside of me – you can’t get much more personal then that.”
    “That is not what I was talking about,” Malfoy said, laughing at her choice of words.
    “And on another note, I have put complete faith in my healer. She runs thorough checks on me every time I see her. She knows what she’s doing.”
    “Well I’m glad you’re so confident,” Malfoy said, eager to shut her up on the subject. “Hey, by the way, what exactly do you do every time you see her?”
    “What?” Hermione asked, a bit started, “Oh, I don’t know… things.”
    “Like what?” he asked again.
    “Why do you want to know?” she asked him suspiciously.
    “I’m curious. Indulge me.”
    She sighed, “Well, she asks if I have any complaints, and I tell her –”
    “Like what sort of things?” Malfoy interjected.
    “That’s personal, Malfoy!”
    “Come on, Granger. It’s not a big deal!”
    “Well, I don’t know, like back aches and morning sickness and stuff.”
    “Mmhm, and what else does she do?”
    “Well, then she asks me to lie back so she can look at my stomach.”
    “She just looks at it?”
    “Um, well, first she does this spell to make my skin… clear.”
    “Clear?” he exclaimed excitedly, “Cool! And she can see all your organs and stuff?”
    “Yeah…” Hermione said, laughing a little at Malfoy’s boyish excitement.
    “Wait. Is it still clear?” he asked suddenly.
    “Um, I don’t know, it usually lasts for quite a while…”
    “Can I see it?” he asked eagerly.
    “What? No!” she responded.
    “Oh, come on, Granger!” he said in his most charming voice. “Just a peek?”
    With those words he grabbed the bottom of her sweater slyly and got himself a glimpse of her clear skin.
    “MALFOY!” she hollered, pushing him away.
    “Oh, come on! Let me have a proper look, it won’t do you any harm!”
    “NO.”
    “Why not? Just one look!”
    “NO!”
    “Please, Granger?”
    “Stop it, Malfoy.”
    “A minute tops! Please?”
    “Will you leave me alone?”
    “Not until you show me.”
    Hermione stopped and turned to face him, placing her hands on her hips authoritatively.
    “If I give you one look will you promise not to bother me about it ever again?”
    “Absolutely,” he said excitedly.
    She waited a few more seconds before saying, “Fine. But we can’t do it out here in the open.”
    “Granger, it’s 10:00 PM. Who’s going to come waltzing down the corridor to spot us?”
    “My rules, Malfoy,” she said as she walked away in search of a more secretive location.
    Finally, they came upon the stairs up to the Astronomy Tower and Hermione signaled for Draco to follow behind her.
    In the moonlit landing at the top of the curving staircase, Hermione turned rapidly to face him once again.
    “Alright, before I show you, you have to promise me something,” she began nervously.
    “Granger,” he moaned warily.    
    “Just one thing,” she said quickly. “You have to promise not to find it disgusting.”
    He looked at her carefully, “I promise, Granger. I’m sure your guts are beautiful.”
    “Malfoy!”
    “Ok, Ok,” he said, “Now do you want to lift up your shirt or shall I do the honors?”
    She glared at him and then began to slowly roll up her shirt.
    “Whoa,” Malfoy said in awe as he kneeled down so that his face was level with her stomach.
    “I know it’s horrible…”
    Malfoy looked irritably up at her, “It’s not, Granger.”
    She sighed uncomfortably, “Usually she does something to move all the organs and stuff away and pull the baby into focus.”
    Draco looked fascinated by her stomach. He picked up one of his hands and placed it on her skin.
    She inhaled sharply.
    “Sorry. Are my hands cold?”
    “Yes,” she replied bluntly.
    He laughed and then got distracted by her stomach once more crying, “Hey, look!”
    Hermione looked down, startled by his outburst. The baby had come into focus again and lay amorphously below Draco’s fingers.
    “How did you do it?” she asked in awe.
    “I don’t really think I did anything… It just happened.”
    “Nothing can ‘just happen’, Malfoy,” she retorted.
    “Well, I don’t know, Granger! Maybe the baby just likes me!”
    “Hah, fat chance.”
    “Fine then, come up with a better explanation.”
    She rolled her eyes, choosing to ignore him and they both fell into silence as they stared at the lightly pulsing picture in front of them.
    “I’m never going to get used to seeing that,” she said quietly.
    “Oh, you will, Granger. Especially when it starts to look more like a real baby.”
    “I don’t know, I think that will be even scarier.”
    “Scary to see the child growing inside of you before it’s brought out into this world? I think that’s more along the lines of amazing.”
    “Why are you doing this, Malfoy?”
    “What am I doing, Granger?”
    “I don’t know... you’re being civil, nice even.”
    “Is that shocking to you?”
    “Well, coming from you, yeah, I would say it’s shocking.”
    “Oh, Granger,” he said with a sigh, standing up and slowly rolling down her sweater, “You should have never underestimated Draco Malfoy. I think you’ll see that I’m full of surprises.”

~*~


   

A/N: The tenth chapter is finally here. And now that you've read it, you can scroll down a little farther and leave a lovely little comment so I'm motivated to write chapter 11! Hahaha blackmailing for reviews, slightly unethical, but I am desperate. Thank yooouu!


   


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