“Crap!” Hermione groaned and bent down and picked up her books that had fallen out of her bag. The past two weeks had been hard on her. Two other people came over and helped, which surprised her. Almost everyone, except for a few Gryffindors and Ravenclaws hated her now. And, for some unknown reason, the Slytherins seemed to hate her more.
“Thanks,” she said gratefully as she stood up. Her brown eyes widened when she realized who had helped her. “Parkinson? Zabini?”
“What’s wrong Hermione? Can’t we help out a fellow student?” Zabini drawled, his blue eyes cold. Hermione took a step back from him and he scowled. “Just take your damn books!” he growled, holding them out to her. She snatched them from him and looked at Pansy suspiciously.
Pansy smiled at her. “What? I know I had some work done on my face but it’s not stare-worthy. At least, not yet,” she added as an afterthought. It was true, Hermione realized. She was no longer pugfaced but kind of nice looking. Even if her smile didn’t quite reach her eyes.
“Why are you two being nice to me?” she inquired as Pansy handed her back her books.
“Well,” said Blaise thoughtfully, “our parents told us to get close to you so that we could bring around your downfall so that our parents could get the Black and LeStrange fortunes.”
Hermione gaped at him. “What?!”
Shrugging, he replied. “It’s no big deal. You get friends and we get money. And,” he said, shooting a glare at Pansy who was staring murderously at him, “if my parents get the money, they’ve agreed to let you keep the baby.”
Hermione took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “You two will never get your hands on that money. It’s Cecilia’s. Not mine but her’s. And you two will never get your hands on my baby. She’s my daughter. Not your’s, not your parents, but mine.”
“Listen Granger,” Pansy pleaded, her dark blue eyes filling with tears, “you don’t understand. Our parents,” she broke off in a sob and Blaise looked away angrily. “Our parents,” she continued, “will punish us severely if we return to them empty handed!”
Hermione knew it was true. They all knew that the Slytherins’ parents were Death Eaters but that there had not been enough proof to convict them.
“Fine,” she sighed and Pansy looked up at her hopeful, “I’ll give you some money. Some!” she warned. “Tell your fathers that I spent the rest and that the mansions and property are staying with me. You can come up with your own lies on how you got the money. Deal?”
It was at that precise moment in her pathetic life that Pansy felt something she had never felt before as Hermione agreed to buy her and Blaise off.
I... I want to do something in return for her, she thought throughly shocked. I think I want to be her friend- no, wait. I want her to be my friend.
“Granger?” she asked in a small voice.
“Do you... Do you want to go shopping some time?”
The brunette looked at her dumbfounded. “Wh-What?”
“Do you want to go shopping with me? Or maybe just hang out or something-,”
“You mean...You want us to be friends?”
“Even though I already told you I’d give you the money?”
“Actually, I don’t think I want the money,” she said slowly. “And it’d be more realistic if Blaise got my share too.”
“I wouldn’t mind hanging out with you guys,” Blaise said in an indifferent tone. He’d been as surprised as Pansy when Granger agreed to help them and had felt the same as her too.
“But I still want the money,” he added. “Unlike Pansy here, I want to keep my naturally beautiful face beautiful.” The two girls laughed, surprising them both.
“He’s right Pansy,” Hermione said, in a serious voice. “Won’t you get in trouble for not having the money?”
“I’m of legal age,” she said, giving her a watery smile. “This weekend I’ll go back home, grab all my things and I’ll never have to go back there again.”
Hermione was at a loss for words. Her best friends had abandoned her, her ex-arch-nemesis was flirting with her and now two people who had planned to become friends with her to get her money now just wanted to be friends. Real friends. One of them was willing to leave everything. She felt tears come to her eyes and tried to hold them back.
“You two wouldn’t mind saying that under a truth spell, would you?” she sniffed and they laughed.
Draco Malfoy was puzzled. Very puzzled. And he did not enjoy being puzzled because that meant there was something that was puzzling him. And he didn’t like things that puzzled him. And because of that, he was now a hypocrite.
Hermione Granger puzzled him. And he was falling in love with her. She was beautiful, intelligent, brave and forgiving, well, when she wanted to be. She made him laugh, made him think and made him feel important. He already knew he was important, after all he was a Malfoy, but he felt proud of it when she made him feel that way.
Cecilia Rose Andromeda Narcissa Black-LeStrange-Granger puzzled him. And he was starting to love her like the little sister he never had. She was so cute with her black little curls and huge silver eyes that always looked at him with awe. She was a very curious and bright child and she wasn’t even six months old yet. She would point at the red couch and then at her red stuffed dog and then look at him curiously.
“Red,” he would say. “The couch and Padfoot are red.”
She would tilt her head to the side and then point at one of the walls, all of which happened to be red in the common room.
“That’s red too,” he praised her, nodding his head. She would smile at him and then point at his hair to Cissy’s in the portrait.
“That’s my mom and your aunt. We have blonde hair.”
That’s when she had said her first word.
“On?” she repeated in a puzzled voice. Draco sat bolt upright and stared at her for a minute. “On?” she repeated again, frowning at him.
“H-Hermione?” he croaked. The brunette came out of the washroom where she had been getting ready.
“Ceci said her first word!”
“She’s too young!” she scoffed.
“On!” Cecilia yelled. They both turned to stare at her. “On!” she yelled again, pleased by their reactions. Sirius sniggered from where he was in the portrait and Bella hit him on the head.
“See!” Draco shouted happily. “I told you so!”
Hermione glared at him. “Wipe that smug smile off your face! On does not count as her first word!”
“My first word was no!” said Draco stubbornly. “And on is the reverse of that!”
“It’s true,” Cissy agreed, “his first word was no and then gel and then knut.”
Hermione, the Marauders and Andy snickered as Draco scowled. “She said her first word and you won’t admit it because I was the one who heard her say it!” he yelled angrily.
“On is not going to be her first word!” Hermione shot back. “It will be mummy ir daddy or blankie or something of that sort.”
“‘Ummy? Daddy? ‘Ankie?” Cecilia repeated in awe. The two teenagers turned to stare at her again.
“She said mummy!” Hermione squealed, her eyes filling with happy tears.
“She said ‘Ummy! Daddy was the only word in there!” Draco said proudly.
“Here we go again,” James sighed and the other figures in the portrait nodded.
Draco frowned to himself as he stopped reminiscing. The bloody annoying portraits puzzled him. And yet, he was already quite fond of them. His mum and aunts weren’t crazy (yet) although Bella was close to it, Nigellus told them news, Rudy just mainly slept and snored and the Marauders were quite amusing.
He sighed. He hated being puzzled and trying to figure out what would happen if a unicorn and a centaur mated for Care of Magical Animals was not helping.
Hermione walked in and immediately picked Cecilia up from where she was sleeping in her crib.
“Hi baby,” she murmured. “I missed you.”
“Really? I’m flattered.”
“I was talking to the baby Draco.”
“Aw, you hurt my feelings!” he said in a sarcastic tone. “Do I at least get a kiss hello?”
“Depends. Is the world ending?”
“Not that I know of, although,” he jerked his finger to where the Marauder portrait was hanging, “there’s might.”
“What, was Uncle Sirius being mean to you again?” she asked in a babying voice, partly for him and partly for Cecilia.
“No,” said the blonde sulkily. “He was bragging about all his ‘conquests’.”
Hermione glared at Sirius who whistled innocently. “Sirius Black, don’t you dare talk about any conquests or pranks or anything of the sort in the presence of my daughter or else I will set your cousins on you!” she threatened, pointing her finger at him.
“Even if she’s sleeping?”
“Even if you’re not here?”
“Even if I get Remus or James to say it for me?”
He looked at her, feigning hurt. “There’s no need to yell.” He puffed out his lower lip and it started trembling. “Why are women so mean?” he wailed.
Hermione glared at him. “Put a cork in it!”
Sirius muttered something under his breath and tried to cover it up with a cough.
“What was that?”
“If that was nothing then Merlin’s my father.”
“Aha, you admit it!”
“Admit what?” he looked at her genuinely confused as did the other Marauders and Draco.
“You just admitted to it not being nothing when you said that Merlin was my father!”
“I did not!”
“You did so!”
“Would you two please just shut up?” hissed an infuriated Draco. The two looked at him guiltily. “That’s better,” he said, sighing. “You two are very annoying you know.”
Hermione placed Cecilia in her crib and walked over to where Draco was sitting on the couch in their common room slowly.
“What was that?”
Draco gave her an annoyed look. “You and my mum’s cousin are annoying. Do I need to spell it out for you Granger?” he asked mockingly. Her brown eyes narrowed dangerously and he gulped. “Now, Hermione, let’s just stay calm-,”
She launched herself at him and he let out a yelp. The Marauders and Blacks started cheering and yelling out fighting moves to Hermione.
“Give him a right hook!”
“Bloody his nose! That’s the way we Gryffindors always did it in the old times!” Sirius let out a loud whoop.
“Kick him where you know it’ll hurt!” The last one came from Bella. Everyone, except for Draco and Hermione who were wrestling on the floor, stopped yelling and looked at her.
“What?” she asked them, looking perplexed. The three boys just gave her weird looks and started to slowly move away from her. She rolled her silver eyes. “Party-poopers,” she muttered. They all turned their attention back to the two Heads on the ground.
Draco had Hermione pinned to the ground and was regarding her with a curious expression in his silver eyes.
“You know,” he remarked, “you’re quite hot when you’re mad.” Hermione blushed and tried to get away but he kept her pinned down. “Seeing as how you attacked me, for no good reason I might add, and I, being the incredible sexy gorgeous Slytherin Prince that I am, having pinned you down and therefore won the fight, should get a prize.”
Hermione gazed up into his silver eyes, violently wishing that he would look away and that the urge to kiss him would leave and never come back. “Well,” she said slowly, “what did you have in mind?”
He smirked down at her and leaned in close. “I was thinking,” he whispered, “that my prize would be a date. With you. That involves a goodnight kiss at the end. And that has to involve tongue.”
It was her turn to smirk at him. “Why Malfoy, if I wasn’t sane, I’d think that you liked me!”
He smiled at her. “What can I say Hermione,” he said softly, “you’re a beautiful, intelligent woman and a wonderful mom. Any guy would be lucky to have you.” He gently brushed his lips over hers in a ghost of a kiss and stood up.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time that I take Cecilia for her afternoon stroll.” He picked up the baby and placed her in the stroller by the door and left.
Hermione looked over to the portrait figures who had watched the scene with wide silver and hazel eyes.
“You have a date with my son,” said Cissy, in a rather stupefied voice.
“Thanks for stating the obvious,” Sirius said sarcastically. James and Bella sniggered and Cissy’s big silver eyes filled with tears. She ran out of the portrait to where the unicorn one was upstairs. Andy and Remus glared at Sirius.
“What?” he asked them, his silver eyes wide. “What did I do?”
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