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Chapter 15 : Big Changes
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Explaining things to Christina was no easy feat. The day after her birthday, she asked Hermione why her eyes and hair was different and it took her a full three hours to get the story straight; one of those hours of pure avoidance and trying to figure out a way to clarify things for her. Malfoy, seeing how Hermione couldn’t do it, took the liberty of taking Christina into his arms and putting her in front of mirror.
“You see that, Chris?” Malfoy had told her. “You look just like me: same hair and eyes.”
“Mum said that little girls look like their daddies. And now I look like you.” Chris stared at Malfoy and then at her reflection in the mirror. “You’re not my uncle anymore?”
“No… I’m your dad.”
Christina was quiet for a little while after that, constantly looking into the mirror and staring intently at herself. Hermione went nearly insane as she watched her daughter go through an identity crisis and trying to figure out who she was. Malfoy nightly had to coo Hermione asleep to assuage her worries and it was only after a full week when Christina came downstairs for breakfast all smiles and called Malfoy “daddy” did she finally sleep well. If only her other daughter would speak to her.
Clara wouldn’t respond to any of the letters Hermione would send to her. Alex was quite the same when Malfoy tried. The girls had completely shut off all communication and it was unbearable. James on the other hand wrote and responded to his mother’s letters. It gave Hermione a bit of hope as the month of March rattled on, though, his letters became scarce and then absent once the month was over. She was sure that Clara, overbearing as she was, had come down on her little brother to stop fraternizing with the enemy.
“It was good while it lasted.” Hermione had muttered to herself as she folded all of James’ letters and put them in a shoe box under the bed. Yes, everyone was on the other side of the fence now, with the exception of Ginny, who seemed to be teetering on the edge.
Ginny was the only one writing her and showed no sign of slowing down as the second week of April came shooting around. It was through her one and only friend that Hermione knew about anything in her ex-family’s lives. Clara was power-woman apparently. She stalled her flat-search with Alex in order to stay at home with her distraught father and help around the house. The word “distraught” as Ginny put it in one of her letters was written in large letters and clearly explained what she would later say in the following few letters she would send her near the end of April.
If you could see Harry right now you wouldn’t believe it. It’s like as if he’s the walking dead. He talks to no one, hardly eats, and if he’s not in his bedroom he’s out in the patio staring at nothing. ‘Mione, Clara and I don’t know what to do. He’s wasting away right in front of our eyes and it’s heartbreaking. Hermione, you’re to blame for this you know! You’re the on and off trigger for him and I keep thinking maybe if you came and talked to him what would happen? Would he get better or worse? I don’t know and I worry everyday.
Dean, Dennis and I are moving in just to keep an eye on things. Clara’s working and can’t be home all the time. It’s not that we think Harry will do anything to himself, it’s just…he shouldn’t be alone right now.
And I really think you should come and talk to him. I honestly believe that he’ll get better. Either he’ll come to accept your reasons for your leaving or he’ll become so enraged that he forgets you altogether. I don’t know which.
Write back soon,
Ginny’s letters ran along the same lines most of the time. She usually played the harsh friend, scolding her and patting her on the back at the same time. Hermione had rather this than without hearing from her at all. To that particular letter she told Ginny that she wouldn’t go to see Harry. It wasn’t that she was being selfish, but it was just that she knew him the best, and knew that seeing him would only make him worse. Ginny called her selfish anyway and stopped writing for a week or two. But by the middle of May, the letters came back, expressing good news that Clara and Alex found a flat they liked and were moving into it, that she, Dean, and Dennis were moving out, and that Harry was doing much better. Hermione knew the last part because divorce papers had been Owled to her.
Hermione had had the divorce papers for a full two weeks and couldn’t get the nerve to sign them. She didn’t know why she was so hesitant or, as she put it, “weak-willed” to sign them. Malfoy had signed his divorce papers from Sandra three weeks prior to Hermione receiving her own, and he did it with ease. She couldn’t understand it. Though before May was over, she had gotten over her anxiety and signed the papers without care. It was now in the middle of June.
Since February so much had happened, but now it was as if none of it had mattered. James, until he turned eighteen the next year, was under a shared custody between Harry and Hermione. Clara, who was determined to keep her baby brother away from their mother as humanly possible, had tried to get him to stay with her and Alex being that she was twenty-one. The courts said no, mostly because Malfoy had given the judge two hundred thousand galleons worth of reasons to do so. Hermione was horrified when she found out what he had done, but with a few soft kisses and gentle words, Malfoy convinced her that it was alright.
“Know that I’ll do anything for you.” He had said to her. “No matter the cost…”
No matter the cost was right, Hermione realized. Now as she spent endless time with her “boyfriend” as she finally managed to call him, she realized first hand how he had never lost his touch from the good ole Hogwarts days. His devilish eyes were still there, both manipulative and seductive. His conniving nature had never diminished and yes, he could be quite evil when he wanted and needed to be. What surprised Hermione the most was that she never questioned him or why on earth she was, to be honest, playing for the opposite team.
Malfoy conducted his business meetings at the summer house and Hermione went along, no longer out of voluntary service. It was now her “duty” to go to these meetings, to observe, to conduct and negotiate. One thing that Malfoy realized about his love was that she had a thing for spotting a liar and finding someone’s weakness. She shocked herself on many occasion as she’d recount the day, thinking about the way she spoke to potential clients, how she never broke eye contact, and how at the very climax of their negotiation, the client would stutter or avert their eyes.
Hermione stood in front of her bedroom mirror one day with her head in her hands. As she placed them down to her side, she took a deep breath and stared at her reflection who was daring to stare back.
“Who are you turning into, Hermione?” She asked herself. After gazing intently at herself she picked up a brush from the bureau and smashed the mirror with a small maniacal grin on her face. “Someone you can’t ignore,” She answered and walked out without repairing the glass.
Hermione couldn’t deny the adrenaline coursing through her veins as she thought of the person she was so rapidly changing into: more determined, not taking “no” for an answer, and daresay conniving with devilish eyes like her male counterpart?
Malfoy had come up to her one night, wrapping his arms around her waist as they stood out on the balcony. He was lightly breathing down her neck as he always did before he made his subtle indecent proposal. Hermione never needed any prodding, but she shuddered at the thought and the feel of him doing so otherwise. Just as her fingers were intertwining with his and she thought she was going to drop from weak knees, Malfoy spoke into the crook of her neck and said, “You’re becoming more and more like a Malfoy everyday.”
“And what’s that suppose to mean?” Hermione had asked (more or less moaned) to him.
“Nothing, except that maybe your name should match your new appearance?”
That was Malfoy’s clever way of proposing to her. He had gotten down on one knee and did it right after she turned around in his arms and stared at him in a mix of awe. Hermione was speechless for a few seconds but mentally slapped herself silly and said yes.
“Mrs. Hermione Malfoy,” She repeated for two weeks straight until the sound of it came out of her mouth properly. The day after Malfoy had proposed she did one of the boldest things she could ever do: told all of her mangers of her three Libraries to, “Demolish the signs. It’s The Malfoy Sanctuary now.”
When her new fiancé found out what she had done, he gave her a quizzical look. Hermione shrugged her shoulders and grinned.
“What? I’m marrying you. Do you really think I’m going to have my ex’s name on my Libraries?”
Malfoy took the news well, but others didn’t, and the media was having a field day.
Has Draco Malfoy Bought Out the Growing Potter Library Chain?
Hardly… The Libraries, one stationed in our very own London, England is still owned by Hermione Potter who is planning on continuing to expand her Libraries to other parts of the world. But why have the “Potter” Libraries’ name been changed to “The Malfoy Sanctuary”? The answer to that lies with the very changing of the proprietor’s last name. Outside sources have indicated that Ms. Hermione Potter, is indeed divorced from her husband, Harry Potter, of twenty-two years and only after roughly “two weeks,” our source says, of being a single woman again has she become engaged to none other than Draco Malfoy. Strangely enough, Draco Malfoy has too signed divorce papers from his wife Sandra Malfoy.
“It’s odd,” says reviewer Nancy Delaney. “To have two marriages end at the same time, and the two divorcees become engaged? Sounds like foul play to me.” Sounds the same way to us Daily Prophet writers... What caused the famous couple to split and to have the brains of the Golden Trio turn to their enemy of several years-?
“And blah, blah, blah…” Clara said as she sat at her kitchen counter. Alex came out from the bathroom stretching and sat with her friend at the counter.
“What are you reading?”
“This stupid article in the Daily Prophet…”
“No articles in the Daily Prophet are hardly stupid.”
“It is when it’s about our parents.”
Alex stared at the headline of the article Clara passed to her. She read the first few lines and then pushed it away out of disgust. She shook her head and sighed.
“I can’t believe they’re going to get married.” Alex said aloud. Clara nodded and took a sip of the tea that sat in front of her.
“I hope my dad hasn’t seen this. He’s been doing so well for the past month.”
“Well I hope my mum sees it. She’s been locked in her bedroom since it happened. Maybe this’ll shock her out of it.”
The fireplace kicked up at the end of Clara’s last word and out of it waltzed James with a smile on his face.
“Hey, Clara,” He said in a chipper tone. “’Evening to you, Alex…” He added with a small bow to her. Clara snorted and laughed.
“Stop hitting on her, James. She’s about to become your sister.”
“Your mum and my dad are getting married.” Alex explained as she passed to him the article. His eyes poured over the page quickly and found he couldn’t find the proper function of his mouth.
“Paralyzing isn’t it?” She said to him. James nodded and tossed the article onto the sofa where he sat down next to it.
“I hope to Merlin mum doesn’t think she can send us invitations to the wedding and expect us to come.” Clara vented. “If she does I’ll go completely ballistic. You too, right James?”
He said nothing and continued to stare at the article he had finished read a few seconds ago. He, unlike his hateful sister, wouldn’t mind going. James sighed and shook his head. He wasn’t like the rest of them: terribly upset and refusing to speak or see Hermione. He was the one who wrote to her nearly everyday to find out how she was doing and smile at the letter she’d send back. He felt bad that he wasn’t like everyone else, shunning her and pretending that she didn’t exist, but what could he say? He was a mummy’s boy.
“If mum invites us to the wedding, you won’t go, right?”
He tried speaking but nothing was working. He wanted to say yes to appease his sister, but it wasn’t the answer he wanted to give. Alex, as if sensing this, cleared her throat to draw the attention from off of him.
“Lay off of him, Clara.” Alex interjected. “They’ll probably have the smallest wedding alive with two witnesses and in order to get it over and done with.”
But Clara wasn’t listening to her best friend. She was more focused on her little brother’s hesitancy to answer her question.
“James, you don’t want to go to her wedding, do you?”
“…She’s our mother.” He choked out.
“She’s a traitor.”
“Would you have rather her to stay with our father and continue to lie to him? It’s better this way.”
“She would still be lying to him if dad hadn’t found Mr. Malfoy in Chris’ bedroom! Damn it, James, can’t you see that she’s ruined our father’s life? By going to her wedding, by even wanting to go, means that you’re supporting her!”
“Well, I’m sorry, Clara!” James shouted at her as he stood. “But I’m not mad at her. I know that I should be, but I’m not. I should be fuming with rage just at the thought of her, but Clara, nothing happens. I hate what she’s put our father through. I don’t understand why she had to keep the whole thing a secret when she could’ve come out in the open and let everyone go their separate ways. But that’s what I think we need to find out. Why she did things the way she did before passing full judgment.”
Alex sat there open-mouthed at James’ small rant. She looked to Clara who seemed as though she was ready to boil over in anger. Though, as red as her face got, only these few words were uttered from her lips:
“No,” She said sternly as she pointed a finger into his chest. “Go home to dad.”
With that James watched his sister turn and exit the living room. A moment later a door slam could be heard. Alex got up from her seat and crossed the room to James, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“Am I that wrong?” He asked her. She sighed and shook her head.
“Of course not… I know how you feel. Those same feelings you have towards your mother I have towards my dad. Merlin knows I’m pissed at him for ruining a marriage of about twenty years, but I’m more concerned with why. Some people say the why doesn’t matter and just the action. But you want know what I say? A person can’t make a move without asking why they’re going to do it. Clara’s already made up her mind about the situation, but you’re not your sister. Find out the answers to those questions and make up your own mind.”
James went back to his father’s as Clara had ordered him to. When Harry asked why he looked so down, he shrugged his shoulders and said nothing, heading up to his room so he could drown himself in music. A little while later he came back downstairs with a rucksack slung over his shoulder and standing in front of the fireplace. It was Friday, and by court order, he spent the weekends with his mother and his soon-to-be stepfather. As he took a bit of Floo Powder in his hands, Harry put a hand on his shoulder and sighed.
“I know it’s difficult,” He told him. “But it’s just for the summer. After that you’ll be at Hogwarts, and once you’re graduated, you won’t ever have to be with them again.”
James stared at his dad and feigned a smile. Just for the heck of it, he threw in a nod before he stepped into the fireplace and dropped the Floo Powder. If only he felt the same way as his father.
As soon as he stepped a foot onto the brand new Asiatic carpet, a small person was running up to him and throwing their arms around his waist. James laughed and messed up his little sister’s hair.
“I take it you’ve missed me, then?” He asked her as he tossed his rucksack aside and picked her up in his arms. Christina nodded and grinned broadly. “Alright, so where’s our mother?”
“Let’s go then.”
James let his sister down and followed her throughout the flat to the lounge. It was only his third time going to his mother’s new home and he hadn’t yet learned where things were. Though after a few twists and turns and up a flight of stairs, Christina stopped and pointed into a room where Hermione and Malfoy were, to James’ slight disgust, cuddling on a chaise.
“Mum, James is here!” Christina said as she rushed into the room. Hermione immediately got up from beside Malfoy and hugged him. However as she let him go and saw the look on his face she frowned and turned to her fiancé.
“Draco, why don’t you take Chris out to get some ice cream?”
Malfoy saw the look on her face and nodded. He took Christina by the hand and let her out of the room. Once there was the clear sound of someone disapparating, Hermione motioned for James to sit down next to her.
“What makes you think something’s wrong?”
“James, I’m your mother. You don’t think that I know when something’s wrong with my son? Come on, out with it.”
He sighed and stared into her eyes. She was right. Mothers were always right. After a few seconds he looked away from her and said what he had suppressed for four months.
“Why did you do it, mum?” James asked her. “Why did you have an affair with Mr. Malfoy?”
Hermione fiddled with her thumbs. She knew that the question would be coming, but since it had just arrived, she was speechless. It was only after her son’s prodding by calling her name did she respond.
“I honestly don’t know.” She told him. “At least in the beginning… You have to know, James, that at first it was a mistake. For the first year I kept telling myself that I would stop, but…and then Chris… After that I didn’t want to leave your dad.”
“But why..? It would’ve saved a lot of trouble and hurt dad less.”
“The irony is that I stayed with your dad because I was trying not to hurt him at all. I was hardly happy being married to your father anymore, but I didn’t want to break the family apart. I did it for all of your sakes. Unfortunately it didn’t go according to plan. I understand why you’re mad at me. It was expected-”
“I never said I was mad.” James interrupted. “I just wanted to know why. Some people would just up and leave their families without so much as word. They’d be attached to their new families and loved ones and forget the people they had before. You didn’t do that, mum. You still want us in your life, but you’re being rejected.”
“…You’ve thought a lot about this.”
James nodded and Hermione smiled. She took a moment to wipe away a single tear that fallen and smiled even broader.
“One more thing, mum…”
“Yes, go ahead.”
“About what the courts said… I know I’m supposed to be shared between you and dad. But I was wondering if I could live with you.”
“Y-you want to live with me?” Hermione said in disbelief. She laughed happily and pulled him into a back-breaking hug. “You don’t know how happy you’ve made me. James, I’ve missed you.”
“…I’ve missed you too, mum.”
Author's Note: well, there goes chapter 15!! And as much as its killing me to say this, the story is sadly but assuredly coming to a close. There are roughly five more chapters before this story is over *tear*
ah, all things must come to an end, but enough of that, its not over just yet! Please remember to leave a review :)
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