Chapter 24 : Aphrodite
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Yet the second floor had its fair share of rooms itself, many of them being nothing more than spare bedrooms for their guests that always seemed to be someone unknown, who came from who knows where. They always seemed to be involved with business of some sort with his father and therefore automatically making them up to no good. Knowing that Voldemort was currently taking up residence in the manor, Draco decided to head downstairs, hoping to find his father in his study and learn of Hermione’s whereabouts from him, instead of searching every room and risking stumbling on Voldemort himself. He passed Crabbe and Goyle Sr. playing a game of cards near the bottom of the stairs. Draco shook his head and continued on. Those two like their sons, were always seen together and just as dull. Any other Death Eater would have at least looked up having felt an unknown presence, but not those two. Draco continued, turning left into the hallway that would take him to his father’s study. He walked quietly not wanting to alert any of the portraits to an unseen presence and cause them to start yelling of intruders till his father came running. He kept his eyes on the portraits as he continued down the hallway, looking for any sign that he`d been discovered.
A sound from up the hallway diverted his attention from the portraits on the wall to the figures ahead of him. His aunt Bellatrix was with another Death Eater he didn`t know, coming down the hallway. Draco took one quick look around and dashed into the open door just a few steps ahead of him. He remained silent against the wall of the room until they passed and only then did he let out his breath. He looked around the room at the family tree that spanned the four walls. He walked over to where his picture was located and there beside him was a picture of Hermione. No line connected them directly, only the line than ran from the each of them to the shadow below them that would one day be an image of their little baby. Ignoring the tightness in his throat, Draco turned around and left the room, continuing to his father`s study.
He slowed as he neared the study and heard his father’s voice as well as another’s in response. He peered into the room through the partially opened door t find his father seated behind his desk. The other man seated across the desk from him, Draco did not know, but he didn`t care, all he wanted was for his father to give some hint to where Hermione was being held.
“I still think you should let her have the child,” the other man said.
Draco`s focus was now completely on them.
“I’ve said before Dale, I value you’re friendship, but allowing the child to live, puts a permanent mark against the purity of my family,” Lucius said.
“Draco can have always father another child with a pureblooded witch,” Dale said.
“That is true, but the mark will still be on my family. I cannot afford to look weak,” Lucius said. “The Dark Lord is already disappointed in me because of Draco.”
“I suppose I see your reasoning,” Draco said. “But I don’t have to agree.”
“When, my friend, have ever agreed?” Lucius asked.
“True,” Dale said shrugging.
“I think muggle life made you go soft,” Lucius said.
“Not something I’m proud of,” Dale said a slight edge in his voice.
Footsteps down the hall caught Draco’s attention and he turned his head to find his mother coming down the hall. He stepped back across the hall as he noticed she was headed for her husband’s study. Narcissa knocked on the door and Draco heard his father bid her enter. Narcissi opened the door wider and entered.
“You wanted to see me Lucius?” Narcissa said as Draco resumed his spot outside the study door.
“Yes, I’d like for you to tend to our guest,” Lucius said.
Draco said his mother’s back stiffen.
“Of course,” Narcissa said.
“And get Hannah to help you,” Lucius said.
“Anything else?” Narcissa asked.
“Not right now,” Lucius replied. “You can go.”
Draco stepped back as his mother turned around and walked out of the room. Pulling his invisibility cloak securely around him, he followed his mother down the hall. He followed her upstairs, staying a safe distant back as to not alert her. He didn’t believe that his mother would do anything, but the less she knew the safer she was. Draco walked slowly around the corner and found his mother talking with the maid Hannah. He crept closer in order to hear them.
“...can you get those necessary items and bring them to the spare room in the East wing,” Narcissa said.
“Of course Lady Malfoy,” Hannah said.
“I’m just going to change into something older and more comfortable. I suggest you do the same,” Narcissa said. I’ll meet you there.
Confused Draco took off towards the East wing, where his parent’s rooms were located. As he approached the spare room, Draco looked around to make sure the hall was clear of people before reaching out and unlocking the door.
Harry stepped out of the fire place and quickly looked around before stepping aside to brush himself off as the fire place lit up again and Ron stepped through.
“Where is Draco?” Ron asked dusting the ash from his robes.
“Don’t know, I didn’t see him,” Harry replied looking around the room.
They heard a door slam in the other room and darted around the corner near the fire place. Harry peered around the corner and saw Draco walking out carrying two invisibility cloaks. Harry indicated to Ron to follow and hurried to find Draco before he was lost. The rounded the corner and stopped.
“Where did he go?” Ron asked.
“Don’t know, but he had two invisibility cloaks,” Harry said.
“Spoiled brat,” Ron mumbled. “We’ll we’ll never find him now.”
“Well we’ll just have to keep looking around, maybe we’ll come across him soon,” Harry said continuing down the hall.
“Which way now?” Ron asked a few moments later. “Do we continue down straight or go right?”
“Pick one I guess,” Harry said.
“Right, then,” Ron said.
“Alright, we’ll go right,” Harry said and turned down the hallway, unknowingly taking them further from Draco and Hermione and closer to Voldemort.
Draco stepped into the room and closed the door behind him, relocking it to give him a moment’s notice should anyone come in. He looked around the spacious, dimly lit room and found it empty. He walked further into the room quietly, looking around for Hermione. Her robe was lying on the bed, but he couldn’t see her anywhere. He was about to call out for her when he heard a noise from by the window. He walked over there slowly and opened the curtains. Hermione was seated on the window seat leaning against the wall with her legs stretched out in front of her, her hands resting under her belly. Her tear streaked face was frozen in fear.
“Oh shit,” Draco said taking off the invisibility cloak. “Sorry.”
“Draco,” she said relieved to see him as she lifted her arms up for a hug.
“Are you okay?” Draco asked holding her to him.
“You need to get me out of here Draco,” she whispered. “Now.”
Draco pulled away but refused to lose total contact, so he kept her hands in his.
“What did they do?” Draco asked.
“Your father he-”
Hermione stopped and her grip on Draco’s hands increased.
“Hermione, sweetie, what’s wrong?” Draco said pulling his hands from hers and cradling her face, wiping away the tears with his thumbs.
Hermione sighed and visibly relaxed, “your father gave me a potion to induce labor.”
Draco was silent a moment as what she told him sank in and suddenly everything his father, Dale and his mother had said made sense.
His face hardened, “he did what? I’ll kill him!”
Draco stood there a moment trying to keep himself from turning around, walking out of the room and killing his father. After a few deep calming breaths, Draco stood up straight, “Alright I think I’m okay, for now anyways. Can you walk?”
“A bit,” she said.
“Well we need to hurry my mother is suppose to come and tend to you,” Draco said. “They should be here soon.”
“Then you should probably carry me,” she said. “You can carry me right?”
“Of course I can, who do you think I am? Weasley? Potter?” Draco asked.
Hermione it him on the arm, “be nice please.”
Draco gave her a little smile, “okay, but only because you said please. Now, I’ll pick you up, do you think you can put the invisibility cloak over us?”
“Will it cover us both?” she asked eyeing the cloak.
“It should, I am carrying you,” Draco said.
“Okay,” she said and she started to stand up when the lock on the door click.
“Stay here,” he said closing the curtain and hiding her once again.
He slowly walked towards the door, his wand raised and ready.
“Put down your wand Draco is this how you always treat everyone who tries to help you?”
“Severus?” Draco said questioningly as he lowered his wand.
Snape ignored him and entered the room.
“Where’s Miss. Granger?” he asked.
Draco walked back to the window and pulled open the curtains, “come on, we’re going now.”
“Draco you should know, it’s dangerous out there,” Snape said looking out the door.
“What do you mean?” Draco asked turning around to face him.
Snape closed the door, “it would seem that Potter and Weasley followed you here.”
“And let me guess they were caught,” Draco said.
“So it would seem, but the rest of the Order of the Phoenix is here now. I think this might be it,” Snape added.
“I have to get you out of here,” Draco said.
“Yes you do,” Snape said. “Where’s the nearest fireplace that is connected to the Floo network?”
“There are three in the whole house. One each in the living rooms in the east and west wings and the third is downstairs in the parlor,” Draco said. “So the nearest one would be here in the east wing, right around the corner.”
“Then let’s go don’t bother using the invisibility cloaks,” Snape said opening the door.
Snape stopped in the doorway and Draco came up behind him carrying Hermione. Outside in the hallway was Lucius on his knees with Portia pointing her wand at him looking furious. Draco placed Hermione on the floor and she leaned against the doorframe for support. Absolutely furious and seeing red, Draco approached his father. Before Lucius was able to open his mouth and say some smart mouthed comment that would infuriate Draco further, Draco punched him and would have continued to do so had Snape not stepped in and stopped him.
“I would love nothing more than to see you dead, but that would not be satisfying enough,” Draco said, fury thickly coating each word. “Instead I’d rather see you in Azkaban and rot away for the rest of your miserable life.”
A whimper of pain from Hermione brought him back to focus. He walked over to her and picked her up.
“Can you make sure the Aurors get him?” Draco asked Portia.
She nodded her head. Satisfied Draco began walking down the hallway. Severus didn’t move immediately.
“We’ll talk later Severus, go,” Portia said.
“Be careful, even now he’s still dangerous,” Snape said looking at Lucius before leaving to catch up with his godson.
He walked into the living room as Draco was grabbing the pot of Floo powder down from the mantle.
“Go to Hogwarts, directly to the hospital wing. St. Mungo’s will be chaos right now,” he said walking to the fire place.
“Alright,” Draco said handing the pot to him before picking Hermione up off the couch.
They stepped into the fireplace and Snape tossed in the Floo powder just before Draco named their location, and in a flash of green were gone.
From the moment Draco stepped into the hospital wing, time seemed to speed up. It was too late for Madame Pomfrey to counter the effects of the potion, so the baby that wasn’t expected until April, was going to be born now in the middle of February. Madame Pomfrey, leaving Professor Snape to watch over the situation, took the Floo network to St. Mungo’s to ask for assistance from a good friend of hers that specialized in premature births. Madame Pomfrey had returned shortly with Healer Byrne behind her. Draco stayed by Hermione’s side through it all, telling her over and over that with the two talented Healers, their baby would be fine every time she began to doubt it. Then at 4:21 in the afternoon, their little girl was born. Healer Byrne with the assistance of Madame Pomfrey and Professor Snape immediately began taking care of the little girl. Draco kissed her on the forehead and she looked up at him.
“How is she?” she asked tired.
“Fine, just fine, she’s in their hands, she can’t be anything but fine,” Draco said smoothing her hair back.
Hermione’s eyes began to flutter but she was determined to not fall asleep, “I want to see her.”
“You will, but they have to do their job first,” Draco said. “Sleep, she’ll be here when you wake I promise.”
She tried to fight, but it was a losing battle and eventually a dreamless sleep overtook her.
Hermione woke a few hours later to a voice speaking softly. She opened her eyes slowly, it was dark outside, and the lamps around her bed kept it from being dark around them. She turned her head slowly and saw Draco sitting in the chair next to the bed holding their daughter all wrapped in pink. Draco looked up suddenly and Hermione smiled.
“See, told you she’d be here,” Draco said leaning over and kissing her.
“She’s so small,” Hermione said.
“I know, but they say she has a good chance, but they’re going to keep her here a while and Healer Byrne is staying also until she’s released,” Draco said stroking his daughter’s face.
“We never did discuss names,” Hermione said turning onto her side.
“I’d been thinking of them lately, but not much on girls’ names. She’s the first girl born to the Malfoy family in many generations,” Draco said.
“Are you disappointed?” Hermione asked.
Draco looked at her, “not at all.”
“So, her name,” Hermione started.
“Yeah, I like Aphrodite,” Draco said.
Hermione looked at him, “you have got to be kidding me?”
“No, I’m quite serious,” Draco said.
“You want to name our daughter after the Greek goddess of love and beauty?” Hermione asked.
“Yes,” Draco said. “Being as she is our child, she is already and will always be very beautiful.”
“It’s more the whole ‘god of love’ thing I have a problem with,” Hermione said. “That’s not exactly the image I want a child of mine to have.”
“She’s a Malfoy,” Draco said as if that was all the explanation that was needed.
“So? Your point is?” Hermione asked.
“Malfoy’s make great lovers,” Draco said. "Though no boy will ever find that out about our daughter."
“They do? You might have to remind me,” Hermione said.
“Remind you?” Draco asked incredulously. “Nobody can forget a Malfoy.
“I think I might have,” Hermione said smiling.
“Then remind you I will, as soon as I can,” Draco promised. “Anyways, I think we got off track.”
“Fine, you want to name her that then go right ahead,” Hermione said. “It’s not me she’ll hate when she’s older.”
“Are you serious?” Draco asked. “You’re just going to let me win?”
“This will be the one and only time, I’m too tired to debate names and anyways like you said, she’s a Malfoy, and since when do Malfoy’s have regular everyday names?” Hermione asked.
Draco thought about it, “never.”
“Thought so,” she said smiling. “I get to pick the middle name.”
“That sounds fair, anything in mind?” Draco asked.
“Yeah, I like Kendall,” She said before sitting up and moving her pillows up against the headboard for her to lean against.
“Kendall?” Draco was silent a moment. “I think I like it. Aphrodite Kendall Malfoy.”
Hermione smiled, “I like it too. Now let me hold my daughter.”
Draco stood up and placed their daughter in her mother’s arms as Madame Pomfrey and Healer Byrne came through the curtain.
“Ahh, Miss. Granger, you’re awake,” Madame Pomfrey said as she came in.
“I’m not sure what Draco’s told you, but your daughter has a good chance. She’s already been administered the necessary potions that will quicken development in the organs, as well as others to help her make it through,” Healer Byrne.
“Magic really gives us an advantage doesn’t it,” she said looking down at the baby.
“It does which why when compared to muggles we have less premature babies die,” the healer said. “Makes it seem very unfair sometimes.”
“Thank you,” Hermione said.
“It was no problem at all. I believe every child should have its chance at life,” she said.
“We’re just in the office should you need anything,” Madame Pomfrey said.
“Thank you,” Draco said.
“Have Harry and Ron returned yet?” Hermione asked after they left.
“No one has, they’re all at the ministry or St. Mungo’s, but they’ll be back,” Draco said.
“Have you heard anything?” she asked worried.
Draco sighed, “Voldemort’s dead, Potter killed him. That’s all I know.”
Hermione nodded and looked down at her daughter trying not to think about who she may never see again.
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