Chapter 39 : A New Year
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“Braedon, Kyra and Atticus! If you don’t come down here this second – I’m coming up!” Hermione shouted up the large stone staircase to her three children. Why today of all days did they decide to slack-off, causing them to be late?! They sure hadn’t been late every morning of the holidays when it involved them getting outside to play Quidditch with their father, or to swim in the lake. She hadn’t even been able to get breakfast into them on those mornings!
“What’s all the shouting about?” Draco asked as he strolled out of the dining room from the eastern side of the entrance hall of Malfoy Manor. He still looked the same as he always had. Clean silvery blonde hair that flopped into his breathtaking blue eyes. Only the few wrinkles around the corners of his eyes reminded her that she wasn’t looking at the twenty-one-year-old version of her husband.
“They’re testing my patience. If they don’t hurry up we’re going to be late for the train!” she huffed. Eighteen years of mothering had changed her. She’d forgotten what it was like to be such a perfectionist. She was waging a war against the impossible if she hoped to have everything timed to perfection these days. She had learnt to settle for what she could get.
“Don’t panic, I’ll go up and get them moving. I’ll be one minute…” Draco said with a smile. He always seemed to forget how riled up she got on the first day back at school. Now that all three of them would be going to Hogwarts, he hoped that he might finally get some time to his wife exclusively. His days were usually spent at work in the Ministry and after years of petitioning for his family’s rights to remain free of Azkaban, they had declared the Malfoy’s innocent of war crimes against wizarding and muggle kind. He now worked as a councillor on the criminal justice board of cases that were presented to the Ministry. When he was home, Hermione was usually too busy with the children.
“I’m sending your father up!” Hermione hollered up the stairs.
“Oh, hold onto your hair, we’re coming!” Braedon shouted as he and his brother and sister began to descend; not even a second after his mother had spoken. He was tall like his father, but with a head of dark curly hair and dark eyes. Dressed in a loosely worn white shirt with black pants and jacket, he levitated three trunks down the stairs towards the door.
“Don’t get smart with me Braedon, I’m not in the slightest mood!” Hermione spat back as she gathered her scarf around her neck to protect her from the unusually bitter wind outside.
“I swear, if we’d left it a moment longer, she would have had kittens…” he said smartly to no one in particular, a thin smirk playing on his lips.
“Braedon, watch your mouth…” Draco grumbled and not another joke was uttered. Draco folded his newspaper under his arm and flicked his wand so the three levitating trunks were under his command.
“Misfit!” Hermione said in a regular voice. A moment later, an old and wrinkled elf appeared by her side and bent over into a coughing fit. “Bring the owls will you,” she said without even noticing the deathly ill elf beside her.
“Yes m-lady” it wheezed.
“Are we all ready? Very well, let’s go before we miss the train…” Hermione ordered and the five of them moved quickly to the ready green flames that glistened in the fire place. Hermione stepped through first, quickly followed by Atticus, Kyra and Braedon. Draco and Misfit were the last to follow with the luggage.
The bright red steam train billowed white smoke as it prepared to leave the station. Hermione quickly turned around to face her three children. She let out a large sigh and stepped towards Braedon first, enveloping his giant form in a hug, which he received reluctantly.
“Look after yourself,” she said into his ear.
“I will.” he replied.
“And the other two. Set a good example.”
“I know mum…” he said finally. She pulled away from their hug and looked into her boys’ eyes. She couldn’t believe how much he’d grown. It seemed like he turned three only yesterday, but here he was – all grown up and ready to take on the biggest responsibility someone could be handed. She smiled at him and he gave her arms a squeeze.
“I’m sorry. I always forget…” she said with a smile, waving her concern away. “I love you…” she whispered.
“I love you too mum…” he smirked in reply, and with another quick hug, she moved onto Kyra. There was no longer the need to bend down when talking to her daughter; she was already as tall as Hermione. She’d be taller maybe in a few years. Kyra was starting her fifth year, and already at the age of fifteen, she was a rare beauty to behold. Hermione was secretly thankful that she’d adopted her father’s good looks. While Hermione knew that she wasn’t hideous – on the contrary, Hermione was quite the beauty – her run through school with teasing had not been pleasant and she didn’t wish it on any one. It didn’t matter that one of the main person who used to tease her was now her husband, she was just glad that none of her children would be subject to this humiliation.
“Are you all set?” she asked the equally tall blond girl in front of her. With a light dusting of freckles and beautiful blond ringlets, Kyra was more beautiful than any girl her age.
“Yes mum. Everything’s packed. Verity is in her cage and everything is on the train. There’s nothing for you to worry about.” Kyra responded smartly. Hermione smirked and gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek before moving onto her last child. Atticus was the youngest and at the age of eleven, he was off to his first year at Hogwarts. In the spitting image of his father, Hermione felt it hardest to let him go. She knelt down in front of him.
“Are you ready?” she asked nervously. Atticus matched her nervousness.
“I think so … I’m not sure. What if no one there likes me? Or what if I’m not in the right house? I – I don’t want to be in Hufflepuff!” he said sounding very distressed about the prospect of being in the blue house.
“Hey now, you stop worrying about all that… it’ll only make you feel worse.” Hermione said as she smoothed out the blond hair that hung in his face and tucked it behind his ear. “Now, you’ll make friends as easy as before and if you don’t, then Braedon will hang out with you.” She said with a smile as she looked out the corner of her eye towards Braedon, who seemed exasperated at his mother’s lack of tact. At that moment, Draco moved Braedon over to a secluded part of the platform, away from eavesdropping ears.
“Are you ready?”
“This is a big year…”
“I know. An interesting one at that-” Braedon replied.
“Don’t get cocky Braedon. This won’t be easy. In fact, it’ll be the hardest step that you have to take. Are you really ready for this?” Draco said in a hoarse whisper.
“Yes I’m ready for this! I’ve been ready for this all my life. I’m sick of waiting, preparing, studying. I want to take action. I’m ready father – just give me a chance and I’ll show you!”
Author’s Note: THE END! :)