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Chapter 14 : Just Breathe
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Disclaimer: I don’t own J.K. Rowling, or the characters.
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Chapter Twelve: Just Breathe
She hadn’t talked to him in a few days, she wondered if he was avoiding her. Was he that mad at her that she had gone and talked to their boss about his money situation? She hadn’t meant it that way. She tried sending him a letter through owl, but the letters always returned unopened. She even tried to go and visit him in his office but every time she went, he was never there. She didn’t even know why she cared at all. Sure, he was the father of her child but that was it. She had no obligation to him, no commitment. She felt like she needed him, and she didn’t know why, and that scared her.
She felt the need to keep crying all the time, but if someone asked her what was wrong, she always blamed the hormones and her pregnancy. Although she was glad morning sickness had stopped, it didn’t mean she was any happier. Weren’t women who were pregnant supposed to be happy? If so, she didn’t feel an ounce of happiness.
She’s had more than enough people coming up to her and congratulating her on her pregnancy now that the news had flown throughout the Ministry. Although not many people knew who the father was. She also knew that they were talking about Malfoy behind his back and she was angry that she didn’t like it. She was also so absorbed in her thoughts that she didn’t notice someone approach her.
Hermione was shocked, as she didn’t expect this. She knew she would have to see him sometime, but this, she didn’t expect it so soon. Was it that hard to believe that after nearly avoiding him at Fortescue's, she had hoped to not see him for a long while? She had guessed that he must have figured out that she worked at the Ministry. It wasn’t exactly well known that she worked as an Auror. Most people had assumed that she would have worked in the department of magical creatures, but she felt that after the war, being an Auror is what she had dreamed of, what she was born to do.
“Ian, what are you doing here?”
“I wanted to talk, do you have a minute?”
“I suppose I could go on a short break, just give me a minute.” Hermione said, straightening out. He had taken notice of a slightly small baby bump but said nothing otherwise on the matter.
She said a quick word to the secretary and then followed him outside the building towards the picnic tables in one of the courtyards. The ministry was a huge building, the Auror department was only half the size. Although it was underground, to hide from the muggles, the building itself was huge with so many departments.
“So a lot has happened since I’ve been gone, I see.” He mentioned first. Hermione had no idea what to say to him, he had left her.
“Well it has been two years Ian.”
“And I wanted to apologize for the way I left things when I did. You know I didn’t do it on purpose.”
“Yes, you were perfectly clear when we broke up Ian, why come back now?”
“Well my father had just signed off on this big marketing plan; the only problem at the time was having to move. Now that we’re finished, my father thought it best to come back.”
“Why did you have to move, what were the reasons you couldn’t stay in London?”
“Because they thought it best if it was done in America. I’m sorry I never gave a word to you about what was going on.”
“You didn’t have too, we weren’t together anymore, Ian.” Hermione said. It was true, they weren’t together, they had no obligations to be together, and there was nothing to hold her back. If he wanted to judge her now being pregnant, then so be it.
“I know, and that’s a problem because I still like you.”
He didn’t want to listen anymore; he had thought he heard enough. He hadn’t even met him and he already hated him. Draco always had a sense about certain people on whether or not they were good people. He couldn’t say that he himself was a saint but he had learned from his mistakes in the past, well at least he thought he did. Ian, he somehow knew was lying. He didn’t just arrive back in London, and he somehow knew that he hadn’t come back for business. Draco knew he had no attachments towards Hermione but he knew that Ian wouldn’t care whether or not there was another man in her life for he was only after her. Draco did not want this guy in his child’s life and he would adamantly make that clear to her and him.
He stood outside near one of the trees nearest to where the pair was sitting. He just happened to have taken the same break as her. He had of course been avoiding her. He hadn’t known how to approach her about the money situation and he supposed he should have thanked her for talking to Mr. Tajo even though he never asked her too. He supposed she felt it was her duty considering her Gryffindor nobilities. He had proceeded to walk away, but had decided last minute to stay.
“You heard me Hermione.”
“I don’t understand.”
“What’s there to say, you can either say it back to me or not.”
“Ian, please I’m still trying to understand that you returned to London, no less that you still like me. “
“I know it’s a lot, and I’m really sorry on how I left things. I know how you feel-“
“Don’t tell me how I feel; you have no idea what I’ve been through. I understand that you had to leave for your business but you have no right to claim how I felt. Three years Ian, we were together!”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to presume, I didn’t mean for you to get upset.”
“I’m sure that wasn’t your intention. Look, I really have to get back to work.”
“Listen, I know this really can’t make up for it now but will you go out with me tonight?”
“I- I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Are you seeing anyone at the moment?”
She seemed to hesitate for a moment before answering. “Well for starters, I’m almost five months pregnant. The father of the baby is someone I hated in school. Complicated enough for you?”
He didn’t listen to another word.
“It’s not as if it’s your business Ian, but yes it’s Draco’s.”
She was angry; he had no right to ask her these questions. He wasn’t part of her life anymore. He had left her, not the other way around. Her life was private, he had no right. It wasn’t his business who the father of her child was, only a selected few people did know, and she wanted to keep it that way.
“My apologies, Hermione, I hadn’t meant it that way.”
“Well than what exactly did you mean, Ian?” She asked him testily.
“Well we all know Malfoy was a Death Eater, I’m just surprised he works in the Ministry or that the fact that he’s the father of your baby.”
“For your information Draco was never a Death Eater, and why is it so shocking that he’s the father of my baby? Since when is it a crime to move on Ian? Did you honestly think I would love you forever? Draco is, good for me.”
“Do you love him?”
“I, um…” She didn’t want to lie but she knew the truth. She didn’t love him, she liked him, yes but that was it. He was easy enough to talk to when he wasn’t avoiding her and he did take care of her as best as he could. She knew what scared her more was that if they did spend more time together, she could love him and she didn’t want that to happen. She didn’t want Ginny’s words to get to her.
“So I still have a chance with you then?”
She didn’t know what else to say. Did she want to date Ian again after he broke her heart? He had been gone two years since their relationship had ended. She didn’t feel ready to date anyone at the moment. She didn’t think she could. She looked into his eyes; he was standing quite close to her. Without another second to react he had bent down and kissed her.
She didn’t know what to expect but it sure wasn’t this. Suddenly, she felt it, the feelings she had when she had been with Ian those two years ago and now, it was nothing. There was no spark, no recognition of her feelings for him. This kiss didn’t feel the same, it was more demanding. There was no passion, maybe that’s what their relationship had been lacking.
“Come on Hermione, you know you want this.” He kissed her again. She willed herself to kiss him back, to make herself feel the way she did in the past. But there was nothing. Something was nagging her in the pit of her stomach but she didn’t know what it was. She broke the kiss off suddenly realizing what had caused this reaction.
“Something the matter?” He had asked her.
“I, I think the baby just kicked.” Hermione said excitedly. Without realizing what had happened, she grabbed Ian’s hand on instinct and reached towards her stomach so he could feel for himself.
“Wow,” He said.
She hadn’t known what had possessed her to grab Ian’s hand then but she regretted it now, it shouldn’t have been Ian standing there feeling her baby kick. It should have been Draco. Hermione was angry at herself for what she had done. Why had she let Ian get to her, she had no obligation to either man yet something was telling her that Draco needed to be here with her now.
She didn’t want to be standing next to Ian anymore so she did what anyone would do in this typical fashion, she made an excuse. She took off towards her office but knowing that Ian might follow her, she went to the washroom. She needed to calm down. Stressing would only makes things worse for her and she did not need it at the moment. She was determined to talk to Draco once and for all. She’d had enough of him ignoring her, it was time.
He sat in his office after taking a break, trying to calm his nerves. He tried to be different, he really did but clearly it wasn’t good enough. She would never see him as someone different, someone who had changed. He didn’t understand why he thought otherwise.
“Draco!” He looked up, and instantly wished he wasn’t in his office at the moment. He had wished at that moment to take up that muggle habit of smoking just so he could have something to do.
“Did you want something?” He asked her eventually, since he didn’t exactly want to be rude.
“Do you have time at the moment? Do you want to have lunch with me?" She asked him sheepishly.
"Is that your subtle way of asking me on a date, Hermione?" He asked as a joke, he obviously didn’t mean it but he needed to make light of the situation.
"It’s not a date, we need to talk. Don’t even pretend you hadn’t been avoiding me either. We should probably get to know one another better, if we even want this pregnancy to work.”
“Yes, but unfortunately, I have work to do. Death Eaters aren’t going to capture themselves. I would just love to spend time with you but unlike some people I have a job to do.” He didn’t mean to sound so menacingly but the comment about him being a Death Eater hurt him.
“No need to be so snippy. Look, the truth of the matter is, we’re friends now-“
“Sure if you want to call us that. We’re two people who made a mistake and now we’re paying the price. I get it Hermione, the only reason you want to do this is because of your ex-boyfriend.” He said.
“What are you talking about? How do you know about Ian?”
“Well Pansy had the decency to inform me of him earlier. Look, the point of this, I’m not a rebound and I don’t intend to be. If you think there is something between us or whatever you think it is, it’s not going to happen. I’m not some pawn in your game.”
“It isn’t a game, nor did I want it to be one.”
“Look, I came to talk to you earlier today but you were otherwise occupied. I won’t stop you from seeing him, just know that I’m not leaving, I’m not abandoning our child,” He told her.
“I know that, I know how you feel about this child, I wouldn’t forbid you from seeing her or him for that matter.”
“Good then that’s all there is to say. I have work to do, so if you’ll excuse me.” He told her without another word.
He turned around, but didn’t say a word. He was angry, but he wasn’t exactly sure at whom. He knew he was angry at her for disrupting his life, he was angry at Blaise for putting ideas into his head and he was angry at Ian for returning. He just wanted it all to stop.
"The baby kicked,” As she started to walk away, “that’s what I wanted to tell you.”
As soon as what she had said had registered in his mind, he rushed straight up to her. “Really? Are you sure?”
“Yes, it is.” She took his hand then, noticing, how warm it felt against his cold skin and she placed it on her stomach. He tried to imagine a baby inside her, wanting to let out, kicking its feet. He felt it then, it was soft, but it was there. This made it real or them, that they were really having a baby, it wasn’t just a thought anymore. It was actually happening.
“Wow, I uh, I’m sorry for snapping at you.”
“It’s alright, but if there’s something wrong, don’t you think we should talk about it? If this is about Ian, I had no idea he was coming back and I didn’t think he’d want anything to do with me anymore. We broke up almost two years ago.”
“I don’t care about your relationship with him, be with him for all I care. Although I did want to thank you for talking to Mr. Tajo about my financial issue, you didn’t really have to.” He said first, he didn’t want her to know that he did in fact care so he had changed the subject abruptly, hoping she caught the message.
“It was nothing, it didn’t seem fair.” She told him.
She stepped back noticing how close they were, and hadn’t noticed either as their hands were still touching. He let go immediately and moved behind his desk again.
“I leave in two days, just to let you know. So I won’t be able to make the next appointment.”
“How long will you be gone for?”
“A month, if were lucky this time, we might actually catch Greyback.”
“Okay, I uh, have to get back to work now, but can we talk later tonight? Please?” She asked him in a low voice.
He had no idea what was going on, or why she suddenly seemed upset but he guessed anyhow that it was hormones, hopefully. “Fine, I’ll be over around 7.”
He had been walking the halls, to hopefully return to his work. He was set to leave in two days for another search. It was going to be fatal that this was the most important case. He was worried about leaving Hermione alone for a month, now with Ian back in the picture but what could he do about it. Both Potter and Weasley would be going with him. He would have to find a way.
“Watch where you’re going!” Draco looked up only to realize who it was and then he wasn’t all that sorry that he had crashed into him.
“Listen, Ian's your name, right? I want you to stay away from her.”
There was no promise, and he would threaten him and he would make sure that this man would stay away from her. He didn’t like or trust him. He also know Ian knew exactly who he was referring too, there was no question.
“Malfoy right? I heard rumours that you worked here. You see I actually have no intention of letting her go. She will be mine. With your bastard child or not.”
Draco didn’t know exactly what happened then, he felt really angry, like something was being torn from inside him and he felt rage like no other. He didn’t know whether or not it was because he’d grown attached to his child and therefore when Ian had called his child a bastard, he felt as though insulted. Or maybe it was because what Ian was insinuating wasn’t just the child but Hermione herself. Draco kept saying that he had no claim to Hermione but as long as the child was still inside her, she was his.
“I didn’t realize you had any claim to her, last I checked you had broken up two years ago.”
“Yes, and we were oh so very close. We’ll get back together, don’t you worry about that.”
“And why would you say that? What gives you the right to make a claim on her? It’s over Ian.” Draco said.
“I beg to differ, considering not even an hour ago we resumed our relationship once again. Merlin, she is a good kisser. Oh but wait, you would know that already now wouldn’t you?”
If Draco thought Ian was lying, he didn’t show it. For he didn’t actually know if she was a good kisser or not because the only form of contact that they had between them was one night of sex he couldn’t remember. He didn’t know if Ian was doing it to brag in his face or if he was trying to bait him. He didn’t know what had scared him the most, the fact that Ian could be with her and he really had no say on the matter or that he really wanted to find out if Hermione Granger herself was in fact a good kisser. He didn’t want to feel attracted to her in the least.
“Is that a challenge?”
“I don’t know, Malfoy, you tell me.”
“I don’t like you and I’m not quite sure what Hermione saw in you but it’s over and the sooner you realize that, the better. I’m done fighting with you.” Draco chose then to walk away. He knew that he desperately wanted to punch him in the face but refrained from doing so.
“Well I’m not quite as fond of you either. Let’s make a deal Malfoy, by the end of this pregnancy and she still likes me and wants to date me, you’ll back off. If not, she’s all yours.”
Draco knew he shouldn’t have agreed. This sounded dangerous and he was playing with Hermione’s feelings. He didn’t want to lead her on, for her only to get hurt in the end. But he hated loosing, and he be damned if he thought that Ian was going to win this.
They didn’t shake hands or salute in a way of acknowledgement but it was clear between the both of them that a deal had been stricken and there was no backing down now.
Author’s Notes: Another chapter done, so I hope that you like it. There is still plenty more to come I’m afraid. As for the interaction between Draco and Hermione, don’t worry they’ll be more of that soon enough. Just to make things clear, Draco and Hermione are attracted to each other but they don’t love or like one another all that much. Ian, you can make your own claims on how you feel about him, just know there’s plenty more of him to come so I’m forewarning you now. How many chapters will this story be? I’m not guaranteeing anything yet, but this could be up to 30 chapters. I haven’t exactly decided what’s going to happen yet since there’s still much of the plot that needs to be written. Also the Greyback mission is still underway so there will be more info on that later on.
In case you were confused, the italics were for so you could tell who was talking.
I hope I answered some of your questions.
Please Read & Review!
Thanks to my beta Sweet Decadence
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