Chapter 2 : No deal.
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Her face was nearly as pale and shell-shocked as the four remaining students in front of her.
“You four! To the Headmaster’s office immediately!” Without another word McGonagall lead the way.
Hermione willed herself to remain resolute and not turn her head to witness Malfoy’s reaction to her public admission.
However, it was difficult not to notice the complete lack of explosive reactions from her two closest friends who would have killed Malfoy for less. This was most disconcerting.
They both walked slightly ahead, but Hermione could still plainly see the sadness and grim acceptance painted on their countenance’. It irked her deeply. Her heart sunk lower as they rounded the corner and reached the Gargoyle that faithfully guarded Dumbledore’s office.
“Sugar quill,” McGonagall said.
Whilst climbing the stairs, Malfoy unexpectedly sped up to walk beside Hermione. She felt like he was suffocating her with his presence, and didn’t acknowledge him in the slightest.
“You can’t be pregnant. I cast a contraceptive charm,” he accused, though with a pleading edge to his words that begged her to put his fears to rest.
Hermione almost drew blood from biting her tongue so that she wouldn’t reply with a nasty retort. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. He’d know she wasn’t lying soon enough she imagined.
The four students sat down in front of Dumbledore. His expression was unreadable. He could be angry, disappointed, or disgusted. Most likely all of the above.
“You are with child Miss Granger?” he inquired.
“Yes, sir,” she confirmed.
“And it is Mister Malfoy’s?”
Hermione nodded, not able to meet her headmaster’s eyes.
“Excellent.” He proclaimed.
Wait, what? Had she heard him right? Had Albus Dumbledore truly just declared that teenage pregnancy was excellent?
“I’m sorry sir, I don’t think I understand.”
“Oh, of course, of course.” he replied, as if he had just realised he had forgotten to mention a vital piece of information. And vital it most certainly was.
Malfoy, against all her previous expectations, had yet to speak. Not that she was complaining.
Hermione had noticed for the first time that Professor Trelawney was standing beside Dumbledore.
“Would you care to enlighten Miss Granger and Mister Malfoy?”
Oh great. Now she had to listen to a deranged woman drivel on about how she is going to die a horrible death because it says so in her tea cup.
“O-Of course, Albus.”
Hermione could sense something that resembled pangs of remorse in the words spoken by the divination teacher.
“A few years ago I believe I received a prophecy. However, no one was a witness to it and so I remained blissfully ignorant that it had even occurred. As you know, I am unconscious when I receive a prophecy. Four months ago a presence visited me... one that not even I can explain -” Hermione fought to hold back the unladylike snort that threatened to erupt from her, “ – and it showed myself receiving the prophecy years before. I believe it was because it was not long before it would be fulfilled. If I could just get my crystal ball I could explain this all so much better...”
“That won’t be necessary, I apologise for taking you away from your daily reading. Good night.”
Thankfully, Trelawney left. Unfortunately Hermione felt just as uninformed as she did before she entered the Headmaster’s office. Wasn’t she supposed to be getting expelled for conducting herself in such an irresponsible manner?
“It is finally confirmed that the prophecy she speaks of concerns you, Draco, and your unborn child.”
This time Hermione couldn’t refrain from glancing over to Malfoy. He was gripping the sides of his chair so tightly his knuckles were white; his mouth was slightly open in shock. She could sense he no longer doubted her in the slightest. Feeling her gaze on him, Malfoy looked over at Hermione with a combination of horror and trepidation. That was more like it, Hermione revelled in his discomfort.
“There will be a union of worlds. The union will commence upon the birth of a child conceived by a dragon of Salazar and lioness of Godric. He will be untainted, she will be stained. Only when the child is born and the two incompatible beings forge an inextricable bond can the two worlds co-exist peacefully and tolerant of each other. Without both the worlds will destroy themselves, fuelled with hatred and resentment of each other. The dragon, lioness, and their child will be the undisputed leaders of the new, reconciled world.”
Dumbledore was met with stunned silence.
He couldn’t possibly be suggesting what Hermione thought he was. It wasn’t possible. Then again, she didn’t think a universe existed where it was possible for her to be pregnant with Draco Malfoy’s child. She had since become more open minded.
“Are you suggesting that the fate of the magical and muggle world is dependent on how well Granger and I can get along,” Malfoy bit out slowly.
“In a terribly simplified way, I suppose I am.” Dumbledore replied in his usual calm and collected fashion.
While Dumbledore was speaking, Hermione focussed her accusing gaze upon her two best friends who couldn’t meet her stare with their guilt-ridden eyes.
“You – You knew about this, didn’t you? Ron? Harry? Answer me!” Her voice cracked with the tears that obstructed her throat from their betrayal.
“We couldn’t tell you ‘Mione... we’re so sorry,” Ron admitted quietly, eyes firmly directed at the floor.
“You said we had more time! You said we had time to prepare them!” Harry roared at Dumbledore, brushing off Hermione’s question.
“That I did. I’m truly sorry, but I am not infallible. There were no indications of any kind that suggested it would be occurring so soon. But it is done now and all I can ask is that we move past the initial shock of this unexpected occurrence and focus on the problem at hand.”
He met each individual person’s eyes, confirming that each agreed.
Malfoy looked like someone had slipped him a puking pasty.
“Voldermort already knew about the prophecy, but I only saw him receiving word that it had been set in motion a few hours ago. He was... pleased. There are obviously death eaters amongst us here at Hogwarts,” Harry’s tone was laced with disgust.
Hermione cast a fleeting glance towards Malfoy.
“He decided you were too much of a liability. Hermione... he has every death eater under the orders to kill you on site if they see you.”
Hermione unconsciously brought her hand up to her still flat stomach. Like a bucket of ice water thrown on her, she was again brutally reminded that Malfoy was a death eater and subsequently the biggest danger to her and her child right now.
Rising from her seat, Hermione stumbled into the farthest corner of the room away from Malfoy.
“He’s a death eater!” she cried, pointing at Malfoy and condemning him.
“Oi!” Draco replied in indignation that she had revealed him.
Dumbledore pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. “We are well aware of his status. Draco, I would prefer for you to come to the right decision on your own time and terms, but unfortunately your parents have already made a decision for you.”
Draco’s heart was in jeopardy of bursting through his ribcage; his imagination ran rampant with images of his father ordering him murder Granger and his child. His stomach lurched dangerously when it occurred to him that he might actually...
“They have decided that you will fulfil the prophecy’s terms.”
Merlin. It was worse than he imagined.
“Like hell I will,” he ground out.
“I can’t say I am opposed to the decision... despite their ulterior motives,” Dumbledore mumbled.
Turning to Hermione he announced, “Miss Granger, I also took of the liberty of owling your parents. They should be here within the hour, as will your parents Mister Malfoy.”
At this revelation, Hermione and Draco exploded into denials claiming that neither could nor would be in the same room as each other’s parents.
“You expect my parents to be civil towards a couple of muggles -”
“How can you expect my muggle parents to be able to put up with the likes of the Malfoy’s -?”
“SILENCE!” Dumbledore roared.
The air was thick with tension, no one dared to speak a word.
“I understand your misgivings. Both of you. But again I must implore you to consider the detrimental effects that your animosity towards each other with ultimately have on the entire world.”
Hermione didn’t know how to respond.
Draco didn’t appear to have that issue.
“Why?” He growled.
“Why, what?”Dumbledore inquired, confusion evident in his tone.
“Why were we tapped?”
Dumbledore appeared to sincerely consider his question, after a few moments of silent contemplation he said, “All I know is that right now the world as we know it is about to shift greatly. And right now it is apparently Miss Granger and yourself who are the most capable and most suited human beings to aid the world in making a smooth transition.”
All attention shifted towards The Headmaster’s fireplace as the flames glowed green, signalling that they would soon be receiving guests.
As the smoke cleared the unmistakable white, silky hair of the Malfoy family surfaced.
“Father!” Draco hollered.
Striding towards Lucias he shouted, “Why are you doing this to me? Why are you making me fulfil the prophecy’s terms?”
“I do not have to explain myself to you, my decision is final.” Lucias sneered.
Malfoy appeared to inflate with rage; he was always an obedient and doting son even when his father’s treatment did not warrant his compliance. However, this was a situation in which Draco would not stand for his Father’s evasiveness.
“No.” Draco stood firm, his met his father’s rapidly darkening gaze unflinchingly.
“It suited us to be loyal followers of the dark lord. Clearly, now it does not. I see our family with a much brighter future aligned with your mu...ggle-born and half-blood child. We will restore our family to a position of greatness instead of servitude. Does that explanation satisfy you? I only have our best interests at heart.... and never again will I tolerate your insolence,” Lucias quirked his pale eyebrow, daring Draco to retort.
Narcissa had yet to speak. Instead she stood a step behind her husband and fleetingly assessed Hermione with a critical eye. She struggled not to squirm from her penetrating, accusatory gaze.
The fireplace glowed green again, and a few moments later there were two more parents in the headmaster’s office. The contrasts between Hermione and Draco’s parents were insurmountable.
The Granger’s strode towards their daughter, swept her up in a family hug, sobbing and crying.
“Hermione! Oh, my poor baby, pregnant? The letter said something about it being inevitable and critical to the fate of the world! Just what exactly is going on here!” Hermione’s mother, Deidra, commanded. Her tone demanded an immediate explanation.
Hermione stole a reproving glance towards her headmaster, how could he have revealed things so callously in a letter?
“Mr. and Mrs. Granger, allow me to explain everything...” Dumbledore proceeded to inform them of the prophecy and the circumstances that now existed as a consequence. Namely, that Hermione and her child’s life were in mortal peril.
Hermione’s father, Joe, clutched at his wife’s hand desperately as they struggled to cope with the burden that had been dealt to their child.
“This is Lucias and Narcissa Malfoy, Draco’s parents. The child’s father.” Dumbledore added helpfully, in case her parents were too naive to understand their presence.
“I –I’m not sure I understand... isn’t this the boy who calls you those ghastly names, Hermione? Didn’t you punch him in the nose in your third year -?”
Deidra was cut off by Draco, “That’d be me,” he drawled.
Surprisingly, Draco stood from his chair and presented his hand for her father to shake. “Draco Malfoy sir, pleasure to meet you.”
Hermione nearly choked on the shock that formed as a lump in her throat. Who knew Malfoy could find it in himself to be civil towards Muggles.
Her father eyed his hand wearily, and with more than a bit of hostility before begrudgingly shaking it.
Without another word Draco sat down again.
“Now,” Dumbledore clapped the desk with a resounding thump, “we are all familiar with each now. We will reconvene a week from today to discuss secure locations for the holidays. I would like all of you to be present please. That is all, I trust you will all have a pleasant evening.”
Knowing a dismissal when they heard one, the Granger’s returned home with heartfelt goodbye’s and reassuring words, where as the Malfoy’s parted with a curt nod and a prim peck on the cheek from Narcissa.
Harry and Ron started for the door, but Hermione heard the footsteps cease as they waited for her to join them.
Draco turned towards her, his face void of any emotion. Without a word or acknowledgement, he left.
“Miss Granger, please take good care of yourself. You will be attending regular checkups with Madam Promfery and St. Mungo’s, or a muggle hospital if you wish. Please do not do anything rash that could put you and your child in jeopardy.”
Dumbledore’s face was solemn, as if he already knew the trials and tribulations that were to come.
Hermione squared her shoulders, released a deep breath, and attempted to organise her thoughts.
There was a hard road ahead of her, one that was going to be made even harder by Draco’s uncooperativeness. She had the horrible, sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach that she would be fighting with him tooth and tail to fulfil this prophecy to best of their ability.
She honestly didn’t believe she had it in her.
To care for him.
She couldn’t even bring herself to consider the word. Love.
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