Chapter 34 : The Last Night
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“I’m busy, Natalie,” he began. “Not now.”
He felt cold and heartless treating her this way but their marriage had been on the rocks for a few months ago. Natalie had started spending more time away from home and though she would not admit it, he knew it was to see Cassius. He had already applied for the advanced auror program in Belize despite her wishes and asserted, quite loudly, that if necessary, he would go by himself.
“This is important,” she said and Draco felt the rage within his veins boiling as he tried to find the copy of his application to Belize from the stack of papers.
“We can talk about it later,” he snapped.
He reached the end of the pile and realized that he had been through it twice already without finding a single trace of his application. “Where is my letter?” he asked harshly, turning around and facing his wife.
Compared to the vivacious girl he had married, Natalie now looked like a haggard version of her younger self. She looked exhausted, stressed and most of all, unhappy every moment she spent at the Manor. Her gold lashes that once veiled her sparkling eyes now shielded those same eyes from Draco’s cold piercing gaze.
“Where is it, Natalie?” he asked. He dug his nails into the stack of envelopes and grabbed it off the table. “I put it in here two days ago.”
“It’s in the garbage,” she said, her voice noticeably more severe, “where it belongs.”
“That’s not your call,” he retorted. “We’re married, not chained together. If you don’t want to go to Belize then you’re more than welcome to stay here with whomsoever you wish and if-”
“Draco, I’m pregnant.”
Draco stood in a stunned silence as Natalie’s light eyes observed his expression. The tresses of gold hair against her face suddenly seemed softer and the glow in her skin, almost heavenly. He wanted to say something, to ask more questions... to articulate one of the million things that were coursing through his mind but his tongue was paralyzed.
Natalie moved forward, approaching him. “Draco...”
Suddenly, the woman he had been so distrustful of had disappeared in front of his eyes and he saw Natalie again, the young girl he had married. He knew, at that very second, what he wanted to do and what he should have done a long time ago.
His foot fell forwards and he pressed his torso against her frail body, meeting her lips with his. His right hand found the curvature of her waist and his left hand moved the small curls from her cheek and rested against the side of her head. The sensation in his lips tickled his every sense and he felt he had been parched for the last few weeks – he had been missing that which had given him happiness in the first place and that was Natalie’s touch, her scent and the soft feeling of their lips together.
Every suppressed emotion in his body had now risen to his throat and he felt complete again. The disposed application didn’t matter, Natalie’s’ friendship with Cassius didn’t matter and any and every problem they had faced didn’t matter. All that mattered was now. All that mattered was that they were together.
“I love you,” he said, his lips pulling away a fraction away from Natalie. She responded with a heavy breath and Draco felt her cool, minty breath against his cheeks.
His hands moved around her body and cupped her stomach, his fingers gently pressing into her skin. “Whatever I said before... it doesn’t matter. I’ve always loved you and I always will.”
Draco woke up with a jerk and looked around, allowing his hazy vision to adjust to the light. He heard the creaky stairs of Grimmauld Place and realized he was lying on the couch in the living room as Harry came in.
“How long have I been asleep for?” Draco asked, looking around absentmindedly for a watch.
“About two hours,” he replied. “We should be ready to go in a couple of hours which means we should get to the Manor by about nine tonight. So we’re on track.”
“He and Ron went to the Ministry to deal with the last bit of paperwork.” Harry hesitated for a fraction of a second and continued. “Eli didn’t seem too well.”
“Damn,” Draco grunted as he sat up on the couch and rubbed his forehead, trying to gather his thoughts. “I haven’t even given him the time of day. He’s been getting worse for days and I didn’t even...”
“This is almost over,” Harry assured him.
“Yeah,” Draco agreed. He examined Harry with his ashen eyes and then looked at a crumpled piece of paper stuffed in Harry’s pocket. “What’s that?”
Harry grabbed the paper and sighed as he examined it. “Another failed attempt to write a letter to Ginny.”
There was a brief silence before Draco took his eyes off the paper and looked at Harry. “Hermione told me that you’re taking care of Lupin’s son now.”
Harry furrowed his brow at the odd statement but responded nonetheless. “Andromeda is his guardian but he pretty much spends all his time at our house. I tell him stories of his parents... of Remus and Tonks. It helps lessen the guilt.”
“You have nothing to feel guilty about,” Draco said. He had risen completely now and grabbed a biscuit from the coffee table.
“I may not have wielded the wand that killed them but that doesn’t mean that I feel any better that they died fighting my battle. I understand guilt, Malfoy and that’s why I didn’t step in when Hermione left to avenge her parents and why I’m here right now. I know why you feel guilty about Adria’s death and I can understand why you feel guilty about your wife’s death... guilt can consume our lives. Not a day goes by when I don’t look at Teddy and wonder that if I had been a little swifter, done something differently then maybe he would be able to grow up with his parents.”
Draco listened intently as Harry continued. “Rationally, neither you nor I nor Hermione need to feel guilty about the death of our loved ones. But we think with our hearts and the heart doesn’t care for rational arguments. That’s the worst part of it, you know? Knowing that you couldn’t have done anything to change history but still feeling that gut wrenching sensation in the pit of your stomach and spending sleepless nights wondering what if. That’s what separates the good from the evil in this world: our conscience... our sense of responsibility. For what it’s worth, you’re a good man.”
“It’s funny,” Draco said and when Harry looked confused, he got up. “That’s what Hermione said to me.”
Harry shrugged. “It’s true.”
The carriage jerked to a halt and awoke Ron from his light sleep. At first he yawned, stretching his body as it readjusted to state of wakefulness and then opened his eyes. The Ministry carriage had stopped on the roof of a building, high above the ground and as Ron peeked through the heavy curtains, he spoke to Eli.
“Where are we?” he asked.
“Mr. Weasley,” Eli said and when Ron turned to face him, he saw that the pallor that had once governed particular areas of his face had now spread across the aging visage. Eli’s eyes were dark and fatigued and his body was hunched over, as if maintaining a straight posture took more effort than he could muster.
“Eli, are you alright?” Ron asked. He reached over to help the man into a seated position. “We need to get to St. Mungo’s.”
“Mr. Weasley,” Eli repeated, his voice was low and his words slightly slurred. “Mr. Weasley, I am ill.”
Hermione opened her eyes slowly and felt her limp body stiffen as it reacted to the hard frame of the chair she had fallen asleep in. She looked around the dark room with blurred vision and was already sitting up straight by the time the images in front of her face sharpened. She felt a light throbbing sensation in her neck and she turned to look left and right, trying to loosen her muscle. Grabbing the edges of her seat, she pushed herself up and realized that her arms were no longer bound together.
“Miss, you is to stay still...”
Hermione flinched at the foreign sound and saw a little house elf standing by her side with a box of ice in his hand. He took a step towards her, to which Hermione pushed her seat further back and swallowed slightly.
“Is... is Cassius here?” she asked.
“Master Lestrange?” the elf asked. “No, he is left. He asked Darwinkle to give this to you when you awake.”
The elf held out a small piece of paper for Hermione and despite the pain in her neck, she leapt forward and unfolded it. “I will return by 8 this evening. I think you know that escape will be futile. Darwinkle will accompany you until my return – we all know what happens when you’re left alone. C.”
Hermione looked up at the little elf in front of her and observed his tennis ball sized eye watching her curiously. “You have to... you have to let me go.”
“I is understanding your problem, miss. But if Darwinkle lets you go then the master will punish him. Darwinkle doesn’t want any more pain, miss.”
But Hermione’s mind had moved past her desire to leave the Manor and into something a little more important. She realized that she hadn’t yet completely answered all the questions plaguing her mind and so if she was to remain trapped in Malfoy Manor, then she wouldn’t waste her precious hours of freedom.
“I need to go to Master Malfoy’s bedroom,” she said, turning to the little elf. “The instructions say that I cannot leave the Manor and that you have to accompany me wherever I go. I promise you I won’t try and escape.”
The elf was sceptical but Hermione pushed more. “You know there is something bad going on here, Darwinkle. I think I can stop it, please.”
“Master Lestrange will find you, miss,” he warned. “If you is trying to escape... he will know.”
“I know,” Hermione assured him. “He knows I know and so he knows that I won’t be able to escape and even if I do, I can’t hide from him. I promise you that I won’t be leaving.”
The elf hesitated only a little longer before moving out of the way and drawing out his wand. With a gentle flick, a white streak of light wove itself around Hermione’s wrist and she recognized it to be a binding ring. Ensuring that the spell was complete, she stood up and allowed the little elf to lead her down the hallway.
“Where’s Draco?” Pansy asked, descending the stairs draped in dark robes.
Harry shrugged. “I don’t know. I think he said he was heading out for some fresh air. I can’t really blame him – probably wants to clear his head.”
Pansy then paused and looked around cautiously before stepping off the last stair and turning to Harry. She swept her body across the large living room and sat on the dining table, opposite Harry who was working on a large stack of papers. “What are all of those?”
Harry sighed. “A whole bunch of distractions.
“We’re getting closer,” Pansy said quietly. “I feel like I’m getting ready to walk into a blood bath. I don’t know how you do it every day.”
Harry shook his head. “This is not what being an auror is like. I track down poorly equipped and often inebriated wizards who couldn’t cast a proper curse if their life depended on it. This is...this is not what life was like every day.”
“And the Dark Lord? Was it the same?” Pansy asked and then suddenly reproached herself. “I’m sorry for seeming so curious. I’m just having a hard time keeping my mind off things.”
Somehow Harry felt that the ‘things’ that Pansy wanted to keep her mind off weren’t related to the events of tonight. “My friends and family are safe this time. That, unfortunately, wasn’t a guarantee when I fought Voldemort. I know Ginny and Teddy are alright. Hermione is safe at the moment and Ron’s... well, Ron will be fine.”
Pansy looked away momentarily and checked her watch absentmindedly. “Draco has been gone an awfully long while,” she murmured.
Seated at the little dining table, Harry felt an odd restlessness emanating from Pansy. Her knee was rocking up and down, her fingers anxiously tapping on the edge of the wooden surface and she couldn’t keep her eyes still for more than moment. But before he could get to asking her any questions, he heard the front door click open.
“Draco, we’re in here,” Pansy called.
Both of them got up off the table and turned the corner to enter the living room. As they got closer, the warm spring air let in from the open door filtered through the warm house and allowed Pansy a moment of calm breathing. “Draco?” she called again.
They approached the front door and Pansy and Harry both paused in surprise.
“Ginny...” Harry said, staring at the ginger. She was standing at the doorway dressed in a green blouse and jeans. Her hair was twisted into an untidy ponytail and as her eyes met Harry’s green ones, she swallowed and opened her mouth to speak.
The words didn’t escape Ginny’s mouth and Teddy suddenly ran in from behind her. Harry’s confused expression broke out into one of happiness as the little boy ran into his arms. Teddy’s little hands encircled Harry’s neck and as he was lifted into the air, Ginny smiled.
“Teddy wanted to see you,” she said in a muffled tone. “He wanted... um, he wouldn’t sit still until we visited.”
“How did you find us?” Harry asked. But his question was answered only two seconds later when Draco walked in from behind, a knowing expression on his face. “Malfoy-”
“Pansy, have you met our newest guest?” Draco asked, ushering to Teddy as Harry put him back down on the floor.
Teddy looked up at Pansy and her utterly confused expression morphed into one of curious delight. “No, I haven’t had the pleasure.” She knelt down in front of the little boy and held out her hand. “I’m Pansy. And you are?”
“Teddy,” he said, shaking her hand. He then pointed to Harry. “That’s my uncle Harry.”
“Yes, I’ve met him,” Pansy replied. She held onto Teddy’s hand and pointed to the kitchen. “I have some chocolate covered mints in the kitchen. Do you want to go and get them?”
Teddy nodded and Pansy got up, leading him into the kitchen with a smile on her face. Draco followed not much farther behind and before leaving the living room, he nodded once to Harry.
Hermione appreciated the immense gravity of the few hours to come because it allowed her absolutely no instance of reflection. She had re-entered Draco’s room and couldn’t allow herself a moment to think about him or his wife or the baby that she had been bearing. This was just another series of questions that had to be answered... just another mystery to be solved.
“Nothing else,” she promised herself.
Darwinkle looked at her oddly and she corrected her posture, entering the room swiftly. She closed the door behind her and without giving a second look to any of the small artefacts that reminded her of Draco, dove straight into the photo album she had carefully stored away.
Hermione opened the collection of photographs to the pictures of Natalie smiling by herself. She held back her breath and scanned through the set of ten. That’s what hadn’t made sense to her. Natalie looked so happy and so carefree and it didn’t make sense.
The Malfoys had commissioned a portrait of their daughter-in-law which meant that no one knew she was with child yet or Natalie told Draco it was his own child or...
“Oh,” Hermione gasped. “Oh no no no no...”
Harry waited until Teddy had gone into the kitchen with Draco and Pansy before looking back at Ginny. She was as beautiful as always and the way the light from the windows hit her fiery hair, she seemed almost ethereal.
“Har-” she began.
But he didn’t let her finish her sentence. He took two steps forward and pressed his lips into hers, pulling her body and wrapping it in his arms. He felt her surprise at first but within seconds, it had given way to a racing heartbeat as she kissed him back. “I’m sorry,” he muttered.
“I was rash,” she said, pulling back a fraction. “I was stupid and stubborn. You know I’m always like that... why didn’t you just come back?”
“We’re dealing with people who don’t exactly keep to a moral code, Ginny,” he said. “I love you and I love Teddy and if being away from you meant that you were safe, it was fine.”
“I love you too,” she whispered, pressing her lips into his one more time. “And I’ve been going crazy thinking about you and wondering if you’re safe every minute of every day.”
“It’ll be over soon,” he promised. “Everything will be back to normal...”
“That’s what I want,” she said. “I want everything to go back to the way it was, exactly how it was.”
Harry held onto Ginny’s waist and pulled back, a curious expression manifesting itself onto his face. He swallowed once and then placed another brief kiss on her lip before speaking. “Exactly how it was...” he agreed. “Except for one change that I want to make.”
Pansy and Draco were sitting with Teddy in the kitchen when they heard the scream originate from the living room. Immediately, the little boy was startled and pursued Draco as he ran into the living room followed not far behind by Pansy.
Swerving the large column in the hallway, the three of them emerged into the bright living room to find Harry on his knee and Ginny staring at him in complete awe. There were tears streaming down her face and she looked over at Teddy with an overwhelming sense of joy. The little boy ran towards her and Harry lifted him up and placed a kiss on his cheek, standing up.
“Ginny’s going to marry me,” Harry explained, a huge smile on his face. “Would you like that?”
Teddy nodded exuberantly. “Like my mummy and daddy were?”
The comment caught Harry off guard and he smiled sadly. Ginny reached over to grab Teddy from Harry’s embrace and squeezed him tightly, kissing him twice on the forehead. “Exactly like your mummy and daddy were,” she promised.
Draco and Pansy had stepped back from the emotional scene and felt a strange mixture of happiness and emptiness. Draco realized, for the first time, what it would have been like if he had been raised in a loving and normal house. It was all so simple from where he was standing: love and marriage. What else was there? He felt happy for Harry and probably more so than that, he felt happy for Teddy. He felt that that little boy was spared the pureblood’s curse of eternal unhappiness. Teddy’s grandmother, Andromeda, was his mother’s sister and so he was technically related to Teddy. But the little boy would not suffer the same fate as all the pureblood men had done so before him. His grandmother had broken free from the shackles of her caste and married into true love. She had risked her own life and lost the lives of her daughter and husband to give Teddy a happy and normal childhood. Part of him wondered whether he would have been spared a lifetime’s worth of pain if his mother had chosen the right side.
“You did a good thing,” Pansy said, turning to Draco.
He thought back to his initial reasons for choosing to bring Ginny and Teddy here to Grimmauld Place. Harry had told him, in not so many words, that Teddy and Ginny were his family. He had left his family to help Draco and Hermione and no one knew the pain of losing your loved ones better than Draco did. He wouldn’t have wanted Harry to go into the fight without reconciling with his family. He wanted to give Teddy everything that he had missed out on as a young boy and that included a loving father.
“Thank you, Malfoy,” Harry said, coming over to Draco and nodding.
Draco smiled back, trying to push his medley of thoughts to the back of his mind. “Congratulations Potter. If I had known that this was going to happen, I would have probably asked Eli to prepare something good.”
Harry’s smile suddenly faded and he checked his watch. “It’s almost four,” he muttered. “Ron and Eli haven’t returned. I don’t understand – they’d gone to fill out some simple judiciary papers. They should have been back by now.”
“We’ll give them until six,” Draco replied. “And Potter listen, the moment we enter that Manor and Lestrange’s men see you, they’re going to head back to find the future Mrs. Potter. I think it be best if Weasley and Teddy stay here until after everything’s cleared up.”
But Harry’s answer never came as the door burst open. Draco, Harry and Pansy both drew out their wands within fractions of seconds while Ginny pulled Teddy into her arms and stood up. The bright light filtered in and a huge hunched body came in. However, as it drew closer, Draco realized that it wasn’t one figure but two – Eli’s arm was wrapped around Ron’s shoulders and his weight was supported by the ginger.
“What the hell happened?” Draco asked as they all dropped their wands and Harry helped hold Eli up. “Weasley, is he alright?”
Ron was white in the face and didn’t resist as Harry and Draco removed Eli from his grip and helped move the barely conscious old man onto the couch. Ron was breathing deeply and leaned against the walls, turning his head ever so slightly to see Eli being positioned on the cushions. Harry was telling something to Pansy while Draco came back towards Ron and shut the front door.
“What happened, Weasley?”
“It’s... it’s alright,” Ron muttered, still pale.
“He’s unconscious,” Harry called. “I can feel a pulse.”
“Ron! Ron! Are you alright?” Ginny cried, coming over to her brother and putting her hands on his clammy face. “What’s wrong?”
“Ginny, what on ea-?” Ron asked. But his question remained unfinished as he watched Harry and Pansy struggle to get Eli conscious. “It’s... it’s alright, Harry! He’s... not going to die. He’s just terribly weak.”
“Are you sure?” Harry asked. “He’s barely breathing.”
“Just trust me,” Ron assured him, some of his colour returning at an extremely slow pace. “Put him... put him upstairs.”
The chaos in the room continued to increase as Teddy began to cry. Ginny held on to him and looked at Ron fearfully one last time before taking him into the kitchen. Draco looked at Ron with confusion but insisted that Harry transport Eli upstairs with a spell while Pansy retrieve some water for him.
“Here’s a... here’s a potion,” Ron said, handing a bulky flask to Draco. “He... uh, he collapsed in the carriage and I took him to St. Mungo’s. They gave me this to give to him every hour. Just a small spoonful for every dose... that’s what they said.”
“What else did they say?” Draco asked, taking the flask from Ron. “Will he be alright? What caused it?”
“He just... it’s been too much on him,” Ron explained. “Stress... is what they called it. They said that he needed to rest and that the potion should keep him recovering. Occasionally some water and liquid food but he shouldn’t be awake for that long. Why is my sister here?”
Back in the kitchen, Teddy’s cries had started to settle and Harry remerged from the room upstairs with his wand in hand. “I put him down,” he said. “He seems so weak, and frail....”
“It’s probably time for his potion,” Ron muttered, taking the bottle upstairs. “Is anyone staying back here to make sure that he gets it on time?”
“Ginny could do it,” Harry offered. “If she has to be here with Teddy...”
Draco nodded silently and turned to face away from Harry, cursing and kicking the chair in front of him as he moved into the living room and sat down on the couch, burying his face in his hands.
Hermione had now to face the utter horrifying possibility that the baby Natalie was carrying was actually Draco’s.
Not only was it possible but highly probable as well. Maybe it was Cassius to whom she’d lied instead and said that she was carrying his child... maybe Cassius hadn’t even asked her and jumped to the conclusion that it had to be his baby.
“Miss... miss, you is alright?” Darwinkle asked, watching as Hermione sat on the edge of the bed in confusion. “Miss?”
“I’m, I’m alright,” she said hastily.
But Cassius couldn’t have killed Natalie. Hermione knew from the way he spoke about her... the way he looked when she was mentioned... he really did love her and he couldn’t have killed her. Stop jumping to conclusions, Hermione! You don’t know if Natalie was carrying Draco’s child. She could have just lied to him...
There was still something missing and as Hermione checked her watch, she realized she only had two hours to find it.
Natalie pressed her cheek to Draco’s and he felt her body shivering, the heaving of her chest against his torso. Draco brushed his fingers through her hair and as he moved his lips to hers again, he felt the moisture against his face. He moved back and saw the tears flowing from Natalie’s face, tainting her pale skin. She was looking at the floor and her blue eyes moved up slowly, finally matching their gaze with Draco’s and it took less than a fraction of a second to see the truth behind them.
The hand that had been gently placed against Natalie’s stomach now became forceful and pushed her back. “Draco, please...”
“It’s not mine, is it?” he asked.
“Answer me, Natalie.”
“Please...” she pleaded.
“Answer me!” he yelled. His hand lashed out against the wind and hit the wooden oak desk. “Is that baby mine?”
Natalie put her hands protectively around her stomach and looked at Draco through her tearful eyes. “I don’t know.” Her cries were muffled. “I don’t know if it’s yours or... his."
There was an ominous feeling hanging above Grimmauld Place as the sun finally began to set and its residents felt the ticking of the clock as the hour to depart neared.
Draco was sitting at the foot of the stairs behind the kitchen, away from everyone else and away from the sounds of daily life. Tonight was a night that he had thought about for over two years and now that the time had finally come to avenge Adria’s murder and punish Lestrange, the future seemed surreal. Natalie and Cassius and Hermione were never a part of this plan but his past was resurfacing, reopening old wounds and refreshing repressed memories. Vivid recollections of his arguments with Natalie flooded his consciousness, the unsettling feeling and gnawing at his heart was resurfacing, much as it had when she had professed to him that the baby she had been carrying could have been Cassius’.
No one knew that Natalie had been expecting a baby except Cassius, Lucius, Narcissa and himself.
No one - except them - knew that when Natalie had ended her life, she also ended the life of the heir to the Malfoy estate and fortune or the heir of Lord Voldemort. She had been carrying a child that could have changed the future of the Wizarding World.
But most of all, she had ended the life of what could have been his child.
The problems of the world had become nothing but insignificant specks when Natalie had told him she was pregnant. Their marriage had been in trouble and she had been spending more time away from the Manor. Cassius had come back into their lives and Draco couldn’t bring himself to allow his relationship with Natalie to resurface – ironically enough, now that he looked back on it, forbidding her from seeing him had probably pushed her to him. But that baby had changed everything. That baby had reminded Draco why he loved Natalie and how she had saved him from himself.
Her cries were muffled. “I don’t know if it’s yours or... his."
Draco felt an odd numbness in his hands and feet. He wanted to scream, he wanted to cry and he wanted to get as far away from this godforsaken place. Natalie’s eyes were gazing at him, a plethora of emotions twinkling in those blue orbs.
“Draco...” she began.
“Go.” That was all he could say... that was all he could allow himself to say lest he break down right in front of her. The creature was resurfacing within him... the creature that had been silent nowadays.
He saw her whimpering, sobbing uncontrollably against the wall with her blue eyes focused on his livid face. But he wasn’t livid, or at least he didn’t feel livid. He felt confused, as though there was nothing more to life than this very moment and no one more in this world than the two of them. What made it worse was that he could feel her guilt and her shame and he didn’t care.
She only deserves pain, the creature said.
“Please say something,” she pleaded. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for what?” he said. The creature was guiding his words. “Sorry for sleeping with Cassius? For lying to me? For taking the only good thing that has happened to me in a long time and destroying it?”
“You promised...” he said. “You promised to love me till death do us part... you stood up in front of hundreds of people and promised.”
The creature was becoming impatient now and it forced Draco’s arm up, his wand tight in his hands. She had betrayed him, he agreed. She had destroyed the only thing in his life that had been worth living for and she should pay.
Natalie’s red face gave him her unwavering attention, watching him with the intensity of her swollen blue eyes. She was just as confused as he was. She was just as broken as she was. They were the same.
No, the creature interjected. She humiliated you and your family.
She had saved Draco. She had made him want to reconstruct his life. She had made him want to change the way he hated the rest of the world. She had shown him happiness. And in the blink of an eye, she had taken that all away from him and whatever remained within Draco was now a hundred times stronger. He wanted to break down this new image he’d built, quit his auror training and he hated the world in a way that no one else ever could. He hated this sick game he was playing and the festering piece of nothingness that his life had become.
Kill her Draco, the creature insisted. You can pass it off as an accident. You don’t even need to use a spell… just throw her off the roof. You can do it, Draco. You can do it.
Draco clenched his fingers around his wand, his skin turning red and his veins popping. He yelled, tossing it aside. His scream caught Natalie off guard and she moved towards him, her hand protectively around her stomach. “I’m sorry for the pain I’ve caused you,” she said, her tears still running down her cheeks. “I do love you.”
“Then why are you standing here telling me that the child I have grown to love more than life itself may not be mine?” His tone was harsh but she deserved it.
“I love him,” Natalie said, her words stifled by her sobs. “I was always his and I’ve always loved him.”
“Ah I get it,” Draco said bitterly, his anger growing. “You thought you’d wrap up your ‘this baby is not yours’ speech and your goodbye speech all in one, I see?”
“That’s not tr-” she began but Draco cut her off.
“Does Cassius know that this baby might be mine?” he asked.
As his questions got more personal and his tone harsher, he watched Natalie’s face give way to anger. She was angry too and he would get his answers before he let her walk out of his life. “He knows it’s his,” she said. “He doesn’t have any doubts.”
“But you do, don’t you?” he asked maliciously. “Come on, Natalie. We’re playing the honesty game here. Let’s be honest.”
Natalie’s body had stiffened. Her eyes were still red and swollen but they now harboured a livid glare. The passion that Draco had once loved about her was now coming out in the form of sheer anger. “I promised Adria I would help her prepare for her interview at the Ministry,” she said. “It’s in two weeks - I’ll be gone by then.”
That was the last thing Natalie had ever said to him. That same night, Draco requested his training to be moved back to Belize and he left the next morning, never saying goodbye and never apologizing for the things he had said. A week before Natalie was supposed to leave the Manor, he got word that she had gone to see a healer at St. Mungo’s for the baby. A few hours after her return from the hospital, Eli found her body at the foot of the North Tower and Draco received a letter from her in Belize.
That had been the end of it. The end of a marriage, the end of two beings and the end of life as Draco had known it.
“Pansy and Ron are waiting outside,” Harry said, appearing in the kitchen. “It’s time to go.”
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. It was one of the more uneventful ones but things need to be set up ;) Let me know what you think of it!
There will be no more quote previews for the next chapters because I don't want to spoil anything.
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