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Chapter 20 : YOU DID WHAT?
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Instead of giving you one insanely long chapter today, I'm going to give you three reasonable-sized chapters over the next three days. Or well, as soon as they can get validated and posted, in order of reception. Why, you ask? I believe it would be more effective story telling to stop the chapters where I do. You know how TV serials leave you at a place where you can't wait for next week's episode? I'm hoping to achieve that effect - also where I got the idea. So, today is the teaser trailer. If you want to review all the chapters, to let me know how much you hate me for leaving them there, well I'll just love you, won't I ;)?
My sincere thanks to all the recent reviewers, who make me want to continue with this story. You officially rock!!
Last time on Heir brained:
Draco's quidditch tour was ending. He was coming back tonight.
Tick away body clock, tick away. Your time is up.
YOU DID WHAT?
Except that… when exactly would it be up, again?
Hermione had looked up various parenting websites and followed all the recommendations from the book How to Make a Healthy Magical Baby. The author, Jean Pool ought to know, she had ten kids from 3 marriages (she had outlived her first two husbands but was happily settled with the last one in Ireland)!
Even though her interludes with Draco had been few and far between, due to his Quidditch tour, Hermione was certain this was the month. She purchased a pregnancy test that claimed to show results 5 days in advance. She tried it on day –5, day –4 and day –3. Waking up, the first thing she did in her day was pee on a stick. Three agonising minutes later, she gave herself the consolation speech that for a significant percentage of women, the results revealed a positive sign a few days later. So she went and bought another test and, yes, peed on a stick on day –2 and –1 as well. The next morning, she realised she didn't need to throw any more money down the drain. Despondently, she went to buy the sanitary supplies that she had been sure she wouldn't need for the next nine months.
Hermione and Draco had been 'together', 'doing the deed', exchanging bodily fluids'… one gets the drift… for a good three months now and Hermione was more than a little disappointed. The thing of it is that Hermione Granger was used to getting it right in the first attempt. Or worst-case scenario, the second attempt. Three months and she still wasn't pregnant. It made no sense whatsoever. Not to her determined mind. She scheduled an appointment with a women's healer for Friday evening.
Though she was not surprised to see the healer wearing a fuchsia coloured robe and yellow daisy-shaped spectacles, she was surprised to see the radish dangling earrings. There were more of these earrings out there? People other than Luna bought them? More importantly though, the healer seemed to be quite knowledgeable and ran a barrage of tests and spells. Healer Tara then pronounced that all was well with Hermione's reproductive system, thank you very much. Tara was probably observant enough to notice the war hero's unchanged maiden name and the lack of a wedding ring, but was thankfully discrete enough to mention neither. The healer also refrained from asking about the partner in attempt-to-conceive. She did, however, ask Hermione how long they'd been trying.
"Three months!" was Hermione's frustrated answer.
To Hermione's chagrin, Tara smiled indulgently. "Do not worry Miss Granger, three months is not a long duration. It can take up to a year for completely healthy couples to conceive. Here, this is a fertility almanac. I've customized it as per your lunar cycle so it will tell you the most appropriate times for you to engage in procreating activities. In a few months, if you don't succeed, perhaps your partner would like to come in for a check-up too, just to be certain, and to hasten the process if necessary. Here is the pre-natal potion that you should take twice a day. How is your diet these days? Are you having enough carrots?"
Draco had returned from his tour last night, but had let her know that he had administrative duties to attend to, so he wouldn't be able to visit. She hadn't met him for a week, so she was disappointed, but he'd said that once his work was done, he'd be able to spend the weekend with her in relative peace. The next afternoon, Draco came over to Hermione's flat for an elaborate Saturday lunch. It was a gorgeous April day and the spring sun shone through her tall windows, bathing her duplex and her beloved in a golden glow. Every time she saw him after a long break, her heart skipped a few beats. How could she have forgotten that he looked this heart-breakingly beautiful? He stole her breath away with that long awaited kiss. She had to remind herself to feed him first. She'd have been happy to hit him over the head and carry him over to her cave. No, feed him first.
The meal started with a unique carrot and walnut salad, accompanied by a savoury carrot soup that Draco seemed to enjoy tremendously. It proceeded with a ham mirepoix au gras, braised in a stew of celery and onion. Hermione carefully omitted to mention other ingredients when he flatteringly asked her for the recipe. Since Draco was part French, she knew that he knew it had carrots. He looked genuinely baffled by the time she brought out the dessert, a carrot soufflé.
"Oi, Granger, what's with the β-carotene? Are you trying to give me hypercarotenemia? It will not be a good colour on me you know." He shook his head sagely, "If you insist on putting some pigment on me at least go for the bronzer variety, right? I am so much more believable as Adonis than a flamingo."
So Hermione did what she thought a girl would do. She laughed. Then she sat down and cried. Not a good cry, the objective observer would record, no wails, sobs or jerking shoulders. Just some dignified sniffling and hastily brushed tears, as she explained to Draco the source of her frustration and what healer Tara had recommended: Prenatal potion, healthy diet, no stress, charting her monthlies and carrots.
As soon as she had sat down and the first tear had appeared, Draco had rushed to her side, holding her close, his fingers gently stroking a soothing pattern through her hair. She couldn't see his face and he didn't coo comforting rhetoric, but his nearness and his caress soothed her.
"… but it could have something to do with the radish earrings that dangled from her ears. Maybe she is partial to roots?"
Draco spoke for the first time in a while, though it wasn't very clear. "Eh, it may be because of the phhssast mffdm."
"What Draco? I didn't quite catch that" Hermione wiped away the running mascara with his handkerchief and turned to look expectantly up to his sharply chiselled face.
"The orashedif jarmph?"
"Draco, tell me you didn't say what I thought you just said." She shook her head as if to clear her ears, "No you couldn't have. Now please, in a language I can understand. Clearly and slowly."
Draco didn't say anything, just shrugged guiltily like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He must know he looked adorable; there was no way he'd allow himself to appear that vulnerable by accident.
"Let me get this straight Draco Supercilious Malfoy. We have been shagging literally like rabbits for the past few months. In my mind, it is an attempt to procreate, to provide you with your heir and me with a baby I can call mine. All this while, you deemed it acceptable, unbeknown to me, to put on your deranged self, a contraceptive charm? A CONTRACEPTIVE CHARM?"
Stay tuned for more, soon!
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