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Chapter 20 : Disaster
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This chapter is mainly told in Draco's POV.
The last time Draco was called ‘Daddy’ was when he was a ten-year-old boy; it was part of a role-play with little kids—his mother’s friends’ daughters. The kids were half Draco’s age back then, maybe even younger, and they used to visit the manor once in a while so that Draco had playmates. Stuff what normal mothers want for their lonely, moody sons. But what wasn’t normal was that she had let Draco play ‘Tea Party’ with those girls, with animal stuffed toys as guests and Mr. Rabbit plushie as the host.
But ten-year-old Draco, despite the humiliation he felt and anger towards his mother, whom he had only wanted to make happy, and despite himself, Draco had actually enjoyed spending time with other children. Even if they were all girls. And it wasn’t always girly tea parties and plushies, but anyway...
One of them, the youngest, Hailey was her name, used to follow Draco around and call him ‘Daddy’ in her childlike voice especially in front of all the adults. According to the girl’s mother, Hailey was actually a timid and shy girl, who didn’t like other children. But for some reason, she had liked Draco, clung to him like nasty ivy, or like the grapevines that climbed the wall of the summer villa, and followed his every step around the manor. She was a little sweetheart, Draco thought now, with her big green eyes and faint freckles patched on her doll-like face, had worn her light brown hair in a pigtail and always carried Mr. Rabbit around with her.
‘Daddy’, Hailey had called Draco in a sing-song voice, ‘You’re my daa—ddy.’
He still smiled at the memory of that, however uncomfortable it made him, he knew he adored children, but there was no chance in hell he’d ever admit it to anyone.
None of Draco’s mates knew about this, of course; it would ruin his sturdy, bad boy image, that a Death Eater’s son and a Death Eater himself had once played ‘Tea Party’ with little girls, or had been called ‘Daddy’ by a toddler who had favoured him above all.
But right now, staring at a fellow sixth year Slytherin bloke with his blond locks, which looked colourless in the dim-light, hanging in his eyes, smirking smugly at him and calling him ‘Dad’, was kind of disturbing and so not cute.
Draco didn’t trust his own ears, so he glanced down at Hermione to ensure that she had heard the same thing and was positive that she was as perplexed as he felt.
Feeling his lips twitch but fighting back the urge not to chuckle or question that bloke’s mental level, he felt Hermione nudge his side to stay serious. This was the moment she had been waiting for, the very reason she had endured Draco’s presence: to trick Hayden into disclosing his actual intention with them. He knew better than to ruin it for her.
Hayden had seemed rather furious and, for yet some unknown reason, apprehensive about this whole Draco/Hermione issue. He had yelled that ‘nothing seemed to be working according to plan’ and that he was ‘running out of time’—whatever that meant—when he had that argument with this dangerous-looking, dark-haired girl who stood right beside him, pointing her wand at Draco and Hermione.
It was also a mystery to Draco that, only a few hours ago, he had actually believed that Hayden-Cupidhead’s face had been familiar from an earlier time in his life at Hogwarts. That since his first year for example, they had shared a class or two together, that they’d been running into each other in their common room or the hallways without ever acknowledging each other, heck, Draco was even sure that he’d gotten that bloke all roughed up by Vincent and Gregory once, maybe in their third year.
But all those memories now suddenly felt…fabricated. And now he was staring at a complete stranger—two strangers when looking at the girl—who was all wound up about the failure of his attempt to bring two people together he barely knew.
…Or so Draco had assumed, because Hayden seemed to know him and Hermione very well.
“Hayden,” Hermione said into the silence, stepping forward, “w-why would you call us that?”
Upon giving Hayden a stern look, the dark-haired girl called Naomi stepped forward too, lowering her wand. “Well, he’s actually just, ehm…drunk! Yes, drunk! Silly excuse, eh? But it’s true, y—yeah, we’ve been drinking earlier and now he’s talking nonsense. Like, y’know, some people do striptease when they’re drunk,” she pulled at Hayden’s shirt and dragged him away while she spoke, slowly retreating, “—others throw up and fall asleep on the loo,” she said over his protests, gut-punching him,“—while Hayden calls everybody ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad. Ha-ha...ha.”
“Stop it, no, that’s not it,” Hayden fumed, vainly extracting himself from her clutches. She wouldn’t let go.
Giggling loud enough, she pinched Hayden’s ear which caused him to cry out, fake-scolding him that she’d never let him drink a drop of liquor ever again, fake-warning him how he was making a fool of himself if he didn’t stop, that she’d kick his behind. Her control over his ear led him to stumble and nearly fall.
“You need to sleep this off, Hayden, seriously, quit embarrassing yourself. It reflects badly on me,” she rebuked him as if he had serious metal problems. “Now let’s go!”
“Ouch, gerroff me, no, let go!” Hayden protested, grimacing in pain.
“Just shut up!” Naomi said nervously. “Do I have to remind you that those two are prefects? I don’t want to get into more trouble,” she hissed through gritted teeth but just loud enough for Draco and Hermione to hear. She then called over her shoulder, “Won’t happen again, guys, sorry. Goodnight. Goodn—”
“NO! Get the fuck off me!” Hayden finally exploded; his face and ears red. Draco winced, so did Hermione. But this Naomi seemed to be brazen enough to smirk in his face. Hayden growled, “They should know who we are, Naomi, who I am. If this is the only way—”
“This is not the only way! And let’s face it, Hayden, you didn’t seem to have put any thought into what your actions will cost you, did you?” she retorted angrily, completely suspending her own charade.
“Guys, calm down,” Hermione said, holding up her hands, “there’s no need to fight. Whatever it is Hayden wants to say, I would be most grateful if he just told us.”
Draco scoffed. “Beat it, Hermione,” he said under his breath, “I’m sure they aren’t even listening.”
Hayden managed to tear Naomi’s clutches off from his shirt and fingers from his reddened ear as he spun around to face Hermione. Something flickered up in his eyes: desperation—at the fact that his whole life depended on whatever he wanted to say.
“Listen to me, you’re my moth—”
“Silencio!” Naomi yelled. A flash of light shot from her wand and hit Hayden. Staring at her with horror, he clutched his throat as if gasping for air. Naomi laughed wickedly. “Speechless, eh?” she sniggered.
“Seriously, this is wasting my time and I’m too tired for this!” Draco said at last, turning on his heels to leave. “I’m going to bed. It’s been a long day. Are you coming, Hermione, or not?”
“But what about…Hayden…” Hermione trailed off, looking concerned. She seemed torn between leaving and helping the mute boy, who threw his most pathetic and pitiful look at her. And this look eventually did it to Hermione. She fell for dirty tricks like this, her social conscience always having a heart for the oppressed and helpless. “Don’t you even want to know what’s going on? It seems important.” As she stared from Hayden back to Draco, she lowered her voice to a whisper. “They…they might be responsible for Ron’s condition and all the strange incidents that’s been going on in here since they ‘arrived’. Let’s just hear him out…please? It involves us, too.”
Draco groaned, said nothing and folded his arms. He couldn’t just leave her here with these two psychos, could he?
Naomi had tried dragging Hayden away again, but he wouldn’t oblige, so they somehow ended up in some struggling, scrambling fight. Hayden formed voiceless words, maybe cursing her, while Naomi hit him over the head: either she could understand what he was saying and didn’t like it or she just wanted him to get some sense back. Either way, Hayden remained stubborn. Naomi was slightly superior to him as she was using magic to win over control, while Hayden was seemingly holding back in order not to physically hurt her. Hayden eluded being hit by her spells again with quick, astonishing movements, until he had her in a headlock. Naomi was scratching his arms, kicking and struggling, trying to bite him.
Watching the whole scene, Draco wondered why Hayden wouldn’t just use his wand too to defend himself, like wizards would. Maybe he was a Squib.
Before Draco realised, Hermione had stepped in to intervene by casting a spell, which propelled the couple from each other towards opposite directions. Removing the Silencing Spell from Hayden, Hermione pointed her wand at both of them, making the effect to take them on if they as much as breathe again. Draco raised his eyebrows in admiration at her.
“Now stop this or I’ll deduct points from you, for loitering in the hallways past curfew,” Hermione snarled, assuming her role as a prefect, though it was clear that neither Hayden nor Naomi actually cared about house points. “I’ll jinx your behinds to the next era if you don’t tell us what this is all about!”
“Next era, eh? Where we originally come from?” Hayden mumbled, causing Naomi to frown at him. The two were acting like children, at which Draco had to roll his eyes and shake his head. Hermione’s glare silenced them at once.
“Now tell me who you are and what you want from us. Right. Now!” Hermione demanded.
Draco heard from the distance footsteps approaching, almost rounding the corner and flickering lantern light filling the corridor. Shit!
“Is anyone there? I heard you, you worthless pests, I’ll be sure to assign each of you with nasty detention, ungrateful filthy students…” It was Argus Filch, the caretaker, his voice echoing in the hallway. Draco spotted Mrs. Norris as the damn cat hissed at their direction.
Tapping Hermione’s arm, Draco told her that it wasn’t the time now and that they better leave. But Hermione ignored him, too focused at the ‘intruders’ to lower her wand. She had spotted something on the ground that caught her attention, so she walked towards it and picked it up.
Now, even Naomi heard the approaching footsteps and panicked. She hissed at Hayden, eyes wide, “Grab her!”
For some reason Draco didn’t understand, and despite the fact that these two psychos had, just a minute ago, almost killed each other, they now teamed up and grabbed Hermione. It happened really fast. Draco, in an attempt to help Hermione, felt a tight grip at his left arm when a familiar sensation of swooping through darkness pressed in on him from all directions. There was a feeling of a sudden punch-like pain in his gut, and the next moment he realised that they had Side-Along Apparated. Within Hogwarts. Yet, this kind of Apparition felt different and rather intense.
Once finding his footing, he recognised the torch-lit corridor when he saw the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy and the empty, blank wall behind him. They were on the seventh floor.
Naomi wiped her forehead for effect. It had been pretty close; her shoulders slumped forward. “This is the floor that always comes to my mind first whenever I Pseudo-Apparate,” she explained to no one in particular, looking around to ensure that everybody was all right.
Draco didn’t understand what this meant, but he didn’t bother to ask and only looked around first for Hermione.
Hayden, trying to steady himself, held his stomach and frowned at the ground. “I hate Apparition. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it,” he mumbled to himself, looking entirely sick.
Hermione, remaining silent, was standing with her back towards everyone, too immersed at something she was holding in her hand.
“How did you do that?” Draco asked, tearing his eyes away from Hermione’s back to look at Naomi. He stepped backward in fear of what else this witch might be capable of. “It—it’s impossible to circumvent the Anti-Apparition spell within Hogwarts, let alone to Apparate when you’re underage. I mean, not that I care about rules and stuff, but…how?”
“Though my age is irrelevant,” Naomi drawled, shrugging, “I’m seventeen, just like... Oh Cripes, Hayden, you baby, snap out of it already. It’s over.” She walked to Hayden and shook him violently. She was one abusive girl, Draco figured, but he couldn’t help but notice that she cared about Hayden’s well-being, too.
Snapping from his thoughts, Draco lifted his wand at them. “Fuck, who are you? Are you Death Eaters?” he croaked, keeping them at wandpoint but felt his hand tremble. “Who sent you? What do you want?”
Naomi didn’t even dignify his questions with eye-contact or a twitch of her wand; she merely patted Hayden’s back, sneering. “Your magic is no match for me, anyway, so lower your wand if you don’t want to get hurt.”
“Oh y-yeah?” Draco retorted, tensing his wand arm.
“Now stop it!” Hermione cried. “I’m sure they don’t want to harm us, Draco.”
Clenching his jaw, he seethed at her, “How do you know?”
“I don’t,” she said softly, “but I think they would have done it already. Right? Let’s just hear them out, shall we?”
From the corner of his eye he saw her tucking something in her pocket.
He said nothing.
Hayden, upon lifting his head slowly, spoke then, “Look, this might sound bewildering to you but Naomi and I—” he took a deep breath before continuing, “we’re from…we’re from…erm…from the…from…f-f-f…” He peeked up to see Draco and Hermione’s expressions so far, but dropped his head, scratching the back of his neck gingerly and looked away. “This is way harder to explain than I thought,” he chuckled, sighing.
Naomi seemed to have given up on Hayden, temporarily, and leant against the wall, shaking her head.
“From where?” Draco pressed, impatient.
Groaning audibly, Naomi couldn’t bear this any longer, as she punched Hayden’s arm and made him look at her, holding his face in her hands. Her eyes were sharp, boring into Hayden’s.
“Hayden, if you do this now then I’ll be off, do you understand? I’ll go away and never see you ever again! And I mean it, because you’re on the brink of changing everything the moment you tell them who you are.” Tears pooled in her eyes as she shook him a little. Draco couldn’t tell whether those tears were real or not, but Hayden looked rather frightened. “Hayden, look, I am real and I am right here. I can fix this for you and together we can just go back and live on as if this never happened. They,” she said with a nod to Draco and Hermione, “they are just the products of your past. They are not real. They. Don’t. Exist. You created them only in your mind.”
“Listen to that loads of crap,” Draco scoffed, laughing. “They are fucking nuts.”
Hermione held out a hand to silence Draco. “Wait a second. So, you’re from the future?” she asked them in utter disbelief.
Now where did that come from and how did she jump to that ludicrous conclusion? Draco raised an eyebrow and chuckled in amusement, which earned him another stern look from a very pissed-off Hermione freaking Granger.
Hayden and Naomi turned from each other to give Hermione a troubled and very anxious look. Perhaps even they thought that Hermione had lost it.
But Hayden’s eyes lit up, he nodded once, while the girl just raised her eyebrows and opened her mouth. “How’d you—” they asked simultaneously, though with contrasting emotions.
“What the—?” Draco snorted, questioning everyone’s sanity. “Future? Them?”
Naomi nudged Hayden in the ribs, hissing, “Don’t just stand there; say something.”
As this bloke stepped forward, he bit nervously on his thumbnail and stammered, “Yes, we…are. I’m—I’m—I’m—We—”
What a total jerk.
Naomi rolled her eyes impatiently, speaking in his behalf. “This is Hayden Malfoy.” Her eyes met Draco’s when she said this—or rather spat—then stared back at Hermione as she continued, “He’s your very stubborn, ever-impulsive, reckless son from the future who’d naively believed that messing around with a time travel potion and playing matchmaker for his teenage mother and father would be a piece of cake, and now he’s screwed up because he’s interfering with his own conception,” she finished in two breaths. “There, I said it. Are you happy now, Hayden? Was that so hard?” She threw her arms in the air, as if in surrender.
Hayden dropped shamefully his head, saying nothing.
“That’s a crock of shit!” Draco exclaimed incredulously, feeling as though he’d been saying this over and over, “You are from the future, claiming to be mine and Granger’s son? I’ve never heard so much shit from one person before, and that’s saying something because I’m friends with Pansy Parkinson.”
Then, Blondie Freakbrain clenched his fists, glaring at Draco. “It’s the truth, you—you moron!” He flinched and dropped his head again like a little boy who was intimidated by his father. Such a wimp. “Sorry,” he said quickly.
Uncharacteristically of Hermione, she remained silent after Naomi’s introduction of this Future-Kid-Wannabe-Malfoy, processing what had been said as she first examined Hayden’s profile and then Draco’s. She nodded to herself as if a sudden wave of realisation washed over her.
She was seriously buying this absurdity.
“You don’t fucking believe that, do you?” Draco asked her in a very unnatural high-pitched voice.
“Well, time travel is, in truth, possible,” Hermione contemplated aloud, “I’ve even experienced it myself upon using the Time Turner when I was in my third year, travelling a few hours into the past. That you managed to travel back this far, Hayden, I mean, it’s fascinating.” She smiled at him proudly, as if, in fact, praising him for this great accomplishment. Though, after another moment, it became clear that Hermione was not at all praising Hayden’s time travel skills; she had simply been astonished at the intriguing concept of advanced time travel itself, and thus, when it finally hit her to whom she was speaking, she was taken aback and…freaked out.
Hermione had not questioned the advanced magic used earlier when the two freaks suddenly Side-Along Apparated with them within Hogwarts, even though she should have been the first to notice this. Had she even noticed that they were on another floor now? She had been too engrossed at that something she was holding earlier.
And, another thing, even though Hermione had mentioned it earlier, she had not asked the two freaks yet about whether or not they were responsible for hexing Mr. Best Friend Weasley into a coma. Perhaps she’d just forgotten. And who was Draco to remind her?
Something was wrong with Hermione, since the moment they had left the third floor, and Draco was sure that she knew more than she was giving away.
But right now, once she had processed the news, she almost started to hyperventilate.
“Oh God, of all people to knock me up,” she cried, and pointed a finger at Draco, “why him? Are you certain that we’re going to be your parents? Is this some kind of practical joke?”
“Whoa, Granger, calm down. I’ve no intention to touch you,” Draco spat, feeling cross and angry at her tone. “You didn’t seem to be that repulsed three days ago, when you threw yourself at me and started snogging me.”
“And you didn’t seem repulsed either,” she shot back, “If I remember correctly, you were kissing me back!”
“I wasn’t,” Draco said tersely.
“Stop denying, Malfoy! I didn’t make it up.”
“No, not that,” he said, “I mean, I wasn’t repulsed.”
Silence fell between them upon which Hermione’s cheeks took all shades of red, Draco cleared his throat and felt his face glowing, and Hayden’s eyes turned from Hermione to Draco, a grin on his face, while Naomi just looked as if she had seen this coming. She threw a quick glance at something that looked like a small notepad, looking thoughtfully before nodding once, and then tucked it back inside her robe pocket.
After the awkward moment passed, Hermione spoke again, “We’re not even going out,” she stated randomly in a low voice, her eyes fixating the ground. “How far ahead from the future did you come, Hayden?” she asked carefully. “I do hope when I’ve got a somewhat stable job and, well, ‘relationship’ with him, right? I don’t even mind if we’re not married then and...” she trailed off. Her thumb, which she had pointed at Draco in an uncaring manner, she lowered slowly when Hayden shook his head. He almost looked sorry.
“Eighteen years from now,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that before you give birth to, erm…me…by next year in July—28th of July, to be exact—that your relationship with Dad…Draco…was steady. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, does it? As you said, you’re not even going out, though I thought you were,” he finished, looking disappointed.
Hermione closed her eyes, seeming to be in deep concentration. “July 28, so the date of conception would be…the normal term for delivery is between 37 weeks and 42 weeks…that would mean…” she counted backwards, voice shaking, then opened her eyes and screeched, “WHAT?! I—I’ll be pregnant beginning of November!” She spun around at Draco, poking his chest. “You’re not coming near me for the next few months, you hear me?”
Draco swatted her hand off and rubbed the spot she had attacked, spitting in contempt, “You do realise that this is loads of bullocks, some made-up crap, don’t you? There’s no evidence that he’s telling the truth, whether or not time travel is possible. I don’t give a shit! They’re nuts, and judging your reaction, I think you’re nuts, too! It’s not like he presented a scan of your uterus with him swimming inside or his birth certificate with our names on it to support his story.”
“I’m telling the truth!” Hayden said furiously, “W-Wait, I can prove it.” He searched in his robe pockets frantically, growing paler when it seemed like he couldn’t find what he was searching. “Shit, where is it? Naomi, have you seen the old picture you took away from me the other day? Y’know, of Mum? Please, can you give it back?”
Naomi searched in her pockets, too. “Sorry, must have left it in my bag. Or maybe I lost it.”
Draco squinted at Hermione, who had stiffened up and looked away guiltily, her hands in her own robe pockets. What was she hiding? Did she have this picture Hayden was talking about? What kind of picture was it anyway? A picture of the three of them as a family? Ugh… Who’d believe that? But then again, if Hermione was carrying this evidence, and she believed Hayden’s story, why the heck was she hiding it?
Draco was about to voice out his thoughts, but then Naomi spoke again. “Doesn’t matter, just tell them anything only you can know, Hayden,” Naomi suggested encouragingly. “About your grandparents for example. And I mean the Muggle dentists, your Nana Jean and Grandpa Herbert, and not the pompous Malfoys, your Nana Cissy and Granddad Lucius, and their large mansion in Wiltshire.” She smirked sardonically as she eyed Draco and Hermione’s reaction, then looked back at Hayden. “C’mon, you’re a big boy. You can do it.”
Draco felt his jaw drop.
Before Hayden could open his mouth, Hermione suddenly began to laugh, but her laughter was rather…frightening, so scary, so unlike her. Maybe she was scared—Draco didn’t blame her. “Now I know what actually happened,” she exclaimed in some kind of fake-realisation, clasping her hand to her forehead in exaggerated act, “This is the result of sleep deprivation for staying at the hospital by Ron three days in a row. I must’ve fallen asleep on the cot, and this is just some weird dream.”
“From shock state to complete denial,” Naomi tsk-ed. “Just as I’ve predicted…”
Hayden looked worried.
“Anyway,” Hermione said after a moment, her voice unnaturally high and husky, turning to face Draco, “when are you planning to propose to me, Malfoy? How about if you take me out on a date first before knocking me up and ruining our lives for good? Shall we tell my parents first or yours that, even though I’m not yet pregnant, they’re going to be grandparents by next year? I’m sure they’d be delighted.”
“What the fuck, Granger?”
“Oh, and by the way,” she continued, stemming her fists in her hip, “where do you prefer to have sex with me? In the broom closet or in my room?” She then jeered, facing the group, “ARE YOU ALL OUT OF YOUR FREAKIN’ MINDS? THIS—THIS IS CRAZY! CRAZY! And you, Mister,” she pointed at Draco as if this whole thing was entirely his fault alone, “I was serious when I said that you’re NOT coming near me, EVER!” As she yelled this, shaking her head incredulously, she took several steps away from them. With a last glare towards each one of them, she turned on her heels and walked away.
This time, it was Hayden who started to laugh and broke the silence. And then began weeping like a girl. Still laughing. As if all this was, in fact, just a silly prank to freak out Hermione, to fool Draco. He was as insane as his mother, Draco mused, and then flinched. No, this is not happening.
But Hayden’s tears were real.
“Hayden,” his girl friend said, “I’m so sorry. I knew this would happen.”
More tears ran down from his eyes, gathering at his chin and wetting his collar. He didn’t even make an attempt to wipe his tears away. His shoulders sagged forward as he sobbed in his chest, fists balled.
“You don’t understand,” he said, his body shaking.
“I do. Look, it was expected that one of them would react like that, right? I just, I wouldn’t have thought, though, that it would be Hermione,” she said, looking sideways at Draco. Now she wasn’t that aggressive girl anymore; she was rather genuinely compassionate. “Hayden, I mean, what would you do if you found out you have a child out there? Let alone, a son who came from another time and turned your whole life upside down? Wouldn’t you react like that, too? Just give her some time and she’ll eventually come around to it.”
Hayden wiped at his eyes angrily, pressing them shut as if refusing to understand. “First, my father left me when I was a child. And now my mother—literally—turns her back on me and just walks away. Like my father! I must be an ogre that neither of them wanted me! I thought I could change it this time,” he sobbed, biting his trembling bottom lip. “And all I wanted was to save her…”
Something inside Draco was triggered by these words. Even though he didn’t believe the whole story, Draco felt that something bad would happen if he didn’t do anything about it. He noticed the same, strange reaction deep inside him when he had looked into Hermione’s eyes and felt her slipping away like dry sand through his fingers, just like in his bad dreams when he saw her falling through a dark, bottomless pit, and his fear grew stronger when he envisioned her like this.
This wasn’t the first time Hayden mentioned something about ‘saving his mother’s life’—saving Hermione. Whether this crazy bloke was telling the truth or not, Draco couldn’t just stand there and wait and do nothing until it was too late.
“Well, I am still here,” Draco said into the silence, “I—I may not be the Draco from your era, but assuming…let’s just assume I believe you—” he shrugged, staring into Hayden’s eyes that resembled his own, as if looking in a mirror, “—how can we save Hermione?”
Hermione walked back to her common room but froze mid-step once she reached the entrance. Something held her back: a familiar feeling, some instinct that she could never forgo helping a friend…or her family.
Was this all for real? Part of her believed Hayden, but her logical part was scared and refused to believe.
Everything just felt so surreal. A seventeen-year-old boy, the same age as she is, appeared out of nowhere, informs her that he is her son from the future, technically inducing her to a relationship and making her fall in love with his teenage father, Draco Malfoy, to prevent some horrible event that will befall her in later years. (He might not have directly mentioned this part to her but this was what Hayden and Naomi’s fight was about earlier, wasn’t it?)
God, and she thought Professor Trelawney was odd. Come to think of it, Divination in her third year seemed almost more plausible now. Perhaps she shouldn’t have dropped out if she knew that, only three years later, she’d be facing her teenage son. She’d have paid special attention in the areas ‘Seeing’, and ‘Palmistry’, and ‘fortunetelling’, and perhaps…
What the heck?
“Okay, calm down, Hermione,” she told herself, trying to hold back her tears. It wasn’t like it was ordinary to receive news like this in everyday life—meeting your teenage son even before you get pregnant, damn it, even before you have your first actual sex. Who was she, Sainted Mother Mary?
“No, stop.” That was inappropriate and blasphemous. She blinked her tears away and ran her hand through her bushy hair.
And Draco Malfoy—the father?
How could it have happened? She wasn’t one who’d jump in bed with some guy, let alone with Malfoy. She didn’t sleep around or engage in unprotected fornication.
What was her future-self thinking?
Next July. She would be mother of a baby boy…
She would be mother at the age of eighteen (well, almost eighteen, since it would be two months before her birthday in September), still a student at Hogwarts. By next year in July…
Next July? Oh God!
No. No. It won’t happen.
Clasping her hand to her mouth, she felt tears running down her eyes.
She shoved her other hand in her robe pocket, retrieving the Muggle picture, the one that had fallen out of Naomi’s pocket when Naomi and Hayden had been fighting. It was the same Muggle picture Draco had taken of Hermione in the Muggle Studies Classroom with the Polaroid camera, except that…this picture looked as though it had been in Naomi’s possession for years, seeing the yellowish, washed out colours, the blurry ink stains on one edge, the overall poor quality of the picture.
Instinctively—upon realising that she was still wearing Draco’s robe—she looked in its chest pocket and found the same Muggle picture, but this one was clearly new. Taken three days ago.
And why on earth was Draco Malfoy carrying this picture around with him?
“Hermione,” someone called. She turned to see who it was; it was Neville. “What’s the matter? You look kinda worried.” She looked up at him and wondered where he just came from. “I’ve been calling you like three times. Aren’t you going in?”
“Yes, I will. I’m sorry, it’s been a long day for me,” she said wearily, waving him off.
“Have you been in the hospital? How’s Ron doing?”
“What? Oh, Ron…” She sighed; remembering him made her realise that she wasn’t at all having a weird nightmare about a future-son, who came back to shock her with ridiculous news about being Draco’s future-wife and becoming a mother at barely eighteen. Because the incident with Ron was real. “He’s doing fine. He’s on his way of recovery, I think, I’m not…really sure.” Feeling too exhausted to explain, or to think, she looked away and took a deep breath, hoping that Neville wouldn’t press with further questions.
“I see. That’s good news,” Neville said, moving towards the portrait. “Professor McGonagall assigned me to patrol for you since both Gryffindor prefects were prevented from their duties. Was just for tonight.”
“Yeah, thank you, Neville,” she replied half-heartedly.
“Now come and get in,” he said, stretching his body and scratching his head, “I’m so tired. Aqua Mentis,” he said the password to the Fat Lady. The Fat Lady groaned in annoyance but revealed the entrance without further ado.
Very reluctantly, Hermione shoved the two pictures back in her robe pocket and followed Neville inside their common room, banishing all troubling thoughts aside of a future-son and Draco, her future-husband-and-father-of-her-child, and of a comatose Ron at St. Mungo’s.
Pulling the velvety curtains of her bed aside, Ginny peeked around the room and noticed that her dormmates were fast asleep, their soft snoring punctuating the silence. She threw her bathrobe on and got up, and as she headed outside, she could’ve sworn that the door upstairs to the sixth years’ dorm just fell shut. Someone must have just returned past curfew, and she wondered who it could be.
When Ginny descended stealthily the stairs to the common room, she became aware of the flickering fire in the fireplace, where Harry was slumped on the armchair. His arms were crossed over his chest, and messy hair was sticking up in all directions. He looked as though he hadn’t slept for days, dark circles shading his eyes; he just stared almost unblinkingly at the fire.
“Harry? You’re still up?” Ginny asked in the silence, moving slowly towards the couch and sitting down. “Did you see who just went upstairs? I thought I just heard someone entering the sixth years’ dorm.”
Harry startled as though she’d appeared out of nowhere. “Ginny, oh, hey, what’s up? Oh, what? Yeah, Hermione just came in, but she didn’t notice me.” He frowned, his green eyes flickering dangerously at the fire. “Why are you still awake?”
“Couldn’t fall asleep, and I thought I’d take a walk outside, but nevermind.” She shrugged, not looking at him. “Hmm… where could she have just come from? She must’ve left St. Mungo’s hours ago.”
“Ginny,” Harry said, turning to her, “what do you know about this bloke, Hayden Malcolm—something? He’s had classes with me, the teachers don’t seem suspicious, not even Snape when he calls him out in class, or…even Dumbledore. But there’s something wrong about that bloke…like he doesn’t belong here.” Sighing deeply, Harry shook his head thoughtfully. It was obvious that he’d been pondering about this all this time. He ran his hand through his hair. “Maybe it’s just my lack of sleep and now I’m starting to go insane, I dunno. But something’s fishy about that bloke.”
“I know what you mean, I feel the same about Hayden,” Ginny said darkly, “but I’ve a gut feeling that we can trust him. He’s just a student, Harry, don’t worry about him.” Ginny felt a mild breeze against her neck, the same feeling whenever Nearly Headless Nick or Bloody Baron or one of the other house ghosts swept behind her. It was an uncomfortable sensation. Except this time, none of the ghosts were around, and where that cool breeze just came from, she didn’t know. Ginny rubbed the nape of her neck. “It’s actually Hermione I don’t trust.”
“What? How can you say that?”
Ginny shrugged again. “I dunno. It seems like she’s been hiding something from us.”
“Ginny, she’s spent hours by your brother’s side at the hospital, worrying about him,” Harry said fiercely, defending Hermione, “What do you think she’s up to, though?”
“Well, ever since she started hanging out with Malfoy, I feel like she’s changed.” Biting her thumbnail thoughtfully, Ginny went on, “You see, when I’m at the hospital, Malfoy’s there, too, watching over her. And Hermione only relaxes when he’s around. And then Ron…I don’t know, Harry, I don’t feel like…like…” she trailed off.
Harry eyed her sceptically. “Like what?”
“Like it’s him,” Ginny finished, gnawing at her bottom lip. “You see, when I was five years old, Fred and George locked him up in the attic. Ron’s been crying and eventually fell asleep. I just came home with Bill, and I knew at once that something was wrong. I’ve always had this connection to my brothers, but especially to Ron, I don’t know. Anyway, I knew at once where he was even though I had no idea what Fred and George had done to him. They said they forgot about him, and when they remembered, we all rushed to the attic, and he’s been unconscious because of the heat—it was in the middle of Summer, y’know—and because he’s been scared.” Ginny smiled sadly. “Now when I’m at the hospital, I don’t feel any connection to him, like it’s not him lying there.”
“Terrible things happened to Ron, Ginny,” Harry reminded her, “you’re probably still in shock. I don’t blame you.”
“You don’t understand,” Ginny mumbled, “Harry, this might just be a thought, but I think we should look for Ron here in the castle. I think he’s here somewhere.”
His mind felt clouded, as if a layer of white fog had permanently settled on his brain and whatever he did to shake it off, it wouldn’t dissipate.
For the past few days he’d awoken in the middle of the night, looking around the unfamiliar room and finding himself in a bed that wasn’t his, amongst people his brain tells him he know, and passing as somebody that part of him had always detested. How was this possible?
Rolling and tossing around, and kicking the blue bed sheet away, he wondered what he was doing there, or where he was. This wasn’t his dorm, deep inside he was aware of this, but how did he get there? No one brought him there—he’d usually go there by himself, do the things he’d usually do, just in a different ‘body’—yes, this was how it felt; like being trapped in a different body. He’d been going in and out of this common room as if it was a natural thing; the common room required solving riddles, but he knew he never needed to solve any riddles before…when he was…what was he doing here? He felt a wave of confusion wash over him again. Like every night. Whenever he forced himself to remember.
He couldn’t remember exactly who he was. People called him “Michael Corner”, but why would they call him that? Was that his name? Corner was a Ravenclaw bloke that the redhead girl from the other house once dated…that girl…he knew that girl. What was her name? Ginny. Right. Even Ginny had called him Michael earlier. Why would she call him that name; it didn’t feel like it was his name.
Something was wrong, he felt it surging within him…that memory, as though it was stuck somewhere. He only needed to remember.
But what exactly happened?
”No! No! No!”
“Stop being a baby,” Naomi scolded, “now give me your hand.”
“Can’t you just get it here?” Hayden suggested.
He stood about a safe distance away from Naomi and Draco, who was gradually feeling uncomfortable holding Naomi’s hand. Merlin, why did she have to hold his hand like this—with their fingers intertwined and palms pressed together? Why was Goldilocks making such a scene? This was why Draco was doubtful of Hayden’s parentage; he could impossibly have produced such a whiny, weepy, and frail son like Hayden.
Thinking of Hayden—a seventeen-year-old teenager; Merlin, and even a year older than Draco—as his son—the thought was absurd and scared the hell out of Draco.
He let go of Naomi’s hand. “I’m sorry, I thought I can do this, but this is silly.”
“What?” Both, Naomi and Hayden, exclaimed at the same time. “What do you mean?” Naomi asked. “For Merlin’s sake, we’re just going to Apparate to another room, where it’s safer to show you Hayden’s memories. We can’t do that in this hallway.”
“I didn’t mean the Apparition,” Draco snapped, “I mean, I’m not really looking forward to see what awaits me in the future, and how I’m going to fuck up Hermione’s life. Wouldn’t it be the best if I just leave her alone, not intervene with her life at all, because apparently I’m the reason she ran off in the first place. Didn’t you see her reaction? She only freaked out upon realising that I’m the one who’ll knock her up before she even finishes school!”
“No, wait,” Hayden said quickly, grabbing Naomi’s hand, “all right, let’s Apparate. I think I can handle it this time. S’rry, was just giving my mind and body some time to prepare.”
Rubbing the back of his neck, Draco felt uncertainty overwhelm him, stronger than before.
“Dad,” Hayden said this time, a plea in his voice, “if you stay away from Mum then I will never be born. This is like…like…abortion! I’m begging you not to kill me. You don’t want to be a murderer, right?”
Naomi looked at him with her eyebrow raised, then nodded in agreement.
Draco gulped at the words Hayden used to guilt trip him. That bloke clearly knew how to manipulate him. “What’s the point anyway? I’m going to be a miserable father; you said it yourself, I will only abandon you. What difference does it make whether I do it now or at some point in the future?”
Now, Draco realised that this boy, Hayden ‘Malfoy’, might perhaps be somehow related to him, because he was as a coward as Hayden was, as weak and emotionally fragile. Great.
Before he was about to leave these freaks behind, he threw a last glance at Hayden. “By the way,” he said, “if you really do want to do Hermione a favour, and if you really care about her—” shit, why was he doing this? “—bring Weasley back to life, will you? Whatever you wannabe timer travellers did to him, revoke the spell and spare her the worries, all right?”
Hayden looked angry and disappointed, but he didn’t argue.
“And one more thing,” Draco added, “don’t call me ‘Dad’. I’m not your father.”
As Draco turned away and left, he heard their voices behind him.
“What now?” Hayden mumbled.
“I knew he’d chicken out,” Naomi sighed.
Hayden paced up and down the hallway, kicking the wall angrily.
“For Christ’s sake, will you please calm down?” Naomi chided, “I’m trying to think.” She looked at her notepad and checked the dates and notes scribbled inside. “Guess, we can’t do anything for today, Hayden. I’m tired; we should call it a day.”
“No, no. No way.”
“Hayden,” she said, stretching his name, “there’s nothing we can do now. I’ll Apparate to St. Mungo’s first thing in the morning and fix the matter with Ron and Michael. But right now, I’m too exhausted.”
“Is there really nothing we can do?” Hayden asked desperately. “What if we talk to Mum again?”
“Don’t be stubborn. You think only after a few minutes later she’s like changed her mind and suddenly believes you?”
“She does believe me; I have a feeling there’s something about her,” Hayden said, “I’m sure she’d not just forsake me like that. I meant a lot to her, after all. You’ve no idea what we went through when I was a child.”
“You’ve told me that story lots of times before, but this is the teenage Hermione we’re talking about; she’s not yet your mother. There’s no bond between the two of you yet,” Naomi drawled wearily, rubbing her eyes, “I’m sure she’ll come around and seek you out tomorrow. Just give her this night to sleep over it. Was a lot of information to take, after all,” she finished with a yawn. “Now go back to your common room. I’ll go to bed now, too.”
“Where do you actually sleep?” Hayden asked randomly, trying to buy some time.
“What, oh I made myself a bed in the Room of Requirement, of course,” Naomi explained smugly, “I can’t just stay in the Ravenclaw girls’ dorm with my mother around, now can I?”
“I see,” Hayden replied. “And you’ve performed an Identity Protection Spell or something on yourself, or how does it work?”
“Hayden, please, go to bed. I’m tired.”
“I’m too wired up to fall asleep now,” Hayden mumbled, though he rubbed tiredly at his eyes, too. “D’you think if we’d just brew an Asportation potion to go back to our time, then all this…well…kind of like never happened?”
She snorted. “As if that was so easy,” said Naomi. “I would’ve started brewing the potion a long time ago. But most of the ingredients are missing. The Scamandars provided us with the rare ingredients, right?”
“Yeah, who helped you, by the way? I mean, you mentioned that you stole some of the ingredients from Mrs. Scamandar’s stockroom. But what about the rest? Did you have a copy of the Potions book?”
“I used the old one you left in your bedroom.” Naomi slouched down against the wall and pulled her knees up. “Hayden, you should really go to bed.” Yawning again, she tried making it clear that she was too sleepy to engage in this mind-numbing conversation with him.
“And what’s that notepad in your pocket?” Hayden asked curiously, “The one you’ve been peeking at this whole time?”
“Nothin’,” she drawled. “Just my notes.”
“May I have a look?”
“Why not?” he snapped, plopping down beside her. “Let me have a look. I promise I’ll leave you alone then and we’ll think of something else tomorrow. C’mon, Naomi.”
She pushed him away. “No, cut it out or I’ll jinx you.”
“Please, let me see. Please?”
She clutched her pocket. “It’s just a few notes on your parents. Nothing important.”
“Nothing important? It’s about my parents, for crying out loud.” Hayden grabbed her hands and dug in her pocket. Naomi felt too exhausted to care and just handed it over to him.
Hayden flipped through the pages. “I—I can’t believe it! How’d you acquire all this information about them? Not even I know this much about them. Mum hardly ever told me about her and Dad.”
“I’m an excellent detective, ain’t I?” she said, smirking wearily.
“Not funny. How’d you find all this out? Their ‘first kiss’? Wha—date of ‘first time’? Oh Holy Jesus! Most of this is about Dad’s teenager life; who he’s dated before, and everything about his failed attempt of courting my mum? What the…” He snapped his head to her, looking disgusted. “Don’t tell me…don’t fucking tell me you’ve been fixated with my father! I’ll kill you!”
Naomi burst out laughing, suddenly feeling hyper. She hit his arm and snatched the notepad away from him. “Don’t be silly! That would really be inappropriate, don’t you think? Long before you found out that Draco was your father, you were about four and five years old, remember? He lived in my neighbourhood. He took care of me.”
“He provided me with all the information I’d need about him and your mother,” Naomi said tersely. “Just in case, he said.”
“What? But that would mean that he was still alive when I went back in time.”
“Exactly,” she said with her head tilted to the side, “After all, it was he who sent me after you, Hayden. And now that Hermione and Draco know the truth anyway and our future has been altered now, I guess it’s time to tell you the whole truth,” she said, sighing, “and this time, I will not Obliviate you.”
A/N: Remember in an early chapter, Naomi told Hayden the truth but then Obliviated him? If he finds out this time that he was actually responsible for his mother's death, do you think he'd still want his parents to be together?
And, btw, thanks for all the feedback.
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