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Chapter 9 : Draco: Unbidden Sacrifices
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* 1st August 1998
Life was good. Well, good enough. My mother was still not back, but she had made contact with me. She sent me a small note saying that she was visiting some distant relative. Sure that she was lying, I had snorted, but nevertheless, I was happy that she was alive.
Then it was time for me to get a life.
After making sure that the Prophet knew about Granger and I, I had been on holiday to Greece where I picked up a lovely young witch named Cordelia; she was on holiday too and she was from Scotland. I didn’t know her last name. We came back together and at this specific moment in time, she was upstairs in my room while I sorted breakfast. I threw a couple of pieces of toast onto a tray with two glasses of orange juice and went upstairs. Her company was just to tide me over if and when Granger came to me. But the more time I spent away from her, the more I thought that she would never come. By late July I had decided that my efforts were wasted and finally decided to keep things going with Cordelia.
When I had just mounted the final staircase, Cordelia screamed. Rushing down the corridor, I put the tray down by the door and stepped in. Cordelia was in her underwear, tucked underneath my bed.
“What are you doing?” I said, annoyed.
“That thing -” she pointed upwards. A tiny brown owl was circling the room. My heart stopped in my chest because that only meant one thing: Granger. “ - nearly dropped poo on me. I let it in because it was tapping on the window and then it went mad.”
“Get up,” I told her.
Whistling and holding out my arm, the owl flew down to me and pecked me slightly. As I pulled out the parchment, it flew straight out of the window and the busty blonde was by my side.
“Who is that from?” Cordelia asked.
I looked down at it. “That’s none of your concern.”
She pulled a moody face so I smiled at her. She lit up at that - silly girl.
“Ooh breakfast!” She sat down on my bed with the tray and began munching on the food.
Without removing my eyes from the parchment, I said, “Save some for me, Delia.”
Closing my eyes briefly, I unfolded it and read:
It has been months since we last spoke and you probably have moved on with your life. Hearing from me will probably be a surprise, but I need to see you. It will probably take half an hour for you to get this letter. I’ll be taking the floo network to your house to avoid any detection by a certain gossip columnist.
See you soon.
That was it. Not even her name or her love or the kiss she usually sent. Not that I cared. She must have meant business to tell me that she was on her way.
“…and my parents got me a private tutor rather than sending me to Hogwarts. Four years, I had an old witch poking at me, telling me I was doing everything wrong. My parents didn’t understand, thought my ‘magic tricks’ were a bit over the top. Muggles never really understand though, do they? So I sent an owl to my great aunt Miranda - she’s a halfblood and my only other magical relative - and I went to live with her and went to Beauxbatons Academy for three years.”
Cordelia drank her juice with a flourish. “Draco, are you listening to me?”
Yes, my dear Delia was a mudblood. But it was not my intention to find someone like her. It just happened. I was sitting at a bar by the beach in a small wizarding community in Greece and she approached me, asking me where I was from. We got talking and then we went to the hotel. Even when she told me she was muggleborn, I did not immediately retract from her. Her great kissing skills persuaded me to give her a chance. Despite what I told myself initially, she had nothing to do with Granger. Nothing at all. At first, I thought of her - for a moment or two. Wondered whether another mudblood would be just as great as the first. Delia was okay, I suppose, in comparison.
“Yes, I’m listening. You went to Beauxbatons Academy…” I folded the parchment up and shoved it into my back pocket.
She nodded. “Just about passed last year. My parents were glad that I didn’t go to Hogwarts after Voldemort was there.” Cordelia stared at me. “What was it like?”
“Not as exciting as you might think.”
“I wish I was there.” She pouted.
“You wish you were in danger of dying, surrounded by death eaters and dead bodies - even Voldemort himself?”
“Well…no, but -”
“I didn’t think so.” I thought of Hermione. “Maybe you should go now.”
“What? I have nowhere to go. I wasn’t supposed to be back from my holiday until next week.”
“Just go home. Go to your parents.”
Delia growled and tossed her long blond hair over her shoulder. “Fine.” She yanked on her skirt and began looking for her pink vest top.
There was a flash and then a green light. Granger stumbled out of my large bedroom fireplace in a red top and jeans.
“Who is she?” Cordelia screeched.
“Nobody. Just go.” She pulled on the rest of her clothes and flounced out of the room.
Granger and I stared at each other. Only when I heard the distant crack of Delia Disapparating, did I speak.
“Why did you come here?” My hands were in my pockets.
Granger sat down on my bed without even asking but I was not in the mood to complain about it. I stood by the door while she said, “She didn’t recognise me?”
“She won’t tell the Prophet if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“Right,” she whispered.
“So?” I asked.
She cleared her throat. “Harry and Ron read the Daily Prophet that day.”
“Oh yes, I saw that. I know exactly who told Bernie Swattle too. Nosey little witch I crossed in the corridor. What did you tell them?” Oh, how I loved to lie! But also, this was not strictly a lie. I just failed to mention the truth of how I had given her forty galleons to tell all - plus a few sneaky lies.
“What do you think I did? I lied!” She ran her fingers through her hair. “But Ginny knew. I came back really early and she just knew.”
My eyebrows wrinkled disdainfully as I said, “If you’re here looking for a place to stay then you better not think -”
“No, I’m not,” she forced. “Ginny didn’t say anything and everything is almost back to normal.”
Granger nodded and pulled a small stick out of her pocket. “Do you know what this is?” she whispered.
I stepped forward. There was still plastic on it, but no writing. “Not a clue.”
“Don’t shout when I tell you this.” She sighed. “It’s a muggle pregnancy test.”
“Oh shit,” I whispered. “Shit. You’re not ? - But you can’t - I knew you might - but are you sure?”
She was on the verge of tears now. “I took a test yesterday…a-and it was positive. I thought that I should do another one - just in c-case. I need t-to check…”
I was sitting by her on the bed now, my mind all over the place, sweat accumulating on my forehead. There was no way in hell that I could have been prepared for this. “You sure it’s not Weasley’s?”
“It can’t be!” she exclaimed. “I’ve never - we’ve never - you and I…”
“The first time?” I said to myself. What were the chances of that happening?
She nodded emphatically, breathing deeply through her sobs. Granger placed her head on her knees. I reached over and patted her back twice apprehensively.
She looked up at me sadly. “I just thought that you should know. And I know you’ll probably let me leave and walk out of your life forever with this baby. But at least you’ll know you have a part you somewhere and that I won’t turn you away if you want to see your child. I’d never be able to tell Ron or any of the others, so I’d probably have to leave. Find a place down south to live for a while. Alone. Either that or find my parents and live with them. Or better yet, move to Australia…”
“You shouldn’t move to Australia. You should at least stay in the country, you know…so I would know where you were.” My eyes were looking at the fresh pregnancy test within her fingers.
“You reacted differently to what I expected,” she whispered gratefully.
“What did you expect?”
“I expected you to throw me out and tell me to do whatever I liked.”
“I’m not completely heartless, Granger. Besides, a part of me wanted to do what we did. A very small, miniscule part of me that was hidden behind the firewhisky and the wine.”
She laughed at this. “That’s nice to know.”
Damn me to hell for what I was about to say. “You c-could stay here. When they chuck you out. I mean, this place has a lot of bedrooms and you would barely have to see me…” My heart filled my throat.
Wow, the stupid girl was crying again. Then she turned and threw herself on me.
“Thank you!” I pushed her away firmly. Sex I could deal with, but not a hug. Not now. I was too traumatised by the news.
“I’m sorry,” she sniffed. “I j-just never thought…”
“Me neither,” I muttered. “But what else could I offer you? Here I have money and a house that will eventually pass to me. Plus, none of my parents are here to see a halfblood Malfoy grow up here.”
“What? You still haven’t found your mother?”
“She’s with family apparently. Anyway, I’m not doing this for you, I hope you know that.”
Granger nodded. “I know. And I couldn’t thank you more for what you’re sacrificing.”
“Me? I’m not sacrificing much really. Just my home and my privacy. But you’re going to lose your friends - which are much more important that bricks and mortar - even if it is Potter and Weasley.”
“I cheated on Ron. I cheated.” She said this as if she had only just realised the severity of her actions. I wasn’t tied down. I wasn’t in a relationship. She was. “They’ll never forgive me. Ginny maybe and Harry, in time. Years. But Ron will never forget this until the day that he dies.”
“Well, lets hope that it’s sooner rather than later,” I whispered.
She slapped me around the face, but I didn’t flinch. “I heard that.”
“I’m not going to apologise.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to.” She stood up. “Where’s the bathroom?”
“Second door on the left.”
How could I live with this girl? We argued, we hated each other. The one thing binding us was a fling, a small fling which resulted in a mini-Malfoy. Shaking my head, I wished that it wasn’t her. Anyone but her. What would people say and do now that my worst fear had in fact been realised? I knew from the morning after that this would happen and she did not fail to disappoint me.
Was I ready to be a father? We had both only just left school, neither of us had a job. So what, I had money! Some kind of steady income was still needed to support us.
I cringed. Us. Granger and I and our…child. The child, I could live with and look past the fact that it would look like her and share her genes and blood, but Granger herself…if she didn’t clean up her act, she’d be out as soon as it’s born. I had no reason to keep her forever. Although I doubt she would separate with her child so maybe I did. Plus, I had no idea how to handle a baby. Maybe we would have to stay together forever, maybe even get married… I supposed that I could live with that. A small ceremony with no family present. She probably wouldn’t want to do it, but wasn’t that the only way? A noble option or a soft option?
Granger was attractive, there was no doubt about that. She surely was not as tediously annoying as she had been when I first knew her back in our first year at Hogwarts. She had grown up in a way that neither of us could have prophesised. She knew how to fight; I had witnessed that during the war. Not only that, she was smart. But still that matter of a job… Neither of us had N.E.W.Ts, which made things even harder. It would be a waste of time getting them back again. From tomorrow, I would go out and look for something, anything.
Oh, what had I turned into?! I was preparing to let a mudblood share my home with me. A home which has housed generations of pureblood witches and wizards. If ever there was a way to tarnish that, this was it. Father would kill me if he knew, but he’s locked up in Azkaban. I suppose my mother would be happy, because we had put aside our ‘differences’. But that was the thing; we barely had any similarities. We were at Hogwarts at the same time and that is about all we have in common. I was in Slytherin, she was a Gryffindor. She was best friends with Potter. I hated him. We were both reasonably good at our subjects but she was always better. Perfect Granger! Who would have known that she would have ended up doing something so stupid as getting pregnant by me?
But was it stupid? It seemed like the opportunity I needed. Because of this, I have decided to sort out my life, get a job. If it wasn’t for her, what would I be doing? Sleeping with Cordelia for a few months and then moving on to the next lucky girl. So I at least had something to thank her for.
A baby…it seems strange that it would be half me, half her, yet entirely its own person. I shook with curiosity of how it would look with the combination of both of our good looks. At this moment I didn’t care that it would be a halfblood because when he or she grew up, I would try to get them to marry a pureblood and eventually our family will be back to full strength. But then I would have to do the same for my grandchildren…
Would it be a boy or a girl? I hoped it was a girl, strangely enough. Even though a boy would carry on my name - if Granger would let me - a girl would make sure that the fact that she was a halfblood would not be easily traceable back to the Malfoys once she married. My name, my family’s name still meant a lot to me. Then again, a boy would be great so that I could make him more like me. I wasn’t particularly inclined one way. But people would know. We couldn’t keep ourselves locked up for the rest of our lives. As soon as we would go somewhere for shopping, people would know and it would be a Daily Prophet scandal all over again.
We would have each other. I suppose I could get used to Granger. If we did marry, I may even learn to like her and more. Marriage in itself would be a rough task because I planned to settle down when I was in my thirties, not when I was eighteen. I’m still young, but because of this accident, I was willing to stop being selfish. Not for Granger, for my child. It was time for me to grow up.
“Draco,” I heard her call quietly.
Into the bathroom I went, where she was sitting on the lid of the closed toilet.
“What is it, Granger?” I asked, looking at the pregnancy test.
She shook her head, smiling. “We have to wait.”
I sat on the edge of the roll top bath with my foot tapping the floor nervously. What was wrong with me? She already told me it was positive.
Granger put her hand on top of mine and squeezed it.
“And about that … you’ll need to learn to stop calling me Granger.”
“Right … Hermione.” She smiled. “But don’t expect me to do it all the time.”
“I won’t, Draco.” She looked around at the grand bathroom. “Not minimalists, you lot, are you?”
“It’s centuries old. We’ve only updated a few things.” I shrugged. “So … I was thinking that you could have a room next to mine, so I could keep an eye on you.” She looked into my eyes. “Unless you’d prefer not to…”
She smiled. “I’d love to.” She put the tester stick on the toilet cistern and stood opposite me. “I didn’t think it would be this easy.”
“This certainly won’t be easy. Anything but. I still don’t know whether I’m out of my mind for suggesting it.”
“Yes, I thought something must be wrong with you,” she laughed.
“No, I’m alright.” I bit my lip and forced myself to look at her. Damn it, why was she so close to me? “So you don’t regret what we did?” I asked her.
She - Hermione - frowned a little and then sat beside me on the bath. “At times I thought I did, because it was you. You bullied me in school, but I always knew you were better than you made out. You didn’t kill Dumbledore.” I gulped. “People focused on what you did do, rather than what you didn’t. But the things we don’t do are the things that separate good from evil.” She took my hand again and squeezed. “You’re not a bad person, Draco. I knew that before, but I especially know it now. You’re willing to help me and I’m really grateful.”
“Thanks. But you didn’t answer my question.”
She raised herself up a bit, leaned over and kissed me. I stayed very very still while she did so. It only took a moment and then before I knew it, she was sitting beside me again. “I don’t regret it. Not anymore.”
I understood that. We were too far in not to.
“That’s good to know,” I muttered. “So when will you tell them?”
“I was going to just summon my things here and send them a letter, but that might be a little impersonal.”
“Just a little bit. Plus they’d probably apparate over here to check I hadn’t taken you hostage.”
Hermione bit her lip. “When I go back … will you come with me?”
My heart quickened. “You’re really are scared, aren’t you?”
She nodded uneasily. “I don’t want to be alone.”
I sighed. “I suppose I’ll have to. If anything, just to see Weasley’s face when he realises that the papers were true.”
“Just one article was partially true, Draco.” And I would never tell her that it was down to me.
“He’ll never want to hear that. If we go marching to his house together saying you’re going to be my wedded wife, he’ll assume this started from Hogwarts.”
“Wedded wife?” she asked curiously.
“Oh, just ignore me,” I ordered. She laughed a little, but then looked back at me curiously, probably wondering whether I was going to ask her. She would just have to wait because I hadn’t even decided yet myself.
“We’re way too young to be parents,” she said to her lap.
“Do you remember Angelina Johnson?” I nodded. “She’s pregnant too. That’s why I took a test. She did one yesterday. She’s twenty years old and I thinks that’s young. But what about me?”
“Wasn’t she going out with Fred Weasley?”
Hermione said, “Yes, but it’s George’s.” I raised my eyebrows. “Sad, isn’t it? Anyway, she told him last night and they haven’t said a word yet. She said she would cover for me while I left. She thinks I’ve gone to Gringotts to get some money out for a present for Ron. It isn’t even his birthday.”
“And why would you buy him a gift when it isn’t a special occasion?”
Hermione shrugged. “She didn’t ask. Probably too happy. Do you think we will ever be? Happy, that is.”
“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Hermione looked over at me sweetly and then said, “I never realised how good-looking you were.” it felt as though she was looking through me, deep into me rather than at me.
“Was that supposed to be a compliment?” I joked.
“Yes.” She smiled and she rested her hand on my cheek. I put my hand on hers to move it away, but I froze and we sat in silence for a moment. When I finally found the strength to push her away she said, “You’re going to be a tough one to crack.”
I shrugged. “Take it or leave it.”
She laughed. “Do I have a choice?” She stood up and looked into the mirror.
“You do,” I said seriously. “You could choose to leave like you wanted to. Or you could choose to stay.”
She turned to me. “I have chosen. To stay with you. It’s the best way. Unless you want me to go…”
Shaking my head nervously, I said, “No. I’d feel too guilty if I cast you out. Even if it is you. I think I can get past all of the things that have happened between us. Who knows, maybe we could even -”
“Yes?” she asked eagerly.
At that moment, I panicked. What did she want to hear? Maybe we could share the same bedroom? Go out with each other? Learn to love one another? Get married…?
“Nothing,” I said with a smile.
“Nothing,” she repeated at a whisper. “I’m willing to forgive you for the past Draco, but I won’t forget it.”
“Deal,” I said, putting my hand out. She shook it but hung onto my fingers. “Get off,” I said lightly.
She smothered the smile on her lips and still held on tight. Rather than fight her off, I pulled her closer to me. As I was sat on the bath, my line of vision was directly at her middle. Without having to tell her what I was about to do, she did it first. She wrapped her arms around me so that the side of my face was pressed to her flat stomach. She held me tighter than I would have thought. Closing my eyes, I pushed my arms around her, nestling my ear deeper into her clothes as if I was trying to hear our baby. There was nothing. Oh well. Smiling, I slid my arms down to the curve of her hips and then round to her bottom. To my surprise, she didn’t slap me away or shout. She just left me to it while she pushed her fingers through my hair. And so I pulled her down to her knees, so that she was a few inches lower than me. She stared so intently through me that it was beginning to get a little unbearable, so I plunged forward, pressing my lips to hers. This wasn’t our first kiss, but it was the first that was with a clear head and a sober mind. We were one hundred percent aware of what we were doing this time as we slowly stood up in the middle of the bathroom, lips still attached. We moved together, step by step - her backwards, me forwards - until her back was resting against the black tiled wall. Her arms were wrapped around my neck, while mine were holding onto her waist. The funny thing was that I did not feel sick or nauseated or even angry at myself. I just was. For once in my life, it did not matter to me that she was a mudblood - or should, I say, muggleborn. For once in my life, I did not feel the need to slander her or to hurt her. Pleasure her, was more like it.
After minutes of that hot, tingling feeling burning inside me, I opened my eyes and stopped. Her eyes flickered open and for a moment, she seemed embarrassed and confirming that theory, she looked away.
“It seems we got a little carried away,” she muttered.
“So carried away that we forgot about that.” Our eyes drifted over to the pregnancy test sitting on top of the toilet cistern. She bit her lip. “Don’t be nervous, you already know you’re pregnant.” The words sounded alien in my throat. I resisted the urge to pinch myself.
“Yes, but, it was hard to see it the first time. Still quite unbelievable, you know?”
I grabbed it and shoved it into her hands without looking.
“I’m here. Go on,” I told her.
She smiled and said, “Thank you” once more.
“Don’t thank me,” I said, getting a little annoyed.
She smiled at me and opened her trembling fingers.
Her smile dripped from her mouth.
“What?” I said nervously.
Tears filled her eyes faster than I could have blinked.
“What is it?”
Two fat tears spilled over her cheeks and onto the floor. “I-it’s n-negative.”
“What? It can’t be - you … you said that yesterday -”
“I know.” She was shaking uncontrollably, staring at the white stick angrily. “It said yesterday that I was. It did. I know it did.” She began tapping it with her wand and whispering under her breath - a spell, most likely, to check that she was wrong, that the test was wrong. Or that it was right.
No one could have been more angry than me and not for the reasons you would think. I was not angry at her for invading my personal space and coming to my house for no reason. I was angry because she had given me hope and expectations, delight and something good for my future. Now, there was nothing.
“Maybe you got it wrong,” I whispered.
“But it did!” she screeched. “And I was sick, really sick. I threw up five times last week, I felt nauseous all the time and -”
“Maybe you had food poisoning,” I said with a hint of malice.
That was it. There was no baby, no us, no me and Granger, no reason for me to do anything anymore. I would be back to the old me and that thought hurt, because I was so ready to change. I had pictured it in my mind. I could almost see us living together, looking after our child together and being happy together. These thoughts had not disturbed me, they took me over for a brief amount of time and now that they were gone, I suddenly felt useless, as if my reason for being had disappeared. What had she done to me?
Hermione was a sobbing wreck as she darted out of the bathroom and into my room. She must have been so embarrassed to have come up here with a bombshell like that and then have it all ripped from beneath her.
I found her grabbing the jar of floo powder from the mantelpiece, whilst trying to breathe.
“You don’t have to go,” I whispered.
At that, she dropped the porcelain jar with a crash and turned to me as if frightened of what I might do. “I-I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry.”
“That’s fine,” I muttered emotionlessly.
“It’s not,” she squealed. “I put these thoughts into your head…for nothing.”
“They were in your head too. You must be equally as upset.”
I saw her face contort as she lied to me, “I’m not upset. I-I’m happy. This baby would have ruined my life,” she whispered as she stared sadly at the ground, trying and failing to wipe away her tears.
“It wouldn’t have.”
“This is the best possible outcome,” she continued distantly. “I can go back and pretend nothing happened.”
“Something did happen, Hermione.”
Her head snapped up. “You can call me Granger again now.”
“No. I don’t want to. Just like you don’t want to go back.” I stepped forward. “You were ready to leave them and stay with me and just because there is no baby, that doesn’t mean that you still can’t.”
“But, why?” she croaked. “There’s nothing here for me. No reason for me to stay.”
My grey eyes stared deeply into her brown ones. “I’m here,” I whispered. That whisper didn’t even sound as though it were my voice, but I continued. “If I’m nothing to you, you can leave right now and I won’t stop you. You can leave and never ever come back and I won’t expect you to. But you could stay.” I hesitated. “Stay with me.”
“You are something to me. But Harry and Ron are something more.”
“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” I shouted. “A moment ago you were ready to leave them all behind!”
“Yes, because then I had no choice! Now…”
“Now you can crawl back to them?”
“I can go back now,” she said harshly. “There’s no baby, so now I have the option to go back. You have the option to live your life and not be saddled with me and a child for the rest of it. You’re free.”
“Free?! You think I care about freedom?” I grabbed her arms and threw her onto the bed. “If you wanted me to, I’d make love to you right now and give you that child you wanted.”
She closed her eyes, rolled over and cried - it didn’t even look like she was slightly tempted.
I began to pace by the fireplace. “I’m right, aren’t I? You did want it. You wanted that baby and you wanted me as the father.”
Her chest heaved up and down as she tried to speak. “I-I…Draco…w-we…”
I blinked as that shameful watery substance began accumulating behind my eyes. “Just go,” I said.
She pushed herself off my bed and wiped her eyes feebly. “I have to,” she whispered to my feet.
“Whatever,” I said vehemently. “I don’t care. Just get out of my sight.”
She nodded and reached out to touch me, but I jumped back fast. She almost looked hurt at that, but did I care? Yes, I did, but I wouldn’t show it.
Bending down on her knees, she scraped up some of the floo powder from the floor and threw some into the fireplace so that the green flames roared between us.
“I’ll never see you again,” she said, looking straight at me. Ouch, that hurt.
“Good riddance,” I forced out, a tear dropping onto my cheek.
With a flick of her finger, she wiped it away as I sniffed, staring at the opposite wall. “Goodbye Draco.”
As soon as she had disappeared, I fell to the ground. What was it about her leaving that tore me up? I mean, I didn’t like her, did I? Oh, of course I did. And with her departure, she took away the idea of a decent future. She took away any hope I had of making something of myself and I despised her for doing that to me. She came in here telling me the best and the worst news possible. And now she was gone.
So why was I so sad? I could do whatever I liked now. I could forget about her, pretend the last half an hour did not happen. But no matter how much I could try, this day would be imprinted in my mind until the day I died. The child that I would never have would never leave my mind. And it was true; I would have given her a child if she would have let me because that was what I wanted, what we both wanted. I knew it. But it was all too late now. She’d be back with Weasley by now, probably have his child and forget all about me. That hurt so much that I couldn’t even express it in words. How could she leave like that without even telling me how she felt? Instead, she preferred to lie to me, thinking that it would make things better.
But it never would be. We both knew how we felt. We both thought up ideas, planned the rest of our lives together in our minds and those dreams crumbled away with the word ‘Negative.’
A/N: Okay so i dont know if real pregnancy tests can be positive and then turn negative but i just worked it into my story anyway for dramatic effect. Also Hermione is a little out of character but I had to do it ;) She gets over the fact that she's a cheater very quickly, but hey ...
The next chapter will be up soon. Hope you all liked it and please review because I would love the feedback :)
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