AN: I don’t own anything from Harry Potter.
Draco and Gwen arrive with a pop to a tiny Thai restaurant. The place was practically deserted except for the wait staff. The restaurant was dressed in an array of bright and bold colors with exotic fabrics and upholsteries. It was dimly lit with candles and lanterns that hung from the ceiling, giving off a soft warm glow making the place seem romantic and intimate.
Gwen let go of Draco’s arm and walked up to the small hostess stand in the front. An elderly Asian woman greeted her.
“Ms. Master so nice to see you again. Your father sent this letter for you.” Gwen accepted the letter and read it.
A slight frown formed on her face as she read. Draco waited patiently as she read, and then she turned to him.
“Well its looks like daddy had to cancel on us. So it’s just going to be you and me then.” Gwen smiled sweetly at him.
She really was quite beautiful especially in the glow of candlelight. “Does that mean we’re not going to have that meeting?” He asked.
“Oh no we can still talk about that. I don’t have all the details and paperwork, but I can still inform you what’s going on.”
“Okay sounds good.”
“Perfect.” Gwen said, and then held out her hand to him. “Shall we?”
Hesitantly he took her hand. Her hand was tiny, smaller than Hermione’s. Her skin wasn’t as soft as Hermione’s. Gwen had callouses on her hands, probably from playing quidditch.
“Your table is right this way Ms. Master’s, Mr. Malfoy.” The small Asian woman told them as she escorted them into the dining area.
She seated them at a small table for two in the center of the room. Once they sat down Draco looked around the restaurant that was devoid of all customers.
“Where is everyone?” He asked Gwen.
“Oh daddy has connections and he shut the restaurant down just for us so we can have our privacy.”
“So what was it that you needed to discuss with me?”
Gwen waved a hand in the air. “Let’s talk about that after we eat. I’m starving.”
Hermione paced around the living room, she felt restless. After trying to read some of the parenting books, she had to give up, because her mind kept drifting off to Draco and Gwen, and tried not to imagine what they were doing together. So she stopped studying; she was just too distracted.
The telly held no interest. Crissy was already in bed and she already cleaned up dinner, which was awful. Not that it was inedible or anything, it was just very bland and nothing she added to it, made it taste any better and she just end up pitching most of it. And eating by herself was kind of depressing.
It was already ten o’clock at night, surely their ‘meeting,’ if that’s even what you would call it, wouldn’t last much longer. She had a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and kind of hoped that Draco would be able to go with her. She knew from reading that the doctor’s appointment was harmless; they were just going to make sure she was healthy and normal and that the baby was healthy and developing normally. She’ll be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat and maybe find out the baby’s sex. But she still wanted him there with her, not necessarily to hold her hand, but just to be there.
She already asked Ziggy earlier today if she could watch over Crissy tomorrow during the appointment. Draco had practice tomorrow as well, but if she wasn’t mistaken it would be a half day of practice. And her appointment was in the afternoon. This is why she wanted him to go with her, because he would most likely be available.
Hermione walked over to the bookshelf to pick out a non-baby related book to read, but nothing stood out to her because she had already read most of what was on there. Her eyes fell on a couple of scrapbooks on the bottom shelf. She knew one of them must have been their wedding album because she remembered Draco talking about it. She picked one randomly and took it over to the sofa and sat and began to look through it.
Draco felt like he was about to burst at the seams, he ate so much. He had a new appreciation for Thai food, he especially liked that one spicy dish with the shrimp and noodles that he couldn’t pronounce, and he could eat that all day long.
He and Gwen hadn’t discussed whatever she needed to talk about with him, but they talked about pretty much everything else. He found out that she attended the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and she was two years younger than him. And that her family is pureblood and she’s an only child like him. She played quidditch while she was in school as a beater, and then coached the girl’s team for a couple of years after she graduated.
His teammate Roger was right, she had the feminine exterior, but she knew her quidditch. She talked about how her mother died when she was young, so her father pretty much raised her and that’s what got her interested in the sport so much.
They talked about when Hogwarts hosted the Triwizarding Tournament. She apparently went to the Yule ball with some bloke from Ravenclaw. He couldn’t for the life of him remember her whatsoever back then, but she remembered him.
“You passed me in the hallway one day on the way to classes and you smiled at me. I have to admit I had a little crush on you back then and that little move totally made my week.” Gwen told him a small blush graced her cheeks.
It wasn’t as noticeable on her as it was when Hermione blushed. Gwen had darker skin from being out in the sun so often, but it was still a blush.
“Oh,” he chuckled, what the hell was he supposed to say to that?
“Anyway you probably don’t even remember it since I was only a 2nd year at the time. And it was a long time ago.”
He couldn’t help but comparing Gwen to Hermione. Gwen had tan skin and Hermione had creamy pale skin with cute little freckles across her nose. Gwen had piercing blue eyes and Hermione had chocolate brown ones. Gwen had straight blonde hair and Hermione had curly brown hair that was soft and smelled good. Gwen was taller than Hermione and was rail thin where Hermione was curvier in all the right places. Gwen was a girly girl and Hermione was more of a tomboy. Gwen loved quidditch and flying whereas Hermione wasn’t so enthusiastic about either. And finally Gwen was a pureblood and Hermione wasn’t.
His parents would probably love Gwen based on her style and blood status alone, he thought guilty. Whereas Hermione was the opposite. What his father did to her was proof enough. Yet he could have had the pick of any girl out there, pureblood or not and he still choose Hermione. That had to count for something.
Draco glanced over at a clock hanging on the wall. He was shocked by how much time had passed and they had yet to have that meeting.
“So uh what did you need to talk to me about?” He asked Gwen trying to get back to the real reason they were there.
“Oh how silly of me, I completely forgot. Okay so I have some rather exciting news. The Chudley Cannons want you to be their new seeker. Their seeker Gavin Gudgeon is retiring in the next month or so and they need someone to take his place and they want you.” Gwen told him smiling.
Draco was speechless, he couldn’t believe that they Chudley Cannons wanted him out of anyone; it was too great to even comprehend.
“They want you for a five year contact and they’re willing to triple you annual salary then what they Ballycastle Bats are paying you.”
“Wow that’s amazing.” He still couldn’t wrap his head around it, this almost sounded too good to be true.
“The only thing is someone let it slip to your coach at Ballycastle, that you might switch teams so he offered to match what Chudley is offering you and continue you contract with them for an additional ten years. So now all you have to do is decide which one you would rather play for. Playing for the Chudley Cannons would be an opportunity of a lifetime, but if you stay with Ballycastle then you won’t have to move.”
“Move? Why would I need to move?” he asked.
“Well you wouldn’t need to move your family necessarily, but you would want to consider getting a flat or a small apartment close the to Chudley quidditch pitch, because their practice schedule is a lot more grueling then Ballycastle’s, you’ll be practicing at least six days a week full days and apparating all the way over to Chudley from London twice a day with a full day of practice could really put a toll on someone. So what I’m trying to say is you’ll need to get a small flat there so you can stay during the week. And then on the weekends you’ll be allowed to go home to your family…uh that is if you don’t have a game scheduled.”
“Wait, wait, so you’re saying my family and I can’t move to Chudley together. I would have to be separated from them?”
“You won’t be separated from them; you’ll still be able to see them on…”
“…the weekends. Yeah so you said.”
“The thing is the Chudley Cannons will pay for your living arrangements if you play for them, but their only willing to pay for a one bedroom flat that will accommodate you and you only. Hermione’s a stay at home mother right? So it’s not like there won’t be anyone there watching over your kid.”
“I said ‘kids,’ we’re expecting our second child in April.”
“Oh,” Gwen frowned. “Well then she’ll be too busy caring for the new baby, that she won’t have much time for you anyway. Which will be good for you and you will be able to focus more on your game.”
All good feelings about Gwen were slowly beginning to disappear. “Yeah she’ll be there caring for our new baby, a baby that I want to be there for as well and take care of. I can’t let Hermione do all the work. Crissy isn’t even a year old yet, she won’t be able to take care of herself by then. It’s too much work for Hermione to take on by herself. And it wouldn’t be fair to her or the children.”
“Then you should look into hiring a nanny. I’m sure I could find a decent one for you in the short time we have. This is why most professional quidditch players don’t start families until after they retire because it’s just too much of a hassle.”
“I appreciate the offer, but I want to be there to watch children grow up, and tuck them into bed at night. Speaking of which it’s already way passed my daughters bedtime. So if the Cannons want me to play for them then they’ll have to let my family join me in Chudley. Otherwise I’m going to stay with the Bats.” He told her trying to keep his temper at bay.
“I understand your concerns Draco, but you have to understand. Playing for the Chudley Cannons is a huge opportunity you can’t even imagine what that would do for your career. Right now the Cannons are ranked in the top five in Britain, whereas the Bats are only ranked in the top twenty. Just think about it. You don’t have to make a decision tonight.” Gwen said getting up from the table.
Draco stood up as well reaching for his wallet to pay for dinner, but Gwen stopped him.
“Don’t worry about it daddy already took care of it. Just think about what we talked about and I’ll see you tomorrow at practice.” And with that Gwen left the restaurant.
When Draco got home it was nearly midnight. He didn’t realize how long dinner lasted, they only discussed his career about thirty minutes, and the rest was just small talk and a complete waste of his time. The house was quiet; the kitchen light was left on as well as a lamp in the living room.
He walked down the hallway he stopped at the nursery and quietly opened the door. The sound of even breathing came to his ears; he quietly walked up to Crissy’s crib and peered over the edge at his sleeping baby girl.
He ran a hand lightly over her soft blonde curls. “I wouldn’t give you up for the world.” He whispered.
He couldn’t imagine not being able to see his little girl everyday just for the sake of his career. Yes, it would be a huge opportunity like Gwen said, but it was one he seriously needed to think about. He should talk to Hermione and see what she thinks about it. Taking one last look at his daughter he left the nursery.
“Sleep tight Princess.” He said quietly shutting the door behind him.
He noticed a light coming through the bottom crack beneath the door to the bedroom. He wondered if Hermione was still awake, walking up to the door he was about to open it, before remembering her little rule about knocking before entering the bedroom in case she was undressed or in some other compromising position she didn’t want him seeing. Smiling to himself he knocked lightly on the door so not to wake up Crissy who was next door.
No one answered so he opened the door and walked in. the bedside table lamp was still on. And there was Hermione sound asleep on the bed. She lay on the bed still wearing those frumpy pajamas she always wore. It looked like she fell asleep reading. She had a huge book that lay open face down across her middle. He walked a little closer to get a look at what she was reading before she fell asleep.
He couldn’t see any title on it or anything. By her even breathing he could tell she was sound asleep. He lightly as possible lifted the book off her chest so not to wake her to set it on the table next to the bed, when he lifted it he noticed that it wasn’t a book at all but one of the photo albums that was on the bookshelf in the living room. He flipped it over to see which album it was.
It just so happen to their wedding album. The paged was turned to them dancing at the reception. Some of the pictures were them kissing. He remembered the first day they got here and he found and looked through this very album and remembered being completely freaked out about being married to her. They’ve been here for almost an entire week not and they’ve come so far at accepting each other and well it wasn’t perfect, but it is probably the happiest he felt in a long time.
He sat down at the end of the bed trying not to wake her and flipped through the pictures. Hermione looked beautiful in a vintage figure hugging strapless dress. Her hair was down and cascaded down her back in soft ringlet curls. She looked stunning.
Once he looked through the entire book he got up from where he sat on the bed regretfully and set the album on the bedside table, then as lightly as possible took the edge of the comforter, which was folded down at the end of the bed and laid it over Hermione’s sleeping form. Taking one last look at her he turned off the bedside lamp then quietly left the bedroom to sleep once again on that horrible sofa.
Hermione was in a darken room, when she opened her eyes, her hands were bound above her head in shackles. Her body hurt all over and felt heavy and weak. She couldn’t feel her legs or anything else. She looked down at herself and she noticed her huge pregnant belly sticking out. Where was she? What was going on?
She felt dizzy and her head was pounding and she felt like she was going to be sick. She felt a warm trickle running down the side of her face and she didn’t have to look to know it was blood. She tried moving but couldn’t, her wrist were bound so tightly it was cutting off her circulation. She tried moving her legs and feet, but when she did that, a shooting pain shot up and down her legs. She had to bite her tongue to keep from crying out in pain. The pain was so intense she felt as if she might pass out from it.
She tried looking around the room she was in, but it was so dark she couldn’t make out anything. As far as she could tell no one else was in the room except for her, the only sounds she could make out were the sound of her shallow breathing. Then off to the left she heard footsteps coming towards her. She shut her eyes pretending to be unconscious for fear her captor would torture her more if he knew she was awake.
“Wakey, wakey mudblood. I know your awake I can hear it in your breathing.”
She knew that voice, where had she heard that voice before? A sharp slap snapped her face hard across the face. “I said wake up you filthy creature.” Her eyes shot open. Lucius Malfoy stood before her. He was thinner then she remembered, cheeks hallow eyes sunken in. His hair was a tangled mess and at least a weeks’ worth of beard growth graced his jaw. He looked deranged given the wild, mad look in his eyes as he stared at her.
“Wh…what are…you do..doing? Why…am I here?” her voice cracked, she was terrified and she didn’t understand what was happening.
“I’m doing this because of that abomination in your womb. No son of mine will ever be associated with a mudblood ever again. He’s not coming for you. He won’t save you. Because he doesn’t even know you’re here.” Lucius laughed at her.
“No,” she whispered, he was wrong, he had to be wrong.
“He doesn’t love you, he doesn’t care for you. You know why? Because you’re a Filthy Mudblood…a filthy, dirty mudblood…a dirty…” Suddenly the image of Lucius changed and it was now Draco standing before her. “…Mudblood. A filthy mudblood.” Draco sneered over and over again.
“No, no…no, no…”
“…mione!” someone was shaking her shoulder.
“Hermione? Love wake up!”
“No…” her eyes snapped open.
She was breathing so hard she was afraid she might start hyperventilating. She looked around the dark room…no not the dark again..
“Hermione?” Draco turned the light on and sat down at the edge of the bed next to her.
She flinched away from him as a reflex. He looked worried, nervous even.
“Are you okay? You were having a bad dream.”
She shook her head; tears welled up in her eyes. It was just a dream, it wasn’t real. Then why was she shaking so badly? Draco reached out for her and took her in his arms holding on to her tightly. She broke down into a sobbing mess, it was just a dream. Draco rocked her lightly back and forth rubbing her back in soothing strokes.
“It’s okay, it was just a dream.” He whispered into her hair.
His arms felt strong and safe as he held on to her. She buried her face in his neck taking comfort in the woodsy smell of his cologne.
“It felt so real…it was so scary.” She whispered.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
She was about to shake her head no, but decided against it. “Lucius had me chained and shackled to a wall in a dark room.” She said taking a shuttering breath, she felt Draco stiffen underneath her fingertips, but he didn’t say anything so she continued. “It was pitch black and I couldn’t see anything, I know he had been torturing me because I was in so much pain. And he was yelling awful, horrible things…I don’t know if it was just a dream…or a memory of that one night.” She left out the part when Lucius turned into Draco and that it was him calling and telling her horrible things.
She didn’t want to think about him like that. Even if he was capable of doing something like that before, she didn’t want to believe that he would do such a thing now. Not when he was holding her in his arms so tightly and securely.
“I’m sorry Hermione.” Draco whispered stroking a hand over her hair. “He won’t hurt you anymore. He can’t hurt you, I won’t let him.” he said tightening his hold on her.
She nodded into his chest, not knowing what else to say, and not wanting him to let go. And he didn’t, he continued to hold her tight and rubbing her back as she slowly started to calm down and stop shaking. Once she got herself more under control, she slowly began to pull away. Wiping her eyes she noticed she left a tall tale wet spot on the collar of his shirt.
“Sorry I cried all over you.” She said shyly.
“Don’t worry about it. I didn’t mind.” He told her smiling slightly, and then turned serious again. “Are you going to be okay?”
She nodded reaching over to grab a tissue off the nightstand. “Thanks for…well dealing with me. I didn’t mean to wake you up.”
He shrugged. “I was already awake so it was no burden.” He said standing up.
She didn’t want him to leave. “Wait!” she said feeling panicky. “Um can you sleep in here tonight?” she asked him, then immediately felt like an idiot, she probably sounded like a little child afraid of the dark.
Instead of making fun of her or calling her out on it, he reached forward with his hand and tucked a stray curl behind her ear.
With an intense caring look in his eyes he asked. “Are you sure?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
Staring at her as if to see if she was being serious or not, he finally nodded. “Okay.” Then walked around to the other side of the bed and got in under the covers.
Once he was settled in Hermione reached over to turn off the light on the nightstand. The room was once again pitch black, but she wasn’t as afraid as she was before, because she knew she wasn’t alone. Double checking to make sure her wand was still safely tucked under her pillow she settled under the covers, feeling a bit nervous. It had only been two days since she slept in the same bed as him, but it felt as if it had been much longer than that.
Draco grabbed her hand then pulled her over to his side. Putting an arm behind her head and hand on her back, he pulled her closer to him until she snuggled into his side. She laid her head on his shoulder, because she wasn’t quite sure where else to lay it and she wasn’t sure what and where to put her hand. She had never intentionally cuddled with anyone before. And waking up in someone’s arms completely relaxed after being sound asleep didn’t count. She felt tense and apparently he was catching on to that. He grabbed her hand closest to him and laid it on his chest. His other hand began rubbing her back in a comforting manner.
“Just shut your eyes and relax, try to go back to sleep. I’ll be here when you wake up.” He whispered in the dark.
She shut her eyes and listened to the sound of his heartbeat, the steady beat eventually had her drifting off to sleep.
Draco was lying awake on the sofa, staring at the ceiling when he heard her crying. At first he thought it was Crissy, but when he checked the nursery she was still sound asleep. That’s when he realized the sound was coming from the bedroom. He walked in without knocking. Hermione was still in bed, but she was tossing and turning a pained look across her face, yet she was still asleep.
He went to her and tried to wake her up, but it took a minute or two for her to snap out of it. She looked terrified when she saw him, that she actually recoiled in horror away from him, when he tried to reach out to her. He could tell that she was trembling and on the verge of tears. It must have been one hell of a bad dream.
“Are you okay?” he asked her.
She shook her head no, and then started crying. He sat down on the bed next to her and pulled her in his arms, whether she wanted to be held by him or not. As soon as her arms went around her she started sobbing. Soaking his shirt clear through.
When she told him what her dream was about he froze, it was almost identical to what he witnessed in the pensive. So maybe she was right and it was a memory of that night, even though she wasn’t physically there when it happened, but her body was.
She eventually settled down and pulled away from him. He was about to leave when she stopped him.
“Um can you sleep in here tonight?” she asked him quietly like she was he’d say no.
He walked over to the other side of the bed and got in under the covers. Hermione turned the bedside light out and then settled in, except she was on the far side of the bed, incredibly far away from him as if she was still afraid.
Without asking or warning her he grabbed her hand and pulled her over towards him. She didn’t exactly protest when he tugged her over until she was flush up against his side. He could tell that she was still unsure and afraid by now tense she was against him. He rubbed her back trying to get her relax just a bit.
After a few minutes her body finally relaxed against his as she fell asleep. He kissed her lightly on the forehead without thinking and ran a hand over her hair. She snuggled up to him, wrapping one of her legs over his and nuzzled into his neck, letting out a sigh of content as if it was the most natural thing and that they’ve been sleeping like that for years. Smiling to himself he to eventually fell asleep.
Draco woke up to the sound of Hermione getting sick in the bathroom. He got out of bed to go check on her. When he got to the bathroom she was at the sink brushing her teeth.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Uhmmm,” she said with a mouth full of toothpaste, then spat it out and rinsed her mouth.
“Is it normal for you to get sick like that all the time?” he asked picking up his toothbrush to brush his teeth.
Hermione shrugged. “The book says everyone is different and everyone experiences morning sickness in a different way. Some women barely have it at all, others have it once or twice a day, and then for some it could be anytime all the time, especially when you least expect it.” She told him. “You have a half day of practice today right?” She asked him.
He spat out his toothpaste and rinsed his mouth. “Yeah.” He said then began to lather on shaving cream over his jaw and chin.
“Well I have a doctor’s appointment today at two and I was wondering if you could…”
“Watch Crissy? Yeah I can do that.” He told her.
“Well actually, um I already asked Ziggy if she could watch Crissy. Actually I was wondering if you could maybe go with me to the appointment?” she asked him as she watched him shave his jaw. “You can say no if you don’t want to go. But I just thought maybe you would want to go because they’ll show us the baby through the ultrasound and we can listen to the heartbeat and everything and maybe find out if it’s a boy or a girl. They’re not going to stick me with any needles or anything gruesome like that…or at least I don’t think so. Anyway if you don’t want to go it’s totally fine, I can go by myself.”
He looked over at her in the reflection of the mirror. “Of course I’ll go with you. I wouldn’t miss it.” He told her.
Hermione let out a big breath. “Oh thank god. Okay good. I mean it’s not like I need you there to hold my hand or anything, but I really just didn’t want to go by myself.”
Draco chuckled. “Don’t worry I’ll be there. Two o’clock you said?”
She nodded. “Yep two o’clock. I figured we could just apparate there, since it’s at St. Mungo’s.”
“Okay sounds good.”
“Okay good. I’m going to go get Crissy out of bed.” She told him as she walked passed him out the bathroom door.
Hermione got Crissy settled into her highchair, and set out a bottle of milk and some dry cereal on her tray to nibble on while she cooked up some bacon and scrambled eggs on the stove. She was starving and she wanted something different and fulfilling other than a bowl of cereal and juice. Draco was still in the shower so she went ahead and set the coffeemaker up to make a fresh pot for him when he came out. She made sure to add enough eggs and bacon for two people.
Draco walked in a short time after. “Mmm smells good.” He told her, stealing a piece bacon that was cooling next to her.
It better smell good, she just finished cooking an entire package of bacon…she was eating for two after all. Once the eggs were done she took both plates over to the kitchen table where Draco sat reading the Daily Prophet and Crissy who was chewing on soggy cereal. Draco spooned out a healthy plateful of eggs and a couple strips of bacon, and Hermione did the same.
“Mmm, wow you should definitely make this every morning.”
“Yeah well it definitely beats eating cereal every day.” She said breaking up the bacon into small pieces and feeding them to Crissy
“About last night. I just want to say I’m sorry for acting so childish…”
“Hermione I told you last night don’t worry about it.”
It was almost 1:30 in the afternoon and Draco still hadn’t shown up yet. If she wasn’t mistaken his practice should have been over around 12:30pm. But her appointment was still 30 minutes away and maybe his practice was running late again. She’d just wait patiently until he showed up.
As soon as practice was over Gwen and her father Robbie rushed over to Draco and practically shoved him towards the locker room and told him to change quickly and to meet them outside. He did what they told him to do, not entirely sure what was going on and why they seemed to be in such a hurry.
Once he met them outside, Robbie and Gwen quickly linked up to him and apparated out of sight taking Draco with them. When they landed he looked around and didn’t know where they were.
“What is all of this? Where have you taken me?” he asked getting a bit heated.
“Draco, welcome to Chudley. We brought you here to try to convince you to play for the Cannons. We figured if you saw the pitch, met the team and coach, and then get a look at where you’d be living then maybe it will help make up your decision about where and who you want to play for.”
It was 1:55pm. Draco still hadn’t shown up. Hermione didn’t know if she should be worried or pissed off. If he couldn’t make it, the least he could do was call or send a note. Ziggy was already here playing with Crissy.
She looked at the clock it was now 1:56pm, her appointment was in four minutes. She was giving him 30 more seconds to show up; otherwise she was leaving without him. She watched the clock as the seconds ticked by. Damn it, he better have a good excuse for not showing up, she thought as she apparated out of the kitchen.