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Chapter 3 : Growing Up, Moving On
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"Have you ever thought about living without me, Hermion?" Draco said that night, when we both were hanging on the tips of our lives.
"Don't you do that, Draco. I will get you up here and we're going to build a family like we always dreamt," I said, my hand started to ache by his weight. He was exhausted, I could see that.
"Listen, Hermione, you have to promise me that you're going to move on. You have to live your life and never once you allow someone to tell you what to do. You're going to have a lot of kids with your future husband later and watched them grow. Maybe, they could even go to Hogwarts," he said ever so softly. This was the most tragic thing I had ever had to live through. Talking about my future with the man I was supposed to be with, both of us knowing in our hearts that he wasn't going to make it.
"If you must die, Draco, than I'm going to die with you," I whispered, tears started to fall from my eyes. He shook his head, his eyes scolded my decision.
"No, Hermione... You're gonna die an old lady with your husband. And I'll be watching you from the Heavens above – if only there it is one." I would have laughed if the situation hadn't been so awful. He was joking and ordering me to live when he was this close to death.
"I don't want you to die, Draco..." Then he thrust something to my hand, a platinum necklace with a big blue diamond.
"I want you to have this. It's my mother's, my father gave it when they got married. It's a tradition for a Malfoy man to give this necklace to their lady or their daughter – if their eldest child is a girl. I was hoping that I could give it to you on our wedding day, but..." He trailed off. I sobbed softly.
"You have to move on, Hermione. Do this and I will forever be in peace." I shook my head.
"We're going to make it, Draco. I know we would," I said stubbornly, though I knew it was either him fell down there or the both of us. For me, I'd choose to die with him.
"Say 'I promise', Hermione," he said.
"Say it, Hermione," he said again. Sighing heavily, I said, "I promise." He let out a deep breath of relief before he started to wriggle himself free. It hit me like hell when I realised he wanted to let himself fall.
"Draco, no... No!" I said when his hand was about to slide down mine. He smiled at me so beautiful that I nearly believed this was all just a dream.
"Goodbye, Hermione Granger," he whispered before he fell to the grounds.
That was the worst memory of them all.
The knock at our door brought me back to reality as I folded clothes I had just washed. Annie got up quickly and bounded to the door. She had just turned eight and her hair hung in brilliant ringlets nearly to the middle of her back.
"Jim!" she cried as she flung her arms around the man. I smiled, getting up and going to meet them at the door. He had a small arrangement of flowers. I appreciated the fact that he'd gone for an arrangement of lillies since everyone automatically assumed women like me preferred roses.
"These are lovely, thank you!" I said, pulling him inside by the arm. He nodded and patted my shoulder.
"And, for Mademoiselle Annabelle, I have this," he said and held something up. It looked like a bag of some sort. She looked at me for approval, so I nodded and tentatively, she took the item from him and opened it, gasping.
"Mummy…" she said and I walked behind her to have a look. It was a collection of art pencils and sharpeners, along with a small sketchpad.
"Jim, you didn't have to do this…" I said in shock. He smiled warmly.
"I wanted to. Look at how happy she is," he said, as he pointed to where Annie had settled on the couch with her sketchbook and new pencils.
"You really do care for her, don't you Jim?" I asked him, seeing the sincerity in his eyes as he watched my daughter draw. He nodded.
"Hermione, she's everything I ever dreamed of in a child. Smart, beautiful, talented and a genuinely good person. You've done a wonderful job. I really do care for her," he confirmed and it almost felt like a relief to hear it. He took my hand.
"Hermione, how long have you been working in my office?" he asked me and I thought a moment, counting the months.
"Nearly six months," I said and he nodded.
"Six months, Hermione. I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish there was more…between us," he said suddenly and I stopped breathing.
"W-what do you mean?" I asked nervously and he took my other hand as well.
"Hermione, I am in love with you. I've been in love with you since the day we met," he confessed and somehow, it didn't surprise me. I couldn't find words. He chuckled.
"Saying something right now would do a great deal of good to my nerves," he said and I looked up at him.
"It's so hard for me…" I said and he pulled me in for a friendly, comforting hug.
"I know, Hermione, I know. If you're not ready or you don't want me, just say the word and I will leave without question. But I want you to know, I will be waiting for you." He kissed my cheek and began to leave. Annie, sensing something was going on, left the room and I thanked God for her intuition.
"James, wait," I heard myself say before he could get to the door. He turned back and before he could say another word, I threw my arms around him and kissed him on the lips. Almost nine years it had been since I had kissed someone like this. He pulled away, still holding my waist and grinned.
"Where did that come from?" he asked and I looked down, embarrassed.
"I have…feelings for you too. I've been trying to deny them, but God knows I can't anymore and tonight, seeing the way you were with Annie and your confession…I've cared for you for a while now as well. I'm sort of madly in love with you." He kissed me again then and I could almost see Draco grinning because I had finally taken that step.
By the time Annie entered school in the fall, we were married and on the following June, I found out I was expecting a child with James. Our love was very different from the forbidden and adventurous love that Draco and I had shared. It was more mature, less intense. We were content, happy. Still, my mind drifted back to those stolen moments with Draco often and I found myself wishing James could let loose and have fun with me the way Draco had – despite we were at the time of War. I wouldn't trade him for the world though and despite his differences from Draco, I loved him wholeheartedly. James Fanning Jr. was born March 21, 2009 with a full head of brown hair and his father's aquamarine eyes. He made sure everyone knew he was here and cried loud enough to wake the dead.
Luna and Rolf brought Annie to the hospital the next day and she timidly entered the room, still dressed in her school clothes. I smiled at her and motioned for her to come to me. She crawled into Jim's lap where he sat on the side of the bed and I pulled back the blanket a bit to give her a better look at her brother.
"Oh…" she said softly, her voice becoming hushed and awestruck.
"This is James," I said, touching her hand.
"He's funny looking… His face is all bunched up," she said, wrinkling her nose. Jim laughed.
"Sweetheart, he was just born," he said, "He'll look different in a few days." Annie nodded.
"I sure hope so, poor baby," she replied.
When little James was three, I came home from work to find Annie already home. I could faintly hear her crying in the bathroom. Setting Jamie up with a toy, I knocked softly on the door worried.
"What's the matter, Annie?" I asked and she quietly opened the door. She was a mess. Her hair disheveled, the flowers next to her were opening and closing their petals. I suddenly knew.
"Oh Annie…" I said, trying to comb her hair into something more presentable.
"What happened to me?" she asked, wiping her eyes.
"Well, I'm afraid it's time for me to tell you the truth about myself," I said. She frowned.
"What do you mean, Mum?"
"So, I was a witch, and I still am a witch till these days. You real father, Draco, was a wizard. This is so normal for kids like you, Annie."
Her eyes widened. "I'm a witch?"
"A talented one, I suppose. You're a bit late, but I guess that's better than not at all."
To be honest, I was quite worried that she was going to be a Squib. Lorcan, Lysander, James, Albus and even their youngest sister, Lily, already got their magic. Lorcan and Lysander were twins and they were two years younger than Annie. James was also two years younger from my daughter. Albus was a year younger than James while Lily was two years younger than Albus. I believed the twins and James were already in Hogwarts right now. I nearly forgot that Annie and I were a witch, since I barely used it and Annie never showed any sign of being magical.
"Everything alright?" asked Jim as he walked in the room. I nodded.
"Annie just had a little accident but we took care of it, didn't we?" I asked her. She nodded, mortified.
"Sweetie, why don't you go play with Jamie so I can talk to Dad?" I told her and she left quietly.
"What happened?" he asked, kissing my head. I sighed.
"She just receieved her magic," I said softly. I told James that I was witch when little Jamie was born.
"Her magic..." he mumbled. I knew it was something awfully strange to him, but he coped with it quite well. He took my hand and kissed it.
"Happy?" he asked, as I rested my head on his shoulder.
"Do you even have to ask?"
Thanks for reading and please review!
Sophie (and Amelia)
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