Chapter 4 : Another Loss, A Discovery
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Annie had won an award at her school for outstanding artist and had an interview with an art professor in Middleton in December. I was not looking forward to let go of my daughter alone to some place that was across the country. Beside, I heard Ron, who was married to Parvati Patil since Lavender Brown was long dead, lived there right now. I won't let her to go to a place where Ron Weasley lived. Still, she was the only student in the whole school to be accepted in for an interview at the art school and I had no doubt in my mind she would get in. Unfortunately by that time, I would not be able to go with her to the interview since I would be heavily pregnant.
"So what is this man's name?" I asked her upon reading the letter inviting her there.
"Um, Professor Granger," she said, reading the name at the bottom. She laughed, maybe remembering that my name was once Hermione Granger. "Hey! That's a good sign right? He has the same name like yours!" I laughed and looked at the paper.
"Sweetheart, there's a lot of Granger in this world. I don't really think that this... Professor Andrew Granger is related to me." Still, I felt a bit curious with his name while setting the letter down. Looking at the clock, I frowned. James wasn't home yet and it was nearly seven.
"Mum, is everything alright?" Annie asked and I rubbed my head.
"Fine, Annie. Take your brother into the kitchen and give him some dinner. I'm going to rest."
That night changed my life again. Eight rolled by…nine…ten…twelve. James didn't come home. I was panicked and there wasn't a damn thing I could do. A knock on the door brought me out of my troubled sleep at two in the morning. I met Annie on the way to the front door who was also alarmed and grabbed my hand.
"Who would be here at two in the morning?" she asked and I truly was afraid to answer that question. Opening the door, I found myself staring at two police officers. No. Annie gasped.
"Mrs. Fanning?" one said and I nodded feverishly. Four months before my baby was due.
"We have some news on your husband," he said and Annie looked at me.
"Mum, where's Daddy?"
"Annie, go upstairs with Jamie."
"Now!" She raced up the stairs and I knew she was scared witless.
"Come in," I said, waving them into the living room and turning on the lamp.
"We apologize for barging in on you like this but-"
"No, it's fine. What happened to my husband?" I asked and the man sighed.
"There was an incident in town. He was leaving his office and he saw an old woman's store being robbed. He tried to stop the criminal, not realizing he had a gun and was shot three times. Once in the chest and twice in the arm..." The man's voice had trailed off and I could only stare at him in shock.
"Is he…?" I began and the man nodded.
"There was nothing we could do. He asked us to give you this before he died." He handed me a handkerchief. Inside it was James' wedding ring and his wallet.
My husband was dead. My wonderful, incredible, astounding husband was dead and yet, no tears came. They went over some details with me and left me to my thoughts. Annie came out from behind the corner of the hall. I could see she was crying.
"Mummy…" she said and I held my arms out to her. She crawled onto the couch and lay with her head in my lap.
"I'm not going to Middleton, Mum," she choked out and I nodded, knowing we wouldn't be able to afford it for a while.
"I know baby. We'll get you there." I felt numb. I had lost two men in my life that I loved the most.
James was put into the ground the following Tuesday. October 23, 2015. Neither of us had parents or siblings so it was mainly just Luna and Rolf with their kids, and the children and I along with Jim's partner and his wife. We said our goodbyes to them and Luna and Rolf came along us to the house. They'd Apparated first thing in the morning and had come straight here. They were going to stay with us for a while.
Lorcan and Lysander chatted easily with Annie, who had Jamie on her lap. Both of Luna's sons had become quite the handsome young fiend. They had dirty-blonde hair like his mother and green eyes like Rolf's. But Annie was close to Lysander. They were both already like siblings for real. Lorcan was a bit like his mother when she was young. A dreamy and ignorant young fellow. I glanced at my daughter and sighed. Annie was the most beautiful girl I ever set eyes own, not because she was my daughter. She looked so much like Draco, especially her eyes. She wasn't quite the girly girl, as her favorite attire was worn out jeans and T-shirt. She had two dresses only, one was a black dress, which she was wearing today. She always wore her long brown hair in a braid down her back.
"Mum?" I looked up from my book and tried to smile when Annie called me. "I wrote to Professor Granger today."
"Yeah." She laid beside me for a minute before saying, "Mum?"
"Mmm?" I answered, pretending to read.
"I'm scared. How will we go on without Dad?" she asked and I could see a tear running down her nose.
"We'll manage love," I said, pulling her closer.
"It isn't fair! Why do horrible things happen to good people?" she asked.
"I don't know, Annie. It must be how the world works."
"That's horseshit, Mum," she said and I gasped in surprise. She didn't curse much, but when she did she was mad.
"Annabelle," I said warningly and she sat up.
"No! It is! They teach us all our lives that that we have to be good to get good things in return because that's how the world works. But I know, Mum, that world is not like this! I know that we have to fight to get what we wanted! The world is cruel and know no mercy! That makes life isn't fair! Makes mylife isn't fair!" she said and I held her tighter then, wanting so badly to take her pain away. She looked at me.
"So, in my life, I've lost two fathers. One who I want to know more than anyone and one who I love as much as if he were my real father. It's not fair!" she sobbed and as if a barrier had broken, I was able to cry.
"Oh Mum, don't cry… I'm sorry... That was dumb," she said laying her head in my lap.
"No Annie, it's wonderful. I needed to cry. And you're right. It isn't fair, but unfortunately life isn't fair."
She looked up at me then, her broken heart in her eyes and said. "I love you, Mum. I know I don't say it much, but I do. I wish I could have told Dad before…you know," she said, pressing her cheek against my pregnant belly. The baby was kicking full force tonight as if it could tell we were all unhappy.
"Mummy?" I looked toward my doorway to see Jamie standing there with his blanket. I reached out and he came running to us, as Annie hoisted him onto the bed. That night I slept with both of my children in the tiny room my husband and I had shared.
Luke was born the day before Christmas with my brown hair and Jim's eyes – just like Jamie did. The two of them really were the resemblance of James. He was much quieter than Jamie had been. More like Annie. They bonded right away and from the moment Luke was born, Annie was his guardian. Jamie had always clung to me, so she hadn't had the same bonding with him, but Luke much preferred his sister to anyone besides myself. Of course he liked me; I fed him and bathed him. Annie played with him. After his birth, things seemed to improve a bit for us. Money was tight without James, especially with three children, but Annie pulled her weight and somewhat took over as man of the house.
She got a job at as a toilet cleaner in a cheap restaurant, making about fifty dollars a week. It wasn't much, but it kept food on the table while I paid the bills. She came home at night, filthy and exhausted but never complained. It hurt me to realise that if Draco was alive, she would be living in that grand manor of his. She would be going to Hogwarts and got home every Christmas. She never went to Hogwarts, since I didn't want her to be mocked only because she's a Malfoy. So, I bought her a wand and taught her everything I could. It turned out that she was a brilliant witch, even more than Draco or I did. She finally got the impression that her brothers were not like her; magical.
The summer after her seventeenth birthday, we Apparated together to Luna's house. The only reason about how the boys could Apparate was because that they had my magic blood. But, it didn't make them a wizard. We waited in front of the Leaky Cauldron to pick Lorcan and Lysander for the holidays when I saw Ron. Annie had not been paying attention and was trying to wrangle Jamie into his shoes. She was dressed up since we were all going out to dinner and for once her hair was down and tied in the back with a blue bow to match the light blue blouse she'd bought by her own money. She'd been running after James, who was coming straight for me and had run flat into Ron Weasley himself.
"Oh, I am so sorry!" she'd cried, as I ducked out of the sight line.
"Quite alright, Miss," he'd replied calmly, as she nodded apologetically and as she began to walk away, I saw him turn his head ever so slowly as if in recognition and called after her.
"Excuse me, Miss!" he said, beginning to run toward us as she reached us and picked up Jamie.
"Mum, that man is the one in the Daily Prophet! The Auror, Ron Weasley!" she said and I grabbed her wrist.
"We need to go. Now," I said with urgency and pulled us both into the a Muggle shop as he ran passed looking confused.
"Do you know him?" Annie asked, looking at me. But I ignored her. Jamie was pouting since Annie had caught him and put his shoes back on him.
I never told Annie about my past, except for a little bits of Draco. I didn't even told her that Draco and I were enemies when we were young or that I was popular in the wizarding world along side with the Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. Luna and Rolf stepped off the fire-place with their sons and I breathed in relief. To my surprise Lysander, had grown tall and lithe and was an extremely handsome boy. Even more than his ten minutes younger twin brother, Lorcan.
"Merlin, Annie, is that you?" Lysander asked, punching her arm lightly. She rolled her eyes.
"Yeah, yeah…" she said and suddenly, they were gabbing talking about their lives had been for the past months. Luna left her grown-up sons to hug me.
"How are you holding?" she asked and I shrugged.
"I don't know… It still seems like he's just at work or something. The baby keeps us all busy, but it's been hard. Money is bad and Annie is overworked too." Rolf sighed.
"Poor kid. She shouldn't be doing that hard labor for nothing but scraps," he said and I nodded.
"I've told her she doesn't have to work, but her response is always, 'But Mum, I want to help.'" I shifted the baby to my other hip since he was getting so big, so fast.
"He looks just like you, Hermione," Luna said, laughing at Jamie who was holding Annie's hand and trying to kick every rock he saw.
"Annie," Jamie had whined to her. "Carry me!" She rolled her eyes, but picked him up.
"James, you are seven years old, you are getting too big for this," she said and he began to play with one of her curls.
"But it's hot! I'm tired." I had to laugh at his whining because I knew she was gritting her teeth by the way her jaw was set.
"Tell me another, crybaby," she said, putting him on her back and carrying him that way.
"I ain't no crybaby, Annie!" he said and she laughed, rolling her eyes and looking at Lysander.
"Whatever you say, Jamie."
For the briefest of moments, I saw the playfulness in Annie and Lysander that I remembered from my short time with Draco and it made me smile. Despite there was War upon us when were together, Draco would be a playful but mysterious fiend when he was around me. I guessed, that was what he used to be if good old Lucius wasn't being a meany to him. I looked again at my daughter and Lysander and sighed. Their relationship was a different kind of affection for each other. Lysander was her best friend and she thought of him only as a brother as he thought of her as his sister.
It almost saddened me, but at the same time, Annies's dreams and ambitions to write and draw put a barrier on any attempt to have a relationship. She was still a bit seething over the fact that she had better grades than everyone in her school but she couldn't enter any universities it because we couldn't afford it. And she was ashamed by that, though she did a good job of hiding it. She'd begun selling her drawings for ten dollars cents apiece only under the name of L. Malfoy; so that no one would really know that it was her.
The September before she'd turned eighteen, we were sitting about in the house on a rainy day when she came in the house with the Prophet, dazed. I looked up at her and became instantly worried. Jamie and Luke were both napping.
"Annie, you look like you've seen a ghost. What is it?" She turned the paper around to show me and I would never forget that headline.
LUCIUS MALFOY'S LONG LOST DAUGHTER JUST SHOWED UP. SHE CONVINCED THE WORLD THAT SHE FOUND DRACO MALFOY'S HEIR
The words ran over and over in my mind. The Malfoy family. I read the article which was brief. That woman was definitely Draco's sister, the one that he briefly ever mentioned. They kept in touch since Draco found out about her when he was fourteen. Sometimes, they would meet each other in some cheap Muggle cafe. Lucius Malfoy was long dead in Azkaban while Narcissa Malfoy was insane in the St. Mungo. Draco's sister, Aquila, was seven years older, just like Draco ever said. The Malfoy account in Gringgots was long forgotten until Aquila came and claimed her family again. I looked again at Aquila's picture. They, Draco and Aquila, looked terribly the alike. I could mistaken her for Draco if it wasn't for her long hair and feminine looks. I saw Annie's name mentioned a bit. According to Aquila, Annie was the right heir to the Malfoy family, since Aquila herself was with no children. I let out a laugh with tears of joy.
"Mum, you like you're going to either cry or laugh. What are you thinking?" I shook my head, my mouth in a small smile as I looked at her.
"All is well, Annie."
Finally, something good will come for Hermione and Annie. About time, don't you think so? Check chapter 1 again if you forget the characters!
By the way, we decided to write a bonus chapter for you guys as the next chapter. Actually, there'll be bonus chapter for chapter 5, 10, 15, and 20. It will be in Draco's POV, telling about the progress of their relationship. We think that you'd be wondering about what happened during those days they were together, so we wrote it. Hope you guys would like it :)
Anyway, thanks for reading and please review!
Sophie (and Amelia)
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