Chapter 8 : Newfound Determination
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HELLO FRIENDS :) So, like I said, fortunately for you guys, I was able to add in chapter 8 before my exams. It's not that perfect and there might be a few errors here and there but PLEASE excuse them because Ive not had too much time because of studies and I'll fix them once Im done with my exams. If you DO find errors, PLEASE PLEASE note it and put it into a review so that I can refer to it and edit when I am. Thanks so much for all your reviews, really (: The huge number of reviews was mainly what made me get this chapter done faster than I thought it would get done.
Anyway, I won't keep you waiting-
"Lucius, why're you being like this-" Draco heard his mother say on the other side of the door.†
"Because, Narcissa, this isn't the time for all this! Haven't you been taking the potion?" He heard his father ask harshly. What potion?†
"I guess I forgot on one of the days, but Lucius- this is so great!" Narcissa said, her voice filled with happiness. What's so great? Draco wondered and he got an answer the next second. "A baby! Its a blessing!" He gasped. His mother was pregnant? At forty one?†
"It's not a blessing, its a curse!" Lucius snarled, "The Dark Lord will never accept this!"†
"We're always doing what the Dark Lord wants, Lucius!" She argued, "Why can't we just do this for ourselves? Our baby..."
"Not our baby. Yours. I will have nothing to do with that thing", Lucius said, anger evident in his voice.
"THING? Lucius, it's a baby! Imagine our family with-"
"You want it to be a part of our family?" Lucius laughed harshly, " We're fine as it is. We need nobody else."
"We need nobody to do what? Take up all our time? " Naricissa asked, "We already have somebody doing that! And he basically forbids love! The Dark Lord will not last forever," She lowered her voice so much that Draco had to press his ear against the door to be able to hear clearly, "the war is nearing- its almost in a month or two and Harry Potter will end him." As much as Draco wished so and agreed that Potter would probably win, he never expected his mother voicing so.
"Narcissa!" Lucius yelled, "Don't say something like that!"†
"Im so sick of being commanded around, Lucius!" She argued, "I want our life back! I want this baby!"
"Get a grip of yourself", Lucius snarled, "you will get yourself killed."
"Im ready to risk it."
"You don't even love me anymore..."
"Don't play that game with me, Narcissa."
"Me? Playing games? Its you whose been playing games. With my feelings. Im sick of it!"
"Dammit, Narcissa! Drop it! You don't need that baby! Like you said, the war is in two months, who knows if we'll survive?"
"And if we do? Im only two months in and two months later it's going to be four months complete and I doubt I'll show even by then", Narcissa said. Draco knew his mother and he knew that she was very close to tears. Her voice was cracked and shaky.
"He will find out! He always does! And he will kill you", Lucius growled.
"I'd rather die than stay in this hell hole", Narcissa replied, her voice breaking.†
"Don't say that."
"Don't tell me what to do."
"Im your husband-"
"Its not the bloody 16th century!" Narcissa screamed and Draco knew she was crying. He could hear it in her voice, "its not the bloody 16th century where males dominated the women! You cannot dominate me! Why can't you just respect my decisions?"
"Because it is wrong!" Lucius said, " If you want this thing, go have it. But leave the Manor if you will. I refuse to see the Dark Lord kill you in my home."
"House, Lucius, not home. A home is where you feel comfortable and safe and you feel loved and wanted. This place is none of that."
"This argument is over." With that, Draco could hear his father heading for the door. Draco threw open the door opposite him and stayed inside the room until he was sure that his father was gone. He then got out and went back to his parents' room. He looked inside and saw his mother sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall, hugging her knees. She looked so young... so weak and vulnerable.†
He went inside quietly and sat down beside her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. She looked startled at first but then seeing Draco, leaned into his arms and cried.
"Sometimes I wonder what Im doing, why I choose to be alive... Why my heart doesn't let me end my own life", She said quietly. He was shocked at her words but let her continue without interrupting, "Then every time I look at you, I know the answer. You, Draco, you're my reason to live." Upon hearing this, he choked back tears. He was only ever shown affection by his mother but he still didn't think that she wanted to end her life and didn't because of him...
"You are not your father, Draco, you are not your father", She said before breaking down again.
Bloody hell, he thought. And then he felt something he hadn't ever felt. Well, towards Granger anyway- he felt guilty. Guilt washed over him. In fact it poured down over him. Like heavy, heavy rain. Weighing him down. He knew it wouldn't go away. It was wrong of him to have not noticed all that and put together the pieces. She was right, he had been too oblivious about her on the whole. He had been ignorant and selfish- especially with Aaron. He didn't know what had happened with them in the past and if he had landed up with Granger, if she had accepted him despite his past- there had to be something to her that he had refused to acknowledge earlier. Maybe it was time he found out what... maybe it was time he got a grip of himself and the situation they were in. Maybe it was time he pushed aside his seventeen year old's feelings and tried and understood his future self's feelings instead. Maybe, for all he knew, he and Granger did belong together and Maybe, just maybe, it was time he brought things together and... fixed things. If not for him, for their son, and for their future. He wouldn't let her face what his mother faced.
†He took a deep breathe and went upstairs, his legs carrying him as fast as they could- a Newfound Determination running through his blood. Determination to fix this.
He saw her door slightly open. He went forward and pushed it open and noticed her sitting by the front of the bed on the floor, her back facing him.†
She didn't respond and he tried calling her again but again, no response.
Finally, he took a deep breathe and said, "Hermione?"†
She turned around and saw him.†
"Can I come in?" He asked.
She shrugged and turned away again. As he came towards her, he noticed the divorce papers sitting on the desk infront of her. He looked down and saw her brushing away her tears quickly.
He sat down beside her, leaning his back against the bed.
"When did you find out?" He asked quietly.
"More than a week ago...It was after I had the argument with Ritch and then when you and I were fighting, I slapped you and you made that comment on my time of the month and I checked the calendar on the fridge. I hadn't had my time of the month, as you call it, this month or the last month and it was due earlier this month and I have never been late. Plus the throwing up after smelling coffee made sense and I thought it fit so I went to St. Mungo's and yeah... I found out ", Hermione answered.
"Why didn't you tell me?" He asked, but not angrily.
"I couldn't get myself to...you always came home late or you came home with Ritch...you never really had any time for me", She said softly.
"I'm...I'm sorry", Draco said. He swallowed hard. He had barely ever apologized. To anybody, leave alone Granger. He expected her to snap at him and tell him to leave her alone and that she doesn't forgive him but what she said, surprised him.
"I can't do this...I was fine taking care of a kid...I'm not ready to have one..." She said,fighting tears again. She sounded so weak... so alone. Images of his mother flashed through his mind. She was on the verge of tears and she was trying to fight them back, being the Griffindor she was.
"You've already had one", He said.
"No, the twenty one year old me had one", Hermione said, "I may be in her body but I'm still mentally seventeen-I'm not prepared...I can't do this."
"What're you going to do?" Draco asked.
"I'll just get Ginny to help me , I guess", She said. She put her palm against her stomach, "I'm not going to hurt my baby, whatever I do."
"Our baby..." Draco corrected her in a whisper.†
~"Not our baby. Yours. I will have nothing to do with that thing"~
She looked up at him, a little shocked. †"It's no point denying it...I doubt you're the cheating type."
"I'm not...not the seventeen year old me and I'm sure not this me either", Hermione said, "Maybe...maybe it's better that you're with Ritch. You won't have to deal with what I go through that way."
Draco kept silent for a few seconds and then, making a quick firm decision, he reached up and pulled down the envelope off the desk. He took out the stack of papers and with all the force he had,he ripped them through the center and put them back on the desk.
Hermione looked at him, her jaw dropped open, "Those...those...were the dovorce papers..."
"Im aware", He said, looking at her, "You're not doing this alone, Granger."
"Malfoy, you don't need to do this. I dont need your sympathy just because you found out I'm having a baby."
"Not just any baby, Granger-this is also MY baby. It's half me." Draco said, "How can I prove to you that I'll...be here."
"Dont bring Ritch home. Let me have Aaron to myself rather than her...he's my son...please don't take him away from me", Hermione said, quietly.
"I won't... i'll... I'll.... break up with Ritch", Draco said, making his mind up. This Newfound Determination was really holding strong inside him.†
"You-you don't have to do that", Hermione shook her head, "I just don't want to see her. The doctors already told me that stress is bad for me."
"I won't stress you out at all. I'll do everything I can to make sure that kid turns out perfect." Draco said, determined, "Just please...trust me for once."
Hermione looked down at her stomach and placed her right palm against it and nodded.
After a few long seconds of silence, Draco said, "We must have really liked eachother huh? To get married and have two kids?" Hermione looked up to see if he was angry or pissed off but his expression was unreadable.
"I guess so", She said. She closed her eyes and rest her head against the ned and a few seconds later, she suddenly felt a hand slip under her palm and rest against her stomach.†
Her eyes flew open and she saw Draco, much closer than before, his †left hand resting gently under her hand. He didn't even realize what he was doing until he did it and then he didn't bother removing it. He would not let her go through what his mother went through... Forget prejudices. She looked up at him and before she could say anything, she felt a movement in her stomach.†
"Holy-did it just-" Draco said, shocked.
"It just kicked", Hermione said, sitting up straight. The baby suddenly kicked again and she grinned.
"How does it feel?"Draco asked, looking at her. She looked so happy... something his mother could have been. He was not his father.†
"Like butterflies fluttering about in there", She said," this is the first time that the baby kicked properly-usually its just lurching. It's only almost two months old though-it shouldn't have matured to the kicking stage yet."
"It's probably special like Aaron", Draco said. And then, he did something that he's never done before- something she had never seen him do before. He looked at her and the corners of his mouth lifted and he smiled at her. A proper smile, not a hint of that annoying Malfoy smirk visible.†
Still a little surprised, though pleasantly, she smiled back at him and then suddenly realized that their hands were against eachother on her stomach. She was about to pull away when he suddenly moved his hand. She was a little disappointed that he had moved it away-a little rejected. But then she was thoroughly surprised when he brought his hand back on top of hers and intertwined their fingers lightly.
She looked at him, more shocked than before but he was lost in his own thoughts, a small smile on his face as he stared ahead of him. She wasn't even sure if he was aware that his fingers were locked with hers.
* * *
He smiled a little, wondering what his mother would think if she saw this. She was never really the prejudiced type, so he wasn't worried about her reaction to being with a muggle-born.
He was aware that he was holding her hand. He was well and truly aware. But right now, he had to forget his own uneasiness and show Granger that he was there for her. He would help her. He would see her happy like his mother should have been. He would give her what his mother missed out on. He wasn't about to leave her alone and let her go through what his mother did.†
He looked to his right where Hermione was looking at him curiously.
"Penny for your thoughts?" She asked.
"Im not my father", He answered, without thinking.
"What?" She asked, a little confused.
He was going to say, "Nevermind", when they were interrupted by a little voice at the door.
They both turned around and saw Aaron standing there. Upon noticing Draco there, Aaron's expression turned to shock. He walked over to them and when he saw their intertwined fingers, a smile spread across his face. Was there still hope?†
"Hey, kid- whats going on?" Draco asked.
"I was... I was wondering if Mum, you were busy or if you wanted to come outside and read a book while I rode about a little on my broom", Aaron said, looking at Hermione.
"You know what, Aaron", Draco said, getting to his feet. He realized his hand was still connected to Hermione's and he pulled her up as well, "Why don't I take you outside and I'll ride around with you?"
"Really?" Aaron's expression displayed nothing but extreme joy, "You haven't done that in ages.. what about mum?"
"How about I stay back and I'll make arrangements for dinner?" Hermione asked, smiling up at Draco and then Aaron. She couldn't believe Draco was doing this...
"That sounds perfect, what say Aaron?" Draco asked, looking down at his son.
"Definitely!" Aaron grinned. He ran out of the room yelling, "See you outside!"
"That was really sweet of you", Hermione said.
"You were right, I was being selfish. Hell, I was barely paying attention to my own son ", Draco said, dropping his gaze to the floor, "I won't let another son feel pathetic about themselves because of their father..."†
"I don't know what you mean and I don't know if it has something to do with your past, but Im not going to interfere if you don't want me to. I'm just going to say that it's really good that you think so and that you're trying to fix things. I appreciate it."
"Im just trying to fix this other reality", Draco said, "Im trying to fix my damage. Anyway, Im gonna go now."
"Of course", She said. He took a step forward, squeezed her hand gently and dropping it, walked out of the room. Hermione looked down at the hand he had been holding and sighed. Things would get better from now. She just knew it would.
* * * *
Hermione tucked Aaron into bed and kissed him on the forehead.†
"Goodnight, love", She said softly, "Sleep well." She was about to switch off the bedside lamp when he caught her hand and said, "Mum, Im afraid of the dark, remember?"
Hermione was taken aback for a second but recovered quickly and said, "Oh Merlin, of course! Sorry, sweety!"†
She stepped back and said, "Goodnight, honey."†
"'Night, Mum", He said, smiling. She turned around to leave but came face to face with Draco. She took a quick step back and said, "What're you doing here?"
"Making up for being an arsehole", He said quietly. He walked to Aaron and smiled down at him.
"Hey dad", Aaron said, a little surprised but happy that his father was here after so long.
Hermione went to the door and leaned against the frame, watching them.
"Son, I know I haven't been the best dad for some time recently", He said, "But I want you to know that Im going to be here for you from now onwards.... Im gonna try and be a better dad. Im going to be here for you, your mum and-" He hesitated not knowing if Aaron knew..
"And the little baby", Hermione completed. Draco turned around and looked puzzled at her, "He knows, Malfoy. I told him already."
Draco nodded and looked back at his son, "And the little baby. You need to know that I love you so much and that I never meant for you to feel hurt by my actions."
"But the other lady-"
"The other lady is gone", Draco said, cutting through his words, "She is gone. I really doubt she's going to come back to this house either. I was wrong about her and we're... we're going to be proper family again okay?"
Aaron nodded and Draco kissed the little boy's forehead, feeling extremely awkward. He was doing this for his future, he wasn't about to mess it up just because he was feeling weird.
"Goodnight, kid", He said, backing up and turning around.
They both turned to him and he smiled, "I love you."
"We love you too", Both said together. They looked at each other and Hermione smiled a little. Draco realized that while he had said it a little uncomfortably, Hermione had said it so easily. He felt guilty again. She had been spending so much time with... their son... that she had grown attached to him already while Draco felt a little like an outsider.
"That was sweet of you", Hermione said, after shutting the door to Aaron's room.
"He needed to know that Im a father whose going to be there for his son", Draco said quietly.
"He knows", She said, walking towards her room, "And I know you meant what you said."
"How do you know that?" He asked, a little puzzled about how easily she was believing him.
"Because, like you said earlier", She said, walking into her room, "You're not your father."
Draco was a bit taken aback. He had never heard anyone but his mother say that.†
"Granger!" He called. She turned around, eyebrows raised questioningly.
"What happens tonight? I mean, I'm not allowing you to stay at my room uncomfortably again... now that you've to take care of... uh, two."
"Then do you suggest that we both wake up in a mess from nightmares when they get completely unbearable? " She asked.
"Uh... how about..." He took a deep breathe. He could NOT believe he was doing this. It was completely un-Malfoy like, "How about I stay in your room for tonight? I'll take the seat at the dressing table or something and wake you up if you get nightmares?"
"You... you don't have to do that", Hermione said, looking down at her feet.
"Come on, Granger... you haven't slept in some ten days and I... I owe you", He said, fidgeting with his fingers. He immediately stopped when he realized it. Malfoys didn't fidget.
"Well..." Hermione said, thinking. He was right, she hadn't slept in almost ten days and she really needed to. And he owed her this much, not to be selfish or anything, "Fine."
"Okay then, I'll be there in ten minutes." Draco said. He turned on his heel and went to his room to get ready for the uncomfortable night.
Hermione sighed and went to her cupboard to get out a pair of black shorts and white t-shirt. She locked the door and changed into her night clothes and unlocking it, she slipped under the covers. Turning the lights off, she turned to her side and shut her eyes, hoping for finally, a good night's rest.
She heard Draco enter the room about fifteen minutes later and switch on the lights. She squeezed her eyes shut tighter to avoid any light. She felt most of the lights go off and heard the chair in front of the dressing table being dragged out. She opened her eyes and saw Draco sitting on it, feet propped up on the table and leaning back against the backrest. A lamp beside him sat glowing on the table.
"Malfoy, can you please shut the light?" She asked, shutting her eyes again.
She waited for a few minutes but the light wasn't heard being turned off and she could still feel it through her closed eyelids.
"Malfoy, shut the bloody light off. Its bothering me", She mumbled loud enough for him to be able to hear.
"Let's just leave it on for a bit- it might help", He replied.
"It will help nothing but me not being able to sleep", She snapped.
"Come on, Granger. It'll be way too dark", He replied in an annoyed voice, "If I get up later at night, I might trip or something."
"Ugh, Malfoy!" Hermione said, sitting up and looking at him, "Just turn it off! You can use your wand! You're a wizard for a reason!"
"OFF, MALFOY. Please!" Hermione said, dropping back on her back on the bed and turning over, pulling the covers over her. She heard him take a deep breathe and shut the light off.
But thats not where the deep breathes stopped. She lay there, listening to him take a few deep breathes. Soon, they turned into shaky breathes and then shaky gasps.
Hermione's eyes flew open and she quietly looked towards where he was sitting. She blinked a few times, trying to get used to the darkness and when she could, the sight that met her eyes made her gasp silently. There he was, Draco Malfoy, the strong, confident, powerful boy who considered himself much higher than most others, sitting on the chair with his legs folded in front of him, hugging his knees, his head against his knees, shaking. She sat up slowly, and looked at him properly. And then it struck her. Ginny's question earlier, "What had you found out about Draco Malfoy that nobody but you,me,Pansy,Blaise and his parents know?"†
She knew the answer just then. It would explain why he didn't want to turn the light off just now. It would explain why when she used to go to his room for the past nine nights, there was a lamp switched on on his bedside table.†
Draco Malfoy was afraid of the dark.†
If she was back in Hogwarts with Ron and Harry, she would have found this amusing and laughed at him and the fact that such an over confident boy had such a simple fear at the age of seventeen. But she wasn't back at Hogwarts. She wasn't with Ron and Harry. And she sure as hell didn't find this amusing and definitely didn't feel like laughing at any of this. Seeing him sit there, shaking with fear, fear of the dark, refusing to tell her because of his Malfoy pride, crying, weak, vulnerable... young... human... it stirred something inside her. She couldn't place what it was exactly but she was surely not going to lie and go back to sleep with him in this state.
She pushed aside her covers and padded towards him. She reached out with her hand and switched the lamp back on and then placed her right hand on his left shoulder, leaned forward and kissed him softly on top of his head.†
"I'm sorry, I had no idea", She whispered and backed away as he raised his head, surprised. He watched as she got under the covers once again and turned to her side and shut her eyes. She knew. She knew he was afraid of the dark and yet... She didn't make a single comment, she didn't laugh, she didn't find it amusing at all. She turned the light back on and kissed him instead. As he watched her falling asleep slowly, he leaned back in his chair and propped his feet back up against the table, wiping away his tears in the process. There was more to Granger that obviously his twenty one year old self had found... and his seventeen year old self was yet to find. But this was a good start. Today was a good start. He could do this... he WOULD do this.
Hey guys! Okay, so thank you all SO SO SO MUCH for your reviews on the previous chapter! I was absolutely amazed and extremely happy at the number of reviews it received and just WOW. Thank you so much! Thanks for your wishes for my exams- which start on the 12th and Im bloody nervous :/†
Anyway, so like I Said previously, there won't be another chapter till the week of the 21st so Im sorry, but that doesn't mean I won't be checking out reviews, so PLEASE review this one (: It would really make my day and it really encourages me! And I know Draco changed a lot in this one but he needed to have some kind of push to change from his arrogant self, so this was it. As I said, there's gonna be loads of more Dramione moments than before (:
Keep hanging in there till the next chapter, thanks again and keep reading and reviewing!
Love you guys!
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