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Chapter 29 : Last Chance
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I do not own Harry Potter.
Ch. 29 Last Chance
Ginny and I head back to the sitting room where just a few people are there Draco, Pansy and Troy, who all look up when we enter. Pansy has tears in her eyes and Troy looks very angry. I smile at the trio and walk over to Draco who puts his arm around my waist and pulls me close.
“Hermione, I’m so sorry this is happening, Troy and I will help any way we can.” Pansy says then seems to draw herself up and blink back the moisture in her eyes.
“Yes, anyway we can, we will help you.” Troy echo’s smiling at me even though I can still see the anger in his eyes, “I can’t believe they even considered letting him out.” He adds looking down.
“What is done is done.” I say flatly. “Lets go join the others outside, I hear there is to be a Quidditch match.” I say brightly and collectively we all leave the room to go out to the garden.
I look around to everyone who is gathered and notice that there are four distinct groups, apparently there will be two Quidditch matches, and after all there are more than enough people here.
“Ginny! You are on our team, we need a pro.” Charlie calls laughing, Ginny grins and runs over to them.
“Draco, we need a seeker come on!” Jake calls and Draco turns to me, I smile and give him a small push, he smiles and jogs over to the team.
“Troy, come be a beater then we will have a complete team.” Harry calls and Troy shrugs and then turns to me.
“Hermione, I have a few blokes coming to hang out, could you make sure they know we are out here?” Troy asks and I nod, then he turns to meet his teammates.
I walk over to where the food is and decide that I need to eat, before I am able to get a plate, Lucius walks up and stops next to me looking down with a question in his eyes.
I smile up at him, and then wrap my arms around him for a hug; he doesn’t even hesitate anymore and hugs me back. “Thanks for taking care of Libby earlier.” I say.
“I would do anything for my grandchildren.” Lucius says softly and I feel tears threaten again. The Malfoy’s have all taken to my babies and me as if they were truly Draco’s offspring, and it fills my heart every time I think about it. “You are family after all, and you are all special to me.” He adds then leans down and kisses the top of my head.
“Thank you Lucius, and I'm so happy that you and Narcissa love the twins so much.” I say quietly looking up at him.
“Why wouldn’t we Hermione?” He asks looking perplexed.
“Well, they are Draco’s children, but.” I say and understanding floods his eyes and he cuts me off.
“Even if they weren’t made by Draco, they are beautiful and they came from you, I understand what you are thinking, but put the thoughts out of your mind. Narcissa and I accepted you before we even knew you were pregnant, and I apologize that it is hard to accept that considering the things I have done in my past, I hope one day you can forgive me for the awful things that have happened because of me.” He says looking sincere and I can hear the hope in his voice.
I am a little surprised that he thinks I haven’t forgiven him yet, I swallow the emotion in my throat and smile, “I forgave you the night I was in St. Mungos, when you wouldn’t leave my side. I think you are a wonderful man, and everybody makes mistakes. I am more than proud to call you my father-in-law.” I say and I can see the happiness and love in his eyes. “I love you Lucius.”
“I love you too, Hermione.” He says quietly and then this time he hugs me. I squeeze him back then Narcissa walks up carrying Lucas.
“Mummy!” Lucas calls holding out his arms with a shinning smile on his face and everybody stops what they are doing and turn towards us.
I laugh then as I pull Lucas out of Narcissa’s arms, I say, “Yes, right, with all the excitement I forgot to tell you all, that both Libra and Lucas have spoken their first words.” I smile down at Lucas, “Libby said daddy this morning, and Lucas said mummy.” Every one starts cheering and not to be out done, Libby and Luke both start squealing and giggling.
The Quidditch game starts and continues throughout the afternoon with random people subbing in and out, so that everyone who wants to plays at some point, and even though there are four teams there are still plenty of people lounging around talking, eating, drinking, and of course entertaining the twins. Troy’s other mates have shown up and are sitting not too far from me talking with Pansy and Narcissa, while Arthur, Molly and Lucius are laughing at the twins, something about how Libra keeps trying to walk only to plop back on her bottom before she gets a step in, Lucas is just watching her.
One of Troy’s friends’ comes over to me and sits in an empty chair next to me. “Hi, I’m James.” He says and smiles, “How are you?”
“I’m good, I’m Hermione.” I say smiling back, “Are you going to rotate in to play?” I ask gesturing to the games. James is tall, around six two and he is big, not overly large but muscled and looks like he could definitely hold his own. He has shaggy brown hair that brushes against the collar of his polo shirt and the brightest eye colour imaginable, a warm yellow.
“Naw, I’m just here to hang, I’m not a huge Quidditch player, though I do love American Football.” He says with a lopsided almost shy grin.
I laugh thinking he probably gets ragged about liking such a sport. “I bet you are good at it.” I say still amused.
He shrugs his shoulders then gestures to Lucas, “He looks like you.” He says and smiles. “I came over here to talk to you about something.” He says looking back at me seriously.
My smile drops and I sit up a little straighter, “Okay, I’m listening.”
He nods at me then says, “I know some people in Australia, who work with Aurors, to keep track of prisoners, and former prisoners. Pansy told me about the situation with Weasley and Goyle, I know they both won’t be given a second chance, but there is an alternative.” He says and stops talking to measure my reaction.
I sit up even straighter and glance around to see if anyone is paying us attention, “I know nobody understands why, but I don’t want either Goyle or Ron to be sentence to death.” I say hoping he understands.
He smiles and nods, I let out a small breath I didn’t know I was holding and he continues, “I once was friends with a bloke who made some really bad decisions, and ended up in Azkaban.” He stops looks down then takes a deep breath and says, “He got out and for whatever reason, didn’t learn his lesson. I tried to reason with him but he wouldn’t listen and then screwed up big time, and was sent back, for the kiss.” He stops and I can see the pain in his eyes must have been a close friend. I reach out and put my hand over his where it rests on the arm of the chair.
He takes another breath and says, “I was so frustrated, I mean I understand that people are dangerous, but he wasn’t all bad, just dumb I guess he wanted things he couldn’t and shouldn’t have. He needed help, not death.” He says and his lips thin in what I assume must be anger. “I fought for him, I didn’t want him to die, and I thought for sure that the kiss was only for the harsh crimes, like murder. I was angry and if some of my friends hadn’t stepped in, I probably would have been in Azkaban myself.” He says looking a little in awe that he is free. “Anyway,” He says shaking his head, “I fought hard, and a few people I’m close with, fought along with me, and there is a loop hole.” He says and looks at me again to see if I’m still with him.
I squeeze his hand once then say, “I am sorry for your friend, and I would love to hear about this loop hole.” I say softly, just before Troy walks up and plops down on the other side of me and lets out a breath of air with gusto, I jump a bit and turn to look at him.
“Wow, Potter really knows how to make the game exciting.” He says and swipes his arm across his sweaty brow. “James, mate, I’m glad you could make it, I see you’ve met Draco’s wife.” He says smiling.
James leans back a little and squeezes my hand before pulling his away and smiling at Troy, “Thanks for inviting me, I was just chatting with Hermione.” He says then looks amused when he adds, “You know, we should teach these tossers how to play football, and have us a game.”
Troy lets out a snort, “Yeh, imagine this lot playing football.” They his eyebrows raise, “It could be quite entertaining. Lets plan it for when you are in town next.” And both guys let out a few chuckles.
“How did you too become friends?” I ask looking between the guys, who are both looking at the match going on in front of us.
Troy turns to me with a wicked grin then looks at James, “James here decided he wanted to date my sister, until he met me.” Troy says and James blushes.
“You’re a prat you know that?” James says with a small grin, “Besides, she asked me out, I was blindsided when I came to pick her up, and her big brother was standing in the doorway with his wand drawn.”
I gasp and look over at Troy who looks amused.
“She told me a big jock, bigger than me, was coming to take her out, and I couldn’t let that happen, I know all about big jocks.” Troy says laughing and I start laughing too. “Then she was shocked when we started to talk about football, and you didn’t even want to go out with her anymore.”
“Well, why would I want to go out with a bird who was just using me to make her older brother mad?” James says and shrugs as Troy shakes his head. “She sure was mad at me for a while, in fact I think she still is.” James says looking thoughtful.
“Naw, she has another bloke to make me mad over, he is more of a thick jock, so every now and then I get his attention on to something sports related and watch as she contemplates ways to hex me.” He says grinning like a goof.
“I can’t believe you.” I say to Troy. “Why don’t you just introduce her to a guy, who is worthy of her, and of course someone you like, then you won’t have to worry about it.” I suggest and watch as his face morphs in to shock.
“Well, aren’t you the smart one?” He says with a smile, “Why didn’t I think of that?” He adds looking thoughtful.
“Well, they do call her the brightest witch of the age.” Blaise says as he joins us looking exhausted though happy and sweaty as well.
James and Troy both look at Blaise like he has lost his marbles, “They do?” James says then looks at me eyebrows furrowed.
“Shockingly they do call me that.” I agree smiling at Blaise then rolling my eyes at his wink.
“You should have seen her in school, I think she single handedly led the Golden Trio in getting the most house points every year for Gryffindor, the rest of us never stood a chance.” Blaise says his eye glinting with amusement and shaking his head in mock frustration. “I mean she answered almost every question before even raising her hand, which might I add she is probably the fastest arm-raiser in the world.”
“Hey!” I say indignantly. “You’re the one who always tried to foil the ‘Golden Trio’s’ plans, and I remember a few times I ended up in detention because of a Slytherin.” I huff and cross my arms over my chest fighting a smile.
“The Golden Trio?” James asks looking perplexed.
Blaise’s jaw drops as Troy laughs at the situation, “James, mate, this is Hermione Granger, well now Malfoy, and that over there, is Harry Potter.” He says and James’ face changes to shock as he glances over at where Harry is zooming around on his broom.
“Oh. I guess I never really knew your maiden name, just Malfoy.” James says and looks embarrassed. “It didn’t even register when you said Potter.” He says his cheeks flushed and looking more and more embarrassed.
“Geez, you are practically in the presence of royalty, and you would never have known had Blaise here not told you.” Troy says and laughs.
“I don’t know about Royalty.” Blaise says then stops when he sees my face.
“You know, Friend, at least I thought that’s what you were anyway.” I say trying to keep a straight face. “You better watch what you say, brightest witch and all, I know a few good hexes.” I threaten managing to keep a straight face.
Blaise smirks, and then laughs at me, “Of course I’m your friend, but come on royalty even you know that is barking?” He says knowing I am teasing.
I start laughing as does Blaise and Troy, while James looks a bit confused. “Don’t listen to these two gits, I’m just Hermione, and whatever they say is most likely a lie.” I say still chuckling.
“Whatever, Hermione, I wasn’t lying when I said you are brilliant, nor when I said you are part of the Golden Trio, oh I could go on.” Blaise says still grinning.
“Hmmm, okay lets put it this way, probably half of what he says isn’t true, the other half, just take with a grain of salt and then ask me, I’ll let you know if it is correct.” I say laughing at the disgruntled look on Blaise’s face.
“So, you are Hermione Granger, and the brightest witch of the age, and are best friends with Potter, and Oh.” James says breaking off and looking away suddenly realizing who and exactly what we were talking about earlier.
Before anyone could so much as blink Troy and Blaise are both called over to the matches, leaving James and I alone again.
“Hey, don’t worry about all that, I’m not a freak or anything, I’m just me.” I say softly feeling uncomfortable with the silence.
James slowly looks back at me, sadness in his eyes, “The friend I was talking about earlier, was actually my brother.” He says and I feel my eyes go wide and my mouth drop open, “ I completely understand why the situation with, ah, Ron is such a big deal.” He says, “The loop hole is really another type of prison, if you will, that they get a second chance, actually it is called Last Chance.” He says sounding a hundred years old. “People are sent there to live, they will never be let out, but they won’t receive the kiss either, unless they do something really horrid.” He says lowering his eyes from mine to the ground. “They aren’t allowed wands, so that helps keep most of them in line.”
I open my mouth to say something, anything, and I notice Libra crawling up to us, she grunts up at me her eyebrows furrow and then reaches out to me, “Hey baby girl, whatcha doing?” I say softly to her as I pull her to my lap. Libby giggles and grabs a fist full of my hair, both twins love to play with my hair, and luckily they don’t pull on it too much, just play with it.
She looks directly in to my eyes and says, “Daddy.” I laugh and point to where Draco is flying on his broom laughing at something.
“Daddy is over there.” I say then look back at Libby who is frowning at me, “Daddy.” She says again, and I smile at her. “Daddy is playing Quidditch, he is over there” and I point again and Libby’s frown deepens.
“I’m mummy.” I say softly and Libby looks down at her fist full of hair for a second then looks back up at me, “Mummy.” She says and I smile blinking the moisture from my eyes. “Yes, Libra I’m mummy.” I say softly and Libby’s expression smoothes out as she lays her head against my chest still holding on to my hair.
“Looks like the second smartest witch of the age.” James says smiling at Libby and me.
“Who knows, she may just be smarter, Draco wasn’t too far behind me in any of our classes, in fact Harry beat me once in Defense Against the Dark Arts, but of course, he is Harry Potter.” I say smiling and rolling my eyes a little as if to say what can you do.
James laughs once, and then says, “My brother was one of the first to end up at Last Chance, and if you would like the help I am willing to put you in contact with the people who run the place.” He says quietly and I smile at him sadly.
“I think I would, I would also like to talk with you more, and maybe Draco also.” I suggest and he nods, “Maybe Theo as well, since we probably will need an attorney, yes?” I say not looking at him but watching my friends and family.
“Yes, you probably will, and I would be more than willing to talk with you and anyone else.” He says sounding sure of himself.
“You are the one who founded Last Chance, aren’t you.” I ask thinking over everything he’s said, when he doesn’t answer me I look over and I see him blink a couple times in shock. “Brightest witch of the age.” I say with a wry grin and he laughs as Lucas crawls over to join Libby on my lap.
A couple minutes later the matches both end and Draco strolls over to me, leans down and kisses me, before Libby holds out her arms and says, “Daddy.”
Draco lifts her into his arms, kisses her, then looks at me, “I’ll never get tired of hearing that.” He says looking proud.
I stand next to him holding Lucas and give Draco a sly grin, “Libby honey, who am I?” I ask and Libby looks over at me with concentration on her face and says simply, “Mummy.” Then looks to Draco’s shirt button that she was playing with.
Draco looks from the top of Libra’s head to me and grins, just as Lucas chimes in, “Mummy.” Then Lucas giggles pushing his face into my neck, which makes me chuckle feeling hopeful and happy. Maybe Monday won’t be so horrible.
Yay another chapter, there are only 4 chapters left!! Wow, thats insane! Almost done...please do enjoy and also please review!
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