Chapter 11 : Announcements
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Hermione felt something heavy on the hand that was tucked under her pillow with her head resting on it. It was usually just her head on her pillow but today, she felt an extra weight. She rubbed her eyes with her free hand and opened them to look at what was causing her hand to feel completely dead and stiff. She had to blink a few times to actually believe what she was seeing.
Draco Malfoy had his head on the pillow above her arm and his forehead was only a few centimeters away from her's. He had obviously shifted in his sleep and had moved closer and closer to her until his head was off his own pillow and on to her's.
She half-sat up and tried extracting her hand but the weight had caused her hand to go numb and his dead weight was too much for her arm. She attempted removing her hand a few more times before she gave up and lay back down.
"Malfoy, move!" She said, trying to move him away with her free hand by pushing at his shoulder.
He groaned and shrugged her hand off.
"Malfoy, you are sleeping on my arm!" She snapped quietly, bringing her face closer to his so that she didn't wake up Aaron who was sound asleep on her other side.
"Go back t'sleep", He said sleepily. Moving so that he was facing the ceiling. He slung his arm across his eyes and Hermione growled.
"Wake up!" She said, shoving his arm off his eyes with her free hand.
"Fi'e more minutes", He said, sounding like a ten year old boy being woken up for school.
"No more minutes, Malfoy!" Hermione said, tugging at her arm with all her might, "Wake up!"
She began hitting him with her hand and he shrugged his shoulders around. "Go back to sleep, Granger. Geez, you mental woman", He said, turning to his side again to face her.
She had an idea suddenly, "Are you listening to me, Malfoy?" He mumbled, "Mh-hmmm." Good!
"If you do not open your eyes and move your bloody head off my pillow, I am going to kiss you", She said, her mouth close to his ear.
His eyes immediately snapped open and the first thing he saw was her face, closer to his than he thought. He bolted up, causing his head to hit against her's. Both their hands flew to their heads and they massaged the hit area.
"Stupid boy! Can you not watch where you're going?!" She growled, finally being able to extract her arm. She sat up and rubbed her head.
"Im stupid? You shouldn't have said that you would kiss me!" He exclaimed.
"I was TRYING to wake you up since you refused to move your bloody head off my pillow!" Hermione retorted, nodding her head towards the squashed pillow.
"Yeah, well- why was I on your pillow?!" He spluttered.
"How do I know?!" She cried as softly as she could, "I woke up and found you sleeping on my arm."
"Why was your arm under your bloody pillow?" He asked, trying to remove the blame from himself.
"It's a habit!" She said, exasperated.
"Why are we arguing?" He asked, sighing.
"Because you hurt my arm", She mumbled.
"My head isn't that big", He argued.
"With an ego that size, I wouldn't be surprised", She smirked, moving off the bed. At that very moment, he moved as well and they looked at each other. Not knowing what came over both of them, both jumped out of the bed and sprinted towards the bathroom.
"I got here first!" She said, her hand on the doorknob. His hand was over her's in a split-second.
"No, I did!" He argued.
"I did and thus, I shall use it first!" She said, turning the handle and entering. But that didn't stop Draco. He moved in with her and closed the door behind him so their argument wouldn't wake Aaron up.
"Dammit, Malfoy! I need to use the bathroom!"
"So do I!"
"Well there's more than one bathroom in this house! Go use another one!"
"Stop being so immature!"
"Me? You're the one acting like you're five!"
"I am more mature than you any day!"
"Why are we arguing over this?"
"Because you REFUSE to leave!"
"I came here first!"
"FINE! Stay! See if I care!"
Hermione huffed and grabbed her toothbrush out of it's holder and began brushing her teeth. Draco scrunched up his nose in a proud manner and did the same. She rolled her eyes and washed her mouth. He did the same.
"Can I use the bathroom in peace now?" She inquired.
"No", He said, leaning against the sink with his arms crossed over his chest.
Hermione released a frustrated cry but before she was able to say anything, her stomach lurched.
"Oh shit", She said, kneeling in front of the toilet and throwing the seat open. She threw up, wondering what the hell was possible coming out at 7 in the morning. Stupid pregnancy.
She was extremely shocked when she felt someone gathering her hair behind her and holding it behind her. Considering Draco was the only one in the bathroom, it was obviously him.
Once she was done, Draco handed her a towel and she wiped her mouth and flushed the toilet and shut the lid to keep the smell from spreading. She sat crossed legged on the cold floor and took a deep, shuddering breathe.
"You okay?" Draco asked, still holding her hair.
"Yeah", She sighed, "Im just tired of this stupid morning sickness."
"I understand", Draco said. He reached out to the sink top and picked up a rubber band that he saw lying there. He knelt down behind her, collected her hair neatly and tied it into a high ponytail.
Hermione sat frozen as he did this. The weird bit was that the only question going through her head was, "Draco Malfoy knew how to tie someone's hair up?"
"I used to help my tie my Mum's hair when she was tired of fathers behavior and couldn't move or was working in the kitchen with flour and her hair was getting in the way", Draco said, practically reading her mind. She shifted on the floor so that she was sitting beside him instead of in front of him.
"Thanks", She said quietly.
"They say that morning sickness is a good sign. It means that the baby is growing healthy", Draco said awkwardly, staring at the floor.
She smiled a little at his feeble attempts to make her feel better.
"Thanks", She said again, not knowing what else to say. She was thanking Draco Malfoy too many times lately.
"Granger, what did Ginny say about a miscarriage?" Draco asked suddenly, looking at her.
"When I was first pregnant with your kid- we weren't together then. I was with someone else when I realized, or something like that", She said, trying to remember what Ginny had told her, "We finally got together but then some time later I had a miscarriage..."
"Oh..." Draco said softly, "Is that why you were scared when I... shoved you...?"
"I always mess things up, you know", He said, looking anywhere but at her. He had kept it in for too long. He needed to tell someone. He needed it off his chest.
"What do you mean?" Hermione asked, turning to him but he didn't look at her.
"6th year, Dumbledore. I had to make a choice-" Draco began, but he was cut off. The phone began ringing.
"Oh god, Im sorry!" Hermione said, standing up and leaving the bathroom, leaving Draco to lean against the glass door of the shower, his heart pounding against his ribcage. He had almost told her...
* * * *
"Hermione?" Ron's voice rang out.
"Ronald Weasley, it is 7 in the morning, what could you possible need at this time?"
"Sorry, 'Mione!" Ron said, sounding extremely happy.
"Never mind, what's going on?" She asked.
"Lunch at The Burrow today", He said.
"Whats the occasion?" Hermione asked nervously. Had Ginny forgotten to mention to her today's lunch?
"It's a surprise. Bring Draco too", Ron said. She could almost hear him grinning.
"Uh... okay", Hermione nodded, "Ill do that. What time?"
"Around 12?" Ron said, "Everyone's gonna be there. Sorry for the late notice but Hayley said she wanted to have everyone over today itself."
"Sure", Hermione said, "12 then. Bye, Ron. Go back to sleep now."
Ron laughed and said, "Sure, 'Mione. See you!"
He hung up and she put the phone down on the coffee table and sighed.
She was about to go up the stairs back to Draco when he came down the stairs.
"Who was it?" He asked, running his fingers through his hair.
"Ron", She said, "Hayley and he want us to go for lunch today at The Burrow at 12."
"So he had call at this time? It's 7 for Merlin's sake!"
"I know, he apologized. Do you want to talk... uh, now?" She asked unsure if he still wanted to talk about whatever he had wanted to previously.
"Maybe later", Draco said, looking down at the carpet.
"Of course", She nodded. They moved to the kitchen and were eating breakfast in silence when Aaron came through the kitchen door.
"Hey, mum. Hey, dad", The little boy smiled, pulling himself up on to the third chair at the table.
"Good morning, love", Hermione smiled, "We're going to The Burrow for lunch."
Aaron grinned, "Do you think I could go early to play with James?"
Hermione looked at Draco and he shrugged, "Why not, kid. Go have some fun."
"I'll floo over with you at 11 and we'll come an hour later, okay?" Hermione asked Aaron and he nodded.
* * * *
Hermione let out a frustrated cry and flopped down on the floor in front of the wardrobe.
"Dear lord, Granger", Draco said, stepping out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist. She turned to him and immediately squeezed her eyes shut.
"No, that is an incorrect sentence", She said, turning her face away, "It's "Dear lord, Malfoy!" Put on some clothes for god's sake!"
"Why? It's not like Im fat or don't have the body of a greek god", Draco shrugged, picking up his off-white turtle neck shirt from the bed.
True, Hermione thought, But no way in hell was she going to admit that.
"Anyway you were saying what when you came out of the bathroom scantily clad?" Hermione asked, looking anywhere but at the half-naked man on her left.
"Right, I was going to insult your lack of knowledge on dressing", Draco said, pulling on the shirt over his head, "And Im not the only one who emerged scantily clad, as you call it, considering you did the same yesterday."
Hermione narrowed her eyes and looked at him but turned away instantly seeing as the shirt was only half worn.
"I don't know how I turned up a model", She grumbled, scanning the dresses.
Draco smirked, the shirt finally snugly on. He walked up to her and stepped into the wardrobe.
He pulled out a neat light pink short-sleeved dress and passed it to her.
"How come you do it so easily?" She asked, standing up.
"You simply take out the first dress that catches you eye as long as it fits the occasion. It's not a grand occasion and only a lunch so something casual works", He explained. Hermione muttered a thanks, took anything else that she needed from the wardrobe and headed towards the bathroom.
"Oh, and Malfoy?" She said, turning towards him. He looked at her while pulling up his sleeves to his elbows.
"Put on some pants", She said, shutting the bathroom door. He smirked and did as she so sweetly suggested.
She stepped out of the bathroom and he looked up from his place on the bed where he was sitting and playing with his phone.
"You look nice", He said, giving her a small smile.
"Did Draco Malfoy just compliment me? This day just gets weirder and weirder. First he ties my hair and then he says I look nice", Hermione grinned, "Someone's turning over a new leaf."
"Guess so", Draco said, "Did you know you could play some weird kind of game on this thing where you lead a snake by hitting random buttons?" He looked highly impressed and fascinated.
Hermione laughed and leaned over his shoulder to see him randomly hitting the keys, trying to work out how to make the snake move. She shook her head, still smiling and went over to tie her hair up. She slipped on a pair of baby pink heels.
"Come on, let's go", She said, slipping her wand in her purse and heading out.
"Coming", He said, standing up but refusing to take his eyes off the screen.
"Do you want to floo or apparate?" She asked.
"Let's take the car", Draco suddenly said, putting the phone in his pocket and grinning.
"Are you absolutely mental?" Hermione exclaimed, an amused smile playing at her lips, "We have no idea how long that will take!"
"Exactly, I want to delay meeting the Weasleys as much as possible ", He grumbled.
"How about this, for your sake we'll apparate a distance away and walk the rest so it takes time and we'll take the car after finding out the route the next time, okay?" Hermione reasoned. He mumbled a "fine" and after she waved her wand to secure the wards in their house like Ginny had told her to, he took her arm and she apparated them a little distance away from The Burrow.
They were walking through the fields leading to The Burrow when Draco released an annoyed cry.
She turned to him curiously and burst out into fits of laughter. He had his nose buried into the phone and he was hitting all the buttons as fast as he could.
"Malfoy, there are particular buttons you press to move the snake in a particular direction!" She said, laughing.
He looked at her, "UNBELIEVABLE!"
"What?" She asked, her laughter ceasing.
"You tell me NOW? After I lose my, what, fortieth game?" He cried.
She started laughing once again and said, "You didn't ask!"
He muttered something that included "stupid muggles" "bloody games" "non-sensical rules" and "dumb women".
Hermione was still giggling by the time they reached The Burrow, Draco refusing to ask her for help.
Finally, practically throwing the phone to the ground in frustration, he said, "AT LEAST OFFER TO HELP!"
She choked back laughter and said, "You could have asked."
"Stupid muggles", he said, handing her the phone.
"You press 2 to go up," she said demonstrating. His eyebrows went up with surprise, "You press 4 to go left, 6 to go right and 8 to go down", She showed him each direction and he watched the snake move from over her shoulder.
"Bloody brilliant", He said, snatching the phone away and trying it himself.
She giggled and was about to knock on the Burrow's main door when it flew open.
Ron was grinning from ear to ear as he pulled her towards him into a bone-crushing hug.
"Ronald. Cant. Breathe", She stuttered.
"Sorry", Ron said, but didn't stop hugging her. He loosened his grip but still held her in his brotherly embrace.
Draco finally put away his phone and smirked at the scene in front of him, "I'd like my wife alive by the end of this, thanks." Ron looked up and grinned at him.
"Ron, whats going on?" Hermione asked, laughing as she hugged her best friend back.
"You'll see very soon. Everyone's already here, come on in", Ron said, still not releasing her.
"Well that's a little hard considering you've got her rooted to the spot and crushing the breathe out of her", Draco said, walking into the living room.
Ron apologized, refusing to stop smiling and lead Hermione in after Draco. Everybody was indeed already there.
Pansy and Blaise were there, both dressed in white and black, Harry, Ginny and the entire Weasley family were there too and Luna and Neville were sitting smiling widely at the two that entered. In fact, they weren't the only ones smiling when the entered. Everybody had massive grins plastered to their faces. Hermione looked around, confused.
"Im sorry, did we miss something?" She asked. Draco, too, was looking from face to face, confusion etched on to his own.
"No, no", Pansy said, getting up and hugging Hermione tightly, "You look great."
"Uh...thank you?" Hermione said, looking at Draco. He shrugged, not knowing what was up either.
"Okay, leave them be, everyone!" Molly's voice called out, "Now, Ronald, you wanted to say something? And where's Hayley?"
Ron smiled and ushered everyone back to where they were sitting. They deposited their coats on a hanger by the sofa and sat down, Hermione beside Ginny and Draco between Hermione and Blaise.
"Right", He said and just as he did, Hayley came rushing down the stairs in a pretty off-shoulder sky-blue dress and stood on Ron's left.
"Hayley, go ahead", Ron said, taking her hand. Everybody looked between the two... could it be?
Hayley took a deep breathe and smiling, she raised her left hand and on her fourth finger was a silver band and upon further inspection, you could see two hearts with their sides overlapping outlined with diamond. Everyone gasped and Hayley said, "Ron asked me to marry him yesterday night and there was no way that my answer would have been anything but yes." She bit her lower lip and smiled widely.
Pansy was the first to recover and she jumped up from her seat and hugged her sister tightly, "Congratualtions, Hayle. Merlin, Im so happy for you!" Everyone was soon on their feet, congratulating the engaged couple and inspecting Hayley's new ring. It truly was beautiful.
Everyone was soon seated for lunch but excitement was still in the air.
"This calls for some wine", Harry announced, bringing out a few bottles of wine from inside The Burrow to the long lunch table set up outside.
Hermione looked nervously at Draco who was sitting beside her and he shook his head.
"You can't drink", he said softly so only she could hear.
"I know!" Hermione snapped back , "I was thinking... can we tell them? There's really no better occasion."
Draco shrugged, "We'll have to some time or the other. Might as well."
Hermione nodded and raised her voice, "Uh, you guys? I have an announcement as well."
Everyone immediately fell silent. They knew what she was going to say- that they were back together again.
Hermione took a deep breathe and just said it, "Im pregnant."
There were sharp intakes of breathe from every person.
"H-how? Weren't you both fighting or...?" Harry asked.
"Im two months in. Ritch came a month and a half ago", She clarified.
When nobody said anything, Draco did, "I dumped Ritch by the way." At this, everybody began cheering and wooting and both Hermione and Draco broke into grins.
"Congratulations anyway", Ginny said, coming around and hugging her best friend, "Im so happy for you." Then she added in a whisper, "Is this what made him dump Ritch?" Hermione smiled and nodded.
Everyone hugged both in turn and Draco was taken aback when Ginny hugged him too, whispering, "Thank you."
"Since we're on announcements", Neville said loudly, standing up," Luna's-"
"Neville!" Luna exclaimed, "Are you sure?"
"Of course, Luna", Neville grinned, "They're our best friends!"
Luna nodded, smiling, "Alright. Plus, it should keep the Nargles away for a while too."
Everyone looked from Neville to Luna and back to Neville.
"Luna's pregnant", Neville grinned and everybody began cheering and clapping and hugging the two in congratulations. Even Draco shook Neville's hand and awkwardly hugged Luna. Ginny and Hermione saw the hug and began giggling.
"Im trying to be friendly", He said, looking highly embarrassed as he sat back down beside Hermione.
She smiled at him and lunch began, Molly insisting on quickly baking a cake in celebration. Teddy brought Aaron, James and Lily downstairs and Aaron climbed on to the high chair at the end of the table where Pansy fed him for Hermione.
After lunch, while everyone went inside to chat, Hermione stayed outside saying that she'd be inside in a few minutes. She had her wine glass in her hand except that she had apple juice inside it instead of wine, like the others.
"Hey", She heard a voice behind her and smiled as Ron joined her.
"Hi", She said, swirling the liquid in her glass in a circular motion.
"Congratulations again", He said, doing the same with his wine glass.
"You too, Ron. Im so happy for you", She said, giving him a one-armed hug which he returned.
"When we entered, Draco and I, how come you knew we were there and how come everyone was grinning?" She asked, curious.
"Well remember I told you how we knew that you were coming even when you were far away because of how we could hear you laugh because of him? We missed it for a month and finally, it's back. We heard you laughing a few minutes prior to your arrival at the doorstep", Ron said," We were so insanely happy."
"Everything's actually beginning to work out again", Hermione said, taking a sip of her juice.
"It is", Ron nodded, looking into his glass and then turning to look at her, "Are you happy?"
"I'm more happy than Ive ever felt", She said, completely honest. She really had never felt happier than she had felt , especially today, in the company of everyone she loved and surprisingly, this new Draco too.
"That's all that matters", He said, "I still remember when we all began to accept ferret boy." Hermione laughed and they heard someone behind them say, "I heard that."
They spun around and saw Draco standing there, his one hand in his pocket and the other holding a glass with a clear liquid.
"Sorry, mate", Ron laughed, "Just expressing my thoughts."
He noticed that Draco wanted to speak to Hermione and smiled at her and said, "Ill see you inside, 'Mione."
He nodded to Draco and went inside as Draco went to stand beside Hermione.
"Is your stomach feeling okay?" He asked.
"Yes... for now, anyway", She answered. She noticed his drink and asked, "What're you drinking?"
"It's butterbeer mixed with some muggle thing called sprite if Im not wrong", Draco said, her eyebrows furrowing together, trying to remember what it was that he was drinking.
"You're not drinking wine or firewhisky like the others?" Hermione asked, one eyebrow raised in question.
"Nope, thought Id give you company considering you can't drink either", He said simply, taking a sip.
Hermione didn't know what to say. It was such a... sweet gesture on his part. She then looked at the liquid. Butterbeer with sprite? That was... interesting. And since when did the Weasleys keep muggle drinks in their house? Without thinking, she shifted her own glass to her left hand and reached out with her right, took the glass out of his hand and sipped at the drink.
Only when the liquid went through her throat and she closed her eyes and sighed in content at the amazing taste did she realize what she had just done. Her eyes snapped open to look at Draco, whose mouth was open in surprise and the hand that had been holding the glass was still open and in mid-air from when she had taken the glass from him.
"I-I- Sorry!" She exclaimed, putting the glass back in his hand, "I wanted to know how it tasted."
Draco smirked and said, "It's alright...honey." Hermione's eyes widened at the endearment and she looked at Draco who was downing the rest of his drink, smirk still in place.
She shook her head and headed back to the Burrow when he caught her wrist, causing those eyes to grow even wider. She turned back to him.
"Are you sure you're not drunk?" She asked. First the honey and then the grabbing her wrist like guys did in romantic books to girls.
"Quite", He nodded, dropping her wrist, "The honey thing was a joke, by the way."
"I am quite aware... darling", She said, smiling, her eyes meeting his playful ones.
"Listen, Im having a fashion show next Saturday for my new set of designs", He said as she went back to stand where she had been.
"That's great", Hermione smiled, genuinely happy but her smile vanished at his next sentence.
"They want Ritch to be the show-stopper on the second two days and do the walk with me on the first", He said.
She froze and almost dropped her glass but recovered and forced a smile on to her face, "Thats... great. Good for you."
"I replaced her", He said, studying the change of her expression and posture at the words he said. Like just then, she relaxed.
"Oh." She said simply, taking a sip of her drink.
"With you", He said. The drink in her mouth was spat out of her mouth like a spray immediately. She looked at him, her jaw dropped open.
"Are you mental?!" She cried.
"No", He said, "Come on! You're such a big model!"
"The future me is! Not this me!" She said, gesturing to the length of her body with her hands frantically, "I cannot do this!"
"Ginny will help and so will I!" Draco said, "Please, Granger! This is a huge deal for me and my designs!"
"And how do you expect to cover up my tiny baby bump?" Hermione exclaimed.
"Glamour charm", He answered simply, "Look, Ive thought this out completely! Its a safe thing to do! And Ill be there the entire time with you."
"What is wrong with you, Malfoy?" Hermione asked, closing her eyes, "You should ask me before doing something like this."
"It's such a big opportunity!"
"But I don't want to do it!"
"Because I can't!"
"Yes you can!"
"You don't know that! And..."
"I... I can't."
"You already said that!"
"I won't be able to pull it off, Im not good enoughl..."
She opened her eyes and they were glazed with tears. Her mother, in the "past" had once said that she would never make it big in life no matter what she tried, no matter what opportunity presented itself to her. It was a huge fight and angry words were thrown at each other which both knew the other didn't mean but it still stung. Badly.
Draco noticed the tears in her eyes and knew that it was also the hormones getting the better of her. She wouldn't have cried over such a simple thing otherwise.
"Granger, look at me", He said. She didn't.
"Fine, just listen to me", He said, "I don't know whats going through your head or why you think you're not good enough. But... I do." She raised her tear-filled eyes to meet his and even through her blurry vision, his eyes held nothing but honesty.
'But I do' She repeated it in her head over and over again. He didn't give her a long lecture or anything but those three words... It seemed to have more of an effect on her than she imagined.
"Okay?" He said, looking into her eyes. She nodded and brushed away her tears quickly.
"I'll try my best", She said, determination in her voice. If he believed in her like he said he did, she wouldn't ruin that.
"Im glad to hear that", Draco said, "Let's go back in then." He took her hand and lead her back inside, where upon their entry hand-in-hand, everyone looked up and smiled.
The evening went spending time in The Burrow with their friends and well, family. And there was one moment in particular that stood out. They had been playing dumb-charades and Draco had just got the guys to guess the movie he was acting out. Harry and Ron and Blaise all jumped up and engulfed each other in a group hug. Ron and Harry... had hugged Blaise and Draco. And Draco hadn't minded.
At that moment, she knew. She knew that from that moment onwards, from now onwards, things could only get better in This Other Reality.
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