This has been one of the chapters I've been most looking forward to write (although that may make me sound a little sadistic, due to the content). It's mainly because the secrets unravel, bringing out the meaning of the title. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy! :)
*WARNING: Mild violence
Draco was in his office at the Ministry. Sitting in his chair, he looked through the papers that were scattered against his desk before he came across a piece of parchment that had his father's handwriting. He picked it up and read it over for what seemed to be the millionth time.
Come over after work. We have something to discuss.
"What could he possibly want?" Draco mumbled under his breath. "I just saw him the other day."
He shook his head and set the note down before going back to his work. As he did though, he continued to periodically look at the note, not being able to help himself. Suddenly, he let out a rough sigh and ran his hand through his hair. Standing up, he flicked his wand to straighten up his desk and then walked out of his office door. Locking it, he began to walk down the long hallway to the lifts. As he reached them, he heard his assistant's voice calling after him. Letting out another sigh and rolling his eyes, he turned around.
"What is it, Natalia?" he asked roughly.
"You said you were going to give me some reports for me to look over and pass them onto the Ministry in Brazil," she answered hurriedly.
"They're on my desk. Make sure you put my signature on them and send them off. I'm leaving for the rest of the day, and don't want to be disturbed."
"O-Okay, Mr. Malfoy."
As she was about to open her mouth and say something else, he turned back around and went to the lifts. Going down and around, he finally reached the main level and walked to the fireplaces. The green flames wrapped around him, and he was gone. When he reached the exit, he then Apparated to Malfoy Manor and walked through the gates.
"Father?" he questioned as he shut the door.
"You're early," Lucius responded as he moved from the hallway, resting against his cane.
"I was too distracted with that bloody note. What's it about?"
"In here," Lucius whispered as he turned and walked back into his study. Draco looked around quizzically before following Lucius into the study. When he walked in, Lucius told him to close the door, and then put a charm upon the door, making the room sound proof.
"Hello, darling," Narcissa said as Draco turned to see his mother. "Why don't you have a seat."
"Will somebody please just tell me what the bloody hell is going on? What's with you two?"
"Sophie Palmer," Lucius said softly as he moved around to his desk and sat down. "You've said before that you've run into her."
"A couple times," he answered as his brows furrowed.
"I ran into her at the Ministry about a month ago. She was running out Kingsley's office quite upset."
"She likes to do that - run into people, apparently," Draco responded as a slight smile came to his face.
"Did you ever notice the similarities between the two of you?"
Draco's brows furrowed as his features became focused. He then answered slowly, "I suppose…"
"Listen," Lucius said suddenly as he pulled out a small looking ball.
He placed it on the desk and tapped it gently with his wand. Suddenly, the room filled with conversation, and Draco looked at his parents quizzically. As he continued to listen, he recognized Ginny's voice. His body froze as his eyes widened. After there was a long pause, he began to listen carefully.
"What are you thinking about?"
"Sophie," Ginny had said. Draco's eyes furrowed suddenly as he heard her voice, and heard the inquisitive and sadness in her voice.
"Sophie? You mean the girl that Freddie and Louis brought?"
Ginny had let out a shaky breath. "Harry, she's my daughter."
"What? What do you mean you know?"
"Kingsley came to me a couple months ago and talked to me after Sophie's adopted father passed away. It went against everything he was supposed to do as minister, but he thought he owed me from the time… Well, you know."
"You never thought to say something to me…?"
"No. It had brought you so much pain giving her up, I didn't want to bring all of that pain back.I mean, I can still see it in your eyes to this very day."
Draco then became distracted slightly as his blood began to boil. His jaw was set, his teeth gritted, and his facial features grew dark. His attention was caught when Harry had said his name.
"She didn't name you and Draco as her parents in the letter, but she told Kingsley."
"Turn it off…," Draco said over the lump in his throat. He leant over in his chair as his eyes began to stung with tears.
As his thoughts continued to whir around what he had just heard, he stood up and started out the door. His mother called after him, but he ignored her and kept going, his steps quickening. He hurried out the front door of the manor, and as soon as he was over the threshold, he Apparated to the Daily Prophet's office.
Opening the door roughly, he walked to the front desk and asked through gritted teeth, "Ginny Weasley, where is she?"
"She's not here," the wizard said nonchalantly as he looked up from his desk to see Draco. "Is there something I could help you with?"
"Her address," he answered roughly.
"I can't give that to you."
Suddenly, Draco grabbed the wizard by his robes and pulled him out of his seat. The man looked at him in surprise and fear, and Draco said, "I don't care what you say you can't do. What you 'can't' do, you will do. Now, as I said before, I need her address. If I don't get it, I will make bloody sure that you're out of the job by any means possible."
Draco shook him, and the man hurriedly whispered the address without a second thought. Pushing him into his seat, Draco walked towards the door. As he opened it, he looked back and thanked him sardonically. Without wasting another second, he slammed the door shut and Apparated to Ginny's home. Not taking a moment to look at the house, he walked up to the door and started to pound on the door continuously.
When no one came to the door, he tried the handle of the door to find it locked. He instantly reached for his wand and unclocked the door. He opened it and let it crash against the wall as he entered.
"Weasley!" he shouted, his anger growing by the minute.
Walking through the living room, he saw pictures lined up of Ginny's kids, nieces, and nephews. He gritted his teeth, and before he could control himself, he blasted the pictures off of the tables and desk. As the glass from the frames shattered to the ground, a crack in the wall behind the desk appeared, and Draco peered at it as if something was in there. His brows furrowed, and he walked closer to it. Reaching out, his hand moved over the crack gently before sliding it slightly to the right.
Suddenly, the piece of the wall slid away and revealed a file. He reached out and grabbed it. As he did, he opened it to see a letter, a picture of a little girl with bright blonde hair in a field of dandelions, blowing one and giggling, and another picture of the one Ginny and him had received back when they went to get a check up at St. Mungo's.
He swallowed the lump that had grown in his throat as he looked back to the picture of the small girl. His eyes stung with tears as he looked at the smile that was on her face. She looked so happy, and he began to imagine what it would've been like to have that little girl around every day. Before he could become too entranced with his imaginations, he brought the letter forward and read.
Dear Ms. Weasley,
I know you've said that you didn't want to be contacted, but I wanted to let you know that you wouldn't need to worry about that happening, after this letter of course. You see, my husband and I are leaving for France. We plan on making our life there, and for Sophie to go to Beauxbatons. I assure you, once there, you won't have to worry about things coming out.
My husband and I have talk about it quite a bit, and have decided that we don't want to tell Sophie that she was adopted. I think it will be easier for her to believe that we're her birth parents and that her brothers are her brothers. It will also save the trouble in trying to keep yours and Mr. Malfoy's identity secret.
We're so grateful that you have given her to us. Our lives have been filled with such great happiness that I never thought would be possible at the age that we are. She is quite the joy and wonder, as I'm sure you can see for yourself in the picture I've sent. She truly is a treasure, and is the happiest little girl I've ever known.
The two of us have also wondered what it would be like if we didn't have her as our child, and the thought is quite unbearable. We think about how her life would be if she were raised part Malfoy, and we cannot even imagine. Knowing how Draco and his family are, I now understand how you made the most difficult decision of your life.
Again, we thank you so very much, and I hope your wedding to Mr.Potter is the happiest moment of your life. You do deserve every bit of happiness life can offer.
Draco's emotions overcame him once again, and his blood boiled. He shoved the letter and pictures back into the file, and walked back out the door, slamming it shut. Once he was outside, he clenched his jaw and thought to himself where Ginny could have been. He let out a sigh and suddenly Apparated.
When he landed, he looked up and saw the Burrow. He heard voices, laughter, and slight screams coming from the back garden. Gritting his teeth, he walked through the snow to the front door and pounded on it a few times. The talking inside paused, and when no one came to the door, he pounded on it again.
"Oh, who could that be?" Mrs. Weasley asked as she walked to the door. She then opened it and saw him. "Why, Draco, what are you doing here?"
"Is your daughter here?" he asked through his teeth, trying to keep his cool with Mrs. Weasley.
"She's in the living room with the family. Is there something I could do for you?"
"I need a word with her," he answered as he moved past her and into the living room.
As he entered, Ginny, Fleur, Angelina, Fred, George, Charlie, and Arthur looked up at him. His eyes locked with Ginny's brown ones, and his features darkened. Mrs. Weasley walked up behind Draco and looked tentatively at her family.
Before she could say anything, Draco began softly, but dangerously, "Am I that much of a monster, Ginny? Did I treat you so terrible when we were together that this was some sort of payback?"
"What are you talking about…?" she asked curiously, clearly puzzled.
"All those years ago in the Three Broomsticks, you looked me in the eyes and flat out lied to me," he answered with his jaw clenched. Suddenly, not being able to control himself, he lost it, and began to yell, "How could you tell me we lost our child?! How could stand there, look me in the eye, and pretend you were devastated?! For years you made me think we lost a son!"
"You did, Draco," Charlie said as he stood from where he was sitting. He looked at Draco quizzically. "Your son was stillborn…"
Draco looked at Ginny, his eyebrows rising slightly as his eyes grew wide. He then let out a biting laugh. "Are you kidding me right now? You've been lying to your family, too?"
"Malfoy, you better calm down or get out of here before we force you out," Fred said.
"Oh, I'm not leaving. Not until she owns up to what she's done," he answered harshly. He looked at Ginny again, who stared back at him. "For seventeen years you've been hiding behind this lie, and kept my daughter from me! I've been grieving for seventeen years! Do you understand what you've done to me? To my life? To our daughter?!"
"I don't know what you're talking about," she answered shakily.
He let out a bitter laugh and moved closer to her. Opening the file, he grabbed out the picture of the young girl and held it in Ginny's face. "You don't know that this is your daughter? You didn't get this photo from Eleanor Palmer?"
"Draco, calm down," Charlie said as he took a step towards Draco.
"I'm supposed to calm down?" he questioned as he looked at Charlie bewilderedly. "I'm supposed to calm down when she's lied to me for years?! When I've been grieving for someone who's actually alive?! A part of life's been missing! She gave my child to someone else to raise!
"How could you do that to me?!" When she didn't answer, he threw down the file and picture on the table, the contents flying out. "Damn it, Ginny! Answer me!"
Fred grabbed the letter and pictures, and Ginny bit her lip and looked down at the floor. "It's true?" Fred asked in surprise.
"Of course it's not true!" Mrs. Weasley exclaimed. "It couldn't be!"
"She told me she lost the baby two months before it was 'stillborn,'" Draco said through clenched teeth, his eyes not wavering from Ginny.
Before any of them could say anything else, Ginny whispered, "I thought it was the best thing for everyone…"
"For everyone?" Draco asked incredulously as everyone looked at Ginny in surprise.
"How was it best for me? Was it really best for me to be grieving for seventeen years?
"Yes, that was quite good for me," he answered his own question sarcastically. "And what about Sophie? How was that best for her? She's been grieving for two people who she thought were her parents and knows, now that they're gone, that she was adopted!"
"Will you shut up?! Just shut up!" she suddenly screamed, her emotions now overcoming her. "Don't you think I've been questioning my decision after all these years?! Do you think it was easy lying to you?! To my family?!"
"You certainly made it seem that way!" he shouted. "Have you been taking tips from Harry's book? Making everyone believe that someone's dead when they're really not? How could you do that after you know firsthand how it felt?!"
"Don't," she whispered harshly.
"Don't what? Confront you about this? Confront you about Sophie being my daughter? A daughter I don't even know? A daughter you weren't ever going to tell me or your family about?"
She slapped him suddenly as tears began to roll down her cheeks. He rubbed his cheek gently, and as he was about to say something, someone from behind all of them asked, "W-What did you say?"
Everyone turned to see Roaxanne, Lily, James, Albus, Hugo, Rose, Dominique, Fred Jr., Louis, and Sophie. Suddenly, Ginny's family turned to look back at her, and Draco continued to look at Sophie. Before Draco could answer her, Mrs. Weasley ushered the younger kids upstairs, taking the tray of cookies she had made up with them.
"Will someone answer me?" Sophie asked again, her annoyance and nervousness apparent. She bit on her lip, and then asked, "Did you say I was your daughter?"
Ginny turned away from Sophie, and let out a quiet sob, her arm wrapping around her stomach. She bit on her lip, and shook her head slightly.
"I did," Draco answered softly as he nodded.
She shook her head as her eyes began to fill with tears. Her eyebrows furrowed and her eyes moved to the floor. She finally looked back up and asked softly, "Y-You guys d-didn't want me?"
As Draco was about to answer, she shook her head again, and her jaw clenched, the resemblance to Ginny obvious. Without waiting for a response, Sophie looked from Draco to Ginny's turned back, and then walked out of the Burrow herself.
He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Turning to look at Ginny, a malicious glint in his eye, he said, "This is far from over, Weasley. I will never forgive you for this. Do you hear me? Never." Then, without saying anything else, he reached the door Sophie had gone through. He looked over his shoulder, his facial features dark, and said, "If you thought you had regrets, you haven't seen anything yet."
Without waiting for her response, he walked out of the door, letting it slam shut. He followed Sophie's footprints to the garage. He walked in and saw her on top of an old washer.
"What are you doing here?" Sophie asked as she sniffed.
"I came to check on you," he answered softly.
"What for? It's not like you wanted me before," she responded sarcastically.
"That's not true," he responded as his anger toward Ginny started to rise again. He calmed himself slightly and continued, "I did want you. To tell you the truth, I was unbelievably excited for you."
"Didn't last too long," she retorted. "I mean, you didn't fight to keep me…"
"I didn't have a choice."
"Everyone has a choice," she said angrily as she turned to him.
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I don't expect you to understand, especially when I'm trying to myself. Like you, I just found out that you were my daughter."
"What?" she asked as she looked at him curiously.
"It's not the best time to get into things," he answered. An awkward silence came between the two of them. A long minute passed, and Draco then cleared his throat. "Well, I - uh - don't know how you'd feel about this…but I was wondering if you'd want to stay the rest of the vacation with my family and I? I mean, I understand if you don't want to."
"I-I don't know," she answered immediately, his offer catching her off guard.
"That's okay. I understand," he replied. "Well, I have something else I have to get to. If you change your mind, let me know."
He then turned around and started to walk out of the garage. As he was about to exit, she called, "Okay." Turning around to look at her curiously, she continued, "I'll stay with you."
"Good," he responded. A small smile formed on his lips, and he said, "Get your things together and I'll pick you up later. Are you staying here?"
"No, I've been at Shell Cottage."
"I'll pick you up there then."
Draco then walked out of the garage and Apparated. A few minutes passed before she hopped off the washer and walked back into the house. When she walked in, everyone's eyes went to her, and she bit her lip.
"Fleur, do you mind taking me back to your place? I want to pack my things."
"Pack your bags?" Louis asked as he looked at her curiously. "Where are you going?"
"Fleur?" she asked as she ignored his question, her eyes beginning to sting again.
"Of course," Fleur replied as she cleared her throat slightly. She stood and took a hold of Sophie's wrist, and then Apparated from the Burrow.
Draco had left the Burrow and went straight to the Ministry, his blood still boiling. Once he entered, he went to a lift and went to level two where the Auror offices were located. When the lift doors opened, he hurried out and walked down the long corridor. As he was midway down it, he spotted Harry and Ron, and his anger rose even more.
"Potter," he said harshly as his jaw clenched shut once again.
"Draco," Harry responded as he looked up from his file. He looked at Ron, who shrugged, and then looked back at Draco. "What can I do for you?"
"After everything I did for you, you do this to me?!" he lashed out, his voice catching the attention of all the people passing them. "After keeping your secret, after doing everything you asked! How could you not tell me my child was still alive?!"
"What are you -?" Harry started. Before he could finish, Draco punched him in the jaw. He stumbled and grabbed his jaw.
Draco was about to go after him again, but Ron grabbed him and pulled him away. "What the bloody hell are you on about, Malfoy?"
"Ron, forget it," Harry said.
"Oh, so he shouldn't know either, Potter?" Draco asked. "Who do you think should tell him? You or me? Because I'd be glad to do the honors!"
"Harry? What's he talking about?" Ron asked as he looked back at Harry, his brows furrowing in confusion.
"Nothing," Harry said pointedly, his green eyes not wavering from Draco's.
Scoffing, Draco pulled away from Ron's hold, his features seeming to darken even more. "That's right, Potter, go ahead and lie to those you love once again! It seems to work out so well for you!"
"Piss off, Malfoy," Ron said as he looked at Draco and moved back towards Harry.
"Piss off? You should tell that to your best friend! He's the one who's been lying to you and your whole family! Him and your bloody sister!"
"Leave my sister out of this!" Ron exclaimed as his ears grew red.
"She's behind this whole thing!" Draco shouted again. "She's the one who lied and made us all believe my daughter was dead! And the one and only Potter went along with it!"
"Y-You're lying," a shaky voice said from behind Draco.
He turned around to see Hermione standing there. His hands balled into fist, and he retorted, "If I'm lying then why would I be so upset? Why would I give you and your family the time of day after what happened all those years ago?"
None of them responded, and the hall had become so quiet that they could have heard a pin drop. Draco scoffed and turned to look at Harry. As his steely grey eyes locked onto Harry's, he said harshly, "You've messed with my life for the last time, Potter."
Without waiting for anyone to respond, Draco walked back down the hallway. The bystanders looked from Draco's retreating figure back to Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
Harry swallowed the small lump that had grown in his throat. He looked around and exclaimed, "Get back to work!"
The bystanders then slowly started moving down the hallway again, buzzing to one another about the scene with Draco. Hermione walked closer to Harry and Ron and looked to Harry, her brows furrowed. Her watery eyes searched his and said, "It's not true…it can't be."
"Bloody hell," Ron said suddenly when Harry didn't respond. He looked at Harry incredulously. "It is true, isn't it? Ginny never lost the baby."
"A-And that's why s-she fainted on Christmas? B-Because of Fred and Louis's f-friend?" Hermione asked, her emotions overcoming her.
"Yes. Sophie's hers and Draco's daughter," Harry finally answered thickly.
Hermione slapped him as her tears rolled down her cheeks. He looked at her and said, "I deserved that."
"You deserve so much more than that," Hermione whispered angrily.
Before she could do anything else, she turned around and hurried down the hall. Ron looked at Harry, his ears still red with anger. He opened and closed his mouth a couple times, wanting to say something, but just shook his head and followed Hermione.
Harry let out a deep sigh and ran his hand through his hair. "And now the secrets unravel."
After leaving the Ministry, Draco had Apparated to the Three Broomsticks. He was sitting in one of the stools, waiting for the drink he had ordered from Rosmerta.
"Here you go," Rosmerta said as she placed a goblet of Firewhiskey in front of him.
He nodded, and she walked away. He took the glass in his hand as his thoughts began to think back to seventeen years ago to some of the happiest times in his life.
Draco stood next to the bed Ginny was lying in the Hospital Wing. He held her hand, as nerves and thoughts of the worst possible thing overcame him. He put up a front though so he wouldn't worry Ginny, who was already a nervous wreck. Their eyes met, and she had bit her lip. Draco squeezed her hand to reassure her that everything was going to be okay, although he had his doubts.
Suddenly, Draco looked up to see a smile on Madam Pomfrey's face. His brows had furrowed as his nerves started to settle.
"Just as I expected," Madam Pomfrey said with a chipper.
"What's causing this?" he asked as Ginny took a sip of a potion Madam Pomfrey had summoned over.
Madam Pomfrey smiled at him and asked, "Well, haven't you guessed, Mr. Malfoy?" When they didn't answer, she responded, "Miss Weasley, you're pregnant!"
"Pregnant…," Draco whispered, falling into the chair, as Ginny sprayed the potion that was in her mouth. His body filled with shock, and he sat there frozen. Madam Pomfrey had started down the hall to her office when a sudden joy filled him. Before he could stop himself, he placed his hand on top of Ginny's stomach.
"What are you doing?" she asked as she looked at him, her brows furrowed.
He smiled, and his body felt completely relaxed in happiness. "There's a baby in there. Our baby's in there."
Draco took a sip of his Firewhiskey as another memory began to wash over him.
Ginny and Draco were in St. Mungo's for a followup from Madam Pomfrey's check out. She was on the table, and Draco was sitting next to her, hold her hand again. The two of them were waiting anxiously as Healer Rodanthe began to flourish her wand in the same pattern that Madam Pomfrey had done.
As she did, a quick, thudding sound echoed around the room they were in, and Draco looked away from Ginny in a panic. "What's that? What's happening?"
"Everything's okay, Mr. Malfoy, I assure you," Healer Rodanthe had said with a smile. "That's just your baby's heartbeat."
"I-Its heartbeat?" he questioned quizzically.
Healer Rodanthe nodded in response, and began to wave her wand again. Suddenly, an image hovered above Ginny's stomach, and the three of them looked at the image. Draco's jaw fell in shock and amazement as he looked at it. He continued to look at it, still not able to take his eyes away from him it as Ginny and Healer Rodanthe began to talk.
"Would you guys like to know the sex of the baby?" Healer Rodanthe asked, catching Draco's attention.
Ginny and Draco looked at each other, and Draco had a smile on his face. She returned it and asked in a whisper, "Do you want to know?"
"Let's keep it a surprise," he answered as he kissed her hand. He enjoyed all of these surprises that were coming that he didn't want it to stop.
"Alright. How about a picture?" Healer Rodanthe smiled as the two of them answered with an excited "yes." She then handed the picture to Ginny, and Draco's eyes stayed glued to it.
Before Draco could do anything, another memory flashed through his mind.
Draco had left Gringotts and was walking down Diagon Alley in a hurry, trying to get meet with Astoria and Scorpius. He looked down and grabbed out his pocket watch. Taking a look, he grumbled, and he looked back up. Before he could comprehend what was happening, a body collided with his. Something crashed with the cobbled stoned ground, and he grabbed the girls arm that collided with him.
"No!" she had screamed as different pieces scattered around the ground.
"You stupid girl," he answered gruffly as he let go of her arm. "Watch where you're going next time."
"If you weren't walking so close to doors that could suddenly open, maybe people wouldn't run into you!" she had retorted with her teeth clamped together.
"People wouldn't walk into me if they were paying attention to where they were going," he answered slyly as he looked down at her with a sneer on his face. He was about to say something else when everything in him seemed to have been put on pause.
"You could at least say, 'pardon me,'" she snapped. She continued to look up at him for a few more seconds before her stare became wary. Her brows had knit together and her brown eyes suddenly darted from his as she bit her lip.
"Who are you?" he asked before he could help himself, seeming to recognize her but not being able to place his finger on it.
She looked up at him sharply and crossed her arms. "If you must know, Sophie Palmer. Who are you?"
"Have we met before?" he asked curiously as his brows knitted together.
"I'm not going to answer until you tell me who you are."
"Malfoy. Draco Malfoy," he answered.
"Well, Mr. Malfoy, I would've remembered if I had met someone as rude and arrogant as you," she said before she knelt down to her camera.
He looked down at her as she fumbled for the scattered pieces of her camera. An annoyed look crossed his face and he shook his, turned on his heel, and made his way to Astoria and Scorpius.
He then took another sip of his Firewhiskey, and another memory flashed through his mind.
He was walking out from McGonagall's office when a body collided with him. His arms instinctively reached out to catch the person.
Once they were back on their feet, Draco instantly recognized her as the girl from Diagon Alley and quickly began to sift through his memory to come up with the girls name. She bit her lip as she looked at his jacket, and sheepishly smiled. "Sorry about that."
"Palmer is it? I can see you haven't learned from the last run-in," he had said before looking down to his jacket. He saw the green goop that was now on it, grumbled, and rolled his eyes. "When are you going to learn that you need to watch where you're going?"
He looked back to her and saw a look of fury pass through her eyes as her jaw clenched shut and eyebrows knitted together. His eyes grew slightly as he recognized the look quite well from the time he had spent with Ginny.
"I've already apologized, Mr. Malfoy. What more do you want? And, you know, it's not really nice when you're rude to someone on their birthday."
Shaking his head slightly, he closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose as he began to think back to the St. Mungo's check up he and Ginny went to where Healer Rodanthe told them that Ginny was four months along. He quickly counted the six months that had to go and realized that their baby would've been born in September.
As he did, he then went over the day that Ginny had told him she had lost the baby, and then thought that she would never lie about something like that. He opened his eyes and looked at Fred and Louis, who were standing behind Sophie, and then back at her.
"Impossible," he breathed as his thoughts continued to debate back and forth with himself.
The day of the Quidditch match came to his mind and he shook his head slightly. He remembered going back and forth with Astoria for quite a while. His brows furrowed as he remembered the one thing that had made him stop from arguing back.
"And what is it that's drawing you here to this random girl rather then saying congratulations to your son?"
He looked at her in shock, letting his hand fall from her arm. He stepped away from her as his thoughts began to whir around the question, not able to answer it himself. Shaking his head, he answered, "I won't be coming home until late tonight, or even at all. Don't wait up for me."
Turning his back to her, he sat down next to Sophie's bed. When heard Astoria walking down the hall, he looked out of the corner of his eye and watched her leave. As she slammed the door, he looked back to Sophie, his brows furrowing.
"What has me so worried about you…?"
It was a while later when Sophie had woken up, and Madame Pomfrey had just given her a potion and told her what had happened at the Quidditch match.
"Would you want me to stay?" he offered as he looked at her worried.
"No, that's okay," she answered roughly. "I'm sure you have better things to do."
"I don't mind staying, especially if you want the company. No one else is allowed in here to visit."
"Oh…," she trailed. She bit her lip as she looked at Draco, and he began to think back to the times Ginny would look at him like that. Before he could get too lost in those thoughts, she said, "Well, then, maybe. I suppose that's okay."
As she answered, his lips instantly formed into a smile and he sat back down in the chair. "That was a great game you played out there."
Before he could get too deep into the flashback, Madam Rosmerta had snapped him out of it.
"Did you want another goblet?" she asked.
"No," he said as he shook his head. He finished the last little bit in the goblet, put down a galleon, and then walked out of the Three Broomsticks.
As he walked over the threshold, he Apparated to his house. He landed outside the gate and took in a deep breath before exhaling. Running a hand through his hair, he walked through the gate and started for the house.
"I thought I heard something," Astoria said as she opened the door and leant against the doorframe. She looked at him inquisitively and then asked, "Draco? What's wrong?"
"I have to talk to you about something," he responded as he walked past her.
She closed the door and followed him as she became worried. They walked into the lounge, and Draco walked over to the drink cart and filled a glass goblet. He turned to Astoria and handed it to her.
"You're going to need that," he said as he closed the doors. "Where's Scorpius?"
"He's visiting Daphne," she answered.
There was a long pause, and when Astoria couldn't handle it anymore, she finally asked, "Will you just tell me what's going on?"
"You know everything about mine and Ginny's relationship from the paper, and how we were having a child." She nodded as she shifted uncomfortably. His anger began to rise again, and his hands balled into fists. Before he could lose his temper, he took in a deep breath and exhaled.
"She lost your child," Astoria said softly. A long pause followed, and when Draco didn't respond, she stood up and walked over to him. Her hands ran down his back comfortingly before wrapping around his waist. "It's okay."
"She's alive," he breathed. Her brows furrowed, and before she could question what he meant, Draco suddenly pushed everything off the drinking cart, the contents hitting the ground and shattering. His body began to shake slightly, and he held onto the cart tightly. As he did, he let out a few sobs, and said thickly, "I have a daughter."
"What? That's impossible," Astoria breathed in shock as her arms suddenly hung limp at her sides. When he didn't respond, she asked, "Do you know who it is?"
"Sophie," he answered softly, "the girl you berated me about at Scorpius's Quidditch match."
"The one you stayed the night at Hogwarts for?"
"Who else would it be?" he responded irritatedly as he turned to look at her. He took in a deep breath and sighed as he ran his hand through his hair. "She's staying the rest of break with us. Prepare a room for her. I'll be back."
"Draco! We need to talk about this!" Astoria exclaimed. "You can't just spring this on me, on our family, and expect everything to be okay!"
"There's nothing to discuss, Astoria. She's my daughter, and I've lost too much time with her already. Nothing and no one is going to stop me from spending time with her. Do you understand me?"
"But to just put her in our lives suddenly like this? It's ludicrous!"
Suddenly, his anger over came him, and he looked at her darkly. "She's my flesh and blood! She's a part of me, Astoria! You're my wife for a reason, and I expect you to be there for me and my daughter, your stepdaughter. Now, prepare a room and have a better attitude by the time we get back. The girl's been through enough, and I want her to feel welcome."
Before she could say anything else, Draco Apparated to Shell Cottage. As he stood upon the sandy hill and looked at the small cottage, the memory of him celebrating Bill's birthday came to him. He shook his head and started down the hill. When he reached the door, he knocked gently.
"Draco," Bill greeted as he answered the door and looked at Draco. He walked out and shut the door.
"I thought you'd still be at work," he responded.
"Normally am, but Fleur came and got me."
"Of course she did," Draco said under his breath. He crossed his arms. "Is Sophie ready?"
"Almost," Bill answered. A short silence formed between them, until Bill began, "Draco…"
He held up his hand and interrupted, "Don't. I don't want to hear it, and I definitely don't want to hear any excuses for Ginny. She may be family to you, and you may be able to forgive her, but don't expect me to."
As Bill was about to say something, Sophie opened the door with Fleur, Louis, and Fred Jr. behind her. Draco looked away from Fred and smiled slightly at Sophie. "Are you all set?"
"Yeah," Sophie responded softly as she shifted her bag on her shoulder.
He took her trunk and held out his arm for her. Biting her lip nervously, she grabbed on, and the of them then Apparated from Shell Cottage to his house. When her feet landed against the ground, she opened her eyes to see a large house in front of her.
"I'm happy you chose to stay with us," Draco said quietly.
"Maybe now I'll learn to stop running into you," she responded with a slight smile as she turned away from the house.
Draco chuckled slightly, and then they made their way into the house, starting a whole different chapter in their lives.