Hermione and Ginny sipped on the butterbeers, laughing and giggling just like old times.
They'd been spending the whole afternoon together, partly because they were simply best friends, but a large reason was also the elephant in the room - their move. For now though, it was just the two of them, their sides aching from all the laughter they'd shared. There was no Dublin, or Draco, or Harry, or Ron, or Lavender. It was just simply two best friends enjoying each other's company.
After a few minutes, however, the laughing subsided and they regained the ability to talk like civilized human beings.
"It's been far too long, Gin!" Hermione grinned.
"Indeed!" Ginny said back.
"So...Dublin, huh?" Hermione asked this slowly, unsure if Ginny was willing to discuss the subject willingly.
Ginny nodded, "Crazy, right?"
"Completely. But, I guess life is crazy, huh? It can't seem to help throwing curveballs at us," Hermione shook her head with a smile, her bushy brown hair falling in to her eyes a bit, which she shook back
"That makes me think," Ginny said, "Mind if I ask you something personal?"
"Go straight ahead."
"Are you happy with Draco?"
She contemplated her answer before a moment, taking an extra long sip of her Butterbeer, before answering, "Yes."
"What changed since school? In school you were letting your fist meet his face, now your mouth is meeting him face?" Ginny shuddered, the idea of anyone being with ferret boy disgusted her completely. She wanted her friend to be happy, however, so she kept her opinion to herself.
Hermione smiled faintly, "Everyone matures. He just matured slower than others. But, I've given him a chance now, and I see it can work. He's a good man, Gin. And he loves me."
"Can I ask you something else? A personal something else? Then I promise we'll go back to conversations that do not involve boys."
Hermione made a gesture with her hands that signified, 'Ask Away'.
"Are you sure you're over Ron?"
Hermione nearly choked on her Butterbeer, "What!"
"Do you still love my brother?"
"No, of course no-"
Ginny cut her off.
"Do NOT lie to me, either. I'll conjure veritaserum!"
The thing about Ginny was: she didn't make empty threats.
"Honestly? I think I'll always love him. But, I'm not in love with him. I've moved on just like he has. He's happy with Lavender..."
"But you want him to be happy with you?"
"Of course I want that!" Hermione cried, "I've wanted that since I was twelve years old! But, some things just aren't meant to be. Ronald and I are one of those things!"
"So you DO still love him?!" Ginny grinned, she hadn't expected this.
"Like I told you, Gin. I'll always have him in my heart in a way that Draco can't compare to. But, that doesn't mean I don' t love Draco. I do, really I do."
"I believe you," Ginny said with a sly smile. "So does this mean you're going to help me baby sit my niece occasionally?"
Ginny nodded, "They had a scan a week or two ago - it's a girl."
"Well, my congratulations to them both. I hope everything works out with them."
"Do you really want them to work out?"
"Of course, their having a baby in a week weeks!"
"That's not a reason to stay together," Ginny sighed, "But that's not what I meant and you know it."
"Then, what did you mean?"
"Do you want Lavender and Ron to work out, for reasons other than the baby? I mean, if Ron broke it off with Lav would you go back out with him?"
"First off, I'm with Draco and I'm very happy. Secondly, no, I wouldn't, to be perfectly honest. Yes, I loved him. Merlin, I still love him, but I am NOT in love with him. We had something special and it ended. Now can be just leave it at that."
"Are you sure you're really in love with Draco?" Ginny pushed, "Or is all this just a big plot to make Ron jealous?"
"Are we really back at this?" Hermione rolled her eyes, "It started out as a ploy, you know that. But, I promise you it's not anymore. I love him so much. Sure, we have our differences, but at the end of the day, I still want to be with him. If Ronald asked me out right this moment, I wouldn't say yes. What me and Draco have is different from anything Ronald and I had, but in a good way. I'm happy, please let me be happy?"
Ginny smiled, "Alright. I will. I'm happy you're in love with Draco, you seem like you really do love him. I can't figure out why, but I'll be happy for you with whatever you choose."
"Mum, Dad, this is Ron." Lavender said nervously, not letting her grip on his hand ease up.
"Nice to meet you." Ron choked out the words, at this moment he would rather be anywhere else in the world. Merlin, he'd rather go on another horcrux search with Harry. Ron extended his hand, which after a moment Mr. Brown reluctantly took.
"So...you're the mystery man who knocked up my little girl?" This was more than a question, it was an accusation.
Ron gulped, this was going to be worse than he'd anticipated. And he had not thought the visit would be spent laughing and talking about their perfect little life, "Well, it takes two to tango, sir."
Lavender's eyes widened and squeezed his hand tightly in a way to tell him that that was the wrong choice of words. Mrs. Brown sank in to a chair, "Oh Merlin..." she gasped.
Ron looked nervously back to Mr. Brown and gave him an uncomfortable smile, which was not returned.
"I'm sorry, sir." Ron said, his cheeks flaming.
Mr. Brown shook his head stiffly, "Just make sure it doesn't happen again. That's my baby girl you're talking about having rendezvous' with... "
"Yes sir." Ron said. These appeared to be the only words his brain could remember.
'She clearly does not get her giggles and humor from his side of the family.' Ron thought to himself with a slight smile.
Mr. Brown narrowed his eyes upon seeing the smile, causing Ron's mouth to form in to a solid line. It was truly as if he had read his thoughts.
"Now, this silence is truly getting us no where." Mrs. Brown said, breaking the silence, after several painfully awkward moments. "Let's get down to the important stuff: the baby."
"Let's." Ron agreed, taking a seat next to Lavender as she seated herself on a red loveseat. He squirmed upon meeting the gaze of Lavender's father, who was not pleased at the limited amount of distance between the two of them.
"Now, for starters, where is this child going to live? Lav, darling, I do not feel your flat is going to be the best place to raise a child. Between Valerie and the fact that frankly you don't live in the nicest neighborhood, nor in the largest flat, it doesn't seem appropriate to raise the child there."
"Well, mum, we've talked about this and - " Lavender began to speak, but Ron cut her off.
"-And we've decided to get a larger flat, together and raise her there. As a family." Ron finished for her. He hadn't officially asked her to move in, although he knew it would be best for everyone.
Lavender's surprise was hidden in her face, except for a brief look in her eyes which Ron couldn't place the emotion of. It seemed joyous though, like this was exactly what she wanted.
"Well, if that's what you want to do, then I guess there's no stopping you. However, there is another alternative that I wish you two would at least consider."
"We're open to suggestions." Lavender said with a deep breath. It was quite clear that she was rather uncomfortable in this situation, which was new to Ron. He'd always known her to handle every situation with giggles or sarcastic remarks - this was truly an entirely new Lavender than the one he was used to. Although, he didn't mind one bit. He did, however, find it quite strange that to her parents, he was Ron. He'd truly only heard her use his proper name a couple of times. No matter how annoying her pet names were, it was still strange not to hear them. Ron sounded so much formal; unLavenderish. Perhaps Lavender's personality was all her own?
"Well, darling, as you know, this is our first grandchild. We are more than happy to help you out in anyway necessary. And, darling, you are both so young and neither of you have much experience in the area of baby. So, your father and I have mutually agreed to raise the child here, for you. Not to say you two couldn't visit, we would love that. But, a baby needs a loving, stable home with adult parents. We can give it that."
"Not going to happen." Ron scoffed the words before he realized they were more than just thoughts; they'd actually come out of his mouth.
"Excuse me?" Mrs. Brown gasped, one of her sculpted eyebrows arching up.
"I'm sorry Mrs. Brown. But, Lav and I are going to raise this baby ourselves. We don't need you to raise her for us."
"Oh, merlin! You're barely in you twenties, the both of you! What do you two know about raising a child?"
"Not a lot, just like most parents before they have their first. I believe it's a learning thing, a day by day process. Growing up in my house, with all my brothers and my sister, taught me a lot, too. We're more responsible than you might think."
Mrs. Brown was more than shocked, so Mr. Brown spoke for her, "How dare you speak to my wife like that."
"Sir, I don't feel anything I said in untrue. We are more than capable of raising this child on our own. You're more than welcome to be a part of her life, but we do not need you to raise her for us."
"Raising a child is not like having a pet, Mr. Weasley." Mr. Brown said, eyes narrowing.
Wow, it was truly no wonder Lav stayed away from her parents.
"Yes sir, I know. But, I'm about as prepared to have my daughter here as I can be."
"Mum, Dad!" Lavender said, finally speaking up. "I'm twenty one years old now, nearly twenty two. I can raise my daughter."
"You're only a child yourself, what makes you think you're so fit to be a mother? See, this is exactly why I wanted you to live at home. I knew that roommate of yours-"
"-Yes, was trouble. I knew it all along. I knew you'd be getting in to some kind of trouble, not living at home and I was right. You come back and you're knocked up with your mind off wandering and spitting out fairy tales that you can raise a baby. If you can't take care of yourself, what makes you think you can take care of a child?"
"I can take care of myself!"
"Clearly, you can not! If you knew how to take care of yourself properly, we would not be having this conversation!"
"Ugh!" Lavender groaned, her eyes tearing up.
Ron cut her off, "Don't, Lav. Don't get upset over the likes of him. Let's just go, we don't need them."
"Excuse me? The likes of them?" Mr. Brown growled.
"Yes, the likes of you. You are clearly not supportive and she needs support. She's thirty one weeks pregnant, she needs a lot of support. We don't need to sit here and have you talk down on her. C'mon, Lav."
"Oh, like you care about her?"
"That's right, I do care about her."
"Is that why you didn't marry her upon finding out her condition?"
"Marriage is a big commitment, sir -"
"And so is raising a child!"
"-And its one that I hope to make with her. Just not right now, and I'd appreciate it if you respected that. But, even if you don't, I will not be losing sleep over it. Good day Mr. Brown; Mrs. Brown."
With that he took Lavender's hand and they left The Brown House, laughing with each other along the way.
*** Later that evening at the ministry ***
"You're moving yourself and my baby sister to Dublin?" Ron repeated. He'd had Harry say it nearly a half dozen times, but each time he was sure that he must have been hearing things. "As in, Dublin, Ireland?"
"That's the one. I know it's going to take some getting used to, but it's only temporary anyhow."
"How long is temporary?" Ron asked, trying not to show just how upset he was. His best friend and baby sister, who happened to be a married couple, were moving all the way from London to Dublin. While that was not too far away, it still pained his heart to know that he would have to say goodbye to the both of them at once.
"More than likely right at a year or two. They want me to help them stabilize the company, put some roots. They know I'm good at what I do and think I'm the best man for the job. Not to mention, I've always wanted to see Ireland. But, The Dursley's never were ones for taking me traveling." He laughed, shaking off memories of his days at number 4 privet drive.
"When do you leave again?" Ron had asked this question before too, but Harry was understanding of the shock of this announcement and let it slide.
"A month from today actually." Harry said.
Ron shook his head, clearly trying to process this information.
"Well, I'm happy for the both of you mate." Ron said, although his eyes told Harry that he was still saddened.
"Thanks my mate. Be sure and visit, floo by anytime."
Before Ron could answer, another voice spoke up from the doorway, "Aw, now aren't you two a lovely couple?"
Harry and Ron turned to see a sneering Draco Malfoy in the doorway. "I truly hate to break up your little love fest, but I need a word."
"With which one of us?" Harry sighed.
He was happy that Hermione was happy, but he still didn't understand the attraction. To him, Draco Malfoy was the same spoiled bully he was in school. Over the past five years, his head just became a bit more pointed than it already was.
"Well, the both of you actually." Draco said in a bored tone.
"Get on with it, Malfoy." Ron growled, clearly annoyed. As much as he hated admitting it to himself, he still felt resentment towards him. Not only had he been horrid to him during their Hogwarts days, but now he was 'in love' with Hermione. Unacceptable.
"Fine, Weasel." Draco spat. "Well, Potter, I hear you and your little housewife are moving to Dublin."
"Where could you have possibly heard that, Malfoy?" Harry asked.
He had just told Ron, so he knew it wasn't him.
"Have you forgotten who I am?"
"Sadly no." Ron mumbled under his breath.
"Oh, real mature." Draco scoffed. "Well, like I've always said, being a Malfoy has it's privileges. One of those privileges is information."
"Alright, then. Yes, I'm moving to Dublin, why does it matter?"
Harry had really hoped to keep his move a secret for a little while, while things were settled, but that clearly was not going to happen. Not when Draco Malfoy was involved, which he wished to goodness he wasn't.
"Well, my family is hosting a gala dinner party next Thursday night, yes I'm aware of the short notice, but I am a firm believer that a formal event is the perfect send off for a vacation or move. You could each bring your ladies and make a night of it. What do you say?"
"Why would be want to come to one of your parties, Malfoy?" Ron said, rolling his eyes.
"Why wouldn't you? There are tons of people who would kill for an invite to this event."
"You're you, that's why. If there are so many people wanting to come, I fail to see how our presence is oh so terribly important."
"Hermione will be there."
Ron gulped, "Who says I care?"
"You're joking, right? Everyone knows you're in love with, always have been and always will be. Even though the realm of possibility of a reconciliation between the two of you is extremely low. I'm sure she'd love to spend a night with her moving best friend and his wife. And I want you-" he pointed to Ron, "To make amends with her. Close up the holes you've left in her heart. I know that it still hurts her, what you did. I want it fixed."
"Stop playing with us, Malfoy. You don't need to pretend you actually care about her." Ron growled.
"I DO actually care about her, not that it is any of your concern, Weasel." Draco looked like he might hex Ron right there in the ministry.
"Doubt it." Ron growled, "You just want to help her hurt me."
"I love her, Weasel.. Question it again and see what happens, I promise you it won't be good. Your word against mine is not a battle you would win; consider that before your next sentence comes out of your mouth."
Ron narrowed his eyes, "Shove off, Malfoy. Fine, I'll go to your bloody gala, but I make no promises about speaking to Hermione. She doesn't want to talk to me, if she did, she'd have already done so. Good day to you."
Ron stormed out of the office, muttering completely unrepeatable phrases and choice words about 'that Malfoy git.'
"You'll be coming too, I presume?" Draco asked expectantly.
"I'll see what I can do." Harry said.
"Good. See you there."
A/N So, I'm not completely happy with the Ginny/Hermione scene, but I did my best. Well, the next chapter is the Malfoy Manor Event, and I guarantee you it'll blow some minds. It's pretty intense. There'll be romance, insults, dancing and heartbreak. It will really set the story in motion for my big plot twist. No more fluffy filler chapters really anymore! YAY! This was mainly a filler. Next chapter is exciting though!
Well, here's your preview!
"Care for a dance?"
Hermione spun around to see Draco, offering her a rose, "I'd be delighted."
He took her hand and spun her out on to the dance floor, They moved to the music, a slow song, swaying together effortlessly.
"Are you having an alright evening?" Draco whispered in to her ear, before spinning her out then back to him.
"It's been wonderful," Hermione admitted, "Although, I don't think your family is thrilled that I'm here."
Draco's mouth formed in to a single line, "Don't worry about them. They're just jealous that they aren't young, beautiful and in love. Don't let their miserable attitudes get to you."
This made Hermione feel a bit better, "I don't let things get to me that easily."
He spun her around once more as the music slowly stopped, "I know you don't." He whispered the words then kissed her lightly. "I have to go make the final preparations for your introduction.," He kissed her hand, "See you in ten?"
"In ten." Hermione agreed, her head spinning.
Ah, things are so peaceful and lovely! But, will they stay that way? Time will tell!
Well, see that box right down there? I'd love a message in it ;) Thanks for reading!