German has been the death of me! So, I do apologize that this is later than what I intended it to be. I hope you all enjoy though! :) For those who celebrate Halloween, hope you had a wonderful one!
A few days after Draco and Natalia had been interrupted, Draco was at work, signing a few papers before he was to leave to go to Hogwarts for the Quidditch match - Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw. As he was about to sign the last paper, he paused and began to think how he would've given anything to have Ravenclaw beat Gryffindor back when he was in school. He chuckled to himself and whispered, "It's funny how things change."
"What's that?" Natalia asked from the door suddenly.
Draco looked up in surprise, seeing as Natalia had been keeping her distance since the other day. He signed the paper quickly and said, "I was just thinking about when I was back in school ages ago."
"Ages ago? I wouldn't say that. It would mean my days at Hogwarts are almost ages ago," she responded with a small smile.
Is she flirting with me? A smile came to his face as he stood from his chair. He placed all of the papers to the side of his desk. "Well, I'll take it back then."
"Good," she responded. Noticing he wasn't handing over the papers for her to send off, her eyebrow arched with question. "Aren't those ready to go?"
"They are," he confirmed as he nodded. "I thought of something better for you to do." His smile grew slightly as he grabbed his cloak. "How do you feel about Quidditch?"
"I don't know… Why?"
"Well…," he trailed as he reached for her hand. Once he had a hold of it, he pulled her to him gently. His arm wrapped around her waist, and she bit her lip as she pulled away slightly. He sighed gently as the smile on his face waned. "What's wrong?"
"We can't do this," she said exasperatedly as she pulled away. She turned away from him and began to pace. "It doesn't matter how much I like you or that I've wanted these things to happen for so long. The fact of the matter is you're married and have a family. I can't be the reason it doesn't work out."
"Did you know you're quite adorable when you're worried?" he asked as he continued to watch her pace back and forth.
Her pacing paused as she looked at him with a hand on her hip and her face becoming flushed. "Do not. And that's beside the point."
"Come here," he said softly. She shook her head, and he walked to her. "First of all, I want you to stop thinking about everyone else. There's only you and me here. Second, I want you to know that you wouldn't be doing anything wrong." She was about to object when he shook his head, smiled, and placed a finger to her lips. "And third, I want you to know that the first time I kissed you, I felt more then than I have in the past seventeen years - other than when I found out Sophie was my daughter. So, please, don't stop things when they're just beginning."
Natalia looked at him curiously, her eyes searching for something in his. Seeming to find what she was looking for, a small smile came to her lips. She nodded to give him the okay, and he smiled back, leant forward, and kissed her.
"Did I happen to mention I'm a huge Ravenclaw fan?" she mumbled against his lips.
"I guess then I'll have to take you out for a treat after Gryffindor crushes them," he responded with a chuckle.
Without waiting another moment, he took her hand in his and led her out of the office. He grabbed her coat, helped her put it on, and the two of them walked out of the Ministry.
When they Apparated in front of Hogwarts' gates, they met a crowd of parents who had also come to support their children. Headmistress McGonagall was making her way through the snow to the gates, leaning heavily against her cane. Draco took in her appearance and frowned. He let go of Natalia's hand and hurried to the gates.
"Headmistress, would you like me to undo the charms for you?"
"That'd be lovely, Mr. Malfoy. Thank you," she said with a look of relief.
He undid the charms that protected the gates and opened them. The crowd of parents began to make their way through. As they did, McGonagall called, "Go ahead and go to the Quidditch pitch. Everyone's beginning to make their way over there."
Once he and Natalia were in the gates, he replaced the charms and turned to McGonagall. "You look well."
"Now, I would say thank you if I thought you were speaking the truth," McGonagall replied. She looked at Natalia. "It's nice to see you again, Miss Vanderkamp."
"You too, Headmistress," Natalia responded, a small smile on her face.
"I'm surprised to see the two of you here together," McGonagall commented. "How's Astoria, Draco?"
The comfort that Hogwarts's grounds normally brought to them suddenly became awkward. Natalia cleared her throat, and Draco ran a hand through his hair. McGonagall eyed him, and he replied, "She's okay. Not feeling up to seeing the Quidditch match since Scorpius isn't playing. So, I thought I'd ask Natalia if she'd like to join me."
"That's nice." McGonagall's eyes shifted to the upcoming hill. Her teeth gritted together slightly.
"Speaking of the match," Draco started, "it's quite a bit early from what I remember. Weren't they usually in February?"
"Yes, I thought I'd try something new. I noticed at the end of the term that the students' exams scores were going down. Thought I'd decrease the distractions."
Small talk began amongst the three of them as they walked up the hill slowly. Eventually, when they were halfway to the pitch, Natalia said, "I'll go save us some seats."
Draco nodded before she left. As she moved out of ear range, McGonagall stated, "She's a nice girl."
"She really is. I've found that out in the past few weeks," he replied as a smile came to his face.
Silence fell between the two. When they made it to the entrance of the pitch, McGonagall grabbed Draco's arm and looked at him sharply. Before he could ask why she stopped, she asked, "Have you spoken to Harry and Ginny recently?"
"Just the other night, actually. Harry had stopped by the office."
"Good, good," McGonagall responded with a sigh of relief. "Just surprises me that you showed up."
As Draco was about to question her, Professor Flitwick had walked up. "Would you like to walk to the stand together, Minerva?"
"That'd be lovely," she answered with a small smile. "I'll see you soon, Draco. Enjoy the match."
The two of them walked away, leaving Draco standing there. He looked in the direction they left quizzically, wondering why McGonagall asked that.
After another moment, he began to search for Natalia. As he spotted her waving, a voice behind him caught his attention.
"Hey, Dad, there you are!" Scorpius exclaimed with a smile.
"Hey, Scorp. How are you?"
"Good. Ready to see Gryffindor - I mean Ravenclaw - to beat some butt."
A smile came to Draco's lips as he looked at his son. He rested a hand on his shoulder. "Want to join me and Natalia?"
"Natalia?" Scorpius questioned curiously. "Your secretary?"
"Yes. I thought I'd invite her to join the game since we finished our work early."
"Oh, alright," Scorpius said without giving it another thought.
They made their way up the stand Natalia was sitting. Draco sat in between her and Scorpius. She leant forward to look at him. "It's nice to see you again, Scorpius. Who are you rooting for?"
"Ravenclaw," he answered automatically.
"Really? Don't want your sister to win?" she asked as she hid her chuckle.
"Of course not," he answered hesitantly. "I mean, I'm only saving her the embarrassment and feeling of defeat when I beat her for the cup."
Natalia laughed, and Draco shook his head. "Don't you remember the last game, son?"
"Bug off, Dad. The game's about to start," Scorpius grumbled as Susan's voice began to take over the pitch.
"Welcome parents, professors, and students! Let's get this game started!" As the Ravenclaw team flew into the pitch, she announce the players' names. When the Gryffindor team flew out, she seemed surprised as she announce, "Well, it looks like there has been a change in the line up here. Seems like they're using the substitutes for Palmer, Potter, and both Weasley's!"
"What?!" Draco exclaimed as he stood in shock. He looked at the team and couldn't see Sophie anywhere. His teeth gritted together.
Natalia touched his arm, and he sat down still fuming. "Maybe she wasn't feeling well."
"That doesn't explain the rest of the clan," he said through his gritted teeth. He turned to Scorpius. "Did you know about this?" Scorpius shook his head. "Excuse me."
Before Natlalia or Scorpius could stop him, Draco was making his way down the stand. He walked to the stand McGonagall was sitting in. When he made it, he sat behind her and tapped her on the shoulder.
Turning around with a slight smile, her smile waned as she noticed it was Draco. "Mr. Malfoy! Why aren't you enjoying the game?"
"Well, I would be if my daughter were actually playing," he answered as casually as he could.
McGonagall looked at him curiously. "You said you talked to Harry…"
"Was he supposed to tell me something specific?" he questioned, his brows furrowed.
"Oh, Merlin," she whispered as she turned back around. When Draco was about to say something, she interrupted, "I was told not to say anything."
"By who?" Before she had time to answer, he grimaced and answered, "Ginny."
"Filius," McGonagall breathed.
Professor Flitwick turned to her and then to Draco. "Miss Palmer was taken to St. Mungo's a few days ago."
Draco's features darkened as a rock seemed to drop in his stomach and a lump grew in his throat. Suddenly, a small, sarcastic laugh escaped him. He stood from his seat, shook his head, and was about to leave when McGonagall said, "You can Floo from my office if you wish."
Without answering, Draco moved down the stand. As he exited the stand, he was grumbling to himself and would've walked right past Natalia and Scorpius if she hand't grabbed his arm to stop him. Stopping in his tracks, he looked at her.
"She's in St. Mungo's," he answered roughly, his hands balling into fists.
"Is she okay?" Scorpius questioned, concern clearly on his face.
"I'm about to go find out," Draco responded as he began to walk back down to the gates.
"Can I go with you?"
"No, you have to stay here. You have homework to do."
"No," Draco said as he turned to look at his son. "I'll let you know how she is when I find out."
Scorpius remained silent. Draco then made his way down to the gates, Natalia following close by.
"I should've known," Draco said as they stepped out of the gates.
"Should've known what?" she asked softly.
"That Ginny would keep something like this from me. Why I thought she'd change, I haven't an idea."
"She'd actually keep something so important about your daughter from you?"
"Well, she did keep my daughter from me for seventeen years," he responded as he looked at her coldly. As he registered her sympathetic expression, he sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I'm sorry. Would you like me to take you back to the office or your home?"
Shaking her head, she stepped closer to him and took his hand. "No. I'm here for you for as long as you need."
"Thank you," he responded, a small smile on his face.
After a short moment, they Apparated to the waiting room of St. Mungo's, where they found all of Ginny's family sitting. The anger that he felt grew as his eyes roamed amongst the family.
"Draco! We were wondering where you've been," Charlie said as he walked toward him, his hand out.
Draco looked down at Charlies hand and let out a small snort, not able to help himself. Natalia grabbed his hand then and squeezed it gently. He took in a deep breath and exhaled. "I don't think I would be here if it weren't for Professor Flitwick."
"Professor Flitwick? What does he have to do with anything?" Charlie asked as he put his hand down.
"Where's my daughter?" Draco asked, ignoring Charlie's questions.
"She's in her room with Ginny and Harry," he answered.
"Didn't you hear what happened?" Fred aasked.
"I just found out a few minutes ago that she was here. Your sister seemed to forget to say anything to me," he spat. "Now, why wasn't Madam Pomfrey able to do anything and why Sophie here?"
Charlie's expression became somber. He looked to the floor and then back up at Draco.
"What's going on?" Draco asked again as a bad feeling washed over him. he then looked past Fred and Charlie at the rest of the family, who all wore the same expression as Charlie.
"They haven't been able to find out what's wrong with her," Mrs. Weasley answered as she walked from behind Charlie and Fred.
"What do you mean they haven't been able to find out what's wrong? You mean Madam Pomfrey wasn't able to do anything, right?"
Before anyone could answer, Natalia touched his shoulder and whispered in his ear, "Come on. She's this way."
Draco turned at her words, and the two of them walked out of the waiting room and down the hall hand in hand. Room after room they passed until Natalia finally paused in front of a door.
"Intensive care…?" he gasped, the air of his lungs seeming to vanish.
She squeezed his hand gently. He swallowed the lump in his throat, took in a deep breath, and pushed open the door slowly. As the door opened, two heads turned toward Draco and Natalia. Clenching his jaw, Draco couldn't help but glare at them.
"What are you doing here?" Ginny asked as she pulled the curtain further around the bed.
"I came to see my daughter, which the two of you neglected to tell me that something was wrong."
"You're not welcome here," she spat venomously.
"Excuse me?" he asked, his anger beginning to boil over. "She's my daughter too."
"Well, if you weren't so busy with other things," she responded as she glared at Natalia.
Draco was about to say something when Natalia squeezed his hand once again. Her hazel eyes flashed in anger at Ginny. "I hope you know that you doing this makes you look that much more guilty. You're doing nothing more than what you did when you decided not to tell Draco that he had a daughter. Who do you think the Wizengamot's going to sympathize with when they find out you decided to keep a father from his daughter for a second time?"
When Harry nor Ginny didn't respond, Natalia smiled at them and led Draco past the two. Before they walked behind the curtain, she turned and said, "Now, if you can excuse us, that'd be lovely."
As Ginny was about to say something, Harry wrapped his arm around her waist and led her out of the room. Once they were gone, Draco turned to Natalia and kissed her gently. "Thank you."
"Of course," she said. "Go on and see your daughter."
"Come with me?" he began to say, accidentally turning into a question.
She shook her head slightly. "No, this is your time with her. Maybe in a while."
A small smile came to his lips and he nodded. He walked around the curtain to see Sophie lying on the bed, her breathing labored. Her skin was still grey, and she lied there motionless. As he took in her appearance, the lump in his throat grew, his chest tightened, and his eyes began to sting with tears. He moved closer to her. Reaching out a hand, he touched hers, and instantly pulled away from the cold her body gave off. Suddenly, he fell into the chair that Ginny had occupied moments before and began to let the tears roll down his cheeks.
It was a while later when a hand touched his shoulder gently. He wiped his eyes quickly and looked over to see Hermione. Furrowing his brows, he asked, "What do you want, Granger?"
"I think you mean 'Weasley,'" she responded, a small smile coming to her face. She sat in the empty chair. "I'm sorry Ginny and Harry didn't tell you."
"Yeah, well, I shouldn't expect anything else," he said harshly.
"That's fair." At her words, he turned and looked at her, the surprise he felt clearly on his face. When he didn't respond, her brown eyes lit with amusement. "You must be wondering why I'm agreeing with you."
"Other than the fact that I'm right, yeah."
"I found out about Sophie the day you came to the Ministry and confronted Harry about it. If I had known what they were doing, I certainly would have told you. I found it quite selfish that they didn't say anything… I suppose I'm a little more sore about it than anyone else - although the rest of our family still is upset - since I had that m-miscarriage."
She turned away and brushed away at the tears in the corner of her eyes. When she didn't turn back to him, Draco began to feel awkward, due to the fact he didn't know what to say. Hesitantly, he placed his hand on her shoulder and squeezed it lightly.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
Sniffling, she turned to him slowly, a watery smile on her face. She gave a small shrug and said quietly, "Thank you. But I do promise you that if I had known, I would've told you."
"I know," he said as he looked away, truly meaning the words. A few minutes passed where both of them were quiet. Finally, Draco swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat and asked, "Do you know what happened?"
"From what I understand from the kids, Sophie was in the common room with all of them when she hurried upstairs. They thought she was just nervous about the match, so they didn't check on her. It wasn't until Lily and Roxanne found her. James went and got Madam Pomfrey as fast as he could. She wasn't able to do anything, so she contacted St. Mungo's."
"And they haven't been able to figure out what's wrong with her?" He looked over at Sophie again, expecting her to be away suddenly and tell him she was going to be okay.
Hermione shook her head. "No. Healer Rodanthe said that she did all she could do, and that the rest is up to Sophie. She has a spell working on Sophie's lungs so she can breathe."
"Y-You mean?" he asked as he turned to her suddenly. Hermione nodded. His head fell in his hands, his fingers intertwining with his blonde hair. "There has to be something we can do."
"I don't know…," Hermione said hesitantly.
"Well, me sitting here won't do a damn thing." He stood from his chair angrily and was about to pass the curtain when he paused and asked, "Do you think I'm doing the right thing with Ginny and Harry?"
"What do you mean?"
"Taking them to the Wizengamot?"
Her brows furrowed as she looked at him questioningly. After a short pause, she answered, "If I were in your position, I think I would do the same thing."
With her words, he walked from behind the curtain and out of the room. As he shut the door, he saw Natalia in the hall. She looked at him with a small smile before stepping toward him and wrapping her arms around him comfortingly.
"I need to go. Do you mind?" he asked as he pulled away and looked at her.
"Not at all. If you need anything, anything at all, don't hesitate to contact me."
"Thank you." He leant in and kissed her cheek hurriedly before Apparating.
Hurrying through the gate, he made it to the front porch quickly, and walked through the door. "Mother? Father? Are you home?"
He walked further into Malfoy Mansion and looked through each room. As he was about to reach the door to his father's study, Lucius opened the door and looked at Draco.
"What's going on, Draco?" Narcissa asked as she came around the corner.
"It's Sophie. She's in St. Mungo's.
"What? Why?" Lucius asked, concern in his voice.
"I don't know," Draco responded.
Before he could continue, Lucius spoke over him, "How do you not know?"
"I was getting to that," Draco spat. He took a deep breath and exhaled. "I just found out today myself. She's been in there a few days, but Harry and Ginny decided not to tell me. The Healers don't know what's going on." He paused and swallowed the lump in his throat as he thought about what Hermione had told him. After a second, he continued, "They have a spell working with her lungs to keep her breathing."
Narcissa gasped, her hand covering her mouth, as her eyes watered. As he grasped his cane hard, Lucius said with determination, "We will do everything we can."
"Thank you," he replied as he sighed with relief.
"Can we go see her?" Narcissa asked.
"The only problem would be Harry and Ginny."
"They won't be a problem," Lucius said, his tone hard.
"She's in intensive care."
The three of them walked down the hall to the foyer. Lucius grabbed his and Narcissa's coat. "Will you be here when we get back?"
"I don't know. I still have to go see Astoria."
"I'll start doing what I can when we get back," Lucius responded.
They went into the lounge, and the two of them Flooed to St. Mungo's. Draco stood in front of the fireplace and looked at a picture in a frame on the mantel. It was of the four of them - Draco, Narcissa, Lucius, and Sophie. He continued to look at it, memorizing every detail: her smile, the light in her brown eyes, and how her arm lied on Lucius's shoulder. Tears welled up in his eyes as his thoughts began to whir.
Before it became too overwhelming, he grabbed a handful of Floo powder and Flooed to his and Astoria's home. Astoria came into the room and looked at him questioningly. "You're home earlier than I expected."
"I'm not staying long. I'm going to pack a bag and head to St. Mungo's," he answered as he walked past her and up the stairs.
"St. Mungo's, but why?" she asked as she followed him. Suddenly worried, she asked,
"It's not Scorpius, is it?"
"No, it's Sophie. I just found out today."
"Oh, I'm so sorry," she said, her voice filled with sorrow.
He turned and looked back at her, puzzled. Without saying anything, he turned back around and continued his way up the stairs. The two of them reached the room and he began to pack quickly. As he was folding a shirt, he felt her arms wrap around his waist and a weight on his shoulder.
"I really am sorry, Draco. Do you want me to go with you?"
"No," he responded after a moment. "I think it'd be better if you stayed here. I'll keep in touch."
"I'll bring you some lunch tomorrow."
He nodded. Zipping up his bag, he turned and looked at her. After his eyes studied her, he gave her a half smile and walked out of their bedroom.
As she heard the front door closed, a small smile came to her lips. She exited the room and walked down the stairs. Reaching the bottom, she walked into the lounge and poured herself a drink.
"Who would've known it would work so well… Now it's just time to execute the rest of the plan," she whispered to herself with a triumphant smile.