Chapter 7 : First times.
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Her parents had left the day before but surprisingly Hermione didn’t feel lost without them.
Seated around what had now become their regular dining table, Hermione cast furtive glances at the blond boy in front of her.
Without looking up from the newspaper he was so unnaturally fixated on, Malfoy said, “I know I’m good looking Granger, I don’t need you panting at me for confirmation.”
Or perhaps not so furtive.
Ignoring Draco’s snarky comment, Hermione took advantage of this opportunity for conversation. “I need to go to shopping.”
He raised a single eyebrow in question, and said with a slightly bored tone to his voice, “Didn’t peg you as having the girlie desire to shop.”
“I don’t, but Harry, Ginny, and Ron are coming for Christmas and I need to get them presents.”
If Draco said one more thing that wasn’t “sure” she was going to shove her eggs in his white pristine hair.
“They’ll just have to settle for you being alive. We’re not risking it.”
Hermione wasn’t sure what pissed her off more, his answer or the fact that he was so egotistical that he didn’t even have to look at her when he answered.
“Malfoy, I’m not a prisoner and you’re not my guard. I wasn’t asking your permission I was just informing you that I was going.” She pushed her chair out and didn’t even attempt to conceal her satisfaction at seeing him finally turn his gaze on her, despite the fact that his eyes were burning fire.
“And how exactly are you planning on getting to Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley without my assistance?”
Hermione turned to see his smirk, obviously thinking she has no option but to give up. Amateur.
“Unsurprisingly, you fail to consider the fully functioning muggle world I could easily apparate to. I’ll be back before dark.”
Filled with warm satisfaction, Hermione attempted to apparate. With about as much success as a hair out of place.
Draco folded his paper as a chuckle laced with smug delight reverberated through the kitchen.
“Unsurprisingly, you fail to consider the impossibility that Malfoy Manor can be reached by apparation. Don’t you think there would have been more than the one attempt on your life if death eaters could apparate into the grounds all they bloody please?”
“Fine. I’ll walk out the front door.”
As she went to do just that a firm hand slapped itself onto the deep red wood of the door in front of her.
Without turning around Hermione demanded, “What are you going to do now? Fling me over your shoulder and lock me in my room for four months?”
A resigned sigh blew against the hair at the nape of her neck, and she barely supressed a shiver.
“You get one hour. If you haven’t collected everything by then that’s just too bloody bad.”
Hermione fought the urge to giggle with excitement.
She settled with, “That’s acceptable. I’ll be back no later than 12.”
Hermione ducked under his still extended arm to make her way to fireplace, Draco’s hand shot out and gripped her firmly by the upper arm.
“I’m going with you.”
She couldn’t argue with that, it wouldn’t be terrible to have a bodyguard.
“You know how this is going to look though, right? Us shopping together? We’re guaranteed to run into people we know. The whole student body and then some are probably aware of my condition by now.”
Draco’s eyes narrowed to slits.
“And whose fault is that? I don’t remember rejoicing at the fact you announced your pregnancy to the entire school.”
Hermione’s cheeks flamed at the memory, she turned away from him.
“I wanted to hurt you so bad…. I couldn’t let you think for a second that you had succeeded in making me into your mudblood whore.”
Draco’s shoulders jerked at the mention of “mudblood whore”.
“I didn’t feel that I had succeeded in anything except humiliating us both.
I know I drove you to doing what you did. I won’t hold it against you anymore if you do the same for me.”
Draco Malfoy: mature and forgiving. These were not words Hermione would ever have thought to link together.
His eyes flitted around her face, studying her creased brow and pinched lips.
“Okay. For a butter beer.”
“I’ll purge that incident from my memory bank for a butter beer. The craving is nearly unbearable,” she elaborated, rubbing her belly and exhaling longingly.
Draco chuckled deep in his throat. “Who knew you’d be so cheap to buy off.”
“Don’t underestimate the value of giving a pregnant girl exactly what she wants. We can be your best friend or the reason you never see daylight again.”
They entered Diagon Alley with hunched shoulders and gazes to the ground. Hermione heard Draco digging around in his jacket pocket and suddenly a black knitted beanie was pulled unceremoniously onto her head.
“Shove your hair into it. If anything is going to get us noticed, it’ll be that frizzy abomination.”
Hermione made a fist and wacked Draco’s arm with all her might before complying with his request.
He grit his teeth, but didn’t react beyond that. A scene was not what they needed.
Just as Hermione was forming a retort concerning his hair’s own bright, white hue, Draco pulled on his own olive green beanie.
He took her by the elbow as they walked down the bustling wizarding centre, casting his gaze to every available corner of his periphery and looking just more than a tad on edge.
“I think you’re causing more of an issue with your withering looks than you would be if you were doing cartwheels up and down the alley,” Hermione bit out through clenched teeth.
She heard him release a haggard breath before dropping him arm from her elbow and maintaining a more relaxed posture.
“I just don’t know what to expect, we haven’t been in public since this whole thing started and I’m fairly sure the whole point of you staying in the manor was so we wouldn’t have to find out.”
Ignoring his grumbling, Hermione lead them towards a Quidditch supplies store.
“I wonder who we’re in here for,” Draco snarked beside her.
Ignoring the Malfoy yet again, Hermione requested a pair of gold and red stitched Seeker’s gloves from the store clerk. At first the teenage boy appeared friendly and helpful as he walked away and reappeared with the item in question, but soon Draco and Hermione saw realisation sink into his slack features.
Hermione began to shift uncomfortably under his gaze, not knowing whether to ignore his obvious gawking or scream at the top of her lungs
“Yes! I am Hermione Granger, the responsible and brainy member of the golden trio. Yes, this is Draco Malfoy, a Death Eater, and yes this is his child growing inside of me. Would you like a bloody autograph?”
Before the pregnant girl could resolve her internal debate she was already being lead forcefully outside the door by a stony faced Malfoy, who collected the gloves off the counter and tossed a bag of galleons at the fumbling store clerk.
They were back into the cold of the busy alley. Draco pulled his beanie off, with more force than was required of the task, and ruffled his white blond hair with visible frustration, not looking Hermione in the eyes.
“We probably go to school with him,” Hermione deduced.
“How many more shops do you need to go to?” He asked, not commenting on her observation.
“Great. Well I can expect we’ll receive similar, if not more vocal reactions, from those who manage to get a decent look at us. So let’s get it over with.”
While speaking, Draco shoved his beanie back over his head and gently grasped Hermione by her upper arm.
What was with all this possessive touching?
“I still expect my butter beer! I don’t care if there is a wizarding war going on in the Three Broomsticks, I am not leaving until I get to taste that sweet ambrosia.”
Draco merely grunted in response to her dramatic display, but it wasn’t a “no” at least.
Their next stop was Flourish and Blotts, and Malfoy predictably had a snipe about her bookworm nature at the ready.
They were inside the shop for no more than two minutes before the same compulsion to shift away from the inquisitive gazes overcame her. She hadn’t looked up from the book she held in her hand, but had barely read more than the title. She was too focussed on the series of gasps and whispers that rose up from behind Malfoy, who was sandwiching her between him and the bookshelf.
Suddenly, an unmistakable ethereal voice floated to Hermione’s ears from in front of Draco, “Hermione, you shouldn’t get so close to the bookshelf like that, there is no telling how many Kratshunts are in there.”
“Luna!” Hermione cried.
Malfoy raised a single eyebrow at her uncharacteristic show of female giddiness. What he didn’t fail to see were her eyes shining with unshed tears as she darted out from behind her to embrace the odd girl.
Feeling uncomfortable at her obvious happiness at seeing another female who wasn’t his mother or her own, Draco cleared his throat and averted his gaze to the shops across the alley. What he saw in one of the shop windows caused his throat to constrict. He did not like the fact that the item could induce such a reaction in him, but he felt compelled to get it anyway.
He turned back to the two girls, Luna was busy pressing her hand against Hermione’s growing belly with that far away look he knew the girl often slipped into.
“Granger, I have to pick something up from across the road. Can I trust you not to wander off with Moon here for five minutes?”
That earned him an eye roll from Hermione and a confused expression from Luna as she turned around behind her twice to make sure it was her he was referring to.
“Yes, I’ll be right here with Luna.”
Malfoy waved off her correction with a hand as he walked out the door.
Luna looked at her with a face as blank as a canvas, and asked without a hint of sarcasm, “How did he get you pregnant again?”
Hermione couldn’t hold back the explosion of laughter that burst forth from her throat at Luna’s sincere question.
Once Hermione had settled down, she replied as honestly as she could,
“It seems like someone out there has a lot of power and a dismal sense of humour.”
The two girls walked down the aisle towards the back of the store, a particularly interesting title caught Hermione’s attention, and she quickly picked it up without breaking her stride.
She was giving Luna a lingering hug goodbye when Draco returned with a small package in hand. Hermione didn’t bother asking what it was, she didn’t have the energy for the conversation that would be required to beat it out of him. This was the most activity she had demanded of her body in a long while and she was completely drained. Not to mention, it would also lead to questions about her own purchase.
“One more stop before butter beer,” she reminded him while breezing past the door he had opened for himself.
She decided Honeydukes would be more than a safe bet for Ron, she emerged with a basket that rested on her bulging belly and towered over her line of vision. Hermione counted the steps leading from the shop in her head 1… 2…. 3.. “Ohh!” she cried, having misjudged how far away the last step was, she screwed her eyes tightly shut in preparation for the imminent impact.
But it never came. Malfoy had grabbed her around the waist and took the leaning tower of sweets off her hands. His left hand was splayed across her engorged midsection.
Suddenly, Draco jolted away from her at the same time she felt a strange pushing sensation on her right side.
“What the hell was that?” He cried, plonking the sweets on the step behind her, bringing his wild eyes and quick breaths close to her ear.
“The baby.. It kicked.” She couldn’t bring herself to look at him, instead Hermione spoke to his chest.
Without waiting for a reply, she swooped down to pick up her Honeydukes purchase and swiftly turned around again to make a beeline for the Three Broomsticks.
What she didn’t count on what Draco moving even closer to her so that she turned smack bang into his unbearably hard chest.
“I’ll uh..” he cleared his throat, “I’ll carry that.”
Surprised, but not willing to look a gift horse in the mouth, she handed it off to him. They walked in silence, both considering the gravity of what had just occurred. Hermione had a tightness in her chest, her breath was shaky as she considered if she and Draco had been any other couple there would have been tears of joy, words of affection and the all encompassing warmth and tingle that happened at a moment of pure bliss. But they weren’t.
Draco was still reeling from the fact that the child he often detached from Hermione had suddenly sewn together an inextricable connection in his soul through such a fleeting act.
They made their way inside and made their way to the darkest corner of the pub, both feeling as if there had been enough attention on them for one day.
After another minute of unbearable silence, Hermione stood with the intention of heading to the bar, but Draco placed his hand over hers and whispered, “I’ll get it.”
Hermione sat back down and placed her hands together as if she were were praying, desperately trying to think of something safe to say once he returned.
“Why… why didn’t you tell me that was happening?” Draco’s voice was strained and high compared to his normal deep growl. He placed a butterbeer in front of her, but Hermione didn’t even spare it a glance.
She brought her gaze up to his own, their hot breath mingled in the short space between them, still slightly white from the outside cold. Hermione hadn’t expected more than a dismissive grunt, and he had never so much as looked at her stomach since the muggle ultrasound, let alone touched it before. So, all she could think of to say was the truth.
“That was the first time.”
Hermione noticed he had bought himself a tumbler of Firewhiskey, for which he was probably more grateful for at this moment than before.
With a slight nod, he tapped his glass against her own and downed the entire drink without even a wince.
She in turn picked up her glass and tilted it in his direction before also chugging the entire contents, Hermione let her eyes fall shut and elicited a low moan, momentarily forgetting that things were supposed to be awkward with the man in front of her.
“Shall we head back?” Hermione asked.
“Hm?” Draco pulled his attention from the empty tumbler in front of him to see that Hermione had also finished her beverage with the same vigour.
“Definitely,” he said, brushing his fingers along the small package on the inside of his coat.
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