A/N: Well, here is the MUCH waited for next chapter. I can't believe it's been almost two years since I've updated! My life has been through so much in that time though, that I never got a chance to just sit down and write. I will be the first to admit that this is far from my best chapter. Most likely I will come back later and fine tune it. But finally, after so long, I have an idea where its headed again.
So if you're still reading this story, after all this time, I thank you for that.
Alive. Draco was alive.
It had been days, and still Hermione was having trouble believing that it was real. It was almost ironic, had it had taken her so long to accept Draco’s death, and now here she was, having to accept the fact that he was alive.
How many times had she said those words to herself, only to shake her head and convince herself that she had to be hallucinating? That there was no way that any of this could really and truly be happening?
But all she had to do when she needed to reassure herself that it was real, to step into the doorway of Scorpius’s room and watch as Draco played with his son, to know that this was how it was supposed to be, always should have been and how close they all came to losing this, forever.
“Mama!” Scorpius cried, jumping off Draco’s lap and running toward Hermione.
At first she had worried how she was going to have to try to explain this sudden reappearance of Draco to Scorpius, who had been so inquisitive about the disappearance, but she needn't have worried. All Scorpius had to do was take one look at Draco, and all that time in between melted away, almost as if Draco had been away on some kind of special holiday.
He wrapped his little arms around her legs, and as she stood there, with Scorpius wrapped around her and the new baby in her arms, Draco walked over and wrapped his arms around her.
“This is the way it should be,” he whispered, nuzzling her neck.
“It just seems so unreal,” she whispered back. “I can’t believe it’s really you, that you’re really here. Sometimes I’m afraid that I’ll open my eyes and you’ll be gone again, that all of this will just be a dream.”
He smiled. “This is no dream.”
Harry slammed his hand down on the desk again. He couldn’t believe that he was losing his temper like this - and so often - but he was just so frustrated.
“Harry?” Blaise said, stepping into the office.
Harry looked up, but didn’t say anything.
“Why don’t you go ahead and call it a night?” he said. “You’re beyond frustrated, and going on home would do you some good.”
“If I go home, all I’m going to do is take it out on Ginny. Or storm over to Draco’s and take it out on him. There is something in here that I’m missing, and because I can’t figure it out, it’s irritating the piss out of me.”
Blaise raised an eyebrow. “Take the file with you. Go over to the Malfoy’s. Get Draco’s take on it. Get Hermione’s take on it.” He rolled his eyes. “I wondered why no one thought about getting her opinion on it. If I remember, she was always the one who knew all the answers. She can probably take one glance at this case and solve it.”
For the first time, Harry actually felt like laughing. “Maybe that’s why no one has asked her. How dumb would we all feel if she solved this in five minutes and we’ve been working on it for a year?”
Blaise shrugged. “Don’t ask me.”
Harry stood up, put on his overcoat and grabbed the file. “I think I’ll take your advice. Keep up the good work. And I’ll.... I’ll let you know what happens.”
Hermione jumped at the knock on the door. It pulled her away from her thoughts and she glanced at Draco. It seemed like everything made her jump these days, as though there would be a knock from someone who had discovered the secret and would come to haul Draco away.
She peeked through the window and breathed a sigh of relief.
“It’s just Harry,” she said, opening the door.
Walking in, he pulled off his coat. “It’s just Harry,” he mimicked. “Gee thanks. That makes me feel welcomed.”
Hermione gave him a half-hearted punch on the arm. “You know what I mean, Harry.”
He looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
Draco stepped into the room, with Scorpius trailing behind him and cradling the baby in his arms. “Hello, Harry,” he said.
Blaise just shook his head in disbelief. So much had happened today! It like a week had passed rather than just the work day.
He had tried to shrug it off when Harry had first mentioned it, but it definitely shook him up a bit. Not that he wasn’t ecstatic about the fact. After all, Draco was one of his best friends, and he had truly been upset when he thought that Draco had been murdered. And here, after all this time.
He let out a deep breath. It wasn’t over, though, he reminded himself. They still had a case to solve, and more than that, there were several parts that needed solving. Although, maybe now they would have a better chance at it.
“So let me get this straight, you want me, me!, to go over these case files - confidential case files at that - to see what I can come up with?” Hermione asked as she stared at Harry.
He and Draco shared a look. No matter how much time had passed, she would still always be the same Hermione.
“Well,” Harry started, “that was kind of the idea. I mean, we’ve been dealing with this case forever. And you have a fine eye for detail. I thought that maybe you would be able to find something in it that none of us have been able to.
She sighed. “I might as well as give it a try. You never know.”
Harry shifted his feet around a few times before he started clearing his throat.
“I um, kind of told Blaise the truth about you,” he said, figuring that it would have a disastrous response. After all, Draco had never actually mentioned Blaise and whether or not he could be trusted to know the truth.
Draco merely nodded. “Blaise is a good guy. He’ll do right, and he won’t let anyone know. Now that he knows, it would probably be a wise idea to bring him around, since I can’t go out, we could have him come here and that way we could still do our business without you having to bring it to me all of the time.”