Chapter 18 : Questions..
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Hermione stares at the small letter, four hours after Perkins delivered it. She sits at her desk after a long session of talking on the phone to a witch named Gabriella Stone who has an abnormal amount of elves whom she doesn’t take care of properly. It is up to Hermione what actions the Department takes, but her mind is too occupied to think straight.
Luna is curious as to what the letter says and looks over her shoulder. “Oh how we would miss you Hermione, you love it here in this office!” Luna exclaims.
“I know Luna, I know, but Arthur promised me some great stuff and you are leaving again soon anyway-” Hermione retorts matter-of-factly back.
She thinks about how this would affect her pregnancy, this is a full-time job being offered to her, not part time and she would be on her feet and on investigations a lot. Being in her second trimester at fifteen weeks now, she is a little less tired but is gaining a little weight.
The pay sounds nice and she will get to work with another passion of her’s, working with Muggle artifacts and arresting people who try to mess with them wrongly, helping to keep Magical Laws obeyed. She would also help out with the Aurors every now and then.
The biggest downfall of this is that the office she would have is just a few steps away from the offices that the Aurors have, and that means she would see Lavender and Ron all the time. She really doesn’t want to go through that awkwardness every day, but frankly she really doesn’t care anymore.
Luna stares at Hermione which is getting on her nerves. “What are you going to do?” Luna asks, obviously not wanting her good friend to leave.
“Luna, I will need time to think about it,” Hermione states sharply.
“Sorry for bothering you, I will be leaving now to go and meet and talk to that woman with all the elves. Thanks for your help today with the case Hermione. I will take over from here. I would go and get checked for nargles, you aren’t acting like yourself,” says Luna, she then walks out of their office looking at Hermione quite seriously, to which Hermione giggles at when her friend is out of the office. This is Luna trying to be rude.
For the first time after arriving at work, Hermione has peace and quiet since she got here and her day at work is almost over. At six o’clock, she locks up her office, not hearing from or seeing Luna after she has left to see the elf keeper. She didn’t expect to know the outcome of the case until tomorrow.
Draco sits and waits for Hermione at the entrance of the elevator on her colorful floor of the Ministry. He is frowning and looks rather bothered.
Hermione walks to him and gives him a kiss on the cheek, something he barely notices. He also doesn’t look down at her at all, as if he is trying to think of how to say something to her.
“What’s wrong?” She asks, worry filling her heart.
“Nothing, let’s go,” Draco snaps in a low tone, standing up and walking into the elevator. Hermione just looks at him on the way down and he doesn’t look at her once.
Once they got off the elevator, Hermione questions him. “Draco, tell me, please?” She beckons. She just knows something must be wrong.
Draco looks at Hermione finally. “Zabini, that’s what.”
“Oh no, what about him? What did he say to you?” Hermione wonders.
Draco scowls and shakes his head at her angrily. “We will talk about it outside!”
Hermione quickens her pace to get out of the building so she can speak to Draco without a lot of noise.
They step outside into the sunny evening near the entrance of the Ministry and Draco looks at Hermione to tell her what happened.
“He told me he doesn’t want to be partnered up with me in the office anymore because of me sleeping with a mud-blood piece of rubbish and that he doesn’t consider me a friend anymore because I am a disgrace to him and the rest of the purebloods. Apparently the Carrows told his father we are together because my mum has been in contact with them still, so now Dean Thomas and I are partners!” He pauses and then narrows his eyes at Hermione accusingly, “he also says he thinks that your baby is Weasley’s not mine and that I should get that cleared up! He says that he may have seen you kissing him in The Pub last Saturday!”
Hermione’s jaw flies open in disbelief. “Do you believe him?!” She can’t believe what just came out of his mouth. How he would even question that, she doesn’t know.
“No, I don’t! But it isn’t true, is it? Actually, I don't know who to believe!” Draco admits, not knowing whether to believe his best friend or Hermione.
“NO! I WOULD NEVER SLEEP WITH THAT CHEATING RED-HEADED GIT AGAIN! You did believe him Draco!” Hermione is hacked off now, how can Draco question this if he knows she loves him like he does her? The past… that's why, she realizes.
Hermione notices that Ron had heard her and instantly starts to feel bad for her choice of words. He stands against a wall not far away from them after talking to a co-worker from his office and is now eyeing Hermione with sad eyes.
Lavender walks out the doors moments later and he turns to her and says slowly, “Let’s go Lavender.” He grabs her arm and walks away, not looking at Hermione again. Lavender goes with him, questioning why he is in such a hurry.
“No I didn’t, Granger! I am just making sure. I didn’t really question it, but I need to know. Maybe we should take a break for a few days, and I can brush this off of me,” Draco breathes, looking at the sky, beads of sweat forming on his forehead.
“Granger again is it?! Fine Malfoy, I’ll see you around!” Hermione concludes, turning away and walking back inside so she can go home to Ginny and Harry’s.
Draco watches her go and regrets what he just said, how can he let Zabini get to him so badly? How can he let Hermione go so easily? The girl he loves now and is having a child with… he can’t.
“Hermione!” He desperately yells at the doors. But she is already gone. He decides to just go home and let Hermione breathe for a day or two and then he will contact her with an apology because he truly doesn’t think she committed this abomination. Or maybe they should stay apart for just a little while? He doesn’t know how this kind of thing worked.
Hermione walks out of the Ministry lavatory wiping tears from her eyes, her pregnancy makes her even more emotional and she hates it because she is strong; not like this, crying over a stupid man.
How can he doubt her? She thought that they trust each other completely despite the rough past they had, although they haven’t been together long. Why did he let Zabini’s accusation get to him so easily? Had he even defended her? Maybe Draco hasn't REALLY changed like she originally thought.
She is in full blown tears when she arrives to the front porch of Ginny and Harry’s after walking down their driveway where she apparated.
“What’s wrong?” Ginny questions frantically when Hermione opens the front door.
“Draco wants a break because Zabini called me names and ended their friendship over me. He also told Draco he saw me kissing Ron and it started a fight between us!” Hermione sobs into her friend’s shoulder. "Zabini is just doing this because he hates his friend dating a Muggle-born and doesn't want Malfoy around me!"
“Were you kissing Ron?” Ginny questions, her eyebrows rose.
“No she wasn’t kissing me…although I wish she wa-” Ron gloats, suddenly showing up beside them.
“Ron! Shut it!” Ginny interrupts. He must have apparated right behind Hermione.
“Where’s Lavender?” Hermione sneers angrily at him.
Ginny is surprised with Hermione’s tone, is she jealous of her brother’s girlfriend?
“She went home. Let’s talk Hermione, I just want to talk to you,” Ron whispers gently, looking at Hermione.
“Okay, I guess. I wonder what you've have got to say to me today!” Hermione bellows, trying to stop fuming. She wonders just what he was going to try now that Draco and she had their first fight.
“You two go, I’ll make us supper,” Ginny says wanting to give them alone time, giving Hermione a quick hug and leaving them by closing the house door.
Ron and Hermione walk toward the end of the driveway. They don’t want to apparate anywhere so they decide to sit in a shady area on a wooden bench beside the Potter’s pond where they are hidden by tall wheat grass.
“Did he end things with you?” Ron questions curiously.
“No, he just wants a break. Zabini gave him a hard time at work about his being with me and he was very upset. Also Zabini said he saw us together at the Pub kissing just to get Draco to not want me,” Hermione tells him, watching the water which looked fiery with the setting sun reflecting off of it.
“Well, I am very sorry that your boyfriend is scum and has gits for friends-” Ron tells her.
“Ron, don't call Draco scum, this is all just so new to him! But I guess it’s good for him to cool off for a few days maybe it’s for the best,” huffs Hermione.
Ron looks at her tiny baby bump. “You’re getting bigger,” he notes, touching her belly briefly with his hand, making her jump.
“Yeah, I am… every week I seem to gain two or so pounds, this baby is making me fatter,” she jokes smiling.
Ron just looks at her for a moment, he misses her so much. The sun hits her eyes to where they look like a golden brown.
“You are beautiful no matter what Hermione,” Ron comments, smiling at her for the very first time since their break-up.
Hermione feels kind of flattered by this surprisingly. “Thanks Ron, I guess.”
They sit silently after that; the awkward compliment he gave her created some unwanted tension. They just continue looking at three ducks following each other in the water.
Ron has so much to say to her, but knows that nothing he says will make a difference in what he did. He knows she was too far gone. Maybe Malfoy won’t come back to her, but he highly doubts that.
Hermione turns and notices Ron gazing at her. She starts to cry when she thinks about how everything is more questionable and messed up than she ever imagined.
“Why are you crying?” Ron asks, concerned.
“Well Ron, I am pregnant. Also, I am with Malfoy and love him but I still also have feelings for you which I hate because of what you did to me. I think about us still and I hate that because I am happily with Malfoy, and I have to watch you every single day with Lavender and it makes me sick-“
Ron kisses her, interrupting her. She kisses him back, fighting mentally to get away and stop but she doesn’t want to. He then starts to kiss her more passionately and lays her head on the grass as he continues snogging her. This goes on for a good five minutes until Hermione finally pushes him off of her and stands up, “Ron, go!” She yells at him.
“But… why?!” He asks, coming toward her again, eager to make this his moment with her like old times.
“GO AWAY!” Hermione yells at him angrily. "You shouldn't have taken advantage of my emotional state Ronald!"
Ron, taken aback, got up and wanting to obey her, walks away from her frowning and then apparates to her orders back to the Burrow, not wanting to ruin anything else between them that he hasn't already ruined.
She just kissed Ron, what had she done?
What a horrible day… what would Draco say about this? He won’t know about this if they get back together… it was kind of an accident, she isn’t thinking straight after all of today’s happenings.
Besides, Draco and she are on a “break,” there’s no reason to tell him. Ron is her ex-fiancé, it was so hard not being able to ever kiss him anymore when she used to everyday for a while. Luckily she only thinks of this rarely. But she has to admit, it was kind of nice, kissing him again. Maybe to get some closure? No... He took advantage of her hormones and crying.
Draco looks at the picture of Hermione on his nightstand as he lay in bed. Who cares what Zabini said? Hasn’t he expected something like this to happen sooner or later? Zabini has never been the best friend to him anyways; he never treated him quite right.
He is so mad at himself for saying what he did to Hermione. He was absolutely hacked off with himself. And how could he question her about Weasley? He was one of the ‘first responders’ to her heartbreak, he saw her in the bookstore just a couple days after she found his letters and saw how much he broke her. Hermione is one that is hard to break and he knows it.
He picks up his phone and texts Hermione before he is too late:
I am so sorry for today, I did not mean it. I know that you no longer fancy Weasley. I was just so upset that my best friend would be so horrible to me but if lose him, so what. I love you Hermione, which will never change. Consider the break over… I am so sorry I acted so immature.
Hermione feels her phone vibrate at midnight as she lay motionless on her bed, she has been thinking about the kiss with Ron and how she felt something for him still but felt the kiss was closure for him and her. The new love for Draco that overtook the old feelings for Ron almost completely, she realizes this just keeps repeating countless times in her head. It’s like she is making herself be convinced for some reason, like she isn't convinced it was truly real.
She looks at the message on her mobile and smiles for the first time all day. It is still Draco who she wants now, Ron broke her heart. She needs to remember that. Wondering if she should text him back or just let it be for now and let him realize she won’t just let slide what he did to her today, she decides to ignore his text for now and falls asleep.
Draco stares at his phone, no text back. This causes him a little worry, what if she was with Weasley right now?
Oh stop it Draco, she’s pregnant with your child and she’s not a whore, she is probably asleep and mad! Draco thinks to himself, putting his phone on his nightstand next to Hermione’s picture and after texting her goodnight with no response he turns over and falls asleep as well after staring at her picture.
Hermione dreams of Ron and Draco fighting for her. There are different moments in the dream, a few which she was snogging Draco, and a few scenes where she was snogging Ron. Then the boys were at a duel with each other as Hermione cried in the background, clutching her pregnant stomach. Her dreams then changed to where she was at the Burrow with all the Weasley family and Harry, Ginny, and James. She was holding up her engagement ring and was showing it off to the whole family. But then the dream changed again to the altar of a church everyone was there, all the Weasleys, the Potters, all of the dead loved ones in ghost form.
Even Dumbledore was there; in fact he was the one marrying them, Aberforth Dumbledore of course, but his brother Albus stands by the ghost form of Fred.
Hermione is walking down the aisle in a white, flowy dress as her beautiful glittery train sliding along behind her. She expects to see Ron up at the altar and looks up as she walks up the stairs in front of the church congregation. There is Draco Lucius Malfoy staring down at her with a beautiful baby girl in his arms.
The baby girl has on a white dress and has a head band with white roses clinging to her blonde hair which is not very thick, the baby has gray eyes like Malfoy and a smile like Hermione’s. The baby girl looked to be about six months old or so. She is the most beautiful baby Hermione has ever seen. Was this their child?
Hermione reaches out for the baby in her dream and then she wakes up with a start… there is no more questions about whom she really loves or what she wants. But should she go for it? Or just stay single?
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