Chapter 23 : Blood Is Thicker Than Water, Except When Love is Involved
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Her excitement still doesn't fade that her suspicion about her baby being a girl is true. It makes her honestly proud. She already can imagine what her little one will be like. Hopefully a bookworm like she was, everyone would know her as Hermione’s little girl, smart and beautiful. Hopefully strong like Draco.
Draco interrupts her thoughts with a kiss on her cheek. “’Morning,” he mumbles.
“Hey there,” Hermione whispers to him, smiling.
“I have to work today,” Draco says, starting to get out of bed.
“Well, I don’t want to go to work today. I’m too tired. I will go another day soon and I also don’t feel like everyone staring at me. I will finish my Auror training, and I decided that’s the job I’ll do after Arabell’s born,” Hermione states, grinning and then getting out of bed herself. She will stay and relax today at Harry and Ginny’s.
“That will be good, and Arabell will be her nickname?” asks Draco.
"Yes," replies Hermione with a glowing smile.
Draco gets dressed as Hermione makes her bed, staying in her pajamas. Soon they walk in the kitchen together where Ginny of course is just finishing her cooking. Today it is cinnamon rolls, all homemade from scratch.
Draco and Hermione sit side by side on the bar stools. Being twenty-three weeks, Hermione is not comfortable sitting on such a hard and unstable chair, but she doesn’t stir.
“Good morning!” Ginny says brightly, putting plates under Draco and Hermione’s noses and plopping two cinnamon rolls on each plate, adding scrambled eggs to them as well. Hermione digs in immediately, Draco watches her, amused.
Ginny giggles, “You can definitely tell she’s eating for two!”
“Shut it Ginny!” Hermione chuckles, trying not to laugh as she wipes icing off of her cheek with her finger.
They then eat in silence, and Ginny says all of a sudden when Hermione finishes her last bite, “Ron and Lavender broke up again.”
Hermione rolls her eyes at the news. “Wow, talk about an on and off again couple.”
“I think they’re made for each other, they are pathetically both dim-witted,” Draco adds.
Ginny and Hermione both glare at him. “My brother isn’t that bad, he just makes stupid choices sometimes.” Hermione nods in agreement to what Ginny said. Draco scowls.
They have not heard anything from Harry as far as the small breakout from Azkaban. Nothing is in the papers either. It seems that Kingsley just concludes the bars on the windows will keep the rest in and while the other Death Eaters are nowhere to be found, which raises worry in the wizarding world.
Harry and Draco both kiss the girls goodbye and apparate to the Ministry, oddly together. Draco chats but Harry doesn’t speak much back, he still doesn’t particularly like Draco. He has a feeling about him, and not a good one.
Hermione and Ginny chat and laugh, mostly talking about their crazy men. And they also gossip about Lavender too and how she’s probably in The Pub, drinking off her sorrows.
“Well, let’s go shopping and visit your mum,” Ginny suggests, as they have been pondering what they should do today.
“Sounds good, let me call her,” Hermione states, picking up her phone. Her mother agrees to meet the two girls and James in a Muggle mall near London.
Hermione showers and gets dressed in a loose blue halter top and some khaki maternity shorts. She is getting bigger by the day still, and Arabella kicks constantly. Ginny comments on how cute Hermione looks. Ginny has also dressed up for a warm occasion with simple flip flops, denim shorts and a tank top. They watched a movie for a few hours before departing to London.
The girls get all comfortable in the Ford Anglia after they eat grilled cheese sandwiches at about noon. Hermione’s mum loves shopping so she is totally up to the offer and has said to meet her at the entrance of the mall called Sikes Center Mall.
After about twenty-five minutes of flying, the Ford Anglia lands on a rural side street near the mall. Hermione and Ginny pull into a parking space at last near the entrance like her mum requested. Jean Granger, dressed in sweat pants and a sporty top and sneakers, waits for them with a smile. Ginny gets out and hugs Mrs. Granger and then whips to the back seat to get James, who was eight-months old today and is starting to coo and babble more.
“Oh what a cutie!” Jean exclaims, pinching James’ cheeks and he laughs as she tickles him, “This must be the baby girl’s future husband!”
Ginny laughs at this, “Yes, I’d like to think that! That would be cool. Although I don’t know about him having Draco Malfoy as a father-in-law,” jokes Ginny. Hermione glares at her and she quits laughing about it and the women fall silent for a few moments.
“The baby girl’s name is going to be Arabella Nymphadora,” Hermione says out of nowhere as they walk into a baby store after walking the halls for a while. Jean and Ginny made “aww” sounds.
"After Tonks, it’s beautiful, Hermione!” Ginny affirms with a sad smile, looking briefly at the bump extending out of Hermione’s pelvis.
“Arabella, my first grand-daughter, how charming. For a little while Hermione, I was worried you wouldn’t ever want to bare children, as bookworm and anti-boys as you were in your early teenage years!” Jean tells her daughter.
Hermione burst out laughing, “Things change mum, obviously.”
“That they do!” Jean agrees, picking up some frilly pink dresses for baby girls with bows to complete the outfits.
“I want a girl someday,” Ginny states, looking at all the booties they had which were ballet shoe like and came with adorable socks.
“I want a boy someday!” Hermione says back, smiling at her friend.
“Well maybe we will both get what we want then,” Ginny says with a shrug.
“Well, I always wanted two children but we could only seem to have one, Hermione is enough,” Jean says, hugging her daughter. Hermione chuckles at this, “Wow mum, way to make me feel loved.”
They find baby Arabella a good amount of some very cute, pink, frilly, glittery, you name it clothes and Hermione and Jean went to check out as Ginny takes James and walks to the boy section.
Hermione, feeling a little tired from walking so much, wants to sit on a wooden bench that sits in the middle of the stores.
Jean sits next to her. “Are you happy baby?” She asks her daughter, reaching out for her hand.
“I am mum. I am happy; I hope it stays that way.” Hermione truthfully says, smiling.
“Does Draco treat you well?” Jean wonders, her brown eyes looking into her daughter’s as they matched perfectly.
“Yes, he’s a bit ornery at times, but he is great mum, I truly like him a lot, maybe even love him.”
“Good,” Jean states, looking at the mall customers walking by.
As they sit there, a group of women come by and asked to feel Hermione’s tummy, and ask her questions like, when are you due? And things like that. “In the fall, it’s a girl and her name is Arabella,” Hermione says to a group of giggling Muggle college girls as they look at Hermione’s baby belly. After a while the questions and stares got annoying and luckily Ginny is done and they depart to some different stores.
They walk for two more hours before they finally start to get really tired.
Draco Malfoy sits in his Improper Use of Magic Office’s break room eating his late lunch that he has just bought from the cafeteria downstairs, a House-Elf Homemade Tuna Delight. It has been a busy day and it is nearing around three o’clock. He is just finishing when quick footsteps enter the room.
“Malfoy, I have to tell you something and you aren’t going to like it,” A familiar voice sneers.
Draco turns around and Dean Thomas is looking at him. Dean and Draco have become great friends in the past few months; he is one of his favorite co-workers and is usually his partner since Zabini betrayed him. They do a lot of assignments together.
“What’s up Thomas?” Draco asks, thinking it would be just another ol’ assignment that they wouldn’t enjoy.
“It’s about Hermione,” Dean says, sitting next to him looking upset.
Draco stood up like a bullet shot off. “What’s wrong? She okay?”
“Yes, she’s fine. But you might not be after I tell you this.” Draco’s face falls, and he just stares blankly at Dean as Dean pushes him to sit back in the chair.
“I went to visit the Potters the a few days ago-” Dean starts.
Draco waves his hands, “Go on!”
“And Ron Weasley was there-” Dean pauses, hesitating.
“And?!” Draco is getting impatient now.
“They were snogging, and Ron was saying “our baby” and referring to Hermione’s stomach. She was agreeing with him…” Dean says frowning.
Draco looks at him, searching for any signs that he may be joking. This is not funny at all. They have just found out they are having a baby girl yesterday, and he doesn’t think Hermione would ever do something so horrible. Not the girl he knows. No way.
Dean does not have any hint of joke and his face and is still frowning. “I’m sorry mate. I know you really like her, but she has been with Ron nine years before you, you know? And I heard them saying they conceived the baby the night before they broke up and-“
“Stop Thomas, just stop, get out!” Dean looks at Draco with fearing eyes.
“Out! NOW!” Draco yells at him.
Dean stands up and leaves Draco alone in the break room. It is nearing his time to clock back in so he stands up and breathing very hard, walks out of the break room and back into his office which luckily is a private one. He can’t believe it, it can’t be true.
He looks up suddenly and sees a brown haired man he seems to recognize whipping around the corner across the room and Dean sits in his office across from Draco, looking mental. Was that Dolohov? No... Surely not…his eyes were playing tricks on him.
Draco Malfoy is actually hurt. He has never felt so upset before and he can’t believe that he has done this entire changing, falling for a muggle-born, and now he is getting karma for it. He never felt vulnerable or hurt when he was his old self. Maybe being this new, nice Draco Malfoy is a mistake.
The rest of the day is an awkward one. Dean walks into Malfoy’s office asking about an assignment that they were currently sharing a partnership on. He asks a question as though they had not had the previous discussion about Hermione in the staff break room that afternoon. But Draco is so upset from the news he gave him, he doesn’t think anything of it.
“You okay Malfoy?” Dean Thomas asks.
“Sure, brilliant!” Draco says angrily, not believing Dean would even ask him this. After Draco told him all the details about how he feels for Hermione and suddenly, Dean had this news and now he’s acting like everything is okay. Dean looks at him questionably. “Well then, I’ll see you later mate, have a good night. Tell Hermione hi.” What just happened? How odd…
Draco watches him go with a cocked eyebrow. He wonders what this is about but decides not to think anything of it. But all he knows is he was upset and very hurt that the girl he now loves isn’t really the girl he thought she is at all. He isn’t really about to be a father to a baby girl. Ron Weasley is. Hermione has hurt Draco, badly. For the first time ever.
Hermione and Ginny return home after having dinner with Mrs. Granger, it is nearing six and the boys should be back soon. Ginny makes them some simple macaroni and cheese and ham sandwiches. But at six o’clock, only Harry walks in the door.
“Hey Hermione, Ginny!” Harry greets, sitting at the island on a bar stool.
“Hi Harry!” Ginny says, kissing her husband and plopping macaroni on his plate.
“Where’s Draco?” Asks Hermione.
Harry looks at her. “I saw him leaving, thought he’d be coming here.”
“No he isn’t here, maybe he went to go see his mum, he has been staying here a few days,” States Hermione, looking at her phone.
No texts or calls from Draco at all. Hermione texts him, asking him where he was. She waits but there is no answer.
Draco walks up to the gates of Malfoy Manor; he is not going to see Hermione tonight. He doesn’t want to see Hermione at all. He wants to stay as far away from her as possible. I guess this is what he gets for falling in love with a mudblood. His heart broken. Karma. Maybe he shouldn’t’ve changed into this ‘nice’ guy. Nice guys get hurt. Maybe that’s why he was so cold and mean in the past.
When Draco nears the entrance the guard says, “I don’t know if you want to go in there. They’re back-”
Draco’s heart lurched, THEY? As in his Father might be in here? But how? He watched himself as Kingsley put the bars on the windows, but maybe he’s wrong... maybe there was another way they are escaping. Only the strongest Death Eaters would know how to fool the Ministry by breaking out of there, only the most lethal and powerful ones.
Draco takes a deep breath and walks into the manor. To his horror, his past stands before him like a flashback only it was the present, they really are back. He can see into the drawing room and there is a table full of black, robed Death Eaters. They escaped Azkaban. But what is their purpose? Voldemort is gone.
“Draco!” A cool voice calls.
Draco spins around, sure enough, there is Lucius Malfoy. He walks toward his son slowly.
“Hi Father,” Draco says in a fake somewhat excited tone.
“Draco, come here,” Lucius beckons darkly. Draco walks toward him. Lucius takes his large, pale hand and slaps Draco across the face, causing the Death Eaters to all stand up and look at them. “How could you be with a mudblood? How can you talk to me the way you did?” Lucius simply asks.
“Yes, I wondering that myself,” adds Yaxley coldly, who is standing next to his father all of a sudden. Astoria’s father is also by Lucius, glaring at him dangerously without words.
Draco feels as though he could pass out but comes to and stands straight up to look at his father but doesn’t say a work and just glares at him, not answering his question. Luckily Narcissa comes into the entrance room to the three men at the right moment. “We are about to start. Hello Draco, sweety.” Draco is stunned as he looked at his mum. He wants to know how the hell all the most valued Death Eaters are now in his house. Again.
Draco walks into the room with the Death Eaters and takes a seat next to his mum, where he always sat during meetings. Everyone is staring at him and whispering. What was going on? What is the meeting about? Surely not about him, he hopes not.
The man Draco recognizes as Rodolphus Lestrange, his uncle who was his late aunt Bellatrix’s husband stands up before them all.
“We HAVE ESCAPED!” He roars. There is much applause and jeers around the table.
“Bella would’ve been so proud!” Rodolphus then says, his yellow teeth showing as he smiles, you can tell they don’t have tooth brushes in Azkaban.
“Quiet you pathetic bimbos, now let’s get started!” Rodolphus says, looking at his brother in law, Lucius.
“I am happy that we are all back! That was the worst two years of my life!” Lucius says, smiling at his fellow Death Eaters in relief. “Now, the plan...” Draco straightens up and listens closely, wanting to know everything.
“We don’t need to worry about the others, they are weaklings any way and prove no help in helping the Dark Lord when he was alive, bless him. So I think us for now would be fine. However, we must have a leader. I would love to take the position-“
“NO!” Growls Yaxley and Rodolphus in unison.
“My wife was his most loyal; I shall take the position since she is now deceased!” Rodolphus yells.
“No, I have the best reigns on the Ministry, I should be leader!” Yaxley protests as his blonde/gray braid sways as he fidgets with his silverware in frustration.
“We will have a vote!” Dolohov yells, “I would like to nominate myself as well!” The Death Eaters around him cheer him on.
Draco can’t believe this was happening, they are going to try to go at large again. They are trying to get a new leader in Voldemort’s place. No, he can’t let this happen! But he has no choice, he has to sit there or he will simply be killed.
His thoughts drift to Hermione, he loathes her at this moment, and he doesn’t want to be anywhere near her. This is the best place to be to stay away from her and the rest of the Golden Trio, with his old ‘friends’. Maybe he will pretend to be like them again. He looks at his Dark Mark tattoo, it prickles in pain.
“All in favor for Yaxley!” Screams Lucius. Only eight Death Eaters raise their hands.
“For Dolohov!” All but Draco and another Death Eater raise their hands.
Draco grunts in amusement, Dolohov is mental; he doesn’t care who is in front of him when he works spells. He is heartless; he can be the next Voldemort if he really amounts to it.
“For me, Lucius!” Half raises their hand. “And for Rodolphus!” Twelve raised their hand. “So, Dolohov, looks like you won this,” Lucius sneers, disgusted and jealous.
Dolohov smiles in a twisted way. “Yes, looks like it. So as your new leader, I want to share what the plan is with you all…” he pauses to get a breath, “We still want to kill Harry Potter, he killed the Dark Lord! He is head Auror now who thinks he can control us even more! He needs to die!”
Dolohov says this in a way that makes chills go up Draco’s spine. He feels bad about this; he actually has started to like Harry and the rest of them since he has been with Hermione. Hermione… oh God, what will they want to do to her, she’s pregnant! He doesn’t know for sure whose baby but he doesn’t want her harmed, even if what Thomas said is true.
“The two friends of his need to be murdered as well, that Weasley and Granger are their names? And anyone who associates with Harry Potter! No one is spared this time!” Dolohov continues, licking his lips in hunger for Harry’s death.
Narcissa looks at her son in horror, shaking her head sadly for him. Draco feels as if he could cry. “No!” Draco says, loud enough for a few people to hear around him. Then everyone turns to him.
“Draco…” Dolohov said with an evil smile, “I forgot you are here!” Draco falls silent; all color from his face disappears. They are going to kill him. He just knows it.
“Are you still with the mudblood Draco?” Asks Dolohov, standing up and walking to Draco’s chair, laying a cold hand on his shoulder.
Draco’s heart feels like it can jump out of his chest, “N-no sir.” As Draco says that, the memories from yesterday, talking about the baby’s name come rushing back, his or Ron’s baby, they didn’t know for sure. Now they want to kill her, the girl he loves. The pain is unbearable to imagine that. “But… you usually don’t harm pregnant women, she’s erm, pregnant and that’s all I was saying s-sir,” Draco says lousily, trembling.
Lucius looks at his son with a silent rage, he knows what his son has done and he is not happy. He then also pipes up, “Draco, that was never a rule, and it isn’t going to be now. If we find Granger we are going to kill her, and her friends,” Lucius says to his son coldly.
Draco is now turning green, he feels sick to his stomach and jumps up from the table, running to the nearest bathroom and emptying the contents of his stomach in the toilet bowl. He sits by the toilet, breathing hard and holding a hand to his forehead, beads of sweat roll down his pale face. This can’t be happening, they aren’t supposed to ever be back. But of course, he knew they would eventually come back and try to revenge Voldemort’s death, but this soon? It has only been two years!
Draco stands up, he feels like he will fall over again though. There is a light knock on the door. “Draco, sweety, you okay?”
“No mum, you should know I’m not okay!” Draco answers back, opening the door and looking into her face. “Mum, how? How are they here?” Draco questions his mother, sweating bullets.
“They escaped after killing an Auror named Seamus Finnigan and stealing his wand, apparently the man was new and the other employees didn’t even recognize he was missing, they got rid of his body you see, Dolohov did. Dolohov was the one who killed him by his hand, he strangled the man and stole his wand and kept it hidden until security for the night was lessened and that’s when the first lot escaped. Then he went back last night to help release the others. The security is less strong now that they removed the dementors, thinking they have less to worry about, but obviously that was a mistake that Kingsley made, because look where we are now!” She pauses and examines her son, “Let’s go to your room and talk.”
They walk upstairs quietly, not wanting anyone to hear them. Draco’s stomach feels a pang of grief, Seamus is a good friend of Dean Thomas, and he only just started working as an Auror after working for another company for the past two years. It sucks knowing someone his age, who just started their life, has died.
But then… “Narcissa! Where are you? Where’s Draco?!” Lucius’ voice echoes off the walls in his yell.
“Here, coming, Draco just got sick!” Narcissa casts her son a worried look and they both return to the drawing room. But when they are going back in Lucius grabs his son by the neck and drags him to a dark spot under the stairs.
“Lucius!” Narcissa gasps.
Lucius punches Draco hard again right in the temple, causing Draco to black out and fall almost against the wall.
“It’s the Weasley boys baby Father! N-not mine!” Draco says as soon as he opens his eyes again.
Lucius put down his fist, which he was about to hit Draco with again. “Okay, you better be telling the truth Draco, I swear, if you let me down this time, I don’t know I might have to let Dolohov ki…”
”Lucius, stop, please!” Narcissa begs desperately, tears staining her eyes now.
“Fine!” Lucius says snidely to his wife and then he throws Draco to the ground, hard.
Narcissa comes to her son’s side again, helping him up as Lucius disappears into the drawing room once again. “Draco honey, it is your baby, Dolohov put Dean Thomas under the Imperius Curse today in the Ministry, and he was disguised! But Draco you can’t be with Hermione right now! It’s far too dangerous!” Draco nods, tears staining his eyes now as well, he feels weak. And sick after throwing up and then getting punched and thrown to the hard ground. But he is happy what Dean told him isn’t true, he had had a feeling. He is the father to this baby girl. To Savanna Isabella. And he has to protect her and Hermione, and the rest of the Harry Potter clan… he cares for them... He has never cared for anyone before like this, they are real friends. Even if some of them still don’t like him.
Draco stands up next to his mother who is supporting him. “Draco, we have to go back in there and pretend nothing is going on with you, they will kill you Draco,” Narcissa begs, panicking.
“I know mum, I will do okay. I will act as one of you guys again and pretend to hate Hermione. I will protect my baby and her. I will because I am not my father.”
Narcissa burst into tears and hugs her son to her. “That you aren’t Draco, you are a good man. Your father was one day, but now… I don’t know, he just isn’t good anymore at all, never has been since the Dark Lord’s re-rising,” she pauses to wipe her tears and looks at her son, “Draco we have to go back in, let’s go.” Draco agrees and follows her into the drawing room again, his head pounding. Still feeling nauseated.
Dolohov is still speaking; he does not acknowledge Draco and Narcissa when they walk back in. They sit back in their seats and didn’t say a word. “Kill Harry and his friends, if possible. If not, we will not stop trying to find him, we can’t let him live when the Dark Lord is dead. We need to start tonight.”
Draco can’t stand it. He has to leave to warn Hermione and the rest of them what is going on. He has to go now before it’s too late.
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