Chapter 24 : Chapter Twenty-Three: Dinner at the Burrow
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 23|
Change Background: Change Font color:
A/N: there are translations at the end of the chapter! you'll know what I'm talking about when you get there lol. enjoy! :)
Draco buttoned his jeans and smiled at Hermione as she sat on his bed watching him with a distracted gleam in her eyes. She smiled tentatively back before worrying her lip again.
Draco put his arms through his shirt and began buttoning it up, looking at Hermione through his lashes. He sighed. “What’s wrong?”
Hermione blinked and shrugged. “I’m just a bit nervous about the dinner. I haven’t been around the Weasleys in so long.”
“They’re practically your family, right?”
“Then it should be like no time has passed at all.”
Hermione said nothing, instead distracting herself with a loose thread on Draco’s duvet cover.
“Do they know we’re even coming?”
“Yes, I wrote to them earlier and they said we’re both more than welcome.” She continued toying with the thread.
Draco frowned. “Baby, what’s really bothering you?” He leaned toward Hermione and brought her face up to look at him. “Is it that I’m going to be there?”
She opened her mouth to deny it but closed it quickly. She blushed, embarrassed. “I’m just worried about how everyone will react. Last time I was there for my birthday they just asked a few questions but otherwise ignored it until Ron was completely rude about it. But with you there…”
“But with me there you think they’ll embarrass you?” he asked.
Hermione nodded. “I’m afraid of what they’ll say.”
“You really care about what they have to think?”
Hermione nodded. “They’re honestly the only people whose opinions I care about because they matter to me.”
Draco frowned at how miserable she seemed. “I don’t have to go.”
Hermione sat up at once. “No! You have to! I really want you to.”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “So what’s the big deal?”
Hermione shook her head and stood up. “I’m just being silly. Are you ready so we can go to my place? I still have to change.”
“Almost,” he said, standing up as well. He grabbed a light grey cashmere sweater and pulled it on over his white button up. He began rolling up his sleeves until they stopped at his elbows. “How do I look?” he asked, stepping back so Hermione could get a good view of him.
She smiled when he pushed back his soft hair to keep it out of his eyes. “I like the sweater. It brings out the grey flecks in your eyes.”
Draco smirked. “Oh, you’ve noticed my grey flecks, have you?” he teased, stepping forward and wrapping his arms around her waist. He kissed her on the lips and pulled back a bit to look at her. “I’ve noticed your gold flecks.”
Hermione blushed. “Oh, really?”
Draco nodded. “From that time I met you for the deposition at the Ministry. You shook my hand and looked me square in the eye and the light in the room was bright enough for me to notice. You have a rather large gold fleck in your left eye.”
Hermione smiled and picked at some imaginary lint on his shoulder. “I know,” she said quietly. “My dad has the same thing.”
Draco pursed his lips. “And when will I be able to meet this dad of yours?”
Hermione looked up, surprised. “You want to meet my muggle parents?”
Draco frowned. “Why wouldn’t I?”
She blinked in response, not having an answer. “They’ve moved to the countryside so I don’t visit them often…we can go whenever we’re both free. I’m actually long overdue for a visit.”
“Do you want me to meet them?”
“Yes, of course,” she said quickly. “I just haven’t really told them about my breakup with Ronald so it’ll come as a bit of a surprise to them, is all. I need to call and fill them in.”
Draco nodded and kissed her on the forehead before stepping back and letting her go. “Why don’t we head over to your place so we’re not late tonight. I don’t want to give a bad first impression.”
Hermione laughed and began following him out of his bedroom. “Oh, you’re way past bad first impressions.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “You’re telling me they still see me as the snotty kid from Hogwarts?”
Hermione smirked and nodded. “Oh, definitely. You left quite the impression back then. I lost track of how often you’d make fun of their financial status and red hair.”
Draco groaned. “Honestly, I don’t know how anyone didn’t beat me to a pulp for being such a prat.”
Hermione smiled and linked her arm through his as they stepped outside and into the apparation point. “I’m sure they’ve moved on from your elementary bullying after all these years.”
“I sure as hell hope so.”
Hermione laughed and apparated them both to her flat.
“I think tonight will go well, actually,” she said, picking up the conversation where it had left off. She immediately headed to her bedroom. Draco followed. “I know they’ll love you when they get to know you like I do.”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “Like you do?”
Hermione paused and flushed. “I mean…you’re so different than you seemed before and your personality now is very likeable.”
Draco smirked and sat on the bed. “Likeable,” he repeated. “I thought you said they’d love me.”
Hermione pursed her lips. “You know what? I take it back. You’re just as much of a prat as you used to be.”
Draco laughed. “Go on and get dressed.”
Hermione rolled her eyes at the kick he got out of her embarrassment and turned to her closet. She pulled on a pair of black jeans before continuing her search for a top. “Do you think it’s cold enough for a cable knit sweater?” she asked, turning to look at Draco with a chunky olive colored sweater in her hands.
“It’s going to be really cool out tonight. What you have there is perfect.”
Hermione pulled on the sweater and straightened it out, pulling up her sleeves and grabbing her watch off of her dresser to secure it to her wrist. “You know, I hope you’re hungry. Mrs. Weasley cooks loads of food.”
“I bet, remembering the way the weasel would stuff his face at school. I could imagine she’d have to really keep up with him.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and began twisting her hair up into a low bun. “I’m ready to go,” she said, turning to face Draco again. “Are you?”
He sighed and stood up. “As ready as I’ll ever be. You look lovely, by the way.”
Draco opened her bedroom door and stood aside to let her pass. They walked to the entryway and stood on the welcome mat that signaled the apparation point.
“Last chance to back out,” Hermione teased.
Draco snorted a laugh and grabbed her hand. “Take me to the Bullow.”
“The Burrow,” Hermione corrected.
“Whatever,” he muttered.
Hermione took a deep breath and turned on the spot, apparating them both to Ottery St. Catchpole. They landed firmly in the grassy knoll a ways away from the glimmering lights of the Burrow. It was only a three-minute walk or so from the house, so Hermione and Draco continued on their way.
“It’s kind of lopsided,” Draco commented, turning his head to one side as they trudged through the tall grass.
There was no venom in his voice so Hermione smiled. “It is, but it’s so wonderful.”
Draco kept quiet as they approached the front door. Dusk had long since fallen as autumn was well on its way.
Hermione took a deep breath and knocked three times. The door immediately opened.
“Mr. Weasley!” Hermione greeted, stepping forward to hug him.
Arthur Weasley squeezed Hermione tightly around her midsection and brought a smile up to Draco. “Ah. Draco Malfoy. It’s a pleasure to see you,” he said, holding out a hand for Draco to shake.
Draco firmly grasped the offered hand and grinned back. “The pleasure’s mine, sir. Thank you so much for inviting me into your home.”
“Oh, any friend of Hermione’s is a friend of ours.” He stepped back and motioned for them to step into the warm house.
Hermione stepped in first and Draco followed, his hand on the small of her back. “Hello everyone,” she said.
Ginny immediately stood up and enveloped Hermione in a hug. Teddy ran down the stairs and darted to Draco’s side. Draco caught him and lifted him up.
“Long time no see, Teddy Bear!”
“What are you doing here?” Teddy cried in excitement. “I can’t believe it!”
Draco laughed. “I know. I’m just as surprised as you are.”
Hermione went around and gave hugs and kisses to the rest of the family. Draco put Teddy down on his feet and made to follow her. He first kissed Ginny on the cheek and shook hands with the eldest Weasley brother, Bill, and his wife Fleur. He then met Percy who briskly shook his hand. Draco then broke away from Hermione to approach Mrs. Weasley in the corner of the room by the stove.
He held out his hand. “I don’t think we’ve ever been properly introduced,” he said by way of introduction. “I’m Draco Malfoy.”
Mrs. Weasley had put down her wooden spoon and pursed her lips. “I know who you are,” she said, eyeing his hand. She placed hers in his and quickly pulled away. “You’re the one who stole my future daughter in law away,” she snapped.
Draco smirked. “I would apologize but it was the best decision I have ever made, so I can’t say I’m sorry.”
Mrs. Weasley grinned and blushed. “Oh, you are as charming as Ginny told us, aren’t you?”
Draco laughed. “Is that what she’s been telling people?” He looked around to find Ginny crouching down next to Teddy, tucking in his shirttails. He turned back to face Mrs. Weasley. “I just wanted to thank you for opening your home to me. I know I’ve been a right nightmare most of my life-“
Mrs. Weasley held up a hand to cut him off. “You are not the product of your past, Mr. Malfoy.”
She smiled. “Draco. You are a wonderful person now as far as I’ve heard. And so long as you treat our Hermione well, you shall be treated well. Now,” she said briskly, “I hope you’re hungry because Sunday supper is quite the event in the Weasley household.”
Draco grinned. “I’ve heard a lot about your cooking. I’m looking forward to it.”
“Malfoy!” Teddy cried suddenly, running up to the two of them. “Sit next to me!”
Molly clapped her hands together. “Teddy, have you washed your hands for supper yet?”
Teddy quickly put his hands behind his back. “Yes.”
Molly raised an eyebrow and glared at him with her hands on her hips. “Is that a lie I detect?”
Teddy shrugged. “I don’t want to wash them!”
“You have to!”
“No!” Teddy cried.
Draco frowned. “I have to go wash my hands. Why don’t you come with so we can wash our hands together?” Draco said.
“No!” Teddy said, turning away from Draco and his stern stand-in grandmother.
Molly rolled her eyes and patted Draco on the shoulder. “It was worth a try.”
Draco smirked. “I don’t give up that easily. Teddy, let’s make a game of it.”
Teddy turned back around, intrigued.
“Whoever washes their hands faster wins. I’ll time us.”
“Okay!” Teddy exclaimed. “Let’s go!” They watched him run off.
Mrs. Weasley shook her head. “Someone needs to teach that boy cleanliness.”
Draco smirked. “You should tell Potter that.”
“Tell Potter what?” Harry interrupted, coming to stand next to Molly. He reached over and grabbed a rag next to the stove before tossing it to Ginny.
Draco watched as she began wiping down the long table.
“Teddy is lying about washing his hands and then throwing a fit when we tell him he has to,” Molly explained.
Harry groaned. “I don’t know what it is with him. He’s been acting up a lot lately.”
“Oh, it’s just his age,” Molly soothed, patting Harry’s arm. “Boys will be boys.”
“Not if you nip that in the bud early on,” Ginny said, suddenly showing up at Harry’s side. “And who, may I ask, are we talking about?”
“Teddy,” Harry explained. “He’s lying and fussing again.”
Ginny frowned. “Is he?” She looked around the kitchen. “Where is he?”
“Bathroom,” Draco said. “I actually said I’d wash my hands with him so I’ll be right back.”
He began to leave the room when the side door opened and Ron came in with his girlfriend. They immediately caught each other’s eyes before Draco turned and left the kitchen. Hermione stood up from her seat next to George and made to follow Draco out until Ginny stopped her.
“He’ll be right back. He just wants to make sure Teddy washes his hands,” she said quietly, grabbing a hold of Hermione’s arm. “Come help me with setting the table.”
Hermione gave her a confused look but obliged. She walked to the china cabinet and began pulling out plates. “What was that all about?” she whispered over the commotion of everyone greeting Ron.
“If you followed him it would make it seem as though Draco got upset and went to sulk. Don’t make things seem like a bigger deal than they are.”
“I thought he was upset,” Hermione admitted.
Ginny laughed. “No, he’s fine. I think mum’s over you and Ron breaking up too. She seems smitten with Draco.”
Hermione looked toward Molly and found her more upbeat than usual. Hermione carried the plates that Ginny handed her to the table and set them down. With a wave of her wand the place settings began arranging themselves around the table.
“Hello, Hermione,” Ron muttered.
Hermione turned around, surprised that Ron had approached her. “Hello, Ronald.”
He nodded once and began to turn away but stopped and turned back. “So you brought him.”
“I said I would, didn’t I?”
Ron rolled his eyes and turned away completely.
“I didn’t get introduced to the new boyfriend,” George cut in from his seat at the table.
Hermione pursed her lips. “You’ll just be mean.”
George feigned surprise. “Now, why on earth would I be mean to snot-faced Malfoy?”
Draco chose that exact moment to walk back into the kitchen with Teddy at his side. Everyone who had heard George’s comment froze in his or her place, waiting for Draco to react.
“That’s not nice Uncle George!” Teddy cried.
“It’s fine, Teddy,” Draco muttered, clearly trying to ignore the entire situation.
“No, it’s not. He needs to say sorry for calling you a bad name.”
Everyone looked between Draco and George who were both looking anywhere but at one another.
“Teddy,” Harry said in a low, warning tone. He walked forward to grab Teddy’s arm but Teddy pulled away.
“That’s not fair! I got into a lot of trouble the last time I called someone snot-faced!”
Draco smirked. It was funnier coming out of Teddy’s mouth.
Hermione shot George a look, urging him to fix the situation that was quickly getting out of hand by a petulant five year old.
George rolled his eyes. “Alright, alright,” he muttered. “I’ll apologize to him Teddy.”
Ron scoffed. “Seriously?”
George was clearly torn between burying the awkward moment and some deeper resentment he felt toward Draco. He opened his mouth.
“In private,” Draco cut in. “We’re going to talk about it in private.”
“Why? Teddy asked.
“Because this is a grown-up conversation,” Draco explained.
George looked surprised. He nevertheless stood up and walked to the door, opening it and walking out. The door remained open, a chilly reminder to Draco that George had something to get off his chest.
Draco exchanged glances with Hermione before following George outside. He wasn’t exactly sure with this Weasley had to say to him. He figured the only one immature enough to hold a grudge after all these years would be Ron, but apparently he was wrong. When he got closer to George, he noticed the red tinge in his cheeks. Whether it was from emotion or the cold, he wasn’t sure.
“I meant what I said when I called you snot-face,” George began. “So there’s no bloody way I’m apologizing for that.”
Draco shoved his hands into his pockets and stared stoically at George, willing him to continue.
“I don’t know how you came into Hermione’s life and swept her away from us, and to be completely honest, I don’t care. But in my eyes, you’re the reason my brother is dead.”
Draco blanched. He had not seen that one coming. But he stayed quiet and expressionless.
“You’re the bad guy. You fought with them. You wore the dark robes and have that fucking mark branded into you like you’re proud all the lives you took,” he sneered uncharacteristically, pointing at Draco’s covered left arm. “You’re never going to be okay in my eyes. And I do not appreciate you tainting Hermione’s life by being a part of it. She’s better than you are. You don’t deserve her. And to be completely honest, I’m a bit pissed at her as well.”
“If you want me to leave, I’ll leave,” Draco said simply.
George blinked. “That’s all you have to say for yourself?”
“Would anything else I say matter?”
George rubbed at his face. “I don’t know,” he finally admitted after several long moments. “I don’t know. But I hate you and I just want you to know that.”
“I would hate me too.” He sighed. “Listen, for what it’s worth, I’ve regretted every single day of my life from before the Dark Lord was defeated. Every single day. Every death haunts me. I am not proud of what I was a part of. And if you want to hate me, you have every right to if that’s what I represent to you.”
George paused and then nodded.
“And I will leave if my being here really bothers you that much.”
“It does bother me,” George said. “But I also have to take into account Ron’s discomfort.”
Draco raised an eyebrow, confused.
“You see, I enjoy seeing Ron in difficult and awkward situations. And you being here does just that. I see this as…karma, if you will, for breaking Hermione’s heart.”
Draco nodded slowly, trying to process the sudden turn in George’s demeanor. “So…you want me to stay.”
Draco nodded once. He began turning slowly toward the door. “I’m going to head back in.”
“Yeah, it’s a bit nippy out, isn’t it?” he commented lightly.
George suddenly walked past Draco in long strides and disappeared into the house. It took Draco a moment to process what had just happened before he began walking toward the house as well. He stepped inside and caught Hermione’s eye.
“What happened?” she mouthed.
Draco gave her an I’ll tell you later nod and turned his attention to Teddy who had begun tugging on his sleeve. After the brief silence that had occurred when George and Draco had walked in, everyone erupted into chatter once again.
“Did he say sorry?” Teddy asked.
Draco smirked. “Yeah. Everything’s okay now.”
“Good. Are you going to sit next to me?”
“Sure,” Draco said. “Come show me where you’re sitting.”
Teddy approached the long dining table and climbed onto his seat between Harry and Ron. He patted the vacant space by Ron and looked up at Draco expectantly. Whatever separate conversations Ron and Harry had been having were now on hold as they glanced between Draco, Teddy, and the open seat.
“There’s no room for Hermione,” Draco said lamely.
Ron grunted and turned around to face his girlfriend again.
“Hermione can sit next to me,” George said from the other end of the table. “Plenty of room for her here. Go ahead and take a seat there next to Teddy.” He shot Draco a wink that Harry had caught.
Harry tried to hide his grin. He shrugged at the look Draco shot him. “It’s up to you…”
“Please!” Teddy cried. “Auntie Hermione can sit over there!”
Hermione put a casserole dish down in the center of the table and looked up at Draco. “What’s going on?”
Draco cleared his throat. “Teddy wants me to sit next to him.”
Hermione automatically glanced at Ron who had his entire body turned away from Draco as he spoke quietly to Adriana. Hermione quickly looked away when the Italian beauty shot her a withering look.
“Why don’t you come sit next to me, baby?” Hermione asked Teddy. “And then Draco can sit next to both of us?”
“Because there’s no room!” Teddy snapped. “I want to sit here with Malfoy!”
The adults frowned as they watched Teddy begin to throw another fit.
“Teddy, you need to calm down,” Harry said in a low voice, putting his hand on his godson’s shoulder. “You don’t yell at your elders.”
Teddy wrenched himself away and ran out of the room in a huff.
“What happened?” Ginny asked, putting down a large bowl of stew and looking in the direction that Teddy had just ran off to.
“He’s being snappy so I told him to relax,” Harry explained, frowning at the door Teddy had just slammed shut. “I really have no idea what has gotten into him.”
“I’m going to go talk to him,” Ginny mumbled, wiping her hands on a towel.
“Oh, pish posh!” Molly said, suddenly showing up at Ginny’s elbow. “Let the boy be angry for a bit. He’ll get over it on his own.”
Ginny looked uncertain. “But-“
“I’ve raised seven children and you all turned out just fine.”
“Except for Percy,” George chimed in. “He’s a bit of a tosser.”
Bill laughed and Molly shot him a look to shut him up.
“Excuse me!” Percy scolded.
“Sorry, Perce!” George shrugged.
Percy sniffed and turned back to the conversation he was having with his father.
Ginny rolled her eyes. “You’re a children’s healer,” Ginny said to Draco. “Do you know what could be going on with him? He’s been having awful mood swings lately.”
“Really?” Draco asked, surprised. Teddy was usually so sweet. “I mean, I don’t know much about children’s psychological development. It could just be him growing up.”
“Exactly what I said,” Molly exclaimed briskly. “Now let’s set the rest of the food on the table so we can eat.”
“Well, good news is there’s even more room for Malfoy to sit now,” George said. “Go on and make yourself comfortable. Kick your feet up if you want.”
“He’s sitting with me,” Hermione snapped. “Draco, there’s room here.”
Draco walked around the long table and sat down next to Fleur. “Big family, isn’t it,” he muttered.
Fleur turned and gave him a smile. “Oui. And eet iz not even everybody. Charlie iz een Romania.”
“And my daughter is upstairs napping. She’s as much of a fireball as Teddy is,” Bill said, leaning around his wife to speak to Draco.
“I should go wake her,” Fleur said lightly. She stood up and left the kitchen.
“How old is your daughter?” Draco asked Bill.
“Three. Looks just like her mother.”
Draco smiled at the affection in his tone. “Proud dad, eh?”
“Oh, the proudest. She’s my everything.”
Draco felt the usual, benign stab of jealousy he felt around new parents. He couldn’t wait to be in that position. “I can’t wait to meet her,” he said sincerely.
Several minutes later the table was completely set, Hermione had settled herself in next to Draco and Fleur had come back down with her daughter. She sat in her seat next to Draco and adjusted the toddler on her lap. Blonde hair braided down into pigtails and bright blue eyes stared back at him. Her rosy cheeks on her porcelain skin blushed back at Draco.
Draco lightly touched her hand. “What’s her name?”
“Victoire,” Fleur replied in her throaty French accent. “Eet means victory een Eenglish.”
“Oui, j'ai étudié toute ma vie français,” Draco replied. “Quand j'étais plus jeune, je passais tous les étés là.”
“Oh! Quelle merveille que vous pouvez parler si couramment!” Fleur gushed. “Il est très rare que je pouvais parler ma langue maternelle avec quelqu'un ici.”
“Okay, okay,” George interrupted. “Por favor let’s espeaketh el English.”
Fleur shot him a withering look. “Il est juste jaloux qu'il ne pouvait pas parler une si belle langue,” she quipped haughtily.
Draco smirked. “Je suis d'accord.” He turned to Hermione and gave her a questioning look as she smiled at him. “What?”
“It’s rather sexy when you speak French,” she whispered against his shoulder.
Draco raised an eyebrow. “Really?”
She smiled a secret smile and nodded.
“Alors laissez-moi vous expliquer ce que je prévois de faire à plus tard…” he mumbled softly.
Hermione blushed and gently pushed at his arm. “Not here,” she mouthed, looking scandalized.
Draco laughed and turned back to face Fleur and Victoire. Fleur was giving him a knowing look. “Le langage de l'amour, n'est-ce pas?”
Draco smirked. “The language of love indeed,” he muttered.
“Everyone, help yourselves!” Molly said loudly. “And there’s plenty more where that came from.”
Everyone around the table began filling their plates. Draco grabbed Hermione’s plate and offered to fill it for her. When he reached over to pour some stew into her bowl, he locked eyes with Ron who was glaring daggers at him. Draco cocked an eyebrow at him before sitting back down and handing Hermione her bowl of stew.
“Do you want anything else, love?”
“Not now. But you need to try the potatoes. I don’t know how she makes them but they’re delicious.”
Draco scooped a few potatoes onto his plate and began to dig in himself. Whatever anyone had said of Mrs. Weasley’s cooking clearly had not done it justice. This was the best dinner he had ever had. Draco enjoyed the merry chatter going on around him. He even appreciated the quipping going on between Hermione and George who seemed to bicker, good-naturedly, quite often. He was teasing her mercilessly about disappearing off the face of the earth when Ron broke up with her, and she was replying with sharp and sarcastic remarks about how he must have been crying himself to sleep missing her presence.
“Oh, yes. You know me. I’m so obsessed with you.”
“I’ve always known, George. No need to admit it out loud.”
“But you’ve gone and left me for a death eater.”
All humor was lost from Hermione’s expression. “That wasn’t necessary, George,” she said sharply.
Draco cleared his throat when everyone at the table fell silent. “It’s fine,” he said in a low voice so only Hermione could hear. “Just let it go.”
“No,” she said loudly. “That was extremely unwarranted of him to say.”
“What’s going on?” Ron asked from the other end of the table. He stood up looking ready to fight.
Harry immediately stood up as well, not exactly sure what was going on but ready to diffuse the situation.
“Everything’s fine,” George said merrily. “Get back to your supper. Nothing to see here.”
“Did Malfoy say something to you?” Ron growled, stepping toward them.
Hermione’s eyes flashed and she pushed herself out of her seat. “Why don’t you stop antagonizing my boyfriend, Ronald?”
Draco exchanged looks with George and they both stood up, trying to get Hermione back in her seat. She brushed them both off.
“You know,” she began, “it’s not always Draco just because he’s had a bad past. Sometimes it’s one of the good guys who acts like a complete ass.”
George raised his eyebrows as she directed that comment at him. “I didn’t mean anything by it, Hermione. Honest.”
“What happened?” Ron repeated, taking another step forward. Harry put a hand on his shoulder to plant him in his place. Adriana stood up looking confused and panicky.
Hermione ignored Ron and glared at George. “Right. I’m so sure you just said it as another one of your hilarious jokes.”
“What is going on?” Molly cried.
“Hermione, you’re making a big deal out of nothing,” Draco muttered. “I’m not offended by it.”
“See,” George said, pointing at Draco. “No harm done.”
“Well, I’m offended by it because of the assumptions you’re making about me by saying something like that. Do you honestly think I would be with a bad person? He’s wonderful and I wish you would see that instead of constantly rubbing his past in his face.”
“I think Malfoy needs to leave. He’s causing too many problems,” Ron said firmly.
“Ron, enough,” Arthur warned him evenly. “He is welcome here. And it seems as though it’s your brother who’s the problem.”
“George can never act his age,” Molly snapped.
Harry groaned. “Please, everyone. Can we just get back to dinner?”
Hermione ignored Harry and faced George with her hands on her hips. “I think you owe him an apology.”
“No.” Draco said quickly. “No, he doesn’t.”
Hermione shot him a look before turning back to George. “Then you owe me an apology.”
George scoffed. “Honestly?”
She said nothing, just waiting with her hands on her hips.
Ginny began to laugh as she watched the exchange. “Go on, George. You know how stubborn she is.”
George rolled his eyes. “Fine. I’m sorry I offended you.”
Hermione narrowed her eyes. “Thank you,” she said shortly. She plopped back down onto her seat and picked up her spoon.
Draco sighed and sat back down as well as everyone began to calm down from the confrontation. Ron got back into his seat grumbling the whole time.
“So…what’s for dessert?” Harry asked to break the awkwardness that filled the room.
“Banoffee pie, dear. Neville and Luna said they would come by for dessert, too.”
“Fantastic,” Harry said. “Maybe the banoffee pie will bring Teddy down from his tantrum.”
“Is he still in the other room sulking?” Arthur asked.
Harry sighed. “Yes. He says he’s not hungry.”
“He’s been very strange lately,” Bill commented. “He’s always been such a good kid.”
“Eef zat iz ‘ow five year oldz act zen I am not looking forward to eet with Victoire,” Fleur said with a delicate snort.
Ginny shot her a glare that Fleur did not see.
Draco cleared his plate and stood up. “I’m done eating. I’ll go see if I can get him to come out.”
Ron pushed his chair out and stood up as well. “I’ll go. He’s practically my nephew.”
Harry sighed. This was worse than the seven years he spent as the middleman in Ron and Hermione’s fights. “You both take a seat. I’ll go.” He got up and left the kitchen.
Draco sat back down. “Do you want me to hold her so you can eat comfortably?” he asked Fleur who was trying to maneuver a fork around her daughter.
She pursed her lips in thought. “Oui. Zat would be lovely. Merci.”
Draco picked up Victoire and put her on his lap. “Bonjour Victoire,” Draco said.
She smiled beautifully up at him. “Bonjour!”
“How old are you?”
She lifted up her pinky, ring finger, and finally her middle finger. “This many.”
Draco smiled. “Three.” He touched her little finger. “One.” Then her ring finger. “Two.” And then her middle one. “Three.”
She smiled and nodded. “Three,” she repeated.
He turned to Hermione. “This is Cooper’s future girlfriend.”
Hermione laughed and grabbed Victoire’s hand to plant a kiss on it. “Bonjour Victoire. Comment allez-vous?”
“Bloody hell,” George said. “I won’t be able to communicate with my niece.”
“Maybe you should learn some French.”
“I’m English and proud of it!”
Bill laughed. “I agree. I’d like my daughter to be able to speak to me, too.”
“Oh, Bill,” Fleur chastised. “I am just teaching ‘er some culture.”
“Oy! The English have culture!” Ron said loudly.
Adriana laughed next to him. “Oh, please!” she said in her Italian lilt. “Your food barely has a flavor! No country that has bland food can claim to have culture.”
Everyone fell silent and looked at Mrs. Weasley except Fleur who tinkled a laugh. “So true!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Draco said. “This was the most delicious meal I’ve ever had and everything was an English dish, was it not?”
Mrs. Weasley beamed at him. But Adriana narrowed her eyes in his direction. “You have clearly never had Italian cuisine.”
The way she rolled her ‘r’s was rather sexy, Hermione had to admit.
“I’ve been to Italy and had their cuisine countless times, actually. Everything’s a bit too sweet for me.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Sweet? How do you mean?”
He shrugged. “The pasta sauces are too sweet. I don’t know how or why.”
“You clearly do not have good taste,” she snapped, shooting a glance at Hermione. “It was the same with Ronaldo before, but his tastes have refined very much since he’s been with me.”
Ginny sucked in a sharp breath. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Adriana flipped her long dark hair over her shoulder. “I think we all know.”
Hermione reddened and watched as Draco’s jaw line tensed. There was an awkward pause around the table. A cackle of angry energy was radiating from Ginny just as Harry walked in holding Teddy’s hand.
“What’s going on?” he asked, looking around at everyone’s averted gaze.
Ron had his face covered in his hands but his ears made it very clear that he was red with embarrassment.
“I’ll tell you what’s going on!” Ginny growled. “This bitch,” she began, pointing at Adriana.
“Oh, dear,” Percy muttered.
“Language! Ginny!” Arthur admonished.
Harry looked bewildered as he stared between Ginny, Ron, and Adriana.
“Come here, sweetheart,” Molly said quickly, walking around to grab Teddy’s hand. “Let me pour you some food so you can eat.”
Teddy allowed Molly to sit him down next to Arthur. She filled his plate with food in order to distract him from the awkwardness in the kitchen.
“Nothing happened, Harry,” Hermione said evenly.
Ginny looked at her like she had lost her mind.
“We’ll have dessert in the sitting room when Teddy’s finished eating,” Molly announced desperately.
Ginny huffed and stood up, stalking to the other room and away from the rest of them. Harry watched her in confusion before deciding to follow her.
Hermione cleared her throat and stood up as well, removing her plate and walking to the sink to begin cleaning it.
“Is it okay if I take her into the sitting room?” Draco asked Fleur and Bill.
Fleur took a bite of her food and nodded, brushing him off to do as he pleased.
“I’ll come get her from you in a minute,” Bill said, cutting difficultly into his steak. Draco noted with interest and disgust that it was raw.
He followed Hermione out of the kitchen and stepped into the sitting room where Ginny was talking heatedly to Harry. He had his hands on her shoulders, obviously trying to calm her down.
She saw Hermione and whipped around to face her. “Nothing happened?” she mimicked. “How could you be so calm?”
Hermione deflated. “I can’t let her goad me. I have to be the bigger person.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Alright. You be the bigger person and I’m going to go punch her in the face!” She made for the door but Harry grabbed her arm and pulled her back.
She growled. “And you!” she snapped, rounding on Draco. “How could you just sit there and not defend her?”
“Ginny,” Hermione warned.
“No, she’s right,” Draco said. “I know it didn’t look right but I haven’t been raised to fight with women. If your brother had said something it would have been a different story.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Ugh. You and your bloody proper ways.”
Draco smirked. “I was hoping you’d do the honors and snap at her.”
“And I would have!”
“I could tell,” Draco said, chuckling. “You’ve got yourself quite the firecracker, eh, Potter?”
Harry smiled affectionately at Ginny.
“I wish you’d stand up for yourself,” Draco said to Hermione. “You shouldn’t let anyone treat you that way.”
“It’s over now,” Hermione snapped. “It doesn’t matter anymore.” She plopped down onto the couch and folded her arms.
Draco sighed and sat down next to her, placing a kiss on her temple. “I’m going to have a talk with Weasley.”
“No, he’s right!” Ginny exclaimed. “Him and his girlfriend are gits. What do you think, Harry?”
Harry looked surprised that she had directed a question at him. “I have no idea what happened. I wasn’t even there.”
She glared at him.
“But you’re right, Gin. You’re totally right.”
She nodded as though she were pleased. Harry looked at Hermione and rolled his eyes. Hermione smiled.
She shrugged. “I think I just need to kill her with kindness,” Hermione said lamely.
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Please. Like that ever works.”
Hermione shrugged and reached for Victoire but she clung onto Draco. Hermione sighed and sat back. “Fine. See if I sneak you any cookies later,” she grumbled.
Draco smirked. “Don’t be jealous.”
She rolled her eyes.
The door opened and people began filing into the sitting room. Ginny sat on Harry’s lap, still looking livid. Bill came up to Draco and lifted his daughter into his arms.
“Thanks for watching her.”
“Anytime.” He waved at Victoire. “Bye, Victoire.”
She waved back before leaning her head on her father’s shoulder.
“She’s beautiful,” Draco said to Hermione.
She smiled. “She is. She has Veela blood after all.”
“She’s beautiful regardless. Very sweet as well.”
Hermione laughed. “She just woke up from her nap. You caught her at a good time. She has her mother’s temperament otherwise.”
He raised an eyebrow in question.
“She’s well-mannered until she doesn’t get her way. Then she’ll bite your head off.”
Draco nodded in understanding. “Ah. I see.”
Ron and Adriana walked into the sitting room. Ron sat down on the floor near the fireplace and Adriana wedged herself between his legs. She began kissing his cheek and jaw.
Ginny and Hermione exchanged looks. Ginny made a gagging noise and Harry nudged her.
Teddy came in holding the Banoffee pie, followed closely by Molly. He placed the pie on the table and everyone clapped. He grinned around at them before running up to Ginny and Harry.
“Who wants a big piece?” Molly called.
Teddy turned around in excitement. He jumped up and down. “Me! Me!”
Molly smiled and handed him a large slice.
“Her Banoffee pie is amazing,” Hermione whispered to Draco.
“Well, you don’t know anything about desserts until you’ve tried Italian desserts,” Draco teased.
She lightly shoved him, laughing.
Molly handed Adriana a slice, which she turned down with a wave of her hand. “I really cannot afford the extra calories.”
Molly pursed her lips.
“I’ll take it,” Ron said. He already had a slice of pie in his hand.
Molly sighed and handed it to him.
“Draco dear, would you like some?” Molly asked.
“Just one slice will do for me, Mrs. Weasley.”
Hermione snorted with laughter and covered her mouth with her hand. Ron turned red, and Harry tried to cover a smile.
“So, Adriana,” Draco began. Hermione immediately stopped laughing, afraid of what he was going to say. Ginny perked up, excited for the confrontation. “What kind of modeling do you do?”
“I am the face of Mago,” she said haughtily, as though Draco should have known which Italian designer she modeled for. “My face is on every magazine in Italia. I was voted most beautiful woman in the magical world for three years in a row.”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “Who decided that?”
She pursed her full lips. “Why do you say it that way? Interesting?”
“It’s just that no one asked me. So I was just wondering how the votes were cast. I mean, the magical world is quite large. There are a lot of women in it. Who was the runner up?”
“Excuse me?” she said.
Ginny was grinning at the conversation and Hermione was trying her best to seem interested in her pie.
“Who was the runner up? Was she English? Or French? Perhaps Russian?”
“She was Italian.”
Adriana nodded. “Si.”
“So…this was a contest of the most beautiful women in magical Italy?”
“Magical world,” she repeated with a tinge of frustration.
Draco shook his head slowly. He looked her up and down and frowned. “I’m sorry, I just don’t get it.”
She looked affronted and turned to look at Ron who was on his second piece of pie. He looked up at her. “What?” he said with a full mouth.
“You will not defend me?”
Ron licked the whipped cream off his lips. “I mean…there are a lot of women in the magical world…and it’s a bit fishy that the runner up is also Italian.”
She huffed and stood up, leaving the room. Ron groaned and followed her out. Everyone burst into laughter.
“That was brilliant,” George chortled. “Bloody brilliant.”
After several minutes Ron came back in alone. He sighed and sat back down, slicing another piece of pie for himself.
“Where’s Adriana?” Arthur asked.
“She wasn’t feeling well so she went home. She wanted me to say bye for her.”
“I’m sure she did, Ron,” Ginny muttered.
Ron shot her a look.
“Knock, knock,” a dreamy voice interrupted from the door. Luna and Neville walked into the sitting room. “Sorry we’re late.”
Everyone stood up to greet their friends.
“Have some pie, dears.” Molly cut them large pieces and handed each to them. “And find yourself a seat.”
“The spot between Ron’s legs has been recently vacated,” George said.
Everyone laughed. Ron rolled his eyes.
“Malfoy!” Neville called. “It’s good to see you.”
Draco nodded. “Longbottom. Always, a pleasure. How are your parents?”
“The same, but good overall.”
Neville and Draco ran into one another regularly as Neville would visit his parents once or twice a week at St. Mungo’s. There was also a period where Draco filled in at the Spell Damage ward for a few weeks and had attended to Frank and Alice Longbottom.
“Oh, it’s so lovely to see the two of you together,” Luna breathed, looking at Draco and Hermione. “How has it been? Still in love, I see.”
Hermione and Draco exchanged looks. Who had said anything about love? Hermione saw Ron look up sharply at the two of them.
“It’s been good, Luna. Thank you for asking,” Hermione said.
“You two have such a connection.”
Draco raised an eyebrow.
Ron scoffed. “How can you even tell? They haven’t said two words to each other since you’ve come in.”
“It’s their aura. Can’t you feel it? It’s enveloping the entire room.”
Ron rolled his eyes and took a large bite of pie.
“No need to be jealous, Ron. You should be happy for your friend.”
Ron began to cough.
Luna looked around at the embarrassed look on Hermione’s face. “You two are friends again, are you not?”
“Luna,” Neville said quietly.
“But Ron was saying just the other day how he wanted you back in his life.”
Hermione reddened and closed her eyes. She felt Draco tense beside her.
“Did he happen to say in what capacity he wanted her back in his life?” Draco asked lightly.
It seemed like everyone in the room was holding their breath.
Luna smiled dreamily. “Well, in any way he could get her, really. And seeing as you’re here, friendship was clearly all he could manage.”
All eyes shifted to focus on Hermione. She felt Draco’s glare penetrate her the harshest, leaving her flushed and uncomfortable.
“Any way he could get you?” Draco muttered under his breath.
He was clearly waiting for an explanation. And Hermione had none to give him.
“Well…” she began. She looked desperately at Ginny for help, but all she got in return was an expression that clearly said: I told you so.
A/N: here are the translations for the French parts!:
"Yes, I studied French all my life," Draco replied. "When I was younger, I spent every summer there."
"Oh! How wonderful that you can speak so fluently!” Fleur gushed. "It is very rare that I could speak my native language with someone here."
"Okay, okay," George interrupted. "Por favor let’s espeaketh el English."
Fleur shot him a withering look. "He's just jealous that he could not speak a beautiful language," she quipped haughtily.
Draco smirked. "I agree." He turned to Hermione and gave her a questioning look as she smiled at him. "What?"
"It's sexy rather when you speak French," she whispered against his shoulder.
Draco raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
She smiled a secret smile and nodded.
"So let me explain what I plan to do to you later..." he mumbled softly.
And then Fleur says: “It’s the language of love, is it not?”
Previous Chapter Next Chapter