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Chapter 8 : His Reaction
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It was now later and Hermione was sat in the library, browsing the few books they had on wizarding pregnancies. She slid them into her bag before heading to the classical section, filled with the tallest bookshelves holding the most books. She looked up and saw a title that caught her eye. Standing on the tips of her toes, she stretched as tall as she could before a pale arm slid in from next to her and pulled it down easily.
“Thanks, I’m a bit small for this section I suppose,” Hermione muttered, wrapping Draco’s arms around her and smiling up at him. She felt a little flip in her stomach looking into his silvery eyes. He got a strange look on his face before pulling away.
“Well, come on, we’ve got to work on that assignment now,” he replied, sticking his tongue out and scrunching up his face. They’d been given quite a bit of extra work along with cleaning the classroom as punishment. Normally Hermione wouldn’t have minded the extra work but she was a bit restless today- probably still nerves and excitement over the babies.
Sitting down, she couldn’t keep still and noticed Draco watching her. He probably thought she was insane, she thought to herself. Meanwhile, all Draco could think of was how beautiful she was. When had he started developing feelings for her? He wasn’t sure but he did know that he was alright with it.
Reaching out, he brushed a ringlet curl out of her eyes and tucked it behind her ear. She smiled warmly at him and he felt as though he’d won all he could ever ask for in the world. He’d spiraled so quickly into this feeling but it was a fantastic feeling, so new and foreign and terrifyingly happy. He wondered if she felt this way too.
She glanced up at him and he quickly looked down again, not wanting to be caught. He thought of the times he’d been able to hold her and wondered how many more there would be. They were so different but maybe that meant they’d be perfect together. But wasn’t this still so strange? He’d just been hating her not a year ago. He would never be able to deserve her anyway, he thought. She was so warm and gentle and perfect in his eyes. How did she see him?
Trying to erase his mind from thoughts of her, Draco went back to their assignment. Hermione could see he was upset and conflicted about something and wanted to ask what but the storms in his eyes told her not to. She wondered if she’d somehow said or done something wrong. The possibility of hurting him pierced her heart like a bullet and she just wanted to hold him. Abandoning her worries, she closed her book loudly and saw him glance up in surprise.
Hermione reached down her hand to Draco, who immediately took it and began to follow her. Unbeknownst to her, he thought about how he would follow her anywhere she asked him to. She brought him up to her room in the Gryffindor tower, resolving to ask him once and for all how he felt. She knew she was behaving rashly but she didn’t give a damn. Probably the adrenaline. She unlocked the dorm room and breathed a sigh of relief when it was empty.
“Draco, this might seem unfounded or crazy or just… I don’t even know but I really like you and I don’t know how you feel about me and sometimes it seems like you might like me too but I just can’t tell and I even-“ Hermione babbled, growing red.
Draco stared at the ground, wanting to believe her words and let himself admit his feelings too but he couldn’t. He knew somehow it wasn’t real. How could someone as perfect as her ever love someone like him? They couldn’t and this was all a cruel trick. Draco felt his anger boiling up. She was using him, she was giving him false hope just to crush him again. It was her plan all along, she never actually wanted him. His face grew red and he finally looked up, ready to storm.
But meeting her pleading eyes, now filled with fresh tears, he felt all his resolve melt. “I love you Hermione. But how do I know this is real? There’s no way you could ever want someone like me.” His voice held self-loathing and now he was the one pleading with her. He hated himself just like everyone else so how could it be that the most beautiful, kind girl could fall for him? It was all so screwed up in his mind.
She took his hand and forced him to look at her. “It is real, Draco. I love you too. I don’t know how to prove that to you but I’ll do whatever it is.” Analyzing her thoughts, Draco saw fear but also steady willingness to prove herself to him. She was offering to sleep with him, Draco realized. The biggest act of love, but the reason for her terror. He wouldn’t do that to her. He knew she wasn’t a virgin- because of him, he thought with a pang- but she was drunk the last time. The alcohol had numbed any pain or uncertainty but this time she certainly wasn’t ready. So why would she say that? Is it true that maybe she might mean what she says?
Draco shook his head, “No, Hermione. I don’t want that because you don’t right now either. Don’t deny it, I can see it in your eyes. I just don’t understand why you would do that.”
“Because I love you dammit, and I don’t know why you won’t believe me,” she begged. She saw his eyes were slightly glazed and knew that look. She’d seen so many faces wearing that after the war. He was reflecting on his soul, all the bad things he’d done and how terrible he’d been. She’d held that look herself and knew the only way out was hope. It was now or never.
“Draco…” Hermione began with shaky breath, “I want to show you something amazing. Something that will let you hope for a future; one with me. Something that will force you to stop hating yourself because you’ll be too focused on it. Something that will love you as much as I do.” She said before walking over to her trunk. She pulled out two small moving photographs and clutched them to her chest, the images hidden. Draco glanced up with a dull, resigned curiosity. Slowly, Hermione lowered the pictures into his hand and brought them to his face. She returned to sitting cross legged in front of him on the bed, waiting.
Draco studied the images carefully, feeling a tug on his heart. Two little blobs were happily moving about on the paper and he wracked his brain for where he’d seen something like this before. When it hit him, he looked up sharply, eyebrows drawn together, meeting Hermione’s honey eyes.
Hermione was terrified. How would he react? She couldn’t raise two babies on her own. She needed him. Slowly she reached out and pulled his wrist into her hand, drawing it onto her stomach. He inhaled quickly, the former look vanishing from his face.
“A… baby? That’s a baby, Hermione. My baby?” he said with awe, watching the photograph wriggle.
Hermione’s fear melted at his awestruck expression and nodded, smiling. “Your baby, Draco. Actually, it’s two babies. We’re having twins!”
And that was when Draco Malfoy, former death eater, member of the DA, and former most feared boy in school, and survivor of the war against Voldemort, passed out.
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