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Chapter 9 : A Malfoy
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Author's Note: I'm sorry for the long wait but as I said before, I am swamped with school work at the moment. That and I have had a fair few family dramas over the past few months to deal with. Hopefully the wait was worth it...
.: Chapter Nine – A Malfoy :.
Tuesday, May 7, 2002
Her initial reaction was to flee, to run away and hope that all her troubles would magically disappear. In truth, Hermione knew that running away was not an option. She had hid from the reality of her lies for too long. It was time she faced up to the truth and accepted the consequences of her actions. Being a Gryffindor didn’t mean she was without fear; she had strength inside her, a source of power that enabled her to go through life meeting each struggle head on. Strength was what made her a Gryffindor, not a lack of fear. Her lies had caused nothing but pain; it was time to rectify that. The problem was she didn’t know how.
He stood there stock still, just staring. His eyes were still that cool, indiscernible grey she remembered. During their Hogwarts years she had always been able to tell what he was thinking by just looking at his eyes. While he was a master at schooling his emotions, his eyes had always been his downfall. They expressed every emotion he felt whether he wanted them to or not. It was the reason why she had been able to rile him up as easily as she had; like que cards, they’d told her what to do, or say next. Looking at him now, she could tell he was angry. Surprisingly though, he didn’t seem to be as infuriated as she’d expected him to be. But that didn’t mean he was past letting her lies go unpunished.
As if sensing her line of thought, he smirked, arrogantly taking a few steps into the room. It was then that she noticed the partially healed graze on his cheek. While there were potions to soothe pain and spells to heal physical damage, healers often let minor things such as cuts and scrapes heal on their own. He had obviously been in a fight. Charlie had said that he – along with his mother and father – had saved her life, which meant that…he’d fought with Ron. But why would he have fought with him? It didn’t make any sense. Something had to have provoked him, because unlike Ron he had control of his temper…or at least she thought he did. A lot can change in five years. Maybe he wasn’t as in control as he had been at school.
“Mummy!” her voice was drowned out as Rose came hurtling through the door.
She noticed how Malfoy quickly shifted to the side, giving Rose all the access she needed to throw herself onto the hospital bed. Hermione barely had time to brace herself before a mop of blonde curls obscured her vision. Rose clung to her, tiny arms clamped around her neck. All Hermione could do to keep from crying was remind herself repeatedly that they were not alone. She would be damned if Draco Malfoy saw her breakdown.
“And what’s all this about, cricket?” she asked, her hands gently stroking Rose’s soft curls. It was soothing, if not comforting, just holding her little girl like this.
Rose pulled back, arms still wrapped around her neck. “You’re awake,” the happy, joyful expression on the child’s face caused Hermione to smile.
“And that’s cause for celebration?” she asked laughingly, placing a chaste kiss on the little blonde’s forehead. Rose frowned, not really understanding her words. “You’re happy I’m awake?” Hermione rephrased the question, smiling when Rose nodded her head vehemently.
“I’m very, very, very, very happy you’re awake, mummy,” a joyful expression appeared on the little girl’s face. “Because now I can gives you a big hug!” for emphasis, Rose buried her head in the crook of her neck and squeezed. “They wouldn’t lets me hug you until you was awake, and now you are!” she cried happily as she pulled back.
Hermione frowned. “They wouldn’t let you hug me?”
What kind of people didn’t let a little girl hug her mother? She knew that hospitals these days were more about profit than patient care. But Hermione had at least thought they’d be sympathetic to a little four year-old girl whose mother was hospitalised. How was Rose supposed to know what was happening other than by what she was told? Rose would have been so confused, so scared...
“The potions they administered put you into a coma-like state. They wanted you to heal in your own time, which made it impossible for Rose to hug you without essentially waking you up before the healing process had finished,” Draco answered easily from across the room, his explanation quelling a little of the anger that had flared up inside her. She spared him a brief glance before turning back to Rose.
“Sweetheart, who have you been staying with all this time?” Hermione asked, gently stroking her daughter’s hair.
From what she could gather, she’d been in St Mungos for three days. In that time Rose had to have had some contact with Draco because she acted so easily around him. While Rose had an abundance of personality, when it came to meeting new people, she was exceptionally shy and introverted. That meant that she had met Draco, but what’s more, it meant that she’d liked him.
“With Nana Jean and Gampa Jeffey,” Rose answered happily, bouncing on the bed in her excitement.
Unbeknownst to the little girl, Hermione let out a small sigh of relief. She’d been worried when Charlie had said that Ron was in custody, because that left very few people Rose could have stayed with. Hermione didn’t think that the Aurors would have left Rose with Molly and Arthur because of the unknown status between her and Ron. That left both Harry and Luna, Alyson, or her parents. But it also put the Malfoys into contention since they too had a right to see Rose. She was just happy that it had been her parents to take care of the little girl and not the Malfoys. Regardless of what they may have done for her, she wasn’t prepared to face the reality of them having an equal say in her daughter’s life just yet.
“And I bet they’ve spoiled you rotten,” she laughed, playfully tickling the little girl into squealing submission. “Haven’t they?”
Rose’s only reply was a toothy grin.
“Aye, they spoiled this lil’ lass rotten, I’ll tell yeh,” Charlie’s voice sounded from the doorway. “I’m sorry to be interuptin’ but I jus’ came in teh see if yeh’d be needin’ anythin’ in the next hour or so – I finally get teh have me break, yeh see. Do wonders never cease?” the darkhaired witch asked jovially, smiling when Rose waved at her.
Hermione glanced discreetly at Draco and then back at Rose, brow creased in thought. “Actually Charlie, would you mind taking Rose for a bit. I know it’s your brea –”
“Don’ be ridiculous, dear. Of course I’ll take lil’ Rosie with me, Merlin knows I’d love the company,” Charlie cut in, silently indicating with her eyes that she understood. “Come on yeh lil’ imp, let’s go and get somethin’ teh eat,”
Rose jumped off the bed happily and ran forward, reaching out to take Charlie’s offered hand. Hermione couldn’t hear what her daughter was saying, but by her stance, she could tell that Rose was trying to con Charlie into getting what she wanted. It had always been Rose’s way to try and get what she wanted by any means necessary. When she was only three, turning four, Molly had insisted on throwing her a large birthday party. And while Rose had loved the idea of a party, she hadn’t exactly liked the idea of spending it with her cousins.
Hermione remembered Rose’s theatrical display, proclaiming she had a tummy ache and wanted to go home immediately. She’d duped both her and Ron so easily that they’d agreed to take her home, presents and birthday cake in tow. By the time they’d realised that Rose was fine, there was nothing they could do except verbally reprimand her for being so sneaky and selfish. And then came Ron’s famous speech about Gryffindor morals and how if she wasn’t careful, she’d end up in Slytherin. Despite being only four, Hermione could already tell what house her daughter was going to be in and it wasn't Gryffindor.
As the door gently clicked shut, Hermione was snapped out of her stupor. She had asked Charlie to take Rose for one reason and one reason only; she needed to talk to Draco. The conversation was inevitable. By no means was she prepared, but she knew that regardless of how ready she was, she had to sort this out tonight…or at least try to. He had every right to be angry with her, just as she had the right as Rose’s mother to decide what was best for her. From what she could tell, his family hadn’t rejected the idea of Rose being one of them. And that thought alone was disquieting to Hermione.
“It was one night,” she stated feebly, breaking the silence between them. Regardless of everything that had happened, Hermione couldn’t bring herself to look him in the eye.
“Yet here we are,” he remarked, an emphatic expression on his face.
Hermione winced. “I thought she was Ron’s,” her voice shook, quiet and barely audible.
“And how long was it exactly before you realised she wasn’t?” his reply was sharp and to the point, filled with a condescending undercurrent.
“You have no right to judge me,” her retort came out in a hissed whisper. His words sparked an anger inside her, the boiling heat causing her jaw to clench painfully.
Fiery determination forced her to look him in the eye. She would be damned if he thought that he could waltz in here and play the victim. There was no way she could have known that Rose was his daughter when she married Ron. The possibility had been there, but when weighed against all the other factors, probability had pointed to Ron being her father and not him. By the time she knew the truth too much had happened for her to just drop everything and take a risk on him. If she’d told him about Rose and he decided to turn his back on both of them, then not only would she have ruined her chance with Ron, but with him as well. She had been young and scared. Rose had needed a father and she’d known for sure that Ron would be there. Despite her conscience telling her that it was the right thing to do, there was no way she was willing to take the risk and have him turn his back on both of them.
“I think I have at least a little right, don’t you?” he hissed back, eyes flashing in anger.
“I’ll admit that maybe what I did was wrong, but I did what I thought was right at the time,” she replied with indignation, jutting her chin out defiantly.
“You know,” he started, folding his arms across his chest contemplatively. “For a Gryffindor your morals are slightly skewed,” the smirk on his face did little to hide the still prominent anger in his eyes.
“And for a Slytherin’s yours aren’t?” she snapped hotly, resisting the urge to lunge at him. If only she could wrap her fingers around his neck and squeeze…
“I’ll concede to you on that,” his voice quickly killed the violent fantasy. “But don’t think for a second that I’m going to just let this drop,”
Hermione blinked. “She’s none of your concern. I don’t expect anything from you and nor do I want for anything,” her tone was clipped and defiant.
If he thought that his money would suffice, then he was wrong. She didn’t need his money. Rose didn’t need his money. They would be perfectly fine on their own. He may have wanted to do the noble thing, or maybe he just wanted to pay her off. But whatever it was, Hermione refused to accept his charity when she was perfectly capable of providing for both her and Rose. That was until his motives became clear. If he genuinely wanted to get to know Rose and help out, then she wouldn’t deny him that. Until then…
“You’re going to have to suck it up, Granger, because I’m not going anywhere,” he snapped, stepping threateningly toward the bed, an irritated sneer on his face. “She is my concern whether you like it, or not,”
“Why do you even care?” Hermione sighed irritably.
“Because she’s my daughter,”
“And she’s been doing perfectly fine without you for the last four years,” she snapped in response. The second the words left her lips, Hermione felt guilty for saying them. A hurt expression crossed his face, but was gone within seconds of it being there. He was trying to help…she could see that now. But their past was getting in the way of any solution, or understanding they could possibly come to. “Sorry,” her eyes immediately lowered to the bed, ashamed.
“I don’t need your sympathy, Granger,” he replied quietly. She felt the bed dip as he sat down beside her.
Looking up to meet his eyes, Hermione wondered how they’d come to be here. So much had happened that at times it all seemed blurred. The lines between right and wrong were now covered in grey. Had she made the right decision in keeping Rose from him? A week ago she would have said yes, but now…now she couldn’t be so sure. It was obvious to her that he at least wanted to get to know Rose. He wouldn’t be here if he didn’t.
“Why are you here, Malfoy?” she asked tiredly.
“Because it doesn’t matter that I only found out about her thirteen days ago. She is still my daughter. By default it’s my responsibility to take care of her, or at least be a part of her life,” his answer left her stunned. He was still the same boy she had known back in school, only now he was more mature and respectful. Perhaps she had made the wrong decision. If he’d had the chance he would have given Rose everything he had to give, she could see that now.
“I…” her voice trailed off. How was she supposed to admit to her mistake? Saying sorry would not erase the years he had lost with Rose. Were there any words great enough to suffice? She didn’t think so. “Perhaps I made a mistake,” she said quietly, meeting his gaze.
“Perhaps you did,”
It was only a matter of time. She’d had her fair share of waiting, now it was time to act. If what her mother said was true, then the foundations of her marriage weren’t as stable as she’d originally thought them to be. Her situation was precarious at best. The only way to ensure her position was to give them what they wanted…in a roundabout way of course. No one need know of the little change in plan, because if everything went the way she expected it to, then she would be set for life. It was brilliant really – her plan. They wanted an heir and she’d give them one, or at least she’d let them think she did. Draco would never have to know, none of them would. As long as they thought she’d given birth to a Malfoy, she was safe; diamonds would continue to dress her neck and the gold would continue to flow. She hardly cared whether it was morally right or not, as long as the plan worked in her favour, she was happy.
While most people thought she was just a pretty face, Daphne knew better. As far as she was concerned having people underestimate her was an advantage. They wouldn’t expect her to be able to devise a plan such as this, and that was perfectly fine with her. If they didn’t suspect, she wouldn’t be caught. It was as simple as that. The Malfoys need be none the wiser – what they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them. As long as Theo kept his mouth shut everything would work out perfectly.
Daphne knew her marriage to Draco could be over in the blink of an eye, which was why her plan had to be implemented as soon as possible. For the time being, she would have to rely on Lucius and Narcissa when it came to Draco. His unpredictable nature had the potential to destroy her carefully constructed plan before it had even taken flight. If he was more inclined toward a divorce than working things out between them, then she would have to put her faith in her in-laws and their social vanity. Narcissa would rather die than see her son divorce a Greengrass, Daphne was sure of it. And given her husband’s unsteady relationship with his father, she was sure that Draco would rather obey his father’s command than risk his wrath.
Everything would work out perfectly, it was simply a matter of patience and a little thing called subtly. Theo would never know the child was his; she would make sure of that. After all, no one would notice if the child inherited his looks. As distantly related as they were, they both held similar physical features – only hers were more refined. Everything bar his eyes, she could explain. If the child inherited his eyes…well, a simple glamour charm would have to suffice.
“Hey Daph, you out there?” It was a pity the sleeping draught she’d slipped into his drink hadn’t lasted longer.
With a heavy sigh, Daphne extinguished her muggle cigarette. There were some things she would never attest to, but it had to be said that those muggle vermin were good for something other than sport, even if it was as trivial as an invention such as this ‘cigharet’ – or whatever they called it.
“I’ll be inside in a minute, darling,” she purred over her shoulder, quickly shuffling through her handbag. The sex wasn’t that great, but at least it was mildly satisfying. As long as she played her part, he would be none the wiser.
“Don’t take too long, luv. Can’t keep a man waiting, you know?” Theo’s gruff voice made her shudder. He really was a revolting species of man. If she wasn’t so sure of his pureblood heritage, she would have guessed that he had troll blood in him. She’d just have to hope that the child inherited her looks rather than his – if not, well, she could always blame it on her father’s side of the family. Draco would never know the difference.
Smiling triumphantly as her hand clasped around a small glass vial, Daphne quickly uncorked the small bottle and downed its contents. She felt a warmth spread throughout her body, eventually settling in her stomach. A fertility potion would ensure her plan was a success, and then, as they say, the rest is history.
“Molly, sweetheart, you have to calm down,” Arthur tried desperately to soothe his wife’s shrill cries, sighing for what seemed to be the hundredth time as his words fell on deaf ears.
“How can I calm down, Arthur, when my poor baby boy is – is being brutalised by those – those vultures!?” she cried, her shoulders shaking with each violent sob.
Arthur grimaced in response, easing himself into the seat beside her. If there was one thing he knew about his wife, it was that at times she could be uncompromisingly irrational. He wouldn’t deny that he was worried about his son, but there was very little he could do. They weren’t telling him or anyone else what was going on. It was only by chance that he had managed to find out that his son was being held in custody. No one had informed him, or his wife. As far as they had been concerned, Ron had been going about his daily routine. The fact that he hadn’t flooed should have been an indication that something was wrong, but they’d simply thought that he’d been working extra hours like he normally did.
“They’re only doing their jobs, Molly,” he sighed unconvincingly.
“Only doing their jobs!?” she asked flabbergasted, looking up at him through red rimmed eyes. “Only doing – Arthur, they have our son in custody! Our son!” her expression was incredulous as her eyes began to pool with more tears. “My poor baby…”
“We don’t know what they have arrested him for,” he stated weakly, grasping at straws in an attempt to comfort her.
“And that matters how?” the redheaded woman snapped in response.
“What would you have me say, Molly?” Arthur sighed, rubbing the back of his neck tiredly. “I don’t like this anymore than you do. But the fact that we know nothing of what has happened has to be an indication that the Ministry want to keep whatever happened quiet. I’m not even supposed to know about this, Molly. If I went storming into the Aurors’ Department demanding to see my son, then what do you think would happen? It was by pure chance that I overheard those two Aurors –”
“But – but –”
“I know, sweetheart. I’m just as torn up as you are, but we have to be realistic about this. It would do us no good to take a stand without knowing all the facts,” he cut in, reaching out to take her hand and squeeze it gently. “Ronald is a good boy, Molly. He wouldn’t have done anything untoward, I’m sure of it,” or at least he hoped he was.
His son had the quick Prewett temper; if someone had threatened his family, or said something to push his buttons in just the right way, then he wasn’t sure what his son was capable of. Molly was a testament to the fact that in extreme circumstances anyone could be capable of anything if it meant survival, or the protection of a loved one. She had killed Bellatrix Lestrange so mercilessly when the woman had threatened their only daughter, that Arthur could only love her more for the sacrifice she had made. For days after she had mourned Fred’s death, mumbling incoherently about karma and how she’d ended a life and that this was her punishment. If his wife was capable of committing something so heinous in order to protect their daughter, then their son would be capable of it too. He didn’t know what was going on, but he sure as hell would find out come morning.
“I just – I don’t understand how they could think our boy capable of committing a crime – any crime at that! He has such a sweet disposition and maybe a little of the Prewett temper. But he wouldn’t hurt a fly, Arthur! They can’t possibly think that –”
“We don’t know what they think, Molly,” his voice was sombre and uncharacteristically jaded.
The last thing they needed right now was another drama in their life. After the war they had struggled to adapt to the sudden normalcy of everything and Fred’s death had hit everybody hard. Ginny had been irreconcilable and had withdrawn into herself, pushing everyone away in her angst. George was still struggling with the loss of his twin brother, but Arthur supposed that Angelina was the one thing keeping him afloat. It was a strange relationship they had, Angelina being Fred’s ex and all. But they made it work in an almost effortless way. He was just happy that his son was smiling again.
Ginny, however, wasn’t. She would put her brave face on whenever anyone asked how she was, choosing to smile through the pain rather than admit that she was far from being alright. Harry had gone straight into the arms of Luna Lovegood, seeking her strangely worded comfort rather than Ginny’s cold, almost expressionless love. His little girl had never recovered from the loss and had since been selfdestructing, throwing herself into a world of parties, alcohol and Merlin knew what else. He couldn’t blame Harry after all he had been through; the boy had just wanted a quiet, normal life with a woman he loved. It was just unfortunate that that woman wasn’t Ginny.
“But why hasn’t Hermione flooed us!?” Molly cried hysterically, bringing his mind back to the present.
Truth be told, he was wondering the exact same thing.
“I don’t know, sweetheart,” his shoulders slumped in defeat. “I don’t know”
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