The setting was perfect—a small ballroom lit by candlelight and decorated with red and white roses. All of the invited guests were in attendance, the ring bearer wasn't throwing a tantrum, her hair wasn't falling down from its pins, her gown fit her spectacularly, and she was getting married to a man she loved. It was, by anyone's standards, a wonderful wedding.
There was nothing to stress her out.
No reason whatsoever for her to be feeling like she was being brought to the executioner's block.
None at all.
That's right. She was making the right choice. She was just feeling wedding jitters, that's what it was. Smiling at the official, she forced herself to calm down. In a few minutes, she would no longer be Hermione Granger. She would become Mrs. Hermione—
Her foot began tapping impatiently on the carpeted runner again. That was a habit of hers—whenever she felt agitated, she began tapping her foot. It was a good thing that the carpet muffled the sounds of her foot. She could only imagine what the guests would think if there was an additional soundtrack to the monotone of the official's voice. Maybe they would think it was a woodpecker, or something.
As the official continued speaking, Hermione felt herself becoming more and more agitated. She couldn't shake the feeling that if she went through with this, she would regret it for the rest of her life. If she called it off, though, she would be disappointing so many people. And who would eat all the food? She supposed they could just be portioned and sent home with each of the guests. A consolation prize of sorts. Or maybe free food to go along with the movie they had just watched. 'The Wedding That Never Was', starring Hermione Granger...and George Clooney. If it was her fantasy movie, she should have her fantasy co-star, shouldn't she?
She was startled out of her train of thought by the official coughing quietly in front of her. She looked at him blankly for a few seconds, before realizing that she was tapping her foot loud enough to be heard. She mouthed him a 'sorry' and planted her foot firmly on the ground.
"If anyone has any objection to this union—" the official began.
Merlin, please, save me. If no one does, I'll run from this wedding like a bat out of hell.
"—speak now, or forever hold your peace."
Okay then. Damn the consequences. I'm going to have to run for it. Too bad sports aren't really my thing. How many seconds before they catch me, I wonder? She began gathering the sides of her gown, feeling beads of perspiration gathering on her nape. I can quickly hex them all, anyway. Good thing I brought my wand along with me. I knew I was going to need it!
"Mommy, look!" A young boy said.
"Shush, John! You know you have to be..." His mother's voice trailed off.
So should I hex the official first? Or should I just Apparate myself out of here? No, too risky. Maybe I could jump out of the window? No, I'd better go for the official first.
She was in the process of pulling out her wand when she noticed that the official was looking at someone behind her.
Has someone come to protest? My hero! I wonder who it is.
"Ah, just in time." A voice said.
She froze as she recognized who the voice was coming from.
"I'm afraid I can't allow you to marry the two of them, sir."
"Do you have a valid reason, son?" The official asked.
Her heard began to pound. She could imagine him giving the official a lopsided grin.
"It's a very valid reason, in my opinion."
The official frowned. "Stop beating around the bush, and give us the reason why."
"Sir, I'm savouring the moment. I'm only going to do this once in my life, after all."
Oh Merlin. Her hands began to sweat. She hurriedly wiped them on her gown.
The official raised one of his eyebrows at the man behind her.
The man sighed. "Fine. The lovely woman standing in front of all of you—" he paused.
"—is carrying my child."
Draco Malfoy perched on the paper-strewn desk, watching Hermione pace, mumbling intelligible words and wringing her hands. They were inside one of the smaller reception rooms of the hotel, along with Harry Potter and Ron and Ginny Weasley. The boy-who-lived was sitting on one of the lounge chairs, looking as white as a sheet. The male Weasley was leaning against the fireplace, looking remarkably composed, while his sister, who was standing on the opposite side of the fireplace, was drumming her fingers on the mantel.
He ducked his head and had to hide a smile. Never in a million years would he have imagined all of them in the same room together, and never in this situation.
Hermione suddenly stopped pacing and narrowed her eyes at him. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing." He replied, shaking his head.
She muttered something which sounded remarkably close to 'shit-faced wanker' and continued to wear the carpet out.
The official entered the room and headed straight for the desk, shutting the door behind him. Draco stood up and took the empty chair next to Harry's.
"Now," the official began, "Can we have some explanations, please?"
Everyone looked at each other, silent. Draco raised an eyebrow at Hermione, silently urging her to go first. She widened her eyes and shook her head. Harry looked at Ginny, and Ginny shrugged. He wondered who would crack first. Hermione or himself?
All of them were surprised when Ron spoke up.
"We're not getting married today, sir."
The official snorted. "That much is obvious, young man. What I want to know is why."
"Well, she—" Ron pointed to Hermione, "—is pregnant, and he—" he then pointed to Draco, "—owns the sperm."
"You seem to know a lot about their situation."
Ron shrugged. "I knew about it from the start. I was led to believe—" he sneaked a look at Hermione, who was now bunching the sides of her gown with her fists, "—that Malfoy here didn't give a damn about her being pregnant—"
"I never said that!" Hermione exclaimed.
"I asked you what he was going to do about the baby—"
"And I told you he was going to do nothing about it!"
"Which led me to think that he knew. You never said anything otherwise!"
"You told me you'd keep it a secret!"
"I couldn't not tell him! He's the father of your child, Hermione! What if we get married and the baby grows up to look like him? What do we tell him?"
"We'll...we'll say there was a recessive gene in your family, or something!"
Ron snorted. "We're notorious for having red hair in Wizarding history."
They fell silent for a few seconds, Draco and the official watching the proceedings with interest.
"Well, what brings him—" Hermione jerked her head towards Draco, "—here?"
"I sent him an invitation." Ron and Harry both said at the same time then looked at each other.
"You sent—" Ron began.
"Yeah. I couldn't just let this be unresolved—" Harry replied, before he was cut off by Hermione.
"You both told him?!"
"He has the right to know." Harry said, regaining some of his color.
"I asked him to show me what kind of man he was." Ron looked at Draco. "It seems I have my answer."
Hermione spun to face Ginny. "Did you tell him too?"
Ginny shrugged. "Trust me; I didn't know they were planning this." Then she smiled sheepishly. "Although I did send him one of your positive pregnancy tests."
"What?" Ginny said defensively, "You had more than a dozen. I'm sure you wouldn't notice if one of them was missing."
Everyone except Hermione stared at Draco, silently asking him what he was going to do about the situation.
"Don't worry. I'm going to marry her." He said.
"Well, do you want to marry her today?" The official asked him. "All that food's going to go to waste if we don't have a wedding."
"If it's possible, sure, why not?" He replied, and then looked at the rest of the group. "If that's all right with you guys."
"That's fine with me." Ron said, pushing off the fireplace. Harry and Ginny nodded in agreement.
"Over my dead body!" Hermione snapped.
They were married an hour later.
Draco carried Hermione over the threshold of his home. She had been silent during the trip from the hotel to here, rebuffing all his attempts at starting a conversation, and it looked like she was going to keep resting her vocal cords for an extended period of time. He wanted to drop her on the floor, but he couldn't, in fear of harming his unborn child, so he did the next best thing: he carried her all the way to his room and dropped her on the bed.
She shrieked as she hit the coverlet, tangling her legs in her gown in an attempt to stand up. She ended up falling on the floor, looking as peeved as a cat dropped in bathwater.
"Why, in Merlin's name, did you do that?!"
He shrugged. "You wouldn't talk to me. This seemed to be the best way to get your attention."
She glared at him. "I'm not going to talk to you."
"You just did." He pointed out.
She growled in frustration. "Just to make some things clear: We are not sharing a room."
"I don't have a guest bedroom."
"Then sleep on the floor."
"The bed is big enough for the two of us."
"Fine." She bit out, "But you're going to stay on your side of the bed. I'm going to stay in mine."
He shrugged. "Fine, suit yourself."
"FINE." She said, stomping out of the bedroom and slamming the door behind her.
He raked his hands through his hair. This was going to be a long day.
Hermione woke up, opening her eyes slowly and smiling. It had been over a week now since she last felt like vomiting her intestines out into the toilet. No more rushing to the bathroom after waking up. No more having to carry around a plastic waste bin for emergencies. No more looking like she was sick with the flu. Life was good.
"Morning, sunshine." Draco's sleepy voice whispered in her ear.
Her smile widened. Of all the things she expected when she had first come to live here, Draco being an attentive husband was not on the list. The first few weeks were spent with her ignoring his attempts at conversation. Eventually, he became frustrated, and he began to keep silent too.
She thought that that was the way their marriage was going to go on. Cold shoulders for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then one day, her morning sickness struck, and she found herself in close proximity to their toilet bowl. He had come in from the garden, heard her retching, and promptly ran to her side. He lifted her hair and pressed a damp cloth to her neck, all the while reassuring her that everything was going to be okay, and that he was going to be there for her.
She rejected his help, but he was persistent in ignoring her rejections. Eventually, he wore her down, and she stopped, in his words, being a 'stubborn old goat'. She began to participate in their previous one-sided conversations, and discovered that there was more in Draco to like than she once believed.
After the war trials were over, and he was proven innocent (thanks in part to Harry's testimony), Draco had gone to Canada to start over. His father and mother had insisted on coming along with him, but after finding out that he planned to live as a Muggle, had opted to go to their house in the Swiss Alps instead.
They were sitting on the sofa, watching the sun set outside their window, sipping tea.
"What happened to your stuff then?" She asked.
He was silent for a moment, deep in thought. "Well, as far as I know, Malfoy Manor is still there. So is all the furniture. All items that were thought to be associated with Dark Magic were taken away." He paused and took a sip of his tea. "Father's and Mother's account at Gringotts' was permanently suspended. They decided to donate the money for the rebuilding of Hogwarts."
"I still have my account though. My trust fund is still intact. I haven't touched it since I left." He looked at her. "Just in case you were wondering."
She blushed. "I don't care about your money—don't get me wrong, I' m glad I know we're not going to the poorhouse, but I have enough money of my own tucked away."
He smiled. "I'm not offended."
"So what happens to Malfoy Manor?"
"Well, it's still legally Father's. He and Mother are both persona non grata here in Britain, but for as long as Father's alive, it's his."
"Have you gone back there?" she asked quietly.
"No." He took a deep breath before continuing, "I'm not going back there for a while, I believe. I grew up there, but it's not my home any longer." He looked at her and smiled. "This is my home now."
She smiled back.
He ran a small bookstore, called "The Den", and it was famous for carrying rare and out of print titles. According to him, he was doing well enough there that he didn't feel the need to come back to Britain. However, when Pansy Parkinson got married, he was invited to be the best man. He couldn't refuse, because she was one of his only friends. So he left the shop to his assistant, and came to attend the wedding of Pansy Parkinson to Neville Longbottom.
"Why did you come back?" She asked, while washing the dishes, "I mean-- you could have just sent her a gift and a sorry note."
"She was one of my only friends, Hermione. She may have been whiny and bratty and extremely attached to me, but she was one of the few people whom I called a friend." He put the coffee mug he had been drinking out of into the sink.
"How did you react when she told you it was Neville she was marrying?"
He laughed. "I told her it was karma. She had said, when we were young, that the day she would marry someone like Neville Longbottom would be the day Neville would pass his exams perfectly. Well, he's now the Herbology Professor isn't he?"
She smiled, and then swatted him on the arm with a soapy hand. "Stop adding dishes! Wash the ones you use yourself!"
He returned to Canada after the wedding, and had quickly gone back to the rhythm of running his own bookstore once again when he received the invitations from Harry and Ron, and the positive pregnancy test from Ginny. He had quickly packed up his things again, and flew back to Britain, this time, to attend his own wedding. To her.
She had just finished her daily bonding session with the toilet, and he was gently wiping her face with a cool cloth. She suddenly felt compelled to ask him about the events leading up to their wedding.
"When I received the stuff?" He repeated, continuing to wipe her face. "Well, Potter's came first. I didn't think anything of it, actually. I thought maybe they had meant to send it for someone else."
He rinsed the cloth, wrung it out, then lifted her hair and pressed the cloth to her neck. "Then, a day later, Weasley's arrived. I was puzzled then-- was he trying to rub it in, or something? But when I opened it, a piece of paper fell out, and it read: 'You knocked her up. What are you going to do about it?' That small piece of paper shook up my world."
He helped her over to sit on the bed and put the washcloth in the sink. Then he sat down beside her and continued. "Then the next day, your pregnancy test arrived in the mail. Weasley-girl wrote, 'Better make this right, ferret-boy.'" He let out a short burst of laughter. "I was actually pretty pissed for the first few days. I thought you had set up the whole thing. Fake invitations, fake pregnancy tests. So I sent out some inquiries."
He took in a deep breath. "And I found out that you were really getting married. The receptionist at the hotel told me that it was a pretty rushed reservation—usually; wedding reception reservations are made a year in advance. But yours, she said, had to be within three months. So then I thought, maybe they aren't lying. Maybe they are telling the truth. I told my assistant I was going to be away for an indefinite period of time, and that he could reach me by email or phone for anything urgent. I applied for a license the day of the wedding, then..." He shrugged, "...the rest was history."
"Why did you have to marry me, then? I mean, we've never gotten along. You could've just claimed the child as yours and left."
"Despite popular opinion," He replied, wryly, "I just get women pregnant and leave them alone. I had to do the right thing, Hermione. I don't want to leave our child wondering why someone else's parents are together and his—or hers—aren't."
"Oh." She didn't know what to say.
He took her hand. "Don't worry. We're going to make this work somehow. I promise you that."
He had begun calling her his 'sunshine', because it was always first thing in the morning, when she woke, that her morning sickness acted up. She knew she looked like anything but cheerful and sunshiny, but she appreciated his attempts to make her feel better.
She turned around to face him, and was momentarily struck by how pretty his eyes were. She sent a silent prayer to Merlin that their child would get his eyes, and then smiled at him. "No more morning sickness."
"Really?" He smiled back. "And here I was, enjoying watching you throw up like you were hung over every night."
She whacked him with a small pillow. "You're such a gnome, Draco." Her stomach rumbled.
"Oh." He said, staring at her stomach intently, as if he could see the child forming inside. "What does the baby want to eat?"
"I'm craving mashed potatoes with ketchup." She replied, her mouth watering. Normally, she couldn't stand the smell or sight of mashed potatoes, but now she couldn't have enough of them.
"Okay, okay," he said, climbing out of the bed, "I'll get you guys food."
She took the opportunity to ogle her husband. She never did that during the first three months of her pregnancy, but then again, maybe that was because she was too busy being sick to appreciate the natural wonders of Draco Malfoy. He normally slept in the nude, while she slept in pyjamas. It was partly because she was used to it, and partly because they weren't, well, getting it on. Although she was growing to like her husband better every day, she still wasn't at that point where she was comfortable being intimate with him.
"Stop looking at my bum, Hermione." He said, before slipping out of the door to go to the kitchen.
Damn it, she got caught! She let out a sigh, and then smiled. Her husband did have a very nicely formed behind.
Draco his head propped up by his arm, watched as his wife slept beside him. During the first trimester, she slept facing away from him, nearly at the very edge of her side of the bed. Some days, he was concerned that she would fall off the bed. Some days, he wished she would, so that she would move closer to him. Nowadays, she slept facing the ceiling. She still wasn't as close to him as he would have liked, but he figured that with time, that would change. It was either that or he buy a smaller bed for them.
He sighed, and then laid his head on his pillow. His mind suddenly flashed back to when he came back to Britain for Pansy's wedding.
He was standing by the bar, quietly sipping glass of wine, mulling over the events that happened earlier. Around him, people were enjoying themselves—laughing, dancing, eating, and getting drunk.
Pansy had changed a lot. He had met her earlier, before the whole ceremony started. She had fussed over him, berating him for never coming to visit, telling him about what had happened the five years he had been gone. Who got married, who died, and who started which business and whatever else about society that she deemed important for him to know.
He was surprised to find that he was only mildly interested in what she was saying. He had thought, while on the flight to Britain, that he would be swamped with longing or sadness or regret when he landed. That he would miss his homeland so much that he wouldn't leave. But he didn't. It was just another place, with another set of memories. He had his friends here, his history here, but he also had friends in Canada, and he was also making his history there.
"Draco—Draco! Are you listening to me?" Pansy said, snapping her fingers in front of his face.
He blinked twice and looked at her. "I believe you said something along the lines of Longbottom being promoted to Professor of Herbology at Hogwarts."
"Glad to see you were paying some attention to what I was saying." She sat down on her chair and began to clip pearls into her hair. "I'm so proud of him. He's worked really hard to get to where he is, see, and...and..." She looked at him, her hands wrapped tightly around a fragile looking pearl-topped comb, "...Draco, am I doing the right thing?"
"I beg your pardon?" He asked.
"This—" She waved her hands around for emphasis, "—is this right for me? Am I making a mistake?"
He leaned back against the wall and crossed his arms, resting them on his abdomen. "Why are you asking me, Pans? It's your life."
"You're like my brother, Draco. I value your advice." She said, her voice serious, and then she smiled. "Remember what I said before? When you, Blaise and I were talking in the dungeons?"
"Yeah, back when we thought we were all high and mighty." He smiled at the memory. "We were teasing you about the guy you would marry one day. You told us the day you'd become Mrs. Longbottom was the day he passed his exams without help from Granger."
"And he did. Pass his Professorship exam without help from Granger, I mean."
"And here you are," he said, softly, "marrying him."
She looked out the window. "You're going to tell me its karma, aren't you?"
"Well, you took the words right out of my mouth, so I have nothing to say." He looked at her profile, illuminated by the sunlight from the window. He couldn't imagine what Longbottom saw in her, and what she saw in him. Make no mistake, he would be the first to defend Pansy, but he knew her. She was needy and clingy and occasionally annoying. Her vanity was the way to her heart.
"Pans," he found himself asking, "are you happy? With Longbottom, I mean."
She turned and he was struck by how beautiful she looked. She was glowing with happiness, or love, whichever emotion it was that caused her cheeks to turn pink, her eyes to shine, and an aura of peace to emanate from her. He suddenly understood what Longbottom must see when Pansy looked at him. "I guess I am."
"Well," he said, because he was feeling slightly uncomfortable around Pansy-in-love, "as long as it's not gas you're feeling, I guess. It would be horrible to be married to someone who makes you feel like passing gas all the time."
She laughed. "Draco, do you remember what you said?"
"What did I say?"
"The day you would marry Hermione Granger of your own will is the day you get her pregnant out of wedlock." She laughed again, putting the comb in her hair. "You'd better watch out. It might just come true."
"No, I don't think so," he said, getting a chill down his spine, "If you remember, Blaise's part was that the day he would willingly consider marriage would be the day he admits his undying love for Ron Weasley."
"Well, he just might surprise us." She stood and did a three-hundred-sixty degree turn. "How do I look?"
"Sensational, Pans." He held out his arm for her to take. "Sensational."
He finished off the rest of his wine, and then left the bar and headed up to his hotel room. Before he got there, however, he was stopped by someone tackling him from behind. He was about to grab the person's arm and twist it painfully when two things hit him: the person smelled awfully familiar; and, if the softness pressing against his back was any indication, the person was female. So he just gently removed the arms around him and spun the person so that she was standing in front of him.
There was something tugging at his memory—he knew this woman, he just couldn't place her name. He took in a deep breath, and smelled vanilla. It couldn't be—
"Hey there." She smiled at him. If he had any doubts as to who she was, they were all banished by the sound of her voice. "You look like someone I've liked for a loooong time."
She had had a few drinks. He didn't think she was drunk—but her inhibitions were lowered significantly by the alcohol. Or maybe she had a doppelganger and he just met it.
She squinted up at him. "Yup, same blond hair. Same grey eyes. Same broad shoulders." She giggled. "Although I'm not sure about the shoulders part. I haven't touched them before..." She rubbed his shoulders slowly, "...but I've dreamed about them."
Okay. The doppelganger theory was making more sense by the minute. "Granger. It's me, Malfoy."
She moved her face closer to his. "Why, it is you!" She giggled again. "Shucks. Now you know my secret. Now you have to tell me one of yours."
"Granger. Are you drunk?" He held up two fingers. "How many?"
"Two silly!" She wrapped her arms around him and snuggled her face into his chest. "Hmm...you have no idea how long I've wanted to do this."
This was not only weird, it was also wrong. The Granger he knew wouldn't be caught dead doing this, much less at a wedding where the majority of the guests were from Gryffindor. She must be drugged, or under some curse. Yes, that must be it.
He should really push her away—insult her so that she would go away and hate him until she died. Or something along those lines. But, for the love of Merlin, he couldn't help but enjoy the sensation of her snuggled against him. You see, she had no idea how long he had wanted to do this too.
He put his hands on her shoulders, intending to shove her off him, but then she made a little purring sound and hugged him a little tighter. And he knew he was lost.
But that didn't mean he wouldn't go down fighting.
"Granger. Hermione." He felt his arms wrap around her. "We should really stop this. Now. It's not right."
"Why not?" She looked up at him and met his eyes. "I've always followed what's right, Malfoy. Why can't I do something wrong once in a while?"
He stared into her eyes. If she was drunk...if she was under a spell...but he saw something in there. Granger wasn't drunk, as he supposed earlier. Nor was she under a curse. She was just play-acting, trying to convince him to take the decision out of her hands. Probably so that she can wake up the next morning and justify her actions.
The elevator doors opened, and she slipped from his grasp and went inside, her silent invitation in the air.
He couldn't pinpoint the exact moment he made his decision. All he knew was that he had been waiting for this opportunity for as long as Merlin knew when, and he would be an idiot if he let it slip from his grasp.
So he walked inside, pressed the floor number of his suite, and closed the elevator doors.
Draco stared up at the ceiling, remembering the night and the day that followed. They had used protection, but he guessed that one lucky spermatozoa slipped by their guard. Not that he regretted it. He liked being married to Hermione. He wouldn't change anything for the world.
He turned his head to look at her once more. Her face was peaceful when she was sleeping. Oftentimes, her hand was on her belly, as if she was comforting the baby. He wanted to do that too—sleep with his arm around Hermione, comforting her, keeping her safe while they slept.
But he had a feeling that if he rushed it, he would ruin whatever they had now. So he had to be patient, and wait.
"I'll slip past those barriers of yours. Before you know it, I'll be deep in your heart." He smoothed strands of her hair away from her face. "Don't worry, sunshine. You're already in mine."
Hermione felt like a whale. A whale with an active, kicking baby inside of it. She put her hands on the small of her back, trying to support her painful muscles. Her feet were swollen, her belly was swollen, and she felt like urinating every few minutes.
She looked down at her belly. "Okay, little guy. If you don't stop kicking me, I'll feed you bitter gourd every day for the rest of your life."
The kicking stopped immediately.
She sighed in relief. She and Draco didn't want to know the gender of their baby, so they had the doctor keep it in a separate envelope. She had a sneaking suspicion it was a boy though—there was no way a girl would move around that much in her uterus.
"Are you alright in there?" Draco asked from their bedroom. "I heard some threats."
"Just one." She replied. They were preparing her things to bring to the hospital. Her due date was near, and they weren't taking any chances. "I have a feeling this baby will hate bitter gourd when he comes out."
"It might be a she, Hermione." Draco came out of the bedroom and set a packed bag on the floor. "Right, baby girl?" He said, putting his hands on her belly. "See, she kicked!"
Hermione smiled at him. She had become more comfortable around him, and they had become progressively closer to each other, both emotionally and physically. She woke up every day with less and less space between them. She didn't know if it was her or him, but she was glad that it was happening.
She patted the seat beside her, motioning for him to sit down. He complied, and then put his arm around her shoulders.
"I owe you an explanation," She began.
"This is going to be about the wedding, isn't it?" He butted in.
She narrowed her eyes at him. "My explanation time. Zip your lips."
He motioned with his hands and fell silent.
"When I found out I was pregnant, I was so happy." Her eyes misted at the memory. "You see, the night at the hotel, I wasn't drunk then. I mean, I had had a few drinks, but I was still capable of making my own decisions." She sighed. "Some people were ribbing me about how Neville got married before me, and that maybe it was because I was too focused on my job to have a little fun. I got a little angry, and I walked away from that table, and then I got a little bit depressed."
"Then I saw you walking towards the elevator, and I thought, well, why not? Maybe if I let loose a little, something will happen." She smiled. "I had always had this weird attraction to you. When we were kids, it made me want to hit you all of the time, but then, that day, I just wanted to...well, mess around. I pretended to be drunk so that if you rebuffed me, I could leave with a bit of my dignity intact."
"I knew you knew I wasn't drunk by the time we got to your room. But I didn't care." She shifted around in her seat, trying to relieve some of the pressure on her spine. "Then you left the next day. And then, about a week and a half later, I found out I was pregnant."
"I wanted to tell you, but then I thought, maybe you didn't remember. Maybe you wouldn't care. I mean, you left the day after, without even saying goodbye. So I panicked, and I told Ron. He told Harry, who told Ginny. And then Ron said that if I wanted to, he'd marry me. I told him I would, and we started planning. I didn't know they were also planning something behind my back." She shook her head. "The whole time, I thought of telling you, but I kept on chickening out."
"Why were you so angry to see me?" He asked.
"Well...it was mostly pride, actually." She admitted, "Here I was, so resigned to being a martyr—I would do the right thing and when I saw you again, I would be a happy, married woman, with an adorable child. But then, during the wedding, I felt like I was being led to the guillotine. And I kept on trying to convince myself, until it came to the point where all I wanted to do was escape. I was going to damn the consequences and survive alone, with my child. And, in that case, when I saw you again, you would know, and you would feel ashamed for having left me behind."
"So when you showed up, I was grateful, but I was guilty. I didn't tell you about the baby, or the wedding. I had assumed that you would act a certain way. I didn't give you a chance to make a decision—because the child is half yours too. And all that guilt, mixed with pride, turned into anger. And then we got married, and I thought you would hate me for sure for forcing you into a marriage you didn't want." She turned to face him. "I'm sorry for that."
"I'm not." He replied. She looked up in surprise. "Sorry for marrying you, that is. I'm not the kind of person who would willingly tie myself to another person without serious consideration. If I didn't think we could make it work—if I didn't feel anything for you, I wouldn't marry you, even if there was a child."
He took her hand in his. "Before I went and interrupted that wedding, I had this feeling that everything was going to be alright. So I went ahead and did it. And now...now I feel right. I feel like everything is in its own place. I'm glad I married you."
Hermione felt tears trickle down her face. "Me too. I'm glad you stopped that wedding and married me."
He swooped in and gave her a quick peck on the lips. She stared at him, her eyes wide.
"Why do you look so shocked?" He said, amused. "We've done more than that before."
"No." She shook her head. "My water just broke."
It was his turn to look shocked.
"Call the damn ambulance, Draco. Now!"
After several hours of labour, a healthy baby boy was wiped, swaddled, and handed over to the tired mother and the beaming father.
"Oh, he has your eyes." Hermione said, sending a quick thank you to Merlin. "And he's just staring at us."
Draco kissed the top of Hermione's sweat drenched head and smiled at his son. "He's going to have your hair."
"And he's going to hate bitter gourd." She added. The baby scrunched up his face at the word. "See? Such a smart baby."
"All parents think their children are smart, right Ron?" Ginny said, wiping her eyes with a tissue.
Ron, who was looking a little teary-eyed himself, nodded,
Harry panned the camera to catch the reactions of the people around them. "How about you, Pansy?"
"I'm glad he doesn't look like a mandrake root." She shuddered. "Neville has been growing them in the greenhouse, and I've had bad dreams about giving birth to children who look like it."
He moved his camera quickly back to the happy family, but not before catching a glimpse of Blaise Zabini, who was looking at Ron with a startled look on his face.
"What are you going to name the kid?" Harry asked.
"Well, if he's going to carry on the Malfoy tradition then..." He opened the cloth and turned the baby over, then smiled. "Aha. There's a cafe-au-lait spot on his back that somewhat resembles a..." He squinted. "...scorpion. See, Hermione?"
She looked at her son's back. "It's just like the one you have, but yours is like a seahorse."
The other people in the room looked at each other, raised their eyebrows, and then turned their attention back to the family.
"Scorpius, then." Draco said, swaddling the baby again.
"Scorpius. Sounds like a good name." Hermione began cooing at the baby. "Right, itty-bitty one?"
Scorpius Malfoy blinked twice, yawned, and promptly fell asleep.
"Who was it?" Draco asked Hermione as she hung up the phone. Scorpius was with Harry today, so he was cooking lunch for only the two of them.
"It was Ron. Seems like he thinks Blaise has been hitting on him." She shook her head. "Funny, huh?"
Draco felt a chill run down his spine. Blaise would be getting married soon. But he'd have a harder battle to fight. "You never know. They might surprise us."
She looked at him oddly. "Is there something I need to know?"
"No, let them figure it out themselves." He smiled at her. "Lunch is ready."
"Draco...I've been thinking."
"What is it?" He asked, transferring their food from the pan into a serving dish.
"It's been six months since I gave birth to Scorpius and while everything has been healing properly..." She blushed. "I'm worried it might not work properly anymore."
Draco dropped the pan on the table in surprise.
"So...I was thinking, maybe we should check to make sure it's working."
He smiled. "You know it's not just a onetime thing, right?"
"Of course. We're always going to have to do follow-ups. That's the right thing to do, right?" She smiled back at him.
"I do love you, sunshine."
"Me too, Draco. Me too."