“All right” Hermione whispered as she bent down in the entry way of number 12 Grimmauld Place she looked Teddy squarely in the eye as she pulled his coat around his tiny arms and snugly placed a knitted cap on his head. “Where are we going Teddy?”
“Out” The nearly two year old shouted pointing to the door. “Uka Won” He added even louder causing the portrait of Walapurga Black to scream behind her permanent silencing curtain.
“Yes but what will there be when we go out?” Hermione added hoping he would reach the inevitable warning himself without having to lecture the toddler on the subject once more.
“Mooggles” Teddy exclaimed
“And what can’t we do where there are muggles around?” Hermione said sternly doing her best Professor McGonagall impression.
“Change.” He shouted
“Yes.” Hermione replied throwing a long striped scarf on and opening the pram with a flick on her wand.
Even though he was almost too big to fit in the carrier, it seemed to Hermione much safer than walking all the way to Diagon alley. So she dragged the pram down the steps onto the snowy street and began to push the little boy through London.
It was nearly Christmas and as they passed from more residential streets to the shop lined ones the streets became more crowded. Hermione wasn’t particular in a hurry, but Teddy got excited when he saw so many people and often tried to morph into the most colorful passerbyers. They walked for nearly twenty minutes without any troubles, when Hermione decided that she would be wise to take a shortcut through a small park.
It had snowed heavily the night before and even through the pathways had been iced there was still dusting of snow over the grassy patches. The dim sunlight seemed to make the whiteness shine even brighter as they made there was across the park. There were very few people. Only a handful of Christmas shoppers cutting across the traffic and a small group of children who were reclusively throwing snowballs in one corner. She kept her head down, watching the pathway for patches of ice, hardly noticed the approaching figure coming straight at her before Teddy let out a squeal of warning.
Hermione stood up straight and looked into the eyes of the young man who had stopped before her abruptly. It was a face she had seen many times before but never so hollowed and broken. The grey eyes which once shown with hate were now dull under pale unkempt hair.
The man himself looked up at the bushy haired woman pushing the buggy along. She seemed happy, her eyes brighter, her face rounder, all bundled up for a day of shopping and careless wandering. The little boy looked up at him with large eyes; he could not tell how old the child was but the boy had brown hair peeking out from underneath his cap and was clutching onto a small stuffed penguin with gusto. He moved him mouth to speak, looking from the woman to her possible child. He would have called her by her last name, yet he did not know if that was even her name anymore.
“Hermione.” He whispered bleakly the word sounding strange.
Hermione looked back at Draco and thought for the first time that this could very much be the first time that he ever called her by her given name.
“Draco.” She responded flatly attempting to hold back any surprise or hatred in her voice.
It was then when the small child gave out quite a squawk as the toy dropped to the icy ground.
There was a beat of silence in which neither adult moved, and then they suddenly both dove for the penguin. It was Draco who picked it up first and handed it back to the toddler. “He’s not-” not knowing the polite way to end the sentence Draco let it get away from him.
“No” Hermione added quickly “This is Teddy, he’s Remus Lupin and…”
Hermione smiled a bit, surprised that Draco even knew his own cousin’s name, “Yes. We were just heading to…”
“Wheezy wheez.” Teddy replied for his own self and Draco looked at the child with a glimmer of affection.
“Diagon Alley.” Hermione added.
She pushed her hair back aside, not knowing what to say next and clearly neither did Draco. He fumbled around placing his hands in his coat pocket before clearing his throat loudly and saying in a fumbling manner, “Bit strange to walk couldn’t you floo.” He said the last word rather quietly “Or can you not do that with a child.” He added in an honest tone of curiosity.
“I like walking, it’s nice to blend in.” Hermione replied, realizing that for the first time in her life she was having a civilized conversation with Draco. As she said these words she realize that he was doing the exact same thing, walking through muggle London, enjoying the company of people around him without being glared at.
Teddy, greatly pleased with now another brand new person to show interest in him was moving his toy penguin along in the air making noises and all to go along. When this did not catch the attention of the adults he did the one thing that was certain would. His grubby little hand took hold of the cap and threw it triumphantly down upon the ground. Hermione rushed to pick it up suddenly stricken as Draco took a step back in shock. The wind picked up pushing the hat to Draco’s feet where it lay limp.
“Get the hat quick.” Hermione called out exasperated. He picked it up and handed it to her; she rushed to the child and rammed it on his head.
“Very sensitive head.” Hermione said to a passing by muggle woman who looked at her inquisitively.
Draco looked at her rather suspicious of the situation, but he caught sight of Teddy’s hair, which was now a bright shade of neon orange.
“He’s a… like his mother.” Draco muttered as Hermione scowled at Teddy.
“Yes.” She replied standing up and looking visibly flustered. She shifted her shoulder bag, “He’s getting wild I should...”
“Yeah” Draco said straightening his own jacket and taking a hesitant step forward to let her pass.
Hermione began pushing the stroller away watching Teddy closely, yet sensing that Draco’s eyes were still watching her intently. She had only moved a few feet when she heard him call out in a strangely confident voice.
She turned and smiled at him, it wasn’t much, but it was almost like an apology.
“Happy Christmas Draco.”