"Hermione!" Harry gasped, breaking the stunned silence that had fallen in the headmistresses' office.
"Hello Harry," Hermione replied with a smile. "Ginny, Ron," She added, inclining her head in the direction of the two redheads.
"What are you doing here?" Ginny questioned, throwing Hermione a disgusted look.
"The same as you I would think," Hermione answered as she gave Neville a friendly smile and settled down in the last remaining seat beside her son. "Our children have been fighting."
"But that means you're a…" Ron stuttered.
"A Malfoy," Hermione finished for her ex-boyfriend. "Yes, I am."
"Perhaps we should get on," McGonagall said, interjecting before things got out of hand between the former students.
"I think that's a good idea," Hermione said, glancing at Rose and finding the young girl was still shooting daggers her way. Turning to face Draco, she found her husband had also noticed the red-headed teenagers' attitude towards her.
"I agree," Ron said snappishly. "I have no desire to sit here and listen to Malfoys bad mouth my daughter."
"No-one is badmouthing anyone," McGonagall insisted. "I just want to get to the bottom of what was going on, and make sure it won't happen again. I will not stand for fighting in my school. So, does someone care to explain what happened? James?"
"It was all her fault," James supplied, glaring at Lyra. "Rose and I were just sitting doing our homework, when the Malfoy girl stormed over and started shouting at Rose. The next thing I knew, she'd pushed Rose so Rose pushed her back. Then the brother came over and started having a go at Rose as well. That's when I jumped in and stopped him from hitting a girl."
"I would never hit a girl," Scorpius snarled. "I was protecting my sister. What you failed to mention was that your precious cousin hit Lyra after she'd pushed her. I just got in the way before she had another go at my sister."
"Rose?" McGonagall turned to the silent red-headed girl. "Do you want to explain why you hit a first year?"
"The bitch asked for it," Rose growled. "No-one asked her to come over to us and start having a go. If anyone's to blame, she is."
"Lyra, why don't you explain what happened," Draco urged his daughter. Everyone seemed to agree that Lyra had started the fight, but he wanted to know why his well-behaved daughter had lashed out at a girl she wouldn't even know.
Lyra glanced over at Hermione, and when her mother nodded her head and gave her a reassuring smile she took a deep breath before she began. "I'm sorry for causing trouble, but I heard Rose running her mouth off about my family, and I wasn't going to let her spread her lies."
"It wasn't lies," Rose retorted. "I stand by what I said."
"And just what did you say?" Ron asked his daughter.
Personally he thought anything she'd said about Draco was probably right, but he was a bit confused as to how she even knew about the blond wizard. As far as he and his family were concerned, Draco and his family were in the past. They never spoke about Draco and his family, and until Neville had turned up at The Burrow and informed them that Rose and James had been fighting with his kids, they hadn't even realised there were Malfoys at Hogwarts.
"Just the truth," Rose replied with a shrug.
"And just what is the truth?" Severus demanded.
"That our homework assignment is a joke," Rose answered. "In History of Magic we're learning about the war, and we were each assigned someone to write about. I was stuck with her."
Rose finished her sentence by glaring angrily at Hermione, and this time everyone in the room saw the hatred in the young girl's eyes. The only problem was, no-one but James understood why she hated Hermione.
"I still don't see the problem," McGonagall said with a frown. "If you've been learning about the war, then you'll know that Hermione is very much a war hero."
"She's no hero, she's a coward," Rose spat. "She's a neglectful, lying, deceitful bitch. She's a heartless monster, and now she's sitting here as though she's some sort of great mother figure."
"Now do you see why I shoved her?" Lyra demanded in an angry voice. "I couldn't just sit back and let her insult my Mum."
"You know nothing about your Mum," Rose snapped. "She's hiding a secret from you, and it's the worst secret in the world."
"Just what are you on about?" Hermione questioned. "Why do you hate me? What have I ever done to you?"
"You haven't done anything, that's the problem," Rose cried as tears began to seep from her eyes. "What was wrong with me? Why didn't you want me? Why did you keep them, and not me?"
"Rose," Ron whispered with a pained expression as the Malfoys looked at his daughter in absolute bafflement.
"What are we missing here?" Draco asked.
"Ask your wife," Ginny snapped as she put her arm around her niece. "She knows what's going on here."
"I wish I did, but I'm as confused as everyone else," Hermione replied with a frown.
"Stop lying," Rose screeched, pushing away from Ginny and jumping to her feet. "Just admit it. You're my mother and you abandoned me."
Everyone's mouths dropped at Rose's revelation. Even Harry and Ron seemed stunned by what had come out of Rose' mouth. The only people seemingly not stunned by the revelation were Ginny and James.
"Just what have you been telling her, Ron?" Hermione demanded, even though she was still reeling by what Rose had accused her of.
"Don't you dare speak to my Dad like that," Rose stormed. "He's been there for me my entire life, unlike you. He's been the one to look after me, while you were off finding yourself a new family."
"I don't know what you've been told, Rose, but I'm not your mother," Hermione said gently, although she shot her ex-boyfriend a dirty look. She couldn't believe that Ron had lied to his daughter about who her mother was.
"Stop with the lies, Hermione," Ginny snorted. "We all know what happened in Australia."
"Clearly you all know something I don't, so please enlighten me," Hermione replied. "Explain how you're accusing me of being the mother to a girl I didn't know existed until an hour ago."
"Let's not do this here," Ron interrupted. "This is private business, between myself and my daughter."
"It's too late for that now Weasley," Draco spat. "You're accusing my wife of something she hasn't done. We want answers. Tell us why you've been lying to your daughter for fifteen years."
"I've never lied to you, Rose," Ron said, turning to his daughter. "Not once. Everything I've told you about your mother is true."
"And just what is that, because she seems to have gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick," Draco said.
"I know, Dad," Rose said as she wiped her eyes. "I know you tried to protect me, but I've known for years who my mother was."
"Someone told you Hermione was your mother?" Ron asked, looking accusingly at his sister.
"Don't look at me," Ginny warned her brother. "You made it clear when you came back from Australia that we weren't to mention Hermione. I've never mentioned her in front of Rose, or any of the other kids."
"You might never have mentioned her in front of us, but you still talked about her," James pointed out. "The whole family talk about her. Did you really think we hadn't heard at least some of the gossip? We pieced the whole story together years ago."
"And just what story did you piece together?" Hermione asked.
"The story of how you abandoned Rose without a second thought," James answered, giving Hermione a cold look that was just as hateful as the one his cousin had bestowed on the attractive brunette witch. "Even though no-one told us the story, we've heard enough over the years. How you and Uncle Ron went off to Australia together, and when he came back two years later he had Rose with him. You were gone and Rose was left without a mother."
"Two years?" Hermione turned to her ex-boyfriend. "It took you two years to come back home? I thought you'd gone home the second we split up. You stayed in Australia for nearly another year after we split up?"
"What's she on about Ron?" Ginny asked.
"I think it's time you told us everything, Ron," Harry said firmly. "We've spent fifteen years honouring your request not to talk about Australia, but look where that's gotten us. I think you owe us all an explanation."
"I'm sorry," Ron whispered as he hung his head in his hands. "This was never supposed to happen."
"What? I was never supposed to get blamed for abandoning a child I'd never had?" Hermione demanded. "What did you think would happen when you told everyone I was Rose's mother?"
"I didn't," Ron answered as he finally looked up and found everyone watching him. "I never once said you were Rose's mother."
Harry and Ginny immediately turned to look at each other, before they re-focused back on Ron.
"Rose isn't Hermione's, is she?" Ginny finally whispered.
"It took you all long enough to work it out," Draco muttered.
"No, that's not true Aunt Ginny," Rose insisted. "Everyone says she's my mother."
"Because that's we we've all believed these years," Harry explained in a quiet voice. "We've all thought Hermione was your mother."
"You thought I would abandon my child?" Hermione asked in horror. "Did you ever know me, Harry? Did you honestly think I was capable of such a thing?"
"I was shocked, but it was what we were led to believe," Harry replied.
"Don't put this on me," Ron seethed. "You lot jumped to conclusions. I never once indicated that Hermione was Rose's mother."
"Maybe not, but you damn well knew what we all thought," Ginny argued. "You're not stupid Ron, you knew what sort of conclusions we all reached. How were we ever supposed to think anything else? You left with Hermione, and when you returned you had Rose. All you would say was that you and Hermione had split up and that Rose's mother wasn't in the picture. You wouldn't talk about what had happened, so we came to the logical conclusion that Rose was Hermione's. You could have put us straight, but you chose not to. Why?"
"Because he didn't want to admit the truth," Draco said.
"And what do you know about the truth, Malfoy?" Ron spat.
"I know why you and Hermione split up, and some simple maths has a conclusion jumping to my mind," Draco answered. "Let's guess, the reason you didn't come home when you and Hermione split up was that you found out you were about to become a father. You stuck around because the witch you were sleeping with behind Hermione's back was pregnant."
"Ron," Ginny gasped. "Tell me this isn't true."
"I'm sorry," Ron whispered.
"Dad. Tell me the truth, who is my mother?" Rose pleaded.
Ignoring everyone else in the room, Ron took hold of his daughter's hand and finally told her the truth. He told her how he'd had an affair with an Australian witch named Kylie behind Hermione's back, and how a few days after Hermione had walked out on him Kylie had shown up and announced she was pregnant. Ron explained how Kylie had asked him for money for a termination, but that he'd persuaded her to have the baby and he would raise it.
"I'm sorry princess," Ron said, wiping at his daughter's tears. "I never meant to lie to you, or anyone. I was just too ashamed to admit how much I'd messed up. But I have never regretted the decision to persuade your mother to have you. She might not have wanted you, but I always have. I'm just sorry I let people think Hermione was your mother."
"You did it deliberately, didn't you?" Harry questioned. "You knew what we thought, and you didn't bother to correct us. You let us think the worst of Hermione for fifteen years."
"To be fair, if you'd ever really known Hermione, you never would have thought she was capable of that," Draco pointed out. "You were happy to think the worst of Hermione, because that way you didn't have to question Weasley and find out the real truth about Rose's mother."
"I'm so sorry, Hermione," Harry said, turning to his former friend. "Can you ever forgive me?"
"For thinking so little of me?" Hermione questioned with a sad shake of her head. "I'm sorry Harry, but I think too much has happened. As Draco said, if you'd really known me, you wouldn't have thought I was capable of abandoning my daughter. I would never walk away from my child. You should have known that, Harry."
"Your right, I should," Harry said quietly as silence fell in the office.
While everyone was digesting the news and trying to work out their next move, Lyra got out of her seat and made her way across to Rose. Hermione didn't notice her daughter until she was standing in front of the red headed witch, and she just prayed that Lyra wasn't going to cause more trouble.
"I'm sorry Rose," Lyra said softly. "I had no idea that you'd grown up without a Mum. It's not your fault that you thought my Mum was your Mum, and I can't blame you for not liking her when you thought that. I'm sorry I pushed you and called you names."
"I'm sorry for insulting your Mum," Rose returned with a sheepish smile before she turned to Hermione. "Sorry, Mrs Malfoy."
"It's okay sweetheart, you didn't have all the facts," Hermione replied. "I'm just sorry you've had to spend fifteen years not knowing the truth."
"So am I," Rose whispered as she turned back to her father and gave him a sad look.
"I think in light of what's just occurred, we can skip major punishments for you four," McGonagall announced softly. "However, I will need to punish the fighting, so you'll all lose twenty points and you'll all serve detentions with your head of house tomorrow evening."
"Thank you, Professor McGonagall," Harry said, pleased that no-one was in any real trouble following the afternoon's events.
"Would it be okay if I took Rose home?" Ron asked. "I think it's time we talked properly. I can have her back at school tomorrow afternoon."
"In the circumstances, I'll allow it," McGonagall said with a nod. "Would you care to use my floo network?"
McGonagall rose to her feet and after sorting a return time with Ron, he headed off home with Rose. Once he was gone, Harry and Ginny got up to leave. The Potters both issued Hermione another apology, but it was clear to everyone that the damage had been done. They'd thought the worst of her for fifteen years, and a couple of apologies wasn't going to change that. When Harry and Ginny left, James also exited the headmistress office after Neville told him to be in his office at seven the following evening.
"I'll see you two at seven also," Severus said to the twins. "And next time remember, violence is not the answer."
"Yes, Professor," Lyra said meekly.
"Off you go," Hermione said to her two children. "And try to stay out of trouble until the end of term."
"We will," Scorpius vowed as he led his sister towards the door. "Bye Mum, bye Dad."
"See you later son. Be good, Lyra," Draco called as the pair exited the office.
"I don't know about anyone else, but I could use a drink after all that," McGonagall said as she pulled a bottle of firewhisky from her bottom drawer once the adults were alone in the room. Summoning five glasses, she poured everyone a drink and handed them around.
"I had no idea about any of that," Neville muttered as he sank into a chair with his firewhisky. "Poor Rose. I can't believe Ron never told her the truth."
"I can't believe he just let people think she was mine," Hermione said sadly. "That poor girl, she must be in such a mess."
"I think we can all agree that Ron handled things badly," McGonagall said. "Although, I'm sure his family will let him know how much he messed up."
"You might have to brace yourself for apologies, Hermione," Draco said. "We could have Weasleys coming out of the woodwork to say sorry now they know the truth."
"Like with Harry and Ginny, it's too little too late," Hermione said with a shrug. "They've thought the worst of me for fifteen years, and one apology isn't going to change that fact. This changes nothing for us. Let's just hope it gives poor Rose some answers about her mother."
"I just wish someone had said something to me," Neville said as he sipped his firewhisky. "If either Harry or Ginny had mentioned you being Rose's mother, I could have put them straight. But they never said a word."
"Like Draco said, maybe they didn't say anything as they didn't want to have to question Weasley," Severus suggested. "I'm sure deep down they knew Hermione would never walk away from her child. But believing that was better than questioning Weasley and finding out he was the distasteful party."
"I don't suppose we'll ever know," Hermione said with sad smile. "But at least now I know why the Weasleys and Harry never tried to contact me. They'd painted me as the villain, and they were happy to have my out of their lives. Luckily, I've moved on and I don't need them anymore. I say we forget about the dramas of the Weasleys. I want to focus on what I have in my life."
"And what's that?" Draco questioned with a smirk.
"Good friends, and a great family," Hermione replied.
"Sounds like a perfect toast," Neville said with a grin. "To good friends and great family."
"Good friends and great family," Everyone chorused, clinking glasses and finishing the last of their firewhisky.
While Hermione hoped that Rose Weasley got the answers she needed from her father, she was hoping not to be sucked into any more of the Weasley family dramas. She'd had as much as she could take that afternoon. She wanted to forget all about Ron and the other Weasleys, and focus on her own family. After all, why would she be interested in the dramas of another family when she had her own family to deal with. Draco and the twins were more than enough for her to handle. There was enough drama in being a Malfoy, without having to be sucked into another family's melodramatics.
A/N - Thanks for reading, and thank you for all the great reviews. I hope you enjoyed this little story.