A/N – I Haven't done this for a while, but I'm publishing a story I haven't yet finished writing. For a while now, my Children of the Dark series has been my main priority and it means I haven't got a backlog of long stories finished and ready to be published. However, I've got several heading towards the final stages and this is one of them. So far I've done 30 chapters of this story, so for now I will be publishing it once a week on a Wednesday. Updates will likely move up to twice a week when I've finished it, but for now it's a weekly story.
This story takes place during the war, but some events are different (mainly there was no battle at the ministry at the end of fifth year, meaning Sirius is alive, Lucius isn't in Azkaban and Draco doesn't have the mark). I also want to mention that this story features a pretty dark Lucius – and he's quite different from how I normally portray him but for this story I needed him to be more devoted to the dark arts and Voldemort than to his family.
I hope people enjoy this story.
Alone in his office the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, had just poured himself a nice cup of tea and was settling down to enjoy it with a few biscuits when there was a knock on his door. Wondering who could be disturbing him on a Sunday afternoon, Dumbledore reluctantly placed his tea and biscuits on his desk and went to answer the door. When he opened the door the last thing he expected to find was Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy hovering outside his office, both looking worried and nervous.
Dumbledore nodded at the unexpected pair in greeting. "Miss Granger, Mr Malfoy. What can I do for you, this afternoon?"
"We need to talk to you in private," Hermione answered. "It's important, and very personal."
"Come in." Dumbledore stepped aside to let the two students enter the office, curious as to what they wanted.
Dumbledore's curiosity was aroused even further when the pair entered the office and the headmaster spotted they were holding hands. Even when the pair took seats in front of his desk they continued to hold hands as they clearly looked at each other for support.
"Can I get either of you a cup of tea?" Dumbledore asked.
"No thank you." Draco shook his head as he answered for the pair of them.
"How can I help?" Dumbledore asked as he settled himself behind his desk and studied the two sixth years in front of him.
"As you've probably guessed, we're a couple," Draco announced, lifting his hand that was entwined with Hermione's. "I don't think we really need to go into details, but we've been together since last year and we're serious about one another."
Dumbledore nodded, wondering if the meeting was all about Draco approaching him to join the Order of the Phoenix. The Order was Dumbledore's organisation that fought against the dark wizard Lord Voldemort. Hermione was associated with the group, although not technically a member, because of her friendship with Harry Potter and the Weasleys. Draco however came from a family with very clear ties to the dark side, in fact his father Lucius was a known Death Eater and one of Voldemort's top supporters.
"I'm pregnant," Hermione declared, taking Dumbledore by surprise.
Dumbledore opened and closed his mouth a few times before he finally found some words. "How sure are you? Have you been to see Madam Pomfrey?"
"I haven't been to the hospital wing," Hermione replied. "We looked up the spell to check for pregnancy and we've tried it four times. Each time it comes back positive. I'm pregnant."
"And we need your help," Draco told the headmaster. "My father can't find out about the baby. He'll go mad if he finds out I've gotten involved with Hermione."
"I'm not really sure I can help you there," Dumbledore said gently to the blond Slytherin. "You and Miss Granger are in my care, I'm obligated to inform your parents of the situation."
"We understand that," Draco replied. "What I'm asking is that you inform my mother of the situation. If we do it right my father need never know what's going on."
"How exactly can we do that?" Dumbledore questioned. "Even an owl addressed to your mother will go to the manor, and there's no guarantee your father won't see it's from the school and open it."
"What I'm about to tell you is top secret, and you have to promise not to make it public knowledge," Draco said. "Please Professor, we need your help."
"I promise to help in whatever way I can, and I promise not to tell anyone what you're about to tell me," Dumbledore vowed.
Draco let out a relieved sigh, before confessing something he'd only ever told Hermione. "My mother doesn't live at the manor, in fact neither do I. When The Dark Lord returned in fourth year my mother made a deal with him and my father. In exchange for playing the loving wife, and not letting anyone know what was going on, she was given permission to move into another Malfoy property with me."
"May I ask why your mother made such a deal?" Dumbledore asked.
"My mother could tell you the reasons much better than I can, but mainly it's because Father has let The Dark Lord take up residence in the manor," Draco explained. "My mother doesn't want anything to do with him, and she doesn't want me having anything to do with him either."
"Why would your father and The Dark Lord agree to such a thing?" Dumbledore frowned, not entirely convinced that Draco wasn't spinning him some tall tale for some reason.
"They agreed so she wouldn't go to the Order," Draco answered. "I don't know all the details, but as long as everyone thinks everything is okay with my parents' marriage, Father and The Dark Lord leave us alone."
"Have you ever met Voldemort?" Dumbledore questioned, noticing the way Draco winced at the use of Voldemort's name. Only a chosen few were brave enough to refer to Voldemort by name, and clearly it was something Draco wasn't used to hearing.
"No." Draco shook his head. "When I went home the summer after fourth year my parents explained what was going to happen over dinner. Once we'd finished dinner mother and I left and I haven't slept at the manor since."
"Did it not bother you, being torn away from your home?" Dumbledore probed. He was beginning to think that Draco was telling the truth, but he wanted to be sure before he became too involved in the Malfoys private situation.
"I'd rather be with my mother than in a home with The Dark Lord in residence," Draco admitted. "To be honest I was so relieved when I found out we were leaving. The last few weeks of fourth year I was terrified that I would have to meet The Dark Lord once I returned home."
"I was always under the impression that you supported your father's beliefs regarding muggleborns," Dumbledore commented.
"I did when I first started school, but a few months at Hogwarts showed me how wrong my father was," Draco replied. "It took me a few years to totally break free of my father's teachings, but these days I form my own opinions about people and make my own decisions. And I don't want to get involved with dark wizards, I'm happy the way things are."
"A lot of us are, which is why we're fighting Voldemort and his supporters," Dumbledore said. "I'm happy that this isn't some trap of some kind, and I'm willing to help. Sorry if I was too hard on you, Draco."
"It's alright," Draco reassured the headmaster. "It's understandable that you wanted to be sure about me, especially given who my father is."
"Does this mean, you're going to help us?" Hermione asked.
"Yes." Dumbledore nodded. "I will help you, and I will protect the pair of you and your baby. We are of course going to have to bring some other people in on this. I'll speak to Professors Snape and McGonagall, and I'll arrange for you to have a private appointment with Madam Pomfrey. And of course I'll inform your parents and Mrs Malfoy, and bring them in for a chat. We can then decide on the best course of action from there. What sort of reactions, do you think we can expect from your parents?"
"My mother will be shocked, but she'll support us," Draco replied confidently.
"I'm not so sure about my parents," Hermione admitted quietly. "They won't like the fact that I'm pregnant while I'm still at school. And it's not as if we have the best relationship these days, not since we discovered I was a witch and I started Hogwarts."
Dumbledore nodded sympathetically, knowing a little bit about Hermione's situation with her parents. While he didn't know the Grangers personally he knew from Professor McGonagall that they hadn't taken the news that Hermione was a witch that well. He also knew from the Weasleys that the Grangers were pretty standoffish in their dealings with the family, and often they only let Hermione visit with her friends with a lot of complaining.
"I'm sure we can deal with everything together," Dumbledore said, smiling at the couple. "Now why don't the pair of you head off to enjoy the rest of your afternoon? Miss Granger, I'll let you know when the best time to see Madam Pomfrey is, and I'll inform you when your parents are coming in. Hopefully by the time we talk to your parents we'll have official confirmation of the pregnancy, and know when exactly the baby is due."
"Thank you Professor." Hermione smiled at the old man as she and Draco stood up to leave. "We appreciate all your help."
"Think nothing of it," Dumbledore replied. "It's a pleasure to help. Now off you go and don't worry, everything will be fine."
As the two students exited his office, Dumbledore slumped down in his seat, wondering what on earth he was going to do. The entire situation was going to be very delicate and he knew it had to be handled correctly. The consequences of Lucius and Voldemort finding out about Hermione's pregnancy could be catastrophic. What he had to do was ensure the safety of Draco, Hermione and their baby, and that was exactly what he intended to do.
A few days later, Dumbledore was once again in his office with Draco and Hermione. This time however, Draco's mother, Hermione's parents and Professors Snape and McGonagall were present. The previous day Hermione had been examined by Madam Pomfrey and the school medi-witch had confirmed Hermione was indeed pregnant. Madam Pomfrey reckoned the baby had been conceived sometime over the Christmas break, which was what Draco and Hermione reckoned as well, therefore it was due in mid to late September.
Currently there was silence in the room as Dumbledore had just broken the news of Hermione's pregnancy. Narcissa looked to be struggling with what to say, while the Grangers were looking at their daughter in pure horror. Dumbledore suspected that the couple's reaction would not be good, and sure enough they didn't disappoint when they finally spoke.
"This is disgraceful," Richard Granger declared. "How on earth can you let a teenage girl get pregnant in your school?" He demanded of Dumbledore.
"It is a regretful incident, but it's happened and all we can do now is cope with the situation," Dumbledore answered.
"Dad, it's not Professor Dumbledore's fault," Hermione said quietly. "Draco and I are responsible, no-one else."
"The pair of you are mainly responsible for this mess, but the school still has to shoulder some blame," Hermione's mother, Jean, said. "How were you even allowed to be together in that way?"
"With all due respect, we can't watch the students twenty four hours a day," Severus Snape remarked. "In a school full of teenagers it's only to be expected that there's some sort of sexual activity going on somewhere."
"Well my daughter should never have been allowed to partake," Richard huffed. "This is scandalous, and we're taking Hermione home to sort this out."
"What do you mean, sort out?" Hermione asked her parents warily.
"You can't have a baby, Hermione, you're too young," Jean told her daughter. "You're going to come home with us, and we can arrange to have everything taken care of at the local clinic."
"I'm not having an abortion." Hermione shook her head violently as her hand automatically fell to her stomach. "This is my baby, and I'm keeping it."
"You will do no such thing," Richard insisted. "You either come home and deal with the problem, or you don't come home at all."
"You don't mean that," Hermione gasped, her eyes filling with tears.
"We do." Jean nodded, supporting her husband. "I'm sorry Hermione, but we won't tolerate this sort of behaviour. You can come home and we can sort this out together. In a few weeks the pregnancy won't be an issue, and we can forget all about Hogwarts and magic."
"No," Hermione whispered her response. "I belong here, with Draco. I'm not coming home, I'm not getting rid of our baby, and I'm not going to forget I'm a witch."
"Then I guess we're done," Richard said, standing up and holding out his hand for his wife. "You know where to find us when you come to your senses, Hermione."
"I can't believe you people," Narcissa hissed, speaking up for the first time as the Grangers made their way towards the door of the office. "Would you really abandon your own daughter?"
"We wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for your son," Richard shot back at the blonde witch. "He's the cause of this trouble, not us."
"At least Draco is prepared to stand by Hermione," Narcissa said. "This pregnancy may not have been planned, and I can't say I'm totally happy with it, but it's happening and we have to deal with it. Becoming a parent is hard enough at any time, but it's so much harder when you're a teenager and still in school. Draco and Hermione need our support, not our condemnation."
"You can support them all you want, we can't," Jean replied. "We brought Hermione up to have some morals and self-respect, clearly that has all gone out of the window while she's been up at this school. We cannot support our teenage daughter having a baby while she's still in school."
"Then you had better leave then," Hermione said to her parents. "I can do this without you."
"Could someone please let us out of this godforsaken place?" Richard questioned as his daughter turned to her boyfriend and buried her head in his shoulder as he wrapped his arms around her.
"Allow me," Minerva McGonagall offered in a frosty voice. She'd met the Grangers before and it had been her that had helped them floo to the school less than an hour ago, so she was more than happy to help get rid of them, especially given the appalling way they had just treated their only daughter.
While McGonagall was seeing the Grangers off the premises, the rest of the occupants in the office were coming to terms with what had just happened. Hermione was in tears in Draco's arms and all the adults were totally shocked that her parents had just walked out on her. Even though Dumbledore had been expecting a bad reaction from the Grangers, this went beyond anything he could have imagined.
"What do I do now?" Hermione questioned, looking up at Draco.
"You'll come and stay with us," Narcissa answered, smiling reassuringly at the young girl she'd just met. "I can't say I'm happy with the situation, but I won't abandon you and Draco. This baby is my grandchild, and I will be there for them and you all the way."
"Thank you Mother." Draco smiled gratefully at his mother. He'd always known he could rely on Narcissa, but it was great that she'd some through and supported Hermione as well.
Narcissa smiled back at her son as Dumbledore offered Hermione a handkerchief to dry her eyes with. By the time Hermione was composed enough to carry on talking, Professor McGonagall had returned having seen the Grangers safely home.
"What we need to discuss now, is how things are going to progress from here," Dumbledore announced. "Obviously it's imperative that Draco's father and Voldemort don't find out about the baby."
"Won't that be an issue if Hermione is staying with Narcissa and Draco?" McGonagall questioned. Dumbledore had briefly explained about the situation with the Malfoys, but McGonagall wasn't totally sure about the details.
"No," Narcissa replied. "My husband never comes to our house without a prior arrangement. It was part of our deal. If I play the part of a good wife, he'll leave Draco and I alone."
"May I ask why you made such a deal?" Dumbledore inquired. He didn't want Narcissa to think he was prying, but considering how much trust Hermione was going to place in her, he felt he needed as many answers as possible.
"It's no secret that Lucius has always been a dabbler in the dark arts, and I was well aware of that when we got married. However things changed when he got seriously involved with The Dark Lord and I realised just how dangerous things could get. Once I had Draco things just seemed even more dangerous and I was on the verge of leaving Lucius when the incident with the Potters happened. I stayed with Lucius because I loved him, and I wanted my son to have his father in his life," Narcissa explained. "However when The Dark Lord returned, I was appalled when Lucius offered him residence in our home. Again I was going to leave Lucius as I wasn't happy with Draco living in the same house as The Dark Lord, but we spoke and he offered me a deal. No-one knows I no longer live at the manor, and providing I attend any public functions with him, Draco and I are left alone."
"Is Voldemort happy for that to happen?" Dumbledore asked, wondering why the dark wizard would allow the wife of one of his top men to leave and take their son with her.
"He would rather that, than I went to the Order or the Aurors," Narcissa replied. "He seems happy as long as I play my part as a supportive wife. No doubt he thinks Draco will follow in his father's footsteps and join him, but that's Draco's decision to make. I've done all I can to keep my son away from that monster."
"Not that I would ever go near him," Draco snorted. "I want no part in being a Death Eater."
Dumbledore nodded at the two Malfoys, satisfied that they could be truly trusted and what he was about to suggest would be the best solution all round.
"I've been thinking about the situation, and in a funny sort of way Miss Granger's parents have made things easier." Dumbledore said. "My plan was to hide Hermione's pregnancy throughout the rest of the year. I've discussed it with Madam Pomfrey and she thinks it's possible to disguise her pregnancy with the help of a few charms and Miss Granger's naturally baggy clothing. With the baby being born in September I thought we could arrange for someone to take care of the child while both Hermione and Draco return to complete their last year of school."
"I could do that," Narcissa volunteered. "As long as I had help for when I'm expected to accompany Lucius to an event."
"I was thinking of bringing another couple of trusted Order members on board," Dumbledore suggested. "They can provide extra security for the baby, and help with childcare if needed. But the important thing is that the baby is safe."
"Of course, you're assuming Miss Granger wants to return to school next year," Snape remarked.
"I am." Dumbledore nodded. "Of course it is Miss Granger's choice, but it will arouse fewer suspicions if things remain as normal as possible. Once school is then over we can discuss what happens then with Draco, Hermione and the baby."
"I would like to come back to school and finish my education," Hermione admitted when attention turned to her. "But I don't know if I'll be able to leave the baby, plus it's not due until the middle of the month at the earliest. I can't come back to school so heavily pregnant and disappear to have the baby."
"I was thinking you wouldn't come back until after you'd had the baby," Dumbledore replied. "We can say you're not well with some sort of muggle disease and we don't want to risk spreading it around the school. As for seeing the baby, I was planning on making the pair of you Head Students and as such you'll be in a private dorm. Obviously we can sort details nearer the time, but we can arrange for you to see the baby every day and you could possibly even spend some weekends with the child."
"I think we can work with that," Hermione said, looking at Draco who nodded in agreement.
"Excellent." Dumbledore smiled. "We'll have everything sorted by the end of term, and no-one will be any the wiser about what's going on."