Disclaimer: These characters are not mine – they all belong to J.K. I just like to play with them.
Hermione Granger should have been in her common room reading. She should have been knitting knobby hats for house-elves or grubbing through the darkest corners of the library. Hell – she should have been helping the other two-thirds of the 'Dream Team' with their Transfiguration homework.
But she wasn't.
On this particular night, she was huddling on the roof of the astronomy tower, slowly turning into a frizzy, shivering, and sodden mass of tears.
Suddenly a heavy cloak dropped across her shoulders and she started – she hadn't heard anyone behind her. "Really, Granger," drawled a familiar voice. "Be more careful. You're lucky I'm not a rogue Death Eater out for revenge."
"I don't see much difference," Hermione snapped back irritably. "You're certainly a rogue."
A year ago Hermione would have been nervous about being alone with the son of a Death Eater. And even this year she'd initially flipped out at the prospect of sharing both living quarters and Head duties with Gryffindor's favorite ferret. Hermione had found Draco strangely changed, though. Less spiteful, less despicable. Still intimidating but more… human.
The Head Boy shook his head as he settled next to her. "Pitiful comeback," he chided. "Not up to our usual, are we, Granger?"
Hermione ignored the jibe. The snarky git was lucky she'd grown fond of him, she thought. "Just what are you doing here, Malfoy?"
"Just doing my duty as Head Boy, of course. Looking out for the welfare of the student body, doing good deeds, the usual," he answered coolly. "You should thank me," he said as he smirked a bit too cheerfully. "I could have told Potter where you were and let him drag you down to Madame Pomfrey and the Weasel."
"It would have been fun to watch, I must admit," he continued with a yawn. "But alas – I've taken an oath to hinder the Boy Who Lived To Be A Pain In My Arse whenever possible."
Hermione sighed and lowered her head. What had she done to deserve this? First that with Ron had happened and now Draco Malfoy had come to bother her.
What made it worse was the fact that Draco had seen it all coming. Even if he didn't seem to be gloating, the sneaky Slytherin bastard had seen what she wouldn't and had even warned her about it.
Hermione was dimly aware of Malfoy wrapping a protective arm around her and pulling her closer to him. She instinctively leaned into his comforting warmth as she remembered a couple of weeks ago…
She had been reading on a window seat in the Heads' Common Room. Hermione was having a lovely day – the sun was shining, she was curled up with her tattered copy of Hogwarts, A History. And, to top it all off, she smiled a bit whenever the sparkling ring on her left hand happened to catch her eye.
After a tempestuous courtship, Ron had proposed. She knew they must be perfect together; everybody said so. Even though they still had spectacularly huge fights, Hermione was planning on spending the rest of her life as a Weasley. After all, he loved her. Ron had been so solicitous lately, too. Just this morning he'd insisted on pouring her pumpkin juice for her himself. If that wasn't love, what was?
Then Draco had come in, Hermione remembered, not quite his usual stoic self. He kept distractedly running his hands through his white-blonde hair, something he only did when he was nervous.
At the familiar gesture her stomach had fluttered, something it always did whenever he was around. Hermione ignored the sensation as usual.
'So cute,' Hermione remembered indulgently thinking as she watched the tall, beautiful Slytherin pace a bit. He really was a wonderful person, once you got past that sarcastic exterior. Intelligent and wickedly sharp, with a sweet side that occasionally shone through, no matter how he tried to repress it.
Then Draco had sat down to talk to her.
"Granger," he said calmly and seriously. "Granger, I think you should reconsider your engagement to Ron Weasley. No – let me finish," he shushed her as Hermione protested. "You need someone better."
And, dreamy and absorbed in her perfect future, Hermione hadn't heard another word of what he'd said. She just smiled at Draco's concern for her – he didn't understand how it was! So she politely told him to mind his own business. She was sure he'd understand in time…
Malfoy nodded briskly. Her response was certainly been expected. And he'd accepted her decision – or so Hermione had thought at the time. No hard feelings. He'd even treated her to hot chocolate in the kitchens after rounds that night.
After that day of blissful happiness, though, things had gone to the dogs. Hermione soon discovered she was late. Very late. Safely locked in her room, she spent hours looking in the mirror at her flat stomach.
Her mind was awhirl as she felt each of her castles in the air crumble brokenly to the ground. She wasn't ready to be a mother – she had plans! What sort of Minister of Magic or Unspeakable or Auror or whatever had a baby at 18? And Ron – what would he say? They were barely engaged and they hadn't even graduated…
Earlier that day Hermione had finally gathered her courage and gone, red-eyed, to tell Ron what she suspected.
He was elated.
"That's wonderful!" he had exclaimed. Then he went all red and bashful, the way he did whenever he was particularly proud of something. "You know, I wanted to surprise you, but I'd might as well tell you now. Our wedding's in May, the night after graduation. It's all arranged!"
Hermione's jaw had dropped. A wedding. HER wedding. In less than a month.
Ron was still rambling, though. "And the baby! It's all just like I planned!"
Distraught though she was, Hermione wasn't the smartest witch of her generation for nothing. She zeroed in on the key word immediately. "Planned?" she echoed in a dangerously calm voice.
Ron was completely oblivious to the maniacal gleam in her eyes. He chuckled condescendingly. "I knew how much you wanted to start a family, too, so I gave you a bit of help." He winked. "You know, a potion."
A fertility potion.
Everything clicked – Ron's odd behavior, Draco's suspicions, how her own contraceptive spells had inexplicably been rendered ineffective…
It only took her a moment to put it all together. And then the volcano erupted.
Hermione sighed as she pulled the cloak closer around her and huddled closer to the Head Boy. Thank Merlin for Draco, she thought as she turned and burrowed her face into his strong shoulder.
After she had stormed back to the Heads' quarters, the stoic Head Boy had served as an excellent guard, keeping Harry at bay, though he'd probably rather cut his own tongue out than admit it.
Then she sighed… A few short hours ago she'd screamed herself hoarse, left Ron broken and barely recognizable on the floor, and turned the Gryffindor common room into a complete shambles. And as far as she knew, her engagement ring was still lodged somewhere in her former fiancé's nasal cavity.
But even the row hadn't helped anything. Granted, Ron would be in the Infirmary for a while, but that didn't alter the fact that she was crying, on a rooftop, in the middle of the night, with a Malfoy sitting way too close to her.
She pulled back a bit and looked up at him when she finally responded to his question. "No, we're not up to our usual, Malfoy. We're feeling a bit betrayed." The Head Girl laughed bitterly. "But mostly stupid. You even warned me."
Now Hermione was so embarrassed that she could hardly stand to look at Draco. He'd warned her. And of course the damn ferret had to be beautiful, all ivory angles and silver hair in the moonlight. This might have been a perfectly lovely moment. But she – Hermione Granger -was knocked up.
"Don't worry about it, Granger," he said softly. "Everything will turn out alright."
"Alright!" Hermione choked out. "I'm pregnant! With a baby. How will this turn out alright?" Then she seemed to run out of fuel and buried her head in her hands. Even her hair slumped and looked tragic. "I had so many things I wanted to do…"
"Hermione," Draco began softly. He gently tilted her chin up and forced her to look into his crazy, silver, tilt-a-whirl eyes again. A little smile played around his lips as he looked down at his wild little bookworm. "I don't think you're pregnant."
Hermione had been rapidly drowning in his crazy eyes, but shook herself awake at that. "I am, Malfoy," she ground out.
"Have you actually done a pregnancy test?"
"No," Hermione snapped. "Fertility potions are infallible. What's the – Hey!" she yelped as Draco's patience wore thin.
Before she could reach her wand, Hermione found herself flat on her back and at the mercy of the Head Boy. Damn Seeker reflexes. He'd caught both of her wrists and efficiently pinned them above her head with one hand an instant later.
"Malfoy!" Hermione protested loudly as her robes vanished. With another swish of his wand and free hand, her plain t-shirt went the way of her robes.
Hermione gasped as the layers of cloth separating her from the cold, slate roof tiles abruptly disappeared. Now left in only jeans and a plain cotton bra, she gasped. The roof's chill burned against her back. She shuddered, too, as the winter wind swept over her body, causing her nipples to harden under the thin white fabric.
"Is disrobing me on a roof not humiliating enough, ferret?" she growled as Malfoy reached for her again. She squirmed and wriggled frantically.
"Granger. Shut up," Malfoy ordered sharply as he hauled her a bit closer. "I still have my wand. You don't. So pipe down, would you? Otherwise you'll be on the receiving end of a silencio."
Hermione couldn't bring herself to believe that he'd actually hurt her. Sure he was rude and sarcastic, but he wouldn't hurt her… Right?
Trust only went so far, though. Hermione might not feel threatened, but she certainly felt vulnerable. Pinned flat on her back, her pale torso completely bared to the eerily wispy clouds and moon, it was impossible to feel confident.
Draco slowly traced one long, white finger over her belly, finally laying his whole hand low on her abdomen. Hermione shuddered again now, but for an entirely different reason; she could feel heat pooling in her body, low under his hand.
His voice broke into her reflections. "I assume you would recognize a pregnancy detection spell if you watched one?"
"Yes," she choked out.
Draco nodded solemnly. "Then watch. Retego gravitatem," he whispered as he wandlessly cast the spell.
A small light slowly formed above Draco's hand, signaling the spell was in effect. Then it abruptly snuffed out. No pink glow, no blue. No pregnancy.
"There, Granger," Malfoy said softly as he released her wrists and stood up.
Hermione could hardly think as she ran her own hand over her white stomach. Not pregnant. All the dreams she'd been mourning suddenly flashed back into focus.
She might be on a rooftop, partially clothed and freezing, but she had never been more ecstatic. Not even the sharp tile digging into her back could ruin it! And, as it was the most glorious moment of her life, Hermione felt it was only appropriate to share that feeling with the person responsible for it.
As a result, Draco Malfoy suddenly found himself being tackled by a certain outrageously happy Muggle-born Head Girl. He allowed himself a small but genuine smile as he hugged her back.
"Malfoy. There's something I want to know," Hermione began bravely after he had, for the second time that night, draped his cloak around her.
Draco looked heavenwards. What was new? Then he noticed her embarrassed demeanor and decided the interrogation might be fun after all.
"Fertility potions are infallible if you take them before you…" she vaguely waved her hand in the air as her voice trailed off.
"Before you what?" he asked in his most innocent of tones.
If Hermione hadn't spent so much time around the snarky git, she might have been fooled. The angelic expression and perfect delivery would have convinced many. She, though, just fixed him with a stern look.
Seeing that, Draco decided to be marginally more cooperative. "Not if you also take the antidote before you…" he smirked as he mimicked her hand gesture.
"What are you trying to say, Draco?" Hermione asked tiredly as she crossed her arms and looked up at him. What was up with him, anyway? Malfoy looked entirely too serious. "I didn't have an antidote – I didn't even know about the damn potion."
Draco looked away abruptly. "I did know, Granger," he admitted slowly. "I saw him slip it into your cup. On the day I came to talk to you."
"You knew? Why didn't you tell me?" she was shocked.
Draco smiled wryly. "Would you have believed me?"
Hermione forehead wrinkled a bit as she thought. "No. I don't suppose I would have."
"I took the liberty of slipping you the antidote in your hot chocolate, along with a potion that would suspend your cycle a bit – just enough for you to notice and get worried. I figured it would be better if you heard it from the Weasel. Which I assume you did."
"Yes," she answered numbly. "He said he was just helping me out a bit." Then Hogwarts' Head Girl sat in stunned silence.
Draco Malfoy just arched a pale eyebrow and waited.
And got impatient.
"Granger," Draco prompted, and startled Hermione out of her daze. Good, good. She was conscious.
"So you knew," she stated. Such revelations were, of course, in need of a recap.
"And gave me the antidote."
"That's what I said."
"Where did you get it?"
"Potions is my best subject, Granger."
Hermione looked at him blankly. "So you saw Ron. And spent hours and hours brewing me an antidote. And gave it to me even though I told you to mind your own business."
"They don't call you brilliant for no reason, do they?" Draco drawled. His voice positively dripped sarcasm.
Malfoy barely kept himself from grimacing. He'd been hoping she wouldn't ask. "He's not right for you," he blurted. Damn. That wasn't what he meant to say.
After a deep breath Draco tried again. "Granger, you're ambitious and brilliant. But Weasley wants a woman with a lot of his babies, not a woman with a career. He'd hold you back, whether he meant to or not." Hermione's eyes followed as one tense hand ran through his hair. He let out a slow breath before he continued.
"From what I can tell, motherhood is something you need to choose for yourself. Traps like Weasel's are as cruel as they are insulting. Especially to someone like you, Hermione."
There. He'd said it. He'd ended up being rather more sincere than he'd intended to be, but still – he'd done it.
Malfoy looked down at the girl in front of him. There was a crooked little smile on her mouth.
"Thank you, Draco." Then Hermione stretched up – high on her tiptoes – to plant a soft kiss on his lips. During the few moments she allowed him to hold her, Draco felt his entire being quake at her touch.
Then it was over and the somewhat flustered Head Girl was excusing herself and hurrying back to the warmth of the castle.
He raised a hand to his mouth and grinned optimistically as he watched the girl he loved run off. Who knew? Maybe she'd come running back some day.
The spell Draco uses is Latin. "Retego," is from the verb retegere: to expose or reveal. "Gravitatem" is a form of the noun gravitas, gravitatis: a heaviness or pregnancy. The spell, literally translated, is "I reveal a pregnancy."
Review! Pretty please? I haven't written much fanfic at all, so I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing. I'd really love to see any comments, tips, or suggestions you have…