A/N: I recommend you read the first episode the Glory Trilogy, To Regain Glory, before reading this one, though it is not strictly necessary.
Episode Two of the Glory Trilogy
Hermione's TaleChapter 1
Hermione stared at the teacup on the table in front of her. She was surprised that Ginny had not really said anything. She was aware that her distress was visible, but that was the great thing about Ginny, she knew when not to say anything. Sipping at her tea, Hermione thought back to what had just happened and tried to decide how best to explain it all to Ginny.
Hermione sat in shock as Draco admitted that his stepmother was his secret lover.
"Go on," Lucius growled when Draco paused too long.
She couldn't believe there could still be more.
"Father," Draco implored.
Draco took a deep breath. "We planned it so that she would get pregnant with my child."
She couldn't control the sharp intake of breath, and unconsciously, she began to rub her swollen belly, knowing that her husband was not the father of her child, either. But at least her pregnancy was not the result of wilful treachery, was it?
Lucius sat next to her and took her hand in his. He spoke gently. "In order to prevent…embarrassment and discredit to the family, I had my solicitor scour wizarding law, and he found an ancient law. Draco has agreed to abide by its terms."
She was curious, but she was also afraid to ask what it might be. "What law?"
Lucius continued, "It was known as the Uxoria Cauponari. In essence, two men related by blood, who are in arranged marriages, can trade wives."
She pulled away, horrified by what she had just been told. "That's…that's…barbaric! You can't just trade women like commodities." She stormed out of the room. She had to get away from the two of them.
"Hermione!" Draco called and started to follow her.
She refused to acknowledge him and kept walking.
"Stay here, you foolish boy," ordered Lucius.
"I'm not a boy!" replied Draco petulantly.
The argument faded into the distance as she walked down the hall. She had to get out of the house, but the full force of what she had just been told came crashing around her, and she could feel an emotional breakdown coming. Turning into the dining room, she took a seat, buried her head in her arms and started crying uncontrollably.
Lucius' voice from the hallway asked cautiously, "Hermione?"
"Go away!" she shouted back at him. The last thing she wanted was to hear more of his manipulating words.
He wasn't about to be deterred, crossed the room to her, and placed his hand on her shoulder. "It was the best option," he said softly.
She slapped his hand away. "Go away, you monster. I'm not your property."
"I never said that you were." When she turned her back on him, he moved to her other side and knelt next to her. He reached for her hair. "It was for the best."
Once again she shoved him away. "So you and Draco just decided to swap wives? How could you possibly think that wouldn't hurt me?" She was in near hysterics. She should have expected something like this; after all, he was a Malfoy. Even though she had thought Draco had changed, his recent actions had proven that had all been an act. Malfoys did not change.
"Please, darling, you need to calm down. For the baby," he urged gently.
"The baby! I don't even know if I want this baby anymore, now that I know what a despicable monster the father is. I do know that I don't want to be part of this family anymore." She tried to get up, but he had her pinned to the chair.
In a calming voice, he replied, "I know you don't mean that. You're understandably upset. I know this whole situation is shocking. If I may be permitted to explain? Please, just listen. Please."
After staring into his eyes for several seconds, she finally replied, "Fine." It would be fascinating to hear what lies he would tell her. She was angry with herself for having believed that Draco had actually loved her. Lucius had given her the proof that was not the case, that their marriage had been nothing more than a convenience.
He explained to her the thought process that led to his decision to invoke the Uxoria Cauponari. "I just wanted to spare you the pain of having to go through a divorce and the uncertainty that would follow. This way, there will be no disgrace or ugly stigma attached to you. It was the best course of action. I wanted to ensure the two of you were taken care of." He placed his hand on her belly.
She removed his hand. "Oh, yes. All you care about is your precious heir. And you mentioned that this law is only used for 'arranged marriages'. Did you arrange my marriage to Draco?" When he did not reply, she continued coldly, "I have been used for the last time. This – this… How could you do something like this? I am not property! Now, kindly get your hands off me and let me leave."
"Hermione, please, take a few moments…"
She shoved him away. He disgusted her with his air of superiority. "I will not take a few moments. I want to be away from here. Away from you. You could have at least had the common courtesy to consult with me before you decided to run my life."
"Where are you going?" he called to her as she walked out of the room.
"I don't know, but somewhere you aren't." She was determined to make it to her room and pack her clothes. She would figure the rest of it out later. She just knew that she could not spend another night under the same roof as that man. And to think, she had let him be her lover. What had she been thinking?
Brandishing her wand, she quickly packed what she would need for the short term. She would figure out how to get by later.
"Hermione, please don't go," Lucius said from the doorway.
"Out of my way," she ordered.
He moved aside. "You will always be welcome here. You are still a Malfoy."
"We'll see about that." She wasn't sure what she was going to do, but she was positive that being part of this family was not something she wanted. Brushing past him, she was eager to be on her way. The fact that he didn't follow her surprised her. She had expected him to put up more of a fight, try to keep her at the manor. After all, she was pregnant with the Malfoy heir.
Deciding that the time for stalling was over, Hermione looked up at Ginny. "I learned something disturbing about Draco today. We've grown apart over the last couple of years, and I just learned why." She paused, trying to determine the best way to continue. "It turns out that he's been cheating on me."
"With who?" Ginny asked.
"Oh," Ginny replied quietly.
Hermione was surprised at her friend's response. She wasn't sure what she had expected, but that wasn't it. "Did you know that he was with someone else?" she asked cautiously.
"Well… Truthfully, I think a lot of us have suspected that. But we thought it was getting better, that the two of you had worked through whatever it was. I mean, you are pregnant."
But not with his child, Hermione added silently. "I thought things were looking better, too," she lied. She knew they hadn't been, but she had entered into a happy arrangement with Lucius, which had made her life better. "I think you can guess what happened when Lucius found out. He was livid."
"And he threw you out of the house?" Ginny asked. She knew that Lucius was not a nice man, but she hadn't thought he could be that heartless. After all, he still stood by the old pure-blood ways of blood being everything, and with Hermione pregnant with the next generation, Ginny would not have expected him to turn her out.
"No. I had to get out of the house." She wasn't sure how to continue. "Draco and I are through. Now that I know who he was with…"
"What did Lucius do to her?"
Hermione sighed; she really didn't want to get into the explanation. "He's cast her out, with Draco. He didn't want anything to do with either of them."
"He disowned his son?" Ginny asked incredulously.
"Wow! I thought family was everything to him?"
"It is. That's why he did it. He couldn't have his son embarrassing him like that."
Harry burst into the house. "Ginny! You have got to see the Evening Proph… Oh, hi, Hermione," Harry said sheepishly as he hid the paper behind his back.
"Harry, let me see the paper."
Harry reluctantly handed it over, and Ginny moved to read over Hermione's shoulder.
"He did what?" Ginny asked as she saw the announcement. "Is that true?"
Hermione threw down the paper. "Yes. That bastard invoked some ancient law to make me his wife."
Harry slammed his hands on the table. "I'll make him pay for that."
"You want to be his wife?" he asked.
She really didn't know the answer to that question. "He was trying to do what he thought was right for the family. Getting into a duel isn't going to make the situation any better. I'll deal with it on my own, but I need some time to figure out what I want to do."
"You know you can stay here," Ginny offered.
Hermione looked at Harry and could see the anger flowing off him. "I appreciate the offer, but I think I'll spend some time with my parents." She really didn't want to have to be around Harry since he tended to hold grudges. "I think some time away from the wizarding world will be good for me." She rose from the table. "Thanks for the tea and the shoulder, Ginny." She gave Ginny a hug and then turned to Harry. "Please, let me take care of this myself."
He relented, "All right. But if you need anything, let us know."
She smiled. "I will."
With a heavy heart, Hermione knocked on the door. She hated the idea of coming home to her parents' house, but it was better than living under the same roof with Harry.
When the door opened, Paula Granger took one look at her daughter and pulled the younger woman into her arms. "Hermione, dear. What brings you here?"
Hermione found she could no longer hold back the tears and let her mother lead her inside.
"Alan, get the tissue," Paula said softly to her husband. She led Hermione to the sofa and waited for her daughter to calm down before asking gently, "What happened?"
Alan sat on his daughter's other side and handed her the box of tissues.
After blowing her nose, Hermione took a deep breath and forced herself to speak. "I found out that Draco…was unfaithful. I decided I had to leave." Once again, the tears came unbidden.
"Oh, dear, that's horrible," Paula said as she wrapped her arms around Hermione. "I always thought he was a little dodgy. I'm sorry this happened to you. Did you want to talk about it?"
"Not right now," Hermione replied. "It still hurts too much." Even though she had not been loyal to Draco, his betrayal, and the subsequent chain of events, was incredibly painful.
For a moment, Paula looked as though she was going to push her daughter to talk about what had happened. Instead, she said, "Well, you're welcome to stay here as long as you need."
"Thanks, Mum." Hermione had always prided herself on being independent, but there was something about a mother's embrace that instantly made even the worst situation at least a little better. Perhaps after a good night's sleep, she would know how to discuss everything with her parents. She knew that they would not understand most of it. They had supported her decision to marry Draco, but they had never seemed to really agree that it was a good idea, though they admitted there was much about the wizarding world that they did not know. Faced with the difficult road before her, she started crying again and took comfort from the gentle rocking of her mother's embrace.
Hermione was quiet the rest of the evening and chose to go to bed shortly after dinner. Paula accompanied her upstairs.
"Are you sure you don't want to talk about it?" Paula asked gently. "You might sleep better."
"I don't know that there's too much to say. He…he's had a lover for more than a year now. I guess I should have known and I did sort of suspect it, but I was in denial. Lucius…discovered him and let me know. I just had to get away from the house and any reminders of him."
Paula gave Hermione's hands a reassuring squeeze. "Your father and I are here for you. Just call if you need anything, dear. I'll put in a call to Andrea and see if I can get some clothes from her."
Hermione was going to tell her mother that she had packed clothes, but realized that these would be Muggle clothes, and those would be something she would probably need. "Thanks, Mum."
Paula gave her another hug. "We'll get through this. Don't you worry."
"Good night, Mum," Hermione said, letting her mother know that she wanted to be left alone.
Once the door was closed, and she was trying to get comfortable on the bed, she began to rethink that idea. Now that she was alone, all that she had were her thoughts. Of course, it didn't help that she was having a hard time finding a comfortable position on her bed. She definitely missed her bed at the manor.
As she was finally starting to drift off to sleep, the baby started kicking. She caressed her stomach, trying to will the child to be still. Malfoy's child. Lucius Malfoy's child. She couldn't believe she had been so naïve to let that monster trick her. But she had really wanted to be a mother, and it had been the only way, hadn't it? She began to wonder if she could live with this child. In a few short months, it would become a reality, and she would have a child that would serve as a reminder of the treachery she had been subjected to.
She started to cry as she realized how difficult her life would be. As far as the Muggle world was concerned, she had no education. She knew that her life in the wizarding world would be consumed by the scandal. If she divorced Lucius, she would find herself ostracized. He had manipulated her so that she really had no choice but to do what he wanted. Realizing this, she ended up crying herself to sleep.
A/N: I hope that you enjoy this sequel as much as the original. Writing Hermione has proven more difficult than I had anticipated, but it has been fun, though I keep having to pull myself away from Lucius's POV. As always, the muses and I appreciate receiving feedback.
When this is over, I will begin work on Episode Three, which will be Draco's Tale.