Come Fly With Me
A/N: My first and probably only attempt at Draco/Hermione. Before them, I was strictly canon, but I couldn't resist such a sizzling pairing forever, could I?
Tie a Yellow Ribbon...
Ginny's second trimester has been textbook ideal. The thought came to Hermione Granger as the two sat down at the little bistro where they met almost daily for lunch.
"What's on your mind? If you prefer staring off into space to eating, I'll finish your lunch for you."
Hermione glanced down at her meal: a plate of chicken salad and a cup of earl grey tea. She didn't doubt her food might be nicked if she wasn't careful. A pregnant Ginny resembled her brother Ron in eating habits.
"So, tell me what's got your attention."
Hermione smiled. "Your pregnancy. I still can't get over it; you're gonna be a mum."
"You'll be an auntie."
"I will, though not biologically."
"You could always give Ron another shot." Ginny wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
Hermione bit back her grimace. "We both know that's not happening again."
"Too bad, for a while there I thought we'd be sisters. But if you two are set on staying friends…"
"How's Harry?" Hermione interjected.
"Harry's fine. You haven't seen him in a while though, have you? Nip over for dinner later."
"Can't. You know Keeve's coming back from Blackpool tonight."
"Shame you're dating a muggle. If he were a wizard, he could have already apparated from there to here."
"Sometimes it's nice to have those extra hours apart. I enjoy his company, but I can only feign interest in Duesenberg models for so long."
When their chuckles subsided Ginny added, "How's it between you two?"
"As usual, he's always the gentleman."
"Mmmm. And when are you two planning on making it official?"
Hermione paused, taking a slow sip of her tea. "We have been together for almost two years. I suppose it is getting serious."
Ginny's suggestive eyebrow wiggling returned. "Maybe not serious enough. Maybe you need to give him a little encouragement to propose."
"Gin, you know I'm not at that stage with him yet."
"I know, I know. And I can't understand it."
Hermione opened her mouth in protest, but Ginny was quick to make amends. "Damn, I'm sorry, I've done it again and judged you on something that I have no bloody right to. Let me take my foot out of my mouth and say, okay 'Moine, if you feel that the man you've been seeing for almost two years is not someone you are yet comfortable enough with to...invite back to your place, well, that is your decision in your own relationship."
"It's a big step."
"Of course it's a big step, but if you love him...?" By the look on Hermione's face Ginny quickly backtracked. "There I go again! If I feel that you are holding back for reasons that you really ought to reflect on, well that's just my own problem. You and Keeve will figure it out yourselves, I'm sure."
"Quite." Hermione replied tersely.
This line of conversation always ended with an awkward pause, until Ginny defused it.
"Well, I am thankful for Harry at least! What would I do without him every night—!"
"You wouldn't be five months pregnant for one." Hermione laughed.
Ginny reached over the table, patting her friend's hand. "I will say that Keeve has my outmost admiration for not pressuring you. Good man."
"He is a decent sort." Hermione pushed her plate forward. "You can have the rest of my chicken salad. I'm not that hungry."
Ginny gladly pulled the plate in front of her. "Come over for dinner on Saturday, 'Mione. Neville's stopping by as it is."
"Oh, and how is he doing? He doesn't often come round the flat for Luna these days; they meet elsewhere."
"Neville's just got back from a mission out east. Didn't Luna tell you? I was supposed to go with him, but ever since my bump started showing the Ministry's got me doing strictly auror paperwork. It's horrendous."
"Just wait until you're completely away from the job."
Ginny theatrically groaned and Hermione chuckled. "You'll only be taking six months off work after the baby comes. Now tell me about Neville's mission. Luna hasn't told me much lately. I've barely seen her this past month. She comes home close to midnight some nights."
"He just came back from Novosibirsk, a minor mission." Ginny waved her hand to dismiss a trifle fact. "As for Luna, I can tell you why she's been working late. The whole enchantist department is down there trying to formulate a spell for the Ministry to clean up the whole Death Eater business."
Hermione involuntarily shuddered at the name of Voldemort's followers. It had been five and a half years since his defeat, but sometimes when wizards and witches were caught off guard the name could dig up nasty memories.
"What business is that? I remember Luna mentioning something about a spell they were going to use on Azkaban prisoners—"
"That's the one. They've finalized it. It's just awaiting Ministry approval and then the prototype is going to be tested—"
"Tested on prisoners?" That gave Hermione pause. "What exactly is this new spell going to achieve?"
"You know how it was after Tom Riddle was defeated for good. With only about a quarter of his Death Eaters still alive, half of those were fighting all the way to Azkaban, the other half claiming they were under the Impervious. So now the Ministry's enchantists have been appointed to create a spell to figure out who's lying, and who's telling the truth."
"Similar to Veritaserum Potion?"
"Sort of, but the thing is, a lot of those people went mad. They've spent three, four, even five years at Azkaban. Who knows what sort of lies they've been able to convince themselves. You've heard that using Veritaserum on the delusional is not always effective?"
Hermione affirmed and Ginny continued. "This spell is a simple marking spell. Regardless of what lies a wizard or witch has convinced themselves of since the destruction of Tom Riddle, it will mark anyone who was still free-willingly loyal to him at the time of his death. Quite the clever little spell."
"Sounds ingenious, though I wonder why the Ministry waited so long to create it." Hermione took another sip of her tea. "So…do you think you'll find any innocent victims there?"
Ginny shook her head. "Doubt it. The aurors who captured them were very careful about doing their job. The trials were a lot more thorough this time around. I suppose that's why this spell creation wasn't a Ministry priority. It has been five years, after all."
"And if you do find anyone innocent?"
Ginny shuddered. "I don't even want to begin to imagine what they had to go through, being guiltless this whole time."
"But remember Sirius? It was his innocence that saved his sanity. If there is anyone in Azkaban that shouldn't be, maybe their sanity is still intact too."
Ginny pushed her plate away from her. "You know what? Suddenly I don't feel so hungry anymore."
A/N: Each chapter is the name of a song. Chapter one is "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" by Tony Orlando and Dawn. :)
2016 update: Wow. On a whim I looked up my (10-year!) old fanfiction...pretty rough. This needs some serious edits (wand at the ready!).