A/N: Sorry about the wait for this update. I have been sick as hell, even making a few trips to the ER to make sure I didn't have pneumonia. I thought about writing many times but as crappy as I felt, all I wanted to do is sleep because thinking took way to much energy.
Things for our dear Hermione are starting to change. She is by no means the Hermione she was before, but she is starting to evolve back into a human mind frame and not an emotionless killing machine.
I know some of you want me to keep her in dark frame of mind, and it will always linger, but I think the real Hermione would have too much spirit to stay broken forever.
3 months later
Divinity sat with a defeated slump to her normally proud posture. It wasn't easy to admit failure, especially when failure was an unfamiliar feeling, but she had failed so far, not completely, but she didn't make her goal with Hermione which made her a failure in her book.
She continued to look at her notes, tapping the quill against her desk and only occasionally glancing to the girl sitting across from her, who was by all means fidgeting with the hem of her robes again.
She sighed and sat the notes down, "So you have nothing else you want to add? Nothing at all?"
Hermione shrugged, "Nope, nothing has changed."
Divinity lulled her head back, "You are aware that our progress has stalled?"
Hermione frowned, "I don't know why I'm still having to do this! I'm not a danger to anyone or myself."
Divinity sighed, "You know as well as I do, Hermione, that because of your level of training and past profession, that I need to be one thousand percent sure that you are stable."
Hermione tried to accept Divinity's words, but it had been months without a single incident, "Well what do they want from me?" Hermione finally asked with edge to her voice and her brows creased, "Do they want me to say that I'm happy? That I forgive everyone for everything? That I view the world as a warm fuzzy place with puppies and rainbows?" She shook her head, "I just don't know what you people want from me… it's not like I've hurt anyone and I just want to be left alone to move through this life at my own pace and my own way."
"It's not that simple –"Divinity started but was cut off by Hermione.
"But it is!" Hermione said hotly, "I didn't get this damaged overnight you know. It took years for me to get this way and it will probably take years to work through half of my problems, but trying to make me talk about things and work through things that I'm not ready to handle yet isn't going to get either one of us anywhere."
Divinity nodded, "I understand, I really do, but the ministry doesn't see things the way we do. They see you as a trained killer, incapable of love or true emotion, incapable of change."
Hermione slumped into her chair, defeated. "I just – I just want to be able to work through things at my own pace. This schedule, routine, whatever you want to call it is putting too much pressure on me." Hermione shifted and sighed uncomfortably, "I dread waking up. Not in the 'I'm going to kill myself way', but the 'oh, great, another day in fucking paradise' way. I'm, I'm stuck dealing with all of these emotions that I have tucked away for so long. Forced to interact with people that I told myself I would never forgive, and expected to bare my soul to you, a person who I didn't even know existed until a few months ago." She shook her head, "I know you say you understand, and I honestly believe you think you do… but until you have been in my shoes, been shunned the way ive been shunned, - taken a life to protect something that couldn't give a rat's ass about you… you just can't truly understand."
Divinity lowered her head a little; she knew the witch was right.
Draco checked his watch for the twentieth time in the last five minutes. She was running behind today and he was growing cranky.
Cranky wasn't what a Malfoy was allowed to be. Mean, cruel, and even angry, but cranky? No that was for ladies, not men.
He scanned the crowds once more in search of the bushy head of hair that would always stand out. Granted, it had been tamed up a bit, but it was still unmistakable.
He groaned and kicked the wall when she still couldn't be seen. Today was the day that they would find out if the procedure had worked, truly worked, and not just because a diagnostic spell said so.
He rubbed his hands against his face. Why was he even doing this? Why did he care so much? But he knew the answers, all of them, and he discovered a while ago that there was no use in fighting the truth.
The truth of the matter was, Granger trusted him more than anyone else… and it felt good because her trust had nothing to do with his money. For some reason, it was he that she went to when she needed to vent or just didn't want to be alone, him, not Potter or anyone else, him… and he was selfish enough to want to keep it that way. And it also felt good because no one had ever trusted him and she had trusted him when she was vulnerable and in pain. He puffed his chest out a bit on that one.
And then there was Abby. Hermione tried to act indifferent when the child was around, but he could see the subtle changes in her. When he and Hermione had first formed some sort of a friendship, Hermione would often avoid Abby like the plague, but the more she was around Abby, the more he would see her watching his daughter play with a faint smile on her lips, or the way Hermione would watch out for the little girl, even looking slightly worried when Abby would disappear from sight. It was welcoming news to him.
He also felt like she deserved some good in life, even if she wasn't ready to accept any of it. This procedure, well, it was an unexpected miracle… well, if it had actually worked. But beyond that, she had allowed him to be a part of her life while she kept everyone else at bay. She opened up with him, laughed at and with him, even accepted his comfort, and while it was odd at the beginning, a close friendship had blossomed and they now spent more time together than apart.
"Kicking walls will do nothing but scuff your shoes." She said as she walked up behind him.
Draco spun, relieved to find Hermione smirking at him.
"So, you ready to see if this worked?"
Draco nodded, "For Merlins sake woman, I have been here for almost half hour and I'm not the one finding out if I can get knocked up."
Hermione slapped his arm good naturedly, "Well, today should be interesting." She said with a nod.
"Odd is right." Draco said with a bewildered expression.
"It's just a mock pregnancy. Nothing serious."
Draco shook his head, "If you say so."
Hermione smiled and started walking towards the doors of the fertility clinic but stopped when she felt Draco grab her arm from behind and pull her back. She turned and looked at him with confusion.
"What was that for?" she asked.
Draco sighed, "I just can't help but wonder if this is such a good idea." He said looking frustrated, "I mean, you said yourself that you've always wanted children but accepted that my father had ruined that. Then, years later you are offered a chance to have that ability again… and I support it, I really do, but this part of the procedure just seems cruel."
Now she was confused, "What the hell are you on about?"
Draco leaned against the wall, "When I found out that my wife was pregnant, I was thrilled. More than thrilled, I was excited and knew that even though the child wasn't here yet , I would give my life to protect it. The feeling was strong for me right out of the gate and the longer the pregnancy went on, the more I was looking forward to the birth and having my child with me. It's really hard to explain, actually.
I know this may be different for you, but I am really starting to see you opening up and turning more and more into the Granger we all know and I'm worried that with this mock pregnancy that you may become attached to this fake baby and retreat back into your shell when it's time to end it. It just seems counterproductive giving you what you want only to snatch it from you in a month."
Hermione nodded and leaned against the wall with him, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a cigarette. After lighting it, she let out a smoke filled breath, "I thought about that too." She said honestly, she let out a shaky laugh, "I've been convincing myself all week that this is fake, like a more advanced diagnostic, but it hasn't been easy. I am worried that I'm not stable enough to keep the mind set that in a month, the child growing inside me will be gone, yet I will have experienced everything an expectant mother would. I worry that I can't separate test from reality, but I don't know any other options."
Draco nodded in agreement; he didn't know what else to do either.
"Well, let's just go in and talk to the good doctor and tell him how you feel… he may have other options."
Hermione nodded, flicked the cigarette to the street as he put his hand on the small of her back and ushered her into the large fertility clinic.
The room they found themselves in was an extreme contrast to the room she had the procedure in. This room was white, sterile, unfriendly, and didn't provide the slightest bit of comfort that the first room had, not to mention the hard as a rock chair that Draco was forced to sit in or the high table with stirrups for Hermione. Both looked ready to bolt.
Draco sighed as they waited in silence, both uncomfortable and neither wanting to discuss the heavy tension in the air. This felt too personal for him, like he shouldn't be there because this wasn't just a potion that needed drinking, this was life creating. Something a woman and a man who were in a relationship should be experiencing, not two former rivals who had formed a fragile yet comfortable friendship.
Both jumped when the door opened.
Dr. Hall walked in with a broad smile, seemingly excited about the next leg of the journey to repair Hermione Granger. He was oblivious to the tension.
"Well, now, the day has finally come." He said with a chipper voice, "How are you feeling, Ms. Granger?"
Hermione took a deep breath before glancing over towards Draco who was watching her, silently pushing her to tell him what they had discussed.
"I'm doing well, I suppose." She answered, "But I will admit that I have a few concerns about this."
"Well, that is what I am here for, well, not all that I am here for, but it is a perk." He said with a smile. "Now what is troubling you?"
Hermione glanced over to Draco who was nodding at her and encouraging her to speak her mind.
"It's just that I'm having conflicting emotions about this. My mind knows that this is all fake but I'm afraid that because this is the one thing that I have always wanted, that my heart won't listen to reason when it comes time to terminate."
Dr. Hall nodded in understanding, "I can see where this could be problematic because no matter what, the golem child will vanish in 30 days time. It's meant to be purely scientific."
He stood from his little stool and paced for a minute as if trying to solve the problem. He didn't want to push her but it was necessary that this happen before the window of secondary repair was closed and the possibility of her sterilization became very permanent.
"I completely understand your concerns and knowing your background, I must admit that I am torn on what to do." He said honestly, "This isn't just a test to see if you can indeed get pregnant, but to also see if your body is back to normal so that you can also carry a child. Getting pregnant is, after all, only half the battle.
But the main reason for this test is that if by chance you cannot get pregnant or carry a child, a secondary dose of the potion would be required, however, we only have a small window of time to complete this and as it has already been three months, the window shrinks daily."
He sat back down and looked to both Hermione and Draco, "Five months is all we have and three have already passed. At five months, the repairs are permanent and cannot be improved or changed, however, if a second potion is given, the drinker has an addition 5 months to see if everything is in working order. This final test, this pregnancy is vital to the failure or success of your fertility."
Hermione and Draco groaned. There was no getting out of this.
"However, I may have an option for you, but I really don't think you will like it."
Hermione perked up, "Whatever it is, I'll consider it.
Dr. Hall nodded, stood, and left the room, returning a minute later with a heavy book. He passed it to Hermione who blushed instantly.
Sperm donors: was what the front cover read.
"Are you serious?" she asked, not sure what she was really thinking either. She held up to book so Draco could read the cover. He turned whiter than normal.
"With this option it would be a real pregnancy and if you conceived and carried to full term, you would end up with a child. The book has donor pictures and donor information so that you can make a decision on who the father would be. This is the only other option… well, you could choose to do neither and your chances of having a child would be like a hit or miss."
"So you want her to get impregnated with some strangers child? One that none of us know the true background of? Medical history of? Or even the true bloodline of? That's a recipe for disaster!" Draco stated, getting slightly angry. The golem was a better choice.
Hermione agreed with Draco as he spoke. She didn't want to take a chance with this, not on something that was so important to her.
"Ill take the golem." She said, pushing the book away. "I need to make sure I can have children, but I also want to know the father when the time comes. I'll just have to deal with this."
Draco nodded, still not happy with the situation, but knowing they, well she, didn't have a choice.
Hermione laid back on the table, exposed to Dr. Hall but only looking at the wall to the left of Dracos face. She was just happy that Dr. Hall didn't physically have to touch her, his wand guided the golem sperm to the right area.
She let out a breath when she heard him say 'nearly finished' and she prayed that he really was.
A minute later she felt him pull the sheet back over her legs, giving her a sense of decency. She would know in an hour if she could in fact conceive.
"Right then." She heard him say, "Keep your legs up and relax. I will be back in an hour to confirm whether or not you are pregnant."
All Hermione could do was nod as he left the room, finally letting her eyes drift to Dracos face who was staring directly at her.
He wasn't speaking but she could read his thoughts through the intensity of his stare. He was sorry, excited, confused, and tense.
She offered him a weak smile.
"Do you think it's going to work?" she finally asked.
"I would be shocked if it didn't." he replied, "I just hope that if it does, you can pull through when the month is over."
"I hope so too." She said with a small crack to her voice, "I just have to remind myself that this is not real, yes, I will be going through the motions, but I have to remind myself that this is just a test."
Draco agreed and continued with small talk, both of them glancing at the clock on the wall as the slowest hour of her life putted along.
The mood in the room lightened drastically until they heard the knock at the door and the door open. This was it. Stage one of two.
"Well, Ms. Granger, I believe this has been a daunting hour for you so we will get straight to the test, unless of course, you have questions?"
Hermione shook her head, "No, I just need to know if this worked." She replied, suddenly feeling very nervous.
Dr. Hall nodded, held his wand over her pelvic region, and said a silent spell.
The tension mounted until the words floated in the air above her. She was pregnant.