Chapter 39 SMEX: the M is for Magic
Disclaimio: After all the times I said that this was the end, I solemnly swear it is now. And always, Harry Potter is not mine.
When the seventh years received their schedules, there was only one genuine purr of delight. Blaise couldn't contain his glee when the rumor that was just too good to be true, was in fact true. That glorious word 'SMEX' meant half a year of foreseeable entertainment. By the time he boarded the Hogwarts express with his new school books, he had already read On Issues Concerning Procreation and Gender For the Magical Education three times, front to cover. When it was actually time for their first day of SMEX the discomfort was almost tangible on the other students. Madam Hooch stood in front of the class that held all of the seventh year houses, and coughed into her hand. When she told them 'open to page eight', a laugh was caught in his throat when some Hufflepuffs actually blushed as they flipped to the page. Blushed as if they never heard the word sex before, the poor prudes.
Blaise scrutinized each face carefully, smirking from his corner as the students gave themselves away. Depending on how horrified, pale, or red they looked, Blaise pointed his finger and checked off each virgin. The further they read, the more obvious it became, and it was almost too easy. Blaise finished up on the other houses, almost all the lot sad virgins, and read his house mates. As he moved his finger, he was proud that the slytherins weren't gushing over what they read. His finger stopped at Draco and Harmony, and he frowned. They were to his far left, sitting next to each other with their hands entwined under the desk, but his finger refused to move.
His eyes narrowed in concentration. Even with the knowledge that they spent uninterrupted nights alone together, some inkling suspicion stopped him from marking them as 'experienced'. While they weren't blushing, they also weren't taking it as a joke like Pansy, Millicent, or he was. It wasn't till five minutes passed that he sighed and passed over the two. Even he got bored of watching people read. There had to be another way to get the information to spill, and not from the source, considering that Draco would probably ignore him for days and Harmony would give him the eat-shite-and-die glare if he asked. Perhaps Ginny knew-girls talk after all.
It wasn't till after dinner that Ginny rested against his shoulder, outside in the courtyard under the cover of a willow tree. He slipped a hand around her waist, pulling her closer to him so that he could kiss her forehead. But it wasn't as if he could just spring the question up on her either. He sighed once more, softly against her ear.
"You alright?" Ginny asked, pulling away so that their eyes met.
"Yeah," he said, trailing a thumb through her bangs, "it's just...I hate not knowing certain things."
"You're actually admitting to not knowing something," Ginny lifted an eyebrow, "this must be good then."
"It's a little hard to figure out," Blaise tapped his chin, "maybe this is something you would know and not me."
"Hmmm?" Ginny asked.
"So how close do you think Draco and Harmony are?"
"Merlin, is that all you think about?" Ginny smacked his shoulder lightly, "of all the things to waste your time, it's this?"
"No," Blaise sniffed, "I think about important stuff all the time. So...has Harmony said anything?"
"Nope, and it's not my business, or yours," she added firmly.
"Damn," Blaise smirked, this was going to take a hell of a lot longer to figure out than he first thought. "Well then, wanna help me study for SMEX?"
Her legs dangled from the bed, crisscrossing, as her finger trailed along her text. She was only half interested in what she read, and intermittently her progress would stop, thanks to the occupant who shared the bed, well more accurately his bed. Harmony couldn't help but drift her eyes from the page and watch Draco's passive face as he read from his own text. It didn't help either how horrid learning about the complications of childbearing could be, talk about too much information. The corners of Draco's lips lifted, making it all the harder to return to her page. She knew she shouldn't have been staring.
"Bored already, it's only been five minutes?" he asked her. Really, had it been that long. Harmony sighed as she shifted closer to him. He looked at where she had glazed over for the last three minutes and gave her an encouraging smile. She didn't know how he could be interested in all of these medical books.
"I'm lush," she said and forced her eyes once more on a random sentence. She only had to finish the chapter on pregnancy complications. Come on Harmony focus... she skipped around... baby born backwards, baby born with two heads, babies magically apparating during pregnancy... OK? Babies causing mother's magical levels to fluctuate... what was this shite? Her stomach lurched at the next sentence. Difficulties having babies due to gender reversal may result in multiple miscarriages or infertility. Her eyes widened as she read on. The only documented case of pregnancy born of a woman who had previously been a man occurred in the case of Heidi Hopinbower, (previously Heidar Hopinbower). After two decades, Heidi conceived a child. However, further studies could not be conducted due to the child's premature death at the age of three. Whether this death was related to maternal influences remains unknown; though highly likely. She blinked at the page in horror, not sure if she had read the last paragraph correctly, or if her mind had constructed it. When she read it a third time, her eyes pricked in anger. How? After all of this?
She felt a hand on her forearm and looked down. She hadn't even noticed that the grip on her book bleached the small bones on her knuckles white. The pages slipped from her grasp. It was unfair. So fucking messed up. She thought...No, she was an idiot. To think, that it was possible. If she could, she would have sneered. It was like something was taken from her. As her parents and Sirius had been murdered, now her future too. She knew that Draco was shaking her, but she felt a lingering pain with her panic. Harmony slumped on the covers, feeling a tightness catch at her chest, sharp and cutting, that pinned her heart. The magic quivered within her, itching to lash out.
"Harmony! Shite, Harmony!" There was numbness, as if her blood had stopped altogether. "Look at me!" Her breath came in a gasp, and then she was painfully aware. She almost laughed. It wasn't her blood that had stopped, but her heart.
There wasn't a pulse. One second Harmony was fine, reading on his bed, and the next...his mind couldn't believe what just happened. Fear spiked inside of him when he noticed that her chest wasn't moving. People don't just die from reading a book! For the briefest second, he thought someone had attacked her, possibly squeezed her heart with an invisible fist. He couldn't lose her, not again. His hand shook as he grasped his wand.
"Animum Pulsare," he choked out. Still her chest didn't move. "Fu-" he needed control, she would die if he couldn't control his emotions. The magic surged from his wand erratically. He thought of all of the medical texts he had read over the summer. They had warned him about this, but he hadn't- no -couldn't believe them. "Animum Pulsare." He blushed in shame as he thought that he had failed her. Dread that had lingered and kept at bay in his mind, struck now. Her heart would never be the same. This wouldn't be the last attack. "Animum pulsare". His own heart skipped a beat as he felt his magic pump at her heart, thumping at a pace much slower than his own. Focus, he thought, just hold it together. The relief when her eyes opened, didn't hold for long. Her pulse fluttered, but for how long?
Draco kissed her forehead before lifting her from the bed and carrying her out the door. Neither of them said a word as he walked them to the medical wing.
"Oh, my!" Madam Pomfrey said when Draco nearly kicked the door off its hinges. Draco was struck with déjà vu at the memory of him and Harmony two years prior. He had carried her just the same, the difference now was that the life in his hands meant more to him than his own; if she died it would ruin him.
"She's had a heart attack," Draco said, his voice detached, not his own. He placed her on the nearest bed, and Madam Pomfrey immediately went through a rapid assessment.
"I'm OK," Harmony mumbled. Draco noticed that she wouldn't meet his eyes. He sat in a chair by her bedside and held her hand. It was warm, with blood flowing through. The rings on each of their fingers were murky and Draco rubbed the soft flesh of her palm.
"Your heart has stabilized," Madam Pomfrey said, "was this the first attack?" Harmony nodded her head. "What were you doing before the attack?"
"I was reading..." Harmony said, and Madam Pomfrey looked at her with what he thought was a mixture of pity, pain and maternal love. Draco felt the dread swell in his stomach. He knew even before Madam Pomfrey began, what she would say. It was an effort to not get up and walk out of the hospital wing. But he had to control himself if he wanted to be a mediwizard.
"Harmony, I'm sorry to tell you that the injury you sustained two years ago, the one to your heart, has irrevocable damage. It would appear that though you are in perfect health, with everything in working order, if you overstrain your heart, in essence have a panic attack, your heart will fail." Harmony looked at her blankly, but Draco knew that to Harmony, this was something of a death sentence. She would never be an auror now, she would probably never be allowed to be alone- because he couldn't take that chance. Could she even play Quidditch anymore? He searched her face for the pain he knew was there, that she was trying to control, and he found it in her eyes. It was then he wished that he could give her his own heart, if just so that he could not see the total dejection in her. It was a stupid thought. "As long as you don't overexert yourself or your magic, then you will live long. But you must know that with each new attack, your heart will become weaker." Madam Pomfrey looked down at the charts and papers she held and frowned at them.
"Is there anything I can do to fix my heart?" Harmony asked, but it lacked any hope, as if she knew as well.
"It's already in a precarious state, it would do more harm than good." Harmony put a tentative hand over her chest, almost casually. "It would be best if you could rest here for the night." Madam Pomfrey bent over and fluffed the pillow Harmony rested on. "I'll check up on you hourly."
"Thanks," Harmony mumbled, and Madam Pomfrey nodded with tight lips. Though they were alone, she still hadn't said a word to him, and Draco squeezed her hand.
"What happened?" he asked. It wasn't just the heart attack that took a toll on her physically. There was something on her mind that twisted and knotted. Her usual tan, olive tone had paled considerably. "What did you read?" He knew that if she didn't tell him soon, he would read whatever she had been reading over again. "Harmony, please tell me."
At last she looked his way, but there was loathing in her eyes. Draco couldn't stop the flinch, and when he looked again, it wasn't directed at him. It was worse. He was careful when he leaned close to her just barely touching her forehead with his, even though he wanted to press her flush against his chest. "Don't," he whispered close to her ear, lower and less gentle. This was Harmony, even if she just had a frick'n heart attack. "Don't you dare blame yourself." She stiffened against him, and Draco had to stop himself from lifting up her chin and kissing her senseless. If only it was that simple to erase her pain.
"Really? Then I guess it's not my fault that my body is screwed up." He pulled away from her. For a second, Draco wondered if she was blaming him for not fixing her heart up perfectly. Something else must be wrong with her.
"Harmony, you're perfect the way you are," Draco said, and she rolled her eyes at him.
"I can't have kids," she said. Instead of looking away, as he thought she would, her eyes met his, almost to challenge what he just said.
"What are you talking about? If you are referring to that book-"
"Draco, we can't have kids," she said, her eyes scrutinized his. Draco narrowed his eyes back. Did she think that he only wanted to be with her to get an heir? No... She was scared, on the verge of panic once more. He could see the fear of being alone. He was too far gone to ever stop himself from loving her.
"It said I couldn't. Those who have gone through a gender reversal can't conceive, and if they do, the baby will die prematurely. I... I can't..." Her voice broke off. He blinked back at her in confusion.
"Harmony, you're heart is weak, but everything else is fine."
"No, the book-"
"It doesn't matter if you're born a boy. If two male wizards can somehow procreate, which shouldn't even be biologically possible, you won't have too much of a problem."
"What are you talking about!" Harmony looked at him as if he had sprouted two heads.
"It's not in the chapter, but two men-"
"No, not that! You said it doesn't matter if I were born a boy."
"I was born a girl. Dumbledore gave me something to make me look like a boy. I thought you knew that."
"Oh," Draco said with a shrug, "I guess it never mattered to me."
"What the- How did you find out that I was a girl?"
"I brought you in here when you collapsed in the library, you know, after the triwizard tournament, and then I kind of hung around." Not that he would ever admit to snooping.
"Holy shite, that was you! Really," she was about to say something more, but laughed. "Oh never mind!" Harmony shook her head, but a small smile began to form on her lips. "And what do you mean two men...can."
"I've already read up on pregnancy complications in my own medical books, and honestly what is in that SMEX book is mostly nonsense to scare us. Some senile whack job off his trolley probably thought it would be funny."
"Part of it is fact, the rest is rubbish. Anyway, you were born a girl, which means that it probably doesn't even apply to you." Draco rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb. "Harmony, If we want kids, then it will work". She looked away from him, and Draco knew he wasn't getting something important. "Trust me." When she turned to face him, the blank despondency in her face was a jab to his gut.
"I never thought I'd make it past Hogwarts...after all these years of people expecting me to die. What if something happens, Draco?" Her breathing became shallow, and Draco thought of calling for Madam Pomfrey. "What if my heart gives out? I can't let our child to grow up never knowing her mum...It's awful."
"That won't happen. You're not the boy who lived, or the chosen one, or any of that crap. Shite, you have your own life, you've done so much already, so don't even think that you're going to die. You deserve a chance to be happy, just like everyone else...more than anybody."
"You would want to try to have kids?" Harmony asked, almost tentatively, like she was waking up.
"We can have as many as you want." He was tempted to waggle his eyebrows, in what he thought was a very alluring way, but he wanted her to know he was sincere.
"More than one?" Harmony's lips lifted in the slightest. They hadn't talked about kids before this, but Draco had an idea, one that his father would never be able to undermine. He smiled back. "As many as the Weasleys?" She asked with many of her front teeth showing. He couldn't quite stop the grimace as an irrational thought of fifteen redheaded toddlers invaded his mind. But he attempted to smile nonetheless.
"Even more if you want," he tried to keep his face from betraying him. She shook with laughter and put a hand on his arm. It looked like the tension in her finally relented. He promised himself he would make it work, promised her silently as she rested that they would be happy, no matter how many crazy kids they would have. He rested his head against her and quietly calculated his plan.