AN: I think I should probably mention that I don't condone adultry, however the fact remains that this is a story. I'm glad, though, that everybody seems to feel as though I've depicted the characters' thoughts and feelings so well, and that they're believeable. Especially considering I was sort of worried that I wouldn't. So thank you :)
This is the last part in the story, and I sincerely hope that it does the rest of story justice.
He sees her through the window of The Library four days later. It's closing time and she's walking up and down the aisles to make sure that all the books are in their right places. She's wearing a bright yellow sundress, the colour looking beautiful against her tanned skin and brown hair. Merlin, she looks beautiful. Glowing.
This is the fifth time this week he's come here, watching her through the window and never entering. Her routine is always the same and today is no different. That is, until she stops behind her desk, pulls her wand out of her purse and points it at her stomach. He squints, trying to look closer-what is she doing? He sees her lips move, muttering a spell he can't put his finger on, and then watches in awe and confusion as her stomach grows. She turns to the side, rubbing her left hand over her now swollen belly while grabbing her purse with her right hand. Is she...she can't be..?
All of a sudden he's acting on impulse, pushing the door open before he even has a chance to think his intentions through.
She panics when she hears the door open and close, turning so that her back is to the door and scrambling for her wand. The voice of the visitor makes her whole body freeze.
"Don't bother, I've already seen it."
Her breath catches in her throat and her stomach flips. He knows. He knows. She turns around to face him (seeing him for the first time in weeks) and he looks...angry. Hurt. Betrayed. More than that though, he looks sort of…wounded. Maybe even devastated. "Draco…" she whispers.
"you...are you..?" he stutters, unable to finish as he stares at the bump.
"And is it...I mean, it's mine right?" His voice is shaking with anger and weak with everything else. It pulls at her heart strings and guilt washes over her.
"She," Hermione murmurs.
His eyebrows stitch together in confusion. "What?"
"She's yours, yes. You have a daughter." Her own voice breaks near the end, thick with tears and guilt.
He feels as though someone's punched him in the gut-probably looks it too, as he holds onto the nearest bookcase with his left hand and bends over slightly to catch his breath. A daughter. A girl.
"I found out this morning," she admits.
"And...uh, how far along are you?"
"Three? Three months?" He's showing his anger now, his eyes flashing and his face reddening, the muscles in his jaw tightening as well as his fists. "You're three months, and I'm only finding this out now?"
"I-you kept this from me Hermione! You-"
"Draco, please let me explain-"
"You were pregnant in April," he says as realization washes over him when he does the math. "Did you know? The day you brought this to an end, did you know?" he asks, moving his finger between the two of them.
"But?" He almost laughs in her face. "But what? You didn't think I deserved to know?"
"What-no! I was going to tell you," she insists.
"When? When you were in labour and you needed someone to blame? When she turned 18? When the fuck were you going to tell me?" he yells angrily. And desperately.
"I didn't know what I was doing!" she screams back, before taking a deep breath and closing her eyes. "I didn't know...I didn't even know if I was going to keep it-"
"You don't think me being the father constitutes having a say?" he spits bitterly, glaring at her from across the room.
"I already know what you would've said. I needed time to figure it out on my own. And I knew if I told you, it would've ruined your family even further and I couldn't do that. I was waiting for the right time…" she whispers.
"Whatever the reason, you should've told me Granger," he mutters, looking hurt and disappointed. "I would've…"
"You would've left Astoria."
She smiles sadly, shaking her head as she walks around the desk and then sits on top of it. "I didn't want that to be the reason you left her," she admits softly.
He squints in confusion, staring at her. "What do you mean?"
"I wanted you to leave her because you wanted to. Because you wanted me. Not because you felt like you had to."
"I would've left her because I wanted to. Because I wanted you. You seem to forget that you told me to go home," he accuses, the anger coming back. "You're the one-"
"I wanted you to fight for me! I wanted to stay even though I told you not to! I wanted you fight for us!" she yells, tears of frustration shining in her eyes.
"And I wanted you to give me a reason to! I couldn't leave my family without knowing how you felt in the matter, I had a son to think about," he spits, seething with anger.
Silence falls over them. He shoves his hands into his pockets and stares at the ground. She watches him with baited breath, unsure of how to react or what to say. He clears his throat and looks up at her finally.
"I left her anyway. Last week," he whispers.
"Y-you did? Why?"
"It wasn't fair to Astoria continue living a lie. Wasn't fair to Scorpius either."
"How does he feel about that?" she wonders.
"He, believe it not, encouraged me to do it."
It's her turn to look utterly confused now as she watches him lean against a book case, resting the back of his head on it. "H-how?"
He sighs, crossing his arms over his chest. "I was drunk, two weeks ago. Out of my mind. He found me in the living room at 4 o'clock in the morning and I told him...I told him I missed you," he pauses, looking up at her with soft, loving, guilty eyes. "I talked to him for probably half an hour about how much I missed a woman that wasn't his mother. He told me that I wasn't doing or proving anything other than stupidity by staying with Astoria. So last week I left and moved into the country cottage. Nobody aside from her parents, my parents and Scorpius knows-they want to wait until the paperwork is filed officially."
"So...so that's it?"
"That's it.. I may not have chosen you when you wanted me to Granger, but I've still chosen you."
Only now, as they're face to face, does she realize that during his speech he'd made his way across the room and closed the gap between them. He brings his hand to her cheeks, cupping her face and bringing his forehead down on hers.
"I always will," he whispers.
She stares at him silently, letting his words mull over in her head. He left his wife for her. For her.
"I want to be a part of your life Granger. I want to be a part of my daughter's life," he murmurs, pausing as he enjoys the sound of 'my daughter' on his own lips. "The quaffle is in your hands, the move is yours to make." When she doesn't respond-only stares-he turns to walk away. "Another day then-"
"Wait!"She reaches for him, grabbing one of his arms with both of hers to stop him. He shivers at her touch-and it's the best damn feeling in the world. Aside from learning of his daughter. He turns back around and her eyes are shining with unshed tears, pleading. "I...I don't know where this is going or what we're supposed to do now. But just…can you stay? Just...hold me," she pleads.
He smiles softly, doing as he's told. His wraps his arms around her waist as she wraps hers around his his and buries her face in his chest. This is home now, he thinks. She is home. And everything else can wait.
Telling her family with Draco by her side wasn't nearly as hard as she thought it would be. And the fact that Rose already knows also makes it that much easier. It seems that news of a pregnancy, no matter what the circumstances are, brings people together. She had told everyone at the burrow, while Draco stood behind her with his hand clasped in her own. They hadn't been thrilled about said circumstances, but they were still happy for them. But mostly just for her. They spent the whole afternoon talking before going to Malfoy Manor to tell his parents, Astoria and Scorpius.
Now, hours later, finds Hermione and Draco lying in her bed with the covers pulled over their heads. She's lying on her back, her shirt pulled up to reveal her growing belly and her legs intertwined with his. He's lying on his side, his right elbow propping him up as he rubs his left hand over her stomach. Rubbing circles and tracing patterns. Mesmerized by the idea of a human being growing inside of her. His human being.
"That was much easier than I thought it would be," he admits.
"Yeah, I didn't get yelled at by my family," she retorts.
"And I didn't punched, hexed or cursed by either family."
She giggles making to throw her head back dramatically and he captures her lips in his. She wraps her arm around his neck, playing with the hair on the back of his head.
"Move in with me," he requests suddenly.
Her eyes snap open in shock and she pulls back to look at him properly. "W-what?" she stutters.
He clears his throat, shifting his position on the bed. Suddenly he's not so confident. "Move in with me..."
"I...I-" she hesitates, biting her lip.
"I mean, look...we already practically live together. And we're having a baby...starting a family of our own. Moving in is just-the next step. I've got the country cottage all to myself-and Scorpius when it's my week. It's big enough for all four of us," he tells her.
"Don't you think that's moving...fast?" she asks softly.
He smirks. "We've got a baby on the way Granger, I don't think we could move any faster than that."
"I'm serious Draco." She pushes him away gently so as to not hurt his feelings, but the look on his face as she sits up and turns to look at him tells him they're hurt anyway. She kneels on the bed facing him, her fingers reaching out to play with a loose thread on the hem of his shirt. "We...we made this mistake before-both of us, with Ronald and Astoria. I rushed things with Ron and you were forced and then everything fell apart-"
"You think we're a mistake?"
"No!" she replies quickly, immediately regretting trying to compare their relationship with each of their previous relationships. She feels especially guilty when she notices the hurt in his soft, grey eyes. "No, not us. I just thinking that moving this quickly might be. I don't want what happened between me and Ron to happen to you and me."
"You don't know that, Draco."
"I know what I want Hermione. I want a life with you. I want to raise our daughter together. And I don't know if you know this, but when a Malfoy loves someone, it's forever."
She smiles softly, scooting closer to him. "Are you saying what I think you're saying Mr. Malfoy?"
He grins, slipping his arm around her hips and pulling her against him gently. Lovingly. He pushes her hair out of her face and tucks it behind her ears. "Yes. Move in with me," he pleads.
"This is crazy, Draco. We're crazy."
"Is that a yes?"
"Yes," she giggles as he smothers her with kisses.
It's a Tuesday, two weeks after Hermione and Draco move into the cottage, when Astoria Malfoy-Greengrass walks into The Library. She's all glitz and glamour, with five inch heels, expensive robes, and perfect hair. She walks like she owns the place, trailing her finger over the surface of a bookcase-probably expecting to find it coated in dust, but little does she know that Hermione is an absolute neat freak.
Hermione watches her as she looks up and down the aisles, inspecting the shop like a vulture. "Can I help you with something?" she asks politely.
"Me? No, I'm just looking."
The shop owner continues to watch the other woman, not trusting her intentions for a second.
"It's cute. Very...homey," the glamour-witch says casually.
"I bet Draco likes it."
Hermione freezes. "Yes, I suppose."
Astoria smiles flakily as she turns towards the brunette and closes the gap, the only thing in the way being the desk. "Okay here's the thing Hermione-can I call you Hermione?"
"Y-yes," Hermione stutters, scolding herself inwardly for sounding so…nervous.
"I didn't come here for a book, although you've got more than I thought you'd have. I'm actually here to warn you about my husband-I'm sorry, my ex-husband."
Hermione smiles tight-lipped; the woman's voice is far too malicious and the look in her dark blue eyes is far too mischievous to be considered kind. "To warn me..?"
The other woman nods. "Draco can be…manipulative, when he wants to be. Malicious. Vindictive. Cold-hearted. When he wants something, he gets it. Take you, for example. He saw you, he wanted you, he got you. And now he's got a brand new baby on the way and an all new life ahead of him. Everything sound perfect, right?"
Hermione nods, not trusting herself to speak and be kind.
Astoria's lips turn into an evil sort of smile. "Wrong. See, in a couple of years-maybe even months-the novelty will wear off and he'll get bored. And then he'll start looking for something bigger and better and shinier than you and the life you have to offer him. That's just the way he is."
Hermione shakes her head absentmindedly. "Look, Astoria, I appreciate your concern for my relationship, I really do," she replies as politely as possible. "But you forget that I've known Draco since I was 11 years old. I know exactly the type of behavior he's capable of and that is how I know that he's changed. And as far as the 'novelty wearing off' goes, I'm not so sure. I gave him an out-twice. I told him to stay with you, to be with you. I basically told him that I wanted nothing to do with him and he still chose me. I think that means a little bit more than just novelty."
For a whole two minutes Astoria looks as though she's about to explode-or implode. But then just as quickly, she composes herself and plasters a smile on her face. "Alright, well don't say I didn't warn you then. Have a good day Hermione."
As if on cue, the man in questions enters the shop, his smile fading as he comes face to face with his ex-wife. "What are you doing here?"
"I was looking for a novel, but Hermione here doesn't have it in stock. Right?" Astoria replies innocently.
"Yes, absolutely. I'll order in some more."
"Thank you, that's awfully kind of you. Anyway, I have some more errands to run. You two take care."
"Uh-wait.. I'm picking Scorpius up from Tyler Zabini's for a Quidditch game. Is it alright if he spends the night with us?" Draco asks her hopefully.
"Sure." It's like Astoria couldn't leave the shop fast enough, practically throwing herself out of the building.
Draco turns to face Hermione. "Well I didn't believe that story for a minute. What did she want?" he asks curiously.
"Nothing, just to talk," Hermione replies casually, waving it off.
"What'd she say?"
"Nothing important," she insists, turning away from him.
"Granger…" he presses.
"She just…" she trails off, sighing loudly. "She said that in a couple of years, once the novelty ware off, you'll leave me like you left her."
"That's not true, you know that right?" he asks her seriously, rubbing her arms up and down.
"Of course I do," she smiles.
"Good. Now which way did she go? I'm gonna have to have a talk with her-"
"Draco no! She can't find out I told you."
"Because...look, she's a woman scorned," she explains. "She blames me-rightfully so-for her marriage failing. She blames me for you leaving. She's just...desperate. You can't blame her for that."
"Still, she's got no right-"
"Look I'm fine okay. Perfectly fine. I know the truth, you know the truth, and that's all that matters."
He sighs, "Okay."
She grins, leaning up to kiss him on the cheek. "Now, I'm starving. So, about that lunch you were going to buy me-"
"Oh, of course. You don't care to see me because I'm your boyfriend. No, you just want me to feed you," he teases, feigning hurt feelings.
She giggles as he continues to tease her mercilessly, pulling her out of the shop for their lunch date.
Hermione looks up from her book and into the hesitant blue eyes of her oldest daughter. The now fourteen year old is spending the last weekend of the summer with her and Draco at the cottage. Hugo and Scorpius are also staying here, giving them a full house and hardly any time to themselves. And yet she wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Draco has taken the boys out into the yard for some extra flying lessons after dinner. Rose had gone outside with them to watch and Hermione, feeling tired and hot, had stayed inside and curled up with her current read. "Is something wrong Rose?" She looks worried by the hesitancy in her daughters eyes and the shakiness in her voice.
"No, I mean, not exactly. I just...can I ask you something?"
"Of course! You can talk to me about anything, you know that," Hermione tells her softly. Over the last few weeks, their relationship had been mended to the point where Rose finally feels comfortable talking to her mother. She closes the book and leans forward carefully to place it on the coffee table. "What's up sweetie?"
Rose sighs dramatically, sitting on the couch beside her. "I just...I really like Scorpius, mum. Like really like him. We've been best friends since first year, but now I think...I think that my feelings are changing and I don't know what do about them," she admits.
"You have romantic feelings for him?"
The teenager nods slowly, blushing as she suddenly becomes increasingly interested in her hands sitting in her lap. "It's just that...now that you and Mr. Malfoy are together and having a new baby, that makes us step-siblings, r-right? So, I mean, that's wrong. Right? Because we're related now and-"
"Rose, honey relax," Hermione coaxes.
"Mum I don't know what to do!"
Tears are glistening in her daughters eyes and Hermione wants nothing more than to wish them all away. "Okay, well, first thing's first. You and Scorpius aren't technically related."
"No, listen to me. You share a sibling but that doesn't mean you're related. I mean, by association, sure. And the baby is related to the both of you by blood, but you and Scorpius aren't," Hermione insists.
"But it's still weird isn't it?" Rose wonders. "Imagine what people will say mother, if Scorpius and I became an item."
Hermione smiles softly, taking her hands in both of hers. "Do you want to know what I've learned over the last year Rose? I've learned that caring about what people think only gives them the power to hurt you. The only person whose thoughts should matter is your own. Because when push comes to shove, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks just as long as you're happy."
Rose smiles back, obviously understanding what her mother is trying to say. "And are you? Happy, I mean?"
Hermione smiles, taking a moment to take in her surroundings. She glances around the large, humble living room before looking out the window at the three males now playing catch with a small quaffle Draco bought Hugo just a few days ago. Her smile widens as she looks once more at her beautiful daughter. "I'm extremely happy."
And for the first time in a long, long time Hermione can say that without guilt.
Later than night, Draco walks into the master bedroom to find Hermione sitting in bed with her back against the headboard. Her tank top is pulled up over her swollen belly and her hand is rubbing small circles over it, a small smile playing on her pink lips. She's positively glowing; he can't even remember a time when she looked so...happy. He smiles to himself, walking across the room and climbing carefully onto the bed. He lies on his side on the bed beside her, holding himself up with his right arm and extending his left hand out to do the same, rubbing small circles across her skin. He leans in, pressing his lips to her and whispering a soft 'hi there' to her stomach before looking up at her and stretching to meet her lips in a sweet and sensual kiss. "Hi…" he murmurs into her mouth.
"Hi," she giggles.
"How was your day?"
"Wonderful. How was yours?"
"Brilliant," he grins, pulling back slightly. "That son of yours has one hell of an arm on him. He'd probably make a great chaser for Gryffindor-might even help those lions to achieve the house cup. That is, unless Scorpius beats them to the snitch."
She giggles, swatting him playfully on the shoulder. "I'm glad you get along with him. And Rose."
"Me too. I'm glad you get along with Rose."
"It's taken some time, but I think she finally understands. In fact, she talked to me about boys today," she smiles, more to herself than anything.
"Did she? That's a milestone."
"What about boys?"
He pauses his circle-rubbing for a moment, to look at her before smirking and continuing on. "Funny. Scorpius talked to me about Rose today."
"What'd he say?" she asks curiously.
"You first," he grins.
"She said she's beginning to get romantic feelings for him. Which means that Ron was right, she most definately fancies him."
"You're turn," she says softly.
"He told me the same thing. He fancies the trousers off of her."
"Yes, well, I expect that you told him to keep himself out of her trousers," she tells him sternly. "I know how you Malfoy's think," she teases.
"Of course I did, they're much too young," he scoffs. "Although, if things today are anything like they were back in the day, well then-"
"Shut up! I'd rather not...go there, just yet," she whines, closing her eyes and blocking her ears playfully.
"It's going to happen eventually-"
"And until then we're not talking about it. Unless, of course, you want to bring the baby into it-"
"No, no way! Let's not talk about it," he replies quickly, refusing to even think about it.
A comfortable silence falls between them in which the only sound heard is the rustling of Italian sheets as she lays down comfortably in his arms.
"She wanted to know if it would be weird-should her and Scorpius become an item. She's afraid of what people might think," she murmurs.
"Did you tell her not to worry about it?"
"Of course. It's just...I kind of worry about it too," she admits.
"Why? It's not like they're related, really," he points out reasonably.
"Well, I know, it's just...you know what people will think don't you? I just don't her to get her feelings hurt or her dreams crushed. I don't want either of them to get hurt."
"We can't baby them forever Hermione," he whispers, kissing the top of her head affectionately.
"I know.. I just worry-"
"Don't worry. Because it doesn't matter. Stranger things have happened, love."
"I know, but-"
"Please, Hermione, don't stress yourself out over this. Please? I've never known you to care what anybody else thinks, don't start now," he pleads.
He knows she doesn't need grand romantic gestures and yelling from the rooftops (however much he would like to give that to her). He also knows that she doesn't want glitz and glamour the way a certain ex-wife of his did. Nor does she need him to give her the world (although he'll never stop trying).
What Hermione Granger needs more than anything, he's learned, is just to know that she's loved. That she's needed and wanted and cherished. What she needs more than that, is to feel it.
And so when he proposes, he doesn't go all out like he would like to. He doesn't buy a giant diamond ring; he settles for a smaller one, one that's more her instead of him. He doesn't plan an expensive dinner at a 5 star restaurant where hundreds of on-lookers would witness him getting down on one knee and making her his; instead he keeps it a private, intimate affair with just him and her and the baby growing inside of her who kicks with approval. He doesn't shout it from the rooftops, that she's his and only his, like he'd like to (like he almost does anyway); instead he settles for whispering in her ear that she's just made him the happiest man on the planet.
If he had had it his way, he would've gone all out for the proposal but he doesn't. Because it isn't about him. It's about her. It's about her and the smile that graces her lips and the tears of joy that shine in her beautiful brown eyes and the fact that she's so overjoyed and astonished that she can't even bring herself to say yes. It's the way she drops to her knees in front of him and kisses him and holds him and cries because she's so, so happy-that makes him glad that he settled for going small.
Oddly enough, being in labour doesn't get any easier the third time around. At all. In fact it somehow seems harder.
Her water breaks December 21st at 6:04 in the morning.
Draco begins to panic at 6:06, pacing around the room like a lunatic. (He wasn't around when Astoria went into labour, he'd arrived at the hospital during the delivery).
They arrive at St. Mungo's at 6:15.
At 6:18 she's admitted to a hospital bed.
At 6:20 Draco Malfoy-strong, witty, calculating-is still panicking.
By 6:50 Hermione is screaming due to the excruciating pain from her contractions, squeezing Draco's hand so hard that his skin goes white and his muscles become numb.
At 7:03 the doors to her hospital room swing open and her parents walk in, followed by Harry and Ginny. (Draco's never been more glad to see Potter in his life).
By 7:25 most of her family is here including Ron, Rose and Hugo.
By 10:17 her contractions are close enough together to begin the delivery and everyone except for Draco is ushered out of the room. He holds her hand the whole time, whispering words of encouragement and love in her ear, stroking her matted hair while she pushes and pushes and pushes. And even as she screams at him and hits him in the arm and blames him for causing her such pain, he continues to encourage her. His own pulse is racing, his heart beating wildly in his chest and his palms are sweating-and he doesn't even want to imagine the kind of pain she's in.
Sophia Phoenix Malfoy comes into world, making her presence known loud and clear as she wails at the top of her tiny little lungs, at exactly 10:31 in the morning. Plenty of things happen in the following few minute. Hermione is the first to hold fragile little baby in her arms; she's glowing and crying and happy all at the same time, while Draco counts her fingers and her toes. He holds her afterwards, holding the infant close to his chest and above his heart. Her parents and his parents, followed by Rose, Hugo and Scorpius are the following people to see the youngest Malfoy. A number of the Weasley's are next, including Ron who seems genuinely happy for them.
Hours later, once the Healers had ushered everyone except for Draco out of the room, they're left in private. Hermione, feeling exhausted and uncomfortable, lies back on the bed while Draco walks slowly around the room. He's holding Sophie in his arms, bouncing up and down softly and the motion seems to sooth her. And he's humming-singing softly. His voice has always calmed her.
She watches him from the hospital bed-the way he holds her and looks at her and smiles at her. The way his arms are delicate and at the same time protective around her little body. The way his eyes sparkle and water at the same time because she's his pride and his joy. The way his lips twitch and then pull back into smile after smile. She smiles, tears glistening in her own eyes as she recognizes the signs of pure bliss.
She's never known him or seen him happier than he is when he looks at his daughter. And she's never felt happier than in this moment, watching him and knowing that her life is once again looking better and brighter and that she's finally on the right track.
She still has her old family with the Weasley's and two older children. Rose is talking to her again and the animosity between them has finally melted away. Hugo is ecstatic about having a little sister.
Yes, Hermione decides from her hospital bed as she watches her future husband sway around the room as though nobody is watching, things are finally looking up.
AN: Once again I just want to thank you all for your kind words and support. It means alot to an author/writer to know that people appreciate their work, whether they get reviews or have their stories 'favourited' or 'alerted' or whatever the case may be.