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"Do you ever think about returning to England?" Astoria wondered as she and Hermione enjoyed a day at the park with Astoria's nephew, Braydon.
Hermione glanced down at the gentle swell of her abdomen. "Sometimes," she replied. "I want our kids to know our families. And it might be nice to be around my mother when the baby comes. I know Draco's worried about not knowing what to do or how to care for him."
"Do his parents know about the baby?"
Hermione nodded uneasily. Narcissa was thrilled to be a grandmother, but Lucius refused to acknowledge "that thing" as his own flesh and blood. Draco was all too quick to inform him that he needn't be involved, and that his involvement was unwanted. His child would only be surrounded by people who loved and cared for him. And that did not include Lucius Malfoy.
"Narcissa has come out here every other weekend since we broke the news. She's convinced that our flat isn't big enough and the paint we chose isn't blue enough and the clothing we have won't keep him warm enough," she relayed.
"Anything else she's not happy about?" Astoria asked with a laugh.
"Yeah, the name we chose," Hermione replied. "We decided we wanted something a bit more mainstream. Draco's concerned about schoolyard bullies teasing him if we named him something celestial."
Astoria turned her attention back to the three year old climbing the jungle gym. "If anyone knows bullies, it's Draco," she muttered. "So, what's his name going to be?"
Smiling, Hermione shook her head. "We're not telling you," she replied, having been asked by the younger witch more than once. "Even if you try to guess, I'll neither confirm nor deny. Don't forget, I saw the way you tortured your own sister when you didn't like the names she picked for Braydon."
The younger woman held up her hands in a sign of surrender. "Fine, don't tell me what my godson's name will be. I'll just find out with everyone else," she mumbled, hoping guilt would work on her friend.
"You really shouldn't believe Draco when he makes you promises," Hermione cautioned.
Astoria beckoned her nephew over to eat and watched as he ran towards her. "You promised me I could be the godmother," she recalled. "Draco asked why your kid needed godparents in the first place."
The older witch looked contemplative as Astoria returned her attention to her. "Then you probably shouldn't believe the promises I make either," she replied. "I've been around Slytherins for far too long. You've all started to rub off on me, and not in a good way."
A sarcastic laugh was the only reply she received. The doting aunt held her only nephew as he ate. The little boy talked to the pair, telling them about the games he had played and stories he would relay to his parents when they got home. Halfway through lunch, Draco joined them and took Braydon back to the playground.
"So, I'm really not the godmother?" she asked once they were alone again.
"Of course you are," Draco called to her. "Stop believing everything Hermione tells you just because she's supposed to be honest."
"Trouble in paradise?" Astoria inquired.
Hermione smirked. It was a devilish grin, but there was a hint of love behind it. "A spell actually," she replied. "One day he was commenting that I seemed so calm given all the hormones. Then the next day he complained that my mood swings were driving him crazy. So I put a little transferral spell on him."
"You really should have been in Slytherin," Astoria remarked in awe. "Can I use that when Theo and I have kids?"
"I've already warned your husband to be wary of any spells you cast," Draco informed his friend. He took a seat beside his wife on the bench and placed his hand on the swell of her stomach. "Feeling okay?"
Hermione nodded and rested her head on his shoulder. In just three months she would be a mother, and despite her calm exterior, it scared her more than anything. Despite the small support group she had in the States, found in the Greengrass sisters and their husbands, they weren't the same as the family she had left behind. A family that had been on her mind more and more as the months of her pregnancy passed.
"You look tired," Draco observed. "Maybe we should go home."
The pang of longing started in Hermione's chest at the sound of that one word.
Nodding, she rose from the bench and said goodbye to her friend. Together, she and Draco left the park, found an unoccupied alley, and Apparated back to their flat. Without a word, she retired to the bedroom and shut the door behind her. Sinking down onto the bed, she wondered if home was something she would ever see again.
The door opened and Draco let himself in. Hermione stared off unseeingly, and didn't notice when he took a seat beside her. "Talk to me," he requested.
"It's nothing," she replied dismissively. "Just tired. The baby kicked a lot last night."
Shaking his head, he said, "I don't think that's it."
She placed her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. "Do you ever think about home?" she wondered.
"This is our home, love," he murmured, kissing the top of her head.
Lifting her head, she pulled away from him and stood. "No, I mean England," she clarified. "Where our families are. Do you ever think about it?"
"No, I don't," he stated matter-of-factly. "I don't because, aside from my mother, I have no family. You're my family, you and the baby. What I left behind there doesn't matter to me."
"It matters to me," she said sadly. "I miss my parents and the Weasleys and Harry. I miss visiting Diagon Alley. I don't want our son to grow up not knowing them. It's been three years, Draco, and we've gone back twice."
Rising from the bed, he pulled her into his arms and held her as close as he could. "I'm sorry," he murmured. "I should have realized you couldn't turn your back on people the way I can. We'll make more of an effort to visit, I promise."
Lifting her head, Draco saw the tears that pooled in her eyes. "I want to go back, Draco," she replied, her voice breaking.
"You're that unhappy here?" he asked.
"It's not that I'm unhappy," she replied uneasily. "I just want to be with my family again."
His thumb swept across her cheek, catching the stray tear that fell. "Okay," he said. "Let's go home."