“What do you mean, take off my clothes. Shouldn’t you be able to just wave your wand and find out all about me?” I asked angrily as I stood awkwardly in the stale, clean hospital room.
“Darling, we have to check for everything. And in order to do that, I need you to take off your clothes.” the healer said genially. Her being amicable made me even more annoyed.
Id rather she be a bitch to me, then I’d have a reason to bitchy to her. I knew I couldn’t take it out on her; she wasn’t the one who came up with this ridiculous law.
“May I at least get a patient gown?” I asked. She smiled and handed me a dreadful, lime green gown then left the room to give me privacy.
I sighed tiredly and stripped. As I gazed at my naked body in the mirror, I noticed the changes in my body I had never thought to acknowledge before. My legs were longer, and my breasts were a bit fuller. My stomach had a slight pudge, but nothing terribly noticeable. It was probably from eating sweets while working as an Unspeakable in the Space Chamber of the Department of Mysteries. Reconstructing Pluto had been hell, and it left no time to eat properly everyday. All in all, I was satisfied with my 5’8 form.
When someone knocked on the door, I snapped out of my appraisal and immediately pulled on the uncomfortable paper gown.
“Come in!” I called, and turned swiftly from the mirror.
“Already dear? Now, please lie down on the bed so I can check your vitals, weight, and height.” she instructed as she led me to the bed.
Let the poking and prodding begin.
After twenty minutes of being poked, prodded, and scanned; I was finally able to leave St. Mungo’s. It turned out that I have no health problems currently, but I might have to watch out because apparently my family history is working against me. My kidneys are in top condition, probably due to the fact that I’m always the designated apparatator whenever my friends and I go out. I was very fertile, which was a shocker seeing as my parents had tried everything in the book to get pregnant with me. The most shocking was that they informed me that I was virgin. The latter being something I already knew and kept secret from my friends. Not that I’m ashamed to be a virgin at 22 but it was something I was saving for a man I loved. And now it would go to the highest bidder.
Sighing, I apparated to Diagon Alley to meet up with Ginny and Pansy. We were to go shopping for our gowns.
“Finally! How was the appraisal?” Ginny asked immediately as I appeared in front of Fred and George’s shop.
“How do you think it was? It was humiliating and I shudder to think about what they’re gonna print under my name in the Ball program. Hermione Granger: 5’8, 125 pounds, very fertile, war hero, virgin. Ugh!” I exclaimed.
“Wait, you’re a virgin? But all those guys…” Pansy started.
“It never went past snogging.” I explained as we entered the shop.
“I feel for you, girl. Bloody hell, you’re auctioning off your virginity.” Ginny exclaimed loudly as we headed towards the gown sections.
“Nice, Gin. Announce it to the world. I think the guys in the States didn’t hear you; you should give them a chance to log onto Hermione’s EBay page too”, Pansy chastised lightly to our mirth. Pansy’s dry humor could always bring a smile to my face.
“Hello, ladies. Welcome to Enchanted. How can I help you?” the shop assistant asked.
“We’re looking for ball gowns. Preferably very ugly ones.” I said to her. She grinned, getting the joke.
“So is everyone else. Unfortunately, our expertise tends to lean more on merchandizing attractive clothes. For dowdy or gaudy clothing you might want to head over to Bewitched on Second Street. But if your plan is to not get bided for, you’re going to need more than an ugly dress. You’re not exactly unattractive.” she said as she led us to the dress section.
“You’re right. Maybe I should get my buck teeth back.” I said thoughtfully as the girls giggled.
“Hermione, you’re gonna be gorgeous no matter what you do. You might as well dress beautifully. Really, how many times out of the year do you get to come out of your hole in the Ministry of Magic and dress up?” Pansy said as she picked up a lilac princess style dress.
I sighed and headed towards the black dresses. I was looking at the ball as my freedom’s funeral. Therefore, black would be fitting.
“Hermione, you seriously are going to wear black? Come on, have at least a little color, how about this blue dress.” Ginny suggested, holding out a couture, powder blue strapless A-line dress.
“No, I want dark colors. This is a tragic situation, and I want my dress to reflect that.” I said as I hung up the powder blue dress.
“I’ve found mine!” Ginny exclaimed while holding up a gold halter style gown that complemented her auburn hair, ivory skin, golden undertones, and hazel eyes.
“It’s beautiful, Gin. Really.” I admitted, breaking out of my murky mood for a minute.
“Yeah and it doesn’t clash with your hair. So kudos.” Pansy said as she held up a red dress. “But what about this for me?”
“You always wear blood red! Just because you are dating a Gryffindor doesn’t mean you have to wear red all of the bloody time!” Ginny giggled as she threw Pansy a sapphire strapless dress with intricate beadwork and dangerously low front. It was over the top, like Pansy, but ostentatiously so.
“Oh, this may work. It will bring out my eyes!” Pansy exclaimed as she held the dress up to her.
“Great, now everyone’s found their dress but me.”, I stated irritably. I wasn’t the shopping type.
“I think I have the perfect dress for you, dear. Wait a minute.” the shopkeeper said as she disappeared into the storage room of the shop.
She came back out with a navy dress.
“Try it on, dear. It looks like its perfect for your body type.” She said as she handed me the dark navy dress.
I shrugged and went into the changing room. The first thing I noticed that it was skin tight, and that it had long sleeves. The front was completely covered but my back felt bare. As I zipped up the dress, I examined my back in the mirror, and found it to be dangerously low, but it fit my figure like a glove. This was a dress that would hide nothing, and under garments were out of the question. It was a perfect balance of skin and clothing; a hybrid of sexy and elegant. It also gave me an air of being in control of my body, of being feminine and strong. In other terms, it was perfect.
As I stepped out of the dressing room, I could tell by the girl’s gasps that they agreed with me.
“I’ll take it!” I said, with a smile.
“So, everyone. The reason we gathered everyone was to announce that we’re pregnant”, Ginny proclaimed beside Harry as she stood in front of the Weasley family picnic. Molly immediately cheered, and then proceeded to spontaneously combusting into tears.
“Oh, my baby! My baby is having a baby!”, she gushed in between sobs. Arthur had a giddy smile on his face as he tried in vain to calm his emotional wife down.
“How far along are you?” I asked cheerfully, as I stood to hug Ginny.
“Three months. I didn’t notice at first because my period is pretty irregular.” Ginny explained to the male’s horror. All of them simultaneously groaned.
“Oh grow up!” I admonished over my shoulder.
“Congratulations mate! You do realize your life is pretty much over now, right?” Malfoy said as he slapped Harry’s back.
“That is not true, Harry. Don’t listen to that pompous idiot.” I called from across the table. “A year from now, Malfoy, you might be making the same announcement with some tall, leggy Russia born blonde with an IQ around her shoe size.” I added while smirking.
“Are you forgetting that you’re going to be in the same boat a year from now, except you’ll actually be carrying the child?” he retorted. U rolled my eyes and launched back into conversation with Ginny, trying to ignore the truth in Malfoy’s words.
A year from now I might be carrying some stranger’s baby. A year from now, I could already have a child. I couldn’t even picture it. Me as a mother was a foreign concept; one that I didn’t want to dwell on. So for the rest of the day I tried my damndest not to.
It was easy to ignore that nagging voice in the back of my head while laughing at the twin’s jokes, and asking Bill about the latest charm developments at Gringott’s Wizarding Bank.
When I was alone, however, Malfoy’s voice kept reverberating through my head. And it was impossible to ignore. Only when I closed my eyes that night, was I finally able to not dwell on it.
That morning I had a stirring thought; an epiphany of sorts.
The Auction was in five days, three hours, and twenty six seconds. I had only five days to appreciate being in control of my own life until it was sold by the Ministry. And I wasn’t gonna let worries about the future ruin it. I was going to spend my last five days being the happiest Hermione Granger I could be.
Unfortunately, Malfoy seemed determined to ruin said epiphany when he burst into my room bearing the worst news I could possibly hear at that moment.
“My father’s has had a heart attack. He’s at St. Mungo’s now.” he announced somberly.
Successfully putting an end to my sunny morning and sending me into a heart wrenching shock.