The next week was spent in preparations. Aaron's birthday was on the 9th, 9 days after the night Draco and Hermione had made up.
"What're we getting him?" Hermione asked, sitting down at the foot of Draco's bed while he sat, propped up against the headboard, reading a book. He looked over the top of the book at her.
"What do you want to get him?"
She shrugged. "We've known him for exactly a month and five days".
Draco raised one eyebrow at her specificity of dates. It, indeed, was the 7th of October. They had arrived here on the 2nd of September. "So what do you say we get him?
"Wasn't that what I asked you when I sat down?" She narrowed her eyes at him.
Draco smirked and put his book aside, sitting cross legged instead. "How about a broomstick?"
"He already has, some, three."
"Of course he does, he's half me", Draco grinned proudly.
Hermione snorted in an unladylike fashion. "So not a broomstick. He's probably read all the books possible-"
"Of course he has, he's half you", Draco said. Hermione grit her teeth together.
"Could you quit interrupting me?!" She asked, glaring at him.
"Someone's snappy today." He said, leaning back.
"Yes, well, Im pregnant. Im allowed to be whatever I wish", She said.
He was about to pass another comment when an idea hit him. "We have to go in for work today but come with me after lunch, I have an idea."
"What kind of idea? And why do we have to go in for work?"
"You'll see and perhaps because they happen to pay us? It happens to be our job. I don't know, you tell me", He said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
"No need to get sarcastic with me", Hermione said, standing up. "What do I wear?"
"Granger and her dressing problems", Draco muttered, standing up. He placed his hand on her lower back, successfully doing things to her heart and lead her outside to her room.
* * * *
"Right, so where are we going?" Hermione asked, getting into the passenger side of the car. "And... are you- uh- sure you want to drive?"
His expression hardened and his jaw tightened. "There's going to be no repeat of the other day, Granger."
Hermione's mouth fell open. "I didn't mean it that way! Im sorry! I swear that's not what I meant. I-"
"Save it." Draco growled and an expression of hurt crossed Hermione's face. He put the key into the ignition but Hermione's hand over his own stopped him from reversing the car.
"Listen to me", She said.
"You know the other day wasn't my fault!" He said, his voice loud.
"Did I imply that it was?!" She snapped back.
"Clearly you don't know me well enough then!"
"Clearly I don't! We've known each other for a month, Granger. A month. Doesn't make us best friends."
That stung. It actually, properly stung her. Her heart clenched and her stomach tightened. Her eyes began to sting. She removed her hand from his and crossed her arms over her chest.
"Considering everything we've been through in that one month, I didn't think we needed a title to our relationship."
"A title?" Draco asked, reversing the car. "To our relationship? Pray tell, Granger, what is this relationship you speak of?"
"We're more than friends." She blurted out. What did I mean by that? She asked herself and at the same time Draco thought 'What does she mean?'
"You're sounding like some sappy romantic film", He said.
"I wasn't the one setting up a candle-lit dance floor with music", Hermione said, without thinking. The stinging in her eyes were getting worse and she didn't even know why. Why was this conversation bothering her so much?
"I did that for you!"
"Exactly! We know each other's fears, we know so much about each other, we've been there for each other- We've even established that we can't live without each other. Do you really think we're not even friends yet?"
"This is ridiculous." He said, stepping on the accelerator without thinking.
"Slow down, Malfoy", She warned, one hand flying to her stomach.
"See! You're doubting me again!" He said, though slowing down.
"Goddamit, Im not!" She said, staring at him disbelievingly. "You know I wouldn't!"
"You're sick... one minute we're so close and the other you shut yourself off and return to the cold hearted person you were in Hogwarts."
"If it hasn't occurred to you yet, we still are supposed to be in Hogwarts."
"But we're not! Nothing is the same! Not you, not me, not anything!"
"This is pointless."
"Why are we fighting?"
"It's what we do."
Both of them fell silent, both doing their best to look away from the other.
They were doing so well... Hermione thought, closing her eyes and taking calming breaths. And then he just goes and become defensive. And what the hell was wrong with her?! Why was she suddenly talking about their 'relationship'? What exactly was their 'relationship'?
"Come on", He said, parking the car and getting out. She hadn't even realized they had arrived. She unbuckled her seatbelt and stepped out, closing the door. He locked it and began walking forward, leaving her trailing behind.
She looked up at the sign above the shop they were at and she couldn't help but ask, "Why are we at a pet shop?"
"They call you the smartest witch of our year. We're getting Aaron a pet. Obviously."
"Oh." She followed him into the shop and they went straight to the dog section.
"What do you think?" He asked as they looked over at the different puppies playing around in a play pen surrounded on four sides.
"I think it's a great idea", She said, leaning over the top. "How do we pick?"
"Well, we just... pick", He finished lamely, scratching his head. "I've never been good at things like this. Maybe you should just do it."
She bent over the pen and slowly held her hand out to see which puppy would react first. She smiled as a tiny black puppy trotted up to her hand sniffed it.
"Hey, little guy", She said, bending over and picking it up. She cradled the pup in her arms and bent her head over it, not knowing that Draco had bent his head close to it as well.
"She's adorable", She said, as the puppy nuzzled it's head into her collarbone. Draco raised his hand and stroked it's soft fur. She looked up and almost gasped at the close proximity to the blonde. He looked up as well and their noses almost touching, stared into her eyes.
"She's perfect", He breathed.
"She's a six week old Labrador", A voice said from behind them, snapping them out of whatever it is they had been experiencing just then. They turned around to see a short, plump greying lady walking towards them.
"She came in just a few days ago. People come in and want her immediately but the little one refuses to move. Im surprised she's so comfortable with both of you", The lady said, coming to stand beside them.
Draco and Hermione looked at each other and couldn't help but smile. They looked at the lady again, who spoke-
"It would really be a shame if you didn't take her."
Hermione glanced at the puppy's name tag attached to a ribbon around it's paw and gasped. "Draco", She failed to realize that she had called him by his given name. He looked from the lady to Hermione, a little surprised. She gestured to the tag. "Look at it's name."
Draco looked to where she was pointing and his smile grew wider.
"We'll take her. There's not doubt about it." He said. The lady grinned and took the pup from Hermione to the counter.
"I'll add in everything else that you'll need." She said.
"We'll pay today but do you think you could deliver it to us on 9th morning?" Draco asked, leaning over the counter.
"Gifting her to someone?" She asked, her eyebrows coming together.
"Our son", Hermione smiled.
"Oh", The lady exclaimed, "What's his name?"
"Aaron", Draco and Hermione answered together and then smiled.
"Lovely. How long have you both been married?"
"Almost six years", Both answered in sync again.
"Can you stop that?" Hermione asked, unable to fight her smile.
"Why don't you?" Draco asked, nudging her shoulder with his.
The lady grinned at them. "Only one child?"
"One on the way", Draco said.
"Im sure you both must be very much in love", She said.
They didn't know how to respond to that so they simply kept quiet. Unknown to each other, both suddenly felt a bit suffocated in the shop. Would they ever fall in love? For real? Or the more important question was- were they already on their way?
Draco payed for the puppy and the things and they exited the shop after giving the necessary details. The ride home was, once again in silence but they were thankful that their fight had been forgotten.
They didn't know, though, whether the fight was worse, or all these emotions and questions that had been planted into their heads.
* * * *
"Happy Birthday, sweetie", Hermione grinned, sitting down at the edge of her son's bed two days later at 9 in the morning.
Aaron promptly sat up, rubbing the sleep away from his eyes. Hermione hugged him tightly and then Draco swooped down and lifted the five year old into his arms and threw him up, catching him again.
"Happy birthday, kid." He said. Aaron hugged him tightly.
"Thanks, dad. Thanks, mum." He grinned.
"When do you want your gift, now or after your bath?" Hermione asked, standing up.
"Thats a ridiculous question! Now, of course!" Aaron said, wiggling out of Draco's arms and standing on the floor.
"Wait here", Hermione said, heading out the door. She came back, carrying a dark blue box the size of six shoe boxes put together- three at the base, three above that. She placed it on the floor.
"Go ahead and open it up. But be gentle", She said, going to stand beside Draco. Aaron's eyebrows came together with curiosity as he knelt down beside the box and cautiously lifted the cover off. He gasped at the little black form sleeping inside the box.
"Do you like her?" Hermione asked, a little nervously.
"It would be hard not to", Aaron said, a grin on his face. "Can I hold her?" Draco nodded and knelt down beside him. He placed his hands into the box and carried the puppy out. He helped Aaron cradle her.
"What's her name?" He asked, bouncing the puppy slightly. It began nuzzling into Aaron's chest and he giggled. He looked up at his parents, waiting for an answer. The looked at each other and then at him and with smiles on their faces, said- "Magic."
Aaron's grin became wider and he hugged the dog close to him. "I love her. Welcome to the family, Magic." Aaron placed the puppy onto his lap carefully after sitting cross legged and then held his arms out. Draco hugged him tightly and Aaron split apart half way and with one arm still around his father, held his other arm out. Hermione came to his other side and hugged him as well. It was truly a picture perfect moment.
If only Hermione could get that nervous fluttering feeling out of her stomach and if only Draco could get his heart rate to slow down.
* * *
"Ginny, could you help get the kids outside with Draco?" Hermione called over to the read head from the kitchen.
"Sure, need help with the cake?" Ginny asked.
"Nope, Im good", Hermione said, continuing to add icing to the cake. It was Aaron's birthday party that evening and all the kids in the neighborhood were at their house playing about. She had a small set-up outside for them to eat in so that the house wouldn't get too messy. Well, messier than what it already was.
"See you outside. Call if you need help", Draco said, gathering the kids with Ginny and getting them outside.
Hermione went to the sink to wash her hands and while she was doing so, she heard a 'SPLAT' and froze. No. No. No. Gods, no!
She spun around and her jaw dropped to the floor, her eyes wide. A black haired kid of about four was standing beside the table, hands covered in cake and the dish on the floor, chocolate upturned and splattered over the ground.
She didn't know what to say. She just stood there, her mouth opening and closing like a fish, no sound coming out.
Finally, "Are you stupid?!" She cried, outraged. "I took so long to make that!"
The kid shrugged, wiped his hands on the table and scampered outside. A few seconds later, she heard a smash from outside.
She ran outside, stepping around the cake, tears pricking the back of her eyes. She gasped.
There stood the same kid, standing beside the coffee table. The beautiful vase that had been sitting on the table was now on the floor, shattered.
"What're you doing?!" She yelled.
The kid didn't respond to her. He simply went to the table behind him and began pushing down its contents on to the floor.
She ran to him, careful not to step on the glass shards and picked him up.
"Stop it! Stop it now!" She held the kid at arm's length as he began thrashing about and throwing kicks and punches in her direction.
"Stop it!" She screamed. He was the brother of one of Aaron's friends. It was the first time she had met him and had no idea what to do.
The kid kicked her square in the stomach and she gasped. He punched at her chest and she could take it no longer. She put him down and without thinking, slapped him.
The kid froze and her hand remained where it was, in mid air after striking.
The kid burst into tears.
Draco ran inside. Looked between the two.
She was shoved behind, away from the boy and into the wall.
"What the hell is wrong with you?!" Draco scooped the kid into his arms and ran outside with him.
Hermione couldn't breathe. She couldn't feel. She was gasping for breathe. What had she done... She had just slapped a child.
A four year old child.
She had slapped him.
Her back against the wall, she slid down. She didn't notice the tears running down her cheeks. She didn't notice Ginny running into the room and squatting down beside her.
"Hermione? Hermione, sweetie, look at me", She said, holding her shoulders.
She shook her head, completely numb.
"I... I slapped him." She said, her chest heaving and her mind fuzzy. What had she done...
"Go- go to Aaron", She said when Ginny didn't respond. "Go. Don't let-let him come here." Ginny stood up and went outside, closing the front door behind her.
Hermione sat there. Her knees hugged close to her stomach. Tears in her eyes. She couldn't have a child... She had just... She couldn't do this.
She was not meant to be here! She wasn't meant to be taking care of a five year old with another baby on the way!
Why was she here? Why would Dumbledore do such a thing to her? To them...
Draco would have never raised his hand against a child, no matter what.
She was supposed to be the mother of two? Impossible.
She'd hurt her own children.
She just wanted to go home... Her real home. Not here.
She shook her head. She didn't belong here. She just didn't.
She needed to go back... Where nobody had expectations from her. Not like this anyway.
She wasn't cut out for things like this. Not at eighteen. She had been rushed into the future. Quite literally. And now she didn't know what to do.
"Granger". Draco knelt down in front of her. She just looked past him.
"Granger, please. Look at me." He said, his hand on her arm. She shook her head.
"Hermione, it's okay. Im sorry I pushed you", He said, sitting closer to her.
"I'm a terrible mother..." She choked out. Hands cupped her cheeks and held her face, wiping away the tears with their thumbs.
"No, no, you're not. It was natural."
"Stop lying to me!" She screamed, shoving his hands away. She got to her feet unsteadily and Draco stood up too.
"Just stop lying to me! Im horrible! Im a monster!" She cried, moving away from him.
"No, you're not!" Draco said. "You were just angry!"
"I SLAPPED HIM!" She clenched her hands into fists by her side. "I SLAPPED A LITTLE BOY!"
"Gra- Hermione, he has a magical malady." She looked up at him through wet eyelashes. "He has a malady which has affected his brain- it makes him behave irrationally and violently and he can't stop behaving that way. It's rare but it happens." She fell silent, her breathing ragged.
"He wouldn't have stopped. Im not saying you did the right thing but you're not horrible. You didn't have a choice." Draco said, stepping towards her again.
"Yes, I did. I could've called someone. I could've apparated him to his parents. I could've..."
"If you did that, you couldn't have splinched him. And you can't apparate, you're pregnant." Draco said calmly.
"I'm horrible. I can't be a mother, Draco, I can't", She shook her head. He placed his hands on her cheeks and held her face.
"Yes, you can", He said firmly, looking deep into her eyes. "Yes you can, Hermione. You know that but if you're doubting it then just trust me. Because I know it too. And I don't doubt it. Im sorry I shoved you."
"I deserved it", She said, a sob escaping the premises of her throat.
"Stop it." He said. And then did something that surprised her immensely, though she felt too broken to register it. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her towards him, hugging her. "It wasn't your fault. Stop blaming yourself."
She sobbed into his chest and her just held her, mumbling soft comforting words.
"You're okay", He said, as she calmed down a bit. "You're perfectly okay. Ssshh, Hermione. Just relax."
She split apart from him, her hands resting lightly against his stomach. "God, look at me. It's my son's birthday and I've just-"
He held her face and wiped her tears away with his thumbs. "It's okay. Mother should be back with the cake by now and there's nothing a simple repairo can't fix. Let's go outside, okay?" She nodded and wiped her face with the bottom of her shirt.
He was just about to step towards the door when she grabbed his elbow. He stopped and turned around, a questioning look on his face. She smiled at him, stood on her toes and kissed him on the cheek.
"Thank you." With that, she headed to the door, leaving Draco staring after her, his fingers brushing his cheek lightly.
He took a deep breath, his heart beating wildly and thundering against his ribs, threatening to break free any second. He couldn't help but wonder what she was doing to him...
So there (: I love Magic ^^ My best friend's dog's name is Magic so ta-da! This one was for you, love ;)
Thank you all so much for all your reviews, they really make my day. Like I said before, I might be late on my updates but I'm NEVER going to stop writing. In case you haven't already checked it out yet, please please take a look at my Hunger Games inspired one-shot, Bloodlust :D
Oh and Id like to mention quickly- last week, a schoolmate of mine, her brother passed away and it was really sudden and all of us were really shocked- I learnt how easily life could be taken away from you and how you can never know when the last time you say I Love You is or the last time you hug someone is. So if there's someone you love, make sure you let them know whenever you can!
I love YOU guys, for one :')