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Chapter Three: Conversations in London


A week had gone by since Hermione was released from St. Mungo’s and she and Draco had barely spoken. Draco wasn’t mad at her and was still pleading with her to forgive him. She had moved back into their home but had yet to put her engagement ring back on. She had fully forgiven him but her mind was preoccupied with thoughts of the little girl now growing inside of her. She had thought several times about terminating the pregnancy for fear of her child being endangered if one of Voldemort’s minions got hold of her again but something inside her just couldn’t do it. She was head over heels in love with Draco and she loved this baby girl but she just couldn’t seem to fight off the sickening feeling in the back of her mind that was nagging at her for putting her own child in danger.

That was the real reason that she hadn’t been speaking to Draco, even though he assumed it was because she was still upset with him over their fight the day she left. Instead of spending the last week giddy and happy at the thought of starting their family, she spent most of her time simply sitting alone in their bedroom and staring off into space allowing her thoughts to overwhelm her.

Today was one of those particularly bad days. She had awoken that morning after having nightmares of her attack which sparked the nightmares she had occasionally of the day Harry was killed to flood back into her sleep. She had dreamt of the night continuously for a few months, almost every single night, after it happened but had gone at least a month or two without the dream until her attack a week prior. Every time she dreamt about it, she would jolt awake, doused in sweat from head to toe and her breathing would be harsh and sporadic. This day she had even refused to get out of bed and allowed herself to stay tucked in a tight ball under her blankets, crying periodically and slipping in and out of sleep.

Draco on the other hand was starting to get very worried about his fiancé, girlfriend, whatever she was now. He wasn’t completely sure that she was still angry with him but he didn’t know what was making her so distant from him. She hadn’t put her ring back on even though he’d given it to her before they’d even left the hospital. She’d simply been wearing it on a silver chain around her neck and when she would stare off into space, which was almost continuously, she would absentmindedly fidget with it. He would catch her every so often running her hand unconsciously across her midsection.

Draco knew that part of her thoughts were directed at the baby that was inside her and her words to him when he’d first told her the news that night in the hospital. He’d felt her jerk awake at night and he knew that she was usually coated in a layer of sweat but since she seemed to absolutely refuse to let him in and tell him what was wrong, he had no idea what her dreams were about, though part of him simply figured that her nightmares about her best friend’s death were returning. Draco had never felt so helpless in his entire life, even more helpless than he felt when Hermione had been kidnapped the previous year from their very own dormitory.

Finally, a few days later, Draco had had enough of the silent treatment and decided that he would just talk to her, whether she wanted to talk or not. He walked through the house looking for her and found her sitting in their room, dressed in a warm, forest green sweater and khakis (even though it was barely becoming chilly outside and was still only the middle of September) with her hair pulled back in a neat ponytail, and sitting in the same chair that she had practically become glued to for the past week. Kneeling down beside her chair, he put a hand over hers, which was resting on her drawn up knees. She jerked her head towards him at the touch.

“Hermione, come on sweetheart. You cant keep sitting here moping around all the time. You need to get up and get out of the house.” Draco told her, gazing up into her beautiful eyes. “In fact come on, I’m taking you out to eat. Don’t worry about changing, we’ll just go somewhere casual.”

Still staring at him, Hermione allowed Draco to pull her to her feet. Still silent, she walked over to the wardrobe and pulled out a pair of shoes. Draco grabbed her hand again and guided her towards the front lawn where they could apparate to Diagon Alley from. Draco decided to take her out for a day of shopping and pampering in muggle London. Just as the two were about to leave, a familiar white owl swooped down on them outside and dropped a letter into Hermione’s hands before perching itself on the porch railing. Hermione’s eyes widened in surprise at the presence of the all-too-familiar owl.

“Hedwig? What are you doing here?” Hermione asked softly, walking up to the owl and petting it gently on the head. As she did that, a small tear escaped her eye at the thought of her best friend. Shaking the thoughts away and wiping her eye hastily, she opened the letter that Hedwig had brought. Reading through it, she sighed heavily and then turned to Draco.

“We’ve got a meeting tonight. Eight o’clock. At Hogwarts in the Room of Requirement.” She told him simply. Draco nodded curtly and then put his hand out for her to take.

Sighing, Hermione put her hand in his as Draco pulled her closer and apparated the two of them to Diagon Alley. Grasping her hand firmly, he led her through the streets, through the Leaky Cauldron entrance and into the streets of muggle London. He slowed his pace and the two walked hand in hand through the crowded streets of London, stopping occasionally as Draco pointed things out to Hermione through the store windows. After about an hour of walking, Hermione barely speaking two words, Draco led her to a quaint little café that was practically deserted. He ordered her a chicken Caesar salad and a raspberry ice-tea (her favorites) and a grilled chicken breast sautéed in olive oil with a side of sautéed onions, red peppers and snap peas with a large cup of coffee for himself. As they waited for the food to arrive, Draco tried once again to get Hermione to open up to him.

“ ‘Mione, sweetheart, please tell me what’s bothering you.” Draco asked pleadingly. “I can tell you’ve been miserable since you left the hospital over a week ago and you’ve barely spoken three words to me. It’s tearing me up inside to see you like this, Mia.” Draco hoped using his own little nickname for her would help her to open up and it surprisingly worked. Usually he only used that name in the bedroom when they were…well you know.

“It’s just everything.” She finally responded softly, her eyes still focused on the bustling street around them (they were sitting outside the café under one of those large patio umbrellas since it was a crisp but beautiful day).

“I’m scared Draco. And you know me,” She gave off a sarcastic, forced, laugh. “I’m never frightened easily. The attack was a wake up call. I knew deep down he was still after me but I had tried my best not to think about it for the past few months. It was his way of telling me that he was still watching. And now, with the um, new development of ours, I’m completely terrified of what could happen. I need something to take my mind off of everything for awhile, otherwise I think I’m going to go stark raving mad.”

Draco just nodded in understanding, not wanting to say anything just yet for fear that if he interrupted her, she’d just clam up and stop talking again.

“And now, my nightmares are back again. You know, the ones I had almost every night for two straight months after Harry died? Well they’re back, almost nightly, mixed in with nightmares of the attack a couple weeks ago. It’s driving me crazy Draco. I can barely eat, I cant sleep. I feel like he’s slowly killing me from the inside out.”

“Well,” Draco said calmly. “What would you like to do to keep your mind off of things? We could take a trip, maybe go to Italy or something like you’ve always wanted to. Or what about to America? I know you’ve said that you would love to visit there one day.”

“A trip would be nice but I think I need something more to focus on. I’m really thinking about taking the job offer from Hogwarts.” Draco’s eyes widened. He had hoped that she wouldn’t take that job. He didn’t want to return to that blasted school any time soon but he couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from her for nine full months…especially now that they knew they were expecting a little one in just about seven short months.

“ Mia, sweetie, I know that you would love to be a teacher and I know how much you love Hogwarts but don’t you think that perhaps you should wait till at least next year before going back?” Draco said carefully, not wanting to start another shattering argument about it right in the middle of all the Muggles in London. Hermione looked at him like she’d just been slapped.

“No, no, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been thinking a lot about this since we had our fight, which I am still so sorry for, and you’re right, I should be happy for you. And I am, honestly baby. But then the attack happened and we found out we were going to have a little one in our lives in only seven short months. You do realize that you will have this baby before the end of the school term right? So please, Mia please, just wait till next year before you take the job. I want to keep you close. I promise that I will protect you and our daughter no matter what, okay?” Draco asked, placing his hands over her own that were placed lightly on the table and trying not to get his hopes up too high but deep down he was praying that she would say alright.

Before she could answer, the waiter returned with their lunches and placed them in front of the two. For a few moments, the two ate in complete silence, Hermione sighing every now and then. Finally she put her fork down, took a gulp of her tea and looked up at Draco.

“Alright, Draco. I’ll wait. But I want you to know that come next year, I’m going back to work--even if it’s not at Hogwarts. And I don’t plan on staying home and playing pregnant housewife for the next year either. I still have a lot to work to do about this whole book thing and I’m not going to quit until I figure this whole mess out.” She told him matter-of-factly and after a moment, Draco simply nodded in agreement and Hermione gave him the first smile she’d had in over a week. Gods how he missed her smile.

The couple sat and talked absentmindedly for the next half an hour, finishing their meals and relaxing for a few moments before continuing on their shopping trip. At least this time Hermione was more open and even smiling, pointing out stuff and actually allowing Draco to spoil her slightly, which she never allowed. The apparated back to their home, their arms full of packages…from new leather boots for Draco and bags full of new clothes for Hermione to even a few small things for their new addition to their family. Hermione wasn’t planning on buying anything for the baby yet, since it wasn’t due for quite awhile, but when she saw this Victorian looking crib set sitting in a baby boutique window in downtown London she just had to have it.

After they had unloaded their packages and had settled onto the couch in the sitting room with some hot tea, Hermione suddenly remembered that they had a meeting to attend that night and since it was at Hogwarts, she wanted to go early and speak with Slughorn and McGonagall about her decision. Sitting up and grabbing hold on Draco’s wrist which held an expensive Armani watch and saw that it was almost seven already and they were supposed to be at the meeting in an hour. Pulling her feet out of Draco’s lap (Draco was lovingly rubbing her feet while she lounged on the couch under a chenille throw blanket and sipping a cup of hot chamomile tea) and dashed up the stairs to change for the meeting, hollering to Draco to do the same.

She dashed to her wardrobe and pulled out a pair of tight but flexible black dress pants and pulled on an equally tight dark blue, long sleeved shirt. Sitting down on the bed she pulled her black combat-type boots on her feet and then re-brushed her long curly hair into a tight ponytail at the nape of her neck. She had learned a long time ago that it was always best to be completely prepared for anything when going to an Order meeting because you never knew when something would happen and you would be sent out on a mission or something.

She went to her antique jewelry box (a gift from Mrs. Weasley at their engagement party) and pulled out a simple silver chain with a delicate and simple diamond-heart pendant on it that Draco had given her for their six month anniversary. Just as she was about to close the box and leave the room, a sparkling something caught her eye. As she looked closer she saw the gleaming platinum, and sparkling diamond, ruby and emeralds that made up her engagement ring. It was at that moment that she realized how naked her hand felt with that elegant piece missing and she quickly grabbed it, shoving it on her finger without a second thought and left the room to find her husband-to-be.

She found him waiting for her down in the sitting room wearing black muggle jeans and a sexy looking dark green, tight fitted jumper. As soon as she entered the room and caught his eye, her heart leapt again as if she hadn’t seen him in months and next thing she knew, she found herself running across the room and practically jumping into his arms, lavishing him with tender kisses.

“Um, Mia baby, not that I don’t absolutely love it when you do that but what’s the occasion?” He asked setting her back down on the floor and laughing lightly.

“No occasion,” She smiled up at him, her honey eyes twinkling. “I just wanted to show you that I love you.”

Draco smiled genuinely back at her, glad to see her happy again. “Well I love you too Mia. But I think we should be going.”

He placed her hand in his and linked their fingers together, feeling the ring back on her finger and smiling brightly to himself as they headed out the front door and apparated to the gates of Hogwarts. The happy couple made their way up the familiar walkway to the castle, their hands clasped tightly together as the few students who were milling around stopped and glanced their way, curious as to what brought Hogwarts most infamous couple back after they had graduated.

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