Disclaimer: Disclaimer – The wonderful world of Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling. I’m just playing in the sandbox.



 



Hello Everyone. All of you have to say a BIG thank you to my betas Ronnie and Jenn. Because of them you all have this chapter before Christmas!!!



 



Thanks to all that have reviewed. I am really hopping you like this chapter.



 



Blessings to all this holiday season, and please don’t forget to review.



Marie



 



Chapter Four



 



 



Hermione suddenly withdrew from Draco's brain and fell back on to the sofa. Closing her eyes, she struggled to catch her breath and steady her heart. 'A patient,' she thought, 'A silly patient.’ Slowly she opened her eyes and saw Draco staring at her. His eyes penetrated her soul, as if asking why? She could not continue to be under this intense stare; she felt uncomfortable, vulnerable, and open. She had to get out of his presence and put everything together, examine her own actions, thoughts, emotions and feelings. She owed him at least that; a truthful thought out answer on why she left. He deserved it, Michael deserved it, she deserved to finally put the pain behind her and move forward.



 



“Draco,” she said tentatively.



 



“Don't,” he replied. “Just don't.”



 



He stood up and headed towards the door before stopping suddenly. He looked back at her over his shoulder and said, “I never stopped loving you, Hermione. Never,” and walked out the door.



 



He leaned against the door and took a deep breath. He needed to calm down before he saw Veronica, knowing she would have too many questions that he was not prepared to answer. ‘Maybe seeing Veronica is not best at the moment,’ he thought. He needed some time to think and sort things out.



 



Knowing his emotions were getting the better of him no matter how much he was trying to keep them in check, he headed towards the fireplace mantel and took his wand out and produced parchment and a self-inking quill out of thin air. He wrote a small note to Harry and Ginny asking them to watch Veronica until his mother came to pick her up later that night. Levitating the parchment to the middle of the hallway towards the bedrooms he placed a stationary charm on the parchment and turned to face the fireplace once more. Placing his hand in the jar that contained the floo powder, he grabbed a handful out, threw it in the flames and stepped inside saying, "Malfoy Manor.”



 



~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~



The Manor



 



Draco stepped out of the fireplace and into the Manor's informal living room. He absentmindedly removed some invisible soot from his shoulders and starting walking towards the living room entrance.



 



"Draco, darling, we did not expect you home so soon. Where is Veronica?" He heard his mother say and stopped, turning to face her.



 



"Draco, are you all right, son?” Lucius Malfoy questioned as he put his brandy glass down and walked over towards Draco.



 



"Mother, could you pick Veronica up at the Potter's? I'm going to my room.”



 



“Draco, what happened?” Narcissa said in alarm.



 



“Mother…NOT NOW!” Draco replied trying desperately to keep his emotions in check.



 



“Son,” Lucius said sternly. “Let’s have a drink in my study.”



 



“Father.”



 



“Now!” Lucius said as he placed his hand on Draco's right shoulder and gently pushed him towards his study.



 



Looking back at his wife, Lucius said calmly, "Darling, it’s getting late. Please pick-up Veronica,” before heading towards the study.



~o~



Draco made his way down the hall, past the stairway and into his father’s study. Opening the door forcefully, he entered and started pacing, looking for something to throw. He grabbed an antique desk clock and launched it against the fireplace mantel, breaking it into pieces.



 



“Draco!” Lucius said as he entered the room. “I have not seen you this upset since Hermione disappeared.” Pointing his wand towards the remains of the desk clock, he said, “Reparo.”



 



“Next time, son, do try and not destroy your great grandfather’s clock,” Lucius said matter-of-factly as he took a seat near the fire. “Now please do tell what has got you in this state.”



 



“She’s back!” Draco said, continuing his pacing.



 



“Son, you are going to have to be more specific; who is back?”



 



“Hermione!”



 



“Oh…we knew she would come back eventually. Where has she been all this time?”



 



“America. Father, she did not come back alone.”



 



“Draco, it has been ten plus years. You moved on and married Emma; there is no reason to believe why Hermione would not…”



 



“Father, it is not another man. She brought her…my…our…SON! A ten-year-old son I did not know I bloody had!”



 



Draco stopped pacing and faced his father.



 



“She did not even have the decency to inform me she was pregnant! She left. No note. Not a word, nothing! No one, not Potter, not Weasley, no one knew where she went! You know I looked everywhere for her. She denied me my son for ten bloody years!”



 



Draco picked up a paperweight from the side table and threw it across the study shattering a stained glass window. He let out a single scream. A scream that held all the anger, sadness, desperation and loss he was feeling. A scream that filled the halls, walls and rooms of the Malfoy family home like none had before.



 



Collapsing on the rug in front the fireplace Draco began to shake, sob and cry uncontrollably.



 



Lucius immediately stood up and knelt next to his son, wrapping his arms around Draco’s shoulders he embraced him as he cried. “You have waited too long son, let it out, let it all out,” he said soothingly as he held his beloved son in his arms.



 



~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~~o~



 



The Potter’s



 



“I cannot believe you did that!” Harry and Ginny heard their son say as they approached his bedroom door.



 



“Ha! It’s a trick my friend Alan showed me. Want to learn it?” Michael asked. “Okay, first you have to press this….”



 



“Hello, boys,” Harry said, entering the room. “James, I can see you wasted no time in introducing Michael to your games.”



 



Ginny peeked over Harry’s shoulder and smiled at the boys. “I’ll check on the girls,” she said to Harry and kissed him on the cheek.



 



“Mum! Not in front of my friend,” an embarrassed James said.



 



Harry smiled. Walking in, he extending his hand towards Michael. “Michael, it is nice to finally meet you. I’m Harry Potter.”



 



Standing up, Michael shook Harry’s hand, “It is a nice to meet you, Mr. Potter. My mum has told me a lot about you.”



 



“Hopefully all good.” Harry said, smiling. “Well boys, how about going outside for a little flying. That is, until your mums call us in for dinner.”



 



“Really, dad?” James said excitedly.



 



“Yep, Michel do you fly?”



 



“Yes, sir. I played keeper in my junior league at home…I mean New York.”



 



“Great, let’s go. Michael, you can use my old Firebolt if you would like?” Harry said as they exited the room and headed towards the broom closet in the back yard for a bit of flying.



 



~o~



 



Ginny approached her daughter’s room and noticed the door slightly ajar. Opening it a bit more, she leaned against the doorframe and watched all three girls play without them being aware of her presence. She absolutely loved seeing them in their element.



 



“Veronica, you can look now,” Violet said, holding a mirror in front of Veronica. “What do you think?”



 



Covering her mouth, Ginny suppressed a laugh. Violet and her twin Molly had decided to give Veronica Malfoy a makeover.



 



Veronica’s face was covered in what the girls called “grown up make-up.” She had baby blue eye shadow on her eyelids, bight pink blush on her checks and bright red lips.



 



“I don’t know, Vi, I think you put on too little!” Veronica exclaimed as she looked into the mirror.



 



“Veronica, I think you look absolutely beautiful,” Ginny said, entering the bedroom.



 



“You think so, Aunt Ginny?”



 



“Absolutely!” Ginny squatted down in front of the girls. “Hold still one minute.” She pulled her wand out and muttered a spell and copied Veronica’s “make-up” on her daughters’ faces also. “Now all of you look gorgeous.”



 



“Wow! Thanks, mummy.” Molly hugged Ginny. “Can we do your make-up, please?”



 



“Oh, what a great idea, Molly,” Veronica said. “Come on, Auntie Ginny, it won’t hurt.”



 



“We promise,” interjected Violet.



 



“I guess just for a little while, until dinner is ready.”



 



“Mum, sit here,” said Molly. Ginny looked at her daughter. “Please?” Molly added.



 



“I’ll do the eyes,” said Violet.



 



“I’ll do the lips,” said Veronica.



 



“Hold on one moment girls,” Ginny said, holding up her hand. “Before I let you put anything on me, you have to let me clean your faces prior to dinner. Deal?”



 



“Why?” Veronica whined. “I thought you said we looked gorgeous.”



 



“You do, love, but I don’t think your daddy would approve of this amount of make-up at your age,” Ginny said, smiling.



 



“I guess,” Veronica said, pouting. “But can you take a picture first? I want to show Papa and Mita.”



 



“Absolutely. Now where do I sit again?”



 



~O~



 



Hermione took a deep breath and turned her head towards the door as she heard Draco’s words, only to see the study door close.



 



‘He still loves me?’ She said to herself, ‘how could he after what I did to him.’



 



Holding her head in her hands, she closed her eyes, images of what she has just seen flashing back.



 



‘Why did I run and not let him explain?’ Try as she might, she could not recall the exact reason. Very few times in her life had Hermione felt as confused and disoriented by her actions and thoughts.



 



Hermione Granger graduated with honors from Hogwarts. She had the choice of jobs upon graduation; she could negotiate with the most difficult heads of state Muggle and Wizard alike. Yet she could not confront the man that was the father of her child, the man that she still loved. She had not given him a chance to explain. She had run like a coward, a woman scorned. Where had all her Gryffindor courage gone?



 



 At the time she did not think rationally or logically. She acted on emotions, emotions she had struggled to hide over the last ten years. Emotions and feelings that come back all at once, flooding her mind with uncertainty and despair. She had to understand why she had left, why she was so scared. She needed answers not only for herself, but for Michael and most especially for Draco.



 



Looking back would hurt and rip her heart once more, but it was time to heal the wounds she had had open for so long. It was needed and it needed to be done at this moment.



 



~o~



 



“Mr. Potter, thank you for letting me use your Firebolt; it flew great!”



 



“No problem, Michael. I am glad you liked it. Listen boys, lets clean up before dinner.”



 



“Wait till you taste my mum’s cooking, Michael, it’s the best,” James said as they entered the house, heading towards the kitchen.



 



“Don’t let you grandmother hear you say that,” Harry said, patting his son on the back.



 



“Mr. Potter?” Michael said tentatively, “that man my mum was talking to when we arrived; was he…Draco Malfoy?”



 



“Yes,” Harry said cautiously, “why do you ask?”



 



“Oh nothing,” Michael said, smiling, ”I was just wondering.”



 



~o~



 



Hermione walked out of the study somewhat composed and wanting to get home as soon as possible. As she closed the study door she heard Michael, James and Harry making their way towards the kitchen.



 



“Yes.” She heard Harry say.” Why do you ask?”



 



“Oh nothing,” Michael said, “I was just wondering.”



 



“Mum, are you alright?” Michael said as soon as he saw his mother.



 



“Yes,” Hermione responded, trying to smile at her son. “Harry, I’m sorry but we have to go.”



 



“Go? Do we have to Mum? We have not even had dinner and I’m starving.”



 



Trying to keep her emotions in check, Hermione took a deep breath and said, “Michael, this is not up for discussion. We can order take-out when we get home.”



 



“This is so unfair! You always make me leave the minute I start having fun, always,” an irritated Michael spat out to his mother.



 



“Young man, you’d better watch your attitude!” Hermione said, her voice starting to show signs of anger. “Now let’s GO!”



 



Sensing the situation was rapidly becoming explosive, Harry placed a hand on Hermione’s shoulder. “Hermione, why don’t you let Michael spend the night and I’ll drop him off tomorrow morning,” Harry said quietly.



 



“Are you sure it will be okay with Ginny? I mean you guys already have your hands full and …”



 



“Hermione,” Harry interrupted, “You are home now, no longer by yourself. You have friends and family to help. Let us help, alright?”



 



“But Michael doesn’t have any clothing or …”



 



“He can borrow some clothes from James; I think they are about the same size.”



 



“Alright,” Hermione said tentatively.



 



“Really?” exclaimed Michael.



 



Hermione nodded. “You’d better be on your best behavior and do as you are told by Mr. and Mrs. Potter, alright?”



 



“I will mum, I promise. Thank you!” Michael said as he hugged his mother and placed a kiss on her cheek.   “Mum,” he said tentatively, “you will be okay, right?”



 



“Don’t you worry about me, Michael. Enjoy yourself and I’ll send for you in the morning.”



 



“Come on Michael, I’ll let you pick out some pajamas and then you can try and beat me at another game,” James said excitedly.



 



After giving one last hug and kiss to his mother, Michael followed James towards his room.



 



Harry looked at one of his closest friends and instantly knew she needed some time for herself before she was remotely ready to talk to anyone. “Go,” he said as he wrapped his arms around her shoulders in a hug. “Don’t worry about him. He will be fine and when you are ready, you know where I am,” he whispered to her as she released him.



 



“Thanks, Harry. Can I use your fireplace?”



 



“Sure.”



 



Hermione headed towards the fireplace. She threw Floo powder into the flames, then stepped in and said, “243 Wiltshire Place,” and vanished.



 



~o~



 



Harry ran his hands through his hair and looked at the floor. ‘This evening is not going at all as I had planned,’ he thought to himself. Hearing the signal that someone was Flooing into his fireplace, he looked up.   “Narcissa, is everything alright?”



 



“Harry, love, my apologies for not informing you of my arrival. Draco came home very flustered and asked if I could bring Veronica home,” she said as she stepped out of the fire place and gave Harry a kiss on the cheek.



 



“No problem, Narcissa. I did not even know Draco had left. Veronica is in the girls’ room with Ginny. I’ll go with you.”



 



“Harry, do you know why Draco was in such a state? What happened? He came home and …”



 



“Dad, can Michael and I get some dinner? We are starving! Oh hello, Mita! Are you here for Veronica?” James asked as he stepped out of his room, closely followed by Michael.



 



Narcissa’s blue eyes widened as she took a look at the boy behind James.



 



Harry made the introductions. “Narcissa, this is Michael Granger, Hermione Granger’s son, Michael, this is Narcissa Malfoy, Veronica’s…”



 



“Grandmother,” Michael interjected. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Malfoy,” Michael said as he extended his hand.



 



Narcissa took his hand in hers and shook it.



 



“MITA!” Veronica screamed as she ran down the hallway and hugged her grandmother, causing Narcissa to drop Michael’s hand. “Mita, look at these pictures Auntie Ginny took of us! Look, we have make-up!” She handed her pictures to Narcissa. “Mita, where is Daddy?” she questioned, looking around to see if she could see her father.



 



Narcissa looked down at her granddaughter and said, “He is at the Manor, love. He was not feeling well and asked me to pick you up.”



 



“Is he sick? Does he have to go to the hospital?” she asked in alarm.



 



“Oh no, love, he does not have to go to the hospital. His tummy was not feeling well.”



 



“Oh,” said Veronica. “Mita, did you meet Michael? His eyes are just like Daddy’s!” Veronica said excitedly.



 



“Yes, I did, darling, right before you plowed into me with your famous hug. Now come along, let’s go home.” Taking Veronica’s hand in hers, Narcissa headed towards the fireplace.



 



“Harry, is Michael the reason Draco was upset?” she asked softly so only Harry could hear.



 



Harry nodded.



 



“Let’s go, love,” she said to Veronica. “I will read you a story before bed tonight.” Narcissa threw Floo powder in the fireplace and looked towards Harry. Nodding understanding to Harry and clutching her granddaughter’s hand, she said, “Malfoy Manor,” and disappeared.



 



-------------------------



 



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