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Later that day...

    Hermione sat resolutely, her knees folded into her chest, listening to the murmurs of voices floating out the open sitting room window below her rooftop perch.
    Downstairs, Dumbledore was informing the rest of the Burrow residents what exactly was going on with Hermione. She bit her lip, thinking of their reactions. But really, she only cared about the reactions of two people.
    Dumbledore had asked her if she wanted to be the one to share the news with Harry and Ron, but she had declined. As they journeyed back from St. Mungo’s only a few hours before, she couldn’t even begin to think what she would say to them. How was a girl to tell her two best friends that she was pregnant?
    As she sat there, crouching amongst the shingles and staring out into the burning sunset, she started thinking about what made her so afraid to tell people about her pregnancy. It wasn’t like it had been her decision. She hadn’t lost her honor, or anything of the sort, because of it. So then why was she so embarrassed? Why did it make her feel so awkward? She felt like an outcast, like there was suddenly a vast, impenetrable wall between her and everyone else.
    It doesn’t make any sense, she thought, stretching her legs out before her. I don’t have anything to be ashamed of. Pregnancy is not a dirty thing… Especially when I had no part in it!
    Suddenly, she heard a creak of a floorboard back in Ginny’s room and she turned around quickly.
    Harry and Ron were standing at the window, leaning out.
    “Can we join you?” Harry asked with a smile, knocking on the window frame.
    “I suppose,” she said, suddenly filled with anticipation, her voice quavering.
    The boys climbed over the sill and shuffled down the slope of the roof to sit next to her. She took a deep breath, giving them both looks, waiting for one of them to say something.
    “Well,” Ron began, overly exuberant, “I guess congratulations are in order!”
    Hermione made a sound that was somewhere between a sigh and a humph and then playfully slapped him on the shoulder. She couldn’t help breathe a sigh of relief, though. At least now she knew they weren’t going to be all emotional with her.
    “Merlin, Hermione,” Harry began, shifting so that he faced her, “things really can change on you quickly.”
    “Yeah, tell me about it,” Hermione replied sarcastically, rolling her eyes.
    “Are you happy?” Ron asked, looking at her in a way that quite unnerved her.
    “I’m not unhappy,” she said after some time, avoiding looking either of them in the eye. “I’m… overwhelmed, I suppose you would say. A bit confused as to my feelings on the subject.”
    “I don’t think anyone can blame you for that,” Harry said with a laugh.
    “Yeah, not really, right? I mean, one day I wake up pregnant and still a virgin! How is it that I am the one that happens to?”
    “So you’re, you’re still…” Ron began uncertainly.
    “A virgin?” Hermione questioned. “Yeah… A bit ironic, isn’t it?”
    “More than a bit.” Harry laughed.
    “Yeah, well, I guess that will just be another thing I’ll go down in the history books for,” Hermione said, leaning back on her palms.
    “I always said you’d be in history books,” Ron replied. “You’re name will just be one of hundreds that future Hogwarts students will have to remember to pass their OWLs… Poor kids.”
    “Maybe Hermione’s baby will be reading up about her during Charms in another thirteen years or so,” Harry added, Ron laughing loudly.
    “Oh my god,” Hermione said in shock.
    “What?” they both asked in unison, more alarmed than usual at her outburst.
    “I just realized: my baby is going to be famous. It will be like Harry! Never let alone, always whispered about and gossiped about in the halls! I’ll be its freaky mother who was the only one in a million years to have some ancient spell actually work on her. We’ll be a freak show!”
    She suddenly raised her hands to both sides of her head, her forehead wrinkled in worry.
    “Hermione, come on,” Ron began consolingly, “Your baby is not going to be a freak. At least not as big a one as Harry.”
    “You know it’s true!”
    “Yeah… you’re probably right.”
    “But what if they do have to read about me in Charms? That’s mortifying for a child!”
    “Well, first of all, I doubt they’ll be learning about stuff like this… We never did,” Harry began reassuringly, “And, second of all, would it really be that bad?”
    “Of course it would be that bad!” Hermione said, her voice rising higher. “Can you imagine having your whole class read about how your mother got pregnant with you, not the normal way, but by some ancient magic spell? Having them know that she had you when she was seventeen and that you didn’t have a father?”
    Hermione swallowed hard. A lump had formed in her throat as she spewed out all her worries.
    “I keep telling myself that I don’t have any reason to be embarrassed,” she continued in a whisper, “but I still feel like I do. Like it’s a dishonorable thing that I’m pregnant. I mean… my baby won’t have a father and despite the fact that I didn’t get ‘knocked up’, it still feels bad that I’m going to be raising it alone.”
    By the time she finished talking, her lip was shaking and she was clenching her teeth so as not to cry.
    “Merlin, Hermione,” Ron began, his eyebrows knitted in concern, “Me and Harry will be the baby’s dads. You don’t have to do this alone.”
    “Oh, Ron!” Hermione said, finally breaking down and hugging him.
    “Yeah, Hermione,” Harry said, patting her knee, “don’t even worry about it. Did you really think we’d abandon you in this?”
    “Well, I don’t know…” she sniffled, “I didn’t think you’d want to have a baby around all the time. It’s not like it’s going to be any fun.”
    “Don’t be stupid!” Ron said, exasperated. “We wouldn’t just stop being your friend because you had a baby to take care of! That’s ridiculous!”
    “I know,” Hermione said, looking down and smiling to herself, “I guess it was pretty ridiculous of me… I just wasn’t thinking. But thank you, guys. I appreciate you being here so much.”
    She hugged them both and they rolled their eyes at her sentimentality.
    “Yeah, well, we’ll be there for anything you need,” Harry said. “We’ll even be there in the delivery room if you need us!”
    “Well, I don’t expect that,” Hermione said, shocked at his offer. “Especially Ron… Aren’t you a bit squeamish around blood?”
     “Yeah, I might skip out on that part…” Ron replied.
    “I don’t think I’m going to need that much help though,” Hermione said, “throughout the rest of the pregnancy, I mean.”
    “Well, you’ll be the Head Girl so you’re going to have your private dorm. That’ll be nice, right? No Lavender or Parvati poking around and getting in your business,” Harry added.
    “Yeah,” said Hermione, suddenly morose, “but I don’t know who the Head Boy is yet and I’ll be having to share the dorm with him. Don’t you think Dumbledore would have told you by now if it was one of you?”
    “I would have thought he would have,” Ron said angrily. “How can he put someone else in the position when he knows about this?” He gestured to Hermione’s stomach emphatically.
    “Well, if it’s not one of you, then the next best thing would be Ernie, I suppose,” Hermione continued.
    “I guess,” spat Ron, still upset.
    “As long as it’s not a Slytherin then we’re fine,” said Harry.
    “I don’t think there’s much chance of that,” Hermione said thoughtfully. “There’s really only Malfoy or Zabini. I doubt Dumbledore would pick either, knowing my past history with both of them.”
    “He’d better not,” Ron threatened sharing an odd glance with Harry.
    “I’m sure it will end up alright,” Hermione said, getting up from her spot on the roof, “I trust Dumbledore – He wouldn’t choose someone who wasn’t right for the job.”

* * *

        Unfortunately for Hermione, Albus Dumbledore had a very different idea of what made a person “right for the job.”
    As he left the Burrow that evening, repeatedly declining Mrs. Weasley’s invitation to stay for dinner, he made a spur-of-the-moment decision to pay a call on a certain other Hogwarts student.
    Ever since Hermione had visited him in his office a few nights previous, he had been stewing over the decision he knew he would sooner or later have to make: who was to be named Head Boy.
    Of course, there were the obvious names in mind – Harry, Ron, Ernie – but something in his gut told him that none of these were right.
    Dumbledore had never before admitted it, but there was a certain factor to picking the Head Boy and Girl that was completely separate from their various academic and leadership capabilities and, in some ways, more important. This factor happened to be chemistry, and without it, Dumbledore knew the Head Boy and Girl would simply not work.
    The trick to this whole problem was actually pinpointing what exactly gave a couple chemistry.

    Dumbledore could never give a name to what exactly he was looking for; he usually just knew when he saw it. And right now, he knew that Hermione Granger and either of her two best friends was not what he was looking for. 

    He had, of course, second-guessed himself upon coming to this conclusion. Appointing either Harry or Ron to the position did seem like the obvious decision – especially considering Hermione’s current predicament – but, in the end, he stood firmly by his first decision that they were not the ones for the job.

    Now he did have to admit, as he walked steadily down the cobblestone streets towards the second student’s home, that it did sound utterly preposterous to appoint this boy over Potter or Weasley. For one, he and Miss Granger had never gotten along. One might even venture to say that they were, at times, outright hostile to one another.

    Then why is it that I can’t seem to completely disregard him? Why do I have it stuck in my mind that he’s the one for the job?

    He had reached the house he had been looking for now, and he raised his wand arm to gain admittance through the gate.
    “Of course, you’ll have to guide and even, perhaps, choose.”

    Astrid’s words floated through his mind as he strode up the house’s sloping drive. Yes, in Hermione’s case he was the one to choose… there was no denying that. Of course, it wasn’t set in stone that his choice would end up being the one. But proximity often ruled supreme in situations such as theirs…  
    How am I to make a decision as important as this? I can’t be the one responsible for this girl’s future! And this boy’s!

    He had reached the front door now, and as these last few harried thoughts passed through his head, he knocked thrice upon the broad oak door.
    I will just see how this meeting goes… how he receives the information. I must be upfront with him – he has to know the truth.
    “Headmaster,” a startled voice rang out as the door opened to reveal Albus Dumbledore standing upon the stoop.
    “Good evening, Draco,” Dumbledore said with a feeble smile. “Would you mind letting me in? There are a few things we need to discuss.” 


A/N: Please leave a review! Getting reviews (both positive and negative) is my real motivation for writing. Anything you have to say is appreciated. Thanks! :]

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