The week seemed to have passed by faster than Hermione thought, and it seemed far too soon that she was packing her clothes and schoolbooks away in the bag she would be taking to St. Mungo’s. Hermione had gotten her exams out of the way and had asked Ginny to go with her to Hogsmeade early, before Mrs. Weasley would pick her up. In all of Hermione’s jumbled excitement of getting her schoolwork and exams done in advance, spending some quality time with Harry and Ron, and devoting sufficient time to Draco so that he wouldn’t miss her too terribly, she had quite forgotten that when her baby was born, it would be quite naked unless Hermione bought some of the necessities of child-care. Hermione ran a weary hand down her face. At least she’d be able to relax at St. Mungo’s.
Hermione had just finished her packing and was brushing her mahogany locks when she heard a knock on the dormitory door. Hastily running the brush through her hair once more, Hermione hurried to the door and opened it. “Hello. I’ve just finished packing. Are you ready to go?
Ginny smiled at Hermione and offered to carry her bag for her, but was waved off by Hermione merely shrinking her bad and placing it in her pocket. “You’ve said you goodbyes to everyone then?”
Hermione nodded. “Yes, last night.” She bit her lip in hesitance before adding. “Look Ginny. Well, Dumbledore gave me these rings that can be used to contact people. Obviously he has one, and your mother has the other. I know Dumbledore wanted me to give one to Draco, but I don’t think I’ll tell him quite yet.” At Ginny’s exasperated look, Hermione quickly continued, “But I wanted to give it to you, so that when I’m, having the baby, you’ll know and can be there.” Hermione pressed the silver ring into Ginny’s hand before the redhead could protest any further. “Er—right then. I suppose we ought to go now.”
Ginny led the way down the stairs where Harry and Ron were waiting for them. “Well Hermione, er—have fun,” Ron told her.
“And don’t be gone too long, okay?” Harry added.
Hermione smiled at them both and pulled them into a group hug. “I’ll miss you,” she said, her voice coming out muffled between them. Hermione pulled back slightly and looked up at her two best friends. “We’re together so much that it’ll be a bit weird when you won’t be asking me to correct your essays or lend you my notes every night.” Hermione smiled. “But what I’ll miss most of all is our constant disregard of the rules.”
Harry and Ron laughed lightly at Hermione’s last remark, and gave her one more hug. “Sure you don’t want us to walk you down?” Ron offered.
“No, it’s all right. I’ll be fine with Ginny,” Hermione replied. “Besides, don’t you have Quidditch practice?”
Harry grinned. “Since when did you ever care that we have Quidditch?”
Hermione rolled her eyes at Harry and gave them both a kiss on the cheek. “I’ll see you before you know it.” This time Hermione led the way out of the Common Room, her heart hurting a little with the knowledge that her best friends weren’t going to partake in such a huge event in her life. It’s all for the best, Hermione told herself. Because somehow I highly doubt that they’ll be too thrilled to find out Draco is the father. Halfway down the hall, Hermione was accosted again.
“Honestly, Draco, it’ll only be a few weeks.”
Draco still held her and nuzzled her neck. “But we hardly see each other anyway.” The way he said it was almost pitiful, and Hermione felt her heart ache a little more, guilt running through her. She reached upward and cupped Draco’s face; it was damp beneath her palms. Hermione showered Draco’s face with kisses and then held him close.
“I’ve got to go now. I’ll write you,” Hermione said gently. She reached up and drew Draco’s face down to hers. “You know I’ll always love you.” She still felt the thrill of saying it to him, though she was sure she’d said it a million times already.
Draco leaned his forehead on Hermione’s and closed his eyes. “I love you too. Always.” Draco leaned forward and gave Hermione another kiss, and it took all she had for Hermione not to merely into him just then; to forgo her journey to St. Mungo’s and just wander to some cozy couch and lay down by a fire with Draco. It was a chaste kiss at first, surely. Tenderness overshadowed the passion Draco’s eyes held, and Hermione was alight with a fire that only Draco could entice. Hermione’s arms encircled Draco’s neck, and pulled him closer, deepening their kiss. Hermione shivered with the complete and utter satisfaction and happiness she found simply by being with Draco, let alone kissing him.
A bell sounded in the distance, and Hermione took this as her cue to rather reluctantly, and with a grand fight on Draco’s part, pull back form the man she loved so deeply. Her hair was tousled where Draco’s hands had been running through them, and she was only a little bit surprised to find herself backed against the wall. Draco trailed little kisses down her neck, and Hermione squirmed with pleasure.
“Draco,” she said breathlessly, “Draco, I have to go now.”
Draco planted one last kiss on her forehead and held her for a moment. “I love you. I love you.”
Hermione reached up and kissed Draco one last time, softly, and almost with a strange finality. “I love you too, with all my heart. I love you.” Hermione glanced around at Ginny to find the girl respectfully a good twenty feet away, on the lookout for passerby. Hermione gazed into Draco’s face once more, taking in his pointed but strong jaw, the stands of hair that fell across his eyes, and finally into those warm gray ones as well. She took her time memorizing them. They were a light shade of gray, and they had many light blue flecks in them. I hope the baby will have his eyes, Hermione thought to herself. She smiled at Draco once more, squeezed his hand, and quickly turned away to hide the tears that were gathering in her eyes.
Hermione felt her hair slip through his fingers, and looked back, only once, to see him standing there, staring at her. His face was clouded with melancholy, conflicted between love and tenderness and sadness and resignation. Hermione shot him one last smile, just before she slipped through the castle door with Ginny. But it was a wet smile.
“Ginny, do you have any idea where we can even find baby clothes and toys in Hogsmeade?” Hermione wondered as they entered the town of Hogsmeade.
Ginny contemplated for a moment. Shaking her head, she replied, “Well, I suppose we could try some of the outfitters. But don’t worry. I’m sure Mum will have brought loads of things for the baby anyway.”
Hermione smiled slightly. She loved Molly Weasley very dearly, and thanks to the woman’s encouraging words, she was excited as opposed to resentful at the child growing within her. “Oh, by the way, Ginny,” Hermione started, swallowing and flushing a nice red. “Thanks for always, well, that is…you know, when me and Draco are, er…”
Ginny caught on quickly enough and went a trademark Weasley red. “Oh, yes. Not at all.” She grinned cheekily. “Though now I can say I expect the same from you, whenever it comes down to it.”
Hermione laughed lightly. “Well, it’s only fair.” Enraptured as they were in their small talk, neither girl noticed the dark cloaked figure that had been watching them for some time now.
“Here, we can try a look in here,” Ginny stated, stopping before one of the few clothing stores in Hogsmeade. She held the door open for Hermione and followed the brunette inside.
There wasn’t much in the store in the way of babies, but there was a nice selection of stuffed animals near the back. Hermione and Ginny carefully looked over the selection and exclaimed over the various stuffed animals there. Pushing away a rather obnoxious and frilly pink poodle, Hermione stopped when she spotted a black dog with shaggy hair. She picked it up and felt the soft fur and looked into the glassy grey eyes of the canine.
Ginny stopped her cooing over a baby rabbit and instead looked at the stuffed animal Hermione was holding gingerly. “That looks like…”
“Sirius,” Hermione finished quietly. She hugged the dog close to her and tears came unbidden to her eyes. She didn’t say another word, but brought the little stuffed animal up to the counter where a kindly old wizard rung him up.
He seemed to have sensed that this particular stuffed dog meant something to his custom and asked kindly, “Do you have a name for him?”
Hermione was shocked out of her reverie, and looked up from the black dog in the shopkeeper’s hands to the kindly wizards crinkled old eyes. She nodded, and said rather quietly, “Sirius.”
“A fine name indeed.” The wizard bent down to rummage in one of the boxes under his desk and pulled out a dark blue collar with a metal plate on it. On said metal plate, the wizard used his wand to engrave Sirius on it, and then shrunk the collar to fit the dog. He slipped it on over the dog’s head and handed it to Hermione, who smiled up at him.
“Thank you so much,” Hermione told him.
“Of course,” the wizard replied, and he escorted the two girls to the door.
“Well, we don’t have any clothes, but at least I have something for the baby,” Hermione sighed, gently stroking the stuffed dog she held in her arms.
“I doubt that we’ll find anything. Would you just like to go get a Butterbeer?” Ginny offered.
“Yes. That sounds delightful.” Hermione linked arms with the girl who had helped her so much and headed toward The Three Broomsticks. A slight movement in the shadows caused Hermione to pause and glance back for a moment, but she shook her head as having imagined it and carried on. After all, it would be some time before she would have another Butterbeer.
It was a quarter past noon when Albus Dumbledore found the two Gryffindor girls finishing off their second Butterbeer. “Miss Granger, Miss Weasley,” he greeted amiably. “Why hello Rosmerta,” he waved to the attractive young woman in greeting.
“Hello Albus.” Rosmerta glanced at the two girls sitting at her table. “I do hope these young girls aren’t in trouble now?” she queried.
“Oh, not at all. I just came to collect them,” Dumbledore responded, his eyes twinkling good-naturedly. “Though I don’t suppose it would do much harm to enjoy one last round of Butterbeers, do you?” The last part was directed at the two girls, who grinned their assent.
“Wonderful. They’re on the house,” Madam Rosmerta declared, hurrying away to fetch some more Butterbeers.
“I like your little friend,” Dumbledore observed, noting the black dog Hermione had set on the table next to her. “Sirius, I presume?”
“Yes, sir,” Hermione confirmed. She smiled slightly at the complete perceptiveness of the wise old man before her.
“Molly will be here soon. You’ll be taking the train back, as I’m afraid flooing or apparating might be a bit, ah, traumatizing.”
Hermione nodded appreciatively. “I’m glad to know. I was a bit worried about that.”
“I wish I could join you,” Madam Rosmerta said, having returned with three bottles that she handed out. “But the lunch hour rush is about to arrive, and I’m afraid I’ll have no time,” she finished, smiling apologetically.
“Quite all right,” Dumbledore said mildly, holding his bottle up in a salute to the woman. The woman soon hurried away to take the orders of the new customers filing in, inundating the place.
The next twenty minutes Dumbledore entertained Hermione and Ginny with odd little anecdotes of his, and by the time the three of them left at half past noon, Hermione had somewhat forgotten the sadness of leaving behind Draco, Harry and Ron.
Not thirty seconds after the Headmaster and his two pupils arrived on the platform did Molly Weasley apparate into sight. “Ginny dear!” she exclaimed, somewhat surprised at seeing her youngest child there. She drew her into a hug and plated a kiss on both of her daughter’s cheeks.
“Hello, Mum,” Ginny grinned, hugging her mother back.
“Why, Hermione!” Molly exclaimed, staring at the girl before her. Hermione had quite grown in size, and Mrs. Weasley was exceptionally glad that the brunette had decided to check into St. Mungo’s early. She leaned forward, mindful of Hermione’s protruding stomach, and hugged and kissed her. “Well,” Molly said, leaning back and examining Hermione at arms length. “You look simply radiant.”
Hermione smiled shyly at Molly, glad of the compliments. “Thank you, Mrs. Weasley.”
Mrs. Weasley turned next to Dumbledore and accosted him as well. “Hello, Albus. It was quite nice of you to bring them down here,” she thanked.
“On the contrary,” Albus responded, “They had come quite early, and I merely met up with them.”
The sound of the train’s whistle stopped any more conversation, and Mrs. Weasley quickly hugger Ginny again and said farewell to Albus. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other again soon,” Molly called through the window of the compartment she and Hermione were occupying.
“Now dear, why on earth had you come to Hogsmeade so early?” Mrs. Weasley asked the girl sitting opposite of her.
Hermione blushed and shifted on her seat. “Well, I had completely forgotten to buy any clothes for the baby, and so me and Ginny went shopping for some,” she explained. “Unfortunately, all we ended up buying was this stuffed dog instead,” she continued, waving her hand in the direction of the dog sitting next to her.
Molly’s face broke into a soft smile. “Dear, you should have known that I would do that for you.” Here Molly pulled out a large package. Hermione’s eyes widened in surprise as she took the package from Molly and opened it up to find numerous outfits. “Now, they’re just old baby clothes, but I do suppose they’re better than nothing.”
Hermione wiped a tear that had escaped and hugged the woman in front of her. “Thank you so much,” she whispered. Molly was pleased.
Hermione and Mrs. Weasley spent the majority of the train ride searching through the old baby clothes, and Hermione was grateful of the wide variety. She could easily change the colors to match with her baby’s gender with just a flick of her wand. Hermione held up a particularly elegant little dress of white with pink trim. “Oh, if I have a girl, this would look lovely on her,” Hermione sighed, her mind wandering for a moment.
Molly just smiled at Hermione over her knitting. She was busy making a blanket for the soon to be born, and was content to just hear Hermione ponder what the next few weeks would hold in store, recalling when she herself was pregnant for the first time with Bill. She had been just as excited as Hermione now was, and had gone slightly overboard with trying to make sure her baby would have everything it needed. Mrs. Weasley had never had the heart to give away her children’s old things, and was glad to present them to Hermione, who would be in far more need of a crib than herself. Glancing at her watch, Molly informed, “It’s nearly time. We should be arriving any moment.”
And true to her words, the train slowed down several minutes later. Molly helped Hermione gather all her things and helped the girl out of the train before leading her along the somewhat crowded street to the forevermore-closed store that was the secret entrance to St. Mungo’s. Upon reaching Purge and Dowse Ltd., Mrs. Weasley cast a quick glance around to make sure the Muggles weren’t paying too close attention. She turned her attention to the mannequin in the store window and said barely loud enough for Hermione to hear, “We’re here to check in Hermione Granger.”
The mannequin gave an imperceptible nod and Mrs. Weasley grabbed Hermione’s hand and stepped them through the glass. They walked into a brightly lit room where Hermione could see the Healers in their lime green robes hurrying about. Mrs. Weasley cast a nervous glance around and was pacified to see they were the only ones there at the time. Walking them up to the Welcome Witch, Mrs. Weasley said in a low voice, “We’re here to check in Hermione Granger.”
“Oh, yes. They’ve set her room up on the fifth floor, third door to the left. If you’ve reached the tea, you’ve gone too far,” the Welcome Witch said in a kindly tone, giving Hermione a small smile.
“Thank you. Come on dear,” Mrs. Weasley said, leading the way. “Now, I know they’ve got a lift here somewhere…Ah yes, here it is.” Molly held the lift door open for Hermione and followed the girl inside. “Fifth floor,” Molly instructed.
With a sudden jerk, the lift began moving up through the floors until it finally stopped at the correct floor. Hermione followed Mrs. Weasley out and to the third door on their left, where she gasped in surprise. In her room was a rather large bookcase full of many different titled books ranging from Charms to children’s tales. Her bed was opposite the bookcase and adjacent to a window, where bright sunshine poured in. On the far side of the room was a glass door that could be slid open to allow Hermione access to a room enchanted to look like a garden of seasonal flowers and trees.
“Oh, Mrs. Weasley, this is wonderful,” Hermione breathed.
Mrs. Weasley was mollified. “I was hoping you’d like it.”
“But Mrs. Weasley, won’t this be rather expensive?” Hermione inquired uneasily.
But Molly simply waved it away, informing Hermione, “Albus has taken care of it, you needn’t worry.”
Hermione knew there was no point in arguing and so simply nodded her head and wandered to the garden outside. It was vibrant with golden and red hues, a deep purple and blue flower here and there, and the remnants of a few deep greens disseminated scarcely throughout. “I can definitely get used to this,” Hermione said, leaning over to pick up soft blue pansy. Holding the little flower delicately in her hand, she smiled. “Definitely.”
One week faded into another as Hermione spent most of her hours idly studying her books in a soft chair in her garden. She was expecting the baby any moment now, and was quite nervous. Mrs. Weasley visited often and regaled her with child-raising advice and this somewhat appeased Hermione’s nerves.
It was early morning, the sun was rising over the garden, and Hermione fully appreciated the magical enchantment on her room. She knew that in a few short hours Mrs. Weasley would be walking through her door with a bowl of potato soup, some warm Pumpkin Pasties and a bag of lemon ginger tea. The woman spoiled her, honestly.
Hermione sighed and set her book aside. Instead of swishing her wand to practice her spell, she used it to summon a flower to her, an autumn lily. Hermione admired the flower for a while before she set it in a vase full of a variety of other flowers she had summoned to herself that day. She’d written Draco the other day, and though she knew she shouldn’t expect an answer back, she couldn’t help but hope.
Hermione seemed almost ready for anything as she stood up and stretched her arms above her head, taking another sweeping look around the garden and admiring the pink and gold hues that the sunrise cast about the place. She would be ready to take care of her child, ready to finish her schoolwork, ready to finally tell Draco. However, the one thing Hermione wasn’t ready for was the sudden sound like a cork being popped off a champagne bottle and the gush of water that emitted from her. Indeed, the one thing Hermione seemed completely unprepared for was her water breaking.
A/N: Well, this will probably be the last update for a while, seeing as school is going to start up soon. Thanks for all my faithful reviewers! <3 And it's funny because I had been wondering if anyone ready these AN's , when someone assured me they did. I also wondered if you guys realized I leave comments on your reviews? Haha, anhywho, I hope you enjoyed. If there are any errors, please point them out to me! I love you guys!
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