Hermione’s eyes surveyed the scene in front of her and she drew a shaky breath. “Alright, I don’t know exactly where to begin though.”
Alice stood up and ran to her Mum. She wrapped her arms around Hermione’s waist and Hermione wrapped her own arms around Alice’s torso. She closed her eyes and sighed. Then Alice spoke for the first time since Hermione had got there. “I missed you Mum.”
“I missed you too honey.” Hermione sighed.
Alice looked up at her mother’s face, and gave her an apologetic look. “I’m sorry Mum. I forgot the spell this morning. I was so tired. I was up late last night writing an essay for Professor Potter. I’m sorry.”
“Oh…Alice…it’s not your fault honey. I should’ve told you everything. It’s me who should be sorry honey.” Hermione knelt down to Alice’s level and looked her in the eye. “You have such beautiful eyes honey. I never should’ve asked you to cover them up.” Hermione looked up at Draco and met his eyes. “I’m going to tell you everything now honey. So why don’t we go sit down, okay?” Alice nodded. Hermione conjured a chair for herself out of thin air and sat down as well. She turned to look at Draco, “You should be here for this too Draco.”
Draco took the seat on the other side of Hermione, and looked her in the eyes. “Hermione…” He started.
“I know.” Hermione whispered. “I know. I’m sorry for everything.” She gazed at him for a few seconds and then dropped her eyes to her hands, clasped in her lap. Then she started to speak. “Almost 13 years ago Draco, we moved in together. Right out of Hogwarts. It was wonderful for so long. You gave me everything I ever wanted, and lots of things I didn’t need. But I loved you so much. Nothing else mattered other than the fact that I loved you.”
Hermione glanced at Draco again and saw him looking at her intensely. He appeared to have tears in his eyes. When he spoke his voice was shaky. “So if it was so wonderful, why did you leave Hermione?”
Hermione felt her own eyes well up with tears and she fought to keep them back. “Because something changed. Something big changed.”
“What changed Hermione? Because nothing changed for me. I loved you so much. It killed me when you left. I still love you just as much. Nothing has changed for me, even after all these years.” Draco stood up and strode across the room.
Hermione swallowed and stood up, following him. She placed her hand on his upper arm, and rested her cheek against his back. It felt like none of the last 12 years had happened, like she was standing in hers and Draco’s room in his house, the night before she found out that she was pregnant. “Draco…” He turned his head a tiny bit towards her. “Do you remember the last time we stood like this together?” He nodded.
“It was two months before you left me, almost to the day.” Draco looked back out the window.
Hermione sighed. “It was the night before I found out that I was going to have Alice.” Draco turned to face her, and gazed down into her tear filled eyes.
“You were pregnant?” He asked, and his eyes widened as Hermione nodded. “That’s why you left me, because you were pregnant with my child?” Draco couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Why Hermione? You didn’t have to live the last 12 years on your own. I would’ve helped you. Did you think that I was going to leave you? I would never do that to you.”
Hermione fought hard against the tears but it was a hopeless battle. They spilled over and rolled down her cheeks. She tried to hastily wipe them away, but Draco caught her hand and held it gently. He lifted his other hand and softly brushed away the tears. “Hermione…don’t cry. I never meant to make you cry. I’m sorry.”
“It’s…not…it’s not…you.” Hermione choked out. “No, I don’t think you would’ve left me. But I left because I was scared. And you didn’t seem ready to have a baby. You were still arrogant, and hard headed.” Hermione put up her hand to stop him from interrupting. “Maybe none of that was directed to me, but you can’t deny that it took me leaving to get you to completely mature and put everything in your past behind you.”
Draco sighed and nodded. “Only because I felt like my entire world had come crashing down around me when you walked out my front door that day.” He gazed at Hermione intensely and raised his hand to cup her cheek. “If you would’ve told me…I would’ve grown up right then and there and forgotten everything in my past to make the best possible future for you and Alice.” Hermione dropped her eyes from his and closed them as she chose her next words carefully.
“Draco…it was the only way. You know as well as I do that you were no where near being ready to have a baby. I hated walking out that door. I was cursing myself every minute. But I knew I had to do it, for you and for Alice.” She moved from Draco at this point and knelt in front of her daughters’ chair. “Alice, I love you so much, and I should’ve told you everything from the moment I thought you were old enough. But I kept it from you to protect you, and for that I’m sorry. I hope you understand.”
“I do mum. I understand, you loved us, me and Professor Malfoy, so much that you left to protect us both.” Alice hugged her mother tightly. When she drew away she had a frown on her face. “But I don’t understand why we had to change my eye colour.”
Draco raised his eyebrows and sat back down in the chair next to Alice. “Yes, I would like to hear the explanation for that as well.”
Hermione sighed and stood up again, and began pacing the office. Draco watched her with a slightly amused expression on his face. “That I did because I thought that once I had Alice everyone would assume she was your daughter. Then when she was born and she had your eyes…I didn’t know that you had changed completely Draco, I thought that maybe you were still the same. For all I knew after I left you went back to your Muggleborn hating ways. So I figured the best way to confuse people, and not cause you any shame by having a child with a Muggleborn, was to change Alice’s eye colour. My parents were the only ones who knew what I had done. And they were almost the only people that even that Alice existed.” Hermione stopped pacing and stood in front of Draco and Alice, wringing her hands.
Draco looked at Professor McGonagall. “You knew as well didn’t you Professor?”
McGonagall nodded. “I knew that Ms. Granger had a child, and I knew all along that you were her father. However, as Ms. Granger pointed out, only her parents knew about the change in eye colour. Although, she does have very beautiful eyes Hermione.” McGonagall looked at Hermione and smiled warmly.
Draco rose from his chair again and moved to stand in front of Hermione. “Hermione, I still love you. I always have and I always will. There has never been anyone else for me. Please…come back to me.” He placed his index finger under her chin and lifted her face. He stared into her eyes, waiting for her answer, and she nodded.
“I love you too Draco. There’s never been anyone else for me either. Of course I’ll come back to you.” Draco beamed and slowly lowered his face until their lips met softly.
When they broke apart Hermione was grinning. Draco smiled down at her and brushed her hair back. “I’m glad you said that, because I’ve been carrying this around everyday for nearly 12 years, and I’d like to give it to you now.” Draco reached into his pocket and smiled at Hermione’s puzzled expression. He pulled out a tiny scarlet velvet ring box and slowly sank to one knee.
“Draco!” Hermione gasped. “What are you doing?”
“Something I should’ve done 12 years ago.” Draco answered. He opened up the ring box and Hermione gasped, inside was the most exquisite ring she had ever seen. He took her left hand in his own and gazed up at her face that was shining with wonder. “Hermione, I wasted too much time waiting for the perfect moment to come along so I could ask you to be my wife, and now almost 12 years has gone by and I missed you every single one of the days. I swore to myself that if the chance ever arose to ask you to come back to me, and you agreed I would ask you to marry me. I love you Hermione, and I don’t want to waste another 12 years of my life without you. Will you marry me?” Hermione’s eyes were filled with tears and she had a small smile on her face. Draco’s breath caught in his throat as he waited for what seemed like forever for her answer.
Hermione nodded and whispered, “Yes. Of course I’ll marry you.” Draco grinned and slid the ring onto her finger. He stood up and hugged her tightly.
“I was going to propose the night that you left. For a long time I thought you had found the ring and got scared, and I thought that’s why you had left. But then I remembered that I had been carrying it around in my pocket since the day I bought it.” Draco looked at Hermione and kissed her softly.
Hermione grinned and said, “My answer would’ve been yes then too.” Then she turned to Alice. “Now, don’t you have a class you should be getting to?” She asked with a smile.
Alice rolled her eyes playfully and ran to hug her mother and father. “I love you mum and dad.” Draco felt his heart skip a beat as he heard what his daughter said to the two of them.
“I love you too Alice.” Draco said softly. “But your mother is right, you do have a class to be getting to. Run along now, or you’ll be late, and you don’t want Professor Potter to have to take points from his own house now do you?” Alice shook her head and ran to the door.
“Wait, Alice…” Hermione said. “Tell Professor Potter that Hermione says hi.” Alice nodded and then left the room.
Hermione turned back to Draco and smiled. She glanced at Professor McGonagall, and said, “Thank you Professor. For everything. You have done so much for me…and Alice, and I appreciate it.” McGonagall smiled.
“It was nothing my dear. Now, I do have a question for you.” Hermione nodded.
“Anything Professor. It’s the least I can do.”
McGonagall smiled again and said, “I would like you to come and take over for our dear Madam Pomfrey Ms. Granger.” She watched as Hermione’s eyes lit up.
“I would love to Professor. I just have to let St. Mungo’s know; though I’m sure they will understand. Thank you Professor.” McGonagall shook her head and smiled.
“Again my dear, it is nothing. By the way, you are no longer a student here, and therefore I am no longer your Professor. Please call me Minerva.” She smiled again at the couple standing in front of her and then politely dismissed them. As soon as they left the office all of the portraits of previous Headmasters started yammering excitedly. However, Minerva looked at only one of them. The wizened old man that gazed at her through piercing blue eyes over his half moon spectacles smiled at Minerva.
“At long last, they have found each other again and it is almost like the last 12 years never happened. They were always meant to be together, and now they finally are.” Dumbledore said quietly and McGonagall nodded.
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