Summary: On waking up together, Draco and Hermione realize the punch clouded their judgment. Soon thereafter, the consequences become clear.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: NC-17 (if not by much)
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Rowling, not me.
Original story: One Drunken Mistake, by melfinatheblue.
Warning: you may have guessed this fic involved pregnancy; my version is more explicit about that than the original was.
Notes: The original fic for this is, if I understand correctly, a sort of auxiliary to a set that all belong in the same 'verse. This fic, which tells essentially the same story from a different point of view, may not match up with that verse completely, as it stands alone. Melfina, I started off initially using almost entirely your dialogue, and gradually took over with more of my own until I came back to yours at the end.
Hermione lay on her side, knees pulled up, watching the wall turn pink in the dawn as she ignored Draco's fitful movements behind her.
He'd probably wake up soon. She could just ignore him until he left, and then she could sit up. She did her best thinking sitting up, and this? probably required some thinking about.
It wasn't that she was ashamed of herself, exactly; while Draco would probably assume his godlike perfection overcome all her defenses and defeated Ron and Merlin only knew what all else he'd build up in his mind, it was more that, given spiked punch and no particularly good reason not to, she'd taken advantage of an available and willing cock. That part was fine; she liked sex and wasn't under any obligation to not have it. The problem was that while she thought she recalled the details of the encounter reasonably well--including a clear notion of having been shocked by Draco's enthusiasm with his tongue--she didn't recall any discussion between them as to contraceptive or disease-repellent measures.
That? Was a problem. She'd never forgotten before, and with a boy she'd never liked, who was very much only in the bed with her to scratch an itch, was a lousy time to start.
Draco tossed again, and then jolted in the way that meant he'd gone tense. Which meant he'd awakened.
She waited to see what he'd do.
His fingers touched her hair, pulling though the mass of curls, tugging a bit but not hard enough to hurt, which she ignored. If she turned over, they'd have to talk, which was to be avoided unless he somehow demonstrated being the sort of person she actually wanted to have a conversation with, which, well, a good hard fuck was hardly that, and he didn't have much in his past to recommend him.
The blanket lifted and the mattress shifted, and Hermione pursed her lips. Predictable. He intended to slip away without a word.
At least there wouldn't have to be any dreadful gloating or commentary on her heritage or whatever all else might come out of his mouth, now that it wasn't busy licking, sucking, or panting.
Or snoring, not that he'd believe he snored.
She'd already moved on to considering whether it would make more sense to see a Muggle or magical healer to be sure she hadn't picked up any unintended consequences when he landed on her. Hard. "Ow!"
Bugger. So much for no conversation.
"Damn," he said as she struggled her way around. He was kneeling over her on the bed, looking down, his limp cock six inches from her face. And while it was a perfectly adequate cock, it hadn't been her goal to gaze on it again this morning. She had other things to think about.
He shifted his weight and managed to bring himself closer--what, did he think it was some sort of mythic object of mystery and she'd be off her nut not to want a(nother) closer look?--and she pulled away. "Oh my god!"
"Look, Granger, do you want to explain to the Weasel and the Prat who Lived that we shagged? Cause I sure don't want to explain to my fiancée. So what say I find my clothes, we agree this never happened, and I get the hell out of here?"
Wow. Even less decent than expected; she'd thought perhaps there would be some false but socially-redeeming assurances of whatever he thought was reassuring, and what the hell, fiancée? Either way, she hoped this wouldn't take long, as she mostly needed to pee. However, as long as they were apparently going to have a conversation, she thought she might as well learn to what extent she needed to worry. She ran her hand through her hair and glared up at him. "Wait, did you use protection?"
Draco looked puzzled. And completely unaware he was being glared at. Idiot. "Protection? You mean like a contraceptive potion? That's your department, not mine."
"No, more like a condom." She was sure he hadn't, but it was best to ask, and besides, he'd already pretty well indicated he thought any potion-based approach was for her to handle. Bigoted idiot, then.
"Granger, I have no idea what a condom is."
"Bugger." She sat up and pushed her hair back again. "Then we have a problem."
Draco dropped down onto his arse next to her and put his head in his hands. "Granger, please tell me you're on a patch or potion or pill or something."
"No, I'd think my previous statement would have indicated that Ron and I generally use condoms. He wears one. It's a barricade device, like a sheath over the penis."
"That's ridiculous, and you're both completely insane. A sheath? That's just weird."
"Potions don't protect against STDs, Draco."
"Sexually transmitted diseases, sometimes also called STI for infection. Which are, as the name would indicate, transmitted sexually. Which, given we had sex, three times if I recall correctly, means the opportunity for infection was present."
"You mean those disgusting things Muggles get."
"Wizards aren't immune, you wanker. Just because your lot avoids Muggles on the whole, and thereby doesn't tend to experience the sort of cross-contamination that might be found in any group of sexually active teenagers--wizards or not--doesn't mean you can't contract one. And since we've just demonstrated you're clearly not averse to dipping your wick where Muggle blood lives--"
"Ew. God, you're not--"
Hermione lifted one side of her mouth in disgust. "All right, what? You clearly are aware my parents are Muggles."
"Oh. That kind of blood. I thought you meant you were…" Draco gestured toward her crotch.
Hermione shook her head. "Your biggest concern is whether I'm currently bleeding?"
"Please. First of all, in that case, I at least would be considerably less concerned about pregnancy."
Hermione stared. "Christ. It's a wonder Purebloods manage to reproduce at all. You clearly have next to no idea about the mechanics."
"Of course I do. Men and women fuck, and then sometimes the women's bodies keep the stuff and turn it into a baby. When they don't, it's because she had the common sense to use a potion, because magic prevents magic."
"Um, no. Men and women fuck, or sperm is otherwise introduced--"
"Why would you want to do that?"
"To get pregnant? Anyway, and during a relatively small window each month, an egg exists. If the sperm comes in contact with the egg and no other condition prevents fertilization or implantation, pregnancy occurs. The merging of the egg and sperm is how half the genetic material comes from each parent."
He looked at her blankly. "Well, never mind that. Look, this is crazy. You're just not going to get pregnant."
"First of all, there's an entire ethical debate to be had as to what constitutes pregnancy and some would argue that if it's going to happen, it already has. However, yes, if I do find I'm pregnant, I'll get rid of it."
His head snapped up. "Like hell you will. You're not killing my child, even if it is half you!"
"I don't think it's up to you, Draco. It's my body. In any event, you have, as you just pointed out and probably should have kept in mind last night, a fiancée. I expect it would just be easier for everyone--"
"No. Have you checked the latest laws? Pans was complaining about them, something about women and rights and some such garbage. It's now illegal to kill a magical child before it's born. You'd end up in Azkaban if you tried it, and while I suppose that's up to you, I have no intention of winding up there myself for not stopping you. So if you end up pregnant, and believe me, I will be praying to any and every god that will listen that you don't, you carry the child to term. Then if you don't want it, fine. I'll happily take it, and you can do something else to get yourself carted off to prison."
Hermione raised an eyebrow. "And how would they know?"
"Pregnancies spontaneously abort all the time, and I seriously doubt Wizarding law enforcement spends much--or any--time at Muggle abortion clinics. So how would they know?"
"They'd, they'd…" Draco fluttered his hands as though this imparted some particular information, and then shrugged. "Magical pregnancies and how they end are recorded."
She pursed her lips. "Well, then, I imagine it will be easy to find out, won't it. Where are the records?"
"I'm not telling you! You'll just try to go steal them. That's what you and Potter do, right? Break in everywhere, take things, get away with murder?"
Hermione decided to change tack. "And how's Pansy going to feel about raising your bastard?"
"She'll probably kill me."
"She should. There's really no excuse for this."
"Oh? And you're pristine?"
"So it's fine to fuck around on your comet-wearing boyfriend, but--"
"Condom, and as Ron and I don't currently have an agreement about exclusivity--actually, to the best of my knowledge, he's mostly been fucking Tracey lately. Why do you think I choose to continue using condoms as my primary method?"
"Wait, you know your boyfriend fucks around, and you let him?"
"I fail to see how that's less reasonable than you knowing your fiancée won't approve, and fucking me anyway, but in case you weren't clear on the concept, I don't let Ron do anything. He and I aren't interested in getting married very young, and while maybe in the long run we will, right now, we are friends who sometimes get each other off--all right, actually, frequently get each other off--and agree that outside sex is entirely compatible with that." She wondered whether she should go on to explain that in fact, they also agreed that bringing a third party into the bed sometimes was okay, but decided he was already shocked enough. She almost felt sorry for him.
He shook his head as though to clear it and returned to the previous subject. "Anyway, about Pans and a bastard. I wasn't planning on asking her to raise it. Mother always did want another child, and she'll adore a grandchild. Now, I am going to get my trousers and go."
She stood, stretching, and went to the door. "I need to pee. Also, I need some way to reach you, just in case."
"Merlin. You have no sense of privacy at all, do you?"
"Says the man who was, five minutes ago, waving his cock in my face. There's a pen on the nightstand. Leave your address, though I expect I could locate you via a newspaper advert if I really had to."
He yanked on his trousers as she left the room. A moment later he tapped on the door of the loo. "How does this bloody thing work?"
"What bloody thing?"
"To write with."
"Oh. Push the button on the end. A tip comes out. It has its own ink."
"Clever. I'm leaving my private Floo address on your coffee table. You can send a letter through if I'm not there. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other places to be."
Hermione listened as he stomped his way out of her flat, then turned on the tap for a shower. She usually didn't feel dirty after sex, but this morning's conversation had been enlightening as to why one might--she somehow felt both used and as though she had managed to take advantage of someone defenseless, though rationally, she wasn't sure how on earth it was possible to get to the age of twenty, or, well, he was probably still nineteen, without a decent sense of what happened during. Further, while she had heard rumblings about changes to the law, she hadn't realized what the nature of the change was, possibly because the headlines, like Draco himself, had gone on about extending the criminalization of killing children, and it hadn't even entered her mind this might mean embryos.
She wondered how the law tracked circumstances, and whether it included unimplanted eggs, and if so, whether there was a decent but relatively harmless way to disincline her body to continue without triggering a prison sentence, if fertilization had occurred. She stepped into the shower, mentally composing a list of stops she needed to make in order to find out the answers discreetly.
What a mess.
Hermione wasn't happy. First, Ron had been a lot more peeved than he'd any right to be over the situation, apparently entirely over the pregnancy issue, which, regardless of the absence of specific promises, he evidently regarded as his own prerogative. Second, on doing some research, Hermione learned that while Draco was woefully underinformed, St Mungo's was not; the staff there had a relatively clear, if overly mystical, understanding of fertility, and they'd had a great deal to do with the language and parameters of the new laws. She had a series of meetings schedule, of course, to see about reversing some of the more intrusive measures, to begin, but none of that was going to help her; she was no fewer than four months in and even Muggle means, at this point, would be fairly traumatic.
One little mistake. One.
All right, three, technically; she still had no idea what the ingredient had been in the punch, but clearly something had seriously compromised her judgment. If she ever found out what and how, there would be hell to pay.
Still, one mistake in three parts, while drugged, and the consequences had been irreversible and costly.
Aside from Ron, whom she hoped would come around eventually, Harry had also been less than supportive. She couldn't really blame him; Ron tended to demand he choose sides, and she could see how it would rather go against the bloke code to choose hers. Though, he had said, out the side of his mouth, that he rather hoped Tracey or Katie turned up pregnant from about the same time just so Ron could see how turnabout worked.
Unfortunately, both Tracey and Katie were evidently more clever with their potions than she had been. Plus, Ron hadn't got drunk on laced punch and forgotten a condom.
It would all work out, of course; however, that neither of them was available meant she was here at St. Mungo's with her mother.
She'd been to a Muggle doctor already; the first magical appointment wasn't until they could do a series of magical tests, which wasn't until nearly halfway through the pregnancy, but for her own peace of mind, she'd already heard the heartbeat and learned that most likely everything was fine--she'd have gone ahead and challenged the law had anything been otherwise. Still, she had little idea what to expect here, as there was (again, unsurprisingly given Draco's information gap) little literature about what to expect when you're expecting a baby witch or wizard.
She picked up a magazine and sat down to read, hand resting on her bump, which was already significant.
She looked up. Oh, perfect. Harry and Ron weren't available, but Malfoy had chosen to appear for this. "Malfoy? What are you doing here?"
"That's likely my child, remember? I want to make sure she's healthy."
"I'd like a girl. Mother wants a girl too, and father doesn't really care."
Hermione shook her head. "Honestly. Again, I'm not sure how you don't know this, but you don't get to choose, Draco. It's all about what happens in the moment the sperm and egg meet."
Hermione gaped. "Um, no. It's not. It's quite possible to watch all this happen under a microscope, and while there are aspects of gender identity and sexuality that seem to have little to do with actual genitalia, the basic biology is fairly straightforward."
Draco rolled his eyes, but said nothing, and Hermione's mother leaned over to interrupt. "Hermione, who's this?"
Hermione raised her eyebrows. For one thing, her mother was a reasonably bright woman, and the idea that she mightn't have picked up all the relevant information from what she'd said so far seemed odd. But the look in her mother's eyes said she had been listening, and was merely taking advantage of a tenable reason to break into the conversation. Hermione nodded. "Mother, this is Draco Malfoy. Draco, this is my mother, Laura Granger."
"Pleasure to meet you, ma'am." Draco didn't take his hand from his pocket.
"So you're the one who..."
"Yes. And let me assure you that I intend to take care of this child, once the healer does a blood charm."
"A blood charm?"
"A simple verification of fatherhood. Won't hurt it at all."
Hermione glared. "And will it hurt me?"
"Haven't the slightest. Didn't bother to ask. I doubt Mother would have been willing to undergo it if it was painful, or that father would have subjected her to it, though." Draco sat in the chair opposite and shrugged. "In any case, I'm certainly not asking Pansy to deal with Weasley's bastard.
"All right, first, as you'll recall, I didn't ask you to do a bloody thing, and if you don't want to raise this child, that's fine with me. I'll manage, and you can go soak your head. Second, your parents did this? Why? They're married."
"And were married before I was conceived. It's standard operating procedure among the pureblood families, a way of making sure that no bastards sneak in."
"Wow. Nice how for all you lot go on about superiority, you can't manage to learn about simple trust."
Draco smirked. "Please. If Muggles had a way of verifying who the father was, don't you think they'd do the same?"
Hermione's mother interjected, clearly rapidly becoming as annoyed by this line of conversation as Hermione was. "We do, and no, they don't, young man."
Draco shrugged. "Well, we do. Anyway. I'm sure the Healer can tell you if it's painful or not, and give you something if it is. It's not an unreasonable request. You were sleeping with the Weasel as well, and from what I've heard those condor things do fail on occasion."
"Condom. It's hard to imagine you correctly heard about or looked up anything, given you refuse to learn a simple two-syllable word, but that much is true. However, as I hadn't been with Ron in the time frame--"
"As if that's determinable."
The temptation to strangle Draco was fierce, but Hermione was delayed by another wave of shock, and then the Healer arrived and there was no opportunity. She was an older witch, quite motherly looking, and she plainly misinterpreted Hermione's irritation for another kind of upset. She took Hermione's hand and patted it. "Hello dear. My name is Helena. Verify yours, please? I see here this is your first time, but there's nothing to worry about. And this must be the father?"
"Hermione Granger," Hermione said, "and yes, this is Draco, the father."
"Possibly," Draco said. "I'd like that confirmed."
Hermione glared harder. "As if there were any chance, if I were trying to get pregnant at this point, which I wasn't, as I have plenty of things I'd intended to do first, thank you, that I would choose you. Having to be in the same room with you is stressful. I don't want to have your kid."
"You didn't seem to mind being in the same room with me for hours on end four months ago."
"Yes, but when drunk, you're slightly less appalling, and besides, at least to begin, you had your tongue on my--"
Hermione looked at her mother apologetically. "Sorry. But it's true. And was fairly effective in leading to this situation."
Helena took a closer look at Draco. "And so you doubt your girl, even though you quite agree with her statement that around the time of conception, you were intimate?"
"She's not my girl, and has never been my girl. This was a one-night drunken mistake. And before my fiancée kills me for cheating on her, I'd like confirmation that the child Granger is carrying is indeed mine."
"Your fiancée?" Helena scowled. "Good heavens. To whom are you engaged to be married? Not Miss Granger, here, I gather."
"God, no. And I fail to see how it's any of your business."
"Because," Helena said, "I believe in being clear on the situation, and when a child is born into a situation such as you describe, the odds of something untoward happening to it increase quite dramatically."
"I would never let anything happen to the Malfoy heir!"
"Oh, so this one will be your heir?" Hermione asked. "Good to know, and also, poor Pansy, not only does she have to tolerate you being a cheating worm; she doesn't even get to be the mother of your heir?"
"Well, not immediately, of course. After all, this child will be illegitimate. Pans will give me a legitimate son eventually, I expect. Assuming she forgives me in the first place, which would be in her best interest, given the estate, so I suppose she probably will."
"Also good to know, that you insist on God knows what for this child, but you'll be throwing it over once a more convenient one arrives. And that you find it reasonable that the woman you betrayed should cheerfully come back if she's paid well."
Draco scowled. "What the hell is wrong with you? I've heard pregnant women are impossible, but now you're just being deliberately bitchy."
To Hermione's horror, her hormones were making themselves known, and she found herself blinking back prickling tears. Thankfully, the Healer interceded. "Young man, if you can't keep a civil tongue, I will whole-heartedly support Miss Granger, should she choose to assert her wish to raise this child alone." She stood and crossed her arms. "As you surely know, a witch has the right to deny the father access."
"You can't do that!"
"Then you can behave and stop upsetting the mother of your child, whom I assume you wish to be born healthy and in a timely fashion and not early due to its mother being berated by you?"
"That could happen?" Draco had gone pale--or paler, anyway, and Hermione suppressed a snort.
"Yes, that could happen," she said. "Also, I'm buying you a bloody book to learn about all this, because your eventual wife, whether or not Pansy throws you over for this, deserves a husband with a bleeding clue."
Draco went sullenly quiet, which wasn't ideal, but was quite an improvement, and after a moment, he looked back at the Healer. "Fine. This child will be a Malfoy, assuming it's mine--shut it, Granger; I said assuming it is, which acknowledges the likelihood, and I concede you apparently know a great deal more about how all this happens than I do so I agree you're probably right about the timing issue as well, so I'm not being dreadful--and I wish it to be healthy."
"What the hell makes you think this child's going to be a Malfoy?"
Draco sighed. "Tradition. Money. Paternity."
"You are such a prick. Look. Let's prove you're the bloody father, get it over with, and get away from each other. We can discuss the rest of this by bloody owl."
"Fine. But unless I've missed something--"
"Oh, and how could that be possible, I wonder?"
"Damn it. Are the Grangers are rolling in galleons? Do they have a manor? If you want this child to have any part of that, Malfoy needs to be the last name."
Hermione narrowed her eyes. "We'll discuss that later, too." She turned to Helena, who was watching her approvingly. "Is there anything I need to know? Any reason there's a risk to me, in this procedure?"
"No." Helena directed Hermione to lie back on an angled table, and then bared her belly, pulling her shirt up and opening the front of her jeans.
"You have a big horrid bulge," Draco said, grimacing.
"What? I've never seen someone with a baby half-congealed inside."
"Half-congealed? Half-grown, maybe."
Helena sighed and propelled Draco across the room. "Hand on her …bulge," she directed him.
"What? You want me to touch it?"
"If you want your paternity confirmed," Helena said.
He trepidatiously put his hand out, spreading his fingers across her middle where usually would be the soft tautness of ordinary muscle and now there was the harder lump where his child was demandingly taking over quite a lot of space between her ribs and hips. She wished it were possible this was Ron's child, but it wasn't, so she pushed his hand a little lower. "See? It doesn't bite."
Helena pursed her lips tightly and watched them for a moment, then cast the charm. Draco's hand was sweaty against Hermione's skin, and then it heated and cooled and a gleaming blue glow emanated from where it touched.
He flinched, visibly, as though despite her assurances, he'd managed to not prepare himself at all for this possibility. She almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
"Bugger," he whispered.
"Well, now we know," she said. She looked at Helena. "What else is there to test?"
There were apparently several things, each with a glow or a spark or some sort of signal attached, and then she was standing, yanking down her shirt as Draco shifted his weight back and forth. "Now what?" she asked. She saw Helena give her mother a look, and both of them moved off some distance to let them start to work things out.
Draco sighed. "Now, I get used to referring to you by name, since I can't very well call the mother of my child Granger."
"This hasn't stopped you so far."
"Yes, but I didn't know until now."
"I did, and I told you; you've no reason to be so surprised. Even if you think your friends would be lying in the same case, you have every reason to know I don't."
He gave a gruff and unamused snort. "Yes, well, in that case, you'll allow for the possibility I was lying to myself, won't you? And now, I need to go tell my fiancée, for the moment, that another woman is having my child. If you find my corpse, Pansy did it."
"What are we going to do? Surely we have to work out a way to get along."
He looked at her, and it gave her a brief moment of satisfaction to realize that not only was she not the only one undergoing a major life change here, but that he was actually quite frightened. Which explained quite a bit about his behavior. Not that she thought it excused him entirely, but Draco had never been particularly good at handling fear. Finally, he spoke. "I haven't the slightest idea. Get married, I guess. I'm supposed to make an honest woman out of you, I know that. It's the honorable thing to do."
"Draco, I'm not marrying you."
"No. We just need to work out how to get along. That doesn't have to involve marriage."
"So, what, you think we should have supper and write out some point-by-point plan?"
"It seems awfully cold. For a Gryffindor, I mean."
"Well, yes. Pragmatic, anyway. But we can behave like grownups." She paused, then added, "I mean, I suppose given the damage is done, we could also have a lot of sex for the next five months, since Ron's a bit annoyed--"
"I thought you and he weren't--"
"No, I know. He's annoyed anyway. He'll get over it, but meanwhile, well."
"So your very practical suggestion, as to how to get through the next several months until that baby is born, is to fuck a lot?"
She shrugged. "As I recall, whilst we were doing that, we got along fine. Might make the rest of this easier to deal with, don't you think? We could agree that every time we come to agreement about something as far as how we'll raise this child, we get orgasms out of the deal.
He blinked. "That's… actually not a bad idea."
"Does seem it would encourage cooperation, don't you think?" She brushed off her hands and put out one hand. "Come by tonight, and we'll talk about the issue of the Malfoy name."
He did shake hands, but also shook his head. "Maybe. I really am off to lunch with Pans. If I'm going to tell her about this, I thought it was best to do so after she'd had a good lunch and a slice of her favorite chocolate cake. Even if she doesn't take it better, she'll be relaxed and her reflexes will be off."
Hermione shrugged. "Ah. I was assuming you were going to break things off with her. Given that you just suggested marriage."
"I'm not, given you say you won't. She might."
"True. Well, good luck with that."
"If she doesn't, can we still use your cooperation suggestion?"
Hermione sighed. "You're quite hopeless. No. If you come by my flat--you do remember where, right?"
"Really? I'd have thought you were far too distracted to take note. But yes, don't come by and expect a warm welcome if she thinks we're done."
Draco looked at the clock on the wall. "Bugger. And I really do have to go. This is going to suck enough, without pissing her off to start by being late. We'll talk later." And with that, he dashed out of the room.
Hermione looked at her mother walking toward her.
"Hermione, that boy is odd."
"Yes, he is. And wait till you meet his parents. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when Lucius Malfoy hears that his first grandchild's going to be--he'll say 'the bastard child of a mudblood.' It'll mean his perfect pureblood line has been sullied."
"That last is an awful thing to say, and mudblood sounds like an ugly term. Is it? I've not heard you say it before."
Hermione nodded. "He's called me that, though, and so has Draco, come to that. And no, I usually don't use it. Mudblood is a nasty term for a Muggleborn, like me."
"This doesn't sound promising, Hermione. You're going to have to find a way to keep your child out of the hands of people who will train it to think that way.
"I know. The Wizarding World is very old-fashioned, in some respects, and Draco Malfoy comes from, well, it's the closest thing to an aristocracy, I suppose."
Helena returned from fetching another scroll to record measurements and the like just as Hermione spoke. "The Malfoys are aristocrats, dear," she said. "Used to be lords, until the titles were abolished a hundred years ago. Most of the old families had titles, but the Malfoys have always, well, had the power and galleons to back theirs up." She finished pushing about supplies on her tray, apparently having got them to her satisfaction. "Now, this bit's a span, and we'll be done in just a few minutes. Oh, and these days, I'm supposed to ask, especially the Muggleborns, before I begin: did you want to learn if it's a boy or girl?"
Hermione looked at her mother again; they'd discussed this before the Muggle examination anyway, and at that point, she hadn't wanted to know. Still, after Draco's comments about legitimacy and heritage, she found her answer had changed. Her mother shrugged, indicating--as she had all along--that this was clearly up to Hermione. She looked back at Helena. "Yes, I believe I do now."
"All right. Just lie back and relax, dear."
Hermione stared up at the ceiling as measurements, which reminded her of Ollivander and his wand-shop, were taken. The ends of the tape tickled as it twisted and stretched, and all the while, notations were being recorded, until finally Helena told her they were done.
Helena handed her a parchment that was folded and sealed into a flat sort of envelope.
Hermione tried to tear it open, but Helena put her hand atop Hermione's. "No, dear, you should open that with the father."
"But what if he doesn't want to know?"
"That's between the two of you."
Hermione frowned. "So, I can deny him access, but I can't make this decision on my own?"
Helena shrugged. "I agree, the rules are sometimes remarkably inconsistent. However, I do think, on the whole, that they are improving. Time was, the father, or a woman's guardian, if the father was unavailable, performed all the charms himself, under our direction. It was believed that a witch herself was too likely hysterical to make any decision, and that the nature of the intimacy of childbirth was such that additional hands would damage the infant's magical bond with its parents."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Well that's just silly."
"Yes, we know that, now. Though there was something to be said for the encouragement of that intimacy."
"Look. If I deny him access now, can I revoke that later? Would that allow me to open the envelope on my own?"
Helena shook her head. "Sorry. But, the two of you can chat, can you not?"
"We can," Hermione said with a sigh. "I think it's a bit silly, but I suppose it's better than having him do the delivery himself."
Hermione stood up off the table again, oddly aware of her stomach in a way she hadn't been, before. Her sense was that this meant nothing alarming; it was merely that it had been the focus of her attention for nearly the last hour, but she set her hand against her abdomen anyway, earning a smile from Helena. She picked up the little envelope and shoved it in her back pocket and put her wand in next to it.
"What do you want to do next?" her mother asked.
"Lunch," Hermione said. "I'm starving."
She followed her mother to the lifts and out into Muggle London, then chose a Greek restaurant. She hated Greek food, which had been a subject of some levity between her and her parents; her mother had theorized that this was some sort of ridiculous curse they'd subjected her to, by giving her such a name. However, for the last two weeks, she'd been unable to get enough of it, and that had led to additional ribbing.
In short, her life had gone from normal to absurd, and it was all Draco Malfoy's fault.
"You'd honestly not support this child if I don't give it your last name?" Once she'd ascertained that Pansy had told Draco to sod off, Hermione had insisted they eat first, as by the time he'd arrived, she was once again starving. They were finishing pudding, and at least for the moment, she was full, so it was time to talk.
"Not exactly. It's more that this child would be unable to inherit any part of the Malfoy estate without the Malfoy name. I get a stipend because I'm a Malfoy, with the name, and that would be true of any child of my father's, with the name. The conditions of that are, to my knowledge, not open for debate."
"Your father's idea?"
"No. My…" He counted in his fingers. "Four-times great-grandfather? I think. It's been a provision for a very long time. In part, it ensures the men in my ancestry would claim their bastards, if they cared at all."
"Good to know you care, then."
"I'm not a complete monster."
"No, just a bit of an idiot."
"Oi, I thought we were trying to get along?"
"Sorry. But honestly, if I did buy you a couple of books, would you read them?"
"It would depend. Would they be about--"
"About reproduction and pregnancy."
Draco made a face. "I don't know if I really want to know."
She pursed her lips. "Well, but they'd help you, in the long run. I mean, just think, eventually, you'll marry, and some of this would help you with the woman you choose--help you to understand her body better, which, and I know men may not believe this, but honestly? Understanding what you're touching and the variation in what she might like, that sort of thing? I swear, it'll improve your love life."
"That too, though it's kind of sad you don't think they'd be the same."
"Yes, well. This isn't what we were trying to agree on, tonight."
She bit her lip. "You just want to reach accord so we can get to the fun."
"Yes, but I also want to convince you why it's important that our… did you find out? Is it a daughter?"
"I have the paper, but I can't open it without you, nor you without me. Still, go on."
"Fine. I don't want our child to end up like Snape--who, you know, I always knew him as a sort of uncle. But, that is to say, I don't want the child to be like him: bitter and resentful and always scrambling for Galleons and time."
Hermione thought for a moment. It made sense, and she could always go ask about the whole provisions for a stipend later, probably. She pursed her lips. "What about a hyphenated last name?"
"Like Granger-Malfoy. Would that still work?"
"Probably, but I'd have to check."
"So, if it would, you'd agree to that? I know it seems like nothing, but, all right, there are two things. First, I don't actually intend to give you the child outright. We can talk about this later, but I was sort of thinking we could share custody, one way or another."
Draco studied his fingernails. "And that's relevant to its name?"
"Well. Some, since I'm clearly not taking your name. I never really intended to have a child that didn't share my name. Besides, my father doesn't have any sons, and I imagine he'd like the name to carry down a bit more, too."
"I see. So, if I can agree to that, we've a deal?"
"One, at least.
He stood. "And you can, um. Even with the…" He traced the shape of a hemisphere in front of his abdomen.
Hermione watched his hands, then tilted her head. "I think you have a bulge of your own." She looked up. "You didn't previously seem excited about this. I figured I'd have to convince you."
He cursed. "You promised a…some sex, Granger. I've been thinking about it for hours, and…" He blushed. "Earlier, I touched, and it…"
She waited, but he didn't go on, so she prompted, "And what?"
"And I remember, I mean, not everything, but a lot, from when we…"
"Yes." He ran his hand through his hair. "I'm not used to women that use that word."
"Why, what's Pansy call it?"
"Intercourse. Or letting me ease myself or something like that. We don't usually actually refer to it. Didn't, that is; given her response to the notion my bits had been in contact with yours, I'd say the odds she'll ever forgive me are zero."
Hermione shook her head and stood up to carry the dishes to the sink. "Go on, then. You remember what?"
"I remember touching, and then today, it was so different, and at the time it was weird, but then after, I thought, I did that. That's part of me up inside there, and, um. And then I developed this problem." He gestured to his trousers.
"I see. So, touching my pregnant stomach got you hard."
"But you didn't answer the question. Can you?"
She crossed her arms over her chest. "You know, I remember you being a great deal smoother than this."
She laughed and stepped closer. "I can. Right now, I can do pretty much anything. Later, it'll have to be a bit less active, a bit less pressure." She unfastened his trousers and reached in, drawing a hiss from him, and added, "But I've been thinking about this all day, ever since we made this agreement, and unless you have an objection, I have a plan."
He groaned. "A plan?"
"We're agreed, about the name? Your word?" She stroked up and down, watching his legs quiver inside his trousers.
"Yes," he said. "I swear."
She stepped back and pointed her wand, creating a low stool, of sorts, in front of the cabinet. Then she turned around, stepped up on it, flipped up her skirt, and bent forward to lean her weight on her elbows.
"Have you been …no knickers, all through supper?"
"Do you plan to give me this kind of image with every negotiation?"
"It'd be lousy strategy to tell you that, don't you think? Come on." She arched her back until he stepped forward and pressing against her. She hissed and rocked back until he pushed forward and in, then dropped her hands between her legs.
"Fuck," he said.
"Yeah," she agreed.
"Welcome to St. Mungo's and Happy Christmas!" The attendant at the desk was chipper beyond belief, and Hermione briefly considered reaching across the desk to throttle her. However, another contraction hit, and instead she clung to the edge of the counter and gave her name through gritted teeth.
When they asked about the father, she clamped her mouth shut, and glared, then, as the contraction faded, said in clear, clipped words, "I've taken care of seeing he knows I'm here. Now, my daughter is in a hurry, and you need to find me a bloody Healer. Preferably Helena."
The attendant, utterly unfazed, pressed a button and directed her to level three south. She glared again, then made her way to the lift to level two. The attendant said behind her, "if he were here, he could help you, Miss."
Hermione offered a rather abbreviated two-finger salute, then clutched her belly again and waited for the lift.
She hadn't seen Draco in seven weeks.
Things had been fine--great, even; if they were hardly in love, they were certainly more than compatible in bed (and counter, and table, and living room floor), and he'd been taking her instructions, such as they were, to heart, as to how to please her. And then somehow, in the beginning of November, they'd argued--it was nothing serious, just a conversation regarding the eventual schooling of the child, which was ridiculous, she'd asserted, as there would be no need for tutors any time soon--and everything had fallen apart. He'd stormed out without taking her to bed, and somehow one thing had led to another, argument after argument over everything, including things they'd agreed to months prior.
Now, they weren't talking.
Now, she'd left a message for her mother and come here on her own in the middle of the bloody night when it had become clear she couldn't wait for morning. She'd also left a note for Draco, but as she'd left it with Ron, she was confident it wouldn't be delivered, and she'd be left to manage this on her own.
It was just as well. She'd tell the Healers he'd abandoned them, and raise her daughter herself. She should have just handled all this through some legal channels in the first place.
Hell, on one level, she thought that she probably should have just gone and got a Muggle abortion in the first place, on the theory that the law was new and more than likely no one would know. Of course, it was too late for that now, both because she was nine and two-thirds months pregnant, and because she was rather attached to their daughter.
The fact that she'd never wanted to raise her daughter with Draco Sodding Malfoy didn't mean the whole thing didn't piss her off
She watched the lift doors close, then reopen, and made her way to Maternity and got herself checked in.
It was going to be a long night.
"What time is it?" she asked, late the next afternoon and long after the second pain charm had worn off. They had a rule about repeated applications, and despite all her threats, including the one of Harry coming to deal with them all, when the second one had died out shortly after the lunch she hadn't been able to eat, they'd said she had to wait three hours.
"Not quite three," the nurse answered. "Just about tea time."
Hermione groaned. An entire hour to go. Her daughter wasn't in a hurry, after all. The nurse gave her a cup of ice chips and told her to ring the bell if anything changed.
At three-forty, she tried getting up to walk (again); it hadn't helped at one this afternoon, nor at nine this morning, but she was certain it would be an improvement over sweating and moaning in bed. She paced along the corridor slowly, all the way to the end, stopping to lean against the wall every time there was another contraction. In theory, with the contractions this close together, the baby should have been born already, but things had stalled, and here she was waiting, with every second minute spent with her fingertips digging into the tops of her thighs as she panted.
She turned--far too fast; she was losing her balance when Draco's hands caught her shoulders. "What are you doing here?"
"Nice touch, leaving the note with Weasley," he said.
"He told Potter. Potter, being the savior of the world and so on, thought that even if I was being a first-rate jackass, I ought to know, so he attempted to reach me. I'm afraid he reached Mother instead, and she got me."
"And you rushed right down, to make sure I don't fail to properly start tutoring your daughter on defensive spells in the first hour of her life, I suppose?"
Draco's mouth twisted and he gripped her shoulders more tightly. She was about to complain, when she realized the twist of his lips wasn't anger or disdain or irritation; it was embarrassment.
"I may have been slightly unreasonable," he said.
"You're only saying that so I don't have you thrown out."
He rolled his eyes. "Depressingly, that's probably a fair statement, based on how I've been behaving. It's also not true."
"Oh? You're here so you can demand custody immediately after she's out? Just go away."
"No. Look, did you want to keep walking?"
"Yes, I need to get back for the pain charm, which, thank God, I can have again at four." She winced as another contraction started, and when he turned to walk with her, one arm around her waist, gripped his hand instead of her leg because she was starting to bruise rather a lot. Finally, the misery eased and she started taking determined steps back to her room; it must be nearly time.
"That… looked like it hurt."
"Yes, well. Baby-sized creature attempting to exit via cock-sized hole. Roughly like you trying to expel a Snitch, or possibly a Bludger, out your--"
He groaned. "Ow. And they're not giving you anything?
"Can't until four. I've been here forever, and she's being stubborn."
"Wonder where she got that."
"Shit, I meant me. Anyway. It's four. Do you want me to go get some--ow!"
She was gripping his hand again, whimpering involuntarily. "Damn it, that's suddenly a lot closer together."
He started forward with her again, his face pale, and a moment later, simply scooped her up and walked while she dug her fingers into his neck, his bicep, his hair.
The nurse met them at the door. "Hermione?"
"Got a lot closer. All at once. Draco's fault."
The nurse indicated Draco ought to set her back on the bed, and Hermione rested there a moment before another pain started. The nurse examined her quickly and smiled. "Excellent. Much better, and it shouldn't be long now." She waved her wand. "I'm doing another charm, but this one's short, because we don't need you addled, after."
Hermione deliberately let loose Draco's hand, irritated that she'd needed him for the past two minutes, and scowled, though as the pain lessened, her resolve to be angry did as well.
Still, he'd been an arse, and she couldn't be entirely sure he really wouldn't try to swoop in and establish custody or some other horrible thing. She pointed at the door. "Wait outside," she said.
He opened his mouth as though to object, but then pressed his lips together, and leaned forward to speak quietly. "I'm going because I know I owe you for freaking out and being difficult. But after? We need to talk. I've been reading your books."
Hermione snorted, her head feeling light, now, even as she realized her body was curling into another contraction. She gritted her teeth. "Can't reward you, if you're agreeable."
He shrugged. "I can wait." He turned and went to the door, then added, "Also, sorry, but since Mother notified me, I'm reasonably sure she's got Father here by now. Is your mother--"
"Probably." She watched him go, unable to decide whether she was angry or pleased he was here, angry or pleased he'd let her tell him to go, and angry or pleased he apparently still thought they had things to work out. She concluded it was, on balance, at least cause for optimism.
And then her attention was diverted entirely, as the pressures in her body changed and the nurse directed her to push.
Soon enough, thankfully, finally, she heard the wail of the baby clearing her lungs, and held out her hands to take her.
Given the mess, it occurred to her she was just as glad she'd made Draco leave; regardless of any other kind of progress he'd made, he was squeamish as hell.
She lay back carefully, letting them take the baby for washing up and swaddling, then let them seal the tear to her own body and prop her up to look. A moment later, the nurse was leading--oh for heaven's sake--Draco, his parents, and her parents, all arguing, into the room. She sighed and went back to focusing on the baby.
Draco had the good sense to ignore their bickering parents as well, instead sitting carefully on the edge of the bed and examining the little face. The baby--unnamed, since this had been one of the things on which they'd never reached agreement--was wrapped up tight in a bright pink blanket, and all that was visible was her face and one squirming hand, the thumb of which she was sucking, and pale curly hair already thick on top of her head.
"Well?" Hermione asked.
"She's beautiful. Except for the bright red. That goes away, right?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. "She's already considerably less irate than she was two minutes ago. I imagine she'll be pristine within the hour."
He laughed and poked a finger experimentally at the curls. "We were talking," he said, "out in the waiting area, about the name argument.
Hermione braced herself; probably there was yet another painfully awful family name on the tip of his tongue.
Instead, he shrugged. "You didn't hate Cassiopeia, and if we're naming after a grandmother--"
"I am far too young to be a grandmother," Narcissa put in.
"--that Cassiopeia Narcissa was just too much." He raised his eyebrows at her hopefully, and Hermione nodded, far too tired to argue about this again anyway.
"Fine. Cassiopeia Laura it is. Just don't think because you're getting your way on this, that I'm going to give in completely."
"Wouldn't even dream of it, Hermione. Compromise, that's my middle name."
She smiled, drifting into a half-sleepy state despite the crowd. "I thought Ferret was your middle name."
"Hermione, if you ever tell Cassie about the ferret incident, I will tell her all about the troll and the numerous times her mother managed to get into loads of trouble. And your nickname. I'll even tell her that."
"That's a low blow."
"So was the ferret."
Hermione tried to glare, but wound up yawning, instead; Draco laughed.
"Do you want to hold your daughter?" Hermione asked. "Please say yes; I'm falling asleep. Up all night, you know."
"Yes, very much." Draco picked up the baby gingerly. "Er, the book said her head?"
Hermione smiled. "Not completely untrainable after all, are you?"
"Draco," Lucius interrupted, "remember. Don't drop her, and love her. Everything else will work out if you do that." Hermione wondered how her life had gotten so strange as to include Lucius Malfoy in her birthing chamber, but concluded that as long as he didn't stop her napping, she didn't very much care.
As she started to drift off, she heard her father demanding, "That's your fatherly advice, don't drop the baby? That's just sad."
"It's all right, Cassie," Draco said, closer to her. "They're just arguing because they want the best for you."
Hermione blinked her eyes open just long enough to see their daughter stare with concentration at Draco for a few seconds, then close her eyes and fall immediately asleep. She managed a slurred, "I quite agree," and fell asleep, too.