“I can’t believe you won’t let me come!” Ginny was putting her foot down. “It’s not as if I’m going to stop working anytime soon… I might as well join you!” Her eyes pierced into Harry’s as she was folding the newly bought unisex baby clothes in a freshly painted nursery.
“I’d much rather see you safe with the Harpies…” Harry argued. “I’d never forgive myself…” He took her face briefly in his hands. “You do understand, don’t you?” he pleaded with his wife.
Ginny huffed. “Understand, sure, but that doesn’t mean I agree… The more, the merrier, I’d say…”
When angered she looked a bit like her mother, Harry mused, and she was just as adamant. He laughed a little bitterly. “Malfoy said something similar….” he explained, after her glowering look.
“What did the ferret say?” Ginny wondered.
“That you were good at hexes and flying….”
Ginny rose an eyebrow. “He said that? That doesn’t sound like Malfoy…”
“He isn’t pleased about us becoming parents though….”
She snorted in return. “Hardly surprising…. He probably thinks we’re going to have as much kids as mum…”
“Let’s keep it at one first, for the time being…” Harry smirked. “No need to get carried away…”
“Do speak to him, Lucius, please …” Narcissa pleaded. “What if your son doesn’t return...?” She didn’t want to contemplate that particular thought, yet it was all she could think about.
“I don’t have a son…” he replied with gritted teeth. “None to be proud of, anyway…”
“You’ll regret it, in the end….” His wife said, wiping away a solitary tear.
“I seriously doubt that….” Lucius bluffed in return.
Narcissa gave up, leaving the room with her shoulders dropped. She had talked to him on Draco’s behalf and was getting sick and tired of becoming a messenger between them.
“He won’t listen,” she told her child. “Stubborn as always…”
“It will be alright, mother….” Draco said, hugging her awkwardly. He was all set to go, nearly draped in the large amount of bags. They would not be leaving ‘till the morning, but he would spend the night at Hermione’s.
Crying softly, Narcissa kissed his cheeks and ruffled his white hair. “Please look after yourself…” she said, “do come back….”
“I won’t do anything stupid,” was all he could promise her.
Watching her son disappear at the end of the long driveway, pierced her heart. He had gone, once more, to battle…
The following morning began far too soon for his sake. Draco had enjoyed his last evening before the trip immensely. His father’s stern refusal to say goodbye hadn’t stung as much as he had feared; it seemed he began to get used to his treatment, his cold demeanor.
Coming home to Hermione had been much more intense… After playing games with Rose, who would be staying alternately at both her grandparents, they had enjoyed a little privacy together that they might not get for weeks to come. Watching Hermione fall asleep in his arms had been immensely satisfying and had given him all the comfort he needed. When all this was over, perhaps it would be time for the next step….
In the early hours, Hermione was walking around her house, fretting over just about everything…. Rose had been picked up by Hermione’s teary-eyed mother and her ashen-faced father. The latter had taken Draco aside for a short chat insisting on Draco serving as some sort of body guard. Draco had humbly declared that chances were that he would need her protection just as much. It had not settled Mr. Granger’s feelings one bit so in the end Draco had relented. The shaky smile on her father’s face had been his reward. It was an altered world indeed, one where a Muggle-born’s parent cared more about his fate than his very own father; the very one who had doted on him all his life….
“Ready to go?” Hermione got him out of his musing.
“Have been for ages,” he smirked as he got one in return.
“No harm in being prepared…” she said.
“No one could ever accuse you of not being so,” he acknowledged with a sour smile. “You’ve checked everything over five times, I reckon…”
“We could be away for ages… What if I accidently left the stove on..? Let me check one last time..”
She dashed off into the kitchen as Draco carried some of the bags outside. They were supposed to look like they were going on vacation and would take Hermione’s car to their destination. Draco still hated appearing to be a Muggle, having to carry all this heavy stuff manually…
The car was soon stuffed with numerous bags…
“All this… just for the neighbours…” He lamented. “I’m glad we’re not actually taking all of this with us… How do Muggles even survive? There’s hardly any room to sit!” A bag was stuck between his legs, giving him no space to move.
“It’s also for the Ministry,” Hermione replied. “They are supposed to think we’re on vacation too!”
They’d hired a bungalow near the seaside; a wonderful holiday destination…. Alas, they would not spend any time there…
“So the plan is to go there… Stay a few hours, dump all the bags… and then meet Harry and Elphaba at the lighthouse.”
“Going on a romantic stroll… before disappearing of the radar…”
Draco looked puzzled. “’Hermione,” he wondered, “what’s a radar?”
Late that afternoon, they went for a long romantic stroll; both carrying much more than ordinarily required for such a pastime… A couple walking their dog, as well as, a wheezing runner gave them strange glances.
“I can spot the lighthouse already…” Draco sighed.
“Let the battle begin…” Hermione muttered ominously.
Far too quickly, they arrived at the foot of the lighthouse, spotting Elphaba already sitting on a wooden bench, her baggage stacked beside her.
“Harry not here yet?”
She shook her head. “He needed some extra supplies, said he might be running a bit late…”
Some odd fifteen minutes later, Harry did arrive. But he was not alone…