The sound of apparition was heard in the quiet, soundless streets of the magical village of Peronia, Italy. The rain pattered against the ancient pavements of the small town, with its large cathedral and myriad of dead end streets.
Hurried footsteps filled the little town as a young woman ran against the cobbles in a beige trench coat holding her wand tightly in one hand, the rain beating on her already worn and tired. She got to the cathedral and turned into the right passage leading to the old houses. She stopped running and panted slightly, golden brown eyes fleeting behind her to check if she wasn't being followed. She looked at the worn buildings either side of her.
"3, 4, 5… ah, 6" she whispered to herself as she dashed towards the worn red oak door and knocked five times in a specific combination.
"Chi è?" A soft and motherly voice asked through the door.
"Ragazza dorata, Mama Zabini," said the young woman as she wiped the rain off of her face slightly that was now covered with droplets of rain and much of her beading sweat. The sounds of chains and locks sounded and the door opened to reveal a plump woman, late 60's, greying brown hair and dressed in a flowered dress and apron.
"Cara," said the woman known by Mama Zabini affectionately as she ushered the young brunette woman into her house.
"Cara, you must be exhausted and very wet. You're all skin and bone, cara. What have they been feeding you? Don't worry Mama will make you a nice lasagne" she said taking the young woman's coat and entering the kitchen. The young woman shook out her brown curls that resembled that of a lion's mane.
Mama Zabini waved her wand and set her kitchen equipment to make the meal. She then sat down with the young woman in the cosy sitting room.
"So how have you been, cara? Those two ragazzi treating you well? Have you heard from your marito yet?" She asked the young woman.
"Well we were captured, they recognised Harry by his scar even though I cast a stinging jinx. Bellatrix tortured me and she left a souvenir. I saw him, he helped us escape. I hate to think what they did to him." she said tears developing as she held them back. She pulled back her sleeve to reveal Bellatrix's handy work, a cut in her arm, jagged letters formed 'Mudblood' in Hermione's arm.
"Oh cara, you poor girl. I must have some salve lying around from when Blaise used to get into fights or fall over" Mama Zabini replied.
Donatella Zabini was Blaise Zabini's grandmother on his mother's side as he uses his mother's maiden name. She has 3 children: Angelo, Vincent and Alessandra being Blaise's mother. She then ran an orphanage for the town.
Donatella returned later with a small pot of salve but found that Hermione had fallen asleep on the sofa. She covered the young girl in a quilt and left her to sleep.
Minutes later Mama Zabini's knitting session was interrupted by a sharp, short knock at the door. She looked through the keyhole and instantly opened the door.
"Is she here?" asked a nervous, shaky but silken voice.
"She is but she's sleeping, why don't you go and visit your bambina, first?" replied Mama Zabini. The visitor nodded and entered the house, proceeding to rush up the stairs, two at a time. He finally got to the top and turned to the left, entering a small pastel pink room.
The soft gurgle of a baby was present in the room and the young man stepped forward into the nursery. In the small wooden cot lay a small baby girl, swaddled in a pink blanket and sleeping soundly.
"Hello, sweetheart" whispered the young man as he picked up the little girl who woke up suddenly to her father's voice and outstretched her little arms.
He picked up the baby and began to rock and coo at her
"Daddy's very sorry he couldn't be here my darling, but he's been very busy fighting bad guys and protecting Mummy. We're just trying to make a better future for you, angel." He softly said to her, his blonde locks falling into his eyes.
"Which means Mummy has to take the cruciatus curse and be reduced to nothing by an evil bitch and a terrifying werewolf," said a soft voice behind the young man. He turned around, still rocking the baby in his arms to look into the eyes of his frail but still beautiful wife.
"Hermione," he said softly tears forming in his eyes as she came forward. He placed his daughter back into the crib.
"Draco," she said just as softly tears already streaming down her face.
He rushed towards her, placed a hand behind her head and kissed her with fervour and passion. Their tears mingled together as the two lovers wrapped themselves in each other again, the first time in a very long time.
"I'm so so so sorry, I just- I couldn't stop them. I-I feel like such a coward" he sobbed as he pulled away from their kiss. Hermione put her hand gently against his cheek and turned his grey eyes towards her.
"You did as best as you could, shsh Draco I'm alive. I love you so much" she whispered through tears.
"I love you too" Draco replied as he kissed her again. When they came apart, breathing heavily, Hermione stole a glance at her daughter sleeping peacefully in the crib.
"Stella" she whispered putting her finger into her baby's fist. Draco wrapped his arms around her waist.
"Our little guardian star lighting our way through the darkest times, Stella Luna Malfoy" Draco said from over her shoulder."Una semper, Draco," Hermione said softly.
"I will never let them harm you again or ever go near our Stell," Draco replied as he kissed her neck tenderly, looping his fingers through hers and twiddling her wedding ring in his finger.
"I want to tell Harry and Ron about us and about Stella," she said looking straight into his mesmerising grey eyes.
"I don't think that's a good..." she stopped him mid-sentence with a finger to his lips.
"I want them to know. I've been thinking, that in case anything happens to us. That Harry and Ron know she's here so that Mama doesn't have to look after her if we do pass on" she said seriously, tears rolling down her cheeks.
"Nothing is going to happen to us, Stella will have two parents by the end of the war. But telling Weasley and Potter will ensure security, but telling them about our secret three-year relationship, month engagement and small Italian wedding, that might be pushing it" Draco replied brushing her tears away and running his hands through her hair as her worried face became more prominent.
"Draco I need this security." She pleaded with him.
"Blaise knows, he's her godfather." He retorted.
"Please," She begged, looking into his grey eyes.
"Alright." He huffed as she enveloped him in a warm hug. She ran her hand up his arm until she came to something jagged that she had never encountered before. He hissed as her touch caressed it. He let her lift his shirt sleeve as he looked down tentatively at what she was doing. She rolled it up carefully until she started to uncover something, a letter in his inner left arm. She kept rolling.
"R-O-T-I-A-R-T D-O-O-L-B. Blood Traitor" she whispered, horrified what had been inflicted on her husband.
"Bellatrix said that we should be matching. Evil bitch" he said.
"Why didn't you tell me before?" she asked, looking a little hurt that he didn't share with his wife that he had been permanently branded.
"I didn't want you to worry, it's not healthy," he said placing his hand on her lower abdomen.
"How did you know?" she asked in shock where he put his hand.
"Your glowing and... I can see through your glamour" he said waving his wand to reveal her slightly pronounced stomach.
"Are you angry?" she asked fearfully.
"Am I angry? We're having another child Hermione, I'm ecstatic. I love you and love our little family. I will protect you at any cost. Now I'm going to tell Mama that were going to bed and then I'm going to fall asleep with my wife in my arms" He said kissing her forehead whilst still cradling her stomach.
Draco left the room, walking down the stairs, there lay Mama Zabini's cold, unbreathing body on the floor at the bottom of the stairs. As he got to the bottom step, he came face to face with the tip of a wand.
"Nott?" Draco asked standing starstruck in front of his friend. The young man looked at him with hatred in his eyes. His dark mark prominent on his pale alabaster skin, his hood hid a scar running down his left cheek.
"Malfoy. You traitor, so called Slytherin Prince shacked up with Princess Mudblood." He hissed, the sharp sting of venom in his mouth as he said it.
"Don't call her that" Draco said through gritted teeth, pulling his own wand on Theodore.
Suddenly there was a tremendous cry of a baby that coursed through the house. Draco's eyes went instantly wide. Theodore Nott smirked knowingly.
"So rumours about the Mudblood were wrong, Miss iron knickers. She's got a little half-blood spawn to prove it, oh Draco mummy and daddy won't be pleased at all." Theo said tauntingly. He pressed his wand into Draco's back.
"Now walk up the stairs and lead me to her, or I'll Avada your ferret ass" He threatened in Draco's ear. Draco walked slowly and staggered up the stairs. They turned into Stella's nursery.
Hermione sat in a rocking chair with Stella in her arms singing softly. She looked up as her husband entered the room, she looked shocked at who was behind him and cuddled Stella securely to her body.
"Oh sorry for interrupting Hermione, but I wanted to see the baby" Theodore said charmingly. Hermione looked to Draco.
"I'm just about to put her to sleep, you see it's her bedtime" she answered shaking with fear slightly.
"Oh, I wouldn't want to upset her," Theodore said.
Hermione slowly drew her wand from her back pocket and pointed it on Theo. She placed the sleeping Stella in her crib.
"Take your wand from my husband's back, now" she threatened, training her wand at Theo's head. Theo took his wand off of Draco.
"Drop it" she demanded. Theo dropped his wand immediately, Draco picked it up and joined his wife's side and pointed this wand at Theo.
"Ahh… the Mudblood and the blood traitor! What are you going to do to me? I know about your little happy family, I could tell My Lord or you could obliviate me or kill me" Theodore hissed at the two who had grabbed each others hand tightly.
"Obliviate" Hermione yelled pointing her wand at Theo's head and taking away every single memory. She couldn't risk her family's wellbeing especially her daughter. Draco followed suit with a quick freezing spell.
They looked on at the man that lay on the floor of their daughter's nursery, Draco's eyes filled with fury looking at the person who could have killed his family. Hermione laid her head on his shoulder, tracing her fingers up his arm.
"I won't let anyone ever hurt you, Hermione," He said as he turned to her, he wrapped his arms around her mid-section gently and placed a kiss on her forehead.
"I love you Draco" She whispered kissing his lips gently.
From that moment on Hermione knew that she was in the safest arms she could ever be. Draco would never let anything hurt her, their daughter and the baby growing in her stomach.
Italian and Latin translations-
Chi è?- Who is it
Ragazza dorata- Golden girl
Bambina- baby girl
Una semper- one always