It All Comes Together
It was needless to say that Draco was freaking out. Not only has Rosalinda been found, but Granger found her. However, he knew the kind of person Hermione Granger was, and even if she hated his guts, she wouldn’t hurt a child. This was finally the time to tell someone the truth. It had been six years, and Draco was sure he would take this secret to his grave, but lo and behold he was about to tell her about it. Life really couldn’t have gotten any more upside-down in his opinion.
Taking deep breaths, Draco lead Granger to their research area, and put up as many wards as he could think of. He noticed how calm she was, but that wouldn’t last for long. He sat down wearily, ran a hand through his hair, then began his story. “First, what I’m about to tell you is a secret, and not yours to tell, you understand me?” he demanded, staring Granger down until she firmly nodded her head. He let out a deep breath and shakily continued, “When I was in our sixth year at Hogwarts, I was under a bit of stress. I had to kill Dumbledore and let the Death Eaters in while the Dark Lord had my parent’s lives in his hands. On the first of March, Crabbe, Goyle, and I decided to sneak out of the castle for a bit to have some fun. We found a muggle bar, and got blazing drunk. I honestly don’t remember anything passed the fifth shot, but the next morning I was in a strange bed with a girl I didn’t know.”
Draco decided to pause for a moment to slow his franticly beating heart. Once he was decently back in control again, he went on. “I was smart enough to deduce half of what went on, so I checked her purse for anything with her name on it, and found a muggle driver’s license and a wand. I knew she was not a Pureblood or even a halfblood then, so I did what I knew I would have to: I left a note apologizing, wrote down her name and address, then obviated myself from her memory. Later, I would find out that Crabbe and Goyle thought it was a good idea to Imperio the girl and lock my drunk self into a hotel room with her. They had to have their memories altered also.”
He took a moment to grab a book to fiddle with before he finished. “I went to see her a few months after the incident, just hoping that I remembered a contraceptive charm that night, but it turns out being black out drunk messes with your memory,” Draco gave a nervous laugh, and continued, “I was prepared for any possibility, so I had Snape make me Polyjuice, no questions asked, and plucked a hair from some unsuspecting muggle in town. I knew I had to tell her something, so I talked with her as some random muggle, and told her that her and the baby would be in danger if she or anyone else knew I was the father. I apologized profusely, and gave her a few thousand Galleons to help take care of herself and the baby. She slapped me, and I never saw her again. But, I have deposited money into her Gringotts regularly since the war.” Draco was tired by this point, but also a little relieved, it was nice for someone to know his secret.
He finally took a glance at Granger and found her studying him. He was about to make a remark about her lack of manners when she spoke, “It’s after the war, there is no Voldemort,” Draco flinched, but she trudged on, “to make you give up the child. Why didn’t you find her after the war. You are an adult, and the law states that you can do whatever you wish with her.”
Draco sighed. The intricacies of Pureblood society weren’t taught to anyone outside of the circle, so Granger wouldn’t understand all finer details of his life. “You see Granger,” he began, “in Pureblood law, a son does not become master of himself until either his father dies, or he marries. That means that if I claimed my daughter now, he would be legally able to overpower me and put her to death. Which you of all people should know my father’s stance on Mudbloods. Do you really think he would just be happy to be a grandfather and accept a bastard child as his own? I am neither married or devoid of my father, so for the time being the kid needs to stay hidden. That is why this law is so important to me. Are you happy?” Draco finished, practically fuming.
Hermione’s brain must have taken a siesta for a bit, because she was stuck on the fact that Malfoy was the father of Rosalinda. The child she was temporarily adopting. She decided to take a step back and go over everything Malfoy just told her. Stress. Drunk. Imperius. Sex. Obliviate. Kid. Money. Father. Rosie. She needed to keep Rosalinda safe, and if Malfoy was telling the truth, she would put off the paternity test and work overtime until this law was broken. When Malfoy finally finished, he was obviously indignant. For good reason, but she still needed to calm him down, so she lowered her voice and gave him a kind smile. “Malfoy,” she whispered, “we’re going to break this law, and your father will never hurt her.” This seemed to have put out the fire in him like a bucket of ice water. It was obvious that telling this massive secret had worn him out. Now, was the time to let him sleep it off, so she would have time to get Rosie.
So, she got up and kneeled in front of Malfoy so that he could see her eyes. “I’m going to get Rosalinda today. I will do everything in my power to keep her safe. But, you are her father, so do you want to see her?” Hermione questioned softly.
The ‘yes’ that followed was instinctual. Draco didn’t even have time to question his parenting ability or think about his parents, Astoria, or how much closer Granger was to his daughter than he was. He could finally see her. Rosalinda. Not a name he put in his letter to her mother, but he also didn’t expect much more than that letter being ripped up. Then, his mind went to wandering into questions about Rosalinda. What was her middle name? Did she like her mother? Would she know who he was? Would she accept him? “Whoa whoa. I’m getting ahead of myself. One step at a time. I know nothing about raising a child, and I cannot see her until the law is broken,” he reprimanded himself. When Draco finally disentangled himself from his own thoughts, Granger was finished saying, “I need to get her now. I will need to take the rest of the day to get affairs in order. We will talk more tomorrow. Your secret is safe with me.”
He started to reply, but her quick hug and whispered, “it’ll be okay,” stopped him. He fell right back into a stupor of thoughts so thick he didn’t hear the library door close on Granger’s way out. He was now adding ‘strange care for Granger’ on his list of constant worries. He needed sleep.
Hermione didn’t know why she comforted Malfoy. It’s not like he deserved it; he got himself into this mess. But as she traipsed down the massive staircase at Malfoy Manor, she couldn’t help but feel worried for the git. What if his parents find out? What if Astoria finds out? She is probably his plan B, because if he gets married, then his father doesn’t have control over Rosie’s fate. Imagine knowing you have a kid, but not seeing her for six years. Even Malfoy doesn’t seem immune to that sorrow. Malfoy. A father. During her musing, she did not notice a slender brunette waiting for her by the front doors until she was reaching for the door, and a perfectly manicured hand was in her way.
“I’d like a word,” Astoria whispered menacingly, glaring at Hermione like she stole her favorite toy.
Hermione took a few seconds to survey the woman in front of her. Despite Astoria’s attempts to seem intimidating, she merely looked like a child about to have a tantrum. Her clothes were rumpled, her hair was a bit out of place from running her hand through it, and her eyes were a bit puffy. It was obvious the Astoria was a bit insecure at Hermione’s presence, so Hermione let her down easy. “Astoria, you have nothing to worry about from Draco. He turned me into a pig yesterday, and I’m his boss. There is nothing romantic happening. You should talk to him. But right now, I have to go. I have a very important appointment,” she said, checking her watch only to be reminded she was late to get Rosalinda.
Astoria’s arm fell out of the way, and the tears came back to the surface. “Thank you,” she mumbled, “if only he would actually listen.” With that, she began to slump back to Narcissa and maybe cry a bit more, but Hermione’s leaving words stopped her. “He has something really big on his plate right now. But once we’re done with this case, I’m sure he’ll have all the time in the world for you. But right now, this is really important to him. Trust me.” The door shut, and Astoria was left to her thoughts which were significantly more optimistic than they were a few minutes ago. Maybe there was truth behind Hermione Granger’s nickname The Golden Girl. Who else would still help someone who was a hair away from threatening them?
“The paperwork is all finished Ms. Granger. Now, all you need to do is talk to the director, then pick of Rosalinda,” the secretary said with a bright grin. In the room with the director was Kingsley Shacklebolt. Hermione sat down next to her boss and across from a tall, wiry man with an exceptionally well kept black handlebar mustache, who must be the director. He greeted her with a cheerful smile, and said, “Ms. Granger, thank you so much for helping catch Ms. Rosalinda and for taking her in. I know she may not be on the best of terms with you after you helped bring her here, but I was hoping for a favor. Besides her first name and date of birth, we know nothing about this girl. I would ask if during her stay with you, you could figure out a bit more about her. A full name. Parents. Did she enjoy her home life? We need to know if we should even be advertising to find her biological parents. So far, there has been to reports of a missing child. So, either the parents are used to this behavior, or they do not expect her back, which is unacceptable.” The director continued, “I expect that you will take very good care of Rosalinda. She is a bit jumpy, so I will assign an extra auror to be posted outside your door during late hours incase she tries to sneak out. Thank you so much for doing this on such a short notice. I appreciate it greatly. Now, I have a meeting to go to, but the Minister will escort you to Rosalinda’s room. It was wonderful meeting you.” He shook her hand lightly, and hurried out of the room, glancing at his watch.
When the door shut, Hermione began casting wards for privacy. “What is the meaning of such strong wards?” Kingsley inquired, a tinge of worry laced his deep voice. “Privacy,” Hermione muttered as she finished the last of twenty three charms she cast over the room. Not even the Weasley twins could break those wards. When she turned back to Kingsley she began Rosalinda’s story. “Minister, I know who Rosalinda’s parents are,” Kingsley was about to ask why she was going through with the adoption when she cut him off with a finger, “I’m not done. If anyone found out who her parent’s are before Malfoy and I break that law, she is good as dead.”
A look of understanding dawned on the Minister’s face, but before he could announce his personal revelation, Hermione continued with the story. “Yes, Malfoy is the father, but her mother is muggleborn. If Lucius Malfoy found out about Rosalinda before this law is broken or Malfoy marries, he has the right to kill Rosie. I can’t let that happen Minister. We need to break that law, but until then, Rosalinda needs to be out of sight, and no one must know who her father is,” Hermione finished, feeling rather emotional over the whole ordeal. Kingsley nodded with understanding, but Hermione wasn’t done quite yet. “Minister, I would like to request that we make an unbreakable vow. No word of Rosalinda’s parentage is to be spoken of until this law is broken.” Kingsley gave her ultimatum a moment of thought, then solemnly replied, “Anything to keep the child safe. I will never speak a word.”
After the unbreakable vow was performed, Kingsley and Hermione made plans for Rosalinda’s safety. “We must glamour her appearance before anyone else sees her. It would be too easy to connect her back to Mr. Malfoy when you are working with him, so she needs to be unrecognizable. Also, we need a story as to why you are suddenly housing a little girl,” the Minister pointed out.
“Yes,” Hermione replied, chewing on her bottom lip in thought. “She can be my cousin. I could say that her parents were involved in a fatal motor accident, and I am keeping her until her older brother and his wife are able to take her. We will of course need to glamour her to vaguely resemble me. Will that do?” she inquired.
“That will work very well. Most wizards will not investigate your claim if it involves anything muggle. Though, we need to be prepared for the media’s onslaught. We need this to be an solid story. No kinks. Do you have an aunt and an uncle with children?” Kingsley asked.
“Yes, that’s why I used them. It’s close enough to the truth. Their youngest daughter is eight, and their oldest child is twenty two. Perfect ages. All we need to do is have my aunt, uncle, and their daughter go on a vacation, and make a fake news report that they were killed in a crash and their daughter was taken in by me,” Hermione replied with a smile. Everything was coming together, and she enjoyed making alibis like she used to with Harry in school when they were always in trouble.
“Yes, and alter the brother’s memory. It will be a lot of work, but it can be done. Now, all you need to do is keep Rosalinda safe, and hurry up and break the Marriage Act,” Kingsley closed, standing up and stretching. “Come, we need to prepare the child,” he said, motioning her out of the room. Hermione quickly took down the wards, and scurried after the Minister. When they reached Rosalinda’s holding room, they exchanged a look that said ‘I hope this works as well as we planned it.’
Rosalinda was sitting primly in an office chair, reading the copy of The Tales of Beetle the Bard that Hermione bought for her. Upon their arrival, however, the little girl slammed the book shut and glared at the two adults entering the room. Hermione, trying her hand at being the caring mother figure, bent down so she was at eye level with Rosie, and softly explained, “Rosalinda, we’re here to help. I know who your parents are, and I know that it would be very dangerous if someone found that out. You’re going to be staying with me a while so your biological father and I have enough time to fix a law that will make you safe. But first we need to make you look a bit different. Is that okay?”
The little girl stared at Hermione wide-eyed. “You know who my father is?” Rosie asked in a whisper. “Yes, and he has been waiting years to see you,” Hermione replied with a light smile. “Will it hurt?” Rosalinda questioned wearily.
Hermione was momentarily confused, until she realized the girl was asking about the glamour. “No,” she answered, “it’ll feel like a whole bunch of butterflies landed on you, then you’ll look in the mirror, and you’ll look a bit more like me. Is that okay?”
“Will it keep my mummy safe?” Rosie worried.
“Yes, everyone will think you’re my cousin. We will tell you the story we will be telling people later. But if no one can tell who you are, they wouldn’t find your mummy. We will keep you and her safe. Promise,” Hermione vowed. She knew that they needed to tread carefully with this little girl. Rosalinda had a Slytherin streak in her, and there was no knowing how long her trust in them would last before the fiery little girl came out again.
“We need to hurry. We have a lot of work ahead of us,” Kingsley commanded.
Once Rosalinda was out of her chair, Hermione began the glamour charms. The girl’s hair turned from straight platinum blonde locks to chocolate waves. Her eyes were hazel, but were turned green to match Hermione’s uncle’s eyes. Her skin was fair, so Hermione gave her a slight tan. Now, the only thing left was her face, Kingsley was left to glamour that portion, as Hermione couldn’t be the best judge of what she looked like. While cheekbones were lowered and eyebrows thinned, the only suggestion Hermione made was to make Rosie’s lips plumper and pinker. Her actual cousin had the cutest little lips, and she didn’t want that lost in this ruse.
“Done,” Hermione and Kingsley announce simultaneously. They conjured up a full length mirror for Rosalinda to look at herself in. The amazement on her new face was adorable, but short lived. She was serious again when she asked, “how long will this take? I want to be with my mum again.”
Hermione sighed, “I don’t know, sweetie. But, hopefully not too long. We will be talking to your mum very soon to make sure she is okay. But, for now you’ll be staying with me. Is that okay?”
“Do you have books?” Rosalinda questioned. This got a boisterous laugh from Kingsley, and after he calmed himself and took a few breathes he replied, “she has more books than Flourish and Blotts.” Rosie responded with a radiant grin and said, “I’ll be okay.”