A Stranger Life

The Amazing Effects of Butterbeer

"What accident?" Hermione asked, surprised. A strange expression crossed the face of her older self. It could have been called discomfort, or maybe reluctance.

"I can't tell you," her older self said finally. "The accident needs to happen, and if I told you what it was, then you would only try to prevent it."

"Are you saying that I'll try and mess up history on purpose if you tell me what the accident is? You should know me better then that!" Hermione cried, looking wounded.

"All right," there was a sigh and her older self looked her straight in the eye. "It happens when you and he get back to how things were, and when I say that, I mean completely back, to where you're in Gryffindor and once again friends with Ron and Harry. The accident involves a wild late night prank after the Gryffindor versus Slytherin Quidditch match and some butterbeer laced with veritaserum, but that's all I'm going to tell you."

Now Hermione's curiosity was peaked to the point that it was almost painful. "So can I go assure Draco that it takes awhile before he becomes a good boy, and that he should come back with me?" she asked, even though that was not the question that was on her mind, and she had no doubt that her older self knew that.

"I think that would be a good idea. There isn't much more you can do around here, is there?"

Hermione shook her head and went to fetch Draco, who promptly tried to vault over the stone wall of the castle when he saw her coming.

"You don't have to worry," she told him, getting a grip on the back of his collar stop him. "You don't turn good right away, in fact for a really long time, you're still the biggest git in the universe. Now, will you come back with me?"

Draco finally stopped struggling against her and jumped down from the wall. "I guess so," he agreed reluctantly. His older self looked up at Hermione and gave her a small wink, as if to say thank you, but Draco didn't see it.

They met Elina a few minutes later and told her goodbye. She looked after them wistfully, but finally managed to step away and rejoin her parents, although it was very clear she still wanted to go with them very badly.

When they were out of sight of themselves, Draco took the book out of his bag again and he and Hermione scrunched themselves into a little niche beside the drawbridge.

"So are we going for Gwen and Owen now?" Draco asked as he flipped aimlessly through the pages of the spellbook.

Hermione shook her head. "I've been thinking a lot, and I've realized that we don't really need them anymore now that I'm going to do this with you. They were just going to be around for company when you were going to do it by yourself."

"But then how did Elina know about them if we don't even bring them with us in the first place?"

"Probably because we tell her that we were going to bring them along at the beginning, and she didn't think it was important enough to mention that we don't bring them along in the end."

Draco nodded and finally found the spell. "So then I take it we're going home?"

Hermione nodded, and Draco said the spell, and soon they were back in the library of the Manor.

"Well, that was fun," Draco commented as he put the book away.

"I guess," Hermione agreed. "I can't believe we're going to have a girl."

"I wonder how that's going to happen in actual time when we hate each other," Draco mused out loud.

Wild late night quidditch prank, butterbeer, laced with veritaserum and…Elina! Hermione suddenly gasped as the realization hit her.

"What?" Draco said suddenly. "Are you all right? Should I go get my mother?"

Hermione shook her head. "No, it's nothing really. Just a momentary frightening thought, but I'm better now." She smiled, but he continued to look at her strangely, as if he wanted to ask her more questions, but then he thought better of it.

"All right," he replied smoothly, and made to leave the room. "I'm hungry. I think I'll go see what's for dinner. Probably not as much as usual since Mother and Father are out, but it'll be enough for us, don't you think?"

Hermione nodded and watched him go, then sat on the bed and sighed. This was going to be a very interesting school year.

Hermione came down to dinner about twenty minutes after that. Draco was already waiting for her and he eyed her curiously as she approached. "What took so long?" he asked. "Are you sure you're okay?"

Hermione nodded. "I just heard some things from my older self that were very interesting and needed time to digest them."

"Oh, really?" Draco asked, looking interested as he speared some potato with his fork and put it into his mouth, swallowing quickly. "Would you care to share?"

Hermione shook her head. "I can't. If I do, it will mess up the whole situation, and the situation needs to happen exactly as it does. Even I didn't get the specifics. Just the generalities."

"Well can I have the generalities?" his voice was beginning to show his impatience.

Hermione shook her head. "That would be a bad idea, especially when you aren't calm."

"I'm perfectly calm," Draco replied, trying to smooth the crinkle in his brow and get the agitation out of his voice.

Hermione said nothing more, but finished off the last of her orange and began to cut her chicken ferociously.

"Could you at least give me a little something?" he asked.

Hermione sighed and put her fork down. "It was about how we end up with Elina when we get back home," she said finally. "Initially, she's an accident." She sighed and looked down at her chicken, her appetite suddenly gone. "I'm tired. I think I'm going to go to bed."

And with that, she pushed her plate away and got up, leaving him all alone in the big dining room. He was so stunned by what she'd just revealed that he didn't get up to follow her, but instead stayed frozen in his chair. He couldn't believe that the pretty, smart girl he'd seen back at the castle had been an accident; the thought was almost too difficult to process. And it made him wonder what had happened to make her an accident? A thousand different scenarios began to crowd his mind and he considered every one of them.

Was it a bet he'd made with Blaise and his other mates? Did he bed Hermione for money and end up with a baby in the process? It was possible, even probable.

Or maybe it was part of a plot by Dumbledore for the cause of the house unity he was always trying to push. Maybe he'd made a deal with Hermione and Draco to get together and show the rest of the school how differences between houses didn't matter, and that no matter what they were capable of being together, and just to prove it, here's the evidence. That was less likely, but still couldn't be discounted.

Or what if, and the thought made him wince. What if they just got drunk one night and Elina was what came of it? Everyone would have a field day with that one, especially if that was the case. He certainly hoped that wasn't the answer.

He got up and went to the bedroom where Hermione was awake, but buried under the covers. She sat up when he entered the room. "What's wrong? You look troubled."

"About Elina," he asked. "We don't just get drunk one night and let go with reckless abandon do we? You only have to tell me yes or no, nothing specific."

Hermione shook her head. "The only drink involved is butterbeer. Now goodnight."

She turned around and closed her eyes, leaving Draco to undress and ponder how ordinary butterbeer could be so fantastic as to bring on a baby.

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