A Stranger Life

Epilogue

Hermione sat up in bed and looked at the picture on the bedside table. It showed her, Ron and Harry outside Honeydukes, holding up large bags of candy and grinning widely at the camera. She sighed. The picture had been taken just hours after their last day at Hogwarts, and she hadn't heard from or seen either of them since then.

They'd taken her news about Draco much better then she'd expected, but there was still some resentment. But to his credit, Draco had made an effort for the rest of the year, doing his best not to insult Ron and Harry to their faces, and if he did it at all, Hermione had never actually heard it.

She got out of bed slowly and shuffled to the kitchen to make herself breakfast. She felt like eggs and sausage, but that the sausage should have peanut butter on it. Thank God she'd bought some the last time she'd visited her parents. As she ate, she pondered things. This wasn't the first time she'd felt like having something unusual with her breakfast. It had been going on for the last two weeks or so. As she gulped down the last sausage, Draco entered the room and eyed her plate and the jars around it.

"You put peanut butter on your sausage this morning? Are you feeling all right?"

Hermione nodded and smiled. "I'm feeling fine, just really hungry that's all. Would you pass me the toast and marmalade?"

Draco's eyebrows were up in his hair, but he did as she asked. "By the way," he told her as he sat down, "a tiny gray owl crashed into the window this morning. He was carrying a letter for you."

Hermione started to choke on the piece of toast she was chewing on and Draco pounded her on the back. When she could talk again, she said "do you have the letter?"

He nodded. "It's on the bed. I'll go and get it for you."

As soon as he was gone, Hermione's eyes happened upon a calendar that was hanging on the wall across from the breakfast table. It was turned to July, and with a start, she realized that today was July 31, Harry's birthday. Did this have anything to do with why Ron's owl was suddenly at her house with a letter?

At that moment, Draco returned, handing her the neatly folded square of parchment. She opened it eagerly, anxious to see what it said.

Hermione,

Sorry we haven't written in such a long time, but we just had to get used to the idea of you and Malfoy being together. It was a big thing to process, but we think we have it under control. Also, we took a holiday to Spain and had quite a time. That's why we haven't answered your letters or written you any. It wasn't because we don't like you. Would you mind meeting us for a birthday celebration at the Three Broomsticks around two? Then you can tell us everything that's been going on with you.

Can't wait to see you!

Lots of love,

Ron and Harry

Hermione smiled and folded the letter up again, setting it down on the table next to her breakfast plate.

"Good news?" Draco asked after a moment.

Hermione nodded. "Ron and Harry want me to meet them at the Three Broomsticks to celebrate Harry's birthday. They went on holiday to Spain after school ended, so that's why they haven't been writing."

Draco took a drink of tea. "When do you need to be there?"

Hermione shrugged. "The note says two, so I think I'll leave about one-forty-five."

He nodded and went back to eating his toast.

After breakfast, Hermione went outside to walk around a little bit. The house she and Draco were living in was a size between her parents' house and the Manor. It was painted a shade of light blue, with dormer windows and a steep, sloping roof. Hermione had a rose garden that ran along the side and she tended to it daily.

She then went to walk around Diagon Alley to see if she couldn't find a little something to give to Harry as a present. She didn't think he'd want something too large, so she settled on an extra-large box of the new and improved Bertie Bott's Every Flavor beans. Then she looked around Flourish and Blott's until, to her surprise, it was a quarter to two. She paid for her purchases, apparated home to put them in the library, then got into a booth in the Three Broomsticks right on time.

When Ron and Harry showed up a moment later, they got into a group hug then sat back down and studied one another. Ron was very freckled, and Harry very tan.

"So, did you have fun in Spain?" she asked.

Ron nodded. "A lot of fun. Sorry we didn't tell you about it. Were you afraid that we didn't like you anymore?"

"A little," Hermione admitted. "I woke up this morning and the first thing I saw was the picture Neville took of us on the last day of school, when we were all standing in front of Honeydukes, and I did feel a bit sad that I hadn't heard from you since then.

Harry smiled. "Well, we're really sorry and we promise that from now on, we will write more often. Now what about you? How's life as Mrs. Malfoy treating you?"

Hermione smiled. "It's really not so bad. Draco's parents still haven't thawed since Christmas, so he and my parents have been getting really close, especially he and my mother."

"Really?" Ron asked in surprise.

Hermione nodded. "They cook together. And then he and my father watch sports. Draco's working on understanding soccer. He wants to be able to cheer for a team during the World Cup."

Ron's eyebrow rose, but Harry nodded. "Sounds nice. What does everyone say to three butterbeers?"

Ron and Hermione nodded and the three of them toasted and drank to Harry's birthday.

When Hermione came into the living room with a book later that night, she found Draco gazing at her with the same concerned expression that he'd given her earlier that morning. "Are you sure you're all right?" he asked.

Hermione took a deep breath. There was something she'd been wanting to tell him, and she thought that now was the time. She knew that he suspected something was going on with her.

"Draco, she said, putting her book down, "I'm late."

His eyes widened. "Are you serious?"

She nodded. "By about a week."

He took a deep breath of his own and said, "Well, maybe you should check to be sure."

She nodded, and went to whip up the potion. Thankfully it didn't take long to make. She shut the bathroom door and waited for it to stop bubbling while Draco stayed outside. After awhile, she had the results. She opened the door to Draco's anxious face.

"Well?" he asked nervously.

She smiled. "Draco, I'm pregnant."

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