A Stranger Life

Going Forward

Hermione didn't say anything. She turned away from him and buried her head in her pillow.

Draco, puzzled by her strange behavior, moved from where he'd been standing to sit by her on the bed, immediately wiping the stern expression from his face.

"What's wrong?" he asked. "You're the one who wanted to go back, and now I want to make that possible for you."

As he put his arms around her to offer comfort, she finally turned to face him and he was surprised to see that her eyes were wet.

"Don't you understand?" she said, her voice shaky, "If we go, then I won't ever be pregnant, and we won't have a baby anyway, so whatever we do then won't really matter."

Draco paused for a moment. He hadn't really thought about that, but now that Hermione had actually come out and said it, he realized she was right.

"Wait," he said. "I have an idea."

Hermione looked up, stunned as he let her go and bounded out of the room with an enthusiasm that was very uncharacteristic of him. Not wanting to be left out of finding something interesting, she hopped off the bed and ran after him.

"What's going on?" she asked him as soon as she'd managed to catch up. "What are you planning on doing? It won't get us killed will it?" she asked, suddenly suspicious.

Draco looked up at her, surprised. "No, of course not. And I'm really hurt that you don't trust me more by now."

"Oh, yes of course," Hermione said, rolling her eyes. "Because every idea you come up with is just wonderful."

Draco didn't even look up from the heavy book he held in his lap. "Will you stop harping about that already? I made a mistake and I'm trying to fix it, all right?"

"All right, I'm sorry," Hermione replied somewhat sheepishly. She then pulled up a chair next to him to see what he was looking at.

"This isn't anything special, just another book of time travel spells," he assured her when he saw her looking at it. "I was thinking that we might take a little trip into the future before we go into the past."

Hermione frowned. "Why? Why do any time-traveling at all? We're going to mess up something no matter which way we go."

Draco made no indication that he'd heard her and continued to turn the pages of the book until he finally let out a yell of triumph that made Hermione jump.

"What is it?" she asked.

Draco looked up at her and smiled. "I found a spell that will let us travel to the future," he replied. "With the way this one works, we might end up some place very interesting."

Hermione snatched the book away from him and looked at the page he had bookmarked. "This looks to be a very strange spell, but why would we want to go into the future anyway? If we want to change the current world situation, we have to go into the past."

Draco shook his head. "This has absolutely nothing to do with us changing the current world situation. This is to tell us whether or not we'll still have a baby after we go back and save the world."

Hermione shut the book quickly, being careful to keep her finger on the page. "Are you serious? This spell will help us find that out?"

Draco nodded. "It will. Now try looking at what it does."

Hermione looked down at the spell. Under the title it read: All future questions answered no matter what they are.

"But what are we going to do with it?" she asked him curiously.

And he responded quite simply, "We are going to meet our baby, at a later date of course. After they've had time to grow up a bit."

"You seem so certain we're going to have one to meet," she observed.

Draco smiled. "Well, something inside me just keeps telling me we will. Now, get the book and we'll start the sp-"

At that moment, there was a frantic pounding on the door, and when Draco went to answer it, an incredibly flustered and panicked Narcissa entered the room. When she saw Hermione, she took a deep breath and gave the pair a smile.

"There you are, Hermione. I was coming to your room to show you some of the things that Bella and I bought today, and when you weren't there, I was so worried."

Draco's eyebrows rose. "Mother, are you telling me that you haven't let Hermione leave her room for three whole months?"

"Well, I just didn't see why she needed to," Narcissa replied without a hint of shame. "She's so well-taken care of here that I don't see why she'd need to go anywhere else."

"How about for the sake of her sanity?" Draco replied. "I love this house too, but even I can only stay here for so long before it starts to get to me."

Narcissa looked like she wanted to say something else, but Hermione interrupted, stalling the argument.

"I'm sorry, Narcissa. But now that Draco is here, do you think it would be all right for me to move around just a little bit while I still can?"

At that, Draco let out a small snort, and Narcissa gave her a little smile. "All right. I guess since Draco is here, it would not cause any harm to let you go places. Just don't do anything too dangerous, all right?"

Hermione and Draco looked at each other for a moment before turning back to Narcissa with straight faces.

"Of course we won't do anything dangerous Mother. We aren't completely mad. We were just planning a little trip before you came in here. A final jaunt for just the two of us before we become parents and don't have any time to spend alone anymore," Draco said calmly.

"Really?" Narcissa asked, her eyes lighting up. "Where are you going?"

Hermione and Draco looked at one another uneasily for a moment, unsure of what to tell her. Then, Hermione spoke up.

"We actually decided to do a little sightseeing in Paris," she said. "We would ask you along, but I'm afraid we just got tickets for the two of us."

Narcissa shook her head. "That's all right. I wouldn't want to intrude on your last precious bits of alone time. Now, I better be going. Lucius and I are going out to dinner tonight."

And with that, Hermione and Draco waved Narcissa out the door, and as soon as she was gone, the two of them breathed sighs of relief.

"Thank God," Draco said. "I thought she was never going to leave."

"Yes," Hermione agreed. "What do you think we would have had to do if she had wanted to come with us on our little 'vacation'?"

"That's not really something I want to think about, ever," Draco replied, heading back to where the open book lay. "Now, as I was saying before my mother showed up, if you'll hand me the book, we can start the spell. But remember, we have to keep in mind what we want out of it, otherwise it doesn't work, so remember that we want to see an older version of our baby."

"Are you sure you don't want me to recite it?" Hermione asked. "If I remember the last time I let you handle a spell on your own, it was one in a serious of horrible missteps that ended with Stanley getting killed."

"I wouldn't say that it was that bad," Draco replied, sounding wounded. "After all, it did get us here, for what that's worth."

"Okay, I suppose you're right, this isn't so terrible, but still." She looked at him imploringly.

"All right, fine. You can say the incantation if it makes you feel better, even though I was the one who did all the work finding it," he cried, almost heaving the book at her.

She caught it and shook her head. "And I'm grateful to you for finding it, but there is no excuse to be cranky. You are too grown-up for that."

Draco continued to pout, but Hermione pretended not to notice. She found the spell and gazed at it for a few moments. Then she felt Draco's eyes boring into her back, and she turned to meet his reproachful gaze.

"Okay, if you want to read the spell so bad, I will let you, but remember this: If we land somewhere completely strange and get stuck there, I will blame you entirely. Is that a burden you are willing to shoulder?"

Draco nodded eagerly and Hermione gave him the book. Almost immediately, he began to recite the spell:

"Where present is uncertain, to future it flies, the answers you seek, the ties that bind. All that is to be will be yours, all that is, behind closed doors."

At that moment, the room began to shift. The floor began to drop from underneath them and morph from tile to stone. The room became more cavernous then homey, and darker. All the light seemed to have been sucked out of the room.

Then, quite suddenly, the floor stopped dropping and Hermione and Draco found themselves standing in front of a dark-colored door in a hallway that seemed to be glowing green.

They had no idea where they were, but Hermione took a torch from the wall and shined the flame on the doorplate. It said, in thick letters, that the room belonged to a Charlotte Gray, and underneath Charlotte's name, another one: Elina Malfoy.

"Does this mean what I think it does?" Hermione asked.

"Yes," Draco nodded. "Even when we go back, we're going to have a baby."

And then they waited with baited breath as the door opened.

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