Chapter Six:

Next to the events of her first year, finding out she was pregnant was the scariest thing that had ever happened to her. Telling the father was probably the second scariest, and the third was telling her parents. Even considering all that, however, even knowing everything she'd been through, she couldn't help but be scared now. Granted, this wasn't quite any of those other things, didn't quite compare, but in that moment, she didn't care. She was scared.

She tried to ignore the churning in her stomach, tried to focus on the scenery flashing by through the window in her small compartment aboard the Hogwarts Express as it barreled towards Kings Cross, but all she could think about was where she was going, and what she was leaving behind. She had known for over four months that this was what would happen, of course, but it was just now truly hitting her.

Her fifth year was over, summer had officially started, and she wasn't going home. She was never going home again. It was almost surreal, as if when she got off the train her parents would be waiting for her, to apologize, to say they had overreacted and they wanted to try and make things work. But she knew that wasn't going to happen, she knew that when she got off the Express, the only people her parents would be there to meet would be Ron, Harry, and Hermione. She knew the only person that would be there to meet her would be Narcissa Malfoy.

The thought of meeting the woman shouldn't have scared her as much as it did; Draco had told her time and again that his mother harbored her no ill will, though it was just as much her fault as it was his that they were in the situation they were in. She was pretty sure she should believe him, the elder witch's actions over the last few months had certainly left no hint of blame or animosity, but she was afraid to get her hopes up in case Narcissa held her responsible for destroying her son's future and invading their lives. The possibilities spun round and round inside her head, leaving her almost dizzy and even more nauseous than could be attributed to her lingering morning sickness.

The nerves only mounted as the day wore on, leaving her unable to get down more than a bite of her lunch and adding a gnawing hunger to her list of physical and mental ailments. By the time they rolled to a stop in front of Platform 9 ¾, she was a mess. It wasn't as bad as it had been the night she'd spoken with Draco and her parents, but she still had to clasp her hands tightly together to keep them from trembling. She also had to blink her eyes furiously and keep them focused straight ahead, and away from the young wizard gathering their luggage, in order to prevent the tears from forming.

It was just as well that she let him guide them off the train and through the crowd instead of staying actively aware of her surroundings, as it meant she didn't notice the stares and whispers they garnered as they disembarked side by side. For all the other students - excluding three, of course - it was a shocking sight to see a Malfoy and a Weasley making their way amongst their schoolmates, hand-in-hand as the blond wordlessly pushed their combined belongings before them.

Completely unaware of the spectacle they were causing, Ginny allowed herself to be led straight to the tall, stately blonde waiting for them at the end of the platform. The Malfoys were more than aware of the attention, however, and wanting to avoid as much of a scene and preserve as much as their privacy as possible, they postponed their greetings and quickly exited the station. As soon as they were away from the crowds, Mrs. Malfoy removed the silver pocket-watch from her stylish mauve robes and held out the chain for both children to grasp before activating the Portkey.

Mother and son landed with practiced ease, though the trunks fell rather heavily as each reached out to steady the small redhead. A simple spell shot off-handedly from the taller witch's wand had the luggage following them weightlessly as he slipped a hand automatically through the youngest Weasley's arm and led her up the drive to the front steps of Malfoy Manor.

The action was more than just a byproduct of the extensive lessons in high-born manners that he had received for much of his life, Narcissa noted with a hidden smirk, as she watched her only child lead the mother of his own child into their home. For all that he had always exhibited a bit more self-respect than she'd have wished for him to possess, always shown more preference to his immediate social circle than she would have otherwise preferred, her boy was no arrogant snob.

Sure, six months ago he most likely wouldn't have given the petite witch on his arm more than a passing insult in the halls, but he had risen to the occasion and taken his responsibilities in full the moment they were presented to him, and she couldn't be prouder of him for it. Even considering the circumstances that had brought it all about.

Narcissa Malfoy smiled as she stepped into her home and directed a house elf to take the still floating trunks to the appropriate rooms, then turned to face the obviously nervous redhead waiting with Draco in the entrance hall. Her son had informed her of young Ginevra's concerns regarding her welcome, and she couldn't help but shoot a mental sneer at the upbringing that had left the witch so prepared to face hysterics, to expect crass displays of emotion in difficult situations. If she'd been raised with proper pure-blood manners and codes of behavior she would have been prepared for calm, sophisticated confrontations.

Not that there would be a confrontation. No, despite the difficult spot that had resulted from the foolish actions that had led them here, she was anything but resentful to her. In fact, she was grateful to her in a way. In the space of time it had taken the redhead to tell the boy he was going to be a father, Ginny had made her son into a man, a mature and responsible man. And in a scant two and a half months, she would be making her a grandmother.

And beyond that, she appeared, for all that she had heard and seen, to be a decent young woman on her own. If nothing else, the witch had not made any demands - monetary or otherwise - of her or her son when she could have done so. According to Draco, she had even presumed to take the weight and responsibility of the child onto her own shoulders, had told him of her pregnancy only out of the opinion that he should know, and not the expectation of his help. That earned her a portion of respect from the blonde woman, even though it struck her as irrationally Gryffindoric.

She let some of that respect, and a touch of her sympathy, show on her sculpted features as she glanced from the nervous girl to the boy standing next to her. "Hullo, Draco, dear. I trust the train ride was satisfactory."

"Yes, Mum," he said with a soft smile as she bent to kiss both of his pale cheeks. "It was as uneventful as we could have hoped."

"Good," she stated with a nod and fixed pale blue orbs on wide brown. "Was it all right for you, as well, Miss Weasley?"

Ginny nodded a little quickly and attempted a smile, but didn't quite succeed. "Yes, ma'am."

Narcissa tut-tutted at the witch. "No need to be quite so formal, Ginevra, you're to be my daughter-in-law soon enough, after all."

A slight flush rose in otherwise pale cheeks and she swallowed before speaking, her voice as timid as her expression. "Ginny, please."

A genuine smile split the elder witch's face. "Quite right, dear, and you shall call me Narcissa or even mother if you feel so inclined." She chose not to notice the slightest blanching of Ginny's face at the latter suggestion, and instead led both children to the main staircase. "Come, you'll want to see your rooms, I'm sure. I had the elves clean out the guest suite in the family wing so you'll be close to both Draco and I, though not so close as to threaten anyone's privacy of course."

Mrs. Malfoy filled the distance with off hand descriptions of various pieces of artwork and paintings, to which Draco eventually added his own comments, though his contributions were somewhat less historical than his mother's. By the time they reached their destination, Ginny had the slightest of grins on her face and a hint of laughter in her eyes.

"Here we are." She opened the large oak wood door and gestured at the moderate sized sitting room that was revealed. "This will be for your personal use, though you're welcome to enjoy the parlor or sun room downstairs." Another gleaming wood door, this one with carvings of wood nymphs, led into a large, rather richly appointed bedroom done heavily in browns and golds.

"The closet is through there," she stated with a rather regal wave of her hand, indicating another door to the right on the opposite wall. The fourth door, also on the opposite wall, but towards the left, she identified as the 'bathing chamber' with another wave.

If there were any further bits of information about the rooms, Ginny didn't hear them, being too busy staring around at the rooms that would now be hers. Two rooms, a bathroom, and what she suspected would be a closet entirely too large to house her meager wardrobe, all for her. Having grown up thankful for a room half the size of her new sitting room and less than a third the size of the bedroom she was in now, made the transition daunting.

It was all so daunting in fact that when Narcissa ushered Draco out with a simple, "We'll leave you to settle in, dear; a house elf will fetch you for dinner," she wondered if she'd be able to manage it.

End Chapter Six
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