Not Secret Anymore
With a jolt, Hermione woke as a heavy, squash-faced ball of ginger fur pounced onto her chest. Blinking blearily, she gazed around, noting the gray light filtering through the curtains. Then it hit her. It was the first day of term!
Swinging her legs over the side of the bed she jumped up, knocking a disgruntled Crookshanks to the floor. Hermione was a rush of motion. Hurriedly she donned her uniform and tied her hair up in a curly mass. Lastly, she daintily pinned her gleaming Head Girl badge to the front of her robes. Stepping back, she admired it proudly before slinging her bag over her shoulder.
Stepping into the Common Room, Hermione glanced around furtively. Malfoy was nowheres in sight. She inwardly sighed in relief.
The Great Hall was already packed with students, all eager to receive their class schedules and compare. Hermione easily spotted Ginny's flaming red hair in the throng, and she made her way over. Ginny beamed at Hermione, scooting over to make room. Ron, who had been talking animatedly with Harry about Quidditch tactics, simply glanced up at her quickly. It was like she was invisible. Harry nodded to her, a bit preoccupied with Ron's rambling.
Pretending she didn't see the heated look Ginny was giving Ron, Hermione dug into her breakfast. Halfway through a stack of blueberry pancakes a roll of parchment was placed in front of her. The food was instantly forgotten in her haste to rip open the schedule.
"Tuesday, tuesday..." she whispered, running her finger down the list until it alighted on the desired day. "Harry, what do you have?"
Frowning, Harry sighed. "Just my luck. I've got Divination first thing! But then I have Defense Against the Dark Arts. You?"
A wide grin split Hermione's face. "We've got Defense together! How about the afternoon?"
As it turned out, the town had Potions together right before dinner. When Ron wasn't looking, Hermione stole a glance at his schedule. Unfortunately, since he was in mostly average levels, they weren't in any of the same classes that day.
All at once, the breakfast disappeared, and there was a rush of sound as benches scraped against the stone floor and excited chatter filled the air. Quickly Hermione snagged Ginny's sleeve, signaling with an intense look for her to linger. With a small nod, Ginny sat back down, pretending to rummage through her bag. Soon enough, most students were gone.
"Look, Hermione, I know Ron's being a colossal arse, but--"
"What? No, Ginny, that's not what I want to talk about!" Hermione said quickly.
Ginny frowned, "Alright, what is it then?"
"Um, well, do you think you could come to Madame Pomfrey's during lunch with me?" She blurted out quickly, fixing her eyes on her hands nervously.
Ginny was silent.
"You don't have to, I understand if you want to eat with Harry or something..."
Sighing heavily, Ginny finally spoke. "Of course I'll go, Hermione. I'd be a bloody awful friend if I didn't. But... what's wrong?"
Hermione could feel a blush coloring her cheeks. "Nothing! Well, not nothing," she continued hastily at the disbelieving look on Ginny's face. "It's just... Oh! This is so hard! I promise you'll find out at lunch, alright?"
Ginny groaned impatiently, but nodded anyway. It was time for class. Just before they went their separate ways, Ginny called her name. Reluctantly Hermione stopped, afraid to turn and face her.
"Does this thing have anything to do with why you left?"
"Yes..." she said quietly. "It has everything to do with it."
She turned and fled up the stairs.
"Class dismissed!" Flitwick's squeaky voice was drowned out as students rushed out of the classroom. Since the class was Advanced, there were seventh year students from all four houses attending. Even then it was several students short of a normal class size.
Charms had passed uneventfully. As expected, Malfoy was in the class, as well as all the others, if her suspicions were correct. Just the thought of staring at the back of his blond head and hearing that drawl all day made her shudder. Sure enough, Hermione was granted the pleasure of watching his retreating form head in the unmistakable direction of the DADA classroom.
Along the way she was intercepted by Harry, who was looking in a foul mood. "You'd think that woman would just give it a rest! I swear,'horrible experiences lurking in your future,' and 'in the clutches of death, my dear!' If she calls me that one more time..."
And he continued all the way to their next class.
Defense Against the Dark Arts passed very quickly it seemed. Snape was just as unpleasant as ever, and she repeatedly felt the brunt of his sneers and unfairness.
'Not that that's any different for any other year...' Hermione found herself thinking as she bid Harry farewell and turned in the direction of the Hospital Wing, heart beating wildly. It was time.
Tentatively Hermione pushed the large double doors open. Ginny was already waiting, but no grin adorned her usually cheery face.
Just then Madame Pomfrey popped out, bustling over with a scowl. "Children! How could you need me already? You've only had two classes, for Merlin's sake!"
Hermione smiled weakly. "I think you'll be seeing quite a lot of me this year, Madame Pomfrey..." She paused, feeling the older woman's gaze, searching for any tell tale signs of illness. "Can--can we talk in your office?"
And that's where she found herself, fidgeting nervously with her fingers and refusing to meet anyone's gaze.
"Well Miss Granger, what exactly is the problem? You don't look very sick, or hurt."
Hermione felt like her throat was closing up. This had been her secret for the past month. Her secret. But now she had to tell.
"I--" her voice didn't want to work. "I'm--" Now it was trembling! This was humiliating! "Oh dear... I'm pregnant!" And there it was. In one breath, her secret was, well, not secret anymore.
Silence. It pounded in her ears. It got into her head and taunted her, mercilessly. Glancing at Ginny, she found the younger girl staring at her in open mouthed shock.
Madame Pomfrey's face was thunderous. But it was gone in moments, replaced by a calm, collected look. Her "time-for-business" look.
"Do you know approximately when this. . . happened?" The Healer questioned delicately.
Hermione winced. "One month ago," she said softly, "at the end of June."
The older woman nodded, jotting it all down. "The father, is he one of our students?"
'Oh Merlin, did she have to ask that?' Frantically she tried to prepare an appropriate response."Y-yes, I think. . . I d-don't. . . Oh screw it, I don't know who he is!"
"What?!" Ginny's screech pierced the air, literally making Hermione jump. "What do you mean you don't know who he is? Did some lowly bastard take--"
"No!" Hermione squeaked, eyes wide. "D-definitely not! I was drunk!"
Once again, Ginny was reduced to a gaping fish.
"So. . . was it the night of the ball?"
Hermione nodded blankly, trying her best not to make eye contact.
"Ugh, I shouldn't have let you leave by yourself! It was your first time drinking, I knew that! This is all my fault!" Ginny cried.
"Ginny!" Hermione protested, "I'm not a child! I can take care of myself!"
The sixth year's brown eyes sparked angrily. "Oh, you can? You can take care of yourself?" Her voice was becoming harsher with every word. "That's funny, because last time I checked people who can take care of themselves don't get so utterly sloshed that they get knocked up with some stranger's kid!"
Hermione ducked her head, frantically trying to disguise the tears welling up in her eyes.
"Miss Weasley!" Madame Pomfrey scolded. "I'm sorry, but I think I need to speak with Miss Granger alone now. You can see yourself out."
One slam of the door later, and Ginny was gone.
"So. . . You are around four weeks pregnant?"
After several routine questions and a quick spell to validate the pregnancy, Madame Pomfrey had determined Hermione's due date to be around April 30. She also offered several spells to discover the father and gender, but Hermione politely declined both. It was almost like if she found out , everything would feel much more real. She wasn't sure if she could handle that just yet.
"During this second month you'll most likely be experiencing some fatigue, nausea, and possibly vomiting." Madame Pomfrey smiled kindly. "And don't be surprised if your robes aren't fitting as well as they used to."
Just then the bell signaling the end of lunch rang. Hermione rose from her chair, making her way to the door.
"Miss Granger!" Madame Pomfrey called out, "I will have to inform my fellow staff members of your situation."
Feeling dread coil in the pit of her stomach, Hermione nodded nervously before slipping out the door.
Author's Note: Thanks so much to everyone who has read so far! I'm trying my best to put out regular chapter updates every weekend, so stay tuned for Chapter Five! Please, if you enjoyed what you've read so far, it would mean a lot if you would click the like button up above. :)