A Marriage Most Convenient

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Chapter 30: Suffering for the Sake of Happiness

“There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere and we are all apt to expect too much, but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another, and if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better and find comfort elsewhere.” - Jane Austen.

Just because bad things happen to certain people in certain places does not mean that we should have bad memories of the place. Instead, we should have good memories of the people.” – Draco Malfoy

If life was only full of happy moments, we would never be able to recognize the sad moments, which in turn would mean that we would never recognize the happy moments. It is such a vicious cycle.” – Hermione Granger


Hermione woke her daughter up that morning by kissing her forehead, stroking the hair away from her face, and saying, “Alice, wake up please.”

The little girl stretched her arms above her head and then immediately smiled at her mother. She sat up and said, “Mummy, I slept here in Grandmother’s bed all night long.”

“I know, darling,” Hermione said, holding the little girl’s hand. She gave it a squeeze and then brought it to her lips.

“I couldn’t find you last night, or Draco or Nanny, and Grandmother saw me and brought me in here and I slept all night long. Now, I need to go to potty.” The little girl stood up on the bed and held her arms out. Hermione gathered her into her embrace and carried her and her dragon upstairs to the nursery.

After taking her to the bathroom, brushing her teeth, and then helping her to dress in a little dress and nice shoes, Hermione took her back out to the bedroom, sat down in the rocking chair, placed Alice before her, and began to brush her long hair. “How about two long plaits today, Alice? One on each side?”

“Nanny braids my hair the best, Mummy,” Alice reminded her as she stood between her mother’s legs. “When you do it, it looks messy. Let Nanny do it.”

Hermione couldn’t help it…she began to cry. Draco came at that moment and he stood in the doorway. He almost turned away. Alice turned toward her mother, placed a small hand on her mother’s tear soaked cheek and said, “I’m sorry, Mummy. Your braids are okay. You can do it. I bet you will get better with practice.”

“Thank you, Alice,” Hermione said. She began to braid the little girl’s hair and she asked Draco to come into the room and to get two red ribbons for her. “They’re in the top drawer of the dresser,” Hermione told him.

He walked over to the dresser, grabbed the ribbons, and then walked over to his family. He cupped Hermione’s cheek and said, “Shall I tell her?”

“Do you think you could?” she asked. “It won’t be easy. I think I should do it.”

Alice was watching her parents with interest. She tugged her mother’s sleeve and said, “Mummy, finish my hair and then tell me what you want to tell me.”

“She’s so smart,” Draco said with sigh.

Alice looked up at him and said, “Is that bad?”

“No, well, maybe for me it might be,” he joked. He sat down on the edge of the bed and watched as Hermione finished with Alice’s hair. When she was done, she turned the little girl toward her, sat her up on her knee and started with a hug.

“Alice, you know how much everyone loves you, right?” she asked.

“Yes, Mummy.”

“Draco loves you, I mean, Daddy loves you, and Grandmother and Grandfather Malfoy loves you. Granny and Bob loves you, and Gramps loves you. Kevin loves you. You know that, right?”

“Yes, Mummy, and don’t forget Nanny. Nanny loves me. She might not be my real grandmother, but remember what you told me before we came to England; she will always be my Nanny, no matter what, in my heart.”

“That’s right,” Hermione agreed, again, coming close to tears. “She’ll always be your Nanny in your heart, and she will always love you so very much, forever and ever, no matter what, no matter where you go, no matter where she goes, right? Time won’t change that, life and death won’t change that. Do you understand what I’m trying to tell you, Alice?”

Alice looked upset, and she was quiet. She struggled to get off her mother’s lap. She looked over at Draco. He was looking at the floor. She looked back at her mother, who was crying freely. “No, Mummy!” the little girl said with anger. “I don’t understand!”

“Alice, Nanny died last night. Sometimes, when people get older, they get sick or hurt and they die, like that time your hamster died, and she’s not ever coming back, but that doesn’t mean we’ll ever forget her, and that doesn’t mean we’ll ever stop loving her.” Alice stomped her foot and started to run from her mother. Hermione reached out and grabbed her arm. Draco stood from the bed.

Alice cried and tried to pull her arm from her mother’s grasp. “I don’t want Nanny to be dead like my hamster!” Alice screamed. “I need my Nanny!” she screamed. “You took away my friends, you took away my school, you took away my house, you took away my pretend daddy, and now you took away my Nanny! I hate you, Mummy!”

Hermione let go of Alice’s arm and covered her face with her hands, crying. Draco caught Alice before she could run from the room. The little girl kicked and screamed to be free from his arms. He held her tight. “Let me go!” she screamed.

“No, I won’t ever let you go,” he promised.

“I hate you, too! I hate you and I hate Mummy!” she yelled. “It’s your fault she’s dead!”

“It’s okay, Alice. It’s okay. It’s not Mummy’s fault, and it’s not Draco’s fault. Ingrid, I mean, Nanny loved you so very much and bad things just happen sometimes, and it’s no one’s fault.”

“LET ME GO!” Alice screamed.

Lucius and Narcissa had both come up to the hallway when they first heard the little girl scream.

“Draco, let her go,” his mother beseeched. “Let her come to me.” She held out her arms.

“NO!” Draco yelled, holding the squirming, screaming child in his arms.

“Son, let me take care of her,” Lucius implored. He too, held out his arms.

“NO!” he repeated. “She’s my daughter, and I’ll take care of this.” He walked to the bathroom, kicked open the door, and then stepped inside with Alice, before kicking the door shut again.

Alice continued to scream and cry inside the small bathroom. Draco continued to hold her and comfort her the best he could. Hermione came to sit outside the door, on the floor, to wait.

Narcissa sat on the edge of the bed, nervously rocking back and forth. Lucius sat in the rocking chair, completely still. After an hour, a whole, painful hour, the little girl’s tears began to abate.

Draco sat on the closed commode, his little girl in his arms, her hair a bloody mess, her face streaked with tears, snot coming out of her nose, her clothes wrinkled and one shoe on and one shoe off, and for some reason, both of her hands terribly sticky with something. It didn’t matter. Draco rocked her back and forth, as her tears became gentle sobs, and then quiet hiccups. When she stilled completely, Draco noticed that she had cried herself to sleep. He placed her up on his shoulder, reached down for her shoe, held one hand to her back, and opened the door. He looked down at Hermione.

“That was singularly the most painful thing I’ve ever dealt with in my entire life,” he said honestly. He tossed her shoe to his mother, who tossed it on the floor.

“I have never loved you more,” Hermione said. She reached up and took his free hand.

“I’ve never been more proud of you, son,” Narcissa said, standing.

Lucius approached, held out his arms, and said, “Here, give her to me now.” Draco passed the sleeping child to his father, who instead of placing her on the bed, sat in the rocking chair with her. He said, “She’s missing a shoe.”

“Yeah, she took it off at one point and hit me over the head with it three time in a row, and I have to say, it hurt like hell,” Draco said with a smirk.

“Ah yes,” Lucius said, rocking back and forth, “She’s a Malfoy. Well done, Draco. You handled everything well.”

“I hope that’s true. There was so much snot coming out of her nose at one point, I thought I would run out of tissues, and seriously, what is it with kids and sticky hands?”

Hermione laughed. She was still sitting on the floor by the bathroom door. Draco got down on his haunches near her, leaned on the doorjamb and said, “Shall we go down to breakfast? I’m starved, and I think I deserve not only a big breakfast, but a medal of some type, for services rendered under extreme pressure or something.”

“Well, you get no medals for fatherhood, sorry. All you get is the satisfaction of a job well done, and the satisfaction that at least the snot and the sticky hands are from your own child. Besides, I’m not hungry. We have arrangements to make for her funeral, and someone has to tell Kevin. Help me, it can’t be me.” She leaned against him.

“We’ll get Potter to do it. He’s not good for much, but he delivers bad news really well,” Draco said seriously.

Hermione looked up at him and asked, “What about what we had planned for today? Are we still going to do it?”

“You can’t possibly still want to do that, can you?” he asked back.

Narcissa was still on the bed, observing them. She looked over at Lucius, then back at the engaged couple and she said, “What did you two have planned for today?”

“Nothing, Mother, it really doesn’t matter,” Draco said at the very same time that Hermione said, “We were getting married by special license today.”

“What? What did Hermione say?” Narcissa stood from the bed, her hands clasped in front of her. Lucius leaned forward in the rocker. Alice even woke up.

Draco held his hand over Hermione’s mouth, knelt on his knees beside her, and said, “She said nothing mother. She’s still upset about Ingrid, that’s all.”

“Why is Daddy holding Mummy’s mouth?” Alice asked her grandfather.

“Usually she talks too much, so that would be a good reason, but this time I think it’s because he doesn’t want her to tell us all a secret,” Lucius said. He stood, with Alice on his hip.

Draco still had Hermione on the floor. She was trying to remove his hand from her mouth, but he held tight. Finally, Alice said, “Daddy, let Mummy talk.”

Draco had to let go at that point, after all, it was at the request of his daughter. Hermione pushed Draco over, he landed on his bum, and then she stood up. She straightened her skirt, said, “Thank you, Alice, and what I said was that Draco and I had planned to go to the Ministry today, and get a special license, and marry, but I guess now, with everything that happened with Ingrid, we’ll have to put that on hold.”

Draco stood up, brushed off his slacks. “That’s was the point I was trying to get across, when I was so rudely pushed over.”

“I agree with Draco, now would not be a good time,” Lucius said. He placed Alice on the ground, and picked up her shoe. He threw it to Draco, who then tossed it to Hermione.

Hermione walked over to Alice and sat her on the bed, and then placed the shoe on her foot, even as Narcissa began to fix the little girl’s hair again. Narcissa said, “Lucius and Draco are right. To honour Ingrid, we need to show her respect, and have at least two weeks proper mourning. I’ll even cancel the engagement party I had planned for tomorrow. It wasn’t exactly a surprise anymore, anyway.” She finished with Alice’s hair, kissed the top of her head, and stood beside her husband and son.

Alice climbed off the bed and then climbed on her mother’s lap on the floor. She pulled on Hermione’s hair and said, “Mummy, may I ask you a secret question?”

Hermione smiled and nodded. She leaned her ear down to her little girl’s mouth. Alice whispered something to Hermione. Hermione nodded again. Alice whispered something else. Hermione nodded a third time, whispered something back to Alice, and then hugged her daughter. Alice stood from Hermione’s lap, and waited until Hermione stood.

Then Alice stood on the bed, holding her mother’s hand, and stared over at all three Malfoys and said, “Mummy and I decided that Nanny wanted Mummy and Daddy and me to be a real family. She told me that herself. She said that was why we were leaving Canada to come to London. She told me that day in the park, when I first saw Daddy, that he might someday be a part of my family if I gave him a flower, and made him happy, and made him fall in love with me, like everyone usually does. Well, you did, didn’t you, Daddy? Didn’t you fall in love with me, and with Mummy?”

Draco smiled and said, “Well, of course, Alice.”

“Then you should marry us. Make us Malfoys. That’s what Nanny wanted. That’s the best way to honour her, although I don’t know what honour means, but that’s what Mummy just whispered back to me.”

Draco looked at his mother and then his father and said, “I feel I’m being manipulated by a pair of Grangers. She’s right; I better make them Malfoys and quick.”

“I guess we should all go to London, then,” Lucius said. “We’ll arrange the funeral, arrange a wedding, and see about nullifying a divorce. It’s set to be a busy day. Good thing we got an early start this morning. Let’s go.”

They all started out of the room, except that Alice pulled on her mother’s arm and said, “Mummy, can I go over to Nanny’s room for a minute, before we go?”

“Why?” she asked. She hadn’t even gone into Ingrid’s room since the news, so she had no clue why Alice wanted to go in there.

“I want to get something that Ingrid promised me. It’s that old copy of ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ that was Ingrid’s when she was a child. She said when you finished reading ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to me, that she would read that one to me, and then I could have it to keep for my very own. She told me if anything ever should happen to her, I was to go get that book and I could keep it to help remember her for always. I want to take it to London with me today, along with dragon.”

Hermione nodded. She started toward Ingrid’s bedroom, which was next door to Alice’s, but Draco had already overhead, and he was heading out of the room with the book in his hand. He leaned down, handed it to the little girl and with a smile, he handed it to her. He said, “I’m sorry if it appeared that I was mean to you earlier, Alice, when we told you about Nanny. It was okay that you were crying and all, in the bathroom, you know. You were just sad about Nanny, and that’s okay.”

Alice shook her head, took the book from his hand, placed her other hand on her father’s shoulder and said, “Yeah, and I’m sorry about all the snot. I know how much you hate snot.”

Hermione laughed. Draco looked up at Hermione and said, “Hey, she’s right. I still hate snot and sticky hands. Nowhere in the father handbook does it say I have to like those things.” He picked up his daughter, held her tightly, took her mother’s hand, and said, “Hey, your hands aren’t sticky at all, Granger. That’s a good sign. Let’s go to London, Granger girls, and become a real family, at last.”

“Snot and all,” Hermione said with a laugh.

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