A/N: Yes, it's finally here! Forgive any mistakes, this chapter has been taking far too long for all of our liking.
twenty two. epilogue.
"Draco… Draco… DRACO!"
The man in question groaned as he rolled over to look at the clock on the nightstand. It stared back at him in the darkness with a bright and shiny 2:30 AM.
"Gin, it's the middle of the night, go back to bed."
In response, he felt the candles flicker on as they washed over his closed eyes with their warm hues. He growled and pulled the covers up onto his eyes.
"Draco, this is important! What ever happened to the bet?"
"What bet?" He asked hoarsely. How did she sound so awake at this hour? He had had a long day getting prepared for the upcoming school year and wanted nothing more than to go to back to bed and dream about their last trip to Tuscany.
"You know what bet I'm talking about," Ginny said, and he was pretty sure she was frowning. Without warning, the covers slipped off of him, forcing him to open his eyes. Through squinted eyes that were still adjusting to the light, Draco could see Ginny staring down at him, arms folded across her chest as she sat up in bed.
He sighed and reluctantly hoisted himself up, making himself comfortable against plush pillows. When Ginny got into a mood like this, he knew there wasn't letting it go. He would have to ride out this conversation, even if it was in the middle of the night.
"I won," Draco replied simply with a yawn. "Now that that's solved, can we please go back to bed?"
"What are you talking about, Draco?" Ginny asked, clearly not ready to let it go. "Wasn't the bet between you and Fawley about me becoming the Belle of the Ball? I never did become one."
"It doesn't matter," he explained flippantly. "I got you, didn't I? So I won."
"But that wasn't the bet."
Draco reached over and pulled an arm away from her chest, entwining his fingers with hers. "That was so long ago, I barely even remember anymore. If it's still bothering you in the morning, we can talk about it over breakfast. Let's either go back to sleep, or we could do something…"
He knew she didn't miss the waggle of his eyebrows as he said that. Draco leaned over and pushed aside stray red curls, revealing her creamy shoulders and neck, bespeckled with freckles. He loved nights like these when she decided to wear one of those strappy nightgowns instead of the giant t-shirts she loved to sleep in. She sighed in pleasure when his lips brushed against the skin of her neck. Draco silently cheered, knowing that he had succeeded in distracting her.
He had thought too soon, however, as a few moments later she gently pushed him away. "Draco, not right now! After all these years, you never told me what would happen if you lost the bet. I'm not really sure how I came to think about it right at this moment, but it's bothering me and I have to know."
Draco sighed in defeat. He had gotten so close to distracting her, especially once her eyes closed and her lips parted. He ran a hand through his unruly platinum hair. They had talked about the bet many times since they started dating. It was a story they now laughed at, told friends and family about at parties, a mere memory. Years had gone by now, so what did it really matter if he never actually fulfilled his end of the deal?
Draco mumbled a few words – most notably Hogsmeade, streaking, and Aberforth's goat – forcing Ginny to lean in closer to try to make out just what he was saying. Her face twisted in confusion and disgust.
"On second thought, maybe I don't want to know what you had to do."
"Well then, now that that's out there, we can go to bed!" Draco said, a little too quickly. Just as he reached for his wand to blow out the candles, she spoke again.
"Why didn't you ever carry out your end of the deal? I never saw this happen."
With resignation, he placed his wand back on the table and turned to look at her. "Because he doesn't remember."
Draco could see her pondering over his choice of words very carefully. He could practically see the wheels in her brain turning as she decoded what exactly he had meant. Brown eyes widened in shock once she connected the dots.
"Wait… You obliviated him?"
Draco didn't respond. He didn't want to admit to it, but he never did like to lie to her, ever since they had almost broken up over a lie. Unless it was absolutely necessary, he stayed silent.
"Oh Godric, Draco Malfoy. You actually erased his memory," Ginny groaned, bringing a hand to her forehead.
"All is fair in love and war," Draco replied simply. "I won the war and got the love."
"No wonder he always seemed slightly confused when we started dating again," Ginny thought out loud in wonderment. She was remembering any moment they had ever spent with Maxwell Fawley since the beginning of their relationship. Thankfully, those were few and far between the years. Needless to say, the people in their inner circle of friends were never on the same terms with Max ever again. They only had to deal with him at charity functions or holiday parties.
"Well then, if that's all you wanted to know," Draco leaned over to give her a kiss on the cheek. "Goodnight."
He scooted down on the bed, and quickly extinguished the candles before she could get another word in. Draco burrowed his head into his pillows, finding the perfect position for to go back to sleep. Just as he began to drift off back into his dream, he felt the lights turn back on.
"You know, I still can't believe that Institute is still a thing."
Without opening his eyes, he grumbled, "Ginevra Weasley-Malfoy, please go back to bed, for Merlin's sake."
He turned over, now face to face with his wife. There was no use; they weren't going back to bed now. It seemed like nights like this were slowly becoming a regular occurrence in the Weasley-Malfoy household. He propped his head up on his elbow and mentally prepared himself for the long haul.
"Why must you insist on hyphenating your name? It's so bloody long," Draco complained half-heartedly.
"My identity doesn't have to change to conform to yours after we got married," she explained to him, as she did each time he used her full name. "I'm still a Weasley. That doesn't just disappear and I take your name. People need to know that."
"No one can ever forget that," Draco smirked, reaching over to lift strands of her scarlet waves towards her. He fondly combed through it, thankful that she had decided to grow it out again after keeping it short for over a year. Ginny's wild, vibrant red hair was one of the many things he loved about her.
"Besides, it makes a lovely monogram," Ginny replied in a more subdued, quieter voice.
"Mrs. Malfoy, have you been your name out all over parchment?" Draco teased.
"No," she muttered, but her cheeks had a rosey tint to them.
"Mrs. Malfoy… Mrs. Draco Malfoy… Mrs. Gine-"
"Stop it, Draco, you're derailing the conversation!" Ginny pouted.
"Well," sighed Draco, a little put out that his diversion didn't work, "you know those stuffy, old purebloods. They're going to be determined to keep that going for as long as possible."
"You realize, as the latest Mrs. Malfoy, you have the ability to change the rules?" Draco pointed out, sitting up in bed to put an arm around her.
"Silly backwards society," Ginny muttered as she rested his head against his shoulder. "Our daughter is sure as hell not going to be put through that!"
"But that's how you got me," he grinned. "Don't you want our daughter to be as lucky as you?"
"You mean I got stuck with you. Rather unfortunate for me," Ginny said chagrined, though half-heartedly.
Draco's brain suddenly picked up on Ginny's earlier words. He froze. Our daughter. Draco's eyes landed squarely on her stomach, where her hand was resting. It had begun to visibly swell in the last few weeks, much to his amazement.
"Hang on… Did you say daughter?!" asked Draco, looking up at her in surprise.
"Yes… Uh… Surprise, Draco!" Ginny smiled sheepishly.
"When did you find out?" Draco asked, a bit put out.
Ginny pulled her head away from his shoulder and turned to look at him with a guilty expression. "I found out this morning at my appointment before my shift."
"You couldn't have waited for me?" Draco asked, knowing that he was borderline whinging.
"How could I? You were busy with that last minute faculty meeting and Healer Chambers wouldn't have had an opening for a couple of more weeks."
"The one time I miss an appointment. Damn McGonagall," Draco muttered. "You could have had Chambers write it down on parchment and we could have found out together."
"You know Healer Chambers, she's been so excited for me that she blurted it out before I could tell her to wait," Ginny sighed, "I'm sorry." She gave him a gentle kiss.
"Fine," Draco smirked, pleased that she felt the need to make amends. "I accept your apology under one condition."
"I get to name our daughter."
"Only when hell freezes over," she narrowed her eyes at him. "You'd name her something ridiculous like Horologium or Camelopardalis. What is with your family and constellations, anyway?"
"Says the woman who named an owl Pigwedgeon," Draco retaliated triumphantly.
"I was around thirteen!" Ginny cried. "You can't hold that against me."
"I see you've been studying your constellations," he commented with a small smile.
"Well, after we cast that spell on the nursery next door, I decided I need to brush up," Ginny explained with a yawn. They had moved into this house a few weeks ago, after months of careful planning and picking out all of the details for their home. They had outgrown his flat in London and had decided to settle into the quiet village of Hogsmeade. It was convenient for the both of them, with Draco teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts, and Ginny running St. Mungo's clinic in Hogsmeade. The Malfoy family had generously donated the clinic a couple of years ago for better accessibility to healthcare, with Ginny at the front and center at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Draco could see her eyes getting heavy. Ever since they found out she was pregnant Ginny had had some difficulty sleeping. Sometimes it was random tangents like these; other nights she had some strange craving she just had to satisfy. And each time Draco stayed up with her to ensure every need and want was met.
"Let's get back to bed, Gin," Draco said, reaching for his wand on his nightstand to extinguish the candlelight. "We can talk about this in the morning."
"Mmhmm," Ginny mumbled in agreement, already getting comfortable in her pillows.
Half an hour had passed, yet Draco was still tossing and turning. Ginny was lightly snoring away, sleeping like a rock while resting against her body pillow. Try as he might, he couldn't turn his brain off. Suddenly it felt like the birth of their child was far too close and he had a million things to do before she came into the world.
As quietly as he could, Draco got out of bed and started pacing back and forth at the foot of the bed. If he couldn't sleep, he may as well figure out a plan for the future.
"Bloody hell, I'm going to have a daughter…"
"We're going to have a daughter," Ginny called out from the bed. Apparently, he was voicing his thoughts out loud. And apparently Ginny wasn't in as deep of a sleep as he thought. "And she is not going to be in that daft ball."
Draco suddenly felt the need to spring into action. He walked over to the birch wood desk, lit the candle, and took out a fresh piece of parchment from the drawer.
"Draco, what are you doing?" Ginny asked, sitting up in bed. "It's close to four in the morning."
"I need to owl McGongall about my leave of absence. I have to let her know ahead of time," Draco explained, writing furiously. "And then I need to Floo call the contractor first thing in the morning, and Kendra to plan the baby shower and…"
"Calm down," he heard her calm voice against his ear and Ginny's arms slipped around his waist, her body against his. He had been so caught up in his to do list that Draco hadn't even realized that his wife had gotten out of bed.
A thought occurred to him. "Oh Gods," Draco groaned. "I hope they don't have Longbottom cover my N.E.W.T. classes again."
"Why?" Ginny asked, resting her head against his back. "He did it last time during our honeymoon. And you said he did rather well."
Draco swiveled around, now looking down at Ginny's amused face, her arms still around him.
"I know," Draco sighed, bringing a hand to her cheek. "but I can't let him know that. We have a rivalry to continue after all."
Ginny laughed. Neville and his fiancé Hannah had just been over at their home for dinner last moth. While Neville and Draco definitely had to learn how to get past their differences much like… everyone had to with Draco, she was sure the rivalry was kept up for appearances at Hogwarts. Men were ridiculous, she thought to herself.
"You could always ask Harry to guest lecture the class," she suggested. "He'd be more than happy to do it."
"Nope, nope," Draco replied without missing a beat. "Longbottom will be just fine."
"Come back to bed, Professor Malfoy," Ginny said softly, bringing her arms up to loop around his neck. "We have quite a lot of time to figure things out."
He smiled, feeling the warmth radiating inside of him, before moving down to capture Ginny's lips with his. Draco hadn't felt this happy in a long time, with the good fortune that he had been blessed with, and the good fortune that was to come.
A/N: And that's all I wrote! Thank you to all who have joined me on this two and a half year journey with this story. I sincerely appreciate each and every review and reviewer. I feel like I've grown so much as a writer and a storyteller, which was all thanks to this story and your reviews! Thank you so much for being patient when I didn't update for a few months, lol. This story has been around during some of my more difficult times, and it's bittersweet to say goodbye to Charm School. I would greatly appreciate your reviews for this final chapter!
If you've enjoyed my writing and my stories, I have started a new multi-chaptered fic called Silver Lining, which is already up on this account! I really hope you come and join me for another fun ride with D & G! (: