Two Years Later.
While the rest of her family was in the garden, enjoying the summer sun, Hermione was fussing around inside the house. It was her daughter, Carina's first birthday and she wanted everything to be perfect for her little girl. Within a few months of Draco and Hermione deciding to start a family, Hermione had fallen pregnant and a year ago she'd given birth to Carina. In honour of her first birthday Hermione and Draco had decided to throw a small party for their friends and family, which was why Hermione was fussing over last minute details.
After double checking all the food was spread out over the dining table, Hermione headed into the kitchen to ensure the selection of drinks was adequate. As she was doing so the back door opened and Lucius entered the kitchen. Lucius and Narcissa now lived nearby at the Malfoy Chateau, and had done since the French Ministry agreed to the change in Lucius's bail conditions two years ago.
When Harry and Ron heard about the proposed change they tried to object but Kingsley wouldn't be budged and he signed off on Lucius moving to France. Hermione wasn't sure if Harry and Ron's objections were down to the fact they still thought Lucius should be in Azkaban or if they were a result of them not being happy that Hermione had rejected their pitiful attempts at trying to salvage their friendship. In that end she decided that there was probably a bit of both reasons playing a part in their objections.
"Draco sent me to come and get you." Lucius told his daughter-in-law. "He says stop fussing, and come and play with Carina."
"I just want to make sure everything is perfect for this afternoon." Hermione said.
"Hermione, everything is great." Lucius said. "We've got enough food and drink for dozens of people. The important thing is that people enjoy themselves, especially Carina, and I'm sure she would rather spend time with her mother then have her fussing in the kitchen."
Agreeing that Lucius was right, Hermione headed outside into the garden with her father-in-law. Narcissa and Draco were lying with Carina in the middle of the lawn on a large blanket, and Hermione and Lucius joined them. A few years ago Hermione never would have pictured Lucius as the type of person who would sit on the floor, but he was more than happy to be on the lawn with his family, especially Carina whom he doted on.
Half an hour later the first guests began to arrive so Hermione and Draco left Carina in her grandparents care as they greeted their guests. Most of their friends were from France, but they were expecting a few arrivals from England including Neville and his wife, Luna, who were among the first to arrive. Welcoming their friends, Draco and Hermione told them to help themselves to food and to head out into the garden. As the house began to fill up with their friends, Draco and Hermione ended up separated and Hermione could find no sign of her husband when the floo network lit up and Kingsley stepped from the flames.
"Kingsley." Hermione smiled at the British Minister. "I'm so pleased you came."
"I wasn't going to miss Carina's birthday." Kingsley replied. "And speaking of the birthday girl, where is she?"
"She's in the garden with Lucius and Narcissa." Hermione said.
"I'll go and say hello." Kingsley said as he set off into the garden.
Since the robberies, Kingsley had become quite friendly with both Lucius and Narcissa. Kingsley had personally kept the family up to date during the trial and he'd been the one to deliver the news that Mundungus and his accomplices had all been sent to Azkaban for several years. The wizard who'd carried out the robbery on Narcissa had also faced a charge of assault and he'd had an extra year added onto his sentence.
The sound of the floo network sounding again dragged Hermione out of her thoughts. Turning around she grinned widely as she spotted George and Angelina emerging from the flames with little Fred. The second the two year old saw Hermione he started wriggling in Angelina's arms and reaching for his godmother.
Hermione being godmother to little Fred was a slight sore point with the Weasley's, but George and Angelina had insisted. Fred's christening had been the last time Hermione had seen Harry and Ron and they'd pretty much ignored her and Draco for the entire duration of the event. The duo had clearly sulking from the last time they'd spoken and the fact Hermione had made it clear their friendship was well and truly over. The rest of the Weasley's hadn't been much better and apart from a few words exchanged with the likes of Bill and Charlie, the rest of the family also ignored her and Draco.
"Hi, little monster." Hermione cooed, lifting Fred into her arms.
"How on earth do you do that?" Angelina asked, looking on in amazement as Fred was content to just sit in Hermione's arms. When she was holding him he spent his entire time wriggling around. "Whenever we visit you, he's an angel. I swear he's not normally this good."
"He is entering the terrible twos." Hermione laughed.
"Those started the second he was born." Angelina replied with a smile.
"What did you expect having a kid with George?" Hermione chuckled. "Any kid of George's was bound to be trouble."
"Hey." George protested. "I'm not that bad."
"Yes, you are." Angelina told her husband. "Sometimes I feel like I've got two children, not one."
"Tell me about it." Hermione said. "I feel the same with Draco. Sometimes he's more of a handful than Carina."
"Speaking of which, where are Draco and Carina?" George asked.
"Carina's outside being made a fuss of, and I haven't seen Draco since Blaise arrived. Knowing them two they'll be cooking up trouble together." Hermione replied, handing Fred back to Angelina.
"Excellent." George grinned at the thought of two Slytherins to team up with. "Oh, before I go, I have a present for you."
"Shouldn't you be bringing presents for Carina?" Hermione asked as George handed her a small box.
"Ange has Carina's present." George answered. "That is for you and Draco. I know how much you like my body paint, so I thought I would give you a tub of my newest kind. All the flavours are tropical and exotic."
"It's really good." Angelina said to Hermione. "We used loads of it while George was sorting out the flavours. The end result is amazing."
"Thanks." Hermione told George with a chuckle. "I'm sure we'll have plenty of fun with your present."
"That's the aim." George grinned, before hurrying off to find Draco and Blaise.
When Hermione and Angelina arrived outside with little Fred the three wizards were sitting talking at the bottom of the garden. Exchanging an amused look, Hermione and Angelina made their way over to where Narcissa and Lucius were sitting with Carina. Angelina put Fred down on the rug and he immediately toddled over to Carina and sat down next to her.
The rest of the afternoon was spent out in the sun, enjoying Carina's first birthday. All the guests had plenty to eat and drink and Carina was one spoiled little girl with all the attention and presents she received.
Hermione also thoroughly enjoyed the day and by the end of it she was grateful for the wonderful friends and family she had. There were lots of times when she wished things were different with her parents, but she at least knew they were safe and happy and that was something. Although now she had surrogate parents in Lucius and Narcissa, and while they never tried to take the place of her parents, Hermione knew they would always be there for her. She was family, and to the Malfoy's, family was what mattered the most in life.
A/N – Thanks to everyone who has read this story. As always the amazing support I receive is greatly appreciated and also very humbling.
With Christmas coming up I won't be posting any other longer stories this year (Wedding Bells will have to do as a longer story). I do however have a few one shots and Christmas stories coming up.