Hermione wandered around the suite, checking she and Draco hadn't forgotten anything. It was the Monday morning and they were getting ready to check out. A lot of the wedding guests had already checked out, but Scorpius and Lily weren't leaving until lunchtime so their families were all sticking around until the newlyweds had gone. Once she was sure they had everything, Hermione sat down on the sofa since they didn't have to be down in reception just yet.
"That's everything from the bathroom," Draco announced as he emerged from the bathroom with a couple of toiletry bags. Placing the bags in the case on the bed, Draco settled down next to his wife. "So are you ready to go home?"
"Definitely," Hermione replied, leaning her head against her husband's shoulder.
"This has definitely been an exhausting wedding," Draco agreed.
"Let's hope the next one is less hassle," Hermione chuckled. "At least with Lyra marrying Alex, we won't have to deal with the aunt and uncle from hell."
"I don't know, Astoria can be a bit of a handful at times," Draco said.
"She's harmless," Hermione retorted. "She just had a bit of a crush on you years ago, but she's happily married these days. Besides, it's not as if she's going to push her way into everything like Ron and Lavender have."
"I doubt anyone will be behaving like those two have," Draco remarked. "I have to admit, I'll be glad to see the back of them."
"Let's just hope they don't show up in France too often," Hermione smirked.
She doubted Ron and Lavender would be regular visitors, but she knew the mere thought of the couple showing up in France would be enough to worry her husband. Sure enough Draco's face twisted into a mask of horror at the thought of Ron and Lavender visiting in France, causing Hermione to laugh at her husband's horror.
"I think after today we'll not see Ron and Lavender that often," Hermione said, deciding to end Draco's worries.
"Thank Merlin for that," Draco muttered.
"Although there are a few people I wouldn't mind keeping in touch with," Hermione said to her husband.
"George and Angelina," Draco guessed. He had no problem with keeping in touch with the couple and he'd already told George they could visit in France whenever they wanted.
"I would like to keep in touch with them," Hermione said. "It's been great to see George again."
"Already sorted," Draco told his wife. "I told George yesterday that he was more than welcome to visit us anytime they wanted."
"Excellent," Hermione smiled. "And I'm sure we'll see plenty of Harry and Ginny as well."
"Are you okay with that?" Draco checked with his wife. "I know you and Potter talked and things have been easier these last few weeks, but will you want to carry on the friendship once we return home?"
"Things will never be the same between us, and we'll never be as close as we once were, but I'm happy to have him back in my life," Hermione answered. "At least Harry made an effort to talk to me and to apologise for the past, Ron hasn't even bothered. I think he's said two words to me since we re-met."
"I think you should be grateful for small mercies," Draco snorted. "Who would want to talk to Weasley?"
"Okay, I think it's time to forget about Ron," Hermione said, not wanting to get involved in bitching about her former friend. "After today, we'll only see him occasionally and I'm sure we can all manage to be civil."
Draco nodded as he checked the time and announced it was time to head downstairs. "Lily and Scorp should be leaving soon, and we don't want to miss them."
"I'm sure they won't leave without saying goodbye," Hermione said as the couple got up and grabbed their bags.
After making yet another check that they hadn't left anything, Draco and Hermione exited their suite and made their way to the ground floor. The reception area was packed with people waiting to say goodbye to the newlyweds. While Draco handed Blaise back the keys to the suite, Hermione walked over to where Lyra was sitting on Alex's lap, almost asleep.
"I hate to ask if you got any sleep last night," Hermione chuckled, sitting down in the chair beside Alex.
"I think we managed a couple of hours," Lyra yawned. "We were in the club until the early hours of the morning."
"As long as you had fun," Hermione said.
"We did," Alex grinned, seeming more alert than Lyra.
"You'll have to make sure your wedding lives up to this one," Hermione said. "It'll be a tough act to follow though."
"We're already working on it," Alex replied. "We're going to do something different for our wedding."
"Like what?" Hermione asked warily.
"We haven't decided yet, but it'll be awesome," Lyra said sleepily.
"Dad suggested a nudist wedding, but I'm not so sure that's a good idea," Alex said. "I have no desire to see my parents naked. Plus, I don't like the idea of everyone seeing Lyra without her clothes on."
"I'm pleased to hear there'll be no naked wedding," Hermione said with a sigh of relief. "Imagine the likes of Lucius at a naked wedding."
Hermione laughed as Lyra groaned and Alex shuddered at the thought of seeing Lucius without his clothes. Leaving Alex and Lyra to discuss other ways of making their wedding memorable, Hermione headed over to where Draco was talking to George and Angelina.
"Can you believe it's all over?" Angelina asked, giving Hermione a hug. "We're going to miss you Hermione."
"I hope you're going to visit us sometime," Hermione said. "The four of us could have a great time in Paris."
"Don't worry, we'll be visiting regularly," George grinned. "Wait and see, before long you'll be complaining that you can't get rid of us."
George's comments drew laughter from everyone as they began to make plans to write to each other in a few weeks and arrange the first visit. A few metres away from where Draco and Hermione were talking to George and Angelina, Ron and Lavender were standing watching and listening to proceedings with a frown.
"I can't believe your family are being so friendly," Lavender hissed. "The wedding's over, we don't have to tolerate that lot anymore."
"I think some of them actually plan on staying in touch with Hermione and Malfoy," Ron told Lavender. "George and Angelina clearly are, and I heard Charlie making plans to visit France on his next holidays. I also get the impression that Harry and Ginny will be spending time with Hermione when they go to France."
"Why haven't we been invited?" Lavender pouted.
"They don't want us," Rose snarled as she came up behind her parents. "I haven't been invited either. Last night Lily and Scorpius were inviting all sorts of people to visit, but they never invited me."
"Who did they invite?" Ron asked.
"James and Albus for a start, and Hugo," Rose huffed. "I also heard them inviting Fred and Roxy to France."
"They can't invite your brother and not you," Lavender fumed. "I'm going to go and see Ginny, she'll sort this out."
Looking around reception, Lavender spotted that Ginny and Harry were nearby and had now joined Hermione, Draco, George and Angelina. Storming over to the three couples, Lavender demanded to know why her daughter was being left out of things.
"Slow down," Ginny said to her sister-in-law. "What is Rose being left out of?"
"She's not invited to France," Lavender hissed as Ron and Rose came up beside her to see what Ginny had to say about matters. "Lily's been inviting her other cousins, but not Rose."
"We can't force Lily to invite Rose to France," Harry said diplomatically. "It's her life, and she can invite who she wants to visit."
"But it's not fair," Rose pouted, acting like a stroppy eight year old, not the adult she was. "They invited Hugo and not me."
"I can't imagine why that would be," Draco muttered, rolling his eyes.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Ron demanded.
"It means that your daughter is a spoilt brat and is extremely unlikable," Draco said. After weeks of holding his tongue for the sake of the wedding, he could now say what he really thought. "She's done nothing but bitch and moan for the last seven weeks. Is it any wonder Lily and Scorpius don't want to invite her to France."
"Don't you speak about my daughter like that," Ron snarled.
"I'm only saying what everyone's been thinking for the last few weeks," Draco replied. "Rose has done nothing but try and cause trouble. Although given the actions of her parents, that's not totally surprising."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Lavender demanded.
"I mean you two have been ridiculous," Draco said to Lavender and Ron. "You've pushed your way into every little thing, when quite frankly the wedding had nothing to do with you."
"Lily's our niece," Ron argued.
"That's the point." Draco rolled his eyes at Ron's stupidity. "It's not your daughter getting married, so you didn't need to hang around like a bad smell. It's not even as if you were hanging around to spend time with Hermione, since you haven't even bothered to apologise to her. The pair of you are just downright nosey and it's no wonder you've got such a horrid daughter. It's a miracle that Hugo is such a nice young lad."
Ron glared at Draco before turning to Harry and Ginny who were just watching proceedings. "Are you going to let him speak to us like that?"
"He does have a bit of a point," Ginny said warily. She didn't want to offend her brother and his wife but she could understand where Draco was coming from by accusing them of being around too much in the run up to the wedding. "You really didn't need to be around as much, and it's a bit ridiculous to complain about Rose being left out when she hasn't made an effort with anyone."
"You weren't complaining about us being around when you wanted to stop the wedding," Ron shot back. "You're only saying this because you've all become friendly and you want to go to France. If you two want to be friends with Malfoys that's your business, but we want nothing to do with them."
"Good," Draco muttered. "The feeling is entirely mutual."
"Can we leave Daddy?" Rose asked Ron. "I didn't really want to go to France anyway. I want nothing to do with the Malfoys, they're all horrid people."
"It takes one to know one, sweetheart," Draco retorted.
"Come on Rose, Lavender, we're leaving," Ron said, glaring at Draco as he put an arm around his daughter and wife. "Say goodbye to Lily for us, we're going home now," He snapped at Harry and Ginny, before the trio turned and exited the building without looking back.
"Was it something I said?" Draco smirked.
"Git." Hermione slapped her husband on the arm, hoping he hadn't ruined things with Harry and Ginny. Even though Ginny hadn't sided with Ron, she didn't want things to turn awkward between them
"It's alright Hermione," Harry said to his friend. "Your husband may have been pretty blunt, but he was right. Rose can be a nightmare and it's no surprise that Lily doesn't want to invite her to France."
"I hope this won't make things difficult between you two and Ron," Hermione said.
"Ron will be fine when he calms down," Ginny replied, dismissing concerns of her brother holding a grudge. "To be honest we should have stepped in sooner and made sure they weren't around as much. I think we're partly to blame for letting them hang around and cause trouble."
Hermione breathed a sigh of relief at Ginny's reassurance. After the bridges that had been mended between her and Harry, she didn't want things to go back to how they were. Luckily there wasn't much time to dwell on events with Ron and Lavender as Scorpius and Lily chose that moment to enter reception.
The happy couple said goodbye to everyone personally, until it was just them and their parents left in reception.
"So are you heading straight to the island?" Harry asked.
"We're stopping off in France first," Lily answered. "Our bags are packed and are waiting for us in the penthouse. We'll then floo to the island."
"Have fun, and make sure to write and let us know when you get back," Ginny told her daughter. "We want to come and visit you and make sure you're alright."
"I promise, you can come and visit after we return from honeymoon," Lily said, giving both her parents a final hug and a kiss before they said their goodbyes and left for home.
"Are you two hanging around for a few days?" Scorpius asked his parents. He'd noticed how well his parents had been getting along with some of Lily's family and he wasn't sure if they would be staying in England for a while longer.
"No, we're going back to the Manor to get our things together. Then after we've had dinner with your grandparents, we'll be going home," Draco answered.
"What about Lyra?" Scorpius asked.
"She was heading back to France with Alex," Hermione replied. "I think she's eager to get going on the restaurant. She was hoping to get a good chunk of the renovations done before you got back off your honeymoon."
"That would be great," Lily smiled. "Anyway, we'll see you when we get back," She added, giving both Draco and Hermione a hug.
"Have a brilliant time," Hermione told her son and daughter-in-law as she hugged Scorpius.
"And don't forget the suntan, you don't want sunburn in awkward places," Draco advised. "Believe me, it's no fun having a burnt bum."
Scorpius rolled his eyes at his father's advice as Lily laughed at her father-in-law. Saying their final goodbyes, Lily and Scorpius flooed back to France on their way to their honeymoon while Draco and Hermione headed to the manor where Lucius and Narcissa were waiting for them.
"I hope you're not rushing off straight away," Narcissa said as the couple arrived home.
"We'll leave after dinner," Draco told his mother.
"Besides, I thought Lucius might be interested to hear what I've discovered about his painting," Hermione added. Even though the wedding had been her top priority she had managed to unearth the truth behind the mysterious Claudine Malfoy.
"Is it genuine?" Lucius asked as everyone settled down to hear what Hermione had discovered. "Is she a Malfoy?"
"The painting is genuine," Hermione confirmed. "Claudine Malfoy was the younger sister of your Great-Grandfather."
"My Great-Grandfather didn't have a sister," Lucius replied. "Malfoys have only ever had one male child for centuries. Lyra was the first female Malfoy born in seven generations."
"As I said Claudine Malfoy was the sister of your Great-Grandfather. She was disowned at nineteen and her parents ensured all records of her were destroyed," Hermione explained. It had taken her a lot of work to find the small bit of information she did have since the Malfoys had been so determined to erase her from their lives. "They didn't just disown her, they pretended she never existed. Chances are even your Grandfather and Father never even knew she existed."
"Why was she wiped from the family so severely?" Draco questioned. "Surely even marrying a muggleborn wouldn't have warranted being stricken from existence so severely."
"Claudine didn't marry a muggleborn, she married a muggle," Hermione answered. "She fell in love with a muggle from a nearby village, and was disowned. She then went to live in the muggle world and abandoned her magic. She turned her back on being a witch to be with the man she loved."
"Living as a muggle would definitely be the reason behind such drastic measures," Lucius said. "Most pureblood families would go ballistic if any of them moved to the muggle world and abandoned everything they'd been brought up to believe."
"Abandoning her magic seems pretty severe," Narcissa noted. "Why didn't she carry on using magic? Did her muggle husband not know she was a witch?"
"I don't know," Hermione replied. "It's taken me weeks to discover the bare facts, I'll have to do more digging to find out anything else."
"I would appreciate that," Lucius said. "I think it's time we returned Claudine to the family tree. No matter what choices she made in life, she was a Malfoy and she deserves to be recognised as such."
Draco and Narcissa shared a smile at Lucius's declaration. They both knew that before Hermione had entered their lives that Lucius would have thoroughly approved of Claudine being stricken from the family records for daring to marry a muggle. However, Hermione's presence in their lives had changed Lucius dramatically and he now agreed that people should be free to marry whoever they choose and blood shouldn't dictate who a suitable partner was.
After discussing the painting and what Hermione had discovered for a while longer, Draco and Hermione headed off to get all their stuff together. They then returned to the dining room where they had a nice dinner with Lucius and Narcissa. Narcissa did try and persuade the couple to stay another night, but both Draco and Hermione were keen to get home so the couple said their goodbyes and flooed home.
"Home at last," Draco sighed in contentment as the couple finally arrived back home.
"I've missed this place," Hermione said, collapsing onto the big, comfortable corner sofa that was situated the front room.
"I've missed our bed," Draco remarked, smiling seductively at his wife. "Do you fancy going to get reacquainted with it?"
"I think I can be persuaded," Hermione smiled as she stood up.
Pulling Hermione into his arms, Draco smiled down at his wife before giving her a breath-taking kiss. "I can be very persuasive," He muttered as he re-joined their lips again.
Still kissing, the pair stumbled up the stairs and into their gigantic bedroom. Falling onto the bed, the couple proceeded to celebrate being home in style. As much as they'd enjoyed the wedding and were pleased for Scorpius, they were thrilled to be home and for things to return to normal. And at least when wedding bells next rang for the family they knew it wouldn't involve a seven week trip to England. Lyra and Alex would more than likely get married in France, meaning no traveling was required. Plus they would be dealing with their best friends as parents of the groom, meaning they wouldn't have the same drama that had accompanied Scorpius and Lily's wedding. Unless of course Lyra and Alex came up with some wild way of tying the knot, and knowing those two it could be a very real possibility.
A/N – We've reached the end of yet another story. I want to thank everyone for their mazing support of both this story and all my others. The fantastic support I receive from so many people really does amaze me. I have a fantastic bunch of people who favourite, follow and review almost every story I write, and I just want to say how much I appreciate them. I also appreciate the people who read and review just one story. Every little bit of support really is special to me.
As I mentioned on Christmas at Hogwarts, there'll be no more stories from me this year. I will be back in January with plenty more stories. But for now I want to wish my brilliant readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.