"Tom?" Hermione pokes her head from the bedroom, frowning at the silence before padding down the hallway. She sighs, rubbing her thumb along the bumpy ridges of the rings on a gold chain hanging between her breasts - three eternity bands, usually worn on her left hand, the first in all white stones, always kept closest to her palm; the middle in all yellow; and the most recent, the one on top, all blue stones - before slipping into the bathroom for a quick stop at the loo.

After washing up and checking in the empty office, she walks down the stairs carefully and pokes her head into the just as empty front room before heading into the kitchen. "Tom?"

Her husband of almost one year turns from the stove, glaring at her. "What are you doing out of bed, sweet? You were told…"

Hermione lets out a huff and pouts at him as she pushes her way into the kitchen, scowling when he meets her a third of the way in quick strides only to ushers her into one of the dining chairs. "I need to move around, Tom! I can feel the muscles in my legs losing every bit of strength. My muscle mass is dwindling!"

She sounds whiny, and she knows it. His soft laughter doesn't make it any better, until he settles on his knees between her legs and presses his lips to her heavily rounded stomach.

"You know that's not true, Dr. Granger." He looks up at her with a smirk, which only widens even further at her irritated snort. Tom looks back down to her stomach, murmuring as one hand strokes her side. "I know, little one; mummy is being quite petulant today, isn't she?"

Hermione lets out a soft groan, dropping her head over the back of the chair as the infant in her belly gives a flurry of kicks and punches at the sound of Tom's voice. "Oh, God, stop; he's going to kick my bladder to nothing before I ever give birth if you keep this up!"

"I'm sorry, love. I can't help it if he just loves the sound of my voice, just like his mummy." He presses his mouth to her stomach again, hands gently stroking and soothing the wide arch. "Now, you should get back to bed. It's called bed rest for a reason, you know."


It takes Hermione almost five years to complete her medical training upon graduation from Hogwarts. The years are difficult, especially with her course load and traveling back and forth in order to spend any time with Tom, but they make it work.

For their one year anniversary, he gifts her a large amethyst pendant hanging from a shining gold chain. "Because that amethyst geode in my office was the first thing we talked about, did you remember? And purple stands for my devotion to you, and royalty, as you are my queen."

In her third year of medical school, four years after the official beginning of their relationship, Tom proposes with a beautiful eternity band of white diamonds. He knows she never wants or wears large rings or anything that would be in the way at work, so he adapts. "Because white stands for perfection, and you are my perfect girl."

Upon completion of her finals and officially being accepted at a medical office in Hogsmeade, just outside of Hogwarts campus, he gifts her another eternity band, this one all yellow diamonds. "Because yellow stands for joy and happiness, which you have brought into my life. And because it stands for intelligence and supposedly stimulates mental activity, which you'll need."

They are married a year after she finishes school, just after she and Tom buy a new, much larger house together in Hogsmeade.

The wedding is small, Ginny and Pansy standing for Hermione while Severus and Lucius stand with Tom. A small bouquet of pink camellia, purple hyacinth, with white stephanotis [1] interspersed through the vibrant blooms is wrapped together with a particularly interesting bit of black rope, which causes Severus to snort and look to the sky. Lucius openly snickers upon seeing it when she hands it off to Ginny, who grins wildly at the bouquet, with a sickeningly sweet smile sent in the groomsmen's direction. Her parents, oblivious to the exchange, cling to one another, smiling hugely and tears standing in their eyes.

A much larger reception later in the day is attended by most of their friends and family, as well most of the members of the Peitho gatherings, and the groups all have enough overlap to have made Hermione pull her hair in mortification during the wedding planning phases.

A week after she tells him she is pregnant, all beaming smiles and flushed cheeks, and only ten months after their wedding, he gifts her a third eternity band in deep blue. "Because blue symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom and heaven, because you are heaven to me, and you have given me the greatest gifts of my life."

Tom continues to direct the Peitho group, both he and Hermione attending gatherings together - at first participating, until later, when her pregnancy becomes obvious, and they begin to just attend, at least until she is put on bed rest halfway through her third trimester.

Upon being formally introduced to Severus and Lucius, at a gathering a few months after graduation, Hermione manages to keep the blush from her cheeks. While Lucius leers at her in a way that makes her fight laughter, Severus continues to avoid her direct eyeline, still preferring to speak to her hairline.

Her first introduction to the entire gathering, sans mask and everything else except for a pair of wool socks and a new woven black linen rope fishtail bracelet fastened around her wrist, she has no hopes of holding back the blushes spreading across her body from Fleur's frank and appreciative gaze, nor the laughter elicited by Draco and Theo's shocked expressions.

As for Hermione's friends, she finally gives in just prior to the start of the school year following her graduation and tells them all at a final summer gathering at the Weasley home, confessing to the relationship, as well as the secret-keeping to her friends.

Ginny thinks that Hermione's relationship with Professor Riddle is the most brilliant thing to happen since God made little apples, not to mention the most scintillating gossip ever to come from Hogwarts (except, of course, for that time that the groundskeeper Filch was caught with the librarian, Madam Pince, in a broom cupboard). She also constantly asks for details, especially after picking up on some of Hermione and Tom's more unconventional playtime when she stumbles across a damp and rumpled silk tie that had been accidentally left wedged between the couch cushions.

Harry is properly horrified, until Pansy steps in and congratulates Hermione on such an advantageous match, pointing out - rather pointedly and loudly in the direction of her boyfriend - that despite the age difference, their personalities and interests are exceptionally well aligned and they are obviously smitten with one another if they've worked so hard to form a relationship and keep it alive, despite all of the pressures otherwise. Harry, shockingly, catches on after only a few minutes and manages to shut his mouth long enough to think through her words before throwing his arms around Hermione in a life-threateningly tight hug and sighing about how sorry he is about being so oblivious and, in Snape's everlasting words, a dunderhead.

Ron just scowls and mutters something about needing another beer before shuffling off. He never truly is friendly with Tom but, for Hermione's sake at least, he is also never overtly rude.

Hermione and Tom are ridiculously happy, and when William Riddle is born - Severus and Ginny standing in as godparents - despite the rather sharp lack of sleep, they wouldn't change a thing… especially once Hermione is cleared for sex and then the little one begins to sleep through the night after a few more months.

Their happiness only increases when, the day after William's fourth birthday, Hermione hands Tom a pink onesie with "Daddy's Princess" in soft glitter. Lucius and Pansy stand as godparents for little Amelia, with Harry forced by Hermione to stand with the others. It may not be official, but it is as good as, especially with the size of the rock on Pansy's hand.

It is the happiest of times, and whenever Tom finds Hermione nursing or deep in thought, he sees her stroking the black linen rope bracelet, worn down soft as satin, and forever snuggled up beside the sterling link bracelet. He kisses her and whispers his love into her ear.

[1] Because I love flower meanings, but hate pausing to look them up: pink camellia - longing for you; purple hyacinth - please forgive me; stephanotis - marital happiness. I told you they'd make a reappearance. ;)

A/N: That's all, folks! *hearts* THANK YOU SO MUCH! To all of you lovely, lovely readers who have read and reviewed and shared so much love for this silly story of mine. I can never express how much it has meant to me! The biggest thanks go to my amazing beta and best friend in the whole world, Glitter.