A/N: Thank you all so so much for your reviews, follows and favorites! When I first posted this story, it was just a little idea that I had and I had no idea that it was going to get this kind of response! It's so nice that so many people like the Marcus x Hermione ship. I have one other story with this pairing, called Lovefool, so if you are interested you can go check it out. You can follow me on tumblr (nauticalparamour) where I post sneak peeks, story updates and answer questions. Also, I will be posting a fun Halloween one-shot next week, so I would love if you would check that out too.
So this epilogue ended up being WAY longer and WAY fluffier than I was expecting. I hope that you enjoy it. I would love to know what you thought of chapter eight, and thank you so so much for reading!
The trials seemed to stretch on endless for weeks. Instead of bringing closure to a society that wanted it heal, it just seemed to keep picking at the wound that was left by the Dark Lord. There were some people that Marcus was only too happy to see sent to Azkaban - Lucius Malfoy, the Lestrange brothers - but many others he wished were given a better shake. He hated the way that people just assumed all the Slytherins were Death Eaters. He'd even been questioned by aurors, to Hermione's immense annoyance, only to be let go when he showed a clean arm.
He sat with Hermione, watching proudly as she argued that Draco Malfoy didn't deserve to go to prison, tirelessly defending a boy who'd been so cruel to her at the beginning of her school career. He held Millie's hand while her father was sentenced to life in Azkaban. Just because Millie's father was a terrible man didn't mean that he stopped being her father. He could understand why she would be upset.
After a month of this same circus, he knew he needed to get Hermione away from the despair and give her a little hope. The Ministry of Magic was too overrun to issue any International portkeys, so they'd taken a muggle aeroplane to get to Australia. It had been quite the experience for Marcus, but Hermione's quiet assurances that everything was going to be alright calmed him enough to get through the long journey.
Her parents had been upset at first, at having their memories stolen, at Hermione keeping it secret just how bad the Wizarding World had gotten. But mostly, they were just glad to have her back, to have her safe, to have her happy.
Her father had approached him, surmising that he probably had Marcus to thank for his daughter's happiness. Then, he'd received a rather specific list of things that would happen to him if he ever harmed a hair on Hermione's head. Marcus didn't know that muggles could be so creative with the ways they could hurt someone. In any case, Marcus didn't have any plans to hurt Hermione. He loved her.
Her parents quickly began making arrangements to return to England, extracting a promise from Marcus that he would at least try to play cricket. Seeing the look of pure amusement on Hermione's face was enough to make Marcus worry just what he'd gotten himself into.
Hermione wanted to go back to Hogwarts to take her seventh year and her NEWTs. Of course she did. It was an annoyance to Marcus, having grown used to spending the majority of the waking day with his pipsqueak, and every night falling asleep wrapped around her tiny frame. The thought that she was about to go back to a lonely twin bed in Slytherin house hurt his heart.
Not that he'd ever dream of trying to stop her. He'd always known that education was incredibly important to Hermione and he didn't want to hold her back from whatever she wished to do.
He knew that she was feeling conflicted about it herself, so he'd tried to be as supportive as possible. It wasn't until he'd gotten some truly good news that he finally figured out a way to lift her spirits. "I have some good news." He told her over dinner one night, after she'd returned from an arduous day of helping repair the Hogwarts library.
"Oh?" She asked, shoving green beans around on her plate, clearly in conflict.
"They've decided to resume Quidditch. I had trials today with Montrose." He said, unable to hide his smile when she looked up, elated. "They've offered me a spot on the starting squad." He couldn't hold in a laugh when she squealed, rushing around the table to pepper his face with kisses.
Perched in his lap, she leaned back, love and adoration in her eyes. "Montrose in Scotland? You'll be so close."
Marcus nodded. "Exactly. I can come visit you every day after practice. Take you to some Hogsmeade weekends. Maybe you could even come to my games." As a returning student, the rules were really quite relaxed. They were all adults after all.
"I'll have to write to Professor Snape. I hope he will still allow me to use the floo in his office." Hermione said, already creating a mental to-do list of everything she would need to get sorted. After an embarrassing expose, it was clear that Snape was a hero, and Headmistress McGonagall had offered him his teaching job back. He agreed to continue there - as potions master - in order to get out of the limelight. "Oh, I know it won't be the same, but it's just a few months and then we can go back to normal." She said in a rush.
"Pipsqueak, I would wait for years if it meant I got you in the end." He said, thanking Merlin or whatever entity sent Hermione to him. If she hadn't thrown a book at his face all those years ago, he never would have been this happy.
Marcus wasn't able to get to as many Hogsmeade weekends as he wanted to. The Montrose fixture schedule was really quite aggressive. They wanted to make it the best season yet. Hermione told him not to worry, as she would usually just go with Luna and Millie. Sometimes Draco would meet up with them, too. "He's completely smitten with Luna." She told him with a barely hidden grin.
Knowing that she wasn't lonely made him feel a bit better. Really, he was glad that she had a few good friends, though he found Luna completely batty. If they made Hermione happy, he could put him with them. Millie was always pressuring him to make an honest witch of her friend. "It's only proper after living in sin for a whole year, Marcus." He argued back that Hermione didn't want to be the only witch with a husband at Hogwarts.
It was one of the few weekends that he could actually visit, but he wanted to keep it a secret from Hermione. The league was on an international break - England had no chance of fielding an international squad this year, but he thought with an aggressive approach, they could be ready for the 2002 World Cup.
Hermione was easy enough to pick out of the crowd - his eye just always seemed to be drawn to her - but he was disturbed to see her talking to Terence Higgs. Wanting to see how it played out, he snuck over to try and hear what they were saying. There was always a part of him that worried that Hermione would prefer a handsome boyfriend like Higgs.
"I disagree, Higgs. It's decidedly unpleasant to see you today." Hermione had said, her arms crossed over her chest, face in a perfect Slytherin sneer.
"Come on, Hermione, now that the war is over, I thought you and I could give it a real go." Higgs tried to goad her, running a hand through his long blond hair. He couldn't really pull off the same look that Draco did.
Hermione shook her head. "I have a boyfriend. But even if I didn't I wouldn't touch you with a ten foot pole after the way you treated me." Marcus could see the blue energy crackling at the ends of her hair, which usually suggested she was exceptionally pissed off.
Terence didn't seem to get the hint, because he was putting his hand on Hermione's shoulder. Marcus had seen enough, revealing himself to the younger boy. "Higgs. Hands off my girl." He said, before swinging his fist and grinning when he caught Terence's jaw, leaving a purpling bruise.
Shouting and a few hexes followed, before Hermione put an end to the duel between the two men. But, by that point Aurors had shown up. Marcus sat next to Higgs in magical handcuffs, while watching Hermione talk enthusiastically to trainees Weasley and Potter.
Weasley walked over, letting Marcus free. "Alright Flint. This is your one free pass, okay. Granger said you were just looking after her, but please do refrain from dueling in public in the future." He eagerly returned to his girlfriend's side, watching her hesitantly shake an offered hand from Potter. He knew they hurt her probably as much as anyone, so it wasn't likely to ever be a deep friendship. He hated that they only even gave her a chance because she'd saved Fred Weasley.
When they were gone, Hermione wrapped her arms around his waist, sighing. "Marcus, I didn't think you were going to be able to come." She said pleased, letting him plunder her mouth in a fierce kiss. "Come, let's go get a butterbeer with the others."
After Hermione had graduated from Hogwarts with eleven NEWTS - really Marcus still couldn't wrap his head around how smart she was - she was heavily recruited by several offices in the Ministry of Magic including the Auror department and Magical Law. She'd even been offered a position as in the Curse Breaking training program with Gringotts.
His girl could have done whatever she wanted, but in the end, she decided to have the best of both worlds, and accepted the offer from the Department of Magical Games and Sports, working in the Quidditch League Headquarters. To prevent impropriety, they had to disclose their relationship formally, and Hermione couldn't work directly on any initiative with the Montrose Magpies.
Their relationship took the wizarding world by storm. They hadn't exactly been keeping their relationship secret, but they hadn't been shouting it from the rooftops either. A leak in the Ministry revealed Hermione's mailing address to be his home and the press just ran wild. Most people were highly complimentary, holding their relationship up as some kind of perfect relationship, and wasn't Marcus just wonderful for choosing to ignore her muggleborn status. That always rankled him, mostly because he thought it was Hermione who was good enough to date him, not the other way around.
On the other hand, it had gotten his Aunt Ursula on his case, along with Millie about making an honest witch of Hermione. Even Draco Malfoy - who had been dating Luna Lovegood for three months when he proposed - was trying to convince him to pop the question.
It wasn't that he didn't want to ask Hermione, he just wanted to make it special for her. He'd had a ring picked out for a while now, too. But, there was also a small part of him that thought his relationship so fragile that if he rocked the boat too much, she might decide he wasn't worth the trouble. Besides, they already lived together, so how much could it change, really?
No, it was much better to leave things as they were.
He still got to share breakfast with Hermione every morning, in their newly redecorated dining room. Then they would Floo off to their separate destinations - him to Montrose and Hermione to London. He would be waiting for Hermione every night when she got back, and he still got to fall asleep every night with his arms around her. It was perfect.
Marcus had been planning this particular dinner for weeks. Hermione had been working her arse off to get the England International squad into the World Cup qualifying and she would hear today if she'd been successful. He knew just how hard she'd been working all summer, and he really hoped that he would be able to celebrate with her, rather than commiserate.
That was why he'd spent time in the kitchen with his old house elf, desperately trying to learn how to make a chicken roast that would pass at dinner. Honestly, he was pretty sure that there was some elf magic in play when the big day actually came because he wasn't sure he could have pulled it off without it burning or not cooking all the way through. But the dinner that was on the table actually passable, served with a nice bottle of red wine he'd picked out.
Dressed in a nice shirt - one that actually fit his muscular upper half - he intercepted Hermione when she flooed home for the evening, ushering her into the dining room, and pushing away her requests to just go change out of her work clothes. Seated across the table from her, with a smile on his face, he poured her wine. "How did it go?" He asked, finally, realizing that she hadn't said anything yet, which surprised him. Usually he couldn't get Hermione to stop talking about work.
She stared at the empty plate in front of her. "How did what go?" She asked, looking a bit distracted.
Marcus couldn't hold back his laugh. Surely she must be joking. "The presentation to EUQA? For the qualifying matches?" He prodded.
Hermione met his grey blue eyes suddenly. "Oh. That. Well, we got approval, so I am sure we will be quite busy now trying to schedule matches and friendlies, and they are drawing groups in just a few months." Her eyes dropped to her plate again.
Marcus felt his heart speed up as she looked away. Why was she acting like this, when she should be jumping for joy? Was it that she didn't want to be with him any more? Was there some other man she would prefer to him. Of course, she was young...maybe she just wanted to have fun. Swallowing the knot that seemed to form in his throat, he had to know what was on her mind. "Hermione, what's wrong?"
This time, when she met his eyes, it was with a great shuddering breath. "Marcus, I have to tell you something. And there is no easy way to do it, so I suppose I will just say it." She scrunched her eyes shut. "I'm pregnant."
The words echoed in his ears, her voice sounded so tiny, only to be drowned out by the rushing in his ears from his heartbeat. Pregnant. Hermione was pregnant. Hermione was going to have a baby. Hermione was going to have his baby. He was going to become a father. Of course, he was always a bit too impatient to have her to be good about always casting a contraceptive charm, but he thought they'd been more careful than that. And now, they were going to have a baby.
She sound of Hermione's rattled voice brought him back to himself. She was crying, fat tears rolling down her cheeks. "Marcus, please say something. I know...I know we didn't plan on this, but…" She trailed off, unwilling to say what he knew she was thinking.
He stood from the table so abruptly, his chair knocked over, before crossing the room to kneel beside her. With his great height, even kneeling down, they were eye level. He wiped the tears from her cheeks and smiled at her. "Hermione, will you marry me?" He asked, unable to stop the dopey grin from forming on his face.
She looked at his face, before shaking her head no. He felt his heart actually skip a beat. "No, I don't want to marry you because you feel some kind of sense of obligation to me because we are having a baby. I don't want to marry you if you are only doing it because I am pregnant." It hurt her to say the words, knowing that she would love nothing more than to marry him, the man who'd been her protector through the years.
Marcus, desperate to change her mind, shoved his hand into the pocket of his jeans, before pulling out the ring he'd been carrying around for weeks. It had been from his mother's family - the Macmillians - and it held a small but flawless diamond, flanked on either side by delicate emeralds. "It's not just because...you're pregnant." He closed his eyes, thinking of the words. "Wow, you're pregnant. I've been carrying this around with me since May, just waiting for the right time to ask you. The perfect time. And I love you Hermione, and I would love for you to be my wife."
Hermione was crying happy tears this time, now nodding enthusiastically yes. "Yes, okay, I will marry you Marcus." She used her hands to pull his face to hers, meeting his lips in a frantic kiss, wanting to be as close to him as possible.
Marcus stood, picking her up as if she were light as a feather, before depositing her on the dining room table. Laid out before him like a feast, she looked good enough to eat, but he needed to be inside her, close to her. Helping her push her skirt up, and her knickers down her legs, she helped him undo the zipper and button of his jeans.
Sliding into her wet heat felt as good today as the first time they'd been together. Only now, they knew each other's bodies so much better, he knew exactly what could make her toes curl. Thrusting in and out of her, while she kissed up and down his neck, catching his earlobe between her teeth had him on the edge. It only took a few more vigorous thrusts, his thumb circling her clit, before they were coming together, a mess of sweaty limbs.
"I love you, Marcus." Hermione said, tears again in her eyes, so moved by the emotion of the moment.
Now that they were going to be married, Marcus had agreed to play cricket with Hermione's father. She'd been trying to describe all of the rules to him, but Marcus knew that there was no way he was going to remember all of them.
He said as much to Hermione's father, who had just given him a grin and slapped him on the shoulder. "A big guy like you? You'll do fine." The man then dragged him into their garden, leaving Hermione alone in the kitchen to run through wedding preparations.
Most of the time, Marcus liked spending time with Hermione's father. They didn't have much in common. He was some kind of healer, enjoyed listening to classical music and reading. Marcus didn't think too much of those. He wasn't a very good student, and he didn't really enjoy reading at all. But they did have one thing in common: sports.
Richard Granger had opened Marcus's eyes to a whole new world of muggle sports, while Marcus tried to explain Quidditch. His favorite was football, Richard being an avid supporter of Queens Park Rangers. Though, Marcus thought that if he'd grown up as a muggle, he would have likely played the sport called rugby instead of football. Or boxing - he liked watching that too.
He enjoyed watching cricket, but there were just too many rules, he always ended up getting confused. Richard tried to get him focused on one aspect, so he could eventually join in Richard's neighborhood league. He didn't think hitting the little ball would be that hard, but then he remembered how Hermione used to throw the Quaffle...and that she'd gotten her technique from her father.
And...when he remembered the reason they were getting married quite so quickly, he was concerned that her father might try to exact a little revenge on him, in the form of a hard rubber ball.
Perhaps reading Marcus's mind, seeing the younger man flinch while he warmed up, Richard tried to keep a serious face, before calling him over. "Look, Marcus, you may have fooled Jane with that nonsense about the autumnal equinox for the wedding thing, but you haven't fooled me."
Marcus gulped, seeing the brown eyes Hermione had inherited bore into his own. He suddenly felt four feet tall. Blush on his cheeks, he nodded. "Yes sir."
"Still, I'd rather pretend as if I didn't know. So when Hermione and you visit in a month and tell us you are expecting a baby, I will act surprised." Richard stepped forward, pressing a finger in Marcus's broad chest. "But, you will have memorized at least the basic rules of cricket." Marcus nodded again, happy to be let off so easily. Richard's face was transformed by a grin. "I knew that the pair of you were going to end up together when you found us in Australia. Now, just keep my little girl safe."
Marcus and Hermione got married two weeks after he proposed to her. Marcus had told Hermione that he didn't mind waiting until after she had the baby or if she wanted more time. He didn't care if the old ladies in the pureblood circle his parents had run in clutched their pearls in horror at the idea of them having a child out of wedlock. Their friends and family supported them - even Marcus's mother's portrait was over the moon.
But Hermione had declined, saying she would rather just get married as soon as possible. They didn't need to make an statements about when their baby was conceived, she would let people extrapolate all they wanted, but she still wanted to be married before the baby was born, and while she still looked good in a wedding dress - her words, not his.
They got married on the Flint family grounds, where they had some runic stones that tied the family to the earth. Apparently, every Flint marriage for as long as anyone could remember was married at that same spot. It was lovely, surrounded by trees which were just beginning their annual leaf color change from green to orange.
Hermione had wore a muggle wedding dress, with long lace sleeves, that hugged all of her curves. Marcus thought that she looked stunned, and he was nearly too surprised to do anything when it was time to take her hands, until his witness, Adrian Pucey, gave him a shove. Millie stood as Hermione's witness, while the Ministry wizard began the bonding.
The small crowd clapped and cheered when they finally kissed at the end of the ceremony, standing together as Marcus and Hermione Flint for the first time. His Aunt Ursula looked over the moon, which warmed his heart, seeing as she was one of the few family members he had left. He was glad that she could look past Hermione's blood status for his happiness.
Hermione's mother slipped into the kitchen, where the newlyweds were discussing with their hired house elves who were serving the banquet, trying to decide what Hermione should do about drinking. If she was seen not drinking, it might be suspicious.
Jane pressed the bottle of sparkling apple cider into Hermione's hands with a smile on her face. "Do you honestly think your father was going to be able to keep such a secret from me?" She asked, before wrapping her daughter in a hug of congratulations. Of course, Jane had expected Hermione would have a career before starting a family, but she couldn't deny that she was excited for a grandchild.
Hermione huffed. "What, does everyone know?" Marcus had told her that her father had let on that he knew their little secret, but she'd hoped she'd be able to share her good news with at least a few people.
Jane shook her head. "No, it's just us. Now, come join the party! I know your father wants to dance with you. And I want a few pictures of you two dancing so I can show friends and family."
Millie was dating a Weasley. Marcus didn't think he could think of anything else so horrifying. Apparently, Fred Weasley, exceedingly happy about being saved by Hermione dropped by her office with some frequency to chat, bring by Mrs. Weasley's baked goods, and ask about potions for their joke shop.
Hermione didn't approve of their joke products, but she could never turn down a puzzle.
The only thing they didn't count on was that Millie also visited Hermione for lunch every week. It was only a matter of time before the pair of them crossed paths.
Just...neither Hermione nor Marcus could imagine them hitting it off quite as well as they did.
Really, Marcus couldn't find too many faults with the ginger, once they'd each agreed to let old Quidditch injuries in the past. And, he wasn't at all intimidated by Millie's height, which was a positive. There weren't too many guys who were taller than his nearly six foot tall cousin. And Millie had really grown into her looks, so he was glad someone was noticing her for the beautiful woman she was.
But really, did this mean they had to invite Fred Weasley over for dinner?
Apparently yes. And Hermione was always willing to give away little embarrassing secrets about him, like how he gave her wonderful foot massages. Weasley would meet his eyes over the table and give him a little smirk, knowing that he was filing it away for later torment.
"Any ideas on what you are going to name the baby?" Millie asked, excited to be welcoming a new little Flint into the world. There was no hiding Hermione's seven months pregnant belly from anyone now. Hermione looked a bit silly. She was still so petite, and her belly was so large. According to the healer, they were going to have a large baby, though, with Marcus's size it wasn't that much of a surprise.
Hermione glowed, her hand resting on her stomach. Marcus couldn't help but move his own hand to rest on her baby bump as well, feeling the little baby kicking away, eager to meet the world. "Well, we haven't thought of any girls' names that fit yet...but, just today I was thinking about the name Alfred, if it's a boy. A little Alfie? Wouldn't that be cute?"
Fred made a big production about wiping his crocodile tears from his eyes. "Oh, Hermione, I know that you obviously like me - you saved me after all - but to name your child after me? A little Freddie running around here. I can just imagine it now." He teased, unable to keep the grin from his face.
Marcus's face went stone cold in that moment, before he shook his head vigorously. "No, absolutely not! We won't be calling him Alfred and that's final."
Hermione giggled and nodded. "It could be a girl, anyway. You never know."
They spent the rest of the evening laughing and discussing the most hideous names their ancestors had. Apparently, the Flint family had some real doozies, but the Bulstrodes took the cake.
Marcus had to enlarge the hospital bed to make room for himself and not to have Hermione falling off. It was the first real test of his transfiguration skills in many years. He had to get it right, though, this time.
Curled around Hermione, they were able to hold their new sleeping baby between them. Marcus had counted all ten of his toes and fingers, and their little baby was just perfect in every way. Adjusting the blue stocking cap from his head, Hermione giggled beside him. "Oh, he has so much hair, doesn't he? And so dark, I bet he is going to look just like you when he grows up."
The baby opened his eyes at the sound of his mother's voice, dark blue eyes adjusting to the light. Hermione hoped that his eyes stayed the same color blue as her husband's. "What do you think Eric? Do you want to look like your dad?" Marcus asked, his voice rumbling quietly, so as not to disturb the little tyke. "Though, look his hair is already curly, like yours." He gave Hermione a crooked smile.
Eric Flint had decided that he absolutely had to come into the world during Marcus's last home game of the Quidditch season. Hermione had been embarrassed to go into labor during the game, and shuffled her way to the trainer's room. She waited as long as she could before they sent her on her way to St. Mungo's on her own.
Marcus had come an hour later, annoyed that his coach hadn't substituted him. He couldn't imagine not being their for Hermione when she was giving birth, though his hand wished that she wasn't quite so strong. When he told her that she could squeeze as hard as she wanted, he didn't really realize she'd take it literally.
Still, he supposed that it was fine, because, after all, it was "his fault" that their baby was so giant. He didn't think a nine pound baby was that big at first, but then the healer told them that it was quite impressive.
Giving the tip of his finger to Eric, Marcus watched in awe as his little fingers gripped around the digit. "Think this one will end up a chaser?" He asked Hermione, hoping that between the two of them, their son had gotten some Quidditch talent.
Hermione grinned. "I don't know, I was thinking beater, maybe, with the way he was kicking my insides this last month."
Marcus kissed the top of her head. No matter what position their son played - or even if he chose to play a muggle sport instead - Marcus knew that little Eric was perfect.
Marcus was eager to take in the sights and sounds of the 2002 World Cup with his tiny family. Hermione had been invited to go being that she was part of the Ministry team that helped organize the event. England had made it out of the group stage, but unfortunately hadn't made it out of the round of 16, having been walloped by Belgium, the host country. It was a rough draw, but Marcus had been happy to get a few international caps under his belt.
Plus, this meant that he actually got to enjoy watching the game for a change, rather than playing. He had Eric, just a few months over one, on his hip, amused at his little boy's reactions to the sights and sounds. He did look a bit silly with the giant ear protection headphones Hermione insisted he wear to protect his hearing.
Eric had been a big baby and was growing into a large toddler, a little mini Marcus, to be sure. Except for his extremely curly hair. He was a cute baby, that was sure. All the girls around who worked for Montrose cooed over him, and Millie was constantly asking to babysit - something he was only too happy to oblige. He and Hermione might be young parents, but they still needed some alone time.
He watched Hermione across the box, talk in slightly stilted French with the Belgian ministry wizard about her planning. Several other members of other countries constituents gathered around as well, eager to hear how England had gone from nothing - war ravaged - to back in World Cup in just two years. Marcus knew most of it was due to Hermione's brilliant planning.
Marcus was momentarily distracted by the teams coming out onto the pitch - Belgium and Italy - the raucous cheers of the Belgians practically shaking the stadium itself. Eric smiled and waved as the players flew past their box in thunderous speed.
When he turned back around, he saw none other than Viktor Krum sneaking up on his wife - recognizable from her distinctive hair, which had calmed somewhat in the years since Hogwarts. Krum grabbed her by the waist, lifting her up from the ground and spinning her to face him, before pressing a kiss against her lips.
Marcus felt his hackles rise, until Hermione pushed Viktor away, clearly annoyed and embarrassed at being manhandled in front of so many other important people. He watched as the Bulgarian's eyes drifted south to her swollen belly, round with their second child. He couldn't help the smirk from sliding on his face, when he heard Krum's shocked question. "Herm-o-ninny. You are having baby?"
"Let's go help your mum." Marcus whispered to Eric, before heading over.
"Hello to you, too, Viktor." Hermione said, before putting her hands on her hips, ever the bossy witch. "Yes, I am expecting a baby in about two more months." Marcus's wife was so tiny, but she was also the kind of witch that didn't look pregnant from the back. But when she turned around, it was as if she were smuggling a beach ball under her dress.
Marcus put a hand on her shoulder, smiling when Eric immediately reached for her. "Hands off my wife, Krum." He growled out. He knew that Hermione was perfectly capable of standing up for herself. But, he also knew - no matter how much she protested - that it always got her a bit Randy when he would act all possessive.
"Didn't know you vere married." Krum said, clearly horrified at his mistake. "I am sorry Herm-o-ninny. Didn't want to...upset you."
Marcus rolled his eyes. Yeah, of course he didn't mean to upset her, just flirt with her, and maybe finish off where they left off at the Yule Ball. But his girl was polite, as always. "It's fine, Viktor. I hope you enjoy the game. You should owl me next time you are in England. Marcus and I would love to have you over for dinner."
Somehow, Marcus didn't think Viktor would take her up on her offer, but it did smooth over the tension. Hermione turned her head up to look at him, a shy smile on her lips. He bent over to meet her lips in a sweet kiss. "Come on, let's get to our seats. I think they are about to release the snitch." Hermione said eagerly.
The first few years were the hardest, when Eric and Holly were just toddlers. Marcus had such an unpredictable schedule with Quidditch, but he did try to watch them as much as possible. Hermione had a much more regular schedule, but it was still difficult to find balance between their work and spending time as a family.
Eric and Holly were growing up so quickly, and so they always felt as if they were going to miss out on some kind of momentous occassion, but they had been there for first words, first steps, first teeth.
Hermione was lucky in that her work gave her time off after the birth of each of her children, and then allowed her to work from home whenever possible, so she could be at home with them. They also got to go into her office every now and again, as well, as going off to Montrose with Marcus.
Marcus sometimes wondered how he ended up with two such adorable kids, remembering that he'd never been a very good looking child - people frequently joked that he looked like a troll - and Hermione, though she'd grown into a beautiful woman, had been homely as a first year. Yet somehow, everyone complimented Eric's grey-blue eyes and Holly's long, curly black hair. Hermione liked to say that they got the best of each of their parents, and Marcus was inclined to agree.
But, there were often times that neither Marcus nor Hermione could watch the children, and Hermione had fretted about it for a long time. Marcus always told her that between his inheritance and his salary, she didn't need to work, but he knew that she wanted a career. She told him as much whenever he suggested it.
Finally, one day, they found a most unusual solution to their problem. After a play date with Selena and Scorpius Malfoy, Luna Malfoy suggested that they just let her watch Eric and Holly. She was going to begin teaching her two children to better prepare them for Hogwarts. Hermione thought it was a wonderful idea, having formed a fast friendship with Luna.
Marcus had had his reservations. He remembered what Malfoy Manor had been like when he was a child, dragged along to tea parties by his mother, and he didn't particularly fancy his children spending a lot of time there. That was until he really took the time to look at the changes Luna had made around the house.
He couldn't deny that Luna was a ray of sunshine in that house, and a natural with children, possessing a childlike curiosity herself. They spent time in the gardens playing and learning. It was a good compromise.
After that, when Eric and Holly would return home after their parents were done with work, they would be full of stories and giggles and new creatures that they had found that day. He felt better knowing that they were starting to learn some magic as well, so they would be better prepared for Hogwarts. He hoped they inherited Hermione's bookish nature. He would like his children to be better students than he'd been.
Hermione's absolute favorite time of year was the holidays, especially now that Eric and Holly were old enough to help her out decorating their home. The Flint ancestral home was very large, and that meant that there was a lot of decorate. Her little helpers were good at helping her decide where to put up tinsel and garland, and Holly's favorite - Holly.
Marcus could usually be convinced to trudge out into the large forest that abutted their home to find a large pine tree to chop down and then carry back to the house. He always groused every year that they should just use magic, that axes were dangerous, but he could always be convinced to do it the muggle way, if Hermione batted her eyelashes at him and then whispered just how much she loved to watch him use the axe.
He'd groan at her. "Pipsqueak, you are killing me." Then he would try to pull her into a lingering kiss, nipping her lower lip between his teeth. Wrapping his arms around her, she would try to escape his grasp, until she'd finally relax, melting against him.
His giggling children would always break up their parents. "Eww, papa and mummy are kissing." Five year old Eric would point out to his little sister, who was probably happy to just continue sorting out the baubles that they had to put on the tree. Then Holly would join into the giggling, until finally their parents would break apart.
Marcus would pluck his daughter up from the ground, putting her on his shoulders so they could make their way out into the snowy landscape. Eric would hold his mother's hand while they trudged through the snow. "You know, someday you won't think girls are so icky, Eric." Marcus would tease, remembering the times he would rather eat mud than talk to Eugenia Roper.
By the time they got back with the tree, it was time for Hermione to go to collect her parents. "Alright, are you sure the three of you will be alright while I get grandma and grandpa?" Hermione asked, hoping that Marcus wouldn't destroy all of the baubles like he did the year before. He always pulled a bit too hard when he tried to pull them out of the plastic. Her husband waved her away, and she left through the floo to collect her parents.
Hermione wasn't even gone for an hour, but when she returned, they were met by the smell of baking sugar cookies. Holly ran out from the kitchen, fingers sticky with pink frosting. "Grandma! Grandpa! Did you bring me presents?" She asked, baby blue eyes shining with mischievousness.
Before Hermione could ask her precocious daughter where her brother and father were, Eric and Marcus came out of the kitchen, carrying a plate of decorated sugar cookies. "Papa let us make cookies for grandma and grandpa! I frosted these one all by myself." Eric said proudly, before seeing his little sister's wobbling lip. "Holly helped too." He added.
Hermione smiled at her little family. She was happy that she had a husband who took such an active role in raising their children. He honestly enjoyed spending time with them, as did Hermione. Each one had their own little personalities.
This was why she loved the holidays. They always had loads of time to spend together.
In a blink of an eye, their children had grown up and were headed off to Hogwarts. It had been hard the year before when Eric had finally gone to school, gangly and already half a head taller than his peers, but trying to project the air of being a man.
But this year, their little girl Holly was going to Hogwarts, too. Hermione didn't want to think about how lonely the house would be without the children to come home to. Maybe she and Marcus could resume their tradition of spending their evenings in the parlor. And it would be nice to be able to get intimate whenever the mood struck them without fear of being walked in on.
Eric had gone to Slytherin house, of course, but Holly...Hermione just didn't think Holly had the cunning to be a Slytherin. She was much too sweet, and if Hermione was honest with herself, she thought that Holly was going to end up a Ravenclaw. She was very serious about the rules and rigid about sticking to them.
She tried to ease her daughter's fears, reminding her that they would love her no matter what house she ended up in. "Even if I am a Hufflepuff?" Holly asked, concern clear on her face. Unfortunately, both of her children had inherited her and Marcus's terrible teeth once their adult teeth grew in. Hermione knew that they could get them fixed, though only once they'd finished growing.
"Even if you are a Hufflepuff." Hermione said with a grin. "You know your Grandma Georgina was a Hufflepuff." Hermione told her daughter, wanting to alleviate the fear. Once she'd finished plaiting her daughter's long black hair, she shrunk her trunk. "Shall we go find the boys then?"
She could hear her husband's rumbling voice in the other room, giving her son Quidditch advise. "Now, you're a lot bigger than the other boys. Don't be afraid to use your size to your advantage. You can throw a few elbows, of course, so long as you don't get caught." Eric was trying out to be a beater.
"Marcus Flint! Are you trying to teach my son how to cheat at Quidditch?" Hermione said, her voice shrill in annoyance.
He obviously cringed at being caught. "It's part of the game, pipsqueak."
"Not at his age." Hermione insisted. "Eric, promise me you'll play fair. I just know you'll get a spot. Maybe not on the first team, but sometimes it's good to start on the reserves. It gives you time for the older players to show you the ropes." She pushed his curly black hair out of his eyes.
"I promise mum." Eric said, but knowing that he'd probably listen to his dad anyway. He was the professional player after all. And he was on the England squad that won the 2008 World Cup.
"Now, you Holly, should not be afraid to throw a few punches if any boys give you any trouble, okay?" Marcus said, resting his hands on his daughter's shoulders so that she would look him in the eye. "Let your brother know if anyone is giving you a hard time. He will watch out for you."
Catching her husband's eye, Hermione smirked at Marcus. "Or, just feel free to throw an object at them if they won't leave you alone. I hear books make especially good missiles." Hermione couldn't stop the teasing tone of her voice, noticing her husband pale at the implication. "Alright, shall we go to King's Cross?"
Gathering up her family, Hermione sighed, glad with how things had turned out. Sure, she and Marcus had had a rocky start, but he had become one of her first friends. Then he'd protected her through the war, before making her the happiest woman in the world, with two beautiful children. She wouldn't think twice about changing a single thing.