The afternoon following the reunion, Hermione was surprised to receive an owl from Harry. Her old friend apologised profusely for Ron and Ginny's behaviour and asked if the pair of them could meet up before she went home. Since Hermione's main reason for attending the reunion had been to see Harry, and she'd barely exchanged more than a few words with her old friend, she was delighted with the chance to have a proper catch up with him. After informing Draco of what she was doing, Hermione wrote back to Harry and the pair arranged a meeting on the day before the Malfoys were due to go back home.
For the rest of the week, Hermione devoted her time to her family, and she and Draco took the children all over, sometimes just the four of them or sometimes with Draco's parents. They even took them into the muggle world, where they met up with Hermione's parents. Draco and Hermione also had dinner with Neville and Luna, and Hermione was pleased when Draco and Neville got along swimmingly and they decided to try and keep in better touch with the other couple.
On the day she'd been planning on going to see Harry, Draco suddenly decided that he would accompany her to the meeting. Hermione protested that she was more than capable of going to meet her old friend on her own, but Draco was adamant he was going to be there for her. He was worried that Harry wouldn't turn up alone, and that if he had either Ron or Ginny with him, trouble would break out. Knowing Draco was just concerned about her, Hermione had given in and together the pair had headed to Diagon Alley, where Hermione was meeting Harry in a fairly new coffee shop.
"Look, there he is. Alone," Hermione said to her husband as they approached the café and spotted Harry sitting alone at one of the outdoor tables, making the most of the warm summer sun.
"Even so, it won't hurt if I stick around," Draco answered as he scoured the rest of the street for redheads.
Rolling her eyes at her husband, Hermione headed over to Harry and greeted her friend with a hug.
"I'm really sorry about that reunion," Harry said. "I was mortified by Ron and Ginny's behaviour."
"Funny, you never said anything at the time," Draco drawled.
"Draco, behave," Hermione hissed. "Since you insist on being here, go and get the drinks. And get Harry a fresh one."
"What are you having Potter?" Draco asked with a sigh.
"Caramel Latte please," Harry answered, amused by how well trained Hermione had the former Slytherin.
"Sorry about him," Hermione said as her husband took her order and disappeared inside the coffee shop. "He insisted on coming with me."
"He doesn't trust me," Harry stated.
"It's not that, he's just very protective," Hermione said with a small smile. "I think he was worried you were going to spring Ron or Ginny on me."
"I would never do that to you, Hermione," Harry said sincerely as he reached across the table and took hold of Hermione's hands. "And I am sorry about the reunion and not saying anything. I just knew if I waded in, things were only going to get worse and I didn't want to completely ruin the evening for everyone else."
"I understand, Harry," Hermione said softly, smiling over at her old friend. "I've never wanted to put you in the middle of this mess."
"And was that why you left and never kept in touch?" Harry asked and Hermione winced as the genuine sadness she heard in his voice.
"I thought it was easier," Hermione admitted. "I know how much you love Ginny, and she was pretty vocal about the fact she disapproved of me divorcing Ron. I didn't want to cause trouble in your marriage."
"I understand why you didn't write, and I guess that's why I didn't write," Harry said as Draco returned to the table with three drinks and a slice of cheesecake.
"Where's my cheesecake?" Hermione pouted at her husband as he sat down next to her.
"You can share this one, I've got two forks," Draco answered with a grin, handing a fork over to his wife.
"Did you want anything, Harry?" Hermione asked, suddenly thinking how rude it was for her and Draco to be eating when they hadn't asked Harry about wanting any food.
"The coffee's fine," Harry answered with a smile. It was interesting watching Hermione and Draco interacting, and he had to admit they did seem very much in love.
"So Potter, why did you want to see Hermione?" Draco asked.
"Because she's one of my oldest friends, and we barely got to talk at the reunion," Harry answered, jumping in before Hermione could scold her husband for his rudeness. "And I wanted her to know that we don't all think like Ron and Ginny. They may be stuck in the past, but I'm not. I've always said Hermione did the right thing in leaving Ron, and I'm pleased she seems happy with you."
"You're happy we're together?" Draco asked sceptically. Even though Harry had been more understanding than his redheaded friend after the war, Draco still assumed he would be against Hermione being with him.
"I'm happy the witch I love as a sister is happy," Harry answered. "I don't think I ever would have pictured her with you, but it's clear you love her and she loves you. All I ever wanted was for Hermione to be happy, and since you make her happy, I approve."
"Thank you, Harry, that means a lot to me," Hermione said, beaming at her friend as she reached across the table and gave his hand a squeeze.
"I guess you're not too bad, Potter," Draco admitted begrudgingly when Hermione not so subtly elbowed him in the ribs.
"Right back at you, Malfoy," Harry laughed.
"Now that's all sorted, you can go now," Hermione said to Draco. "I'm perfectly safe with Harry."
"Even so, I think I'll stay," Draco replied as he sipped on his own drink. "Just pretend as though I'm not here."
"Chance would be a fine thing," Hermione muttered with a roll of her eyes, causing Draco to give her a mock glare and Harry to laugh at her.
"You really are happy, aren't you," Harry said with obvious joy.
"I am," Hermione confirmed with a wide smile. "Even with an annoying git as a husband."
"Fine, I can take a hint," Draco said with a dramatic sigh as he finished his coffee and slid the remaining bit of cheesecake over to his wife. "I promised Scorpius a new broom anyway, so I better go and grab one."
"And don't forget Lyra," Hermione said.
"As if I would forget my little princess," Draco replied with a tut. Getting to his feet, he pecked Hermione on the cheek and told her to have a good time. "And I'll just be wandering around doing some shopping if you need me."
"Okay," Hermione said with a nod. "I'll see you later."
Draco nodded and after giving Harry one final warning look, he disappeared into the shoppers enjoying the afternoon sun. Hermione watched her husband disappear into Flourish and Blotts, before turning back to Harry and apologising again for Draco gate-crashing their meeting.
"Don't," Harry said, holding up to his to stop Hermione mid apology. "He's just looking out for you. I'm actually pleased he turned up, because now I know just how much you mean to him. It's so obvious that you're his entire world."
"Not just me," Hermione said with a slight shrug.
"Ah yes, Scorpius and Lyra," Harry said, recalling the names he'd just heard. "I take it they're your children."
"They are," Hermione answered with a beaming smile. "Scorpius is four, and Lyra is eighteen months. Do you want to see a picture?"
"Of course," Harry answered.
Reaching into her bag, Hermione found her purse and pulled out the most recent picture of her two children. In the picture, Scorpius was sitting on the sofa with his arm around Lyra as he grinned widely and waved to the camera with his free hand. Lyra was copying off her brother, and her little hand was waving wildly as she looked up adoringly at Scorpius.
"They're gorgeous," Harry gushed, smiling at the picture. The little boy was the perfect replica of Draco, and he just oozed mischievousness, while the little girl looked like an adorable mini version of Hermione. "But those Malfoy genes are strong in your son."
"Tell me about it," Hermione laughed. "There are times I look at Scorpius and wonder just where I come into his creation. But then I'll find him pouring over books, or asking endless questions and I can see myself in him."
"You always did like to know everything," Harry chuckled as he handed the picture back over to his friend.
"And Scorpius is the same," Hermione said as she tucked the picture back into her purse. "But other than that, he's very much like Draco, and Lucius come to that."
"Lucius?" Harry almost choked on his coffee at the mention of Hermione's father-in-law. Somehow it had never occurred to him that by marrying Draco, Hermione was now related to the formidable Lucius Malfoy.
"He's not the same man he used to be," Hermione said. "He wasn't sure of me at first, but I won him round. Once he accepted me, he's being nothing but welcoming towards me. We get on really well these days, and he's a brilliant grandfather."
"I guess everyone deserves a second chance," Harry said.
"I certainly believe in second chances," Hermione replied. "If I didn't, I wouldn't have my wonderful family."
"And just how do you have your family?" Harry asked. "I want to know everything. How on earth did you end up married to Draco Malfoy of all people?"
"After I left the country, I moved to France," Hermione began. "I have to admit, I wasn't sure if I was going to settle there, but I speak French and that was always where I went on holiday with my parents so I had good memories of the place. I decided to give it a go, and applied for a job at the main hospital in wizarding France."
"And naturally you got the job," Harry chuckled.
"I did," Hermione confirmed, chuckling along with Harry. "Within a few months, I knew I didn't want to leave. I loved my job, and I'd found myself a lovely flat in wizarding Paris with stunning views of the city. After Ron, I'd given up on men and I spent three and a half years rejecting any man who asked me out. Then one day, Narcissa came into the hospital with a broken wrist and Draco was with her as she'd injured herself at his house. We got talking as I fixed Narcissa up and when I was finished, Draco asked me to go out for a drink as a thank you both for what I'd done with Narcissa and what I'd done after the war, speaking up for him at his trial."
"Why say yes to him if you said no to everyone else?" Harry asked with a frown.
"I didn't," Hermione replied. "I very politely declined the offer and told him that he didn't need to thank me. As a healer I was merely doing my job by fixing Narcissa's wrist, and as for war, I was just doing what was right in helping him escape a prison sentence he'd never deserved."
"If you declined his offer, how did you end up together then?" Harry questioned.
"In case it slipped your attention, Draco is a very determined man," Hermione said. "I think at first, he was just annoyed that I'd turned him down so he was determined to get me to have a drink with him. He would turn up at the hospital fairly regularly to ask me out, and in the end I was won over by his persistence. Although, I never intended to have more than one drink with him."
"I discovered that the boy I thought I knew in school, was a changed man," Hermione answered. "The Draco I had a drink with was a completely new person, and for the first time since Ron, I found myself having fun with a wizard and feeling the spark of attraction. I admit, I nearly didn't agree to see him after that first drink, but I told him I would only see him again if we could take things slowly. He agreed to take things at whatever pace I wanted, and he's been like that ever since. He's never pushed me into doing anything I wasn't ready for. He saw how messed up I was after what had happened with Ron, and he helped fix me."
"And for that, I'll forever be grateful to him," Harry said with a smile. "I'm so pleased to see you enjoying your life, Hermione. I'm glad you've found someone who will treat you like you deserve to be treated, and love you like you deserve."
"I'm very lucky," Hermione said, looking around to see if she could see her husband, but not spotting him in the shopping crowds. "Not only does Draco love me, but he puts up with all my insecurities. I'm sure most men would have ran from me years ago, but he's always been there for me."
"And I hope he always will be," Harry said seriously.
"He will," Hermione replied with confidence. She knew at one time she would have said the same about Ron, but this time she knew for certain that Draco wasn't going anywhere. She could totally rely on her second husband, and he gave her a sense of security she'd never had with anyone else. "Now, enough about me, I want to hear about you and your life."
Ordering fresh coffees, Harry and Hermione spent another hour discussing Harry's life and just catching up in general before Draco reappeared, carrying several bags of shopping. Draco's reappearance signalled the end of the meeting, but before they parted ways the pair vowed to keep in touch.
Hermione hoped Harry meant it when he promised to write regularly, as she'd missed her friend and it would be nice to hear from him every now and again. Although, even if he didn't write, it had still being great seeing him again and Hermione headed home feeling good about things. Despite the drama at the reunion, her abiding memory of the trip would be her afternoon with Harry. It was nice to know that even fourteen years apart hadn't tainted their friendship, and they were still as close as ever.
Hermione now knew that no matter what life threw at her, she had a husband who loved her more than anything, two children who adored her, a supportive family, and now an old friend she could rely on to be there if she needed him. All in all, Hermione's life was good and she was grateful for the second chance she'd received in the form of Draco. Thankfully, the second time around, she'd found the man of her dreams and she had the strong, loving marriage she'd always wanted.
A/N - Thanks for all the great reviews. I'm so pleased people enjoyed this story, and I hope you all also enjoyed the final chapter.