Author's Note: It was not my original intention to write an epilogue for this fic, and while many people liked the ending as it was, many others requested a glimpse into the future for our crew. So here it is; read if you choose. I truly hope you enjoy this bit of closure. Thanks for reading.
Self-plug because I can: I'm writing a new WIP called Chronos Historia. It's an eighth-year Dramione in which Draco and Hermione stumble across a portal and find themselves transported to the time of the founders and all that entails as they attempt to find their way back home. Give it a read if you're into that sort of thing.
Special thanks to LittleMissEighty-Sixed and Kyonomiko for their inspiration in bringing this epilogue to life. I gift you the house in Dover, and Kenneth, respectively.
Disclaimer: I own no part in the Harry Potter franchise.
Five years later
"Healer Granger? Hermione?"
Hermione spun around at the sound of her name, the voice familiar, though she couldn't quite place it. She squinted into the sun, scanning the faces of passersby on the busy Diagon Alley high street. Suddenly she caught sight of a young man, navigating the crowd towards her, a wide grin on his face.
"Kenneth!" she exclaimed with surprise, her heart instantly welling with emotion at the sight of her former patient. She embraced him before drawing back, assessing him with a smile. "It's so wonderful to see you again! How have you been?"
"Really well," he responded, nodding, "truly, Healer Granger." He glanced down, flushing slightly. "Rather, Healer Malfoy, isn't it?"
"Yes," Hermione said, smiling, "it's Healer Malfoy now. But please, call me Hermione."
Even almost five years since Draco had proposed – four since they had wed – Hermione still found herself smiling at the thought of her husband and their life together.
"My parents will be thrilled to hear I've run into you," Kenneth carried on, "they still talk about you all the time, and the great work you've done in helping so many people."
"It was all worth it," Hermione said with sincerity, meeting the young man's eyes. She could scarcely reconcile him with the troubled young man she had met more than five years ago in the closed ward of St. Mungo's hospital.
Back when Kenneth had been prone to extreme mental breaks, a result of the Carrows' favoured usage of the Cruciatus curse during their brief time at Hogwarts.
"I've been following your research as a healer ever since," Kenneth admitted, "and you've actually inspired me to finish my NEWTs and become a healer myself! I start my training next month."
Hermione's jaw dropped in surprise and her brow furrowed. "That's amazing, Kenneth. I'm so proud of you."
"Well, I'll need to pass my training first," he joked but continued to smile absently. Hermione felt her heart fill with pride.
"You'll be great," she assured him. "I look forward to working with you." She thought for a moment, tilting her head towards him. "Kenneth, we're having a big do over at Aylesbury for Draco's birthday this Saturday. You ought to come."
"I'd love to," Kenneth said instantly. "Thanks so much for the invite. Would it be alright if I brought someone with me?"
Hermione smiled privately to herself for a moment before she nodded. "Of course it would."
"Scorpius, would you go find your sister, please?" Hermione asked, frazzled, as the boy wandered into the kitchen, his nose in a book. Scorpius looked up at her and smiled.
"Sure, Hermione. Which one?" he asked, carefully marking his page and closing the book.
"The one that lives here, please, Scorpius," Hermione said and despite herself, laughed as the boy shrugged.
"I never know, somedays. She was playing with Paris, last I saw," he said as he set the book down and walked across the kitchen toward the stairwell. "Hermione, is Talia coming over here today too?"
"Yes, she and your mum and Theo are coming over for your dad's birthday, remember?"
"Yes," Scorpius said, scrunching his nose, "but I don't like when she and Cass are together. They're so… loud."
"Young girls are like that," Hermione assured him with a snicker, "and they'll only get worse as they get older!"
"Great," Scorpius said and with a great dramatic eyeroll, left to find his three year old sister, Cassiopeia.
Hermione smiled as the boy walked away. It was nice having Scorpius around more often. Ever since Astoria had started managing the books for Theo's new apothecary, Scorpius had been spending more time with her and Draco. The boy had appreciated the arrangement and Draco had been thrilled. And, Hermione thought, it was nice for Cassiopeia to spend more time with her older brother.
Hermione shook her head, amused, as she looked down at her many lists. The guest list, the shopping list, the meal and appetizer plan. It had nearly all been taken care of and she would soon be able to relax and await the guests.
"Has Mistress finalized the menu for Master's party tonight?" Paris asked, popping unexpectedly into the kitchen.
"Yes," Hermione gasped, clutching her chest as she handed the elf the shopping list and a bag of coins. "Be sure to pick something out for yourself of course, won't you, Paris?"
"Of course, Mistress Hermione," Paris intoned. "Paris has saved enough for a small Golden Snitch charm, mistress. And Master Draco said he would attach it to Paris' bracelet."
The elf showed off the sparkly bangle, with numerous small charms already attached. It had been a gift to the elf from Draco, two years ago, for all the assistance Paris had provided with Cassiopeia as a newborn. Hermione supposed her own reaction to the offering probably hadn't hurt his ego any.
"It's very beautiful, Paris," Hermione beamed. "I'm so glad you're enjoying it."
"Is lovely, yes," Paris said, admiring her own extended wrist. "Paris will do the shopping now!" With a crack, she was gone.
Just then a blaze of energy flew into the room, in the form of a toddler with long, curly blonde hair. Scorpius followed along, a smile on his features.
"She was chasing the cat," he explained and Hermione laughed as she picked up the small girl. "When is dad going to be home?"
"Daddy home?" Cassiopeia exclaimed, her face lighting up. She started squirming and Hermione set her back down, watching absently as the girl started playing with some toys on the floor in the next room.
"Soon, Scorp," she said with a glance at the clock on the wall. "He said he would be back around four."
Scorpius nodded, satisfied and retrieved his book, settling down at the kitchen table to read.
Draco arrived home some time later, broom slung over his shoulder and hair disheveled from an afternoon of flying. Hermione caught his eyes, biting her lip at the smile he gave her as he put his broom away and walked over.
"How are the boys?" Hermione asked as he came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist and hitching her tightly towards him.
"They're good," he responded, resting his chin on her shoulder. "Potter's team won, unfortunately."
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised that on your day off from Quidditch, you chose to play Quidditch," Hermione said, sinking into his familiar warmth.
"No, you shouldn't," he murmured, nuzzling her neck, grazing her pulse with his teeth.
"You should have a shower," Hermione breathed, even as she felt herself heating at his actions.
"You're right, I should," he murmured with a smirk, licking up her neck. Then he paused, drawing back. "Where are Scorp and Cass?"
"Sitting room," Hermione replied, turning to face him. "Scorp's watching her."
"Good," he growled, and in an instant he Apparated them both upstairs to the master suite, catching her lips with his. "Because you're joining me in the shower."
A few hours later the guests had all arrived and the gathering was in full swing.
Hermione talked softly with Astoria as they walked back to the kitchen where the bulk of the guests were, having put the two exhausted young girls, Cassiopeia and Talia, to bed in the former's room. The two girls were so close in age and friendship that they were a terror together.
Hermione glanced around the kitchen as Astoria drifted away to find Daphne. Sipping a glass of sparkling juice, she took a seat facing outward at the island to observe.
Draco was in the middle of what appeared to be some sort of raucous game with Harry, Ron, Neville, Blaise and Theo that involved shots of Firewhisky and a potted plant.
Ginny and Susan Bones, Ron's extraordinarily pregnant fiancée, were deep in conversation, while Narcissa and Andromeda were filling plates from the food table. Hermione's heart swelled to see Kenneth and his pretty girlfriend, Adrianna, nodding politely at something Luna was saying. Kenneth caught Hermione's eye across the room and grinned.
In the adjacent sitting room, Teddy Lupin appeared to be regaling Scorpius of tales at Hogwarts. Scorpius was listening, utterly transfixed; Hermione smiled, knowing how excited Scorpius was to attend Hogwarts the following year.
She always marveled at the way her friends and Draco's had integrated seamlessly – even Ron, though he had taken a bit longer.
The drinking game dispersed and Draco walked over, giving Hermione a smirk.
"Happy birthday," Hermione murmured, smiling up at him. "Are you having fun?"
"Yes, thank you," he replied, lips grazing her cheek.
"Are you drunk?" she asked teasingly.
"Not too bad," he responded, taking a seat at the island beside her, his eyes sparkling. "Yet. Did you and Astoria put the girls to bed already?" At Hermione's nod he smiled. "Those two are quite something together. They'll be inseparable at Hogwarts."
"Yes, they are," Hermione exhaled.
"I know Scorp wished for siblings, but I don't think even he knows what to do when Talia is over," Draco continued, sipping from a tall glass. "I think he hoped, when you and Astoria were pregnant so close together, that one of them might have been a boy."
"I think so, too," Hermione agreed with an evasive smile. "You never know, he might still get a baby brother one day."
Draco began to nod and then stilled, his drink halfway to his mouth. He glanced at Hermione, then those observant grey eyes flickered to her glass of juice.
"What," he breathed, setting his drink down on the island. He swallowed heavily. "Are you serious?"
"I only just found out a few days ago," Hermione said, biting her lip. She glanced around the room. "We'll keep it to ourselves for now, yeah?" Draco nodded though the curve of a smile grew on his features.
He absently trailed his fingers over her stomach, his grey eyes bright.
"It's going to be a boy," he murmured, meeting her gaze.
Despite herself, Hermione laughed. "You're sure of that, are you?"
"Positive," Draco said and planted a kiss on her lips. "That is the most amazing birthday gift you could have possibly given me."
"That isn't your birthday gift," Hermione said in a low voice, trailing a hand along his thigh and resting it inconspicuously. "But you won't get that until later."
His expression as he slid his chair closer, tossing an arm around her shoulders, was carefully blank but his eyes as he cast her a sidelong glance were wicked. Hermione simply smiled.
Draco looked around the room as he drew Hermione closer and she laid her head on his shoulder happily. Both sets of their friends all mingled together comfortably as one group.
"Still hard to believe some days, isn't it?" Draco asked quietly.
"Definitely," Hermione responded.
He pressed a kiss to her temple. "Love you."
"Love you more."