Saturday, 14 February 2004
The last month and a half had been busy. Hermione had practically demanded Rabastan to join her at the office when she started compiling data and reaching out to families of people in Azkaban and former inmates. She wouldn't be able to put it before the Wizengamot for another three months, unfortunately, but she was able to get a healer to the prison for Montague. She counted that as a small win towards her lifetime goals of equal rights and protections for everyone.
There had been a setback in the last week of January. One of the families that she had reached out to was good friends with Algernon Macmillan, Neville's great uncle. When Hermione was greeting them in the foyer of her firm, Rabastan stepped out of his new office to speak with their newest secretary. The family had stared wide-eyed at him and then turned to look at Hermione before freaking out and accusing Hermione of being a Death Eater apologist and even though they had had a family member in Azkaban several years back who had died from neglect they wouldn't have anything to do with the likes of her because of her association with Death Eater scum.
Hermione's relationships with both Draco and Rabastan were plastered across the front of the Daily Prophet the following day. They were even gossiped about in Witch Weekly and the work they'd done for werewolves were called into question in several Potions Periodicals.
Hermione had been spitting mad and wanted to bring charges to all of them but Rabastan had dragged her to the Estate and to have a long talk with his father and Léon. They'd talked her down from her rash action and told her in no uncertain terms that kicking up a fuss about the accusations and criticism would just make it worse.
"Own it," Randolph had said. "You are involved with two former Death Eaters and there's nothing to be done about it unless you want your love life dictated by the media."
So in an act of spite and retaliation, Hermione had asked to start going on dates in Wizarding communities. Draco and Rabastan had shared a look and nodded. Now, Hermione wasn't sure. She was dressed in a lovely black sequined dress with no knickers and entirely too tall heels for dancing—all of which had been a part of her Valentine's gift this morning. She'd been swept off by a Portkey to a spa where she'd spent two hours being treated like royalty as she was primped and massaged from the top of her head to her toes.
She was frustrated, though, because she couldn't find her abalone necklace and the dress's neckline was low. She wanted a piece of jewellery to distract from the bit of cleavage that showed. "Lorney?"
The elf popped into the space and said, "Yes?" She seemed to bite her lips dramatically right after the word.
"Have you seen my abalone necklace? I always put it right back here in my jewellery box."
"I believe Master Draco sent it to be cleaned."
"Oh, okay. Thank you," she said, dismissing the elf with a wave.
Lorney disappeared. Hermione sighed and glanced in the mirror. She felt like a princess after such an amazing day though she had missed her wizards. Even now, she had only been given notes about the dress, spa treatment, and where to meet them for dinner. A quick glance at the clock showed that she probably should be going now unless she wanted to be late.
She locked up the house and Apparated from her garden arbour. She walked into the upscale Wizarding establishment. Her shoulders were back and her head was raised with confidence. No one was going to ruin her Valentine's. Rabastan and Draco were both standing in the foyer waiting for her. Rabastan smiled and greeted her with a kiss on the cheek first and Draco pulled her close before kissing her lips.
"You look breathtaking," Draco said, his eyes lingering on her bare décolletage.
"Thank you," she answered. She was about to repay the compliment when the host came over and greeted them.
"I have your table, Messieurs, Mademoiselle." He gestured off to the side and Draco escorted Hermione behind the man to their table. It wasn't secluded but it did give the impression of privacy. Draco pulled her chair and she sat.
The illusion of privacy was shattered moments later when they heard "Death Eater whore! Did you bribe them with sex to protect you during the war?"
Hermione stiffened and took a long, deep inhale.
"Ignore it," Draco muttered. She nodded and swallowed, exhaling before glancing over the menu.
The shouting continued but in a different way. "What? What do you mean you're here to escort me out? I'm not—No, I'm—No, no, you don't need to call the Aurors. I'm leaving! I'm leaving, see, I'm leaving. Don't want to eat here with that scum anyway. Hey, hey, put that away, I didn't—" and his voice suddenly changed into a loud bray of a donkey.
They could just make out the voice of the host, "You are hereby banned from this establishment." There was a pause and he added, "And no, I won't cancel the jinx. You'll have to go to St Mungo's for that."
The bray of the donkey-headed wizard could be heard as he was taken off the property.
Hermione ducked her head and grinned, trying not to snigger. Draco didn't bother covering his chuckle and smile. "How much did you pay the management, Draco?" she asked looking up at him.
"I didn't. The manager's sister is a werewolf and her quality of life has changed dramatically thanks to your advocacy."
She smiled. "So what are you going to order?" she asked both of them, glancing from Draco to Rabastan.
They mentioned something offhand but didn't take their eyes off her. Draco lowered his pitch and whispered to her, but loud enough for Rabastan to hear him as well, "I think your outfit's missing something."
She narrowed her eyes at him in a playful fake glare. "I'm wearing everything that you left me."
Rabastan set something down on the table and slid it towards her. "I think this might be what's missing."
The box he pushed towards her was shallow, rectangular, and covered in velvet. It had to be a jewellery box. It was large, though, larger than just a ring or a bracelet. Her breath caught in her throat as she pulled it closer to her. She glanced up and made eye contact with Rabastan and then Draco before looking down at the box and opening it. Inside were three pieces of jewellery she'd seen before.
There was a pendant necklace with a vertical rectangle of black onyx, platinum vines and diamond leaves. There was a set of pearl and diamond earrings, set in platinum. And a platinum bracelet with onyx, diamonds, and pearls.
Hermione felt like her heart was going to beat out of her chest. She tried to swallow her nerves and she looked up to see them both staring at her. Draco looked confident and cool but Rabastan looked nervous and vulnerable. She didn't like the disparity between them so she turned to Draco. "Are you asking me something here?" she asked with as much sass in her voice as she could muster.
His cocky facade broke and she saw him swallow thickly.
Rabastan was the one who asked, "Will you be our wife, Hermione?"
She raised a brow at Draco; she remembered he had once said that he had learned his lesson with half-arsed proposals.
"Hermione Jean Granger, you are the most amazing, brilliant, enchanting, vibrant woman I've ever met. I love you; Bass loves you. Please do us the honour of becoming our wife," he said after a moment.
She couldn't find the words to answer him but she felt tears start to fill her eyes as she stared back at Draco.
Rabastan cleared his throat quietly and she looked at him to see him straightening his place settings; his hands were trembling. "If you don't want to marry me but do want to marry Draco," he said softly, "I'll understand."
"Oh, Bass," she whispered, "I'm just overwhelmed. Yes, I want to marry both of you."
Draco released the breath he must have been holding and smiled as brightly as she'd ever seen. He tipped his head back as excitement and nervous energy left him in a bubble of laughter. "She said yes!" He shouted, doing a little dance in his chair and making a fool of himself in his happiness. Both she and Rabastan chuckled at his exuberance. Patrons and staff all around the restaurant started clapping and wolf whistling at his exclamation and Hermione laughed outright at the reaction around them.
She gestured down at the box of beautiful jewellery in front of her, "Which piece goes on first?"
* . * . *
Saturday, 21 July 2012 (Epilogue)
Hermione sat on a cushion in the middle of the garden and leaned back into Rabastan's arms. His hands rubbed slowly and gently over the soft stretchy cotton of her dress over her pregnant belly. With this pregnancy, the baby hadn't been moving as much until recently and he was excited to feel as many kicks and turns as the little girl inside Hermione was willing to give him. He rarely let go of her these days.
She felt him snuggle his bearded face into her neck and she shivered at the tickle. "Why don't we leave Draco to chase after the others and disappear behind the bushes over there," he murmured into her ear.
"He's already chasing them," she said as she looked out at Draco playing a modified game of broom-mounted tag with their three children, "and you know as soon as we are out of eyesight they'll be all about finding Mummy and Papa. You won't even be able to get my dress off before we're found."
He rocked his hips against her. "I don't need to take your dress off," he whispered.
She couldn't stop the shiver of arousal that coursed through her at his words and actions. "Later, Bass," she hummed.
"I will have you soon, witch," he said, grinning against the skin of her neck.
"I hope you do."
"Sebastian!" Draco shouted as their seven-year-old came barrelling towards her and Rabastan.
Bass stood quickly and caught their little boy before he could slam his runaway broom into his heavily pregnant mum. "Gotcha!" Bass said, tickling him. Sebastian squealed and wiggled in his father's hold, twisting and spinning until he was upside down. His laughter made Hermione's heart soar with happiness.
"Scorp!" Draco said in exasperation as their youngest, three-year-old Scorpius tumbled off of his broom and came running towards Hermione. He was still small enough that he didn't hurt her when he launched himself at her but his weight did knock her off balance. She let gravity take her and she sank back onto the warm cushion Bass had been sitting on and started tickling the little boy.
"Well, come on Astra, might as well join Sebastian and tackle Papa." Instead, the little girl flew close to Hermione and dismounted as only a six-year-old little princess could. She walked over to Hermione and sat down beside her and laid her hand on Hermione's bulging belly.
"Is baby Freya kicking, Mummy?"
Hermione disengaged one of her tickling hands from Scorpius to move Astra's hand to where Freya had kicked Rabastan's hand less than a minute ago. Astra giggled when she felt the fluttering under her hand. She got up and ran back to Draco to grab his hand and bring him to feel Hermione's belly. Astra put her hand back in the same spot and Draco placed his hand over hers. "All right, Hermione?" She bounced her eyebrows at him and he smirked. "Should I send the children to play with Potter's three?"
Astra squealed, "Albus!" and the adults laughed.
Rabastan had settled Sebastian down onto his feet by then. The little boy pouted, "I don't want to."
"What's wrong, sweetheart?"
"James always wants to play pranks and I don't want to."
"Ah," Hermione said, nodding in understanding. She knew eight-year-old James was a handful and a half. "You can tell him you don't want to, Sebastian. He'll still be your friend if you say no."
"Really," Rabastan answered. "If something feels wrong here," he tapped the little boy's temple, "or here," and he tapped his chest, "then don't do it. Follow your head and your heart. Use that wonderful logic and judgement you got from your mum."
"Kay," he said, nodding.
Draco opened his mouth to correct the slang but Rabastan just shook his head slightly.
"So can we go see Albus?" Astra asked as she snuggled back into Draco's arms.
Draco caught Hermione's eyes and then Rabastan's. "I'll fire-call them. Come on, Astra. Scorp, come to Daddy?" he asked. The youngest wiggled out of Hermione's grip and charged at him. He stooped to scoop up both Scorpius and Astra into his arms. "Getting too big, baby girl," he muttered. "Come on Sebastian, let Papa help Mummy up." Draco headed toward the house and Sebastian followed.
Rabastan offered his hand and he helped her sit up. She followed their family with her eyes as they passed the ivy-covered wall on the way back inside the Estate. He tugged her hand and helped her stand. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her, distracting her completely. When he pulled back he smirked at her. "Do you think Draco would be too upset if we got started without him?"
A/N: So I decided to post the last nine chapters all in one day. Happy Christmas!