The birds chirping outside the window stirred her mind from its sleepy state. She rubbed her eyes unconsciously and yawned. Her eyes watered as she opened them to glance upon the room she was in.

It took her a few minutes to recall on the reason why she was in the sitting room downstairs as opposed to upstairs in her own bed. The rustle of the letters on her lap brought her mind back to the night before where she had sat in that very same chair and gone through every letter she had received from her childhood friends over the years. Smiling at the memories, she wondered what Ron Weasley and Harry Potter were doing at that very moment.

She stood up to stretch her legs from their cramped space and headed towards the kitchen. Still too early for the kitchen help to be up, she made herself a quick cup of coffee and then took the steaming mug outside the house to the front porch. She sat on the swinging chair, her legs tucked under her, and stared into the April morning dew. The sun, having risen only moments before, temporarily blinded her as she watched people pass by the end of the driveway. She waved to them cheerfully; couples walking hand in hand, children playing on bikes, teenagers walking dogs. It made her feel young again and brought her mind back to her days at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

She had met Harry Potter and Ron Weasley in her first year at the magical school. Upon learning she was a witch, she was whisked off to the school, scared and alone. No one in her family before her had been of magical descent and it was on this basis that Hermione Granger met her future husband.

Draco Malfoy took great pride and pleasure in taunting the young Hermione with jeering and name-calling. "Mudblood," was one of his favourites; a foul term used only for those who were born to Muggle parents. Hermione rose to the occasion magnificently every time, challenging Malfoy with her wand, or just simply with words. He never chose to back down, therefore paving the way for their future relationship. All Hermione had ever wanted in a man was one who would stand his ground. Needless to say, she was shocked to feel the romantic feelings stirring within her body whenever Malfoy approached her in their final year at Hogwarts. Confused, she clung to Harry and Ron worse than ever before, until Malfoy confessed his feelings for her.

They married at the tender age of twenty-two. Now, four years later, Hermione sat happily on the deck of the home their love had built and grown upon, thinking of her past friends, whom she hadn't spoken with in over three years.

The sound of the wooden door creaking open made Hermione's head turn. Draco stood off to her left, rubbing his own eyes in uncertainty. "Didn't you come to bed last night?"

"Good morning to you, too," she teased as he kissed her lightly. "No, I didn't. I slept in the armchair in the sitting room."

He sat on the swing beside her, causing it to swing backwards briefly. "Why?" he asked, still looking perplexed as to why he was awake so early.

She shrugged, taking another sip of her coffee. "I just didn't feel like sleeping all that much. Want a cup of coffee?" She held up her own mug and he declined with a shake of his head.

"Thinking about Potter and Weasley again?"

Once again, she shrugged, as it seemed to be her easiest answer of the morning. "Sometimes I do, more than others. Do you want any breakfast?"

"I can wait until the kitchen staff is awake." He looked around the front lawn, the grass still glistening with the morning dampness. "Remind me again why we're up so early?"

"I simply couldn't sleep and I'm not sure about you," she answered, uncurling her legs from the swinging chair. When her feet hit the ground, she felt her legs tingle with pins and needles. "I do know that I'm going to need a good night's sleep tonight," she continued, wincing from the prickly sensation that was coursing through her legs. "That chair isn't nearly as comfortable as it looks."

"I can imagine." Draco himself looked like he could do with a good nap. Hermione almost suggested it but the great clock in the front foyer chimed, indicating that it was seven. If they went back to bed now, she figured, they would never sleep come that night. No, it was better to stay awake and be exhausted that evening.

"I'm going in for a minute," she told her drowsy husband, standing on wobbly legs. She wanted to tuck her letters away before he saw them, if he hadn't already. Although Draco, Harry and Ron hadn't exactly seen eye to eye in school, they managed to keep their arguments minimal during the wedding, therefore perfecting Hermione's special day. She knew Draco didn't entirely approve of either of the boys still, but with time, Hermione was hoping on introducing them to one another.

Inside the house was much more stifling than outside. Hermione made a mental note to open some windows and air out the house before the staff began to arrive. It had been against her better judgement to hire cleaning help but her recent tiredness had given her cause to believe they had made the right decision. She had been feeling a little more ragged than usual lately and chalked it up to the fact that she was working overtime at the Three Broomsticks where she was a waitress.

Inside, her letters were still waiting for her, piled just as she left them. She gathered them up in her arms, marvelling at how many there were, and headed to her 'study' on the second floor. Upon building their dream home shortly before the wedding, Hermione had insisted that it have three floors, not including a basement. "Three's a lucky number," she insisted. And in return for giving such a good idea (considering their marriage had been near perfect so far) Draco had awarded Hermione her very own study office where she could write or draw or do whatever she pleased. So far, all she had done was use it as storage space for her many letters.

As she tucked them away in their proper places, she heard the kitchen staff begin to trickle in. She greeted them warmly, as always, and they began to prepare the breakfast meal. Hermione straddled a chair while talking to the main cook, Shelby, about the weather lately. She heard Draco walk past the kitchen door and head upstairs for his morning shower. It was Wednesday; he would be working at the Ministry today, as he did every other weekday, but Wednesdays were always Hermione's days off from the tavern. No matter what the circumstances, she always managed to keep Wednesday as her one fixed day off.

"I heard it's supposed to rain for the weekend," piped up Chevy, a pleasant, young girl on the serving crew. "Which would figure, of course."

"Of course," echoed Hermione. "We're having that big celebration this weekend with my parents, Lucius and Narcissa. How exciting that could be."

"Oh yes!" cried Shelby in fake enthusiasm. "Being stuck inside on a rainy day with Mr. Pompous Malfoy and Mrs. Haughty Malfoy; oh please, can I work that day?"

Hermione laughed, hoping Draco couldn't hear. The sounds of the water had been shut off and she strained her ears so hard listening for his footsteps that she almost didn't hear Chevy's question.

"What was that, Chevy? I'm sorry, I got a little distracted."

Chevy waved her hand as if shooing the matter away like a pesky fly. "I was just wondering what the celebration this weekend was for."

"Oh. My parents are starting their own business," Hermione explained, still straining her ears. She suddenly had a strong longing to feel her husband's presence near her. "They started a restaurant business last month and it's really taken off."

"Muggle, I suppose?" Shelby asked, no note of condescendence in her voice.

Hermione nodded as she took a long swallow of orange juice. "Never drink orange juice right after coffee," she told the girls, making a face.

"I can't stay to chat," Draco said, hurrying down the staircase. He was still pulling on his robes when he reached the door. "I just received an owl from Howard Berg at the office; apparently there's a problem with some unauthorized Portkeys being created and I've got to sort it out." Draco worked in the Magical Transportation section of the Ministry of Magic.

Hermione hurried to catch her husband at the door before he left. "I was hoping we could have a private breakfast together," she said hopefully.

"Not this morning," he told her briskly as he finally got his robes done up. "I've got to tend to this mess. But maybe I'll come home for lunch, since I've gone in early." He kissed her quickly and departed, leaving her with her head tilted upwards expectantly. She lowered it in defeat as she closed the door behind him and rested her head against it. Not even nine o'clock and already things in the Malfoy house were unbearably insane.