A/N: Okey, I have to say this first: Major fluff warning. You may call me Fluffy McFluffy.
Epilogue ; A Simple Smile
Hermione heard her husband run across the floor behind her chair chuckling madly. She gave Ginny a horrified glance, and turned around looking flustered.
"Draco Malfoy!" she cried. "Tell me you did not hide Alexis from me again. I barely found her before we had to leave the last time we were here."
He just looked up at her with a crooked grin, and she noticed he was dragging his right foot heavily across the floor. Hermione broke into a reluctant smile as she saw a small girl wrapped around his leg, refusing to let go. Her dark brown curls bounced as he dragged her with him across the floor, and the thin, childish laugh rang through The Burrow's living room. Hermione felt someone thug on her dress, and she turned to find her little boy looking up at her with an expectant expression. His tiny fist clutched a sheet of parchment, filled with childish scribbles of colour enchanted to move slowly around it.
"For me?" she asked with a large smile. He nodded quickly, and she hoisted him up in her lap. "Thank you so much. It's very pretty."
Ginny bent forwards and glanced into the kitchen.
"I think Mum and Harry are entertaining all the children with drawing," she mused. "And if I'm not mistaken, all the children are doing way better than Harry."
Hermione laughed heartily at the comment, and turned to find Draco struggling to get Alexis to let go off of his leg. He finally unclenched her small fingers and lifted her up on his arm with a sound of faked exhaustion. His five year old daughter giggled happily, and peered down at the floor.
"It's tall," she proclaimed, and he nodded in a serious manner.
"It is. I've always been happy I'm not afraid of heights," he replied, disguising his smile.
"Look what Jack made," Hermione broke in, holding up the colourful piece of parchment. Draco leaned in, careful to keep Alexis in place.
"Oh my, an artistic masterpiece." He grinned, patting his son's dirty-blond head. "Let's go make a whole batch for Mummy. We can throw away all her clothes and hang the paintings in her closet."
Hermione rose her eyebrow at him as he chuckled, but let Jack slide off of her lap without any protests. He gripped the tiny hand in his and walked slowly towards the kitchen as he spoke quietly with the two smaller Malfoys. She watched with a smile as they joined the others in the kitchen, probably creating so much havoc that even Fred and George would be proud.
Christmas at The Burrow certainly wasn't a very calm affair anymore. Like Molly had predicted, her children had "come around soon enough," and what started with Alexis Granger Malfoy and Sirius Lupin had soon multiplied into a severely larger number.
"I should probably get in there," Ginny said, sounding slightly concerned. She gave Hermione and apologetic glance, but Hermione rose from the couch at the same time.
"To check on the kids?"
"No, I was thinking more… to check on Harry," Ginny snickered, and the two women piled into the already crowded kitchen.
The sight was quite astounding, to be honest. In the midst of the room stood Mrs. Weasley, beaming like the sun on a cloudless morning, undoubtedly in her right element. Around her, all the children were seated or held by a proud parent, all of them chattering loudly as they coloured their parchments eagerly. Harry stood by the far end of the table, holding his five month old daughter in his tight grip, at the same time as he tried his best to help out little James Potter. His oldest daughter was drawing happily on her own, her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth.
Hermione stood still for a moment, taking in the picture-perfect scene. Her eyes caught the back of a particularly blond head and she walked over to rest her hands on his shoulders. She peered carefully over his shoulder and put up a questioning look.
"What's that supposed to be?" she asked with a crooked smile.
"That... is a portrait of the love of my life," he proclaimed proudly, and she leaned in closer, leaning her cheek against his.
"The love of your life is a mop?" she asked incredulously, squinting slightly to see if the crooked lines on the parchment made any more sense. They didn't.
"It's not a mop," he replied indignantly. "It's you."
Harry and the twins burst out in hysterical laughter, and Fred had to lean himself against the table as he wheezed uncomfortably.
"Oh, George," he exclaimed. "Isn't it just wonderful when you end up offending yourself as much as the one you intended to burn."
"Classic," his twin replied gleefully.
Hermione just shook her head in disbelief, still with her arms wrapped around him.
"Guess what," Ginny finally exclaimed as Molly had turned from the table to start dinner.
"What?" Harry asked in a suspicious voice, obviously expecting something entirely displeasing.
"It's time for the Weasley Annual Christmas Eve Quidditch Match." She grinned, darting up from her chair.
"Finally," he exclaimed, and before Hermione knew what had hit her, the five month old child was in her hands, and every Weasley (including the wives), plus Harry and Draco had gotten up from their chairs.
She turned to the frighteningly large horde of children sitting by the kitchen table.
"I say we go out and watch." She smiled, but her smile quickly fell when all of them ran whooping towards the entrance, and she realised just how many children she had to dress. Luckily, Tonks and Remus were still around to help out.
In something of a miracle, they managed to get them all ready, and piled out the front door. The smallest children kept close to them, while the older ones ran off on their own with gleeful screams as they came out in the snow. Hermione pointed out the flying figures above, and several of the children stared mesmerized at the quick play.
She ended up keeping one eye on the Quidditch match (with too many players on each team, but who really cared) as she kept the kids occupied. Whenever Arthur yelled out a new score, she'd look up and cheer for whichever team had scored. When Draco started giving her rather vile looks for cheering for the other team, she stuck her tongue out and cheered even louder. As Draco and Harry's competing to find the snitch grew fiercer, she found herself watching more intently. The baby seat with the little Potter gurgling happily (or was it unhappily?) rested beside her as Alexis and Sirius ran around in a game of tag, somewhat incapacitated by the snow.
Just as Hermione felt herself growing colder and colder at an alarming rate, the game ended abruptly as Harry reached his hand victoriously over his head with a loud cry. His team mates beamed and surrounded him, celebrating their victory. Hermione cheered for the team that won, as they began piling back towards the house. Ginny came over to her and picked up the baby seat with a big smile on her face, making a playful grimace towards the little baby resting in it.
"Way to go, Harry," Hermione congratulated as he came up, and she rubbed his back quickly. He gave a big grin back, before huffing at the sight of all the children.
"How the hell am I going to find my kids in all this mess," he commented incredulously. "Wrapped up in their cloaks, hats and scarves they all look alike."
Hermione laughed. "I don't know. Just take one with you and go inside. If we take the wrong ones we'll just swap back."
He chuckled, and turned around with a confused expression.
"Good game, though." She winked, but her expression changed once her gaze fell upon her sulking husband.
Draco stood a little bit away, looking defeated and annoyed, his foot kicking the snow off the ground below. She gave a small laugh as she headed towards him.
"Aw, honey," she said, trying to keep back a smile when he only stared at the ground.
"Am I ever going to get that Snitch before Potter?" he drawled in a sulky voice, and she coiled an arm around his waist as he leaned his head onto her shoulder.
"Next year, sweetie." She smiled. "Next year."
He just huffed, and she nearly had to laugh at how much of a sore loser he was. It was the same thing every year, really, and she hoped he would win one soon or he would probably spiral into depression.
"I hate losing," he growled.
"You played a great game, though," she soothed, running her hand over his hair.
She led him slowly up to the rest, who were now gathering up the children, and she gave Ginny a crooked smile over Draco's head.
"Cheer up, mate." Harry laughed, and gave Draco's shoulder a quick pat. "There's always next year."
Draco didn't answer, and Hermione chuckled at his sour expression. He looked up at her rather indignantly, but she just ignored him and looked around for their children instead. Soon she found Alexis's brown curls bouncing against her shoulders as she skipped happily after Sirius and Tonks back towards the house. Jack was clutching Harry's hand, and she knew the others would get them safely inside.
She rounded on Draco and slipped her arms around his neck.
"You're still my favourite Seeker," she tried, and chuckled when she saw his lips pull into a reluctant smile.
"Anything I can do to make you feel better?" she asked with a suggestive raise of her eyebrows, and with that his smile widened into a mischievous smirk.
She pulled him closer and put her lips to his, smiling against his lips when he wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her off the ground for a moment. She got lost in the feel of the kiss, and thought for the millionth time how lucky she was to have him in her life. The three years apart had not left her mind, and every day she woke up to find him waiting to spend another day with her was a day she cherished.
"You're cold," he said softly, his face a mere inch from hers. He kissed the tip of her flaming red nose, sending a shiver through her. Whether from the cold or from him, she couldn't really tell.
She nodded in confirmation and let him wrap her into his strong arms.
"Let's go back inside," he suggested. "I like the quiet, but not if the cost is you freezing to death."
"I like the quiet too." She smiled as they walked up towards The Burrow with their arms wrapped around each other. "Maybe Molly would be willing to have the kids for a day or two soon. We could take an entire weekend off work."
She lit up at the thought and turned her head to face him. "We can go to a nice restaurant, or just make a great dinner at home. We can go for quiet walks and watch films that don't involve that lost fish, Nemo."
He gave a chuckle, and tightened the grip around her shoulders for a quick second. "Or we could just stay in bed..."
She gave him a stern look, but was betrayed by the uncharacteristic giggle that slipped across her lips. He raised his eyebrow at that, but she was saved from any further inquiries as they reached the front door. Soon, they were seated at the large dinner table, partially eating and partially making sure their darling children didn't look like they wore the food instead of eating it.
Hermione watched as Harry retold his capture of the Snitch once again, noticing that Draco's sour mood had faltered away completely, as it always did. Instead of sulking, he grabbed Harry's hand and reminded him that he should watch out next Christmas, if not already during summer. The two began bickering, arguing over how many times Draco had actually caught the Snitch when they had played each other.
"You were more occupied with thinking up grand schemes," Fred commented dryly. "Like the time you dressed up as a Dementor."
Draco gave a crooked smile at that, pulling his shoulders into a shrug. "Sorry about that, mate."
"Forgotten a long time ago," Harry said with a dismissive hand gesture.
Hermione found herself grinning at them as they continued to bicker, and she realised Draco had finally become a part of what she had always wanted him to be apart of. He was as much a part of this family as she was now, and it was something she hadn't been completely certain would ever happen at all. She watched him pass Ginny the gravy with a silly bow, reminding her so much of the twins that she could hardly keep from laughing. The twins, however, had not kept back their appreciative laugh as they asked when he had perfected that particular piece of fine bowing.
She shook her head in amusement and turned to her own food for a precious second before Alexis dropped a piece of potato down in her lap. Reassuring her daughter that it would be okay, she cleaned her dress with a simple spell and gave her back the fork she had dropped in the process.
"What are you grinning about?" Draco suddenly asked with a small smile from her other side.
"You," she answered truthfully. He grinned back, and kept his eyes locked on her as she took a bite of her own food.
"Me," he repeated with a raised eyebrow.
"You," she confirmed. She leaned in and rested her head against his, turning slightly to plant a kiss on his cheek.
"Some of us are trying to eat you know," George said in a growl. "Damn crazily in love maniacs."
His wife Mary Ann gave him a shocked gaze, and he smiled innocently back, just as Hermione hit him with a piece of carrot.
"Hey," he yelped, throwing one right back at her. ¨
"Merlin," Molly cried in exasperation. "Every time we sit down at a dinner table…"
Her children, including the "adopted" Harry and Hermione, snickered heartily.
"And now you are the responsible parents," she continued unperturbed. "Yet your children are eating their food without fuss, sitting there like little angels. Wherever did I go wrong."
The snickering had evolved into a fit of laughter, and they all looked towards their kids who were indeed acting like small angels compared to their parents.
"Old habits die hard." Fred shrugged. "Once a trouble maker, always a trouble maker."
"Though uptight rule-crazed Head Girls seem easy enough to transform," George said with a wink in her direction, and she stuck her tongue out in response.
"I'm willing to take credit for that one," Draco volunteered, earning him warm chuckles across the table.
Hermione shuffled Alexis in the door of the large house with the red brick walls and the white window ledges, surrounded by a medium sized garden and romanticised by the rosebushes climbing up the walls of the house. She had loved the house instantly, knowing it was absolutely perfect for them to raise their small family. They had bought it and moved in just a week prior to Alexis's first birthday, and they had been living happily in it for four years. And she had no intentions to move.
She helped the little girl take her cloak off once inside the large entrance hall, and watched with a smile as she bounced into the living room. Glancing quickly backwards, she saw Draco close the front door while holding a yawning Jack on his left arm. She followed Alexis into the other room, where the girl had already jumped up into her favourite chair and found her favourite colouring book. Hermione grinned as she watched her stick her tongue out as she moved the colouring quill around the book. Her beloved daughter was already five years old. Another six years and she would be going to Hogwarts already. The thought made her smile, remembering her first year at the enchanted castle. She sure hoped Alexis would have a bit less excitement than she had during her years at the school. Having her eleven year old daughter searching for a stone on the third floor, wanted by an evil wizard and guarded by dangerous tasks, was not something she thrived for.
As she heard Draco talk quietly out in the entrance hall, she particularly remembered a spoiled, bratty Slytherin being a pain in the arse from day one. So many years later, the thought almost made her chuckle, remembering how obnoxious he had been. And despite replaying the memory of the first time he had called her a Mudblood, she couldn't conjure up any bad feelings. He had been a lost child, but he had found his place eventually.
Hermione surfaced from her reveries and noticed that Alexis was rubbing her eyes fiercely when she thought no one was looking. She chuckled, and moved over to the chair her daughter occupied.
"Come on, sweetie," she called. "It seems this is the right time to go to bed."
Her small face fell into a pout, "Mummy, I don't wanna."
"Well, when is Santa going to come if you never go to bed?" Hermione replied smartly.
"I can wait for him," Alexis suggested as her face lit up in an eager expression.
"Oh no, I'm afraid that won't work," Draco said just as he entered the large living room. "See, if Santa saw such a darling little girl like you he would want to wrap you up and give you as a present to someone else."
Her large, grey eyes widened and she laughed shrilly. "Daddy, that's not true."
"Oh no?" he asked, his eyes twinkling. "How could he pass on such a cute little present? Anyone in the world would be happy to get you."
"But how would he wrap me?" she asked, looking thoroughly confused.
Hermione had to bite her lip to keep from chuckling, and took the chance to take the book and quill out of the girl's grip as she was occupied otherwise. She put them back under the table, where Alexis had found them, and lifted her daughter up in her arms.
"Santa has his ways," Draco replied, his lips twitching.
"Merlin, you're a big girl," Hermione commented as she hoist Alexis further up on her arm.
"I've grown," the girl proclaimed happily, and her mother chuckled warmly.
She walked up the staircase to the second floor, and Alexis seemed too occupied with thinking about Santa Claus and how he would wrap her to even protest to being put to bed. Hermione put her down when they reached Alexis's room on the second floor, and began looking for the girl's pyjamas.
"Did you have a good time today?"
The girl nodded thoughtfully as she began taking her own clothes off. "Grandma made our drawings move."
"I saw! They were really pretty. We'll put them up on the wall tomorrow, how does that sound?"
"Next to the one with the rabbit?" Alexis asked expectantly.
"Definitely," Hermione promised as she handed Alexis her unicorn pyjamas. "Do you need any help?"
"No," the girl answered firmly. "I wanna do it."
Hermione watched patiently as the girl fumbled with pyjamas on her own, struck by how amazingly stubborn she was. Smiling crookedly to herself, she had to admit she knew where that trait came from. Alexis also wanted to brush her teeth on her own, so Hermione walked calmly towards the window as she waited, looking out over their garden. It was now covered in sparkling white snow, but in the summer it had a number of wonderful flowers and bushes, and she loved sitting outside by the large tree, preferably reading a book or watching the kids play. She would have Draco put up a bench there some day.
Once Alexis came skipping back in her room and jumped up on the bed, Hermione walked over and tucked the covers around her. She made sure that the stuffed animals were in place, and turned off the small lamp on the nightstand.
"Good night, love," she whispered and kissed her daughter on the cheek. "I love you."
"Love you too, Mummy."
She smiled as she walked out of the room, and it turned even wider when she met Draco just as she was crossing the hall. Their hands entwined for a short second before they passed each other, and entered the room the other one had just left. The room she entered had a small nightlight lit over the bed, since Jack was not too fond of the darkness. She couldn't blame him. The wizarding world was full of rather scary creatures after all. Neville had given Jack a book about the most common of creatures for his third birthday, and while the friendly Auror meant well, it had triggered a rather intense fear of what had hid in the dark of his room. Alexis, however, had taken a strong affection to the book and had 'read' it several times through.
Hermione crossed over to the bed, and noticed to her amusement that her son had already fallen into light sleep. She kept quiet, scared to disturb him, and only stroked his dirty-blond hair out of his forehead before heading back out of the room. Silently, she crept up and leaned against the doorway, watching Draco bend over Alexis' bed. She smiled widely as he turned around walking silently out of the room, and Hermione backed slowly away from the doorway so he could close the door behind him.
She smiled quickly at him, before darting into their bedroom for a quick change of outfit. The dress she had worn to The Burrow was far too fancy to just sit around in, so she jumped out of it and drew one of Draco's large t-shirts over her head instead. With a swirl of her wand, she removed the make up on her face, never being quite comfortable with all that stuff on, and she pulled her wild curls up in a pony tail.
When she came back downstairs, only dressed in his grey Tutshill Tornados supporter t-shirt, he was hanging up their stockings over the fireplace, using a sticking charm to make them hold. She smiled mischievously and flicked her wand towards the fireplace with a quiet 'Incendio'. Draco yelped in surprise as the fire ignited and he shot backwards. When he realised it was only the fire being lit, he turned around in confusion and found her standing by the couch looking pleased with herself.
"Trying to give me a heart attack so you can inherit my great fortune?" he asked with his eyebrow raised, and she noticed his eyes ran up and down her figure for a short moment.
"Darn it, you've seen right through my act," she answered with a playful grimace. "May I poison you with a cup of cocoa?"
"Only if I can help you make it."
She gave a short chuckle and shuffled past him, the floor feeling cold against her bare feet. Once in the kitchen, she opened the fridge wide and peered inside as she heard him enter.
"I'm getting hungry again," he confessed with a short laugh. "That Weasley lot is getting to me."
"Well, I am too," she said absently, bending down to see what they had. "And they're definitely getting to you."
She turned to him with a short smile, as he seemed to ponder her words.
"Good or bad?"
"Good," she said simply, before falling quiet for a moment. She leaned on the open door of the fridge, looking thoughtful. "How about you make the cocoa, and I'll throw some sandwiches together?"
"Sounds perfect," he agreed, and they began working in silence.
They stood next to each other by the kitchen counter, stealing a glance at the other one, now and again sharing a quick smile. She was buttering the sandwiches when she felt him look at her.
"I like putting the kids to bed." He smiled, flicking his wand in a movement she had never quite understood. Magical cooking had never been her strong suit.
"Yeah, Jack is so adorable with his little nightlight." She chuckled, feeling warmed by the thought of their family.
"My son... afraid of the dark," he said, shaking his head, but the twinkle in his eye revealed how little it bothered him. "Well, at least he won't be a Gryffindor."
Hermione broke into a loud laugh and turned to him with a mischievous smirk. "How do you know?"
"Because if he was Gryffindor material, he wouldn't be afraid of the dark would he?" Draco answered with his eyebrow raised, indicating he thought the matter was obvious.
"Do I really have to remind you of Neville? He was afraid of just about everything, at least in the beginning."
"Longbottom," Draco drawled. "I had forgotten about that little wuss."
"Draco," she chastised, narrowing her eyes. "Neville was a great support for Harry, and still is as they work together at the Ministry."
He rolled his eyes, but relented and gave her a small smile.
"All I'm saying is that there are several kinds of bravery," she continued.
"Even so. My son is a Slytherin. I can feel it," he said forcefully, and turned to watch her finish up the sandwiches.
"And good for him if he is", she said simply. "As long as they get friends and feel home in their house, I don't care."
"So you don't care if Jack gets sorted into Slytherin?" he asked incredulously as she took the plate from the counter, ready to leave the kitchen behind. "I know you only want our kids to be happy, but even you can't be that free of prejudice."
"Oh alright," she admitted as she lead the way into the living room. "I would perhaps be a bit worried if he was. But not because I think Slytherin is a bad house, just because I don't like the environment he'd be in."
Draco watched her as she spoke, and had to hide a smile as her voice once again grew eager and a strand of her hair popped out of place. She sat down on the couch, putting the plate down on the table, and he followed her lead.
"I mean… even if you turned out to be a somewhat decent guy…" He gave her an almost insulted look, and she smirked. "I'm a Muggle-born, and the entire house of Slytherin is generally against us even being alive. And I still don't like Crabbe or Goyle, or that Pansy whatshername. I don't like the attitude of the people in that house. I can't help it."
"Oh, we both know why you disliked Pansy," he said calmly, avoiding her questioning gaze. When she didn't say anything, he put her out of her curious misery. "You've been jealous ever since you caught us kissing in that storage cupboard."
To her horror, she ended up blushing furiously and he fell into a mad cackle. "I disliked her long before that, but it certainly didn't help," she huffed, and stared down on her hand that lay resting in her lap. She was taken back to that day in the cupboard, and nearly fumed at the image of her kissing Draco.
"Stupid Pansy with her perfect face and her straight, silky, black hair that she can flip over her shoulders in a seductive movement. And stupid full, red lips that probably kisses better than anyone, and…"
Her tirade was cut short by his laughter, one he had tried to stifle, but he had obviously failed as it tumbled out. She grimaced and reached for her cup of cocoa. Heat shot through her as she gripped around it, and she brought it to her mouth to blow it colder. Suddenly, her eyes caught something unusual in the liquid.
"Oh... Draco," she said remorsefully, and she looked over at him where he lay sprawled against the back of the couch wearing a growing grin. Her eyes darted back to the cup of cocoa where the brown chocolate powder sprinkled over the foam spelled I love you.
She put the cup back down without ruining the work he had done, and turned to him with soft expression. Feeling ashamed, she bit her lip in uncertainty, but pulled into a smile when he chuckled and pulled her down towards him.
"I think it's so cute that you've been jealous of Pansy after all this time," he smiled before running his hand over her shoulder and down her back, coming to rest in the small of it. "But why you ever would be, is beyond me. Who cares about straight black hair and seductive movements?"
Hermione muttered something incoherent, and he just shook his head.
"You're perfect," he whispered against her ear and she caught herself shivering slightly. "Looking all cute and lovely with your hair pulled away from that soft neck of yours. Wearing my t-shirt, exposing those wonderful legs. And guess what…"
"What?" she asked breathlessly as he held her firmly.
"The only one I want to kiss is you," he revealed and found her lips before she got a chance to reply. Her heart beat oddly in her chest as she answered his soft kiss, and when their tongues entwined she wondered how he could still make her feel this way. When she pulled away, she wore a silly grin as she ran her finger down his cheek.
"Our cocoa is getting cold," she said quietly.
"How can you even think about that right now?"
He looked so indignant she nearly burst out laughing, but she just hoist herself back up in sitting position and reached for her cup. With a flick of her wand she had reheated it, and reached over to reheat his.
"We're married," she answered softly. "And in a little while we will retreat to the bed we share. There's no rush."
He smiled at that, tucking a piece of her hair behind her ear. "I like hearing you say we're married."
"You're so possessive." She laughed, curling her feet up underneath herself on the couch, sipping intently from her cup.
"I am," he admitted with a slight grimace. "I like knowing you're mine."
She didn't answer at that. All she did was grin, and handed him a sandwich from the plate. He took it gratefully, and bit in, looking distant in thought. Hermione swung her feet over his lap and sat snuggled into him in silence for a moment.
"Did you finish that report for Aveson?" she asked as she too reached for a sandwich.
"No." He sighed. "I still have all too much left, but I'm not spending my Christmas on it"
"You still have time even if you wait until Boxing Day," she mused. "I have the morning shift that day, though."
"I'll get it done somehow."
"If it gets too bad I'll help you out," she announced, licking her fingers contently as she finished her food.
"That would be greatly appreciated," he said, smiling. "It'll get done somehow."
"I still think it was unnecessary of him to assign that report so close over Christmas," she sulked.
"Aveson isn't one to care much for sappy family traditions such as Christmas."
"Well, maybe he should consider that the rest of us would like some time together."
"We have time now." He grinned, running his hand over the bare legs she had swung over his lap.
"Actually, we don't," she said with a small pout. "We have to get the presents under the tree, as well as fill the stockings."
He groaned dramatically, and sent her a begging look that she knew from far away. It was, without a doubt, asking her to drop everything and stay right there on the couch with him, but she swung her feet of his lap and vanished their mugs back into the kitchen.
"Come on," she urged, and laughed when he saw his defeated expression. "Draco Malfoy, you're not honestly suggesting to disappoint your children on Christmas Day?"
With that she knew she had gotten to him, and he rose from the couch, though not without muttering disappointed to himself. Shaking her head at his reluctance, she ignored his hushed speech and hunched down by the large Christmas tree they had put up a while ago.
"Accio presents," she chanted, and laughed as Draco had to dodge the hovering bag as it came darting around the stairs towards her.
"I knew you were trying to kill me," he joked, and leaned against the banister as she sat down on the floor beside the tree and began searching inside the bag.
Draco watched her set to work with admirable determination, taking the opportunity to observe her without her noticing. He noticed her curls were slowly untangling from the pony tail, some of it falling gently onto her shoulders as she bent forward to place a package carefully under the tree. She looked as good as she ever had, comfortably wearing his t-shirt, sitting cross-legged on the floor, revealing milky white skin from the thigh down. He took a deep breath, and saw her expression soften as she looked at one of the nametags. She looked so beautiful and happy that he didn't even care who had triggered the reaction, he didn't even care if it was Potter.
"Could you do the stockings?" she asked, suddenly turning her head upwards towards him.
He snapped out of his dreamlike state, and gave her his most winning smile in reply. As he strode past her, he let his hand run over her hair and when he turned to look at her, she was smiling softly at him. His stomach did a flip, and once again he reminded himself of how lucky he was to have someone like her in his life. He sure didn't deserve it after all the pain he caused her, but she had still taken him back, and it still shocked him how devoted she was to him and their family. He had never had anyone stand by his side like she did, and it baffled him almost every day.
As he watched her put the presents down with care, he was reminded of the early hours of that same day. Even if it was Christmas Eve, he had left Hermione in bed at seven, sighing in annoyance as he watched her smile groggily at him, her hair spread out on the pillow like a wavy fan. He wanted nothing more than to just stay, but instead he left her there and retreated to the office further down the hall of the house.
The report for Aveson had been sorely neglected until then, and he had no choice but to begin working on it, no matter how badly he wanted to just enjoy Christmas with his family. He was flipping through the stacks of paper on his desk when he heard her taking the kids down to breakfast, and he sighed heavily again, trying to block out the urge to go downstairs. Trying his best to forget he even had people he enjoyed being with, he hoped he could focus enough on the paperwork to actually get it done. He rested his head on his left hand as his right lead the quill across the crisp, official parchment, and he looked up to crosscheck his numbers. Suddenly he felt a pair of soft hands on his shoulders, firmly rubbing away the tension, and after mere moments he relaxed entirely against them.
"Making any progress?" she asked quietly, her hands now resting lightly on his shoulders. He sighed in reply and leaned back to rest his head against her. She chuckled. "Oh, it's going that well."
"It's not that difficult, there are just certain things I would rather do right now," he replied with a slight smile.
"Well, in a few hours we're going to The Burrow for Christmas dinner," she consoled. "I made you breakfast, by the way."
He leaned his head back further to look up into her face, meeting that warm smile that always reached her eyes. "Really?"
She nodded slowly. "Your favourite bagel and the largest mug of coffee I could find."
He chuckled appreciatively as the plate appeared on the side of his desk, looking very tempting indeed. Looking at the workload he still had left, he sighed again before bringing his hand to rest over hers on his shoulder.
"I left the mischief makers by the breakfast table," she said apologetically, planting a quick kiss on top of his head. "I swear to God, sometimes you'd think I had an affair with Fred or George. That girl is more imaginative than I like to admit."
She moved out from behind him, and made towards the door as he gave her an accusative stare. Turning slightly, she looked at him with a crooked smile.
"Jealous because of my imaginative affair?" She grinned, and when he just huffed in reply she gave a small laugh.
Draco watched her leave the room, feeling far less annoyed than he lead to believe. At least he wasn't annoyed at her, but he sure as hell was annoyed at Aveson. What he would give to have breakfast with his family on Christmas Eve... but he kept working, making sure he would have the entire afternoon free to visit the family and friends at The Burrow, and the entire evening and night free to spend with his wife. When he eventually wrapped up, he was running extremely late, so he sprinted into their bedroom to get dressed. He put on his nicest pair of designer dress robes, and finally found his favourite tie in the large closet. Turning towards the mirror, he carefully tied the tie into a neat knot, scrunching up his nose in concentration. The second he tightened it, he smirked satisfactory to himself for a millisecond before his eyes widened in horror. His beautiful emerald tie suddenly shrunk and a horrible Christmas pattern with awful, harsh colours appeared on it. Just when he thought it couldn't get worse, that horrendously annoying Muggle Christmas tune sounded through the room in a high-pitched tone, clawing at his sensitive ears.
He wheeled around, searching the room with a feverish look plastered across his face. Soon, a low cackle could be heard from the bathroom, almost indistinguishable over the horrid Muggle tune he had always hated with a fiery passion. Recognising his wife's mischievous cackle, he strode over to the bathroom door with angry steps, and flung the door open in a rush. He found her sitting on the side of the large tub with her hand clapped over her mouth, looking disgustingly entertained. When she took in his flustered appearance and the short, tacky tie, she howled with laughter, not bothering to stifle it anymore.
"What the bloody hell are you playing at, Granger?" he shrieked, throwing his hands frustratingly out from his body.
She snickered contently. "I'm just giving you a bit of holiday spirit."
"This horribly tune," he whined, putting on his perfect spoiled-Malfoy look. "It's doing my head in."
"How can anyone hate Jingle Bells?" she commented incredulously. "Anyway, I think you look dashing. Like a very Christmassy ferret."
He scowled at her in annoyance, mumbling something under his breath when she once again fell into an amused chuckle. She got up from her uncomfortable seat, closed the distance between them and began fiddling with the tie, tightening it even more.
"You look so cute," she squealed, and he replayed her with a vengeful glower.
"You're completely nuts, Granger."
He always did fall back into the habit of calling her Granger whenever he was particularly annoyed with her, or if he just wanted to tease her. It never really mattered that her name was no longer Granger, cause quite frankly... calling her by her present surname was rather pointless. Draco suddenly caught the sight of himself in the bathroom mirror, and reluctantly gave a snort of laughter. He looked absolutely ridiculous. Hermione's eyes widened in surprise, and she laughed with him for a brief moment, before pulling him in to plant a quick kiss on his lips. He moved to wrap his arms around her back, but she dodged his grip easily, and he gave her an accusing glare.
"Ugh, take off that horrible tie, Mr. Malfoy," she said, her eyes twinkling before she muttered the counter spell on her way out of the bathroom, stifling a quiet laugh.
Draco shook his head, and landed safely back in the time of the present, once again looking over at her as she had now reached the bottom of the large bag of presents. He watched lazily as she scrambled to her feet, the t-shirt riding up her gorgeous legs as she pushed herself up. She stretched her hand over her head in a low growl, exposing even more of her to him. His breath caught in his throat at the sight of her, and before he could stop himself — not that he really wanted to — he had made his way over to her and wrapped his arms around her waist. She gave him a sweet smile, and snuggled close to his chest as he pressed her closer.
"You know..." he began in a low voice. "I have naughty ideas right now."
She smirked at that, quirking her eyebrow slightly in a challenging manner. "Well... I' a bit tired, so I don't know."
"I still have a certain tie.."
"Why didn't you just say so?" she cried, and dragged him harshly by the hand towards the stairs. He laughed loudly as he was pulled along, and he couldn't help but wonder yet again what he had ever done to deserve her. She turned to give him a quick smile, reminding him immediately of everything he had in his life. Her simple smile held everything he was grateful for, and so much more.
A/N: - sob - Oh my god, I don't want it to be over! You guys have been absolutely fantastic, I just hit 400 reviews and I'm so happy I can hardly stand it! I want to mention some of the people who have been here all along, and I just want you all to know I appreciate it SO much.
Dracoshott28, nic smiles, Indulgent Writer, sarahyyy, wasu, magic2008, waffenmac, myfish, dynonugget, umbridgeskitty, pstibbons, hotkat144, Miss DnG, Ankoku Dezaia, Isabella Heart, angelgurl079, mazatrix isstrange, EmeraldEyedDreamer, Nebel Engel, the-missing-arm-of-krum, lvswtht, mentarisenja, cemicool, birdsong4, Pyroangel8605, KellyxOx, happyfeet17, mergy31, Theirsnothinginside, Eleven at heart, Evil Tobi.
If I forgot you, I am truly sorry, but I'm doing the thank yous quickly to get it posted :(
A very special thank you to Jenny/elyaeru, who took the time to correct all my silly mistakes and rewrite some of my awkward sentences. And also for being super-inspiring and my bad!fic buddy.
!Please pass this fic on to everyone who may enjoy it, and if you liked this please do try my fic Beneath Your Window, which is of course another Dramione, and currently on its 20th chapter!
-sob- It's been so much fun! I'm going to miss your reviews in my inbox. Please do check out my other things, and so long! I shall be back with more Dramione.