Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Author's Note: And here we are, at the end of another story and I find I'm a bit sad to let this one go. It had a rocky beginning, but now it's all good. Thank you so much to everyone who has kept up with this from the very first chapter, thank you all for constructive criticism and hilarious reactions. Seriously, I laughed at a lot of the reviews. They brighten my day and inspire me to write more. I hope the ending is good because I swear this story didn't want to end itself. Seriously. I'm not sure about a sequel, but I adore Lizzie's character and all the little boxes I've opened up in this chapter and I have all these ideas for what she's going to be like when she goes to Hogwarts and a bunch of other things, but we'll see. Anywho, it's been really fun and don't worry, I plan on writing more, possibly from a different angle. I want to play around with a darker Hermione, I think that'll be fun. Well, I'm done rambling. Enjoy the final chapter and don't forget to review! Peace!
This ain't a movie no, no fairy tale conclusion y'all;
It gets more
confusing everyday. Sometimes it's heaven sent,
Then we head back to hell again, we kiss and we make up on the way.
"Ordinary People"—John Legend
(Six years later: April 23rd)
The kitchen is a mess.
At least six cookbooks are strewn around the kitchen, their pages are held by various objects like spoons, paper towels rolls, various canned goods, and the salt and pepper shakers. You see, all these cookbooks have similar recipes with a touch of something new and in order to make the perfect dish I have to pick and choose special ingredients at will.
Well, I don't profess to be the best cook, but I'm not shabby at it…
…although you would've thought a tornado and an inexperienced cook blew through the kitchen the way it looks now.
A variety of pots and pans are scattered throughout the kitchen, soiled with the remains of food that has been haphazardly prepared. The oven is ringing, the phone is ringing, and my cell phone is vibrating on the kitchen table. Every drawer in the kitchen is wide open and there are various knives and forks littering the floor and one of the counters. Ingredients are spread all over the other counter, adding to the mess. The door to the refrigerator is wide open, and parsley flakes and spinach leaves are scattered on the floor directly beneath it.
In the middle of it all, I stand, tired, half-crazed, with flour on my shirt.
I sigh harshly, clearly frustrated and not to mention exhausted, and yank the oven door open and move to pull out the pan of lasagna, cursing to myself when I realize I've forgotten oven mitts.
To be honest, I don't think I've cursed aloud since Lizzie makes it quite evident that she's a human tape-player incarnate.
Instinctively, I suck on my reddened finger for a moment before sliding the mitts on and pulling out the pan again.
Gently, I sit the pan on one of the clean spaces on the counter and crack a tired, but proud smile.
My first time making lasagna…ever…from scratch…and I haven't burned it or the house down.
Pleased with myself, I turn the knob on the oven to cease the incessant ringing, whip out my wand to clean up the mess and place a charm on the food to keep it warm until dinnertime, pull out the salad ingredients, and of course, I growl at the two ringing phones.
More than likely, it's Ginny.
She's knee-deep the sea of kids these days with James, who just turned five last month; Albus, who is about to turn four in tomorrow; and Lily, who will be three in a month. I don't even know how she has time to call me, but she always makes time.
Finally, I answer the house phone, "Hi, Gin."
She sounds startled, "How did you know it was me?"
Smirks, "Well, besides the caller-ID, the house phone and the cell phone were ringing at the same time…so what's the emergency?" I notice it sounds rather quiet in her background, which is odd.
"No emergency, everyone's down for a nap. Harry hasn't gotten home with James yet and while I'm planning out Albus's birthday party, I decided to call and check on you. How are you feeling?"
"Pretty good, just tired…I just finished cooking Lizzie's favorite: lasagna…from scratch," I tack on at the end, looking over at the steaming pan with pleased eyes.
There's a small pause, "I didn't know you could make lasagna."
Snorts, "I didn't either…let's hope it's nothing like Anne's."
I can hear Ginny's shudder, "Oh, don't even remind me of that horrific day. It took me a week to get the taste off my tongue and the stains off my plate. How is she? I haven't seen her since Lizzie's nightmare of a birthday party."
Remembering back three months ago to her sixth birthday party makes me laugh…hard.
Let's just say Lizzie still hates parties and doesn't like attention, at all. Really, she's one of the most modest kids I've ever known, which is odd because Draco is completely arrogant and I can be a bit pompous at times. She does really well at all the other parties she goes to and does well with small groups of friends, but put her in a crowded room and put a spotlight on her and you will quickly get introduced to irritated Lizzie and it's quite the sight.
It seems that every one of her parties fall into the category: Nightmare. However, this past birthday party is particularly bad. She spent the entire afternoon sitting on her daddy's lap, adorning a birthday hat, a toy, and a very Malfoy frown on her face while all the invited kids and Helen's (my neighbor) youngest son, Tyler, run around the house, squealing happily. Tyler tries his best to cheer up the brooding birthday girl, but all he gets for his efforts is an evil glare and a rude, "Leave me alone."
The scowl doesn't disappear until we bring out the cake and once she gets comfortable, she even lets Tyler drag her into a game of tag with the other kids.
"Anne is doing great," I reply with a smile, "she and dad are coming over next week to help out with setting up."
Yes, you heard me correctly…my dad.
Everything between us…it's not perfect, sometimes he makes me really angry, but we're doing the best we can. We're family and it's taken a while for me to see that life is too short to hold grudges and I don't want to regret any of my actions towards my dad in the future…so I do the mature thing, get over my hurt and anger towards him, and accept his peace offering.
Please believe it doesn't happen over night.
Honestly, it happens right around Lizzie's third birthday when he sends her this doll that she adores. I read the card to her and it says, "Love, grandpa" on it and she spends the entire afternoon saying, "love, gampa" over and over and I cry myself to sleep that night. I break down and take her to see him three days later and even though she's wary of him (and still kind of is to this day), the actual afternoon goes well.
Draco still doesn't like him very much, I suspect he never will, but he tolerates him because of me and Lizzie…
"Have you and Draco finally picked out a name for the baby?"
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that I'm almost six month pregnant with a boy?
I think I did.
Please forgive me, my mind is a little scattered.
Draco, of course, is thrilled and keeps on saying, "two more to go" and I just roll my eyes. He's an idiot if he thinks I'm having four kids. Lizzie, who I confess I'm a little worried about, is thrilled as well. We bought her a book on how to be a good sister after initially rejecting the baby, the book, and the idea of being a big sister, I find her asleep in her favorite chair in the playroom with the book open.
I just know that everything is going to be alright from that point on.
Now she likes to press her head against my belly and talk to him.
Lizzie can ramble on about nothing for hours and I usually let her because it's best for her to bond with him now.
"We're stuck between Nathan Alexander Malfoy and Scorpius Ambrosio Malfoy, which is apparently a traditional family name…needless to say, I'm fighting for Nathan…hard. I'll even resort to tears if I have to." Yes, I'm that desperate.
Ginny starts laughing, "Well…how about Scorpius Alexander Malfoy…that sounds great, pompous, a bit exotic with the whole Scorpius aspect, but with an ordinary part too, like you like it…and all the kids can call him Sam, after his initials. It's a win-win for everyone."
That really doesn't sound like a bad plan. I ponder for a moment, "That's brilliant, Ginny…I'll bring it up to Draco when he gets home."
She clears her throat, "As a real thank you, do you wanna take James for the night? Luna and Neville are taking Albus and Lily so Harry and I can set up for the party tomorrow."
Luna and Neville got married two years ago in this huge field of wildflower in the middle of the summer after Neville's first year teaching Herbology. It was really warm, not too uncomfortable. To be honest, the day was perfect and I was proud to stand up there in my yellow bridesmaid sundress. Luna looked beautiful in a white sundress and a crown of flowers, he wore khaki pants and a white button-down, and neither one of them wore shoes. None of us did. It was a requirement if you wanted to attend the wedding. Odd, but still it was very beautiful.
"Okay, that's fine. Bring him on over when he gets home. Lizzie will be thrilled." James and Lizzie always play well together, that is, as long as we keep them in eyesight and in the front yard.
They both have the tendency to be a bit on the adventurous side. The last time they played together in the backyard I have to do some quick bone-mending on both of them because they decide the coolest thing in the world is to climb the biggest tree in the backyard and accidentally fall out.
"No problem, thank you so much…so, how did Lizzie's spelling bee go?" Ginny's asks.
I feel kind of silly when I shrug, she can't see me. I smirk to myself and reply, "Not sure. Draco hasn't gotten home from picking her up from school yet…"
After much consideration and a few talks with the muggle relations department of the ministry, we decide to put her in a private muggle primary school and let her live a normal muggle life before she goes to Hogwarts.
Lizzie knows she's a witch, she's known for the last two years. Her first accidental magic episode is at the age of four when she makes Teddy's face break out in these awful warts after a yelling match where he told her that girls aren't better than boys at Quidditch when she asks her daddy to tell her the rules of the game—those two, at six and ten, still don't get along very much.
Teddy always calls her a nerdy know-it-all and she calls him a troll…you know, one of those toys with the colorful hair. Yes, that kind of troll.
He usually takes offense to that, his hair turns bright red and he storm out the room.
Andromeda always has to stifle her chuckle when they're in the same room.
Cousins…I shake my head.
Ginny breaks into my thoughts, "…so I got an owl from Pansy yesterday; she says they're good and extremely happy and in Belize. She wanted me to send you, Draco, Lizzie, Luna, and, well, everyone, her love and she misses us all. I think they'll be home in like three weeks or something like that."
After a long engagement, Pansy and Ron finally got married a month ago in this very flashy ceremony where we're all subjected to wearing ivory dresses and Pansy came down the aisle in a stunning and totally non-traditional magenta wedding dress. Nobody can keep their eyes off her the entire ceremony and even in reception, and I think that's the way she likes it. I've never seen Ron look so happy, Pansy either. They're still on their honeymoon as we speak. You see, they decide to spend two months traveling the world together.
It's something she's always wanted to do and Ron loves to travel. It's a win-win situation for them both.
I'm about to reply when I hear the front door open the pitter-patter of little feet heading up the steps to put her bag down and change out of her school jumper, "Hey, Gin, that's them. I'll call you back later, okay?"
I hang up and turn to face a casually dressed Draco, who is wearing a small smirk on his face.
Wordlessly, he gives me a kiss and even now I still feel a little woozy and unsteady on my feet when he kisses me.
"How are you feeling?" he asks softly, hands on my hips.
"My feet hurt," I smirk, "I may need a massage later, but other than that, we're both doing well."
This pregnancy is a lot easier than Lizzie's, minus the morning sickness, which is just as bad as it was with her. I'm just able to do a lot more and the mood swings aren't as bad. Ellis happily brings me a homemade peanut butter cookie every single day since I announce my pregnancy. Bless her.
Oh, and luckily for Ron or anyone for the matter, I haven't attacked anyone over a candy bar.
Although I did have to seriously control my temper when Teddy ate the last peanut butter cookie last month…and I give Harry a stern glare when he picks up a mini bag of skittles from the candy dish last week.
He puts the bag down and backs away slowly…he really does have a talent for staying alive.
"That's good…how long have you been home?"
"Since lunchtime, I kind of dropped everything and left. Perks of the job," I still work at St. Mungo's, but not as a healer.
After making a suggestion that helped the hospital save more than 300 million galleons two years ago, they promote me to the head of the finance department of the hospital, which comes with my own assistant, personally set hours, and the option to work from home if I feel the need to.
"Nice perk," he kisses me quickly again and looks around the kitchen, "you cooked?"
"Yep, lasagna…figured Lizzie may need it today. How was your day?"
"Good. I had a meeting with the board, had lunch with my aunt and Blaise at her house, then Blaise and I went to Lizzie's spelling bee, and I got paint for Lizzie's room before I went back to pick her up. She opted for bright pink walls."
I chuckle and shake my head, "Figures she would, Pansy's little fashion clone, that one…so, how was the spelling bee?"
We pause and listen to her come down the steps.
Uh-oh, she's not running.
He stifles a chuckle and goes to the refrigerator and pulls out some grape juice and Lizzie's favorite cup, "Maybe you can talk to her, she's really upset and she won't listen to me."
"I'll let her—"
"Hi, mummy," Lizzie greets from the doorway, a bit somber. She walks up to me and rests her head on my stomach, "Hi, baby brother," and then she backs away.
"Hey munchkin," I offer a smile, hoping she'll grace me with one of hers.
She declines the offer to smile back and sighs.
Oh, Merlin, she's sulking…and she's in her "comfort" pajamas, pink and purple plaid pants and the matching pink top, holding the same bear Blaise gave her as a baby. She only wears comfort pajamas and holds Mr. Bear (her name for him) when she feels bad or when it's storming outside and she's afraid. I already know this is bad, but at the same time kind of cute.
I take a moment and observe my daughter: stormy grey eyes, rosy cheeks, curly shoulder-length chestnut brown hair, sun-kissed skin, and a cute little frown.
Yep…she's definitely brooding.
Draco sits a half full glass of grape juice in front of her and she takes a generous drink and I pull a chair next to her, running my hand through her hair, "Munchkin, how was your day?"
Lizzie sighs, burying her face in Mr. Bear's head so her voice comes out muffled, "No good."
Warily, "Was it the spelling bee?"
She still looks down, but at least she's pulled her head off Mr. Bear's head so I can hear her clear, "I won…with consang—con—daddy? I can spell it, not say it…" she looks at her daddy for help.
Draco supplies, "The word was consanguineous…spell it, munchkin."
Lizzie pauses for a moment, thinks, and spells in a dull voice, "c-o-n-s-a-n-g-u-i-n-e-o-u-s."
"Perfect," he tries to cheer her up with a smile, but it doesn't work so he continues, "She's the youngest spelling bee champ ever at her school," he can't hide the pride-filled look on his face, "They want to send her to the regional competition, but Lizzie declined."
I just stare at her, dumbfounded, stunned, and most of all proud that my six-year-old beat out kids who are at least five years older than her, "Lizzie, honey, that's amazing." It makes sense that she would decline to go to the regional spelling bee, judging from her personality, she doesn't want anymore attention on her.
I've considered the idea that Lizzie may be highly intelligent ever since that doctor's appointment when they tell me that at four months she shouldn't know the difference between strangers and friends. Ever since, I really don't know what to expect from her and rather than subject her to a battery of test, I elect to let nature take its course with her.
And boy does it.
She literally gets off the floor and starts walking at ten months, talking at a year, building and designing things with Lego's at eighteen months, reading at two. She can add large numbers in her head by the time she turns three, multiply by four, and divide by five. She's starting to understand the concept of algebra and biology now, and Lizzie loves History. Sometimes Draco and I just sit and watch her in total amazement as she sucks in information with little effort and I'll confess, for a while there, when she begs me to read The Iliad before bed at the age of three, I feel lost. I think we both did.
"You should be really proud of yourself, munchkin," I tell her, hoping it'll make her feel better.
"I am," she takes a few more sips of her grape juice.
For a while, Lizzie doesn't seem like a real kid to me and I really don't have experience raising someone who at the age of ten can possibly know more than I do, but all these feelings change when she skins her knee on the driveway at five and scream like a banshee, begging her daddy to kiss it to make it better.
She may be intelligent, she may be the smartest six-year-old I've ever come across, but emotionally, she's still six.
Lizzie likes to play in the rain. She likes eating cookies and drinking grape juice, watching movies. She likes to draw and play with Barbie dolls, thinks that some boys have cooties, sings horribly loud in the shower, she stumbles over words, and at the age of two Dora the Explorer is her hero. Seriously.
Granted she can speak more Spanish than I ever will (as well as French) and she can pick out edible berries when her class goes on nature walks, but still, Lizzie is first and foremost, a little girl.
And I intend to keep her that way as long as I can.
"How was the rest of your day?" I ask just to promote conversation.
"Okay…" she trails off.
She's already had a rough year.
After completing Year one of primary school, Lizzie's teachers see how intelligent she is and skip her up to Year three, which doesn't make her very popular with her new classmates. She spends the first part of the year getting teased for being a nerd…that is, until Tyler, her best friend and classmate, threatens to, "slug anyone who calls her a nerd again!" that's a direct quote from Helen, who chuckles everytime we reminisce about that day.
Lizzie finishes the cup of grape juice and sits it down, miserably, "Hit me, daddy."
I have to suppress my laughter when Draco pours a little more juice in her cup like the common barmaid. Merlin, my daughter's getting "drunk" off of Welch's grape juice. Something must've gone terribly wrong.
"Well, what's got you so glum, munchkin?"
Lizzie takes another drink and looks up at me, grey eyes swimming with tears now, and then she opens her mouth rather awkwardly and I see what's wrong.
She's missing her two front teeth…
And now she's hysterical, "They're gone! I tried to put them back in, I promise I tried! I'm so sorry mummy, I lost my teeth!" Sobbing, she opens her fist and there they are; two pearly white baby teeth.
I look at Draco with wide eyes.
Lizzie isn't one for emotional outbursts, she gets that from him and to be honest, I'm kind of frightened to see her sobbing over missing teeth. I sink down to my knees and hug her close, letting her cry on my shoulder while I rub her back, "Oh, honey, it's okay, I promise. They're gonna come back," I soothe in a motherly tone, tears threatening to fill my own eyes.
She throws her arms around my neck, sobbing uncontrollably, "That's w-what daddy said! Daddy said I was becoming a b-big girl now, but I-I don't w-w-wanna be a big girl! I just want my t-teeth back! T-the boys at school, the ones in Year two, they c-called me snaggle tooth, and I don't w-wanna be a-a snaggle tooth!"
"The boys are just jealous, munchkin," Draco supplies because I'm almost crying with her.
I take over after I calm myself down and when her cries diminish to hiccupping sighs, "Daddy's right, munchkin…they want to be big boys, but they can't because they haven't lost their teeth yet and they're jealous because you've lost yours."
"And now you can get money from the tooth fairy," he inputs with a smile.
Lizzie lifts her head and looks at her daddy with teary grey eyes, "Money? For my teeth?" she sounds unconvinced.
I nod in agreement with him, hoping he's going somewhere with this, "Yes, you can get a galleon per tooth, so long as you put them under your pillow before you go to bed tonight."
She sniffles, less sad now and more inquisitive, "But what does the tooth fairy do with the teeth?"
I look at Draco and he fires back a look that tells me he has absolutely no clue and I'm on my own. Bastard, he starts this and he can't even finish, "Well, she's building a collection," I answer weakly.
Now she's no longer sad and is full-on questioning mode, "Why does she need a c-collection of teeth?"
"It's her job…to reward good girls and boys for becoming big girls and boys when they lose a tooth."
Lizzie pauses for a second as if she's pondering my words over, "Really?"
"So I get a galleon for each missing tooth?" Lizzie gets this look on her face that kind of frightens me…it's the look right before she does something crazy.
Like the time she tried to jump from the patio to test gravity or the time Teddy pushed her down and she skinned her elbow up really bad. Lizzie exacts her revenge by convincing him later that there's an enchanted pond in the woods behind Andromeda's house, leads him out to a regular pond deep in the forest, and leaves him to find his way home (it takes him three hours and Lizzie is grounded for two weeks, which I hear her say to Mr. Bear that it's worth seeing him look scared like a little girl).
I already know what she's thinking so I decide to cut her off at the head, "Yes, but they have to fall out naturally and they have to be your teeth, okay? Don't do anything sinister because the tooth fairy doesn't reward bad little girls."
Lizzie smiles in her missing teeth glory, "I won't! I promise!" she squeals, excited. She hops up and hugs us both, "I'm gonna go put them under my pillow right now and I'll be a good girl when I see the troll—I mean, Teddy tomorrow!"
I try to hide my snicker, "Oh, Lizzie, James is spending the night tonight."
"Yay!" she cheers, all signs of sadness behind her, "I'm gonna go upstairs and change, okay mummy and daddy?"
Draco smirks, "Sure, munchkin."
She grabs Mr. Bear and runs upstairs.
I heave a sigh when she's out of the room and Draco quickly gets up to help me back on my feet, "I like seeing her happy, I'm used to it…I'm not used to her crying."
Draco runs a hand over his head, "Tell me about it, she was bawling when I got to the school for the spelling bee. She pulled herself together enough to participate."
"Wait, you're telling me she won a spelling bee while upset like that?"
He replies with amazement in his voice, "Yeah…amazing, huh?"
I'm always flabbergasted by Lizzie, "Very."
The doorbell rings.
I get up to answer it with Draco following me, muttering about how I need to sit down and take it easy.
Rolling my eyes, I pull open the door.
It's Helen and Tyler.
Draco pastes a fake smile on his face. He doesn't really like Helen, he says she asks too many questions and talks too much, but I think he tolerates her because Lizzie is Tyler's best friend…and not to mention, Tyler is fiercely protective of Lizzie, proving as such by standing up to more than a few bullies in her honor.
"Hi, Helen," I smile at her and ruffle Tyler's brown hair, "Hi, Tyler," the little boy grins up at me with sparking green eyes.
"Hey, Hermione," Helen smiles, "I was wondering if you could do me a huge favor and keep Tyler…" she proceeds to rattle on about how her mother is sick and she and her husband are taking a flight out to Virginia to visit and help her out and the older three boys are staying with her sister's family, but there's no one there for Tyler to play with…and well, you get the drift.
I'm about to speak up when Draco cuts me off, "It's no problem, he can stay."
Although I don't show it, I'm kind of stunned, "Yeah," I agree with him, "No problem at all. My godson is spending the night here," I look down at Tyler, "You remember James, don't you?"
The little boy nods his head with a grin on his face…he's missing a tooth too.
"He'll be here tonight and they're going to a birthday party tomorrow for James's little brother." I make a mental note to tell Ginny to warn everyone that there's going to be a muggle kid at the party.
She looks pleased, "Oh that sounds like loads of fun, huh, Tyler?"
He nods again enthusiastically…as you can probably tell, Tyler's not much of a talker, which is probably why Draco likes him. Tyler must've gotten that trait from his taciturn dad, Steven, Draco's only muggle friend.
"I want you to be good for Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy, okay? Don't do anything…strange."
Tyler nods and smiles, "I won't, mum."
Helen continues to talk, just to give me details. She'll be back next Wednesday and she gives me a slew of emergency numbers, how to reach her and her sister and everyone else in their family. And then she goes on and on about how happy she is to have such great neighbors and I have to tell her it's no problem, that we love having Tyler over and that he's one of Lizzie's best friends.
So by the time she leaves to go get his bags, I'm agreeing with Draco that she definitely talks too much.
"Tyler!" Lizzie flies down the steps, dressed in play clothes, looking a lot happier, and launches herself at her best friend.
I guess she gets that from me.
Even though he's a bit larger than her, he stumbles, but hugs her back with equal enthusiasm, even though they've just seen each other at school, "Mummy! Can we go play in the playroom until James gets here?"
"Sure, but dinner will be ready soon, okay?"
Lizzie nods, grabs his hand, and drags Tyler up the stairs, chattering about some new book she read.
I look over and raise my eyebrow at the chuckling Draco, "What?"
"Helen really does talk too much."
"Not going to disagree with you on that, but she'd take Lizzie in a heartbeat if we ever needed her to."
I shut the door and head back to the kitchen to finish slicing vegetables for the salad. I sit at the table chopping vegetables while Draco sets the table, we can hear Lizzie and Tyler run around upstairs.
I smirk, kind of sadly, "I think it's going to be a sad day when she leaves him for Hogwarts."
"Who says that's going to happen?"
I look at him funny, "What—"
"Weren't you listening to what Helen was saying? 'Don't do anything strange.' I knew it. Last week Lizzie was telling me about her day and she mentioned that when Tyler concentrates hard and touches a glass of water, he can make the water inside bubble and when he gets mad he can—"
My eyes widen at this bit of news, "You're telling me—"
"They'll probably go in the same year because his birthday is just a few days late. He'll probably be a Gryffindor like the lot of you," he rolls his eyes and continues after his face twists in a sneer, "and I think he knows Lizzie is just like him."
Although she displays some disturbing Slytherin behavior, Draco finally agrees with me that Lizzie is not Slytherin material.
She's not ambitious and doesn't care if she's the best (even though she usually is).
She'll be first non-Slytherin Malfoy…and we think she'll probably be a Ravenclaw for her intelligence or a Gryffindor because of her bravery; I think he's shooting for Ravenclaw. He's on an "anything but Gryffindor" path with her and is determined to make sure our son is a Slytherin.
"We should probably talk to McGonagall," I suggest, chopping away at carrots, "and get someone from Hogwarts to come and talk to his family early so they can get used to the idea…and maybe we can show them that wizards are just ordinary people…aside from the ability to do magic."
"Do you think his parents will care?"
"I don't think so. I think Helen knows something is different about him and she's proud of him."
To be honest, I'm still stunned by this piece of information on Tyler.
Now that I think about it, I see what he's talking about. Helen is always telling me how Tyler is special. I remember her telling me that when he was two, he fell down the stairs and didn't even have a scratch on him and when he was four, his brother mysteriously broke out in hives after pushing Tyler into a puddle of mud. Now the water bubbles…
All these incidents of Tyler's accidental magic keep flying through my head. I can't believe I didn't realize this before.
I just keep chopping vegetables until Ginny steps out the floo to drop James off.
Draco ruffles the little boy's raven hair and sends him upstairs to play with Lizzie and Tyler, rounding out the trio.
Ginny, as tired as she is sometimes, still looks amazing for a mother of three small children. She doesn't play Quidditch anymore, but works as a reporter for a Quidditch magazine, which gives her enough time to be home with the kids. Harry is the head of the Auror department and usually ends his days early so he can spend time with his kids.
She hands me a box with a smile, "I brought you some more slippers."
Okay. Seriously, what did I do to deserve such amazing friends? I put on the slippers and sigh, "It's like walking on a cloud."
"They're charmed to make you feel that way."
"Thank you so much, Gin," I hug her and sit on the couch, "Where's Harry?"
"At the house, setting up for the party. What happened with Lizzie?"
I explain the entire story and Ginny looks torn between wanting to laugh or cry, exactly how I felt, but in the end we both have a good snicker, she leaves, and after fixing the salad, we all sit down and eat.
Draco, after swearing not to tell his mum, gets Tyler to concentrate and do the trick with the bubbles, to my astonishment. James, who just had his first episode of accidental magic, is excited.
After that Tyler is all about showing us what he can do…some of the stuff Lizzie has actually teaches him to do…I don't expect that one. I'm just stunned, "Lizzie," I brush back her hair with my hand, "I didn't know you could do that…"
She just smiles modestly and plows through her salad and lasagna…which tastes amazing, by the way. So worth the hell I went through to make it.
The kids help clean the kitchen and are rewarded with cookies for dessert.
Draco and I convene out on the back porch, while Lizzie reads a book about Greek mythology and James and Tyler play video games on the family room television. He wraps his arms around me and I sink back against him, enjoying the warm, spring evening. It's peaceful out tonight and I find myself closing my eyes. Draco rests hands on my stomach and I smile at the whooshing sensation.
"You're quiet tonight," he comments lowly in my ear.
I shiver, not from the cold, but from his voice, "Just thinking, that's all…a lot of things have happened today. Tyler's ability to do magic and Lizzie's ability to consciously do that kind of magic, it's a lot to take in."
"True…she's going to be amazing…like her father."
I snort, "Please, let's not forget that I'm the most gifted witch of our day."
Draco yawns, "You were a suck-up."
"I was not," I argue, "I can't help it if I'm better at magic than you."
"Whatever you say, Mrs. Malfoy," he teases with a smirk on his face.
I glare at him. He only calls me that to annoy me, "You're lucky I don't have my wand or else I'd hex you."
He's still wearing that smirk, "You wouldn't hex me, you love me too much."
I want to keep that glare, but I can't…it turns into a smile, "I suppose I do," he kisses my cheek and I remember what I need to tell him, "Oh, and before I forget. Ginny thinks we should compromise and name the baby Scorpius Alexander Malfoy and suggested we call him Sam because of his initials. Do you like that?"
Draco pauses for a moment to think, "Yeah, I do…I like it a lot, actually," he seems rather amazed by that fact.
"I do too."
A couple of hours later, Draco sits on the cool tile next to the tub I'm currently relaxing in after putting the three to bed.
Tyler and James are in the king-sized guest bed and Lizzie is in her room, but no doubt, we'll wake up tomorrow and find Lizzie sleeping between her two best friends in the guest bed. We'll worry about the problems that may arise from this later, but right now it's innocent.
"Everyone sleep?" I smile at him lazily, consumed in bubbles.
"Looks to be that way," he murmurs, leans over, and kisses me soundly before he decides to strip down and join me.
As he massages my achy feet, I feel I have a confession to make…
I love being married to this man.
Trust me. It's not always easy being married to Draco Malfoy.
Merlin, he can be so bloody difficult sometimes and sometimes I really want to strangle him…but I suppose marriage isn't supposed to always be easy or everyone would get married and stay married forever. And we all know that doesn't always happen.
I think marriage is designed to be hard, crazy, and even mind-numbing…but it's also designed to be worth it.
The positives always outweigh the negatives.
It's so worth waking up in Draco's arms every morning, it's so worth pillow fights with Lizzie to make her feel better after a hard day, it's worth watching her grow up and make friends, it's worth the foot massages and gaining twenty-three pounds with this second pregnancy (so far, ugh), it's worth the occasional yelling, it's worth giving up my potty mouth, it's so worth everything and more.
This whole marriage has been one giant learning experience for the both of us.
After six years of it I confess I'm still learning things about him (and vice versa) and even about me. I'm still trying to gain perspective on marriage and even relationships and I'm still taking advice on how to raise a gifted daughter. Not to mention, I'm still recovering from a slight obsession with perfectionism. After six years, the hoopla surrounding our relationship and how we've gotten this far hasn't really died down, but they're not as upfront about it and we don't venture into the wizarding world too often now that Lizzie is older.
There are things I want to tell her first, when she's old enough…mainly the story about her birth.
To be honest, I think everyone in the wizarding gossiping world is just waiting for us to have a huge row and divorce, to prove that relationship between the son of a death eater and the brains of the Golden Trio can't work. They want to prove that we're too different; that our relationship is the plotline to an impossible fairytale; that we're too extraordinary to stay married for the long haul, much less raise a daughter together.
Well, they can keep on holding their breaths until they suffocate because Draco and I, we're the real thing, we've been through too much to give up anytime soon. He's pivotal to my existence and I love him more than I've ever loved another, always have and always will.
No matter what people think, no matter what the gossip columns may sporadically say about us, we're just an ordinary couple, who live an ordinary life with ordinary friends and ordinary daughter and an ordinary son on the way.
Yes, we have had extraordinary things happen to us, we've fought in a war, we're practically celebrities in the wizarding world, we've fought each other, I've cried, we've laughed and fought and slammed doors in stubborn rages, but when it all boils down to it, we're still just ordinary.
We make mistakes, we forgive, and we have good days and bad days and sometimes even awful days. We're definitely still learning, and still don't have a plan or a clue sometimes. We're still growing up as people and as parents, but we've got something most people don't. We have a slew of friends and family who'll help us out on our path.
I don't think I can't say this enough, but I'm incredibly blessed to be here and I can't help but realize that if I died the day I had Lizzie I would've missed so much. I take nothing for granted because nobody lives forever. I think I understand this fully now and there isn't a day that passes where I don't think about how grateful I am for Draco who makes me happier than I can ever imagine, for Lizzie who is the primary reason for all this, for my friends and family who have helped us along the way, and for the growing baby in my stomach who represents the future.
We've come a long way from our horrid beginning...
...and even though I know we still have a long way to go, I know we'll make it.
How was the conclusion? Good? I hope so.
Thank you for whoever nominated this story at the Dramione Awards. I'm really touched.