Epilogue-- 11 years later
Lavinia looks up at the scarlet Hogwarts train with wide fearful eyes. We're surrounded by a multitude of families seeing their children off to school with lingering hugs and smiling faces. I put my hand on her back and rub up and down soothingly.
"Are you nervous?" I ask gently.
She gulps loudly and shakes her head. "Of course not." She replies but her ridged posture and shaky hands tell me otherwise.
This is going to be her first year at school, her first year away from us. I'm sure her feelings are no where near the sadness that I feel at this moment. My baby girl is growing up. I watch her as she looks around at the other kids while chewing on her bottom lip. She has my hair color and my complexion but she is most certainly Draco's daughter. Her sharp features and intelligent gaze make her every bit a Malfoy as her last name. She's growing into a beautiful girl and there's a pang in my heart to see her turning into a woman. I smooth down her bangs that have been messed up from the wind and straighten the pony tail that trails down her back.
"You'll do fine." I tell her when she looks at me.
"What if no one likes me?" she asks softly, self-consciousness making its way into her voice.
I smile a gentle smile at her. "What's not to like?" I ask and she gives me an uncomfortable smile that looks more like a grimace. "You'll have nothing to worry about, Liv. You'll make plenty of friends this year and if you ever need anything you have your two older brothers to help you."
She makes a face at me. "Cassius said he would never speak to me if I was put in Slytherin and Gavin said he would disown me if I was sorted into Gryffindor."
I laugh at that. "They're just teasing you. They still talk to each other even though they're in those different houses. No matter what house you're in they'll still be happy to help you out, I promise."
"Not Hufflepuff." She mumbles. "Father said he'd transfer me to Durmstrang if I turned out to be a Hufflepuff."
I roll my eyes; I don't understand why Draco hates that house so much. "You're Father's an idiot." I say making her laugh, I probably shouldn't have said that about him, but I couldn't help it.
A group of giggling girls passes by us talking loudly. "Oh, look!" one of them squeals loudly. "There's Gavin and Cassius." I hear a loud loving sigh and the girls start to giggle again. "The Malfoy brothers are so handsome." One of them says.
Lavinia scoffs at the group of girls and makes a disgusted face at me. "That is just foul." She says fiercely.
I laugh and turn to where Draco is with Cassius and Gavin. They are turning in to good looking boys. I would never doubt that, of course since they're mine I'm probably a little partial. Because they're just a year apart most people think they're twins but I know them well enough to see major differences in their appearance.
Fifteen year old Cassius is almost as tall as his father, with the same slender build. He does look a lot like Draco but there is something unique and totally individual about him as well. He wears his hair short now and tousles it around his head in a way that he swears is fashionable, much to my dismay. His almond shaped gray eyes don't miss a thing and he has long beautiful fingers that look like a piano players. He wouldn't think to play such an instrument though. He's only obsessed with Quidditch.
The group of giggling girls passes by them and Gavin smirks in their direction causing them to blush and murmur among themselves excitedly. It's strange when you realize you're children are real people that don't really need you and not just your little babies anymore. Gavin turns back to his Father, who's speaking to them sternly, probably about how they should behave this year. He rolls his eyes at something and I smile.
Gavin is broader in the shoulders then his brother and his hair is wavy, falling into his eyes. Much to my annoyance he says he likes it that way. He still has a light cluster of freckles along his nose and cheeks that match his light brown eyes and he has a silver earring in one of his ears. The horror I felt when I saw that last year was almost unbearable.
Draco picks up our youngest daughter and holds her in his arms. She's such a daddy's girl and she never has to walk when he's around. Why waste your energy when someone willing holds you all day long? Evelyn looks over Draco's shoulder and smiles at me while waving her tiny hand. Her hair is done up in pigtails and her strawberry blonde curls fall down in ringlets around her face as she lays her chin on his shoulder. I smile at her and a wave a love rushes through me, there's always something special about the baby of the family.
I turn back to my Lavinia. "Let's go see if your Dad's done scolding your brothers." I say with a smile as I lead her over to where they're standing.
Both of my sons are not paying attention to me. They're looking around the Platform, trying to find their friends and rolling their eyes at me every time I say something. I had forgotten how annoying teenagers are.
I snap my fingers to bring thier focus back on me. "I'm serious." I say sternly. "I don't want any letters this year from your head's of house." I hike the five year old that's clinging to my side up a little further, she leans her head against my shoulder and her arm goes around my neck. "I don't want to hear anything about Firewhisky in the dorm rooms or snogging in broom closets." I send a pointed look to my youngest son and he just shrugs his shoulders and gives me a sheepish grin.
"That was a misunderstanding." He says. He's fourteen, he shouldn't be kissing anyone.
"I don't care what it was." I snap. "I don't want to hear about it. Your sister's going to be with you this year and I want you to be good role models for her." Cassius snorts and I narrow my eyes at him. "Unless you want to sit out on Quidditch this year, I suggest you try to set a good example."
His mouth drops open. "But I'm the seeker; you can't just make me sit out…. She'll be fine, Dad. Liv's a big girl now. I didn't have any one to help me out when I first came to Hogwarts."
"You'd be surprised what I can do." I say in a deep voice. He narrows his eyes and looks away, pouting into the distance. "and girls are different then boys… they're more sensitive."
Gavin smiles at his brothers scowl. "I wouldn't mind seeing Gryffindor losing a game or two." He says smugly.
My eyes fall on him. "That goes for you too. It doesn't matter to me if Slytherin loses anymore." That makes him stop smiling.
Ginny and Lavinia have made their way over to us and I give them warm smiles, ignoring the boys who are crossing their arms and huffing. "Are you ready for your first year at school, princess?"
She shrugs and looks at the train nervously, I want to hug her and make her feel better. I want her never to grow up. "I guess so." She says quietly.
"I want you two to make sure she finds a seat on the train." Says Ginny.
Again they both scoff. "She'll be fine!" says Gavin rolling his eyes. Ginny glares at him and he stops.
"I don't care what you have to say on the matter, Gavin Malfoy." I smirk at her tone, she makes a good mother. "You're going to act like a good older brother and make sure your sister is settled, whether you like it or not."
"Fine." He says annoyed.
"Cassius?" she questions him, he's still huffing off into the distance.
"We'll look after her. Don't worry." He says sharply.
There's movement in the crowd as kids start to get on the train. Lavinia gives me a worried look and starts to shuffle her feet uncomfortably.
"Evelyn, will you go to your Mother?" I ask the child in my arms. "I want to talk to your sister."
She nods her head and smiles a dimpled smile at me. "Okay, Daddy." She tells me sweetly and reaches her arms out to Ginny who takes her and holds her against her hip.
I take Lavinia's hand and move her away from the rest of the family. I bend down so that we're eye level and place a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Are you okay, princess?"
"I'm fine." She says softly and I notice her eyes start to water. "It's just… It's just I'm going to miss home. Do I really have to be gone all year?" she asks desperately.
I give her a soft smile. "You won't be gone all year. You'll come home for winter break and we'll send you letters every week." A tear falls down her cheek and my heart breaks. "You're going to love Hogwarts, honey. You'll finally be able to do magic and learn a lot of cool things." I wipe the offending tear away. "You're lucky too that your brother's will be there with you."
She nods her head and sucks in a shaky breath. "Come on. We have to go or we'll miss the train." Says Gavin, looking over at us.
I nod at him and turn back to my daughter who's shaking lightly. I know she's shy and she's a homebody so this has to be tough for her. "I have something for you." I say as I take a small silver watch out of my pocket and secure it around her little wrist.
"Why do I need a watch?" she asks through her tears.
"Well, it tells you what time it is." I say with a laugh, but she doesn't smile. "Here," I say showing her a button on the side of the delicate face. "If you press that and talk into it I'll be able to hear you and we'll be able to talk to each other." I tap my own watch to show her. "So if you ever need to talk to me or if you're feeling homesick you can just use this… it's quicker then owls."
She looks down at it for a few moments and then presses the button; she brings it up to her face and speaks into it. "Daddy." She says quietly.
My watch lights up and her voice filters through it. I smirk at her and she smiles.
"We have to go." Stresses Cassius' annoyed voice. I look up and notice most of the kids are already on the train.
"Alright, sweetie." I say taking her hand and walking her back towards everyone else.
She gives me a long lingering hug and says in my ear. "Bye Dad. I love the watch."
"Have fun." I kiss her cheek and watch as she gives Ginny a hug and a kiss.
"I love you." Says Ginny, she then goes to each of the boys and gives them hugs and kisses.
"This is embarrassing." Says Gavin as she moves on to him.
"Well, you will have to endure it." She replies giving him a kiss on the cheek that he scowls at.
I laugh and give each of them a pat on the back, we're past hugs now. They're growing into men and don't want that kind of attention from me anymore. With a weight on my chest I watch the three of them board the train. Lavinia looks over her shoulder as she goes up the stairs and smiles at us. I send a wink her way and put my arm around Ginny's waist as the train starts to move.
"She'll be alright, won't she?" Asks Ginny.
I look to her and notice tears in her eyes. She cries every year. "She'll be fine."
The train takes off into the distance and our youngest child starts to cry. "I want to go too." She whines against Ginny's shoulder.
"You have a while before you can go, baby." Says Ginny as she rubs her back.
"But I miss them already." She says seriously with a small frown on her pale face. Her little blue dress brings out the blue in her slate colored eyes and her apple cheeks are flushed a light pink. She turns to me with her lower lip jutting out. "Why can't I go now, Daddy?"
"You are much too young." I say seriously, mimicking her serious face. "but you'll be older before you know it." I say and there's a pain that goes through me when I realize how true those words are.
Ginny notices the look in my eyes and kisses my cheek. "Are you ready to go home?"
I nod my head and take Evelyn from her. I really do love little girls, they're just so sweet. She closes her eyes and rests her head against my shoulder as we walk back into the train station. She has to be tired; she woke up so early today to help everyone pack and all the excitement has to be getting to her.
She yawns against my neck. "Can we see the horsies today?" she asks tiredly. She's referring to the stables at Malfoy Manor. Each of the children has their own horse that they have to take care of when they're home but Evelyn seems extremely attached to them.
"Maybe tomorrow, Honey." Answers Ginny as she takes my free hand in her own.
"But I want to." She pouts.
"I know," I answer. "but lets get home and settled first. You have the whole house to yourself now. Isn't that neat?" I feel her smile against my neck and nod her head.
We walk in silence out of the station and every once and a while I look over to Ginny and take her in. She really is beautiful and age has only made her more attractive to me. I'm kind of looking forward to having the kids out of the house so I can have her all to myself again. She must feel my eyes upon her because she turns to me and smiles, squeezing my hand in a promise of later things.
Once on the side walk the sun beats down on us and I let go of Ginny's hand to shield Evelyn's eyes from the sun when she starts to whine. I turn to my left and bump into someone and I'm too focused on my daughter that I don't realize who it is.
"I'm sorry." I say to whoever I just plowed into.
The person doesn't say anything and he doesn't move. I finally focus my eyes and see Ron Weasley standing in front of me. Behind him is the entire Weasley family with Granger and Potter. They were seeing their family members off to Hogwarts today as well.
Ginny steps up beside me and gives them an uneasy smile. Things still aren't smooth between them. "Hi." She says softly.
A few of the Weasley's ignore her. Some say a small greeting to us and Mr. Weasley asks how we're doing. Finally the awkwardness is too much to bear so I snake my arm around Ginny's waist and start steering her in the opposite direction with the exhausted five year old complaining about the heat against my shoulder.
"Well, we need to be going." I say. "Bye." I don't bother to say 'goodbye' because I really could care less what kind of life they have after we depart. I'd prefer it not be good.
"See you around Minister Malfoy." Ron's voice sounds bitter and it makes me smirk.
He must hate that he works for me, they all must hate it. I don't think any of them thought I could ever become Minister of Magic. It was rather easy really; politics is more like a popularity contest then anything else. Once back at Malfoy Manor I put Evelyn down in her room to finish off her nap. I twirl one of her strawberry blonde curls between my fingers and smile down at her. Her hair color is really pretty, and it gets lighter every year so I think she'll be a complete blonde by the time she reaches eleven.
"I have to stop by the Gallery today." Whispers Ginny from the doorway. "Will you be fine here?"
I turn to her and nod my head. I bought an empty building in Diagon Alley for her twenty fifth birthday. She turned it into an art gallery, showing still and magical works of art from local artists. She really loves running it and it makes me happy to see her so thrilled with something.
"Alright." She looks between me and Evelyn and a fond smile comes to her face. I notice it and stand up, walking towards her. When I'm close enough my arms encircle her waist and I kiss her. "I love you." She murmurs against my lips.
"I know." I say with a smirk. I close the door to our daughter's room and walk her out into the hallway. "You know since the kids are gone we won't be woken up in the middle of the night by terrible music blaring from Gavin's room…"
"Or Cassius running into things with his broom because he thinks it's alright to practice inside of the house…"
"And," I continue where she left off. "We don't have to worry about shagging in the library because Lavinia won't be here to walk in on us."
She smiles then. "And we were so sad to see them go." She says with a laugh.
"Three down, one more to go." I say teasingly.
She sighs loudly and frowns. "They will be alright, right?" she asks me for the millionth time. We've gone over this every year since Cassius first started going.
I take her face in my hands. "They will be perfectly fine." I tell her earnestly. "We can always have more to replace them if anything goes wrong."
"Draco!" she yells pushing my chest and laughing. "I can't believe you could say that about your own children."
I shrug my shoulders and steer her into our bedroom. "I like the process of making babies."
She rolls her eyes but doesn't stop me when I start undressing her. I never would have guessed my life would turn out this way. I never thought I could be this happy or this fulfilled with life…She kisses my neck bringing me out of my thoughts. I really do love this girl, and she loves me. I have no idea why, but she does. I'm probably the luckiest guy in the world.