5 years later
"Mummy, Wake up! You got an owl from Auntie," yelled a 5 year old little girl jumping on her parent's bed. Her pale blue dress shifting wildly as her matching blue eyes sparkled in the sun that shone through the window. Her long blonde hair was swishing frantically with every bounce.
A moment later, her twin brother leapt onto the bed to join in his sister's fun. His blue polo shirt coming untucked from his khaki's as he started jumping with his sister. His brown eyes gleamed with mischief knowing they would get in trouble for waking their mum up. His daddy told them to let them sleep because this was their mum's big day. He felt a hand ruffle through his short brown hair and pull him from the bed, followed by his sister.
"Fred, Ginny, didn't I ask you to let your mum sleep this morning?" The kids looked down at the floor, looking pitifully sorry.
"Sorry, daddy. I was trying to tell her about her owl from Auntie Lavender." The kids then turned and padded out of the room, with Draco yelling after them not to get dirty because he didn't want to have to change them again.
Draco crawled into bed and spooned up behind his wife, kissing along her exposed shoulder. She sighed and turned over to look at him; kissing him gently as she settled back into the pillows.
"Morning beautiful," Draco whispered as he kissed the tip of Hermione's nose.
"Morning. Did Ginny say I had an owl from Lavender?"
"Yes, it's on the counter in the kitchen. You take your time getting up. The kids and I already ate breakfast and had our showers and got dressed. There is a plate of breakfast I can heat up for you whenever you are ready."
"Alright, love. But I don't think I will be eating anytime soon. I'm too nervous."
"Nothing to be nervous about, Mione. You'll do great, as always." With that said, Draco gave his wife one more kiss and climbed out of bed to check on the twins. They were worse than the Weasley twins ever were. They had Draco's sense of cunning and mischief with Hermione's brains and courage.
Hermione rose from the bed a few minutes later, to get a nice relaxing bath. She sauntered over to the bathroom, again appreciating the beauty of their house. They moved in here 4 years ago after Hermione's first book was finished. They were right down from Grimmauld where Harry and Parvati lived with their daughter Lily. Just a block down in the other direction was Blaise and Padma and their twin sons, Jamie and Darren. Ron and Lavender lived closer to the Burrow as Molly didn't want to live so far away from her grandbabies: Evan, Tyler, Rose, Dinah, and the youngest Jill.
Hermione's house had plenty of room to expand their family, but wanted to wait until the twins started Hogwarts in case her pregnancy was bad like the first. She didn't want to have to worry about someone to take care of them. They had 6 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 offices, large dining room, an immense kitchen, and a small ballroom that they used for everyone's parties.
She was content in her life, and today she would be getting an honor that she never thought possible. As she soaked in her tub, she let the last five years replay in her mind. The twins' first words, Draco and her first anniversary and the twins' first birthdays, their first tooth, first step. Her and Draco's accomplishments: Draco, Harry and Ron were the top Auror team and co-heads of the department, each offering something unique to the position; and Hermione has published three books about her life. One took place before, one during and one after Hogwarts. She was receiving the Newbery Award for the series. She was frightened as could be. She had introduced her books to the muggle world as fiction and sold millions of copies. She couldn't believe people loved her work so much. In the wizarding world, her books were assigned reading in the Muggle Studies course at Hogwarts and Beauxbatons.
She climbed out of the tub, pulling the stopper so the water would drain out. She walked over to the vanity and started to pull on her clothes for the day. She was going to apply some makeup and do her hair, but she had a feeling she might was to read Lavender's note first.
Walking down the hall she reminisced as her eyes drifted over the pictures from her friends' weddings and birthdays, her parent's 35 year anniversary party where everyone got a little too tipsy for their own good.
She took the envelope with her name on it and sat at the table where Draco was sitting reading the post. Opening it she laughed at how right she was about not doing hair and make up.
Don't you dare attempt to do your own hair and makeup! I will be over at noon to do it for you. I love you girl, but you have the worst tendency to try to down play your best features. I'll see you soon!
Hermione laughed, knowing not to take her best female friend seriously. She ate the plate of breakfast Draco gave her and then went to sit out on her deck, her favorite place in the world. It overlooked her backyard which held a pool and plentiful flower gardens. Her family and friends have had so many good times out here, not to mention the wonderful times her and Draco had when the kids went to stay with one of their friends for the night.
That was when Hermione started to tear up. She started thinking about one of the bad times out here. Arthur Weasley's birthday was held out here one summer. Everyone was playing quidditch and enjoying the pool when everyone heard Molly screaming. Arthur had blacked out. He had a heart attack and was gone before anyone could help him. That was two years ago, and Hermione still cried over her lost father figure. He was there for her as much as her own father. Molly had a hard time after his death, and fully submerged herself into taking care of her grandchildren. She basically ran a small daycare. The only kids she had any misgivings about watching were George's girls. He had twin daughters, Allie and Callie and they were 3 years old. They made Fred and George look like angels. They had the Weasley hair, but Angelina's dark eyes.
"Hermione, love. Are you okay?" Draco came out on the deck to see a few silent tears falling down his wife's face.
"Yes, just thinking about Arthur."
"How about we go in and settle into the living room. The twins made you something."
Hermione followed her husband inside and sat on the large sectional couch. Her children came in with a large box and stood in front of her for her to open. Ginny's and Fred's eyes were sparkling with excitement. Hermione was almost worried. She lifted the lid off the box slowly, amazed at what she found inside.
It was a photo frame with tons of pictures of her and all of her friends from Hogwarts and when Harry first came back. Apparently Molly gave them the pictures and they cut and glued them to make the collage. Hermione was in tears. It was so thoughtful and sweet. She grabbed up her two babies in her arms and hugged them tight, kissing each of their heads. They hugged her right back and relished in the feeling of comfort their mum always gave them with her hugs.
Draco just sat back and smiled, enjoying the picture perfect moment his wife was having with their children. She took out a camera and snapped a quick shot.
"Thank you, babies. I love you both so much. And I love my pictures. It's perfect." Hermione let go of Ginny and Fred and hung the picture up on the wall, right next to the window so she could see it all the time. Not a few moments later, Lavender showed up to help Hermione get ready. Molly had all of the kids for today so their parents could go see Hermione's show. The only kids going would be Fred and Ginny.
An hour later, Hermione emerged from the bedroom ready to go. She was dressed in a black sleeveless dress with thick straps and an empire waist. The gown fit perfectly around her chest, fit at the waist and then flowed to the ground. She had on black strappy heels, her hair was up in a loose, but elegant French twist with slight tendrils framing her face. Her make up was natural except for a subtle smoky color on her eyes. Her lips were shiny with a clear gloss. All in all she looked stunning.
Draco walked up to her, speechless and kissed her lightly on the lips. When he pulled back, his eyes were filled with lust and she had a slight pink tinge on her cheeks. It amazed her that even after 5 + years, they still got to each other this way. They may be having Fred and Ginny spend the night with Uncle Blaise and Aunt Padma.
They left for the award ceremony. Hermione couldn't believe how many people she had show up. Blaise, Padma, Harry, Parvati, Ron, Lavender, Draco, George, Angelina, her own parents, every professor she had ever known, Dean and Seamus, and several others.
When they finally announced her name and called her up there for her speech, Hermione nearly ran for the exit. But with her loved ones eyes all shining brightly with happiness for her achievement, she made her way to the podium.
She looked out over the happy faces, knowing there were several she would have loved to see out there, but knew she wouldn't, she couldn't.
"First, I would like to thank everyone here, for I couldn't have done it without you all. These books that I wrote, were very much true to me, and the characters in it are based off several of those who are in this room. Then there are those who were in the book who were my friends, whom I loved greatly and who passed tragically. I miss them and wish I could see them out there in the see of faces as well. But I can't. They are watching over me and keeping my head above water and my feet on the ground. I dedicate this award to those who were there with me through everything, through life, through love, through good times, and bad. I love you all and wouldn't be who or where I am without you. Thank you."
A teary eyed Hermione made her way off the stage and back to the table she was sharing with her family. After the final announcements and congratulations, Hermione and Draco made their way home, Ginny and Fred having gone home with Grandma and Grandpa Granger.
That night, Hermione and Draco made love under the stars in the flower garden behind their house. Laying in each others arms, in the after glow, Hermione looked over at Draco and smiled. Draco's blonde hair and stormy eyes seemed to glow in the moonlight. It took her breath away just to look at him. He smirked at her, knowing the effect he had on her.
"I love you, Bookworm."
"I love you too, Ferret."
A/N WOW! It's done. Now I'm sad. :-( After a very long time working on this story it is finished. I have had such an amazing response to this and my other stories. I can only hope the next ones can please everyone as much. There are a couple of one-shots that I am considering doing a sequal too as well as my Fred/Hermione story "Lips of an Angel". We'll just have to see. I want to thank you all for the positive reviews and loyal readers who have stuck by me since the very first chapter.
A special thanks to the reviewers (from hpff and ff) who made this experience so much better.
Open to Everything
These are not all of the reviewers, but the ones who reviewed the most often and consistently. Thank you all so much!