He woke to stippled sunlight and shadow making lazy patterns on the rough-hewn timber ceiling. The low bed was in complete, rumpled disarray; sheets and coverlet heaped on the floor and one of his legs hanging awkwardly over the edge of the mattress.

His head was pounding.

Merlin, did he need to find that bottle.


He tumbled out of the bed, stubbed his toe hard on the nightstand, and did a strange kind of hopping dance for a moment, holding his injured foot in one hand and hissing breath through his teeth in an effort not to cry out. His sleeping companion never stirred.

He raked the room with desperate eyes. Bottle… bottle… where did I leave that fucking bottle!?

No sign of it in the cabana's tiny master bedroom. Damn it, damn it. He stumbled into the only-slightly-larger living room-kitchen combo, giving all surfaces a hasty once-over, to no avail.

The deck. He must have left it on the deck. They'd been out there late last night, enjoying the breeze, the stars, and the pounding surf.

Outside were two ancient-yet-comfortable rocking chairs, flanking a low table. All three pieces of furniture had once been painted in bright tropical colors, but now were weathered to a gentle and uniform heather-grey by the salt air. This cabana sat closer to the breakers than the one he had inhabited before, during the time of his previous self-imposed exile. And it fronted an entirely different ocean than had the last one. Already that time in his life was taking on the aspect of an only-vaguely-remembered bad dream.

And yes, there it sat, on the little rattan table; the bottle he'd been looking for. Thank Merlin. He grabbed for it, unscrewing the lid as he headed back inside.

He left the French doors open, letting the sea breeze in. It was invigorating, already clearing his head. Back in the kitchen he hurried, his thoughts bent on the woman sleeping in the next room.

Five minutes later he was on the move again, heading this time to what had been advertised as the cabana's "second bedroom" – in reality little more than a miniscule, sheltered nook set beside the main one. He was going to confront the reason for his far-too-early awakening, and source of his pounding head.

In a crib beneath the window lay his six-month-old daughter, crying in great, hearty gusts. As Draco bent over her, though, the cries subsided quickly to sniffles. She stared up at him with wide, tear-bright eyes the selfsame color as his own.

His pale eyes and Hermione's thick, dark hair; it was a striking combination. Six months old and already he was dreading the onset of her Hogwarts years – so many hormones, so little supervision. He made a brief mental note to begin some research on wizarding day schools.

That was for another time, though.

"Hush, little girl," he murmured soothingly now, "hush, Victoria. You kept your mother up half the night already; what do you say we let her have a bit of a lie-in this morning? I think she's earned it."

He reached down for her and a pair of chubby little arms reached back up, mirroring him almost uncannily. A moment later he was carrying her through the living room and back out onto the deck, settling into one of the oversized rockers to give her her morning bottle. He'd let Hermione sleep as long as she wanted to, as long as she could. Maybe later they'd all swim together; Victoria already loved the sea.

Or, maybe not. If not today, they could swim the next day, or the next. There was no rush; they had time.

It hadn't been easy to get Hermione to agree to a month-long holiday, even if it was their belated honeymoon, and now that they were here he intended to make the most of it he possibly could… and to his mind that included occasionally lazing an entire day away in bed.

Actually… that sounded just luscious, now he thought about it.

His lips quirked upward in a smile as he watched the ocean, fed his daughter, and contemplated a day spent in bed with his wife.

He had come full circle, and life was good.