In the Heart of the Storm
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Six Years later
Draco was lounging on a blanket by the lake in front of Hogwarts. He was thoroughly enjoying this lovely Saturday afternoon. All the older students were in Hogsmeade for a day trip and the younger students were mostly lingering on the other side of the lake. He was enjoying the peaceful, quiet, spring air. The school year was starting to wind down and he couldn't wait for summer to arrive. Sure, he loved his students and teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, but he was looking forward to a summer traveling with his family. Yes, his family. Draco smiled up at the sunny sky. Things sure had changed in the past six years. Draco stretched lazily and shut his eyes for a snooze.
The next thing he knew water was splashing him in the face. He let out a yelp and sat up wiping the water from his eyes. He frantically began searching for which student had decided to prank him. That was when he heard the giggling. He stood up and wiped himself off, glancing back and forth. Sure enough, hiding behind a nearby tree was his four year old son, Scorpius. He waved and began bounding towards him. He opened his arms, ready for him to jump into them. He laughed as Draco pulled him close and swung him around. When Draco had stopped spinning and placed Scorpius back on his feet, he asked, "Where are your mommy and sister?" His son smiled up at him with his silver eyes and pointed to the tree.
"Alright, Hermione, you've been given up. Time to come out or I will be forced to make you." He smirked and reached for his wand in the back pocket of his slacks. Hermione sauntered out from behind the tree with a large grin on her face. She held a one year old child in her arms; Rose. "Draco, is that any way to treat your loving and doting wife?" She kissed him on his cheek, causing him to turn and capture her lips for a quick kiss. "That's better." Hermione stated.
"To what to I owe the pleasure of this visit?" Draco asked as he ruffled his son's hair. Scorpius tried to swat his father's hand away, but failed. Hermione shrugged her shoulders, "The children wanted to see their daddy. Plus, Scorpius was driving your mother up a wall." Hermione and Draco had moved back to the Manor after they were married, and when Draco was away at school teaching, Narcissa would help Hermione with the children. This way the children missed their father less and Hermione had an extra person to help her take care of them when she had to go into St. Mungo's for the occasional day of work. Although, Hermione was more of a business associate at the hospital than a Healer these days. She had taken a long leave of absence after she and Draco were married so they could start a family.
Draco turned to his wife and children. "I'm glad you came to visit today. The weather is beautiful. We can take a walk around the lake and have a picnic, if you'd like." Draco watched as Scorpius threw rocks into the water. He turned to look at Hermione, who nodded. "Great!" Draco clapped his hands and looked at his wife. "Why don't you pop into the castle and see if the house elves can pack us up a picnic lunch and I will catch up with the kids?"
Hermione sat Rose on Draco's blanket and then kissed her husband on the cheek. "That sounds great. It will be nice to see Winky and help her pack us a lunch." Draco took watched as Hermione made her way up the hill into the castle before crouching down next to children, "Your mother is the most beautiful woman in the world… She is also the smartest."
Rose giggled and pulled on a strand of her curly brown hair. She was the exact copy of her mother, only miniature. Scorpius on the other hand, was the exact copy of his father. He had the pointed chin, sleek blond hair, and steel grey eyes. But when the two stood together, you could tell that they were siblings, so they must have some features from both of their parents. Draco was so blessed and happy to have such a wonderful family. Scorpius tugged on his father's pant leg. "Daddy, can you tell me about when you and mommy got married?"
Draco sat down on the blanket and motioned for Scorpius to join him as well. He gathered Rose into his lap. "Sure, I'd love to tell you." He stared up at the sunny sky again and then kissed the top of his daughter's head. "Your mother and I got married on a day such as this, but we got together on a day completely opposite..." He smiled at the memory…
Draco was a nervous wreck. He was sweating and jittery. He had no idea how he was going to ask Hermione the most important question of his life. He loved her more than any other person in the world. Sure, they had only been together for six months, but he was ready to ask her to be his wife. He had finally pushed his ex-wife out of his mind and he was ready to settle down with his girlfriend. Hermione was due at his flat any minute. She was at hers getting dressed for their dinner date.
Six months; it had been six months since they had gotten together. He could still remember every moment he spent at the Burrow during that magic storm. From their first kiss, to their first experience, and even him asking her to be his girlfriend...something he hadn't done since he had started dating his ex after the war. He had been nervous about asking Hermione to be his girl, but it was nothing compared to how he felt right now.
Draco had told Hermione to wear something nice because he was taking her to a fancy restaurant in Diagon Alley. He wondered what she would wear. He was wearing a pair of dark blue dress pants and a grey button up shirt with a blue tie that matched his pants.
When there was a knock on the door, Draco nearly jumped out of his skin. Clearing his throat, he walked over and opened it. His heart nearly stopped beating and he took a sharp breath. Hermione stood in his doorway looking more beautiful than he had ever seen her. She was wearing a black pencil skirt with a modest slit up the side and a purple silk shirt, that she had tucked in. Her heels were black and tall and made Draco's mouth water. She had managed to pull her hair half back and it fell down her back in elegant curls. Draco swallowed and cleared his throat again. "Wow, Hermione, you're absolutely stunning tonight."
He was rewarded with a faint blush that crept over her cheeks. 'Thank you, Draco. You look dashing yourself." She took his hand in hers and squeezed. "Shall we go?" He nodded and shut the door. Grabbing his wand, he apparated them to the Leaky Cauldron. They went out the back, touched the right stone with their wands, and then began walking down the street. The sun was just beginning to set and Draco couldn't have felt more at peace. He was still nervous, but Hermione's presence was helping him relax.
Hermione was silent as they walked, but he noticed she kept glancing at him. Most likely she could tell something was up...she was a know-it-all after all. She would glance at him and then look as if she wanted to say something, but then she would just smile and continue walking in silence. When they arrived in front of the restaurant Hermione broke into a big grin, "Finnegan's! How on earth did you get us into here? I heard the waiting list was months long." She gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Draco smiled and pulled her close to whisper in her ear, "Well, I called in a favor with Harry. Seamus apparently owed Harry a reservation and he offered it to us."
Hermione looked stunned that Draco had asked Harry for help. She simply shook her head and grabbed his hand. "Come on then; let's go inside. I can't wait to eat here!" Draco laughed at her excitement. He loved making her happy...and he hoped that he could make her happy for the rest of his life.
Their table was situated in the far corner, right by the immense front window. The fall sky was a beautiful arrangement of colors because of the sunset. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. Their waiter brought them over a basket of fresh bread that smelled heavenly and a bottle of wine that Draco requested. Hermione was quiet as she nibbled on a piece of the bread. She was gazing about, taking in the scenery of the restaurant. Draco sipped his wine and tried not to look as nervous as he felt. They made idle chit chat while they waited for their food; they were planning a trip to Ireland in the summer. Hermione had never been there, and luckily Draco's family owned a house there. He was hoping that if she accepted his proposal that they could have their wedding there as well.
When the food arrived, Hermione smiled. She had ordered roast duck and it looked divine. Draco had ordered filet mignon, but he barely tasted it. He was too busy watching Hermione enjoy her dinner and trying not to be sick from his nerves. Finally, it was time for dessert. This was it; it was now or never. The waiter brought them their crème brulee to share and champagne. Hermione took a sip of her champagne before tasting her dessert. "This is fantastic, Draco. We have to try and come again sometime; maybe during the holidays."
Draco nodded enthusiastically, causing Hermione to stare at him strangely. He cleared his throat and pointed out the window. "Look at all the stars tonight. We should take a walk around Hogsmeade before I take you home." While Hermione's head was turned, Draco pulled a small box from his pocket. Inside contained the ring that had been passed down by generation in his family. His mother had sent it to him just yesterday knowing of his plans for tonight.
Hermione hadn't noticed his movement and when she turned back to face him he was gone, but then her eyes widened when she noticed he was kneeling next to her. Her hand went up to her throat. "Draco, what are you doing?" she stuttered out.
Draco gave her a tender smile and took her hand in his. He swallowed and began to speak, "Hermione, we have been through a lot since we met when we were young. A lot of events, both good and bad, led us to this point in our lives. I wouldn't change one single moment of it because then we might not be here together tonight. I know I've done some bad things to you in the past and that we've moved on from that into an amazing friendship and then relationship, but I want you to know that you are the most beautiful, smart, and amazing witch I have ever met. It would make me the happiest wizard alive if you would be my wife. Will you marry me?"
The entire restaurant had become silent. They, along with Draco, were awaiting her answer. Hermione's cheeks were flushed and she looked a bit startled. Draco couldn't breathe. What if she said no? What if there was just too much bad blood between them? What if she never spoke to him again? He couldn't go on without her. She was the other half of him...his soulmate.
Finally, after what seemed an eternity, which was in reality only a minute, Hermione broke into a smile and tears sprang to her eyes. "Of course, Draco Malfoy! Of course I'll marry you. My answer is yes!"
Draco let out a cheer, as the rest of the restaurant began clapping and opened the ring box for her so she could see the engagement ring. The ring was white gold with a medium sized princess cut diamond. On one side of the diamond was a small emerald, and on the other side a small ruby. He slipped it out of the box and slid it onto Hermione's finger. She looked at it tenderly and then jumped into his arms before kissing him full on the mouth. Draco kissed her back and felt his cheeks grow red. He wasn't used to showing affection in public.
When they broke apart their waiter offered to take their picture in order to capture the moment. Draco pulled his, now, fiancée close and they smiled for the magical camera. Draco could tell Hermione was in awe as they sat down to finish their dessert. Now they had something to toast to with their champagne. "Hermione, you've made me so very happy tonight." He reached for her hand.
Hermione blushed but said, "Draco, I cannot believe that we are here, together, and that we are engaged. This feels so perfect. I never thought that I would find my one true love, but I did with you. I love you."
Draco lifted her hand to hip lips and kissed it gently. "I love you too, Hermione." Tonight had been perfect.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The next ten months flew by in Draco's opinion. Wedding planning was far more complicated than he had thought. Hermione agreed with him that they should be married in Ireland at his family's house so they had packed up and moved there in May. Hermione would floo into work each morning and Draco would floo to the Manor to help his mother keep the family business running; he also went into the Ministry to help Harry with Auror missions now and then too. Their wedding was set for the second week in July and then they would move back to Malfoy Manor with Narcissa at the end of August.
Hermione had chosen Ginny as her Matron of honor and Luna, surprisingly, was her bridesmaid. Draco had chosen Harry as his best man and Blaise Zabini to be his groomsman. Harry's daughter Lily was the flower girl, and Luna and Ron's son, Gabriel, was the ring bearer. Draco had begun to warm up to Ron during the planning process. Ron had become a much better husband and father since the magic storm. That storm had changed a lot of their lives. Luna was even expecting another child; a little girl this time that they planned on naming Molly.
Narcissa had been overly thrilled at the idea of him marrying Hermione. She even told him that, "Hermione has made you into the man you were always meant to be. You two will do great things together." He had blushed at his mother's compliment, but felt happy nonetheless. His mother and Hermione spent an obscene amount of time together planning the wedding. The house in Ireland was large enough to accommodate the entire wedding party plus their numerous friends and family. His mother never stayed for long because she had to tend to the Manor, but when she was there, she was a major help.
Hermione didn't even seem to mind that they were sharing their summer trip with so many people. In fact, she seemed to be constantly smiling. Draco figured it had something to do with the fact that she had no known living family anymore, seeing as she had never been able to track down her parents after the war. As long as Hermione was happy, he could be happy too.
On the day of the wedding, the house was in total chaos. There were flowers everywhere and everyone was running around half dressed and trying to make sure everything was together. Just before two, an owl landed on Draco's windowsill. He had been watching the clouds roll by; hoping that the rain that was promised would either hold off or not fall at all. The owl was a deep brown with gold eyes and he hooted softly as Draco removed the letter from his leg. The owl stayed put, so Draco knew he was to send a reply to whoever sent him the letter.
Glancing at the letter he was surprised to see the Hogwarts crest on the envelope. He quickly opening it and began to read...
Dear Mr. Malfoy,
After reviewing your application, I, along with the rest of the board and staff, have decided to extend the job offer of Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts to you. You would start this coming September. Please send reply back immediately if you are still interested in coming to teach at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
PS: I will see you at the wedding! Congratulations!
Draco's face broke into a huge grin as he hastily scribbled a reply stating that he was extremely grateful for the position and that he would be there September 1st. Then he ran to find Hermione. His dreams were coming true. He was about to marry the love of his life, and he was about to become a Professor at Hogwarts. He knocked on the door to Hermione's room. They had been sleeping separately in order to make their wedding night more exciting.
Ginny answered the door. She was wearing a red fluffy robe. Her hair and makeup were done and she had an irritated look on her face. "What do you want, Draco? We're busy in here." Draco smiled with excitement, "I have some good news I wanted to share with Hermione."
Ginny made an irritated sound. "You can't see her until the wedding. It's bad luck!"
He thrust the letter into her hand; her face grew into a grin as she read through the letter. "Draco, this is great. You wait right here; I will bring Hermione to the door. You can tell her without seeing her." Draco nodded and Ginny disappeared into the room. A minute later, he heard the ruffle of a dress and the click of heels.
Ginny mumbled, "You stand behind this door, Hermione. He cannot see you before the wedding!"
"Fine, Ginny. Draco what's wrong?"
"Your letter from Hogwarts? What did it say?"
Draco smiled broadly even though she couldn't see him. "I got it! I got the job! I start September first!"
"Oh, Draco that's wonderful!" She reached her hand out the door so she could grasp his hand. He smiled down at her engagement ring.
"I better get going before Ginny has my head. See you at two thirty, my love."
"Yes, see you then."
The wedding went down without a hitch. Ginny wore a simple green gown that flowed to just below her knees and Luna wore the same, except hers was a maternity dress. They each held bouquets of red roses. Harry and Blaise wore dress robes that were a deep maroon. Their boutonnières were roses charmed to be deep green. Draco was dressed in all white, as he stood waiting patiently for his bride to walk down the aisle to him.
He watched her as she made her way toward him. She was wearing a simple veil, so he could still see her smiling face. Her gown was strapless and had a green and maroon sash around the waist. Her bouquet was a mixture of the green ivy and red roses.
After vowels were shared, McGonagall, who was presiding over the ceremony, announced them wizard and wife. They then joined their friends and family in a feast that could rival those held at Hogwarts.
"And so my children, that is how you're mother and I came to be married."
Draco looked down to find that both of his children were fast asleep. He frowned and looked around. He hadn't been talking for that long had he? He was startled to find that Hermione was lying behind him with a large picnic basket.
"I wasn't rambling that much, was I?"
Hermione giggled and sat up to give her husband a kiss on the cheek. "Darling, I don't think they're really old enough to appreciate such a tale."
Draco nodded and tucked a stray curl behind her ear. "Someday they will enjoy it, I suppose."
Hermione smiled and shook her head. Suddenly, her eyes caught on storm clouds forming in the horizon. "Look, Draco. We might have to take this picnic inside."
Draco followed her gaze and felt a pull of nervousness in the pit of his stomach. He didn't really care for storms; although, that last one truly gave him the best experience of his life. Hermione and his children.
Hermione, seeing his discomfort, leaned her head against his shoulder. "I don't think we have anything to worry about. It's just a little storm."
Draco laughed and pulled his wife close for a kiss, "I think you're right."
"Oh, and Draco?"
Draco's mouth popped open in surprise, but he quickly closed it as a huge grin spread across his face. "Of course you are, my love. Our love is always formed in the heart of the storm."