Epilogue - 19 Months Later
"Granger, you know you look gorgeous, so can we just hurry this along, please? I need some rest if I'm going to kick Potter's ass at Quidditch tonight."
"Draco, honey, you're not going to have time to play tonight; I keep telling you that. We're going to be there all day. You've been helping to plan, so you should know that. Stop acting like it's going to kill you."
"But I want to play Quidditch," he said, sounding eerily like Teddy at his whiniest.
"What does it matter? You know you're never going to beat Harry, don't you? It's just not going to happen."
"That's hurtful," he pouted.
She gave him an exasperated look and stated, "You, thankfully, have other talents that Harry does not possess."
"You better not be speaking from experience, Boss Lady."
"Don't be silly," Hermione scolded him.
"Take back that I can't beat Potter."
"I take it back," Hermione said. "That last game was really close, and if you hadn't been staring at my chest as you flew back you probably would have gotten the snitch. Now shush it and clasp my necklace for me. This is important, Draco."
Draco rolled his eyes, but accommodated. He stepped back and gave Hermione a critical once-over. "Yep, gorgeous."
She kissed him lightly. "For those kind words, you will be amply rewarded tonight, whether you catch the snitch or not."
He growled softly and pulled her in for a much more thorough kiss. "Are you sure we don't have a few extra minutes now?"
"If you want your mother to walk in on us, then by all means," Hermione replied.
That effectively shut down Draco's libido for the moment. "You win."
At the moment, Mrs. Malfoy did sweep in the door, causing Draco to shudder a little. The woman had uncanny timing. "Draco, aren't you ready? Hermione, you look lovely, dear."
"Thank you, Mrs. Malfoy." Even after almost two years of dating her son, Hermione could not bring herself to call her future mother-in-law Narcissa. "We're ready."
Mrs. Malfoy smiled fondly at her son and his fiancée before leading them to a Portkey. Within moments the three of them were climbing a stage outside Hogsmeade. The stage was erected in front of a large building which was having its grand opening that day. Robin was already standing on the stage, along with Rupert, Elliot and Jasmine, Ginger, Ariadne and Hugh. The rest of S.P.E.W was arranged in the front row of the seats facing the stage. Minister Shacklebolt was there, as well as several Ministry officials from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Hagrid, beaming with pride and waving to Hermione, took up four seats in the front row himself. The crowd also boasted a large amount of Weasley's, house elves, goblins, veelas and other magical creatures.
Hermione confidently stepped up to the onstage podium and addressed the crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for being with us today. This has been a very exciting time for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. Over the past two years, due to Mr. Lucius Malfoy's generous endowment, we have been able to expand our services to help more of our fellow magical creatures. As noted at our last annual Helping Hands Ball, S.P.E.W. leads the wizarding world in research and legislation for magical creatures. With the American version of the Wolfsbane Potion, we were able to pass Lupin's Law, which as we all know has led to amazing reform in the werewolf community in a short period of time." She waited for the applause - none louder than almost-nine Teddy in the second row, wearing a huge grin and Weasley-red hair. She motioned for Draco to join her. He gave her a kiss on the cheek, eliciting a few whistles from the crowd. Hermione smiled down at Ron and Harry, who both pretended to scowl at Draco before returning her smile.
"Thanks to the contribution and support of the Malfoy family, we are proud to be opening the Lucius Malfoy Magical Social Club." Hermione paused again for applause and exchanged a grin with Draco - the thought of how scandalized his father would be was at least part of Hermione's joy that day. "This center is unique in the wizarding world - it provides an opportunity for witches, wizards and magical creatures to interact and socialize on completely even ground. Hopefully this will be the start of even more magical collaboration."
"Thank you, future Mrs. Malfoy," Draco said, gaining even more thunderous applause. "My father would be touched to see the good his money has done for the wizarding world." Draco managed a straight face - he was aware by now of his mother's machinations - but grinned inwardly. Lucius would be touched, alright. "I'm sure his vision and caring attitude will be remembered for years to come. He showed us that rehabilitation is possible, and we are better for this knowledge. Ms. Granger has done an outstanding job raising awareness and has gathered some of the finest witches and wizards to her cause. Yours truly, of course, being one of her more difficult recruits."
"Look at her!" Theo heckled from the crowd. "It wasn't that hard to get him on board!" Everyone laughed while Veronica elbowed him sharply in the ribs.
"Mr. Nott is one of our top contributors, and obviously feels he should be standing up here as well," Draco said, "but as I am currently the best looking man on this stage, I think he can stay where he is." Loud protests were heard from Elliot and Rupert behind him, but he ignored them and continued. "Since I've been working for S.P.E.W (Hermione almost gasped out loud - that was the first time he had ever used the initials instead of saying spew) I have discovered a side to the magical world that I often took for granted. I look forward to spending time here in the future. Now, General Westinghouse, if you'll cut the ribbon, we can get this party started."
X X X X
"Lord, I am glad that's over," said Draco, sinking onto a couch.
"I don't know, Malfoy," Harry said. "You got to stand on stage and talk about how good-looking you think you are. Surely that's your perfect day."
"The perfect day would have included beating your ass at Quidditch. You're lucky we were stuck hobnobbing with goblins all day."
"Yeah, real lucky," Ron cut in from his seat across from Draco. After the ceremony and party, many people, including Ron, Harry and all of S.P.E.W. had decided to continue the celebration at Theo and Veronica's house. Trixie and Violet had managed, with less than ten minutes notice, to expand the living room and magic about thirty-odd chairs, couches and cushions into the room. "I don't recall you talking to a single goblin."
"They're jerks," Draco said dismissively. "Who care about them anyway?"
"Draco!" Hermione snapped, scandalized. Ron and Harry exchanged amused smiles - they weren't overly fond of many goblins themselves.
"Oh, can it, Boss Lady, the looky-loos are gone," said Draco, pulling her down for a kiss. "They're going to get their damn wands - what more do you want from me?"
"Well, you can at least pretend to like them."
"I already do that with you," he said.
"Ha ha," Hermione retorted. "I'm going to remember that later when you want to -"
"My ears, my ears!" Ron called out in mock horror. Draco smirked at him and kissed Hermione again.
"Goblins rule," Hugh put in. "They're way sneaky and have tons of gold - what's not to like?"
"Spoken like a true Slytherin," Briony stated. "I'll know where to look for you next time you're late coming home. You'll probably be betting all of our money with goblins at the Club."
"Probably," Hugh admitted.
"Well, I think today went swimmingly," Robin said. She threw an arm around Ron. "The work we've done in the last two years has really been -"
"I'm changing your name from General Westinghouse to Little Mary Sunshine," Theo interrupted, rolling his eyes and receiving a mock glare from Robin. "We spent all day talking spew. In fact, we spend all day every day spewing. Can't we change the subject?"
"Okay, how about Hermione's and Malfoy's wedding?" Ginny piped up.
"Hmph," Hermione sniffed. "That's if I don't kill him first. He's awfully mouthy."
"You love it," Draco said. "Admit it, Granger, the mouthier I am, the more you eat it up."
"That sounded incredibly dirty," Elliot observed.
"Ellie, you don't know the half of it," said Draco, ducking as Hermione smacked him. "Come on, Granger, let's get out of here. How about we have our own private celebration?"
"I suppose we'll have to, you're not fit for public consumption," Hermione answered loftily. "Sorry, guys, I have to get Draco home before he exposes himself to ridicule."
"Yeah, that's why you're hurrying home," Ginger grinned. "And I keep Viktor around for his Quidditch skills."
"That's what the young girls are calling it," remarked Draco. "If you'll excuse us." Bowing to his friends, he grabbed Hermione's hand and tossed some floo powder in the fireplace. Once home, he turned to his fiancée. "Now, Granger - you were saying something this morning about a reward?"
Her grin was all the encouragement he needed.
A/N I know some, if not all, of you are going to be disappointed by the last chapter, since we don't really get to see too much of Draco and Hermione together, and it probably seems a bit abrupt. My main focus with this story was always the journey, so once they were really together, that was pretty much it for me. I also (unpopular opinion alert!) loved the epilogue to Deathly Hallows, so I wanted a similar happily-ever-after vibe for this story. I know I'm breaking my show-don't-tell rule (which I do all the time, so it's not much of a rule), but I thought a little explanation was necessary. Thank you all for your supportive reviews, and to those who took the time to read, alert or favorite.