A/N: This chapter is quite a bit longer as it ties up all the loose ends… as much as I plan to anyway.
Thanks again for all of my faithful reviewers… you have been wonderful and I appreciate all who have followed my story.
Epilogue: Easter Holiday – 3 Months Later
Lucius anxiously looked at his watch for the fourth time in the last five minutes. Where was she? She was supposed to have been here fifteen minutes ago. He looked around amongst the small crowd, but he couldn't see her curly brown head anywhere. He knew he shouldn't be worried; sometimes she got caught up in things and was late. Who in the bloody hell are you trying to kid? He thought anxiously. The only time Hermione Jean Granger is ever late is when you are distracting her.
He searched through the crowd once more and there was still no sign of her. I wonder if something happened… I wonder if she is okay. Lucius tried to still his fears with the knowledge that Hermione could take care of herself quite well, but surely she would have sent word if she were going to be late, right? Unless, of course, she wasn't coming.
Lucius recalled their dinner three weeks ago. She had been held up at work and had sent an owl that she would be five minutes late… five minutes. Lucius looked at his watch again and saw that she was now seventeen minutes late and his mind whirled back to yesterday's events, his hands unconsciously clenching in anger. Maybe she wasn't coming after all.
Rose and Hugo had been home for their two week Easter Holiday; Rose was especially caught up in helping Hermione with wedding plans and things were going wonderfully. There were two days left before their return to Hogwarts and the kids were with Ron for the night when Hermione received an urgent owl to meet him at St. Mungo's. Needless to say, Hermione and Lucius raced to the hospital to find Ron frantically pacing outside of the Maternity Ward with Rose and Hugo looking on nervously.
Once Hermione had assured herself that it wasn't Rose or Hugo that had been hurt, stupid git could have at least told us they were fine, she thought angrily as she hugged them both in relief, they found out that Mandy had started having pains and bleeding and had been rushed to St. Mungo's as it was too soon for her to give birth. Lucius had agreed to take the kids home and Hermione had stayed to comfort a distraught and anxious Ron.
Hermione had owled Lucius a few hours later telling him that Mandy would be fine and she would be home as soon as she got Ron calmed down. Lucius had gotten the kids into bed and settled down to await Hermione's return. It wasn't until he heard voices much later that he realized he must have fallen asleep on the couch waiting for Hermione, and he quickly got up to investigate.
Just as he was walking into the kitchen he saw Ron and Hermione kissing and his heart plummeted to his feet. He couldn't believe what he was seeing… couldn't believe what was happening. He quickly exited the kitchen and fled upstairs unable to watch the woman he loved more than anything in this world kissing her former husband. He lay on the bed staring at the ceiling for hours before finally falling into a light doze just as the sun was coming up.
He was startled awake three hours later by an anxious Poppy telling him he needed to get up and dressed or he would be late. Lucius didn't know what to do. They had reservations at 1pm and now he wasn't sure if she was even going to meet him. He should have confronted her last night; he shouldn't have left it like that. He was just afraid. Afraid of what it meant, afraid to find out the truth. Whoever said that 'the truth would set you free' had never witnessed the love of their life kissing another.
Lucius decided that he would keep their appointment and try to talk to her; he needed to know what had happened… he couldn't live with these kinds of secrets. Once was enough. So he got dressed and went downstairs to an empty house wondering where everyone was. He drank his coffee in silence and wondered if today would be his last day in this house and in her life.
When he arrived, he was told she wasn't there yet; so he waited. Now here he was… waiting, and she was now twenty minutes late… maybe this is it. Maybe she won't be coming after all. Lucius could feel his heart clench as the pain of that thought washed over him. Gone was the bliss of being in love, gone was the glow of knowing she was his… only his.
Then he saw someone. Harry? Why was Harry here… now? What did that mean? Lucius steeled himself for the words that he knew she must not have the courage to speak. He had thought her beyond brave and now she had sent another to cancel their engagement. He never would have expected it of her… and it hurt… Merlin did it hurt.
"Lucius… sorry mate but Hermione's…," Harry began sheepishly as he addressed Lucius, trying to keep his words from reaching the crowd around them.
"She's not coming… is that why she sent you?" Lucius couldn't quite keep the pain out of his cold voice as he looked down at the man who was her best friend.
"She just wants to talk to you for a minute… okay?" Harry indicated the small enclosure off the main room and Lucius hesitated before nodding tightly.
Lucius felt as if each step was taking him closer to ruination, closer to devastation; because that was how he now imagined his life would be without her in it. He needed her like he needed oxygen and she had been like fresh air to his dark and stagnant life. He didn't know how he had ever survived without her, and now he couldn't imagine what his life would be like without her in it anymore.
Taking a deep breath, he approached the door where she was waiting, wondering what she would say and if this would be the last time he would look upon her face. The face that had come to epitomize all that was beautiful in a woman. He hated her tears, hated to see pain in her warm brown eyes… would he see it now? Would she see the pain radiating out of his?
He hesitated after reaching the door, unsure what to do next. Unsure if he had the strength to face her knowing what she was going to say. Lucius wondered where the fearless Death Eater that had faced down Voldemort had gone. Who was this coward afraid of a woman half his size. He steeled himself for the inevitable and haltingly knocked on the door.
"Lucius?" Came the tentative query from within.
"Yes." His reply was short and terse, his jaw clenched tightly against the onslaught of emotions he was trying to hold back.
"Lucius… I'm… I'm sorry about last night," she began in a soft voice, unsure of his reaction.
"I… Ron was distraught… and then when we found out everything was going to be okay, I took him for a drink… and he had quite a few more." She hesitated, but when he didn't speak she continued.
"He had way too much to drink and I brought him home to keep an eye on him. We ended up talking in the kitchen… about everything… especially his infidelity while we were together, and after some sharp words… we actually talked for the first time in a long time."
Lucius wanted to scream out that he didn't want any more details... he didn't want to hear how they had come to reconcile… he didn't fucking care about Ron bloodyWeasley and his issues… he just wanted her to get it over with. But he remained silent as he waited for the words that would rip his heart into a thousand pieces.
"He's changed since we've split, and I was so glad for that… and… well… we hugged, and then... he kissed me… and for just a split second I was so shocked that I didn't react, but then when I realized what he was doing... I pushed him away. I know he was just lonely and… well, we do have a history… but that doesn't excuse him kissing me… so I took him home and came back and fell asleep on the couch."
Lucius was holding his breath as her words penetrated his fog of pain. Pushed him away? Took him home? What? Does that mean…? Lucius waited for her next words; almost afraid to hope that she still loved him… still wanted him.
"I got up early and went to Harry's with the kids, then on to my parents hotel. I didn't come talk to you because… well, you know, and I felt guilty about the kiss and didn't want to go any farther until I told you what had happened. I don't want any secrets between us Lucius… not today, not ever. So anyway, that's what happened."
She sounded so sincere that Lucius started to hope. "So… uh… Lucius… are you mad at me?"
Hermione sounded anxious and Lucius couldn't speak as joy and immense relief rushed through him and he wanted to cry out with happiness.
"Hermione… of course I'm not mad at you… I just wish you would have told me sooner. I… I saw you kissing him last night…," he could hear her sharp indrawn breath and continued, "… and I thought… well, it doesn't matter anymore. You are here and I love you… so if you are still interested… I do have reservations…" he paused as his question hung in the air.
"Oh Lucius… I am so sorry you saw that and thought the wrong thing. Had I known I would have come to you regardless… I love you too… with my whole heart." She hesitated and Lucius could tell she was crying and he longed to take her in his arms and hold her, but he would have to wait.
"Just give me a minute to freshen up and I'll meet you out there… okay?"
She sounded worried now and Lucius felt his heart fill with such love and contentment that he knew his smile was plainly evident in his voice when he answered her.
"Yes my love… I will be out here waiting for you… and… thank you Hermione."
Lucius couldn't believe she had told him. She didn't know he had seen, she was apologizing because someone kissed her and she didn't want secrets, she valued their relationship too much to come to him today with this on her conscience. Merlin he was a lucky wizard.
"Thank me for what Lucius?" Hermione asked in confusion.
"Thank you for just being you, my love." He answered before walking back to his prior spot and waited for her arrival; only now he was relaxed and happy, all the worry and anger and hurt now gone as if they had never been present.
As he waited he looked out over the small crowd again and his heart soared as he imagined what tomorrow would bring… and next week… and next year; every day that he would be with his amazing woman whom he knew he didn't deserve but would spend every day of his life worshipping and cherishing endeavoring to deserve her.
Then Lucius looked up and he saw her, and she was radiant. His heart stopped as she took that first step towards him… hesitantly… still wondering if he was hurt or angry… or if all was truly forgiven. So he smiled at her, and his smile made her whole face light up from within and he knew… she was really his.
She looked lovely beyond words in a dress that flowed along her curves and highlighted all of the parts of her body he adored… well, he adored every inch of her body, but he knew he would never, as long as he lived, forget this moment.
And then she was there and he saw the tears of happiness glistening in her eyes and he knew that she must see the same in his… and he held out his hands to her… and she took them as she looked deeply into his eyes unable to say the words but knowing he could see every feeling in her heart. She was incandescent in her joy and Lucius again knew he would forever thank the day she walked back into his world and made him complete.
They heard someone clear their throat and they smiled as they turned, sheepishly becoming aware of their surroundings once more.
"If I may…," the elder man standing in front of them asked inquiringly, the twinkle in his eyes would have given Dumbledore a run for his money. Lucius and Hermione smiled apologetically and nodded.
"Dearly beloved…," he began loudly, as he looked out over the assembled guests.
"We are gathered here today to witness the joining between Lucius Scorpius Malfoy and Hermione Jane Granger…"
Hermione smiled up at Lucius as she squeezed his hand tighter.
Hermione felt as if she were floating on air… she was now Mrs. Hermione Jane Malfoy. She looked over at Lucius as he danced with Rose and she felt as if her heart would burst with love for this man who had shown her passion that she had never thought she was even capable of… and reached depths of her heart that she thought only her children were capable of reaching.
Hermione looked around the room at the people gathered to celebrate their day and she was thankful for having such friends.
There was her Harry, best friend through thick and thin, dancing with his new lady Lara. They looked so happy together, and Hermione knew that Harry loved her, but wanted to wait a while before taking the next step… especially as Ginny wasn't around now.
Ginny's trial had been two weeks ago and she had been sentenced to seven years in Azkaban. The only thing that saved her was that she didn't actually complete the curse, coupled with Harry testifying on her behalf. Ginny looked broken beyond belief as the judge read her sentence, and it was only the Aurors holding onto her arms that kept her standing until the end. Hermione felt her heart go out to Ginny despite all that had happened, and hoped she would use this time to learn to control herself. Seven years wasn't really all that long after all.
Hermione found her eyes traveling to her mother and father who were dancing together. They had gone partially grey now, but looked tan and happy. Australia evidently agreed with them. They had come back last week and spent the time catching up with Hermione and the kids as well as getting to know their future son-in-law. It took a day or two for them to warm up to Lucius, but his obvious adoration and love for Hermione and the children won them over. Her mom even commented on Hermione's glow and Hermione suspected she knew exactly what had caused that glow.
She continued glancing around the dance floor and smiled as Neville danced with his wife Luna, and George danced with his wife Jennifer, an American Squib George met last year. George had been devastated by the loss of Fred and it had taken him five years to even contemplate starting another business. He sold the joke shop as his heart just wasn't in it anymore.
George now owned Wizards Electronic Emporium in Diagon Alley. George had developed and patented a way to allow Muggle electronics to work near heavy concentrations of magic, so now portable CD players, IPod's, DVD players, TV's and even gaming systems were sold and the response so far had been overwhelming. Jennifer had worked for a company that distributed the electronics George sold and they had hit it off instantly.
Hermione had invited Arthur, but he had politely declined knowing he would never hear the end of it from Molly if he attended. When he came to her office a few days ago to drop off a small wedding gift, he had apologized for Molly's behavior and said that the Judge has assigned Molly mandatory counseling and anger management classes after her blow-up at Ginny's trial. Hermione felt bad for the quiet and gentle man, but she knew he needed to learn to stand up to Molly for his own good as well.
Hagrid had been unable to attend as he was still abroad with Olympe and involved in a project that he was very vague about. Hermione suspected Hagrid had never forgiven Lucius for his part in Voldemort's reign although he did send a lovely hand carved punch bowl set, so she knew there was hope of him eventually coming around.
Hermione's eyes then fell on Ron, who surprisingly was talking to Amelia and her lover Camy. Amelia looked thinner but happier and more relaxed than Hermione had ever seen her and Hermione wasn't sure if it was because she was no longer working or because she had 'come out' so to speak, and could stop living in secrecy. Whatever the case, Hermione was very happy for her and they had gotten together quite a few times in the past month and Hermione had gotten closer than ever to her old mentor.
Seeing that the guests all seemed happy and content, her thoughts finally wandered back to last night and she shuddered. She still couldn't believe Lucius had seen that kiss… thank Merlin he was willing to talk to her. Ron would have probably had a hissy fit.
Ron had been so relieved to find out that Mandy would be okay that he had started to cry, and Hermione decided a drink would help him calm down. They headed to the Three Broomsticks and within a thirty minute period, Ron had finished off half a bottle of Fire Whiskey and was starting to slur his words. Not wanting him to hurt himself, she brought him back to her house and made him a cup of coffee and a bed for him on the couch.
Hermione had planned to sleep in a guest room as she didn't want to see Lucius the night before the wedding. Lucius thought it was a silly Muggle custom, but he honored Hermione's desire to bow to tradition.
Once back at the house, Ron had started to open up to her, about his feelings concerning Harry, about their marriage, and finally about his regret over his infidelity. He didn't regret doing it, but he hated lying to Hermione and the kids for so long. They finally opened up and talked about everything and it was the closure that had been missing since their break-up.
Hermione realized how tired she was and knew she needed sleep so she wouldn't be walking down the aisle with huge bags under eyes, so she stood and made to lead Ron towards the couch. He pulled her into a hug and it temporarily threw her off balance, but it was nice to be friends again, so she hugged him back. Unfortunately, Ron still had way too much potent alcohol running through his system and had kissed her. It surprised Hermione so much that at first she didn't react, but then she gently pushed him away.
Realizing that it was a bad idea to have Ron in the house in the state he was in, Hermione had Apparated him back to his own home and put him to bed. She was too tired to even make it upstairs and had fallen asleep, still clothed, on the couch that was supposed to be for Ron.
The kids woke her up in the morning at 8am and after she dropped them off at Harry's, she headed over to the hotel her parents were staying at to get ready. Hermione had been feeling guilty about the kiss, and knew she had to tell Lucius about it before they walked down the aisle. She wanted this marriage to be one of honesty and openness. She didn't want any secrets between them. So when she arrived, she had entered a small water closet and asked Harry to get Lucius for her.
He had sounded so angry at first that Hermione had thought he wouldn't understand or forgive her, but then he had… and the rest, as they say, is history. Hermione knew they would talk about it some more later and she would explain in more detail, not because Lucius demanded it, but because she felt he deserved it. Then she would spend the next few hours showing him… in exquisite detail… how happy she was that he had married her.
The song ended and Hermione saw Lucius heading towards her with a predatory look in his eyes, and she shivered in anticipation.
"I believe it is time for us to head out my dear," he purred against her ear as he pulled her into his arms, "Our honeymoon awaits."
Hermione hugged everyone good-bye and thanked Ron for getting the kids to the Hogwarts Express tomorrow and back to school. She told her parents they would be bringing the kids out to Australia over the summer for a visit, and after hugging both Rose and Hugo, she pulled Harry aside.
"Thanks again for letting us stay at your villa for our Honeymoon Harry, you know it has special meaning for us. I'll see you in two weeks, okay?" Hermione hugged Harry tightly; she would miss him… lots.
"Hermione, you can stay there whenever you want silly… because it's my wedding present to you." Harry smiled at his beautiful best friend, thrilled to see her so happy.
"As I said… thanks Harry, I promise we will return it in good shape." She turned away to look for her husband when Harry caught her arm and pulled her back around.
"No Hermione… I mean, it's a wedding present… the villa… it's yours now." Harry waited the requisite five seconds until his words finally sunk in and then smiled as she shrieked and flung herself in his arms.
"Oh you wonderful, wonderful man… I love you… you are the best friend … ever!" Hermione had tears of happiness in her eyes as he finally dragged her arms away so he could breathe again.
"You love it, so instead of selling it… I wanted you to have it… and I love you too, best friend." He kissed her on the nose and stepped back before she could assault him again.
"You better go Hermione, your husband is shooting me decidedly suspicious looks… and have fun love, I'll miss you." Harry pushed her in the direction of Lucius and the waiting car.
Hermione and Lucius traveled to the International Apparation Terminal in the back of a stretch limo, compliments of her parents. Unfortunately, the luxurious interior might as well have been cardboard for all the notice they paid it as they proceeded to get started on the honeymoon early.
Lucius stood behind his wife as they watched the sun setting from the balcony off their bedroom. The cool breezes were quickly drying the sweat from his body, and he could feel Hermione shiver slightly as he pulled her back against him. She had been insatiable and they had made love four times before coming up for air… but he wasn't complaining. He had never been happier than he was at this moment.
He leaned down and kissed the side of his wife's neck and smiled when her nipples hardened in reaction and a soft groan escaped her as she tilted her head to offer his lips better access.
"Again? Are you trying to kill me woman?" Lucius smiled against her neck as she chuckled in appreciation of his wit.
"No I'm not, I love you and I plan to spend the next hundred years or so showing you how much… but can you think of a better way to go?" she asked in a sultry voice as she turned around and wrapped her arms around his neck and rubbed seductively against his chest.
"Besides," she purred, as she wrapped her hand around his now erect cock, "It appears that you are ready to go again as well."
She stood on her tip toes and kissed him, her smile evident against his lips. Not wanting to waste another moment talking, he reached down and picked her up before turning and carrying her back inside to show her… once again… just how much he loved her too.