Draco grabbed a chubby wrist in each hand and gave a meaningful stare to Altais, who followed as Draco walked the twins to their bedroom for the third time that night.
Altais stood in the doorway and watched until Draco beckoned him within. He approached with small footsteps, knowing his father was at the end of his already-short rope.
"Hold Carina," Draco said, and then sighed and added, "Please," because the last thing he needed was for Altais to revert to his greedy phase after they'd just gotten him out of his habit of making imperious demands.
The wriggling two-year-old didn't like being held by her older brother, but with a quelling look from Draco, she settled. He heard her giggle when he turned his back and wondered when he'd lost all his power over his children. There'd been a time—a very, very brief time, granted—when they'd looked up at him with wide, adoring eyes. He could have told them anything and they'd just accept his word as law. Now it was all, why, how, when, why should I, why doesn't he have to, where's Mummy, I want Father… and Draco could hardly stand it.
Orin, thankfully, allowed himself to be wrangled into his crib. His dark brown eyes were wide and almost accusing as he looked up at his father with trembling lips.
"No, no, no," Draco cooed, determined to get them to sleep. He just knew Hermione and Lucius were starting without him—and he couldn't even blame them. It was the first night Draco or Hermione hadn't been working late, the first night Lucius had been able to get away from the bookkeeping, the first night Percy or Harry or Michael and Thello hadn't been around to give a hand with Outreach.
Orin's chin was wobbling and Draco closed his eyes. He could almost, almost picture the vacation house on the island in the Caribbean where they'd brought Hermione what felt like decades before. He could almost picture the shoddy motel in Canada where they'd taken Hermione down the path and proposed.
With a wail from Carina, however, he was back in Wiltshire, with puke on his dressing gown, spit from gummy mouths in his hair, and something sticky he definitely did not want to know about all over his arm.
"Thank you, Altais," Draco whispered, taking Carina from his capable, if only five-year-old, hands. "Just wait for Daddy, all right?"
Altais gave a sombre nod and sank to his bum on the pile carpet, waiting patiently as Draco put down the twins. Carina was more difficult—by the time he'd gotten her to stay on her back for longer than a few seconds, Orin was out cold.
Draco hummed a tune to their favourite Beedle the Bard song, and Carina jerked her legs along to the sound for a few moments before she finally closed her eyes. Draco waited for the inevitable false-start to end, and when it did, he calmed her back down and left when he was sure they were both down for the night—or at least a few hours.
He left the room with Altais on his heels, casting the monitoring spell. He almost hoped the twins did awaken because the spell would sound in Draco's bedroom, which was occupied by his husband and wife at the moment. Then he felt bad—it was his turn, after all. Hermione had put them down first, and then Lucius when the crying hadn't stopped. Lucius had taken them from their cribs, ignoring Hermione's exasperated eye-rolling, and rocked them in the sitting room before the fire. That had been all well and good until Lucius had asked Draco to take them to their beds. They'd woken immediately, of course.
"Babies are so noisy," Altais said, patting down his white-blond hair from where Carina's hands had mussed it. "Aren't you glad I'm not like that?"
Draco was too tired to point out that Altais was just as loud during his tantrums. "They won't always be like that," he reasoned, trying not to make it sound too much like a desperate plea.
Altais made a disbelieving noise as he led Draco to his own bedroom. When Hermione had become pregnant with the twins, they'd moved Altais to a larger room so the infants could have the nursery. The room was huge for a child his age. It had been Draco's, though.
Altais climbed into his bed and got under the covers, raising his eyebrows—he hated that he couldn't raise only one like his daddies, but he wouldn't stop trying—until Draco tucked him in tightly. "Hands up," Draco said, and he tucked the sheets under his armpits. "Down." Altais' hands hit the sheets with a thud.
"Daddy?" Altais asked, grabbing for Draco's hand and playing with the Malfoy signet ring. "I have two daddies."
"I know that, love," Draco said. He stroked the fluffy hair off the boy's smooth forehead.
Altais' wide grey eyes fixed on Draco's. "Does that mean that when I'm older, I'll be a daddy, too?"
"If you want to be."
Draco frowned. "What do you mean?" Altais was too young for the talk, but he was highly observant and his mind worked in rapid and complicated ways. Only Hermione was really ever able to guess where he was going when he got started with the questions—and only she was ever able to answer them to his satisfaction.
"You're Father's son." Just this past year, Altais had begun calling Lucius 'Father', though Draco was still 'Daddy'.
"Yes, that's right," Draco said slowly, hoping the conversation wouldn't get any more complicated.
"And I'm your son." Altais held eye contact, looking at Draco as if he should be able to figure the rest out himself.
"Yes, but it's different between me and your father. It won't be like that with you and me. You'll find a nice witch to be a daddy with." Draco frowned—that didn't really sound right to him, but he was so bloody exhausted.
Draco laughed despite himself. How to even begin to explain…? Deciding to leave it for Hermione, he nodded. "Or wizard."
Altais nodded, satisfied. "Or both!"
"Go to sleep, you monkey!" Draco cried, laughing. He leaned over and nuzzled Altais soft cheek, blowing a raspberry as his son squirmed and tried to escape from the mummifying sheets.
"Okay," Altais said, smiling sweetly. "It's my birthday soon," he whispered.
"It is?" Draco asked, affecting an aghast expression. But Altais didn't fall for it, only smacked at his chest.
"Don't forget." Altais gave a stern frown, but it faltered when his eyes fluttered closed. He yawned, his mouth a perfect replica of Hermione's as it smacked shut. "Night, Daddy."
"Night, baby." Draco kissed him and re-tucked the sheets. He stood by the door for a few long moments, until he was certain his son was asleep. His turned the lights off and left.
"Orin, leave your sister alone!" Lucius called, shaking his head. Beside him, Draco chuckled, but Hermione's hands were wringing together.
"I can't believe Harry got them brooms," she muttered, her eyes not straying from her children for a moment.
"Of course you can." Draco took one of her hands, smoothing it out and petting it. "He did get Altais one when he was their age, after all."
"Yeah, but I thought… because he's so protective with Lily…"
"That he wouldn't give Carina a broom?" Lucius supplied, an eyebrow lifted. "But, Hermione, you aren't saying she should be treated differently because she's female, are you?"
Hermione huffed. "Of course not. I just… I don't like it, okay? I think they are too young—"
"Father!" Carina shouted, her safety-broom hovering over to where her parents were seated on their picnic blanket. "Look how fast!"
Lucius smiled and gave her a nod. She wasn't truly going very fast at all, but it was enough to even unsettle his stomach. Orin was satisfied just puttering around the ward limits, slowly but surely as was his wont. Carina was the daredevil.
"Slow it down, Carina," Lucius warned when she came a little close to the fountain. "And come get something to eat."
"I'm not hungry!"
"Carina." Just the one, simple word from her father—a word she would have ignored had it been uttered by her mum or her daddy—had the seven-year-old dismounting and hurrying over to where they were all seated.
"How come Orin isn't eating?" she whined, accepting a plate from Hermione and glaring at it before scarfing down the cold chicken and salad.
"Orin ate before he started flying, like we told you to do," Hermione said with a frown. But Carina graced her with a winning, if chicken-filled, smile, and her parents all melted in turn. With blonde hair just like her older brother, but with Lucius' dark grey eyes rather than Altais' pale ones that were more like Draco's, Carina was stunning—moreso every year, which made her fathers, especially, nervous about letting her out of their sights once she started Hogwarts. Her hair curled, but not wildly like Hermione's. It had taken a few years to see if Carina'd inherited anything from her mother, but she had a kindness that was all Hermione. It thrilled and scared Lucius to see it form—cunning, he could deal with. Altais writing home and asking for certain books that no eleven-year-old should read—that, Lucius could cope with. Even Orin, 'borrowing' the wands that Lucius, Hermione, and Draco kept in their top bureau drawer, Lucius knew how to react to.
But Carina coming home with sick animals, or friends from school, or even broken robin's eggshells that made her sad… Lucius didn't quite know what to do with Carina. Still, she was his princess, and everyone knew it.
"I'm full," she said a few moments later, leaning back and pushing out her normally flat stomach with a groan. "No more."
"You barely ate," Hermione admonished, one eye on Orin.
"Have a few more bites, love," Draco cajoled.
Carina shook her head with stubbornness thrice inherited.
"Carina," Lucius said, meeting grey eyes that mirrored his own. With a heavy sigh, their daughter picked her plate back up and finished the salad and the rest of her chicken.
"When I go to Hogwarts," Carina said importantly, "I'm going to eat or not eat whatever I want!"
Draco laughed and rolled his eyes. Hermione nodded, distracted—Orin was getting awfully close to the fountain—but Lucius narrowed his eyes. "If you don't eat what's good for you, we will find out. And then we will bring you right back home."
Carina gave a dramatic gasp before realising Lucius wasn't serious. She launched herself at him in retribution, blonde curls flying, and Lucius caught her easily, letting her wrestle with him.
"You'll bring me home just because you miss me!" she shrieked, laughing and kicking out when Hermione slipped off a white patent leather shoe and tickled her foot. "Mummy, nooooo!" Carina couldn't struggle for her laughter, so she appealed to Draco. "Daddy, help me!"
Draco reached over and grabbed Hermione, pinning her as Lucius had Carina pinned. "What shall we do with our victims, Father?" Draco asked, an evil grin on his face.
"Tickle fight!" Orin screamed, landing hard as he tried to get off his broom. Three sets of lungs held air as he fell on his bum, but he got up and jumped onto the pile, his fingers digging into Hermione's sides as she wailed with laughter, held down by Draco.
A familiar look passed between Lucius and Carina as they decided to join forces. Hermione was utterly helpless against the onslaught of Malfoys—it was four against one. She never stood a chance.
"…And Altais isn't making it any easier for me, Mum! He's kissing boys now!"
Hermione's eyes widened. She hoped Orin couldn't see her shock through the Floo. Behind her, sitting on the sofa, Draco and Lucius both went impossibly still. They'd both given up on trying to talk Orin out his melodramatic breakdown—the second that week—knowing that Hermione could deal with him best. Still, this was certainly news.
"Where did you hear that?" Hermione asked, trying to keep her voice low and gentle.
"I saw it!" Orin buried his face in his hands. "It's bad enough with Dad and Father and everyone knowing everything about us, but with him acting like it's okay…"
"It is okay, Orin," Hermione said. She was gentle but stern. Orin was having a hard time at Hogwarts and had been ever since the truth of Lucius and Draco's relationship had come out in his first year. It had been hellish for all of them, but now, three years later, it was hardly spoken of at all. "And it's okay if Altais wants to kiss boys—"
"—Though he needs to learn some discretion," Lucius said under his breath. Draco snorted.
"And it's okay if you're uncomfortable with it, but you have to know he's not doing it to hurt you."
"I know, Mum," Orin said. Hermione saw him sit more comfortably, pulling his knees up to his chest and resting his chin on one. "I just wish all our business wasn't so… out there."
"I know. I wish that, too." Hermione sighed. Having Altais at Hogwarts still was a mixed blessing. He was becoming more explorative, and Hermione worried about him, but he also protected his younger siblings—not that Carina needed it. She was the most popular girl in her year, and she and Altais were in Slytherin together. Hermione knew Orin felt left out, being the only Gryffindor, but there were certainly enough Weasleys and Potters to keep him company.
"Can I come home?" Orin asked in a small voice. He tugged on the dark strands of his messy hair, and his brown eyes were earnest through the flames.
"It's almost the Christmas hols," she said, trying to placate him. She could sense this newest emergency was more dire than most, but she couldn't just pull him from school. He'd regret it, and she'd never hear the end from her husbands. Still, she hated to see her son in pain. "Tell you what. Your first day back, you and I will spend the day together. I know! Why don't we redecorate your room? I know you've been wanting to, and there's more than time enough…"
Orin sniffed and Hermione gave him a soft smile. A moment later, he grinned, wide and white—just like Draco's, and Lucius', when such a smile could be coaxed from him. "That'd be really great, Mum."
"I look forward to it, then. It's a date."
"Mum!" Orin said, looking behind him to see if his embarrassment would carry beyond himself. But when he turned back to the flames, he had a sweet, grateful smile on his lips. "Thank you."
Hermione waved him off, sniffling, and he laughed at her tearful gesture. "Love you," he said, beginning to get up.
"Love you, too, Orin," she said, and the sentiment was echoed by Draco and Lucius, who knelt on either side of her to say their goodbyes.
"And tell Altais to stop being such a slag!" Orin added quickly before the flames died, a wicked grin flashing before fading back into the hearth.
"So… kissing boys, now." Draco seemed to be aiming for unsurprised nonchalance, but Hermione could hear concern in his voice.
"He's always been really… experimental," Hermione offered. She didn't mind that her son was kissing boys, if he even was—it was just a difficult path. She hoped he would come to them if he needed to.
"He will be fine," Lucius said, his confidence in their oldest son never wavering. "We should get you two to bed. You've a long day ahead of you tomorrow."
Hermione groaned at the reminder. She let Draco haul her to her feet. They had three morning meetings for Outreach and then they'd promised Thello they'd help with a potion he didn't trust with his apprentices. Hermione just hoped he meant to help brew it and not test it.
Outreach could mostly function without Hermione and Draco at the helm, but they remained as involved as ever. Percy Weasley had taken over as treasurer, so the difficult job was really in his lap. Draco handed the public relations and Hermione acted as liaison with the charities themselves. Lucius had his own role in the business—the glue that kept everything together. He was the one they went to when they wanted to give up, to quit, to hand it over to the board of trustees and never deal with it again. Those moments were short-lived, thanks to Lucius. He was their sanity.
Hermione needed that sanity now. With Altais being in his final year, there was the stress of him stepping into the real world soon. He wanted to be an Auror like his Uncle Harry, and he was certainly powerful enough to do it. His magic, even from a young age, was unparalleled, even surpassing his parents' in raw power. He had a difficult time managing it, however, and that was where Harry had always been able to help. The two were close, and Altais looked up to Harry greatly.
Once Altais was finished at Hogwarts, Hermione suspected Orin's time there would be easier. He was a sensitive boy, and being compared to his more athletic and magically competent older brother was difficult for him. Carina would be fine either way; she was carving her own path, that much was certain.
"Come here, love," Draco said once they were in their bedroom. He undressed her lovingly, lingering over places that were practically worn with his touches. He slid her jumper off, his fingers lingering over her stretch marks—there'd been few with Altais, but the twins had brought with them a mess of scars. Battle wounds, she called them, no longer embarrassed about the way her body had changed.
Lucius leaned back against the headboard, watching as Draco finished undressing Hermione. With a light push, Draco directed her to his father, and she crawled onto the bed with a slow smile.
"Been a while," she whispered, straddling his legs and wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Too long," Lucius said. His hands cupped her bottom and squeezed, bringing her against his burgeoning erection.
Hermione felt Draco behind her, the bed dipping a little as he knelt between Lucius' knees, soft kisses pressing against her shoulder. She tilted her head to one side, enjoying the tender touch. Their lovemaking, though still thrilling and passionate, had become more patient over the years, more sure.
Draco's hands were soothing as they came around her sides and cupped her breasts, tweaking the nipples and pinching the way he knew she loved. She arched back, rocking against Lucius' hardness as Lucius fingers slipped into her, drawing out her wetness until she moaned, needing more.
Draco lifted her hips and Lucius steadied himself as she sank down on his thick cock. She moaned—it had been much too long. She vowed not to let work get in the way of their time together so much. It was important that they keep this.
Rocking shallowly on Lucius' cock, Hermione reached behind herself and stroked Draco. Part of her wanted him to stretch her and take her back entrance, but she knew he was waiting for Lucius to fuck him, and the sight was so beautiful that she couldn't begrudge him it. Still, Draco's fingers pressed against her tight hole, teasing her and making her groan and rock harder. With Draco touching her there and Lucius teasing her clit, her orgasm came fast, hard, and too soon. She cried out, slamming her lips on Lucius' as she rocked through the sensations. Even sated, she wanted more, and she hoped Draco wouldn't be too worn out after Lucius was through with him.
When she felt she could, Hermione sat back against the headboard. She and Lucius were treated to the amazing sight of Draco laying on his back, spreading his legs and reaching down, a finger, then two, disappearing inside him as his eyes darted between Hermione and his father.
Lucius could only take so much of the teasing before he pinned Draco and, using Hermione's slickness to ease the way, pounded into his pliant body.
Hermione had seen the two together hundreds of times. These days, Draco would take his father almost as often as Lucius took Draco, but there was something so beautiful and free in Draco's expression when Lucius fucked him. He always gave himself up to their lovemaking, no matter who was doing what to whom, but there was a special abandon with Lucius, and Hermione felt blessed just to see it.
Her fingers found her clit and reawakened her desire. When Lucius came, she was thrilled to see Draco hadn't; he was straining and writhing, desperate, when Lucius withdrew. He keened when Hermione knelt over him and took him inside her, engulfing his ignored cock within her heat.
With Lucius' eyes on her, on Draco, she rode him, her hands flat against his firm chest. She tossed her head back, unashamedly chasing her own pleasure because she knew Draco was only just holding back.
They came together with a cry that would have been stifled if the children had been home.
She and Draco gave a half-hearted token battle for the centre position on the bed, but Draco gave in and let her have it, curling against her and pulling Lucius closer to both of them.
Their whispered I love yous were as familiar as the paint on the ceiling or the shadows on the floor. It seemed strange that a habit could seem so natural and still be so important.
Hermione lay awake after her husbands had drifted off, Draco first, as always. She wasn't really worried about Orin; all her children were resilient. She wasn't even worried about Altais' rumoured proclivities, though she did wish she'd heard it from him. Not even Carina's slightly declining grades gave her much worry—she always had a bit of a rough spot this time of year.
She had no concerns. Nothing bothered her. It was a foreign feeling, after having spent so much time fretting. Her friendships were strong and loving—even Ron had a place in their lives. Her marriage was the best it had ever been and promised only to get better. Her children were brilliant and beautiful and loving. She was healthy and happy.
Still, Hermione knew, letting the shadows and the rolling breaths of her loves coax her to sleep, that though her story was slow, less exciting… it wasn't over.
She could always count on change.
And that's the end! Almost exactly a year since the first chapter of Some Things Change went up. I'm so thrilled and grateful to have such lovely, thoughtful, and sweet readers and reviewers.
Huge, unparalleled thanks go to my amazing and just sweet-as-hell beta Krystle Lynne, and my thoughtful and lovely anonymous beta for their hard work, fantastic notes, and grace under (sometimes of a lot of) pressure. I love you both!
Thanks as well to my first reader, keppiehed, to whom this fic was dedicated. It didn't go in the direction I (we) quite expected, but I hope you liked it nonetheless.
This is the last het fic I'll be writing, so for many of you, this is the time we'll see each other! But I am posting a Snape/Hermione starting just this very next Tuesday. It's seventeen chapters and I'm quite proud of it, so I hope many of you will stick around for that.
Thank you all, as always, for reading, rating, reviewing, commenting, emailing, or rolling your eyes at yet another update from me! :D
On a (somewhat) related note, my smutty little Draco/Hermione oneshot got nominated for the Dramione Awards on LJ (LJ name: dramione_awards). It needs to be seconded before it will be considered, and voting is on March 23rd, so if you remember, and if you liked the fic, please vote! Sad that this fic didn't get nominated, but alas!