A/N: Once was lost, now is found! Thanks vert much to Piia, who saved a copy of this story before CG went down and had kindly emailed it to me seeing as I assumed it was lost forever. :P
Hermione tipped her head back to look at her husband, whose lap she was currently using as a pillow. She noted, with evil satisfaction, that the singed portion of his fringe was not yet restored to its usual glory.
They had had a blazing row a fortnight before, culminating in Hermione sending a Firebrand Hex in his direction. She had been aiming for the tapestry above his head, but was adult enough to admit that she hadn't been too troubled when the top portion of his shiny head had also caught fire. She hadn't seen a man run for the bathroom so quickly since Molly Weasley accidentally served Arthur some week-old pudding.
"Smiling at my misfortune, are you?" he asked, still staring out at the pond.
"Hmm," was all Hermione said. She wasn't supposed to be talking to him after the argument they had just that morning. Not that she usually followed through with such threats. If that was the case, being ignored would be the least of his worries. He'd be divorced, decapitated and quite possibly, de-sexed.
The most recent fight had been over something trivial. Silly even. Something to do with whether turtles were deaf or not. She had assured him that only honeybees were deaf. He had been arrogantly sceptical, employing his 'look du jour', which consisted of a raised eyebrow and folded arms. It never seemed odd to her that despite all that was happening around them, as a couple, they never had arguments over anything more serious than the merits of the colour yellow, Ron's sexuality and whether or not Severus Snape was a boxers or briefs man. (Boxers, it seemed).
Hermione sighed, turned her head to the left to nuzzle against the warmth of his thigh. She enjoyed chinos on a man, and was pleased that it had only taken a month or so to convince him to wear them.
Ten, blissful, minutes passed during which they did nothing more than laze in the dappled shade. There was a slightly annoying tweeting in the background, as if a couple of nesting turtle doves were having their row for the day as well.
"So did you know this was here?" he asked, sounding perplexed. "I didn't. How is it that I've lived here all my life and not once noticed that we had a bleeding duck pond in the backyard?
Hermione shrugged. "I had no idea. I'd be here every Sunday, otherwise."
"It's not very evil is it, a duck pond?" he pondered.
As if on que, a bunny ('rabbit' was too harsh a word for this creature) appeared out of a hollow in a mound and lollopped past them. A butterfly followed suit, flittering over their heads and heading for the patches of wild flowers that bordered the pond.
No, not very evil at all, Hermione supposed, not bothering to hide her giggles. She could imagine Lucius stalking past the area, scowling at the small, furry wildlife, sending a hex at the tweeting birds and nastily swatting at innocent butterflies.
The duck pond had been a bonus. A real find. The turtle vs. honey bee argument had brought them outside in search of honey bees and/or a turtle, if they could manage. Malfoy Manor, after all, had a small but busy little menagerie.
In between insults hurled at each other about various topics ranging from Draco's bizarre liking for blood-flavoured lollipops and Hermione's annoying habit of leaving books in every which corner of the Manor, they had taken a barely discernible path through the shrubbery and had stopped speechless at the sight of the Undiscovered Haven--a duck pond seemingly tucked away in the middle of no-where-- in a wonderfully, pleasant, untouched part of the Manor grounds. It came complete with a set of ducks consisting of a mother duck and five adorable, yellow, cotton-puff, ducklings.
Hermione had pointed out to her husband that ducks did not actually come in 'sets', at which point another minor argument started about the proper term to apply.
They eventually agreed on paddle. A 'paddle of ducks'.
"I'm not complaining, of course. It's a marvellous duck pond," Draco assured. He stared down at his wife and smiled, hair and heart in his eyes.
Hermione was suddenly re-introduced to the sensation of having the breath knocked out of her chest and not quite minding it. "Of course you're not," she whispered back.
"Your freckles have come out," he noted.
She stretched out her arms. "Oh, don't you start trying to count them again. You go all funny and cross-eyed."
"I do not go cross-eyed," he scoffed. "It's not in my genes to go cross-eyed."
"I wouldn't think it was in your genes to like something as horrible as bloodpops either, but there you go."
He opened his mouth, found he had nothing to say to that, and so shrugged. The wonderful silence continued.
She decided that it was the perfect time to tell him.
"Were you still thinking about going to France next March?"
"Most definitely," said Draco. "We never had a honeymoon, what with the war and all. I'll be expecting us to be bothered by Potter and his cronies during our holiday to assist with Ministry matters, so I'll have the fireplace in my study set up for convenient flooing back and forth. What's your point, woman?" he suddenly asked, suspicious. "Don't you want a break?"
Hermione sighed. "My point is that I might have some difficulty fitting through the fireplace for, as you say, 'convenient flooing'."
Bless him. He looked confused. His brow was furrowed and he had on his look du jour. The bothersome tweeting in the background had stopped, thankfully.
She was enjoying herself. "Let's just say if I were to try intercontinental apparation, especially in March next year, I'd be doing it with, ah, additional baggage."
He was usually very clever, her husband. Hermione figured the comforts of married life had dulled his brains a bit.
He blinked at her. "Because you're going shopping beforehand for skimpy, tiny, underthings in anticipation for our much awaited holiday in France?" he hazarded, very slowly and deliberately.
"Draco, I won't be able to squeeze into skimpy, tiny underthings from Christmas onwards, I'd wager."
"Oh," he said, suddenly looking poleaxed, looking like Voldermort had just appeared in a pink, taffeta evening gown, plus matching tiara, wished them both hearty congratulations and then disappeared just as suddenly.
"Hmmh," said Hermione, snuggling closer against him.
"Thank Merlin for the duckpond, then," said her husband, having finally understood. He resumed staring out at the pond, though his hand was visibly shaking as he stroked her hair away from her forehead.
Hermione was in full agreement. The duckpond would be a wonderful place to bring their children.