AN: This epilogue was to be updated on Sunday at 3pm exact, but it seemed that FFnet's servers were down. If you've been looking out for other stories - besides mine - that is the problem us authors in the HP fandom are facing at the moment. We have been trying our best to find a workaround, and it seems that this one has worked for me! Thanks to all those very helpful souls over at the Fanfic Help Desk forum!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and/or the characters of the original story created by J.K. Rowling.
"And what did she say?" asked Hermione.
Draco's smile was shy but happy. "She said…she said yes."
"Oh, Draco, that's wonderful!" cheered Hermione as she flung her arms around Draco's neck in a loving hug. She squeezed him tight then released him, smiling brightly up into his face.
Presently, they were discussing—and celebrating—Draco's proposal of marriage to Luna Lovegood. After courting the witch for a good year, at Hermione's slight nudging, he'd finally plucked up the courage to ask her hand in marriage. As much as she'd thought that Draco Malfoy and Luna Lovegood made an unlikely couple, she'd been proven wrong when their relationship had held on strong during the past year.
As they made their way, arm in arm, to the dining room for lunch, Hermione couldn't help but feel amazed at how things had changed. Four years ago, she and Draco had been sworn enemies, chomping at the bit to hex each other into oblivion at the slightest provocation. Now, here they were: good friends and even better confidantes to one another. Despite their rocky start at the beginning of her permanent move to the Malfoy Manor, they had eventually smoothed out their rough patches.
She was so happy for him. Nobody deserved more love and attention than Draco. His life had been filled with so much hate, rage and neglect. It had taken considerable time for him to break through that hard, resentful exterior and learn to love and be loved again. And to find that love in Luna Lovegood, a calm, free spirit filled with endless optimism and quirkiness, was truly wonderful.
And she had said yes. Luna Lovegood had agreed to become Luna Malfoy. Hermione could not resist her giddy smile, even in the face of Draco's teasing comment that he could see all her molars.
She wasn't only happy for Draco, but for the rebalancing of her life. After the complete elimination of Voldemort's die-hard supporters, she'd learnt that not all whom she'd thought had perished. Through Severus Snape, she'd learnt that many of her past classmates had survived, and even a few of the Weasleys: George Weasley, Percy Weasley, Bill Weasley and his family. And with Snape's help, she'd found her parents, returned them to their home and restored their memory.
After lunch, Draco bid her farewell, with a parting "Tell Lee-Lee I'll be back tomorrow," as he Apparated back to his job as the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor of Hogwarts. As much as he could have taken lunch at school, he'd visited to share the news of his successful proposal, and to spoil his sibling rotten with a box of sweets. Once she'd finished cleaning the dishes herself—much to the dismay of the house elves—she decided that a quick check on her sleeping baby, then a long, luxurious bath was in order.
Lucius Malfoy, Head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation, returned home from his four day trip from Austria. He'd intended to return by breakfast time, but business matters had been delayed and he'd been forced to reschedule his trip for the afternoon. He was tired, and more than a little bit hungry. Why he bothered to stay employed was beyond him. He was insanely wealthy, after his frozen funds had been restored. He needn't work a day in his life again.
Still, he wanted to keep himself occupied. What was life without purpose? Besides, he was paying his penance where it was due. Twenty odd years of his life had been dedicated to the destruction of Wizarding Britain because of Pureblood mania. It had caused him the life of his wife and nearly the life of his son's. Not to mention the lives of many others. So even though he was fully aware that he needn't work, he did it for atonement.
That wasn't to say he'd made a complete turnaround. He still held some of his elitist ideologies dear. He stilled believed that all men were not equal, but that didn't mean they had to die. He still despised most non-human magical beings but, due to Hermione's constant nagging on the subject, he'd decided to make a small concession for house-elves. But Merlin help him, he could not stand those greedy, ugly goblins. Just couldn't.
Making his way to the living room, he was just about to call upon Daisy, the head house-elf, when he heard an excited, child-like squeal.
He smiled. The little three-year old (soon to be four, as he was often reminded by her) hellion of a daughter had the force of a tornado and an earthquake combined. He loved her fiercely, but she drove him and her mother insane with her mischievous antics and intractableness. Even now, he could hear Hermione screaming the girl's name shrilly.
The sound of small, pattering feet drumming their way down the steps alerted Lucius to head to the east wing stairs. He arrived just in time to see a naked, scrawny little body launch itself from the third to last step, and hastily flinging his arms open, he caught the little girl.
Mere seconds later, Hermione, her bathrobe askew, skidded to a halt at the top of the staircase. Her scowling face immediately contorted into a smile of pleasant surprise when she saw him standing, holding a squirming Rosalie in his arms.
"You're back," she said with a smile.
"You're home," he replied.
"I know, I know. We're late," she flapped her hand in the air. "Mum won't mind. It's just that Rosalie—"
"Mum!" Rosalie parroted with a smile. "Bathe, mummy! Bathe!"
Lucius eyed Hermione's soaked bathrobe. Bathe mummy, indeed. Bath-time for Rosalie Malfoy was her mother's greatest tribulation. Every day, the three-year old consistently attempted to escape Hermione's clutches as she bathed her. It wasn't that Rosalie despised bathing, the girl simply enjoyed running around nude and being chased by her very displeased mother.
Gazing down at Rosalie, he couldn't help but see her mother in the girl. Her striking hazel eyes held the same sharp intelligence and hidden mischievousness, and her small lips were shaping into a similar fashion as Hermione's. Her hair was a riot of curls, although blond and much more manageable. Despite her trouble-making tendencies, she was a precocious, polite, generous little being that filled his heart with joy at the simplest of her smiles or gurgles of laughter. She was a pretty little girl that would grow into an even prettier woman. Just like her mother.
Lucius eyed Hermione's askew robe once more. It was clear she wore nothing beneath it for the gaping opening revealed an ample portion of her breasts. She came down the stairs and plucked Rosalie from his arms, then planted a quick peck on his lips. Unsatisfied, he grabbed the back of her neck and kissed her again, deepening the kiss.
"Stop it, daddy!" demanded Rosalie in outrage, her small palm slapping his cheek. "Bad, daddy, very bad! Mummy doesn't like that!"
He released Hermione, both of them smirking. "Oh, I'll beg to differ on that, my dear."
Later that evening, after Hermione had postponed her trip to see her mum, they had a cozy dinner where Rosalie peppered her father with questions about his trip. When dinner was finished, they both carried a tired Rosalie to her tiny bed, where she immediately fell asleep as soon as her head had touched the pillow.
Hermione stared at her little girl. In that moment, she could not believe she was now a mother. She often remembered the year she'd spent in depressive solitude, longing to find the courage to end her own life. She recalled the winter afternoon when, on a trip to collect brushwood, she'd come across a nearly dead Lucius Malfoy. From that moment, her life's destiny had changed so drastically.
She felt Lucius' body heat as he stood close behind her. Resting his hands on her shoulders, he dragged his hands slowly, smoothing down her arms then back up again. At his hand's second descent, he looped his thumbs through the straps of her summer dress and began to peel the material downwards.
Giggling, she turned to face him. "Lucius, Rosalie is right here. She'll—"
He stilled her protests with a sudden kiss, capturing her mouth and claiming it as his. Settling his hands on her hips, he pulled her hard against him, marching her backwards to the bed they shared. When the back of her legs hit the side of the bed, he paused to divest her of her dress and wandlessly Evanescoed her knickers.
"Lucius, she'll hear us," Hermione moaned as her gaze darted nervously to the toddler bed that Rosalie occupied. She'd disliked leaving young Rosalie all alone in a new room, so had decided to have her stay in the master room with her and Lucius.
"Try not to scream too loudly, then," he replied with a smirk as he gently pushed her onto the bed.
"Mr. Malfoy, don't be such an insufferable gloat," she admonished playfully.
"Mrs. Malfoy, do be quiet and enjoy what I'm about to do to you," he said before trailing his tongue along her naked body to finally stop at the juncture between her thighs.
He placed his tongue, flat and insistent, against her nether lips, then languidly smoothed it upwards. Hermione gasped at the action, her hips rising involuntarily, and in time to Lucius' dragging tongue. Purposefully, expertly, his tongue danced and licked, constantly evading the one place she longed for his tongue to touch. Thrusting her hands into his hair, she gasped and moaned, bucking her hips, hoping, longing for his tongue to just touch that important bit of her.
"Please…" she panted, her eyes screwed shut with pleasurable frustration.
She felt his smirk against her flesh, and she dearly wanted to hit him. But those thoughts fled the moment he finally awarded her with his tongue against her throbbing nubbin of flesh. He licked it, sucking and momentarily scraping his teeth against the sensitive flesh. And Hermione's body jerked with each ministration, a jolt of sensation strumming through her veins from that one spot.
He inserted a finger into her wet heat, then two, as he continued to pleasure her insanely with his tongue. Her head thrashing from side to side, she gripped the strands of his hair tightly, forcing herself down on his lips. He suckled at her flesh, his fingers smoothing a steady rhythm within her, grazing all the right areas. Merlin, if the feel of his tongue on her wasn't divine, but she wanted something else; needed something else.
"Come, come," she pleaded. "I need you in me."
He complied. Rising himself from the bed, he held her gaze as he swiftly removed his casual shirt and trousers. Once naked, he came to lie on her, recapturing her mouth in a hard and needy kiss. She smelled herself on him, tangy and not unpleasant, and she liked it. She felt as though she'd marked him, somehow. He was hers.
Breaking the kiss, he kissed his way down her neck, across her chest to pay attention to her neglected breasts. Encircling his mouth over a nipple, his hot, wet mouth sucked and laved at her breasts. She moaned his name softly, her head thrown back in sweet abandon. He ran his tongue along the sensitive underside of her breast then returned to nibbling and flicking her erect nipple. He paid due attention to the other breast, all the while his fingers made quick work of the bud of flesh between her nether lips.
Releasing her breast, he kissed her again. Gripping her hip, he raised her lower half, positioned himself and entered her slowly. They groaned in unison, Hermione's louder than Lucius'. She was pleasantly full; his girth filling her and rubbing along her sweet spot even though he wasn't moving.
Then he moved, his thrusts slow and experimental at first before he picked up his pace at Hermione's gasping insistence. Wrapping her legs around his hips, she felt every deep plunge as he pounded into her. She cried his name and whimpered insensible things. She accepted each thrust. Whatever he offered her she took with moaning gladness.
They made love frenziedly, grasping at each other as though they feared to let go. With their bodies joined and moving in a rhythm as old as time, they expressed their love for one another. Like debtors and collectors, they gave and took from each other what they owed. And when Hermione finally came with a strangled cry, Lucius' orgasm followed not too long after. They panted, breathing hard in the aftermath of their lovemaking, their gazes locked with a scorching intensity that conveyed so much without words.
"Daddy!" cried Rosalie indignantly in her child's voice as she frowned at Lucius. "What are you doing to mummy?"
Blushing furiously, Hermione hastily covered their nude, sweaty bodies with the sheet.
"Rosalie, go back to sleep," she commanded, twisting her neck to stare at the girl.
"Is he hurting you, mummy?" demanded Rosalie, her delicate features twisted in a scowl. "Tell him you don't like it, mummy!"
"Darling, I hardly believe your mother did not like—" began Lucius with a smirk, obviously uncaring that his three year old daughter had glimpsed him post-coitus.
"Shut it, you!" demanded Hermione, then to Rosalie: "Close your eyes, Lee-lee. Mummy has a surprise for you!"
There wasn't a surprise. It had only been a guise for Hermione to extricate herself from Lucius and the bed, and to hastily don a bathrobe. Rosalie had been most displeased with the deception, but after a cup of hot chocolate, the girl was pacified and went back to sleep.
They enjoyed a glass of wine on the master bedroom's balcony. Summer was in full swing so the night was pleasantly warm; a light breeze skipping along their skin occasionally. In the lull of their intimate conversation, Lucius silently admired his wife. Their marriage, an affair that they'd tried to keep quiet, had made front page news in every single known wizarding paper. For months, they'd been constantly harassed by the likes of Rita Skeeter, but now, it seemed that the hullabaloo had died away.
He loved his wife. Tremendously so. At the risk of sounding inanely poetic, he often wondered how he had survived without her. After all, if it weren't for her, he'd be a dead man a long, long time ago. Three times, she'd saved his life. Willingly, without a thought she'd very nearly lost her own for his. She'd binded him so tight in their life-debt, he didn't even know when he'd be free. Not that he wanted to.
"You know, Lucius, I think your debt has been paid," said Hermione as she turned away from the view of his lands, to gaze at him. "You are now a free man. Unbound."
His eyebrows raised in surprise. Had she been reading his thoughts. "Is that so?"
She smiled. "It is," then, softer, she continued, "You have given me so much to be thankful for, Lucius. So much."
Her grin was devious, her eyes sparkling with the same mischievous glint that existed in Rosalie's eyes. "Well, like your money, the clothes, the jewelry…and those divine heels that cost an arm and a leg at Madame Camille's…"
"Gold-digger. I should divorce you this instant."
"Not even if I said that I love you?"
"Not even…" he began, paused, and then continued, "Well, a concession can certainly be made in that regard…"
Her eyes shiny, she said softly, "I love you, Lucius."
He smiled. "Of course, you do. It is impossible that you can not."
This cheeky comment earned him a pinch on his abdomen. "I can't believe you—"
He cut her off with a kiss. Running his tongue along the seam of her lips, he encouraged her to open her mouth to him and she did. He explored her mouth with his own, relishing the sweetness of the wine on her tongue, and the warmness of her mouth. He cupped her face in his palms, kissing her deeper and longer until he was forced to break the kiss for air.
Indeed, life had dealt them both a seemingly impossible hand but they had played their cards right. A few years ago, Lucius Malfoy and Hermione Granger had been bitter enemies with a stretch of hate between them. But what was life without curveballs? What was life without unexpected occurrences that irrevocably changed your future?
A few years ago, Lucius Malfoy was supposed to be dead. A few years ago, Hermione Granger was supposed to be dead, as well. But then, providence had meddled, changing their morbid destiny. Now, they were no longer enemies, they no longer hated each other passionately. Now, they were man and wife, and they each loved the other.
She was watching him, waiting to hear him say the same, and for an instant, his stubborn male pride intervened. It argued that he'd shown her, on more than one occasion, that he loved her, so he needn't say it aloud. But he damned his pride temporarily to hell. If she wanted verbal confirmation, then he'd give it to her.
So, bending to drag his tongue along her ear, he whispered to her those three precious words that she deserved, and which he'd yet to say to anyone else in all of his lifetime.
AN: And so, the story has drawn to a (fluffly!) close. I apologise to those asking for an insight into Draco's feelings concerning his sibling, and, although there were no verbal interactions between Draco and Rosalie in this epilogue, it IS implied that he is fond of her. Thank you, everyone, and have a good day. I do hope you have enjoyed reading this final installment as I have enjoyed writing it. See you around!