The Love of a Woman
***Six Months Ago
Dear Miss Granger,
The paperwork was processed and you are now the proud owner of a licensed apothecary and spell creation shop in Diagon Alley.
Your deed of ownership and bill of sale are both enclosed. Gringotts will send you an owl soon confirming the withdrawal of funds for your purchase.
Congratulations and it was a pleasure doing business with you.
She smiled and hopped up and down in pure joy. It was the dawn of a new day.
She looked around at what had been her home for the last seven years and sighed thinking of all the packing she was going to be doing in the next couple of days.
*** Eight Years Ago
The war was over. Harry defeated the dark lord on the battlegrounds of Hogwarts near the Forbidden Forest.
After the battle the majority of the Order discovered who was really on the side of the light and who wasn't.
Lucius and Draco began spying shortly after Draco had been assigned to kill the Headmaster. The only Order members aware of this dark betrayal were Remus Lupin, Headmaster Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall.
Narcissa Malfoy died shortly after the end of the war from an unknown curse thrown by an unknown assailant. She was never a death eater and not loyal to the dark lord, only to her husband.
Draco completed the six month Auror training and left England to pursue a life without the stigma of being a post-war Malfoy. During a scuffle the following year, he was killed while on duty and was buried in England on the family plot.
Severus Snape didn't die. He was rescued by a quick thinking Hermione Granger. The second after Voldemort left the shrieking shack ordering Nagini to have Severus for dinner; Hermione contained the beast in a magical bubble and cast Fiend Fyre inside to burn the living Horcrux to ash; enabling Severus to assist in the defeat of the dark lord.
The two never spoke of her actions and Harry never stopped reminding her. Ron couldn't understand why she even bothered saving the git.
Percy Weasley did not come to join his family at the last minute, he chose, instead, to side with darkness. He was killed during the battle by none other than his older brother Charlie.
Nymphadora Tonks surprised everyone by siding with her aunt Bellatrix Le'Strange and died at the hand of Fenrir Greyback.
Remus was both saddened and relieved at her demise.
After spending most of her Hogwarts years fighting in one way or the other, going on the run, being tortured by Bellatrix and Yaxley at Malfoy Manor, and fighting a bloody and emotionally draining battle she decided that she needed to get away.
She sat for her NEWTs and graduated with honors.
Shortly thereafter, the Golden Trio parted ways. They needed time apart to mourn their losses and celebrate being alive. Harry and Ron could only stay apart for so long before they started missing each other; they reunited within the year.
They spent most of that year helping to rebuild Hogwarts and promoting the re-instantiation of the National Quidditch Leagues.
Hermione was accepted into the Spanish Institute for Potions and Charms.
She graduated, after two years, as a Potions Mistress along with a Masters in Spell Creation and application.
One of her greatest triumphs was a letter sent by her former potions professor congratulating her on her accomplishment.
Five years later she was finally returning home. The only one she had kept in contact with was Harry; their owls were sporadic at best.
She walked into the front of the shop and checked her inventory list twice; she needed to do some brewing tonight and research some rare books, other than that, she was free.
She walked back to the store room.
*** Flourish and Blotts
"I'm sorry Mr. Malfoy, I wouldn't know where to begin to obtain that book for you." The book store manager said sheepishly.
Lucius Malfoy frowned at the incompetence and un-resourcefulness of the book store's employee.
Then the manager remembered something, "There is a store down the street called Creation. She sells everyday potions, creates customized spells for housewitches and deals in rare books. You may want to try there." He offered rocking up on his toes and back down to his heels.
Seemingly placated for the moment Lucius nodded, "Diagon alley?" he asked to be sure.
The sweaty little employee nodded.
"Good day then." Lucius said and exited the store with his usual pomp.
The aristocrat walked briskly down the cobblestone street looking for Creation. Almost five minutes went by when he neared the end of Diagon Alley and looked up to find a small shop with a glass door.
An 'open' sign was hanging in the window and classical music could be heard from the doorway.
He opened the door slowly and looked up as the chime rang alerting the owner of his entrance.
No one was in the front to receive him so he decided to take a look around. It was neat and clean, well organized and smelled like honeysuckle and Myrrh.
Around all four walls from the floor up three feet were book shelves lined with both rare and not so rare books. He noted some muggle literature was mixed in; he like Chaucer and found himself perusing her stock.
On one wall above the books were shelves upon shelves of potions in easy to carry vials; Everything from Pepper Up to Hangover, Calming Draught, Pain Reliever, and mild Skele-grow for children under the age of 13. Other potions were stocked as well, but Lucius' concentration was diverted when he heard laughter; children's laughter.
His chest contracted painfully as it reminded him of Draco's carefree manner when he was a young boy.
Suddenly he heard a fight break out in the familiar high tones of little voices, "NO! I will get it! I can read."
"I read better than you do, Let me get it!" a slightly more feminine voice yelled back.
"No you don't! You're just a… Just a …a GIRL!" he shouted as if it were the most insulting thing in the world to say.
Lucius heard an insulted gasp from 'the girl' presumably, and felt his lips twitch upwards.
Stomping and running.
Lucius watched the door to the back room jerk open and a little platinum blonde head round the corner at break neck speed.
A little boy about five or six was running and not watching where he was going; he ran smack dab into Lucius Malfoy, "OOOMPH!" the little boy said as he bounced off the large wizard and fell to the floor.
He looked up at Lucius, his eyes wide as saucers and mouth agape. Lucius knew the boy was going to scream and opened his mouth to soothe the scared child, but instead was interrupted by 'the girl' in pursuit.
She was the same age as the little boy and also had platinum blonde hair, but hers was long and wavy.
He lent a hand to the boy on the ground still staring at him and met familiar angelic features and gray eyes that ran so prevalent in the Malfoy family blood line. The child was the spitting image of Draco at that age.
He gasped and looked to the little girl frowning at her brother; she too had angelic features with gray eyes, though hers had more of a blue hue to them reminding him sharply of Narcissa's.
He pulled the boy up and watched him dust his pants. The little boy paused and huffed clearly debating on whether he should run or introduce himself, the latter won and he extended a hand in greeting.
Lucius took it, his hand shaking slightly, "I'm Roman, and this is my sister Lilla." He said.
Lucius was having trouble stringing a coherent thought together and just when he almost had it; his thought process came to a screeching halt.
"KIDS?" a soft voice called from the back.
"Here mama." The girl said.
A small witch with chestnut curls held up in a pony tail came walking around the corner stopping abruptly at the scene in front of her, "Oh Dear." Hermione said.
Lucius found his voice, "Indeed." He said waiting for an explanation.
She looked to the twins and beckoned them closer, "I see you've already met." She scolded.
Roman spoke first, as he usually does, "Mama he has hair like ours."
"His eyes too." Lilla added.
Hermione took in a deep breath, "Lucius Malfoy meet Roman Abraxas Malfoy and Lilla Hermione Malfoy. Kids meet your grandfather, Lucius Malfoy." She said.
They all stared at one another… it was quite an awkward moment.
Lucius kneeled and smiled, he couldn't speak as there was an uncharacteristic lump forming in his throat and his eyes were burning.
Lilla, sensing his distress, stepped forward, ever her mother's daughter, and laid a little hand on his cheek in comfort, "It'll be ok." She said softly.
Hermione had to blink rapidly to prevent the tears from falling as she observed the tender moment.
Lucius, forgetting himself momentarily, closed his eyes and leaned ever so slightly into her warm hand.
He opened them when she stepped back, still watching him with keen eyes.
He focused on Roman who was watching him warily, "Just because we're related doesn't mean we're friends." He said petulantly.
"Roman, manners!" Hermione snapped.
Roman dropped his head, "Yes mama." He said.
Lucius had to turn away to hide his smile.
"Why don't you kids go finish your lessons while I speak with Mr. Malfoy, alone please."
"Yes mama." They said in unison.
Lilla turned before she disappeared behind the door, "Nice to meet you Mr. Malfoy." she said and left with her brother.
All of the tender emotion was gone when the children left, he turned on Hermione with rage and confusion.
To her credit she stood her ground, "You kept them from me?" he accused.
"Not exactly. I didn't have the means to come back and I wasn't going to bring them back with our hand out for charity." She said.
"Did Draco know?" he asked.
She nodded, "he named them."
"Were you… married or …?" he asked his anger ebbing a bit.
"No. We were friends and the one time we … you know, we got pregnant. We were planning to raise them together as a family, but just as friends. He was there when they were born, but he died the day after." She finished sadly.
He nodded, "Why didn't you owl or … at his funeral?"
"I couldn't." she rasped her voice full of emotion.
When she regained her composure, "You were the reason we came back now. They deserve to know their family."
His breath hitched at her revelation, "You'll allow me to be part of their lives?" He had lost so much; this was no time for arrogance.
She paused, "Yes, one on condition."
"You keep your blood purity nonsense to yourself. They're half-bloods and don't need to be made to feel like they are somehow inferior. You will not, under any circumstances, say-utter-whisper or yell the 'M' word."
He looked at her for a moment and realized she was talking about 'mudblood'.
He cleared his throat and straightened his shoulders. He was about to respond in righteous indignation insulted that she would imply he would poison a young mind, but he remembered to whom he was speaking and silenced himself.
He had realized his mistake years ago and it was, in part, due to the little witch standing in front of him, but he would never admit that to anyone…not even at wand point.
"Miss Granger it's been many years since I've supported that line of thought and I can assure you, blood status, in my opinion means nothing. I would like to be a part of their lives."
She nodded, "We're going on a picnic tomorrow if you would like to join us."
He frowned, "A pick nick?" he asked pronouncing the words with a hard 'k' making them sound choppy.
She nodded with mirth in her warm brown eyes, "…in a park, on the ground; food in a basket, you know, a picnic." She chirped.
He blinked at her and she rolled her eyes.
"In a muggle park?" he asked trying to sound nonchalant, but failing.
Just because he had reevaluated his blood purity belief system didn't mean he was comfortable around muggles.
"May I suggest Malfoy Manor grounds instead? It's safe, the views are lovely and if it rains we can cast a weather repellent spell without revealing the entire magical kingdom." He didn't mean it to sound disdainful, but he was a Malfoy, it came naturally.
She snorted at his distaste of a muggle part, but understood his hesitation and nodded, "I'll bring the basket of food and children, and you bring the wine that we will inevitably need to make it through the afternoon." She teased.
He smirked and nodded, "I can do that… Miss Granger What does one wear to a pick nick?" still sounding choppy.
"First call me Hermione, second be casual. Something you don't mind getting a grass stain or two on."
He nodded and walked out the door without the rare book he was looking for, but with a new purpose.
Hermione stared after him and couldn't stop herself from thinking how handsome he was… for an older wizard, anyway.