"Hermione, do this! Hermione, don't forget about the centerpieces! Hermione, ask Draco to walk me down the aisle!" The eight and a half month pregnant witch ranted as she paced the length of the kitchen. "Oh, and her newest request - Hermione, please don't go into labor during my wedding. Can you believe such a thing?"
From behind her, Draco sat at the kitchen table chuckling. "Tell me again why we're going to this wedding, let alone helping to plan it."
She turned around, bracing herself against the counter top. The look on her face told him she was trying to formulate a response, but all that came out was, "I don't bloody know," with a hint of depression in her voice. He rose from his seat and moved near her. Placing a kiss on her forehead, his hands moved to caress her swollen stomach. "Let's skip it," he murmured, brushing her lips with his own. "We'll lay in bed all day and think up baby names for this little guy."
"Girl," Hermione corrected him, smiling as their lips met once more.
"Boy," he argued.
Hermione pushed past him. "Go get dressed. Your robes are hanging on the closet door," she told him. "And it's going to be a girl." With that, she left, making her way to the bathroom to ready herself for the wedding. A small twinge of pain hit her side, but she brushed it off as she showered and fixed her hair. Another pain came as she applied a light layer of makeup and slipped into the dress robes Astoria had ordered for her.
Half an hour later, the couple was ready and out the door. Draco held her close as they Apparated to the small church where the wedding was to be held. Guests were already assembling; the bride's side on the right, the groom's on the left. Hermione was quickly ushered into the bride's dressing room, leaving Draco to seek out Blaise.
"Firewhiskey?" Blaise offered, holding up a half-full bottle of Odgen's finest. Draco smiled and accepted, taking a small swig of the burning liquid.
"A little liquid courage to go through with this today?" the blonde asked, handing the liquor back to his friend.
Blaise shrugged. "Nah, I think your wife could use this more than us, what with all that Toria's put her through. Thanks, by the way, for all the help you two have given her, and for walking her down the aisle."
Draco nodded in response to his friend's gratitude. "I think Hermione feels bad about the last year's events."
"She has nothing to feel bad about," Blaise replied with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Things have worked out for the best. You and Hermione belong together, and you've got a baby on the way. And I get to marry Astoria Greengrass. How many guys would kill to be us right now?"
Before he could reply, Hermione poked her head out the door. "She's ready. Blaise, go, you can't see her before the ceremony begins."
The two friends departed with a handshake before Draco closed the distance between himself and his wife. "Is there anything I can help you with?" he asked, kissing her sweetly.
Hermione shook her head, tucking back a piece of his fine, blonde hair. "Just don't trip and disgrace our family," she joked. Theodore Nott came up behind them to assist Hermione to her seat. A minute later Astoria stepped out of the dressing room. A blush colored her cheeks when as Draco offered her his arm.
"You look beautiful," she complimented, putting her veil in place. "Ready to do this?"
Astoria nodded, toying with the ribbon around her bouquet. "Wait, before we go, I just want to say I'm glad you and Hermione got together. When my parents told me I had to marry you, I'll admit I was a little excited at the thought. And then you told me about you and Hermione, and I could tell how much you loved her. I truly was sorry for my father's actions, but then I had a second chance with you. And even though I knew you would never feel for me the way you feel for her, I thought maybe you could. That one day you would love me the way you and Hermione love each other, or the way Blaise and I love each now. I never thought I would appreciate the way they crashed our wedding, but I do now."
Draco squeezed her hand reassuringly. "I hope you and Blaise will have as happy a marriage as Hermione and I have. I wish I could have loved you like I do her. It probably would have made things a hell of a lot easier."
The music began, and the pair took it as their cue to begin the procession. The guests rose when they appeared, all eyes glued to Astoria. Draco's were glued to Hermione. Once he placed Astoria's hand in Blaise's he took a seat beside his wife. The ceremony was just started when Hermione gasped.
"Are you alright?" he whispered.
Hermione took several deep breaths, her hand firmly resting on her stomach. "Fine, fine," she replied before gasping again. "I think my water broke."
Draco was on his feet within seconds, helping her stand. The vows were halted as the bride and groom turned to look at the Malfoys.
"What's going on?" Blaise asked.
"I think the baby's coming," Draco replied, panic in his voice. They moved as quickly up the aisle as Hermione's size and discomfort would allow. "There's a floo in the dressing room," Hermione informed him, and Draco led her to it before transporting them to St. Mungo's. As soon as they appeared in the hospital's waiting room, they were ushered into the first available delivery room.
Hermione panted as the contractions came closer and closer together. Draco sat by her side, holding her hand and pushing back sweaty curls. "I can't do this," Hermione murmured as another pain hit.
"Yes, you can," he assured her. "You are Hermione Malfoy. You've got your Gryffindor courage and strength. You can do this, and I'll be by your side the whole time."
A mediwitch came into the room to examine Hermione, and declared it time to begin pushing. She bared down, squeezing her husband's hand until the bones cracked. Her breathing was labored as beads of sweat trickled down her face. A few pushes later, the Malfoys were treated to the first cries of their child.
"It's a girl," the mediwitch proudly declared.
"I told you," Hermione said breathlessly, as she lay back against the pillows.
Draco smiled and kissed her forehead. "And you're always right," he told her. The baby was place in Hermione's arms, swaddled in a soft pink blanket. Small tufts of dark blonde hair were matted to their daughter's head. He hoped the blue eyes would one day transform into her mother's deep, chocolate brown. "Merlin, she's beautiful."Hermione made a small noise in agreement as she stared at the newborn. "We need a name."
"Anastasia," Draco suggested, stroking his daughter's cheek with his thumb.
Hermione nodded when the baby cooed. "That doesn't sound like a constellation," she joked. "Anastasia Hope."
"I like it," Draco replied. His eyes remained on Anastasia as she slept peacefully in her mother's arms. It wasn't until Hermione sighed that he pulled his attentions away. "What's wrong?"
"It's nothing," she replied, sighing again. From the corner of her eye she noticed the skeptical, uncertain look on her husband's face. "It's just, I always thought my parents would be here for this. It's been so long since I've seen them or heard from them, despite the numbers of letter I've sent them. I just miss them."
"I'm sorry, love," he murmured before a smile hitched up the corners of his lips. "Don't be mad at me, but I have a little surprise for you."
He stood, ignoring the concerned look on Hermione's face, and exited the room. She stared at the door, waiting for his return. When the door opened again, her eyes widened in shock. "Mum? Dad?"
"Hi sweetheart," Jane Granger greeted her. Her parents stood on either side of the bed admiring the baby in their daughter's arms. "We're sorry we've been away so long."
"We were angry for a long while," Henry told her. "Not so much with you, but with the entire situation. No parent wants to hear that their child was on the run from criminals or risked her life to fight a war. I know you were just trying to protect us."
Hermione wiped away the tears that flowed down her cheeks. "I'm just glad your here now," she told them. "Do you want to hold your granddaughter?" Before she could finish asking, Jane had Anastasia in her arms. Draco moved away from the door and took his previous seat beside her bed. "You did this for me?"
"I love you," he said in response.
Draco turned to look at her parents behind him as they passed his child between them. "I have my ways," he said cryptically. Hermione's eyebrow rose questioningly. "I might have gone to their house in Australia and told them they were being stupid. I might have also told them that, despite their issues with you, they would forever regret missing out on seeing their first born grandchild."
Hermione laughed, drawing him in for a kiss. "You're a really good husband," she murmured against his lips.
"I know," he said with a smile. "Speaking of husbands, Blaise owled. The ceremony ended. They're married. Astoria is only slightly miffed that you upstaged her yet again at her own wedding. We gave them a really great, very expensive gift though, so she'll get over it.""Thank you for this, Draco," Hermione said. "I can think of nothing else that could make this day more perfect."
"I'm glad. I'll owl Harry and the Weasleys, let them know Ana is here," Draco replied, standing up. His lips brushed hers once more. "Thank you," he added.
Smiling, Hermione said, "You're welcome," knowing exactly what it was he was thankful for - a real family.