Here it is, the end! I actually had the idea of the Epilogue sometime around chapter 2. Hope you enjoy, and thanks so much to everyone who's read my story!
Pippa Malfoy staring unblinkingly as she sat alone at the kitchen table. Just months out of Hogwarts, the eighteen year old faced many of the same challenges as her classmates. She had applied to the Healer training program at St. Mungo's, but not a word had been received back. A small diamond ring sat on her left hand, a graduation gift from her boyfriend, Jason Flint. It was meant to mark their engagement, but she hadn't yet informed her parents.
And now she had more news to share.
Hermione Malfoy entered the kitchen with a large sack of groceries in her arms. It wasn't until she heard a sniffle that she realized she wasn't alone. "Pippa? What's wrong?" she asked, rushing to her daughter's side.
"Mum, there's something I need to tell you and Daddy," she replied, wiping at her eyes.
Hermione feared what her daughter would tell them. More than that, she feared her husband's reaction. If Pippa was that upset, it had to be bad. "Do you want to tell me what it is before your father comes home?" Hermione asked, hoping to help figure out a way to tell Draco.
"I'm pregnant," Pippa whispered, still unused to the words.
Hermione sunk down onto the chair beside her daughter and held her as she cried. She too wanted to cry, but there was a problem that needed solving. "You know that whatever you decide, you have my support," she told her, smoothing down Pippa's short blonde curls.
"I don't know what to do," Pippa admitted, resting her wet cheek on her mother's shoulder.
"What's going on?"
Neither heard the front door open, nor did they know they were no longer alone. Hermione turned her head first and smiled at her husband. "We need to talk," she told him.
"Did you and Flint break up?" he asked, moving to Pippa's other side. He tried to school his voice to one of concern, but both women knew he would be ecstatic if the relationship ended.
Pippa shook her head and looked to her mother for support. Hermione turned to Draco, her eyes pleading with him not to overreact. "She's pregnant," she told him as Pippa sobbed.
Draco slammed an angry fist down on the table. "I'll kill him," he declared, jumping to his feet. "You never should have gotten involved with that boy. His father was trouble and so is he! Get him over here right now so I can hex him into the next century."
"Draco, please calm down," Hermione implored, knowing his words only upset Pippa more.
He pulled out his wand, itching to do some damage. "No, I will not calm down, Hermione," he spat. "No one hurts my daughter and gets away with it."
Pippa pulled away from her mother and got to her feet. "I'm pregnant, Dad, not injured," she stated. "He proposed. At graduation, Jason proposed. We'll get married and have the baby. Everything will be fine."
Draco shook his head and exited the kitchen without another word. But Pippa had inherited her mother's need for resolution and her father's fighting spirit. "Mum was my age when she found out she was pregnant with me. How is this any different?" she demanded, catching him as he climbed the stairs.
"It's just not the same," Draco replied, the anger gone now from his voice. He shook his head sadly and resumed his climb.
With tears in her eyes, Pippa turned to find her mother behind her. Her voice was barely a whisper as she asked, "How?" before falling into Hermione's arms.
Hermione sighed, understanding her husband's feelings exactly. "It's just different times, different circumstances," she replied. She took Pippa's chin in her hand and tilted it so they looked one another in the eye. "I promise you, though, that he'll come around."
Hours later, Hermione entered the master bedroom. Draco glared at her as she began to undress for bed. The pair remained silent as she climbed into bed. Her hand reached for the lamp to shut off the lights when Draco finally spoke.
"How can you be okay with this?"
She clicked off the light and laid down. "I'm not," she admitted. Beside her, Draco laid down too, still dressed in his work robes. He kept a safe distance between them, which aggravated Hermione. "But at the end of the day, she's still our daughter. I intend to support her. As I'm sure you recall, I was in the same situation she is."
"But that was different," Draco mumbled.
Turning over, Hermione clicked on the light. "That's right. You hated me," she retorted, narrowing her eyes in anger.
"I never regretted that night. You know that," he shot back, pulling himself into a seated position.
She reached for his hand, nervous that he would reject her touch. "I know that," she replied, losing a bit of her fire. "At least she and Jason love each other already. They've already committed to one another. Pippa won't ever have to wonder if he stayed with her just because of the baby."
At this Draco turned to her fully and cupped her cheek. "You really thought that of me?" he asked, hurt that she would ever consider such a thing.
Hermione sat up, causing his hand to fall away from her face. "There were times," she admitted. "Even after you proposed, I sometimes wondered if it was only because of Pippa. And I knew...I knew that wasn't true. I knew I was being silly. I remember the exact moment, though, when I knew I was wrong. My mum told me about that day she came home. That day she asked you if you really loved me."
"And I said yes," he finished for her. "Eighteen years, Hermione. You kept this in for eighteen years?" Tears welled in her eyes as she nodded. Draco leaned in and kissed his wife tenderly. He murmured I love you's against her lips until she pulled away.
"And Pippa?" she asked.
"I will never stop loving her," he vowed. Hermione seemed to relax at his admission. "I just...I can't support this."
Hermione pulled away, turning to swing her legs over the edge of the bed. With her back to him, she spoke, "You once told me you'd never react the way my father did," she reminded him. "You said you would never turn your back on your child, but that's exactly what you're doing. You've always said Pippa is too much like me, but we both know she got her ability to hold a grudge from you."
She glanced over her shoulder and offered her husband a sad smile. "Don't let this baby be the reason the two of you never speak again."
The wedding took just a month to put together. Pippa wore Hermione's dress, and the ceremony was planned to take place in their backyard near the lake. The bride surveyed herself in her mother's full-length mirror, assessing her appearance. She ran a hand over her flat stomach, smoothing out invisible wrinkles.
"Do I look as pretty as you did when you wore it?" she asked as Hermione put the finishing touches on her hair.
"Prettier," Hermione replied. "There, all done."
Pippa turned away from the mirror to face her mother. "Mum, what if he doesn't come?" she asked, nervously fiddling with the end of her veil.
Hermione, too, had wondered the same thing as the morning drew on. Draco refused to discuss the wedding while they planned it around him. Oftentimes, he would leave the room when there was talk of vows and centerpieces. But Hermione would catch him watching their daughter as she spoke animatedly about how well her dress fit and her need for something borrowed and blue. There was an undeniable love in his gray eyes; a love he reserved solely for his little girl.
"He'll be here," Hermione promised. "And Uncle Harry has already offered to walk you down the aisle."
Shaking her head, Pippa sat down at the vanity, careful of her dress. "I don't want Uncle Harry. I want my dad," she replied, her voice cracking as she attempted to hold back her tears. "I don't want him to stop talking to me because I know how easily he just cuts people from his life. Did his parents not approve of your marriage either?"
Hermione sighed and focused on her reflection in the mirror as she finished applying her makeup. "Purebloods, the older family especially, had a bit of difficulty overcoming some of their prejudices towards lesser born witches and wizards. Your father was the first Malfoy to marry a muggleborn. His mother, your grandmother, tried for awhile to see past blood status. I think it just proved too difficult. She was nice enough though, and she loved you from the first moment she saw you. It was just easier for Daddy to stop seeing her."
On the other side of the door stood Draco. His vision blurred as he listened to the conversation between his wife and daughter. Hearing Pippa voice her fear crushed him. Not a day had gone by that Hermione didn't remind him that he was being stupidly pigheaded, but it took that moment to believe it. Raising a fist, he knocked on the door and waited for it to open.
It was Pippa who opened the door. She stared at him with an expression somewhere between sheer relief and anger. "May I come in?" he requested, looking her over. She finally relented, opening the door wider to allow him entrance. He stopped in front of her and stroked her soft cheek with the backs of his fingers.
"Stop, you'll ruin my makeup," she told him, pushing away his hand.
He looked to Hermione for support, but she excused herself under the guise of greeting her parents who had just arrived. "Mum gave you the owl, I see," he said nervously when they were alone.
Pippa shrugged and fingered the golden owl. "She said it could be my old and borrowed, but then she said it was mine to keep," she replied. "Do you reckon that jinxes things?"
Draco moved hesitantly closer and adjusted her veil. "The dress could always make up for it," he pointed out. "You still need something blue though." Pippa nodded in confirmation and waited expectantly to see what he would do. Out of his pocket he pulled a small silver hair comb, decorated with sapphires and diamonds. "Every Malfoy bride, dating back to the eighth century, has worn this," he told her, carefully placing it amongst her curls.
"It's so...sparkly," Pippa assessed, watching the sun catch the jewels as she looked at herself in the mirror. Silence lapsed as neither knew what to say next. Draco stood in front of the window, watching as Molly and Arthur Weasley took their seats.
"Mum Mum and Pop Pop just got here," he commented, turning only when he heard Pippa sniffle. "What's the matter?" he asked, closing the distance between them. He dabbed at her eyes with his handkerchief, careful not to ruin her makeup.
"I'm sorry, Daddy," she sobbed, wrapping her arms around his waist. "We should have been more careful. Maybe then you wouldn't..."
"Wouldn't what?" he asked, holding her tightly.
Pippa sniffed. "Hate me," she finished.
Holding her back by the shoulders, Draco looked his daughter sternly in the eye. "Never, for a second, ever believe that I could hate you," he said firmly. "Not a day of your life has gone by when I didn't love you. You're my little girl. It's hard to stop seeing you as the sweet little angel who would crawl onto my lap and ask for a story. I'm scared to lose you."
As he pulled her back to him, Pippa wound her arms around his neck. "You're not losing me, Daddy," she promised. "I love being your daughter."
"I love being your father," he replied, kissing her forehead.
"Does this mean you'll walk me down the aisle?" she asked hopefully.
Draco nodded and waited for her to retouch her makeup. Then he held out his hand to her and led her outside. The orchestra played just for them, but the walk was over too quickly for Draco's liking. Now he had to give his baby girl away. With tears in his eyes, he lifted her veil and kissed her cheek. "I love you, Pippy. Forever," he whispered.
"Forever, Daddy," she replied as he let go of her hand.