This is the third (maybe final?) part of the Christmas with the Malfoys series. Read Volumes 1 and 2 first so things make sense, but I guess you could read this on its own. If that's what you really want to do, I can't stop you. Hope you enjoy!
DISCLAIMER - I own nothing Harry Potter related.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Hermione Malfoy asked, nervously fiddling with the back of her earring.
Her husband of four years stood behind her and lowered her hand from her ear. Their fingers intertwined as he moved their hands to rest near her stomach. "We'll be fine," Draco assured her, pressing a kiss behind her left ear. "Aiden will be fine," he continued, switching to the right. "And Mother and Father will be fine."
Turning in his arms, the brunette smiled at the man she loved. Ten years earlier, they had come to Malfoy Manor for the family's annual Christmas soiree. Draco had invited her when they were still enemies in hopes of angering his father. As she recalled, it had worked better than he expected. The romance had begun that night and continued strong for a decade. They married six years after their first date and their son, Aiden Draco, was born just days after their second anniversary.
Lucius Malfoy took a quick shine to his grandson, easily putting aside the pureblood prejudices of old. Though he had made his disapproval of his son's engagement known, he had welcomed Hermione into the family with open arms. A part of the young witch wondered wondered if the Malfoys' sudden spike in popularity had anything to do with his acceptance of her.
"The last time I came to a Christmas party here, you got into a fight with your father and snogged me beneath the mistletoe," she recalled.
"Yes, and I've had a bald patch ever since," Draco added with a chuckle. Hermione rubbed the spot at the nape of his neck where she had pulled his hair a decade ago.
"I still think you're handsome," she replied, pressing a kiss to his lips. "And as I've told you before, you're too vain to go bald."
"Would you still love me if I did?" he whispered in a husky voice as he deepened their kiss.
She smiled against her husband's lips. "I'll never stop loving you," she replied.
Draco groaned when a knock at the door interrupted their personal time. It was his mother who carefully pushed open the door with one hand while using her other arm to support her grandson. "I'm sorry, sweetheart, but he was getting a bit fussy," Narcissa apologized. She placed Aiden on his feet and watched as he toddled over to his parents.
"Up," the two year old insisted, holding his arms above his head.
Untangling himself from his wife, Draco bent down to fulfill his son's request. The small, brown haired boy squirmed in his father's arms, laughing with delight, as Draco peppered his round cheek with kisses. Aiden's giggles rose as Draco spun him around the room, imitating a broom ride as best he could.
Narcissa stood by her daughter-in-law's side and smiled at the sight before her. "I love seeing him like this," she said. "He's so different from Lucius, and it's times like this that you really see that. He wanted so badly to be his father when he was a little boy."
"I haven't decided yet if I want Aiden to be like Draco," Hermione replied. "He was such a mean boy. I want my son to be more tolerant than he was. Though, I must admit I would be proud to see him become the man Draco is today."
"He's become a good man. That's because of you," the older witch pointed out. Hermione blushed and murmured a polite thank you. "Well, the three of you should get ready. Dinner will be served in a few hours, but drinks and hors d'oeuvres will be an hour before. Are you sure we can't arrange for someone to watch Aiden during the party?"
Draco shook his head, returning to his wife's side. "He doesn't do well with strangers," he informed his mother. "He'll be fine with us."
"Yes, and fifteen strangers," Narcissa added, a mirthful lilt in her voice.
Draco smiled. "Touche, Mother," he commented. "If he's with us, he'll be alright."
She raised her eyebrows to ensure he knew what he was doing and took her leave. Draco then turned to Hermione, silently asking if they were doing the right thing. "We'll be fine," she assured him. "I don't foresee any temper tantrums this evening."
He handed their son over to her and smirked. "As I recall you dropped Divination in third year. Forgive me if I don't trust your seeing skills."
Hermione held Aiden close and kissed his cheek. "Can you say 'Daddy, you're not funny'?" she asked him, smiling at her husband. Aiden giggled as he tried to repeat her words.
"Mummy's not much funnier," Draco retorted, handing her the toddler's outfit for the evening.
Hermione set Aiden down on the bed and pulled off his shoes. "And here I thought your daddy loved my sense of humor," she joked, working his pants off of his chubby legs. It was then that she felt warm breath on the back of her neck.
"Always," he murmured, placing a kiss just behind her ear. "There's nothing about you I don't love. Even when your feet are like ice when you climb into bed, I still love you."
She turned her head to kiss him. "I love you too," she murmured. "Even when you leave your clothes on the bathroom floor."
Draco pulled back and smiled. "So, if I do that right now you won't get mad?" he asked, his gray eyes shining mischievously.
Hermione returned her attention to Aiden who waited patiently for his mother to put on his pants. She did just that and began removing his shirt. "Oh, I'll be mad, but I'll still love you," she replied. "Besides, I don't have to clean up after you here."
"Excellent point," he remarked, dropping his shirt on the bathroom floor. From the doorway, he could feel her brown eyes trained on him, and knew she enjoyed the view. With one foot behind the door, he began to unbuckle his belt. With a smirk on his face, he dropped the belt to the floor and shut the bathroom door.
"Tease!" she yelled, laughing when Aiden repeated her. She finished dressing her son and set him down on the floor to play. Minutes later, Draco emerged from the bathroom in dress pants and a white under shirt. He passed his wife, pressing a kiss to her cheek, and joined Aiden and his blocks on the floor. Hermione remained by the side of the bed, Aiden's shirt in her hands, as she watched father and son play animatedly before her.
Draco smiled as his little boy tossed a block past his shoulder. It was then he turned around, attempting to retrieve it without moving too far. Looking up, he noticed the tears in his wife's eyes and the small shirt still bunched in her hands. Furrowing his brows, he got to his feet and moved closer to Hermione. "What's wrong?" he asked softly, turning her to face him. His hands ran comforting lines from her shoulders to elbows and back up.
"It's nothing," she replied, smiling as her tears fell. "I just...my favorite thing in the whole world is seeing you with him. So much has changed, hasn't it. Sometimes it doesn't feel real."
"What doesn't?" he wondered, cupping her cheek so she would finally meet his eye.
She sniffled softly. "You, this, us," she replied. "I know it's been ten years and I know I'm being silly-"
He pulled her to him gently and wound his arms around her back. "It's not silly," he assured her. "We had a pretty bumpy road, but look where it led us. Remember that first year I brought you here? It was just to make my father mad, a pathetic attempt to get out of ever having to go to one of these parties again. Back then, I never would have believed that we could love each other. I never thought you could love me."
Fisting her hand in his undershirt, Hermione drew her love closer and placed a tender kiss on his chin. "As I recall, I asked if I could keep you that night," she murmured.
"Ever regret it?" he wondered, smiling as he predicted her answer.
"Not yet," she replied, grinning as she pulled out of his grasp. Turning, she entered the bathroom and closed the door behind her.
An hour later, the young family joined the party in progress in the grand ballroom. Classical music welcomed them as servers made the rounds with trays of champagne and finger foods. "This is low key?" Hermione muttered taking in the scene before her. The creme de la creme of wizarding society filled the room; most tipsy and some well on their way to drunk. Draco held Aiden close to his chest, fearful that any minute now screaming would occur.
"This is my mother's idea of low key," he replied, frowning as he passed couples who turned to whisper to their partners. All eyes were on the couple who hadn't been seen together at a Malfoy family gathering in ten years. Draco had attended the affairs solo, missing only the year he and Hermione had wed. "I'd really like it if they would stop staring," he added.
"Did Draco pick out the dress again?" Narcissa inquired, greeting Hermione with kisses to each cheek.
She was dressed in crimson colored robes that covered what Hermione believed to be her problem areas. "I think he's finally gotten over his Slytherin obsession with the color green," she joked. The drink tray reached them, but Hermione was the only one not to partake. "Haven't had much to eat today," was her excuse.
When Aiden began to fidget in his father's arms, Lucius mercifully relieved his son of the duty. A smile brightened the old man's features as he tickled his grandson's stomach, which resulted in delighted giggles. His jovial mood soon soured when he heard whispered murmurs of "Mudblood" circulate through the room. Handing Aiden to his wife, Lucius left the group for the first couple he heard.
"What's going on?" Hermione wondered, looking anxiously as her father-in-law quietly conversed with the couple. She heard the woman scoff before declaring she would never again step foot in Malfoy Manor.
"Good," Lucius replied as they left. "And that will go for the rest of you as well. No one who wishes to remain will speak ill of my family. That vile word is not tolerated in this home," he announced, turning to Hermione.
"That really wasn't necessary," she whispered.
Lucius kissed her cheek and replied, "Nonsense. You should be treated with the respect you deserve, not just for being a Malfoy but for being you."
Never had he spoken such kind words to her, and they brought tears to the young witch's eyes. "Thank you, Mr. Malfoy," she said, surprised when he didn't pull away from her embrace.
The words "muggle lover" and "blood traitor" assaulted their ears, but the Malfoys paid it no mind. Several couples left, and those who remained were led to the dining room for dinner. The meal was a silent affair as no one wanted to incur the wrath of Lucius Malfoy, even if they believed their comments to be innocent.
"Will you be leaving for the Weasleys' home tonight or in the morning?" Narcissa asked as dessert was served.
"Tonight actually," Hermione replied.
"We'll probably need to leave once dinner is over," Draco added.
"I thought you went on Christmas Day," Lucius commented.
"Not since Aiden was born," Hermione replied. "I would spend Christmas Eve there while Draco came here."
"What made you decide to come this year?"
Hermione glanced across the table surprised to find Theodore Nott speaking to her. There was no malice in his voice, no suggestion that she didn't deserve to be there. It was just curiosity that made him ask. "It's something of an anniversary," she admitted.
"Technically it is our anniversary," Draco pointed out, smiling affectionately at his wife.
"I didn't forget," she promised, giving his hand a squeeze beneath the table. "Could you get Aid cleaned up? We should be going soon."
Rising from his seat, he kissed Hermione's cheek before moving to his mother to do the same. Aiden was stationed in his high chair between his mother and grandmother, and was more than happy to be set free. With mashed potatoes on his hands and face, Draco did everything he could to avoid wearing the food the way his son had. Laughter erupted from the guests when the precocious two year old leaned forward and kissed his father's cheek.
"So much for one of us staying clean," Draco murmured, returning the favor as they exited the dining room.
With dinner now finished, Lucius led the guests to the lounge, but Narcissa stayed behind with Hermione. "I'm glad you could come this year," she said when they were alone. "Draco's always had such a dreadful time, but that year you attended was the first time he ever seemed happy to be here."
"It's funny how things turned out considering he only asked me to be his date in order to get back at his father," Hermione replied.
The older witch laughed and led Hermione out of the room. "He has always enjoyed doing that, even if he did have a little hero worship for Lucius," she said. "I know you worried in years' past that you wouldn't be welcome here, but I hope you think differently now."
Nodding, Hermione smiled and turned to face her as they reached the staircase. "I did know it, especially after Aiden was born," she stated. "But Mr. Malfoy confirmed it tonight. I never thought I'd see the day when Lucius Malfoy defends me. I'm glad that's the man my children will get to know."
A well manicured blonde eyebrow rose in question, but Narcissa said nothing as she took her leave. Hermione waited until she entered the sitting room before climbing the stairs as carefully as she could in her long robes and heels. Draco's room was at the end of a long hallway on the second floor and she could hear her boys laughing from a good distance away.
"Some pureblood you are, making all this noise," she chastised when she entered the room. Draco had stripped down to his undershirt, and Hermione noticed it was covered in water splotches. "Which one of you got the bath?"
"A little him, a little me," Draco replied, greeting his wife with a kiss. "He's good to go now that I've managed to scrape the layers of dinner from his face."
"Ready to see Mum Mum and Papa?" Hermione asked, taking her son from Draco's arms.
Aiden giggled and pressed a kiss to his mother's lips. "See Gigi," he said excitedly.
"That's Aunt Gigi," Draco corrected.
"You mean Uncle Gigi," Hermione amended, putting him on the bed so she could change out of her dress robes. "Gigi is George, Jimmy is Ginny. One day he'll understand gender. That day is not today though, sweetheart."
Draco grimaced as he changed shirts. "Poor George," he muttered. "You know, it amazes me - we've been together ten years and married for four, and those people still act like you're someone new. Like marrying you is a great shock."
Hermione sighed. "To some in our world it still is. I'm sure your parents had a lovely pureblood all picked out for you. Someone with good grooming and proper etiquette."
"Yeah, but I wanted the woman with the wild curls who eats with her elbows on the table," he retorted, pulling her to him. He kissed her softly, smiling against her lips at the sound of their giggling son.
"I've never put my elbows on the table," she stated, pretending to be affronted by his remark.
"I'd love you even if you did," he murmured, pulling away to pick up Aiden. "Ready to go, buddy?" The little boy nodded enthusiastically and held tightly to his father as they prepared to leave. After saying their goodbyes to the still assembled guests, the Malfoys flooed to the Burrow, home of the Weasley family.
Draco had just stepped out of the fireplace in the warm kitchen when Aiden was taken from his arms and carried away in a sea of red hair. Hermione stepped out behind him and, standing by his side, wrapped her arms around his waist. "I like that he has them," she commented. "Cousins and uncles and aunts. He wouldn't have that without them."
"The curse of being only children," he replied, winding an arm around her shoulders.
Nodding her head in agreement, she turned to him and smiled. "Fancy a walk?" she asked. "It's tradition, after all."
He looked out the kitchen window to the steady snow fall that he was sure covered the grassy backyard. "I'm up for it if you are," he replied. Together they walked outside, silently enjoying the cold air on their cheeks and the crunch of snow beneath their shoes.
"That whole 'only child curse' of yours got me thinking," she said when they reached the shed. Draco looked at her with piqued eyebrows and a mirthful smirk. "Yeah, I think it's about time we broke it."
His smile grew as he held her close. "I'm always up for trying," he murmured lasciviously as he kissed a path from her ear to her chin.
Taking hold of his head, Hermione redirected it so he looked her in the eye. "We don't have to try," she stated, excited for the moment he would catch on to what she said.
His hand slid from her hip to her stomach. "You mean, we-"
Hermione nodded. "Happy Christmas, darling," she whispered, kissing her love softly.
"You were the best gift I ever received," he stated. "Happy Anniversary, love."