Epilogue – Four Years Later
"Remind me why we're going to this again?" grumbled Draco as Hermione fussed with his tie.
She fixed him with a glare and ignored him.
"Wendi Weasley," said Draco, wrinkling up his nose in distaste. "The poor woman."
"Stop it," admonished Hermione with a half-hearted slap.
They were all waiting in a small line as guests to Ron Weasley's wedding were being seated in the small garden behind the Burrow. It was just a handful close friends and family, nothing big or fancy. Most second weddings end up being low-key after all. Hermione and Draco's wedding had only had two dozen guests. They reached the usher, who looked to his seating chart.
"Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy," he said, scanning the list. "This way."
They began to follow, but Hermione turned.
"Scorpius!" she called, and her stepson reluctantly stepped away from the young and attractive waitress with whom he had been flirting.
Hermione was filled every day with happiness and pride at her stepson. After she and Draco had married, the courts became a bit more lenient with custody arrangements for Draco's son. It seemed that having a War Heroine as a wife gave Draco much more credibility as a reformed Death Eater. That and the fact that Astoria Greengrass-Malfoy had royally stuck her foot in her mouth when, in front of the entire Wizengamot, she complained that she was concerned about the influence a Mudblood might have on her son.
After that, they had quickly granted Draco and Hermione custody of Scorpius for the first half of every summer and the second half of every winter.
Scorpius had become a wonderful young man. He would be starting his last year at Hogwarts this year; Hermione couldn't even believe that he and Rose were almost finished with school. She loved her stepson as much as she loved her own children. He was an ambitious student, a hard worker.
And an excellent big brother.
"Leo!" cried Molly Weasley, rushing to pick up the nearly two-year-old who was toddling after Hermione. "Come see your Nana Weasley!"
"Nana Easy!" babbled Leo.
"I hope you don't mind that I think of him as one of my own," said Molly, smiling broadly at Draco.
"Of course not," Draco said with an easy smile. Those smiles had come much more frequently since he and Hermione had married, and since Leo's birth, they were an everyday occurrence.
Hermione spotted Rose and Hugo sitting at a table with the Potters, and they came quickly to chat with her.
"You look beautiful, Rose," said Hermione.
"Thanks," said Rose with a grin.
"Where's Daniel?" asked Hermione.
"Ah, yes. Daniel Wood. Where is the bloke? I haven't brandished my menacing wand in his face enough recently," said Draco, his eyes narrowed.
Rose rolled her eyes.
"Dan!" she called.
A young man with sandy colored hair trotted up to them, the spitting image of his father. He placed an arm around Rose's waist.
"Hello, Daniel," said Hermione with a smile.
Draco just scowled at him sternly, glaring at the arm resting around Rose's middle, and Hermione noticed Scorpius with a scowl that matched his father's perfectly.
"Hello, Mrs. Malfoy. Professor Malfoy," said the young man, nodding to them both.
"How's your father?" she asked.
"Fine," said Daniel. "A bit bored now that he's finally retired. He's thinking of getting into coaching."
"He'd be great at that," said Hermione.
Music struck up and Rose ran off to join the wedding party. Daniel returned to his seat at a table nearby.
"You should go easy on him," said Hermione. "He's a good kid."
"You shouldn't go easy on him, Dad," spat Scorpius. "You shouldn't go easy on anyone who comes sniffing after my sister."
"I'm going to have to agree with Scorpius on this one," said Draco firmly.
Hermione huffed in frustration. Malfoy men could be intolerable.
Draco, Hermione, and Scorpius took their seats, Leo squirming in Hermione's lap until Scorpius offered to take him to the side garden to play. Hermione smiled warmly as she watched Scorpius carry his baby brother on his shoulders off to where he wouldn't be such a distraction. She felt Draco's hand grasp hers and looked into his grey eyes. He planted a quick kiss on her forehead before the processional began.
Rose and Hugo were perfectly poised as the bridesmaid and groomsman, and Hermione had to be honest: Ron looked far happier and more relaxed than he had on the day that she had married him. Wendi with an 'i' had become a fixture at Weasley events over the years, and Hermione was actually quite happy that they were finally getting married.
After the ceremony, Hermione grabbed a drink and relieved dutiful Scorpius from his task of caring for Leo. Scorpius didn't mind: he had used his toddler brother to score a bit of attention from the pretty waitress, and now he was flirting with her in earnest.
"How are things?" asked Harry suddenly, and Hermione realized he'd plopped down at their table.
"Harry," she said. "I feel like I haven't seen you in ages."
Leo reached for Harry, and his godfather obliged, letting the little one grab his glasses and try to put them on.
"You two gonna have any more of these?"
"NO!" shouted Draco and Hermione at the same time, causing a few odd looks in their direction.
"Merlin, if I had another one, I'd be nearly sixty before he was done with Hogwarts," said Draco. "Sixty!"
Hermione was chuckling when she noticed Draco glance behind her shoulder and stiffen.
"I'm just going to grab a drink," said Draco, standing abruptly from the table.
Hermione turned and saw Ron heading her direction. She let out a small sigh, wondering if her husband and her ex-husband would ever move beyond mere grudging tolerance. With all the negative history and bad blood there, she was not particular hopeful. Yet, she was relieved that the two men could be in the same room together at least.
"Hey," said Ron. "Glad you could make it."
"Thanks, we're glad to be here," offered Hermione.
Ron gazed over at Leo, who was still playing with Harry's glasses, and gave the toddler a warm smile, one that Leo happily returned. Hermione found herself smiling as well. For all Ron's faults, he truly was wonderful with children.
"Listen, I . . ." began Ron, eyes darting back and forth between Harry and Hermione. "Er. . ."
"Oh, I think Ginny wants me to bring Leo over to her," said Harry quickly, though Ginny was nowhere in sight.
He stood and disappeared with Hermione's youngest son. Hermione and Ron were left awkwardly alone.
"Hermione, you know, I never really planned for everything to work out this way," said Ron contritely. "When I met Wendi-"
"Ron, you don't have to say this," she interrupted. "In retrospect, I can't really blame you. Our marriage was miserable."
"It was, wasn't it?" he said.
Hermione's lips were quirked into a smile.
"I think we've always been better off as just friends," she offered.
"Yea," said Ron, nodding. "Friends."
Wendi Weasley appeared at her new husband's side, beaming and totally oblivious to the moment she'd just interrupted.
"Thanks so much for keeping Rose and Hugo while we're on our honeymoon, Hermione," said Wendi in a bubbly voice.
"Of course," said Hermione, rising from her seat. "It's never any trouble. Congratulations, you two."
Wendi and Ron thanked her and moved on, and Hermione's eyes searched the small crowd for her husband. She spied his blonde head near the bar, gazing at something intently with a curious, amused expression on his face. Hermione made her way to his side, snaking a hand around him and resting her head on his broad shoulder, peering off in the direction he was staring.
"Shh," said Draco. "He's about to kiss her."
Sure enough, Hermione's handsome stepson was leaning into the pretty waitress in a secluded alcove, every fibre of his body oozing Malfoy charm. Hermione rolled her eyes and slapped Draco halfheartedly.
"Come on, quit spying," she said.
"Just making sure he's got the technique right," said Draco with a grin.
"Oh, and you're the expert?" said Hermione teasingly. "It's been about five years since you seduced a woman."
"I'd say it's been about 12 hours," said Draco, waggling his eyebrows at her, and Hermione felt her cheeks redden a bit as she fought the smile that was threatening to take over her expression. "But if you need a reminder . . ."
He wrapped his arms around her and brought his lips to hers for a kiss that was just a bit too passionate for a wedding reception. Hermione felt her head twirl a bit and started to pull away, but Draco's grip around her was insistent. However, with her best self defense skills, Hermione grasped one of his wrists, plucking it away in a flash and spinning out of his reach until she had his arms satisfactorily pinned in her hands, their faces still inches from one another. Her gaze was devious. His was seductive.
"After that brilliant display of self defense . . ." Draco said, trailing off with a heated look in his eyes. "Escaping a Dragon Level Master. Commendable. Although you'll be getting your due as soon as we get home."
"That's disgusting," said a voice nearby.
Hermione glanced over to see Scorpius and the waitress headed for the dance floor, his face poised in a perfected sarcastic sneer. Hermione and Draco both laughed, untangling themselves from one another. Hermione rested her head on his shoulder, eyes searching the crowd for Leo, who was playing happily with Harry and Ginny, for Rose, who was dancing with Daniel Wood, and for Hugo, who was looking rather mischievous with his Potter cousins. Feeling the quick press of Draco's lips against her head, Hermione thought she couldn't imagine a better life for herself, and she knew that things would only get better in the years to come.