And this is the end. Thanks to everyone who stuck with me!
They skipped the wedding.
Lying on a beach in Fiji, Hermione remembered that today her dear friend Ron was getting married to the woman Draco was meant to marry. Squinting against the strong rays of the sun, she laughed as she watched him play in the surf. As he ran back toward her, a smile on his face, Hermione laid back on her towel and waited for him.
Dripping wet, Draco stood over her and shook his blond locks to rid them of the salty ocean water. "You're nose is getting red," he observed, moving to lie down next to her.
"So is your back," she replied with a frown. "I'll take care of it when we get back to the room."
"Should we go in now?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows in an exaggerated, suggestive manner. With a roll of her eyes and a smile on her lips, she agreed. Draco jumped to his feet and helped her up before gathering their belongings. Side by side, they walked back to the hotel just up the beach. She couldn't help the smile that lit her face as they passed an older couple and overheard the woman mutter "Must be newlyweds."
She took the sandy towels from his left hand and slipped her hand into his. She could feel the warm platinum band of his wedding ring press against her fingers. The woman was right - they were newlyweds. Three months after their reunion on that rainy summer night, Draco again asked her to live with him. A week later, with Harry and Adrian's help, her belongings were moved from her flat to his penthouse. But Draco wasn't happy. She offered to move out, to let things go back to the way they had been before the move. Memories of their last break up were still too fresh in her mind, and she had hoped the suggestion would improve his mood. It hadn't though, and Hermione was at a loss for what to do.
Then, one night while she washed the dishes, he placed a black, velvet jewelry box on the counter beside her. The small box was open, and she could see the delicate platinum and diamond engagement ring safely tucked inside. No words were exchanged as he removed her left hand from the soapy water. He looked to her for confirmation that what he was doing was what she wanted. He removed the glove from her hand and placed it aside. Once more he looked at her and received a small nod as tears clouded her eyes. He removed the ring from the box and slipped it onto her finger. When it finally sat in its rightful place at the base of her finger, Draco pulled her to him and kissed her.
"Did I do it right?" he had asked.
She smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck. "It was perfect."
There were some who disapproved of their fast paced relationship. Ginny still refused to speak to her, and her engagement to Harry was nearly called off when the couple disagreed about supporting Hermione. Marcus hadn't spoken to either of them since they got back together. Ron and Astoria had been too busy planning their own wedding to lend the couple any support.
A week before Ron and Astoria planned to marry, Draco suggested they elope. Hermione, who had spent months agonizing over wedding details with little help, quickly agreed. The night before New Years' Eve, Draco arranged a small ceremony in front of a justice of the peace. Adrian and Daphne had come to bear witness, and surprised them with a honeymoon in Fiji.
And so they had missed the wedding. Draco hadn't been heartbroken. It was he who argued vehemently against going. Eventually he brought her around to his way of thinking, and she agreed it would be best if they didn't attend their exes' wedding. The next day they arrived in the tropical paradise, and all the goings on back home were forgotten.
Draco led her into the hotel. "It's funny, isn't it," he mused as they stepped into the elevator. "A year ago we hated each other."
"A year ago you kissed me," she replied. "I don't think you ever really hated me."
"Well, there have been a few times over the years when I was less than fond of you," he remarked, receiving an elbow to his ribs. "But I'm glad I get to be with you now."
"Me too," she said, accepting his kiss. The elevator dinged when they reached their floor and the doors opened to allow them to exit. Silently, they walked to their room and entered. Dropping the bag he held, Draco pinned her to the door once it was closed and showed his wife just how happy he was to be with her. His hand skimmed her bare stomach as he reached around to hold her close. "Do you think we should have gone?" she asked, pulling away from his hungry lips.
Groaning, he dropped his head. "No," he replied before placing a trail of kisses along her throat.
"If you think about it," she said, moving her head as Draco shifted to the other side of her neck, "they're kind of responsible for us being together."
Draco pulled away and smiled at her. "That Gryffindor loyalty of yours rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times," he joked. Receiving a scowl as she tried to push him away, Draco quickly sobered. "I think it would have been weird to go. He's your ex. She was the girl I was supposed to marry. It's better this way. You and me, together and happy. I don't need anyone else. Only you."
Pulling him back into her arms, she smiled at him. "You're it for me too," she told him. "I love you."
"I love you too," he replied. "Always will."