Well my friends, this is it. We've made it to the true ending. I would like to say a very big thank you to all who have followed, fav'd and reviewed. Its you who have kept me typing away and given me inspiration when I've needed it most. This has been one heck of a journey for me and I'm sincerely grateful that you have stayed with me throughout.
Another big thank you goes to kawagirl1993. She has been a wonderful friend and an amazing beta.
I hope you enjoy the last instalment...
3 Years later.
The day drew to a close and the mansion slowly filled with the sounds and voices of their family. As Hermione left the bedroom and rounded the corner, she spied her wife, lent against the handrail of the landing balcony. Bellatrix watched the scene below with a gentle smile upon her face.
"Hey." The brunette smiled at the older witch as she came to stand next to her. Hermione's eyes travelled to the lower level of the house where the family had gathered. Since the birth of their daughter, the area had been turned into a 'play room' of sorts. It had initially been for Cordelia and Teddy to play in, filled with plush toys and small tables and chairs. But most of the time, the adults would stay in the wide open space with the children. Slowly, sofas and arm chairs had been added to the pace. And tonight was family night, and the Black's turn to host. The family had gathered in the play room with the children as usual.
A smile crept its way onto the younger woman's lips as she watched her loved ones below. Teddy had turned eight not long ago. He was talking animatedly with Harry about his newest broomstick that his Uncle Derrick and Grandma had bought him for his birthday. Andromeda sat on the sofa, happily tucked in to the side of her Fiancé Derrick Joyce. He and Andi had met one day while she had been at work. He had asked her to dinner which she promptly turned down. Derrick, however, was not easily put off. He had persisted for weeks and finally woo'd his lady. He had eventually passed the Black's seal of approval by going through all the same 'tests and dinners' that Hermione had nearly four years earlier. He had impressed Narcissa with his successful business in the potions trade and had thoroughly impressed Bellatrix with his confidence, ballsy attitude and ability to stand up to her. Even though the stubborn witch would never admit out loud and she'd give the man hell every time she saw him, she thought he was a good match for her sister and a worthy man to help raise her nephew. Andi hadn't allowed him to meet Teddy until she was a thousand percent sure of where the relationship was headed. But the little boy had taken to the new man easily and won his heart in seconds.
Draco and Lucius watched little Cordelia who looked so like her mothers play tea party with Narcissa. Both men had been through a lot over the past three years. The older Malfoy had done all he could to prove himself a worthy part of society. He had submitted his home and personal life to the ministry's scrutiny every day. Almost every waking moment had been a battle to prove himself. But now, he is a free man. He spends his days working with either Derrick or his son. Now Draco, his story is both sad and heartbreaking by anyone's standards. It was a few short weeks after Cordeila's birth when he had announced to the family that he would be bringing a date to the next gathering. Her name was Melanie. A beautiful girl with bright blue eyes and long golden hair. She was smart, funny and well mannered. All traits bred from a high standing family. She fit in well with the Malfoys and had been easily accepted. It didn't take long for Draco to fall head over heels for her. She and Draco had been together a year when Melanie had fallen pregnant. He immediately proposed and the wedding planning had been well under way. Things were blissful, until one night he stumbled in blind drunk to his childhood home. It took hours for Narcissa to get anything but gut wrenching sobs from her boy. As he lay in his mother's arms, his poor heart shattered when he told her that his fiancée had lost the child a week earlier. The girl's father blamed Draco and his family, forbade the wedding and whisked the girl away minutes after being released from the hospital. Despite doing everything to find her, he came away with nothing. He searched far and wide, but she was gone. To this day he is still healing. He spends most his time working. He has changed so much, matured. His carefree and playful approach to everything now all but gone. He cherishes the time with Teddy and his young cousin, wondering about what could have been. He has recently started seeing someone new. But he is being cautious, taking it slow. With his family's support, he will make it through.
"Hey," Bella answered and she turned her dark eyes to her lover. "How was work?" she asked as she reached a hand out to thread her fingers with the younger woman's. Hermione had accepted a position as a guest lecturer at the new Wizarding University over a year ago. She gave talks about everything from equal rights to magical law enforcement, theory of potions making to lab work. There had been such a high amount of students signing up for the lectures that the university had practically begged the woman to take on the full time position. Bella mostly stayed home to raise their daughter. Although she had been roped into helping and investing in Andi and Cissy's business. While Andi worked at the cafe in the village, she had gained quite the reputation as a chef. So Cissy, never one for letting an opportunity slip by, suggested they open a small restaurant in London. It was exclusive, by invite only, and it was thriving. Though with Hermione's gentle prodding, the three agreed to open it once a week to less fortunate magical creatures, whether it be man or elf. All were welcome to a full and satisfying meal. Bella had even begun giving out information about the nearest homeless shelters and overnight stops. She had an idea to open one herself, but hadn't yet approached her sisters or Hermione with the idea. Maybe after...
"It was good. The kids are very receptive," Hermione answered as she gently kissed Bella in greeting. "How long have they been here? Have I kept.."
"No, only twenty minutes or so. But they are well entertained." the older witch replied, turning her eyes back to the scene below. The adults were laughing at Teddy's frustration with his cousin. He was trying to teach her how to sit on her toy broomstick properly. But ever the little girl, she became distracted easily but all her aunt's sparkly, pretty jewellery. Luna came to the rescue before a full blown tantrum could start. She distracted both children with mini fireworks shooting from her wand and gently turning into glitter or confetti before hitting the ground. The woman's psychology practice was still running and still going strong. Although Hermione knew that soon Luna would be taking a step back. Harry and his wife had yet to announce the pregnancy. But the brunette knew. Her friend had let it slip a few weeks ago. She had promised to keep their secret, which of course meant she told Bella straight away. But everyone else was none the wiser.
Bella sighed as she watched all the people she held most dear laugh and chat. She had never imagined her life to turn out the way it had. She was happier than she could ever remember being in her life.
"What's the matter?" Hermione asked, eyes and voice full with concern.
"How did we get here? How is it that we..I, am able to be so happy?" she said quietly.
Her wife wrapped one arm around her waist. "The fruits of love," she replied with a smile. "Look at our family, Bella. This happened because we fell in love."
The dark witch chuckled and returned the half embrace.
"Speaking of family." Hermione turned the witch to face her, her hands automatically falling to her wife's swollen belly. "How did the scan go?" She tried as hard as she could to make it to every doctor's appointment and scan that she could. But sometimes, things would become so chaotic at the university that it was impossible. Bella didn't mind, on those rare occasions one of her sisters would accompany her. The brunette had finished her last day an hour ago and would start preparing the house for the new arrival in just a few weeks.
"Fine. Everything is wonderful. Healthy and almost ready to join us," the woman replied as she kissed her witch. "There was something that was picked up.."
Hermione's face fell and dreadful fear filled her body. "W..what?"
"It's just a little thing. Nothing to panic over." Bella laughed at seeing her reaction.
"Bella, tell me. Is something.."
"No. Like I said, everything is fine. It's just that when Laura performed the spell to let me hear the heartbeat, well.." She trailed off and smiled.
"Well?" Hermione's voice was anxious and her body tense.
"Well..There was two."
"Two?" she whispered.
"Heartbeats," Bella clarified. "We're having twins."
Hermione's eyes went wide. Her smile turned into a grin and she flung her arms around Bellatrix as best she could. "Twins?" She all but cried in happiness. "Twins?" She pulled back and looked her wife in the eye.
Bella nodded and laughed. "Yes, my love. Twins."
They held each other for a moment more before Hermione burst into tears. She turned to the balcony and looked down at her family. "We're having twins!" she called out, grabbing everyone's attention.
The group gasped and held their breath for a beat, then all spoke at once, looking up at the happy couple to offer their congratulations.
Life couldn't be better for the two most unlikely lovers. And although there will be tough and hard times ahead, they will never doubt the love they have for each other.
Until the next journey my friends.