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Is This All There Is? Chapter 50: Epilogue: Into The Future
As the new year of 1999 progressed, everything was as it should be and each witch and wizard in the small group of friends knew where they were going and who they would be with….or so it seemed.
Hermione, Draco, Elias and Olivia watched not only as the Shacklebolt Project took on a life of it's own, but also as the Center and Diagon Alley came to life as well. They had to work long, hard hours, but they enjoyed every minute of it. Joe Reardon, Head of Construction for the project made contact with the team the second week of January and was welcomed to the team several weeks later.
Joe had been made to feel welcome by every member except Draco who felt the wizard was brilliant but dishonest about his reason for joining them. Draco wasn't outwardly rude to Joe, but he was nowhere near as receptive to him as the others. Draco thought Joe was after his witch and that he wouldn't accept. They worked together, but Draco didn't trust Joe Reardon at all.
Alice went back to Wizarding Law School to finish up her last six months and with Harry as her prospective wizard and Jonas supporting her, she did not have any bit of trouble with David Justice. In addition, Kingsley Shacklebolt offered her the position within the Wizengamot which had been created for Draco the previous year after she graduated. Alice continued to work part time at the Leaky when she was free and although she was content living there, at Harry's suggestion and with his help moved into her own small flat.
At the end of January, Draco attended the meeting between his father and Eric Stebbins who had nothing but good news to report on the state of MEB. With reports that profits had nearly doubled during Eric's time in Brazil, Lucius had been more than pleased and had offered Eric the option of permanently taking over the position he currently held. Eric who had nothing to keep him in Britain jumped at the chance and accepted Lucius' offer immediately. Draco had been certain he knew the reason Eric was so chuffed to be asked to remain in Brazil, but that was Eric's business and he had simply wished the wizard well.
After Eric left the room, Lucius had questioned Draco about his future plans. The father and son had discussed Draco taking over another of the Malfoy holdings, but Draco declined stating he would like to see the Shacklebolt project through to the end. Lucius understood loyalty and had to accept his son's answer but promised to revisit the subject down the line.
As with most everything in his life, Draco's response to his father was predicated on how it would affect his and Hermione's relationship. There wasn't any way Draco would take a position in some far flung Malfoy enterprise leaving Hermione to the clutches of a wizard like Joe Reardon especially since she hadn't yet accepted his ring.
Dean Thomas came through London from time to time as part of his job requirements and usually stopped by to see Seamus Finnigan. Although Dean and Harry had come to an uneasy truce, neither purposely sought the other out for personal interactions. They were cordial to each other with neither leaving the room when the other entered. Dean had also made changes in the way he worked. At his request, Jan now traveled city to city with him most of the year. Jan hadn't forgotten the trick Ginny Weasley had pulled and mentioned numerous times she hoped to run into her. Whether fortuitous or not, by the time Jan had run into Ginny, she and Dean were bonded and Ginny's indiscretion was equivalent to a bit of kneazle shite stuck to the bottom of her shoe.
During the construction of Shacklebolt Center, a slew of young witches and wizards relocated to Britain in search of positions many of whom first became friends with Joe Reardon who in turn introduced them to Hermione, Draco, Elias, Olivia and Harry. Joe was handsome, knowledgeable and well spoken which drew witches to him like bugs to a sweet. Whether or not it was intentional, Joe always introduced the prettiest witches to Draco. Draco wasn't interested in any witch other than Hermione, but with Joe always bringing him pretty witches it didn't seem that way to Hermione.
One night after having had enough, Hermione had thrown a simple hex at Draco after he let one witch keep getting in his face. Joe Reardon had watched as Hermione and Draco had one hell of a row right outside the pub and had immediately stepped in to comfort Hermione.
Draco who actually understood why Hermione had hexed him would have apologized except Joe had all but pinned her down in a corner of the pub under the guise of comforting her which had driven Draco mental.
In a fit of fury, Draco had called Hermione a bloody hypocrite and strode from the pub. After that, Hermione and Draco had spent several miserable months apart with Joe Reardon trying his best to take Draco's place…. which never happened.
After several instances of Hermione telling his arse off, Joe had stepped back. He didn't go away. He just stepped back. However, before that happened the atmosphere in the Wizengamot Administrative Services became very awkward with Draco spending most of his time away from the department.
Olivia and Elias had been caught in the middle and tried their best not to favor either of their friends over the other. The same went for Alice and Harry. It was only after Draco and Harry had a shout down over how stupid both he and Hermione were being that Draco agreed to attend Hermione's twentieth birthday party where Hermione apologized for hexing him and he apologized for calling her a hypocrite.
In private, Hermione and Draco had kissed each other, touched each other, admitted to each other that being apart had been torture and by the end of the night they were again a couple. In hindsight they came to the realization they had been manipulated by Joe Reardon, but what had counted that they were back together and would not be separated over bullshite. They had even joked about 9/19/1999 being a very lucky day for them.
Shortly after he and Hermione reconciled, Draco had paid a private visit to Joe Reardon. At the end of that visit, Joe had suddenly remembered a very important situation back in his country that needed his immediate attention and before weeks end had left Britain to go home. Joe had returned to Britain a few weeks later, but Hermione never again came up on his radar which suited Draco just fine.
Two weeks later after a long discussion, Draco presented Hermione with her goblin made engagement ring which she had emotionally and readily accepted.
Draco hadn't stopped smiling for a month.
Soon after Hermione accepted the engagement ring, she had an epiphany after which she returned Felicia to the shop she had been found in, We Have What You Need. The proprietor had been surprised but completely understood Hermione's explanation that the doll was meant to be shared and had stood by smiling as Hermione hugged the doll before handing her over.
It made Hermione a little sad, but the epiphany she had was Felicia couldn't be forced to bring two people together who weren't destined to be together. She had watched Harry and Alice date, separate and date some more without taking any next steps. She had so wanted the next couple to be Harry and Alice, but realized if a lasting relationship between them was special, the doll would find them. Hermione returned Felicia, but had planned to keep the book, Not Just A Doll she had purchased at the old book shop. When she went to look for the book it was nowhere to be found. Hermione surmised that the book had somehow found its way back to the mysterious shop and would make itself available to the next special witch.
In November of 1999, Hermione had been ecstatic when Alice excitedly turned up at her house clutching a doll which looked very much like Felicia. After all his nonsense about Felicia being creepy, Harry had secretly been searching for a doll for Alice and the previous week he had returned to his desk to find an advertisement for a shop called We Have What You Need. The rest was history. He had purchased a complete package including the doll, her clothing and a strange book with blank pages. Later, when Harry, Hermione, Alice and Draco were sitting around Grimmauld Place, Harry joked that the book reminded him of Tom Riddle's diary and he hoped it didn't have any powers.
Alice didn't have any idea what Harry meant when he had referred to Tom Riddle's diary, but Hermione had quietly smiled at Draco as he wrapped his arm tightly around her.
Even though Ginny Weasley had caused a massive upheaval in Harry and Hermione's lives, they remained good friends with George, Lee and Angelina and were often in their company.
Ron, who had married Amanda and was still living in Ireland came home to show off his red-headed baby girl seeking to mend fences with his friends which he did as no one really wanted to drag out the past. Hermione had accepted another heartfelt apology, but still had been more than glad Ron would be returning to Ireland.
Although Harry was glad to see his old friend happy, after Ron's visit he had disappeared for two days. Draco and Alice had been worried for Harry, but Hermione insisted they give him his space. That night lying in bed Hermione reminded Draco that had things come off differently, Harry would have had a son about the same age as Ron's daughter. It was a monumental thought and Draco and Hermione had held each other so tightly that night they could barely breathe.
Harry had returned the next day apologizing for walking away without a word and that had been the end of it.
In 2000, The Shacklebolt Center had opened to much fanfare and accolades and was a showpiece of construction, graphic design and magic and muggle ingenuity. Hermione, Draco, Alice, Elias and Olivia had done their jobs well drawing many types of businesses to the Center and surrounding area. The residential area surrounding the Center had filled up quickly as well.
Elias had been more than chuffed when the small tea and coffee shop run by squibs opened on the ground floor and even prouder when Minister Shacklebolt invited him to visit the shop as their first and second customers. A shop run by Squibs was a first in the wizarding world and many influential people had turned up the first day to support the shop and wish them well. Elias kept a copy of the Daily Prophet showing him and Kingsley entering the shop that first day on his desk for ages…right beside his encased Wizengamot ring.
Kingsley Shacklebolt was feted as a forward thinking Minister whose name became known far and wide and who was contacted almost on a daily basis by those requesting assistance in bringing their portion of the wizarding world up to date. The requests became so numerous that Kingsley set up a temporary Ministry department in Shacklebolt Center called Inter-Ministries Service to handle all the requests. Kingsley had assigned his right hand wizard Percy Weasley to oversee the department.
Lucius and Narcissa once again became very prominent in the wizarding world and used every ounce of their power and influence to see that CGM Consulting (Elias, Hermione and Draco) became the prominent wizarding consulting firm in Britain. And it had.
As a measure of their friendship with Draco and to show their belief in the project, Blaise Zabini of Zabini Financial Investments, LLC and Theo Knott of Theo Knott Real Estate Ventures each purchased a suite in Shacklebolt Center on the floor above CGM Consulting. After a fashion, to have a business address in Shacklebolt Center was to have a very prestigious address.
Even though they weathered a few relationship storms, Elias and Olivia remained together until she realized she would always come second to his career and business concerns which was not the place she fancied. On the day Olivia had to ask herself, Is This All There Is? she and Elias had a serious discussion. Each knew they had come to the end and their parting had been amicable. Shortly after their parting Olivia met and began dating one of the foreign contractors who had come to Britain to help build Shacklebolt Center. When the contractor left Britain, he asked Olivia to leave with him which she did. Elias was a bit sad over their break up and Olivia's departure, but the hordes of magical women who found the handsome, brown skinned, highly intelligent, rich and powerful wizard interesting more than filled his time. Blaise Zabini was a little miffed at the competition, but he and Elias learned to get on very well.
Harry and Alice separated for another short time when Harry began acting mulish and secretive yet again. Alice knew Harry loved her as she loved him, but she wasn't prepared to go through bouts of Harryitis every other month so she tried one last time revealing that she was not going to wait around for him to get over Ginny and if he didn't want her he should be wizard enough to tell her to her face.
Harry had all but come unglued as he screamed at Alice that he had been over Ginny for ages and he loved her. Then the brilliant and strong Harry Potter broke down telling Alice he didn't want to make another mistake. Alice had held Harry's hand as he had finally explained all of his fears. When he was through, she had summoned a cloth, wiped his face and then kissed his lips. They had talked through the night before falling asleep with a host of promises on their lips.
Shortly after that conversation Harry presented Alice with an engagement ring and asked her to be his wife. When Alice accepted Harry's proposal, Lovey (Alice had renamed the doll) and Milda were as happy as Harry because they should have been long onto another couple.
Hermione and Draco had been excited that Harry had finally plucked up the courage to ask Alice and had teased the couple mercilessly that Alice wouldn't have to use the word Harryitis any more.
In 2001, Hermione told Draco she was ready to get married making it perfectly clear she wasn't ready to give up her career. Draco was more than ready to make Hermione Granger his wife and wasted no time in trying to get her to set a date. However, whenever Draco brought up the topic of a wedding date, Hermione would only reply, not just yet love. Soon. And for over a year he hadn't been able to get Hermione to set a date.
However, Harry and Alice hadn't seen any reason to wait and had married that year, but chose to hold off on children until Harry went up the ladder a bit more.
In May of 2003, Draco Lucius Malfoy with Elias Cooke, Theo Knott, Blaise Zabini and Harry Potter at his side married Hermione Jean Granger in the perfect Malfoy wedding. Hermione's exquisite, ivory, lace gown which fit her perfectly had been done by a well known seamstress who had been hired by Narcissa Malfoy. Hannah Macmillan who had married Ernie a year earlier had worked with Narcissa and a premier wedding planner to make Hermione and Draco's day unforgettable.
The whole of Hermione and Draco's year at Hogwarts and the years above and below attended the ceremony along with half the British wizarding world and there hadn't been too many dry eyes in the hall as the former Slytherin and the former Gryffindor had joined lives.
The event had become even more memorable when Lucius Malfoy who had been given the honor of First Toast had stood before everyone and offered the uncharacteristic words, This joining has been a long time coming, but with the love shared between Hermione and Draco it is destined to last two lifetimes. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Draco Malfoy.
The photo of Draco wiping Hermione's eyes and the kiss they shared after Lucius' toast was front page in every wizarding paper and magazine in London and the surrounding areas. The additional story Ezra Smith ran in The Daily Prophet covered four inside pages as well. The articles were magnificent and had been done without any input from Lucius Malfoy which is not to say Ezra didn't work with Lucius on other matters. He did because Lucius knew his secret. Actually, Lucius knew both his secrets. The one concerning the disappearance of Rita Skeeter and the more personal one concerning Ezra being an unregistered Animagus who took the form of a Shieldbug when he shifted.
In April of 2005, Hermione left the consulting firm to enjoy her time as a stay at home wife and although Draco loved working with his wife, he was even happier that she was home waiting for him at night. They had enjoyed several months of unadulterated married life before becoming pregnant.
It was an exciting time as they planned for their child. Narcissa spoiled Hermione terribly, but anytime Hermione complained Draco reminded her that she was carrying a Malfoy heir so she should get used to it. Baby Malfoy had enough for three babies even before Hermione was four months pregnant. Lucius Malfoy remained stoically in the background while all this went on as any Malfoy wizard would do, but had often been caught smiling for no reason.
Impending motherhood had somewhat softened Hermione and she had allowed a pregnant Ginny Larsen (Ginny had snatched up Dag as soon as she could) back into her life as both witches were due to have babies within months of each other. Although Hermione let Ginny back into her life, it was a surface relationship. Nothing like they shared at Hogwarts. But, was anything like it had been at Hogwarts?
On those few occasions Hermione ran into Ginny she often wanted to ask her to explain what had happened between them, but never gave voice to her thoughts. Draco had followed Hermione's lead and was civil to Ginny, but in the privacy of their bedroom made it clear that had it been him he would have cursed both Dean and Ginny and have gladly gone to Azkaban for it. Whenever Draco got on a Ginny rant, Hermione would grab his hand, place it on her stomach and scold him for being a git in front of his son. That always managed to calm Draco down.
Hermione, Hannah and Alice were inseparable and even though their husbands were friends, it was Harry and Draco who had become the fastest of friends. Elias, Theo and Blaise remained close with their married friends as well even though they were held out as the three most eligible bachelors in London and carried themselves accordingly. Where it once had been Draco, Theo and Blaise drawing witches, it was now Elias, Blaise and Theo who had formed a strong bond among themselves.
Scorpius Draco Malfoy made his appearance in March of 2006 to the joy of his father, grandmother and grandfather. Draco and unbelievably Lucius hadn't stopped smiling for weeks. They had another Malfoy heir and it hadn't hurt that Scorpius was born almost the spitting image of Draco. The gifts had been so numerous that Hermione had secretly donated a large quantity to the less fortunate without anyone tumbling to the fact gifts had disappeared.
Theo, Blaise and Elias had all applied for the position of godfather, but Hermione and Draco had laughed them out of the room citing that being a godfather could tarnish their reputations as eligible wizards about town. Alice, very pregnant with their second child and Harry became Scorpius' godparents to the surprise of no one.
Harry and Alice along with Hannah and Ernie had become parents in 2006 as well. Hannah, Alice and Hermione had often sat and delightedly discussed the fact that their children would be starting Hogwarts in the same year. The three witches made a magical time capsule for their children with Alice making one for her firstborn James Sirius as well. The capsules contained information they thought would apply to their children as they entered Hogwarts. Hermione thought Scorpius would be either a confident, self-assured Slytherin or a confident, self- assured Ravenclaw while Hannah thought her daughter would be a shy, introverted Hufflepuff with Alice chiming in that her boys would be a charming, self sacrificing Gryffindors. The three had laughed as they sealed the capsules and placed them in four separate silver boxes to be stored away for the next eleven years. And so it went.
After Scorpius was born, Hermione had gone back to work lasting only three months before telling Draco and Elias she didn't want to be away from her son promising she would return to the firm when Scorpius was one. Hermione did return, but not when Scorpius reached one. She returned when Scorpius made two. However, shortly after her return to CGM she and Draco found out they were pregnant again.
Hermione's last words to Draco, Elias and the rest of the staff at her second going away party had been, perhaps I'll be back when Scorpius is grown. Her comment had drawn quite a few laughs from staff, but Draco and Elias had glanced at each other knowing there was probably more than a little truth to Hermione's statement.
Draco and Elias chose to keep the name CGM even though there no longer was a G. They did take in a new partner, but that was way down the road after Hermione had come back and left for the third time. The consulting firm became the best in the business. Clients often waited up to a month to be taken on.
Hermione and Draco's second child and first daughter, Carina Jean was born in 2009. As Carina was the first daughter born into the Malfoy bloodline in over one hundred years, her birth caused quite a sensation and she had immediately become the apple of Lucius Malfoy's eye and remained the apple of his eye for the balance of his life.
Almost as if they were keeping up with each other, Hannah and Alice had a child in 2009 as well and because they had done it for their first child (first and second in Alice's case), Hermione, Hannah and Alice felt they had to make capsules for this child as well, and they had.
After Hermione went back to work the third time and decided she had lost her enthusiasm for consulting work leaving the firm for good, she, Alice and Hannah opened the first of a kind child care center for children ages 1-5 in the residential area around Shacklebolt Center. It had been an immediate hit with those witches who had babies and small children but had to get back to work. Alice, Hermione and Hannah were the administrative staff hiring professionals with the correct credentials to handle the children. The Child Care Center flourished and soon boasted students of pureblood parentage being taught side by side with half-blood and muggleborn children. Narcissa liked the idea so much she not only invested heavily, but had made herself available anytime the CCC needed help as well.
Hermione and Hannah had shared many hearty laughs over the fact that several of the children had seen fit to vomit all over Narcissa Malfoy's silk garments. But it all had worked out well as Narcissa got to be with her cherished grandchildren every day if she so chose.
Harry had been promoted several more times in the ensuing years and had finally been appointed Head Auror. It had been a proud time for them all. Harry remained as Head Auror for a few years and then to everyone's surprise was chosen to run the Department of Mysteries. After discussing it with Alice, Hermione and Draco, Harry accepted the position and held it until he retired from Ministry service.
Over the years, each of the single wizards met and married their life choices and the small circle of friends and relatives continued to grow and change.
In 2013, Ernie was picked to head the MLE department in Scotland. Even though Scotland wasn't that far away, Hannah and Hermione had cried together right up until the day Hannah and Ernie left Britain. Hermione and Hannah knew no matter how close Scotland was, it wouldn't be the same as seeing each other almost every day. In the end, the two witches had hugged each other, promised to see each other as often as they could and waved goodbye. But as things often happen, they visited each other for the first several months then life got in the way and Hermione and Hannah only saw each other at special events.
Although Hannah was gone, Hermione still had Alice, Andrea, Elias' wife, Ulle, Theo's wife and Vivian, Blaise's wife to keep her company, but it just wasn't the same. Andrea, Ulle and Vivian were a new breed of witch who only cared for their looks and images and didn't necessarily want children or want to be around them. In a small way they reminded Hermione of herself those years ago when she had defied the code. Only these witches not only defied the code, they had stomped on it as well. No babies or hang-ups for them. But they looked perfect one hundred per cent of the time. Not a hair out of place or any grimy little handprints on their jumpers.
One night, a month before their tenth anniversary after a little get-together with the perfect witches, Hermione had laid in Draco's arms and sobbed that she felt old and ugly. Draco had wrapped his wife of ten years in his arms carefully explaining that she was neither old nor ugly, but if she ever did get old or ugly he would still be right there by her side.
As Draco made love to Hermione that night he had whispered the words he had said all those years ago, "You are the witch I was born to love, and that will never changeMrs. Malfoy."
For Hermione and Draco's tenth anniversary, Narcissa and Lucius not only threw the event of the year anniversary party, but also gifted them with a two week trip to Thailand.
The trip was amazing and every night of that trip, Draco had murmured into Hermione's ear, "You are the witch I was born to love and that will never change."
And somewhere within those fourteen days in Thailand, Hermione and Draco Malfoy became pregnant with their third child.
Thank you for reading. Reviews are welcome.