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One Year Later.
Hermione manoeuvred her way through the crowded corridors of St. Mungo's, pleased that her shift was over. While Hermione wished she was heading home directly from work she first had to head to the shops to buy Lyra's birthday present.
It was Lyra's first birthday over the weekend and Narcissa had arranged a small party at the Manor for Sunday afternoon. Hermione and Draco already had several presents for Lyra, and despite knowing she would be spoiled rotten by the rest of the family and their friends Hermione really wanted to get her daughter a few more pieces for her nursery. The room was already full of girly princess things but Hermione had seen several pieces she had fallen in love with in a nearby store.
Hermione emerged from the main entrance of St. Mungo's and was about to cross the road when a voice behind her called her name. Hermione turned to see who was shouting of her, her eyes widening as she recognised Daphne and her sister, Astoria.
After Draco's rescue Daphne had suffered a complete breakdown and was in the hospital for a few months, even now she still attended regular check-ups and counselling sessions as part of her recovery. When she was released from hospital she was assigned several hours community service as her part in Draco's abduction and imprisonment.
Hermione hadn't seen Daphne since just before Draco's rescue but she had met Astoria since then. A few months after Draco returned home Astoria paid them a visit, apologising for Daphne's part in what had happened. She also thanked Draco for accepting Daphne's lean punishment and not pressing for something more severe.
"I know I'm probably the last person you want to see, but when I spotted you I had to say something." Daphne said, approaching Hermione warily. "Nothing I can say can make up for what happened but I want you to know how sorry I am, I would give anything to be able to change what I did. I also want to thank you and Draco for not trying to get me a custodial sentence, even though I probably deserved it."
"No, you didn't." Hermione shook her head. She knew plenty of people in her position would hate the woman for the trauma she had partly been responsible for but Hermione couldn't help but feel that Daphne had suffered enough for her crimes. "While what you did was awful at least you wanted to make things right."
"I wish I had made things right." Daphne said. "I've spent months regretting my decision not to speak up at Draco's funeral, things would have been so different if I'd been brave enough to speak then."
"Yes, they would have." Hermione agreed with Daphne. "But we can't change the past. We've just got to be grateful that everything worked out in the end."
"I'm pleased that things are good with you and Draco. Goodbye, Hermione. Thank you for listening to me." Daphne turned back to Astoria as the two women prepared to enter the hospital.
"Daphne wait." Hermione called, stopping the two women in their tracks. "Don't live in the past. Neither Draco or I harbour any grudges against you. We've moved on, you should try to do the same."
Daphne smiled sadly at the woman who had every right to hate her. "I'll try."
"Goodbye Daphne, Astoria." Hermione nodded to the two women before turning round and continuing on her way.
After seeing Daphne, Hermione couldn't stop thinking about events a year ago. While what she had told Daphne was true, she and Draco had moved on, his imprisonment still cast a shadow over their lives. Despite all the perpetrators being in Azkaban and the incident seemingly forgotten it was still dredged up anytime The Daily Prophet or another media outlet decided to write about the Malfoy family for whatever reason.
Totally distracted Hermione did her shopping in record time before she headed back home, hoping that seeing her daughter and husband would brighten her mood.
Hermione had gone into labour exactly five weeks after Draco had returned home. After several hours in agonising labour, during which Hermione had told Draco that they wouldn't be having sex again, Lyra Hope Malfoy was born. Draco had picked the middle name because it had been Hermione and Lyra that had kept him going throughout his ordeal, they were who had given him hope when he was at his lowest.
Hermione and Draco had married three months after Lyra's birth in an intimate ceremony that took place in the gardens of Malfoy Manor. Only family and close friends were present, it was a lovely day filled with happiness and laughter. Narcissa had insisted having Lyra as soon as the wedding was over so the couple could spend a few days away on honeymoon. After a romantic weekend in Paris, Hermione and Draco collected Lyra from Narcissa and the three of them had spent the next fortnight on a private island in the Caribbean.
When she arrived home Hermione magically sent her shopping into the bedroom and headed into the front room, expecting to find her daughter and husband. Hermione stopped in surprise when instead of Draco playing on the floor with Lyra she found her mother sitting with her granddaughter.
"Hi, mum." Hermione greeted her mother with a smile. "What are you doing here?"
"Draco called a few hours ago, there was an emergency at work so he asked me to look after Lyra for a few hours." Helen answered, getting up off the floor.
"Draco's actually gone into work?" Hermione asked in surprise as she picked her daughter up off her play mat on the floor.
"Yes." Helen nodded, smiling brightly. "I hate to rush off as soon as you arrive but I really must go."
"That's fine." Hermione said, walking with her mother to the front door. "Thanks for looking after Lyra."
"It's my pleasure, she's an angel." Helen said, cooing at her granddaughter. "Besides as soon as Draco mentioned he was going to work, I wasn't about to refuse."
"Thank you for that as well." Hermione said.
"It's fine Hermione, anything to help get things back to normal." Helen said, saying goodbye and leaving the penthouse.
After her mother left Hermione went into the kitchen and placed Lyra into her highchair. "Let's get you fed, little missy."
As Hermione fed her daughter she thought about Draco, hoping the fact he had gone to work was a good sign. When he had first returned home Draco had understandably decided to take some time off work after everything that had happened. After Lyra was born the subject of Draco returning to work wasn't mentioned for a while, between the wedding preparations and having a new-born baby to look after neither Hermione or Draco were too concerned with work. It was only after they returned from honeymoon that Hermione expressed her desire to return to work, even if it was only part time. It was during those discussions that Draco said he would be more than happy to stay at home with Lyra while Hermione worked, he argued that it saved them the bother of arranging childcare when they were both busy. At the time Hermione had readily agreed, thinking it was an ideal solution.
While it worked fine for the first few months, Hermione soon realised that as much as Draco loved looking after Lyra he was becoming bored stuck at home all day. Hermione had suggested that Draco return to work part time, organising his hours around her shifts at the hospital. Draco had agreed to the idea but a few days before he was due to return to work he had suddenly announced that he wasn't ready and he would continue to stay at home with their daughter. Since then Hermione had occasionally suggested that Draco return to work, but up until now the best she had managed was for Draco to arrange a few meetings with his second in command, who was currently running the company.
Hermione knew that Draco needed to get back to work before he went mad with boredom but she was reluctant to push her husband. She knew his reluctance to return to work was a consequence of what had happened to him at the hands of his friends. Since the event Draco only spoke of what happened occasionally, but whenever he did feel the need to speak about it Hermione always made sure she made the time to listen to her husband.
After feeding Lyra, Hermione took her daughter back into the living room where they played for a little while. Once it was approaching her daughters bedtime Hermione gathered Lyra up in her arms and carried her into the bathroom. After bathing Lyra, which resulted in Hermione and the bathroom ending up soaking wet, Hermione settled her daughter into bed. Hermione was sitting reading to Lyra when she heard the floo network sound, a couple of minutes of later Draco appeared in the doorway.
Hermione smiled at the sight of Draco dressed his in work clothes, something she had missed this past year. "I'm nearly finished." She whispered.
"You do know she's already asleep." Draco said, moving quietly into the room. "You're just reading for the sake of it."
Hermione sighed, putting down the book and looking at her sleeping daughter. After checking the night light and intercom were switched on Draco and Hermione left the nursery. Heading for the kitchen Hermione began to get dinner ready while Draco leant against the kitchen table watching her.
"How was work?" Hermione asked.
"Hectic." Draco replied. "One of the company's we do a lot of business with has gone bankrupt. That means we have to find other people to fill their role, and quickly."
"Does that mean you'll be going back in tomorrow?" Hermione asked, making sure to keep her back to Draco so he wouldn't see the large grin on her face.
"Yes." Draco answered slowly, unsure of how Hermione would react to his next announcement. "Actually I was thinking it might be time to get back to work properly. Maybe If I'd been there when the rumours started circling I could have prevented some of the mess we're in now."
"Is the company in much trouble?" Hermione asked, turning round to face Draco. From his last statement she was worried that things could be bad.
"Nothing I can't fix." Draco reassured Hermione with a smile. "So how would you feel about me going back to work?"
"If that's what you want, then great." Hermione said, moving over to Draco and wrapping her arms around his waist. "Would it be part time or full time?"
"Ideally full time, although I was hoping to do a lot more work from home." Draco said.
"I like that idea." Hermione said with a smile.
"Good, we'll have to discuss it later." Draco gave Hermione a quick kiss before unwrapping her arms from around his waist and turning her back to the kitchen counter. "Now cook, witch, I'm hungry." He whispered into her ear before backing off quickly.
"Pig." Hermione tutted, throwing a dishcloth at Draco as he left the kitchen laughing.
"I'm going to get changed." He called as Hermione continued to make dinner.
After dinner, during which they discussed Draco's return to work more thoroughly, Hermione and Draco settled in the front room with a glass of wine. Settled on the sofa Hermione put her legs up on Draco's lap where her husband proceeded to gently massage her sore feet as they discussed Lyra's upcoming birthday party.
"You did control your mother didn't you?" Hermione asked, sighing at the feel Draco's hands. "She understood I didn't want anything too big."
"Nobody can control my mother." Draco replied. "Especially once she gets together with your mother."
"You let them plan the party together." Hermione moaned. "It's going to be huge."
"Don't worry, I kept tight control of the guest list." Draco said. "While neither of them would let me interfere with food and entertainment they were both willing to let me view the guest list."
"Please say you kept it to a minimum." Hermione had every faith that with Draco in control of the guest list that things wouldn't have gotten out of hand.
"Of course." Draco said. "Apart from the family I only invited a few people. Harry, the Weasley's and Longbottom and his wife."
"Are they all coming?" Hermione asked.
"Everyone except Ginny. Apparently she's got a big match to prepare for. Personally I reckon she's just avoiding Harry."
Harry and Ginny had split up the night after Draco's return. When Harry had met Ginny for a drink the redhead had been apologetic and desperate to work things out but after talking late into the night it became obvious to Harry that she wasn't going to change her jealous ways. Harry had done what he should have a long time ago, and ended the relationship. Since then things had been slightly awkward between the pair, especially as Ginny found it hard to control her jealously over the fun Harry had on nights out with Ron. As two single men, Harry and Ron regularly went out and enjoyed the attention they received as war heroes.
"That's her problem." Hermione shrugged. "Did you say Luna and Neville were coming?"
"Yeah, Longbottom popped over yesterday to ask about presents and to get some advice." Draco said. While he was slowly becoming more friendly with Neville, Draco still wasn't close enough to him to use his first name.
"What did he want advice about?" Hermione asked.
"He wanted to know how to be a good father. So of course he came to me." Draco said smugly.
After marrying six months ago Luna and Neville were currently expecting their first children, twins boys, in five moths time. Panicking slightly at the prospect of becoming a father Neville had asked Draco for advice, knowing that he had taken to fatherhood naturally and was great with Lyra.
"He should have gone to Arthur, that man raised seven children." Hermione said. "Now that's a good father."
"Are you saying I have to raise seven children to be considered a good father?" Draco questioned, raising a blond eyebrow. "Because we can make a start on that now, if you want."
Hermione laughed, swinging her legs off Draco's knee she repositioned herself so she was sitting up next to Draco. "You definitely don't need to raise seven children to prove yourself, you're already a great father."
"Do you think so?" Draco asked, suddenly looking unsure of himself.
"Yes Draco, I do think so." Hermione answered, moving so she was straddling Draco's lap. "You're great with Lyra, she adores you. I'm sure you'll be just as good a father to our other children."
"Other children?" Draco questioned, looking at Hermione's flat stomach. "Is there something you want to tell me?"
"No, I'm not pregnant." Hermione laughed. "I meant our future children. Although any time you want to start practicing for a second is fine by me."
"There's no time like the present." Draco grinned, holding onto Hermione as he suddenly stood up.
Hermione squealed and wrapped her legs around Draco's waist as he effortlessly carried her into the bedroom. Reaching the bed Draco dropped Hermione onto it before lying down next to her.
"Damn, I'm knackered now." Draco moaned.
"Hey." Hermione protested. "I'm not that heavy."
Draco laughed before suddenly rolling over, pinning Hermione underneath him. Hermione looked up at Draco and suddenly the atmosphere turned serious as their eyes met.
"I love you, Hermione." Draco said sincerely, brushing a curl out her eyes.
"I love you, too." Hermione replied. "More than anything."
Draco smiled as he brought his lips down to meet Hermione's. Languidly the couple kissed, enjoying the feeling of being together and in love. There was no urgency as they slowly began to undress one another, taking the time to explore each other's bodies before they began to make love.
After everything they had been through they were more aware than ever of how fragile life could be. After Draco's return the couple had vowed to make the most of their time together as they worked on creating a happy life together with their daughter and any future children they might be lucky enough to have.