Some of my reviewers are mind readers, I think. Professor Trelawny would be proud. Anyhow, here's the last chapter. Thank you for sticking with the story this long!
"What?" he demanded, nearly dropping her as he got to his feet. Her arms slid from around his neck as she steadied herself. "I thought you just agreed that we were on the same page, and I thought that page was clear."
"It is," she said adamantly, reaching for his arms to hold onto him as he walked out of the kitchen. "Draco, I swear it is. We are on the same page. I just...I want to be married to you because it's what we want, not what the Ministry wants."
He stopped in the living room and turned to face her. "Let me get this straight," he said. "You want to divorce me, but you want to be married to me. Staying married after the law's been repealed is being married because it's what we want."
Hermione nodded. "I know that," she replied. "I just don't want our marriage to have the stigma of the law associated with it."
"There has to be another option," he said. "We don't have to get divorced. Divorces in the wizarding world are much different than muggle ones. They have a rule that says the wife can't marry again for two years. It was done to prevent women from hopping from one rich pureblood to the next. I'm not sure if that rule would be in effect right now, but it's not a risk I'm willing to take. You realize the kids would be taken away from you as well, right? Another one of those archaic laws. Any heirs stay with the father. Unless they don't enforce that one either. Either way, the kids would get divided up between us until we remarry. So, let's just stay married."
Releasing his arm, Hermione stepped forward and wrapped her arms around his waist. "Okay, I'm sorry," she whispered. "It was just an idea I had. We don't have to do it."
He breathed a sigh of relief as he held her. "No more entertaining the idea of being apart," he told her.
"Would it really be that bad?" she wondered. "Divorce in general, I mean. They would really keep my children from me?"
He nodded before resting his chin atop her head. "They can get pretty ugly," he said. "My mother tried to divorce my father when I was in school. Fourth, fifth year, around the time You Know Who came back. She was afraid that I'd get roped into being a Death Eater, so she wanted to take me away. That's when she found out that I'd be forced by law to remain with Lucius. Married, she thought she could still protect me in some way. We both know that worked out so well."
"You're here now. That's all that matters," she assured him.
"And here I intend to stay," he replied. "No more talk of being apart."
Hermione readily agreed. "Can we go to bed now?" she asked. "It's been a long day."
He kept his arm around her as he led his wife upstairs. "Sorry, I already have a beautiful blonde in my bed," he replied.
"Bet she's younger than me too," Hermione said wistfully.
Removing his arm from her shoulders, he reached down for hand. "It's true, she is," he confirmed. "The conversations with you are infinitely better though. She talks about finger painting and picture books. I'll stick to older women."
"Wise decision," she mused as they entered their bedroom. Cece was stretched out across the bed; her right foot resting on Draco's pillow. "This is getting out of hand."
As gently as he could, he picked up Cece, careful not to wake her. "Burn that pillow while I'm gone," he said. Minutes later, he returned to a clean pillow and his wife. "She didn't wake up once. Though, I don't think that's any indication of how the rest of the night will go."
When he finally laid down beside her, Hermione draped an arm across his waist. "It's been a long time since we've been able to hold one another at night," she pointed out. "Can we just focus on that for a minute?"
Sighing, he held her close as silence descended upon them. It wasn't hard to recall the first time he held her as she slept. The nights she left Hogwarts for home almost always found Hermione in his bed. Both were plagued with nightmares following the war, and Hermione often sought solace in his presence. She would sneak home, quietly enter his room, and slip beneath the blankets while he slept. It was only when her dreams became unbearable that he would awaken and slip his arm around her waist. He would whisper calming words until she settled down and fell into a quiet sleep.
"I always appreciated that you didn't hex me for doing it," he remarked.
Chuckling, she replied, "I always appreciated you not hexing me for sleeping in your bed."
"I never minded," he said, ghosting his fingertips up her arm. "In fact, I think I slept better when you were here. Keeping separate rooms was a terrible idea."
One shoulder lifted in a casual shrug. "I don't know. There were nights it came in handy," she responded. "When your snoring became unbearable, or one of us was sick."
His hand moved to her cheek. "The only time you ever slept in a different room was when you were sick and worried about me catching it," he stated. "Any time I was ill, you refused to leave my side."
"Someone had to take care of you," she murmured. "Besides, I caught you sneaking into my bed when I wasn't feeling well. So much for trying to keep you healthy."
"The things you do for the woman you love," he replied, kissing the tip of her nose. "And the illnesses you catch as a result of them."
Hermione laughed as their slightly ajar door opened wider. Cece, hair disheveled and eyes heavy, stood in the doorway with her hand on the doorknob. Moving his arm from her waist, Hermione moved to the other side of the bed, leaving enough room between them for their daughter. The little girl said nothing as she assumed her place. Back to her father, she frowned at her mother. "Daddy moved me," she stated, an accusatory tone in her voice.
Hermione laughed softly as she smoothed back Cece's curls. "I know, baby," she replied.
Her gray eyes grew heavy. "Wanna stay here," she mumbled as she fell asleep.
Draco kissed the back of her head and extended his hand toward his wife. "There will come a time when this stops, right?" he whispered.
With a smile, Hermione nodded. "Sure, when she gets to Hogwarts, she won't have any other choice."
"Unless she's like her mother and sneaks out," Draco retorted.
Sighing, Hermione closed her eyes. "As long as she only comes home, I'm fine with it."
"Hey," he said, nudging her. "What do you think of having a wedding? A real one this time."
Smiling, she nodded and fell asleep, happy for the first time in days.