This is for Relent1ess because seriously that was the nicest review and again I'm so grateful thank you
Hermione looked up from her book to find Yves standing in the doorway, already dressed for the day with a sleepy smile on his face. She couldn't help but smile, looking over at her bed to find that Perseus was still asleep. The base of her spine tingled, hyper aware and excited.
"Mummy? It's time to go."
Setting her book to the side, she grabbed her wand and walked over to the bed, sitting on the edge of her husband's side. She drew her thumb over his collarbone, watching as he stirred and turned onto his side before opening his eyes. He smiled at her.
"What time is it?" He asked, voice still heavy with sleep. "You're up early."
She glanced at the bedside clock, running the fingers through his hair, wand still enclosed tightly in her right hand. "It's nearly 5:30," she told him lowly.
His eyes closed, arm curling around her waist as he pulled her closer. For a moment, it was just the two of them in the entire world. Hermione felt bad, but she also felt alive for the first time in years.
Was it worth happiness? Was it worth security?
Glancing over her shoulder, she saw that her son was still standing in the doorway, a small, content smile still on his face as he held his father's hand.
"Perseus," she whispered as she looked back at him. He hummed in response, eyes still closed as he stretched to kiss her trouser-clad leg. She brushed her fingers through his hair again, leaning over to kiss his ear. Her wand pressed into the base of his skull.
He sighed. He did not tense or make to fight her. If anything, he relaxed into her.
"I've loved you more than you could ever know, Hermione," he told her, voice barely a whisper.
Somehow, she resisted crying. "I love you far more."
"Thank you," he murmured, fingers gentle as they drew her closer. "Would it be too much if I asked you to make sure the children know me?"
"I wouldn't have it any other way, Pers."
He sat up a little, pulling her necklace from beneath the collar of her sweater, thumbing the ring before kissing it. The moonstone fell onto her rounded belly, causing him to smile sadly. "You're stronger than you know, Hermione," he said before kissing her stomach.
"Not anymore," she told him, drawing her fingers through his hair again.
He closed his eyes.
Hermione stole the ring off his finger, slipping it into her pocket before leaving her wand on the bedside table and crossing the room to the pair.
"That was much too kind of a kill, ma cherie."
"He has kept your son and I happy, my love. It's the least that he deserved."
His eyes, the shade of pomegranate seeds, looked down at her pregnancy, the color seeming to bleed through his nearly blue eyelids. There was a viciousness around about him that left her uneasy, and she touched her stomach protectively, glancing at Yves to see that he was dancing nervously as he looked back and forth between them. When he noticed her hand on her stomach, he placed his there, too, smiling up at his father.
His eyes focused on Yves' hand, small and bright against the black of her sweater, and the air around him shifted. The calm that settled around them was not one she was accustomed to outside of her dreams.
Before either could say anything, Yves patted her belly and explained, "This is my little brother or sister," his voice tinged with the innocence of a four year old. "You have to be very gentle, or else."
He smiled at Yves, shaking their joined hands in recognition of his words, before meeting Hermione's eyes. He stepped closer to her, free arm drawing around her shoulders just before he kissed her, soft and uncertain in his quick exploration. Letting her go, he scooped up their son, kissing his temple gently. As she watched him, she realized that he was uncertain of his own strength, and wondered how long it would last.
He brushed a finger against her stomach. "It's twins," he told them solemnly, looking over at Burke disgustedly. For a second, Hermione was horrified, his hate bleeding into the air. But, as though he realized that his emotions were imposing on hers, calm surrounded them again, as though nothing had ever happened. "I was curious as to who I would be. It seems we have our connection back, my love. As it was meant to be." A smile played on his lips, but it never came true.
She doubted it was the same connection they'd had before. There was a very dull ringing in her ears now that he was so close, the very core of her desperate for him to touch her again, to feel whole and endless for the first time in forever.
"We are having twins," he continued. His eyes meet hers for a moment, a silent promise within them, before he smiled at the little wizard.
He offered Hermione a wand, one that she recognized with a mixture of heart wrenching fear and understanding. It was Grindelwald's.
He was truly dead now.
She took it quickly, feeling power surge through her. He smiled contently, as though he could feel it too.
"How should we address you?" She asked, because he wasn't Tom. Not even a little bit. He still had his handsome face, though. He even surrounded himself with a false calm that she'd only dreamed about before, and the closer she leaned to him, the more alive she continued to feel, her mind and heart buzzing fondly. It wasn't a fantasy. It was a reality that she had perhaps helped to nurture; but, it wasn't Tom.
And she couldn't get distracted by it. Not when she had children to protect.
He offered her his hand, and they walked slowly from the room, crossing the mansion. She realized that they were heading for the front door, only stopping short once they'd reached that drawing room. Lestrange was standing before them, Abraxas dusting off his robes while Orion came tumbling through the Floo.
Lestrange's eyes were accusatory for only a moment, boring into Hermione with a degree of hate and loathing that she hadn't been prepared for. She looked away, wanting desperately to tell them that she hadn't really thought this would happen.
Not that she hadn't prayed it everyday.
"Lord Voldemort," Abraxas said, his tone full of awe and wonder. His eyes seemed to praise Hermione. "My Lady."
The three Knights fell to their knee, bowing their heads in respect. It was only then that she realized what she'd done. Tom -Voldemort- smirked at her before smiling at Yves, who tiredly rested his head on his shoulder.
"Malfoy," he called, causing the blond to look up. "If you wouldn't mind taking care of the bedroom," he suggested, gently pulling his son's hood over his head.
Malfoy nodded, standing and hurrying out of the room. "Lestrange and Black, you may return home and enjoy the benevolent lives your Lady has allowed you. Please give your wives my well wishes."
"My Lord?" Orion questioned, obviously uncertain of what was even happening.
"I will call on you in some time," he told them before drawing an arm over Hermione's shoulder and kissing her temple.
He turned them away, heading for the front doors. There was a car waiting for them, sleek and black and absolutely unorthodox.
"I never pictured you living in Prague," he told her as they cleared the property. Fog hung heavy outside of the car, the frosty air clouding the windows. "Though it has obviously treated you well," he looked pointedly at her stomach, still cradling their son against his chest.
Hermione was not at all ashamed of her pregnancy. She and Burke had come very far in their relationship, and she was incredibly grateful and indebted to him for all that he'd provided for her. Having his child -or children, as Tom had suggested- was, again, the very least that she could do.
Subconsciously, she rubbed her belly soothingly, only realizing what she was doing when Tom's eyes focused on her ring finger. The rings he'd given her -her wedding and engagement bands- rested proudly on her right hand, as she'd been unable to truly part with him when she and Burke moved away from England.
He reached over and grabbed her left hand, looking for a ring. But, there was none. She hadn't married Burke in anything more than name, and he -thankfully- never asked it of her. Gently, as not to disturb Yves, he leaned over and kissed her hand. "Come," he demanded.
She shifted closer to him in the backseat, turning slightly away from him as he wrapped his arm around her waist. Again, his fingers brushed her stomach, chin resting against the side of her head.
"Perseus loved Yves."
"He did," she agreed, "like his own." She turned to look up at him.
Tom nosed the cloak away from his son's head, inhaling his hair and leaving a kiss on his head. Hermione felt her throat hollow out, uncertain of what to make of his continued tenderness. "He's mine," he told her after a few minutes.
"His last name is Montague, actually. They test your blood after childbirth; there was," she wasn't sure what she wanted to explain, so she didn't. Instead she said, "There was no hiding after that. And I was given no choice."
"What would you have called him?"
"Riddle," she murmured. "Like I said I would, my love. It's his second name, at least."
She watched as he swallowed, leaning back as he also attempted to get comfortable. As he drew his arm from her waist to over her shoulders, she tucked herself into his side, resting her head on him. "And you chose not to marry him."
"How could I?" She asked, and he hummed thoughtfully, lips brushing her forehead.
Her eyes fell closed at the feeling of completeness that settled over her, and she forced herself to separate her own feelings from his.
"We're going to Switzerland," he told her, and she laughed at the way he couldn't shake his abrupt subject changes, even as Voldemort. "Where you and I will make a home together. Where I will love and help to raise our children, and I will love you. Where I will just be Tom, you will just be Hermione, and we will give them the upbringing neither of us was awarded."
"And outside of Switzerland?"
He chuckled. "Outside of Switzerland, I would even kill you, if you tried to stop me."
"Tried to stop you do what?"
She knew. She knew. She knew. She just needed to hear him say it. She needed confirmation that she'd truly ruined everything. That she'd been the cause.
Sitting up, Hermione waited for Tom to open his eyes. When he did, the red of his pupils bled into hers, darkness tinging the air for only moment before he pursed his lips boredly. "Come now, Hermione. It's the whole reason you're here, after all."
"You don't have children in the future, Tom."
"I could argue that you didn't know a thing about Tom, my love. You only knew Lord Voldemort." His hand rested on her neck, thumb brushing her lip, eyes focused on his task. "A shame, really."
She watched as he licked his lips, reaching up and lacing their fingers. "It got me here."
He smiled, the action reaching his eyes. Yves snuggled closer to him, stealing his attention for a moment. "A blessing as well, then," he murmured, lifting their joined hands and running a finger over their son's face.
"Are you okay, Tom?"
He looked blankly at the back of the driver's seat. "You'll never know what I had to do, Hermione, to ensure the both of you survived that. To get back to you. I have never felt more- I'm uncertain, even, if this is the right word, that is how out of my element I am, but,- I have never felt more vulnerable, more disgusted with myself. I," he swallowed, rubbing his eyes.
"No. I am not okay. You are pregnant with someone else's children, and I missed the birth of my own son. I am weak in this state and you are pregnant." He sighed, looking back at her. "You could kill me. If you wanted to. I know you want to."
"I wouldn't have ended Burke's life if I wanted yours as well."
He smiled at her, eyes like a predator as they took her in. "What do you want then, Hermione Granger?"
"Riddle," she murmured. It was a knee jerk reaction, a correction she hadn't made in years, and there was a certain satisfaction in doing it again. At least, there was until she noticed the look in his eyes. It was the same one that possessed them when he'd found her in woodland, a wondrous shine that flat out told her he believed he owned her. Even after all this time.
She was nervous, genuine fear quaking even her cells as she considered her mental strength. And, as though he knew that she needed him, Yves awoke, pushing away from Tom and reaching for her like his life suddenly depended on it. Brushing her fingers through his curls in attempt to soothe him, she said, "My name is Hermione Riddle."
He kissed her wrist, lips cool against her. After Yves fell back asleep, he gently asked, "What do you want then, Hermione Riddle?"
She knew, but she didn't want to admit it to him, because she weak and disgusted with herself. Had she really believed herself okay for five years? Had she really lied to herself for so long? For a moment, she couldn't believe it; but, then she remembered: Tom had always been a weak spot.
He let go of her hand and pulled her closer to him, holding she and their son securely.
"You found me this time," she told him quietly.
He chuckled, inhaling the lavender scent of her hair. "I did, didn't I?"
"I want the world, Tom."
"How?" He asked, and it the most provocative thing he'd ever said to her.
Before she could really consider it, she said, "However you want it."
He kissed her forehead. "It's yours."
A/N - Thanks so much for finishing this up with me. It really means the world.