Chapter Eight: Finding Bliss

"I'm fat."

Stomping out of the single bedroom of her flat, Hermione crossed her arms and felt them rest over her enormous belly. She was wearing a frown that could send a random stranger (or Ron) running for their lives, but the three women casually sitting in her living room seemed unfazed by her anger.

Ginny let out an exasperated huff. "Sweetheart, you are not fat."

"Then why doesn't this fit?!" Hermione threw a flower dress at the redhead. "Nothing in that bloody closet fits! I'm a whale!"

"You are not a whale, Hermione," assured Ginny with a monotone. It was the same argument she already had with the brunette five times that week. It was tiresome, but Ginny knew that she had to be sensitive to her friend's feelings no matter how unstable and illogical they were.

Though it was bluntly obvious that Ginny Potter was being sensitive about the issue, Pansy Parkinson had no desire or obligation to do so. She understood that Hermione was packed with extra hormones and felt more than ready to pop, but Pansy had never tolerated whiny females before and she wasn't about to let Hermione use her pregnancy as justification.

The dark-haired witch rolled her eyes as she stood from her seat, yanking the dress from Ginny's hands. "Granger," Pansy began as she inspected the garment, "this dress would be perfect for a day strolling through Diagon Alley if it was eight months prior. But seeing as you are currently very pregnant, you need maternity clothes. I don't know what you were thinking trying to fit into this, it's impossible."

"Not that you'll never fit into it again," interjected Ginny as she too stood and took back the dress from Parkinson. She glared at the dark-haired witch before smiling gently at Hermione. "You will after you give birth and you go back to your regular size. For now, however, you need to put on something suited for your pregnant state."

Hermione's bottom lip trembled as she eyed the dress in Ginny's hand. It was her favorite item to wear when the weather was particularly beautiful throughout Britain and now she couldn't. She would have to wait a year for summer to come back again so she could sport it. But it wasn't just about the dress. Merlin, Hermione wasn't too full of herself to not know that she needed to slip into her maternity clothes (which did have beautiful dresses that flattered her belly).

In reality, she was being a nuisance due to a plague of haunting thoughts.

"I feel so alone," muttered Hermione to her guests. Tears appeared in her eyes and her fingers started to fiddle together as a nervous tick. "I miss my parents," she confessed.

Ginny's annoyance deflated. "Oh, 'Mione."

The redhead attempted to cross distance to put her arms around the brunette but Hermione raised her hand to halt her. "It's fine," she sniffed. "It's just...As a little girl I never imagined getting married and having a baby without my parents. Who does? But now my child will never know them. My child will never know how kind their grandparents were, how intelligent, how Mum was a little ditzy, or how Dad was a little grumpy, and how much they loved each other..."

"I did," with a clearing of her throat and a raise to her chin, Pansy said, "I imagined getting married and having children without my parents. They were awful; absolutely the worst people imaginable. In fact, I knew I never wanted to get married and have children in fears that I'd turn out like them. Of course, as a pureblood girl you're trained and brought up to be someone's wife, but I hoped...Oh, I hoped that it never came to be. And it didn't. And I'm blessed.

"I'm sorry for your loss, Granger. They sound like amazing people. If anyone deserves that comfort, it's you," Pansy finished.

Hermione's left hand went to wipe at her cheek. She wasn't exactly comforted by Parkinson's words, but she felt a great deal of pain slowly let go of her heart. She needed to voice her sadness to someone, that grief she still carried, but what could anyone say? She knew no one could give her the words that would make everything better. Her parents were dead. There was no bringing them back.

"Your child will know your parents." In the silence that spread through Hermione's living room, the one elder woman who sat poised on an armchair, a book on her lap, dug her blue eyes into Hermione's brown ones.

Narcissa Malfoy closed the book and elegantly rested her hands over the cover. She continued to stare, flat and narrowed, but her mind contemplated many things. When she finally decided that she needed to give something back to the woman who was giving her a grandchild, who made her only son happy, she continued her previous statement.

"Through you, Hermione, your child will know your parents. If they truly were all that you say, your child will see that within you. You are intelligent, kind, and full of love. And when that child asks you why they have a mother like you, why you are renowned throughout our world for such character, you shall reveal to them that it was all your parents' doing.

"And you shall raise your child to be exactly like you, with a pure heart alike yours. And when people praise your parental skills and the manner of your child, you will know that it was all because of your parents. Physically they might not be in the living world, Hermione, but memory lives on forever. So, yes, your child will know of their grandparents."

Pansy furrowed her brows, her dark eyes highlighting grand confusion and alarm. She'd know Mrs. Malfoy basically all her life, not once had she ever heard the woman speak kind words; nor did she know the woman was capable of them. If there was ever affection, gentleness, shown by Mrs. Malfoy, it was only towards her son. So to hear the words Narcissa had just spoken, directed at another person that she once deemed lower than dirt, was extraordinary.

Thinking the same thing, Hermione could only gape back. Her jaw wasn't hung open like Ginny's, but it was about to. The glimmer of fondness in Mrs. Malfoy's crystal-blue gaze was overwhelming just like the sincerity that displayed on her facial features. Used to seeing the woman void of emotion, Hermione was momentarily baffled and unable to form a coherent response.

Thankfully, the flames of her fireplace roared from their low, red crackling into giant, sparkled emerald flames. The moment between Hermione and Mrs. Malfoy was cut short when three men made their way out; dusting their clothes from the soot.

Hermione sensed Draco before she saw him.

"I thought you would be gone by the time we arrived," Draco said to his fiancee as he kissed her temple before heading off to properly greet his mother.

"We were supposed to leave an hour ago, but Granger is struggling to dress herself," informed Pansy as she stood impatiently by Theodore Nott and Blaise Zabini. "She thinks she's fat."

"Again?" groaned Theodore. He too had suffered that conversation with the brunette plenty of times before.

Hermione frowned at the former Slytherins. "I don't think I am. I know it. Look at this stomach. This child wants to make my womb into a mansion."

"Ah, so it is a Malfoy," chided Harry mockingly.

As his old classmates laughed, Draco shot a glare at the Chosen One before glancing at the mother of his child. "Granger, you're eight months pregnant. You only feel that way because you're close to giving birth. I promise you, you still look beautiful and radiant. Go dress now, or we won't get anything done at this rate."

"Well of course you find me appealing," retorted the brunette, "your pride as a man is overflowing because I'm currently lugging about the product of your fertility."

Harry's face scrunched up in disgust, but it was Theo who said,"I didn't need to hear that."

It was Draco's turn to smirk.

"I'll go dress now," declared Hermione as to not let old rivalry get between her best friend and his old nemesis. She took her dress from Ginny and, with her head held high with honor, she marched down the hall and to her bedroom.

Rolling her eyes as Ginny put her arms around her husband, placing her head on the crook of his neck, allowing him to hug her back after pressing a tender kiss on her head, Pansy called for their attention.

"What happened to Weasley?"

"He didn't show," Harry quipped with annoyance that was not directed at the dark-haired witch. "We waited for him for twenty minutes, but I knew he wasn't going to show up. We had to call in Nott to help."

Theodore bowed for dramatics. "It's not like I was about to go on a date with my girlfriend or anything, either," he added sarcastically. "It's always a pleasure filling in for Weasley."

"Seems like Weasley has a habit of disappearing when his friends need him the most," contributed Blaise in a bored tone. The glint to his indigo-colored eyes contradicted his voice, they held mischief. "Even I showed up to help Draco and Granger move to their new, muggle home."

Mister and Mrs. Potter looked at one another before glancing over at the dark-skinned man. They wanted to be angry at him, tell him to piss off (Ginny wanted to hex him as she had once in Hogwarts), but they couldn't say he was speaking lies. Out of all people, Blaise Zabini had been more accepting of Hermione and Malfoy's union than Hermione's own best friend.

Whereas Ron had been dodging Hermione and Malfoy for weeks, Zabini had latched on. The former Slytherin was kind to the brunette, much to the surprise of Draco, Pansy, and his girlfriend Daphne. There was always a coolness to Zabini that everyone was aware of, he hardly was ever seen being indifferent, even to Daphne, but to his friend's new fiancee he was friendly. He provoked her with foul comments, as it was in his nature, but there was fondness in their banter. (Maybe there was a closer friendship between Draco and Blaise that neither cared to admit; which would explain why Blaise was accepting of the woman his best friend loved).

"Your father will meet us for dinner later, correct?" Narcissa stood smoothly from her armchair, not once wrinkling her fine robes.

Before Draco could respond to his mother, his fiancee appeared from the hall. She was still in her lilac bathrobe, no longer holding her floral dress, but a new, polka-dot one. With wide eyes she looked at Draco.

"Hermione," groaned Ginny, "what is wrong with this dress? We need to get going so the boys can pack up your flat and you can—"

"My water broke," squeaked Hermione, fear now coming full-blown onto her face. She swallowed a knot that was straining her throat. "My water broke," she repeated in a terrified, small whisper, "and I'm eight months pregnant. Help."


For the first time in her life, fear interfered with Hermione Granger's intelligence. Dread had submerged her body when she felt a pain shoot up her spine, take hold of her womb, and make fluid seep down her thighs. She crept out of her bedroom holding her belly, absolutely terrified. She was only eight months pregnant, the baby wasn't suppose to arrive that early. Her eyes were filled with tears as she gaped helplessly at her fiancee, desperate for his aid and knowledge because she'd been about to lose her mind. Luckily, Draco reacted fast. He took her into the Floo and straight to St. Mungo's; all the while Hermione thought the worst and cried. It took Angelina's calm smile and her words of, 'Hermione, babies are sometimes born premature. You know this. It's going to be okay,' for her brain function to return.

The delivery was just as painful as she anticipated. Hermione wanted to chew off Draco's head when he was holding her hand tightly, face void of all emotions, with his monotone telling her to relax. She yelled at him to go to hell, much to Ginny's amusement as she snickered on her other raced down Hermione's cheeks and foul curse words left her mouth. When Angelina's trainee marched in, Hermione vowed to take his life for taking ages to bring her a potion that would ease the contractions. When Hermione was finally ready to push, Angelina sent Ginny out and let Draco stay.

'I'm afraid,' Malfoy had whispered to her as she summoned all the force in the world to push out the child she'd been housing in her womb. 'Hermione, I'm damned. I've always been damned. I cannot be a father. What if the Weasel is right? What if I am unworthy of having you?'

A scream rippled out of Hermione's mouth. She turned to glare at the blonde man beside her. The sweat around her forehead, the redness of her face, and her tangled hair only served to emphasize her frustration. 'Shut up, shut up, shut up,' she had screeched. 'You're a wonderful man, Malfoy. And you're going to be a great father. I'm afraid too—' a scream, a push, another scream, 'but I know we'll do fine because we love our child. That's what matters.'

'The things I've done—'

A scream followed another strong push. 'Who the hell cares?! Your past is not going to raise this kid!' Hermione turned to face Draco once more. 'Are you in this or not?!'

A cry pierced the tension of the hospital room, not allowing Draco a response. Angelina stood to her full height: in her arms was a newborn child. The child cried once more as Angelina's trainee rushed over with a yellow blanket and wrapped it. Draco and Hermione watched with complete focus as Healer Weasley did all the protocols required to ensure the baby's health.

'Congratulations,' Angelina had murmured gently, a teary smile on her face as she carefully handed the wrapped newborn to the mother. 'It's a beautiful, healthy baby boy.'

Hermione cradled her son in her arms as tenderly as she could manage. She was shaking with happiness. She was crying again, but this time out of sheer love. He was absolutely breathtaking.

'I'll always stay,' Draco had muttered as he stared at his son in awe. His gaze studied every little feature of the newborn and when the baby opened his eyes for the first time to look at his parents Hermione and Draco recognized the silver immediately in them.

'We're a family,' the blonde added as he sunk on the mattress by Hermione's side. He put an arm around her shoulders and captured her lips in a quick kiss before they both continued to fawn over their new son.

It truly was something, in Hermione's opinion, how quickly their lives changed. In that moment, in the instant that Draco saw the face of their newborn son, his fears were replaced with a grand sense of duty, of love, of caring. Hermione's love for Draco intensified by a tenfold, but she also felt a completeness she hadn't known she was longing for until she cradled her baby in her arms. And together, she and Draco were about to embark on the greatest adventure.

Former Slytherin Prince and Gryffindor Princess married not long after their little Scorpius was born. Hermione had not minded waiting until their son was a little older, but Draco insisted that by law she was bound to him and he to her.

The wedding had been a small affair (upon Hermione's rejection of Narcissa's giant, social celebration idea) that was held in the gardens of Malfoy Manor. Everything was simple, down to the decorations and the color scheme. It was all white with the occasional hint of emerald. Draco had Blaise be his best man, Goyle and Theo as groomsmen, and little Teddy Lupin as the ringbearer. Ginny was Hermione's maid of honor, Pansy and Luna were her bridesmaids, and Harry was to walk her down the aisle.

'You look beautiful,' Harry proudly proclaimed to the bride as he found her jittering with nerves by the doors that led to the gardens. 'I'm so very happy for you, Hermione.'

Hermione's brown eyes glistened with emotion. She gave her best friend a loving smile to show her gratitude, and her intent had been to voice it, but instead she found a knot in her throat. Her right hand went to her heart and she took a deep breath.

'It means a lot to me, Harry,' she said in a tiny voice. 'Thank you for not abandoning me.'

A frown had creased Harry's forehead. 'I gave Ron your invitation,' he replied with shame, as if their friend's absence was his fault. 'I honestly thought he would show. Especially since all the Weasleys are here.'

Hermione exhaled loudly as she continued to keep her unsettling emotions at bay. She didn't want to ruin her makeup, not since Ginny threatened to butcher her if she smudged it before the ceremony was done. 'I thought he would show too. I wanted him to be here, Harry. It's been six months since I've seen him. He hasn't even met Scorpius yet.'

Harry opened his mouth to tell her that Ron had met her son already. There was a night when Ginny volunteered to babysit so Hermione and Malfoy could go out on a date (and because Ginny wanted the practice, seeing as the redhead was currently five months pregnant herself) and Ron had unexpectedly shown up. He'd taken a look at the little boy with silver eyes and curly blonde hair and sighed; Harry nor Ginny said anything as Ron picked up Scorpius and gave him a hug. For an hour Ron played with the baby before having to head for his date with a witch he'd been keeping a secret.

'I thought he could be happy for me,' confessed Hermione, 'and it breaks my heart to know that he can't.'

'Ron loves you, Hermione, you know that. He can just be a little—'

'I'm a git. That's the truth.' Interrupting Hermione and Harry, the remaining member of the Golden Trio turned the corner to make his appearance. Ron was dressed in a black suit, hands in his pockets, red hair slicked back appropriately, and a remorseful look upon his freckled features.

'I'm a proper arsehole,' the redhead continued, 'and a stubborn idiot. I'm too prideful, as well. I got held up on past grudges that I refused to see that Malfoy had changed. I am comfortable with hating him, you know. But now the little ferret loves you and he's the father to your child. And...well, he's a well enough bloke if he can make you as happy as you are, 'Mione. And I'm sorry if I've been the taint to your picture-perfect life. I just don't know how to ask for forgiveness.'

Hermione wanted to smack him. Hermione wanted to smack Ron across the face and beat the idiot out of him, but she contained herself from doing so. Anger bubbled her blood, but her heart was also pumping love for her redhead best friend. Regardless of how aggravating he could be, there was almost nothing she would never forgive him for.

'You know how to come back,' she said to him, 'no matter how long it takes.'

Ron's mouth outstretched into a smile. 'I love you, 'Mione. I swear it.'

'I know.' She gave him a tiny smile in return. 'Now, walk me down the aisle with Harry. I'm getting married in two minutes.'

Though Hermione had upset her soon-to-be mother-in-law for declining her offer of an extravagant wedding, the brunette was in complete awe as she walked down the aisle that fateful day with Harry and Ron on her sides and was surrounded by Narcissa's efforts. The weather had agreed to behave itself for the wedding; the sky was a beautiful, vibrant blue with the perfect amount of clouds decorating the canvas, and the sun was present to send rays of warmth down to the guests. The natural assortment of flowers stood out throughout the garden with its beautiful pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, and purples. The greenery was intensified. White rose petals littered the the runway of the aisle, separating two sections of white chairs that her guests were sitting on as they watched her approach the front.

There was an arch composed of rustic branches meshed with white roses that hung over the Minister of Magic (who personally offered to perform the bonding ceremony). But Hermione hardly paid attention to her old friend Kingsley Shacklebolt. Hermione only had eyes for the blonde man waiting impatiently and nervously at the end of the aisle.

She fell in love all over again with Draco that moment. There was something incredibly breathtaking about the way he glowed with the light of the sun. It washed away old memories and versions of him. In that moment all she could see was his light. She could only see how his light made the platinum color of his hair whiter, ethereal, how the metal in his eyes melted to precious, unique silver, and the way his soul lit up inside of him, making his skin bright and inviting. Her heart pounded inside her chest, fluttering its wings like a dove taking off full speed, demanding its owner.

About the bonding ceremony, Hermione could only recall Draco: his presence, his fingers laced through hers, his minty smell, his eyes, and his voice. The entire world disappeared and left only him and her. So when she's asked what was the most memorable moment of the wedding, she says it was his vows:

'I don't know what to say. I've told you thousands of times how much I adore you. But I suppose if I have to tell you one more time, in this very moment, then I love you. But I love you every second of every day. Just like I loved you yesterday, today, and how I will love you tomorrow. I will always love you tomorrow. Some days I'm going aggravate you, and you're definitely going to aggravate me, but I'll still love you then. You've changed my life, Hermione. Before you I was lost in my own nightmares, but you've made them all go away now. You brought me hope. You brought beautiful, valuable, and more precious things into my life than all the contents inside my vaults at Gringotts. And I'm lucky and rich because of that. I'm honored to have you beside me. And I'll spend the rest of my life feeling that way, every second and every hour. I love you.'

The party after the ceremony had been something else. If her union with Draco wasn't evidence of the ability to overcome past hatred, then the celebration of their wedding certainly would convince anyone. All that was needed was good music, love in the air, and flutes of champagne.

Hermione wanted to spend every second attached to Draco's hand, but her new mother-in-law reminded her of the pleasantries she needed to exchange with the guests of the night. So as Hermione went around smiling, greeting, chatting, hugging, and laughing with her friends she was a witness on how things can change. Luna, who was married to Neville, danced with Gregory Goyle like there was no care in the world; Neville talked with Marcus Flint (who was also, surprisingly, a Herbologist); a pregnant Ginny sat next to a less pregnant Daphne, both sharing a plate of cake; Harry leaned against a wall talking quietly with Draco, both avoiding the crowd; a drunk Blaise laughed loudly with George Weasley; Ron and Pansy danced under the light of the moon (a little too closely); and Mrs. Weasley and Narcissa, accompanied by Andromeda Tonks and Teddy Lupin, watched over little Scorpius (the three month old baby made a quick appearance for the night). However, the strangest act of the night occurred when Mister Malfoy introduced her to his powerful, pureblood acquaintances.

'I'm sure it is quite the honor for you, dear,' an old man had said to Hermione, no intention of malice in his voice, but the statement was worded completely wrong. 'The Malfoys are an important family. You are in no greater care than with them.'

Hermione had gone rigid. A part of her remembered all the horrible things that family had put her through. The flash of memories lasted less than a second,though; for she was now a Malfoy by the twists of fate and she wouldn't have it any other way.

'I'd say the Malfoys are in no greater care than at the hands of my daughter-in-law,' Lucius Malfoy interjected in his low, firm voice before the brunette at his side could say anything to his familiar. 'The honor is ours to have her a part of our family. I don't doubt that she and Draco will continue to uphold this family for years to come by their intelligence, their capability, and their courage. I am confident their children, my grandchildren, will follow.' He raised a glass of firewhiskey. 'Here's to the future of the Malfoys.'

That night was six years ago, but Hermione still remembered it as the moment in time that forever changed the course of her life.

She smiled at the thought as she reached her destination: the open door of her son's bedroom. Inside soft voices and laughter were heard. She stood at the entrance and kept her silence in order to spy without being detected.

Draco, with his back turned to her, was sitting on the emerald, fluffy carpet with little Scorpius across from him. The little blonde boy had a giant smile on his face, vibrating laughter coming out of his mouth, and his silver eyes were twinkling in awe at the direction of his father. Scorpius's stare reminded Hermione of how she looked at her husband, too—with absolute adoration.

"Then what happened?" pressed Draco as he grabbed a small, black shoe beside him and motioned for Scorpius to outstretch his foot.

"The fireworks scared Uncle Blaise's dogs," the boy continued excitedly, a gleam of mischief in his eyes, "and they took off running full speed, Dad. It was brilliant. Uncle Blaise was dragged with them, and since we were in Muggle London, he couldn't use magic to stop them. He went straight into the lake, Dad. He was so angry."

Draco chuckled darkly as he grabbed the other shoe and once again motioned his son to extend his foot to him. "The git deserved it. However, your mother wanted me to reprimand you, just as Alessandro is being reprimanded by Daphne. You know the rules, Scor: no playing with anything from Weasley's shop."

Scorpius frowned. "That's no fun!"

"Of course not. Have you not met your mother?" teased Draco. "But if she asks, tell her I gave you a serious scolding and that I banned you from the telly, playdates, flying your broom, and reading. No, forget the last one. Your mother wouldn't want your brain to turn into mush. Let's just tell her I scared the living daylights out of you and that you learned your lesson."

While Scorpius and Draco shared smirks, fast footsteps and the sound of a tiny bell echoed along the hall behind Hermione. Shortly after, a squeak caused Hermione to maneuver to the side as a little girl rushed into Scorpius's room chasing a golden spaniel.

"Catch the puppy, Daddy!"

Scorpius groaned loudly at the high-pitch laughter of the little girl. "Fay," he snapped, "get out."

Four year old Fay Malfoy ignored her brother. Instead she went in circles around Scorpius and her father chasing the pup named Cosmo. Her giggles provoked Cosmo's happy barks, Scorpius annoyance, and Draco's own laughter.

"All right. Come here, Fay." Grabbing the girl mid chase, Draco steadied her before him. The tiny, little girl smiled largely at her father as he straightened her floral dress and the white ribbon on her cascading, blonde waves. Her large silver eyes matched Scorpius's in their reflection of the grand love they had for Draco.

"I told you getting her a dog was a bad idea," said Scorpius sternly, though he was currently holding Cosmo and scratching the dog behind its ears. The affection in his eyes didn't match the annoyance in his voice. "It's like you've gotten her a dragon. She's a menace."

"Am not!" protested Fay.

Scorpius frowned deeper. "This family doesn't need troublemakers, Dad."

"Correction—" Stepping into her son's room, now making herself noticed, Hermione put her hands firmly on her hips and narrowed her eyes at the three pairs of silver ones that were now gawking at her with surprise. "This family doesn't need any more troublemakers. Scorpius and Draco Malfoy," her voice got louder, "you're both grounded for a week. You for playing with George's fireworks when I've told you plenty of times to not buy, Scorpius; and you, Draco, for applauding his actions."

Again, Scorpius groaned loudly and dropped his back against the base of his floor. He put his hands over his face and mumbled into it, purposely hiding the curse words he'd learned from his father's friends.

Draco rolled his eyes at his wife and stood from the carpet. He pulled Fay up in the process, pressing a kiss to her rosy cheeks, making her giggle.

"Are you ready, then? We were meant to leave an hour ago."

"You're the one who's late," Draco interjected after his wife. "The kids and I have been waiting for you. Besides, I don't see the bloody point of going. I don't want to."

Hermione walked further into the room to stand across from Draco. She extended her hand out to her son and waited for him to grab it so she could help him up off the floor.

"Fine," added the blonde man, "forget I said anything. But I am warning you, it's going to be a disaster. It always is. I don't know why we agree to go every year."

"It's Pansy's birthday," reminded Hermione, "and she's your best friend. That's why we're going."

Draco snorted. "I never attended any of her birthday celebrations until I married you, you know. You conditioned her to expect our presence."

"The kids are excited to go." She smiled down at Scorpius who was now grinning. "James, Albus, and Teddy are back from their month-long holiday with Ginny and Harry. Not to mention I haven't seen all the other Weasleys for a while. It's going to be fun."

"Visit Pansy more often, then," offered Draco. "Her house is littered with them now that she married the Weasel and started having little Weasel babies."

"She's pregnant again, you know. Three months. Ron told me at work yesterday. He's hoping for a boy this time. Not that he doesn't love Rose, but you know how males are."

Draco smirked down at Scorpius and both of them high-fived one another.

"I'm happy for Pansy, I suppose. Not that I'm okay with her bringing more Weasleys into the world. Salazar knows there's enough of them."

"That's the same thing Ron said about the Malfoys after I gave birth to Fay," chided Hermione.

"But we are better than them, Hermione." At the frown taking over his wife's features, Draco lowered Fay back onto her little feet and quickly added, "All right, let's go. If I'm fortunate, there'll be enough liquor left that I can tolerate Weasel for the rest of the afternoon."

Draco smoothed his trousers from any wrinkles they might've gotten from sitting on his son's floor, Scorpius repeated the action. It was a curious thing to see; father and son were like twins. Hermione had seen Draco's childhood photographs, and she and Narcissa were certain that Scorpius was going to be an exact replica of his father when he got older. Hermione just hoped her son was kinder and less likely to look for trouble.

"Thank you, Daddy," said Fay as her father fixed her white ribbon again. "I love you."

"And I love you, sweetheart." Draco extended his hand for his daughter to take.

There was something about the way Fay's little hand disappeared into Draco's that made Hermione tear up. She knew how much her children loved their father, but Fay thought of him as her protector. He was her guardian angel. At just four, Fay was convinced that there was no better man in the world than her father; and no one better to take care of her. Fay often searched for her father's arms, and when asked why, when told she was getting too old to be held, she declared: 'Daddy keeps the monsters away.'

Noticing the tears falling down his wife's cheeks, Draco took his free hand and cupped the left side of her face. "What is it, love?"

Hermione pressed her cheek further into Draco's warm palm. "You're a wonderful father. It just...It just fills my heart with so much joy to see you with them, Draco. And to see how much they love you. We have a beautiful family, don't we?"

The silver in Draco's gaze softened. "We do. And it's all because of you."

"And we have a great marriage, don't we?"

"We have a perfect marriage," he corrected. "You're the woman of my dreams, Hermione. You're the love of my life. Despite you being an insufferable, stubborn know-it-all, I love you forever."

More tears fell past the brunette's lashes. "I love you, too." Just as her husband began to lean in to steal away a kiss, Hermione closed her eyes and murmured, "I'm pregnant."

Draco froze.

Slowly, Hermione opened her eyes and willed herself to look at the blonde man. "Two months. Angelina just confirmed. It's twins."

Awestruck, Draco blinked at his wife with uncertainty. Seconds passed like minutes and silence took over them. He roamed Hermione's face, inspecting her beautiful, warm eyes, her gorgeous features, then he scanned her belly. It was flat, but he thought back to the time when she was pregnant with Scorpius, and then when she was pregnant with Fay—it'd been so long ago. And she was absolutely radiant every time she was.

He remembered the first time he looked into Scorpius's eyes: Draco had been so afraid before, but one look at his son and Draco felt the world finally come alive around him. He felt pureness in his heart. For the first time, he looked at someone with his blood and thought him perfect. Scorpius was the first Malfoy born out of true love, admiration, affection, and forgiveness. And Draco couldn't help himself but to think that his son was perfect.

Then Hermione brought to life his little girl, his Fay. She was so small, so pink, and so warm in his arms. That time had been different. Draco already had two years of fatherhood experience to care for a newborn, but what took over him was a grand sense of protection. It was the daddy's-little-girl syndrome. He vowed to Fay as he cradled her asleep in his arms, Hermione already dreaming on her hospital bed, that he'd keep her safe even if it cost him his life.

Draco found redemption, happiness, light, and love through Hermione and their children. Never in his life did he think he would ever get to feel all of that on a daily basis. Before the rise of Voldemort, Draco imagined a life alike the one his parents led; cold, refined, and drowned in gold. During the time of the Dark Lord, Draco saw his life in nothing but darkness, or worse, buried six feet under ground. But then Hermione came along, with her loud opinions, intelligent mind, and warm eyes, and changed everything. He stole a kiss from her, and in turn he took a hand from fate that would lead him to bliss.

Every day with her, every day with Scorpius and Fay, was Draco's reward.

"We're going to be a bigger family now," muttered Draco, a smile breaking over his lips. "Twins!"

Husband and wife joined together in a blur of embraces and kisses. There were tears everywhere, laughter erupting from their hug, and Scorpius couldn't tell who was more emotional in that moment.

He sighed. "I hope they're boys," the boy said to Fay, "because you're torture enough."

"Am not!" Fay stomped on his foot.

Cosmo the puppy barked joyfully, wagging his golden tail around, as Draco and Hermione turned to their son and daughter to include them in their embrace.

"No! Let go!" protested Scorpius.

"New babies!" cheered Fay.