A/N- This chapter took a fair bit to get out because I wasn't sure who was coming in next and it felt like it took me forever to really settle on a person and flesh out their story. But once I did, it started to come together for me. So here it is, Chapter 9. Enjoy!
Hermione was looking through their mail when Draco entered the kitchen, "Love, George and Angelina are here." George and Angelina entered behind him, George carrying Scorpius and telling him all about the animals he was going to see that day at the zoo. George and Angelina were tagging along as Draco and Hermione took Scorpius to the zoo for the first time.
She smiled at her friends before looking at her husband, "We got an invitation to the fifth anniversary of the end of the war," she said, showing him the paper.
"We get those every year," George said. "It's just an opportunity to shower Harry with praise for being the Boy-Who-Lived-and-Saved-Us-All," he rolled his eyes and handed Scorpius to Angelina, "and the ministry making money off his actions. For someone ostracized by the ministry most of his childhood he's sure happy to be their wind-up monkey these days."
"George and I went to a few of them," Angelina said, "and they're horrible affairs. You might think it a tribute to those we lost but of course that's not the case. Just a dog and pony show of 'look at Harry Potter' and 'donate to the ministry in victim X's name.' We stopped attending but George's brothers say it's only getting worse with each year."
Hermione looked at Draco, "I didn't want to go anyway. I don't need a room of people glaring at you nor do I need to be anywhere near Harry."
"Oooh snubbing the ministry ball," George rubbed his hands together in glee. "That will be a hell of a headline. War Heroine Distances Herself From Harry Potter! Skeeter will be delighted."
"Let her try something," Hermione smirked, "I've only become more vindictive as I've aged."
"Isn't she sexy when she's thinking of eviscerating an enemy?" Draco asked, wrapping his arms around her waist, "So we'll not be attending the ball. Sounds great to me."
She smiled and kissed him, "Now that that's settled, let's head off to the zoo. I want to savor my day off with my family."
Hermione brought out the freshly made baguettes and loaves to open up her shop and was pleased to see a long line. She was surprised, though, to see Pansy Parkinson at the head of it. Hermione handed the bread off to one of her workers and went to the front door, unlocking it and opening it.
Pansy was first in and walked to the counter as Hermione walked behind it. "Pansy," she said politely. "What can I get for you?"
"A Chelsea bun for here and a loaf of Bara Brith to take home later," Pansy answered.
Hermione got her order together and handed it off to her cashier, "Thanks for coming."
"Can we talk when you're not busy?" Pansy asked her.
Seeing no sign of disgust or hate in Pansy's face their entire interaction, Hermione nodded her agreement, "Sure. When the morning rush is over."
Around an hour later Hermione sat down at Pansy's table with two cups of tea and two teacakes, "So what do you want to talk about?" Hermione asked her.
Pansy took a deep breath as she added some cream to her tea, "I want to apologize to you for my behavior in school. It was sometimes especially horrific and looking back, I'm very ashamed of it."
Hermione was surprised but hid it well, "Thank you, Pansy. I appreciate how hard that is to say. I accept your apology." Hermione took a sip of her tea, "How have you been these last five years?"
"Good," Pansy answered. "Independent finally. I started my own fashion line. Thanks to Draco leaving the country with you my father gave up on marrying me off to him and gave me the money saved for my dowry."
"Just like that he gave up on marrying you off to a pureblood?" Hermione was surprised. There were other eligible purebloods Pansy could have been handed off to if her father wanted.
"There weren't any other options. Of course there's Blaise but I would never want to date or marry that slut," Hermione snorted at Pansy's apt description of the dark-skinned Slytherin, "the rest either went to Azkaban after the war or you couldn't pay me enough to date them, let alone marry them. Draco was his last hope and you very conveniently destroyed that hope."
"I'm glad I could help," Hermione laughed.
Pansy smiled, "You really did. How have you found becoming Mrs. Malfoy?"
"Easier in Australia," Hermione answered honestly. "No one knew what that last name meant. I was just Hermione Malfoy née Granger, the witch who helped save Britain. But here things are different. People still hold such anger toward Draco. Unfair anger."
"There's plenty of that still around," Pansy rolled her eyes. "But you all seem to be doing well."
"Better than expected, really," Hermione mused. "Draco never thought his parents would accept me or my parents. Narcissa and my mother get on very well. He missed them more than he'd ever admit but at least everyone is getting along."
"That's good. I saw Narcissa a few times over the past few years and she always seemed rather distraught. Draco was a mama's boy, which I'm sure you saw when we were at school. But in all honesty, she loved being a mum and Draco was her whole world."
"She loves being a grandmother," Hermione laughed. "She and my mother fight over babysitting duties. They make up reasons for us to leave Scorpius with them."
Pansy laughed. She'd always liked Narcissa. She'd often in her youth wished her mother was as fond of her as Narcissa was of Draco. "I'm glad your life is going well."
"Thank you Pansy," Hermione smiled. "Do you want to see the closest thing to a miniature Draco?"
"Oh, please," Pansy said, smiling as Hermione pulled a photo out of her apron pocket. Pansy gasped as she looked at the photo. Scorpius truly was a miniature Draco, "He's so cute! I bet he's a terror though."
"That's not an unfair description," Hermione conceded. "He's got our worst traits but he's also so sweet. And Draco is an incredible father. He was so excited when we got pregnant."
Pansy had never really imagined Draco as a father in the time she'd known him but she was glad that her friend was happy and had the life he deserved. She glanced at the time. She had an appointment soon. "I have to leave soon but I'd like to talk to you again. I'm having a fashion show this weekend. Maybe you'd like to come? You could bring some friends if you want."
"Angelina might like to go," Hermione mused. "And I'm sure Narcissa will."
"You should bring your mother too," Pansy said. "My fashion is just fine for muggles too. You could make it a girls' day out or something."
"That does sound like fun," Hermione admitted. "I love Scorp but sometimes I need a day off too."
"I'll send you the tickets then," Pansy said, standing. "It was lovely to finally talk to you."
"Likewise," Hermione said, also standing. "I can't wait to tell Draco we had tea. The look on his face should be classic." Pansy laughed. She liked Hermione. She had been confident that if Hermione was married to Draco, surely the witch wasn't the stuck up Gryffindor she'd always thought she was. That had proven to be a very accurate hypothesis.
That evening Hermione was just closing up the shop when Draco arrived. She let him in before closing the door and locking it, "I've been wanting to do this all day," Draco declared, pulling her into his arms and kissing her.
Hermione returned it before pulling back. "How was your day?"
"Annoying," Draco answered. "Sometimes I really hate my father's business. I absolutely despise some of his contacts."
"Draco, love, you can change things if you want to," she reminded him.
"I know," he sighed. "I want to, but I'm not sure father is up for such things."
"Lucius might surprise you," Hermione pointed out. "He already did by being okay with your choice in partner. And by being happy to be a grandfather."
"Yeah," Draco admitted. "But enough about me, love. How was your day?"
"Good," she answered, wiping down a table and giving him a cloth to do the same, "Pansy was first in line today. We had tea."
"What did she want?" Draco asked, pausing in his work.
"To apologize for how she treated me in school," Hermione answered, glancing over at her husband to savor his shocked expression at her words.
"Yes," Hermione answered. "We chatted for a bit and she invited me to her upcoming fashion show."
Draco's brain was still trying to grasp the concept of Pansy apologizing so he missed Hermione's next words. "Wait, what?"
"She's a fashion designer and she's having a fashion show this weekend and invited me and anyone I wanted to bring to attend it. She even suggested I bring my mother," Hermione was barely containing a smile as she savored completely shocking her husband.
"Are you going to go?" He asked after taking that in.
"I think I will," Hermione nodded. "I'll ask Narcissa and Angelina to go with me. And my mother, since Pansy invited her too." Draco quietly breathed a sigh of relief. If anyone tried anything, at least his mother was there to cast some nasty hexes. Hermione heard the sigh, though, and rolled her eyes. "Honestly Draco, things are better than you make them out to be."
"I know things have improved generally but Blaise and Daphne were the same as ever," he argued. "Why should Pansy be different?"
"Because you changed too," she answered before gently kissing her husband, "Sometimes I think you forget that you, once upon a time, would have been horrified to even hold my hand; let alone kiss me."
Draco frowned at the memories her words brought forth. He'd been a bigoted little wanker in his youth. But after third year, he'd realized that blood status was pointless. And fourth year he'd had to admit that the muggleborn witch was attractive as she shone on Viktor Krum's arm. But it was sixth year that had really changed his life. The year he'd been branded and ordered to kill Dumbledore. The bitterly cold September night up on top of the Astronomy Tower when Draco had considered killing himself to save his own soul had changed his whole life.
Draco Malfoy stood on the parapet of the Astronomy Tower, gazing down below. He swallowed. It was a long fall. He took a deep breath. He could do this. He heard the door open and then a gasp. Draco didn't turn around until he heard her say, "Malfoy no. Get down from there."
He turned his head to see Hermione Granger standing near the door, "Go away Granger."
She stepped out onto the tower properly, "You can't do this, Draco. Whatever it is, we can get you help. You're not alone."
He scoffed, "Tell that to your beloved headmaster. I told him everything and you know what he said to me? He couldn't help me. Things have to play out as is." Draco's eyes narrowed, "I ask for help, which Hogwarts is always supposed to give, and I get tossed aside. Apparently Hogwarts only helps if it's the precious Boy-Who-Lived."
Hermione moved toward him, "I'll help you Draco," she said.
"You would help me?" He looked at her disbelievingly.
"Yes," she answered determinedly.
Draco shook his head, "Nothing you can do anyway." He took a breath and looked down toward the ground. In the dark of night you couldn't even see the ground below the Astronomy Tower. He was fairly certain it would be a very painful death. And it would devastate his mother but he knew he was going to fail in this mission he didn't even want. Dying this way was better than at the hands of the madman Voldemort. The headmaster wouldn't help him in life, but he'd cover up a student's suicide. Draco was certain of it.
Silence reigned and Hermione moved so that she was out of his line of sight, even out the corner of his eye. After a minute or two he heard her say his name, "Draco…"
"What Granger? I'm a bit busy," Draco turned his head and his eyes widened. Hermione had unbuttoned her shirt and was taking it off and…who knew the Gryffindor princess was hiding those under her jumpers and robes?!
"Too busy for me?" Hermione asked, her body immediately feeling the effects of the cold and her nipples hardening against her bra.
Draco couldn't tear his eyes away from her. "I knew you were attractive fourth year but sweet Salazar…"
"Climb down from the ledge and I'll let you touch them," she said, her hand moving to the fastener of her skirt, "and even more."
Draco had never heard a better offer. He climbed down from the parapet and wrapped his arms around her before his lips met hers in a rough, desperate kiss. Hermione returned it, her arms wrapping around his neck as the kiss deepened. She moaned into his mouth. The wind picked up and she shivered, "Let's get you inside where it's warm," he breathed, pulling back from the kiss. He quickly gathered her clothes with his wand and they entered the tower.
That had been the best night of Draco's life up until that point. He and Hermione had spent the entire night up in the Astronomy Tower shagging one another's brains out until they'd collapsed in exhaustion. Draco's whole life had changed after that, and while Hermione couldn't get him out of the Death Eaters what she did do was give him a reason to live. She'd also reminded him that he wasn't like his parents. He didn't have to be. He could be more.
Still, he couldn't see himself as a Death Eater. So Hermione had instead made him her spy. It certainly made their sexual encounters a little spicier, but it also gave him a mission. Give her information. Sabotage Death Eater raids. Find out about horcruxes. Draco did just that, both at Hogwarts and the year after.
Hermione smiled at the wistful expression on her husband's face as he thought about that first night atop the Astronomy Tower. She wrapped her arms around his neck to make him focus on her. "Draco, why can't you give others the chance you got?"
"I'm more cynical than you," he answered honestly.
"It's not just that," she said. "You've given your parents a chance, after all. But you don't offer that to our former classmates."
"I remember what they used to say about you," Draco frowned. "And Pansy was one of the worst."
"And she apologized for it," Hermione pointed out. "Just like you did."
"I doubt she did it like I did," Draco responded. "I seem to recall us being naked and my tongue being very, very thorough when I was apologizing to you."
Hermione's cheeks flushed at the memory, "Okay she didn't apologize exactly like you did," she admitted, biting her lip. "But you have to admit that you changed yet don't expect others could have changed."
"You think she's different?"
"She's very different from what I saw of her at school," Hermione answered. "Daphne I didn't interact enough with to really form an opinion about, but Pansy I certainly did." Draco thought about it as they finished locking up the store. Once they were finished Hermione slid into his open arms and Draco held her close as they popped home via apparition.
Back at Malfoy Manor Hermione held Scorpius close to her, "I missed you little man," she whispered into his ear.
Scorpius giggled and touched her cheek with his hand, "Mama."
Draco smiled as he watched his wife and son interact. This was so much more than he'd ever thought he'd get way back in their sixth year at Hogwarts. His relationship with Hermione had changed after that night in the Tower. They had once been enemies, then around fourth year it had cooled to rivals. Suddenly they had become lovers and Draco had an option. He was stuck in the Death Eaters but he could still help Hermione destroy Voldemort. He was the 'inside man' who could take down the Death Eaters, as Hermione had explained it as they lay there on the mattress she'd transfigured when they'd entered the Tower several hours before. The more she'd talked the more Draco had liked the idea. It didn't hurt that much of the plotting was done nude. Or that their sessions in which he told her about what he'd been hearing were also done nude. And then there was their close contact, fully clothed, as he taught her how to cast dark magic as well as block it.
But then he had developed feelings for her. It was impossible not to, if he was honest. Hermione had become the most important person in his life at that point, other than his mother. She was so kind and forgiving but in the sessions in which they practiced dark magic he also saw this viciousness she possessed that he found so attractive. Looking back, he couldn't pinpoint exactly when he fell in love with her. But he had, and it was one of very few things he had done in his years at Hogwarts that he didn't regret.
After dinner the couple set about caring for their son, Draco as always valuing the time he got to spend with his family. All too soon Scorpius' bedtime arrived and after reading him a story he was tucked into his crib for the night. The young parents watched their son sleep for a few minutes before they exited his bedroom, leaving Nanny in charge until the morning.
Up in their bedroom Hermione watched Draco, "Draco you know that I'm proud of you, don't you?"
He nodded and pulled his shirt over his head, "Of course. And I'm sure Pansy could change. I just struggle to see it, given how she used to be."
"The same could be said of you," she kissed the corner of his mouth and entered the bathroom. "I need a shower. Care to help me scrub those hard to reach spots?" She asked.
"Absolutely," Draco answered, quickly removing his pants and heading for their bathroom.
Over the next few days a skeptical Draco looked into Pansy and had to admit, his wife seemed to be right. Pansy had a fashion line, and it had strong muggle influences. He couldn't imagine the Pansy he took to the Yule Ball fourth year doing that. And Pansy wasn't exactly hanging around in the same circles as Daphne Greengrass. Draco had the feeling Pansy had even less tolerance for Daphne's situation than he and Hermione did, actually.
So when the day of the fashion show arrived he held his son and kissed his wife goodbye before she headed out with their mothers and Angelina, telling her to have fun. "Well Scorp, it's just the two of us today," he said to his son. "We'll have lots of fun while Mummy is at her boring thing," he promised. "How about morning cartoons and then we can play?" Scorpius nodded and clapped his hands in approval. Draco smiled. It'd be a good day, just the two of them.
Hermione was surprised to see Dennis Creevey, her former housemate, at the show. Dennis had a camera around his neck and grinned at her, "Hi Hermione!"
"Hello Dennis," she greeted him. "You're working here today?"
"For the Prophet," Dennis nodded. "I'm a professional photographer now."
"That's wonderful," Hermione smiled. "I'm glad to hear it."
"I've been by the bakery," he said. "Though not when you were there."
"I try to be there as much as I can but sometimes being a mum comes first," Hermione said before remembering her mother and the others were nearby, "Oh, this is my mother, Helen, and my mother-in-law Narcissa Malfoy. And this is my friend Angelina Johnson. I think she was a seventh year when you were a first year."
"Nice to meet you," he said to the two older women. "Hermione's brilliant, you know," he said to Helen. "She made all us younger muggleborn students feel comfortable at Hogwarts and especially in Gryffindor house."
Hermione smiled at his praise while Helen looked at her daughter, her eyes full of pride. "It's always nice to hear about my daughter's time at that school," Helen said. "She told us so little when she was a student."
Dennis looked at the clock, "I should go. It's almost time and I need to be in position to take lots of photos. It was good to see you Hermione."
"Thanks Dennis. It was nice to see you too," Hermione said.
"He seems very nice," Helen said after he'd left and they were making their way to their seats.
"His older brother Colin was a year below me. He died in the Final Battle," Hermione sighed. Colin had idolized Harry and her former friend had always been a bit of a dick to Colin. It had irritated her; but then, that was part of what Hermione had brought to the trio. Her ability to empathize with others. Harry and Ron certainly weren't capable of that, as she'd come to learn.
"I remember them. I always thought they were sweet," Angelina said.
"They were," Hermione nodded. "I'm glad he's doing well. Colin's death was hard on him."
"So this Pansy was one of Draco's friends?" Helen asked Narcissa once they were seated.
"I believe my son would use the term acquaintance," Narcissa smirked. "He was never big on the word friend in his youth. But Pansy was often at the manor. Her father wanted us to write up a marriage contract between Draco and Pansy but we refused. Draco was to marry for love."
"And he did," Helen smiled. "I've certainly never doubted he loved my daughter. Draco was very demonstrative of that from the moment we met him."
"You accepted their relationship much better than we did," Narcissa mused.
"Once we knew she was a witch, we knew her life would be very different," Helen admitted. "I was quick to accept Draco. Troy was suspicious but I think that was just the standard protective father bit in all honesty. He came around fairly quickly. We only ever wanted Hermione to be happy and there was no disputing that Draco makes her very happy."
Hermione was very amused by how muggle all of Pansy's fashions were but there was also no denying how gorgeous it was. Pansy clearly had an eye for detail and the collection was very appealing. After the show there was a small after-party. Hermione saw many people there, including Madame Malkin herself, that she presumed were possible buyers for Pansy's clothes. The four women stayed, talking about the fashions they'd seen and after about ten minutes Pansy made her way over to them, "I'm so glad you could come," Pansy greeted Hermione. "What did you think?"
"I thought the whole thing was lovely," Hermione answered. "Pansy, this is my mother, Helen, my friend Angelina Johnson, and of course you know Narcissa."
"Nice to meet you," Pansy said to Helen, shaking the muggle's hand. "and to see you again, Mrs. Malfoy."
"Pansy," Narcissa nodded, "I was quite impressed with your fashion line. It's quite stunning."
"My only problem is trying to combine muggle fashion with pureblood sensibilities. It's quite difficult given how opposite the two can be."
"I can imagine," Helen chuckled. "I recall Draco's shock when we went to a muggle beach in Australia."
Pansy laughed, "Oh I'd have loved to see that!"
"It was quite amusing," Hermione agreed. "Of course, he quickly adapted. Do not let the man into a lingerie shop. He'll walk out several thousand galleons lighter."
"At least he knows your size," Angelina pointed out. "I love George but he's clueless."
"He's George," Hermione pointed out. "I'm amazed he knows his own sizes sometimes." Angelina laughed and nodded, knowing how scatterbrained George could be. Especially when he was working on a new product or invention. Helen and Narcissa shared an amused look as they sipped their wine and watched the younger women interact.
Pansy stayed with the group for fifteen minutes before she had to excuse herself to go talk to some shopkeepers. "She's certainly changed since I first met her," Narcissa mused.
Hermione nodded in agreement, "That's what I noticed. I never saw Pansy smile at Hogwarts but she looks very happy now."
"Her father is a blood purist who wasn't a Death Eater but associated with them," Narcissa explained. "In my experience those types were usually worse. They felt they were below the radar enough they could do whatever they wanted. Pansy didn't have an easy childhood."
Hermione knew Draco hadn't had an easy childhood either, but didn't say anything. Sometimes it wasn't worth it to remind his parents they'd not given him the best childhood. They were good grandparents and parents now, after all, and she knew they desperately wanted to make up for how they'd been when Draco was younger.
After drinks and the promise of lunch soon with Pansy, Hermione apparated her mother back home before heading back to Malfoy Manor. She arrived to a quiet house. "I don't like it when I come home to a quiet house," Hermione mused. "Nanny!"
"Yes Mistress?" Nanny appeared with a quiet pop.
"Where are Draco and Scorp?"
"They is in tv room," Nanny answered. "They is making a fort and taking nap in it." Hermione smiled and walked down the hall to the room in question to see exactly what Nanny had described. A fort of pillows and tall-backed dining room chairs with blankets offering a 'roof' to the structure. She grinned. She'd taught Draco how to make a blanket fort when they'd first started trying for a baby. She walked around the fort to see the opening and inside was Draco, Scorpius curled up against him and clutching his stuffed dragon. In one corner of the fort was a pile of snacks and next to them was a pile of books.
After watching her husband and son sleep for a few minutes she decided to let them rest and headed to the kitchens to start dinner. She'd tell Draco all about her time with Pansy later.