My apologies for sort of disappearing there for a while. I needed a mental health break for myself and this took longer to finish than I anticipated. It's here though for anyone who is still interested. My sincerest thanks for all of the love and support for this story. You've all been so wonderful and I appreciate you greatly. I hope you enjoy the final chapter.

31 August, 2010: 10:45am

"Draco, love, this is absurd."

She called him 'love'. In public. That's how he knew he'd gone over the edge.

He looked up from where he was squatting in the sweets aisle, a shopping basket at his side. Given that they'd bought all of Rose's supplies after her birthday, Hermione only had to have her fitted for her robes. Draco went on a mission while she and the girls were in Madam Malkin's. The shop's namesake herself had stolen Violet out of his hands and was busy bouncing their toddler on her hip while Rose was fitted. His children were quite spoiled.

"She needs a stash for the first term," he said, a sheepish blush heating his cheeks.

Hermione shifted Violet on her hip and rolled her eyes. Her smile betrayed her though. "Have you forgotten that owl post exists? We can send her things whenever we'd like to."

"Yeah, but it's nice to have some tucked away."

She shook her head before leaning over to have a glance inside the shopping basket. "Alright, but I think you've done enough damage."

He tossed the blue sugar quills into the basket before he stood. The shop was crowded and he imagined her nerves were likely near the breaking point. It didn't matter how well people viewed their marriage. She still hated crowds. She hated the stares.

They stepped in line and he reached out to run a hand over Violet's curls. She was barely awake on Hermione's shoulder, blinking at him sleepily. A short reprieve. She'd likely be talking their heads off at home later. She was in a very talkative stage.

"Where's Rose?"

"She asked to run to George's shop. Ginny told her he had something for her."

"That reminds me—did we get her food for the cat?"

"Yes, she has everything she needs for Nyx. I'll send more if she runs out." She sent him an amused grin as she tipped her head to meet his eyes. "You act as if you've never experienced this before."

Draco shrugged. "I suppose it's different when it's your kid and not you. In fact, you're more calm than I imagined you'd be."

"Just wait until tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be a crying mess at King's Cross."

He scoffed. "You? What about me? I don't need Potter seeing me crying again. He still takes the piss out of me over when I cried the time she asked me to adopt her."

"Does he now? Well, then I'll certain to remind him of how he blubbered each time his children were born." She stretched up on her toes to kiss his cheek. "Besides, I like that you don't hide your emotions."

He rolled his eyes but it was all for show.

Rose slipped inside the busy shop without much notice. The older Hogwarts students were giggling over love potions and Peruvian Darkness Powder among other things. It was clear by the number of intrigued looks she'd gotten since she and her family arrived to purchase her robes for her first year that people were watching her more than usual. Would she be like her mother? All top marks and a natural at magic? Would she get sorted into Gryffindor? Or would she be like her Aunt and Uncles? A penchant for mischief?

She stepped up to the counter. She was old enough to see over it now without standing on her toes but was still among the shorter kids her age. Thanks, mum.

"Uncle George!"

The man with his back to her turned and quickly froze. Oh. Him.

Rose swallowed the rise of bile in her mouth and nearly turned to leave. Something made her stop. It may have been the way his eyes widened. Perhaps even that their surprise mirrored her own. She watched as he wiped his hands on the short apron around his waist.

"Is-is Uncle George here?" She tried again.

Ron shook himself as he took a few careful steps closer but not too close. "Err…yeah." He hitched a thumb over his shoulder. "He ran to the back. Should be back any moment." He chewed the edge of his lip as if considering whether he should say more.

"Uncle George said he had new cat treats for Nyx to try. They're supposed to make her float."

His brows crawled north. "Oh, right, yeah. That's uh…just here."

He reached for a nearby jar under the counter and pulled out a paper bag which he began scooping the treats into. She could feel it. The energy buzzing there. She knew before he even opened his mouth. Before he glanced at her.

"Are you…are you excited then? Your mum and dad got you all set?"

Rose could count on one hand the number of times she'd seen Ron Weasley in the last three years.

She steeled her spine, just like her mum would. "They have. Mum went by the list."

His mouth edged in a small smile as he folded the top of the bag over. It was like he was living in a memory. It was how her mum looked when she told her some old story she'd kept under lock and key. The older she got the more stories her mum finally told her.

"Sounds like her."

She blinked. "And me."

She wasn't like him. Not in the ways that mattered. Or so she hoped. She'd spoken to him only a handful of times over the years, mostly out of curiosity. Aunt Ginny told her that was her mum in her. She couldn't deny being curious about this man who abandoned them but that was all it was. Just curiosity. Because then she'd think of how he hurt her mum and how he'd not come back for them and how her dad—the one whose name she shared, hyphenated with her mum's now—and the curiosity dried up like ash.

"Hey! There's my favorite niece," George called as he wove through the crowd. He stooped to hug her and then realized she wasn't alone. "Ah, well, seems you've got those cat treats. Let me know how Nyx finds them, yeah? Should make for some fun in the common room. Just make sure to tell me if she floats too high. She won't like being stuck on a chandelier. Those things are dustier than an old boot."

She tipped her head, her eyes searching between the two brothers. "I don't know where I'll be sorted yet."

Ron pressed his lips together, stopping any words from coming out.

George blinked. "Well, wherever you end up, they'll be lucky to have you."

She swallowed. The sorting was the thing she was most worried about. "Dad bet Uncle Harry ten galleons it's Gryffindor but he didn't rule out a hatstall."

"Your mum almost hatstalled." The words came from Ron. He looked nearly as surprised as she was that he said it. However, he continued. "Between Ravenclaw. She would have been bloody brilliant anywhere. I think we were all glad though that they didn't get her. They can be smug enough as it is."

George shot him a look. "There's nothing wrong with Ravenclaw. They're just…a smidge proud is all. Gryffindors are, too, though. You'll be fine, Rose."

She pressed her lips together in a small smile and lifted the bag of cat treats. "Thank you."

She nodded at each of them before she turned and left.

1 September, 2010: 2:15am

"What are you doing down here?"

Hermione glanced over her shoulder from where she was seated at the kitchen island and shrugged. "I woke for the loo and couldn't get back to sleep."

Draco approached and pressed a kiss to her temple as he sat next to her. He pulled the teapot towards himself and summoned a cup from the cabinet.

"I'd thought I tired you out enough."

Heat spread across her cheeks as she remembered how he'd seduced her. She knew it was partially to distract her. Her nerves over Rose leaving were growing and quickly building like fiendfyre.

She smiled behind her cup as she lifted it to her lips. "You're very talented but I'm sorry to tell you even that can't cure anxiety."

He pressed his left hand to his chest in mock horror and his wedding band caught the dim light from the only lights on over the kitchen sink. Feeling as emotional as she was about Rose, she had to fight off a wave of tears thinking about how much she loved him and Violet as well.

"I'm offended you feel I'm losing my touch."

Hermione shook her head and placed her cup on the counter. "I never said that and I hardly think you could draw that conclusion given the frequency of our activities."

Draco snorted into his cup. "You make it sound so clinical. Sorry to tell you, love, there was nothing clinical about the sounds you were making earlier."

She swatted at his arm and shot him a glare. And as much as she loved him, he could still be a arse sometimes.

"You're impossible."

"I'm amusing and you know it." He placed his cup down again and reached for her closest hand. His thumb traced circles over knuckles. "She's going to be fine, Hermione. More than anything, you need to make sure she sees that you'll be fine."

Hermione swallowed. "Has she said something?"

He lifted his shoulders and bobbed his head. "Not so much said it as I had to read between the lines as I often do with you. She's worried you'll be too sad."

"I will be, but I'll manage all the same. I just—" She sighed. "I love them both so much. You know? It just overwhelms me sometimes."

"I know, love. Trust me. I hate that I missed the first eight years of Rose's life, but I'm still thankful I got to be here the last three. And it's not forever. She'll come home for holidays and then she'll finish school before Violet even gets her turn so you won't be without them both."

"We won't be without them both."

Draco grinned and used his hold on her hand to pull her closer for a kiss. "Yes, we. Thank you."

"You've nothing to thank me for."

"Of course, I do. You gave me two brilliant daughters. I'll always thank you for that."

Hermione sighed. He was always thanking her for things she didn't feel he needed to thank her for.

She downed the last of her tea and pushed off of her stool. She held her hands out to him. "We should try to get some sleep. I'd rather not be completely drained tomorrow."

Draco smirked at her as he allowed her to pull along. "I suppose that answers my question of whether I can convince you on a second round."

Hermione bit her lip and said nothing. Truth be told, she had trouble saying no to him. He made it so worthwhile to say yes.


The car ride was familiar even if the destination was rather new. Draco strapped Violet into her carseat and was treated to a lovely scowl that resembled his own even if it did come with Hermione's features as Violet, too, seemed to take after Rose in not appreciating it. Hermione stood with Rose at the boot, loading her trunk and other things. Nyx clung to Rose's shoulder as if she also knew they would be leaving for a while.

"Extra jumpers for the weekends?" Hermione asked.

"Yes, mum."

"What about parchment? I don't want you to run out in the first few weeks. You tend to write a lot."

"Dad says I get it from you, and yes. Five extra feet of it."

"Quills? You'd be surprised how easy you can snap one by accident under a pile of books."

"Dad got the more durable eagle feather ones."

"Your cauldron? Did you put the beginning stock ingredients inside it to save space?"

Rose sighed. "Yes, mum."

Hermione pushed the boot door closed and turned to her. Familiar blue eyes gazed back. Hermione bit her lip as her eyes roved over her daughter. Rose had spent a good bit of time in the sun this summer and she had a small smattering of light, barely there freckles dusting across her nose and cheeks. Those were from Ron. Even as Rose's hair got darker with age, there were still bits of him there.

She pressed her lips into a smile and reached out to tuck a few curls behind Rose's ear. "You're going to have a good time today. I know it."

Rose's mouth curled in a small smile as well and it was clear the reassurance mattered. Hermione didn't want her daughter worrying over her own feelings. She wanted Rose to enjoy the journey. This was what she and Harry and Ron had fought for. A chance for their own children to go to school free of worries.

"Oi, you two," Draco called. He was leaning against the open passenger door, smiling. "We're going to be late if you don't stop going over that bloody list. We'll owl her anything she might have missed."

Hermione huffed and jerked her chin towards the backseat. She rounded the car, not before slapping at her husband's hip on the way. His chuckle carried over into the car as she slid in behind the wheel. He still claimed he wasn't ready to learn to drive the thing.

"Alright then," she said. "King's Cross Station."

The trip was filled with Violet babbling to Rose about some cartoon or another, Peppa Pig most likely. Draco kept shooting Hermione little looks. Check-ins really. He was nervous for her while she was nervous for Rose.

She found parking relatively easy. So many families used the discreet aparition point these days. Draco went for the trunk while she unbuckled Violet.

"Send me her drawings," Rose said while they made the trek to the station.

Hermione smiled as Violet leaned over her shoulder to see her sister.

"Cats or pigs?" Violet asked.

Rose looked at her like she'd lost her mind. "Cats of course. What am I to do with pig drawings?"

Violet blew a raspberry at Rose. Hermione laughed. Some siblings didn't get along at all. She knew in less than a week's time Violet was going to be missing Rose fiercely. Rose was the one who played her silly little drawing games. Rose was the one who snuck her sweets when their backs were turned. Rose doted on her quite a lot.

Hermione paused. "You know what? Hand me Nyx. You two talk this out. I'm not going to be sending the wrong drawings and getting a nasty letter when a pig shows up instead of a cat."

She set Voilet on her feet and took Rose's cat. Rose took Violet's hand and together they started arguing over colors and magical animals. Nyx curled herself on Hermione's shoulder and purred with her face stuck in her curls. Even the cat needed a break.

"A whole four months without a verbal argument over proper coloring technique?" Draco asked as he pushed Rose's belongings on a cart.

"I know. Seems like a lifetime."

"Speak for yourself. Do you know how many times I've been asked to sharpen the orange crayon as of late? A lifetime wouldn't be enough. The bloody crayon is basically a nub!"

Hermione backhanded his stomach lightly but smiled. "I just love how well they get on."

"I do as well. They're good kids."

"There you are!" Mrs. Granger called as she wove through the foot traffic to join them.

"Were you waiting long?" Draco asked.

"Not very, no." She grinned at her grandchildren and then looked to Hermione. "I've not done this in years. It's rather exciting."

They were nearly to the barrier wall for Platform 9 3/4 when she said. "Maybe we should get a cat for the house."

"Hermione, you can't already be trying to fill the void with another fur ball."

She slapped his arm with her free hand. "I've seen you spoiling that cat more times than I can count when no one was looking. Don't even deny that you like her. We're getting another. I've decided just now."

He groaned and glanced at his mother-in-law. "Perhaps Potter is right and I am whipped."

Hermione shot him a small smirk before she hurried forward. Nyx moved to wrap around her shoulders instinctively and she took both of the girls' hands.

"Alright then. Don't let go."

It was one thing having a accidental burst of magic. Hermione remembered all too well how confused and concerned her own parents had been. It was another taking the leap of walking through Platform 9 3/4 and into a whole new world of possibility. Magic was real. Magic was inside her. And she wasn't the only one.

She'd not felt the rush of magic course through her body from running through the platform since she was seventeen and ended her sixth year. There was something about it that was like nothing else in the world.

Both girls looked up at her as they emerged on the other side and she knew they understood. Draco followed after and he smiled.

"Let's start a journey then, yeah?"

The platform was bustling with families. Rose stayed close as she didn't recognize most of them and neither did Hermione for that matter. Draco knew more than a few. These days he received more neutral greetings than glares. People seemed to have accepted that he was just like them—a man with a family and a job.

Towards the middle of the platform Colin was there with his parents and waved to Rose. They didn't make it quite that far though when they ran into a group of people they certainly recognized.

Harry and Ginny were waiting with James and Albus. George was there, too, holding a bag from his shop. Molly and Arthur were there as well and Molly had a small bag that no doubt had something hand knitted for the cold Scottish weather. And then surprisingly, hanging towards the back of the crowd, was Ron.

Mrs. Granger leaned over to Hermione. "Did you know he'd be here?"

She nodded. "We discussed it. He won't speak to her unless she speaks to him first. He just wanted to hang in the back and get to see her leave."

Her mother looked skeptical but said nothing. Instead, she leaned down to pick up Violet who was begging for attention.

"I'll get the trunk on the train. Is she keeping Nyx out?" Draco asked, already leading the cart away.

Hermione remembered the cat still curled around her shoulders and hiding her face in her hair. "Yes."

He smiled and nodded before taking off. She briefly caught the moment he and Oliver greeted one another while the latter loaded Colin's trunk as well. Draco's friend circle was continuously expanding and she loved that for him.

"Have we missed it?"

Hermione turned. Blaise and Theo were walking up with their son. Pansy and her new wife were trailing behind them, whispering and giggling as they were often doing. The latter was so jarring still to see from Pansy but at least she was happy.

"Not at all," she said. "But have you seen Draco's mother?"

Blaise pointed behind her. "Right behind you in the crowd there, Granger?"

She whirled around, one hand on the cat she was still holding who did not appreciate the quick movement. Sure enough, Narcissa had somehow managed to appear out of nowhere and was there with Molly and her own mother no doubt plying Rose with more school gifts. Her children were terribly spoiled. And especially Violet who had found her way into Arthur's arms. No doubt he was plying her with questions about crayons again.

And Ron still hung back. He lifted his hand and gave her a small wave before he tucked it back in his pocket.

Hermione nodded and tipped her head. "Go on then. Get your goodbyes in but do try and not make it sound like this is a final one. She's nervous about leaving home enough."

She excused herself from the crowd and found Ron.

"It was still alright that I came, right?"

She winced as Nyx climbed down and settled in her arms. "Yes, of course. It's what we agreed to."

Ron nodded. "Quite the crowd here."

She looked behind her and her lips tugged in a small smile. "Yes, my children are quite lucky."

He returned her smile with a crooked one of his own. "Well, I'd argue they got lucky first with you as a mum." He bobbed his head side to side. "Eh, Malfoy as a dad, too."

Hermione couldn't hide her shock if she tried and he quickly ducked his eyes to his shoes.

"Don't make a big deal of it, yeah?" He looked up again and grinned. "But I can see how much he loves her. Both of them. I'm glad she's got that. And maybe that's just the sort of thing Malfoy needed not to be a total git."

She snorted. "I think he and I needed each other honestly. But thank you. You've come a long way in the last few years."

Ron lifted his shoulders. "Better late than never, I suppose. I know it won't make up for anything in the past but…I don't know. I'm just doing my best."

"And you're doing well."

He swallowed. "I'll admit I regret losing my chance with Rose, but I also regret losing you as a friend."

Hermione pressed her lips together to stop any words from spilling out. In some ways, she actually missed their friendship as well. He'd frustrated her of course but he used to make her laugh like Harry still did.

She nudged her chin towards the crowd. "I should get back to them. Would you like to know where she gets sorted though?"

Ron beamed at the offer. "I'd love that. Thanks."

She nodded and turned back to her family. Draco met her partway and took the cat from her arms. Nyx seemed to appreciate the higher perch and curled around his neck instead. She smiled as he winced whenever her claws got him.

"Everything alright?" He asked.

"Perfectly fine."

Draco waited patiently while the grandparents gave their hugs and snuck extra sweets into Rose's bags. He did his best not to glare at Ron Weasley standing awkwardly at the back of the group, just there to watch the child he came back too late to claim step onto the Hogwarts Express for the first time. It wasn't really that Draco felt threatened by him anymore. It was mostly just his general dislike for the prick.

Finally, it was his turn. He bent down on one knee when Rose approached him. Hermione stood nearby, holding Nyx and waiting to say goodbye last.

"I'm nervous," Rose whispered to him.

He leaned in and swiped a stray curl behind her ear. She was so much like Hermione.

"You're going to be brilliant. Just like your mum was."

"How can you tell?"

He lifted his shoulders, a lopsided grin pulling at the edges of his lips. "Gut instinct. Plus, you're a Granger. Comes with the genes, I suppose."

Rose tilted her head and for the flash of a second, he saw her again at seven, days away from eight years old, and standing with him on a chilly London sidewalk in front of the bookshop.

"Granger-Malfoy," she said, correcting him.

His grin widened. "Of course. Can't ever forget that. Make sure those other kids know it, too."

Rose bit down on the edge of her lip. "I'm going to miss you, dad."

Draco opened his arms and wrapped them tightly around her in a hug when she fell into them. He saw Hermione over Rose's shoulder, biting down on her lip as well, fighting back tears.

"Nowhere near as much as I'll miss you," he whispered. She pulled back from him, swiping her fingers under her eyes. "You're my good luck charm, you know."

Rose blinked. "I am?"

"Of course. Ever since you ran into me that day, my life's only gotten better. Without that moment, I wouldn't have gotten to take your mum to dinner. I wouldn't have gotten to spend time with you both and then all of us become a family."

She flashed him a small smile. "I think me and mum were lucky, too."

Draco nodded and leaned forward to press a kiss to her hair before he stood. "Just promise me one thing. Enjoy yourself. And for Merlin's sake, write your mum letters!"

She giggled and he was pleased with himself for not crying. Not because he didn't want her to see. She'd seen him cry plenty. He didn't care about that anymore. He just wanted so badly for her not to be thinking about him and Hermione while she was entering this new world. He wanted her to have all of the fun they did and didn't get to have as kids.

Rose held out her hand, pinky out. "Don't forget—I might be at school, but we're still sharing her."

He smirked and wrapped his pinky around hers. "I'll never forget that."

Hermione was on the edge of a full-blown cry watching them. Her throat burned as she swallowed her tears and she stepped closer when Draco waved her over.

"My turn?" She asked, trying to make her voice light.

Rose arched a brow, just like Draco often did, as she took her cat back. "Mum, I know you're trying not to cry."

Hermione sucked in a breath and smiled. "Perhaps but it's only because I'm so excited for you."

"And you'll miss me," Rose said, flashing her a cheeky smile.

"Merlin, I can't decide if you get that from your dad or not," she said, kneeling down to pull her daughter into a hug.

Draco extracted the cat from between them and Hermione could hear him muttering to it softly, something about perhaps I'll miss you a little, you furry rat.

Rose pressed her head against Hermione's shoulder and Hermione wrapped her tighter, pressing a kiss to her temple.

"You're going to have loads of fun, but don't forget to study as well."

Rose snorted as she pulled back. "Mum, when have I ever not?"

Hermione laughed as she dropped her hands to Rose's shoulders. "Oh yes, you're definitely my daughter."

"I love you, mum."

"I love you, too, sweetheart. Don't forget to write after the sorting."

Rose nodded and Hermione pushed to her feet. Draco handed off Nyx to Rose and she turned for the train where her friend Colin was waiting.

Violet scurried over and wrapped herself around Hermione's leg. Hermione watched as Rose's eyes followed as she picked Violet up and settled her on her hip. Rose bit her lip, smiling as she waved.

"Rose," Hermione called before she disappeared into the train. She waited until her daughter turned back. "You'll be wonderful wherever you get sorted."

Rose grinned. "Mum, we all know it's Gryffindor or bust. I'll fight the hat if I have to."

Draco snorted at Hermione's side and she would have elbowed him if her arms weren't wrapped around their youngest.

"She'll be fine," Draco said. He placed his hands on Hermione's shoulders and gave her a gentle squeeze.

"I know. It's my job to worry."

"And it's my job to worry about your worrying."

Hermione would have laughed at his silly logic if she weren't too busy swallowing her tears as Rose waved from a window. It was only minutes before the train began to pull away from the station, taking a piece of her heart with it.


Hermione sat impatiently by the window in their bedroom. She had a book, a cup of tea, her favorite blanket, and the sofa to herself. Everything felt strange having dinner with just her, Draco, and Violet. There was only one forehead to kiss goodnight. No cat to direct onto a little girl's bed.

Her eyes drifted from her book to the window for the fifth time. She didn't even notice the bathroom door opening until Draco was in front of her. He settled into the armchair across from her, running a towel over his hair, his skin still pink from the shower.

"No owl?" he asked, propping his crossed feet on the coffee table between them.

Hermione glared at his bare feet until he rolled his eyes and dropped them to the floor. She closed her book with a sigh. "No, not yet."

Draco brushed his fingers through his hair. He'd become so relaxed around her the longer they were married. The scars that littered his chest were on full display but she didn't have the interest to gawk at him tonight.

"Merlin," he snorted, reaching for the t-shirt on the back of the chair. He slipped it over his torso on the way to the bedroom door. "I'm going to get the full pot of tea from the kitchen. Knowing you, we'll need it."

Hermione huffed. It wasn't her fault she'd been separated from her oldest daughter for the first time in Rose's life that would be longer than a week. She didn't know how it was possible to be so excited and simultaneously sad a the same time. Draco hid the baby books from her days ago, anticipating this. If not for that, she would have probably spent all afternoon blubbering over Rose's baby photos.

"Hermione, seriously."

She blinked only to find Draco had returned and was pouring her a fresh cup of tea. He shook his head as he sat, now with his own cup.

"She'll write. You know she will."

"I've no doubts about that, Draco. I'm just…excited for her. Anxious. A little sad as well."

Draco tipped his head, his eyes softer. "Four months isn't terribly long. She'll be home for Christmas."

"Hm," she hummed, lifting her cup to her lips. "I reserve the right to pout at least for the first week."

"Or we could both take Friday off from work and spoil Violet in a vain attempt to fill the void."

Hermione opened her mouth to protest…or agree…she wasn't certain actually, when an all too familiar tapping at the window interrupted her.

Draco sprung from his chair before she could untangle herself from her blanket. He let the owl in and traded it a treat for the letter it was holding in its beak. It promptly flew off just as Hermione was on her feet.

Draco dangled the letter over her head, leaning down close enough to brush his lips near hers. "Say please."

Hermione pressed her hand against his chest with a huff. "Hand it over, you nuisance."

He chuckled and pressed the letter into her hands before kissing her quickly. He fell back into his chair and she followed him, sitting on the arm of his chair. Her fingers shook a little as she slipped on under the flap of the envelope. Rose had inherited her neat handwriting. It was ever apparent when she unfolded the parchment.

Draco lifted hand and brushed it along her spine in soothing strokes. It wasn't necessary.

Hermione lifted her head with a grin. "Gryffindor."

He snorted as he reached for the letter to see for himself. "Was there ever any doubt? She take after her mother."

She bit her lip against a smile when she saw his own mouth pull into a grin. He handed the letter back to her.

"I'm prepared for the reality of them both ending up in your house," Draco said, pinching at her side playfully.

Hermione melted off the arm of the chair and allowed him to gather her close in his lap, resting her head against his shoulder. She held Rose's letter against her chest as she closed her eyes and inhaled the scent of him still fresh from the shower.

"I love our girls."

"I do as well."

"And I love you."

Draco lips pressed against her forehead. "I promise that I love you more."

The End