They went to bed in the early hours of the morning after all the guests had gone and they’d cleaned enough that the auto-return charm on the tent would work without a problem. Unfortunately, that meant they slept until it was almost dinner time.
Or rather, Draco slept until it was almost dinner time. Draco rolled over with a groan, woken up by the sound of Hermione flitting about the house. He sat up and went to find her. She was in a dressing gown and collecting things from the wedding. Sitting on the table was the ornate box that had been among the impressive mountain of presents.
It was open.
“It’s empty,” Draco said looking into its soft velvet covered insides.
“Of course, it’s empty,” Hermione chuckled. “It’s not for us. It’s for your parents.”
“What?” He frowned, “Oh. Is this the box you were talking about?”
She nodded and placed objects inside. A set of flutes wrapped in red, green, black, and gold ribbons neatly and intricately tied in a knot that made his fingers itch. On the bottom of the glasses was a Gryffindor crest and a Malfoy crest. There was an ornate hairpin that had come from the elegant knot in her hair, a bouquet of petrified flowers that had been on one of the tables, and the signature flower from her bouquet along with two vials of glowing liquid, one in vibrant gold and the other a brilliant blue. When she was done, she closed the box and latched it closed. Something etched itself into the top of it. A large intricate “D” appeared and filled with Malfoy green ink embossed over the carved Malfoy crest.
“Let’s get ready, hm? We can still make dinner!”
“What’s going on?” Draco asked.
“It’s a pureblood tradition Narcissa told me about. Did you never learn much about these either?”
Draco shrugged, “None of the in-law bits.”
She hopped into the shower and hurried him through getting dressed in formal dining robes. He carried the box and let her sidelong apparate them to Malfoy Manor. The manor was as beautiful as he remembered, and to his surprise the gates opened with him having to touch them, welcoming them. Arm in arm, they walked the long path up to the front door. He paused. This would be the first time Hermione had been to the manor since her encounter with Bellatrix.
He looked at her, “Are you sure about this? I could just give it–”
She smirked and pulled him up the stairs. When they were in front of the door, she waved her hand at the knocker attached to the grand door until three rings echoed through the house. He’d never stop being amazed at how brave she truly was.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Draco,” she said, “Everything will be fine. Besides, I’ve already eaten at your very fancy dining table.”
She squeezed his hand as Addy, Narcissa’s elf, to open the door.
“Master Draco,” she said looking up at them with her big eyes, “You are here for dinner?”
“Yes, Addy,” he said, “My wife as well.”
She smiled brightly and looked at Hermione, “Addy will let the mistress and master know right away. Please come in.”
She opened the door wider and let them in before closing it behind them and popping off. Soon, Addy came back, and Narcissa came down the stairs, dressed for dinner and smiling.
“A pleasant surprise!” Narcissa said, “I thought that you would–”
She gasped seeing the box in his hands and looked up at him, covering her mouth. Draco swallowed.
“Well… Hermione insisted.”
Narcissa looked at her, eyes wide as Hermione gave her a brilliant smile, “My mother in law is a woman of taste. I was told by a woman of similar standing that this was the appropriate gesture. Perfectly traditional, elegant, and tasteful even.”
Narcissa’s eyes widened, and she gasped, “M-Mia?”
She smiled, “Hello.”
Narcissa walked to them and wrapped her arms around Hermione as Lucius came down the stairway. He seemed concerned for a moment before his eyes landed on the box in Draco’s arms. He stiffened and his eyes widened.
“Thank you, Hermione,” Narcissa said, drawing back, “Thank you. I–I can’t begin to explain… I can’t begin to express my gratitude.”
Hermione beamed at her.
“Lucius, darling,” Narcissa said, sniffing and turning to him, “Won’t you come with us to the vault?”
Lucius cleared his throat and nodded stiffly.
“Addy,” Narcissa said. The elf appeared, “Please bring me Draco and Hermione’s wedding invitation.”
Addy popped away as she led Hermione through the halls after Lucius. Draco followed behind watching them together as Narcissa and Hermione spoke about something that they had been discussing through their letters. They walked downstairs to the basement where Addy waited and Lucius was opening the doors to the vault.
Draco had never been into the vault, and he didn’t remember the door they’d entered, so he was a little on edge. It was near enough to the dungeons to make him nervous, but it seemed to be beneath the center of the manor. Hermione gasped looking up at the dimly glowing threads in the ceiling.
“The… ancestral wards are linked to this vault, aren’t they?”
Draco’s eyes widened as Narcissa and Lucius gasped, “How… could you possibly know that?”
Hermione glanced at Lucius, “I can see it, Lord Malfoy.”
He looked a bit wary, but it vanished beneath a mask of indifference.
“She is part of the family now,” Narcissa said as she took the unopened invitation from Addy’s hand with a thank you, “It would make sense.”
She walked to Draco and placed the letter inside the chest before closing it and stepping aside.
“Give it to your father.”
Draco looked at her warily but walked to where his father was standing and held it out to him as Narcissa maneuvered Hermione beneath the glittering ceiling to stand on the Malfoy crest on the floor.
Lucius looked at him before placing his hand on either side of the box. A jolt of magic passed between them and swirled around them from beneath their feet, it shot out at Hermione and Draco flinched, prepared to drop the box, but he couldn’t release it. Fear filled him as the light captured her, and she remained frozen. A burst of pure blue light shot up into the glittering, shifting glass of the ceiling and ricocheted through the room.
Draco tried to pull away, but he was frozen to the spot, his hands bound to the chest just as Lucius’ seemed to be as the magic pulsed through him and the blue light peeled away the aged, dusty look on the ceiling and lit up the chamber. The vaguely glowing threads grew brighter and wider until the entire ceiling glowed and filled the room with light. The light carried out through the entrance they came through and up the stairs. Soon, he felt it coming back through the ground, rushing through him and hitting Hermione with enough force to lift her off the ground before she fell to the floor in a panting heap. Whatever was holding him finally released him as she landed, and he ran to pick her up.
“Hermione? Hermione, speak to me, love. Hermione, s’il te plait!”
She groaned and pressed a hand to his chest, “Relax. I’m fine.”
Draco sighed a breath of relief, pulling her close and glaring at Lucius who had the nerve to look surprised, his mouth slightly agape, “What was that? What did you do to her?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Draco,” Lucius set the box in the space that had appeared in the wall. The illusion had given way to the mercurial wall. The green ink flashed on the chest as it sunk into the mercurial wall. The space closed and revealed a set of open silver gates. They flashed and slid closed as Lucius turned to him. The gates vanished into the wall, and Draco pulled Hermione closer prepared to hex his father and run with Hermione in his arms if he had to.
“Mother, what was that?”
“It was ancestral magic, Draco,” Narcissa said, “I assure you that she isn’t harmed. It certainly didn’t hurt me when we married.”
Draco froze and looked at her, “What?”
“It seems that despite what I would have thought,” Lucius began, “Our ancestors approve of your choice of wife.”
“I mean only to say that she is more than welcome here,” Lucius said primly, though he seemed slightly shamed, “It will… take some time to reconcile with what I understand of our ancestors, but there is no denying it… Even your mother did not inspire such a reaction when we set our marriage chest in the vault.”
Draco frowned and looked up as the mercurial nature of the wall seemed to melt up along the wall to the ceiling, revealing a deep black wall like the night sky. There in the center was the constellation Draco.
Lucius scoffed, “Of course.”
Narcissa gave her husband a disapproving look, “Lucius.”
He turned and looked at her with a grin that Draco had never seen on his father’s face, “What else can I expect of Narcissa Black’s son?”
She rolled her eyes fondly before walking to him, “You decided that you would have me, my light. You have no one to blame but yourself.”
Draco frowned at the strange moment of intimacy between his parents as they looked at one another then turned to him.
“Draco,” Hermione said, “You really have to read more about your traditions.”
Draco scoffed, “I will take that under advisement. Can you stand? Are you certain you are unharmed?”
“I’m fine,” she said, looking up at him with a smirk, “Quite a power treasure trove you have there.”
“Give it a second, you should feel it soon.”
Draco frowned, “What do you–”
He choked on the questions as a burning, heady, all-consuming, roiling surge of something cut through the haze of fear that had gripped him.
“It’s okay,” Hermione whispered, “Just take a deep breath.”
Draco huffed and held onto her until it subsided. He thought it had and everything went black.
When he woke up, he was lying in his room in the Malfoy Manor, ravenous and burning in his robes. His heart leaped into his throat and he jumped out of bed. The lights led him downstairs until he found Hermione in one of his mother’s favorite sitting rooms with his parents. Narcissa and Hermione were pouring over a photo album as Lucius remained nearby sipping from his wine glass. It was probably Superior Red, but he didn’t know for sure.
“Draco,” Narcissa greeted, “Come in. You must be famished.”
Draco approached the free chair and sat down. In a few moments, he had food to eat, and he was practically breathing it in as power crackled around his fingertips. As he finished eating, he realized that the gold inlaid in the walls seemed brighter, the room’s usual gloomy overcast seemed gone. It was brighter than he ever remembered it.
“Why… does the room look new?”
Lucius sipped again, staring unblinking into the fire, “I cannot say if the ancestors were waiting this long for you, your wife, or the two of you together, but they were waiting for something. I’ve had the elves check and the magic that has kept the manor standing, hidden, and impenetrable has been restored to the time when the wards were first erected.”
Draco frowned, “You make it sound like it was decaying.”
Lucius took another drink. It was a gesture that was uncannily familiar to his time when Voldemort was in the manor and every moment was fraught with fear and shame.
“Lucius,” Narcissa scolded before looking at Draco, “I would imagine that Grimmauld and the other Black properties have undergone a similar transformation.”
As far as Lucius knew, it had been in the time of Armand Malfoy that the wards were created. Several people updated, adjusted, and took hold of the wards through the years, but the magic that sustained the ancient house had been weakening through the ages whether through mishandling or corruption. When the Malfoy and Black houses joined, there had been a small infusion of magic because the Black family’s properties were in slightly better conditions, but with Voldemort in the house and both wars, that had been short-lived.
“I had been searching for a way to restore them before they collapsed,” Lucius said, “However, I never suspected that it would be as simple as your marriage.”
“Lucius,” Narcissa scolded again and his father had the nerve to look a bit ashamed, “Lucius Abraxas Malfoy.”
He lowered his glass, “Your marriage to Ms. Granger and the observation of traditions.”
Draco rolled his eyes, “Was that painful for you?”
“Draco,” Hermione said in that same tone Narcissa had used.
Draco blew out a breath, “Pardon moi.”
Hermione seemed pleased before looking back at the book and laughing, “You were adorable as a baby.”
Draco’s cheeks heated, “Please let us never discuss such things again.”
He prepared to stand up but before he could, his father offered him a glass.
“Your mother has taken more than just a shine to Ms. Granger,” Lucius said, “I imagine that she will set her loose in the library soon enough. Might I suggest you get comfortable for a moment?”
Draco looked at the glass warily but seeing Narcissa and Hermione getting along so well made his heart light and his stomach turn. He took the glass and the unspoken truce. When Narcissa insisted on a tour and Hermione readily agreed, mentioning she was particularly interested in Narcissa’s garden from the last time she’d visited, Draco knew that it would be a long night ahead of them.
It turned out to be a long night of him and his father drinking silently and avoiding all the words that had been unspoken between them while Narcissa and Hermione wandered whatever section of the estate that Narcissa could show her. They had been drinking in silence for at least three hours when Lucius broke the silence.
“Come with me, Draco,” Lucius stood carrying his glass, “There is one more thing.”
Draco followed him out of the sitting room and down the corridors back downstairs to the ground floor. Outside, he saw Narcissa and Hermione walking the second floor’s outer pathway back towards the main balcony’s sitting area. He was impressed that she was taking this all in stride but knew that he’d find her staring out into nothingness after a long bath later marveling or lost in time.
She knew that he’d grew up with a lot of old money, but he was pretty sure that the culture shock was coming soon enough. Lucius led him down a different path to a different vault, but he did not open it.
“This vault carries a collection of magic from our line and holds in it the collection of ancestral rings meant for the wives of Malfoy men,” he gestured to it, “It will choose the ring meant for your wife and with it, she’ll be fully accepted by the Malfoy line.”
“All of the Malfoy line?” Draco asked, looking at him suspiciously.
Lucius sighed, “Yes.”
“And if I’m not given a ring?” Draco asked.
His lips twitched, “Then, I imagine that your relationship will not last long.”
Draco walked to the wall and reached into the vault. He found that rather than cold metal gates, it was warm and as thin as air. He smelled Hermione’s hair products, the scent of her skin, felt her in his arms as he reached in and something materialized in his hand. He pulled his hand out and looked at the object there.
It gleamed a brilliant red-gold, like something out of old Viking texts, beautiful and inlaid with subtle precious stones that Draco had no name for. It was heavy with magic, warm in his hand, and older than anything he’d ever encountered. It felt even older than Malfoy Manor. Lucius hummed as Draco studied the ring and turned it over in his fingers. It would look stunning on her finger and was simple enough that she wouldn’t make too much fuss about it.
“When you give her the ring,” Lucius said, “She is to wear it on her left hand as a symbol of being bonded to the family. The ring you procured for her should be moved to the right hand.”
Draco turned to him, “I… always wondered what mother’s other ring was about.”
“I do not promise to adjust to this quickly,” Lucius said, “But I do promise to strive to be as understanding as I can be.”
“For my sake?” Draco asked, “Or for mother’s?”
“Your mother’s,” he said, “And ours.”
Draco nodded slowly. It wasn’t the best answer, but it was better than nothing. He wondered if that answer would change with the revelation that Mia was Hermione all along.
“If that is the case, at least, I know you will keep your word.”
He looked at the inside of the band and saw a line of old script that Draco couldn’t read as they went to find Narcissa and Hermione. As expected they were on the balcony among Narcissa’s special section of roses that seemed especially vibrant now. They were chatting about Hermione’s extensive knowledge of wards and ancient runes and would, likely, remain there for a while yet. Draco thought that if he could have evenings like this far into their future, he’d be eternally grateful.
When they returned to Spinner’s End, he helped Hermione out of her robes and moved the ring he’d bought for her to her right hand. She gasped as he slipped the ancestral ring onto her finger.
Draco smiled, “I believe… it will keep you safe.”
Hermione nodded, “Your mother invited me to tea with the Greengrass family.”
Draco snorted, “Never does anything by halves, my mother. I am sure she will send you robes for the occasion.”
Draco met her gaze. Hermione looked away from the question in his eyes. He tilted her head up until their gazes met again.
“I will wait for a thousand years.” He smirked, “No longer.”
Hermione froze and her laughter bubbled out of her as she leaned into him.
“I don’t think it will take that long.”
“Good,” Draco hummed, “You are a beautiful woman and we share a bed. Imagine me going through the torments of the damned for a thousand years, Hermione.”
She laughed, “A well-used reference. I’m impressed.”
“Just you wait,” he said, “You might be able to take me to that awful primary school reunion of yours.”
“Not in a thousand years!”
In the end, the Slytherin in him, his mother, and his father surprisingly had refused to let her do anything else upon hearing how horrible they’d treated Hermione in her younger years. He assumed that his father’s reaction had something to do with finding out that Hermione was Mia and her addition to the family line had done everything that Lucius had been trying to do for years.
“You have my sincerest apologies,” Lucius said one evening as they sat together. Narcissa and Hermione looked up, surprised as Draco stared at his father wondering who he was speaking to.
“Draco has been right,” Lucius said, “The Malfoy line, for thousands of years, has made their world smaller with their narrow-minded bigotry and controlling nature. I am… grateful to you, Hermione, for saving Draco and us from that same fate.”
Draco looked at Hermione who grinned, “Well, a very high born man once told me that love is the only reason to save the foolish.”
Lucius’ eyes widened and all the color drained from his face as she grinned at him and Narcissa looked positively delighted.
“I am glad that he and my father shared similar values,” she chuckled.
“You…” Lucius gasped then looked at Narcissa, “How long have you known?”
“Since they brought the box,” Narcissa said.
“And you did not see fit to tell me?”
“I thought you would have figured it out, darling,” she smirked and sipped her tea, “You were Head Boy, were you not?”
Hermione and Draco snickered at Lucius’ indignant face. Draco looked forward to seeing that look, and many others, on his face more often in the future.
When their children demanded to sit on his lap or be read stories for the millionth time. When a rambunctious toddler came screaming to her grandfather and fell asleep drooling on his expensive cloak. Maybe a tiny little girl blowing her nose in his expensive acromantula silk blouse.
He prayed that their children would throw Lucius off his pedestal of indifference every chance they got the same way Hermione would.
He was counting on it.