The Thing About Biscuits: Epilogue
One year later
21 December 2020
early Monday morning
By first light, the snow had already been falling for several hours. A mere dusting had eventually grown into large flakes that clung to the windowpanes, blossomed, and then froze, sending icy tendrils cutting across the glass.
Two forms lay in the large bed, limbs entwined and half buried beneath a fluffy white duvet. At the sound of a clump of snow falling from a branch and hitting the window, one of them stirred, her head emerging from beneath the warm duvet. Still clinging to the last remnants of sleep, she brushed several errant curls out of her eyes and yawned, cracking an eye open at last.
“Draco!” she whispered, poking him. “Draco, look! It’s snowing! The first snowfall of the year!”
A tousled blond head appeared from beneath the duvet now, and its owner opened his eyes in two narrow, sleep-blurred slits and looked toward the tall casement windows.
“So it is. Your powers of observation are remarkable. I knew there was a reason I married you.” Lying back on the pillows with a playful grin, he beckoned Hermione to join him.
This she did, snuggling close and wriggling happily until she got herself comfortably situated. “This is nice,” she sighed, shivering pleasurably and pulling the duvet up even higher. “I love lying here with you and watching the snow.” She burrowed deeper, her feet finding his.
The sudden cold was startling, and reflexively, Draco recoiled, then slid his feet back into place to warm hers.
“Your feet are freezing! Shall I make up the fire, love?” he whispered into her hair. He loved the way her hair smelt; it was deliciously fragrant and clean, and so very soft. Not at all the way he’d imagined it years ago, when she’d been no more than the bushy-haired, little Mudblood swot he’d resented and disliked so avidly.
“That would be lovely,” Hermione murmured, burying the cold tip of her nose in his bare chest and settling her arms around him even more tightly. “Mmm. You’re so warm.”
He chuckled softly. “I can’t very well make up the fire if you won’t let me get out of bed.”
“Forget the fire, then,” she replied, her voice lazy with sleep and the pleasures of a cosy bed and bed partner. “Just stay here with me. What time is it anyway?”
Draco raised his head and peered at the bedside clock. “Just past eight. It's early. Go back to sleep for a bit, if you want to. There’s still loads of time.”
A comfortable silence fell then in the high-ceilinged room, winter-pale morning light now flooding its tall windows as snow fell in fat, lacy flakes.
Who would have imagined, Draco mused, as he gazed down at the woman curled up by his side, her long, loose tendrils of chestnut hair tickling his chest, that he would find himself here now: new house, new wife, a whole new chapter.
And their children – all three of them, because amazingly, Scorpius had forgiven him – were to arrive home from school for the winter holidays later in the day. The train would arrive at King's Cross at noon.
Scorpius had forgiven him. It had really happened. And what had started the process was a parcel of holiday goodies, the cake arriving somewhat squashed and misshapen, but all of it a source of delight and so much more.
Dear Father, Thank you for the parcel, his letter had read. It arrived yesterday. Everything is great, especially the cake. (My friends say it looks like a giant turd. It kind of does. I don’t care though. It’s really good. Did you make it yourself?) I ate too much last night and sicked up and had to see Madam Pomfrey. Don’t worry. I am fine now. Your son, Scorpius Malfoy
A bit formal perhaps, but that was to be expected after such a long spell of complete silence. But he’d liked the parcel, liked it well enough to gorge himself to the point of illness. Perversely, Draco had found himself happy to know that.
After that – slowly at first – things had begun to turn around. Draco’s letters were no longer being refused. And then, one beautiful day in February, there was a reply, a real letter that didn’t feel forced. Over time, more letters began to arrive, sporadically at first and then at least one a week.
Draco’s joy and relief had been huge. There was a lot Scorpius had wanted to share, things he’d kept bottled up for a long time, and the letters were a conduit for a veritable flood of words. Draco had answered every single one; there was much he had needed to say to his son as well.
Not least of all this was a piece of rather momentous news, but this Draco had kept to himself until Scorpius had come home to him for the summer holidays. There was to be a wedding in July. He would be marrying Rose and Hugo’s mum. Really and truly, he had laughingly assured his son. She was awfully nice and he liked her very much indeed; he was sure that Scorpius would, too, once he got to know her. The boy’s bug-eyed surprise had mirrored the shock also expressed by the Weasley children, according to Hermione’s report. Once things had calmed down, however, all the children were reasonably pleased, all the more so once they saw how happy their parents so obviously were.
Smiling contentedly as these memories filled his thoughts, Draco was just drifting back into sleep when he felt Hermione nudging him gently.
“Do you think they’ll be okay with... well... you know...” Her question trailed off into an uneasy silence.
“Who, the kids? Yeah, ‘course. They’ll be over the moon!”
“Really? You don’t think they’ll be utterly mortified?” Hermione raised herself up on one elbow and peered anxiously down at her husband. “They’ll think it’s weird, won't they! That we’re old, certainly too old to be doing something like this, and with teenage kids!”
“The little buggers can think whatever they like.” Unconcerned, Draco yawned and then stretched luxuriantly. “It is what it is. And I for one couldn’t be happier.”
Reaching out, he laid a gentle hand on his wife’s belly, now just slightly rounded. "Don't worry," he chuckled. "The kids will be fine." Leaning over to drop a kiss just below her navel, he rested his cheek against her warm, firm skin. “I hope it’s a girl. Your looks and my brains, what d’you reckon?”
Hermione let out a giggle, and he could feel the laughter vibrating deep in her belly. “Haven’t you got that the wrong way round?” she teased. “Although in a strange way, I suppose I ought to be flattered.”
“Yes, you should do. It goes without saying that your brains and my looks will already be a formidable factor. But if we get a bit of the other as well, our child will be extraordinary.” Satisfied that he had explained himself thoroughly, Draco laid his head back on the pillow of his wife’s newly pregnant belly.
“I think he or she will be extraordinary no matter what,” Hermione said softly and then drew in a sharp breath. “Oh look! The snow’s stopped and the sun’s come out! There was snow last year right around this time too, remember, Draco? We’d only just posted the parcels.”
He nodded, remembering. “And we were afraid the owls wouldn’t get through. But they did. Funny to imagine that it all started with those silly parcels. They – you – gave me my son back. And my life.”
“And mine.” Hermione pulled Draco close, threading her arms firmly around him in a loving embrace. “Today’s the Solstice, you know. Blessings of the day, my love.”
She kissed him then, putting into it everything she felt, all the love and joy and hopes for the future. He returned it in kind, pressing his mouth to hers with a tenderness and a clarity of feeling that, remarkably, had grown ever more precious over time and yet still felt brand-new. As the kiss deepened, the large log in the fireplace suddenly sprang to fiery life with a roar, crackling and sending up sparks that popped and burst like tiny, incendiary stars.
“Wow...” Hermione breathed, breaking the kiss to stare at the flames. “Did you just do that?”
Draco nodded with airy nonchalance. “New bit of wandless fire magic I’ve been practising. Very dramatic stuff. Been saving it for just the right moment. Not to brag, but I must say, it’s bloody –”
“Brilliant! Gosh, yes! But let’s talk about it later.” Hermione’s smile was slyly naughty now. “Right now, there’s something else I’d much rather be doing.”
“And what would that be, my sweet wife?” he asked, his question a low, suggestive growl.
“Oh, I can think of several things.” She tipped his chin up with a forefinger, bringing that lovely, sensual mouth of his back to hers. “Shut up and kiss me, Malfoy.”