10 months later...
Hermione watched the road unspool in front of her like a long grey ribbon and her hair blew around her face as she shifted gears to tackle the beginning of the incline. The Provencal air was soft, warm and carrying its familar earthy scent. She took a deep breath of it and smiled dreamily, glancing around to appreciate the green roll of the vineyards, the stark white of the cliff face and at it's top, the small glassy shape that glinted in the early evening sun.
She was almost there.
The music shifted and her smile widened in delight—one of her favourite songs, it would certainly be playing tomorrow, and was perfect for this moment too. She sang along as she cruised around the final bend and crested the small hill to a neatly graveled drive. Angling her car carefully into the garage, she stepped out and breathed deeply again, the calm and joy she associated with this place settling around her like a mantle.
She grabbed her bag and shouldered it, then crunched up the drive past the guest house (with the west facing terrace) and through the orchard, which was now neatly maintained. The apples looked lovely and ripe, so she pulled a few down and stuffed them in her pockets. She'd go out later and pick a whole bowlful. Involuntarily she laughed, struck by the perfection of the moment: striding through the sun in her own orchard, pockets full of apples…
She was still smiling when she reached the house, all clean lines and warm wood, which was flung open to the warm air and soft breeze. She moved through it quickly, tossing her bag on a sofa and making her way to the large, wraparound deck, where she knew he'd be.
She stepped through the huge sliding glass door—more of a whole wall really—and saw him, standing tall and straight-backed, looking out over the view. She paused for a bare moment to appreciate his lean body, his bright hair, the set of his shoulders, before launching herself forward. He heard her tread and turned, a beautiful smile breaking over his features. In two steps he crossed to her and pulled her into his arms.
"Darling," he murmured into her hair.
"Mmmm," was her only response, as she inhaled his delicious scent mixed with the warm cotton of his fine shirt.
He held her for several moments and then pulled back, "are those apples in your pockets or are you happy to see me?"
She laughed. "Apples. They're so perfect right now." She pulled out one of the dusky fruits and held it up to him. He took it from her and bit into the crisp flesh.
"Perfect." He swallowed, then launched the half-eaten fruit off the deck and over the cliff, "but does that mean you're not happy to see me?"
"I'm overjoyed to see you," she said, reaching up to kiss him, tasting the sweet juice on his lips. His arms tightened around her and he deepened the embrace, tongue licking against the seam of her mouth. She opened and the kiss became rather heated. She tilted her head into the sunlight and gave herself over to it. He began backing her into the house, his lips moving down her neck and collarbone in a purposeful way.
"We said we'd never be apart again," he breathed between kisses, "and yet I've been without my wife-to-be for an entire week." His hands were roaming now, down her waist, over her backside. She sighed as he found the nearest wall, pressed her against it and pushed her jacket off her shoulders. His deft fingers then went to her blouse, which he began to unbutton.
"Isn't it, oh, bad luck… to do this the day before the wedding?" she gasped, reaching up under his shirt to push it up over his head, actions totally at odds with her words.
"I think," he nipped at her neck, "it's actually very good luck." She giggled as his head dipped lower and his mouth ghosted over her breasts. "It's also...mmm front-closure, excellent." he snapped open her bra and stopped what he was doing to look. "It's also," his eyes, dark slate and twinkling, flicked up to hers, then back down. His head bent again, "...it's also very good for the groom—to promote, mmm, relaxation. Reduce stress."
Hermione gave a sharp moan and fisted her hands into his hair as he sucked hard on one nipple, and then the other. "What's good for the gander…" she murmured distractedly. His soft laugh puffed against her breast as he reached around to unzip the back of her skirt. It soon slipped to the floor along with her knickers. Her fingers went to his flies and she fumbled impatiently at his zip, until it finally came down and she pushed at his trousers too. Then his hands were on her arse and he was lifting her, pressing into her with an urgency she felt singing through her veins. A groan slipped from his mouth and she moved her hands up to snake them over his back, wrapping her legs around him and pulling him to her tightly.
"Draco, oh god," she sighed no longer able to tease. She reached down to touch her own soft wetness and then stroke him.
He buried his face in her neck, shifted and then she felt him at her entrance. "Now, please," she gasped, moving against him. He paused for a split second, his lips working her skin, his teeth nipping, before pushing into her with a long, slow moan.
One of Hermione's very favorite things about this house they'd built in an isolated valley, atop a steep cliff, with extremely effective magical wards that she'd designed herself—was how alone they were here. So alone that she could cry his name over and over as she came and no one in the fucking world had a chance of hearing. She did so after a few urgent minutes—their week apart having made her frantic for him—gasping and groaning as he fucked her into the wall so relentlessly that she came several times in succession, the feel of him losing control and spilling inside of her undoing any claim she had to sanity or coherence.
"I will never get tired of that," he said faintly, several moments later. His forehead was tilted against hers and he was still breathing heavily.
"Nor I," she said with a wicked grin, twisting down to capture his lips. He kissed her lazily as he set her down and grasped his wand, then used it to put them both to rights. "Such a lovely way to be welcomed home." Her fingers slid into his hair and stroked.
"I missed you," he murmured, nuzzling her neck. "How are your parents? Well-situated?"
"Yes," she sighed, still more focused on what he was doing than her narrative. "They're at the hotel in Aix now. And we had a nice time in London, taking Henry to all our old haunts."
"Wonderful," he said, pulling back and slipping her hand into his. He used the other to push his hair back over his forehead and she sighed inwardly at how handsome he was, would always be, to her. "And how are you feeling about tomorrow?" He tugged her toward the kitchen.
"Good. Ready." His eyebrows flicked up and he released her hand to open the refrigerator and remove a bottle of wine, delicate pink and frosted. "Ready for all the planning to come to fruition," she clarified. He came over with her glass and she ran a shy finger along his forearm. "Ready to be your wife."
He stopped and propped his elbow on the counter, put his chin in his hand, gazed at her. "My wife," he murmured, his eyes glowing warm silver and his mouth slanting up. "How did I get so lucky… What did I do?"
"Well," she felt her eyes crinkle and her lip slide under her teeth, "You were born very handsome. And you're so rich. You have some truly astounding real estate," he was straightening up as she talked, his eyes glinting and one eyebrow inching higher and higher, "and your cock," she gurgled, "you're really very talented— !" She broke off with a shriek as he lunged at her and threw her over his shoulder.
"You cheeky little minx. You will pay for that," he said, giving her bottom a sharp smack.
"Put me down," she was half shrieking, half laughing.
"No." He stood and spun in place. "But where to take you?"
"Oh I would, except that this skirt is silk and I am fond of it." His hand slid back and forth over her backside briskly.
"Put me DOWN!" she pounded lightly on his back and bit his side. He smacked her arse again.
"That's it," he said decisively, turning to stride down the hall. "It will have to be the bedroom. I obviously didn't tire you out enough and you're still frisky."
She laughed at his tone and twisted up to nip his shoulder.
"Proof," he said crisply, approaching the door to their bedroom. He stepped through the threshold and launched her onto the bed, muttering a cushioning charm to ease her landing.
She looked up at him, lacing her hands behind her head, a dreamy feeling stealing the mirth from her face. He looked down at her, and his mouth quirked up.
"Come here," she commanded softly and he lowered himself onto the bed and stretched out beside her. She reached out to trace a light finger over the angles and planes of his face and his eyes fluttered closed. Her finger reached his lips and lingered there, running over and over his molded mouth until it's corner lifted in a slight smile. "I love you," she murmured. "I can't wait for tomorrow."
The next day dawned bright and warm, promising perfect temperature and light for the sunset ceremony. A small army of elves and others came early from the Chateau and other places of Lucretia's direction to work magic on the glass house's grounds, make the food and drink and ensure that the bride and groom had nothing to worry about
There was so little to do that after a sun-dappled breakfast, Hermione had a leisurely swim and a nap while Draco took a long solo flight out over the grapes, returning relaxed and windblown just as everyone was beginning to wonder where he was.
The sun sank toward the horizon as the attendants arrived; Astoria and Ginny to help Hermione into her exquisite ivory gown and Harry and Theo keep Draco company in the guesthouse as he dressed. At one point Hermione looked down at Ginny's red head bent over her wrist, fingers deftly doing up the shell buttons of one long sleeve, and tears of happiness and joy spilled from her eyes. Ginny heard her sniff and glanced up, her eyes instantly welling too before she launched herself against Hermione, her rather large belly making the hug awkward, but no less sweet.
Once the sun dipped behind the mountains, the ceremony began. Hermione walked the aisle with Harry, her long, lacy train sweeping behind her, the emerald on her left ring finger winking in the mellow light. Draco stood tall at the altar, easy in his linen muggle suit, eyes bright with unshed tears.
Words of love and commitment were spoken and each guest at the small gathering felt honored to be there, to witness something fine and right and true. And when the bride and groom kissed to seal the ceremony in the muggle way, an involuntary cheer went up, ringing out across the vines and echoing against the white stone cliffs.
After the ceremony, the party began. Ginny and Theo gave the official toasts that made everyone cry—Theo's words on friendship and families of choice breaking even Draco's reserve. Hamish gave an unofficial toast that made everyone laugh, and Charlie gave his new husband a resounding kiss when he sat back down. Astoria, backed by one of Rafik's bands, sang A Case of You, which completely undid Hermione, who ran up afterward to fold her in a fierce embrace.
Blaise ended up in the pool. And little Teddy Lupin and Henry Granger led the Weasley children down to the orchard, where they picked a barrowful of apples and brought them up to the guests, who ate dozens and declared that they were just as delicious as the wedding cake.
Ron sent his regrets and Narcissa sent nothing at all. Pansy wasn't invited. Molly Weasley found it in herself to attend, but any worries Ginny harbored over her mother's behavior were quashed when it became clear that Molly was completely cowed by Lucretia, resulting in her nursing one drink and saying exactly three words all night.
Lucretia made sure the whole day was perfect, her touch evident on everything from the cocktails to the delightfully disarranged floral arrangements. And when the candles were guttering low and the moon was high, she stood up and clapped her hands, announcing that it was time to leave the newlyweds to each other, but that there was a portkey back to the Chateau, where the party would continue. The guests gave a loud huzzah, shouted, cried and/or hugged their goodbyes and then suddenly, were gone.
Draco led Hermione to the firepit, blazing merrily in the center of the huge deck, which stretched out under a black sky studded by sparkling stars. He looked up and directed a silent word of thanks to his aunt for taking everyone else away.
They sat down on either side of the blaze and Hermione shivered slightly in the chilling air. Draco took off his jacket and draped it over her shoulders. She looked at him, face aglow with happiness and his wife was so beautiful in the firelight that it took his breath away.
"And how are you this evening, Mrs. Malfoy?" he said, a smile tugging at his lips.
"You know I'm keeping my name, Draco." She was smiling too.
"Of course. I wouldn't have it any other way."
"But," she reached over and took his hand, twining her fingers with his, "you may call me that sometimes, once in a great while."
"And when may I do that?" he lifted their hands and placed a soft kiss on the underside of her wrist.
"When we're here, just the two of us, and you are exceptionally, singularly, extraordinarily happy."
He grinned, "Why, then you'd better get used to hearing it...Mrs. Malfoy," and leaned over to capture her lips, which were also curving in a smile.
The song playing softly in the background drew to an end and the first notes of a new one started. Draco cocked his head, what perfect timing. Hermione's eyes met his and he knew she was thinking the same thing.
She stood up and held out her hand, tears in her eyes. "Would you like to dance?"
He looked up at her, hoping the love in his heart could be seen in his face, and grasped her fingers.
"Wild horses and all that," he whispered, pulling her close.